Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sewing While Hubby's Away

Hunting season has arrived. Actually, there's a hunting season of one kind or another most of the time, but right now it's Elk that are on DH's radar and it's a welcome break from daily ranch work. He debated even going, but he drew a tag this year and that is not always the case so I urged him to pack up and head for the mountains. It'll do him good to spend some time wandering the mountains horseback and on foot after the long days of Fall Works. He packed up an entire camp and roughed it for 3 days. He took so much stuff that I teased him about being gone for 5 weeks instead of 5 days. It was a 5 day hunt - Saturday through Wednesday, but he came home on Monday.

And while he was away, I roughed it behind the sewing machine. :) Besides making a few circles checking things and  our morning and evening chores, my ranch duties were minimal and with no one to cook for or ride beside, I had time to play.

That is, after I finished peeling another mountain of apples and making one last batch of dried apples  and more apple sauce

 and after the chicken coop was winterized

and after I mowed one last time before putting the mower away for the season,

THEN I played with fabric. When I sew, I sew for all I'm worth because I know there will come a time when it may be weeks before I get to sit down behind my machine again. I even moved my pressing table into the living room and watched fights on Saturday night.

 I spent a lot of time behind my iron while DH was away.

I made my project for my T'was the Night Before Blog Hop buddy. Marlene, over at Stitchin' By The Lake ,  is hosting this fun hop and I really enjoyed making this project...which I cannot show you just yet. :)

                                         Sew we quilt

And I pieced a backing for my Plus quilt as well as made the binding:

I pieced a very fast new quilt project with my  Summer House Layer Cake:

It also now has a pieced backing and the binding is made.

I even made some progress on my Wild Horse Quilt:

And I pieced and pressed the rows for another quilt:

I started hand quilting DH's wool quilt in the evenings and progress is being made since I don't sleep well when he is away so I actually stayed up past 9:30 a time or two!

Is amazing what you can accomplish when there is time to sew, but truth be told, I missed DH something awful. I am much better now that he is back, but it was good to get some things crossed off of my list.

He had a good trip and brought back a nice Elk that'll fill in the empty spaces in the deep freeze quite nicely. It's hard to beat that tenderloin and backstrap!

I was a tad chilly this morning when I headed out to walk...it was 40 degrees. That made me trot down the road just a little faster. I may be looking for more excuses to work on that wool quilt!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

After Works

All the babies are weaned from their Mamas. Much bawling ensued.
All the meals have been devoured. Much dish washing followed.
Many stories were told...and embellished. Much hilarity broke out.

Another Fall Works is in the books. The calves are being watched closely for any signs of sickness.

  On Saturday we had a shower and cooler days followed. We've got a pretty good chance of more moisture this week and of course, we're thankful. However, newly weaned calves are more susceptible to getting sick so we do our best to stay on top of that.

Nary a sneeze nor snotty nose escapes DH's watchful eye.

Each morning he saddles up and rides through them quietly


So far, so good.
Cinnamon Rolls and Lasagna have been doled out to the neighboring ranch and the family at North Camp.

Sunday we recuperated. Floors were scrubbed. My stove and oven were scoured. Meals were served on paper plates. Naps were taken.

My sewing machine was brought out of hibernation with the flip of the switch. A backing was partially pieced. The switch was flipped off and I was recruited to hold a horse.

My day at the Sale Barn was good. Our days get longer in the fall, as ranchers ship and wean and cull their herds. It's non-stop busy because the sale doesn't break. I always lose track of time until someone mentions that its 2...or 3...or 4 and isn't anyone hungry? If and when we do eat, its just a bite of something in between whatever we're all doing. If I'm out on the block, we do get a 30 minute break if we choose and someone comes in to sub for us. I really like the work as well as the people I work with so that makes for a good day, but getting home at 7:30 makes for a long day and I imagine there'll be longer ones to come.

The other day, our camp man's wife sent this over for us:

What a sweet treat, and no, she did not send over the cake with bites taken out of it. That was me! :)
 I had sent over Lasagna and she returned my dish with cookies and pound cake! I think I got the better end of the deal! And included in my goodie package was a sweet note from her and the kids:

Last time I was in town, I was dashing out of the grocery store and I saw a display with Venus Fly Trap plants and I thought the kids would love it. They did and being home schooled, it turned into a science lesson and they wrote me a sweet note that now hangs on my refrigerator and makes me smile.

Now we've got to turn our attention to winterizing. Cooler days have arrived and winter is on the horizon. The wasps have been all abuzz lately and, in October, I always take that as a sign that its fixing to get cold.

Its been a really good summer, but I'm kind of ready to break out the flannel and pull on denim coats. Remind me of that when I fuss about being cold! :)

Friday, October 17, 2014


I had a 4 am wake up call this morning. Breakfast  was at 5:30. I love feeding the crew in the fall! The time hasn't changed yet and it doesn't get light until late and I don't have to set my alarm for 2:30 am. I can do 4 am!

 When I have to do 2:30 it takes me 5 minutes to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and find the kitchen, I'm on auto pilot when I punch the setting to turn on the oven, and I have to look twice to make sure that really is sugar I'm filling the sugar bowl with and not salt!

I made Lasagna for dinner today and rounded it out with green beans, a salad, and cheese bread, with Auntie's Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream for dessert.

Today I'll share my Lasagna recipe and I'll share Auntie's Chocolate Cake some other time. The green beans are just green beans, the salad is just salad, and the cheese bread is where I cheat and buy the 5 cheese bread. After all the biscuits and rolls I've made this week, on occasion, I give myself permission to take a shortcut. The 5 Cheese Bread is it.

This is a combination of numerous recipes that through the years, have morphed into our favorite Lasagna.

I make my lasagna in a blue enamelware pan that is 12" x 16" x 3 1/2" . Mine never fits in a 9 x 13 pan. It's one of my favorite pans and I have more than one because it is also perfect for my cinnamon rolls and big batches of pulled pork or beef or a big brisket.

For my lasagna, I use a homemade spaghetti sauce, but you can use any sauce. When I make lasagna, I cook up a pound of mild Italian pork sausage with the ground beef and mix that in with the spaghetti sauce. I can't even give you exact amounts for the ground beef with spaghetti sauce. I just warm up a big pan of it. I'm feeding cowboys here so I make it pretty meaty. :) So the following is really just an estimate. I have our meat processed very lean and can't remember the last time I had to drain it.

2-3# ground beef
1# Pork sausage
3 large cans spaghetti sauce

- if you don't make your own spaghetti sauce you can just use any old sauce. I happen to have given all of my homemade sauce to college girl the last time she was home so I just grabbed the least expensive sauce this time around.

I've used this before and honestly, it makes an amazing lasagna. And it's only .89 cents a can. Lasagna is an expensive dish to make, so .89 cents makes me pretty happy.

I mix the following 5 ingredients in a large bowl:

48 oz cottage cheese
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 eggs
4 Tbsp Parsley
1 C Parmesan Cheese

16 oz Mozzarella Cheese
12 slices  Provolone Cheese
1 16 oz box of Lasagna noodles

I put a baking dish in the sink and fill it with warm water and throw the noodles in it for 3 or 4 minutes as I"m assembling the lasagna. No need to boil the noodles and I just use regular noodles.

I add a few spoonfuls of meat sauce to the bottom of the pan and then layer lasagna noodles. Then I add a layer of Provolone cheese - about 8-12 slices for the pan I use - it used to be 8, but I think the cheese is shrinking. Next, I layer 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 of the Mozzarella, a second layer of noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese mixture, Mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, Mozzarella. Bake at 400°  for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I don't cover mine because it seems to bake up nicer uncovered.

The boys love Lasagna day, but this makes a really big batch and there are leftovers so I called up the neighbors and told them supper was on me. This'll probably feed about 20...especially if you're saving room for Auntie's Chocolate Cake! :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Before We Work...

I put up our annual supply of fresh green chile - this is last year's photo because I neglected to snap a shot this year - just double the bags. :)

 Spent 3 days in the kitchen peeling apples:


 making multiple batches of these:

and cooking apples for applesauce:


I made my menu:

 and my list:

and on Saturday afternoon I closed the door behind my indoor chores and jumped in the rig with DH to soak up the rest of the day. It was 44° bout mid-morning and barely hit 70° for a high - it was a glorious day and I'll be darned if I was going to spend all of it cooped up.

We just made a circle on the north side of the ranch to look things over. We're weaning the beef calves this week so nice weather or not, I'll be up to my elbows in dish water and bread dough and DH and I will be like 2 ships passing in the night. We both look forward to our cow works and we both work hard to make everything flow smoothly, but we don't get to spend much time together.

It was so nice to see green pastures in October!


And dirt tanks filled with water


The calves are big and soggy


 The Corriente bulls  are enjoying some bachelor time


Some parts of our roads are washed out but a little ol' washed out road doesn't stop us for long:


A few minutes later we were back in business and before long we were headed back to the house. DH had spotted a calf with a gimpy leg so he loaded up a horse and went to fetch her while I tended to chores before dark. The days seem to have gotten short rather quickly so its nice to soak in these crisp fall days while we can.

On Sunday, we drove out to the east side of Chuckbox to check on some Corrientes.

I know y'all are tired of seeing photos of cows standing in grass, but we get pretty excited about that around here. Its not every year that you can drive down the road and only see the backs of cattle topping out over the grass:

We were short, but we were hauling the trailer and DH's horse so he trotted out to get a count on a bunch that I wasn't able to get to in the rig:

Then he came back for his leggings and drove the calves back to the house

so I took the rig home and tossed some apples in the oven to bake because its really hard to beat a really good baked apple!

Baked apples


Happy cattle

Happy hubby

These are a few of my favorite things.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Quilt List

With my UFO list dwindling down to 3, I'm looking forward to new projects and I've been building a list in my head for months. So, even though my sewing machine is gathering a few layers of dust right now, that hasn't stopped me from making plans! :)

1. I've always wanted to make a Jewel Box Quilt and this is the year I'm going to get it done. Well, perhaps getting it done is a bit of a stretch, and technically, it'll be NEXT year, but hopefully I can get it started. I've also discovered that I don't have a fall quilt. I made one, but I gave it away so fall colors are being pulled for this.

2. I've also got this S'mores quilt on my radar. I love the square in a square block.

I'll use my bin of Civil War -  Thimbleberry Type fabrics for the blocks. I'm not sure about what I'll use for the sashing, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Once I get a good stack of blocks made, I ought to have a better sense of what I want to use.This pattern is in the Feb 2013 issue of this magazine:

 3. About 3 or 4 years ago I bought a selection of these Farmer's Market fat quarters and they've been waiting patiently in a corner of the closet for a plan. I think I'm going to use a tilted block, but that's as far as I've gotten. Although I'm fairly certain this black and white dot fabric will figure into the equation.

4. This Christmas quilt made the list too.

It came from this book:

I'm making it with scrappy greens and reds and using a Rustic Weave from Moda for the background. Let's see if I can make a dent in my stash of red and green fabrics. Don't hold your breath.

-a while back, two friends and I met up and made a road trip to Lovington to my favorite quilt shop. They had never been there and its safe to say that repeat trips are already planned.

While we were there, I ran across these Rustic Weaves from Moda and I fell in love instantly. I want bolts of every color and Deann has every color. She loves them as much as I do. I only brought home 6 yards of a tan color on this trip, but you can bet that I'll be using a lot of this line for years to come. When I found this fat quarter bundle on sale, I caved:

5. Weaving the Rails is my leader-ender project. This is just a good old fashioned scrap quilt - the kind that will be great to grab when the weather turns during ranch rodeos, or when an impromptu tailgate picnic takes place when DH and I are out checking waters, or when little ones are off on safari and find themselves in need to a tent. I'm getting ahead of myself, but that's my kind of quilt. Its actually one of my UFOs, but I'm transferring it to this list.


6. I've got another Plus or Cross quilt on my list too. I fell in love with the first one, but since I had deconstructed an old UFO and just used the fabric I had, I wasn't able to make it as big as I would have liked so another one definitely gets a spot on the list:

7. Charleston Pavement - this one is already cut and ready for the first stitch. This is a great pattern for a jelly roll and heaven knows I've got a collection of those! This is a pattern from Shelly over at Prairie Moon Quilts on Etsy and I can't wait to get this one stitched up.


8. Summer House - I've got a  couple of  these Summer House Layer cakes that need to be in quilts instead of a bin so I headed over to Moda Bakeshop, in search of inspiration. Yep, I think this will do nicely. It ought to be a quick one to stitch.


9. Somewhere I also stumbled upon this pattern and I figured it might be a good idea to shop from my jelly roll collection to make it so these two are pairing up.


10. And I know of 2 little ones on the way so baby quilts need to be put under the needle as well.

And that... my friends, is how you end up with a new list of UFOs! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Weekend Away

Raise your hand if you've ever been to the International Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! It started this past Saturday and we were in Albuquerque this weekend...and never saw one balloon. LOL.

                                  Photo courtesy of Albuquerque Tourism and a New Mexico Real Estate ad.

We weren't there for the Fiesta though. We drove up so that DH could shoot in the High Desert Classic USPSA pistol match.

The range is outside of town and we spent all day Saturday and all morning on Sunday surrounded by tall burms and nary a balloon was spotted by any of us. I heard that they didn't fly on Sunday due to the winds, but our weekend was without wind and filled with the bluest sky you've ever seen. I don't have many pictures of the shoot because I filmed all of his stages, but suffice it to say, we had a fabulous time.

This was his first big match. He shot incredibly well and learned a lot. Heck, I learned a lot. And I think I've now been hired as the official video-ographer for all of his shoots. The pay's not much, but the perks are awesome! :) And it was good to meet so many new friends.

I brought a little stitching, but not a stitch was stitched.

We made a trip to the running store where I scored some spiffy new trail shoes though:

 I guess they're really not tennis shoes, but this is my first pair of shoes like this I've had in 15 years. I'm looking forward to putting some miles on them.

We've only been in Albuquerque twice in 10 years. We lived about 70 miles from there when we first married, and our son was born here exactly 24 years ago - we drove in on his birthday, but it's grown a lot and you all know that I don't do cities. Neither does DH. That poses a problem. :) And add to the equation, the insanity of the Balloon Fiesta traffic and you may have found me on the edge of hyperventilating a time or two.

We ate at Rudy's on Friday night because we just happened to drive by it.

I didn't know they had these in New Mexico. We are big fan's of Rudy's and apparently so is everyone else:

It was packed at 8 pm on Friday night, but the food was wonderful.


And on Saturday night, we were craving good New Mexican food and so we wandered down to Olde Town. It was just a few miles from where we were staying. With Balloon Fiesta in full swing, it was a gamble, but if you've never visited Albuquerque, Olde Town is one of the don't miss destinations if you want to soak in the ambiance of  New Mexico and Albuquerque.

Finding a place to park our monster truck among the tourists' compacts was a challenge, but a spot we did find. We were beat and hungry and still had to shoot the next day so browsing was not on the agenda, but I rarely go anywhere without thinking of y'all so I snapped a few photos.

Olde Town is essentially the old town square and this beautiful church stands at the North end and fills an entire block.

Its been 23 years since I've been down here and it seems some things never change. The Indians are still seated before their handcrafted wares along the walk:


The restaurants still entice shoppers with their outdoor invitation to stop and partake in a good margarita and a side of fresh guacamole with warm tortilla chips.


We asked a store owner for recommendations and Church St. Cafe was at the top of the list. So we strolled - because that is what one does in Olde Town - down the street towards it.

We didn't really want a cafe, but it looked cute

and so we wandered in to look at the menu and I was utterly charmed as soon as we stepped inside. I don't think men are 'charmed' by restaurants, but DH thought it was very nice and this is no cafe. We talked with the elderly lady, who happened to be the owner, up front while we waited for a table and found out that the building had originally been a home, built in 1907. Her daughter found it for sale decades ago and convinced her parents it would make a lovely restaurant. I concur.

There was outside seating and local music:

And the rooms were decorated beautifully with New Mexican flair:

We sat here:

And indulged in a bit of the local flavor. I'm not a drinker by any stretch of the imagination, but I just might have a weak spot for one good Sangria!

Guacamole and chips are a  given:

And our food was excellent!

Then we strolled back to the truck, drove to the hotel, and were sacked out in a matter of minutes because that alarm was set early for the second day of shooting.


It was a grand weekend!
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