Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My dad recently celebrated his 60th birthday, so we felt it would be a good idea to throw him a surprise party!
I'm always looking for an excuse to throw a party, so I was all over this.
My brother Stan, sister-in-law Annie and their kiddos came in for the festivities which was one of the best parts since we don't see them often.  My brother arranged for he and Dad to play some golf with a couple of Dad's buddies so that got them out of the house for a few hours.
While they were gone, Annie, Mom and I went nuts getting everything ready.
The party had a golf theme, but we didn't go too overboard with that.
The menu included:

appetizers - meatballs, salsa roll ups and veggies with homemade dill dip

assorted wrap sandwiches

Fruit Salad

Brooke's Black Bean and Corn Dip (recipe to come)

Arnold Palmers and Lemonade

and of course, Birthday Cake!

My favorite part of the whole evening was that Dad was truly surprised!

I was so busy during the evening that I really didn't get to take many photos, but here are a few:

My brother and my adorable nephew:

The boy birdie and my niece:

The cake:

Annie did a FANTASTIC job with the cake, and also made some really great golf themed flower arrangements:

The whole evening was just such a great chance to celebrate my dad!  So many of his friends were there and it was so much fun to make him the center of the celebration.
Happy Birthday Dad!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

dusting off the machine

I dusted off the old sewing machine recently.  It had been 10 WEEKS  since I last sewed ANYTHING!
We went on vacation last week and I knew I needed a nursing cover for the trip.  I also wanted to make nursing covers for my lovely friends Rachel and Danielle, also the mamas of new baby girls.
Here's what I came up with.
For Danielle and baby Harper:

Danielle has such a cheerful personality, and when choosing her fabric I wanted to reflect that.  I was also drawn to fabrics that included orange, probably because Danielle chose a beautiful shade of pinky orange to paint Harper's nursery.  I also wanted to include brown because Danielle has used brown in her home decorating, and I think she looks great in brown.

There is a coordinating fabric to this  and my plan is to make Miss Harper some other things to go along with the nursing cover.  Maybe an appliqued onesie or two, some burpies and a changing pad?

I thought the fabric was really fun and retro looking.

Now, for Rachel.  I didn't get a shot of her nursing cover, but here is the fabric:

I really had trouble finding something for Rachel.  I knew it HAD to include pink, and for both girls I wanted something designer looking, but nothing was really jumping out at me for Rachel.
I liked this choice, because it included the pink (what I think of as Rachel's signature color), but it also had some pretty green shades as well.  If you've been in Rachel's home, you've seen her bright green kitchen - beautiful!  I liked that in the fabric.  Also, if you look closely at the fabric, you can find some of the areas have a Morocoan lattice like pattern in them.  I've seen this a lot recently in Southern decorating, and it reminds me of Rachel!
See below.

Again, as for Harper, for Miss Warren I want to make some coordinating accessories to go with the nursing cover.

Now for myself.
I really wanted something that looked non-babyish.  Feminine, but not girlie.  Modern and fresh, but not TOO contemporary.  And, it had to include some aqua/turquoise, some brown, and some pink.
Here's what I found:

I love, love, love this paisley print, but when you combine it with the other fabrics from the line...

It gives the whole thing a middle eastern bazaar like feel.  I can't wait to cut into some other projects for myself with it!
The fabrics also look good in the girl birdie's room, so I'm thinking of incorporating them in some way.
For now, I'm just happy to get a few nursing covers made!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day

Happy father's day, to one great Daddy Bird!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

working cattle

As I mentioned in my last post, we've spent a lot of time lately with our cattle.  It's just that time of year.  A couple of weeks ago, we had to do what's referred to as "working" our herd, and I thought I'd share with ya'll exactly what that means.

Working cattle can mean different things, depending on the time of year, and also what type of producer you are (cow/calf, vs. backgrounder).  We are primarily a cow/calf operation, which means we breed cows to have babies, and then either sell those babies when they are weaned, or starting last year, we keep the babies that are suitable for us to raise to maturity for grass fed beef.  When we work our cattle in the spring, it generally means we deworm them, vaccinate them, castrate any bull calves, replace ear tags on mamas and place ear tags on babies, and sort out any cattle that need to be sold for any reason.

First, we have to gather all the cattle into a large pen.  We usually do this on horseback, as it is the most efficient and stress-free method for us to gather cattle.  We feed them in this pen, so they usually walk in pretty well.
I don't have a shot of Daddy Bird gathering these cattle, but here's Pedro after the job was finished:

Pedro is just hanging out in case we need him again.  Good job Pedro.

Once the cattle are gathered in the large pen, we must sort out and temporarily separate the mamas from the babies.  This is because we run the cows through what is called a chute and head gate and the calves are a little to small to go through properly.
The sorting process is usually accomplished on foot.   Here are Daddy Bird and the father-in-law sorting out the mamas.  If there were audio to these photos, you'd hear a lot of arguing going on.  Somehow I managed to stay out of this whole proccess this time!!  That's a first.

They are saying things like, "get that one, not that one!" and "Dad, I told you stand there!" (Daddy Bird), followed by "If I knew where there was, I'd be standing in it!" (father-in-law)
It's usually pretty entertaining.

Once the mamas are sorted out into a smaller pen, we push them in small groups into  a chute where they are caught in a headgate, like this:

The father-in-law isn't crazy about this mama swinging her head around!
We catch them in the head gate to hold them still so we can replace any lost ear tags (kind of like getting their ears pierced with a numbered tag), deworm them, and check to make sure they are pregnant.  That's the Daddy Bird's job.  It involves a long plastic sleeve:

Ah, the work of a veterinarian.  You should see the laundry.

After all the mamas are finished and let back out into the pasture, it's the babies' turn.  I don't have photos of this because I actually had to get out from behind the camera and help with this part.  It's pretty much a rodeo though, and it involves roping the bull (male) calves, vaccinating and castrating them and placing ear tags, and then roping the heifers (females) and vaccinating and tagging them.  It also involves a lot of grunting, swearing, lifting, poop and mud.  I'll get some photos next time.
Then the babies are released to go find their mamas:

It always amazes me how they just go right back to whatever they were doing, just like nothing happened, while we are covered in mud, poop and blood, and sore for days from the work!
Another word about working cattle.  We try to work our cattle in the least stressful way possible for them.  We try to move quietly around them and get them to stay as calm as possible.  We generally don't use electric cattle prods either.  All this keeps things as stress-free as possible for them and for us.  When cattle are stressed it keeps them from gaining weight as efficiently, and when they run around unnecessarily, it produces tougher meat.
Plus, we believe in using humane practices in handling our animals.
There's your lesson in working cattle.
Happy Saturday!