Monday, December 5, 2022

Playing Catch Up

 Goodness! How is it already December? I'm losing track of the days so after almost 2 weeks, you get a hodge-podge snapshot of what we've been up to. 

I brought germs home from work a few weeks ago and shared them with DH so a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup was in order

Loved having chiddlers home for Thanksgiving for 4 days

We smoked the turkey, but I had to improvise when I wanted to truss the bird and didn't have any string: DH brought me some feed sack twine from the barn:

I made everything else the day before - Butterhorns are a Thanksgiving tradition

Our girl pitched in as we took down all the Fall decorations: seeing it all in one place, makes me realize I have too much!

And we welcomed the Christmas season

Feeding season is also upon us

We had another skiff of snow and ended up with an inch of moisture in the rain gauge

Enjoyed a Christmas gathering at a friends' home

DH brought home a nice deer and jerky making has commenced


And I am spending some quiet evenings binding a quilt during the NFR performances for 10 nights

Today I'm at work at the sale barn - expecting to sell 2300 hd - that translates to about 11-12 hours if all goes smoothly so it's going to be a long day and I'll be cross-eyed by the time the last bovine is sold:

So, all is well, just dropping the ball when it comes to posting. I'll try and pop in a bit more, but that's a peek into life at the end of the dirt road lately. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Hill Country Spring Quilt

 This quilt started with the first jellyrolls I ever bought - back in 2009. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The bluebonnets sealed the deal and I came home with 3 jellyrolls. Back then they were $25.00 -a bargain on today's market. And then they sat. I often struggle with settling on a pattern, but in October 2020,  I finally settled on making a St. Louis 16-patch and unrolled the strips. Why is that so hard? 

I started making blocks, pairing the prints with solids from my stash, but they just didn't sit well with me and I switched things out for Grunge in some of the blocks


 I like the rustic look of Grunge better than the solids although you can't tell the difference from the back of a loping horse. Before long, the top was stitched and I handed it off to Jackie. She quilted a pattern called Bora Bora with a cobalt blue thread. This quilt is pretty busy and I made it even wilder with the back

But I found it on clearance years ago and if you know me at all, you know that I cannot pass up a field of wildflowers - they are my absolute favorite!

I bound this with a blue Grunge from my stash to match the bluebonnets

It's 66" x 74" - smaller than I usually make, but a good napping size and it makes me happy. 

I was surprised when DH said he liked it and I couldn't give it away. 

We recently had our first freeze and the first flakes of snow fell on Saturday so this quilt's a cheerful way of enjoying the Texas hill country wildflowers all year long

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hunting for Furniture

 We've been on the hunt for living room furniture for a while now. I love our couch and loveseat, but after 22 years, it's seen better days. I've hopped from town to town in search of something to no avail. Maybe I'm too picky, but I want something we'll love because we'll have it for 20+ years. We want leather. Good quality. Good support but comfy. And please, no console or cup holders! Apparently consoles are in high demand because that's about all there is, but our family likes to snuggle, and nap, and curl up with quilts and consoles just get in the way. We found one set, locally, that we liked, but the loveseat had a console and we could not order it without one. It's a deal breaker. 

So last week, I tried another town a few hours away

I got there before the store opened and popped into Walmart to pick something up that the store in town does not carry. Did not expect to leave with this, but I was simply charmed by these snowmen and the little gnomes made me smile. The wooly looking things clip onto the branches of a Christmas tree.

I am a 'no Christmas decorations until the day after Thanksgiving' gal. I love Thanksgiving and just want to give it  my full attention. No judgement for those who believe otherwise and I'll admit that the Christmas spirit filled my heart the minute I stepped into the furniture store

This family owned store is the prettiest furniture store I've ever been in


DH could not come with me because he was tied up all day. Many of our ranch roads are practically impassable and DH had a fella out to look at and bid on the job so I made a solo excursion. I found some good possibilities, but although DH told me to just buy it, I don't like doing that without him putting his hands on it. And I want him to choose the leather or fabric for his recliner. The loveseat in the photo has a console, but they have one without it in the warehouse.

                            

We'll make a return trip after Thanksgiving - deer season started today and DH is out crawling through the pastures - it's a 5 day hunt and that takes us up to Wednesday. It just started snowing - the first flakes of the season! I think I hear my sewing machine calling.

 I drove into town yesterday to pick up groceries for Thanksgiving. I've been finalizing the menu and texted this to our girl - her reply made me chuckle. 


We love trying new recipes, but we'll save that for the other 364 days of the year. Around here, Thanksgiving is all about tradition and treasured memories which includes 1 more Thanksgiving with our comfy furniture and I for one am perfectly happy about that!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Fabric Mail

 Saturday evening I drug the ironing board out into the living room and pressed fat quarters.

There are 40 different prints in this collection and it took me a couple of days to get everything pressed. This is the Branded Collection that I'm using for our rancher friend who asked DH if I would make him a quilt. I just love these prints. It's a western collection, but it's subtle and understated. 

Previously I mentioned that I was loath to cut into this bundle because I had my heart set on making us a quilt from it, but I knew it was the perfect fabric for M's quilt. The other FQ bundle I ordered arrived on Friday. I laughed when I opened it up because there was an envelope with DH's name on it. I hadn't realized that I used the address with his name instead of mine when I placed the order. I read the note and then handed it to him saying, "You received a Thank You note"

He said, "For what"?

I grinned, "For placing a fabric order. And you got extra goodies"

He replied, "What'd I get?" I let him open the gifts wrapped in pretty tissue paper

Isn't that sweet? And now I can say I didn't order all this fabric. He did! I should have thought of that years ago! 😂

Monday, November 7, 2022

Pickled Jalapenos

 We had our first freeze 2 weeks ago so that means the garden is done.

 I picked everything and ended up with a lot of jalapenos. 

I cut some up and froze them - we add jalapenos to lots of dishes - right now I am thinking these will be perfect on homemade pizza - but I still had a lot left so I figured I'd can some pickled jalapenos. I contemplated making Cowboy Candy which is a sweet version, but DH nixed that. He didn't want all the sugar so plain old pickled jalapenos it was. 

I never wear gloves when I chop jalapenos, but I did this time because I was dealing with a lot of jalapenos and the ones from my garden are notoriously hot although they are less so this year because we just didn't have a crazy hot summer.

I followed this recipe

                                          Super Simple Canned Jalapeno Slices

Just making notes here so I'll know what I did when next year rolls around. I had enough jalapenos for 7 pints so I used 

5 C vinegar

5 C water

4 Tbsp Kosher Salt

for my brine. Next year I'd like to add some mustard seed, peppercorn, and a little garlic. Now the hard part is waiting the 4 weeks for these to be pickled enough to dig in. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Extra Lemony Lemon Squares

  Lemon Squares have been around for a long time and I've been making them forever, but most of them are pretty sweet which I guess is what a dessert is supposed to be, but if I'm eating something lemony, I want it to be tart with just a hint of sweet in the background and these lemon bars are just that!  


I guess lemon bars are more of a summer dessert, but it's what I made the other day for the crew so you get lemon bars in November. 😉 Here's the original recipe with all the details and I'll attest to the fact that this is a place for great recipes so poke around some while you're there.

                                                            Jo Cooks - Lemon Bars

Now, I think it's hard to beat my Lemon Meringue Cake, but I made these bars before and the crew loved them so they were quickly added to my favorites recipe collection. These also freeze well so pucker up buttercup - these are yummy! 


Extra Lemony Lemon Squares

For the crust you'll mix: 

1 C softened butter 

1/2 C sugar

 2 C flour 

1/4 tsp salt


Filling: 

3 C sugar

6 large eggs, beaten (room temperature)

2 large lemon, zested

1 C lemon juice (I juiced 6 fresh lemons - they were extra large)

1 C flour


Topping: Sprinkle with powdered sugar

*Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking or baking spray. Mix together butter and sugar. Blend in flour and salt. Press into bottom of pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Make filling while crust is baking. Mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over hot crust and bake for 30 minutes or until set. It will set up more as it cools. Dust with powdered sugar. Cool and cut into squares.         

  

*Notes: I think I'd like a little thinner crust so I'll probably only use 3/4 of the dough next time. The chickens can feast on the rest. 😉

Monday, October 31, 2022

Under the Needle: October

 It's been a busy month and for the most part, it's kept me out of the sewing room. At some point I did finish piecing all of these blocks that I've been working on since June. I am making the quilt bigger and made 110 blocks - these were so much fun to piece:

Now I'm working on trimming them all up:

I'm binding a quilt I started 2 years ago - this shot curtesy of early Sunday Morning Vibes:

And I finished this Posh Pumpkin Jelly Roll Quilt

A ranching friend of ours phoned DH a few weeks ago and asked if I'd make him a quilt or two so I'm in the early planning stages for that project. I'm actually thinking of using the 2x4 pattern and using this fat quarter pack of Sweetwater's Branded that I've been hoarding as a jumping off point:

I adore this collection and have been saving it to make a quilt for us, but it will be perfect for this friend. He requested a full/queen size and I was worried there wouldn't be enough leftover. This line is a few years old, but I found 1 last fat quarter pack on-line and ordered it. So now I can safely cut into this one without hyperventilating. 😂

Friday, October 28, 2022

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

 This is another recipe I've been making for over 20 years. I don't even remember where I got this one (probably Taste of Home), but it's one of DH's favorite desserts and I made it earlier this week and remembered to take pictures so that I could share it here. I'm no food photographer though so although the photos aren't great, you'll have to take my word that the dessert is worthy of applause. LOL. It's not fancy, but we rarely do fancy around here.

Graham crackers. Pudding. Cool Whip. Chocolate. By themselves, they are ordinary, but together, they are magic! Well, perhaps magic is a bit much, but it's a pretty yummy combination. 


Chocolate Eclair Dessert 

*This must be prepared 24 hours before serving.

1# Graham Crackers (you will need all 3 sleeves)

1 8 ox box of Instant French Vanilla Pudding

3 C milk

1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip

4 oz unsweetened chocolate

6 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

3 C powdered sugar

*Layer 1/3 of graham crackers on bottom of 9x13 pan. Beat together pudding mix and milk. Fold in Cool Whip.Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Repeat layers, ending with graham crackers. In a small sauce pan, over low heat, blend together butter, unsweetened chocolate, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir well until everything is incorporated. Spread over graham crackers. Refrigerate for 24 hours. 

                               

I really do enjoy cooking for family and friends and the crew, but I'm going to have to double my walks this week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Stepping Things Up This Week

Fall Works are in full swing around here this week so our days are full. We sold 1768 hd of cattle at the sale barn on Monday and I had planned on grabbing groceries to feed the crew after work, but it was close to 7 p.m. when I left and I was too pooped to tackle my list. So that meant an early morning trip to town on Tuesday. Paul's Vet Supply, Sam's, and 2 grocery store stops because store #1 was out of jalapenos. That was a first. What kind of store is out of jalapenos in NM? I had some in the garden, but we had our first freeze on Monday night and there weren't enough left on the bushes. 
I grabbed a $5.00 roasted chicken at Sam's for dinner and headed home. Those chickens are a great deal! We'll get 3 meals out of it and then you can use the carcass, add vegetables and make great stock.
Popping in an old photo here because what good is a post without photos and I didn't think about taking a picture because I emptied sacks quickly so we could get to that chicken!


DH had hay delivered while I was in town so he was busy putting bales out in the pens for the calves we are weaning this week.


After dinner, I started potatoes for potato salad, wrote this post while they were cooking, and laced up my walking shoes when they were done. I'm only cooking for 3 days, but it's still work pulling everything together and I'm determined to fit walks in somewhere.


Then I made today's dessert while DH went to town for a Board Meeting. I was cleaning up the kitchen when he got home at 8 and by 9 we were asleep. 

Then this morning, after DH left for North Camp, Skeet and I walked out to the pens to add Corid to the water troughs


Then it was back to the house to start on rolls:


Here's what's on the menu this week:

Wednesday: Ribs ~ Hot Links ~ Loaded Baked Potatoes ~ Calabacitas ~ State Fair Yeast Biscuits
                      
                                                       ~Chocolate Eclair Dessert~

Thursday: Brisket ~ Potato Salad ~ Baked Beans ~ Rolls ~ Jalapeno Poppers

                                                                ~Lemon Bars~

Friday: Fajitas ~ Guacamole ~ Homemade Salsa ~ Queso ~ Chips

                                                        ~Apple Pie ~ Ice Cream ~

We've got a couple at North Camp and his wife was sweet to cook on Monday while I was at work. I sent eggs over because she cooked breakfast too and will also cook breakfast on Wednesday and Thursday. The cows are on their side of the ranch and the crew will start gathering over there. They will finish up on our side so I'm cooking dinner. Friday's the only day I'll have them for breakfast too.

So, if anyone needs me this week, you can find me in the kitchen...or shuffling down the dirt road before the sun sets. Chocolate Eclair Dessert recipe coming up next!

Monday, October 24, 2022

2 x 4 Autumn Quilt Finish

 The last few years I've concentrated on using up the jelly rolls I have lying around. I don't buy them anymore, but I figured out I like them much better when they are in a quilt. I've had a couple of Posh Pumpkin Jelly Rolls in my stash for a few years and in August of last year I finally decided it was time to put them to work. 


The simplicity of a 2 x 4 quilt appealed to me. Simple, yet classic patchwork, that let the fabric shine. Sandy Gervais does Autumn collections so well. I pulled a few other pieces from my stash to extend the jelly rolls for some blocks

The original 2x4 quilt uses fat quarters: here's a link to that tutorial 2x4

But I wanted to use my jelly rolls so I just modified my measurements. After I cut everything and started sewing, I stumbled upon this tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew .

The tutorial gives you 2 blocks from each strip with a leftover piece for your scrap basket, but I cut incorrectly on my very first piece so my pieces are shorter by half an inch. My blocks finish 2x3 in the quilt. Still, that actually allowed me to squeeze another block out of the strips with no leftovers.

Sandy quilted a design called Falling Leaves with a camel colored thread across it - it's perfect

I love how these blocks play together

This quilt is 74" x 90". I used a brown from my stash for the binding and bought a wide minky for the backing.

I love this time of year! We don't have typical autumn color here, but the air is crisp and clean and the pastures are curing out. I think the chickens and guineas enjoy these cooler days too. They're chasing the last of the summer bugs.

And I'm so tickled with this finish - it was 37° the other morning so rest assured I'll be breaking this one in while I'm waiting for the morning sun to warm things up enough for Skeet and I to venture out for our Greet the Day trots.

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