Sunday, February 22, 2015

What I've Been Up To

Today is cold with freezing rain and that just about makes for a perfect Sunday. We've been see-sawing between 78° and 23° lately. Tomorrow they are forecasting snow. I feel for all of you snowed in for what must seem like forever. Around here the trees are budding out and my yard is turning green. I have been sorely tempted to get my hands in the dirt when the mercury soared into the 70's, but I know better. Around here, the second week in May is your safest bet when planting a garden. There will be lots of pretty days between now and then and I like to spend them riding shotgun with DH:


I'm not able to tag along on Monday's since I work, but this is our M-W-F routine in the winter:


We were one short in one pasture and one long in the next pasture so DH takes the time to single out which cow is playing hooky from her herd. Its one of the reasons its imperative you get the proper count.



 When we got back to the house, we dined on a crockpot bbq chicken I wanted to try. Not quite in the league with DH's smoked chicken, but it was pretty darn good.  


 My oven is baking cookies this morning. Here's a peek into a recent conversation:
Me: Do you want me to bake you cookies today?
DH: No.

I've not been baking much lately. DH and I are trying to cut back and eat a little healthier.

Me: Not even Cranberry Oatmeal cookies?
DH: Yes! :)

I made these for the first time last November and DH declared them his 'new favorite cookie ever'. I'll post the recipe in a later post.


I picked up my Plus quilt from Jackie this week and after much riffling through my stash, I finally found something that will work for the binding:


I tried blues and browns and nothing fit and reds are really hard to match. I had one little piece of red that works well and there was just enough of it for my 6 strips.

I finished piecing this fun quilt, pieced the backing for it and will drop it off at Jackie's tomorrow after work:


And I finally got the borders stitched on my Christmas Tree Farm quilt:


I'll be in the vicinity of a quilt store on Tuesday and I hope to find a suitable backing for it. I'm always on the look out for backings and these blocks will soon be in the market for one as well.



Friday, February 13, 2015

While I've Been Away

Sorry I've been missing here lately. All is well, but a combination of gorgeous weather, many an early morning


cooking for extras, a road trip or two


Where we dined on an Austrian Sacher Torte...in a French cafe... in Texas. Does that make us worldly? Yeh, let's go with that.


, an electronic mutiny staged by our Internet provider, a non-functioning camera, and a willful phone, has reeked havoc with my blogging ability. But I can't really grumble when everyone is healthy and mornings start like this:


And everyone has a job to do that they love:


I went 6 weeks without sewing, with the exception of one 10 minute stretch and I thought is was about time I make up for some lost time.

 I managed to sneak in under the wire and get some sewing in during January even if it was the last day of the month. A bit of mindless sewing was in order:


These little strip blocks are part of a scrappy UFO. Thus far I have 130 and as I was stitching,  an idea popped into my head and I started scribbling down numbers, which led to more cutting, which led to more stitching of new blocks.


I made good use of my easy angle ruler which I found I love for making square in a square type of blocks. It only leaves you with one bias edge that you stitch to your square, leaving you with straight of grain edges in your block. Less wonkiness is always a good thing:


Squaring up blocks is not my favorite part of the process, but it really does make everything come together so much nicer. Still, 360 blocks makes for a lot of trimming!


I laid out a few blocks to see if I was going to end up with the old fashioned feel I was going for:


Is been given the seal of approval:


I also stitched some blocks into rows on my Christmas Tree Farm quilt. Once they were together, I decided I needed to...yes...make it bigger. So I went in search of the templates. I started where I had last seen them, but that was last year and they were no longer there. I know I stashed them somewhere during the great 'clean up the sewing piles before company comes for Christmas' marathon. It probably would have been easier to just make a new set, but I am stubborn that way and I DID eventually run into them. Then more fabric was pulled and cut and 14 more tree blocks were pieced. along with alternate Puss in Boots blocks. Borders were added and I'm digging for something suitable for a backing.


I've got 4 quilts at Jackie's and one at Shelly's in Missouri so finished quilts will be coming soon. Its been far too long since I finished a quilt. My FIL made me a new quilt ladder and it needs quilts!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Birthday Snow!

Thank y'all for your well wishes for DH...he's on the mend and thus far, I have escaped catching it from him.
And thank you for the Birthday wishes - it snowed all day on Thursday - it was perfect.

I trudged out early that morning in hopes of catching the horses coming in, but I was out there for over an hour and the silly things decide they didn't want to come in. The snow swirled all around me as it fell and I finally made my way back into the house when I turned on my camera and the battery died. :(

The chickens must have had big plans. Even the 6 degree morning did not deter them from greeting me at the door:


 It is hard to get  a picture of them since they run after me where ever I go. I feel like a, well...mother hen. :)


DH and I went to feed early on Friday in order to beat the slushy roads that were certain to appear with the sun. I wanted to stop every time the sun glinted on the ice covered landscape and capture it with my camera, but time was of the essence and the cattle take precedence over an icy cactus. :)

They were grateful:


Much haste was made when they spied the feed truck:


Their breath was warm and frosty as they gathered around, in anticipation of their dose of cake.They are going to appreciate the warmth of the sun today too

Its a wonder I ever get anything accomplished in the house since I could spend all day outside capturing the things that catch my eye through the camera lens.


I just throw my little pocket camera in whenever I leave the house, but its not the best choice when snapping pictures in the sun - its hard to see anything on the LCD screen. I much prefer the viewfinder on my DSL, But this little camera is much easier to cart around and every once in a while I find it captures things that you just don't expect:


The snow is melting quickly, leaving behind a glorious day:


Its much too nice to spend it indoors so I'm hopping in with DH again and checking a few more pastures.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turning on the Sewing Machine

January 21, 2015. Today was the first day I turned on the sewing machine since a good week before Christmas. It's time. Time to make a plan...or not. Time to just sew. Something. Anything.


These blocks have been sitting in a pile for quite some time. Yes, its a Christmas quilt and everyone has more than likely had their fill of Christmas for a while, but it's at my fingertips and it needs to be stitched into a top so a Christmas quilt is what I'm working on today. I hope to get in about an hour of stitching.

I also finally made time to make a few thank you cards.


One of these days I will learn to make these ahead of time so that when I need them, I am not scrambling. My supplies are stashed in the office closet  and I'm working on carving out a little corner in there where I can leave things out and work on cards as time allows.

We've been enjoying incredible weather these past few days. 65 degrees makes for an unusual January, but I'll take it! It makes my daily walk-about much more enjoyable. Its a toss up on whether I'll be enjoying a sunrise or a sunset. Depends on the day. Today the sunset won:


And we've got a 100% chance of snow this evening through Thursday. Snow for my birthday? Yes, please!

As for today, I'm going to fix myself another mug of Emergen-C in hopes of warding off the post-Dallas Crud that DH is fighting. Unlike most men, he's the perfect patient. He doesn't fuss or complain - not even a little, but he's feeling pretty puny. Alas, cattle must be fed so we're heading out to do what we do. Since our girl's been home, she's been DH's sidekick - time treasured by both of them - but now that she's gone back to school, he has to settle for me... and a little stroll across the pasture at sunset.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Weekend in the Big D

Gosh, I sure hated to start out the new year so tired! 2 solid weeks of overnight company, plus extras, just really wore me out! I think I'm finally starting to feel like joining the land of the living again.

 DH and I drove to Dallas last week to attend the Dallas Safari Club Convention and lose ourselves in all things hunting. This was our Christmas present to each other although in order to get rooms, you have to make reservations in February for the following January.

Dallas traffic. A trip to Dallas is not complete until I have commented on it so I posted this to some friends:


Made it to Dallas by the skin of our teeth and God's grace. All I can say is it was not pretty and I have aged 20 years in an hour. Lord have mercy! How do people live here?!

It was awful! I was gripping the door handle with a death lock and my hands were sweating profusely. I would arrive to work in tears every single day if I had to fight that.

Thankfully, we were able to wipe the stressful arrival from our minds by exploring over 1700 booths.  We walked from 9 - 5:30 solid for two days. One of the safari guides we visited with said that he can stalk elephant for 20 hours a day with no problem, but standing on concrete convention hall floors just kills his back. We can relate. We didn't even stop to eat dinner so I think I got my walking in. :)

                                

How fun would this be if you had a passel of grand kids to haul them around the ranch? LOL

                               

Our accommodations were attached to the hotel so we only had to walk through an enclosed skywalk in order to reach our room and dining options which made everything very convenient. We ate twice at one of their restaurants called Texas Spice and it was very good although I couldn't quite get over paying $4 for 2 scrambled eggs. That's it. 2 scrambled eggs. $4. The menu pointed out repeatedly that they were 'cage free' eggs. Heck! I could make a fortune selling my chicken eggs! Somehow I think people here would laugh at me if I tried. I'm still shaking my head at $4 eggs.

On Friday night we were invited to the auction and dinner.

                   

Dress was described as cocktail attire. *Snort* My closet is sadly lacking in cocktail attire, but they let me in anyway. :) Last year I did buy a very nice Alpaca sweater vest that goes to my knees when we were in Vegas and that, along with black britches and a black shirt and boots and some turquoise jewelry, is my "country mouse goes to the city and is invited to a fancy dinner" attire. I have worn it twice now. :)


This was the menu:

                                  

I didn't take a picture of the food because I sensed that would be terribly uncouth, but if it weren't for the menu, neither DH nor I would have had a clue what we were eating when the first course arrived. I will just say that it was an adventurous culinary experience. It wasn't bad, just different and it's good for us to climb out from under our rock and experience something new once in a blue moon.

It's a 7 hour drive back and  it was a long one. When we left Dallas, we were tired of walking and when we arrived home, we were tired of sitting. :) And then DH and I went for a head clearing 6 mile walk this morning.

It was such a good weekend. We reconnected with old friends we hadn't seen in over a decade, and visited with new friends, and talked more than we do in a month. Can I just say that  I am a sucker for accents? All I wanted to do was listen to people from Zimbabwe and South Africa talk.

 Our girl is about to go back to begin her Spring semester, but she was still home and stayed to tend to the ranch and make the feed runs while we were away. A few games of cribbage are on the roster and we've got a night of UFC fights tonight...if we can keep our eyes open. I think that a nap is in order!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year Snow

I love it when it snows here.


We're outside no matter the weather - its just the nature of what we do.


Cattle and horses need to be fed.

                             

 Ice needs to be broken.

  

 And eggs need to be gathered:


6" of snow deterred the chickens from their morning exploration, but once it had melted a bit, they left a trail:


I never tire of the graceful way the snow covers the tree branches:


When I'm around headquarters, I've always got my trusty sidekick:

                                   

Sylvester is my constant companion and 6" of snow does not keep him from his duties.


Sure am glad we had our New Year's Fire the night before!


Lately the sky has been gray and our high was 30 today, but the other day, the sky was just as crisp and clear and blue as I've ever seen it:


This is the kind of day that is good for my soul:


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