Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Empty Fridge, Full Life

This is the inside of our refrigerator:

Sad, isn't it? Yes, we are still eating, but it's surprising how much time I am NOT spending in the kitchen anymore. I am feeding only 2 instead of 5. We had antelope hunters out a few weeks ago and I took them a batch of cinnamon rolls because I felt like I had to feed someone something. I took the extra pan in to a friend on my way into church. I sent cookies to DS in a care package and another batch with DD when she came home. I think the new man we just hired needs some too.

DH and I have simplified  and the two of us just can't, and shouldn't, devour an entire batch of rolls or consume a whole pan of  brownies. I'll have a crew to cook for about 12 days and then I'll probably feel like things are back on track.

Even though I've been helping DH, I have managed to spend some time indulging in the sewing zone. I finished piecing a top that ended up being huge at 110"x 110". I'm hoping to make it to a machine quilting class next week and maybe they can convince me that I am not insane to attempt the quilting on this monster on my home sewing machine. I'm thinking of quilting barbed wire in the sashing, but I'm still debating:

Then I pieced a simple quilt to donate to someone in need due to the fierce fires in Texas. I am working on the binding.

The Fat Quarter Shop posted about donations here. I really enjoy stitching things for various causes. I am very blessed and I know it and I figure I can give a little back.

I've been working on a 30's Raw Edge Circle Quilt from  here for some time now.

 I thought I had it finished, but then I decided it needed to be bigger... and bigger ended up being twice as big so needless to say, I'm still piecing.

Some days I don't even sew a stitch, but on others I can sneak in a couple of hours, and then there are the 'catch as you can' days where a minute here and there will give me the chance to sew a seam or two. However, I am not going to fret over any of it because I love my life and truth be told, I think I'm pretty spoiled and I don't want to miss a minute. Yes, even though we miss the kids and this empty nest is taking some getting used to...I've got it pretty good.

So, you would think this empty nest would allow me loads of extra time on my hands to devote to my quilts. You would think. However, I have been spending lots of time going with DH and enjoying every minute. He's keeping me hopping and the days are full. Kind of nice to realize that after 24 years of marriage, we still really like each other. After all, can't have too much free time on my hands...might get into trouble...

A Surprise in My Mailbox

When I get time to browse on the computer, I enjoy reading blogs. I love quilt blogs and ranch blogs and cooking blogs and inadvertantly, one blog will mention another and I'm off on a rabbit trail. One blog I've been reading is: http://www.notquitejunecleaver.com/ . I've been reading Susan's blog for a while and honestly, I can't recall how I stumbled upon her, but the name of her blog takes me right back to watching Leave it to Beaver with the kids. We are big Leave it to Beaver Fans. Honestly, the choices on television today leave a lot to be desired. Beaver and Opie will pretty much get my vote everytime. Now, I'm no June Cleaver either. I don't even own pair of heels or a string of pearls. Oh wait. I do own a set of heels, but they are on a pair of boots. Not quite the same thing. Don't recall June sitting on a steer's head in any episodes either.

A few weeks ago Susan had a giveaway for a Gooseberry Patch cookbook. I have a couple of their cookbooks and I have quite a few recipes in my 'favorites' cookbook that hail from their pages. Just good, down home cooking. My kind of cooking. Well lo and behold, I WON!

And see, I've already marked a bunch of new things to try. I never win anything, but them again, I don't enter a lot of things either, but I was SO excited! This is a big cookbook, done in typical 'come set a spell and visit a bit' Gooseberry Patch style. I KNEW this was going to be a cookbook that I would use...a lot!

I made this the very day I received the cookbook:

Yum, but oh, that's a terrible photo I took! It's Festive Cajun Pepper Steak. I love that their recipes use ingredients that are readily available from my pantry. Since I don't live close to town, I try to keep my pantry stocked.

So thank you Susan! You made my day and I'm certain that all the cowboys I'm cooking for right now will thank you too!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chirping in From an Empty Nest at the End of the Dirt Road

All is quiet on the homefront. Too quiet. We're 3 weeks and 2 days into this 'new normal' and adjusting fairly well. No one is cowering in the corner...nor hiding under the covers...nor devouring copious amounts of chocolate...nor drowning in a sea of tears. However, we are not exactly swinging from the rafters either. Now that I am no longer spending countless hours in the kitchen, I have been reassigned. I have traded in my dishwater hands for these:

And some days my two worlds collide:

DD came home the other weekend and we put her to work.

The three of us branded about 20 calves in a corner of a pasture. Gathering and settling the cattle:

The fact that we could have used 2 or 3 extra men did not deter DH from getting the job done.
 DD held the herd

 And corraled the escapees:

 while DH roped the calves

(because we're pretty useless in that department) and tied them down when he headed one:

And branded them:

He is a master multi-tasker!
 I was the offcial head-sitter-uponer and vaccinator and the keeper-of-the-irons...and photographer :)

Easy there Mama...

 It was entertaining to say the least with a bit of frustration added in for good measure, but we did get it done and finally were able to move them to the neighboring pasture.

I would say 'to greener' pastures, but there aren't any of those in this part of the country this year. The green you see is only mesquite, but it looks pretty good when there's a cute rancher settin a horseback in the middle of it:

DH teased DD and told her that this was 'college appreciation' weekend. No sleeping in for this college kid when she comes home! Hoping I can entice her back with some homecooking and more cookies to take back to the kids in her dorm. LOL!

It was a good day though and laughter eventually finds it's way into our days around here.

So shhh...that quiet I was complaining about earlier is perfect for sleeping and I've been sleeping like a baby on days like this.
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