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.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Catching Up

 I'm not any busier than any of you, and I seem to keep up with everything, but somehow I can't manage to post on a regular basis. So after neglecting my blog for 10 days, the things I intended to write about pile up and you get a hodge-podge post with lots of odds and ends.

We made an overnight roadtrip for a bull sale a few weeks ago

Then, one day I drove to a quilt shop in the mountains for an embroidery workshop. We were so busy and I was soaking in so much information that I didn't even take any pictures. I bought a new-to-me machine over a month ago and went to pick it up, but I have yet to even turn it on, but I finally took it out of the box yesterday and that's as far as I got

I forgot my laptop cord there, but the owners, Jackie and Eugene, drove by the ranch on their way to Texas so I arranged to meet them at the mailbox. I traded them Pumpkin Pie Spice Snickerdoodles for the cord:

Yesterday was a rough day. Skeet had to go in for surgery. A few weeks ago I noticed he had a growth on his upper gums so we took him to the vet, 

who also happens to be a friend. Poor puppy is out of his element in town. So after dropping him off at 10

 I had made plans to spend the entire day in town running errands and tending to things that always seem to get pushed to the back burner when I'm in a hurry. At 11, DH phoned and said we could pick him up at noon so I shortened my list a little and aimed for 1:00. At noon I got a call from our camp man and when I answered, I heard DH's voice. He had lost his phone and needed some info that was in a book at the house to attempt to locate it. They were gathering cattle about 45 minutes away from the house. Some were hanging out in a marshy, knee-deep area and when DH took his horse across it to move the cows out, he thinks his phone disappeared. So I dropped everything, picked up a very groggy Skeet and turned towards home. Alas, they were unable to locate his phone so that was the first rule of business this morning. 

We're getting our ducks in a row for Fall Works next week so DH has been juggling lots of phone calls organizing the crew and all the details. Thankfully, all of his contacts transferred to my phone so he was able to tend to business as usual. Isn't it funny how we've become so dependent on these silly little pocket computers these days? 

Then when he tried to contact our north camp man this morning via text and then phone, there was no answer so he called his wife. His phone had crashed so he too was phoneless. Sigh. 

More cattle were moved and both boys are back in business.

Skeet too is back in business. They removed the growth and sent it off to be biopsied so we're praying for a good report.

This morning, he was raring to go for our morning trot - it's the only way I can think of to cheer him up

Things have been a little empty at home because sadly, Oliver disappeared yesterday. I am missing my little chore buddy

As is Skeet

They were huge buddies

Life is good out here at the end of the dirt road, but sometimes it can be a little 😭

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Weekend Happenings

 There was a ranch rodeo and bronc riding this weekend and the folks who organized it asked DH to be a judge. He declined, but said he would if they couldn't find anyone else. Well, of course they aren't even going to look for anyone else. LOL. No one ever wants to be the judge. It's a thankless job - you can't ever please everyone and folks will always be upset about a call you made. Another friend of ours was the other judge. So that meant I was spending the weekend on the the rain. It was cold and wet and soggy, but I was there for moral support. I made Dirt Road Granola Bars and Buckaroo Bundles and took a ton of water.

 I knew he wasn't going to get a break because they run straight through and these would be easy for him to eat on the go.  

The rodeo started at 6 on Friday night but he had to be there at 3. The minute they started to introduce the teams at 6, the sky just opened up and poured buckets

But not a soul moved as the National Anthem played, the flag was presented, and prayer was said

It poured for an hour 

before slowing to an easier rain, but once you're soaked, you can't get any wetter

And the show must go on

You certainly didn't hear any complaints - around here, ranchers pray for rain on a daily basis so this was just a case of answered prayer

Ranch Rodeos are always a family affair. Even the littlest spectators make the best of it

Then we were back on Saturday at 11 for the second half:

DH enjoyed catching up with friends as they warmed up their horses

That was a long day of cool and wet although the rain held off until the last. It turned out to be perfect weather

And DH flagged the day away


  We were both played out when we pulled back in at 10 that evening although I don't know why I was so tired. I didn't even do anything, but I was glad to have Sunday to recuperate a bit and proud of DH for a job well done!

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Green Chile Stew

 Does anyone else feel like the days are speeding by? Everyone that comes out here says it's so peaceful and quiet and it is, but we sure do manage to fill our days. Someone asked if I ever got bored. I don't even know what that is. And I'm not complaining - I love my life and I'm grateful for these busy days.

Fall seemed to appear overnight. We haven't had a freeze yet and there are plenty of plants still putting on a show and adding color to the landscape

The pastures are curing out and we're so thankful to be going into Autumn with lots of good grass

Skeet and I greet each day with a 2-4 mile walk

And the last few days, I've been mowing and weed eating the rest of the morning - this should be the last mow of the season

When I finished up yesterday, it began to sprinkle and the first fallen leaves and cool air had me hankering for the first stew of the season. I haven't shared a recipe in a while and this is what I was making so this is what you get. 😉

When we have our beef processed, Stew meat is one of the cuts we request. I use it for Black Bean Sirloin Chili that we love as well as for Baked Beef Stroganoff and for Stew. Nothing fancy about this recipe, but it's one that sure does hit the spot during these cooler months.

Green Chile Stew

2# Stew Meat

4 Tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

Better than Bouillon


Garliic - Salt - Pepper - Steak Seasoning

8 C water

sliced carrots

cubed potatoes

fresh green chile

chopped cabbage



Tapioca Flour 

*Brown your stew meat in butter, Sprinkle with seasonings. Add garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Add a few shakes of Worchestershire. Add a good Tbsp of Better than Bouillon and water. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add about 1/4 C of green chile and carrots. Simmer for 20 minutes and add potatoes, cabbage, peas, and corn. DH is not a huge fan of peas and corn in his stew so I didn't add it this time, but I eat with my eyes and like the color it adds. Let simmer till you're ready to eat. Add a little Tapioca Flour to thicken if you like a thicker stew. Serve with a good toasted bread like Ciabatta or French Bread Rolls.

The green chile doesn't make the stew spicy/hot. It just gives it a little underlying heat and adds a layer of incredible flavor. And measurements for stew are hard. I just dump it all in until it seems right.

If I'm helping DH, I'll make this early in the morning and pop it in the Crock-Pot and let it cook all morning. I tried it in the Instant-Pot once, but the vegetables cooked to pieces and it was mushy.

These are the seasonings I use

 And this stuff is so good!

Yum! Even without peas and corn. 😉

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