Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1st Snow of the Season

We were in Lubbock on Thursday and by the time we headed home that afternoon, the storm was on our heels. We had a strong tail wind that carried us home and we hunkered down for the first storm of the season that left us with 4 solid inches of good wet snow.

It was a good weekend to snuggle under piles of quilts and let the tea kettle simmer on the stove and that's just what we did. I was recuperating from outpatient surgery so the only pictures you get are from inside my cozy home.

 Crazy cat wanted out:

Nothing serious and I'm fine, but it really was the perfect weekend to lay low and recuperate. And the only reason I mention it at all is so that I can brag on my hubby for a minute. What a guy! I'm telling you, I fell in love all over again with this man who cooked for me and tended to my every need. He did my chores and cleaned the kitchen too. And no, I don't just love him because he does things for me. He's the kind of guy you can count on in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and through thick and thin...even after 26 years. Our girl told me we were just precious and that she wanted a marriage like we had. I've been praying for both kids and their future spouses from day one. I still shake my head that the good Lord brought us together, but you can bet that I don't take a minute of it for granted. Neither one of us is perfect, far from it, but the fact that we are perfect for each other is one that does not escape me. We make a good team. Marriage requires a lot of teamwork. I still shake my head and count my blessings.

We're gearing up for a quiet Thanksgiving around here and wishing our boy could be home, but our girl will be, and we'll be baking up lots of good things to send his way! The list of things I'm thankful for is long and I'm very mindful of the fact that I ought to be more thankful for them each and every day of the year. And today I am especially thankful for this guy:

Wishing all you a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with God's blessing and all of the traditions that bring you joy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November Tomatoes

We've received almost 10" of rain this year. After 3 years with 3-4" of annual rainfall, 10" is a huge blessing. It sure does make us breath easier going into the winter with some grass in the pastures and those blessings spilled over into my garden. I have 8 tomato plants and 7 cherry tomato plants and we have been enjoying tomatoes since June. Then, in September we had a week of rain, and my tomato plants exploded.

 When we had out first freeze, I went out and covered them with flannel sheets. Yes, I really did. See?

 DH laughed and reminded me that it WAS the end of September and it was probably time to put the garden to bed for the winter, but I can't remember the last time I had that many tomatoes on just a few plants and I was determined to save them. And save them I did. However, now we were expecting a hard freeze for a few nights in a row and we were going to be away from the ranch so I spent one morning picking tomatoes.

My quality control assistant was close at hand:

And I picked:

 And I picked:

And I picked:

We munched on the remaining red ones and savored the last taste of summer. When we got back home, I set to making pickles and chow chow with my mountain of tomatoes.

I saw the green tomato pickle recipe on Judy's blog here so I made up a batch of those:

and then I hunted for what sounded like a good chow chow recipe. I have one, but it is an onion chow chow so I found one that had jalapenos and everything is better with jalapenos so that's the one I'm using. If they're any good, I'll share the recipe, but they've got to set a bit.

I'm hoping to get the rest ripened and make salsa and tomato sauce and soup. If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen behind a mountain of tomatoes and canning jars.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Life Gives You Apples...

you spend a lot of time in the kitchen...coring, peeling, slicing, and dicing. However, this is my favorite time of the year and we've had days and weeks of amazing fall weather and apples rank high on the list of my favorite fall things. For years and years, when we lived in Texas, we had orchards at our finger tips

 and we made lots of apple picking trips.

  I  miss those days.

However, I fondly recall those memories when I am up to my elbows in apples. I made apple butter and apple sauce

and diced apples for apple cake:

and made batches and batches of dried apples.

This batch goes to our boy who was just deployed the other day:

 - I dry some plain and some with a dash of cinnamon and sugar. I have 8 trays for my dehydrator and the top 2 trays are always empty by the time the apples are ready and I can't blame it on the kids anymore. DH is like a kid when it comes to sneaking into the cookie jar...or dehydrator. I'm saving back a couple of apples for a pie - hard to beat a good homemade apple pie!

Its been a productive couple of days:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Back Roads Finished!

Sewing has not been happening around here lately, but that's not a complaint. Between company and our fall cow works, and our boy being home, 3 trips to Texas, and a trip to look at bulls, another to pick them up, and putting up apples and mountains of green tomatoes, it just hasn't been a priority. Good thing too because there hasn't been an extra moment to sew...or blog. -insert sheepish grin-

However, a few months ago I picked up a few quilts from Jackie and I have found a bit of time to stitch on this binding although this one took me almost an entire month to bind.

It's a great cuddle size at 70" x 84".

 We had so much fun in Amarillo when we went for the WRCA Ranch Rodeo Championships a few weeks ago, but when I had had my fill of socializing, I just wanted to crawl in the back of this wagon with my quilt:

Jackie quilted this fun barbed wire meander across it that has little stars running across the wire:

This quilt came to be as the result of extra blocks I made for my Western Many Trips quilt...the Wagon Quilt. :) I used Bonnie Hunter's wildly popular tutorial from HERE .

I just set them together with a sashing and liked the end result. I didn't want these extra blocks to become orphan blocks and end up forgotten in a dusty project box and now I get to cross off another quilt from my UFO list!

I'm horrible about labeling my quilts, but I'm trying to be better about it. After all, I do have a machine that does most of the work for me. So I stitched this label I made a while back to the back of this quilt:

And by the way, this backing may be my most favorite ever:

I found it last winter in an Amarillo Quilt shop. Another finished quilt that will often be called into action during the cold months of winter:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Country Roads, Take Me Home...

to the place I belong...

I was away this last week helping my Mom and as much as I enjoy spending time with her, I begin to hyperventilate long about day 3 when I'm in a city. She doesn't even live IN the city. She lives in a very quiet subdivision, but I can't breathe. Just the thought that there are too many people surrounding me makes me cringe. I grew up here, but in my very first post ever, I mentioned how I always felt like a fish out of water and that still holds true today...maybe even more so.

Those of you who are regular readers know that I even have trouble dragging myself the 30 miles to town once a week.

This time I flew:

 That too puts me off balance. I grew up flying as we flew to Europe a lot to spend some summers and Christmases with family, but I hadn't flown in over 20 years until we flew out to California for our boy's Marine Graduation a few years back. That was SO worth it, and I wouldn't have missed THAT for anything in the world, but I did a lot of praying.

I'm not a fan of flying, but I took along some hand stitching to settle the soul.

Stitching does that, but those of you that sew, know that. It's hard to explain it to someone who doesn't sew. My mom asked me to make some potholders for some of her friends so before I left, I blew off the dust from my sewing machine and stitched some up so that I had bindings to work on. I have 2 quilts awaiting binding, but they are both 100" x 100" and would be a bit unwieldy to work on while flying.

I like to drive the back roads, but Mom thought I ought to fly and even though I am on the downhill slide to 50, sometimes you still do what you are told when your Mom is doing the telling. :)

I laughed when I saw this sign:

That is me up there and unfortunately, our girl inherited that trait although I blame hers on the fact that she never wears matching socks. :)

Flying from Dallas, there was a darling 18-month old little girl seated behind me who was so good. She serenaded those of us who were seated in close proximity to her with multiple renditions of "Tinkle Tinkle Little Star". She was using her indoor voice and it was very sweet. Some might be irritated by this musical concerto, but you could not help but grin and be completely charmed by her unless you were a close relative of the Grinch, and even then, I'm thinking she would have wormed her way into even your heart.

When I arrived and opened my suitcase, I had a lovely note from the TSA:

Hmmm...I wonder what they deemed suspicious. Could it be the paper piecing box of hexagons  (no scissors), or the chocolate covered almonds? Surely my devotional didn't raise the alert. The note says they search random pieces of luggage, but they broke my zipper. :( Perhaps I should have left them a note on the off chance that they would search my suitcase that told them that they must hold their tongue out in order for it to zip properly.

My parents have built an amazing circle of friends through the years. I love their friends. Some of them even come out to visit us and spend holidays with us. They have become extended family. They all live on the same street so there is always something going on. One leaves flowers at the door, one brings a homemade Lemon Meringue Pie, one invites us over and cooks amazing salmon for us and another invites us to dine on Ossobuco, another leaves a still warm loaf of banana bread at the door because we are gone, another invites us over for dinner and a movie, we attend a grandchild's baptism, we have a group of them over for supper...and brunch, we gather at one home and everyone sets up tables in the circle drive on Halloween for trick or treaters...hundreds of trick or treaters, and everyone brings food to set up in the garage. I am wiped out when I get home. I guess you could say I have reached my socialization threshold. Or I have reached my socialization saturation point. LOL Yup. Socially saturated. That says it best.

I felt a bit better once I looked out the window and began to see crop circles instead of houses:

 And before long, I recognized the Cap

and even spied part of the ranch:

Our girl came home this weekend! She came home on Thursday to spend some time with her Daddy. She said, "I know how he gets when you're away". :) And she too needed some dirt road time. Being socially saturated runs in the family. LOL So it was nice to have both of them greet me when I arrived at the airport and it is really, really good to be home.
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