Monday, May 20, 2013

A Roof Over Our Heads

Our air conditioner has been acting up lately. DH looked at it and decided it was the pump. So he ran to the barn and came back with this:

This is a gun we use to pour Cydectin (a wormer) on cattle, and yes, that is a really, really old, ugly floor from the 50's.

4 or 5 times a day, I use that gun to empty the water out of the pump.

Next trip to town, we'll pick up a new pump, but for now, I pump:

With the temps hovering at the 100° mark, and my oven working overtime to feed a cowboy crew, we're sure wanting to keep that air conditioner humming.

However, trips to town have been put on hold for just  bit. DH has been helping the neighbors brand for a few days in between our own cow works and my peace and quiet has been temporarily interrupted by a roofing crew:

This is not a fun time of year to be roofing in NM. It was 102°. I'm thinking that if I were a roofer in NM, I would be on that roof at 5 am and not show up at 11, but what do I know?

I imagine the average customer would not appreciate 6 roofers beating on their roof at 5 am, but heck, we're up and heading out at that hour.

I took a video while these guys were hammering away, but I can not figure out how to post it. I was trimming some HSTs and all you can really hear is the hammering and thuds, but they were singing at the tops of their lungs. A roofers' serenade!

They worked 3 days last week. They do not work on Saturday and on Friday evening we had a heck of a wind storm that made the dirt and shingles... and plywood... and felting... and everything else that was not nailed down, fly. It's a mess and I'm sure they will not be happy come Monday.

Praise God we are getting a new roof.

Wishing it was going to be a tin one, but in a drought ravaged ranch country, I'll take what I can get, and be darn thankful for it. Maybe I've got some of Grandma Lillian in me after all.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival


It's time for Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival! For those of us who are unable to attend quilt market and the accompanying quilt festival, be not sad. Amy is hosting an online festival that is sure to inspire and add more projects to your list! Here's the link to all the fun - Thank you Amy, for giving us a place to gather and for pulling everything together.

I'm entering my latest finish:

We know a dear couple with whom we've been friends for 20 years. Our kids spent many a day exploring and finding adventure around the roping arena where the men would gather every chance they got. I still think of their little girl, Haley, as a darling 6 yr old, and I'll bet her Mama and Daddy do too, but apparently she grew up...into a lovely young woman who is about to marry her prince.

Still, I think of this child like this (She's the pretty little red head on the right. Our two hooligans are to the left of her) :

And children this age should not be getting married!

 As soon as I heard the happy news, I knew I had to make a quilt. I visited with her Mama and found out that they were decorating in yellows and grays. This was the first time I had worked with this color combination, and I am tickled with the end result:

With the days getting longer, my stitching time is dwindling quickly, but with a wedding date drawing near, I needed to get to work! It wasn't that long ago when we were in bed at 8 pm and now we're just getting back into the house at 8. Still, when I picked up Haley's quilt from Jackie, I set to stitching just a bit of the binding on every chance I got. I've got to get it into the mail. It ended up being 67 x 72" which makes a good 'hang out on the back of the couch and grab to snuggle with quilt'.We planned on making the trip, but we're working cattle that last week in May and it's just not going to happen. :( Unless we get rained out! I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I really want to be there.

Those weeds in the above photo are mustard weed. It's a nuisance and its always a battle to keep it at bay, but I found a use for it - it makes a pretty good prop for a picture. And to think I almost mowed it down the other day. :) It's too dry for even mustard to grow, but I've been watering the tree behind the fence like mad in order to keep it alive, so we have this pretty little stand of mustard in this one spot.

Jackie quilted this Happy Day pattern across the chevrons and she used this gorgeous yellow thread that was the perfect choice:

I really like the way it looks on the front and the back, and I fell in love with all of the sweet prints I ended up using:

So now it is quilted and bound and labeled and filled with much love and prayer for the happy couple as they begin their life together:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring Branding With a Little TLC

Yesterday we started our Spring Works. I tumbled out of bed at 3:30 to start biscuits for breakfast. With the the extensive drought, our calves are strung out age wise and we're spending a lot of our time feeding so we're working cattle sporadically. One day this week, 2 next, 3 next, and so on. Our college girl came home for a few days after Finals and she was thrilled to get to work one day. Honestly, this kid is more comfortable on a horse than she is on her own two feet.

And if we're working cattle...she's really in her element,

and has been since she was little:

Around here, cow works are work and fun all rolled into one:

I wonder if the kids miss it as much as we miss them:

I'm kinda thinkin' they do:

I wanted to take some photos while she was here, but they worked on the north end of the ranch at Silman Pens today and I can't get all the way over there... and back... and fix dinner, so you get shots from the past.

 It really was a toss up. Go take pictures... or light, fluffy airy Butterhorns to round out a dinner of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, salad, and Cajun Cake. I'm thinking the crew might have staged a mutiny had I chosen the pictures.

Probably a good thing, I didn't take pictures anyway. DH came back to headquarters covered in blood. He wasn't looking peaked or pale and he was sawing some PVC pipe so I did not inquire as to the state of his shirt. I knew it wasn't his and I would get the story later in the day - probably at the dinner table where all stories are told. I pulled the last batch of rolls out of the oven and went out to see if he needed help. He said a calf had a dislocated ankle and he was making a sort of cast for it. Ranchers have been accused of being cruel or not taking care of their livestock. That can never be said around here.

This little guy will spend some time in the pen, with his Mama and all the hay his little heart desires:

We've walked colicky horses through the night, brought calves into the house during a blizzard to dry them, drenched cattle 3-4 times a day which is like wrestling with a 600# UFC fighter, brought baby calves into the world at 2 am, rescued baby kittens that fell into water troughs, doctored day old colts:

made an impromptu eye patch from a pair of britches for a calf

 bottle fed countless dogie calves

 and I rescued a baby calf from an irrigation ditch while driving to town one day. If it can be saved, we're sure as heck gonna do everything we can to save it, and when it can't...we're still gonna do everything we can to save it. It's how we roll at the end of this dirt road.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scrap Jar Stars Finished!

I am so excited to have this quilt finished! Staci, from the Confused Quilter, and I worked on it together last year, and I loved every minute of making it. I loved our almost daily emails, and getting to know her, and I miss our chats. Staci finished hers up long ago, but pop in here and be inspired to make one for yourself. Staci's version in gorgeous!

Then click here to start your very own! Amber posted the block tutorial and I was instantly smitten. I loved her colorway and wanted one just like it so here's my version:

It took me a long time to decide on a backing, but this dot from Connecting Threads won out:

Look at these darling dragonflies that Jackie quilted all over:

Aren't they cute? I told her to chose whatever she wanted for the design and I was over the moon when I saw what she had chosen. I'm not a squealer, but when I look at this quilt, I come pretty close. I guess you could call it an internal squeal.

I finished it off with a scrappy binding and will put it on the guest room bed for the summer.

This was such a fun quilt to piece and I am seriously thinking of making another one. Carol, of the Polka Dot Chicken fame, made one in fall colors here . Sigh. And I haven't ruled out a Christmas one yet either.

We're in full spring mode around here and my stitching time is diminishing greatly so this may be the last finished quilt that makes an appearance for a couple of months. I do have a wedding quilt to bind though.

So far I have finished 6 UFOs since the first of the year, and 2 quilts that were new. I really wanted to make a dent early on because I knew I wouldn't be indoors much starting about now.

Staci and I are planning to stitch another quilt together sometime in the coming months, and I'm really looking forward to starting that one!

Yep, this one is definitely going to be a favorite!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Winners and Water

Last week was a whirlwind.

Monday was town day.

Tuesday, my neighboring ranch wife friend and I drove to Lubbock to meet up with M (who is missed) for a visit that was long overdue. So glad we were able to sneak it in before things got insane.

Wednesday, DH helped the neighbors and he left out at 4 am. Makes for a really long day.  I mowed and worked in the garden all morning, and then we spent the afternoon feeding cattle.

Thursday we had to haul the feed truck to our mechanic, Mark. I told him that we're here so often that he needs to add us to the family tree. DH fixes most of our feed truck woes, but these old feed trucks are just about give out. Then we got a call that our new trailer was ready so we made a run to Texas to pick it up.

Friday I cooked for a friend recovering from surgery and made a trip to town to deliver food and hugs. Our girl was coming home on Saturday so I grabbed a few groceries, picked up a quilt from Jackie, and dropped off another one.

Last week's giveaway was certainly busy in blogland. I didn't have even a minute to jump in on any of the fun, but I've got winners to announce!

Lot #1 goes to:

Blogger CathyH said...
I love to do the binding! It's the LAST step and indicates I may soon have a finished project. I sew the binding onto the right side by machine and then enjoy touching every inch of the edge as I handsew it to the back. Thanks for the giveaway. I love to read your adventures!

Lot #2 is on its way to:

Blogger Abbigail said...
I like to hand bind my quilts to while I'm in front of the tv.
Oh if you pick my name I would love #1 and then #2 prizes! Just in case! LOL!

Lot #4 is headed to:

Blogger Ali said...
Thank you so much for the giveaway! I am one of those people who hates binding, but I'll go machine binding over hand binding anyday, You folks who enjoy it always make me shake my head in wonder ;)
and Lot #3 was won by:
Rocksteadyemme has left a new comment on your post "It's Giveaway Day!":


love lot #3!

I'm a machine binder! 

So congratulations to all of you and I want to thank each of you for taking the time to comment and put your name in the hat. Sounds like we have lots of new quilters! Yay! And some of you really hate to bind your quilts. LOL. I've contacted all the winners and will get your packages out next time someone heads to town

And I'm ending this post on another very happy note:

Yes, we had a bit of rain! 0.2". Not a lot, but around here, it is worthy of a jig and a whoop!

And a rainbow!

Or two!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jelly Roll Admission

The other day this came in the mail:

 What is it about a jelly roll that is hard to resist? I'm not much good at resisting the baked kind either, but at least I know what to do with the baked kind and they don't hang around long, except for on the hips. At least these jelly rolls are calorie free.

I have bypassed many a fabric jelly roll because I never know what to do with them. Apparently I have not bypassed them enough. Yesterday I gathered them all in one place and the magic number is 12.

Yes, 12 jelly rolls, and I have a solid plan for exactly one of them. I have a pink Bunny Hill

 that will become another Rocky Rail Fence baby quilt like this boy version I made a few months ago:

That concludes my jelly roll plans. I have 3 Hill Country Spring jelly rolls because I had only been quilting for a very short time when I decided I need to make a Texas Wildflower quilt and this line was already long gone. I found a couple of jelly rolls on sale and snatched them up.

Have I ever made that Texas Wildflower quilt?

You had to ask, didn't you?

Sigh. No.

The same thing happened with the Breath of Avignon American Jane Line. A jelly roll was all that was left when I discovered that line so 2, oops, 3, came home with me.

I hemmed and hawed about Countdown to Christmas and when I found it on sale at 50% off I bought a fat quarter bundle, but I might need more so let's add a jelly roll.

Meadow Friends was also 50% off. I am weak.

Another recent good deal brought a few new lines to my door step. New lines on sale - yay! Spring House for a baby quilt:

And 2 Posh Pumpkins.

No one does Fall lines like Sandy Gervais.

I really like simple patchwork quilts and have yet to make one so perhaps a few of these will find their way into a couple of those. And then I found this one. I'm apprehensive about working with diamonds, but I'm thinking of giving it a go.

Still, that only puts a dent in my jelly roll collection. I'm not sure about a jelly roll race quilt, but something with a nine-patch is calling my name. I have been stalking jelly roll quilts on Flickr and I'm making a list. What is your favorite jelly roll quilt pattern? Am I the only one who has this problem? I prefer yardage, but the cuteness factor of jelly rolls is apparently a weakness, and all of these were bought on sale. Now that I have come clean, I vow to steer clear of any more. If you had asked me before I collected them all together, I would have told you I only had 4 or 5. Some would call that denial, but before y'all come down here to stage an intervention, I'm going to take a deep breath, unroll one of these pretty bundles, and make something cute with it.

Well, after Gus and I go for a trot.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quilts for West, Texas

When something like the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas happens, we all want to DO something. We had a neighbor friend who lost his dear wife last week so I cooked and baked. It's what we do. Another friend had surgery a few weeks ago.  The initial abundance of food is dwindling. Time to take something new and drop by for a visit. My FIL is having back surgery tomorrow. I'll be cooking so that when they stop by on their way home, I can send food with them. When we're close, food is a good thing to provide.

When we're not close. We make quilts. Judy has set up a quilt drive to provide quilts for the people of West, Texas. I gathered up two. A red white and blue chevron like this one:

And a fall one:

   and my dear MIL dropped two off yesterday morning when they headed to Texas for FIL's surgery. I love star quilts and this one is pretty in blue and yellow:

I didn't think I needed to begin collection Batiks...until now:

I LOVE the watercolor effect of these pretty fabrics:

My MIL is a hand quilter. I am amazed by her stitches:

And I told her she had to dig out both patterns because I want to make them both. She said she had no idea where they were. I can relate. I have turned the house upside down looking for one of mine. Found all sorts of things I wasn't even looking for, but the pattern has eluded me. After working with the southwestern quilt, I think I can probably figure these out without a pattern.

I made labels for each one and stitched them on before sending them across state lines to Judy. Judy, thank you so much for spearheading this quilt gathering!
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