It’s Gone!

Remember just a little while ago, when I talked of Beginnings?  We have been discussing the remodel of the kitchen at the Mills place.  Nothing too pressing… just debating cabinets, and placement of appliances, and some minor stuff.  Well, the boys came home from Laramie on Monday evening.  I spent yesterday in Worland – a little quality time with my doctor and the grocery store – and returned home to teach my 3 Korean-English education classes.  That was my day.  This morning I went to see what the guys did yesterday and guess what?  It’s gone!  The kitchen I knew is GONE!  Here’s proof.

This is where the door goes into the dining room… The stove was here just a few days ago!
This will be widened out to the right about 22 inches, and the rest turned into a breakfast bar.
That was where the dishwasher was.  That is also the interior side of the logs that make my house.  They are actually kind of cool looking.
This was the refrigerator wall.  That doorway is also being widened.  Don’t Brandon and Vernon look like carpenters???  Well, they try!
There’s the pantry… and the wall in front of Daniel will disappear in a bit.   So… this afternoon instead of making pretzel salad and pecan pies and rolls and cleaning and getting ready for tomorrow… I went to town to pick out my flooring!  Since we have workers here, the work needs to get done… of course, that doesn’t include MY work. The kitchen is gone, but my work is still here!  Sigh.  It’s gonna be a LATE night!

Girls

girls
This is an OOPE photo from the other day. Note the dark edge of my pocket, proof the camera was really there!  I liked it then… but after spending the weekend with my mother, I like this photo even more.  This is Dally and Elsa trotting along peacefully side by side.  The work is getting done.  There’s no need for urgency or speed.  The silence was comfortable.  At least, I didn’t hear them conversing!  They just seemed much more than mother and daughter, more like buddies sharing an enjoyable moment.  I shared plenty of those this weekend with my mom.  Whether at church or shopping or eating or sitting in front of the fire, my mom and I had a good time.  We always sleep together so that we can talk until we fall asleep!  I have friends whose mothers are far removed from that closeness… mothers that are alcoholics or mothers with mental problems.  I can’t imagine what I would have been like without the closeness of the bond I have with my mom.  Not that she knows my *entire* life, and I know she doesn’t read this (she gave up computers when she retired), so I can safely say there are things she won’t EVER know.  (But I’m not sharing those things with you either, nope, not here.  I mean, I love you, man, but this is not the place!)  That said, my mom knows 90% of what goes on and that’s pretty darn good.  I know I don’t want to know all of what goes on in my daughter’s life either!   Being a buddy didn’t happen overnight.  She can still make me jump if she says, “CAROL!”.  We have reached that time in our lives that no one controls the other.  We are content with our roles and thrilled with our relationship.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday I plan to carry that on with my daughter.  I hope to focus on more of a partnership and less of a dictatorship.  Besides with 6 men coming here to eat, us girls gotta stick together!

I’m Baaaaaack!

Did you miss me??? I apologize for not posting yesterday, but I really was “out of pocket”!  I left Saturday morning, drove 2 hours, met up with the guys at a bull sale for a brief update, they’d picked out the bull they wanted, but the sale hadn’t started yet.  I then drove another hour to my daughter’s house and attended a jewelry party.
It was fun and I finally met some of her new friends.  Then I drove another hour to my mom’s house where I spent Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday morning.  We had a wonderful visit… for her living only 4 hours away, I don’t seem to be able to make it down very often.  Such is ranch life.  While I was busy on my Casper trip, I did think of you.  I thought, what is the “ranch slant” on a trip to the “big city”? You don’t need pics of traffic or houses or stores or people or anything else along those lines.
I think what amazes most people is that it is 4 hours to a large city (in Wyoming relative size) with traffic and houses and stores and people! There are two malls in Wyoming.  One is in Casper.  There’s Sam’s Club and Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond and Applebee’s and Outback and lots of movie theaters and Casper College and the Events Center and … compared to Ten Sleep (where we have a school, two bars, one gas station, a bank, a couple of stores, one motel and 300 people) it is a BIG place!
The first day of travel is on a gorgeous highway…traveled by many people headed to Yellowstone National Park.  There’s Ten Sleep Canyon…
There’s Powder River Pass, elevation 9666′.
And though I keep my eyes open for deer, elk, and moose, I *really* always want to see this herd of yaks on the Buffalo side of the mountain.  No buffalo… just yaks.
I then run into the interstate… and the only thing interesting on it was a possible drunk driver that I called into the Highway Patrol… and they caught him… ha!
Now most people would prefer to travel the highways… but on my return trip, I prefer to go this way… we call it the “back way”.  It isn’t kept plowed open in the winter… and it is just a gravel road but it actually takes off an hour if you go this way… Now you tell me… would you prefer this scenery or all the traffic and drunk drivers on the interstate???
Oh well. You start out with the Lost Cabin Natural Gas processing plant… it isn’t pretty, but T. Boone would be proud.
And like a lot of natural gas wells it comes with an extra bonus…gas that’ll kill you if you get a whiff.  Look closely at this sign… what I always wonder: if the boss of the guy that misspelled poison was upset, or if he even noticed…  That’s the last of civilization.
I feel myself relax.  “Nothing here but hills and sagebrush and a vast expanse of sky.”
Cottonwood Pass.  The easy natural way to enter the Big Horn Basin from the south.  Elevation, I don’t know… it isn’t posted on a scenic overlook like Powder River Pass!
Coming into Washakie County.  Traffic doesn’t seem to be a problem today.
A shadowed picture of Mahogany Canyon… spectacular, but not even close to fitting into one frame!
I’m back on red dirt.  Home is only 15 miles away.  I only met the school bus from when I left Lost Cabin until I arrived home. One and a half hours of easy driving, great scenery, and no drunk drivers!

OOPE 2 Fave

After my hands unfroze and we arrived back at our barn yesterday… I snapped this.  My father-in-law is feeding the horses some hay. I’ve just turned Tart loose out the main door.  It is a nice old barn…and would be lots nicer if someone would rechink all those holes.  It just doesn’t seem to be high on the list-of-things-we-gotta-do.

OOPE 2

Yesterday I started the Out Of Pocket Experience where you come along on a working day with me… and I take photos as I slave away with the camera winking out of my pocket.  No focus, no framing, nothing artistic in evidence.  I don’t have time for that, I’m WORKING!  Today we finished up the work we started yesterday, sorting our replacement heifers out of the main bunch.  We have 60 head that needed new eartags and age branded.  When calves are born we give them the same number on their eartag as their moms’.  These heifers still have that same number, but now, as full fledged members of the herd they get their own new number.  Each number will begin with a 7, meaning they were born in 2007.  Here’s a side view of an eartag.

hf1
The old one gets cut out and replaced by one of these…
hf2
The small numbers above pertain to their daddies… we keep good track of where everyone came from!  From here on out, if 716 does anything… we record it… same with the other 59!  We also tattoo this number in their left ear.  Yup, just like fancy race horses and elite pooches… our girls get a number too.  It goes like this…
hf3
Step one: clean out any cow ear wax, dirt, goo, more goo, etc. with a paper towel.
hf4
Step two: apply green tattoo ink with icky toothbrush.  Step Three: apply tattoo-er… uh… what do you call it?  Uh.  I think we actually call it a tattoo-er!  Blush.  I can’t think of any other word.  Sometimes my brain just leaves.  Here’s a picture of it, though.
hf5
There’s the box of old discarded eartags… there’s 755’s new tag… and the tattoo-er with 755 dialed in.  Look close and think backward… it does say 755.  It actually pokes little holes that form the numbers.  What?  You think this is “Miami Ink” or something?  Give me a break.  Oh, and then there is the age brand.  We give them a “7” on their left hip, just to help identify them out on the range.
hf6
The irons get hot in a cedar fire.
hf7
Vernon applies the brand.
hf8
Some stand there and take it…some beller like they are dying.  This young lady is clearly a drama queen!  I can share her pain… because I look at this.
hf9
My hands are never pretty… you can’t see the cow snot and cow slobber and cow poo that I’ve wiped off… I’ve often thought about a manicure… never had one… probably wouldn’t ever waste the money.  They don’t have much to work with anyway.  But I have always been jealous of women with clean styled fingernails.  Not long ones.  Just pretty ones.  sigh.  Back to work!
hf10
We moved the heifers about 3 miles to another pasture.  I want you to know that although it looks mighty pleasant in this photo… the wind was blowing and my ugly hands were freezing!  BRRRRRR that wind was COLD!

Halfway there… and my hands were so cold, I turned off my camera and put my gloves on!  Thanks for coming along on OOPE2… I think I’ll continue this on working days.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my fave photo I took today… see ya!  Gonna go sit by the fire and warm up again!