Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pulling Fabric and Biscuit Baking at 3:30 a.m.

Our niece is expecting baby #2 in January. Bethany's always been such a neat kid and she is the first grandchild. She spent lots of time with us on the ranch during holidays and summers - treasured memories!  Alas, we don't get to see her much anymore, but when she had her first child, I made this quilt for him:


Bethany is a teacher now and she loves to fish so this was definitely the perfect quilt for her baby boy. Now he is going to be a big brother to a little sister and this is the quilt pattern I have chosen for her:

Bethany was very involved in 4-H and her Mama taught her how to sew. She sewed all sorts of clothes while she was growing up so I thought this little clothesline filled with cute little girl outfits would be just the ticket and now I am in the process of pulling fabrics. I love this part and end up creating quite a mess before I settle on my final selection.

Maybe this:

Perhaps this:

It's a start:

I'm trying to shop at home. My bins of fabric hold their breath when I open their lids and wonder who will I choose?

Oh, boy! I think I've been spending too much time inhaling bleach fumes. I've been cooking for a crew all week and if my fabric is beginning to talk, that's probably the first sign that I need a break. :)

The second sign? Well this morning I stumbled into the kitchen at 3:30 and starting mixing up a batch of biscuits. Gosh they looked nice as I popped them into the oven. Time ticked away and said biscuits wouldn't brown. And they were flat. Who messes up biscuits? -Raises hand- Then it hit me. I had added cornstarch instead of the called for baking powder. Seriously? Yup. Yes, I know. The cornstarch container looks nothing like the baking powder container.


That's what happens when a 50 yr old has too many 3:30 am wake up calls in a row. And I've still got 2 more days this week.

I texted my friend M, who was also up at that ungodly hour slaving away over a hot stove, feeding a cowboy crew in Texas. I knew she would commiserate with my situation. She's so tired and has cooked so much that she said she even cooked in her dreams. We're a sad lot us two, but I love and miss her and we are planning an escape in the not too distant future. And what do you wanna bet we'll get together and end up talking about food!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Speedy Baby Quilt

After all these weeks...almost 2 feels strange to be stitching something again.

One of my co-workers became a grandma for the first time recently and we all know that babies are to be welcomed with much celebration...and a quilt, so this was a good reason to get back behind the sewing machine.

I actually have 2 other quilts that are recently bound, but I haven't taken any pictures yet.

The Mama decorated the nursery in pinks and grays so I dug deep in my stash to come up with enough variety. My collection of pinks and grays is itty bitty and the pickings are slim, but I think this works:

 I did pick up this print from Hobby Lobby for a backing:

And I used this tutorial for Amy Smart's Vintage Star Baby Quilt  although I combined the two by using one star and the other border.

Jackie chose this sweet design that adds the perfect whimsical touch:

And I used the only pink print that I had enough of for the binding:


It finished at 40"  square- I do wish it was a tad larger. Babies don't stay tiny for long, but I'll definitely be making this one again.

I rarely sit down and sew for very long at a time. Seems I'm always jumping up to tend to this or that. This time DH called and asked if I'd unsaddle his horse. He was checking on a fence project between us and the neighbors and it had started to rain. Then I got sidetracked and started whacking weeds with the grub hoe.

Let's see how much I can stitch before the next interruption and I'm not complaining - not even a little because I know how spoiled I am, not to mention thankful, and loving on the horses is always a good way to spend at least a little bit of each day.

So this little quilt came together rather quickly and it felt good to sit behind the sewing machine again after 7 weeks and another little baby girl is now officially wrapped in love and a quilt!!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Now What?

Now that I've ended the Africa Chronicles I feel at somewhat of a loss and I'm not sure where to jump back into my life but its time to get back in the saddle:

We're still pinching ourselves that we were able to experience Africa, but we've got a busy week next week with our Fall Works in full swing and its time to turn our attention back to matters at hand. We had 4 smaller days a few weeks ago and now we're making a full sweep and getting everything weaned and ready for shipping.

This little fella's been hanging around the house and greeting us when we walk out the door in the mornings. DH noticed him and snapped this shot. We've got about 40 cottontails and at least that many jackrabbits scurrying around headquarters, but we've never seen a wild bald faced cottontail:


We've been doing lots of this:

The Cockleburrs have all seeded out and they can no longer be sprayed so we've been making the rounds and pulling the strays:


DH has pretty much eradicated them on the south side of the ranch, The North Camp man is in charge of the north side, but he recently packed up after 3 years and we've come to the conclusion that we will be spending many days spraying cockleburrs next spring on the north side. There are too many to pull now and they are 4-6' tall and just as wide. He and his sweet wife spent many a hour spraying them, but 100 sections is a lot of country to cover! Last Sunday, DH and I spent a beautiful afternoon scouting the edge of water spillways for the invasive weed:

 Meet the newly crowned cockleburr queen...a title I earned by default. :)

We couldn't have asked for a prettier day:

And this little burrowing owl was making the most of it, basking in the sunshine before taking to the skies in search of his supper:

We took a break from our weed pulling duties as the sun began to sink over the horizon:


And DH did a little dove hunting:


Storms were dancing in the west:

Its a pretty good way to close out the day and although Africa was absolutely incredible, home's pretty amazing too.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Adventures in Africa : Part 8

Welcome to the last installment of our adventure in Zimbabwe. I can hear your collective sighs of, "Finally!" LOL

edited: Warning: today's post contains trophy shots. I had an unhappy reader leave me a comment and let me know that this post was inappropriate so I have moved the photos down in case you do not wish to continue reading. I apologize for not doing so initially.
On the evening of day 10, as we were heading back to camp, we spotted a warthog close to the road. DH made a good shot and it all happened so fast that no one realized just how big of a warthog he was:

Yes, I know he is ugly, but he's kinda cute in his own warthog way and those tusks and warts are huge!

On day 12 we moved to the main camp, Camp Pedza to explore a different part of the concession.
 Camp Pedza is very nice:


We slept well, but missed our tent and the accompanying hippo and elephant sound effects although we traded them for hyena laughter:

Our dining facilities:


I would love to have a spot like this at the ranch, but I can't imagine keeping it clean. The way the dirt and wind blows, I don't think it would work.

Plus, we don't have Bushbabies!


This camp has a few resident Bushbabies that entertained us around the fire in the evenings, but capturing them with a camera is a challenge. Popcorn is placed at the base of a tree and you sit and stare at it and then, POP. They jump from the neighboring trees and snatch a kernel and before you can say Boo, they catapult a good 10 ft.back into the tree with their treasure.


So we have lots of photos like this:


The pictures I did get aren't great, but I was tickled to get any at all. I would just point the camera and see nothing but black and DH would lean over and whisper, "NOW" and I would press the shutter.


We spent some time sitting in the shade of a river bed

  where we spied some Bushbuck tracks and were treated to some playful Baboons gallivanting about in the jungle of trees across from us:

They were hard to see through the camera lens so I just pointed it in the direction of the tree and hoped there would be baboons when I loaded them:

We were surprised to run across a pack of African Wild Dogs:


They are indigenous to the area and generally nocturnal:


And we closed out our phenomenal hunt with this handsome Impala:


And so we have come to the end of our journey. Thanks for sticking with me as I documented our African Safari! DH and I will no doubt be revisiting our experience again and again, but y'all won't have to suffer through that although I do have this panel

and have plans to turn it into a quilt, but hopefully you won't mind one more nod to Africa if its in quilt form. I don't usually pick up panels, but I bought this one probably 4 years ago, hoping we would one day get to see the real thing and it'll probably be another 4 years before it becomes a quilt. :)

The following translates to 'goodbye mate' or 'stay well my friend' in Shona. Thank you.

Sarai zvakanaka my shamwari! Tatenda for joining us!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Adventures in Africa: Part 7

Ready to spend a little time on a boat?

cruising the Zambezi?

We never have the opportunity to spend time on the water so this was quite a treat.

One little boat

One big river that was half a mile wide in many places


filled with crocodiles

and hippos.


We went out 3 times and one day the winds got pretty feisty. Not a place you want to capsize and the whitecaps, known as white horses, were kicking up their heels. The new friends we met, who had also lost their luggage were on the river a few days before we were and they actually experienced engine trouble while on the river. They said they had to improvise with a fishing pole and a flip flop for a makeshift paddle. LOL. And don't ask me why there aren't oars in the boat to begin with.

I will admit that I was quite taken by the hippos:

They were everywhere:

And they were so cute:


and that cuteness is deceiving because when they are on land, they are HUGE and incredibly dangerous:


We often just floated by them and watched them lounging in the water. The river wasn't very deep in those places because they are standing on the bottom, but in other places, it was deeper than I wanted to know. That was the case when we passed through  "The Gates" where the river narrowed and ran between 2 mountains - Zimbabwe on the left and Zambia on the right.

We saw a bushbuck and a waterbuck from the boat and pulled up to the bank to track them a couple of times, but we were right on the border of Mozambique and couldn't follow them.

Anyone up for a trip in a dugout canoe?


Mozambique was on the other side of the river at this point and of course we saw a monster Kudu on that side one afternoon:


Gorgeous! These are the Red Cliffs :

When I saw one photo on the computer screen, I cropped it and realized I had captured a pair of rare black eagles in flight:

Such a beautiful place! We even baited a couple of fishing hooks and threw our lines in the water in hopes of catching a Tiger fish or two, but no such luck.


It was incredible to experience some time on the river


and top it off with an African sunset on the Zambezi


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