A Ho Hum Day

It’s 8:30 pm and I wonder where the day went and what I got done. You, too?


I did get the Big A– Bullseye quilt done. It measures 88″ x 88″. Here it is draped over the machine.

Underneath is the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt that’s waiting for me.

Reed came here after school and he helped me do the chores. I sat in the little chick pen and tried so hard to get a cute picture but no dice. Here’s what I did get.

They’ve already doubled in size. Look at the left side of this picture – a chick is peeking out from Mom’s feathers.

They’re already running out to get a sip of water and they know how to scratch on the floor for food just like Mom. Amazing!

Here’s Chiclet with a couple of his hens.

Reed saw our old phone on the wall and wondered if it still worked. I said it wasn’t connected but I kept it hanging on the wall just to see the confusion on kids’ faces when they tried to use it. I had to show him how to dial it. Do I feel old???? I even remember our number on the farm – 3704 – and it was a party line and everybody could rubber. When I write that it seems so strange but that’s what it was called when you listened in on someone else’s phone call.

He’s got two more strips to sew on his 48 log cabin blocks. Progress!

My friend Donna sent me this great picture of a Minnesota mystery quilt she’s working on and as she came back into the room she saw that her big Henry cat had claimed his spot. What is it about cats that makes them lay down on whatever you’re working on? Isn’t Henry a handsome fellow?

Telly and Hazel are very bored in this cold weather. Rick is driving truck and neither of us are spending much time outdoors. Rick got stranded in a snowstorm south of Minneapolis last night so they really felt ignored. Here’s where Hazel parked herself.


Remember the hen that laid all those eggs in the haymow? I discovered another nest of eggs completely by accident yesterday. Oh, thank God I found them before they all became little chicks! Yikes!

We’re having nasty weather tonight – freezing rain and drizzle. Choir practice was cancelled so that means I haven’t left the place since I got home from church on Sunday.

Like I said, it’s been a ho hum day.

59 thoughts on “A Ho Hum Day

  1. Nicole Hanson

    When I was a child, every Easter the grocery store would give away peepers. Of course we would go at the end of the day and they would give us all the chicks that were left, about 24 of them. We kept them in a large cardboard box until my mother got tired of them. So off we’d go to Aunt and Uncles Hog farm. My Aunt wanted to raise chickens. EVERY year, for many years, EVERY one of those chicks would be ROOSTERS!! Needless to say, their freezer was well stocked!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Nicole Hanson – that sounds about right! Yikes, I’m praying hard for girls!

  2. Marsha from Kansas

    Mary,yes, had your kind of day. Got the last two corner sections sewn on the Block Heads 2 block. Got last week’s block cut out and that was it. I read more of your book and I owe you an apology. I see you said Iowa State and I just said Iowa, again. Maybe after a down day we will be ready to go for it tomorrow. Enjoyed all of your animal pictures. My mother-in-law had a Yorkie that would sit on her couch like cute Hazel. I thought Ginger enjoyed the view from up there, especially since our children were under 5. Our dog, Charcoal, would play with them but Ginger wasn’t used to children and liked to keep her distance. Love your big Bulls Eye quilt! I got a Hallmark ad!! I’ll be clicking that one for sure!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Marsha from Kansas – I knew what you meant. Iowa U and Iowa State have a rivalry like KU and KState but fortunately they are in different conferences. I watched the game last night and I think K State will win the big 12 this year – they played really well against KU. I love college BB! Tomorrow has to be better than today! It’s so easy to sleep in on these cold winter mornings!

  3. Carla J

    Ice storm went through here last night, power outages meant no school here again. Another comes in tomorrow morning early.
    Our power was out for about 4 to 5 hours today. Glad it was warm today as house did not get cold. Having a gas stove means we could have a hot meal for lunch. It also meant no time at the showing machine. I was able to cut the last of my blocks to stitch up when the power did return.
    Thanks for the photos of the little chicks, so cute to see them adapt to life and how to survive.
    Your bulls eye quilt looks fabulous.

  4. Linda

    Don’t feel bad Mary. I sew in a group everyweek. Last week I cancelled it because of 50 below zero cold and just cancelled tomorrow because of sleet, ice, rain and snow. If I didn’t have to grocery shop I would be in my house for 3 weeks. My dog doesn’t even want to listen to me anymore!

  5. Betty Klosterman

    Except for taking out the garbage and shoveling snow, I haven’t left the house yesterday, today and tomorrow. My shoveling is in 15 minutes at a time until my fingers get cold. There is more to shovel tomorrow and the wind is blowing….. It is supposed to be bad tonight and schools are all closed tomorrow. The worst is tomorrow night and Friday. It will warm up one of these days. In the meantime, we just put on more clothes. There are plenty of things to do inside and I haven’t even touched my sewing yet. I have felt the piles of fabric as I pass them. We’re on a hill and I see by the tire tracks in the snow where a car just missed the stop sign and fire hydrant by a foot. They come down too fast and try to turn. It’s slippery. You would have had a population explosion if you had missed the nest?
    And I thought you were talking about the OLD Wooden phones. When I lived in Clarion I had 2 girlfriends who were on the same country party line. About 9:00 PM I would call one girl and they would both get on the line and we’d compare our algerbra homework answers. Worked for us.
    Keep warm.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty – I also remember those wooden phones – one of our neighbor’s had one when I was a kid. It’s slippery here, too, but school hasn’t been cancelled yet – we’re a day behind you so now I know what’s heading our way. I’ll bet life is different for you without Frank needing something all the time – I know how that is! Are you lonely?

  6. Carol

    When my son was in kindergarten in 1993, he was at a friend’s house. At the time, we had a push button phone on battery, you could walk around the house and talk on it. It was all he knew. At his friend’s, the dad told him to call our home and ask if he could stay overnight. He handed him a rotary phone and Douglas asked the dad what it was and how it worked!
    I remember our childhood phone number, Triangle 4527. Triangle referred to the part of town where two major streets intersected, creating a triangle of streets, those streets all had the Triangle precursor to the four digits.
    We had a party line and listened in, too! I remember old ladies hollering at us teens to get off the phone! We didn’t even know these biddies! Boy, did we have a lot of supervision by the neighborhood in those days!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol – I love your nostalgic memories – very similar to mine. Oh, hasn’t life changed? I was not allowed to rubber or listen in but mom did sometimes!

  7. Diane Bauer

    Your bullseye quilt is amazing! It’s HUGE!! I have the last two side borders to stitch on and then will be contacting my quilter to get it finished!

    Came down from Estes late this morning. The roads were awful as they hadn’t been plowed at all yet. I finally met the plow when I got to Loveland (he was heading up the canyon). I started shoveling when I got home, but the 6 degree temperatures were too much. I got the sidewalk done and will be hoping to finish the driveway and patio tomorrow when it should be 23 degrees. Nothing like your weather last week!!

    Beyond the Battlefield was waiting in my mailbox when I got home and I’m excited to dive into the stories behind the quilts!

  8. Launa

    Mary, It’s 14o here tonight just after 8pm. A little new snow today. Spent time in the sewing room and wondered what to do with some leftover various size strips. Am looking at Dashed Dreams from BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD and that may be an ideal project for some of my assorted scraps in the future. Had good intentions to get some sewing things put away, but not many did! There’s always tomorrow!
    A big chill and more snow are coming the remainder of this week.

  9. Betty Klosterman

    I think we may have a tragedy like you had in Iowa. We have a home for troubled children south of town up in the trees. Sunday morning a 9 year old girl took off running. Sunday afternoon, Monday and Tuesday there were over 200 people searching with no luck. With the below zero temps, it doesn’t look good. It is now a recovery search with dogs coming from Iowa. Some days you just can’t win.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty K – oh, that is terrible! So sad. Wonder where she ran to and where she holed up – she can’t withstand those temps. Please let me know

      1. Betty Klosterman

        They are hoping that somebody picked her up or she found someplace warm. If she found a empty cabin, she would break into it. The volunteers have been checking all the cabins, barns and other buildings, interviewing everybody who lives there in hopes of finding her or somebody that may have seen her. To make it worse, the terrain is very rough and the guys had to hold on to trees, bushes, weeds and it was icy and snow covered. They slipped and fell a lot but didn’t break any bones. Had dogs, too.

  10. Linda in Tennessee

    Mary, my sisters tell about me picking up the phone and talking to Central when I was about 3! I don’t think the phone even had a dial! And yes it was a party line…in Independence, MO

  11. Jo in Wyoming

    I started my telephone carrier as an operator, about 100 years ago! Those old phones worked all the time. Western Electric made a good piece of equipment. A group of operators get together once a month and have lunch. It’s such fun, we talk and talk. Lunch is this coming Monday.
    Today I got my new book in the mail. I have spent toooooo much time studying the pictures, reading all the stories and planning the next project. I have a baby quilt to complete for one of the operator’s great grandchild then I shall start my own….Which one shall be first?
    Your chickens sure are pretty. The bullseye is great.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jo – I did not realize you were an operator! Did you sound like Lily Tomlin? Haha! You spent too much time making videos for me today but I thank you. I sent you a picture of the front of our longarm. I don’t even know how to use the stitch regulator!

  12. Mary T Salmon

    Despite being all banged up, I got one side of my Second Hand Clothes quilt bound. I have progressed to a walker. I have not been in my studio for 3 weeks. My Sweetheart of a husband brought my Featherweight in the house so I could sew. Took me three days to do one 10.5” block bits it’s done.
    I love your stories and pictures. My little sister and I had pet chickens. We had them as chicks. They slept in bed with us at night wrapped in a baby blanket.
    One day we came home from school and saw our dad chopping their heads off! My sister and I could not eat dinner.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary – NO!!! How could he? You took them to bed with you? Well, of course you couldn’t eat dinner! I had a beloved horse when I was a kid and rode him everywhere. I don’t know what determined this but my dad took him to the sale barn and made me go along and sold him. The horse was very muscular and everybody around us said he was sold to the glue factory. I cried all the way home. Can’t you still feel that hurt today? I can.

  13. Donna Sproston

    There is a funny You Tube video of two millennials trying to dial a rotary phone. Google “boys trying to dial a rotary phone” and it will come up. Our schools were cancelled again today due to ice. Quilting weather continues.

  14. Louise K.

    I keep an old phone that plugs directly into the phone outlet. When the powers out, the other phones that are part of the answer machine won’t operate, but the old phones don’t need power! They just need working phone lines.

  15. Sandra F. Block

    When I was 13 we remodeled our house so lived in a long unused chicken house which my mother had white washed. The telephone was right by the door and, as I was “rubbering” one day, some chickens from the other chicken house came over and started crowing. I’ll never forget one of the ladies talking on the phone said, “My, someone has chickens close by.” I’m sure both women on the phone had to know the “rubber-er” was from our place with our unusual living condition and my mother probably got the blame.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sandra Block – I LOVE that story! I am so happy to hear that “rubbering” was the correct word and I didn’t just dream it up – haha! It didn’t sound right when I typed it. Yup – you got caught when the chickens crowed!

  16. Beth T.

    I was a suburban Southern Californian, and when I visited my Iowa grandparents–very infrequently, due to the expense of travel–I received privileges the “country” cousins weren’t given–like the time I was allowed to bring a chicken inside to sit beside me and watch television. I still wouldn’t believe it if we didn’t have a photo–my grandma didn’t even allow a dog or cat in the house, but she let me bring in a chicken. I named it Snowy. That night we had chicken and noodles and my grandpa laughingly told me we were eating Snowy. He wasn’t a mean man, just a farmer, but I cried and they took me out, showed me a hen they said was the real Snowy, still alive and well. Today I am a vegetarian, possibly not a coincidence.

    As to cats always choosing the quilt you’re working on, it reminds me of the way they always stretch out on the exact part of the newspaper I am reading–sometimes the exact paragraph that was taking my attention from the poor, ignored cat.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Beth T. – I’ve written about the poor farm cats previously and I wanted a house cat so bad but it wasn’t allowed…..until I went to college and they let my sister, who probably didn’t even really care, have a white house cat! Farmers thought it was funny to tease kids about eating chicken, etc, especially when they had loved a chicken. I know – I grew up as a farm kid.

  17. Judy

    That quilt hanging by the phone looks like one I might make, squares arranged in diagonals. I haven’t taken the time to branch out into much else. Squares for the church keeps me busy. It is to be 60 today. Last week below zero. What a winter!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judy – I know which quilt you’re referring to – I think it was another Bonnie Hunter pattern and it’s made with brushed cotton.

  18. Connie

    I love Donna’s mystery quilt. When I first looked at it, I thought it had a applique flower boarder and then realized it was the background it was laid on that had the flowers. Sure matches nicely.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Connie – I told her the same thing! She must have made the quilt to coordinate with her lovely rug – don’t you love that red and white flying geese border on the quilt? I do!

  19. sandy

    Mary, Your BullsEye quilt is lovely!
    love the animal pictures….the kitties are my favorite 🙂
    I worked for GTE/Verizon for 32 years so I love the phone pic & all the conversations about party lines….we still had 4 party lines when I started working back in 1978…..great memories!
    Stay Warm…………..

  20. Kathy in western NY

    When I look closely at scrap quilts at all the fabrics , I find I now look for one color that catches my eye. I see pink calming my eye in yours. It’s blue in my own. I just love your quilt ! I have wanted to make a pink and brown quilt for a long time and your new book has been my Inspiration to seek scraps in those colors. Loved the phone story! Why did we always plaster them with stickers of every pizza joint and emergency contact ? Now it’s magnets with all those numbers. Ice came this way too.

  21. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Love the stories here. My mom – 93 – still has a hardline dial phone – installed in 1957 – number is 9450 – and still works today. She has a cell but when I need to talk to her and weather is bad – the hardline ALWAYS works! I live in St. Paul, MN and we have had our days – driving to work and driving home from work! Roads at very unpleasant and we’re suppose to get awful wind chills again tonite into tomorrow. So goes winter in Minnesota. I absolutely LOVE the chickens!!!!! And the one peeking out of mom’s wing – precious! There is nothing better than having babies and watching them grow and learn – including the animals ones! 🙂
    Have a wonderful day and stay warm and safe.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Elaine K-T – I am so thankful I don’t have to drive to work in the city when road conditions are perfect – I don’t know how you do it when they’re covered with snow and ice! I visited the chicks this morning – Mama will keep them warm!

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Elaine – forgot to say how much I admire your 93 year old mom who has kept her phone!

  22. Ellie

    That sounds like the kind of day I like! Home snug, no where I need to go and quilting to keep me happy!

  23. Deb - SW Minnestoa

    I grew up with a party line and still remember our number – 8048 and our ring was a short, long, short. If anyone’s phone rang in the middle of the night, everyone in the party got up to listen in because it was probably an emergency and everyone wanted to know what was going on. When school was called off, the superintendent usually only had to make a call to one phone on the party and everyone else listened in and got the information. There were no secrets in the neighborhood :).

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Deb In SW MN – our ring was two shorts! And you’re right – we all knew what was happening in our neighborhood- love it!

    2. Sandra F. Block

      Our ring was a short and a long. I think there were 10 on our line but nobody talked very much.

  24. Marie Fibelstad

    Another cold snowy weather day. My husband has been a walking mailman for over 25 years and last week when weather reached 40 below upper management said no delievery for them, first time in those years, the employees still went to work but only to sort mail that trucks could get in. We have over 3 inches today and wind and cold weather but am sure the carriers will go out in town.
    I enjoy the pictures of your chicks, cats as I remember when I laid out my pieces of quilt top and turn my back and the pieces were scattered all over the room!! Hasel is sooo cute!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Marie F. – I was glad when they cancelled mail delivery in that bitterly cold weather. We’re having a blizzard day today and thank goodness Rick didn’t go out in the truck! I visited the chicks this morning – everybody is fine!

  25. Janine

    Love the stories about the old telephone numbers and exchanges. I remember waiting for the bus my first day of school and my father telling me to recite my name, rank and serial number – my rank was Kindergarten and my serial number was our phone number: Frontier 4-0828. He said I would be safe as long as I remembered that. And I always have.

  26. Ann Barlament

    Union 0700….ahhh the memories. And now that I think about it, wondering if my rotary phone was still on the wall when my house sold last November?? Hahaha

    Never forget the look on my girlfriend face when she asked if she could use my phone. I said sure, use the one in the kitchen….then waited for the reaction. Hahaha

    She was so used to just pushing buttons, that she had to actually think what the number was, as I had a rotary dial phone.

    My ho-hum day included finding out the auction place didn’t sell my house furniture. They donated all of it to Goodwill. Good thing I’m immobile ~ they would be dead meat!

  27. Debbie Bowmer

    Your Bullseye Quilt is great! Hopefully mine will be completed some day soon. Take care in that cold weather. It’s not fun being house bound is it?

  28. Linda in So. Cal.

    I remember when we asked the Operator to dial the number for us! I still have a push button wall phone tucked away. Aging myself. Received your book yesterday & have read it cover-to-cover at least twice. Can’t wait to get started on your quilts. Very impressive collection. You & Connie should be very proud. Love the pics of the chicks. Chicklet is a handsome fellow! How’s Ellie? I worry about her too.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda in So. Cal. – I have not seen Ellie – she lives on a road that’s not traveled much and I can’t go by without being noticed – I so hope she’s OK but I just don’t know. We aren’t friends with her dad and I’m not sure he’d take my call either – pray for her!

  29. Lois Palmisano

    Hi Mary, looks like CHICKLET is raising some fine Sunday dinners .

    Love all you do and I luv the ads… it’s like popping that plastic bubble wrap.
    Lois in Omaha

  30. Holly in TH

    I love your bull’s eye quilt! I’m sure you’ll have no trouble quilting it with your experience and the long-arm to make it easier. I made my bull-s eye smaller as it will be donated to a nursing home. I got it quilted today with help from your Tuesday post. I’ve made a few in the past, but was never sure how to quilt them and didn’t stitch them as closely as nursing home laundry would require. One of them is my go-to nap blanket.

    I love the pictures of the animals. I sure miss having chickens. I can’t believe the rotten luck some people have had with getting 100% roosters! I hope your luck is better! I think Hazel has been hanging around with cats so much, she thinks she’s one, too, the way she’s perched on that love seat.

    One of my cats likes to sit on top of my sewing machine under the heat of a 100 watt bulb as I sew. Another younger cat tries to copy her, but hasn’t learned to keep her tail out of the way, so sometimes I’m sewing with one hand and holding a cat tail with the other to avoid accidents.

    I remember what an advancement it seemed to have push buttons on phones instead of the rotary dial, which took so long to dial, especially with those higher numbers. Push buttons are SO much faster.

    Snow is falling thick and fast on the north shore of Lake Superior today. It’s snowed every day this week and we definitely have a winter wonderland, which I prefer to enjoy from the warm side of a window. It’s wonderful weather for quilting! I appreciate the freedom of being retired every single day.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Holly in TH – you have my total admiration for allowing a cat to sit on top of your machine while you sew!! That takes talent as well as a love for cats!

  31. Paula

    Mary, do I remember you saying anything about a pattern for the red snowball in this post? Thanks Paula in KY

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Paula – you can go back and read it yourself but I did not mention a red snowball quilt. There’s one on the loveseat in the living room however – Hazel is straddling the arm of the red loveseat.

  32. Kate

    A church just north of my house is surrounded by water because of all the rains we’ve had the past two days. My daughter and I drove to Indianapolis today and there was so much rain it was like driving in a snow whiteout. I remember listening on the party lines and one time I listened to a conversation between two boys and they were talking about me! Love your bullseye quilt. Never a ho-hum day when you can work on a quilt.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kate – I hope the boys were saying nice things about you – weren’t you tempted to speak up and tell them you were listening?

  33. Sharon Geiger

    Sounds like you were BUSY to me!! Lol love the pictures and your bullseye quilt! Stay warm!

  34. Sunflower

    I’m late in posting this response but will anyway and hope you see it, Mary. I remember having a party line growing up on a Michigan dairy farm. We never waited to hear the ring before always picking it up as there were six girls in my family and the phone was always for one of us!! One day, the elderly neighbor man came down to talk to my dad about us not being on the phone so much and complained he never got a chance to use his phone. My dad felt sorry for him but laughed and told the neighbor he never got a chance to use the phone either! The neighbor went to the phone company and got switched off our line so that was a happy solution. I also remember having a cow that got a broken leg one winter. My brother loved that cow and was so sad when we came home from school one day and my dad had shipped it off to the stockyards. My brother still has a soft heart. That was the way it was on the farm though, it was a rough life with no extras or waste.
    I love your blog and am closing all the ads faithfully! Have a great day.

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