Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Signage...



A new ranch sign went up!  I've been bugging the guys for a new sign for a long time and now we have it.  CarpenterSon went to the saw mill to pick out a 3" thick pine slab.  Then I penciled out the name on freezer paper and Hubs drew the brand.  CarpenterSon router'd it into the board, painted it, and varnished it with marine varnish so it would hold up under our severe weather conditions.  
I'm very happy with it.
It's not perfect, but it'll do for the next 20 years!

Thanks Men!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gettin' ready, gettin' snow, get sewing!



We spent most of Friday getting ready for a coming spring storm.  We gathered all the livestock that was out in the far pastures closer to home.  I had the grandgirls and we drove the cake-feeding pick up to coax cows and sheep to pasture while the guys drove behind them with the Rangers.  We used to do this kind of job on horseback, but times -- they are a changin'.  We certainly do get a lot more done in a short time this way.

There are still cows that are calving so there is added work when a spring snowstorm comes in. By Saturday we totaled up an inch of rain which was most welcomed.  Overnight we accumulated some snow.  Not much.  Just enough to make the grass white.  As Sunday is being spent, the snow continues to fall, but it doesn't accumulate much on the ground.  The dirt roads are not covered at all, but only the grass is white.  We call spring snow "poor man's fertilizer" because it is coming in slowly and soaks in slowly.  We do hope we get a little run-off into the ponds and reservoirs.  Fresh water is always a need in springtime to carry livestock through the summer months when it gets hot. 

(My back yard through the window)

Since the spring snow is happening outside, I decided to do a little sewing inside.  Saturday I got busy making a couple muslins of two different skirt styles.  I decided to do the practice muslins to see how the patterns fit and how they looked.  I chose a flared (gored) skirt for the final cut, and I am pleased with the result.  The pattern amounts to one piece that is cut eight times.  I used a cotton voile and the effect is very flowy and relaxed.  It even has an elastic waist so the feel is relaxed all around!  The free pattern is called the Bossa Nova Skirt and the link is HERE.  For measurements and sizes, click here.  (I had to go hunting to find the measurements for the pattern brand.)

This is my Bossa Nova Skirt.

And for Mother's Day (wishing YOU a happy one!!) I sewed myself yet another skirt.  This one is SO easy and so quick and takes just one yard of fabric.  It is a knit pencil skirt, and I found the free  instructions and video tutorial over at Dana Made It.  I love that the skirt fits close to the body, but has a lot of give because it's a knit.  I think a knee-length pencil is very attractive.  Do you?  

 
 My eldest son gave me this hand-embroidered card along with a handmade sugar scrub.  I didn't know he could embroider like this!!  Thanks to his wife, my sweet DIL, JLo. Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there! You're wonderful!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Along my path...

 I wander through prairie pastures and down dirt roads 
when I take my daily walks.  
There is always something interesting along my path. 
Will you join me?

A pair of bull snakes.

 Star Lily (small enough to fit in your palm)

 A busy ant pile.

 Hood phlox.

 A puddle in a fresh cow pie.
(A fairy swimming hole?)

A fresh cow placenta.

Closer to home...
 Rhubarb coming up.

And grape hyacinth.
Thanks for walking with me!


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Snowballs....



 
Not snow snowballs.  
Quilty fabric snowballs!

I've started a new quilt for the newest grandbaby.
Lyla gets a snowball quilt.

I started with a 5" charm pack of Moda's LOL
and will use one or more of the LOL fabrics for the back.
The white space is off-white with tiny white stars.
It's hard to see in the pics, but you can if you enlarge them.

I'm trying to decide if I should have some white space
--with the tiny star fabric--
 between the snowballs (like this)
 or leave them close together (like this).
Which do you like?

Since these are small 5" unfinished blocks, 
they will shrink to 4.5" finished blocks within the quilt.

I only had 42 LOL blocks and needed more so
I added some coordinating fabrics from my own stash
to infuse into the LOL blocks. 

It's an evolving process.
I'm having fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

New shoes and walking...




Hubs and I took our homemade breakfast burritos and coffee and drove off in the pick-up to feed cows and calves and to look things over this morning.  It was one of those "Know thy flock" outings in which we were checking up on the mamas and babies, making sure everything looked right.  The fog made it difficult to find them, but we were confident we saw the majority of the cattle.

It remained a drippy, misty, gray day, but with very little moisture falling into the rain gauge.  We were really hoping this might be a good-chance-of-rain day, but there's tonight and tomorrow which look promising. 


Despite the cool, misty-moisty day, I took my daily walk through the pasture.  It was really quite refreshing to me.  I got to try out my new walking shoes for the second time.  I really love these new shoes.  My old walking shoes were beginning to hurt my feet for some reason.  The soles were pretty well worn out and the  laces part was starting to dig into the top of my foot.  It was time for a new pair. I'm so thrilled with these New Balance WX711 tennies that I'm considering buying myself a second pair.  One for walking on the gravel roads and pastures and one for nice.  Plus you know how shoe companies change things up every year?  Just when you find a pair of shoes you really love, they stop making them just when you are ready for another pair.

I've always been a walker and it is not difficult for me to get up and go, but I know it isn't that easy for some.  My daughter, who is a new mama to her third baby girl, is trying to get more exercise and get back to a regular walking schedule.  Spring and summer days will help that.  She informed me yesterday that there is an app on my phone called S Health that when installed, becomes a pedometer and tracks your every step.  It has been said (somewhere) that every human should walk 10,000 steps a day for good health.  I flopped my smartphone in my pocket yesterday at noon and by evening I had tallied up 8100 steps which amounts to 4.35 miles and 366 calories burned.  I was pretty happy with that since I didn't wear my phone all morning.   Today I put my phone in my pocket for most of the day and tallied up 10,995 steps which is about 5.8 miles and 452 calories burned.  Now it's kinda fun to see results like that just from taking a two mile walk and fiddling around walking about the house, out in the yard, up and down stairs, and out to the chickens.  But I sure think that taking a phone along is a cumbersome thing.  It's too big, and some days I don't have pockets.  Putting my phone in my jeans pocket like the young kids do, does not appeal to me.  I can hardly bend over if it's in my front pocket, and I don't want to sit on it if it's in my back pocket.  It's ok putting the smart phone in a coat pocket, but I won't be wearing a coat all summer.  You know, it's not that I really NEED a pedometer, but it's kinda fun.  I was looking at pedometers on Amazon and this one appeals to me.  Simple.  Uncomplicated.  Do you ever wear a pedometer while walking and going about your day?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Peeps!



  


The Peeps arrived at the feed store today! After some rancher-friends stopped in and delivered a cat mid-morning, I jumped in the car and went after the baby chicks.  I ordered 25 of various breeds:  Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, White Rock, and American Auracana.  They are ALL just so cute!  I had to stop by the town-grankids' house to let them see the chicks and hold their fuzzy little bodies for a few minutes before I went home.  There is just so much wonderment in a fuzz-ball chick -- the loud peep-peep, the warm, soft body, the kind eyes, the little feet, the handful-size of them -- all captivating to little hands and hearts.

After getting home I set up the chickie coop with a large box, heat lamp, feed and water and set the peeps free, one at a time, making sure to dip each beak into the water before letting them go.  They seem very healthy and active which is a good sign.  The neighbor grankids took their turns holding each color of chick and picking their favorites.  It'll be an everyday event for them, checking on the peeps.

The new cat that came to live with us is a neutered male cat.  He's a silky, black cat who is very friendly.  I left him in the barn and plan to keep him in there a couple days so he knows where "home" is.  That is, of course, unless he finds his way out.  It is far from escape-proof for cats.  So far he seems happy to be here. I hope he proves a good mouser!

We are still busy calving cows, and it's been a good spring for it.  The weather has been mostly mild with no heavy rains or snows to complicate things.  We're hopeful that we will get some good spring moisture yet, but for now, the dry days make calving easy.  We will brand the heifers' calves this week sometime.

We moved the sheep herd to summer pasture yesterday.  Oh, how I wish I had brought my camera.  I suppose the sheep were strung out for a half a mile trailing behind me.  Such a sight!  They were happy to get to the pasture where there is less old grass and more of the things they like graze -- weeds, little spring flowers, clover starts, sweet peas, wild celery and onions.  Sheep go crazy for those non-grassy plants, but they'll still eat their fair share of shortgrass.  The lambs are almost as big as their mothers right now.  They're doing great.

I'm enjoying the beginnings of spring on the prairie.  More and more birds have migrated home; I have a few tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils up now around the yard, and the pastures are beginning to green up. I spotted the first golden peas which are a herald of spring.  We don't have leaves on the trees yet, but their buds are fat and splitting out so it won't be long.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Let's go fly a kite!

 Peach & Toodles

 FirstBornSon (aka:  Daddy)  Little Boy Blue, Peach
 Flying kites way up to the moon!







Mr. Banks:
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You're a bird in flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!


(Mary Poppins)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Whirly-Twirly Circle Skirts...

 (Bee and Rootie Tootie) 

Hello!  More new twirly skirts to show you! 

The pattern is free, courtesy of Made by Dana.  One good thing about this pattern is you can also make one for yourself!  There is an adult version and I 'm excited to make one for myself.  These skirts go together fast because they are so simple -- one piece of fabric with no seams, a wide elastic waistband,  and a hem.  Fast and easy.  

Do you see the brown skirt above?  Mama asked me to make a pair of brown skirts because these girls wear their skirts every day, doing everyday girl stuff like riding bikes and playing in the garden dirt with shovels and buckets.  So brown skirts were a must!  For now, the girls wear their skirts with jeans or leggings since it's too chilly for bare legs.

Look here!  
Even our newest baby grandgirl got a couple twirly skirts!  The baby version of the circle skirt takes a fat quarter, a 14-15" chunk of 1inch elastic, and a hem.  I did a bias tape edge on this skirt, and I like how it finishes the edge and helps the skirt hold it's flair.  The baby circle skirt tutorial is also from Made by Dana HERE!  Don't you just love the crocheted baby blanket?  Mama made it! She's become a very good, self-taught crocheter. 

If you'd like a quick and easy project for a little girl (or big girl), this is it!  It would make a fun gift too.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hanging out...


It's a breezy day in the country today -- let's say stoutly breezy.  In fact, downright Windy!  I needed to wash work clothes and kitchen laundry, and since there's sunshine and a "breeze," I'm all about hanging out.  I've always been one of those lazy renegade clothesline people who leaves her pins on the line to weather and wear, but after this winter, I'm going back to the clothespin bag.  I found that the old pins were leaving greasy, black marks on my clothes.  Pooh!

I made myself a simple clothespin bag out of one of the legs of my old favorite jeans.  I found the good tutorial at Gwenny Penny and did everything she did except instead of the cute pocket, I added a well-worn and well-loved embroidery from an old dish towel that my daughter embroidered when she was a little girl.  I had been saving that dish towel and using it for years, and today it got a new purpose --  a decoration for my clothespin bag and a sweet reminder of those 5 li'l chicks of mine who were the best helpers ever!  They were known to help hang out the laundry or take it off the line when a dusty wind was coming or when rain clouds were looming.

This isn't much of a pretty little sack, but it's a worker and it's practical.  I added a little clip to the belt loops so I can slide it down the lines as I pin the laundry, or I can clip it securely closed and hang it on one end of the clothesline when we have a stout breeze like today so the pins won't spill out. 

Are you a line dryer or a tumble dryer?  Or both?  Tell me your tips and tricks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Calvies galore! and more to come...









Most of the first-calf heifers have had their babies with a dozen more left to calve.  Then we begin calving the mature cows.  We brought them home so they are in nearby pastures so we can check them easily and keep tabs on them.

I am so thrilled that we've had some early, spring rain this week!  Yesterday morning we awoke to rain coming down.  I captured .3" of rain in my cute, garden rain gauge.  The utilitarian rain gauge is cracked.  This morning we had more wetness to report and tallied up another .25" of rain.  Every little bit adds up here on the prairie.  What I love about this good land we live on is that it takes very little moisture to produce the native grasses that grow here.  Our annual average rainfall is about 11-12" per year.  Not much, is it?  But it is enough.  I'm hopeful that the rain keeps falling and the sun keeps shining.  Actually, it's perfect when it rains at night and the sun shines in the day!  I'm all for that!  Have a happy day!
........................................................

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.


~Robert Louis Stevenson

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