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. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Western Rag Runner

With the daylight hours getting shorter, I finally finished my rag runner:


This is a Sweetwater pattern that can be found here: Rag Runner

I don't like to sew in the evenings once DH comes in the house, but I will work on hand stitching projects if we are visiting after supper together and there is a lot of hand stitching on this one.

For this project, I pulled  about 25 of my favorite western prints from my stash and used 3 of each print. At 95" x 14" it's a whopper of a table runner, but it fits perfectly in my entry way - mudroom - laundry room.


The funny thing is, the fringe in one of the things I loved about this project and I didn't add it to mine.

 It just doesn't fit this space - spurs and reins that are often deposited here would just get tangled up in it. I like things to look nice but practical trumps looks in my world - although that fringe sure would look cute against the hay. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Around here we celebrate days like this

They are few and far between here in the desert and everyone's happy when it's wet:

When it gets like this, the roads are too wet to get around and we don't want to tear them up:

So DH is using the morning to catch up on errands in town. Skeet says: "If you're going. I'm going.":


But we convinced him that playing in the puddles would be more fun:

The pens are absolutely sodden:

Muck boots are a necessity

Our beef is sporting the latest in cow couffure...apparently ear feathering is in:

I may be well on my way to becoming a hermit, but there is no shortage of company around here:

I think I'm going to celebrate with a bit of sewing!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Under the Needle: October

2 weeks of Fall Cow Works has kept me out of the sewing room, but I love this life and there is more to it than sewing. Still, as a quilter, I am always thinking about what I want to work on next and adding to that list...that very long list...that seems to grow longer all the time. I keep a binder with patterns and ideas I have found online, in magazines, or shared by friends:

And a basket with purchased patterns and a few of my favorite books:

No shortage of inspiration!

This month I finished stitching up this top:

It uses 3 1/2" squares because I was using scraps, but I can't wait to make another one using 5" squares. I love the design....simple, cute, fast. I didn't use a pattern so I can't link anything.

Then I made this top (the stripe on the right of the photo is the backing)

using a great pattern made in EQ7 and sent to me by my blog buddy, Dorian, who blogs over at Ridge Top Quilts, when I was contemplating ideas for this quilt:

I need another baby quilt and this will be perfect...thank you Dorian! Now I am working on these blocks:

I started this last year. I wanted a scrappy Christmas quilt and have gathered Christmas pieces for years.

The pattern is in this magazine from 2013:

The 9-patches have been my leader-ender pieces lately, but then one afternoon I just listened to a couple podcasts and before I knew it, I had them all stitched and pressed::


Hopefully I'll get the sashings stitched in and have a pieced top before the end of the month.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Favorite Brownies

Brownies are pretty simple, but I'm a simple girl and I only had 6 boys on Friday so I switched out my planned dessert because I didn't want a lot of leftovers. I had everything for brownies so brownies it was. I mean what's a home without the ingredients for brownies on hand for those emergency brownie baking sessions? I imagine everyone has a favorite brownie recipe, but the boys REALLY loved these so I'm sharing it here. I guess I've never made brownies for them before because you would have thought I had made some heavenly dessert - which I guess these must be because they sure did gush about them as they were shuffling out the door. The kids made this the first time on 11-30-01 and it's been our go-to brownie recipe since then.

Back in the day, this cookbook was a gift for our girl when she was 8 and this recipe comes from it:

The page is stained and smudged which is a testament to a well-loved recipe:

I made 2 changes to the recipe: I added about 1/2 C chocolate chips and about 20 Rolo candies. I made this in a pan that measures 8 x 11, but you can fix it in whatever pan you have. Another variation we have used is to substitute the small Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for the Rolos. For bake sales - we make them in muffin tins. We like the fact that these are a cross between a cakey brownie and a fudgy brownie. They are neither and both at the same time. 😋

Disgustingly Rich Brownies

1 C melted butter
2 C sugar
3/4 C Cocoa
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chocolate chips
20 Rolo candies
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)

*Pre-heat oven to 350° In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa. Stir in melted butter. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips, flour and salt. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan (spray with cooking spray or rub with butter). Press Rolos into batter.


Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick, placed in center, comes out clean. The boys got pretty quiet when I brought out dessert and that's always a good sign!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Special Delivery

Not only did the good Lord choose a great guy as my partner in this life, but He also threw in some pretty cool in-laws. On Friday they stopped by and dropped off 3 quilt ladders that my FIL made

along with a box of mountain Jonathon apples:

So, I'm back in the kitchen peeling and chopping and slicing:

We'll soon be munching on dried apples - a favorite treat

Some will also find their way into the deep freeze for future apple pies and crisps and others will be cooked down for applesauce, but the first 2 were today's dessert. It's hard to beat a good bakes apple on a cool Fall day:

There were no words...only murmurs of delight and sighs of contentment. Hopefully I'll find some time in the sewing room this week. After all, those wonderful quilt ladders really ought to be filled!
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