Monday, March 29, 2021

Last Week in Review

 Last Tuesday we shipped out the last of the Corrientes. 

We kept 6 bulls to use on the beef heifers, and a handful of pairs that had calves that were still too small to send, but for all intensive purposes, after 20 years, we are no longer raising Corrientes. I will miss these sweet faces each spring:

A little mending took place

A new well pump motor was installed

Still flaking out hay:

We've never fed so much hay:

But until it rains, we'll be doing a lot more of it

DH bought me a sweet gift last week:

With 5 babies to feed, my kitchen looks like this twice a day

I've had my hands full, shaking up 10 bottles a day, so he bought me a drywall mixer

Not every girl's idea of a romantic gift, but I am thrilled! It makes my life so much easier and in my book that's romantic. Milkshakes for breakfast!

The babies are happy to be spending time in the sun:

There are now 5, but the littlest one is a character

This one's a character too - he didn't like being left behind when the crew trailered out the other morning:

Looks like I'll be cleaning windows today. 😉

Monday, March 22, 2021

Under The Needle Update

 I used to be good about posting what was under my needle each month, but it's been a long time since I've had anything to share. However, I've been able to sneak in and out of my sewing room in small 5 minute increments. I'm still cooking for the crew, but we've eliminated breakfasts for them and that frees up some time. I may still cook breakfast for them on occasion when we brand, but in all honesty, after 35 years of making breakfast for the crew, this old body is not missing those 2-3 a.m. wake-up calls. This weekend DH and I fed, put out a lot of hay, and the babies are still being fed twice a day, but the fridge was full of leftovers so I didn't have to cook and DH checked water and sorted some cows, leaving me I spent some time in my sewing room.

I finished piecing the Moda Bakeshop Sweet Menagerie Jelly Roll top. 

And worked on piecing the back with the leftovers and some coordinating fabrics from my stash:

I also worked on piecing these blocks I worked on last year, into rows:

I'm using a Biscuits and Gravy Jelly Roll from a few years ago. I fell in love with the red main print and I think this pattern is a fun way to showcase it.

My bin of blue fabrics has really gotten out of control. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have 2 bins so in an attempt to make a dent in the overflow, I've been searching for a scrappy quilt pattern. I found it in Bonnie Hunter's Winter Blues:

I love the concept of her scrap users system, but it doesn't really work for the way I sew although if I have a small bit left, I will cut a 2 1/2" strip or a 5" square. I hate to strip things down when I may need a 5" strip or a 8" square. I never really know how I'm going to use my fabrics so it made more work and I've got a lot of cutting of 1 1/2" strips to do, but it was fun sorting through my bins and revisiting the various prints:

I haven't pulled my neutrals yet and I don't have a whole lot of those, but I've got  lots of blue 16-patches to stitch and I hope I'll be able to consolidate my blues into a single bin. Hope springs eternal!

I'll admit that two thoughts ran through my head while I was cutting:

1: Where on earth did all of this fabric come from?

2. I will never need to buy fabric again.

I hear you laughing. But honestly, I'm just not sewing enough to justify all this fabric and even if I sewed every day, I'd never use it all. Not even close. 

I'm still cutting, but I really felt the need to stitch so the strips are piling up:

and happy little blue blocks are beginning to appear:

My SIL and I were talking the other day and she said we needed to have all this fabric so we'd have enough to keep us busy when we retire. A bit later she said she couldn't wait to see this blue quilt finished. I replied, "Don't hold your breath. At the rate I'm sewing, it probably won't be finished until we retire. Come to think of it, ranchers don't ever really retire so I don't think there's any danger of ever sewing up my stash. And I think I'm going to keep looking for blue scrappy quilt ideas because this isn't going to make much of a dent in what I have. 

I'm also binding this baby quilt:

And I picked up the Safari quilt I made for us a few years ago from Jackie last Monday. I usually make the binding before I hand the top off to her, but I neglected to do that so I made the binding yesterday. A scrappy binding would have been fun, but I'm using this print because it's what I have:

 I guess the drought has extended to my stitching as well as the pastures, but it feels good to be working on something again and God's still working so I'm still praying.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wind Weary

 Whew! We made it through last week and are muddling our way through this week. It broke my heart to have to send another couple hundred hd of cattle down the road, but until it rains...and rains...and rains, we just can't keep 'em. 

We've still got a few more loads to send out, but these mamas just had babies and we want to wait until the little ones get a few weeks of growing under them before we send them off. It takes a lot of country to run cattle around here. We're on 128,000 acres and we generally run about 1,200 hd. Our average rainfall is about 10" annually and we'd get along beautifully if we got that, but it's been a long time since it's rained like that in a regular basis. So now we're faced with some tough decisions and we've had to cut back our numbers by 75%. I don't want to think what'll happen if it doesn't rain this year.

This isn't helping either:

Wind. HARD wind and lots of it. I had to run to the vet clinic in town to pick up health papers on Tuesday. Can't see the vet clinic, but it's there:

Dirt in your teeth and in your hair. 

Dirt in your eyes and in your underwear. LOL

Welcome to spring in New Mexico. It's just a small taste of what it must have been like during the Dust Bowl era. I'm amazed at the resilience of the folks that experienced that. I'm not that tough.

The crew gathered cattle on Tuesday

The vet was here on Wednesday (yes, he got cookies) 

and we sent 2 loads out last Thursday and one today. 

DH and I have been spending more time putting out hay. Sometimes it's first thing in the morning because we're trying to beat the wind:

I'm looking forward to another weekend of leftovers on paper plates after feeding the crew 2 days last week and 2 more this week. Someone's going to ask what I fixed. Nothing new. Chicken Fried Steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, State fair Yeast Biscuits and Peach Cobbler and Ice Cream on Tuesday. On Wednesday they filled their plates with Brisket,  Hot links, Rancher's Potatoes, Baked Beans, Jalapeno Poppers, left over State Fair Yeast Biscuits, and Cookies that I realized I still needed to post about. They about cleaned me out. Good thing I kept a few back for the hay delivery fella for tomorrow. 😉

Last Sunday, DH and I spent 4 hours moving 73 pair from one end of North Adobe to the other (5 miles). 

When we approached our destination, we were greeted by the welcoming committee:


The dirt tank on the northeast end is drying up and boggy and we already lost one cow that got stuck in the mud so DH snagged her little one 

and brought her back to the house so that's baby #4 he's after:

It was a pretty morning 

and we were grateful that the wind wasn't howling:

So that's what's been keeping me on my toes lately. And babies still need milk twice a day:

And yes, now there are three. Well, that was last week. Now there are 4. LOL. And Skeet is crushed that this one is a little older and drinking from a pail and does not need his anti-drip assistance:

I told DH my baby calf dance card was full. These little rascals are becoming quite demanding. They don't finish drinking at the same time and I will let two of them suck on my fingers (because they will butt you to the ground looking for more milk) while I am holding the 3rd's bottle and letting him drink. And last Friday I noticed my class ring was no longer on my finger and surmised they had sucked it off. So, that meant I'd be looking for it you-know-where in a few days, but thankfully the little toot must have spit it out because I noticed it glinting in the dirt that evening. One of them will suck on the others' ear when he is finished with his supper:

Nope. Never a dull moment around here. Right now, it is absolutely silent and I realized that the wind has stopped. The absence of roaring is very welcome. I probably ought to begin shoveling the dirt out of my house, but it's closing in on chore time and I'm going to soak up a little bit of that sunshine and Skeet and I will take the Ranger up to fetch the mail before we fix supper for the babies. Dirt shoveling can wait.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Just When I Thought I'd Sneak in Some Time to Sew

 ...things got crazy.

DH had saddled up on Tuesday afternoon and trailered out to ride through some cows. I was folding laundry when I heard him come back in and met him in the dining room. He looked at me, but didn't say anything for a minute. After 34 years of marriage, I knew something was up so I asked 2 questions: What happened? And how can I help? Thankfully, he was ok. The kids are fine. His parents are well. And Skeet is as happy as ever. His reply, "Things just got crazy."

Due to the drought, we've had to sell a lot of cows, but we still had about 450 hd of Corrientes (roping cattle) to sell.  We started raising these 20 years ago when we were in Texas and due to a drought (again) we could no longer raise beef cattle. We have since added beef cattle back and now raise both. DH has worked hard and built an exceptional program, producing outstanding roping cattle. 

The thing is, folks want them cheap. So, even though we really needed to sell them last Fall, due to drought conditions, and lots of folks wanted them, the owner just wouldn't let them go for what we were being offered. He knew these cattle were not your run of the mill Corrientes. We weren't advertising and we don't do social media so word of mouth is the only way to market them. I knew once the right people knew, we'd have a deal so I prayed. And prayers were answered so now we're scrambling. One fellow was coming Thursday to look at some of the cattle, but he didn't think he'd want all of them and he wanted to pick through them. Then another guy we've dealt with in the past ( he's actually a UPS driver in Montana) called and said he'd put us in touch with someone who was interested in the cows. That someone, knew someone who had bought our calves in the past and said they were the best calves they ever had and this new fella wanted all the cows we had...on Friday. So DH set about scheduling the brand inspector, the vet, trucks, and a crew to help. Also needed to push back another hay delivery since DH was going to be busy and he's the only one that can coerce the ancient tractor into doing his biding. If I unloaded the hay...well let's just not go there. 

And then, the original interested party was crushed and devastated and he was desperate to make a deal (his words). He ended up calling the gentleman who DID buy the cattle and making a deal with him. LOL. More changes for the health papers and truck destinations. DH is stressed and relieved at the same time, but until they're all shipped, relieved is on the back burner.

So, all that to say that I'm back in the kitchen cooking for the crew and making yes, you guessed it, more cookies. LOL. Apple Pie was out of the oven by 6 a.m. on Thursday morning. I crammed as many apples as I could in there so it's kind of lumpy looking...LOL

I fixed two bottles for the babies, splurging on handy dandy bottle holders the last time I was at the farm store:

And came back to the house to start on dinner. Instant Pot BBQ Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes, rolls, and green beans. Apple Pie and ice cream for dessert.

When I got up at 2:30 Thursday morning I noticed sparks and an odd glow outside the bedroom window, above the transformer east of the house. DH called the co-op and they came out at 8. Apparently the cut out (fuse holder) had been fried. He performed a temporary fix and said they'd be back out with a permanent fix and a  bigger truck in a day or two. 

My kitchen is a busy place:

On Friday I fixed Cornpone Pie, taquitos, corn, salad, beer battered jalapenos, and salsa. Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert.

I worked the special Angus sale on Saturday, but we made time and enjoyed a quiet evening watching The American (a rodeo) that night.  DH and I were making a plan for Sunday and DH had as list. I said, "But it's Sunday." His reply, "It's a day for catching up." I chuckled, "No, the Lord designed it as a day of rest." Alas, when critters are depending on you, tend to them you must, but we did make time to kick back and watch part of the short go of The American.

And I did sew a few stitches on Sunday, but I was just plumb wore out and didn't make much progress. I'm working on an old Moda Bakeshop project using a well seasoned Jelly Roll:

And today I'm back at the Sale Barn. Hoping to wrap things up early enough for me to make a mad dash through the grocery store. We're shipping out more of the cows and calves so I'll have a crew on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday again. After all is said and done, we'll have shipped out 9 loads of Corrientes.

I've got taxes to tend to on Friday and another trip to Texas HAS to happen at some point. I've also got a conference call scheduled and DH needs to be a part of it. I laughed when I was trying to pin down a day and time with the office manager. No, that day won't work....we're shipping out cows... gathering Chuckbox... processing calves... moving cattle...I told her we could make any day work as long as it was before 6 a.m. and after 7 p.m.. Unfortunately, financial advisors don't keep ranchers hours. LOL.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Last Week

 It seems as if things never really slow down around here. I'm not complaining - it's just life and around here, we're never really off the clock. So many are longing for longer days, but we're up before the sun and don't close out the day until it's dark and even then, we sometimes have to tend to things by headlights and flashlights:

And as I get older, I'm pretty pooped at the end of those long days. However, I'm grateful that each day brings it's own measure of joy:

Yes, we now have 2 dogie calves that are eager to see me walk up with their breakfast and supper each day. I've cut back to feeding them twice a day.

We've enjoyed some really nice weather bookending the wintry days:

And I spent one pretty morning in the bottom of what is a dirt tank - that's what we call the water holes around here, but right now it really does just hold dirt 😕 - burning some of the files from my parents' real estate business. There is no chance of the fire getting out of control as there is nothing for it to burn:

And DH and I have been back on leak repair duty:

He fixes a lot more than I document here, but how many pictures of him fixing leaks do you really want to see? Still, it was a beautiful day and Skeet was on hand to oversee our project:

We had a special Brangus sale in town on Saturday that I worked and then it was back in for our regular Monday sale and there's one more special sale this next Saturday:

We got another load of hay in:

And DH and our camp man have been flaking it out. I've been at work thus far, but our camp man recently quit so I'll be on hay duty. It takes all morning, 3 days a week. We've never had to do that before. We've been through droughty conditions before, but this is the worst we've seen. There is NO grass and it's not a case of overgrazing or mismanagement. Grass won't grow without rain. It's the same story across the state as well as in much of West Texas. We're selling another load of heavy bred cows. We'll hold the ones that are currently calving until their babies are a little bigger. By the time the cattle have been sold, we will have decreased our numbers by 75%. It's a good life, but right now, it's a struggle.

And less cattle doesn't really mean less work. It just means DH will be tending to other projects that he hasn't had time for:


You can tell that's an old picture by the tank water and green grass. It'll be like this again one day:

I always say, we're one day closer to the next big rain, but for now, we'll continue to be good stewards of this land that God has placed in our hands

 to be thankful for His merciful grace

and to be mindful that He is always in control 

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