Farm News, Sunday, August 22

It’s been a devastating two weeks – losing half of my chickens to a predator has made my life a living hell. Yesterday morning as I was sitting in the porch I suddenly heard the robins and blue jays sounding the alarm. I rushed out to find this pile of feathers from what had been one of my favorite gray hens. I cried.

There is nothing I can do except keep them locked up in the barn and I just hate to do that. This is not a flock of identical chickens – I know them personally and many have names. I count the number of chickens in the barn every night and pray that tonight the number will be the same as last night.

Even though the chickens are on my mind 24/7 there are other tidbits to talk about – like Connie’s gorgeous counted cross stitch that just came back to her framed. I love it so much but can’t do it.

For the first time in many years my morning glories are blooming!

I rarely buy panels but I loved this farm scene which I quilted and then faced the edge rather than add binding. Go online to watch the video of how to do it if you’re interested.

No binding – faced instead

Look at this eclectic group of pictures upstairs!

I’m working on the blue version of Hayseed.

So many quilts I want to make!!! I will make a separate post of quilts from the fair – they inspire me. Fall is in the air and I’m digging out the fall quilts to hang – I’ll post when finished.

Peggy asked for eggs in the oven directions. Spray muffin tins liberally, crack one egg into each cup. Bake in 400 degree oven for 7-12 minutes or until egg has cooked to a solid. Cool and treat your dog!

It’s very cool and breezy in North Iowa today – we finally got 2.5” of rain and now everything will green up again and I can happily mow the lawn. I’m so glad the cookbook saga is over – the next time I find a box of anything, it’s going to the landfill. Haha!

Don’t miss this event if you live in North Iowa!

45 thoughts on “Farm News, Sunday, August 22

  1. Deb

    LOVED the last picture – so sweet! I’m so sorry about your chickens – you’ll never be able to get the hawk or eagle or whatever that is attacking your chickens — are you able to put up a fenced enclosure and put a heavy duty wire top on it so they can go out to scratch around, enjoy the sun, etc? They’d be safe again.
    Take care!

  2. Rhoda

    So sorry Mary you lost some of your chickens which are dear to you.
    You have much to be thankful for still.
    We are thankful for you!!!

  3. Arrowhead Gramma

    Mary, My heart is breaking over the loss of your chickens. They are family members and each loss is so sad. ❤️😓❤️
    Thanks for all you do to keep us all updated through your blog.
    P.S. Love Connie’s counted cross stitch project. It is gorgeous. ❤️🧵🪡❤️

  4. Ann

    Are Eagles getting your chickens? I am on a farm and losing cats, neighbors got to talking and
    they also were losing cats, it was suggested it was Eagles. A fence is no good for them. Just
    a thought.

  5. Mary Eileen

    Mary, The top left cross stitch in your photo of eclectic pictures is the same design as one my mother did when she was pregnant with me 74 years ago. I inherited it when she downsized & I found out the history.
    Happy memories!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary Eileen – I just love to hear past history about handwork! It’s a beautiful piece!

  6. Jean

    Mary I am just so sad that you have lost another chicken. There are no words of comfort that I can think of that would help. Just know that people join with you in your sadness.

  7. diane ihde

    We used to let our chickens free range but we have eagles and hawk in the area and they took many of chickens and guineas. We are going to get some more chickens finally.

  8. MaureenHP

    I am so sorry about this latest tragedy. Those chickens are not “just chickens” to you. I hope you were blessed to see the morning glories blooming.

  9. Kathy Hanson

    So sorry to hear that you have lost another feathered family member! So very hard! Connie, your crosstitch project is gorgeous. I haven’t done one in years but I really enjoy doing them. Mary, your new quilt project is going to be awesome, great fabrics. Love the ZZZ picture, that’s a gem!! Glad you have gotten rain, there has been some rain here too for which we are so thankful. Jerry is so tired of “watering”!!

  10. Kinda in UK

    Sorry about your chicken. What is the predator do you think?
    Next time you find a box of books ask for names and email addresses only, take the matching number of names to available books out of a hat and email the lucky ones who then send you a cheque before you mail out the book.

  11. Jo in Wyoming

    I, too, am so sorry for the loss of your chickens. Being safe and having freedom is a very difficult balance on the farm today. You might try a bunch of rubber snakes. Hang them in the fence so they will move in the breeze. Hang them from low tree branches. Tye them to the barn. We put them in our apple trees to keep the birds away. It’s a heartache and a headache.
    On the bright side, love your pictures today. Connie’s cross stitching I’d beautiful. Your morning glories are…grand. I love morning glories.
    Then to end with Rick and Hazel. That’s a keeper.

  12. Bonnie McKee

    I’m so sorry my check didn’t get to Iowa fast enough for me to receive a cookbook but I figure it’s a blessing because I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER COOKBOOK! HAHA! What was I thinking??? 😆

    Mary, I’m truly sorry about your predator situation.
    I have also suffered losses from my flock because of hawks, and the usual raccoon and possum attacks. Every time it breaks my heart and I swear I won’t buy another chicken or duck….but then I do. And the cycle continues. Sigh.
    I love seeing the snippets of blue and white fabrics coming together for your quilt. Your pictures inspire me to start a new quilt, soon.
    We are having cooler weather in western Oregon and I’m thinking about sewing again. Well, after I finish canning the green beans. I think I’ll be harvesting them for a couple more weeks. Then I will have more time to sew.

    Connie’s cross stitch is wonderful! ❤️

    I love the two pals snoozing in the chair🥰

    Thank you for another glimpse of your farm life filled with lovely flowers and quilts.
    Have a blessed week everyone!
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  13. Bonnie McKee

    PS. I meant to comment on the framed picture collection! When I was a child, I had the mare and foal print in my bedroom. And I LOVED it!
    Thank you for bringing that sweet memory to mind.

  14. Holly Woodyatt

    I am so sorry about your chickens. I feel the same about ours. Instead of locking them in the barn cant you make them a pen that is covered over the top, I know that is work and expense, but saves your chickens. then lock them inside at night. We lost a chicken to some large bird and the chicken lived for 2 days. it was awful to experience. Hence, they have a covered pen.I am afraid your predator will keep coming back now that they know where their prey is, So sorry, I know it is so hard to deal with.

  15. Pat Smith

    Mary, I’m just so sad to hear what you are going through with your chickens. It’s not as though they are typical farm chickens laying eggs until the stew pot. These are really pets, as you said, with names. This bird of prey is going to keep coming back as long as dinner is served at your house. I think those suggesting an outdoor chicken pen with some wire fence top might be the only way. Like you, I’d be sad to make the chickens stay in the barn in the summer. I’m sure they get so much more pleasure being outside in the sun just like we do. Connie’s cross stitch is beautiful. I used to do them, but think my patience has waned over the years. Loved the nappers in the last picture!

  16. Linda in So CA

    Mary, have you thought about building a pen….with a wire fence cover…so critters can’t get to them. Chickens could enjoy being outside until they are put in the barn at night. Some critter(s) knows where to get a free meal & will keep coming back. Very sad….. can’t imagine how frustrated you must be. Its like fighting a ghost. Enjoy seeing all the quilts. In awe of the workmanship.

  17. Peggy S

    Mary dear. . . Sorry to hear of your loss yet again. And sorry to have asked for the egg recipe at this particular time. But thank you for including it.
    I live in a residential area where people are allowed to have chickens on their property. They all seem to have the wire enclosed pens. All sides & over the top. Some are fairly big, about 6 ft tall even. Not sure what happens in winter.
    Thanks again for all you do.
    Peggy S

  18. Launa

    Still here, Mary! Had wonderful rains, some with hail Saturday! Had the wood stove going a while, too!
    A big black Wolf was pictured on a Firefighter’s cell phone…it was chasing an Elk so now we keep watch when Pepper is outside! Not too warm up here; 55o out @ noon 🕛!
    Great pictures today except the feathers; sorry about you losing a pretty pet!

    Waiting for 49er football. Nice the LV Raiders won! Game got a bit too late for me. ZZZZs

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Launa – my friends, Bob and Marline Lewerke have a nephew quarterback who plays for the NY Giants – just FYI in case you ever hear his name

      1. Launa

        The last name seems familiar…will watch for him. My husband is the 49er faithful and I’m the Raider fan. Neither of us are happy when our teams’ games are sometimes blacked out here!🤨

      2. Dee

        We have ferrel cats. They won’t let us pet them but they come to our family room window when they want fed. We trapped two of them and had the fixed and rabie shots. We have named them but the black male is missing for over a month. I know what you mean when you say it breaks your heart about the chickens.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Dee – I have a wonderful mama cat in the barn that is sorta sorta feral yet lets me pet her and I’d love to have her come to the house but she’s happy where she’s at. I, too. Trapped her and got her rabies shot several years ago. It does break my heart about the chickens and I know the pain will ease but right now it’s pretty fresh.

  19. Joanne Seruto

    So sorry to hear of your predator troubles 😢. I kept 3 hens for a few years and they were all fond pets .
    Something sure knows where there is a food source 🤬. Hope it moves on soon !

  20. Katie

    Sorry to hear about Your🐓 & your 🐐
    It’s sad to loose our pets..🙏🏼
    Thank U for sharing , I look forward to your post here in Gilbert , AZ.. 🌵
    Stay healthy & continue to share❤️

  21. Margaret in North Texas

    Mary, I was wondering if you could call your county extension agent and see if others are reporting incidents where chickens are being attacked.

  22. Betty Klosterman

    Mary, if you think about it, you and your menagerie have been very lucky over the years not to be hunted by preditors. Your chickens were hunted for food, not to just killed for the fun of it. For survival, the animals have to eat–and they eat smaller animals, like rabbits. In turn the rabbits are kept in check. That is probably why they are plentiful. And pets are probably easier to catch.
    In the meantime, let’s quilt. We can get outside work done on these beautiful days. I’m going to start in the shed. I’ve got a plan — maybe. Frank has a lot of stuff out there with very little organization, just piled up. Oh, that wouldn’t compare to my “pile” of sewing stuff? At least I know what all that is for. So, I’ll just start on the top.
    Take care, everybody. Tomorrow is another day.
    Betty in Rapid City

  23. Deborah A Keno

    Mary, my Mom embroidered the same set of flower pics you have. My Dad made frames for them. I’ve thought of incorporating them into a quilt since I currently do not have them hanging. I had a hard time parting with my Mom and her Mom’s stuff. I have too much for sure.

  24. Linda

    So sorry about your chickens. Could it be a coyote? They prey on the chickens in our neighborhood in Georgia (as well as cats but I can’t let myself think about that). I was tickled to see your photo of the wall of pictures. The one of the girl in the hat in the lower right was one I had over 30 years ago in my apartment in Iowa I think. I loved it and have no idea what happened to it! Hang in there.

  25. Beryl BC

    Sorry to hear you lost another chicken. All the other pictures are great.
    I hope the rain comes this way. It’s been terribly dry. Some near us have gotten rain, but it’s been quite spotty.
    Your morning glories look lovely. I wish I could send you the ones we have. We put straw in our garden several years ago. There was morning glory seed in the straw, and we’ve had to fight the morning glories in the beans, tomatoes, etc. Between them and the woody nightshade, it keeps us busy They do add color to the garden in the morning, and sometimes I use them in place of twine to “tie up” the tomato plants.
    That is a lovely chest in the pictures with the two napping in the last picture.

  26. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary,
    I am so sorry to read about your chickens over the past few weeks. A covered pen, as suggested by some other readers, is a good idea I think. When I was growing up we had a large open-air run for our chickens, that they could enter from the barn: it was 10’ high and the sides were chainlink (like your fencing) and the roof was chickenwire.
    I suspect that what needs to happen now is that you need to break the habit that has formed in this predator of coming by your farm for a chicken. It would help of course if you knew what it was. As well as contacting your county extension officer, you could try keeping an eye out for birds’ pellets (the pellets of undigested matter that owls and eagles regurgitate), as they have a distinctive shape and size according to the species. You often find them under the trees where birds roost (a search in the internet will show you what they look like). That could indicate if you are dealing with a transient (a bird coming in from elsewhere) or one that has taken up residence. If there is a local birding club or similar, they might also have information about sitings in the local area. Another possibility is to have a decoy bird of prey mounted on a tall post or clearly visible tree branch in the area where the chickens are being attacked (if it is limited to one general area) you can buy life-size plastic owls, hawks, eagles and things for this purpose: birds of prey don’t like hanging around together: if they see another bird in place, it can help to discourage them. Sometimes they will even attack it, and then you see what you are dealing with. Good luck.
    Love the photo of Rick and Hazel.

  27. Sharon in Oswego, Il

    I love your “gallery on the stairs”. This is so me. When I was a little girl, I had those two horse prints. With growing up, moving, floods , college, etc. they are long gone. If you ever decide to give them up, let me know. Also, sorry to read about your chickens. I know they meant a lot to you. Always enjoy your Blog.

  28. Tammy Guerrero

    I also live on a farm and have chickens. It makes me so mad when I see a predator eating one of my chickens. I’ve caught big hawks eating them and went out into our pasture and grab the chicken up and burying it. I say,” your not eating my friend”! I then lock my chickens up for several days. Usually the predator will then give up. It is hot here in Indiana but a fan in the coop window helps. It’s better than getting eaten. Predators will continue to come back because food is available. So sorry!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Tammy G – yes, they are locked up for awhile. It would break my heart completely if I saw it happening!!

  29. Susan K In Texas

    I’m sorry about your chicken. That’s so hard to lose our pet friends.
    The cross stitch is beautiful. I used to do cross stitch until I needed bifocals and can’t focus right going from the fabric to the chart.
    I like the picture collection and the snoozers in the chair.

  30. Teresa

    Mary, I’m going to suggest too thst you keep your chickens in for a week or two and then let them out again. Your predator knows there’s a food source so take it away and hopefully it will move to a new territory.

    When we had Guineas, one day they started making their Guinea alarm but when I looked out, there weren’t any cars in the driveway. I walked out to the pasture where they were and realized there was a hawk flying overhead and the adults had closed in all the chicks trying to protect them but the flock was stuck there. I herded them slowly back to the barn and they all went in without any trouble. Normally we could never get that close to the Guineas but I think in that instance they realized they needed me to keep the hawk from attacking them.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Teresa – what a story! Thank God you were there and paid enough attention to the sounds and guineas can sure sound the alarm! Yes, I think you’re right about keeping them locked up for awhile.

  31. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    As in the previous responses, I am so very sorry about your losing another chicken. How sad and frustrating!
    We are having another high humidity week, so I will be working in the sewing room. I hope to have a DD finish this month.
    The picture of Rick and Hazel napping is precious. Take care and thanks for keeping on keeping on. 🥰

  32. Sue in Oregon

    It must have been horrible to find that bunch of feathers on the ground. Ugh! Every chicken owner’s nightmare and especially if they are pets. I have only had to experience it once, fingers crossed. There was a trail through the long dry grass going away from the pile. Such a helpless feeling. Lately, though, we have been hearing hawks crying overhead. And then there are those darn blue jays and their mimicking cry.

    I love the way you faced your farm quilt. It sure looks like a photograph. I have turned them but will look at the video on how to do the facing.

    Tell Connie her cross-stitch is beautiful. Wish I had the patience for it, or maybe I should say the focus.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sue in Oregon – I will tell Connie – my fingers are just too stiff to hold the needle. I have no grip anymore – the only reason I can still play the piano is because I don’t have to grip anything. Ugh. I have lots of blue jays, too, but I kind of like them.

  33. Julie D.

    Mary, I am so very sorry for the loss of your chickens. Absolutely heartbreaking. I know how much you love them. I would feel the same way with any of our animals on our acreage if they had been hurt. Have you seen raccoons or foxes anywhere around because they would definitely go after your chickens. Great idea how you faced the panels and they look so very nice hanging up. Also, Connie’s cross-stitch is absolutely beautiful!! I used to do cross-stitch and now just stick to quilting and some punchneedle which you taught me how to do!! I hope you’re able to resolve what is coming after your chickens.

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