Friday, September 24, 2010

What a Good Year Looks Like in the Desert

We live in the desert. Lots of mesquite. Rattlesnakes. Cactus. Coyotes. Dirt. Dry. Wind. Now don't get me wrong. We love it. We still miss the mountains and desert of West Texas, but we've been blessed here and even here, there is beauty. We have stunning sunsets and the sunrises are worth getting up for. The colors of the desert, when the light plays on the landscape, are not found in any paint store. Only God's color box is capable of producing the masterpieces that suddenly appear and take your breath away with regularity.

Yep. Desert.

But, this year is different. We've had over 17" of rain so far and the desert has transformed into a grassland. The cattle are more than belly-deep in tall grass that dances on the breeze:

Everything is in a mode that requires celebration. The ranchers have big grins on their faces.

The horses enjoy their daily swim in the dirt tank where they splash and act like kids and stand tummy deep in the thick grass in the evenings, catching the first breezes of autumn:

The birds congregate in the shallow places and drown out the quiet with their chattering and busy-ness:

 Gus cannot contain himself and must wriggle and wallow in the cool, damp earth after a good, soaking rain:

Only the colts look downtrodden. They are locked in the pens for a bit as they are presently in colt training and they are experiencing a dose of 'the grass is greener on the other side',which in this case, happens to be true:

When it rains we get puddles. Puddles make us happy. Puddles also make the weeds grow and now they are too high for me to mow:

I know that these years are few and far between so we're really thankful for each and every drop. Alas, even when it rains, DH can not just sit. However, yesterday he had to do just that. He took off after dinner and headed south in the tractor to work on a road with blue skies above.

20 minutes later, sprinkles appeared here at headquarters, followed by a good soaking. DH calls and laments that the tractor broke down and he is sitting in a river. Now, just to clarify - we don't have any rivers on the ranch. The water just accumulates faster than it can be absorbed and we have temporary in Venice. Just humor me, ok.

So he can't go anywhere and we decide to send DD out to bring Daddy home after the rain stops. Which is over and hour.

Poor DH. He does not wait well and although I'm sure he would have enjoyed a nap while waiting, the tractor is not exactly conducive to a good snooze.

I'm thinking they actually enjoyed mudding home:

On days like this, I can't help but want to be outdoors. Its a wonder I ever get anything done indoors because I would be content to just wander and take in the blessings of all this rain and when the sun begins to sink, I love the way the light plays across the land:

And darts across the pastures:

And settles into the horizon:

Nope. Doesn't resemble a desert much today, does it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feeling Neglected

Not sewing machine. Poor thing has been cast away into a corner to gather dust. Honestly, it sat for over 3 weeks without nary a thought. Well, I thought about it. Just couldn't muster up the time to actually put it to work. I actually went through days where I'm pretty certain I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I don't generally have an addictive personality, unless you count green chile and pico de gallo, but I was getting a bit shaky.

However, a few days ago, I did dust the poor thing off and begin to whisper sweet nothings into the bobbin case. When I actually sat down behind it, I felt like I was enjoying a long overdue visit with an old friend.

Presently, I need to really work on a quilt block for a dear friend's daughter's wedding quilt. I've been in a quandry as to what to do, but I think I've just about settled upon something. The square we were asked to design is "Texas Cowboy Poetry" and they wanted to incorporate the poems A. had written. A few days ago I stumbled upon this design that I love and want to include

so I'm hoping to get the quilt block done this week.

Before I left for Texas, I started piecing the blocks for another quilt. This fabric line is way out of my comfort zone, but I must have been feeling adventurous that day and I know I must be making it for someone else who will love it - hopefully.

I finished the top for this quilt:

Just need to find a backing.

I embroidered a tea towel for a friend the other day, but I gave it to her without taking a picture. I also have to get quite a few more done for Christmas, but I am in need of some good quality flour sack towels. The ones I picked up locally simply will not do and this little pink angel needs to be on a nice towel.

This baby quilt is in the midst of being pieced as well.
Posting this for Bobbie who let me know I needed to include a photo. Here you go girl, just a peek though:

Then I have this collection of wool.

And here's the backing fabric:

When DH and I were driving back from San Antone, we stopped at this little shop in Brady. I needed some yarn to send to a friend and I thought DH might like to choose some wool for me to make him a vest. Well he saw this enormous wool selection and piped up, "I'm thinking a hunting quilt!" LOL! So we commenced to picking and choosing pieces and I am waitng for the Fall weather to arrrive so that I can begin to piece him a patchwork wool quilt. I adore this man, but I'm not too keen on sewing with wool when its still 90° outside! However, the a tent...I'm thinking it'll be mighty handy to have around!

I also put together a jar for a scrapbooking swap last week. We had to alter the jar in the colors chosen (she chose red and blue) and this is what I came up with:

Here's a view from the top:

I hope she likes it. I've never altered anything before and it's been a coon's age since I scrapped anything.

Then I made a few cards for some friends whose twins are turning 2:

These were fun to make, but I don't know where that odd shadow next to Piglet came from.

I am also practicing on my machine quilting skills. At this point, I'm afraid to quilt on a big quilt in fear of making a mess of things.

So there you have it. A sewing - crafting update. It'll probably be a while before I have anything else to share as far as sewing goes because we are on the cusp of beginning our Fall Works in a couple of weeks and my sewing machine will once again be relegated to that lonely corner while I lavish all of my attention on the cast iron cookware.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where did August Go?

Wow. It's been a crazy month. I'm fairly certain that August took place, but it's all been a blur to me. Contrary to popular belief, I have NOT been sitting on my laurels either. What the heck are laurels anyway? Well, either way, I haven't been sitting on them.

I spent about 10 days in San Antonio with my mom and caught up on all the business paperwork and such as well as just spending some good quality time with her. Its hard to believe that Daddy's been gone a whole year. Mom wanted to stay busy on that particular day and all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner, but stay busy we did because I wanted to make it as easy as possible for her. It was a tough day.

My dear, sweet, hubby flew down on Monday and helped tend to lots of things to help Mom. He was at Home Depot less than an hour after he landed and built some spiffy railings along the stairs that lead off the deck along with tending to a bunch of other honey-do's. We didn't ask him to do any of this, it was all his idea and at this point in my post I could very easily move into bragging nonstop about this fabulous guy, but I won't. Suffice it to say, I am blessed... and thankful.

We drove back home together on Thursday and on Friday morning we were back in the truck at 4:30. Yes, we have taken leave of our senses, but then again, that shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone.

Our wonderful friends, who once upon a time, lived at North Camp, have moved back into the area. Yeah...Yippee...and two thumbs up! So we headed out to help them move in. Alas, I should have known. C is so much like my DH. They got to their new place late on Thursday night about 2 hours after we passed by and unloaded just about everything. DH got to help with 3 items. They are just so much alike that its scary. So we just got to enjoy a good visit and a dozen Krispy Creme Donuts that we brought back from the big city.

Since then, we've been revving up for a crazy Fall. Speaking of Fall - it can get here anytime now. Not that it needs my permission or anything, just putting in my 2 cents.

We had Antelope hunters here this past weekend. Most of them were from New York and New Jersey and I am always amused by their accents. They probably wonder why the crazy lady is always grinning at them. Alas, I couldn't scare them too badly - they keep coming back each year. They're awfully nice guys so I won't hold it against them that they're Yankees. I'm pretty sure that they don't hold it against us that we're hicks either.

Now we're heading into our shipping season and I'm in the planning stages. We'll work 10 days and just thinking about it is making me tired. 10 days of cooking for the crew will wear me out, but yet, I look forward to it every year. So here's a call for any and all recipes that will make a cowboy sing. I've collected a stash of tried and true recipes through the years, but I sure could use a few new ones to add some variety.

In August we also sent DS back to his place of Higher Learning. More change. Ugh. Miss that kid, but pray that he has a successful semester. Loved having him home this summer and with the exception of him adjusting to ranch hours versus college hours, it was a good summer.

DD is starting her senior year and taking Physics, Chemistry, her last Algebra, and American Lit. She swears that Physics is evil and I just might have to agree with her. She's also studying for her ACT test and before I left for San Antonio, we made a trip to visit the college she's hoping to attend. We made a trip across state lines to the fabulous land that is Texas.

Sorry. Once Texas gal, always a Texas gal!

We were headed to Canyon to look at the college DD is interested in attending. DH was slated to join us, but he was hit with some unknown, but horrible, icky bug that knocked him on his keester and it takes a lot to put him out of commission. So with a promise that we'd take him on a tour when we headed back that direction in November, the 2 of us set out to conquer the day. Its been a rough summer with DD away. We missed her like crazy so it was REALLY nice to spend the day together and even though we left the house at 4:30 in the morning, we had a fabulous day!

Loved the campus and had a fun tour with the student who showed us around before meeting with the Pre-Vet department head. He gave DD the "Fear of God before entering Vet School" speech. It gave her a lot to think and pray about and we'll see if God wants her to pursue that or turn her another direction. but she's motivated and excited for what lies ahead!

Even though I'll be a complete mess when she leaves next fall, I'm excited for her too. While we were discussing her leaving, I got a bit teary eyed and she teased me about it. I told her we should just change the subject and she laughed, "Mama! We're on our way to look at a college and you want to change the subject?!" What can I say?

Ok - well that kind of catches ya'll up on life at the end of the dirt road. I'll be back tomorrow with a sewing update. Off to whip something up for dinner...
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