Brutal Cold!

Seems like all I do is run to the barn to check on everybody – I think by now they all have heated waterers because even with a heater the water freezes.  I had to move the three amigos to a different area because the herd needed more room.  The bullies were keeping the others from coming in and by giving them the three amigos’ pen, they have room to hide and move away.   I can’t let the three run loose with Emma and Charlene however because the pecking order is reversed and they bully Emma and Charlene who are simply too old to deserve to be bullied at this stage in their lives.  It is a continuing saga in the barn!  And the weather has turned absolutely hateful!  Bitter cold and this afternoon very windy – the snow is blowing around and we are preparing for another snowstorm.  This Sunday our high for the day isn’t even going to be above zero!  Yuck!  And it’s the day of our cantata – who will want to come in that cold?  Tonight we are performing the cantata at Prairie View, a senior apartment complex in Garner.

Connie is making two couch covers for Andy and AdreAnne’s new couches in beautiful blues from Laundry Basket.  Her pattern is Split Squares.  Here’s the first one done.  I love this shade of blue!


I hung a couple of quilts for Christmas including my absolute favorite Country Threads quilt, Wear Warm Clothes and another single pattern called O Holy Night.


Remember this project that I bought at Conrad last September?  I finally got it quilted.  I wanted to try matchstick quilting on the longarm machine and I can see it’s very time consuming and much harder than it looks.


I am almost finished with my purple 4 patches for Bonnie’s mystery.  How’s everybody else coming on theirs?  I can’t afford to get too far behind so I’m making a real effort to stay caught up.

I have another quilt ready to go on the machine and the quilters at church gave me 4 quilt tops for missions. After the cantata I will have lots of free time.  Except for going to the barn, that is.  I can’t imagine what I’d do with all my time if I didn’t have all these animals to take care of. Oh, and that’s another story – there’s been a stray cat in the barn occasionally and he was in there during chores last night.  I startled him by accident and he ran out into the cold!  I went to the barn several times throughout the evening hoping he’d be back in the goat pen but he was not so Rick suggested I prop one  of the sliding goat doors open with a 2×4, just big enough for a little cat to get in.  But I have not seen him yet today and that really disturbs me – he has to be cold!  Where can he be??  I couldn’t even sleep last night worrying about that cat.  If I see it again, I think I should trap it and get it to the vet for neutering or spaying…just in case it’s a female.  I don’t want a litter of kittens!  You know me – I’ll want to keep all of them!

36 thoughts on “Brutal Cold!

  1. Cynthia Sabinske

    Is the book, pattern still available for the Wear Warm Blothrpes pattern? I am going to complete my seconfpd runner this next night and will work on figuring how to post !

  2. Donna

    Mary I’ll get a check off to you tomorrow and will mention pattern name. Thank you Mary and stay warm. Love reading your blog and all your animal stories. I hope the stray kitty is safe and warm somewhere and glad Colton is on the mend. 😺❤️

  3. bernadette

    Also, Mary, could you explain who the bullies are. Seems you have three groups — the bullies, the three amigos, and the two others – I think your recently deceased goat hung with Emma and Charlene?

  4. bernadette

    You can buy Wear Warm Clothes, the book on Amazon. It contains Mary’s piece plus other lodge quilts.

  5. Pat Smith

    Thank you so much for doing this blog. I was born and raised in Ottumwa,, IA, but after meeting my husband never had the good fortunate to live in Iowa again. I seem to have Iowa in my DNA though. Reading your blog gives me that taste of Iowa that I’m always missing. We live in northern VT and we will get your awful weather today. Our animals, 2 cats and 2 dogs have no interest in going out! Neither do I.

  6. Paula Nordt

    Totally understand how you feel about the stray, but you didn’t startle him on purpose! Our weather has been a yo-yo. 75* today, 56* tomorrow, predicted 80* Saturday, and down in the 30’s on Sunday! Thank goodness not as cold as you. Bundle up!

  7. Vickie Harris

    Thank you for updates on your animals. Really like the door banners you posted & I also would like to know where I could find “Oh Holy Night”. Thank you.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Vickie – o Holy Night – $10 to Country Threads, 2345 Palm Ave. Garner, IA 50438. Please note what pattern you’re ordering.

  8. Rebecca

    Oh I forgot to tell you here in eastern wa st we are getting the artic blast too -2 coming up.

  9. Rebecca

    I love all your pictures of your projects. Thanks for sharing them and your life with all the critters. I look forward to all your stories. Thanks for taking time out of your day to share. Keep warm. Ha And may God bless.

  10. Anita Fetzer

    Cold is coming to Ohio too, so guess we are all in the same boat, so to say. Warmer by the weekend then cold again…..I say cold but it’s really frigid….hope the stray kitty comes back and you can get it to the vet or at least in a warm place. had 5 in. of snow yesterday….so beautiful white and clean, made it feel more like Christmas for sure…..take care Mary and all your animals and Rick….be warm.

  11. annie

    We’re expecting that cold here tomorrow night thru Friday. I live in the suburbs (sadly no farm and barn or pond) and have a flock of ducks with kiddie pools. Of course they don’t all get along ( I hear you about the bully not letting the others in) so come Friday some will be in their shed and others in the garage for the day. I will be spending my time running heated water out to them. Wouldn’t trade my life for the world. Love your beautiful quilts.

  12. Kathy

    Dear Mary, I always love to get the animal update. I was introduced to Colton on my last visit to Country Threads. Glad he is healing nicely. I know this is a long shot, but I remember the pieced wood star on your fireplace from last year. Is it still available anywhere? Thanks, Kathy

    1. Mary Etherington

      Kathy – Bentley’s Dad made one for sale and Mandy has it at her quilt shop, Farm Chick Quilts. Here is the phone number 641-430-6341. He took the pattern from mine. It might still be available.

  13. Cindie

    You are surely a person to be admired. Your devotion to your animals is nothing short of perfect.
    I would also like the Oh Holy Night pattern. No hurry for me. Let me know the cost.
    We have the same bitter cold here in WI. More snow is expected Saturday. We are going to a Christmas party and hoping the roads aren’t too bad.
    God’s blessings,

  14. Ginny Jackson

    It is so nice to know be reminded that I’m not the only one who cares deeply for all animals. Many years ago I saw a cat on my deck on a night with freeing rain. I gathered some food in a box with a blanket and literally had my son hold onto my legs as I got down on the floor and placed the items close to the house. Please be careful in all your out door activities; the planet.

    1. Mary Etherington

      The cat still is not around – I hope he is tucked somewhere warm but where would that be? Makes me just sick that I startled him! I know you love animals, too, Ginny! They need us.

  15. Diana W

    My cats usually sit on the top of the couch so they can look out the front window, but they won’t venture near there in the winter. Much be too close to the cold for them. They are both rescue cats, and I think they both spent too much time outside. I, too, would love to buy O Holy Night. I can send you payment via mail, and you send back to me?

    1. Mary Etherington

      Diana – send $10 to Country Threads, 2345 Palm Ave., Garner, IA 50438 and note the pattern you are ordering.

  16. Nancy Norris

    I love the blue quilt and the Wear Warm clothes one.
    Fun stuff. Sorry for your cold weather. We have had
    a nice breather here in southern Utah but are going to
    get colder this weekend. We have a daughter in Kalispell
    MT. Their weather has been as bad as yours. Temp. in the
    – numbers even for highs some days.

  17. Donna

    Mary I would do appreciate a copy of Oh Holy Night. I will send you payment and my address. I’ll send my address via email. What book had the Wear warm Clothes? I’m more apt to get Oh Holy Night does in my lifetime than the other one. Life is passing by much faster than I would like. I’d like to back up about 30 years. Yes, Henry must know the temps are frigid as he doesn’t bother to come down my stairs to go out. Plus going down involves going back “up” and with his 26lbs that involves a real effort on his part 😉 Thanks Mary.

  18. Emily

    Love Connie’s couch cover! I hope the little kitty shows up. Mary, you are a blessing to the all the animals.

    Stay warm!

  19. Dorie

    Love reading your stories. Today’s brings back memories of farmlife. It seemed we always had to leave events at the best time because cows needed milking, ice needed breaking, and eggs needed to be collected, not to mention wood stoves needed to be stoked to assure the 16″ adobe walls didn’t get cold! It took twice as much wood to warm the chilly house. Reading your posts and watching Alaska the Last Frontier reminds me of times before heart attacks ( r.i.p-dad), Alzheimer’s (mom), and Dementia (r.i.p.-sis) split our family in so many directions. Between sewing, politics, cooking etc., I should be greatful I don’t have 60 acres to farm. The amount brought in from my residential garden is just about right! I have been hearing chickens, and turkey when I’ve been outside– trying to overlook HOA enforcement!

  20. Jo

    You are truly one of God’s special people! I love reading all of your posts and I’m in awe of all you do!

  21. Diane

    Connie’s blue couch cover is wonderful–I love the blues. Your Three Amigos are something else. Emma and Charlene are lucky to have you. I have the book with Wear Warm Clothes–always makes me laugh. I also have a kit from ages ago with Oh Holy Night. One of those, I’ll make it soon. I will!! I love it.
    We got 5 inches yesterday which is a lot for us in Central Ohio. My sister lives in Bemus Point, NY, near Jamestown which is on the news all the time for so much snow. I love to look at it, but don’t need feet of the stuff. Stay warm all:)

  22. Martha Engstler

    I’m always interested to hear about your weather for two reasons. I have a cousin just south of you and for the most part we get your left over weather out here on the east coast. There is a call for snow tonight and tomorrow, we’ll see. We live next to a ski resort so they really need snow. It’s been to warm to make it. Oh I hope the stray kitty shows up, I’d be worried too. Your blogs are always a bright spot in my day, thank you.

  23. Donna

    Mary, I agree with Susan S you are one of God’s Shepherds. ❤️ Mary I know you got rid of all or most of your patterns but wondering where I might find the two you posted: Wear Warm Clothes and Oh Holy Night. Marsha mentions wear warm clothes is in a “book”. Thanks Mary. We have the same frigid temps up here in St Paul and I pray the homeless have shelter when we have these temps and hope your farm children stay warm too. My cats have no interest in going out (even my “fat Henry”) ….imagine that 😉

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Donna – I can make a copy of O Holy Night but Wear Warm Clothes was a book and a BOM. Tell Henry to stay inside!

  24. Linda B

    Bless you, Mary. I needed to hear your positive tale of the goats and how well they are taken care of. I read a story about a dog in California that was left at animal control by its human family. Apparently it was too sad for them (it was grieving the loss of another dog) so they abandoned their dog and went to get another pup. I have cried about that poor puppy all day, and if it had been anywhere in New England we would have gone to get him.
    I am doing Bonnie’s mystery quilt as well and am a little behind. I changed two colors, have a black background and just finished those four patches yesterday. Now on to the purple ones.
    Thanks for listening and stay warm!

      1. Ann Barlament

        That”sad dog” had some kind of internal worm making it sick. It’s on the mend and still looking for a furever home.

  25. Marsha Ransom

    I love the wear warm clothes quilt – I have the book with it in and hope to make it one of these days to hang during the winter season. I love decorating for the seasons with quilts and mugs and books and photos. . .

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