Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gone swimmin'.....

After a hot morning of spring henhouse cleaning, I decided a dip in the swimming hole was in order.  If you've ever cleaned a chicken coop, you know what an icky job it is -- dusty, dirty, stinky, and chokey.  I do think the chickens appreciated my mad cleaning skills.   So instead of taking a shower, I went to the swimming hole first and it was splendid!  I rode my bike up the dirt trail and guess who else was thinking about swimming? 

 The horses were all gathered on the bank trying to keep the flies away.  They were very curious about me, but they didn't decide to join me for a swim.

 For pond swimming, you must first get past the muddy bank and the squishy mud that is on the bottom of the pond.  I really don't mind it a bit, but some go swimming with tennies or those water shoes.   I don't like the extra weight of shoes when I swim.  The water was the perfect temperature!  
Refreshing, but not a bit too cold.
I did the side stroke and the back stroke.

This is Tex.  He needed a drink.
This is the *beach* where you can lie down in the sun on your beach towel or you can stand in the breeze and dry off.  I had to let my feet dry before slipping on my Birks to ride home.
By the time I got home, I was mostly dry and getting hot again.  
We reached 102 degrees today.  The hottest day of the year so far.  

At home the peonies are finally blooming (they are late) and so are the poppies.

And the straw flowers in my barrel are opening nicely too.

 The prairie roses are blooming on the bank.

 And the scarlet globemallows (they look orange to me) are blooming along our roadside.

 The sweet clover is abundant and so fragrant.  
The bees love it.

And lastly the alfalfa is beginning to set blooms.  The alfalfa, as well as the crested wheatgrass you see in this picture, make up the majority of our hay crop.  Big, round bales of hay are laying next to our house and out in the fields.  It smells so good!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How do you fly your flag?

Our flag flies almost every day from the front porch.
We've been flying the American flag for at least 20 years.


Our house.
Do you fly the American Flag or your country's flag?
Wouldn't it be fun if all of us posted pictures of our flags flying?
You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
~George M. Cohan

Monday, June 27, 2011

Working under the sun....

 It was a gorgeous morning to work cows.  Would you look at that blue sky and puffy clouds?  These fellas were chosen from the remuda today.  I didn't get to ride horseback this time, but I helped push up cows which was still fun.  We got the heifers in and poured them with insecticide to keep down the flies and mosquitoes and other biting bugs.

 The cows and the bulls are all treated and now they'll go back out to pasture.  It's breeding season so the bulls are turned in and doing their jobs.  Can you spot the big bugger with horns?

It was a perfectly lovely day to be outside.  The sheets are hanging on the clothesline and one lawn is mowed and treated for weeds.   I got the bikes out of the bunk house and I'm ready to go for a ride out to the hay field.  Son, A, took the swather out and started cutting hay today.   Look at those nice, big windrows!

"Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward."
~Ecclesiastes 5:18

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New threads....

Betsy's (crazy) Quilt front

I've finally finished it!  Betsy's (crazy) Quilt.  I've learned a lot on this quilt.  I always learn a lot when I quilt or sew almost anything --mostly from my mistakes and challenges.  That's good, I suppose, but this quilt almost drove me crazy, therefore the name.  I had a lot of trouble as you might have read about here.   But, but, but!  I found me a solution.  I thought my trouble was the sticky adhesive I used for the basting, and it might have been part of it, but then I found some new threads.  I never thought that new threads would make a difference, but WHAT a difference it made!  I was researching free-motion (FM) quilting and found this very informative site, The Free Motion Quilting Project.  She also sells a few tools that are very helpful for FM quilting so when I read that thread can really make a difference to FM quilting, I thought I would give it a try.  The new thread came in the mail today.  I immediately loaded my machine and started in with all my hopes tied up in thread.  And it worked!  It worked like a dream.  I was so thrilled that I began FM-ing all the white space in the quilt.  Even though the FM lady said to load the bobbin with the same thread as is in the top, I didn't.  I thought, "How will I ever use up all this crappy substandard thread?"  So I kept on filling up my bobbin  with cheap junk Coats & Clark and ended up using one and a half spools.

What kind of fabulous thread did I eventually use?  Isacord.  I had never heard of it, but I'm sold on it now.  Especially if you are going to do FM quilting where the needle goes up and down, up and down, so many times that it can really chew up the thread.  I don't consider myself  a "quilter."  I've made a few quilts and I like to make a few, but I'm no expert.  At.  All.  But I do have fun making quilts for my loved ones now and then and I like learning new things.  So what I've learned since doing my only two FM baby quilts is this:  use good thread, clean your machine before and after, use a heavy needle (14 or 16), and try to have fun because FM quilting is something that you get better at with practice.  I'm grateful that my littles won't mind that their quilts are "practice quilts" and imperfect. 
Betsy's (crazy) Quilt back
I really didn't intend on making the backside of the quilt out of this busy print that is part of the Moda Wing It fabrics, but when I saw it, I just loved it.  It has little bees in it.  I was going to use the same white background as the front, but ran out and then found the busy print.  I had already pieced the zig-zag  piece to add to the back, so I added it at the bottom.  I'm a bit disappointed that the back fabric shows through the front, but I can't change that now.  Again.... I'm just glad Miss B won't mind a bit. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hello, Summertime!

Today is the first day of Summer, the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year.  
It's also one of my most favorite of all seasons.  Why?  Here's my list.

Why I love Summer
~more sunshine
~open windows
~waking up to meadowlark songs and robin chirrups
 ~swinging from the willow tree
~more daylight hours to be outside
~bare feet and sandal feet
~it's warm, I like it hot
~I was born in the summer, a summer baby
~green things growing
~flowers...every flower is a beloved flower in the north
~fresh-mown hay
~fresh-mown grass
~sitting on a hot open-air tractor
~reading a good book in the backyard on my lawn chair
~wearing shorts & skirts
~eating out of the garden
my fresh garden lettuce with tuna salad

~homegrown tomatoes
~all the birds come home to nest
~ice cream cones served daily
~iced coffee (with a tipple of cream)
~fruit infused water, on ice
courtesy of The Kitchen

~the earthy smell after the rain
~swimming in the pond (I hope it warms up soon)
~riding horseback to summer range
~grilling almost nightly
~roasting weanies & marshmallows over the fire pit
~fresh berries and fruits
~making jam

My dad says he will make me a disc swing, like the picture at the top, for my Willow Tree.
I already have a plastic child's swing hanging in one branch, which we love, but I think the disc swing will be really fun for the littles too.

What do you love about summer?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This and that....

The branding is all done for the year.  We finished the last of it this morning and all the cows and calves are turned out to pasture.  They will like being all on their own for awhile.
  The smelly, smokey work clothes are all washed and hanging on the line so it's time for a coffee break.
This is the way I make my afternoon coffee.
It's rich and dark.  Just the way I like it.

 The everyday bread is made and cooling.  I'm having a slice with butter and raw honey.
I like raw honey because it has all the good bee stuff in it --
pollen, wings, honeycomb and etc.

The picnic table is freshly painted and waiting for the kids to come home for a Father's Day barbecue tomorrow.  If it's nice, we'll play croquet on the lawn.

I put a matching pump on my canning jar soap dispenser.  
We finished off the Suave shampoo bottle
so I took it off this silver pump, trimmed the straw to fit and attached it.  
Make one if you want.

 I just had to show you this purple and white columbine.
I must remember to collect seeds from it to share.

The yellow iris have bloomed.
Remember the Boraxo powdered hand soap I was telling you about?
It's wonderful!
Hubs said he really likes using it and so do I.

I've been working on Betsy's quilt and I'm about to call it a CRAZY Quilt because it's driving me crazy!  My sewing machine started skipping stitches and breaking thread as I began the free-motion quilting so I took the machine apart and gave it a good cleaning.  Tried quilting again and had more of the same.  I changed the needle and had better luck, but it continued with the thread breaking and that's when I realized it had to be the spray adhesive I used to baste it together.  I looked at the can and it said "permanent."  Humph! 
I safety pinned the quilt and tossed it in the washer to see if some of that adhesive would wash out.  Most of it did, but I must still wrestle with the remains.  Lil Miss Betsy will never know how crazy her Gram has been at getting this quilt done for her.  She'll just snuggle with it and enjoy it's bright colors.

I began cutting denim circles out for J's graduation quilt.  
It'll be a circle quilt like this one.

Have a happy day.
(do you remember this from the 60's and 70's?)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Branding time...

 It's branding time, and so far we have picked the right week to do it.  It has been mild with no rain since Sunday.  Ya can't brand when it's raining, even though we do our actual branding indoors with a calf table.  You really don't want to brand wet calves, plus, the insecticide that we put on their backs will wash off and be ineffective.  So sunshine really helps.  Most folks in our area haven't got their stock branded yet and by the looks of the weather, it's going to get soggy yet again.
 Here we've sorted the calves away from the cows.  
Poor mamas are waiting at the gate.

 The Vaccinator.
Terminating diseases one shot at a time!

 This is our ranch brand.
It's called Lazy YJ Bar.
 The Brander.  
He does an excellent job of keeping the brand clear and readable.
That is SO important.

 The Tattooer.
He tattoos each calf with a specific number that will be the calf's permanent ID.  I keep track of the book keeping and put the numbers into the tattooer and he presses it into the ear and inks it.

 The Bookkeeper.
I keep the book and the numbers straight.  
I also must watch to see which calves are culls or keepers, which are cut, which need a DNA test, and which pen to sort the calves into after they are branded.  It gets confusing sometimes, but I get a little help from the guys.  So far, we've branded about 200 head this week and we have just about 50 head yet to do.  We branded the first-calf heifers' calves (90 head) a few weeks ago.  I told the men that I think we should go on the road.  We've gotten so good and fast at branding that we could hire out -- as long as we could take our calf table with us.

On another note...
I finally got the potatoes planted!  And just in time for the next round of rain too!
I'm late about it, but even if we only get just a few "new potatoes," that works for me.  Have you ever eaten garden potatoes?  I remember the day our middle son, a non-potato eater and a little boy at the time, sat down to supper.  I had fried up some fresh Yukon Gold potatoes in the skillet and served them.  He tried them and asked me what they were.  When I said potatoes, he didn't believe me.  He gobbled them right up. I'm telling you, there's just nothing in the world like homegrown potatoes.  
I wonder if there's a song about Homegrown Potatoes?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...