Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Closing Out Another Year

With a houseful over Christmas, there just wasn't time to pop in with a Christmas post, but I hope ya'll all were blessed during the holiday. I know that Christmas is hard for so many folks, but I hope that you were all able to find something that  brought you joy and peace. I know that for me, it's my faith in the Risen Christ that I cling to when life gets hard. Correction: every day. Every. Single. Day.

My mom was here for 8 days and the kids are home so life has been busy. DH's folks came for Christmas day, but the family shot is on my mom's camera. I wasn't very good about taking pictures this time around, but here's a peek

into Christmas 2019 - a gag gift for our hound dog collector from a friend of my mom's

A set of pots and pans to replace the broke-college-student kitchen ware

A quilt for our boy

Multiple rounds of Cribbage were played

Christmas traditions were savored:

Our annual puzzle was pieced:

Although, it seems that DH and I are the puzzle enthusiasts in the family. Funny thing is, we have no desire to do them any other time of the year, but he and I will be consumed with puzzle-itis for these 2 days:

The rest of the family will not go hungry as there are enough leftovers stashed in the fridge to keep tummies from grumbling while we piece. Hound dogs were primed and ready for adventure:

And snuggles when the day had been conquered:

Feed runs and quail chasing means time spent in the pickup. I love this shot our girl took one day:

Christmas has been dismantled and stashed away in the shed until next time, when I will once again bemoan the fact that the year flew by too fast.

 DH turned the calendar on another year as well. No birthday cake this year. He said we've indulged enough and that it was time to return to our regularly scheduled program.

I hope that includes a nap!

As the sun sets on the last day of 2019

I want to wish ya'll a New Year filled with all the things that bring you joy - may you be safe, happy, healthy and blessed in the coming year.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The 3rd Week in December

We interrupt this Christmas season to bring you more ranch life. We shipped out more calves today

so I cooked for a crew last Thursday and today. Today I made Lasagna Casserole, green beans, salad, and 5 cheese bread - courtesy of  my mom and Pepperidge Farms. ๐Ÿ˜‰Everyone loves this bread with Italian meals and I like pulling out a few shortcuts when life gets busy and I think it's a little busy for everyone this time of the year, but my busy was temporarily put on hold on Saturday.

It's been about 15 at night, but sunny and 60 in the afternoons and we're very thankful for that. These unseasonably warm afternoons make feed runs downright enjoyable:

When you spend 4 hours a day in the truck feeding cattle, it can get old.

We're still missing a few in this pasture so DH glasses the terrain:

DH just doesn't like sitting that long, but out here, feed runs are just our version of a date night when I jump in with him.

 When I got back, I set to work putting the finishing touches on Christmas baking

and pulling together a pot of Black Bean Sirloin Chili when the flames died on my stove. It was dark when DH walked in and I asked him if it was possible that we were out of propane. Neither of us could imagine that being the case as the propane company comes by every couple of months to top off the tank. We have a 1000 gallon tank and they may add 350 gallons per trip, We've never run out. Well, lo and behold, the tank was empty. And on a Saturday night, there's no chance of getting any service until at least Monday. No stove. No heat. I've always said that DH is handy and clever and he hauled a tank he uses when he welds over to our main tank, hooked it up

and we were back in business.

 I was leery of how long that tank was going to last so we turned the heat way down and piled on the quilts:

Yesterday I threw the chili in the crockpot, went to church ( truly wonderful teaching on the True Christmas Story), picked up my mom from the airport, and arrived home to a warm supper and a warm home. DH had run to town with more tanks and lined them up in case we needed them. He didn't want my mom to freeze.  The propane company wasn't sure if they could get to us today, but DH had us covered. It was still a mystery as to how we could have run through that much propane. We hadn't smelled propane so we didn't think there was a leak. They showed up about 4 and the driver said he'd been reassigned to a remote location for months and the substitute driver had missed multiple customers. DH said he really should have been checking it, but they've always been reliable. But DH is always reliable and he's good at finding solutions to problems.

When he came in after hooking up the tank, he said, "Sometimes it pays to be a redneck". LOL.
He's cute, smart, thoughtful AND funny. I think I'll keep him.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Chipotle Split Pea Soup

Today I'm sharing a new recipe I made earlier this week. I changed things up just a little from the original recipe but here's a link to the original recipe:

Slow Cooker Chipotle Split Pea Soup with Ham

This was so good! I didn't have the 10 hours it called for and thought I'd attempt to Instant Pot the recipe. Success after 30 minutes! Definitely a keeper. We love the heat of the Chipotle peppers and it tastes like it's been simmering all day. Good and thick with great flavor. If you don't like heat, skip the Chipotle peppers, but we think it's what makes this soup so delicious.

So here's my version:

Chipotle Split Pea Soup

8 C chicken broth (I use the better than bouillon)
1 lb split green peas (in a bag)
1 onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped, plus the sauce from the can
8 oz diced ham (I used sliced ham steaks)

I set my Instant Pot to saute and added about 3 Tbsp of butter. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and saute for a few minutes. Dump in the ham - saute a few minutes. Add the split peas, Chipotle peppers and sauce, pepper, and chicken broth. Hit the soup setting. It cooked for 30 minutes. I let it release naturally for 10 minutes and then turned the vent to quick release.

The original recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic and we love garlic, but DH and I had an unpleasant garlic experience the day before at a restaurant and I think it'll be a while before I'll be cooking with it again.

I know ya'll are wondering so here's the story. ๐Ÿ˜Š
We'd been on the road since 7 am and it was now 7 pm and we had not eaten a thing all day. We were on our way home and stopped in a town to eat at a little place that had been recommended to us. It was Tuesday night and the place was packed. We were road weary and hungry and on his best day, DH might wait 10 minutes, but they said they just needed to clear a table and we were seated. 3 other parties came in directly behind us and they were told the wait would be 40 minutes.

We both ordered a NY strip steak and a potato. Basic. Simple. Oh, and fried mushrooms. The waitress was sweet and kind. She came back a few minutes later and said they only had 1 potato. We laughed and said we'd split it. LOL. We were hungry and cleaned our plates, but talked about how the seasoning on the steaks was a tad garlicky. We were still an hour from home and I think we ate almost an entire container of mints before we hit the dirt road. We stopped at a grocery store and bought some mint chocolate chip ice cream, thinking it might cut the garlic. Brushed our teeth before even taking showers. Ate ice cream. Brushed our teeth again. Used mouthwash. And we still woke up tasting garlic. What on earth?!

Here's something funny too. We washed our hands when we arrived at the restaurant and were both perplexed when we found a complimentary mouthwash machine in the bathroom. We've never seen such a thing and couldn't figure it out. Well, apparently there is a need for such a thing. Who knew?

So, needless to say, I won't be cooking with garlic anytime soon and this soup was still amazing!

I'm so thankful that DH is a willing guinea pig - it makes it fun to try new recipes and he loved this one. His only suggestion was to add some diced smoked quail. ๐Ÿ˜‹ What can I say? It's quail season and he has quail on the brain. Just please hold the garlic!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

What I've Been Up To

Whew! The days are just flying by. Life is not chaotic here, just too busy to be on the computer so today I thought I'd pop in with a 'This and That' post. The day after Thanksgiving we sent off 4 truck loads of calves:

When the kids come home, they can always count on being put to work:

Shipping out calves calls for a double batch of cookies:

4 trucks. 1 brand inspector. 1 buyer. = 6 bags of cookies. The rest will suffice for dessert for the crew, a mid-morning snack with a second cup of coffee, and a container to send back with our boy.

When the mornings are chilly, potted kitties grow well:

We played in the mud:

Nary a week passes that a leak doesn't need attention:

And were smitten with a kitten:

The boys chased a few birds when they made a mineral run (this is an old photo)


And shot some steel:

We spent one evening socializing with friends at the Safari Club Christmas Party

Made a year supply of jerky

And made another batch of Whiskey Praline Pecans:

The WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo) runs for 10 days and I'm working on binding a quilt while DH and I watch in the evenings. We can't keep our eyes open that late so we record it and watch it the next evening.

And somewhere in the mix, we're getting ready for Christmas:

Monday, December 2, 2019

Road Trip

It was good to spend a few days with our girl. Our morning beverages were served in style - so cute and thoughtful!

The company she works for has farm and ranch country and their employees have access to their properties so we drove up so DH could accompany her on her first deer hunt:

Deer were located, but 'the one' was never seen. She still had a week, but we had to come back. I'm so glad they were able to spend this time together...priceless

She worried about how I would occupy my time while they hunted. I could have gone along, but I wanted them to have this time with just the two of them and I don't think there was room for a 3rd bucket to sit on in that blind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

and I had plenty of company:

Her state of residence was on it's best behavior while we were there:

The weather could not have been more perfect.

We don't get Fall like this:

I enjoyed hanging out with the dogs who were eager tour guides:

They have lots of room to explore

and we soaked in the trails


I don't think I've ever seen a puppy grow so much in 6 weeks:

The feline patrol kept me in line when I cleaned a few windows:

I mixed up the first batch of Whiskey Praline Pecans of the season to share with some of her friends who invited us over for supper:

I also met the pigs:

And the donkeys:

Who are sweet:

And eager to visit

Especially when you come bearing treats

More please!

We were up before 5 and they were out the door soon after. I worked on a quilt binding before the sun rose:

She's made an inviting, cozy home:

And Odin hugs are always welcome - he's kind of irresistible:


I could not get enough of the crunchy, Fall leaves:

Honestly, the prettiest piece of property and we just had the best time. Thanks for rolling out the red carpet Sprout!

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