Temps in the Upper Midwest are predicted to be the coldest in 20 years! Yikes!


A couple weeks ago we were bragging about our lovely weather – no snow on the ground and temps 30-40 degrees. It felt like early spring. That’s gone. We didn’t have but a half inch of snow on the ground when the winds became powerful and when there’s no snow to blow around, that valuable black Iowa topsoil becomes what I call “snirt” – snow and dirt mixed together and this is the result.

When the dogs bring this in the house on their feet they leave little puddles of mud. Ick is putting it mildly.

This morning it is snowing lightly.

Even this little bit of snow looks so much better.

Years ago my brother gave me this warm hat and a couple weeks ago I wondered if I’d have to dig it out – sure enough, I need this hat in this weather! And I’m glad to have it!

Last night Reed, Kathy and I sewed in the quilt shop – with Hazel sticking close to Reed.

As I was slicing up Bullseye blocks, I came across this one – Kathy thought it looked like an eyeball. Ha!

After cutting it into quarters, it actually looked better. Just showing you this odd shaped circle so you know I have them, too! Feel better now?

Today college basketball is on our busy schedule with our Big 12 teams matching up with the SEC teams – if you like college basketball, you’re also in front of the tv today.

I’d love to put a quilt on the long arm this weekend but it’s almost too cold to walk from the garage to the quilt shop. One of the heaters in the barn quit yesterday so the co-op guy was here this morning to fix it. Whew!

No matter where you live it’s cold and if you live in the south I completely understand that 30 degrees feels as cold to you as 20 below feels to us. Hang in there, Everybody!

38 thoughts on “Brrrrrr

  1. Dee Winter

    Today is Support Your Local Quilt Shop day! With the snow coming down, I’m going to sew to make room for more fabric! I broke down and turned on the space heater and the ceiling fan to help the furnace. I can imagine the barn babies were not amused when the heater was out. Thank heavens for the repairmen in our lives.

  2. Diane Bauer

    You all went from no snow to quite a bit of snow!! Yes, it looks cleaner and prettier with some fresh flakes on top!
    Your hat looks perfect for -20 degrees. I have my ‘big coat’ for those days. I don’t wear it much here in CO, but when I need it, I’m sure glad to have it!
    I’ll be stitching together my rows of Bullseye blocks this afternoon, so my top will be ready for borders soon! I sure love it! I stitched up several blocks for my denim picnic blanket yesterday, so as usual, I have multiple projects going. I’m heading to the feed store momentarily as I’ve decided to make homemade horse treats this afternoon. I used to make them regularly but then haven’t for awhile and just got the urge to bake something that wouldn’t add pounds to my hips!!
    Hope you all have a great day and your teams win!!

      1. Diane Bauer

        Kay–the cookies I’m making today are called Los Gatos Bite-Sized Cookies
        Here’s the recipe:
        2 cups rolled oats (I just used more Quaker Oats as the feed store folks said it’s the same thing)
        1 cup cracked corn
        1 cup flax seed
        1 cup whole wheat
        1 cup rolled barley
        1 T. salt
        1 cup oat bran
        1 cup wheat bran
        6 cups Quaker Oats (I purchase a big box at Sam’s)
        2 1/2 cups applesauce
        2 1/4 cups molasses
        2 cups hot water

        Grease a large cookie sheet lightly and set aside.
        Use a 5-quart container which can be covered while refrigerated.
        Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate batter, covered, for one hour prior to baking.
        Using a tablespoon, scoop each cookie onto a cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
        Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn cookies over, lower temperature to 225 degrees, and bake an additional 45 minutes.
        Makes 17 dozen bite-sized cookies.
        The baked cookies last several weeks as long as they are stored in a clean, dry place. Extra cookies can be stored in the freezer and taken out as needed. The refrigerated batter keeps about two days if you want to bake them over a couple of days.

        I purchase molasses at the local feed store–it’s livestock grade but much, much less expensive than purchasing in the grocery store. My feed store didn’t have a couple of the ingredients, so I just made due by adding a little more of some of the others. I used to bake these regularly and so purchased the big 50 lb. bags of each of the ingredients. Thankfully, my feed store will sell in small quantities so I bought 3 lbs of each of the items and that will be plenty for probably 6 or more batches. I made a double batch today. I may be baking well into the night tonight!!

        1. Kay

          Thanks for recipe. Grand daughter has a horse . I have made the carrot birthday cake before

    1. Linda

      Can you tell us about your demon picnic blanket? I have been saving jeans to make a picnic blanket, but wasn’t sure how or where to start.

      1. Diane Bauer

        I saw a picture of a quilt on Pinterest that I really liked, but there was no link to a pattern company or any further information. It’s a super simple pattern and I figured I could draft it on my own, but also knew I’d seen the pattern somewhere previously. I found a similar pattern in one of my books, More Quilts for Baby: Easy as ABC by Ursula Reikes. She calls it Lady Bug, Lady Bug Fly Away. The denim base squares are cut at 6 1/2″. The corners are cut at 3 1/2″ and then stitched to the opposite corners of the denim squares. The resulting squares create a star-like look when the quilt is finished. I’m not explaining it real well, I don’t think. It’s simple, but looks great finished.

  3. Carla J

    Cold here in west Michigan too. Next week will prove to be interesting as temps will get colder, and bring more snow with it. As those cold winds come across the Great Lakes snowfalls will be heavy. Lake Michigan is 2 miles west of me and has just started its dressing of ice along the shore for the winter. So glad we are retired and don’t need to travel far or regularly for anything.

    1. Diane

      Are you near Pentwater or Ludington? We used to go to a cottage on Lake Michigan near those two places.

  4. Diane in Maryland

    I just have to ask… Dee Winter – is that really your name? Sunny and cold (30’s) here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My husband gave me a heated bird bath for Christmas. We have lots of birds enjoying the fresh water now that they finally realized the cord is not a snake! It is thermostatically controlled so only comes on when needed. I’ll let you know if he unplugs it after the electric bill comes. haha No snow but I’d like a little to make things look prettier!

  5. Karen H

    Mary: Hope you stay warm!! I’m in Florida and I think its cold here
    There is a quilt on your wal behind Reed that dated 2005 with a dog and a house- is that a pattern we can get- I would love to make one
    Thanks – really enjoy reading your Blog and seeing all the animals and things you do

  6. Donna Sproston

    In West central Illinois we have at least a foot of snow on the ground leftover from previous snows and huge flakes are now falling. It is a balmy 10 now but It was 7 below when I left the house this morning. The cardinals are clustered in the pines awaiting their turn at the feeders. Good day to quilt and watch basketball. The local schools have missed six days so far and will probably miss at least two this week due to extreme cold. Locals are remembering the winter of 1978. I remember the piles along the sidewalks were four feet high and our young daughters were dwarfed by them.

    1. Carla J

      Donna, Local paper has photos and articles from the Jan of 78 storm. I wasn’t in the midwest as hubby was in the AF then and we were living in Spain. Family was here and included some photos with their letters.

  7. Betty Klosterman

    Seems like I look at Everything in a picture?? In the picture with Reed and Hazel over from his right shoulder is first, a blue quilt, then a quilt made with 2 1/2″ squares. Can, or may, we see the whole small squares quilt, please??
    Here in Rapid City the Stock Show is wide open with lots of events. There are the rodeos, show and sale of cattle and horses, sheep shearing contests, the sheep dog trials and of course, the mutton busting. There are tons of exhibits and all sorts of machinery. Just something for everybody. It’s all indoors! Sounds like our weather will be going from snow to ice and rain, but not too cold yet. The cold doesn’t seem to effect us and the things we have to do. We just put on more clothes. The farmers and ranchers are very hardy stock. A grand time will be had by everybody. Don’t worry about the stock. They live a very cushy life. It’s the cowboys that take the beating.

  8. Dianna

    Wisconsin is cold too and we have another 8-10 inches of snow coming tomorrow. This is what we get for bragging about the greenish brown grass in December!

    I’m busy today cleaning like crazy so I can use next week as my UFO, WIP week. Have to do something to ignore the weather!

    My 2019 New Years resolution was to have one week a month in the sewing room so I can actually accomplish more. Make extra meals for the freezer to keep everyone happy while the sewing machine does the work. Retirement helps too!

  9. Diane

    Nice “snirt”, Mary. Central Ohio can be mud, green grass, snow, ice–depends on the year, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen “snirt”. Love that name:) It’s snowing lightly here. Our local quilt shop had a sale, too. The owner is a former student so I love to support her.

  10. MARSHA

    Very cold here in SW Michigan, too! Lots of snow and more coming the next few weeks, it sounds like! It’s beautiful but bitterly cold. Negative numbers aren’t the norm here. Brrrr is right!

  11. Kay Crandall

    Love seeing pictures in the quilt shop – brings back wonderful memories of being there with my dear friend and my precious mother years ago.

  12. Pat Smith

    Thanks for showing us the less than perfect bullseye. I can see now that in the end when they are cut apart, it doesn’t make so much difference. I know what your kind of cold feels like after some years in VT because we get that too. One year the heat went out, and the propane company raced over to fix it. It really is an emergency in that climate. Stay safe. I hope if you do go to the quilt shop you have Rick watch as you come and go. If you fell in that cold and were hurt,you could freeze to death in no time. I’m really being cheery, aren’t I? But now that I’m over 70, I think of those things.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Pat Smith – I’m not sure Rick would even know I was gone until supper time and there wasn’t anything on the table – haha!

  13. Linda in So. Cal.

    Good book to add to your list — Where The crawdads Sing — by Delia Owens. NY best seller list. I follow the eagles & their nests in the Decorah area. It’s +5 today. Other day was -6! I feel for you as I was raised in the northeast. Don’t miss the weather. Today it’s warm & sunny after a week of much needed rain. Thankfully Spring is just around the corner. How are your animals doing in the frigid weather? Trust they are safe & sound.

  14. Launa

    Been in sewing room and was surprised to see our outdoor thermometer reading 41o this sunny, blue sky clear Idaho day! Your red hat is a necessity around my neck of the woods, Mary!
    Snow is just falling off the trees. My husband is assembling two ski sleds while watching Torrey Pines golf. Nice n warm there, too.
    Nice to see Reed’s project as he chain pieces his logs.I bet heis going to receive a lot of Valentines!
    Stay warm outside!

  15. Paula N.

    Suppose to be extremely cold for us next week also, Nothing compared to yours! What we have had a surplus of is rain. I think my yard has not dried out since September. They even had to close Brazos Bend State Park (where I hike) for two weeks due to the Brazos River flooding. Living in Texas though, I know better than to wish for no rain, since we have also had our share of droughts. 😜 I am so glad you and the critters are able to stay warm.

  16. Charlotte

    Wishing you warmer temperatures Mary. I love your blog and look forward to it! Thanks for sharing all the amazing happenings on the farm.

  17. Connie

    We had 24 degrees below zero yesterday morning and 22 degrees below zero today here in far Northern Wisconsin. I guess I can’t consider that to be a heat wave.
    Love the picture of Reed and Hazel.

  18. Felicia Hamlin

    That Hazel really loves Reed, doesn’t she? Well, he is such a nice young man it makes sense that she loves him. That fine snow yesterday made the roads very slick. We took a friend to the cities and it was a slow going, especially after we saw a bad accidente on I-90, about four miles from the Blue Earth exit. Somebody traveling West, maybe going too fast, slid off the lane thru the median and ended up on the lane goin East, upside down. Don’t know how many people were traveling in the car, we could see a man in back, but the cab was flat. It really makes one extra cautious.

    Today is cold again and my little dog doesn’t like it. Who can blame her? Glad somebody could come and fix your heater. Stay warm.

  19. Diane in WI

    It is cold and snowy here in Wisconsin. This morning it was -7. We had -19 and -17 the past two days. The birds are eating all the seed; the cardinals are beautiful against the snow. You should frame one of the pictures of Reed and Hazel. Reed has an extra guardian angel. Keep warm.

  20. Kate

    The dog quilt behind Reed is one of your patterns that I made years ago. Since I had three dogs, I added two more, the flower became a bird flying over and I put in a dog house behind the big house where my dogs lived. I had that on my wall until two of my dogs died. Now I need to make a new one for the dogs I have now. It was a fun quilt to make. My bullseye quilt is laid out on the floor ready to sew together. Just have to set up my Featherweight and get started. Stay warm. This, too, shall pass.

  21. Nancy J Finch

    I was so excited when I found my Aunt Amy quilt book that I thought of the rug book you sold. I cannot remember the name. My hubby made 2 size frames.Of course now when I finally get the time, etc. I can’t find my book.

      1. Nancy J Finch

        Thank you. Will get check sent as soon as this crazy weather let’s up -21degrees tomorrow here near Chicago. I so enjoy your post and pictures.

  22. Ann Barlament

    While I love the newsletter and pictures, I’m also enjoying the comments and interaction between others. It took me three times to check out “Reed’s picture” and finally zoomed in to see what Betty found! Hahaha!!

    It’s been 3 years since I played with fabric and my sewing machine. Could be why I’m in such a deep funk now, it truly was my happy place. But I still enjoy the process and still drool over fabrics.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Ann Barlament – couldn’t you have your sewing machine set up in your room somehow? Just sewing strips together would be fun and a great pastime!

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