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:

Saturday, November 21, 2020

31 Hours in Fredricksburg

 I know I've been remiss in posting, but I've been at my Mom's since the 11th and I just got back Thursday night...just before midnight. I went down for her 3rd immunotherapy infusion and an appt with her oncologist. Alas, the Sarcoma has spread significantly in her lungs and they canceled the infusion. The last option is for her to begin taking Votrient, a kinase inhibitor. In 3 weeks, she'll have another scan. I came home for a little while and will head back in 3 weeks, or sooner, if she has difficulty with the side effect, or just needs me.

I headed back on Wednesday, leaving at 7:30 in the morning in an attempt to get home by dark. About an hour and a half into my trip, I began hearing a racket underneath the pick-up. I had heard it once before, but it was not loud and when I had pulled over I didn't see anything out of place. We had to replace the flywheel and starter a few weeks ago(it's a 2015 F-250) and DH said things weren't quite right so we had stopped in and discussed it with our mechanic. He said it was fine to drive it, but bring it in in a couple of weeks. 

So, when the loud flapping intensified and I was 500 miles away, I prayed for a dealership because I figured they'd be more apt to have parts, should I need them. I was just about to pull into Fredricksburg and no sooner had I sent up my little request, a Ford dealership appeared on the horizon. Alas, it was not a simple fix. Turns out I needed a new transfer case and u-joint and the closest one was in Houston, 250 miles away. The service manager said he'd try to get me out for $3000.00. O.K. Ouch! Big sigh, but I had peace about it and I felt God's hand on my shoulder:

It was a beautiful day and I walked around the lot for a long time while they diagnosed the problem. I finally went into the waiting room where a lady was putting the final touches on the Christmas tree and I offered to help. Then I sat down and pulled out a quilt and worked on the binding:

There was one older gentleman waiting for an oil change and we struck up a conversation that turned into a lovely 2 hour visit. He was an 85 yr old veteran that had just lost his dear wife and owned the Amish Market in town. We visited about everything under the sun including faith, family, politics, world events, food, and history. What a dear, dear man and I can't tell you how blessed I was by our time together. God's hand again. 

Then, the lady, Shirley, who had decorated the Christmas tree popped around the corner and asked me if I was the lady from New Mexico. Yes, Ma'am. She said they were going to set me up with a room for the night and a  loaner car. She asked if I needed cash or anything else and I was nearly brought to tears by her kindness. God's hand.

I love Fredricksburg, but I never take the time to explore because it's already a 9 hour trip between home and my mom's and I try not to make it any longer. Plus, my mom always wonders what takes me so long when I DO stop at the quilt shop there. LOL. Which, yes, I did exactly that! I was very cognizant of the fact that I was leaving a lot of $$$ at the dealership so I wouldn't be supporting the small businesses as much as I would have liked, but it doesn't cost to browse:

Or window shop:

And Fredricksburg is the best place to window shop!

Especially when it's all decked out for Christmas:

And I'm one of those annoying people who refuses to begin celebrating the Christmas season until the day after Thanksgiving, but I was strolling downtown and this was happening at the Marktplatz:

Such a pretty evening to stroll through town and I splurged on a Sangria as I walked back to the motel, about 2 miles away:

And then I settled down by the firepit for a few hours. If one is stranded, this is a pretty good place to land. God's hand.

As I walked by the front desk in the lobby the next morning, the clerk, with whom I had had a lovely visit with the day before, said, "Good Morning! You have a package". I was quite surprised, and when I opened it I found this:

The dear gentleman I had befriended at the dealership the day before had dropped it off at the motel - he even spelled my name right! People I've known for a long time don't even do that. LOL. I was touched by the thoughtful gesture. God's hand.

As I sat at the firepit and all night long in the motel, I kept hearing cattle bawling and I couldn't figure out where they were. I was in the middle of town, but of course, it made me grin and feel right at home! So the next morning, I jumped in my loaner car and went exploring, in search of bawling cattle. What can I say, I'm a ranch wife. So I rolled down the windows and sure enough, I found the source - welcome to the local sale barn, LOL

And yes, I went in and visited with them. Hey, we had a lot in common and I was curious if they too were experiencing a drought (they were) and what kind of numbers they were running. They sell sheep and goats one day and cattle the next. The owner asked if I knew someone (I did - he's at the sale every Monday) and we had a good visit. I said, "Yes, sir, he's quite the character". He replied, "Well, that's one way of putting it". LOL

I thought this place was a feed store and wanted to take a peek:

Not quite:


But I browsed and noticed this book:


I flipped it open to that day and read this:

I chuckled. God's hand.

My truck wasn't ready until 4:30 on Thursday and and I still had 7 hours in front of me. I went in to settle up:

Yes, they had deducted $1000 from the total and told me to have a Merry Christmas. There may or may not have been some tearing up. Without a doubt - God's hand. 

It's so good to be home, and I am giving thanks to God for the the kind people he planted in my path and for the sabbatical I didn't know I needed.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Kitchen Chatter

 So, I've been back in the kitchen again this week. We're weaning the Corrientes. The weather's been amazing...30's and 40's in the mornings and 70's and 80's in the afternoons. I've been cooking with the windows flung open (Yes, even in the morning because my little kitchen gets HOT) and sneaking out of the kitchen whenever I am able. 

I placed a pick-up order from Walmart for Monday after work - that made it so convenient for me. With the time change - breakfasts are earlier - 4:30 I know it's just a number on the clock, but it does mess with my head when I have to get up at 3. I honestly just wish they'd just do away with it. We'd all adjust, but then we would only have to acclimate once instead of messing with everyone twice a year. 

I mowed Tuesday afternoon because I knew I'd only be more tired as the week wore on. I'm hoping this'll be the last mowing session of the year(next chore is weed trimming and pulling)  but I pulled the string out of the mower so I'd better tend to that before I put it up for the winter and before the kitties confiscate said string:

I have a lot of time to think when I spend my days in the kitchen. Turns out kneading bread dough is very soothing. I make bread for the crew pretty much every day and the simple ingredients, combined with the feel of  the dough under my hands, always brings me peace and heaven knows we're all in need of that these days!

We're working through the book of Daniel in church. The series is: Daniel: Living Right Side Up in an Upside Down World. Timely. And yes, he did mention the election. I'm not going to preach about politics here although I certainly hope you voted! The election. Covid. 2020 in general. A good reminder that I need to be sure my life is built on Christ, not the things of this world. And God is all things. The things of this world are temporary. His kingdom is eternal. 

So, in my temporary world I am turning to basic kitchen ingredients that simplify, hopefully bring a little happiness to the table and a little sweetness to the day

And then I'm headed out the door to soak in the magic air of these Autumn days and reminisce of the days when there was actual grass in the pastures:

The view's still pretty great though 😉

Thursday, November 5, 2020

HST Baby Quilt Finish

  Today I'm sharing the 2nd quilt made from this print:

I love HSTs for their versatility - they can be made into any number of quilt designs so I often fall back on this classic quilt block when I just want to sew 

I used the last of this pink Sketch print and a blue solid, both from my stash, for the binding and Jackie quilted a sweet pattern called Flower Spray across it

At 47" x 52" it will be a good size for a sweet little girl to love.

Skeet was hanging out with me, but he's none too pleased with me when I suggest he pose for a photo. He'd much rather be on a grand adventure rounding up boisterous bovines or sneaky skunks. I was chasing chickens out of the yard and threw the quilt over one of the chairs. When I turned around, Skeet was laying there. Maybe he was guarding the quilt. He's always game for anything, but I think 'quilt model' is at the bottom of his list. 😄

Monday, November 2, 2020

New Project

 I finished piecing my Autumn Jellystone last week and yes, it still needs a good pressing:

and I immediately had a hankering to start something new. These Hill Country Spring jelly rolls are the first jelly rolls I ever bought....many moons ago

This was a 2008 collection and I was just beginning to quilt so I'm thinking I bought these sometime in 2009. After 10+ years, this seems like a good time to turn them into a quilt. Moda comes out with a similar collection each year, but I think this was the first one. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country and it will always hold a special place in my heart so it stands to reason that I ought to have a Texas Hill Country quilt in my repertoire. 

I have hemmed and hawed over what pattern to use all this time, and these jelly rolls have been moved from shelf to bin many times, but Wednesday afternoon I just sat down and started stitching the strips into 16 patches:

For some reason, the St. Louis 16-patch quilts that took the quilting community by storm 8 or 9 years ago have caught my eye recently so that's what I settled on:

I wanted something unfussy, fast and simple with a classic style and I think this fits the bill. I pulled in some solids from my small stash:

Because once I set some blocks together, I felt like they were a little muddy as a whole. 

I don't use solids much, but I thought these might brighten things up a little.

Hmmm, maybe these are too bright. I worked on them again on Thursday and Friday. They are fast and by the end of the day, I had 46 blocks, but then I spied some Grunge sitting under a pile and I knew I'd switch out the solids. From a distance, there isn't much difference, but I'm planning to keep this quilt and I know I'll be happier with the Grunge blocks:

I wanted a bigger quilt than this was going to make so I cracked open a 2nd jelly roll and the stitching will continue.

I'm at the sale barn today and then I'll be cooking for a crew again Tuesday through Saturday so sewing will be put on the back burner for a bit, but I figure these jelly rolls have already been marinating for over a decade so what's another week. At least they finally have a plan.

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