Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Few Quiet Days

DH asked me to help him run some heifers through the chute first thing Saturday morning:

                               

It was 26° as we hauled the medicine box to the chute:

        

DH and our north camp man brought the heifers up :

         

Funneled them through the pens:

         

And into the alley:

           

Waiting their turn:


Next:                                 


Hot irons on a cold morning:


He said he has abused the crew the previous week and didn't want to sour them on helping us. They had put in 12 hour days and that's a lot to ask of day hands. He deserves better help than I am, but we muddle through. We vaccinated and branded 100 hd of keeper heifers with a year brand:

                                  

By 8 a.m., they were branded and ready to move out to Chuck Box. - a pasture about 3 miles away.

                                                                     
On Sunday morning DH spent a couple hours deer hunting and I made a trip into town for Thanksgiving groceries. DH has been nursing a cold and I thought I had escaped it, but I woke up on Saturday without much of a voice. We were going to be shorthanded at the Sale barn on Monday and I HAD to be there. I'm a clerk there and sit on the block by the auctioneer. I assign pen numbers to each transaction and call them out multiple times to the pen riders out back so they know where to pen the cattle. On Sunday, after I unloaded my groceries, I made some chicken noodle soup. I needed to do everything I could to assure I had enough of a voice to get through the day. I ate a few oranges. I drank tea with honey and lemon and a nip of whiskey at night. I fixed a concoction with apple cider vinegar and honey and lemon as well.  

It made for  few quiet days and on Monday, it was touch and go, but I made it through. Today I had to run into town and meet with the wife from North Camp and buy a new refrigerator, and tended to errands I wasn't able to cross off my list on Sunday. I am swearing off town for the foreseeable future!




Saturday, November 17, 2018

In the Kitchen

Whew! I am done in the kitchen! I really do enjoy cooking, but those early mornings are hard on this old gal. This week our camp man's wife came over one morning after I got back from trailering the boys out and dropping them off:


She is fun and a really good cook and she is sweet to share her expertise.


Last year she cooked one day when I was working and DH still brags on her Chicken Fried Steak. We've eaten and made a lot of Chicken Fried Steak through the years, but I'm fairly certain she's ruined it for us now because we've never eaten one as good as the one she makes. I'd love to share her recipe, but it may be a while because I have to figure out how to get all those little tips and tricks of the trade onto paper. It might be easier if you come visit and I'll fix it for you.


That was a busy day. The vet was here preg-checking after dinner


I bagged up leftover cookies and stashed them in his rig as well as the other fellas on the crew as I headed out to town to return a chicken cage to a co-worker who is moving. She was sweet and gifted me 6 of her pretty chickens earlier in the week:


We visited for a few minutes and I headed home, but it was dark by the time I got back. With the time change, we keep running out of daylight and we're always choring in the dark. But I was back in the kitchen long enough to make a Buttermilk Pie and get it in the oven for dessert the next day:

                                                  

I made another recipe yesterday that she shared with me... Smothered Burritos. Good gravy! At this rate, I'm going to have to double the distance I walk. It was fun to have company in the kitchen for a day and I have a few tried and true new recipes to add to my recipe books. I have 2 and they're getting full and falling apart. The kids have forbidden me to replace my original one, but I recently picked up a new one that caught my eye when I was in a shop in town.


There's lots of room for new favorites!

I am ready to shut down the kitchen for a day or two, but I always miss the crew. They are a hoot. The mornings have been so cold and they look comical climbing into the saddle with multiple layers. At one point I was asked by one of our regulars, "Can you give me a boost?" LOL

On another morning, as we were all packing into the pickup, to trailer the rig about 12 miles and I heard this comment from one day hand to another, "You wouldn't think less of me if I wanted to snuggle, would you?" SNORT.

I am not naming names. 😎

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bundle Up

Yesterday I hauled the boys to the east side of the ranch:


  Gosh, I hated to watch them trot off


It was just a tad chilly:


This was our first hard frost:


Ready or not:

                            

Sunday, November 11, 2018

This Weekend

November seems to have exploded, thus blogging has been neglected. Last Thursday we made our annual trek to Amarillo for the WRCA Championship Ranch Rodeo. WRCA (Working Ranch Cowboy Association). It's a 4 day affair, but we generally only go for 2 days. It's just too hard to be away from the ranch and honestly, after 2 days, we have had our fill of people and are just plumb peopled out. :) But still. this is a trip we eagerly look forward too. It's somewhat of a family reunion. We see friends we've known for 30 years and it's a wonderful opportunity to catch up. There's a huge trade show with booths galore filled with everything cowboy-ranch related. One stop Christmas shopping at your fingertips. There's an auction on Saturday that benefits the Crisis Foundation. Cowboys don't cowboy for the money. Yes, any ranch folks reading this...I hear your laughter. I know it's tough to make a living in general, but cowboying really doesn't pay well. However, it would be challenging to find a cowboy that would choose a different occupation. The Crisis Foundation helps those working cowboys and ranching families in times of crisis. When they hear of a family that is dealing with an injury, sickness, or loss of life, the Foundation is there to help. This year I donated this quilt:

                                 

At the rate I've been  finishing quilts this year, I had better get started on next year's now.

In the evening, we enjoy cheering friends on in the ranch rodeo. It's sure nice to be a part of a culture that still opens events in prayer, giving thanks to God and taking time to honor our military:


 I didn't take a lot of pictures - too busy having fun and visiting with friends, but I thought ya'll might enjoy seeing one of the wild cow milking:


For those of you who aren't familiar with this, they release a cow into the arena. One team member is horseback and ropes her. The other 3 members of the team run to mug her, with one ducking under, squirting a little milk into a beer bottle. Then they have remove the rope from the cow as the milker runs to the official with his bottle. The fastest time wins. It tends to get wild. One of the milkers was wearing a pink pair of boots and the announcer commented:

"Anyone wearing pink boots at a rodeo oughta be able to run. " LOL.

One night is designated Wrangler's "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night. Many of the contestants wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness.

First thing Friday morning, DH and I made a run to Panhandle leather:


DH needed some stirrup leathers and a few buckles and leather tools and this is the place:


Gotta love a place that hands you a cup of coffee when you walk in the door...in a real mug:


And we got a chuckle out of this sign:


I dropped DH off at the Civic Center, where he met up with our girl, and I headed out to gather up 2 friends for a day of fabric acquisition. Alas, our favorite quilt store was closed due to the fact that their roof had fallen in. 😢 However, that didn't stop us from having fun. We all picked up odds and ends at Hobby Lobby, Joann's, and another tiny quilt shop before grabbing a quick lunch at a little deli.

The blue print, brown minky, and pink minky are for backings.


The sweet green floral is just for my stash for future fun baby girl quilts and the brown/green weave is for an outdoor/hunting quilt


and the others are just 1/4 yd cuts for current projects.

                  

We came home on Saturday night, showered, unpacked, tuned in to UFC fights, hit the sack, and prayed we wouldn't get sick. It's a gamble when you're around that many people. DH said, "It'll be a miracle if the country mice escape the plague." LOL.

This morning I fixed breakfast for DH, made stew, threw in some laundry, wrote my list, and planned to run to town for groceries. DH knows how much I dread those trips and he suggested I just get by on Tuesday and run in after I feed the crew at noon. That was all the encouragement I needed. By Tuesday, I will have recuperated enough to tackle that list.

We've got another big sale at the sale barn tomorrow and I was NOT buying $300 worth of groceries at 9 p.m. We're working cattle Tuesday through Friday so I'll be in the kitchen...again. :) 

If I think about it too much, it'll wear me out, so I'm hitting publish and going to let Jesus handle the rest. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

We've been soaking up the prettiest Fall this year. The entire month of October has been absolutely beautiful and November is thus far, following suit. We've had a frosty morning or two, but have yet to have a good freeze. Around here, we're not known for fall color, but there is definitely a crispness in the air and the grass is curing out:


And with the cooler weather, I've been itching to bake. I'm sharing a new recipe today that I found online. With my abundance of apples, I've been navigating to apple-everything. I made this Snickerdoodle Apple Bread on Sunday morning and it didn't last long.


 I can't even blame it on the kids or company. There was just the two of us. Guilty as charged.

The original recipe can be found here: Snickerdoodle Apple Bread.

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1 C light brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 C milk
2 chopped apples (I used Jonathon)

Topping:
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to add an extra apple.More apple = more goodness.

*Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour in small bowl. In medium sized bowl, beat butter, both sugars, and cinnamon. Add in eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth. Add in flour and milk alternating between both, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined. Stir in apples and pour into loaf pan.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon topping over batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This really needs to cool before you cut into it. Good luck with that. :) It'll just slice cleaner. I love the crunchy topping:


This was added to my favorites file before the day was over. I'll be popping more loaves into the oven soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lost and Found

While I was holding down the fort this weekend, I lost my Aggie ring. (Class of '86...Gig 'em!) I was on the phone with my Mom on Friday when I realized I had better tend to evening chores. I throw a can of cat food out for the barn cats.


 I scatter some scratch and scraps out for the guineas and chickens before shutting the chickens in:


Horses get supper if they come in from the pasture.


The beef gets fed.



 We have a doggie calf that we've started on feed.


And there are 25 calves that get 100# of preconditioning feed doled out to them.


Skeet's a champion chore chum:

                                 

 I've also been cleaning out the chicken coop and hauling hay from the barn floor.

                                 

Somewhere along the line I noticed I had lost my college class ring. I did not panic, but mentioned it to my Mom who kind of did. I DID want to find it, but retracing my recent steps would be challenging. I had an inkling, but after looking in all the sacks of feed, I came up empty handed. I told my mom that the calves probably ate it and it would eventually show up in a pile of manure. She didn't find that as funny as I did. I told her that if she were here, she probably would be out combing through the manure piles the next day and she said that's exactly what she would be doing. LOL. It's even more funny because my Mom is not a ranch wife. She was born and raised in Vienna, Austria and she was pretty horrified when her only child met and married a rancher and built a life as a ranch wife at the end of a dirt road. She's always told me I ought to write a book, but she's the only one who would read it. :)

The calves had been munching on feed for about 15 minutes when I  began combing through the feed in the bunk as we continued our conversation. Nothing, But I kept looking and lo and behold:


I found it! Last week it flew off my finger while I was working at the sale barn. Time to put it up somewhere for safe keeping, lest it really does find its way into a pile of cow manure!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Tired of Sewing

Now, don't fuss at me or ban me from the quilting community or turn me in to the quilt police. I know no-one ever has enough time to sew, but DH was away this past weekend and I discovered that one can sew too much. DH's dad, who is 81, had his elk hunt and DH went with him. They hunt horseback in the mountains back out and as remote as they can get. DH would really likes to pack in a camp - tent and all, but although his dad is spry for 81, his tent camping days are behind him. Still, it's hard to beat several days in the mountains, horseback and after the overload DH has been carrying on the ranch, time in the mountains with his dad is welcome.

 Skeet and I stayed behind to hold down the fort. I am a certified hermit, but this house is too big without DH and I did not like it one bit. I still didn't sleep in. There are chores to tend to when you have cattle and horses and chickens and dogs although choring in one's pajamas may be a tad unconventional. It's been wet and muddy here and the pens have been downright mucky and at 7:00 in the morning jammies are perfectly acceptable when paired with Muck boots
.

I have spent zero time in the kitchen, cleaning up leftovers in the fridge and odds and ends in the deep freeze when I wanted something to eat. I cleaned house, walked with Skeet, played with kitties, cleaned out feed bunks at the barn, cleaned out the chicken coop, caught up on episodes of The Great American Read,

                         

and sewed...a lot. Or a lot for me. He left on Thursday night and it was Saturday night before I made my way into my sewing room, but once I got started, I made progress. I finished all my blocks for my Scrappy Christmas Quilt and pieced the top:


A week earlier, I was in town getting a windshield replaced because this happened:


And my friend C hauled me around while it was being replaced. Of course that meant fabric shopping was on the list. We were both in search of bits and pieces for projects. We saw this:


And we both HAD to have some. Of course that led to more fabric hunting for coordinates. It's a vicious cycle. We found a cute navy, but I wanted to see what else I had at home. I hadn't a clue about a pattern - sound familiar? - but a few days later I came up with an idea so I pulled coordinates from my stash and began sewing. I made it this far:

                             

I'm wondering if the arrows are too big and I may make them in a smaller version. I still have a few other colors to add to the mix. I know I want 3 rows on the top and probably 2 on the bottom.

And if you're going to start 1 project, why not start 2?  😊I really need to empty some project bins and I've had a stack of Farmers Market fat quarters stowed away for 7 or 8 years. I think I want to pair it with this black and white dot - it really seems to make the colors pop:

                            

But then I think if I pair it with something like this, it'll give my project more of a rustic - farmers market feel:


 and I'm thinking of using the same design as I used for this top:


So silly though, because I have 20 fat quarters and that's probably enough to make 2 different quilts so I pressed all the fat quarters and started cutting and sewing. I'll make a few blocks and see where it takes me. I feel like I accomplished quite a bit, but I was VERY ready for DH to be back. And yes, his Dad brought home an elk. 
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