Monday, February 22, 2021

Storm Report

 I hope this finds those of you who have been snowed in and iced over, thawed out and plugged in with heat and water again. As storms go, we fared well. We had snow and ice and wind for 5 days and one morning with rolling power outages, but not a big deal. We have a gas stove, lanterns, and plenty of quilts. 😉 DH's winterizing paid off and we left faucets dripping when the temperatures plunged to 0°. On Wednesday we had a leak at an outside faucet that is set up for the crew to wash their hands:

It was wrapped, but on a ranch, things wear out, storm or no storm, and this faucet had lots of age on it, so we dug:

DH does a lot of fixing around here:

We still had about an hour's worth of chores to do in the pens when we started on the leak and we were running short on daylight and expecting another single digit night. No sense filling the hole back up with rocks so I pulled out my garden wagon, filled it with a couple loads of soil from a flower bed because it was close and convenient and filled the hole while DH drove to check a well on the south end of the ranch.

DH fussed because the dirt around the faucet was mixed with rocks -not naturally - someone had filled the hole with rocks at some point. We've been here for 16 years so it was before that and it made for a challenging fix, but we're good to go now:


We'll move the rock pile in a day or two. The storm dumped about 6-7" in  a 3 day time frame and we welcomed every flake that fell on this drought ravaged land, Skeet welcomed it too:

As he welcomes everything...with pure joy:

We just had a few inches when I took these shots:


That little dog LOVES the snow!                              

I didn't take a lot of pictures because we were pretty busy working, but although Skeet is always on the job, he also reminds us to fit a little playtime into every day:


DH and I made a trip to the farm store on Thursday morning for some feed:

And for plumbing parts:

There are at least a couple hundred miles of pipeline on the ranch and leaks are just part of ranch life in general, but when things thaw out after winter storms, we always know to expect a few more. 

Come chore time, my chariot awaits!

Skeet loves it too and everyone needs a sidekick to help with chores:


A few months ago we got this Ranger and it sure is handy to zip around in and out of the pens filling bunks every evening:

My little doggie calf is settling in well and follows me around like a puppy. 

I let her out of her pen sometimes to romp and play:

I feed her 3x a day and Skeet is always there as part of  the support team - he adores her and after the storm, we're all glad to be spending time in the sun:

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Few Stitches

 I haven't stitched in weeks and only a very small bit in months. You would think the recent inclement weather would allow me to sneak in a little sewing, but I haven't been able to make that happen. Due to the weather, the cattle sale was cancelled, but I put on my ranch wife hat and have been helping DH. However, I did manage to sneak in a few stitches while he was on a feed run so I took advantage of the gifted time and dusted off my neglected 16-patch  project I worked on last fall:


Completed blocks were stitched into rows:

 And I pulled out this fabric from an earlier Hill Country Spring collection for the backing. In a different scenario, I'd probably use a less busy print, but I'm giving myself brownie points for using what I have and a riot of wildflowers is always a good thing. And yes, it is in serious need of a good pressing:

When I was in Texas last month, I did manage to make this oversized lined drawstring bag:


I am using it for a dirty clothes bag during road trips. Can a dirty clothes bag bring you joy? I don't want to know what that says about me that it does:


I was also thrilled to have manipulated technology into allowing me to still use the embroidery capabilities on my sewing machine and stitch a label for a quilt I gifted to the friends who did mom's memorial service:


It required downloading drivers and reconfiguring some software and for this technology-stunted gal, it was worth a whoop or two. They are retired military and I gave them this quilt:

I also worked on some blocks using a jelly roll pattern. I was really in the mood for some mindless sewing and this project fit the bill:


Whew, it feels really good to have something stitchy to share! I figured I had better strike while the iron was hot, both literally and figuratively, because more pressing matters await and I am being summoned away from my sewing room:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Bracing for a Winter Storm

 I know so much of the country is currently experiencing frigid weather. Around here, cold mornings call for Steel Cut Oats with apples for breakfast:

And while they were cooking, I put a new recipe our girl shared with me, together in the Crock-pot - Yum! (yes, I'll post it soon and no, I haven't forgotten about the other recipe I promised) 😏

The impending arrival of a winter storm also calls for a double batch of homemade gingersnaps - a longtime favorite of DH's:

We're expecting a quick, 3 day, cold snap, but it will be a stressful couple of days. Our high was 28 today. Earlier this week it was 80. These extreme temperature swings are rough on cattle. DH spent some time winterizing: checking heat lamps in pump houses, wrapping of faucets (he just keeps ours wrapped, but one needed a little re-wrap)

More hay dispersal:

He puts out the bales and I swing the gates and cut the twine:

covering some pipeline, and worrying about the new babies:

Yes, we're in the middle of calving season. Add to that, no grass, plus snow, plus 40 mph wind, plus -0° (even for just 2 days) makes for a worried rancher. DH saddled up and brought a pair back to the house. He has mad trailer backing skills:

The mama looked poor and he was concerned she wasn't producing enough milk so he brought them up to the barn and I fixed a little milk to see if this little fella would suck:

DH unloaded them and I headed to town (about 25 miles to the Farm Store on the edge of town) on a milk replacer run. We were worried if the mama wasn't well enough to feed this little guy and with a storm headed our way, that we'd be in a bind so best to be prepared:

Baby calves ears will surely freeze in this weather. It's just not a good situation. On 128,000 acres, we can't save all of them, but we do what we can. When DH isn't feeding, he's horseback, picking up pairs that are struggling and bringing them into the pens in order to keep a closer eye on them. Skeet welcomes the newest arrival that isn't much bigger than he is:

He's tiny, but he's feisty:

I spent about 2 hours hauling hay from the barn floor to the chicken coop. My chickens are tough. No heat in their poor coop, but the coop stays surprisingly cozy and I haul out warm water to for them. Plus, I made a HUGE pot of steel cut oats in order to have lots of leftovers for them. They are loyal layers:

Filling bird feeders:

 And after tending to chores:

Skeet BEGGED for a walk. When he sees me put on a particular pair of shoes, he goes ballistic so we went for a short walkabout. SHORT being the operative word because I love Skeet, but it was 25°, but it's a small thing to ask in return for joy:

After a long day, we were pooped so I cheated and we gladly dined on frozen pizza on paper plates (saving the Crock-pot leftovers for tomorrow):

Here's hoping the resident rancher will get a good night's sleep. As always, we pray, do what we can and hope for the best. It's not a glamorous life, but I sure do love it. Please remind me of that when I have to crawl out from under the warm quilts while it's still dark out in the morning. 😉

Monday, February 8, 2021


 Yes, it's been quiet on the blog-front. And yes, I've been away from my dirt road again. I spent a couple of weeks in Texas, tending to a very long to-do list and I just couldn't manage to fit time in front of the computer for blog-writing amidst the endless phone calls and appointments. I still had calls to make to Europe to folks who do not speak English. I can understand German, but my ability to carry on a conversation is laughable. Google to the rescue and I was pleased that I thought of it. I simply opened a translation site and typed what I wanted to say in English and then read the German translation to whomever I was speaking to. I had to call my mom's oldest friend. Their mothers were friends and they were both born within days of each other so they've been friends since birth...81 years. Difficult, but necessary conversations. I started going through easy things at the house and smiled when I found a folder with the Christmas card list dating back to 1972:

My parents were both uber-organized and fastidious, which I did not inherit, but it makes things easier for me although there is still so much to go through:

I brought a notebook with me from home and I designated a page (or more) for each day, listing the things I had done. HUGE help because I will never remember what I did when. Maybe that tidbit will help someone else in a similar situation at some point. My parents were real estate brokers for 35 years and they kept every single contract ever written:

I have 42 of these banker's boxes to contend with and I'm bringing then back to the ranch to burn. I spent part of one evening in the company of  the residents of Mayberry and piles of change:

Mom's bank does not have a change machine and I am too frugal to pay at one of the machines at the grocery store so I rolled change. Added bonus is that this brings back fond memories of my Daddy. He always emptied his change into a large jar throughout the year and he used the accumulated change for Christmas gifts when I was a child. DH and I have always had a change jar too.

I've started sorting through piles of my parents' memories and I feel like I'm intruding. I never snooped through my parents drawers. As a child I never even went into their bedroom so I feel as if I'm invading their privacy, but it's unavoidable. This trip I mostly tended to things that needed immediate attention and then came back home.

I always take the backroads. One of my favorite little towns is Mason. Through the years I have often stopped at the local antique store:

I bought one of my favorite cookbooks here years ago:

And I plan to stop for a bite to eat at this sweet little cafe next trip:

Hard to resist this cute face:

And I am always charmed by small town courthouses:

Alas, when I drove through this past Friday morning I was heartbroken to see this:

This 111 year old courthouse was set ablaze the previous night by an arsonist:

Thankfully, it was empty, as it was scheduled to be renovated, but it still saddens me to see the destruction:

I made it back home and plan on soaking in the sunshine after I give someone a much needed bath!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...