It’s Saturday Already! 5-20-23

May is my favorite month but this May has been pretty cold in North Iowa – so cold that the garden is not planted and I think I’m going to skip it this year. It’s backbreaking work and my back already hurts!

Here is the jelly feeder I use – very simple, very inexpensive. and the other “feeder” is the best I’ve ever used – a hanging basket without the liner but a simple pie pan laying in it. The birds can reach the seed from the side or the top.

Birds are laying eggs – in nests and other places!

I hope I can locate the oriole nest!

Keeper, Ivy and Finn
Mollie, Keeper and Hazel on the wilderness trail
I must be growing a cat along with the strawberries.
Hazel has a fixation with this bird feeder and I have to lift it off the table every time we go by just so she can check that there isn’t a mouse underneath.

I have two animals who are declining in health – Pudge the goat and JB the old cat. Neither look good and I wonder if I need to consider euthanasia. Ugh.

And March Madness is finished! The project that grew and grew past it’s intended size. Here’s a couple closeups.

I didnt move any blocks – if red landed next to red,it stayed there!

Reader quilts

This quilt is by Bonnie Hunter – I LOVE IT! I would love to start it.

This quilt was seen online and I have the pattern – I’d like to start this, too!

Another quilt from online – so soft looking and would be easy to piece.

I’ll leave you with Keeper in the hollow tree.

I’m off to the grocery store!

71 thoughts on “It’s Saturday Already! 5-20-23

  1. Barbara Firesheets

    Love your March Madness quilt! I’ve been enjoying your bird and pet pictures. Fun to see the quilts and pets too!

  2. Pam in NC

    I love that you grow cats! Wonderful! Your March Madness is fantastic-reminds me of an old utility quilt-the kind I’m always trying to imitate. It’s been cool here in NC too. The azaleas, tulips, and early bloomers are long gone and the rhododendrons are about done too. Cool weather didn’t stop the blooms.

  3. Mary H

    I love your March Madness. Also glad for some sunshine.
    Good for you on no garden. Also, so glad Rick has a surgery date. What an ordeal.

  4. Brenda

    I love all your photos, especially the animals. Keeper in the tree is so funny. I lost my 18 year old miniature poodle. I miss her so, but she was so sick. I find myself too elderly and with too many health issues to be able to responsibly adopt another stray, so I just love reading about all your animals. I love the quilting as well and keep mine to small things now. I will have to find a recipient for all my fabric. Thank you for sharing with us!

  5. Carolyn

    I love your March Madness. I want to try to make something that deliberately scrappy. The finish looks great – I need to learn to trust the process and ignore that certain fabrics may not “match”.

    1. Betty Klosterman

      It might be easier to start out with a small quilt and similar colors – say black, brown and a color. A bit of a controlled scrappy. Then just shut your eyes and pull out the fabric. It will hurt, but not that bad. After that project is done, THEN go for a bigger quilt — all the colors. Again, it will really hurt sometimes, but just do it. You will be amazed at the finished quilt. God has a way of putting all the colors together, even if the reds touch! Above everything, have fun and laugh. Betty in Rapid City

  6. Sue in Oregon

    Your photos are so great this morning. Love seeing them. That is one brave little Mama Robin, I would say.
    Keeper in the hollow tree is so cute.
    I love that red, white, and blue table quilt. Wish I had time to make it. Hmmmm
    I hope to post my black, brown, and gray quilts very soon. Missed their deadlines, but got them done eventually. The brown one is not quilted though. It’s also a UFO. And, still a UFO. lol
    Yesterday, I planted about half of the tomatoes I started and it was sunny and warm. Today, it is wet from last night’s rain and very cool. So, the others will have to wait. My back hurts too. ARgh.

  7. Sara in Indiana

    Mary, I LOVE your March Madness quilt! I am curious how you chose the colors and prints to include–I know it wasn’t totally random (it looks too pretty for that). Also, will you straight line quilt it or do something else? Look forward to seeing it quilted.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sara – it was absolutely random!!! I had dozens of old charm packs left over from Charm School and I just paired up charms from all of them. Like I said, if two reds touched, they stayed that way. We all have to stop planning so much – it takes the fun out of the project!

      1. Sara in Indiana

        Well, Mary, your random non-planning looks a LOT better than mine! Haha

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sara – and yes, I will straight line quilt it – some day.

  8. Cheryl from Niagara Falls

    I don’t think we are doing a garden this year either. Maybe a few pots. Love feeding the birds and I would LOVE to see an Oriole nest. Never have. My favorite bird. Love the dogs!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cheryl – I have several oriole nests that I’ve found on the ground over the years. I’ll take a picture.

  9. Sara in Indiana

    Went to a luncheon yesterday where the speaker is a humane society volunteer/employee. She has 6 cats and 8 dogs (or maybe it was the other way around). Anyway, they were mostly the ‘unadoptable’ pets, because they were old and had health issues, but also pets whose owners had passed away. She says some pets she adopts are only with her a few months before they pass on, but she was glad to give them a home even for that short time. It was hard to listen to parts of her presentation without crying. Then, she would have us laughing (should we have laughed?) about how she said she would need a double wide casket to be buried in, because she wants all her cremated pets to be buried with her. She even told us about a hospice nurse that not only takes care of end-of-life humans, but does the same for pets–how amazing!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sara – I saved a magazine article from many years ago that talked about senior rescues and I’ve always intended to do that – Rick is not on board however so my plans had to change. And I regret that.

      1. Sara in Indiana

        Don’t be too hard on yourself, you do help animals in so many other ways! We currently have four cats, all rescues, and we’ve had others in years past (including a couple of dogs), but I still wish we could save all the pets that need it. We do what we can, right?

  10. Tina W in Oregon

    The red, white and blue table quilt is wonderful! You say you have the pattern. Please tell us it’s name and what publication it came out of.

  11. Marilyn Miller

    Great pictures! Hazel is so photogenic and darned cute! I understand about the garden. It is work. I’m glad that my husband, who does the most of the gardening built raised beds several years ago. I am temporarily in Florida visiting my son and his family. Gonna head off to an Ed Sheeran concert now. Beach tomorrow than back to Hamilton Illinois on the river, across from southeastern most corner of Iowa.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marilyn – I wish I were going with you to the concert!

  12. Lisa B

    Your March quilt is beautiful! Other than 3 days this week our May has been cold. And it would seem to me more rainy than usual but I’ll know the truth of that after the first of next month when published in the local newspaper. I’m off to spend the day sewing with friends.

  13. Frances E

    My husband says as long as the fruit stand is in business, I can get all all the veggies and fruits that I want. 😂 He’s right. It is time to do what I want to do, and not do the things that are too hard for me. Love your quilts and Hazel, of course.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Frances – I am so glad I mentioned not having a garden – both Rick and I are too old to have those big gardens!! And I actually hate vegetables anyway – he really does love them tho.

  14. MaureenHP

    Love, love the March Madness quilt! The hanging basket feeder makes so much sense and growing a cat made me laugh. Letting go of beloved pets is hard; I know you’ll do what’s best at the right time.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      MaureeHP – the open basket gives the birds the freedom to fly away, I think, and they don’t feel trapped. They can see what’s coming if it’s a bird they’re afraid of – It was very successful through the winter, too. Also the cheapest bird feeder I’ve ever had!

  15. Kathy Niemann


    Hazel is as cute as ever!
    Your Robin photo is just perfect. If you were still selling photo cards, that would have to be on one!
    My community built a fenced in garden with 4 x 8 plots. For a small annual dues, we get to “grow things”. I am doing it with a friend and both of us are novices.
    We got two Mexican Sunflower plants from a nearby small business/farm. They are growing so fast.
    I wonder if you know what might be getting huge bites out of its leaves?
    I don t know how to put a photo here. I will email you

  16. Vicki Ibarra

    I know what you mean about gardening. We had a 2,000 square foot garden for 30 plus years. My husband finally agreed to cut it down to 1,000 square feet 3 years ago. Even that gives us too much produce for the two of us. I am fortunate that we have a group in town that distributes extra garden produce to food insecure neighborhoods. Two years ago, we donated 400 pounds of veggies. Last year they didn’t weigh it, but I figure it was about the same. I have a neighbor who picks up our produce and takes it to the group. Yay! But you can see what I say about a garden that is too big for the two of us. My husband thinks it is good to have something to do. I can think of other things to do and am willing to cut the garden down to a 20 x 20 plot. I acknowledge that will likely never happen. As I get older, I move slower. I will turn 70 this year and I think it is time to do what a reader said: cut back on some things so we can enjoy other things more.

    1. Pamela Dempsey

      Yes! That is so much work, enjoy what you want to do, you have worked enough 🥰

  17. Colleen in Central Oregon

    Mary, love your March Madness quilt! And I always thought you were a high achiever but, growing a cat is downright magical! Hope you find the pattern for the red, white and blue table quilt, I want to make one too.
    Susan K in Texas, what a striking quilt! It’s beautiful!

    1. Susan K in Texas

      Thanks Colleen! It’s one of the commission quilts I’ve made for a friend who is a designer. It was fun to piece – my sister thought just sewing two colors together would be boring. It wasn’t.

  18. Pamela Dempsey

    Yes, your March madness is beautiful! I have never grown a cat but looks good from the picture 😻! Our May has mostly been warmer than usual the weatherman says. I have tomatoes and some herbs growing in city planters or slickers, don’t remember which. They have wheels so that’s nice and can be moved around. We worked this morning putting in polymeric sand between pavers previous owners put down. Hopefully it will work good and keep grass and weeds from growing between. We are having dirt brought in and concrete poured on Monday to extend it and a pad for a hot tub. Can’t wait, I miss our pool and spa from old house but pool is now way too costly. Don’t think we would live long enough to get our money’s worth 🤣! Taking kittens to spca on Wednesday for booster shots and going to meet a border collie mix with Pyrenees 5 year old male needing a home. I hope he will like us and be good with kitties!

    1. Kathy in western NY

      Pat, we replaced an older hot tub this spring and best investment for our well beings. We love our home and backyard. My husband takes a soak every morning in the constant 98 degree warmth of just a two person hot tub. We aren’t cruise people or planned long trips so we said it was money well spent to relax every day in the backyard watching birds flutter around the trees. For $200 we got some holder for the cover that is so easy now to use to move on and off so another thing us old folks are grateful for. We are both in our 70’s and I hope it keeps us limber to keep on using for several more years.

      1. Pamela Dempsey

        Yes, ours is supposed to come with a cover and device that makes it easier to take off. We enjoy watching the birds too and especially at evening and sometimes we see the 🦇 bats for a bit and lightning bugs if we’re lucky. 😻

        1. Kathy

          Us too Pam…sunsets, bats, lightening bugs, all nice to see.
          Our utility bill hasn’t jumped that much keeping it heated all day long so they’ve improved over the years. It’s wonderful to use it Morning or evening now.

  19. Sharon Geiger

    As always, I love seeing your photos and reading about your life on the farm. Nothing like farm life!! I absolutely love the March Madness quilt. I will have to get busy and make one, too.,,,,,after I finish my gazillion UFOs,,,,or not. LOL

  20. Diane Deibler

    Keep me posted on how the strawberry tank works this year. I had 2 beds in old tires years ago and the plants kept creeping under and getting into the garden.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – I am so hoping it works and if it does I’m getting another one next year. Yes, the plants could find their way out of a tire on the ground but my tank is even sitting on concrete. Can I come for a tour some day?

      1. Diane Deibler

        Yup. Call first to be sure I’m home. Our home phone is in the book. E-mail-dkdeibler68@

  21. Chris J

    I love your March madness quilt. Is it hard to do for a beginner?
    Hazel sure keeps you on your toes. I have cats but they are lousy mousers!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Chris J – tell you what – I’ll print the measurements and directions here on the blog for everybody.

  22. Pat Cooper

    I love seeing all the quilts you show, yours and readers.
    Also your animals, those dogs and friends are so fun to watch.
    Have a good weekend and enjoy the sun and warmer weather.

  23. Joyce from NY

    Love the March Madness quilt & the table topper & I love the cat growing in strawberry patch, so cute ☺️

  24. Pat in Michigan

    Mary, your March Madness quilt is really a stunner. It works with all the pieces and colors whether two of the same touch or not. I agree we shouldn’t make so much work about choosing colors, but have fun and enjoy the process.
    It has been nice in Michigan but has now turned cool, only in the 50s.

  25. Jo in Wyoming

    March madness is phenomenal!
    The dogs watching out the window…phenomenal!
    The post today, phenomenal! What more can I say?

  26. Sharon G.

    I love the Wilderness Trail. Looks like a nice place to walk. And having your canine companions with you means you’re in good company!
    I decided to forego a garden this year. I just couldn’t imagine planning, cultivating, planting, and harvesting a 1,600 sq ft garden alone. Hubby loved gardening, but this year is not the same without him.
    The strawberry planter cat looks similar to the two feline brothers I rescued in April.
    Love your March Madness quilt!
    It has been nice in the PNW. I had hoped to mow the lawn earlier this week, but was so busy with other things I’ll have to do it next week. There’s always something to do.
    Have a nice weekend.

  27. Sherrill

    The photo of the bird on the nest made me think of a fake forsythia wreath I put on the front door in the spring. A few years back, I had a bird build it’s little nest on that wreath, laid eggs and they hatched! I’ve left that little nest on the wreath ever since just to be reminded because I found it so odd. Some great animal photos and beautiful quilts today. So sad you may have to put down two animals..worst part about owning our furry friends!

  28. Joy in NW Iowa

    Love your March madness quilt. Usually, someone has an over abundance of produce and will gladly share!
    It is a beautiful day here, sunny and 68ish. Had our grandson’s graduation last evening and the party this morning. Now sitting in the sunroom listening to the wrens singing!
    Hazel doesn’t forget there once was a mouse in there! Funny dog! Keeper is so cute!
    Have a good Sunday!

  29. Carmen Montmarquet

    Love your Red,White and Blue quilt and March Madness quilt, scrappy quilts are my favorites!
    Thanks for the feeder tips, I didn’t see any orioles so maybe if I put jelly out, of course the bear would be grateful too?? Scared him off (and me too) when I opened the slider yesterday, didn’t know he was there ready to pounce on my one feeder and one suet? I have cut down the number of feeders because of the bears and I put them out only when I am home??? I mostly just throw the seed on the ground, so Mabel the turkey who hangs around and the other birds can still get to eat. Had a strange visitor the other night eating the dropped seed, again opening the slider to bring my dog out to potty and something black ran up my hill, it looked like a black racoon, but only saw the top of him, looked all black, furry and had a very fluffy black tail. My husband who is often in the woods does not know what it could be. Looked up black raccoon and it says they are rare? I wonder if any of your readers have ever seen one before?

    1. Jan Hebert

      Carmen, I wonder if it was a Fisher? They are very dark in color and about that size but the fluffy tail kind of throws that theory off. Do you mean a long, fluffy tail? I’d be careful with your dog out there at night! Bears, yikes! My daughter has a bear in her back yard sometimes in New Hampshire. She takes her dog out the front door at night. Not sure she’s any safer doing that but it makes her feel better, haha! Jan in MA

      1. Carmen Montmarquet

        Hi Jan,
        No my husband said the same thing about the fisher cat but it did have a long fluffy tail and I think might be bigger than a fisher? Yes I do try to be careful because of the bears, we had the biggest one last year I have never ever seen one that large, my husband had made a pulley up very very tall and this bear simply stood up and pulled down the feeder saw him on camera, made me very nervous! That is when I started to throw seed down as the birds were all asking for their food and that’s when Mabel the turkey decided to stay around my house and is still here this summer! I love seeing any kind of wildlife, that’s why I enjoy Mary’s blog so much!

  30. Sue in PA

    Loved today’s blog post-the birds, the dogs, the cat in the strawberry patch, the quilts! I also love the March Madness quilt and the Star quilts. I would love it if you wrote directions for March Madness blocks and told us how to get the pattern for the star quilt. So much great eye candy! Thanks Mary!
    I am currently working on a quilt for one of my grandsons who will turn thirteen in September. It has a Vikings football team theme. When my grandchildren turn thirteen I give them an “adult” quilt to take the place of the baby quilt I made them when they were born. Grandson #1 loves his and sleeps with it every night. It is a large double size and scrappy blue and white tumblers.

  31. Jan Hebert

    I, too, love the March Madness quilt, I wish I was better at spinning the centers. Mine always come out with a lot of bulk. But the table quilt, that is something I might try. I hope you find the pattern. Cute pictures of the pets and the robin in the nest – so sweet! Two summers ago we had a pair of orioles build their nest right over where we sit in our chairs. It was so fun watching them. This year they’ve chosen to build in our neighbor’s tree but we have several males and females who love grape jelly and sugar water. They fight with the catbird – which is another of my favorite birds! So sleek and I love their noises, they can really sound like a cat! I’m trying to change the way we garden – less rows of vegetables and flowers and more mixing them together. We now have five raised beds and I hope to build more. So much easier in my opinion to weed them and keep them nice. And this year I hope to have some trellises for things like cucumbers and squash. Raining here today but tomorrow is supposed to be nice. We’ll see! Jan in MA

  32. Diana in Des Moines

    Could Hazel be anymore adorable?? I just love that little dog!
    Prayers for you, Pudge and JB.
    The birds were squawking this morning telling me to fill the feeders! Blue Jays, cardinals, orioles, a yellow grossbeak, purple finches yellow finches. They sure keep my cats hopping from window to window.
    The neighborhood cat that bit me was at the door in my sewing room last night. My little girl cat, Pepper, was hissing and when I looked, Puddy Tat was staring at me through the glass like let me in! Sorry Puddy – you bit me badly, and killed 4 baby bunnies. I’m not going anywhere near you!
    Absolutely perfect weather today. Can it stay this way all summer? I heard on the radio that we’re expecting a hotter than normal summer. Ugh…

  33. Debra Reber

    So sorry to hear that Pudge & JB aren’t doing well. I have an elderly cat, & several months ago she was doing pretty bad. She wouldn’t eat for several days, & she just sat in the chair on the back porch & hardly moved. Her fur looked terrible, & she just didn’t look good. I was certain it was the end, & debated if I should take her to the vet or not. But all of a sudden she snapped out of it, & started eating again & being active again! She is back to her normal self now. So you just never know!

  34. Linda

    Mary, thank you for the wonderful love letter from your farm this morning. Seeing the puppies and cats, even little old JB, the bird feeders and quilts really lifted my spirits. I spent yesterday at the hospital and am choking down some coffee before I go take care of Bear the horse and Albert and Norman the little donkeys and Sherman my rooster, then head back to the hospital. My 18 year old grandson was in a horrific accident early Saturday morning and will have surgery on his femur that is badly broken this morning. He is lucky to be alive, broken ribs, a lot of facial fractures that a plastic surgeon will further evaluate and work to put back together when he is extubated, ruptured liver and spleen and fractures in his spine. The brain bleeds are reabsorbing and the neuros are confident that will be fine. Two of his friends are also in ICU in critical condition. The end of this nightmare is that his best friend was declared dead on the scene which he doesn’t know yet. If anyone knows what we should do to help him overcome the emotional toil this will take on a young man who has already lived through another tramatic nightmare, please let me know. And what do we do for the family who lost a most prized possession, their son? I can’t just do nothing and I am sure there is anger in their grief but something must be done for them.

    Thank you again Mary, you’ll never know how your writing helped.

    1. Connie R.

      Linda, I’m sitting here this morning reading your message and, my heart breaks for everyone involved . I can feel the pain in your words. All I can do is offer my prayers.
      Take care.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – oh dear friend, I am so sorry to learn of this terrible accident! And he lost his best friend as well as being very injured himself? Oh my, how will he cope with such loss? I would have no idea for you except prayer. Healing begins with prayer and I’d like to give his name to my pastor. 18 years old. Did he graduate this spring? Was he planning on college or trade school in the fall? As to what you can do for a grieving family? Somehow you have to let them know how devastated you and your family are along with them. Flowers seem pretty lame, don’t they? Are they accepting visitors? There are no words but they might want the presence of friends while they grieve. I absolutely don’t know but will you keep us all posted on your grandson’s condition? We’re all hoping for the very best for him! Thank you for sharing this sad story with all of us.

    3. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – I didn’t check my blog this morning before I went to church – the accident is just so sad / it takes my breath away to think of a young man’s life just gone in the blink
      of an eye. I remember Bear, Albert, Norman and Sherman – take care of them! How can parents survive the loss of a child? Makes my heart hurt

    4. Sheila in WI

      Linda, I’m sorry to read about your grandson and his friends. Prayers for grace to meet each day with its challenges and concerns. But also wisdom to know how to help them. Is there a pastor who could help them work through what has happened? Otherwise a counselor might be someone who can help them sort through their thoughts and feelings and move forward.
      Please keep us posted.

  35. Lynn in Scottsdale, AZ


    I am so sorry about your grandson and his friends.

    My husband and I were at a graduation party last night. I just can’t imagine our grief if a terrible car accident happen to our friends’ son.

    We will offer our prayers for your grandson and his friends.

  36. Kim from TN

    Linda, I’m sorry to read of your grandsons’ accident and all those involved. I shall keep all of the families in my prayers for comfort and healing. What a terrible sadness.
    Mary, the bird feeder is so clever, and I love the simpleness of it, perfect for one of my hooks & baskets. I enjoyed all the pet adventures, growing a cat, haha. The Iowa countryside is turning green and lush once more.

  37. Teresa in Indiana

    Linda, my heart is breaking for your grandson and all involved with the accident. Life is so precious and can change in an instant, as you all know.. He will need time to process losing his best friend. Hugs and prayers are being sent your way.

Comments are closed.