Are We Becoming Bums

It’s highly doubtful that we are becoming bums but we are taking more time away from demolition and restoring lately.  Sunday we made a supply run to Home Depot and the grocery store.  We didn’t need much but it was a beautiful day to be out and about.  Emmi was allowed to tag along and we enjoyed having lunch on an outdoor patio.

Monday our new ATVing recruits Dan and Louanne decided we needed one more outing before they head back to Oregon for a while.  We decided to attempt climbing China Peak.  Right off the bat we all decided “better safe than sorry!!”  The Cowboy had researched the trail and knew it would be tough but we ran into really tough stuff right away.  Larry and Geri always said–“better safe than sorry” and we turned around, heading for home.  We drove up a couple dead end roads and smelled the smoke before seeing it.  We knew the USFS was doing a prescribed burn and we had driven by several of their vehicles on the way up.  Seeing the smoke boiling up over the ridges made us a touch nervous and we decided once again, “better safe than sorry.”

 Water in the desert–kind of icky looking water but water nonetheless! There was a slow flowing spring right above this pool. About the time we decided not to climb any higher up the peak. Hey, did you forget about me???

 We can see this ridge and the smoke from our house.It was a chilly, mostly cloudy day so our photos are a little blah.

Tuesday morning it was obvious we had lost power sometime during the night–all the clocks were blinking.  We’ve spent the day working on various projects–the Cowboy has started a major demolition project in the main house.  I waged war on the tumbleweeds and after lunch put a new zipper in the Cowboy’s favorite vest–not an easy task!

And that’s what we’ve been doing.  Did you know Amazon will ship to APO boxes belonging to military personnel stationed in Germany–learned that little tidbit today.  And I used my Instant Pot last night and this recipe was a keeper.  You really wouldn’t have to have an Instant Pot but it sure makes quick work of getting the meat fork tender. The recipe is from the blog  The only modification I made was to add about a quarter cup of red wine to the beef mixture after the pressure cooking cycle.




  • 2 pounds beef round steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 package (12 ounces) white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Egg noodles, cooked


  1. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Put oil in the cooking pot and select browning. When oil begins to sizzle, brown meat in batches until all the meat is browned – do not crowd, add more oil as needed. Transfer meat to a plate when browned.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté 1 minute.
  4. Add beef broth and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add browned beef and any accumulated juices. Select High Pressure and 18 minutes cook time.
  6. While the beef is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and butter. When butter is melted, add the mushrooms and cook until golden. (I cooked them in two batches.) Season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the cook time ends, turn pressure cooker off and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  8. Combine the cornstarch and water, whisking until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to the broth in the pot stirring constantly. Select Simmer and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add 1/3 cup of gravy to the sour cream and mix until well combined. Add the sour cream mixture to the gravy and stir until well blended. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms.
  9. Serve over prepared egg noodles.

10 thoughts on “Are We Becoming Bums

    1. This summer we made a promise to ourselves that we weren’t going to work as hard–we were going to take time to play and so far we’ve kept that promise. I only do battle with the tumbleweeds for about a hour per day.


  1. Thanks for the recipe. I always enjoy a tried and true recipe that’s favored by someone else!
    Guess the tumbleweeds will always be a problem?


    1. We had some tumbleweeds when we first bought this place but then our first caretaker let all the weeds get waist high before mowing and spread seeds everywhere. Hopefully if I can hold out digging up the weeds the crop will be significantly reduced enough for us to control them by spraying.


  2. Always like those outside landscape photos of the area. Makes me homesick for winter travels in the southwest. Am very familiar with all those little ickly prickly things in the ground. It was bad when we bought our Congress house but with two years of spraying and my constant raking we actually beat the ickly pricklies. Pheebs could run around all over the property and not end up with stickers in her paws.


    1. When we bought this place there were goathead stickers but only in one particular place–I really focused my efforts on getting rid of them, now we have no goatheads just millions of tumbleweeds. Our caretaker kept the tumbleweeds mowed so they are ground level and he sprayed some of them resulting in the stickers. I am steadily clearing patches of lawn every day–maybe by May I will have the entire three acres done??? The tumbleweeds weren’t so bad until the previous caretaker allowed them to be fully grown before she mowed them–thus spreading their seeds everywhere!!!


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