In Defense of the Bovine Lady

6.29.2009
Miner Institute had an open house on Saturday afternoon. I briefly visited Bron while he explained to visitors about how the Calan gates operated. Then I wandered around the rest of the facilities to check out what else was going on.


Of the 650+ visitors to the Dairy Farm, most desperately needed to be educated. Some people had logical and intelligent questions. They were sincerely curious and it was a lot of fun! Other questions were just plain stupid. (Or maybe naive would be a better word.)

While studying a diagram of a cow's rumen, an older woman leaned over to me and exclaimed, "Those cows are polluting the air with all of that gas, you know. They belch it into the air!"

Polluting the air? Puhlease. She actually used the word, polluting? These are animals for crying out loud! And what does she think she is? A simply non-biological living organism?

I replied, "Well, we do too!"

Whoever came up with the idea to possibly tax a cow because the gas it belches contributies to "global warming"--or excuse me--"climate change", is probably the most sheltered person on the planet.

Politics are ridiculous.

My House Creepeth

6.23.2009
I had a mouse in my kitchen! It started leaving me little presents in the sink, on the counter, and in the drawers starting Saturday afternoon. I was so grossed out!

My hero and manly man killed the mouse last night!

And I bleached everything--twice.

I think we make a great team!

Bron thinks I'm pathetic. I probably am. It gives me the heebejeebees! My skin crawls just thinking about the mouse in MY kitchen! We've got poison and traps set just in case there are more.

The funny thing is my brother and I used to have pet mice when were little kids. I loved them!

One night Joe snuck into my room and whispered, "They're eating Snowy!"

Something had gone terribly wrong in the mouse micro-community; two mice turned on one. It was disconcerting and gross. But fascinating!

My family will never forget the time a rat came up the toilet and jumped out at my little sister. She was only two and about eye-level with it. It was quite traumatizing for her! To this day I think she still puts the toilet seat cover down before she goes to bed.

I don't know if any rodent story will ever top that one. (If you have one, let me know!)

Quebec is Definitely a Foreign Country

6.22.2009
I love to see the temple.

It's exactly an hour away from our home in Chazy. The temple is small and simple but beautiful. I'm very grateful to have one so close!

Bron and I woke up early on Saturday morning to make it to the 9:00 session in the Montreal Temple...in French! The temple president took a tally of how many people preferred French, English, or Spanish for the session and decided on French. For those of us who don't speak a lick of French, he handed out headphones. I'm grateful for those too! (Bron listened to part of the session in Russian. Cool, huh?) But what's even more crazy is that we were the witness couple. How does that work? I donno, but it did. Very smoothly, in fact. We ended up having a very good morning there in the temple.

********
After the temple, it was off to conquer Montreal! On our drive up it was nothing but countryside and farms for miles until suddenly we hit the big city. Everything was in French! Quebec is the only Canadian province that officially speaks French, and they're proud of it. I had fun picking up on foreign subtleties like using commas instead of decimal points between numbers and the $ sign coming after the price. I now recognize the French word for "Sale", though I doubt I can pronounce it correctly. Bron just thinks this knowledge is dangerous. haha

We parked the car near the Botanical Gardens and took the Metro into downtown. Bron loves public transportation--no stress finding parking or dealing with traffic. Whew! And it's a good thing Bron knew what he was doing because I would've gotten us lost.


We emerged from the metro into downtown. We were definitely not in the country anymore. We both haven't seen tall buildings like that in years! And I haven't seen shopping like that in a long time either! There was every department store imaginable at my fingertips. It was a hyperventilating kind of exciting!


We stopped for lunch in China Town. Poor Bron. He thought he was going to eat fried won tons and sweet and sour chicken, but I knew better. We ate real Chinese style. The waitress brought out boiling pots where we dipped and cooked our own noodles, meat, veggies, and other unknown etibles. I loved it! The mix of heat, smells, and tastes were all familiar to me. It totally brought back memories of my trip to China.


Ultimately, we kept on walking towards Old Montreal. Amazing! I think Montreal may be my favorite city yet. There is so much to do and so much to see! We walked down the streets towards the wharf and meanered through various art exhibits and stores. My favorite store was the one with the real fur coats. I'd buy one if I could afford it, but $900 dollars is a little steep for our budget. Maybe someday. They're toasty warm and very fashionable.


Then there was the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. The bells were clanging noisily all afternoon! There were so many weddings! The cathedral is modeled after Notre-Dame in Paris, but with less detail. However, the inside spares nothing. It commands reverence. The inside is floor to ceiling intricate details and rich color. It's breathtaking.

Thanks Montreal for allowing us to enjoy your beauty and atmosphere. We had a really fun and relaxing day. We'll meet again soon. I'm sure.

Water

6.19.2009
I miss Idaho water.

That water was fresh, crisp, clean, clear, and came straight from the aquifer.

City water tastes rank. I feel like I'm drinking straight from a bottle of Clorox Bleach. It sure smells like it. After I swallow I can taste the fumes in my nose. Gross! How do they expect me to remain properly hydrated?

I'm investing in lots and lots of sugar-free lemonade.

And hey, maybe as a benefit, my shower will remain miraculously clean, all by itself!

Hooray!!!

6.16.2009

WE

OWN

A

COMFORTABLE

COUCH!

Yes, they've arrived! Finally. And our rear ends spent the entire evening there. Bliss!

The Adirondack Mountains

6.15.2009

The Adirondacks


View from the top of Giant Mtn.

We're only going to be here for two years, so Bron and I are determined to see as much in the area as we possibly can. There are so many new places to see and explore!

The Adirondacks are a beautiful set of mountains! They are covered from floor to tip in dense green forest. It makes for breathtaking scenery. And don't be fooled; although these mountains are smaller than the Rockies, they still make for steep trails and perilous cliffs. Plus, the suffocating humidity is a beast to overcome.


Just like in the movie,The Last of the Mohicans, we sprinted up the flat rock! Minus the rifle.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Hiking is half fun and half miserable. We both love the outdoors and the thrill of adventure, but a tough hike wreaks havoc on the entire body! Perhaps we're just weak.
We made it to the peak of Bald Mountain without a problem and ate lunch at the top. But the trail continued on, so we had to continue on as well. If we didn't conquer the mountain that afternoon, we'd just be back up there a few weeks later. Plus, where's the sense of accomplishment if you know you only did half of what you could have?


Giant Mountain: Our Next Challenge
Almost a 6,000 foot climb from the bottom of the trail

The trail headed--literally--straight up! This hike is not for the faint of heart. It was like a giant stair stepper all the way up. Our thighs hurt. Our knees hurt. Our calfs hurt. And our feet hurt. But it was TOTALLY worth it! Wow! It was just as hard climbing down as it was up.

On the way home nothing sounded better than a burger and fries. We sat down and ate at A&W. Normally a burger and sharing fries with Bron fills me right up, but not Saturday night; I was still hungry! And so was Bron. But Bron was too embarrassed to order another burger. hehe So we hopped in the car and drove down the street to McDonald's and ordered another burger for Bron and a strawberry milkshake for me. Yum! Sweet victory.

That night, Bron and I could barely hobble up the stairs. Our muscles ached. But I guess it's a good kind of ache. An accomplished and well-deserved reminder of our day in the Adirondacks.






Virtual Tour: Bron's New Job

6.08.2009

The Old Schoolhouse

BRIEF HISTORY:
William H. Miner was an entrepreneur and businessman. He and his wife, Alice, started the Heart's Delight Farm in 1903. At its peak, the farm had 15,000 acres and 800 workmen. The farm was unique in the way that it combined the latest sciences and technologies to farming. The Heart's Delight Farm even had pressured water and electricity before the governor in Albany. The farm had the finest cattle and horses. It produced grains, giant corn, maple syrup, and even had a fish hatchery among other commodities. Mr. Miner was convinced that farming was the most important occupation to human kind and made the Heart's Delight Farm a piece of paradise.

TODAY:


I traded a small family farm for a much bigger one! The property is no longer called The Heart's Delight Farm. Instead, it preserves its history and honors William H. Miner with its dedication to research and science to better agriculture.



The old barn is awesome! It's no longer a milking parlor, but houses horses instead.



This red barn is home to heifers just waiting to grow up, calf, and join the other ladies in the milking barns. The cows here at the institute never graze and never go outside. Instead, they spend their entire life in climate-controlled barns and free stalls. The controlled temperature and lack of rain and snow make the cows better milk producers.



One big, long, barn full of bovine beauties ready to be milked three times a day.



Just further to the west is the milking parlor, connected to the barn.



The newest barn just west of the milking parlor. In it is one of Bron's projects.



The white boxes are called Calan gates. Each cow has a remote tied around its neck. Each of the remotes opens a specific gate and allows the cow to eat. Therefore, each cow has its own feeder and researchers can track, identify, modify, etc. the cow's diet. Now training a cow to learn to eat from its own feeder is another story.



These ladies are all expecting a calf sometime soon. There's a sensor in the barn that opens and closes the blinds automatically on the windows to keep the barn at a perfect temperature. There's even a breeze when the garage doors on both ends are open. Spoiled cows, huh?



That's our car in front of our duplex. Behind the car on the right hand side of the picture is the library. Just beyond that is the Miner Center where Bron has his own office. He can either eat at the cafeteria there or come home for lunch. It's really nice. He's just a stone's throw away from home!

Virtual Tour: Our New Home

Welcome to our new home in Chazy, New York! We are living in a 3 bedroom 2 and 1/2 bathroom duplex owned by the Miner Institute. It's huge! And a waaay good deal for us. We have two extra rooms. So if you would like to visit, we have a place just for you.



Back view of the duplex. We live in the left side. The right side is reserved for university guests. It's retro on the outside and only half-retro on the inside.



It also happens to be a nuclear fallout shelter. So parents, don't worry, if WWIII breaks out, we'll be okay.



This is a view of the "backyard". It's a baseball diamond turned corn field.

The Inside: The lower level is set up like a donut with the stairs in the middle.




This is our living room. And that's the unused front door; it's pointless. Just imagine a brand new couch and recliner where the camping chairs sit. One more week and they'll be there! We can't wait!



My kitchen. There's no dishwasher, but I do have a brand new stove and refrigerator. It looks small, but there's actually plenty of space. I have unused cupboards and a walk-in pantry! Yes!



The dining area and office cupboard. The furniture is cheap but it's cute, and even better, it matches!



Upstairs is our bedroom, two extra bedrooms, and two full baths. Yes, we now have His and Hers bathrooms. It's so convenient! Bron will never again have to lower the toilet seat. (Isn't that a dream?) Man, we're getting spoiled.

This picture doesn't do our room justice. It's HUGE! The closet reaches from wall to wall and has its own light and heater in there.



There. Does that help with size? Those are three of the four windows.



View from our bedroom window looking West, or out the front of the duplex. That's Miner Institute and you're looking at a barn that's over 100 years old. That's where Bron works!

For the life of me, I can't figure out which way is North. There's no mountain range pointing the way! I'm surrounded by a forest of green in every direction instead. I'm just going to have to memorize the streets and their directions. *sigh* But it's pretty.

Burlington, VT

Old Church at the end of Church St.

Saturday morning I ran a new personal best: 5.01 miles in 38 minutes and 51 seconds. Wahoo! I'm blaming it on the altitude, baby. It's a lot lower here and easier to breathe, I think. Live high, train low! Gee, I sure hope my pedometer is accurate.

Saturday afternoon Bron took me into Burlington, Vermont to see the University campus. Wow. They've got a lot of old, pretty, red brick buildings. It amazes me how old everything is here. Then he took me to Church Street. The street has been paved over in cobble-stone and is now used for walking only. It's awesome! There are bistros, restaurants, clowns, overpriced shops, and a mall all along the street. We had a great afternoon window shopping and exploring. Before we headed home, we ate at a local pizza and pasta restaurant.

In order to get home, we had to cross Lake Champlain again. I'm a sucker for any big body of water! I LOVE the openess, I LOVE its tranquil power, and I LOVE boats. Between the sunset and full moon, the lake was paradise! I'm a little jealous of the people that get to live on those islands out there.

Our Cross Country Roadtrip Adventure

6.03.2009
With all of our stuff safely stowed away on a truck, Bron and I commenced our trip East in our red Impala on Friday May 22nd. Armed with our Garmin navigator and a big fat atlas, we knew it was going to be an adventure; just the two of us on a road trip, seeing and doing things we'd never done before!

Day 1:
We began our trip by driving North and East through Yellowstone National Park and then on through Wyoming.

These are REAL mountains. Not some wussy things they have further East.

The Grand Tetons
French translation...The Grand ummm

We encountered buffalo trekking up the road. We were no more than 3 feet from some in our car. Cool! Can I please ride it??

I'm not sure what people are complaining about when they say that Wyoming is boring and desolate. Maybe we were on a scenic highway, but I thought parts of Wyoming were actually quite beautiful.

Day 2:
The Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands, here we come!

My Honey and Me at Mt. Rushmore

This was one of my favorite days of our trip. It was a lot of fun! We took a tour using hand-held recorders through the museum and around the mountain at Mount Rushmore. I'm not sure if I would have been for or against the project back in the day, but it sure is cool to see! I only wish the artist was able to finish it all.

The Badlands

The Badlands were SWEET to see! So desolate, beautiful, and fragile all at once. Bron and I hiked around on and off the trails. We had a great day!

Day 3:
After a terrible night camping without getting any sleep, Bron and I drove through Omaha, Nebraska. We lived there when I was a little kid and it didn't even dawn on me to call my parents for the address so we could stop by. But we did stop at the site of Winter Quarters. We slowly walked around and read the tombstones in the graveyard next to the temple. Then we took a tour of the museum with a sister missionary. Man, did it make me feel grateful for all my many, many temporal blessings and for the tough men and women who survived the winter there. I'm sure many doubted at times, but the early Saints had such great faith! It's good to remember that this life isn't "it" and that there is a greater purpose for each one of us; this life isn't the end. Their stories really put things into perspective for me. It was Sunday and a very appropriate day to feel the spirit.

Des Moines, Iowa

Bron was tired of driving (he drove the ENTIRE way) and saw this building on the side of the road. So we stopped. Because we could. This building is obviously the capital. Surrounding it were various war memorials from American history. Bron loves history. We stopped by every memorial. Quite appropriate for Memorial Day weekend, huh?

Day 4:
NAUVOO!!!

We could have spent two more days here. There is so much to see and do! Bron and I went to the temple in the morning and saw some artifacts and other bits of history there, including Joseph Smith's saber.

The Nauvoo Temple

Then we toured through the various homes and stores in town. What a blast! I learned how bricks, tin, guns, and wagons were made. I got to bring home a red brick and each of us now have prairie diamond rings. Fun, huh?

No kidding, THE Browning Gun Shop and Home

Real Oxen

Have you ever wondered exactly what an ox is? These are red Holsteins, but any breed will do. The cow must be a steer and it must have horns. He must be at least 3 years old and have started training with a yoke on his neck at a young age. Didn't you always want to know that? A haunting mystery now solved.

Hawaiian Fire Sword Dance

That night we enjoyed ourselves at an outdoor theatre. We watched a Hawaiian family dance and then stayed for Sunset on the Mississippi. If you like dry humor, I'd recommend the show. It was hilarious!

Day 5:
Nothing interesting. We drove and drove and drove... You get the idea. Very boring.

Day 6:
We were in Kirtland, Ohio and saw the first gathering place of the Latter-Day Saints. Their ingenuity was awesome! And their stories were even better.

The Original Newel K. Whitney Store Still Stands

After touring the town, we went up to the top of the hill and toured all 3 stories of the temple. We even sat in the pews. It was really neat. (I bought postcards, sorry no pics)

Lovers at Niagara Falls

Unless you plan on spending an entire day at Niagara Falls, I wouldn't recommend it. It is waaaay over commercialized. Bron and I both have passports so we ventured to the Canadian side where we could get a better view. After driving around in circles and trying to find parking that was ridiculously overpriced, the falls didn't seem quite so incredible. But to the falls' credit, it is beautiful, wide, and magnificent. To us, however, it was comparable to Shoshone Falls in Idaho. No biggie. :) hehe Just kidding.

That night we drove until 12:30 AM where we finally found ourselves at our new home. We slept on the floor, but I didn't care; I was sick of the car. I will post all about our new surroundings later. Until then, this is what we are doing...

Proof: My Husband Loves Me!

We're organizing and buying our very first sets of furniture together. It's been a ton of fun, but the house is still in shambles.