Friday, October 30, 2015

Helping the Boss

No ranch help means that I am called into action more than usual these days. Poor DH really does deserve better help, but hey...I'm cheap labor! And we've worked together for 30 years so he's stuck with me.

The horses needed a little tlc:

Combing out witches' knots:


And we needed to process the heifers. The pictures aren't great because I'm not very skilled when it comes to moving cattle through an alley, sliding gates, spraying them, and taking pictures at the same time. I always thought I was a decent multi-tasker, but apparently not. DH brought them up in small bunches:

   While I worked the gates and brought them into the alley:

We just run them through the chute, pour on Cydectin and give them a quick vaccination:


And then DH drove them out of the pens:


 about 5 miles to El Tank


where I picked him up:

Happy heifers:


We finished up just before noon and were thankful that there were leftovers for dinner. After dinner, I had a date with the lawn mower. We've had a spectacular year in the rain department and I've spent a lot of time behind this thing. Hopefully I'll be putting it away for the winter after this round. I can't get over how green everything is around here at the end of October.


I am loving these shorter days, but it seems like we aren't getting much done. I guess it makes for more sewing time in the evenings, but I just don't sew once the sun goes down unless its hand stitching bindings or working on a cross stitch project. Speaking of...I haven't done any cross stitching since last winter. I left a project partially undone.


 This seems like a good time to pick it back up. I might even stitch past 9 tonight...unless I'm needed early in the morning. Guess I better check with the boss. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Family Tradition Quilt

For those of you finding your way here for the first time through Amy's Quilt Festival, welcome! The quilt I entered in the festival has a story and I wanted to share the reason I had to make it with y'all. We ranch in the southwestern desert and ranching is a way of life for us. Its not only what we do, but it is who we are and the kids have always been a part of everything we do.

I had to document our girl flanking calves.

She's been holding calves in the branding pen for a long time:

The kids learned the ropes at an early age


And they learned well

They grew up in the saddle

And spent many a day learning the fundamentals of horsemanship

and of one ornery mule:

Teaching the kids the family business and working together as a family has been  one of the greatest blessings through the years:


So when my friend, Shelly, of Prairie Moon Quilts, designed this quilt and shared it over at Riley Blake , I began rifling through my stash immediately:

It was a given that I was going to make it. It could not be more perfect! I spent a bit of time getting the letters cut out for the applique during the NFR:


I loved every minute I worked on it and I had a vision for what I thought might work for the quilting. I rarely take a quilt to Jackie with a vision. I hand them over to her and tell her to do as she pleases and every single time, she chooses the perfect design. However, this time I asked her about quilting a barbed wire pattern.

 I had a picture of the sashing in a quilt I had seen at a quilt show years ago that I showed to her and she sketched it out on a sticky note. She and her daughter, Sandy, who is a teacher, and a quilter,  worked up a plan together after we met and when I picked up the quilt a few weeks ago, I was so tickled with the outcome that I may have gotten a little teary eyed. Look at this fabulous quilted barbed wire!

 Sandy quilted the perfect design in the stars as well and the combination, just puts an already perfect quilt over the top.


I chose a denim blue I had in my stash for the backing and a red denim for the binding. The brown thread was the perfect choice and looks wonderful on the back too.

The quilt measures 70 x 80 and I'm over the moon about how it turned out:

And no quilt photo shoot is complete without a little wind in these parts:                                  


Shelly, thank you for designing the perfect quilt for us!

I'm entering this quilt in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival. Its always such a great source of inspiration so pop on over there and enjoy the show. Thank you for stopping in for a visit and thank you for letting me share a little piece of our life at the end of the dirt road.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Wet Thursday Morning

We fell asleep to the sound of rain again on Tuesday night, but this time the storm blew in fast and hard and LOUD!

All you Texas folks who have been waiting for rain...hang on to your's headed your way. The news mentioned 12" in places. Hunker down and stay safe. That's a lot of rain.

Thunder roared and lightening cracked all night. It was the kind of storm that used to send our kiddos popping out of their beds and scampering into ours when they were small. Heck, it even made me burrow under the covers a bit deeper and I'm a hard sleeper.

Don't remember if I've ever shared this tale, but I padded into the kitchen one morning and told DH that I smelled a skunk. He looked at me in disbelief and took my hand, leading me back into the bedroom, and pointing out the window by the bed. There lay a dead skunk. He said he couldn't believe that I didn't hear him last night. I asked him what happened and he said he smelled the skunk late last night and went out with his flashlight that could blind you if you were on the moon and his shotgun and chased the skunk around. He said he even shot more than once. Yes, right outside the bedroom...with a shotgun... and I never heard a thing. Sound sleeper? Just a little. :)

We were anxious to make the rounds and check tank water, but we'll have to wait a day or two for the roads to set up a bit so we headed south to a town about 80 miles away to pick up our beef from the meat market on Wednesday morning. Thankfully the rain held off long enough for us to get home and get it into the deep freeze. We had to use the bunkhouse freezer too and there still wasn't enough room for even one extra ice cube.

And yes, I should have defrosted it first. Sure hope I won't be needing that brisket anytime soon though, because it's at the bottom!

We used to have 2 big freezers but one went out years ago and we never replaced it because we always split our beef with the family at North Camp. Since no one's there, we get the whole thing, but we are very thankful because the price of beef at the store is crazy. I don't know if those prices will drop, but recently the cattle market has.

Its always a good day when we are greeted with a photo op like this:


Its the first time we've seen the sun since Sunday.

It was 42° this morning. DH went to check a well, but there's not going to be much running around today. I've got enough stew left over from yesterday and I'm taking advantage of the free time and working a bit on Ginger Belle. I'm going to be spending some quality time with my iron today:


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hanging Up My Apron

The pastures have been gathered and the calves are weaned. Our pens are filled with bawling calves and the weather has finally taken a turn towards fall. My kitchen has been wiped clean of flour, my stove has been scoured, and I am hanging up my apron for a few days.

 I thought about running away to a quilt show in a town about 90 miles away, but I'm just too tuckered out.

Conversation after supper while we were clearing the dishes in the kitchen:
Me: I think there's a quilt show in Clovis this weekend.
DH: I'm not going.
Me: * Chuckling* I know, but if I were unable to drive, would you take me?
DH: Yes. *Brief pause with the beginnings of an eye twinkle* Because I know I don't have to.
Cue our laughter.
And a minute later, as he walks past me with his mug of ice cream, he piped up, "But if it was important to you, I would take you."

And that's reason 254 - I'm thinking of keeping him. :)

 He is helping the neighbors today and he'll probably be home about noon. Hopefully we'll be able to sneak in a nap and then make a circle to check cattle and waters.

Since he left just after 4 this morning, and I didn't have to feed anyone, my kitchen stayed dark and quiet and I slipped in behind my sewing machine. Lots of 4-patches are made:

 I am working on my Ginger Belle quilt - making hourglass blocks

 and beginning to put some blocks together.

I just finished listening to an audio book called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I ran across it at the Johannesburg airport while browsing through the bookstore and the title intrigued me so I made a mental note to add it to my list. Here's Amazon's review

Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite. --Lauren Nemroff

It is written by a Canadian author and narrated by Jane Entwistle, whom I adored. I was utterly charmed by her accent as well as the author's ability to turn a phrase. It's a delightful book. I love mysteries but I just can't do the gory ones or books with awful language and this one has neither so it gets 2 thumbs up in my book.

There are enough leftovers that I won't have to cook this weekend and that just tickles me to pieces. I think I'm going to smell like bleach forever after washing mountains of dishes for days.

If anyone is looking for me, you can find me...correction,


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Weekend Happenings

This week I've got a crew again so that always insures we'll have a busy weekend. With no help, this place keeps us hopping. We had a leak in the pens and leaks are always given priority.

These are the kinds of things lots of people don't care to tend to. 


Staying on top of water and cockleburrs and fences along with the cattle are all in a day's work. If one part is neglected, it throws the whole operation off.


Its hard to find someone who's self motivated enough to stay on top of a multitude of ranch tasks without DH breathing down their necks. He's got enough to tend to and its nice when he doesn't have to tell people what needs to be done. And yes, some of it is not fun, but its a trade off and you've got to love the lifestyle. Its not all fun and games, but little in life is and the jobs we don't enjoy...well we do our best to make them fun and at the end of the day, we can close our eyes and know we are blessed.

On Sunday we loaded cattle to take to the sale barn. DH and I both took in a trailer load and I just planned on staying in and loading up on groceries since I would already be in town. And then I blew a tire:


Not fun under any circumstances, but that's especially the case when you're hauling a trailer load of cattle. That's the only photo you get because I was busy getting the spare and jack out before DH arrived.

It was actually a blessing though because DH was just a mile or so ahead of me and he came to the rescue. I've changed my share of tires, but never with a loaded trailer and I've fairly certain I wouldn't be able to operate the ancient jack that DH is so fond of. That thing scares me.

So it wasn't long before we were back in business and off to the sale barn. The grocery store was not much fun either, but I had a fairly long list and spent over $300. Doesn't look like $322.00 does it:


These are great bags and I find it funny that I found them in New Mexico. LOL. The checker loaded them up because $300 fit into 5 bags.


Our girl was home this weekend and she introduced us to the newest member of the family. Meet Harvey:

 The child was lonely and apparently could not resist this face:


We shook our heads when she told us and she said she could see us rolling our eyes from across the state. And yes, we too, fell under his spell:

He's well behaved - at 11 weeks old, he is potty trained, fetches, sits and lays down on command. And yes, he is all Basset Hound:


He walked out to the barn with me when I was tending to chores, promptly found where DH had been shoeing horses, and claimed the treasure of a hoof and once he found it, he was not going anywhere without it:

                      we really have to go?

It was a good weekend and we're ready to face another week of fall works. I had a small crew yesterday so I made cookies on Sunday, made them breakfast Monday morning, made fresh salsa, left them dinner in the crockpot, and went on in to work. Makes for a long day.

But my biscuits rose this mornig and I feel like I just might make it through the rest of the week.
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