Thursday, June 24, 2010

Of Naps and Hexagons

The past three mornings have started at 3. The boys scheduled 3 days to brand the last of the Corrientes and they wanted breakfast at 4. Tomorrow I will feel completely spoiled not having to get up at 3, but watch...I bet I'll be wide awake anyway. Sigh.

So, getting up at three means there are lots of extra hours to fill. I've been decluttering in hopes of convincing a friend to let me borrow her yard in town and have a garage sale. I don't know where all this stuff comes from, but it seems to be piling up in closets and on shelves. Surely someone will want the perfectly good tablecloths that I never use or the dishes I've had since we married.

I've also been anxious to finish up the 30's quilt I've been working on but its been a slow process. All the blocks are complete and squared and just this morning I finished up these:

217 little hexagons that are slowly, but surely, on their way to becoming flowers. I love working on these but I can't imagine piecing quilts made up entirely of these little flowers. They take an awfully long time. but Opie and Sheriff Taylor are doing a good job of keeping me company as I stitch. With the temperatures these last few weeks hovering past the century mark, I don't feel too guilty about hibernating inside in the afternoon. After all, I've already put in 9 hours by noon!

I think Ranchwife and Cottonpicker and I are planning to meet up this afternoon to discuss world events over tall glasses of tea. You would think we could get together more than a couple times of years, but we just never seem to. I wonder if they'll mind if I bring along my pillow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Heat Makes Me Grumpy

110° - again! Really?! I'm thinking I've always been a heat wimp, but 110° is a bit excessive! Once we hit 105°, I am so done. We are wilting out here. My friend (Hi Bobbie! Waving feverishly) in Iowa is griping about the rain. I can not imagine griping about rain, but they really have had more than their share. We don't gripe about rain out here. We gripe about the lack of it. What I wouldn't give for some of her rain and I'm thinking she would love nothing more than to send every last drop our way, but I'm not sure she would appreciate our sweltering temperatures.

I do see a pretty green blob on the weather radar to the west of us and I'm trying to entice it this way with prayer. I'll be thankful for whoever gets it though because we're all in dire need of moisture out here. At this point, green grass is a figment of the imagination and its a full time job just keeping the trees alive. Even the cats are laying in the shade panting. Poor things.

The heat makes me grumpy, but I am once again taking refuge in our new air conditioning and instead of being a grump, I am thankful. I walked out a bit ago to change the water and the heat hit me like a brick wall and took my breath away. It whisked me right back to a day about 8 years ago when we spent the day painting a cattle guard about 40 miles east of Pecos, Texas. We were taking care of a banker friend's cattle in exchange for keeping some of our own cattle on his place. We had completely draughted out in our country, but this place wasn't looking much better.

It was 120° that day and I was pretty sure the kids and I were going to be sick. DH said it wasn't that hot, but I'm thinking he's not a normal human. We would paint for 5 minutes and take cover in the only shade available for miles...under the truck... and pass around a wet handkerchief while DH checked cattle horseback.

Anytime it gets over 100° now, I am instantly transported back to that day and I feel faint and woozy. Go ahead, call me a wimp. Call me a city girl (DH's endearing nickname for me on occasion). I don't care. Just get me out of that heat because if you don't, you just might find me packing all of us up and looking for a new dirt Alaska.

Friday, June 18, 2010

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Just made this last week and thought I'd share it with ya'll just to prove that on occasion we do eat something other than beef and desserts. It's just that we raise beef and when we have a freezer full of ranch raised steaks and ground beef, why would we spend money on chicken? Even if we didn't raise beef, we are beef eaters, but it would be harder to qualify the expense of a good filet or t-bone if we actually had to shell out money for it. I looked the other day and darn, that stuff's expensive! Don't know who's getting the big cut, but it certainly isn't us! And it honestly does not taste the same as ranch raised beef!

So on occasion we venture over to the dark side and this recipe has been in my box for many a year. Ya'll may already make this and there are lots of versions out there. I hear tell it originated on the King Ranch and they raise beef, so I figure I can get away with it as well.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

1 3-4# chicken cooked and cubed (I cook it in a big pot of water and then use the broth. Then I cut the chicken into pieces and brown it in a pan with butter and season it. It's an extra step that you can skip. but we like the flavor better)
1 large onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of chicken
2 c chicken broth
1 can Rotel
12 tortillas, torn into pieces
2 c grated cheese
Sometimes I throw in an extra big spoonful of green chile in too because we like things a bit spicy around here.

*Combine soups, chicken broth, and Rotel in a large bowl and set aside. Spray the bottom of a 9x13" pan and line with half the tortilla pieces. Top with 1/2 of the chicken, 1/2 of the onion, and 1/2 of the cheese. Pour 1/2 of the broth mixture over everything. Repeat layers of tortillas, chicken, onion, and then pour the remaining broth mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and bake for 45-60 minutes at 350°. Add a big salad, bread and some fresh green beans and you're good to go!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Quilty Post

Some of my quilting partners in crime have been complaining that they haven't seen a post about quilts from me in a coons age. Come on ya'll - it hasn't been that long! Unlike many of you, I haven't been able to churn out those finished projects. There must be a secret to it that ya'll aren't telling me.

I have my reasons though. OK - excuses. Its all in your perception. Here's the list. I'm good at making lists.

~I need sleep and you don't want to be around me if I don't get it. Heck, I don't want to be around me if I don't get it and I'm thinking that all of ya'll who are whipping out these fabulous quilts are not sleeping.

~I've been in Texas for a couple of weeks.

~I'm missing my kid. It's much too quiet around here. Yesterday while I was in town running errands I picked up some odds and ends to put together a care package for her.

~I am mowing. And mowing. And mowing some more.There are about 5 acres that constantly need mowing and weed eating around here. The push mower and I are forming an intense relationship this summer.

~I am trying to keep my garden alive and its a battle. 100+ afternoons are taking its toll and I am bracing for the return of the winds later this week. The tomato worms and I are waging war as well.

So, in the heat of the day here's what I'm currently working on:

Yes, its another project. And no, I have not completed the Texas Log Cabin quilt. Nor is the horse quilt finished. And the Hexagon quilt is still in pieces too. I guess that makes me a flighty quilter. But hey, at least I'm honest and owning up to my flighty-ness.

I couldn't help it. The 30's prints I bought just kept hollering that they needed to be a quilt...NOW. Impatient little things.

I should promise you that I won't start another project until I have completed one, but I'm not making any statements that may incriminate me - I'm going to plead the 5th. Last time I checked, I still had the freedom to do that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cajun Cake

Breakfast was at 4:30 this morning. That makes for a long morning. It's only 6 and I've already gotten a lot done, but the boys were headed out to gather cattle and as hot as it's been around here lately, the earlier they get started the better. The other day the thermostat looked like this:

I'm hoping we won't have a repeat like that! Sure makes me super thankful for that new airconditioner!

I was visiting with a friend a few days ago (Hi T!) and she inquired about this recipe when I mentioned I was making it for dessert. I was almost certain I had already shared this with ya'll, but apparently I was wrong.

It happens more often than I care to admit.

Another cattle buyer was heading this way and I was scrambling for ideas. I have let my pantry dwindle away and I was avoiding a trip to town (surprise...surprise...surprise! Said in my Gomer Pyle voice).

I've been making this for about 15 years. DH was off helping on another ranch for about a week and the kids and I were invited to a church supper. The men did all the cooking and the women provided the desserts. I like the sound of that!

DS was 4 at the time and DD was 1 and they were overwhelmed with the insane amount of choices on the never ending dessert table. DS chose this cake and he ate 3 pieces...after eating an entire plate of dinner. I told Debbie that I needed to find out who had made it and wouldn't you know, she had! She said she had never tried it before and she was sweet to share the recipe with me. I've given this out so many times through the years so now its your turn:

I haven't a clue as to why its called Cajun Cake, but I have a lot of recipes like that. I would really like to know the story behind some of them. Seems like Hawaiian Cake would be more suitable, but either way, its a keeper around here.

Cajun Cake

2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 large can crushed pineapple - undrained

*Mix all ingredients well for 3 minutes. Pour into 9x13" cake pan sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

1 stick butter
1 small can evaporated milk
1 c sugar
1 c chopped pecans
1 c coconut

*Add butter, evaporated milk, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 4-5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Mix in pecans and coconut. Frost cake. Devour.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good Mail Days

I love getting fun things in the mail! Who doesn't? I'm kind of like a little kid in a candy store when the mail arrives. Since the Internet, mail days have become much more fun! Growing up, I thought everything ever made in the entire world could be found at the General Store store. If you couldn't find it, you didn't need it. Now it's all at Amazon or somewhere on the Internet!

However, there is still something to be said for that old general store! Amazon can not compare to the character of that place. I distinctly remember the smell. I think it was the hardwood floors. Or the paperback books. Or the sacked feed. Or that cute boy who just winked at you as he sauntered past. Or maybe it's the soda fountain. Either way, I miss the ambiance of those stores. I've run across one or two in recent years and they just have that 'feel good' atmosphere. Even growing up they were few and far between. By the time I arrived, the General Store was already nearing extinction and that makes me sad. Even today, if I am traveling, I will go out of my way to take the back roads and stop for a spell if one catches my eye. The people there are always plucked straight from the streets of Mayberry.

I don't go as far back as the Waltons or Leave it to Beaver generation, but I was around before Walmart. Ugh! I really dislike that store!

So even though things are more accessible and 'new and improved' today, I have to wonder whether we haven't lost something along the way.

I'll shield you from the soapbox that I could climb upon right about now and just leave it at that and curl up with this, which arrived in the mail, and will transport me back to the days of General stores.

So, while I was in Texas, the mail, as well as the weeds, piled up. After tossing the junk mail, I finally got to dig into the good stuff.

Feeling a bit like a hypocrite though. Here I am bemoaning the loss of days gone by (especially the days I wasn't even around for yet) and yet I am enjoying the fact that with a few clicks of the mouse, I can find this in my mailbox:

Yummy reading material and quilting inspiration!

And a box of these:

I have fallen in love with these 30's prints and will be cutting into them before the day is done. Hopfully while watching the Andy Griffith Show.

I'm hoping that I'll be so thrilled to sit behind my sewing machine again that I'll completely block out the fact that the boys didn't eat all of the Krispy Kreme donuts I brought home!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Came Home and One Flew the Coop

Gosh its good to be home! I can't breath in the city and the humidity just makes me wanna wilt, so first thing this morning I headed out for a walk. The crisp, clean, cool, non-humid air was just perfect! The pastures are green and filled with blooming Yuccas. We should be spotting baby antelope before long!

DD did a good job tending to the garden and various plants while I was away. She called me Thursday and brought up the fact that she wants to be a counselor this summer at a Christian Camp. Not a problem except she had to be at said camp on Sunday. Ummm...a little notice would be nice. This is the first we've heard of this.

But let me just say that she'll be great at this! She'll be a 'Wrangler' - in charge of the horses and down at the barn a lot. She'll be in her element. She's great with kids and super at group discussions. What a cool opportunity for her!

However, I miss her. Her Daddy took her to the camp on Sunday (yes, that was only 2 days ago, but I'ver been gone for 10 days and haven't seen her) to meet the people and check things out. I was headed back, but still on the road and apprehensive about sending her somewhere where we didn't know the people, but at some point, I've got to let go a bit and I know DH wouldn't leave her there if he didn't feel comfortable. She's just about 10 miles from her grandparents though and she will be able to come home on Saturday afternoons and return Sunday evenings.

She's been wanting to travel for some mission work for a while and this sounds like it fits the bill and its not like she's going to some foreign country right off the bat.

I'm almost certain she forgot to pack towels and I'm sure she took along mismatched socks, but oh well...I guess its just all a part of her charm!

I'm just praying that she walks safely in His will and that she is a light of His love and mercy to everyone she encounters and that the summer zips on by so it won't be so quiet around here!
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