Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Saddle Up Western Quilt in Progress

I finally carved out some time to actually work on the western quilt I posted about weeks ago. After that post, I never touched it, but I managed to get it cut out this weekend and started making blocks.

Monday was a crazy long day at the Sale Barn. We sold 1316 HD and it was 7:30 when I left. The sales are always longer in the fall and we were all pooped by the end of the day. If you've never been to a sale barn, just know that the pace is wild and never stops unless a rogue bull goes ballistic and jumps fences. As they say - all's well, ends well and everyone stayed safe. Back in the day they sold 3 or 4 times that many and the sales lasted until 4 or 5 next morning. Sure glad I wasn't working there then!

This is a free pattern, called Whimsical Quilt. I found it HERE and I chose it specifically to showcase some of the western fabrics I have collected through the years. It's constructed one block at a time so the sewing's a little different than the quilts I usually make.

One of DH's cousins is battling cancer and I thought I would make this for him so now I'm on a mission to get it done fast. Winters in Nebraska get cold so I'm thinking Minky (what's the proper way to spell that anyway?) or flannel will end up on the back.

The one thing I didn't like about this pattern was that I wasn't able to listen to an audio book while I worked on it. I had to pay pretty close attention to which piece went where for each step of the block making process. Even so, I ended up using the stitch ripper more than once.

However, stitching one seam and one block at a time also allows you to make good progress on your leader-ender project:

But 4 blocks have been made and there are only 12 in the quilt so I hope to have the top finished in a few days.

This afternoon I"m sewing in between batches of M&M Cookies with 2 goals. Make 4 more blocks and don't burn any cookies. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees...

But apparently it DOES grow in the dryer! Wish my dryer always looked like this when I opened it! When the kids were little, I always told them that I got to keep anything that came out of their pockets, hoping that they would empty them of their treasures before they were washed. Alas, I still found rocks and sticks, discarded grasshoppers, and plenty of dirt, not to mention the occasional cast off calf ear tip or two if we happened to be branding.

By the time they were 10, they were doing their own laundry. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Works Continued

Seems I just haven't been able to carve out much computer time lately, hence I'm only now getting my 2nd post up abut last week, this week. Be forewarned that there are a lot of photos in this post. Ya'll know I tend to get a little camera happy when they let me out of the kitchen.

We fought the fog all last week. On Thursday, it was accompanied by an inch of rain that started as the crew jingled in the door for breakfast. It just sat over the top of us for a couple of hours and the stories flew around the dining room table for almost 3 hours as the thunder boomed and the lightening cracked close enough to make the hair on my head stand up. The electricity went out 2 or 3 times, but never for too long. I told them if they were feeling restless I would gladly put them on kitchen duty. Luckily, for them, the storm moved off, but it came close to shutting us down for the day. They were a jovial bunch though, as rain is always a cause for celebration around here:

Our last day to work, was Saturday and the fog once again delayed the boys' morning start. I hauled them to the east end of the ranch where they were going to gather Antelope (a pasture, not the animal) :) Still, once we arrived at the drop off point, the fog kept the crew from heading out for a couple of hours.

So what do cowboys do, when they are idle?

They talk about the weather, cattle prices, pasture conditions and the best horse they ever owned:

They tell stories:

that make everyone break out in laughter:

It's not a bad way to spend a morning:

Our girl was able to sneak away from her graduate studies for 2 days in order to help on the last day of weaning:

She's in her element when she's in the saddle:

Finally, the sun began to work it's magic in the east and DH led the way:

Once the fog lifted, the prettiest fall morning you ever saw was upon us:

And the boys and their horses were raring to go:

And they're probably happy to be escaping the range of my camera lens:

 I wasn't in any hurry to head back to the house:

SO very thankful to the good Lord for allowing us to live this lifestyle:

And for this fella:

I am just a tiny bit smitten with him:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Foggy Morning

Last week they weaned the beef cattle, and as you can probably surmise, I go nowhere without my camera in tow. :) And this morning, my chauffeuring duties were called upon so I left the breakfast dishes in the sink to soak and headed out in the fog:

I followed the crew to a spot about 6 miles from the house and dropped my rig, jumping in with the boys.

 It took us an hour to drive 6.5 miles to their drop off point. The road's pretty rough and when you're hauling a 24' trailer loaded with horses and driving between 3-10 mph, it takes a while. :)

And the boys had the added joy of working in the fog which makes for a slow start:

Old Gray is asking, "And you expect me to find cattle HOW in this?!"

A few of the crew even drove past the road that brings them to headquarters when they drove in for breakfast. It's no wonder with these conditions.

Gearing up for a long ride this morning. DH said they rode close to 30 miles between the morning and afternoon gather. Makes for a long day for both horse and rider. The fellas have at least  4 horses that they rotate using one in the morning, another in the afternoon, and 2 fresh ones the following day.

I wished them luck as they headed out and crept back through the fog to where I had left my outfit before heading back to the house:

Initially, before the fog became a part of the equation, DH thought they'd be ready for dinner at 11, and with me being away for 2 hours, I was going to have to scramble a bit, but it was 1:30 before they rolled in. DH is good about calling and letting me know if things change. Around here, dinner needs to be ready anywhere between 10 and 3. I always say that the difference between a good meal and a GREAT meal is about 3 hours. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Kitchen Is Closed!

The sun has set on the last day of our fall works for 2016:

The last biscuit has been baked:

The last cinnamon roll has been devoured:

The syringes have been washed:

The floor has been scrubbed:

The stove has been scoured:

And my kitchen is closed until further notice:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 2 is Upon Us

Rise and Shine! If you were up at 4 a.m. I sure could have used your help in the kitchen!

It always takes me a few minutes to become coherent at that hour. I'm not a coffee drinker. I love the smell of it, but cannot stand the taste of it and no amount of doctoring will change that. I make a batch of biscuits each morning to go along with breakfast and a batch of rolls to accompany dinner at noon. By Saturday night, I'm betting I'll never want to see another biscuit or roll!

1 meal down. 11 more to go. I've just got one fella in the bunkhouse and leftovers served on paper plates are what's for supper so I'm only counting breakfast and dinner.

On Saturday morning I made another pre-dawn trip into town for round 2 of grocery shopping. When I walked in, the lady at the front greeted me. I was giving my list a final glance and looked up to respond. She looked too and said, "Is THAT your list?!" I replied, "Yes, ma'am." She laughed, "Lord have mercy! Good luck! I'll see you in 2 hours." That's about what I had figured, but I knocked it out in 1 hour and 40 minutes to the tune of :

And then another $180 at Sam's. Hopefully that'll get me through 6 days. We went into town to visit folks and catch some of the ranch rodeo, but were home by 10 and asleep not long after. I woke up at 11, needing a drink of water and the electricity was out and it stayed out until just before 10 on Sunday morning.
Sunday was the final coop cleaning day before winter sets in:

And DH tended to the back breaking chore of trimming and shoeing horses:

While I scurried back into the kitchen to cook a couple of roasts for barbecue sandwiches for today as well as cook the potatoes for potato salad, and get Buttermilk pie into the oven:

It was a busy weekend, but the week ahead promises to be even busier. Reminds me of the book I read a few years ago by  Grace Snyder, titled,  No Time on My Hands. To paraphrase her philosophy, it's a blessing to be busy and have no time on your hands and I wholeheartedly agree...and I recommend the book as well! The crew'll be here in about half an hour so I'm headed back into the kitchen to get things warmed back up and after dinner it'll be time to start working on tomorrow's menu!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What I'm Working On...Maybe

Between cooking up a storm and working outside, there hasn't been much time to play with fabric. These cooler fall days are a welcome respite from the heat of summer and I am loath to miss a minute of it. But DH has been helping the neighbors this week and he's out the door by 4. He laughs and tells me to stay snuggled under the covers, but I just can't do that so what's a girl to do with almost 3 hours before daylight?

Get dressed.Throw in some laundry. Bible Study.Wash the floors. Clean the bathroom. Make the bed. That still leaves an hour and a half. :) I finally made my way to my sewing machine. Alas, I probably ought to tackle the piles that have grown up around it:

How does it get like this when I'm not sewing? It's been over 2 weeks since I've sewn a stitch. Clearing this pile could very well take all day so I veto that idea and riffle through a stack of patterns:

Pick a pattern. Any pattern. Let's start a new project! The fact that my bins of western fabric are overflowing, led me to the conclusion that I need to get these under control:

I think this pattern:

 will let me showcase some of the fabrics so I begin to pull:

And I realize that I will likely never need to buy another western fabric ever again! :)
I may change my mind, but let the cutting begin!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Yum! Two thumbs up! Sinful! Is that  enough of an endorsement to convince you that this is a recipe worth making?

I found this recipe Thursday night that I had pinned. It originates here:  Some the Wiser, and I whipped them up Friday morning for the crew.

And let me just say that these will be in regular rotation around here. I have a recipe binder where I keep all of our family favorites and this one made the cut before they even cooled from the oven.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

 Muffin Batter
2 C flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled
1 egg
1 C milk

Topping and filling
1 C brown sugar, loosely packed
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 C coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I left these out because I've got a crew member this round who is allergic to nuts)
3 Tbsp melted butter

2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 400. Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until well combined. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
In a small bowl, combine all the topping and filling ingredients. Gently fold half of the mixture into the batter. Line each muffin cup with muffin liner. Spoon batter into each cup and top with remaining topping. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to wire cooling rack. Whisk together all frosting ingredients and drizzle over the top of each muffin. Pencil in a long brisk walk because you're going to eat more than one!

I will never abandon my cinnamon roll recipe, but there is room for both in my heart...and my stomach! We'll ignore the hips for the moment. Hence, the mention of that long brisk walk. Licking your fingers is encouraged. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fall Works: Part 1

This last week we weaned the Corrientes. 5 long days that started early and ended late, but the cattle are in good shape, the pastures are green and everyone stayed safe. Seems like ya'll always get pictures of the boys riding out before sunrise:

But the air was crisp with the promise of fall and I never tire of these desert skies. After I had hauled them out to West Bull, I scurried back to the kitchen to clean up after breakfast and get started on dinner. I try to get everything done efficiently on the off chance that I can sneak out for a few minutes with my camera if they happen to be working around the house:

And a few minutes is about all I get so I snap pictures with wild abandon

I was a long way off and hoped that my camera would yield some decent shots

The boys gathered and sorted::

Teamwork is always the name of the game:

No doubt humans and horses were tired at the end of the week:

Everything gets run into the pens:

Under the stealthy eyes of our resident storyteller:

 And funneled into the alley:

Where the ground crew dispenses the medicine: 2 shots and pour-on:

The weaned calves then settle into the pens with plenty of hay for a few days where we keep a close eye on them.

We always pray that we don't have any get sick. It's a little noisy for the first day or two as the calves bawl for their mamas, but soon peace and quiet reigns over headquarters once more:

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