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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July View From The Hammock

I took some time yesterday to have a little snooze in the hammock. 

As you can see, not much is getting done. There's always tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Summer Walk to the Beaver Pond

It's trying to be monsoon season here at the Nickel and Dime, and in areas nearby they've even had some flash flooding with puddles, actual puddles (!) alongside the roads. Since most of the yearly moisture  comes during this July and August rainy season, everyone has been hoping and praying that the rain will keep falling, but not so much that we get flooded out.

There was rain last week here at the ranch, so the grass is growing a bit and the steers think it's candy. Sadly, our creek isn't running, though, so bring on more rain!

Yesterday Ms. Pearl and I took a walk through The Enchanted Forest to see how the beavers are doing.

Here's our empty creek bed.

If you look closely at the photo below, you might be able to see Ms. Pearl exploring an area just above what Tom calls "Bridget's Bottom." 

 Yeah, there she is! C'mon, you goofball!

Sometimes when we're walking around I can't find her. So I'm calling, a little worried, and she just appears, usually right behind me, looking like, "Didn't you know I was here the whole time?"

You've seen the pine trees all around here, but watch where you're going because these grow here and there on the forest floor:

Prickly Pear Cactus

Nylon Hedgehog Cactus
Don't the spines on this Nylon Hedgehog cactus look like embroidery?

So here we are at the beaver dam. Not much water left, so I wonder what happens to the beavers? Do they pack up their bags and find a better place? Research is necessary.

Come on and rain some more. We want the beavers back!

What is cool, though, is a chance to see how they built the dam. That's a lot of earth moved, don't you think?

You can see that even though I have been providing fresh water in a civilized water trough for the steers, their hoof marks are visible in the mud. Don't drink that stuff, you guys!

So we have green grass, pine trees, pretty cacti, rain, an empty creek bed, missing beavers, and a chance to experience both the beauty and the sadness of nature right in our back yard.

It will sort itself out eventually. It always does.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Quilty Pleasures Friday: Chicken River Modern Quilt Guild (Las Vegas, NM)

I wanted to share a link to our Chicken River Modern Quilt Guild's (CRMQG) new blog. Linda, our secretary and communications director, is doing a good job keeping us up to date and chronicling not only what we are all about but also what our guild members are creating.

This is my modern Jacquie Gering-stye quilt in the assembly stage. I am actually almost finished with it, but decided to post the pic to get my rear in gear.

The background fabric is Moda Grunge and I love it!

 Here's the link:

If you live in the Las Vegas, NM area, come join us! We meet at Thread Bear the first Monday of the month around one-ish.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July! Strawberry Ice Box Cake and The Flag Quilt- A Revisit

This post is from a couple of years ago but since it's Independence Day, I declare my independence and can put up an old post if I like.

P.S. The flag quilt won! I still wonder how that happened.

At the First Las Vegas, the one in Northern New Mexico, tradition runs deep, and this weekend will be the annual Fourth of July Fiestas, a three day celebration with parades, coronation of a Fiesta Queen, food, music, and dancing. 

The first Fourth of July Fiestas was in 1850, in the same main Plaza where the festivities are still held today. That same Plaza just a little less than four years before was where General Stephen Kearney and his troops stood and told the stunned Las Vegas residents that they were no longer Mexican citizens, but under the "protection" of the Army of the United States. I am not sure they needed the U.S. to protect them, but that's the way it went.

I will be there for the first time this Saturday, to watch Ernest's daughter Leandra dance folklorico on the Plaza stage, eat some elote (roasted corn on the cob) from one of the street vendors, and look at the patriotic quilts displayed in Thread Bear's window. 

Here's the quilt I made for the window display. It was a challenge requiring us to use the patriotic flag panels and fabrics Ann had assembled in a bag. We were allowed to use up to four additional fabrics and we had to keep the quilt fairly small. I framed the flag panel with blue strips and all is quilted in the ditch. I quilted along the lines for the flag in the center.

When you look at this quilt, sing the first verse of America the Beautiful so you can "get it." I got the idea from a quilt by Sandra Millett I found in Quilt magazine (Winter 2002).  Hers is much bigger and way better. 

What you have here are "spacious skies," "amber waves of grain," "purple mountain majesties,"  and a "fruited plain." If I had spent more time on this I would have done a better job of finding appropriate fabric, but this is what I had in my stash. That's okay. I like it anyway.

Below is the back of the quilt which I like almost as much as the front. Miss Bonnie wouldn't move.

A Fourth of July barbeque needs a tasty dessert, and last summer I found a recipe for Strawberry Icebox Cake. I took it to a barbecue at our Yurt Neighbors' place and it was a hit!

You don't have to bake it, just layer the ingredients, put it in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight and then watch everyone pig out when they taste it.

Strawberry Icebox Cake


2 pounds of fresh strawberries
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla
4 sleeves graham crackers (that's about 24 whole crackers)
Hershey's chocolate syrup, dark


1. Take out 4 or 5 good looking strawberries and set aside. Thinly slice the remaining strawberries.

2. Whip the whipping cream until it just starts to hold stiff peaks.(Stop the mixer, lift up the beater and if the cream peaks, that's what we're talking about here.) Add the sugar and vanilla and whip to combine. Don't overwhip or you will have butter.

3. Spread some whipped cream on the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Lightly layer another spoonful or two of whipped cream. Add a single layer of strawberries. Repeat the graham cracker layer, whipped cream layer, and strawberry layer three more times until you have four layers of graham crackers.

4. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and drizzle a zigzag of chocolate syrup over the whipped cream.
5. Cover the pan with some plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The graham crackers should have softened completely. They are supposed to be "cake-like."

Before serving, put the pretty strawberries you saved on top. This icebox cake is so yummy you should encourage everyone to eat it all because if there are leftovers in the fridge, you will find yourself spooning this strawberry goodness out of the pan in the middle of the night.

Serves 8