Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy Week

I know that things get busy for everyone this time of year, but our busy-ness this week has nothing to do with Christmas. Monday was nuts at work. We sold 1476 hd of cattle and it was after 8 p.m. when I left the sale barn. It's such a fast pace and requires lots of focus. I feel like I work on Wall Street and I always need to decompress and take some deep breaths on the way home. I'm not complaining because I really enjoy my job, but...Whew!
Image result for Roswell Livestock Sale Barn

Then Tuesday morning was dedicated to making a list for town  and making something for our dinner, with enough for leftovers because I knew I'd be back home after dark. I made a quick Black Bean and Chicken Tostizzas.

No real recipe here. It calls for a can of biscuits and yes, I used canned biscuits. :) Sometimes I just need something quick and I picked a can up when I thought about making these last week. So, please do not report me to the biscuit authorities. :) I will be making plenty from scratch for the next 3 days again. Roll out the biscuits a bit. Mix up diced, cooked chicken (I cook up a bunch at once and keep it in the deep freeze for quick meals) and a can of drained black beans. Throw in some salsa. Chop up a couple of green onions. Mix it all up in a bowl and top the biscuit rounds with it. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Pull out of the oven. Top with grated cheese. Return to oven for a few minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a side of avocado.

This is good with refried beans and ground beef too. DH and I thought it was a bit too sweet this time and I think it was the canned biscuits. And we cut some of the crust off and that made the chickens happy.Gosh, I haven't made these in probably 10 years. Not fancy, but quick and good for a fast dinner before I headed into town.

An afternoon in town with too many stops and I was plumb wore out. On Wednesday, we had the heating/cooling guy out to replace the furnace in the bunkhouse. It was beyond repair and ancient. So I fed him too. Then, after cleaning up the kitchen, I made stew for Thursday. It's always better the next day so I made it a day early. It was cold Thursday morning

and our high was only 29 and I just had a few extras to feed. Sure hated to send them out into the cold after breakfast. They were all bundled up and had on multiple layers:

and I figured stew was going to hit the spot at dinner. It did. :)

I'll still have the boys for 2 more days, but thankfully our highs should be above freezing. I wasn't even out in it for very long, just long enough to haul them out and come back to the house to chore. It took me a while to warm back up, but nothing a hot cup of tea can't fix.

After the crew leaves out on Saturday, we've got our Safari Club Christmas party. We always have a stuffed mug exchange and I made animal print potholders to go with mine.

DH will put jerky in his. He got a deer a few weeks ago and we've been making jerky for days.

I'm also trying to bind another quilt

but I jammed my finger yesterday and it's not operating as well as I would like

But I'm being well tended to. Nothing like a little sympathy from the resident pup patrol

I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open for very long anyway. We always enjoy watching the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but this year we're not making it very far before we're nodding our heads.

Maybe if I add 'nap' to my list, I can make that happen. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rescue Mission

Last week we got a call from our girl who was on her way back to school after Thanksgiving, "Mama, my truck died". OK. It's not an accident. You're not hurt. You're safe. Thank you, Jesus. But it's dark and you are in the mountains, 10 miles from the closest town. These are all thoughts that flitted through my mind the first 2 seconds of our phone call.

It's a blessing that she even had cell service and was able to call. She said she had one bar on her phone. She was an hour and a half from the ranch and 40 minutes from her grandparents. She called a friend who happened to be in that town for Thanksgiving and she picked her up and took her and Harvey halfway to my in-laws and Grandpa picked her up from there. She had a safe place to stay the night and Granny's cooking to fill her tummy and we could rest easy until morning.

When she first described her trouble, I told her that it sounded like the alternator. I don't know a whole lot about the mechanical aspects of vehicles, but I know a little bit. When she talked to her Daddy, he came to the same conclusion, but we couldn't be completely sure until we looked at it. This was a Saturday night, but thankfully, auto parts stores are open fairly early on Sunday mornings.

We left early and drove 100 miles where we met her and Grandpa at her truck.

The wind was absolutely howling through those mountain canyons, but grandpa and DH assessed the situation

DH jumped her truck and we all drove into town. The auto parts people said they had to charge the battery an that it would take about an hour and that we should go to McDonald's and eat breakfast. Grandpa said that he had eaten breakfast at 4 a.m. and we had grabbed a banana before we left the house, but we all sat and visited over coffee and DH and I splurged on egg mcmuffins. We all knew it didn't take  that long to charge the battery, but we tried to be amicable with the auto parts employees. When we returned they said the battery was good, but they couldn't get a good reading on the alternator. We could tell the fella doing the testing wasn't very knowledgeable. He told us to just drive it and come back if we had trouble. Ummm...not helping.

So we went to a second auto parts store and bought an alternator. Merry Christmas kiddo! :)

The employee there was much more helpful although when DD took the old alternator back a few hours later, they wouldn't credit her the $10 because they had to put it back on the same credit card we had used to pay and we had already headed back home. Still, DH's handy skills came to the rescue again as he removed the old alternator and installed the new one:

And DD got a 'new to her' Lazy Boy recliner as a bonus.

My inlaws had purchased new ones. DS will pick his recliner up when he comes home for Christmas. So, all's well, ends well! I think Harvey's liking the idea of having a new recliner! :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Hot Water Heater Blues

Our 11-yr old hot water heater chose to quit a while back. Turns out a while back was in January. LOL. But there's a reason I haven't shared this post until now so bare with me.

 At Christmas, last year, we had a blizzard that dropped a record snowfall. They called it Goliath and I shared several posts about it back then. After 20 days, we were still fighting the snow, but DH fought his way to the pavement and brought home a new hot water heater.

And before long we were back in business:

I'm very thankful that DH is so handy and I'm very thankful that the hot water heater didn't go out when I had a house full of company!

 While DH was in town, I  moved the fridge and cleaned. It wasn't too bad, but it sure felt good to get that floor really good and clean. Our hot water heater sits in the corner of our kitchen which is already tiny. I haven't a clue as to why it was ever even installed there in the first place, but I'm thankful I have one so I won't fuss about it. This is an old ranch house and I'm sure that back in the day, a hot water heater was quite the deal. Maybe they wanted it in the kitchen so that everyone could marvel at it. I've been without hot water enough to not take it for granted. However, I don't particularly like looking at it all the time. It's squished into a corner and I've been on the lookout for a way to camouflage it for years. DH said we could build a box around it, but it would be kind of a pain if we needed quick access to it. I had a screen in mind, but the space is narrow and a regular sized screen wouldn't fit. I've got a huge fridge on one side and a cabinet a local woodworker built for me on the other.

Fast forward 10 months. As fast as this year has zipped by, that's not much of an exaggeration. But the other day, when I was in town I stopped by the antique-junk-treasure store that I like to pop into every now and then and spotted some shutters that I was pretty sure would fit that space nicely. They are actually 2 sets. one shorter than the other, but stacked on top of each other, they are just the right height. I didn't want anything taller because that would only make my already tiny kitchen feel even smaller. There are 3 panels and each panel is just 9" wide and that makes for a perfect fit.

I still need to paw through a box of odds and ends and come up with a couple of braces in order to stabilize the top and bottom together, but I'm happy with the end result. I just started pulling out Christmas decorations 2 days after I brought home the screen:

My kitchen may be little, but I like it and I've managed to cook a lot of meals in it. Sure a 6-burner stove and double ovens would be nice, but this tiny space has kept my family well fed and happy for many years. I did have my eye on one of those wrought iron pot racks that hangs from the ceiling at one point since cabinet space is at a premium here and I love...and cast iron all the time, but I'm fairly certain the entire ceiling would come crashing down if I did that and as handy as DH is, I'm betting that replacing the ceiling isn't something he'd be too keen on tackling. :)

I'm a simple girl and hiding the hot water heater this way keeps me from singing the hot water heater blues and it only took 11 years to find a solution. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ginger Belle Quilt

I'm just tickled to have this quilt finished and on the bed! I started it in October of last year. The pattern is Ginger Belle, from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. It's in this book

this is, hands down, my favorite quilt book. I love everything Carrie Nelson publishes and she's my favorite designer. There are several patterns in it that are on my list to make, but this was at the top of the list:

I cut everything from my stash of Civil War / Thimbleberry type fabrics.

Sometime I wonder why I have so much fabric and question if I really need it all, but I love digging through my stash when I'm beginning a new project and pulling fabrics. It's one of my favorite parts of the quilt making process and this quilt was a long process. I'd stitch a bit here and there and then another project would take precedence.

Ginger Belle is 81 x 81, but I made it bigger. The blocks are big and after only adding another row, it finishes at 114" x 114". I cut 12 strips for the binding and it took me literally weeks to get it bound. I chose this green fabric that is from Moda's Union Blues collection for the binding:

I backed this one with one of my bargain fabrics that I bought for $3.00 at a little quilt shop that was going out of business a few years ago. I didn't quite have enough, but I found more at Whittles for $5.00/yd. I love that shop. I think I heard about it from Jo, over at Jo's Country Junction. 

Jackie quilted it using a pattern called Cafe de Munde, another perfect choice from my superstar quilter:

Photographing a quilt this size is a challenge. While we were all out shooting pistols the other day, it dawned on me that the flat bed trailer would be perfect

 so my champion quilt holders and the canine assistants were called into action:

I adore everything about this quilt. 

Scrappy quilts just tickle me to pieces and this one is a joy to snuggle under. Right now it has a huge pile of laundry on it that needs folding, but that's not even a chore when I get to see this after everything is put away.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wishing You All A Blessed Thanksgiving

Image result for Wishing you a Blessed Thanksgiving

I've no doubt that your homes are filled with friends and family and that your kitchen is filled with good smells and dirty dishes today. Sending safe travel prayers for those of you who will be traveling and thinking of those who are alone during this season.

When I went into town to buy groceries the other day, I ran into a number of elderly gentlemen who looked as if they could use a kind word. All of them were in motorized carts and seemed to be struggling. I was visiting with a friend and one gentleman was searching for ground cloves so I took him to the spice aisle in order to help. Alas, no ground cloves. However, I must have taken the last jar about 15 minutes earlier so I dug into my cart and gave him my jar. He was reluctant to accept it, but I assured him that I could easily stop at another store. 

At the second store, I ran into a gentleman who was peering intently into the freezers that held the tv dinners. His wife is housebound and he was looking for a turkey dinner. It broke my heart. I told him to come to our home, but we live so far out. He had trouble seeing, as he had forgotten his 'blasted glasses'. :) I told him that I had the same problem without glasses and asked him if I might be able to help him. I'll bet we surveyed the offerings for 20 minutes as we visited. He finally settled on pork ribs and then thanked me for taking the time to help him and for the visit.

At the third store, I noticed a man trying to decide what he could buy with the $20 he had. He was contemplating the yogurt and a store employee approached him and offered his assistance. The gentleman had Down's Syndrome and the clerk was incredibly kind and helpful. This is my favorite grocery store in town. The employees are always especially thoughtful. It's refreshing and appreciated.

I am always in such a hurry when I am in town because I dislike being there so much, but the good Lord knows when to slow me down and take heed of those who might appreciate a friendly smile or helping hand.

I found the following online, but my prayer is that I am mindful of this each and every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

Image result for Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What I've Been Working On

Sewing around here happens in fits and spurts. No sewing for 10 days and then I hit upon an hour or two a couple of days in a row. Saturday was a Quilt Squad sew day in town. I opted out. It's what social hermits do. :) Such a great bunch of ladies, but going to town is just painful for me and there was plenty that needed doing around here.

I went in on Tuesday to help with the extension office Christmas Joy Holiday Showcase at the Civic Center and that was all the socializing I could handle in one week. Those ladies worked hard to put on an impressive program. All I did was show up for the afternoon program and help restock the snack table for the evening presentation. There are 4 stations and everyone rotates every 20 minutes. A ton of projects, recipes, and ideas are presented at each station. So many that I was overwhelmed, but they send you home with a spiral bound book containing every project.

 My hat goes off to our home economist, Shannon, and everyone that made it a success. I was not even remotely thinking about Christmas before I stepped into that Civic Center, but I felt as if I had been transported to the North Pole once I arrived. It messed with my "No Christmas until after Thanksgiving" mentality.

Bulls were gathered and put out with their respective tribes this week:

And this project was pieced and is now ready for borders:

Chiddlers will be coming and going for Thanksgiving. Their visits will be short but sweet and I am thankful that they want to make the 4 hour drive to be home for such a short time.

So I won't be starting anything new before then, but I'll have a finished quilt to show after Thanksgiving. Just waiting for my quilt holders to arrive. I'll bribe them with pie. Works every time!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rise and Shine

Bacon...pretending to be beef. Doesn't this look like a bovine? Made me chuckle this morning. Looks like an Ace Reid cow.

And the Lord was up bright and early this morning painting another masterpiece across the desert sky

Around here, it's worth getting up before the sun when you are greeted by these breathtaking colors

Even my very dirty windows looked pretty as they reflected the extraordinary colors

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness
Lamentaions 22-23 (NKJ)

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