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Monday, March 23, 2015

Buddha Has Lost His Head

The steers knocked Buddha around one too many times and he has lost his head. Well, not lost it, but it's not where it's supposed to be.

Wouldn't it be great if something just as earth shattering could be met with such a serene smile?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nickel and Dime Ranch-Five Years!

Five years ago this week we left our 30 year home in California.

Moving tip: Ulta and Barnes and Noble have great boxes

We said, "Goodbye" to family

I didn't realize they'd both be gone within the year.

..and friends

Goodbye, but not forgotten

We thought March would be a good time to move since it was almost springtime.

Rest area just south of Santa Fe

And spring did June.

Ranch Headquarters

Ms. Pearl and Bonnie have adjusted to their new place.

Tom's become an expert woodsman. And Ms. P.

We like our neighbors.

Guadalupita Grassfed Yaks

I've learned to grow veggies at 7400 feet.

Everyone around here says, "This is God's Country."

Yes, it is.

Here's to many more years in Northern New Mexico.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Quilty Pleasures: Sometimes Boring Sewing is Good

I've been working on this new Lady of Guadalupe quilt and have moved to the center side panels where there will be trees. I've been "In the Woods" for a couple of weeks now and I am lost. I tried a tidily pieced forest, but don't like it and the going has been slow and my brain hurts. I've a couple ideas swirling around, but decided it was time to cleanse the palate, so to speak.

Almost seven years ago I saw a flannel split rail fence quilt in a book and bought all the yardage for it with the help of my master color helper, Pattie. We bought the fabric, both flannels and homespuns, at Rosie's Calico Cupboard in San Diego. It's a behemoth of a store, taking over the business spaces in a strip mall, one by one, year after year. Once you get in there, it just seems to laterally go and go and I'm glad all the rooms are in a row so I can't get too lost. If you are in the San Diego area, eat at D.Z. Akins deli, which is like the Jewish delis I remember as a kid, with humongous sandwiches and old people who never seem to change sitting in the booths.

The kid I wanted to make the flannel/homespun quilt for wasn't too interested, so I stashed the fabric away and moved on to other quilty projects. A couple of years ago I discovered the fabric in a gigantic tangle in a paper grocery bag, all the strips sewn, and moved them to a nifty work-in-progress plastic box. And it sat some more.

The plastic box has been stacked under the cutting table for a year, and it was time. The Lady quilt was making my head hurt and I wanted to do something that was simple and boring. I wanted to finish something.

I ironed and cut the strip sets into their segments and have been sewing them into rows. Here are some squares ready to chain piece.

This type of sewing calls for some easy television to watch. I recommend The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt now streaming on Netflix because it's more verbal than visual, so I can sew and listen and laugh. Tina Fey is one of the writer/creators, so now you know what kind of verbal it is: Witty, 30 Rock-style repartee with a sunny outlook. Don't try watching The Americans or something where you might miss seeing something that moves the plot while you're beavering away chain piecing. Go for light and verbal.

So the blocks are sewn into twos, which are stacked here, then into fours, then into eights and then add  six to make fourteen blocks per row.

The rows are draped everywhere, with little thought about color placement, which is the total opposite of The Lady quilt. If the same fabric pops up close to each other, who cares? This is just a quilt, a cuddly one that someone will love.

I will make fifteen rows, sew them together, and add a simple border.

In between, maybe I'll piece some trees for The Lady's forest. All this boring sewing is making me excited about The Lady quilt again.

So let's hear it for boring sewing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quilty Pleasures Wednesday: Busy City Quilt Top

This is just stinking cute and I wanted to share it with you. The pattern is Busy City by Alex of Teaginny Designs and I've had it stored/lost in the sewing room for quite a while. I like the pattern, but since I bought it, they are now offering downloads, which work better than the cd included with the paper version. If your computer doesn't have a cd slot, I recommend the download.

This is just the top, unquilted, so far.

Sky color is off a bit due to the inside lighting, but you get the idea.

The little vehicles are paper pieced and the instructions include the difficulty levels for the various vehicles, dwellings and trees. I like that.

Here's a closer look at the vehicles. Don't you think the police car's door needs a star?

Me, too.

Now, to quilt it. This is when my paralyzed perfectionist tendencies jump out to get me. I am still nervous about free motion quilting, and that sky needs swirls and clouds!

Like the swimming coach used to say early in the cold morning to his team, "Get in the pool!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Side of Beef

Our two steers, Roman and Buffalo, were 955 and 1040 pounds when they took their trip to the great blue grama grass pasture in the sky. I am grateful for them, for their comic antics, for their curious nature and for the nourishment they will provide. Their life on earth was a life I wish for all beef cattle: a wandering, eating, sleeping, peaceful existence with a calm and quiet finish. Hell, I wish that existence for all of us!

People often remark that they wouldn't be able to eat cattle that they knew. They would rather get their beef at the supermarket, packaged and ready to go. They feel better about eating meat if they don't have to look it in the eyes.

It's easier that way, yes it is, if we can close our own eyes to the way the majority of food animals are treated. A package of regular old meat from the store is guilt-free until you learn the path that steak or roast took, from its mama to the package you hold in your hand. Read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan to get a sense of the ethics involved in our modern day food chain.

If you can't afford humanely raised meat? Buy it anyway, but cook smaller amounts. We don't need to eat meat every day. Eat more veggies!  Or become a vegan. I have a healthy respect for those who eschew meat because they just don't eat other living creatures. You're okay with me!

So yesterday and today I am delivering beef. We bought a new freezer and here's what a side of USDA inspected beef looks like, half a steer, about 170 pounds of healthy, never-corn-fed beef, dry aged for 31 days. It's vacuum sealed, so will stay fresh tasting for at least a year.

Every time I take out a roast or a pound of hamburger, you can bet that I will thank the Lazy Boyz and know I did my best to honor their lives while they were among us.