Wednesday, September 13, 2017

10 Commandments of a Ranch Wife

10 years. It's hard for me to believe I've been writing here for 10 years today! This is my place to journal and document some of what goes on at the end of the dirt road and I never expected that anyone would be interested enough to read it, but this space has become even more special to me because of ya'll. I am humbled that ya'll take the time from your busy lives to stop in here for a visit and leave such sweet and thoughtful and funny comments. I can't thank you enough for your visits and friendship!

I saw a similar list for farm wives in our old family cookbook and was inspired to write one for this ranch wife and I thought this would be a good day to do so. 1, 5, and 10 are from the original list, but I wrote the others. I could easily have made it a list of 20 commandments. It was hard to keep it to 10.

10 Commandments of a Ranch Wife

1. Thou shalt not sort cattle with your hands in your pockets (husbands and cattle don't like it)

2. Thou shalt cook meals that can be served 1 hour early or 3 hours late for a dozen men, improvise when the electricity goes out in the middle of cooking breakfast for the branding crew, and whip up extra when 4 of the neighbors show up at 4 a.m. for breakfast to help brand on the wrong day.

3.Thou shalt be ready, willing, and able at the drop of a hat when your husband walks in and says,  "Honey, I could use your help", even if you're putting the baby down for a nap or stepping out of the shower.

4. Thou shalt love the smell of rain, not fuss about mud in the house, saddle up at 5 a.m. when it's 20 degrees, paint cattle guards when it is 120 degrees, be willing to help pull a windmill when the wind is howling at 40 mph, and blow dry a newborn calf brought into the house during a blizzard.

5. Thou shalt be inspired to see the sun rise and relieved to see it set.

6.Thou shalt always be willing to open gates, close gates, fix gates, and guard gates.

7. Thou shalt thrill at the sight of a newborn calf, the sight of a new tractor, and the sight of your husband riding up on that young colt an hour after dark after telling you he'd be back by 2.

8. Thou shalt cherish meals together, mend fence together, clean out water troughs together, gather - sort - brand - and doctor cattle together, pull windmills together, fix leaks and plumb pipeline together, repair water gaps together, drench sick cattle together and know you are blessed.

9. Thou shalt pray without ceasing...and for rain...always.

10. Thou shalt be exalted by the hand on your shoulder, tender kiss to your forehead, and these four precious words...thanks for your help.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dirt, Demolition, and a Dozer

You would think that a wet summer and green grass would mean we get to sit back on our laurels and take it easy, but it really just means that we get to tackle other projects. Thus, the endless plumbing photos:

A good assistant is invaluable and our top dog is always on the job and he takes it very seriously

Improving the water system will make things easier in the long run, but it means lots of time on the tractor

DH had to cut some valve boxes and I took my turn behind the shovel:

Here's my pretty alcove to house the new valve box. We're both of the mind that doing a job, means doing a job well, and that even extends to digging.

At one point, DH had to connect the overflow

and he asked me to lift him in the backhoe bucket: That backhoe was already ancient when we moved here and I think DH is an absolute genius to keep the old thing running the way he does and I was way too scared that it would malfunction  and dump him when I raised the bucket with him in it so we set up the ladder and I made him climb it.

We are also tearing out the wore out scale:

This is where we weigh cattle:

Our north camp fella left to go back to Oklahoma about 2 weeks ago, but he was still here when we began demolition:

Making progress:

The surrounding fencing had to be cut out:

And the old floor was removed:

We needed a new scale badly,

but it was kind of sad to tear down a part of history:

This was a big job and DH does 90% of this kind of stuff without help, but last week we had a couple of fellas come in and start some dirt work, in preparation for concrete work. The new scale will be a pitless one so the pit needs to be filled.

Nope. No laurel sitting going on around here,

although I will admit to taking a nap (which makes me the dozer mentioned in  the title) -grin-  on Saturday after we came in from our latest playday in the dirt.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pick Up the Shovel and Dig Another Well

I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and fun Labor Day weekend. I know that many folks are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the ongoing fires in the Northwest. I can't imagine the work that lies ahead, but we're sending continued prayers and doing what we can from this end.

As for us, no cookouts, or gatherings, as most of the country kicked off the Labor Day weekend. We spent ours laboring. :)  Earlier this week we had 5 big storage tanks delivered and although DH already installed the plumbing for those, we had other problem areas where leaks popped up. The tanks were actually on their way a few weeks ago, but we had to turn them back due to the rain. There was no way they would have been able to get down the roads. So the past few days, DH and I have been on plumbing duty. On Sunday, we listened to church services on the radio as we loaded the backhoe and trailered to Fence Tank to begin working on the first leak:

DH moved a lot of dirt

And once the ditch was dug up, he spent a lot of time behind the shovel.

I felt pretty useless as there was only enough room for one in that hole, but there is a favorite song of mine that kept running through my head as we worked on the leak on Sunday morning. I'll add a link here as well as the words below in case the link doesn't work

Dig Another Well

Well Ike had a blessin' from the Lord up above
He gave him a beautiful woman to love
A place to live and some land to farm
Two good legs... and two good arms

Now the devil came sneakin' around one night
Decided he'd do a little evil to Ike
Figured he would hit old Ike where it hurts
So he filled up all of Ike's wells with dirt

When Ike went out for his mornin' drink
He got a dipper full of dirt and his heart did sink
But he knew it was the devil so he said with a grin
Well, God blessed me once and He can do it again
He blessed me once and He can do it again

So when the rains don't fall and the crops all fail
And the cows ain't puttin any milk in the pail
Don't sit around waitin' for a check in the mail
Just pick up the shovel and dig another well
Pick up the shovel and dig another well

Now me and old Ike got a lot in common
The Lord blessed me with a beautiful woman
He gave me a job, he gave me a home
He gave me a well to call my own

Now when I go out for my mornin' drink
And get  dipper full of dirt, my heart does sink
But I think of old Ike and I have to grin
God blessed me once and He can do it again
He blessed me once and He can do it again

So when the rains don't fall and the crops all fail
And the cows ain't puttin any milk in the pail
Don't sit around waitin for a check in the mail
You gotta pick up the shovel and dig another well
Pick up the shovel and dig another well

Now the Good Book says Ike finally won
(pick up the shovel and dig another well)
The devil got tired and left them alone
(pick up the shovel and dig another well)
Well I know some day I'm a  gonna win too
(pick up the shovel and dig another well)
Cause the Good Book tells me what to do
(Pick up the shovel and dig another well)

Pick up the shovel and dig another well.

Thankfully, our pastures are currently green and the dirt tanks are full, and DH didn't actually have to dig a well, but the premise of the song was a good reminder for me to remember that God always provides and although troubles arise, we are abundantly blessed and I have no right to fuss about anything. It's not about our circumstances, but it's about how we react to them. I tend to do two things, pray and 'pick up the shovel and dig another well'.

I don't participate in FB, but I do post on Instagram to catch up with a couple of friends and I posted a few of these pictures with hastags #ranchlife #ranchlifereality #soyouwannabearancher #workingman #workethic #dinnertastesmightygoodwhenyoueatat3

And today we're back at it again:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What I've Been Up To

Before I jump into today's post, I need to apologize to ya'll. I hope no-one made my Cornpone Pie recipe yet. There's nothing wrong with the recipe, but there is a mistake in the cornbread  recipe. There is only 1/4 C of vegetable oil...not 1/2 C as I originally posted. I'm so very sorry.

And an anonymous comment came in saying they couldn't find a link to print my recipes. I'm sorry, but I have no idea how to add that. I'm in the process of moving over 34,000 photos from my ancient computer to an online source and it's taking forever, as in I've been working on it for over a week. Slowly, but surely and once I get through all of those files, I'll look into adding a recipe link...if it's free. :)

I've been able to sneak in a little time here and there and get some sewing done during the week. I've made a few more blocks for my Scrap Dance Waltz quilt:

And after work on Monday, I popped into Hobby Lobby to pick up a card and I ran into my quilting co-worker who is really my partner in crime when it comes to quilting and she dragged me into the fabric where she spotted this from afar. I think she has cute fabric radar:

A pretty, new addition to their collection as well as my stash, but it never even made it into my stash because I cut it up and started piecing yet another baby quilt. Such fun colors and I found fabrics for backing and binding in my stash:

The center came together in stolen moments too:


But most of my time has been spent bouncing over ranch roads with DH doing this:


We've been blessed with miles and miles of green grass in the pastures this summer, (almost makes us forget that we're in the desert)

but mineral runs still factor into our weekly list of things to tend to and it takes multiple days to get around to everything. The other day we were in town running errands before a board meeting and the lady at the vet supply store asked if we were on a date night. We laughed and I told her we were on our way to a board meeting, but any time with my sweetie is a date night and that includes mineral runs. That's a date night, ranch style. :)  And it's probably going to include some plumbing

But we also get to discover new islands

 spray mesquite and cockleburrs

Watch the native wildlife

Check in with the locals

Who seem to be pretty content these days

 Crash a pool party

And soak up the blessings

It's a good way to spend the day


Friday, September 1, 2017

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

I am so excited to show ya'll this quilt today!

This is my oldest UFO and looking back, I think I started it in 2010 when I was a newly minted quilter. I used this tutorial from Alison over at Cluck, Cluck, Sew

Raw Edge Circle Quilt Tutorial

This quilt is the reason I have a stash of 30's. I fell in love with them back then and I am still smitten with them today.

I think I finished piecing this quilt in 2012, but Jackie didn't do any custom quilting back then and I had no idea where to have it quilted until I became acquainted with Shelly over at Prairie Moon Quilts. She had quilted my Beneath These Western Skies Quilt for me and did a beautiful job:


She's married to a cowboy too and has a cute goat that I want to adopt. I think he and Skeet would be great friends. :)  So I sent her my Raw Edge Circle Quilt. If you're not familiar with Shelly, you ought to take a gander at her blog, Prairie  Moon Quilts.The lady has mad quilting skills and she quilts for quilting royalty like  Victoria Findlay Wolfe for whom she quilted a 30' quilt and it's amazing. See it HERE . So I am beyond honored that she quilted my simple little quilt.

And a few weeks ago I received it back and I am over the moon with it! I wanted something sweet and simple and Shelly quilted these cute daisy flowers in each  circle and a spray of pretty leaves in the spaces between. The top is really busy but it's easy to see her beautiful design on the back. I increased the contrast so you could see her design better. The blue is not that dark.

After much indecision, I chose a Riley Blake purple gingham for the binding and I'm just tickled with it:

So many fun prints

And as you can see, this is another quilt I dragged to my in-laws with the notion to take advantage of  quilt holders and their amazing deck. The lighting was pretty stark, but New Mexico is known for it's brilliant blue sky and that's a good thing unless you're trying to get a picture of a quilt.


After all these years, I am thrilled to have it finished and eager to begin using it. At 86" x 98", it's perfect for one of the beds.


Shelly, I can't thank you enough! It's just perfect and you are perfectly wonderful!

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