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Preview: The 7MSN Ranch

The 7MSN Ranch

Photographs and adventures from 7 Miles South of Nowhere, New Mexico

Updated: 2018-04-19T23:04:23.642-06:00


The opposite of New Mexico*


*Alternate titles for this post: "58 hours on another planet""Rainy days in Portland""The post with 39 pictures, 14 of which include me. WTF?"  "Babyllamalettuce" (some people might think that's funny, otherwise please disregard)All good vacations start at midnight with great friends, a shot of tequila......and playtime at the barn. Kai the llama is not a hugger and her ears are magnificent.That's about all I know so far.Please note the absence of rain in this picture.It will be the last dry one you see. Eddie the cat and I were the first ones awake the following morning.It was raining. I didn't mind a bit.Eight hours in and my skin was already less flaky.If the state is looking for a new slogan, I humbly suggest:"Oregon...where New Mexicans go to rehydrate."Chet: Who's the chick with the camera?Beau: Why isn't she wearing boots?Princess Buttercup: I hear she comes from the land where it does not rain.Once Danni's donkeys figured out I knew about butt scratches and ear rubs,we became fast friends, there among the moss-covered everything in the rain.Kai: You may take my picture but don't even think about touching me.I didn't take it personally. As farm guardian, Kai has better things to do thansuccumb to my need to hug every animal I meet.Why are the chickens waiting at the door?Because their mom was on the other side.Here I am, taking pictures of Danni's happy chickens in the rain.Here is Danni, taking pictures of me taking pictures of her happy chickens in the rain.Alan the rooster voiced his opinion about getting left out of the pictures in the rain.Danni knows the names of all 25 of her chickens.It will take a much longer visit for me to remember them, but Pixie is unforgettable.Can you tell that Danni loves her chickens? Even in the rain. A rare sighting of Danni taking a break, eating the lasagna that Tall Paul made for us for lunchbefore he went to work and after he iced that chocolate cake on the stand.Who does that? Roxy accompanied us on a trip to the farm store in the rain.I made Danni stop the truck so that I might take a picture of the sun,which emerged for about 30 seconds.Danni said we were going to the farm store to buy feed for the donkeys,but it was just a ruse to check out all the baby chicks. And get out of the rain. You know where this is going, right?No hats were purchased and we didn't get kicked out of the store.Good thing, because it was raining.All the way to Portland and where do I find myself? Walmart. The horror.But Danni had a decorating dilemma, and I suggested tension rods, and the next thing I knew, there we were. In the rain. At the Walmart.But the tension rods were the wrong color so we bought spray paintand I wasn't up for a spray tan so I wore gloves. Bottom line, Danni's decorating dilemma was solved but I didn'ttake a picture, so we'll all have to wait for her to show uson her Instagram. Here I am wrestling hugging Reggie the the rain.Actually, I was holding him so that Danni could trim his hooves.Wait for it... Walking up the hill from the house to the barn.Say it with the rain.Danni's barn is a very comfortable place to hang outin the rain during inclement weather. I should note that it isn't easy to raise donkeys in this climate, but Danni has it nailed and I now understand from whence comes her strength.Something has grabbed their attention.Just me, trying to convince Chet that he'll get a treat if he takes one more stepacross the scary concrete. Never having been to Danni's farm, I had no idea ofthe amount of work and energy required to keep it running.The woman is always on the move.Please note that even though the sun is out in the two photos above, it's still raining.The few rays convinced us to sit down and soak them up. We didn't sit for long, though.I was afraid of moss growing on my jacket.Happy hour in the living room.  Tall Paul made chicken piccata.I watched. Then Danni's mom and two sons and their accompanying other halves came over for a big family dinner. And I got to be sur[...]

Getting to know the ranchsitter


 What better way to get to know the new ranchsitter than sitting with her at the ranch. George gave her his immediate and unconditional approval. She realized quickly that ranchsitting can be very demanding... ...but the rewards are worth the effort.Brigitte arrived on Friday from Montreal. She has been a reader of this blog and a friend for many years.She is also the aunt of the late great Don Estorbo de la Bodega Dominicana, whose libe as a cad dayeen and dayoud was documented in this blog. Something tells me that George and Alan will have a ballwhile I'm visiting Danni in Portland.I leave tomorrow and will be back on Friday, no doubt with many pictures and stories to share.[...]

Out and about


The animals seemed surprised to see me walking around with my camera,
bending down to their level. I'm kind of surprised myself.

Early last week, I woke up feeling not bad,
which was pretty damned good as far as I was concerned.
As the week progressed and I was able to resume my regular activity level,
I was nearly ready to publicly proclaim myself healed. 
Erring on the side of jinx-free caution, I kept my mouth shut.

And then I sneezed over the weekend and it barely hurt.
 Take that, broken ribs. You're done.
I've got better things to do than deal with you.


Something shady's going on


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Here is a link to the tutorial I followed to make the roman shades. 

Ranch Journal ~ March 27, 2018


There is precious little going on in nowheresville as I remain in take-it-easy mode. 
The chores are getting done, Smooch is getting walked, and I'm sitting around a lot.

I have occasionally been sitting at my sewing machine.
I call this one "How many pairs of glasses does it take to make a shade?":

I have to make one more trip to Home Depot before I can take the "after" photos,
but the shades are done and I like the way they came out.

Ok, you twisted my arm. Here's a picture of one of them:

My theory on broken ribs


I have many theories on the way the world works, none of which are based on science but which I believe nonetheless. Perhaps you remember my two theories on age: 1) All adults are the same age. 2) Anybody who is taller than me is older than me (I'm 5'3"). Note that these theories were developed when I was an active participant in the dating pool.

Anyway, I have a new theory, and this one is on broken ribs and why they take a long time to heal (3 months said the xray guy, 6 months said the doctor, but they were both males so I'm thinkin' 1-1/2 to 2).

Carson's Theory on Broken Ribs:
Broken ribs take a long time to heal because each time you sneeze, they break all over again.

I'm serious. I have sneezed three times since this happened, and each time, it was #unscheduleddismount all over again. 

Think of it as pulling off a scab (this is a gross analogy and I apologize but it's exactly like that, without the scab and the blood). 

The scab heals over the wound, it gets ripped off, there's blood. Likewise, the ribs start to heal, you sneeze, the ribs crack again. Sigh.

Time passes...

The scab heals over the wound again, but the wound is a little smaller this time; the scab gets ripped off; there's blood but not as much as the last time. Likewise, the ribs have healed a bit and the crack isn't as big; you sneeze; the ribs crack again but not as far as the last time. 

How can you argue with that logic?

In any event, life goes on, albeit a little more slowly than usual.

p.s. If you have an old recliner in the basement and you're thinking about giving it away, reconsider if you think you might one day have some broken ribs.

Sh*t happens


I have no pictures to accompany the bizarre events of this week, 
but here's one of a two-headed burro to kick things off.

On Monday, I test-rode a mule. I was not actively looking for a new mount;
this one found me. He was extremely loveable, but the ride did not end well
and there was an unscheduled dismount.

On Wednesday, I went to town for an unscheduled xray,
which reminds me, I do have a picture to accompany the bizarre events of this week:

The xray report said, and I quote:
"Fractures of the left fourth, fifth and sixth ribs.
Otherwise unremarkable chest and left ribs."
 How dare they judge my chest to be unremarkable!

But also on Wednesday, an unexpected email arrived:
"Gosh, I so need to get away. You're not looking for 
a housesitter for a week this spring? Just a spontaneous thought..."

And within 24 hours, flights were booked and
arrangements made for a spontaneous visit to Danni's place near Portland.
At long last, I will meet all the critters at Critter Farm, plus, I will get to meet
a friend whom I've known for 8 or 9 years but have yet to meet in person.
I cannot wait. Having this to look forward to takes all the sting
out of a few cracked ribs. Ok, maybe not all of it, but close.

Project progress report #2


The storage thing I ordered for the guestroom arrived last week, all 70 pounds of it, tightly packed into a suspiciously small box.This was my first experience assembling flat-packed furniture,and I was not looking forward to it. At all.Amazingly, all the parts were included, all the pre-drilled holes were in the right places,the instructions were large enough to read, it was not a two-person jobdespite the admonishments in the instructions, and putting it together was almost fun......unlike swapping out the sconce with the one from my office. Electricity is never fun.I stole a chair from the living room because what's the pointof having a light above without a chair below?p.s. I've found my center.Except now there isn't room for the trunk at the foot of the bed.I'll still restore it but will need to find a different place to park it.Fabric has been chosen for the door and window shades. I'll use the one at the bottomfor the door (it's called Vine but I think it looks more like Chicken Feet).I'll use the flowery one for the window. This was a last-minute additionto the original selections, so I photoshopped it onto the other samples,which is why it looks weird. Some of you have suggested leaving the window free of pesky obstructions,but all my guests so far prefer to close the shades at night.Since this is their room, they shall have shades. Smooch is okay with that as long as they're left open during the day.I still need to find some interesting hooks for the space between the closet and entry door(to the left of Smooch's nose but higher up).Next steps: order the fabric and figure out how to make roman shades.[...]

Smooch swipes the stick


Maybe Smooch got a little help from an accomplice.
Only the shadow knows.

The guestroom isn't big enough for dogs wearing high heels and smoking pipes


With the dresser relegated to the garage and half the closet devoted to saddles, storage in the guestroom was starting to look like a problem... ...until I remembered this old trunk my sister restored and gave to me40-something years ago. I hauled it down from the attic and emptied it of its treasures (e.g., wedding dress, letters my mom sent to me when I was in college, Girl Scout sash with all my merit badges, hubcap from from my first car, etc.).With enough elbow grease and chemicals, I'm thinking I can restore it again and end up with an interesting, functional storage piece at the foot of the bed.Now I know some of you, or at least Ethel, are thinking, "the lining must be saved!"I think not. And so that I wouldn't be dissuaded, I scraped it all offbefore writing this post.(Click on the image to enlarge it...I wouldn't want you to miss some of these details.I wonder if Tina and Max are still together?)   I'm not sure of the trunk's origins, though I have a vague memory ofmy sister purchasing it from an Army Navy surplus store.(Sister, please enlighten us if you see this post.)My current plan is to strip off the paint to the bare aluminum, polish it, line it with cedar planks, and end up with something kinda sorta like this: [...]



Once George and Alan grab onto an idea, it's hard for them to let go. These pictures were taken over the course of 30 minutes late Friday afternoon and feature four different sticks. [...]

Trying to find my center


Once I get started on a project, I want to finish it right this minute. But prudence dictates that I wait for fabric samples before I do much elseon the guestroom makeover. That damned prudence – she always gets her way.There was one small thing to keep me busy in thereyesterday, however, involving more paint. Before I continue, I must give a shout-out to my recently acquired, $9 canvas dropcloth.Painting my way through ten houses without a proper dropcloth is the newest item onmy "life's regrets" list. Old sheets and cheap hunks of disposable plastic can't begin to compareto the ease of use and practicality of a canvas dropcloth. Painting the guestroom this time was...dare I say...almost fun because this dropcloth all but removed my fear of the disastrous mishaps which usually occur when I'm painting. Anyway, the barn-red color on the barn-wood mirror had to go, so a-painting I went.This is what my life has come to – sitting with my dog, staring at a wall,a wall upon which a sconce is not centered and how could I have lived here for 12 yearsand not noticed this? Perhaps it is more obvious now, with the dresser out of the way.And if Smooch would get out of the way, you could see what I'm talking about.Thank you, Smooch. The bed is centered in the room, and my feet are centered on the bed. The mirror is centered on the sconce, which is about nine inches off center.I know some of you are thinking, "it's no big deal, get over it," but that's not gonna happen.The best thing to do would be to relocate the sconce 9 inches west of its present location,but that would involve electricity and holes in the wall and crawling around the attic andI hate that kind of stuff.The second-best thing to do would be to move the bed to that wall and the problem would go away,except it wouldn't because neither the entry door nor the door to the porch would open fully with the bed over there. The third-best thing to do would be to never sleep in this room myselfand hope like heck the imbalance doesn't bother my guests as much as it bothers me.Or I could just throw my paint-spattered dropcloth over the sconce and call it art.[...]

Project progress


 Painting goes so much faster with Smooch and podcasts to keep me company. For the walls, I selected "Quiet Time," from Behr's 2018 Color Trends collection.It's described as "gray with a touch of green;" the old color was more blue/green with a touch of gray. Whatever you call it, it's a chameleon and changes dramaticallydepending on the time of day.It looked awful and uneven as it was drying, and I was certain I would need two coats... ...but I didn't......which made Smooch very happy.She's had enough of this disruption.I had moved the big dresser out of the way to give me more room to work,which is now causing me more work because the room looks better without itand what's the point of having a clunky empty dresser that guests don't usually use anyway?So the dresser is now in the garage, waiting to be filled, which means I have to reorganize out there.And I've ordered a storage thing for the corner that comes with a 20-page bookletof assembly instructions. Can't wait. Before: Not quite after:The room is far from done, but progress is being made. Note the no-poster bed. I was swayed by your comments on the bedpost bling and sawed off the other two. More conchos will be arriving this week. Next up are window treatments. I will try to make a roman shade for the door,and I'm thinking about sliding fabric shutters of some sort for the big window. Selecting fabric is far worse than selecting paint colors.I've ordered swatches of these six options. The decorating committee will be convened once they arrive.[...]

Bedpost bling


Last week when I was sawing off half the posters on my four-poster bed
and wondering how I would disguise the stumps,
Andrea suggested I could cover them with saddle conchos.
I thought that was a genius idea and had a great time shopping for 2" round conchos.
I wasn't quite sure how I would attach them, but I have duct tape so I wasn't worried.
As it happens, all I had to do was drill a hole in the post
and the fitting on the back of the concho twisted right in.

I love the look so much I'm tempted to saw off the other two posts.

Thank you, Andrea!
I would have never come up with this idea on my own.

Just thinking


I'm not sure what George and Alan think about when they're in sweet repose –
probably something having to do with hay. Oh, to be a burro...with no access to the news.

Ranch Journal ~ February 19, 2018


I've started painting the guest room. There's no turning back now.  Smooch thinks I've lost my mind, and she's probably right.I'm painting the trim first. Google insisted that I had to sand off the existing varnish so that the primer and paint will adhere correctly, but it also said I could use this liquid sander deglosser to do the work for me. The guy in the paint department at Home Depot seconded Google's opinion,so I went for it. The primer went on smoothly and stuck. So far, so good.I'm trying hard to do this right and without mishaps, but in the end,I am, and probably always will be, a terrible and very cranky painter.I'm not painting the closet doors or the entry door, for now anway.If my bent-over body recovers, I'll apply "Palais White" paint over the primer today.I've yet to decide what color to paint the walls, but I have decided that this will be the ONLY room in the house with painted trim.It's simply too damned much work. I'm counting on all of you to remember this declaration if you ever see me considering otherwise.[...]

Jockeying for my attention


 Alan: I need to get to mom before George gets there. George: Don't you dare.George: He never learns.  Alan: Quick. Scratch my ears. He'll be here in about four more steps. * step 1 * * step 2 * * step 3 * Alan: I hate it when I'm right. Alan: Crap. He's going to push me out of the way again, isn't he?[...]

The sound of music


It's been so long since we've heard rain on the roof, I had to record it. 
One never knows when we might hear it again.
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The one where the title of the post got changed at the last minute


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A footnote: This video was made and uploaded early Tuesday afternoon,
before the awful shooting in Florida. The title which appears on the video seems awful to use
at this point, or maybe I'm being overly sensitive; nonetheless, I can't figure out
how to get into my youtube account to change it.

Another footnote, to the leaders of this country:
I don't care how you fix this problem but
agree on something that will work and fix it. #justfixit

Let's get this project started


The guest room needs a makeover  – nothing too serious, just a fresh coat of paint, 
a new window treatment, new shade for the glass door, new bedding, new rug by the door, 
cut off the two posts at the foot of the bed. Ok, maybe it's a little more serious than I thought.

I've been wanting to start this project for months but have been paralyzed by indecision, 
and it's all because of the wood trim. To paint it or not to paint it, that has been my dilemma.
 Yesterday, after spending way too much time on reading through hundreds 
of discussions on the topic, I've decided to paint it. The consensus over there appears to be: 
if it's painted trim you want, paint it, but don't paint wooden doors if they're nice-looking and solid.

So that's my plan. I will paint the baseboards, the windowsill, and the trim 
around the doors some shade of white and not paint the wood doors.

p.s. I'm going to the paint store on Friday, so there's still time to talk me out of it.


What's everybody looking at?



Sell by 04-30-93


I just did the math and realized had I waited a few more months to purge the kitchen,
these parsley flakes would have lived to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Oh, well.

Kipper's guess of 10/2/1992 came the closest. Thanks, everyone, for playing along.
Kipper, email me at the7msn at gmail dot com with your mailing address.

Dishcloths and scrubbies


I took a break from crocheting pillows and went back to dishcloths for awhile,trying to decide on something fun to make next that wasn't a pillow.But then I discovered scrubby yarn and got distracted.Scrubby yarn is not for sissies, unless said sissy has better than 20/20 vision.Lordy, this stuff can be hard to work with. I happened upon a tip sheet before starting my first scrubby, which suggestedpairing it with cotton yarn so that you could see the stitches. Totally works.My first attempts have passed the get-the-dried-egg-off-the-dish test,so I'll bundle a couple of these with a couple of almost-color-coordinated dishclothsas the prize for the guess-the-expiration-date-on-the-parsley-flakes contestannounced yesterday. A run-on sentence with 15 hyphens. That may be a record for me. Submit your guess in the comments of yesterday's post by 7 mountain time tonightif you want to play along.As for the post-pillow, next big crochet project, there is a blanket in the works:I'm using the same stitch that I use for the dishcloths and scrubbies, except on a much larger scale.[...]

Ranch Journal ~ February 8, 2018


Waking up without a plan for the day is dangerous for me.I'm liable to do something rash.Like move the coffee pot.I decided it would look better and occupy otherwise wasted spaceover there in the corner. Then because the coffee pot moved, the coffee mugsand the sugar bowl and the coffee filters would have to make the trip as well,and there went the entire day, heretofore known as the great kitchen purge of 2018. For me, the hardest part of any reorganization is deciding what to keep, what to donateand what to toss. I cannot remember the last time I made a martini. It could have been 1992.(The glass isn't frosted...that's dust.) But I cannot bring myself to get rid of my set of martini glasses. One never knows when one will crave olives.I took a more brutal approach in the spice cabinet and finally let go of a few itemslong past their expiration date. This container of parsley flakes proved to be the oldest.Would you care to guess how old and win a prize? Let's have a contest.Guess the expiration date printed on the top of the parsley flakes and put the mm/dd/yyyyin the comments. Whomever comes closest will win some goodies for their kitchen.Be sure to include your name with your guess if you post anonymously. (The prize is not a box of expired spices. I've been crocheting and that's all I'm saying.)I'll close the comments Friday evening at 7 p.m. mountain timeand announce the winner on Saturday. I'll swear I stared at this scene for an hour, paralyzed by the indecision of where to put things.I finally gave up and just started with the coffee. As long as it ended up next to the coffee pot,I would be happy.I also wanted to find a new home for the pots and pans because I hate crawling into this stupidly deep and awkward cabinet to find them.  When the day was done, all was right with the coffee and I can spin the pots and pans on the twirly thing to find the right one.Give me about six months and I might open the right cabinet on the first try. p.s. They make shelf liners for refrigerators. Who knew?p.p.s. The novelty of being retired is bound to wear off eventually.[...]