Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Owlets





 
I found another nest of owls early this spring
up by the Lambing Shed,
and they have since fledged the nest
and are on the ground as they are still not very good
at flying yet.
 
One of the parent owls was with them at first on the ridge
but when I came along, it flew to the power pole to keep watch.
The babies walk-flew to different places and I followed
one of them to the fence and got a little closer.
It's been so fun to see this owl family grow up
before our eyes.
 
We are officially In the Hay Field.
Hubby is mowing and I went for a few rounds with him
in the tractor this morning.  The good thing about ranching is that I
can hop in and go with him -- we get to work together each day.
The hay is very wet so it'll be a couple days before it can be raked
(turned over) and dried enough to bale up.
 
The hay is so thick and tall and good, Hubby called it a
Once-In-Every-15-Years Event.
It's so exciting to experience once again.
We are blessed.
 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Hello!

Hello!  It's me.  I'm here!

 May snow
 

The winter and the spring was long and cold and snowy for us and we just got so busy and worn out that I chose to stop blogging for a while.  But here it is, June!  I'm so thankful that we are in June now. The winter snows and spring snows and rains have made everything green and beautiful.  We had snows all through to the end of May and our June has been mostly cool too.  The trees didn't even leaf out until June.


Bringing cows and calves in right by our house.

We've got the sheep all lambed out and the calves branded and out to summer pasture.  There's so much grass that the cows and sheep will never keep up with it.  What a blessing it is to see our prairie so green with thick grass and wildflowers.

The winter snows have brought up flowers of all kinds.  The prairie is just beautiful and we are seeing wildflowers that we have not seen in years.  CarpeterSon brought me a wildflower bouquet from the pastures as he was out checking cows and calves today.  He is so thoughtful.

I didn't get my garden in until June and I'm always amazed at how quickly the seeds germinate and come up when the ground is finally warm.  For me, it is never a good idea to plant my garden seeds until June 1st or so.  I put in lots more flowers this year and I'm excited about that.  I mixed several kinds of annuals together with some fine sand and planted them in rows.  I'm looking forward to some summer bouquets for the house and some to share with friends.  There will be cosmos, zinnias, larkspur, Bells of Ireland, marigolds, and sunflowers.  My shrub roses are full of buds and I can't wait to see them in full bloom soon.

The grandkids and I are keeping our lists of birds again this year.  It's so exciting to see all of the migrant birds come back to spend the spring and summer with us.  We are constantly sharing our bird sightings and encourage each other to keep a watchful eye for the newest bird arrival or for nests and baby birds.

I hope you're all enjoying spring where you are. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cold Lambing Season....

 Lambies enjoying some sunshine.
It's been below zero every night and part of the daytime for several weeks.
Snow and wind make it even colder.
We are about three quarters of the way done lambing 195 ewes.
There has been some loss and lots of life.
 

 Heidi and I played tug-of-war today.
 It felt warm at 11* with the sun shining and no wind.
 
 
Another sketch composition.
My OnlyDaughter and her hubby brought me some shells from their Florida trip.
We kept their 3 girls for a few day and that was fun. 
The shells colors are my own invention -- ink and watercolor.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

February day...

Hello everyone!
It's been quite a while since I've blogged.  Nothing major happening, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I'm giving it a go today and will probably keep it short and sweet.

Outside:
It's extremely cold here like it is for so many of you.  Today's high is 0 degrees and the weatherman is promising that we will dip down to -15 degrees tonight.  It appears that the forecast is for more of the same for the next week or so.  I'm sad about it because we will start lambing this weekend.  Such a bummer -- for us and for the lambs that are born during this cold.  The lambs and their mothers will just have to stay inside the barn until it breaks.

Inside:
There is a nice, hot fire going in the fireplace and a vegetable-beef & barley soup on the stove.


What I'm drinking:
Teeccino.  A friend of mine sent me a few Teeccino tee bags to try and I really like it.  This tea could be considered a replacement for coffee.  It's what my friend did when she decided she couldn't do coffee anymore.  The teas are caffeine-free and are made of roasted chicory or dandelion root and other herbs.  The flavors are amazing if you like a "flavored coffee."  I prefer the Dark Roast and the French Roast flavors, but I also like the Chocolate and the Mocha-Mint for a change of pace.  The best prices I've found for Teeccino are on iherb.com.  You can buy it in tee-bag form or loose so you can make it in a regular coffee maker or French press or pour-over.

What I've been watching:
Victoria.  The series that was aired on PBS.  We watched the first two seasons on Netflix.  The third season is currently playing on PBS.  We really liked it.

What I'm sewing:
A jeans quilt.  It is a memory quilt for my niece in remembrance of her daddy (my brother).  I'm making a circle quilt like this one, using my brother's jeans.

I'm reading: 
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok.
Asher Lev is an artist through and through.  He is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prayers three times a day and believes in the Master of the Universe.  He is willing to portray life as he sees it through his art, even if it means blasphemy.
 

I'm sketching:
I'm doing an online class by Alisa Burke called Sketchbook Delight.  It's one of her older classes, but full of good ideas and inspiration.  It includes the addition of a little watercolor to the sketches.  Fun.  I'm trying to keep the habit of drawing every day, even if it's a quick sketch or something that isn't finished.

I check in on many of you occasionally.  I hope you stay warm this winter and are blessed.
Sending my love to you.

Monday, December 10, 2018

December...


 
Hello again to anyone who is still reading here.  I've been away from the blogs for a little while, just taking a break and doing some things.  One  "thing" I've been doing for December is drawing or painting or creating each day.  Even just a very small drawing suffices.  Each day there is a prompt that can inspire the art.  I'm trying to think outside the box with it.  It's been fun for me and reflective in a way.  I'm finding that the more I draw or paint, the more I want to do it, and this is one of my goals.  To just keep on with it.  Winter is a very good time for me to work on art, but I'd like it to be more of an everyday thing throughout the year.  I've been learning a few watercolor techniques on YouTube that have been very fun and have brought some nice results. 

Last week some of the women and girls in our family attended The Nutcracker ballet in the city.  The Moscow Ballet Troupe performed and the local ballet studio supplied the children's parts.  It was spectacular.  The little ballerinas in our family were greatly inspired, and those who are not ballerinas were much impressed. 

 
Do you remember string art from the 70s?  You know....the nails all pounded into a board and then different colors of strings were woven in and out to make a picture?  Well, my daughters, my mom, and I went to a class where we made a string art snowflake.  It was a three hour class and we spent four hours there to complete it.  Some who attended the class did not complete their snowflakes, but took them home.  We were happy with our results, but all that pounding was quite an experience.  String art has become the new rage once again.  It would not be my first choice in art, but it was fun to try it and have something pretty to bring home.

I still don't have my Christmas tree up yet.  I'm really not a Grinch, but I am just taking things slow and not getting too wrapped up in the Christmas hurry & flurry at the moment.  I will though.  I think.  I am lighting candles, making juniper wreaths, and placing sprigs of evergreen here and there.  My father-in-law brought me a beautiful poinsettia which brings a dose of red and green Christmas cheer to our home.  I do enjoy a cup of chai tea in the evenings by candlelight or by the wood stove fire -- small signs of Christmas-ness. Oh, and there is snow.  I didn't have anything to do with that part, but it looks more festive here when there is snow on the ground.  I heard one lady who wasn't keen on holiday decorating say, "If you want to enjoy the season, just look out the window."  Amen!

The part I really love about winter is that we are in a nice, slow-down time here at the ranch and it's really been wonderful.  We needed it after a very busy year of work. We have more time with each other, more time to play, more time to just relax and be.  Again, it's a reflective time for us, for me.  We have been looking back on our year, evaluating what we did and did not do, planning for the year to come, and assessing how to go about it.  It's a good thing.  My favorite reflection is that Babe in the Manger, Jesus, whose name means, Jehovah Saves.  I'm so glad He came down to us, to save us, to be with us, to bring us His peace.  I hope you are enjoying the small, quiet things and the big, loud, joyful things of the season.  Christmas Peace be yours.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Friday, November 09, 2018

Partly Cloudy....

 
Look at that beautiful, bright, blue sky behind the quilt. 
Now that's blue!
And it's cold too.
Four below zero this morning and a high of 21 today.
Brrrrr!
 
 
 
 
Partly Cloudy is the name of my newest quilt creation.
I found this quilt design & pattern on
Daniela graciously shares her pattern for free.
My quilt turned out to be 74x57".
I had to do a little trimming and editing along the way.
 
I made this quilt for my nephew & his fiancé's wedding.
We will be driving to Wichita soon to take part in the celebration.
I chose the name Partly Cloudy because even though a wedding is one of the
Brightest Days of Life
marriage comes with many cloudy skies, rain, snow, sleet, heat waves, winds
 and all of the other things we must weather as a couple.
My prayer is that they will know the comfort of being
wrapped in the arms of God through it all.
And I hope the quilt will remind them of that.
............................................................................
 
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
            Stormy wind, fulfilling His word.
Psalm 148:8

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Nature Study...

 


 
While I was out looking around in my yard, I found several things that I thought were especially beautiful.  First, the roses.  As you might remember, we had an early snow this month.  Everything froze.  But right after it, we had some unusually warm days that dried things and the leaves all fell off the trees.  The roses were blooming and I think they were freeze-dried.  I brought a few in to admire. 

You can see life stages in the Gallardia flowers.  Right now there are a few new blooms (what amazing flowers!) whilst others are in stages of dried petals, seed heads, and seeds blown away.  I chose to put my subjects on top of a large, white watercolor paper as a neutral background for my study.  Since I took the pictures outdoors in the afternoon, you can also see the study in fall shadows on the paper!

The Cottonwood leaves are especially unusual to me this fall. Generally, they turn yellow and fall from the trees, but my hunch is that they were yet green or turning while on the trees and then were frozen at whatever stage of turning they were in.  They have the most intriguing patterns.  I brought several in to lay around on tables and shelves to appreciate. 



There are so many beauties outdoors just now.  The milkweed pods have opened and their silky fur with chocolate brown seeds attached are just fascinating to look at and touch.  The seeds will gently float on the wind to their next destinations.

It is mostly silent outdoors now.  Most birds have migrated except for the year-rounders that stay with us.   The "beep beep" of the nuthatch tickles me, and the "see me?" of the American goldfinch does too.  Last night while shutting the chickens in, I heard two Great-horned owls hooting back and forth to each other.  Nature is quieting itself and settling itself for winter.  I'm going to appreciate these fall days as long as they remain.



Hubby and I took a little get-away to the Black Hills.  It happened to be during the snowy season of October.  This was the most beautiful drive we've taken in a long time.  It was so peaceful, away from busy tourists that are usually here.

What are you noticing now?
 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

First snow...


The first snow fell last night and part of today.  We measured about 2" of snow on the ground with lots of wetness below it.  Our rain gauge measured about .7" of moisture.  By evening the snow was melted off, but the skies continued to be gray and blustery, dropping rain and sometimes snow.  When it gets around freezing tonight, we may wake up to another snow like the one in the picture.  This is a good, wet kind of snow-rain mix that puts all of the trees and grasses to bed for winter with a good drink so roots can freeze.  We still have leaves on many of the trees so they are really weighed down with snow. 



My garden is all cleared off now.  My daughter-in-law and the grands helped me dig potatoes and we split them up between the kids and their families.  The potato patch was a group effort this year with both DILs and grands helping to plant, and the men (bless their hearts) brought us straw to cover the patch.  We weighed about 130 pounds of potatoes harvested and we only planted 12-13 pounds of potatoes cut up for seed.  I also dug up all the carrots and have three full grocery bags in my spare fridge.  I cut several grocery bags of late lettuce that I am so thankful for.  I have a wheel barrow of acorn squash in the garage along with a bushel basket of beautiful, perfectly ripe, hole-free, bug-free, red apples.  The apple tree is a "Northern Lights" which is a cross between a Haralson and a Macintosh and it is very cold hardy.  The apples have a pinky-white flesh, are sweet and delicious to eat, and they make a wonderful pie.  I'd say the gardens were very productive this year, minus the tomato failure.  But hey, that's the way gardening is.  We are expecting more freezing cold temperatures tonight and chances of more snow.  The fall moisture is a good thing for us, even if it does come in the form of wet snow.  There are some warmer days on the horizon! 

Has the fall turned cold and wet where you are?  Happy October everyone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Humility...

Humility is perpetual quietness of heart.
It is to have no trouble.
It is never to be fretted or vexed,
Irritable or sore,
To wonder at nothing that is done to me.
It is to be at rest when nobody praises me,
And when I am blamed or despised;
It is to have a blessed home in myself
Where I can go in and shut the door
and kneel to my Father in secret
and be at peace,
As in a deep sea of calmness,
When all around and about is trouble.
 
~Andrew Murray

(This tidbit serves as a marker in my Bible.  A good reminder for me.)
 
 

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