Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Back in Texas

 Thought I'd pop in and give ya'll an update. I am touched by your kind emails and comments and notes and prayers - thank you. I was of course talking to my mom on a daily basis, but on the 2nd, one of her friends- neighbors called and said her oxygen levels had dropped and she was running a fever. At the time, I was standing in line outside the grocery store, waiting to get in because our governor had closed 2 of our grocery stores and had decreased the capacity of the store to just 50 people at a time. That translates to 1-2 hours waiting time in 38° and wind just to get in. So anyway, I hung up with the neighbor and called mom's doctor. I had to leave a message, but she did return my call and gave instructions to have mom taken to the hospital emergency room via EMS. Called the neighbor and she called 911. I was on the phone with either the doctor or neighbor or DH while I picked up groceries, knowing I'd probably be away for some time and DH would go hungry before standing in line that long just to get into the grocery store. He told me to just leave it and come on home, but I knew mom was being taken care of and I had already rented a car. 

So, I've been in Texas since the 3rd. Mom had a collapsed lung and they put in a chest tube. She was in the hospital for 6 days and I was there from 8-8 every day until they swept me out the door each night. It's about a 30 minute drive from the hospital to her home if traffic is cooperative and once I got home, I took a long, hot shower, tended to things like bills and mail, savored a mug of hot tea, returned phonecalls, and hit the sack. One day I decompressed by grabbing the blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese from a shelf at the grocery store and eating some of it directly from the pot while watching part of the Grinch that Stole Christmas on TV.

But yes, I am eating good things too. Mom's friend who has cut her hair for 40 years brought a delicious pasta salad that was so good that I could probably live on it and I did for 3 days. I added some leftover rotisserie chicken for protein.

Before I left home, I was getting ready to drop off my sewing machine for it's annual cleaning so I brought it with me as there is a shop just around the corner from mom's and I had it serviced there. I brought a simple jellyroll project along because I didn't know how long mom would be in the hospital and I set up in a corner in one of the extra bedrooms:


I've not spent much time here since she came home, but sometimes I sneak in here if I can't sleep in the middle of the night and add a few stitches with the baby monitor next to me:


So, Mom's home now. There's nothing else they can do for her at the hospital so I set up Hospice for her here at home. She and Daddy have a huge bedroom and I was able to push and shove her bed over enough, with the help of a neighbor, that we could easily fit a hospital bed in with room to spare. She loved watching the birds and squirrels scamper around when she would eat at the dining room table so another friend/neighbor/angel/prayer warrior couple (yes, they wear many hats)

 bought a bird feeder and a suet wreath

and we set it up on her deck 

so that she could watch the activity from her bed. 

Her backyard is a busy place

And a quiet place

You would never know a busy interstate is only  1/2 mile away. 

So, we're just spending time together. Her mind is still mostly sharp and she's been a taskmaster when she is awake - keeping me busy, but I'm glad I can be of some help to her. As I've said before, her tribe is large, and her friends have been more like family. I am fielding visits, phone calls, texts and correspondence simultaneously and they are taking care of me as well. I find little care packages at the door with the sweetest notes:

The little bottle of cognac made me chuckle - I had mentioned that I'm not  drinker, but a little splash of whiskey in my hot tea at night has been relaxing. And this little bowl has made multiple trips back and forth from a special couple who are near and dear to my heart:

And I have been touched by sweet words and little surprises from a treasured friend at home - 

I've lost track of the days and time, but know, without a doubt, that God is with us every step of the way. I am spending many of the predawn hours in prayer with good things to read here:

Our girl and her fella came down this weekend and spent a few hours on and off with mom. She's sleeping an awful lot, but I was so blessed by their visit. Our sweet girl brought me a basket full of blessings:

As well as jars of our favorite Christmas Whiskey Praline Pecans for the neighbors and a bag of them for her Daddy: 

DH is planning on coming down for a day or two, and he'd be here in a heartbeat if I asked him to, but honestly, there is nothing he can do. And it is not easy to get away from the ranch when 800 hd of cattle are depending on you to keep them fed and keep water running. As much as we love our lifestyle and what we do, it truly is a 24/7 operation. 

We are hoping our boy can be here in a week or so for a day as well. Mom is getting weaker, and I am feeling very unqualified for this job, but I am learning as I go and doing what I can with the help of hospice, friends/neighbors, and Jesus. Mom wanted to be at home and I am doing what I can to make that happen.

I probably won't be back at the computer until after Christmas, but please know that I am wishing all of you a magical Christmas filled with the joy and wonder of Christ's birth - 

For there is born to you this day, in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord
Luke 2:11

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Catching Up From Thanksgiving

I'm sorry I've been  away and haven't popped in lately. Thank you to those of you who have checked up on me - I am touched by your thoughtfulness. And yes, I am with my mom. I'll post an update in a day or two, but before I left home, I had started this post so I'll publish it first.

After shipping out the steer calves last Wednesday (well - a few Wednesday's ago. 😉 ) and feeding the crew, there was about 2 1/2 hours of daylight left. DH said, "I'm going hunting". It was the last day of his deer hunt and he was determined to make some jerky. We always look forward to a dinner of tenderloin and backstrap and everything else is made into jerky. Our Fall has been so busy that he had pretty much resigned himself to a year sans jerky, but he pulled up in the dark with a deer that evening. Our girl and her fella pulled in about 15 minutes earlier. Kenny jumped right in to help. He's a hunter too and this is how we initiated him into the family. LOL. Lucky for you, I'm at my mom's and I don't have access to the photos of the boys processing the deer. 😉

Kenny brought one of his bird dogs:

And the kids and DH spent a lot of time chasing quail and ducks. Our girl stayed at the house with me one evening and the boys ended up rescuing 2 ladies with 2 little ones in a car that had a flat. It was pitch dark as they boys headed back to the house and I was out in the pens tending to chores. DH stopped and changed their tire, but their spare was flat as well so he offered to fill it for them at the house. That meant driving down the 2 1/2 mile dirt road in the dark. Poor ladies - they were scared to death. DH said he tried to put them at ease, but can you imagine having a flat 30 miles from anywhere, in the dark and 2 men drive up - with blood on their hands (from cleaning birds) and guns in their truck and say, "Hey - if you follow us down this long dirt road - in the dark - we'll fix your car". DH didn't present it that way, but that's probably what those poor girls heard. They did follow them, albeit so slowly that I'm sure they contemplated turning around multiple times, but they weren't going very far on a flat tire. The boys assured them they would be safe, but of course they were frightened. I think they were somewhat relieved when they saw me walk up. The boys fixed their tires and sent them on their way. They asked DH for his number and he couldn't figure out why, but I told him they probably figured if they broke down again, he'd come to their rescue again. LOL. He said he understood their reluctance, but if our girl or I had been in the same situation, he hoped someone would have stopped to help us. Of course, he'd fuss at us for having a spare tire that was flat. 😂 

Our Thanksgiving was filled with culinary delights and the turkey didn't even make the list. My little kitchen was a bevy of activity long before daylight:

 Our girl spoiled us 

with homemade beignets and raspberry sauce which we foundered on


But DH said we had to eliminate the evidence


These were absolutely to die for. She made them twice and then, with a belly full of beignets, 


they all headed out to chase quail. This is an old photo, but I don't have any shots from that afternoon. As they headed out, DH said, "I think the quail are gonna win today - I'm full of beignets". 😂

Then it was Kenny's turn in the kitchen:

A man in the kitchen always gets brownie points around here:

The kids had gone to Galveston and they brought us Swordfish steaks and shrimp which they grilled and it was the best seafood we've EVER eaten - 


I made the green beans and salad and our girl bought Batard bread at the grocery store bakery. She said at first she thought it was called something else so it made her look twice, but it made her laugh and it looked good so she brought it home and then in true family fashion, we had to research it's origins. 

From Google: Batard bread is a variation of the well known French bread, known as a baguette. Although "batard"  means 'illegitimate' and is therefore seen as inferior to a traditional baguette, don't let that misconception divert you from diving into a delicious loaf of freshly baked Batard bread.

It's really just a shorter baguette and this one had a wonderful nutty flavor. You can bet we'll be trying out recipes now.

Next up was this fabulous Pesto-Pasta-Shrimp dish I made:

I'll share the recipe soon! It's worth sharing! So good! And we're not done yet!

Up next:

Scotch eggs:

With hollandaise sauce:

Sorry this picture is blurry. Kenny wanted to make these and they were also a big hit. Have you ever had Scotch eggs? They are a soft boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in Panko breadcrumbs, and fried. Sorry about the blurry photo:

And we have another winner! Although lots of fresh air and exercise are needed after a weekend of sublime cuisine like that! DH told the kids that we now expected them to step up their game next time. That's going to be a hard act to follow!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Before Thanksgiving

 I spent much of last Sunday in the kitchen. Since I'd been away in Texas and then on the road again for a horse sale, I really needed to do some cooking. I made another batch of granola bars, Steak Tampequena (I'll work on posting a recipe for that) and Black Bean Sirloin Chili hit the spot:

We also had a buyer come out and look over our calves on Sunday. Our neighbor bought one load while I was gone and then a friend and neighbor to our neighbor (LOL) bought the rest. He bought them at a price that makes both parties happy and we are so grateful! He's getting an exceptional set of calves that will also be grateful to be going somewhere where the grub is good. Our pastures are out of grass due to the drought. And yes, our neighbors are also out of grass, but they have a growing yard and wheat pasture. DH came in after loading out the heifers with this comment, "Jared said it wouldn't hurt his feelings any if you wanted to make more of those oatmeal cookies." When he bought our calves last time, I had left him a bag of Cowboy Cookies in his rig. They have oats in them so those were the cookies he was referring to. Cowboy Cookies it is. Reposting an old photo here - making these this morning. I wonder if my headstone will read, "She made cookies for everyone"!😂

I knew Monday was going to be a L-O-N-G day at the sale barn. We started the sale an hour earlier than usual and sold 3293 hd of cattle. I usually figure 200 hd an hour over the course of a sale so that computes to 16 hours. Good gravy! Let's just say our eyes were crossed by the time we sold the last bovine 14 hours later, but we were thankful for bunches that allowed us to finish when we did. P.S. We spend a lot of time cleaning off our work space. LOL.

We took 2 breaks and I ran errands (bank, filled water bottles, feed store run) during my first break and made a quick trip through a grocery store during my 2nd break. Our governor closed our local Sam's club and Albertson's due to Covid. All non-essential businesses are already shut down and if an essential business has 4 positive rapid test results, they too are ordered to close. Walmart has 3 as of now and it's only a matter of time. When I drove by, there was a line of at least 50 waiting to get in. I didn't have time for that and had to get back to work so I stopped at the local Farmer's Country Market which I prefer anyway:

I made a mad dash through the store and was headed back to work 20 minutes later.  I bought a turkey as I passed an HEB on my way home from Texas last week. DH said our Governor had imposed these new restrictions so he said if I needed anything I had better get it in Texas. However, at the time, I wasn't sure if I was even going to be home for Thanksgiving. I was too tired to think that far ahead. Lots of folks are driving 3 hours or more to Texas for groceries.

While I was still at work, DH texted me and said that our heat was out. Good thing I'm a quilter, but it sure was hard crawling out from under those warm quilts at 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning after 4 hours of sleep. The tech showed up yesterday afternoon and we are back up and running. Yes, cookies were ready and waiting:

Tuesday and Wednesday were shipping days. So happy to see the calves moving on to greener pastures although we're also sad that the heifers had to go as well. Keeping heifers means future calf crops and not keeping them means no $.

DH had a 5 day deer hunt too, but between the horse sale, feed runs, fixing water troughs, and selling and shipping calves, he just wasn't able to squeeze it in even though he gets to hunt on the ranch. So no jerky this year. 

It's just been a crazy week. I'm also cooking dinner for the crew today. No breakfast - thank goodness. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving and I'm too pooped to gobble, but:

Our girl and her fella are coming home so the next 4 days will be filled with quail hunting, good grub, old stories, and new memories. They were here a few months ago and it always does a mama's heart good when the chiddlers come home:

I know most everyone's Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year and everyone is weary from all the things 2020 has thrown as us this year, but may you still find reasons for giving thanks, for praising God, and may you celebrate the simple things that bring you joy. One of those things for me is a nap - this old gal is dog tired.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On the Road Again

 Saturday we were up and out the door at 4 a.m. for a 2 hour road trip for this:

It's the Clovis horse sale (Clovis is in New Mexico), but earlier this year the sale moved to Texas:

DH was in search of a colt:


Lots of studying and looking and walking and discussing. 

And we've expanded the family by one:

He's just a yearling so lots of ground work in his future


Another 15 hour day and chores in the dark, but we're thankful for safe travels and our new addition. Welcome home:

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