Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Under the Needle: March

As predicted, I didn't accomplish much in the sewing room during March, but that's OK. I DID make progress on my Jellystone quilt. I made 80 bear paw blocks:

I loved playing with these fabrics from my stash. I stitched binding onto the front of this quilt:

This quilt:

And this quilt:

Finished quilts coming soon! Well, maybe not SOON, but at some point. 😉

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I am currently working on binding this quilt (I will post about it when it is finished), and I took pictures before it was bound, but I happened to be driving past this spot when I was on my way to see my mom and took the opportunity to stop. I had the quilt with me because I was in search of a binding for it. I loaded these photos onto my computer today and felt like I needed to share this now - even if the quilt is not finished.

This quilt is called 'Bloom Where You Are Planted'. God has planted us in some very different places lately and everyone is navigating unchartered territory in an attempt to find a new normal.  I wanted to share that not only during these uncertain times, but every day, I can't think of a better place to be planted than at the foot of the Cross:

Even when there is barbed wire and I find myself in a patch of Prickly Pear there:

Even then. Especially then.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Quilts to Bind

I have quilts to bind:

And no time to bind them:

Skeet is my weeding buddy when DH can't take him:

Yard duty is not nearly as exciting as bull wrangler:

It was 86° yesterday! Definitely not a day to stay cooped up - we need room to roam!

By the time the sun goes down and we settle in for the night, I'm too tired to sew. This is why that dang daylight savings time gets this early bird's veto.  But I forgot, I don't get a vote. No worries. Binding will keep while I'm soaking in the outside blessings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Layered Mini Lasagna Casserole

Our governor issued a "Stay-At-Home" Order beginning Tuesday morning through April 10th. That comes naturally for this hermit. Home for us is 128,000 acres so that makes social distancing a piece of cake for us. Still, things are getting so crazy. I do have to work at the Sale Barn on Mondays, but unless I need Diesel or vaccine for livestock, I'll head straight back to the ranch. As I was heading out of town on Monday I spotted a fella on Main St. wearing a mask and he was waving a roll of toilet paper in each hand while doing a little jig. Maybe he would have been willing to barter for some of my free range eggs. 😄

As I posted previously, I'm cooking for a crew for 3 days this week. No breakfasts. Paper plates. Lots of cleaning. Before and after. My little kitchen is busy. I made breakfast for DH, Banana Nut Bread, Soft and Fluffy Rolls, Cherry Cheesecake Bars, and fed this baby girl by 7. She's doing well:

 I may need a nap.

Some of ya'll requested I share recipes. I'm keeping things pretty simple and basic this week. Yesterday's menu: Mini Lasagna Casserole, green beans, salad, soft and fluffy rolls with a new Cherry Dessert that was good, but I have a couple other ones that we like better . After running a search, it doesn't look like I've shared this main dish so that's today's recipe. This is another one I've been making for over 20 years.

Layered Mini Lasagna Casserole

2# lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
48 oz pasta sauce
1 8 oz bag mini lasagna noodles
4 C ricotta or cottage cheese (I use 1/2 ricotta and 1/2 cottage cheese)
1 egg
1/4 C chopped parsley
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan

*Preheat oven to 375°. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Stir in pasta sauce and simmer for a few minutes. In the meantime, cook pasta and drain. In large bowl, stir together ricotta, cottage cheese, egg, parsley, pepper, and salt. In 9"x13"x2" pan, layer 1/3 meat sauce, 1/2 of the pasta, all of the ricotta / cottage cheese mixture, 1 C Mozzarella. Repeat 1/3 meat sauce, 1/2 pasta, 1/3 meat sauce, Mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

The original recipe calls for 1# of ground beef, but I doubled it (as usual) so you would only need 24 oz of pasta sauce if you went that route. The crew will be back on Thursday and Friday, but DH and I welcomed leftovers today:

Monday, March 23, 2020

What I've Been Up To

Life as we know it has changed for most everyone lately, but it's business as usual for us. I know many of you are finding a new temporary normal and some of you are sewing your way through it. No sewing here.

Last week I made a 9 hour road trip and spent a fast week with my mom. I left Tuesday and came back Saturday. I didn't see the sun the entire time:

 Yes. I know we all need to stay home, but at the time, the government hadn't delayed the tax deadline and I am the only one mom has to tend to her taxes. She and Daddy had a real estate business and I have been doing all the book work for it since he passed 10 years ago. All the property has been sold and paid off so this ought to be the last year. I have been staying home and we didn't go anywhere while I was down there. She was actually booked to take an Alaskan cruise in May and I strongly urged her to cancel that when I first heard of the virus. As it turned out, everything was shut down anyway, but she cancelled her trip before it got that far. We had a good visit while I was down there and I was able to tend to things on her to do list that were important to her. I got my exercise by digging and pulling out green things that didn't belong:

Out where I come from we like anything green, even weeds. I spent 5 hours sprucing up her yard one day and I loved every minute.  I love playing in the dirt!

I also cleaned out her greenhouse. She fed me well in return:


German Stuffed Peppers from my childhood - no recipe. It's just something she's always made:


Lots of empty miles (over 500) to get back home:


I did make one stop because a girl needs a bathroom during a 9 hour trip


It just so happens that the nicest, cleanest bathroom I know happens to be at a quilt shop. 😁 But no, I didn't shop around. I look for some solids for a friend that they didn't have and I pulled one bolt for a binding. I wasn't in there for more than 5 minutes. I would have bought some of this Texas Wildflower fabric if they had had any, but they were out and waiting for more:


It's good to be back home:

With our camp man hurt and DH tending to all 128,000 acres alone, it really wasn't the best time for me to be away, but we are about to get even busier and I figure this COVID-19 pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. We're still on for work at the Sale Barn today and I'll have 3 days of cooking for a crew this week. Yes, I hear you fussing, but folks in agriculture, medicine, law enforcement and first responders are still on the job. I can't help with the empty shelves of toilet paper but we can do something about keeping meat on the shelf.

We have to have all of our bulls tested for Trich (Trichomoniasis) annually as per government regulations before we put them out with the cows.

Trich can cause major economic losses due to infertility, it can cause the cow to abort - thus diminish calf crops  - and extend the calving season. It is also very costly to eradicate as cattle must be quarantined and tested multiple times. We have friends who lost 90% of this year's calf crop due to a neighbor's bull that was infected that crossed the fence. That is devastating to a rancher's livelihood.

So, I am cooking this week. Yes, I will take precautions. It's probably only a matter of time, but as of now, there are no cases of COVID-19 in our county, nor in any surrounding counties. Still, precautions are being taken. I keep a pretty good supply of groceries on hand and will be able to feed everyone without making a big grocery run although I might be running low on ice cream. 😉

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Sunny Saturday

Last Saturday morning we headed north

to pick up a couple of bulls that don't look well. It's hard to find folks that are as vigilant as DH when it comes to knowing and reading cattle. He's a good steward of the land and the animals under his care:


You can't just drive through a 7,000 acre pasture and drop feed out. It takes time to find them all, get a good count, and look for changes in each cow, bull, and calf (doctor them if needed or pick them up if they need more vigilant attention) At the same time, you need to check waters, look for leaks (and fix them), check your fences and mend as needed, evaluate your pasture, and put out mineral.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning and we mudded our way through wet roads:


On this particular day, a few bulls were singeled out

DH warmed up his horse:

And I warmed up my camera. 😊

Good thing his mind was on the job at hand:

Or he'd be fussing at me for sneaking pictures:

DH ropes 'em easy

This fella was pretty cooperative

One more shot before I drop my camera, help load the bull and shut the trailer gate.


Another bull needing to be picked up in a different part of the pasture:

Round 2:

Handy with a rope:

Good catch:

Now I'm probably being told to put the camera down and get behind that bull:

One more to load:

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man (Winston S. Churchill) 

As we headed back to the house, I thought about all of you, and the difficulties, upheaval, changes and challenges everyone is facing. May you all find peace and comfort and blessings amidst the chaos. Sometimes slowing down is a good thing. May you find the good things.


Monday, March 16, 2020

New Mouth to Feed

I know that so many have been affected by the changes incurred due to the Coronavirus, but for us, it's business as usual. Agriculture is one area where little changes. This place is 128,000 acres and leaks still need fixing, water still needs to be run, cattle still needs to be fed, equipment still needs to be maintained, and babies still need milk:

It's been a long time since we had a doggie calf, but DH spotted this little fella wandering alone when he was checking and feeding on the north side of the ranch. She was sick so DH doctored her in the pasture and left her there. hoping she'd pair back up with her mama. The next day she was still alone so DH brought her to the house. Our camp man is still out (he's waiting to be scheduled for a CT scan - think he tore his hamstring) so DH's workload had doubled. DH is going back today to look at the cattle in that pasture more closely. Surely there is a tight bagged cow in that bunch, missing her baby so we're praying for a joyous reunion, but for now this little heifer calf will be kept close where we can keep an eye on her. Skeet is on the job:

He's an attentive assistant:

Right now she's not too fond of the bottle:

The orange mark on her forehead is just like a big crayon. DH uses it to mark calves he doctors so that they are easy to spot when he checks on them again when they are integrated with the rest of the herd. We're hoping she'll soon be reunited with her mama, but she's settling in for now:

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