Saturday, January 24, 2015

Birthday Snow!

Thank y'all for your well wishes for DH...he's on the mend and thus far, I have escaped catching it from him.
And thank you for the Birthday wishes - it snowed all day on Thursday - it was perfect.

I trudged out early that morning in hopes of catching the horses coming in, but I was out there for over an hour and the silly things decide they didn't want to come in. The snow swirled all around me as it fell and I finally made my way back into the house when I turned on my camera and the battery died. :(

The chickens must have had big plans. Even the 6 degree morning did not deter them from greeting me at the door:


 It is hard to get  a picture of them since they run after me where ever I go. I feel like a, well...mother hen. :)


DH and I went to feed early on Friday in order to beat the slushy roads that were certain to appear with the sun. I wanted to stop every time the sun glinted on the ice covered landscape and capture it with my camera, but time was of the essence and the cattle take precedence over an icy cactus. :)

They were grateful:


Much haste was made when they spied the feed truck:


Their breath was warm and frosty as they gathered around, in anticipation of their dose of cake.They are going to appreciate the warmth of the sun today too

Its a wonder I ever get anything accomplished in the house since I could spend all day outside capturing the things that catch my eye through the camera lens.


I just throw my little pocket camera in whenever I leave the house, but its not the best choice when snapping pictures in the sun - its hard to see anything on the LCD screen. I much prefer the viewfinder on my DSL, But this little camera is much easier to cart around and every once in a while I find it captures things that you just don't expect:


The snow is melting quickly, leaving behind a glorious day:


Its much too nice to spend it indoors so I'm hopping in with DH again and checking a few more pastures.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turning on the Sewing Machine

January 21, 2015. Today was the first day I turned on the sewing machine since a good week before Christmas. It's time. Time to make a plan...or not. Time to just sew. Something. Anything.


These blocks have been sitting in a pile for quite some time. Yes, its a Christmas quilt and everyone has more than likely had their fill of Christmas for a while, but it's at my fingertips and it needs to be stitched into a top so a Christmas quilt is what I'm working on today. I hope to get in about an hour of stitching.

I also finally made time to make a few thank you cards.


One of these days I will learn to make these ahead of time so that when I need them, I am not scrambling. My supplies are stashed in the office closet  and I'm working on carving out a little corner in there where I can leave things out and work on cards as time allows.

We've been enjoying incredible weather these past few days. 65 degrees makes for an unusual January, but I'll take it! It makes my daily walk-about much more enjoyable. Its a toss up on whether I'll be enjoying a sunrise or a sunset. Depends on the day. Today the sunset won:


And we've got a 100% chance of snow this evening through Thursday. Snow for my birthday? Yes, please!

As for today, I'm going to fix myself another mug of Emergen-C in hopes of warding off the post-Dallas Crud that DH is fighting. Unlike most men, he's the perfect patient. He doesn't fuss or complain - not even a little, but he's feeling pretty puny. Alas, cattle must be fed so we're heading out to do what we do. Since our girl's been home, she's been DH's sidekick - time treasured by both of them - but now that she's gone back to school, he has to settle for me... and a little stroll across the pasture at sunset.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Weekend in the Big D

Gosh, I sure hated to start out the new year so tired! 2 solid weeks of overnight company, plus extras, just really wore me out! I think I'm finally starting to feel like joining the land of the living again.

 DH and I drove to Dallas last week to attend the Dallas Safari Club Convention and lose ourselves in all things hunting. This was our Christmas present to each other although in order to get rooms, you have to make reservations in February for the following January.

Dallas traffic. A trip to Dallas is not complete until I have commented on it so I posted this to some friends:


Made it to Dallas by the skin of our teeth and God's grace. All I can say is it was not pretty and I have aged 20 years in an hour. Lord have mercy! How do people live here?!

It was awful! I was gripping the door handle with a death lock and my hands were sweating profusely. I would arrive to work in tears every single day if I had to fight that.

Thankfully, we were able to wipe the stressful arrival from our minds by exploring over 1700 booths.  We walked from 9 - 5:30 solid for two days. One of the safari guides we visited with said that he can stalk elephant for 20 hours a day with no problem, but standing on concrete convention hall floors just kills his back. We can relate. We didn't even stop to eat dinner so I think I got my walking in. :)

                                

How fun would this be if you had a passel of grand kids to haul them around the ranch? LOL

                               

Our accommodations were attached to the hotel so we only had to walk through an enclosed skywalk in order to reach our room and dining options which made everything very convenient. We ate twice at one of their restaurants called Texas Spice and it was very good although I couldn't quite get over paying $4 for 2 scrambled eggs. That's it. 2 scrambled eggs. $4. The menu pointed out repeatedly that they were 'cage free' eggs. Heck! I could make a fortune selling my chicken eggs! Somehow I think people here would laugh at me if I tried. I'm still shaking my head at $4 eggs.

On Friday night we were invited to the auction and dinner.

                   

Dress was described as cocktail attire. *Snort* My closet is sadly lacking in cocktail attire, but they let me in anyway. :) Last year I did buy a very nice Alpaca sweater vest that goes to my knees when we were in Vegas and that, along with black britches and a black shirt and boots and some turquoise jewelry, is my "country mouse goes to the city and is invited to a fancy dinner" attire. I have worn it twice now. :)


This was the menu:

                                  

I didn't take a picture of the food because I sensed that would be terribly uncouth, but if it weren't for the menu, neither DH nor I would have had a clue what we were eating when the first course arrived. I will just say that it was an adventurous culinary experience. It wasn't bad, just different and it's good for us to climb out from under our rock and experience something new once in a blue moon.

It's a 7 hour drive back and  it was a long one. When we left Dallas, we were tired of walking and when we arrived home, we were tired of sitting. :) And then DH and I went for a head clearing 6 mile walk this morning.

It was such a good weekend. We reconnected with old friends we hadn't seen in over a decade, and visited with new friends, and talked more than we do in a month. Can I just say that  I am a sucker for accents? All I wanted to do was listen to people from Zimbabwe and South Africa talk.

 Our girl is about to go back to begin her Spring semester, but she was still home and stayed to tend to the ranch and make the feed runs while we were away. A few games of cribbage are on the roster and we've got a night of UFC fights tonight...if we can keep our eyes open. I think that a nap is in order!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year Snow

I love it when it snows here.


We're outside no matter the weather - its just the nature of what we do.


Cattle and horses need to be fed.

                             

 Ice needs to be broken.

  

 And eggs need to be gathered:


6" of snow deterred the chickens from their morning exploration, but once it had melted a bit, they left a trail:


I never tire of the graceful way the snow covers the tree branches:


When I'm around headquarters, I've always got my trusty sidekick:

                                   

Sylvester is my constant companion and 6" of snow does not keep him from his duties.


Sure am glad we had our New Year's Fire the night before!


Lately the sky has been gray and our high was 30 today, but the other day, the sky was just as crisp and clear and blue as I've ever seen it:


This is the kind of day that is good for my soul:


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ringing in the New Year

Wishing all of my friends a wonderful Blessed New Year! I'm beginning the New Year with apologies for neglecting my blog. :) We had overnight company from the 22nd through the 4th and then I worked all day on the 5th. I didn't have one minute to spend on the computer with the exception of placing orders for my mom and making alternate flight plans for her so I've got a lot of catching up to do with y'all. My mom was slated to fly out on the 30th, but her flight was cancelled. They told everyone to not leave the airport so she sat there for 6 hours until they finally confirmed that all flights were cancelled. Only 3 flights go out each day. Flights were also cancelled on the 31st...and the 1st...and the 2nd. We made 3 trips to town with boarding passes only to find each flight cancelled. I signed up for notifications but never received any and calling our tiny airport only resulted in no one picking up. We tried to get her out through Lubbock and booked a flight. Just as we headed out for the 2 1/2 hr drive, it too was cancelled. Unload luggage again. Next up: let's try Amarillo. Its just over 3 hours away. Booked a flight for her, but it meant leaving right that second so we  reloaded and headed north. A pretty good snow storm was headed our way, but I just prayed that we would be able to squeeze through the narrow window. The closer we got to Amarillo, the more I realized we probably weren't going to make it so I called the airline and walked mom through the booking process and had her one a flight that left 45 minutes later. Finally! She was on her way home!

Halfway home I collided with the storm. Freezing sleet and a hard snow accompanied me home on 100 miles of icy snow packed roads at a snail's pace. Thankfully the good Lord got me home safely.

                      

We ended up with 6" here at the ranch.

                     
                                             
Having both kids home made this Mama incredibly happy! We picked up our boy on the 23rd. Alas, his luggage did not come with him so a frustrating 2 days ensued until he and his luggage were finally reunited.

 My BIL and his girlfriend arrived a few days later, while my mom and in-laws were still here, so that meant more juggling of sleeping arrangements. Beds were stripped and sheets were washed and more food was cooked and 9 people shared our one and only bathroom. My in-laws were here twice and 3 sets of friends joined us for meals at various times so many happy hours were spent in the kitchen:

                         

When we weren't all gathered around the table for meals, a game of Texas Hold 'em or Cribbage or 42 was in progress:

                      

Quail hunting is another favorite tradition:

                                  

The kids and DH also added a duck hunting adventure into their schedule. Apparently one floated out into the dirt tank and our boy waded out into 3' frigid water in order to retrieve it.


Smoked duck for supper!

                             

Tiny duck drumsticks!


The last of our company pulled out on Sunday afternoon. I was already a tad weepy since DH had taken our boy to the airport early that morning. I wanted so badly to tag along, but the 2 of them hadn't had one minute alone together so I stayed behind. Many a tear was shed. We only get to see him once or twice a year and although this Mama is thankful for every moment, she is also selfish and wants more time with her chiddlers.


It was a wonderful Christmas, but I am absolutely DONE. My decorations and tree are still up although they are coming down today. Everyone wanted to know why I was so quiet at work yesterday. I was just plumb tuckered out.  I have once again reached my social saturation point and I am going to have to recharge before I take even one more step. I don't even have the strength to flip the switch on my sewing machine, although my washing machine will be working non-stop for a few days.

May 2015 overflow with blessings for you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Days

I thought I ought to pop in for a quick post. I sure didn't intend to go without posting for this long.
Like many of you, my days and thoughts are immersed in all things Christmas and I'm trying to figure out how the days are speeding past so quickly. I'm not ready, but ready or not, Christmas will be here in 2 days.

Michael Buble' has crooned his way into our hearts, bringing the Christmas spirit along. The snowflakes and reindeer have been multiplying and are now in their new homes. The last of the Christmas gifts have been stitched: Pillowcases for the kiddos at North Camp:


Actually, that's the only Christmas sewing I did. I don't know how y'all are finding the time to sew and post all of these wonderful projects so close to Christmas! I glanced at my Feedly and had over 250 blogs to catch up on. With a house full of company, there simply isn't a quiet moment. It's quiet at 4:30 a.m. though, so I am stealing a few minutes away, curled up in a corner of the sofa, under a quilt, next to the tree:


I wanted to make some handmade cards for my mom this year so I pulled out card making supplies and racked my brain for ideas a few days ago. I'm a messy card maker:


Our girl was home and she curled up on the bed and kept me entertained as I worked. We collaborated and enjoyed a good visit. When I asked for ideas, she laughed and said that 'any creativity I might have had as a child has been crushed under the piles of  Organic Chemistry formulas, bovine feed formulations, and a pile of dirty clothes". LOL.
Having her for company made it all the more fun

We were all visiting the other evening and I said, "I probably ought to move the mouse head before Omi gets here." DH and college girl burst out laughing and she said, "Now that's not something you hear every day." LOL. Just to clear things up - we have cats outside and they frequently like to deposit lovely gifts in front of the house. We think nothing of it, but we don't want to be completely uncouth when company arrives. :)

We had 2 Christmas parties to attend and they were both on the same night. We kicked off one and shut down the other. It'll probably take me a year to recover, but DH and I decided we could handle one late night a year.

My sewing machine has been in hibernation, but I finished the hand quilting on DH's wool quilt in the evenings and its wrapped and under the tree.

I don't know if I'll be popping back in before the New Year, but I sure didn't want the holiday to go by without wishing y'all a very Blessed Christmas!

Here's hoping there's less hustle and bustle and more  'Silent Night' to your  'Christmas Can't Be Very Far Away' December days. Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! May your days be filled with all the things and people that bring you great joy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quality Time with the Backhoe

Around here, Christmas preparations are often interrupted. Yesterday, I had fought my way into the deepest, darkest corner of the shed in an attempt to begin pulling out the boxes of Christmas cheer.

 I had just found the perfect one-footed, tip-toe position in order to reach the box I was after when the phone rang. "Can I get you to...." Many of our conversations begin like that. :)

This time I was called to load up the socket set and drive out until I found him in Mesquite. DH has been logging in lots of extra hours on the tractor. He's been burying water lines and repairing washed out roads:


The old Case Backhoe has seen better days, but it still chugs into action when duty calls. You could say the same thing about me.


Thankfully, I haven't needed to replace my hydraulic fluid line. :) Poor thing had sprung a major leak.


The proper tools were selected:


and DH set to dismantling the bolts:

and lines:



And the culprit was removed:


I'm the official hold-er of loosened pieces and the hand-er of tools. 28 years of marriage has given me the ability to do so before DH even needs to ask.

I guess its not everyone's idea of fun, but I love it. DH always laughs when I say that it is. Is he married to a crazy woman? Perhaps.

We climbed into the pickup, made a flying trip to town, spent less than $200 at NAPA, treated ourselves to a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Jr Frosty at Wendy's, and headed back out to the tractor.

Before long, the shiny new hydraulic hose:


was installed:



Laundry day's going to be lots of fun!



hydraulic fluid was added:

 

See, fun:


And after a little TLC,we were back in business.


Even after all these years, I am still in awe of how handy DH is. He is a master at fixing things and building things and I have yet to see him not be able to tackle something successfully whether it be construction, welding, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, farrier, equine, bovine, forage, survival, firearm, or hunting related. He's one smart cookie.


He doesn't do technology, but that's what he's got me for! Well, that and comic relief.

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