I love this blog! 1-15-22

I am so glad I complained about no comments because this is such fun reading stories from all of you – I spend a lot of time reading comments and it’s wonderful! I think most of you are enjoying the comments, too.

We got about 8” of snow yesterday and today will be a big job to dig out. I think Colton has a urinary blockage again but we’re so snowed in I’m not able to get him to a vet. Jackie is also acting not well. Took the fun out of our snow day for sure!

Thursday night was another adventurous night for Hazel. We went to the barn about 10 pm and sure enough there was another rat or two or ?

See the rat hole and the door partially open? Hazel would be laying by the door while the rat would literally hang out the hole and look around! what could I do? Yikes, it was creepy. Years ago we had rats and had an exterminator come and we might have to do that again but right now Hazel is very entertained! Haha! I tried to get her interested in the other side of the door but she was not having it. Last night the snow was so deep we didn’t go to the barn at 10 so today we will be on rat patrol again. I never dreamed I could sit a few feet away from a rat coming out of the wall but I’d do anything for Hazel. Yikes!

Here’s what we look like today.

I’m so hoping for some sewing time today – if I can get out to take Colton to the vet first.

Thank you for your comments and stories! I have loved reading them – especially since you’re the only “people” I see or talk to because of Covid and today because of the weather.


114 thoughts on “I love this blog! 1-15-22

  1. Pat Gurski

    Hello Mary. I live on Vancouver Island, Canada. We had cold weather and snow for two weeks since Christmas. We very rarely get snow. It has warmed up now and lots of rain. The snow is mostly gone. I am looking forward to spring. The snowdrops are blooming, so that is a good sign. Keep warm. Pat

  2. Carolyn Boutilier

    I was thinking about you and the storm last evening. The storm will get us tomorrow afternoon. We are expecting 8 to 15 inches. We have the generator gassed up and the snowblower ready. We have a neighbor that plows out the driveway but we need the snowblower to get the sidewalks and out to the bird feeder. OUr driveway is 1000 ft long down hill across the creek and up hill to the main road. I was thinking about Rick’s foot and how you would get plowed out. Like you we are staying home and watching football. i am x stitching a Christmas piece for next year then on to quilting and hooking.
    Carolyn b Shenandoah Valley VA

  3. Jo in Wyoming

    Yes, everyone has a story.
    As some of you may remember, I have dexlexia (sp?) (sound it out). So, while reading all the comments and stories, I kept reading MOA as middle of Iowa! Lordy
    Hahaha, I hope you chuckle, because when I finally figured it out, I had a great chuckle!!!

    My husband fixed my sewing machine so I can sew forward again, that’s always a good thing🙄.
    Have a great weekend and remember to laugh.

    1. Peggy S

      Jo in Wyoming. . . If you are referring to my comment using the MOA, it means the Mall Of America in marvelous Minnesota. Which will be 30 years old this year. (in August). They are celebrating for the whole year!!
      Peggy S

  4. Barbara Moore

    Thanks for your blog, the postings and pictures are priceless! You bring farmlife to many of us who’ve only read about it. You may remember that we have dachshunds – badger diggers as their name implies – and years ago, our first doxie came in the house and got my attention by agitatedly barking and running back and forth. So I went outside to see what she was so excited about and it was a rat! She ultimately cornered it with my help, and well, you know the rest. We are located in a housing development on a golf course with washes, not a farm, but pests are everywhere and we were glad she was so aware of what was happening outside. Some years later, we had taken in my father-in-law’s dog – a chihuahua mix – and she watched a rat climb the wall from my compost without any interest at all – Big difference in breeds for sure!
    Barb in Tucson

  5. Ginger

    I love you blog Mary. I love reading about your Iowa life. That little Hazel is quite the character! Such personality. I agree that blogs have been so nice what with COVID keeping us close to home. We haven’t had much snow here in New Hampshire but have had wicked cold temperatures. I hope Colton will be OK. Take care and stay safe and warm!

  6. Cathy - Southeast Alabama

    Well, I have to admit that I never posted. I had a feeling that you had so many followers that there simply would not be time for little ole me. I have been a faithful follower. I guess you were my “Big Brother” tv show (blog). I would live vicariously through your adventures. I used your blog as a daily escape with wonderful adventures and some useful encouragement. It has helped me through many family members’ deaths. I always felt life went on and therefore, so should I. THANKS !!

    When you did the sew along (Bullseye) recently. I went to my sewing storage area and dug to find my leftovers from when I originally made that quilt. My leftovers have made the rounds. When I first made this quilt, when you first published the pattern. I gave my leftovers to my oldest sister. Knowing she would find a way to use all of the circles and not just make a mini version of my quilt. This was in Arkansas. Well, Janice died in 2011. I cleaned out her sewing room and shipped the leftovers to my other sister, Beverly. Beverly was in Ohio at the time. Beverly moved to New York (Buffalo area) and brought the leftovers with her. Then, Beverly retired and moved in with me (we are both widowed now). We are now living in Southeast Alabama. Well, those leftovers came with Beverly south. And I was able to find them for the sew-along. I guess that fabric has been the traveling jeans of our family. One day I am going to make that mini version of my long-ago Bullseye.

    1. Jackie in NY

      Wow – what a neat story about your fabric making the rounds amongst your sisters!

  7. Deb

    I hate rats (and mice) but was chuckling at the idea of how entertaining it would be to watch our dogs try to catch one. Good for Hazel! Wonder if she’d be willing to give classes to other fur babies in the art of catching and killing one? I had a shocking morning Monday. I went into one of the bedrooms, flipped the lights on & over to open the drapes for the day & saw a SNAKE in the middle of the carpet. Before touching it I went in to wake hubby with the comment: “Now don’t freak out, I think its dead as its not moving, but there’s a snake in the bedroom.” I swear he leaped horizontally out of the bed SO fast I wished I’d filmed it! He went in and put it on a paper towel as it wasn’t moving, so we could take it into the kitchen to take a picture (to identify it), and halfway there the head came up off the toweling and was looking around — we BOTH freaked out then! Once he’d gotten it to the kitchen counter we kept a fork in one hand (in case he tried to slither away) and camera in the other (“smile for the camera”!) and then into a container with lid it went. It was about 14-16″ long. Found out later its a sharp tailed gopher snake (not venomous) , common around here as we live near a creek, and no, we didn’t touch it with the fork as he wasn’t moving around — the counter was ice COLD (temps in our house are 62 during the night). Needless to say, the counters received an extra good scrubbing and sanitizing after he left (and the fork went straight into the dishwasher)…

    1. Kim from TN

      I’m not afraid of snakes but I think I would have had a heart attack when it lifted its head and looked around. You two made me laugh out loud, glad you and the snake survived.

    2. Candy

      OMG!!! Deb, I had to read your comment with my feet up. If that happened to me, I’d have to move out of that house!

      1. Charlotte Shira

        That’s exactly what I said…I’d have to move!!
        Charlotte, Northern California

    3. Pam

      Had a snake in the house one time, stretched out on the foyer table. Hubby got the hoe and coaxed it into the flower arrangement in a basket on said table and tossed it the door by basket handle! Guess who got a new flower basket! No way any of that was coming back in my house.

      1. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

        Oh my. I love reading the snake stories. We had garters etc in Western NY and I was not fond of them. But, one year when I was teaching in Ohio, I had a very shy student who never talked. He told me he had a Boa Constrictor and was brining it in to show the Bio teacher. He brought this HUGE Boa to my room after school and told me I could pet it. I did! He answered questions often in class after that. Definitely worthwhile although I was scared to death!! I am not afraid of them now.
        We are expecting 4 to 6 inches of snow by Monday AM.
        Mary, your blog keeps me entertained with you and Rick, Hazel, the kitties, the chickens, Becky and Connie, your church playing, and of course, the quilt shows! etc. Thank you😃😺

    4. Paula Nordt

      So glad y’all didn’t just automatically kill it. I live in Texas where snakes abound and have learned which ones are friends and which to leave alone! I’m usually the one called to relocate snakes if one gets into the school building.

      Weather wise, it was nasty here yesterday. Wind blowing the smoke back down the chimney!

  8. Debbie G

    Hi Mary! Its cold today in SE WI. That wind is brutal! Just walked the dog, but we didn’t go far. It looks lime a snow globe today. Snowing now but we aren’t supposed to get more than a dusting. I just finished rolling up all my mini quilts and putting them back in the baskets. My granddaughter, who is 3, was here yesterday and she loves to take them all out and line them up in a row. I love it and she certainly can’t hurt anything. Still working on the 3 felt Christmas stockings for the 3 little boys in my neighborhood. Almost done with the second one. Now another neighbor asked me to make a T-shirt quilt for their son for graduation from high school. Never have I done that, but he’s a great you g man and of course I can’t say no!! I have 2 years. Have a great day.

    1. Marj in Western Wisconsin

      Just made two queen tshirt quilts for a friend in Pewaukee. Any questions feel free to contact me.

      1. Gloria

        I may contact you later. My granddaughter has requested a T-shirt quilt and of course, I will make it but I dread it!!

  9. Susan -Central Illinois

    Good morning Mary! Like many others I love reading your blog. I may not comment very often but I do want you to know how much I enjoy reading about your projects and adventures. I am a native Iowan, grew up near Ames but my grandparent’s lived in Buffalo Center so on trips to see them we would drive past Country Threads. I probably made my first stop at the shop back in the 80’s!! In my mind’s eye I can see your farm as I drive by on my way to my grandparents. Life took me to central Illinois, I’ve lived here over 30 years now but in my heart I will always be an Iowa girl! I can’t begin to count the number of Country Threads quilts that grace my walls, tables, doors and beds and I still have some patterns waiting to be made. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. I hope Rick’s wound heals and you were able to get Colton to the vet. Enjoy the beauty of the snow covered land… I’m enjoying it through you!

  10. Sharon Eshlaman

    I love your blog….it makes my day! First….I love Hazel and all your other fur babies, feather babies, etc. My first love is animals, second quilts, fabrics, gardens, decorating and all the things your posts bring into my world. Thank you for taking the time to brighten my day and inspire me…..please don’t stop. You are so appreciated❤️, from your fan in Michigan,

  11. Kim from TN

    That Hazel is such good entertainment and I love that she is intent on getting her rat. I hear the snow and cold has finally reached Iowa, Osage got dumped on. My mother is watching her driveway being plowed and sidewalk shoveled. It is the gift us 6 kids give her for her birthday in October and she loves it. It makes living in Iowa so much more pleasant that she doesn’t have to worry about it. We also take her out to eat for her birthday since she no longer wants more stuff, lol. Lots of football this weekend and I hope to get some end of the year paperwork done while watching. Our team the Packers, get the weekend off.
    **I’m really enjoying reading all the blog entries from everyone, keep them coming.

  12. Margie in SO CA

    dear Mary and ALL, yes indeed, we love all the comments, just like conversations really. Like the
    “travelling blocks” from sister to sister to sister! And the SNAKE story! Well, you all have mountains of
    snow, but here on the West Coast we are waiting for the TSUNAMI, about to hit us ! not worried really,
    but it will no doubt be all over the News today. and a special BRAVO to Mary, taking such loving good care of her Rick !

  13. Karla T

    Hi Mary! Yes! please don’t give up blogging! I too get a kick out of your farm stories even though I
    don’t post often– I grew up on a farm and loved it. My siblings and I were never bored as we made
    our own fun and never ran out of adventures. I miss so much living on the farm, so your stories
    are fun reminiscences — Hazel is a hoot– I can just imagine her waiting out a rat and conquering it!
    I pray Rick recovers soon back to himself– no fun dealing with things that get you down like that.
    I especially love your kitty stories– I hope Colton and Jackie recover quickly too… no fun having
    ill pets either…. I may have missed you telling of the two Siamese marked kittens you helped find
    a home for over a year ago– are they doing ok? just curious….. Take care and keep warm!
    Karla T. in NE Iowa

  14. Jeanine from Iowa

    We received about 7″ of snow in Oskaloosa. We can’t tell here on the farm as it blows everywhere and into drifts. I was very surprised this morning when I went out to feed the chickens and let them into the barn. Our barn is open to the south, and the wind must have been weird last night, as the snow blew into the barn into 3′ drifts and I had to scoop to find their water and feeding pans. They were very confused when I opened the door this morning to the outside. They do not like snow. I finally got everything cleared enough so they could get out, but they hesitated to walk through the “snow walls” of their path. I figured they would eventually get brave enough to get out. Tux, our barn cat, was very confused as well. He has a good place to sleep at night out of the snow. The funny thing is this: I took a small bucket of water out to give the chickens some clean water, and I cannot find it. It will show up someday.

    I love your blog and reading about everyone’s adventures.
    Jeanine in Iowa

  15. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    Good Morning, Mary. So sorry Colton and Jackie are not feeling well. We met Jackie on our first stop at Country Threads abt 2012; she went in with us, found a box on the counter, and settled in for a nap. 🤗
    We awoke to 4” of light powdery snow. In our rural area, this type of snow causes whiteouts while driving, so we are staying in. Hopefully, we can take a ride tomorrow; rides and curbside pickup have become our new norm due to Covid. My husband has low immunity after having six months of chemo for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His December dr apt gave us a great gift—he is in remission!
    Take Care/Be Safe. 🥰

  16. Janny Schoneveld

    No snow Here in the Netherlands but fog and tomorrow rain.
    No rats nor mice.
    But quilts oh Yes.
    And walks or cycling to stay healthy and get a fresh nose.
    Stay healthy and keep quilting and blogging, Please.
    Greetings Janny

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jenny – thrilled to hear your location! What kind of quilts are you making?

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Janny – I see my autocorrect changed your name to Jenny – so sorry.

    2. Pat Smith

      Janny, where do you live in The Netherlands? I have friends there and have spent time bicycling there and love it so much.
      Pat Smith

  17. Beverly in Ohio

    Hi Mary, it’s so fun to read of Hazel’s shenanigans & so smart of Telly to come get you. I live outside a little town called Blanchester, Ohio. We have 21 acres of woods with trails, that is my happy place. A daily walk in the woods with my Lacy is so beneficial to me. Baxter (my cat) even likes to go but he can’t keep up so I’ve ended up carrying him but that didn’t last long, as he’s to heavy to carry far, so he only goes on the short trails. Love your blog and all the enjoyment I get from it. So fun to read comments too as I’ve learned a thing or two from many of them. Have a great day Mary & prayers for Rick’s healing. I’ll soon be heading to the Jungle to root for the Cincinnati Bengals! Good Luck Bengals, they’re long overdue for this !

    1. Deb

      I had such a visual reading your comment, I had to respond! Do you have a pathway in your woods? Have you thought about a baby carriage for Baxter so he can go along, too? We have a pet stroller & our 2 often are in it when we go to baseball & football games to watch our grandson, or for a nice walk. The oldest dog is going to be 13 on Cinco de Mayo and she can’t walk a really long way, plus when they both want their naps (morning and afternoon) there is room for both to stretch out & sleep. Sadie (the senior) is 8 pounds and Abbie (who is about 7) is 11 pounds.

  18. Chris Roser

    Hello Mary,
    What a beautiful of the fresh snow! No snow here on the Texas Coast (Corpus Christi) but we have a strong cold front blowing in which has dropped our temperature. We are forecasted to have a low tonight in the high 30’s. Chilly for us. So I enjoy the snow from afar.
    I grew up on a dairy farm in the Pacific Northwest and we dealt with the rats in the barns too. We didn’t have a dog like Hazel but we had Mrs. Tom (she turned out to be a she instead of a he) and she did not like rats! She lived a long life and was the best mouser/rat hunter.
    Love your blog, been a follower for a long time. Take care and be careful going out to the barn in your cold weather!

    1. Chris Roser

      I see I did not mention that Mrs. Tom was a barn cat. She also loved the calves, spent lots of time with them.

  19. LuAnn Dekker

    I love seeing your blog and the quilts people finish. We have just moved so the quilting is sporadic right now.
    I hope you don’t over do it with the snow. Here in SW suburbs of Chicago we got about an inch of snow.
    I am wondering for my grand daughter who raises goats for 4H where I can find the Goat Pattern from several years ago. I’d love to make it for her.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      LuAnn Dekker – I can send it to you for $15 – send payment (no credit card) to Country Threads.

  20. Barbara

    I am in Idaho but moved from Iowa 13 years ago. It is so funny how many people confuse Idaho and Iowa. Cold here but this past week we have had a break from snow. Our snow is much different from the snow in Iowa. It is much drier and so much lighter to shovel. I try to sew a bit each day…..so many UFO projects!
    I was interested in your post about Rick’s planned treatment for his leg wound. My son is soon starting his residency in interventional radiology. Interesting practice area in medicine.

    1. Launa

      I live up near Lost Trails Ski area. Been here since Nov. 2016. Moved from CA. Have about 5-6 feet of snow, but plenty of plowing n blowing equipment as we are totally off the grid with solar panels n huge storage batteries for our electrical use.

  21. Jill klop

    I hope Colton will be fine! It always seems like our animals get sick on the weekend and during bad weather!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jill K – he’s sitting quietly today but he’s definitely seeing the vet on Monday – Jackie is just wandering around here crying and then sleeping. She’s going to the vet, too, even if I have to have her put down. I’ll let you all know what happens!

  22. Pat Smith

    Such fun and interesting comments today! Everyone does have a story. Our newspaper has a daily column where they take one resident and tell you what they did in their life before this retirement community. The title will be “You may know Bob Smith from the golf course, but you probably didn’t know that he was a CIA operative for 30 years.” Then the article will describe “Bob’s” life before he retired. It is always fun to read.The snake story had me howling! Years ago one of our cats brought a snake in through the cat door. I was on the phone with my husband who was at work. A lot of screaming ensued as I”m shouting for one of my daughters to get the corn tongs which I used to grab and carry the snake back outside away from the house. My poor husband was ready to call the police. Needless to say, the cat door was closed after that!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Pat Smith – I have an almost identical story but instead of a snake it was a bat!!!

      1. Deb

        Oh good heavens! Years ago we were getting ready to paint my grandmothers garage – she lived in the foothills along a river. I was on the ladder & took down a widespread eagle made of paper mache or something (with many coats of gold paint!) and heard rustling as I was getting down the ladder. I got down with it & put it carefully on the ground and backed up quick. Suddenly baby bats were everywhere, and mama bats soon followed. I was screeching SO loud – those mama bats were coming at me fast and furious as I was running away! Had nightmares for several weeks from that.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Deb – that would have been my absolute breaking point – I can even handle the rats but not bats!

  23. Anita

    Well, you northerners aren’t the only ones who have it hard. It was below 50 this morning in Florida when I took the dog out. I actually had on long pants and a sweater (with my flip flops). Fortunately it has warmed up to about 70 now, so no fears.
    Two quick things – After a lifetime of dogs, after our last dog died about 3 years ago at the age of 16, I said no more dogs – ever. I gave away everything dog related. I did vicariously enjoy dogs through your blog, Jo’s Rosie, and Bonnie Hunter’s Zoey. But – about a year ago I broke down and we got a puppy. A dog – especially a puppy – is a lot of work; but she makes us laugh out loud every day. What a blessing.
    Second quick note is to thank you, Mary, for a comment you made quite some time ago. You said you didn’t like a lot of fussy quilting on a project – you thought it detracted from the piecing. THANK YOU, MARY!! You set me free. I have felt the same way but thought there was something wrong with me – I wasn’t a “real” quilter. I love the piecing process; and now that you have given me permission to quilt simply, I am enjoying quilting. Read your blog every day. Stay safe and warm.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Anita – I’m so happy you gave in and got that puppy!! And I still hate fussy quilting! You understand that’s just ME, right? I think it takes a real creative imagination and skill for a machine quilter to accomplish that intricate quilting but I’m only interested in the piecing. And that’s why all my quilts are only straight line quilted unless Sue does it. Even all the quilts I made for our new book coming next fall have only straight line quilting. I hope Martingale didn’t mind and I hope I wrote about it but I don’t remember.

      1. Anita

        Mary – totally understand that it’s “just you” regarding fussy quilting. And I greatly admire people who do such lovely, intricate quilting – but, you gave me permission, to be okay with not wanting it for myself. Will look forward to seeing your straight line quilts in the new book.

      2. Moe from NE Illinois

        Hi Mary and Anita, I only do meandering. I read that it was “old”, but I don’t care, I like to do it, it’s relaxing to me. I did do some straight line quilting recently and I liked it so may do more in the future.

        1. Jeanine from Iowa

          I’m with you. I only do meandering. It goes fast, and I always like the looks of it. I like straight line quilting, but I am not good at it, and I think it takes me longer to do it that way. All the charity quilts I make have meandering on them.

        2. Mary Etherington Post author

          Moe – if I could manage small meandering I’d do it but it must be beyond my ability!!!

          1. Pat Smith

            I’ve heard a glass of wine before doing meandering does the trick! I don’t know as I’m hopeless with free motion quilting of any kind and don’t think wine or anything else could fix it.

      3. Sue in Marion, IN

        It’s not just you, Mary! I like to look at quilts with intricate quilting but it’s not “me”. For modern-looking things I love straight or wavy lines. I have done several patriotic quilts with horizontal wavy lines, reminds me of a flag blowing in the breeze. I dearly love classic cross-hatching. It’s tedious to do, but it’s easy and looks great. Bed-size quilts go to the long armed and even then, I choose pretty simple quilting patterns.

      4. Sue in Marion, IN

        It’s not just you🤓 I love the look of straight-line quilting for modern-looking designs. It dawned on me a couple of years ago that I love the look of plain old cross-hatching. Tediou to do but easy and always looks good!

    2. Jackie in NY

      Oh Anita – how you must suffer with those 50-70 degree days! Lol! What a sense of humor! It’s -3 in upstate NY as I write this!

  24. Bonnie Coleman

    Hi Mary! Someone may have already mentioned this about your cat’s problem, IDK. My male cat had same problem and my son told me to feed him only Purina dry food specific for Urinary issues. It will state that on the bag. Walmart usually has it. It did the trick for my cat and no problem since. Hope this helps!
    Bonnie in South GA

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bonnie – yes, I do offer that good but 9 other cats eat here, too, unless I put him in another building I can’t force him to eat that.

  25. Sandy

    Hi Mary, l have enjoyed reading all the pet dramas over the last couple of days, Bella my bishon cross likes to bark ay a couple of white fluffy sayomed dogs each morning, very boring! But my sister in Kingaroy Queensland, Australia has found2 tiger snake skins in her backyard this year! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  26. Linda in So CA

    I hope Telly got extra treats for saving Hazel. Of all things we have a tsunami warning today & beaches are closed! Volcano eruption in Tonga. Crazy weather. It’s been in low 80s this week but cool & overcast today. Raised in upstate NY. After 20 years of snow I’m enjoying CA & our mild winter climate. Traded in snow shoes for flip flops! I hope you’re able to take Colton to the vet today. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog & everyone’s comments particularly since Covid has kept us house bound. Keep up the good work….

  27. Launa

    Heard from neighbor they have mice n rats so have been putting out little green poison pellets for them. Am concerned for Pepper so shared with her that my husband uses battery operated rechargeable zappers that kill mice n also a big pack rat recently in our garage. They live a mile from us.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Launa – will you explain the battery operated rechargeable zappers?

      1. Moe in NE Illinois

        Mary and Laura, I have three “rat zappers” for catching mice and chipmunks. I keep a log, usually zap around 20 chipmunks in our small yard each summer (where they dig up everything), and have caught over 20 mice inside and outside each year. You can look online Mary, just type in Rat zapper on Amazon. We have the purple zappers. Do not get them wet or damp. I change the batteries often, but I keep the batteries to use on something else because they usually still have power, just not enough to zap.

  28. Dee

    I live in Shell Rock, we got about 6″ or so yesterday. I went out the morning, shoveled the deck and ramp again, then put dog on her rope for her business and fed the barn kitties. The kitties usually meet me at the basement door, but today they were mostly in the barn waiting. One was trying to get up to greet me but got bogged down in the snow. One of the littlest ones just sat down and waited for me to come back. My son came and has the drive and the path to the barn nicely plowed. He moves my car so he can plow my parking spot too. I try not to hog the center of the drive in weather like this. I just noticed they are saying 40% snow chance for tomorrow. Oh well, sewing calls me name! Take care,

  29. Marilyn Miller

    We are about mile from the Mississippi (southeastern most Iowa) but on the Illinois side. Woke to about 4 inches on top of the 1-2 icy snow we already had. We have two 121/2 year old pups. Sam and Sophie they are not a ‘purple (couple) as they are siblings. Cockapoos. We love them dearly and they are our ‘kids.’ Bathed and groomed them both today. What a rodeo! Now to sit down and do something relaxing. I
    bought some watercolor pens that I want to experiment with this afternoon and maybe make a birthday card for a friend. I also have a jigsaw puzzle going, very slowly I might add. We’re not even a month into winter at this point, horrors! Your sho was always my favorite to visit. Then the ‘Cotton Shop’ in Muscatine (now ‘Little Red Hen’) in Hannibal, Missouri. I hope Hazel gives you a break for a bit and that the vet was able to take care of Colton’s urinary blockage. Stay well and warm.

    1. Marilyn Miller

      The word purple in my email was to have read ‘pupple’ as in a dog couple. Also the Little Red Hen Quilt Shop is in Muscatine and the shop in Hannibal, Missouri is ‘The Hickory Stick. Have to type slower and reread before posting from now on.

  30. Linda in So CA

    Home Depot has battery operated zappers. Friend used it to get of rats. Successful.

  31. NJ

    My farmer Dad used to say if you see a rat, you have many. We had rat terrier dogs for that purpose. When my Mother grew up, they had home canned vegetables on the shelves in the cellar and they’d find broken jars on the floor. They decided rats were pushing jars off to eat the contents.

  32. Meredith in Cincinnati

    When I was a kid we lived in an old farmhouse. The stove had a pilot light which kept the oven a little warmer than the kitchen. One morning my mother opened the oven door and a surprised mouse jumped out. Needless to say, my mother jumped even higher! Our cat Fiaro got involved, and won the fight. Crazy way to start the day! My sisters and brother and I thought it was much funnier than my mother did.
    Almost time for our Bengals: Who Dey!

    1. Candy

      My mother used to have a mouse appear from time to time when she opened her dishwasher!!! My question was always “if a mouse can get inside the dishwasher … why does water not leak out?” Never got an answer! LOL!

  33. Kathy in western NY

    Gosh all the wonderful comments from all your readers are just as much fun to read as your blog, Mary!! Glad Jo has her sewing machine fixed cause going in reverse might be a tough way to sew the rest of its life! And Jeannes husband in remission was good news so it’s great everyone shares what’s on their mind.
    We will be in a snow globe Monday with what’s predicted here now but thankful you can get your cats to the vet then. I bought a meat bone to make vege soup so need to chop up my vegetables. I know veges aren’t your favorite thing to eat Mary but I wonder if you like homemade vege soup cause if you lived close to me, I would have brought you some.

  34. Karen H

    Glad you are enjoying the comments and everyone’s stories. I am glad you said something, most days it just never occurs to me to leave a comment. I live in Titonka, so I’m not too far from you. I have a funny story to share…….. I knew my significant other had an appointment the other day, I thought he said it was an eye appointment and I knew there was a reminder card sitting on the table, but I hadn’t looked at the card. I offered to go with, so I could drive him home if they dialated his eyes. He didn’t seem too concerned, but said I could certainly go if I wanted to. So I came home from work and we left for his appointment. As we were leaving, I told him that I could drive home if he wanted me to. On the dash, he had a pair of those lovely sunglasses the eye doctor gives you, that fit over your glasses. I mentioned that he could wear those on the way home. He looked at me like I was crazy, and informed me that this was a dentist appointment! I said “why am I even going?” and he said, “I don’t know, I told you, you didn’t need to come with.” We had a good laugh about it, and I entertained myself in Algona while he was at his appointment.

  35. Sharon Lowy

    Well, this city girl would have to move! I have only seen one rat in all my life and that was one time too many! I do understand why you stayed with Hazel though. Call the exterminator asap! I just have 2 rescued cats and they are in the house 100% of the time. Their favorite room in the house is the sunroom so I have a heater out there for them. They are spoiled to pieces but I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are great company

    It snowed here last night but only about an inch so not much of a mess. I got all bundled up to go shovel and went out to a clean driveway. My son lives down the street and he came and cleared it for me. I was thrilled though I could have used the exercise. I sewed for about 6 1/2 hours today. I am making an Irish chain for a granddaughter who will be graduating in May from high school. Wasn’t it just last spring when she was born??? Time is flying faster every day.

    I made a pot of chili yesterday in hopes of a day of sewing today. I am so glad I did that….easy dinner later.

    Be careful when you go to the barn. Rats can be mean!

    Sharon from Yorkville, Illinois

  36. Diana in Des Moines

    We got 14″ in Des Moines, si planned on a sewing day. Normally 3rd Saturday is my group sewing day, but we cancelled last night. I ended up on Netflix last night and found a movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Very good movie, post WW II England. Now I will get the book.
    We plug mouse holes with steel wool, suppose that won’t work for rats, hmm?
    Stay warm and I thank God my hubby likes to snow blow!! ❤️

    1. Betty Klosterman

      My Mom always plugged the holes around the water pipes, etc with steel wool, too. Don’t remember having any mice in the house. She said they couldn’t chew thru the metal.
      All these replies are great, especially when we might be snowed in, etc. All we got in Rapid City was 71 mph winds. There was a bit of moisture spitting on the window, but nothing to count. Probably evaporated as soon as it hit. The storm hit the eastern part of SD. We all need moisture.
      I do remember in past storms, especially if the wind is blowing and snowing hard, they take the plows off the highways, close the Interstate and highways. AND in somebody goes around the gates and gets stuck, they are there till it thaws. The law doesn’t want to endanger rescuers to save idiots.
      I do remember several years ago a storm hit Iowa when a school bus carrying a girls basketball team got stuck on the 5 mile section of #3 into Clarion and the girls couldn’t be rescued for 3 days. No farm houses there either. Some Clarion guys volunteered to take food, water, clothes, blankets and heaters on their snow mobiles for the team. I would imagine the girls didn’t suffer and had stories for their kids someday.
      January 2 I heard somebody shoveling my walk. It was the neighbor and his 5 1/2 year old grandson each shoveling. Grampa decided the kid needed some fresh air! They were enjoying it. It does really feel good to be shoveling in that fresh air.
      Take care everybody. Betty in Rapid City

  37. Colleen

    Hi Mary! Our foot of snow is on it’s way out. We are having our ‘false’ spring. It will be warmer this week, then winter will be back with a vengeance!
    We have a golden retriever named Ole (like oh lee) and a havanese mix named Matilda. They are both about 1 1/2 years old and all the entertainment these two old people can handle! We just love them and they are both very affectionate. Ole is just as much a lap dog as tiny Matilda is!
    Praying for Rick’s speedy recovery. Sounds like you have a couple more patients lined up already. Bless you Mary!
    Colleen from central Oregon

  38. Ila

    This seems to be mouse story day. When we were first married, we rented a farmhouse near Dunlap, Iowa. It had an ample supply of mice. One day our cat was sitting on the kitchen counter intently watching the toaster. My husband put a slice of bread in to toast. About the time he smelled burning fur, a mouse popped out and the cat nabbed him. My husband ate his toast. Fortunately, I wasn’t home for this event.
    Stay warm and safe everyone!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Ila – I am laughing at your mouse story! My husband would have eaten the toast, too!

  39. Malynda Reed

    We are in northeastern Ohio and expecting 3 to 6 or 6 to 12 inches of snow depending how far west the storm comes. Well I’m off work Monday Martin Luther King Day. I’m the Domestic Violence Prosecutor and COVID has had the opposite effect on my case load. I have so many cases I don’t know what to do! People being at home together, the holidays, stress and drinking and drugs have doubled my caseload. I love reading what you’re up to out there. I had the opportunity to meet you in Columbus at the Country Living Fair. I bought some of your pieces and cherish them

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Malynda Reed – oh my! I do not envy your position! Covid has been hard on everybody – especially in more populated areas than North Iowa. I miss the Country Living Fair.

  40. Janice Robbins

    Hi, Mary. I have never commented before either, but really enjoy reading your blog and the comments. I have known Launa from ID for probably over 30 years, back when we both lived in CA. I live in middle TN now. We are waiting on another big weather system later tonight. I love snow, but not having to get out in it. But, we have no choice as we have about 200 Angus cows/calves to keep fed. It’s a big job for just my retired husband and I. I have many different collections, and love seeing/hearing about yours. I am currently working on a challenge my friendship group started this year – the top isn’t shown til Sept, so I am glad to get started early! The first year you did the Dirty Dozen I got all mine done, but haven’t done as well since. I have way too many UFO’s!!! The straight line quilting you do has become my favorite way to quilt too. I hope your kitties feel better and you can get out to take them to the vet soon. Thinking of you taking care of Rick’s leg, and wish him well when he has surgery. LOVED those clean, sparkling windows!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janice R – wow, 200 cows/calves is no small matter! Hope the weather cooperates.

  41. Cathy Davis

    I live in rural Humboldt, Iowa where we received at least a foot of snow yesterday and overnight. Very happy to have a heated tractor with a snowblower for my dear husband to use to dig us out 😉. I am not a fan of snow and cold but it looks so fresh and clean out there today! There’s a roast in the crockpot for supper, hubs is napping, and I plan to peruse the internet for must see things to do on South Padre Island for our trip in February. We will be snowbirds in training! Thinking warm thoughts and hoping for a quick melt. Stay warm!
    Cathy D

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cathy Davis – after clearing the snow today we think we had about 10”, too. Padre Island was a fun visit when I visited my parents in Edinburg, TX many years ago.

  42. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy

    Please do let us know how Colton and Jackie do at the Vet. Another mouse story you may have heard. My husband came down the hall carrying something that was “tinkling “. He had a mouse trap b/c our cats kept looking at the kitchen cupboard and he thought there was a mouse in the basement. I woke up at 4 AM to a “thinking” coming down the hall. I knew it was our kitty, Pyramus, with the trap in her mouth. She jumped up on the bed with the trap AND mouse. I woke my husband who grabbed the trap and mouse while I praised Pyramus. No more mice😺😹

  43. Jackie in NY

    Ooh, I don’t know if I could have stood and watched the rat popping in and out of that hole! The only time I’ve ever seen a rat was about as far from an Iowa barn as it gets – it was in the New York City subway! That rat was huge! I guess the garbage in the subway must be good eats! I hope you were able to get Colton to the vets today. We’re supposed to get 8 – 12” of snow Sunday night into Monday morning. In the meantime, we’re freezing – literally! The low last night was -5.3. At 8:45pm tonight, it’s already -2, so I imagine we’ll go even lower than last night. Brr! Good weather to hunker down and sew!

  44. Sandy Kolarik

    I love all your stories about Hazel. I have a mixed terrier and she’s definitely a squirrel dog, if she could climb the tree she would. Seems the squirrels love to build nests in my trees and tease Lily. I’m always afraid she’ll get into it with one and get hurt. I’m in Naperville Il. and it’s cold but not much snow. You amaze me how much you get done I feel like a bum compared to you. Went to the quilt shop and they had Jo Mortons new line of fabrics, scrumptious. A few just had to follow me home. Take care and hope hubby is doing better.♥️

  45. Anita

    Mary – hope you realize that you have elevated this blog to a community. It was always there, but you drew us out with your encouragement to share. You have made this group even more special. So often we feel – myself included – that other people don’t need/want to hear about us. Everyone has their own little world. You have drawn us out and encouraged us to realize we enjoy hearing from and about each other – and, just maybe something we have to share will encourage someone else. You are special.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Anita – this blog is now what I always known it could be – a special group of friends interested in their friends’ lives! Thanks to all who have joined our group with a comment or a story!

  46. Agatha

    I have to ask after Hazel catches the rat what happens? Do you have to take it away she doesn’t try to eat it does she?
    We live near Branson, MO and it has snowed all day here which is unusual, it doesn’t last long. Everything shuts down they don’t have the equipment like Iowa. Plus not many ditches but lots of cliffs.
    Spent most the day in my sewing room.
    Hope all your animals get better soon.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Agatha – she kills it and leaves it for me to get rid of – thank goodness she doesn’t want to eat it – ick!

  47. Marcia Rocheleau

    Mary, I just love your pictures of your beautiful farm setting. This most recent one shows the stark beauty of winter on the farm. As a kid, I used to dread getting snowed in. Now, I welcome a day when I can’t go anywhere. ha
    One of my favorite Christmas carols is In The Bleak Midwinter. There is more light now than in December, but still… I’ll likely play it again before I put my Christmas piano music away.
    I grew up on a farm, first by Goldfield, Iowa, and then in sw MN. I get a good dose of nostalgia reading your posts. Thank you for that.
    Sending prayers and good wishes for you and your husband as you deal with health issues.
    All the best, Marcia in MN

    1. Betty Klosterman

      I was born in Goldfield in a little house across from the school. We lived 5 miles north of Goldfield. The good old days?
      Betty in Rapid City

      1. Marcia Rocheleau

        Hello, Betty. I was born in Clarion (1953) but our farm was about 2 miles north of Goldfield. I was so pleased , and surprised, by your comment.
        I didn’t always appreciate living on the farm but I have continually grown in appreciation ever since.
        How did you end up in Rapid City?

  48. Heidi

    Never a dull moment on the farm. Here in Washington, yesterday we had the most beautiful sunny day in a very long time. Today the fog never lifted and like pea soup out there all day. Glad our snow is gone and warmer with rain.

  49. Diane in WI

    After reading about Hazel and her rat, I remembered a time I had a close encounter with a rat. My kids were raising pigs as a 4H project. We were outside and decided to check on them. While standing by the pen, I felt something run across my foot. I was wearing sandals. I looked down and saw a large rat scurrying away. There are always exciting things going on at a farm. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. What a nice community!

  50. Carla

    Finally have a chance to sit and read for a bit. You asked and received for sure! We’re at 12 degrees rn on Michigan’s west coast. Not a lot of actual snow in the forecast though. I saw something today that I thought you might find interesting. I bought a Singer 27 head last summer and 4 drawers in their frames from her table. The man’s wife wanted the rest of the bits for something. I asked my DH to attach a board to the top of the drawer units and connect them underneath to make me a sort of table top unit. I also asked for a handle in the center of the top to make it easier to move. He rounded the corners and made it really nice. I love it! I saw something very similar that someone had for sale, for $450!!!! Are you kidding me?! Good thing DH didn’t charge me LOL. I love your little shelves and chests that you have. My grandfather, g-grandfather, and g-uncle made many pieces of furniture out of packing crates. I am fortunate to have 4 items in use at my house, 2 cabinets, a magazine rack, and a chest that I keep quilts in. My g-grandma decoupaged that one all over and I have to decide if I should remove it and redo it. It’s getting very tatty. Stay warm and blessings!

  51. Karen

    Mary, I, too, enjoy the stories of Hazel and all the other animals (pets) you have. We lost our dog a year and half ago. Sure do miss her. We have decided it is time to get another dog. Everything is hybred now it seems and very expensive. The humane society here has very few small dogs and a lot of larger pit bull mixed dogs. Which we don’t want. Our last two dogs have been Llasa Apso breed. Would love to find another one but really cannot afford to buy one now. We get no response to online adoption agencies when we have emailed to inquire about a dog shown on their websites. Their prices are very high too. I guess a dog will eventually be part of our home again at some point in time.
    Well tomorrow I will finally be able to wear a red dress to church that I bought for Christmas. Here in a Florida it has been toooo hot to wear it. Supposed to be cooler here for the next several days. Hope you stay safe in the winter storms that come through your state.

  52. Ann in PA

    I’m so glad you are continuing your blog. You are living my dream! I grew up in a small town and as long as I can remember I wanted to live on a farm, surrounded with dogs, farm animals, a garden, sewing, baking, canning,…earth mother! lol I did move to the country after I got married, but live on 2 acres next to a farm. Now for my rat story! Our first house was an older home in town. Every Sunday hubby took the trash cans out the cellar door leading to the sidewalk for Monday morning pick up. When I was about 8 months pregnant with our first child, hubby and i were having breakfast and I happened to notice “something” on the floor by the door to the cellar steps. When we took a closer look we saw that it was wood chips…and the bottom of the door was chewed all across and the corner had the beginnings of a circle at the corner. Yikes, Hubby started down the steps with me right behind him. When we got to the bottom, we saw a huge “sewer” rat sitting on one of the shelves against the far wall. Hubby threw something at it and it leaped toward us as we scrambled backwards up the steps. The rat continued past the steps to the back cellar where the washer and dryer were located. After we recovered from what we thought was a rat attack, we went behind the steps to the back cellar. There were rat droppings everywhere, even on top of the washer and dryer. Above the washer was an opening in the ceiling which was below the kitchen and where the rat took shelter from us crazy homeowners. There was nothing more we could do. In town, rats live in the sewers and that one took advantage of our open cellar door when hubby was taking out the trash. Hubby stopped for traps and rat poison on the way home from work. That night, in bed, I heard a sound….something gnawing on wood!!!!!! The rat was back to GNAWING on the cellar door to the kitchen and was trying to enlarge that circle to make a hole at the corner! I hardly slept at all that night. Hubby checked the traps and poison the next day ~ the rat dragged them away but was still alive and running around. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we had just seen the movie “Ben” which was about rats who attacked people and one scene had rats gnawing through the bottom of a bedroom door to attack the couple inside. Hubby left for work and as I was washing the breakfast dishes I heard the rat running in the walls and across the dropped ceiling tiles above me. All I could think of is that rat dropping trough the ceiling. Somehow I made it through the day only to lay in bed and hear more gnawing that night. Traps were set-off, poison disappeared but no rat. Hubby finally went to the neighbors for “bird shot” for his 22. He went downstairs and I listened…..a rather quiet shot,…then nothing. I yelled to my husband and he said he got it. Phew! It was huge. He disposed of it in the trash then said, I think it was a “she rat”; I hope she didn’t have any babies in the wall. It didn’t help that I was hormonal and pregnant – after much worry and listening every night in bed for gnawing, that was the last we saw of any rats in the house. We were more careful with open doors after that, too. I have more rat & snake stories after we moved to the country, but I’ll save that for another time. lol I adore Hazel and the stories about the farm and all your furry family members. I pray that Rick mends and you both stay well. xxoo

  53. Ginny from South Carolina

    I remember at quilt camp many years ago Gina and I were sitting back at the south wall and Janey kept peeking thru a little hole in the floor. She would tilt her head, look in the hole then run down to the bottom of the barn. She ran from top to bottom all day, very tenacious! Hazel has Janey’s spirit, I still have Janey’s picture in my living room. Thank you for sharing Blanche’s picture, she looks happy.

  54. Gloria Gleason

    Mary, I consider you MY FRIEND in Iowa! I’ve loved your farm, animals, plants, YARD, quilts, and conversations!! I’d LOVE to meet you in person AND visit your church and sing along while you play the piano!
    I winter in Ingram, TX, 65 miles NW of San Antonio. I’m a Nebr. native and live out in the country east of Colo. Springs on 6 acres! Ponderosa Pine Trees and a meadow.
    You are a treasure to all who know you, your friends, family, husband, and animals. I hope you and your dog enjoy the football games today!
    This Covid business is dreadfully serious!! My beautiful sister was SO SERIOUSLY ill with it! Miserable headache and round the clock SLEEPING for WEEKS!! Our prayers were answered and she rallied YESTERDAY!!! She still has the headache but was awake for a bit. It’s just got to clear OUT!!
    Good luck to you and Bill. He’s such a lucky man to have found you! Not easy having ALL those careers you’ve got! Nursing is quite a JOB!! All the best, Mary, and may God continue to Bless YOU!! from, Gloria

  55. Janie

    Hi Mary and Chicken Scratch followers! I haven’t commented in a very long time but it sounds like some of you need company! I’m in Campbellsport, WI. Weather cold here but not an overly amount of snow to speak of. A little more wouldn’t hurt if I must endure winters. One of the quilting groups I’m on has a 2022 challenge to get a UFO done…at least one a month, so that’s what I’m working on. Hope it works. I also need to manage my housework better. Maybe I need a challenge for that as well! I’d rather sew!

  56. Julie D.

    Oh Mary that porch in the late afternoon is so delightful! I have always loved enclosed porches and have never had one. To be able to sit and sew and look out over the countryside would be so relaxing! Now Hazel–she’s sure a scraper, isn’t she? She’s a protector! But at 10 pm at night wouldn’t be fun! I’ve seen my Cooper grab an opossum in the ditch and just shake the life out of it–and just when you thought it was dead–the next day it was gone out of the ditch! Never a dull moment living on an acreage or farm!
    Glad Rick’s wound is healing–you’ve done a great job of wrapping it each day!
    I do read your blog each and every time it comes out, I just don’t always respond. But, I love reading it. It keeps me connected to you, Connie, and Country Threads. You know it was my number one quilt shop to visit for many years!!!

Comments are closed.