Farm News

My week started out at 7 am Monday morning with a young man by the name of Zach who came to help me clean out the barn.  Shoveling manure is hard work but I was determined to work right along with him.  We took a break at 9:30 and he met Ernie Joe Mauer – they liked each other a lot.   We kept working and finishing putting down the new bedding by 1 pm.  Zach did a great job – he’s a hard worker and I’ll definitely hire him again.  I jumped in the shower but by 2 pm my back was seizing up and I had to retire to my chair where I spent the afternoon.  Oh, what a backache!  It rained and blew and rained some more that afternoon while I watched from the porch.

Zach in barn Manure Zach working Goats Zach and Ernie

I’ve had a really bad week with the guineas – I have only one left.  I cannot prove it but I am quite sure Telly has chased them, they sailed over the fence into the grove where she has pounced on them and killed them.  It makes me just sick – when I caught her chasing one that got away, I punished her severely but the next day another one was gone.  The one that’s left “calls” over and over again for her friends.  I dreamed about them last night.  It is very sad for me.

Lori brought her new granddaughter, Jenna, into the shop this week to meet everybody.  Her son is planning to raise his 6 week old daughter as a single dad – and with support from friends and family, he will do just great.  What a darling baby!

Jenna with Lori and Mikala Jenna with Mikala Jenna with Mary B.

The minute it quit raining, I jumped on the lawn mower.  With lots to mow, it’s really hard to get it all mowed between rain showers.  I even mowed through a shower yesterday.  I will not complain about the rain however because I remember how desperate we were last summer for an occasional rain shower that we didn’t get.

Heidi in the bird bath Millie in a basket

At 5 pm I let everybody out of the barn and it’s fun to have the goats wander about as I work on my plants.  Susannah likes to eat the pampas grass and would ruin my houseplants given the chance.  I have started many succulents in pots that I hope to share with my friends.  I have also planted many assorted “planters” with hen and chicks that I ordered as plugs from a nursery in California.  Many of these collectible containers do not have drainage so these plants must be kept on the dry side.  Too much water is the main reason succulents die in the pot – their base simply rots away.  Be kind to your succulents and water sparingly.  The lilies are starting to bloom – I love this time of year!  There are weeds in my lily garden but until the lilies have quit blooming, I won’t go in to weed.  The prairie mallow (my mother-in-law’s miniature hollyhocks) are blooming everywhere!  We sell an envelope of seeds for $4.00.  They self-seed and come up in the cracks of the sidewalk – very easy to grow!  They hydrangeas are beginning to bloom, too – everything is very lush and green in North Iowa.

Emma on Stairs Susannah Lots of Plants succulents More Lillies Lillies Prairie Mallow More Hydrangeas Hydrangeas

Today is my 66th birthday – much too old to be cleaning the barn!  Ha!

Grace and Rex Tesene have been staying with Grandma Connie and Grandpa Roy this week.   They are from Aurora, IL, and their parents run a business called Two Bostons, a pet accessory store which you might even want to find online.  We have enjoyed seeing them in the shop every day when Connie comes to work.  Two little kids can certainly change one’s daily routine.  Just ask Connie!

Grace & Rex

Happy 4th of July!  Remember the shop is closed on July 4, 5 and 6 so we can all enjoy the holiday!


Just for a laugh…



30 thoughts on “Farm News

  1. Carol in Florida

    Happy Birthday. May this be a good one for you. You bring so much joy to my life on a daily basis. I love quilting but also love the animal stories even more.

  2. Katie Hayse

    Just doesn’t seem possible that Grace and Rex are that big. I remember when Grace was born. Such sweet looking kids.

  3. Linda Hanley

    Hi Mary – Happy Birthday!!!!!! I think you deserve a day off of all chores, cooking, and any other kind of work, on your birthday. If anyone gives you a hard time about this – just tell them to see me! Linda

  4. Betty Klosterman

    Next time, hire 2 kids to clean the barn and haymow and you supervise? There comes a point when it is good to know what we can and can’t do?? Can you get a picture of the prairie mallow? I have something here that gets seeds like hollyhawks, grows into a bush about 3′ high and I have no idea what it is. Happy Birthday!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty – look on July 3 Farm News for a picture of the prairie mallow.

  5. Lois Palmisano

    Hello, you are such a busy person with a gazillion things
    YOU have to do. So you must be kind to yourself and your BODY so you can last the long haul.
    I love all your quilt work. That is a necessity in your life. Manure is for the youngsters to take care of, OK?
    Love you and your blog is the only one to which I subscribe.
    I am also a girl (age 77) from IOWA!

  6. Donna

    Happy birthday! Keep your feet up and enjoy the rest of the day. My mallow did not grow which is very disappointing. I was hoping it would take over several gardens and grow in all the cracks. Is it too late to sow this year if I order more seeds?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Regarding the mallow seeds – I am so sorry they didn’t grow for you – they sprout everywhere here. There is still plenty of time this season to try again.

  7. Launa

    Hello Mary,
    Your flowering and potted plants look wonderful.

  8. Ann

    Happy Birthday!
    I enjoyed seeing your malvas on Tuesday when I stopped.
    I have trouble growing them as something eats the tops off. Just last night I saw several that had been beheaded. Any suggestions?

  9. Ann

    Went back and reread your post thinking I was wrong about the miniature hollyhocks, so googled malva and that is what they are. Just thought you might want to know. I got mine at a nursery down on the way to Kalona many years ago.

  10. Rose Mikulski

    Happy Birthday or as I see it, it’s your Golden Anniversary of your Sweet Sixteenth–sounds better doesn’t it?

  11. Twyla

    Mary, A very happy, happy birthday to you. I suggest you just hire the young man to clean the barn and you do something “more fun”. Have a wonderful 4th, we’re headed to Okoboji for the flea market!!!

  12. Heather K

    Happy Birthday! The pictures of the animals and plants look great. Maybe for a birthday present to yourself you have Zach come by once a week and you can save some work for him- he gets more work and your back will feel better?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Heather – what a novel idea! I really do intend to hire him again to help me when it’s heavy work.

  13. Mary Evans

    Happy, happy birthday, Mary E. Hope it was a great one. Yoou could use a rest. I could never have done the work you do when I was your age. Save some of that energy for your old age! LOL!

    Sorry about Telly’s antics. The lab in her wouldn’t do that, must be the Poodle.

    Til soon,\


  14. norma

    Happy Birthday, Mary and many more!
    Your flowers look lovely. I love lilies too and this year the deer didn’t eat all the buds! I like mallow too. It’s a little aggravating when it seeds everywhere but I just have to grit my teeth and pull some out. Hope you can rest up this weekend.

  15. Ann Barlament

    Happy belated Birthday wishes heading your direction!!

    I’m 4 years younger and can’t say that I would ever be thrilled about mucking out the stalls!! I’d be the first one to hire that nice, hard working, young man!!!

    Enjoy your 4th of July weekend ~ put up your feet and have a relaxing time!!

  16. Rina

    Happy Birthday Mary!
    It has been long time since I wrote you, I have been pretty busy with my son’ wedding.
    I hope that your wishes become true, and that you can have a vacation-trip to Sicily and meet me 😉
    Warm Hugs from Catania,

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Hi, Rina – it has been a long time! How was the wedding?

  17. Valerie

    Happy Belated Birthday, dear May! Such is life in the summer…running a bit behind!!
    Would love some of your mini hollyhock seeds…what would tax/postage be?
    Thank you, enjoy the rest of your summer…

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Seeds are $4.00 and postage could not be very much. Call the shop on Monday and the girls can tell you. 641-923-3893

  18. Nancy Finch

    Hi there Miss Mary,
    I can’t think of a better person to share a birthday with than you. I hope you had a great day. We didn’t get rain in Illinois so I think that made a good day.

  19. Jane

    Wish I had all the good stuff you shoveled out of your barn – Garden Gold! Mary, you are younger than Springtime – Happy Birthday and Happy 4th of July from Northeast Oklahoma!

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