Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2016

Well the last couple of weeks certainly blew by fast! I've not had a minute to even sit in front of the computer. I don't know how ya'll do it over the holidays. We had a house full of company since the 23rd and before that, I was busy getting ready for the house full of company. We had 7 staying here plus a new puppy,  a 2 yr old, 1 bathroom, and  it was wonderful! The kids left on the afternoon of the 26th after spending a morning working on their pistol skills. Around here, 'home on the range' includes the gun range:

I took my mom to Ruidoso for the day on the 27th. That is such a pretty little town, just 90 miles from here and there was just enough snow to make it magical, but not enough to make driving or walking treacherous.

Image result for Ruidoso

On the 28th we were hit hard with a nasty stomach bug. Very thankful it was after Christmas and the kids were gone although DD thinks she brought the virus with her. She was the first to get it after she left the ranch. On the 29th I took my mom to the airport.  Whew. It took a while to get beds put back together and cots put away and then pack away all the Christmas decorations, not to mention bleaching down the house and everything in it.

But I hope ya'll all had a blessed Christmas. I know that we sure did! With little kids and puppies and family, it's always a ton of fun. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures...the tree that our North Camp man brought me was simply perfect. Our ceilings are 9 ft and we had to cut a foot off of the tree in order to squeeze it into place:

And then a few more inches to accommodate the star:

30 years of Christmas memories with a story behind each one:

Christmas with a 2 yr old, especially this 2 yr old, was magical:

And a Christmas puppy that always found a willing lap:

And made himself right at home:

And no, he's not staying here although Skeet thought he was his Christmas present. :)

It's been a while since we've viewed Christmas through the eyes of a little one:

He's incredibly sweet:

And tidy! He put every piece of paper in the trash as he unwrapped each gift without being told:

I tried, but his Mama wouldn't let me keep him:

Our annual puzzle piecing party was a hoot. Our North Camp Man, Dane, is single and he was here so we adopted him for Christmas. Poor fella. Don't think he was ready for the insanity, but then again, he fit right in so I hope he felt like part of the family. At one point, DH told him he was fired due to 'poor puzzle ethics'. LOL.

And I'll leave you with what is probably sums up our Christmas the best. This picture that our girl captured just cracks me up:


Wishing you all a Blessed New Year as you ring in 2017! I think I'll be starting mine with a nap!

Friday, December 16, 2016

It's Beginning to Look A Little Like Christmas

But the 45 mph sustained winds make me wonder if we're going to end up at the North Pole. We had 60-75 mph gusts, and many of them, today. There was enough dirt in the air to block out the sun. Not a fun day to be a rancher. We're bracing for one more day of the same tomorrow. It was over 70 today and our high will be about 32 on Sunday...minus the wind, please.

We have our tree, but it just got put up a few days ago.We're a real tree family and we usually make a  trip to the mountains to cut one, but this year we received an unexpected gift. Our North Camp fella went to Colorado to visit family for Thanksgiving and lo and behold, he brought us back a 9' fresh cut Christmas tree! His family had gone on their traditional tree cutting trip and he cut one for us. I could not have been more surprised or tickled! He actually made me cry. What an incredibly sweet and thoughtful thing for a single young man to do! He and DD are friends and I asked her if she didn't want to reconsider that friendship. LOL.

So his sweet gift was soaking on the porch for a few weeks before we put it up.

I didn't want it to dry out before Christmas, but I've made many, many trips to the shed hauling Christmas decorations to the house these past few days. I love Christmas! I love that we celebrate the birth of our Savior most of all although He should be celebrated each and every day. Still, I love decking the halls and pulling out the memories of the past 30 years of Christmases together.

I'm binding a Christmas quilt right now and hope to share it soon, but here's a peek into some of the spaces I've decorated.

My mud room / laundry room is the first room you walk in to and I like having a tree in here along with these Merry Christmas blocks I made a few years ago:

 My kitchen has gotten even cozier with the addition of Christmas decor, but I spend a lot of time here. A dear friend made this little table mat and it fits perfectly under my crock of utensils:

This poor Walmart cabinet has seen better days, but it gets spruced up a bit during the holidays:

I liked the plate rack when I bought it as I didn't have room for them in the cabinets.

I am thinking of having a replica built by the same gentleman who made this cabinet for me a few years ago:

I was looking for a microwave cart  for years to no avail and one day I went to pick up my sewing machine table that this dear man had made me. I saw their kitchen cabinets and he said that he had built them. I fell in love with them and when I mentioned a microwave cart, he said, "Something like this?" and turned me around to see this one. Perfect! So he built me one and I LOVE it. It holds my bread dough bowl and some canned jams and applesauce as well as the microwave. It also houses my silverware in the top drawer

And odds and ends - mostly canning supplies - in a top drawer behind the doors::

As well as my Bosch mixer, blender, pressure cooker, and stew pot on a handy pull out tray down below:

So I think a cabinet with a plate rack might be my next request as this one is getting close to collapsing.

Here's my kitchen window:

I made that valance over 20 years ago, but I've never found anything that I like better so it gets drug out every year. And my string of chile ornaments is older still:

Another favorite is this retro canning jar made into a snow globe by my mil 20 years ago too.

And you've already seen my hot water heater nook:

The rest of the house is ready too, but the only other pictures I have are of my cookie cutter nativity:

It's the first thing I set out every Christmas and the last thing I put up. I'll  try to get back here before Christmas, but if I don't, I want to wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas. May the magic of this season bring you and yours joy as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Branding Late Calves

On Saturday we branded some of the late calves over at North Camp.

DH called me at 11:30 and said it'd be at least 3 before they got in for dinner. Another thick fog had rolled in about daylight and they were grounded, unable to gather the pasture. Apparently, Dane built a fire and they all sat around and told stories until the fog burned off. DH called me again at 2 and asked me to bring some extra medicine to the pens. Yay! Since dinner was ready and HAD been ready since 11, I was free to grab my camera and escape the kitchen.

It was 20 degrees in the morning and these two broke out their Stormy Kromer hats to keep their heads and ears warm:

I took 328 pictures.

I guess I'm the dirt road version of the paparazzi. I think I went a little overboard, but I promise you don't have to sit through nearly that many. :)

 I've managed to whittle it down to 108, but you don't have to scroll through all of those either:

I have lots of framed photos on the walls and I'm working on adding a collage of photos of the crew working cattle through the years to a big wall in the mudroom, which is the first room you walk into when you enter our home:

DH told me there wasn't a wall big enough anywhere for the pictures I've taken and I'll admit, it's going to be a big job weeding through them all:

They didn't get in to eat until after dark, but I had just made fajitas so I warmed them up and the boys devoured them. Not as good as they would have been fresh off the grill. but it had been 11 hours since breakfast. They were ravenous and when you're that hungry, whatever you're eating, is the best thing ever! :) The chips and salsa and guacamole bowls were scraped clean.

We had the Safari Club Christmas Party that evening. but they celebrated without us. By the time we got the branding smoke off,

all we wanted to do was curl up under a quilt, but these kinds of days

Are fun for everyone

and it's a good kind of tired at the end of the day

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Mexico Chile for the Christmas Tree

Around here, we like chile on everything...even the Christmas Tree:

We were in Santa Fe 30 years ago at Christmastime and walked into a store that had hundreds of these chile ornaments dangling from the ceiling and I fell in love with them.

Through the years I have made at least that many... probably more, and through the years I had given all of them away except for this little ristra that hangs in my kitchen each Christmas.

It was once much fuller, but I kept pilfering chiles from it to give away. I thought I could always make more, but the beads were no longer available. I even scoured the Internet to no avail. I would find one or 2 sizes, but not the rest. I had kept my little container of leftover beads for 20+ years hoping to make more

Then I found them late last year, ordered a bunch, and set to making them back in February:

I set up a little production line for a few weeks and watched John Wayne, Tom Selleck, and a Hallmark movie or two:

Now I have enough to fill a bathtub. Not really, but I have quite a few!

Yesterday, one of the dayworkers was standing at the sink, rinsing out his glass and he said, "My mother used to make these!" I asked him if he had any of them and he said no, so I added a few to his coat pocket to take home.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy Week

I know that things get busy for everyone this time of year, but our busy-ness this week has nothing to do with Christmas. Monday was nuts at work. We sold 1476 hd of cattle and it was after 8 p.m. when I left the sale barn. It's such a fast pace and requires lots of focus. I feel like I work on Wall Street and I always need to decompress and take some deep breaths on the way home. I'm not complaining because I really enjoy my job, but...Whew!
Image result for Roswell Livestock Sale Barn

Then Tuesday morning was dedicated to making a list for town  and making something for our dinner, with enough for leftovers because I knew I'd be back home after dark. I made a quick Black Bean and Chicken Tostizzas.

No real recipe here. It calls for a can of biscuits and yes, I used canned biscuits. :) Sometimes I just need something quick and I picked a can up when I thought about making these last week. So, please do not report me to the biscuit authorities. :) I will be making plenty from scratch for the next 3 days again. Roll out the biscuits a bit. Mix up diced, cooked chicken (I cook up a bunch at once and keep it in the deep freeze for quick meals) and a can of drained black beans. Throw in some salsa. Chop up a couple of green onions. Mix it all up in a bowl and top the biscuit rounds with it. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Pull out of the oven. Top with grated cheese. Return to oven for a few minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a side of avocado.

This is good with refried beans and ground beef too. DH and I thought it was a bit too sweet this time and I think it was the canned biscuits. And we cut some of the crust off and that made the chickens happy.Gosh, I haven't made these in probably 10 years. Not fancy, but quick and good for a fast dinner before I headed into town.

An afternoon in town with too many stops and I was plumb wore out. On Wednesday, we had the heating/cooling guy out to replace the furnace in the bunkhouse. It was beyond repair and ancient. So I fed him too. Then, after cleaning up the kitchen, I made stew for Thursday. It's always better the next day so I made it a day early. It was cold Thursday morning

and our high was only 29 and I just had a few extras to feed. Sure hated to send them out into the cold after breakfast. They were all bundled up and had on multiple layers:

and I figured stew was going to hit the spot at dinner. It did. :)

I'll still have the boys for 2 more days, but thankfully our highs should be above freezing. I wasn't even out in it for very long, just long enough to haul them out and come back to the house to chore. It took me a while to warm back up, but nothing a hot cup of tea can't fix.

After the crew leaves out on Saturday, we've got our Safari Club Christmas party. We always have a stuffed mug exchange and I made animal print potholders to go with mine.

DH will put jerky in his. He got a deer a few weeks ago and we've been making jerky for days.

I'm also trying to bind another quilt

but I jammed my finger yesterday and it's not operating as well as I would like

But I'm being well tended to. Nothing like a little sympathy from the resident pup patrol

I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open for very long anyway. We always enjoy watching the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but this year we're not making it very far before we're nodding our heads.

Maybe if I add 'nap' to my list, I can make that happen. :)
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