Friday, May 28, 2021

Cooking Up a Storm

 We're expecting a houseful this weekend and I'm so excited to have everyone home! It's been too long! The kids are coming and DH's folks will be here as well so after the sale on Monday I made another big grocery run to the tune of $300. 

The men will be manning the smokers: Brisket - Pork Loin - Chicken - Jalapeno Poppers. My Dirt Road Granola Bars and Pea Pickin' Cake have been requested. Pound Cake. Corn on the Cob. Deviled Eggs. Spicy Pickles. Brats for over the Fire Pit one night. Chicken Quesadillas one night. Guacamole - Queso. Watermelon - and lots of different salads: Fruit Salad- Asian Salad - Potato Salad - Pasta Salad - Catalina Salad - Broccoli Salad - Cherry Salad - Chicken Salad. Hmmm...I think they're going to have to stay longer to eat everything. 😄

In between ranch life and cooking, lawn mowing and house sprucing are in full swing as well! So I had better scoot! I'm overjoyed!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sunday Morning Rain Run

 God is good all the time, whether it rains or not, but on Saturday He blessed us with rain. I can hear ya'll now: "Here we go again, another post about the weather!" LOL.

I'm sorry, but as ranchers, our life pretty much really does revolve around the weather.

After a Sunday morning breakfast omelet, DH and I headed out on a rain run. The rain gauge here at the house just had 0.2" in it, but around here, we are grateful for every drop. And as we drove east and then north, we began to run into water and DH laughed when I told him I needed a photo of a puddle:

I told him it was for historical documentation purposes. 😄

This rain gauge at North Camp made us dance a little jig:

Seems as if the rain ran across us diagonally and covered about 25% of the ranch.

We are desperate for it everywhere (as is everyone in the state), but the most amazing thing is, that we got the best rain right where the cattle are. I know that's not a coincidence. I don't believe in those. I know, without a doubt, that God's hand was in it. And I am a firm believer in prayer so to all of you who have sent prayers, THANK YOU! Know too that I am keeping those who are dealing with TOO MUCH rain in prayer as well. Our girl said she didn't think they were ever gonna dry out in OK. She was raised a desert rat so this has been a big change for her. It's rained so much there that she said she thinks she's beginning to mold. 😳

Skeet came along for the celebration too:

We drove up Sardine Mountain to get a bird's eye view of the dirt tanks without tearing up the roads:

These tanks were previously empty. Adobe Tank, that falls off into Adobe Lake was full. They're a couple of miles away:

Spotted Tank was full! This is a picture from 6 years ago. The one I took didn't turn out:

And Silman Lake was full!

any green you see, is mesquite, not grass. We also have a tank called Madison Square Garden (don't know who in the world came up with that one!) and it was full, but it is silted in and needs to being cleaned out and it can't be cleaned out until it's dry, but right now we need the rain more than we need the tank cleaned. 

No more feed runs! No more hauling hay!

Although we are very grateful that we were able to buy hay or we would have had to sell the 300 hd we have left:

Skeet will miss hay runs too - the calves come running when he hits the ground:

DH has been needing to visit with his brother and we've been praying for God to make a way for DH to be able to get away for a few days so they could spend some time together. Without this rain, he wouldn't be able to do so. Thank you, Jesus!

Cool, crisp, rain-scented desert air. The smell of coffee wafting from DH's cup. A happy pup:

Muddy roads:

This man by my side:

And when this song came on the radio as we ran across Sardine Mountain, I got a little misty-eyed:

 Pretty much a perfect Sunday in my book.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Too Many Early Mornings

 We had a busy week and I don't know if it's really busy or if we're just getting old, but either way, it wore us out.

Monday was sale barn day, as usual, and the sales are slowing down a little, as they tend to do in the summer, but we still sold almost 1200 hd. We finished at 4:30 and I headed to the grocery store with a long list because I was cooking for a branding crew. 2 hours later, I was headed home. 

DH helped the neighbors brand on Tuesday. 

We branded on Wednesday. 

Back to help the neighbors on Thursday. 

And we closed out the week, branding here again on Friday. 

Lots of early mornings. 

DH had to leave at 3 a.m. as the neighbors are an hour away and yes, they really are that far. We share a fence with them on the east side. 

Yes, I really ought to go back to bed after he saddles up and leaves, but I get up, make coffee for him and I brush my teeth because minty fresh 'see you later, have a good day, be safe, have fun, tell everyone hi, I love you' kisses are a nice way to begin the day...even at 3 a.m. And then I am awake. And since I didn't have to cook on Tuesday and Thursday, I caught up on some reading:

Tended to computer correspondence:

Added a few stitches to my current binding project:

Made good progress on my Tail Feathers blocks:

Washed clothes

Made the beans and rice for Friday

And dessert:

Lemon Meringue Cake

Cleaned my poor, dirty oven:

And when the sun came up, I mowed:


After 14 years, I got a spiffy, new lawn mower...for Mother's Day. 😂. It's just a basic, push mower, but I am thrilled! I don't need bells and whistles and with this drought, the yard is the only thing to mow. It takes me about about an hour to mow the yard and maybe 20 minutes to mow the bunkhouse yard. In years past, when it has rained, I have spent a lot of time (about 15 hours a week) mowing all over headquarters and I told DH that I was requesting a riding mower when that happened again. 

I enjoy mowing the yard in the cool of the morning. It looks lush this year- maybe because it's the only green to be seen anywhere in this part of the world. A few years ago, we had someone come out and trim the trees. We've done it ourselves in the past:

Step Away From the Chainsaw

But I convinced DH to have it done a few years ago because he's just got so much on his plate:

A Tree's Demise

We were so sad to lose one of the Elm trees (out here, trees are treasured) and then I was thrilled to see it coming back and now we have more future shade. It's already about 10' tall:

Hmmm...might be a good place for a nap. Heaven knows this old girl could use one.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Under the Needle: April & May

 A while ago I received a comment from a reader inquiring about this quilt top:

This is my Farmer's Market quilt top that I posted about when I listed the quilts I hoped to complete this year. Sue wrote:

Anonymous said:

I absolutely love your blog. Your life on the ranch is so interesting and I look forward to each new post. Could you answer a question for me? On your Farmer's Market quilt (see your post on 1-19-21) could you tell me the size of your blocks? I love the pattern and want to use it with bold flowered pieces. Thank you for your help. I hope your drought ends soon. I hated to see the cattle going. I grew up on a farm (Iowa) and the animals were so important to the whole operation. Sue

I don't have any contact information for you Sue, so I hope you will see my answer here. The blocks are 5". unfinished, before stitching the blocks together. I didn't use a pattern. I just picked a size. And that poor top is still hanging in the same spot. I haven't made much progress on much of anything on that list although I have matched a few backings and taken them to Jackie. 

I am binding our Zimbabwe Quilt, but progress is slow:

DH helped the neighbors on Thursday and he left the house at 4 a.m. so I took advantage of the empty morning hours and spent some time in my sewing room.

I am making another Tail Feathers quilt using a fat quarter bundle of Dad's Plaids as a jumping off point


I love this pattern:

I made it a few years ago and gifted it to our mechanic's son:

I made it a second time, but it's at Jackie's and I can't put my finger on the photo. This time around, I redrafted the block, decreasing it to a 9" block. I always seem to have a need for quilts for men and I think the plaids will be fun and I've begun to pull more from my stash:

And yes, I know that there are too many quilts to make to make the same quilt twice - or more than twice! - but I also feel good knowing I'm getting my money's worth from a pattern. Makes me feel a little better about the money I've spent on all those patterns I'll never get to.  And that's my not so logic, logic for today. 😏

I cut everything out when I was in Texas last month:


I'm still a 'draw a line across the square' kind of girl.


And I cannot tell you how nice it was to just sit and sew for a little bit! It's been a month since I've sewn and these little HSTs made me happy:


Blocks are coming together and I'm eager to stitch them into rows.

Before I left for Texas, I wanted to sew something simple and I have these 2 flannel layer cakes:

And it wasn't long before I had a top:

And now I want to make another one. I haven't made a western quilt in a while and this might be a good way to make a dent in that bin. And that's how new quilts are born. I know I'm not alone!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

 The days are moving too fast for this old gal and I feel like I'm falling behind. I keep taking pictures and I intend to post about the things that fill up our days and then days pile up and things begin to run together. So today you get a quick peek into some of the things that keep me away from the computer. 😉 

Before I left for Texas last month, DH and I spent time one morning building a ramp at one of the waters on the north side. We gathered rocks along the way, unloaded them, and DH made an impromptu watering can:

 DH builds a base and then adds bags of Quikcrete:

These bags weigh 80# and just last year I was able to lug them to DH from the rig, but my Quikcrete lugging days are over. My 57-yr old body just won't cooperate, no matter how hard I grunt. 

Grunting also leads to laughing. And laughing leads to crossing legs. Poor DH really does deserve better help.

Mission accomplished. Now the baby calves can reach fresh, cool water:

Skeet wasn't too happy the morning I left. He looks pretty pitiful:

While I was away, DH took over my baby calf chores 

I missed these sweet faces:

 One day he sent me this video and I thought I'd share it with all of you Skeet fans:

DH also sent me this photo:

With this caption: There are 3 baby kittens under there somewhere.

LOL. 128,000 acres and a mama cat, 3 kittens, AND a chicken must take up residence in a single 12" nesting box. 😂

And then that dear man improvised and nailed up this setup to keep the babies safe and the chickens out:

We're still spending every 3rd day hauling hay up to cows on the north side of the ranch

But the good news is that we put these to use a few times last week (they usually dry rot between rains around here):

And we're praising God for every drop. About 1/2 of the ranch had 1" of rain in 3 showers. And now we walk around and stare hard at the ground, looking for any signs of green. We try not to tear up roads,

 but it's really nice to get a little mud on the tires:


Then our girl, who lives in OK called on Friday night at 7 and said we had cows out on the highway. Someone from here had messaged her so we jumped in the rig and headed out. Within 5 minutes, DH's phone rang 4 more times. 

The neighbor called and said someone had called him. 

A friend who often helps us, called from Arizona where he was working cattle to tell us he heard we had cows out. 

The brand inspector called. 

And the wife who's husband used to work for us at North Camp called - her daughter who lives 150 miles away heard we had cows out too and called her. 😂😂😂

So after a wild ride through the bar ditches, the rogue heifer was rounded up:

 and fence was mended:

DH said he was checking a water on the highway the other day and the heifers were close by when a police car went screaming past on the highway (not really a highway - just a 2-lane blacktop) with sirens whaling and the heifers took off  running after the police car. 

The siren sounds a little like the feed truck siren that we run when we feed cake. He got tickled.

I've got more to share, but I think this post has dragged on long enough and I've got to jump in with DH and run some cows through the chute so I'll leave you with this closing shot I snapped a few weeks ago when I was driving down Ponderosa Rd and crossed the railroad tracks at sunrise:

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