Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Peek into a Day at the Sale Barn

Whew! I survived that first day at the sale barn...barely. Land Sakes!! My head is swimming. I don't imagine many of you have had any experience with sales barns and auctioneers, but my brain is on overload.

Leslie, if you read this - I thought of you. :) Did you hear my cries of HELP!? :) There were a few "Lord, have mercies and good gravies mixed in.

They put me in the ring, which means I sit with  the auctioneer on one side and a very nice coworker on the other, who fixes all of my mistakes, enters the weight, and lets the people in the back know which pen to sort things into and sends all the information to the office.

The other very sweet and extraordinarily patient lady sat behind me and walked me through the day. My sincerest apologies to both of them. They deserve a raise for having to put up with me.

My job is to enter the tag numbers (there are 1-5 tags per lot), the codes for what is being sold, number of hd being sold, the code for each buyer, and all pertinent information relating to said buyer. As well as any anomalies such as bobtails  or knots. There are about 50 different codes and combinations thereof for what is being sold and I have to look at what comes into the pen and designate a code for each. Not always easy when they come flying into the pen on the fight, flinging dirt and cow crud into your face and down your shirt. That part I can handle. :)

Some don't have tags and I have to give one of the owners a hand signal that it needs a tag and he then shows me a tag that I enter as he slaps it on the critter as it flies out of the ring onto the scale. And they don't always sell them one at a time. Some are sold in lots. There were 29 in one lot. No problem if they then sell them that way, but often, they will decide to split the lots and then I just want to cry.

And my eyes! I found out that bifocals are in my future if they still want me to work there. :( I have reading glasses, but I don't need them for anything else and with this job, I don't need them to read the tags or see what is in the pens, but I  darn sure need them to enter things into the computer. That means I took my glasses off approximately 1000 times on Monday between 9 and 2:30. I would need them to look up the codes too, but there isn't time to do that. You just need to know the codes.

Remember, this is an auction and they run the cattle through at warped speed. You're lucky if you get 20 seconds to document what needs to be documented and my old 50-yr old mind just does not function like that anymore. I'm not sure that it ever did.

I adore the people I work with, but I felt as if I had worked on Wall Street by the end of the day. It might be a misconception, since the only thing I know about working on Wall Street is from a movie or two, but you don't see many 50 yr olds on Wall Street, and I'm pretty laid back. Not sure that's a good thing in this situation.

I could not turn my brain off all night. I actually liked the work, but good gravy, the speed just threw me for a loop. They sold 1000 hd in 5 1/2 hrs. The ladies that are training me have been working there for 20 years so they have it down to a T. They even have time to visit. Shoot. I didn't even have time to breathe. I drink a lot of water throughout the day, but not on Mondays because there isn't time to go to the bathroom. I stayed so busy that I kind of forgot that I had to go. LOL.

I sure hope the good Lord doesn't mind spending His Monday's at the sale barn, because heaven knows I need Him to be there! And don't ask me who else was there because I could not tell you, but if you happen to be a red mottled face heifer, I'm your gal... because I know your code! :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A New Place to Hang Out on Mondays

A few weeks ago I received a phone call out of the blue from the lady who owns the local sale barn. I know who she is, but I don't KNOW her. DH deals with her husband on a regular basis when we haul various loads into the sale barn and I often tag along, but rarely am I inside. 

She asked me if I would be interested in a job. Ummm... I was shocked since I'm not looking for a job, but I figured I ought to at least give it some thought and prayer because surely there was a reason I had received this phone call. She said she's been looking for someone for a while and her SIL, who is one of the county extension agents, suggested I might be a good fit. I thought that was awfully nice of her to recommend me.

So I prayed about it and talked to DH about it and last week I went in for an interview. I have been out of the job market for a really long time and it all felt kind of strange, but I guess everything went well and I start on Monday.

Its VERY part time...just Monday's since that's sale day, but I think that will fit in really well with the rest of my life.

As we visited, Cindy told me that 4 of the ladies that worked there were quilters, including her and that they always brought things to show what they were working on or what they had finished. Yep. I think I just might fit in.

So if you're looking for me on Monday's, you can find me here:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blowing off the Dust From My Sewing Machine

Goodness! It sure did feel odd to sit behind my sewing machine again after so many months. Usually I feel out of sorts if I am unable to stitch after 3 or 4 days. Its a wonder I haven't gone off the deep end after 4 months. Well, I am happy to report that I stitched a bit the other day. I finally unearthed one of my many UFOs and began making progress:

I spent an entire hour stitching. That doesn't happen very often and there's no telling when it'll happen again. I have 4 new blocks to add to my pile though:

I am going to love this quilt, and I have no idea why it always gets put on the back burner. I have 33 blocks pieced now:

 and a box of pieced strips:

The original pattern called for 36 blocks, but I am making it bigger...surprise, surprise. :)  The size will be determined by how much of that brown fabric I have. This pattern was the cover quilt for the October 2010 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and the minute I saw it, I started pulling fabrics for it.

Here's hoping it actually becomes a quilt this year.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adventures in Lubbock

I've written previously about time spent with my 2 best friends. Now that M has abandoned us and moved across state lines, we don't get the chance to see each other much, although truth be told, we didn't get together as often as we would have liked before she moved. Now we just make more of an effort to meet up at least a couple times during the year. Our birthdays are all within a couple of weeks of each other so January is generally one of those times.

So on Tuesday, L and I load up and hightailed it east for a day of rip roaring fun and met up with M. These girls are just so good for the soul!

Yes, we spent some time in a lingerie department because even dirt road girls need a few pretty pieces in their wardrobe for when they are working on water leaks, hauling hay, cooking up a storm, or attempting to sit on an ornery steer while he is being doctored.

We stopped at Best Buy to look at tablets and laptops. Its my birthday present, but I've been incredibly confused about what to get. I wanted portability with the option of having  a keyboard and I needed a HDMI port. I also wanted to use it to Skype with our boy and there are just too many options out there. And I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg. The arms and legs are already earmarked for other things. :) Having the girls along made this stop less painful for me.

Other stops included a beauty supply shop so that one of our posse could purchase something to make her glow. Personally I think her glow comes from her personality. I've never been in a store like that and while she was being pampered, we provided comic relief which is what we do best.

We also shopped for weenie dog shoes. Don't ask. I never knew such a thing existed. I always get an education when I am with these two. Have I mentioned how much I love these gals?

I'm fairly certain the sales clerks throughout the day questioned our sanity when the 3 of us country bumpkins left each location, but when the 3 of us are together...well, lets just say we've become accustomed to the responses.

And we had a fabulous dinner (lunch) at Cracker Barrel where we closed out the meal by sharing a fabulous piece of Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake in celebration of our birthdays.

Sample Quotes from the day although I'm not naming names. :)

"Its classier than Bag Balm"
"Do you have my underwear?"

Never a dull moment with these two!

And I'll have you know that this is day 16 of the new year and I have been in Lubbock and I even spent a few days in Dallas/Ft Worth/Weatherford and I haven't even set foot in a fabric or quilt shop. I am quite proud of that fact too... but not too proud, because I know all too well how quickly that can change! :)

So, after spending a day with my 2 best buds, I feel like I can tackle just about anything. I am recharged and raring to go, but the 'going' I am referring to will have take place right here at the end of the dirt road. I've had my fill of adventure away from here for a bit.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Word for 2014

As I've been enjoying catching up on my blog reading lately, I've noticed a trend that many people are choosing a word to describe what they wish to achieve or  focus on during the year. I remember seeing this last year as well and I loved the idea, but I had one problem. I knew I could never choose just one word for an entire year. I tried this word and that word and nothing seemed to fit. I'll love this word today and then I'll love another word tomorrow. I'm not fickle, but I guess I am with words. :)

I love words too much to choose just one.

And then, just today, it hit me.

My word will be GOD'S word. For me, it begins and ends with God and no matter what I'm dealing with or  what the day may bring, it always comes back around to Him. If I focus on God, I'm good, and I'm going to try harder to do that this year. In the daily hustle and bustle that is life, I tend to put time with Him on the back burner sometimes. Ouch. That hurt. I begin each day with my devotional and I pray a lot, but I still feel as if I could draw closer. I fall woefully short each and every day of being a good and faithful servant and I want to quit being so obstinate. Its going to be an uphill climb, but Mathew 19:26 says,

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible"

He'll keep me focused and balanced more than any other word that I can think of if I just keep my eyes on Him.

And that obstinate thing. I'm pretty good at it so this is not going to be easy, but He didn't promise easy, did He? :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 Quilting Recap and a Goal for 2014

I hope y'all all had a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. After our Vegas trip, it seems as if Christmas just rushed in and we've had company coming and going and coming. Many batches of cinnamon rolls have been made and devoured and much merriment was made. Now much walking off of said cinnamon rolls and merriment must take place. If a little round belly that shook when you laughed like a bowlful of jelly' was a requirement for North Pole employment, I would fit the bill quite nicely.

Y'all may be wondering if I still even sew. I think it was September the last time I sat behind my sewing machine. I know. I see you shaking your heads and tsk, tsking, but I've even been too busy to miss it much.

 In short: I had company for a week, cooked for a crew for a couple of weeks when we worked cattle, our boy was home for a couple of weeks on his pre-deployment leave, I made a trip to see my Mom for a week, we went to the WRCA for 3 days, had surgery, Thanksgiving arrived, we went to Vegas for 4 days, and then suddenly it was Christmas!  Hence, sewing has not made an appearance since early September.

 I enjoyed every minute of those last 4 months though and I wanted to soak in all the time with loved ones I could. When either of the kids is home, sewing is the last thing on my mind. Now, with January already marching along at a brisk pace, I am beginning to feel the need to stitch...and catch up with all of you.

I feel like I didn't get much done in 2013, but pulling it all together in a collage, made me realize that I DID make progress.

13 quilts completed in 2013. I set out to finish as many unfinished projects as I could and I was excited to cross off  8 of those. I started out the year with 18 so I still have some to finish including 2 quilts that just need binding. I imagine I'll get to those during the Olympics...maybe. But that brings the total completed UFOs to 10 and I'll just keep chipping away at the others.

 My goal in 2014 is to refrain from buying much fabric. I need an intervention and when I popped over to Staci's blog, I found help. Thank you, Staci! I like that she is committing to 6 months of fabric fasting. That seems much more feasible than the whole year and come July 1st, I can reevaluate. My stash is starting to take over and although I know that just comes with the territory if you are a quilter, I really hope to make a dent in my fabric collection. I'm running out of room and I refuse to buy one more container. So if you too are a quilter in need of an intervention, you can visit Jess at the Eleven Garden and join in here.


I know I will need fabric for backings, but if I buy that for particular projects, then I won't be adding to the fabric insanity. I am going to stop and pray for strength before I walk into any fabric stores this year. Or better yet, just don't walk into any, but we all know that's not likely to happen so your snort of laughter is entirely appropriate. Of course, if I want to make a dent in my fabric stash, I probably ought to make some time to actually sew.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Smoked Quail Soup With Bacon and Jalapeno

Yesterday it was 7° and I don't think it got above freezing all day. I know so many of you are much colder than that, but it was cold enough for us and soup just sounded good. On Sunday, we had smoked quail and chicken and DH suggested I de-bone the leftover quail and make a version of a green chile chicken soup I make all the time. So I kind of winged it and changed a few things up, and according to DH and our girl, it was just about the best thing ever and I kind of have to agree with them. Good call, Honey!

I know not a lot of you have smoked quail hanging around, but I'm betting you could use chicken. That's what I used in the original recipe for this, but if you DO smoke quail...well, it'll just take this soup to a whole new level of flavor. The soup just had this amazing, yet subtle, smoked flavor that was out of this world.

We wrapped the quail around a slice of jalapeno and then wrapped a half a slice of bacon around the quail. We then sprinkled a rub on the meat before smoking it. It was amazing yesterday and I didn't think it could get any better, but it did.

I deboned 6 leftover quail and chopped it up with the bacon and jalapeno and set it aside. In a pot, I sauteed a little onion and just a dab of chopped garlic in about 1 Tbsp of butter for a few minutes and then added the quail and bacon and jalapeno. Then I added a spoonful of the Better than Bouillon Chicken, probably about 4 C of water along with about 3 Tbsp of cornstarch and let that simmer for about 10 minutes.

Next, I threw in about 1/4 C of half-n-half because it was just sitting in the fridge along with about 1/4 C of 2% milk. I added some pepper and let it all simmer until DH and our girl came back from making their morning feed run.

I added some crusty bread and dinner was served to rave reviews.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kicking off the New Year with a Little Branding Smoke

This weekend, our girl had a friend home from college. He was raised on a ranch so we took advantage of his raising and put him to work.

    He was warned.

 He came anyway.

Gotta love a kid raised with a good work ethic.

And who throws a mean loop:

Much praise goes to his Mama and Daddy who raised him right:

We had about 40 hd of late calves to work so we took advantage of the extra help. Everyone has a job:

And I took advantage of my photo opportunity:

 This girl falls back into her role easily:

And she loves every minute:

Her Daddy loves having her home as much as she loves being home:

I love watching how they work together so well:

After dinner, they were all off to put out mineral and make the rounds. It was well after dark when they came rolling in. Everyone hit the sheets early and slept like babies last night and it'll be the late service for us at church since they're already back out moving the cattle to another pasture this morning:

And this young man is welcome back anytime:

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