More Life on the Farm

This acreage is 10 acres – more than two old people can keep up with – almost. But I don’t want it any other way. I have to keep reminding Rick that I’m not raising livestock but that these animals are my life. He gets it but at times he grumbles. When it comes to going after feed, hooking up heat lamps, cleaning out the goat pen and hauling away the manure, he handles it all. I do all the daily care – there is not a day that I can sit in the house and not go to the barn. If I’m sick, those animals still expect to see me several times a day. The transition from fall to winter is a big one.

The manure needs to be hauled away from the barn door after Rick cleaned out the goat pen. Luckily we have a tractor.

The goat pen has sweet smelling new bedding. (I hope this photo doesn’t post three times – more problems with a WordPress.)

The chickens have all claimed their spot to roost at night. Here are three of the Fab Five above my head.

Here’s the third rooster roosting with Delores on top of the door.

Here are some of the hens.

And then we have the kittens that I want to stay in the barn so it needs to be comfortable enough to encourage that – ha!

Oh, I forgot to give you an update on Alfalfa’s horn – I found it on the floor so I took it to the house. Who else has a goat horn on the kitchen counter???

Here’s an interesting view of the inside.

The live traps are ready for action again if Hazel finds any more possums.

Here’s the possum hunter with me at choretime.


These old green coveralls belonged to my dad who probably wore them in the 50’s and I’m still wearing them. As you can see I had to patch the knee with a flag.

While doing the chores, Hazel plays fetch which means that chores take twice as long. Of course I think she’s worth it so I comply while using a Chuck-It, compliments of Connie who had several of these toys for Lucy, her yellow lab from years ago.

Connie and I are working hard on the quilts for the book – I quilted one on the machine last night and I’m so relieved that it’s finished. Now for binding.

Brrrrr, it’s 14 degrees this morning with a strong east wind – I think the chickens have to stay in the barn today.

WordPress has had several updates and each one presents a new issue when I post. I hope I can get this post to publish. There may have been a partial post about halfway through so I apologize if there is.

I want you to know how much I enjoy and appreciate your comments – I read every single one of them and respond if appropriate.

And that’s our life on the farm for this week.

40 thoughts on “More Life on the Farm

  1. Anita Fetzer

    Your lives on the farm are wonderful. It would not be my cup of tea. But I think what you do for these animals iscwonderful. Not too keen on the Possum. Love the goats, always have. Rick is a gem. So are you.

  2. Virginia

    You know we live vicariously through you with your life on the farm. So enjoy hearing what is going on with your fur babies and those adorable children! Thank you!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Virginia – are you as busy as I am these days, just preparing for winter? I guess horses don’t require so much prep. How’s that sweet little Arlo?

  3. Launa

    It’s nice to see the lawn as here in northern Idaho there is more snow on the ground. Winter arrived earlier this year. It’s been a year since we moved here; time passes so quickly. Living ” off the grid” as it is called here with our own solar power, etc. has been a real experience. The fireplace sure feels good this morning.

    So enjoy reading about your farm life n the pets who are so fortunate to have a wonderful home with you and Rick. We only have the Elk, Deer n other occasional wildlife who frequent our property from the National Forest that borders the back of our acreage. Our Border Collie pup keeps us busy, too.

    Received sad news that Quilters Paradise in Clovis, CA will be closing end of this year. Such a wonderful shop. The two owners are retiring and have a good sale ongoing. I may let my fingers do some online shopping!

    Thanks for the great pictures, Mary.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Laura – I’ve been wondering about Pepper – puppies are a lot of work. Sad to hear that another major quilt shop is closing – we’re all about the same age and need to retire but that leaves such a hole without a favorite shop to go to, doesn’t it? I miss our shop but not all the work 24/7. It’s been 3 years since we closed and I love retirement.

    2. Dot

      Are you sure QP is closing? I thought I recently heard that it was sold to someone and would stay open. I don’t see anything on their website about a closeout sale.

  4. Paula Nordt

    Your kittens have grown into beautiful cats! Transitioning into winter is not so hard here along the Texas Coast. It was 52 when I got up this morning, but is expected to reach 80 by the afternoon. We would like just a taste of your winter!

  5. Jane dumler

    Love this post, Mary. Cleaning the barn is one part of rural life. We cleaned our barn out this summer and had 7 big loads of “junk” that the trash man hauled away. Our is a big log barn with 8 horse stalls for work horses and a wide aisle plus a big stud stall and a cow barn on one side. Our tenant had filled it with old vehicles that were not working and parts of some more. Glad to have the space for machine storage in the Colorado high altitude winter. Love the ball chucker—nice way to wear an active one out. We use it for our labs. Blue sky this morning but the mountains are pure white. Winter is early here. Can hardly wait for the new book.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jane – winter is early here, too – we don’t have the leaves raked yet!

  6. Ann Barlament

    I’m quite familiar with the “animal relocation program” as one of my friends also has 10 acres, but lives on the edge of Maple Grove, MN. They recently caught a possum in their live trap, it was a curious creature that got a surprise. They usually relocate their over abundance of squirrels.

    I think it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to have a barn full of critters. Years ago, I’d care for friends critters whenever they needed a break from life! Since they lived in the country, I had to rise very early. Took care of 8 sled dogs, indoor animals and a 50 gallon tank of fish. Had to drive an additional hour to work, yet still managed to get to work at 6 a.m. Just so I could leave at 2p.m. to allow time for afternoon and evening chores.

    It was fun for this city chick to have a taste of country living! Had always wanted to live a country life and the closest I got was a cornfield in my backyard. I so enjoy seeing your farm life, despite all the work.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Ann – I’m always looking for a helper like you – I hope Reed will be that person in time!

  7. Kathy Hanson

    Farm life is worth the work but…
    My husband and I have 5 llamas. We live in a residential neighborhood in Rochester. The farm is down the street from us and was there way before the city moved out there. The owner had llamas and I fell in love with them and bought some. We walk down every day at least once and feed and groom them. They keep me active – I don’t know what I would do without them! I was never a farm girl but love them so much like you do your goats and chickens. We are not “spring chickens “ ourselves but just love having the animals. So keep enjoying your “kids” they will keep you young and active. Keep sharing them with us as it makes my day and so many others as well! Thanks, Mary.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy – can I come and visit the next time I’m in Rochester? I hope you mean MN and not NY. Ha!

  8. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary,

    Enjoyed your post of Autumn chores! Things are getting colder here too now, below freezing at night and not that much warmer during the day. The robins, chickadees, wrens and other small birds are almost constantly on the feeder outside my kitchen window (they can choose from sunflower seeds, peanuts, fat with seeds in it or bird peanut butter). After a windy night, today I was busy clearing leaves off the grass and paths before they get too soggy: mostly from our neighbours’ trees! Then it blew hard again this afternoon and there are almost as many again as there were this morning, but it is good to be out in the crisp air. Our wild hedgehogs are still feeding every evening, but they usually bunk down for the winter in the first week of december, so they will be coming for a few weeks yet.

      1. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

        Yes, we do. We feed them from the time they wake in the spring, until they go into hibernation in early winter. My husband made a special feeding station for them, so that they can eat safely, and cats etc can’t get at the food (the door opening is hedgehog sized, and then they have to go through a little tunnel and round a corner). We feed them a mixture of dry cat kibble and sunflower seeds. They hibernate in our garden too: one in a special hedeghog hibernation house, and a couple of others against the garden wall under a yew hedge. In the summer, when we sit out in the evenings they come pottering past across the grass on their way to the feeding station. So cute. We have 3 to 4 visiting most nights.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Fiona – could you take a picture of a hedgehog and send it? You have certainly given them a safe place to live and eat! I’d love to see one! And I loved your matching pillow!!

  9. Connie Olson

    It’s a LOT of work, but SO beautiful to live on the farm. There’s nothing like it!! You are one brave lady and blessed to have Rick to help out!!

  10. Connie Olson

    It’s a LOT of work, but SO beautiful to live on a farm. You are a brave lady and blessed to have Rick help you with all your TLC for the animals.

  11. Gwen

    I grew up on 8 acres in Nora Springs, Iowa. It was a wonderful place to grow up. My parents both came from farm families so we had a small farm even though that was not their primary means of support. I have lived in the city of Pittsburgh, PA for 46 years. I have loved my life here but in another life, I would have also loved to stay in that little piece of paradise in Iowa. I love reading your blog both for the quilting but also for the chance to still be close to Iowa.

  12. Diane

    Could Fiona take a picture of the wild hedgehogs. I have never seen one!! The post came in two sections, but it came in all ok. It ‘s fun to see all of your animals. You’d think a “Great Possum Hunter” would be bigger–haha. She is adorable. I wish I lived closer, I’d have one of those kittens. Cold here in Central Ohio today–19 degrees in the morning–31 now. The Ohio State game will be cold tomorrow. Iowa sure outplayed them last weekend. Whew.

  13. Karen Juergens

    I live in a wet and leafy Oregon suburb, and read your blog daily. Your photos and stories remind me that living on the land with animals is such a noble calling, and you make beautiful quilts too! I have copies of many of your books and have made your patterns into treasured quilts!

    I have so much respect for all the hard work you do in Iowa! My paternal grandparents came from Perry Iowa, and were such hardy folk! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Rick!

    Karen Juergens

  14. Martha Engstler

    I agree with Gwen that your blogs give me a chance to have a feeling of being close to Story City Iowa where my mother grew up and where we love to visit.
    My grand parents lived in town but two of mothers sisters and some of my cousins had farms that as a child I loved to visit. Love the pictures of your fur and feather babies are great. Can’t believe the size of the tractor you posted the other day. Amazing!! Thanks for the time you take to be with us.

  15. Judith Berna

    So enjoy reading your posts and seeing your animal friends. Reed seems to have fun visiting you and I am sure he is a big help.

  16. Diane M

    Your post came without any trouble. I loved all of the pictures. It was also fourteen degrees here in Elkhorn, Wi this morning. We are having snow flurries this afternoon. I have to finish winterizing my rose bushes and Sweet Autumn clematis. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away. Have a good rest of the day.

  17. Paula

    I just love seeing the barn inside and all the critters. I know it is a lot of hard work. 30’s here in KY, we are cold too. Have a good weekend. Paula in KY

  18. Janice Hebert

    I, too, love hearing about the farm. It got really cold here in Massachusetts today. Brrrrrrr! We’ve been spoiled by a warmer than usual fall. Hoping our cottage in NH doesn’t end up with frozen pipes. I miss our hens and hope to have some again. Trying to decide if I want to move somewhere that we can have hens and animals, especially endangered heritage ones or just a house with a view…. we’re not getting any younger but I miss having animals! How many acres do you have, Mary?

  19. Susie Q

    I was perplexed to read about hauling away the manure thinking it should stay on the farm in some field and with the tractor involved I now realize it DOES. AS far as updates…. who needs them? not me. In fact my new interest in genealogy involves new programs which I have slowly learned and now they are making them “better”….. can’t even find the button to lead to what I want to do…… is this the new definition of getting old?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Susie Q – we haul the manure away from the barn for cleanliness and to keep the flies in check. It’s valuable in the garden. We have a diner in Mason City called Susie Q’s that seats about 10 people. My mom always took us there as kids on a shopping day for burgers and curly fries. And yes, that’s the definition of getting old, I think!

  20. Colleen

    Thank you for keeping up your blog while you are quilt making behind the scenes for your next book I’d much rather read about life on the farm than not hear from you.
    Your goat horn was very interesting
    The cats are so darn cute you know they will not stay in the barn a cat has to investigate
    The chickens are so fun to see
    I am glad I don’t hear all your roosters crowing every morning
    Hazel is the best
    10 acres is quite a bit of land to keep up, but not enough to live off of most likely but so nice to not have neighbors too close
    My grandparents raised chickens and rabbits and annually a steer
    They always had a vegetable garden
    Their cash crops were prunes and walnuts
    They also had almond trees and various fruit trees
    It was a great place for me as a child

  21. Sue

    Your tractor scene could be right here where I live except that his tractor is orange and our land is hilly.
    We have around 13 acres that are also beginning to be too much, but we can’t face living anywhere else, either. We have been in the country way too long to enjoy being in town. We have lots of wildlife here. Deer are roaming the yard front and back every day. Wild turkeys, too. Now and then we can hear coyotes in the timber across the way. Lots of birds, of course. And, my chickens, who are not wild, but are let out frequently and put back at night. We raise a small herd of registered black Angus cows that are sold for breeding purposes only. Niche farming I guess they call it.
    Alfalfas horn is interesting. Wonder how it came off? Looks kind of torn.
    Thanks for your great blog, Mary. I really enjoy it.

  22. Kate

    I know exactly how you feel about your animals. I grew up on a farm and my daddy always said the animals had to be taken care of first before we take care of ourselves. While I only live on a half acre now, I still have two dogs and eleven chickens who depend on me to feed and water them every day. It gets me outside and I like that I have that responsibility for other creatures. I don’t want to live a day without some animal to care for.

  23. Diane Emanuelson

    Not sure why I havn’t been receiving the emails. I re-signed up. Glad all is well.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane – I don’t know why you haven’t gotten the latest posts – you did just what I would have suggested – sign up again. I’m going to post today – see if you get it!

  24. jane boyer

    I’m getting emails from you but Word Press is posting Ami Sims’ posts under your name. How frustrating!!

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