Thursday, August 22, 2019

Sewing Slump

You would think my indoor confinement would translate into oodles of sewing progress, but that has not been the case. And truth be told, I'm not indoors all the time. I have GOT to get outside some just for my sanity. But, I seem to be in a sewing slump. Projects are mocking me from their respective bins:


And I feel a little guilty that I'm ignoring them. I HAVE added stitches to my little EPP project:


But my sewing chair remains empty.


I don't really want to cut fabric for a new project and my current project requires lots of hopping up and down which probably isn't the best idea for my knee right now:


I need more muslin for the connecting diamonds and trips to Hobby Lobby, or anywhere else, are out of the question right now. DH hasn't had to do the grocery shopping in the 32 years we've been married, but he picked up a few things the other day. I told him I'd be glad to turn groceries over to him permanently since he was doing such a wonderful job, but I don't think I'm going to get that pushed through. 😉

I'm doing quite a bit of reading. Our girl gave me a lovely stack of books for Christmas and I am devouring the stories and relishing the fact that I have the time to lose myself in the pages.

I am cooking although I'm keeping it pretty simple because it's just not fun heating up the kitchen when it's this hot


And yes, I'm trying to rest my leg and let it heal, but I'm not a very good patient. The other day I told a friend that I am kind of like a 2 yr-old insisting that "I DO IT!" And I want to thank all of ya'll for your many kind comments, thoughts and prayers - I am touched by your thoughtfulness. I'm still hobbling around, but have an appointment tomorrow.

Still, I'm not complaining - even if it sounds like it - 😉 because it could be worse and this will heal with time. I just hate that DH is having to pick up the slack. I think I'll mix up a batch of cookies and bake them while it's still fairly cool. Cookies are a love language around here. 😊


Friday, August 16, 2019

Medical Care

Warning: Whining ahead. I've been spending more time indoors than I usually do because of this:


Last week I twisted my knee when I was getting up after sitting on an unsteady rock to remove a mesquite thorn from my hiking boot. I managed to walk back to the house and figured I'd ease up a bit on my morning walk to let it heal for a few days. Then I was out in the coop and tripped over some of the chickens that were scurrying under my feet. I must have done a little jig in an attempt to not step on them, while avoiding a big rock, and to keep from falling into the Bird of Paradise bush. Needless to say, grace and coordination are not my strong suits and I'm very grateful the chickens were the only witnesses to my flailing limbs as I was unceremoniously planted in the dirt, again twisting my knee.

As I lay in bed that night, I wondered how I was going to get around. I remembered someone had left a pair of crutches in the bunkhouse before we moved here, but I knew I couldn't make it to the bunkhouse and I didn't want to wake DH. Then I remembered we had hiking sticks and they just happened to be leaning against the wall and within arms reach. Yay. DH fetched the crutches for me the next morning so I could go in to work, but I came straight home after work without running any errands. Crutches are cruel. My armpits hurt so bad that I almost cried putting on deodorant the next day. 😄

I did call a sports medicine clinic for an appointment, but they can't see me until next Thursday. They told me I could go to the emergency room. Um. NOT. First off, it's not an emergency and second, who can afford that?! I even thought about going to the vet. We were really good friends with the vet in Texas and if I was closer, I would be paying him a visit! I still may!

Just the other day I received a bill for a simple outpatient procedure in December:


Yep, you read that right and why did it take 9 months for me to receive it? Plus, I already paid $800 to the doctor. And yes, I have insurance. The hospital and I are about to have a come to Jesus meeting.

Now, I don't want to make this political, I'm fed up with politics, but dang it! We work hard for our money and we don't have a lot of it. We don't run to the doctor for every little thing - in fact I don't even have a regular doctor. The price of medical care is not affordable for folks like us, who work until April 15th just to pay our taxes. Yet others receive free health care. I don't get it.

I'm just praying that my leg heals, that I don't have to keep that appointment next Thursday, and that Jesus will help me mind my manners when I visit the hospital about that bill.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Melting in New Mexico

The August heat is just refusing to give us a break. 109°.110°.108°. Day. After day. After day. I cannot make myself walk into my sewing room. I'm spending my mornings outside - walking and tending to things like cleaning out the chicken coop,


scrubbing the grill, monitoring the great plumbing project at the bunkhouse,


and fighting a losing battle but trying to keep the yard alive.

This weekend we went to a shoot about 4 hours away and the weather was amazing - the high was 84°. When we checked into the motel, we were greeted by name, offered freshly baked cookies, and it began to rain. Hard to beat a welcome like that! On their recommendation, we ate at this little hole in the wall:


Cute little place:


And the food was amazing!


We had burgers with an incredibly flavorful beef patty, chopped brisket, slaw, and crispy fried onions on top. The buns were toasted - loved that. So not healthy, but goodness, was it ever delicious!

DH's shoot was fun and held at a facility that often hosts Cowboy Action events so they had an entire western town built:


We were only away one night and needed Sunday to recuperate. Monday dawned bright and early - we're having some mesquite sprayed today. No photos because I'm headed off to work at the Sale Barn this morning. Wishing ya'll a wonderful Monday and if any of ya'll have leftover cooler temps, please send them this way.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

What Should I Read Next

As those of you who have been reading here for some time know, I am an avid reader. I always have a book on my Kindle and I love audio books, but there is nothing that beats an honest to goodness real book. I am also a fan of a podcast called What Should I Read Next, by Anne Bogel aka: the modern Mrs. Darcy. However, it has increased my TBR (To Be Read) pile exponentially. For many of us bookworms, the what should I read next question is the first thing that pops into our heads the second we read the last sentence of our current book. Well, today I finished a book (Rainwater) and DH walked in with the mail that included a package from my mom. When I opened it, I found this:


The latest novel from my favorite teacher of all time. Mrs. Meacham was my high school English teacher and sponsor when I was editor of the school paper and I adored her. She was tough. And old school. And charming. And a southern lady. She encouraged my love of the written word - definitely not a popular trait with the cool kids. However, I never was one of those and Mrs. Meacham was smart enough to know that didn't matter one whit then...nor now.

In her 60's, she became an author. She is now 80, still writing up a storm, and today I had no problem answering that question. At 562 pages, it might be a while, but there are leftovers for dinner and freshly baked cookies so DH won't go hungry and he has assured me that for the time being, my sidekick services are not needed. I am eager to dive into the pages:


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Under the Needle: July

This month was fairly quiet on the sewing front. It may have something to do with the heat. You would think 100+ temps would drive one inside to sew, but who wants to sit next to a hot iron when it's 108° - not me! The heat's broken now, still 100°, but it put a damper on my sewing productivity. And the mornings are too nice to be inside. I fix breakfast for DH and head out the door with Skeet for our 5 mile excursion most mornings. Some mornings it's just 4 and then I'll sneak in another 2 in the evening. It's generally in the high 60's when we leave the house, but it warms up fast and it's been more humid than usual so tongues are hanging out a little longer than usual by the time we wrap things up:


We've had company and made a few road trips. With the recent rains, even ranch life has slowed down. We did work cattle for 4 days and I cooked and I've spent lots of time behind the lawn mower and the weed eater.

Still, I did manage to piece this quilt top early in the month:


And add to my pile of flying geese for the quilt for our boy


I made an apron with my Quilt Squad gals one Saturday for an event in December:


And yesterday I began a new project that uses up the leftover blues from the goose quilt:


But, alas, I have no quilt finishes to share this month. 😞

Monday, July 29, 2019

Perfect Potato Salad

My mom has a really good German potato salad that I love that uses Italian Dressing. My MIL's potato salad is a family favorite too. It's mayo based. Of course, I never met a potato I didn't like and when this recipe popped up in my Pinterest page, I thought I'd give it a shot.


One note: the original recipe calls for Famous Dave's Signature Spicy Pickle Relish. It's not available here so I just used a regular dill pickle relish. Jen has a great post with lots of tips for making this Kicked Up Potato Salad. I've added her link below. As always, I'm just posting it here so that it'll be handy for my friends and family. I can always put my finger on it if I've posted about it. 😉

Carlsbad Cravings Potato Salad

Salad
3 lbs Yukon gold or white potatoes
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 C dill pickle relish
6 green onions, diced
1 C chopped celery
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Dressing
1 C mayo
1/2 C sour cream
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper

*Cook potatoes, adding salt when water comes to a boil. Do not overcook. Refrigerate overnight or until cool. Peel and cube. Mix all dressing ingredients in same bowl you will add your potatoes.Stir in relish, green onions, celery and eggs. Chill overnight. Stir in bacon. Add additional salt and pepper.

Potato Salad isn't DH's favorite, but he really liked this and I found him digging into it more than a few times. That makes it a keeper and earns it a spot in my favorite recipes book.

                                 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Here a Goose, There a Goose...


                              

Everywhere a goose, goose...

 

I've been collecting blues for a quilt for our boy for some time. Finding them has been a challenge, but I think I finally have a good selection. I have a large bin of blues, but most of them are tone on tone and I'll incorporate some of those, but I felt like the quilt was going to need some more lively geese.


And then I hemmed and hawed over a background fabric. I knew I didn't want white, but gray was definitely a possibility. It just had to be the right gray. Sigh. I had a couple of yards of this and I finally settled on it:


It's a Robert Kaufman, Architexture. Then I waited for inspiration to strike. Finally, it did, in the form of this:


There's no pattern and I contacted the blogger, but as of yet, I haven't received a reply. So my handy, dandy graph paper and I started sketching things out. Then I put rotary cutter to fabric and stitched up some blocks. I love the movement in this quilt and I hope the background I chose will not be too stark, yet showcase the fabrics.

                                

And then things went awry. Flying geese quilts began to pop up on my radar and I found myself changing directions. Second guessing myself. Playing with other options. Digging through more ideas. Making more geese. This is so silly. So geese construction continues and who knows where they're going to land.


And no, the birds in the above photo are not geese. Humor me. 😉 But I did take it.



Monday, July 22, 2019

Arkansas Possum Pie

Yum. YUM. And double yum!


This is a new recipe I tried out on the crew last week and when the bowls came back, they looked as if they had been licked clean. The boys are well mannered so I doubt they did, but those bowls were pretty darn clean. I think that's a sign that they'd like for me to keep this pie in my menu rotation. "Darn! That's GOOD pie" also seals the deal.


 Confession: In all my years as a ranch wife, I have never made a chocolate pie. I am hanging my head in shame, but I still see those of you who are shaking your fingers at me. Put those fingers away. chocolate pie: aka: Arkansas Possum Pie, has now been added to my recipe collection.

                                                        

And yes, it was the name that first caught my attention and although this is a chocolate pie, this is no ordinary chocolate pie. Haven't a clue as to where the recipe originated, but from what I have been able to deduce, it is served in many establishments in Arkansas. I found it at here at

                                                                    House of Nash Eats

 I've seen recipes for Chocolate Lush and 4 layer desserts, but Amy's is different.

Yes, you will mess up a lot of bowls. Yes, you will question making the crust, and the pudding, and the whipped topping from scratch. Yes, you could use a prepared crust, a boxed pudding mix, and cool whip, but then you would miss out. The messy bowls and extra effort is worth it. Mess up those bowls. Cook that pudding. Whip the topping. I have to wash everything my hand because I don't have a dishwasher, but that won't stop me from making this pie again...and again...and again.

                                     

Crust
1 C flour
1/2 C butter
1/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C finely chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Layer
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream

Pudding Layer
1 C sugar
1/3 C cocoa
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp flour
Pinch of Salt
3 egg yolks
2 C whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream Topping
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp toffee bits
grated chocolate

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in small bowl. Add flour, brown sugar, and pecans - mixing well with a fork. Press into deep dish pie plate. Bake for 20 minutes - just until crust begins to brown around the edges. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Layer:
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and heavy cream in a medium sized bowl until smooth. Spread over bottom of cooled crust.

Chocolate Layer:
In a saucepan, add sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, flour and salt - whisk together. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and milk and whisk well. Add to mixture in saucepan - whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until pudding begins to thicken and bubble. (About 7-10 minutes). I let it get pretty thick because I didn't want to risk a runny pie. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, stirring just until the butter is melted and combined. Pour the chocolate pudding into a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap - placing it on the surface of the pudding to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to cool down. When filling has cooled, remove plastic wrap and stir - spread over cream cheese layer. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to set.

Topping:
Beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until whipped cream becomes thick and stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie. Sprinkle with toffee bits, and chocolate shavings and dig in!   
  
                                               

The only changes I made to the original recipe was to change out toffee bits for pecans on top - it just sounded good. And for the shaved chocolate - all I had was chocolate chips so I just ran 5 or 6 over my microplane.

No possums were harmed in the making of this pie. 😉

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rise and Shine

I'm rising, but the shining is a struggle. 😊1.5 days down. 2.5 to go. Last night I told DH that we hadn't even begun and I was already tired. His reply? "Remember when this used to be fun?" LOL. Our perception has changed with age. Even though I know that alarm is going to go off at 2:30, it is a rude awakening when it does:


Crazy hours. After breakfast, I rinsed off the dishes right quick and set them in soapy water before heading out to haul the boys to the east side. I was gone for almost an hour and a half and it was too dark to take pictures until I turned back in to headquarters:


I probably shouldn't try to buy $300 worth of groceries after work, but ya'll know how much I avoid trips to town and I was loath to give up my Sunday for groceries, so groceries after work it was.


Biscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage, jams and honey and fruit were yesterday's breakfast offerings. Taco Lasagna, corn, taquitos, salsa, and salad with peach cobbler and ice cream for dinner and dessert.

I'm trying a new dessert today. Arkansas Possum Pie and yes, it was the name that caught my attention and made me want to try it. I'll be back in a few days with the review from the crew:


I'm headed back into the kitchen to mix up a batch of cookies. We've got fellas coming out this afternoon to meet with DH and cookies are always an easy, portable treat with a glass of tea.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

What I've Been Up To

I didn't intend to take a blog sabbatical. It's been HOT here. We logged in 112° last week and it's been over 100 day after day. You would think that would translate into more computer or sewing time, but that has not been the case. I figured I'd pop in and let ya'll know what I've been up to. We are giving thanks for rain - 1.7" here at the house. 4.3" on the east side.


Before the 4th, I did manage to piece this little top:


Our girl came home over the 4th and that's always a treat for her old folks.


DH fired up the smoker:


And we enjoyed catching up.We didn't really get her for an entire week though, as we had to share her. She headed to my in-laws' on Friday to attend the ranch rodeo with her grandpa and then headed south to spend some time with her brother and some friends before migrating back home on Sunday. But Skeet was reunited with his hound dog compadres for the week and they plumb wore each other out

They would disappear for hours and return looking like this:


DH shot a couple of pistol matches and when you live where we do, that means it's a 2 hour trip -or more- one way:


I've done some sprucing up outdoors under the watchful eye of a member of the kitty brigade:


And spent lots of time doing this:


The spring winds blew in so much dirt into the yard that it killed all of my grass, but it allowed these lovely green weeds to thrive. 😏 We're branding the Corrientes this week so after work at the Sale Barn on Monday, I'll be hitting the grocery store and then cooking for a crew for 4 days. That means I am in list making mode today. So if I'm needed this week, you can find me in the kitchen and I'll do my best to check in now and then.



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