Rainy Friday Morning, 9-23-22

It’s raining lightly today – my chickens won’t mind staying in the barn – I’m probably saving their lives because something is killing them again. Yesterday Keeper brought me a very recent chicken foot from the area between the barn and the grove. And I recently noticed one of the “twins” was missing as well as my count being off. It makes my heart hurt. Maybe I should not have chickens anymore or maybe I should get a greater number so I don’t know each one personally. If I have chickens I want to see them in my yard, not locked up in the barn like commercial egg layers. Does anybody think the owl or hawk would go elsewhere is I keep them locked up for a bit? He’d need a meal and wouldn’t he look elsewhere? I am heartbroken and torn about knowing if I can have chickens in the future.

I started cutting the pumpkins off the vines yesterday – I hope it quits raining this afternoon so I can cut the rest of them before tomorrow when the kids come to load them.

My friend Lora has several dog beds that I’d like to pick up today – her German Shepherd named Baron died this week and she’s kind enough to offer the beds to me.

My cleaning lady came yesterday so the rainy day is mine to enjoy! Hope you can enjoy yours, too.

Remember this tablerunner made by Donna?

I loved it and yesterday I got this box in the mail – Donna’s scraps from the runner!!! Thank you, Donna – maybe this is what I should sew on today?

It’s a lazy day – even Three agrees.

55 thoughts on “Rainy Friday Morning, 9-23-22

  1. Deb in Idaho

    Wish it would rain here in Idaho. No clouds, hopefully in October we will get some rain. Sorry about the chickens. We have several hawks in my area, and Andrew owl. So I have to go out with my little dog. She is prey. I love the table runner. I’ve been looking for a fall project. Have a great day

    Reply
  2. Tanya T. in Houston

    The runner is beautiful, but my favorite thing in the photos are the stacks of books! You are ready for fall!

    I just read a new one by Laurie King called BACK TO THE GARDEN and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is not part of her excellent Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, but a stand alone mystery. Set in California and lots of flashback to the 1960’s and 70’s, a mansion that reminds me of San Simeon, and a interesting new woman detective. I think this could be a whole new series.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Tanya – I should take a picture of all the stacks of books. Sadly I haven’t had one I want to brag about in awhile

      Reply
  3. Shirley from Oregon

    Glad it is raining so you can have a restful day Mary.
    Try the trick with keeping the chickens in the barn. Probably a hawk or owl or fox or coyote.
    From my experience the boys next door are on a trip and ever since they left, no deer, big squirrels, birds, raccoons etc because no one here to deed them on the ground. It works. Take away the food source for awhile. Good luck.
    I love the table runner. I may try one like that.

    Reply
  4. Jo in Michigan

    Hi Mary, maybe it isn’t a hawk? Have you ever sat a live trap? My mom and sister has had problems with raccoons and foxes getting their chickens. I personally have had the raccoons get my baby blue birds. Just a thought 🤷‍♀️
    Enjoy your day Mary
    Jo in Michigan

    Reply
  5. Holly

    My sons has a small brood of chickens. A family of skunks moved in under the he. House. I didn’t know they would kill the chickens but they did. 7 skunks was quite a mess. He is upset and may not replace his either.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Holly – oh, no! Yes, skunks will kill chickens. So sad for him to find that barbaric scene of his precious chickens. My barn is pretty tight inside – chain link surrounds different areas floor to ceiling and is attached. It’s outside that is a problem for me. I’m just not sure what I’m going to do.

      Reply
  6. Karen Chaudoin

    I so enjoy reading your posts. I’m from eastern NC. I love the outdoors and gardens. I grew up in Germany (but born in America) until the second grade when we came back. Germany was rural and we were surrounded by farmers fields filled with beautiful wildflowers. There were so many ladybugs, too numerous to count crawling all over. Germany is where I had my first love of nature experience on my birthday. The birch trees and evergreens were so beautiful and I remember the exact location and where I was sitting when I felt a deep intense love for our world. Then we traveled to MN and PA from NC every summer for family visits and then I saw American farms. When I was 8 years old my dream was to live on a farm. It would thrill my innocent unknowing soul to think of getting out on the farm and maybe somebody would let me feed the animals. I dreamed of a dairy farm. It never happened sadly. But I did become a nurse and I have helped to save lives so I have been blessed with the goodness that can come from helping others. But my heart is on a farm and so I live through you! I would look for other women who blog from farms. Like you I would want the chickens out. I live in a suburb of 15 houses that have about 1 3/4 – 2 acres. My neighbor has chickens but they only let them out once a day for an hour. They are imprisoned in a tiny chicken coop. I don’t know why they wouldn’t build them at least an all enclosed fenced run, say 6 feet by 4 feet at least. I think about getting some but the finding someone to care for them if I leave for a day or five makes me hesitant. Can you build a big run or even an big area where there is screen only on the top that they can run under when they are further from the barn? Best wishes. Losing one is a very distressing, especially if you see blood. I have ducks killed and I felt so responsible.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      I’ve thought of the wire across the top area more than once – I just learned a cousin’s son is working for a contractor – maybe they could do it. Tonight I did chores and Dot, a polka dot hen, is missing. Makes my heart hurt – I feel helpless unless I leave them locked up all day and then I’m miserable because I know they want out and they’re used to being let out. I don’t know if I can live here on the farm without chickens.

      Reply
  7. Susan Wise

    Hi, Mary! I just love following you and your stories! So sorry to hear about the chickens; this was not a good story to read. I am interested in quilting and haven’t started yet. The table runner looks beautiful and maybe that would be a good place for me to begin. Any advice as how to get started? What size are the blocks? Is there an easy way to make the half-squares? Any suggestions and encouragement would be most appreciated! Thanks so much!!

    One of your newer quilting fans

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – it’s really hard for me to teach you beginning quilting here on the blog. You should take a beginning class or go online and start reading. Somebody will need to teach you hands on how to use a rotary cutter.

      Reply
    2. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

      Susan, a beginning class is a great idea. I took THREE so I could see how different people did things. Also, most quilt shops offer beginner type classes for a project which helped me, too. Do you live near a quilt shop? Is there a Guild in your area? The women in the guild are good resources, too. Good luck! It is a great hobby.

      Reply
  8. Pat Smith in Vermont

    I think removing the food source from whatever is getting the chickens would be a place to start. Knowing your animals personally even if you don’t name them must make it doubly hard when you know they are being stolen as food for predators. I’m quite sure I could never be a farmer that raises animals. Once I know the animals I had I could never send them off to market or, heaven forbid, eat them. Once we had a farm across the road from us. Two black angus cows kept getting out of their field and coming over to our yard. The farm family named them “Starsky and Hutch” from the TV show. When I hadn’t seen Starsky or Hutch for awhile I asked them where they were, and they replied, “Oh, up in the freezer.” I could never do that.

    Reply
  9. Jill Klop

    Mary – so sorry to hear about the chickens. I don’t blame you for wanting to let them roam instead of being cooped up permanently! I thought my orange challenge was ready to quilt, but a friend saw a block turned in the wrong direction. I picked it out, but still haven’t gotten around to sewing it back in the right direction! It will happen!

    Reply
  10. Bonnie Farris

    Hi Mary, Sorry about your chickens. I have had issues with predators also. I have decided to wait until I can afford a proper coop with a wire enclosed pen for the next flock I get. I am sure raccoons are the culprits. I miss my chickens and the wonderful eggs! I’m just getting my fall decor out and figuring out what I need to add to the mix. Enjoy your day.
    Bonnie in SE CT.

    Reply
  11. Jeanine from Iowa

    Oh, Mary. I can so relate with you about losing your chickens. I lost all but two of mine and couldn’t continue seeing it happen to the last two, so I gave them to another lady that has chickens, and they are doing great there. She has a larger flock, and they have fit right in. Her granddaughter loves my two chickens because they were so tame and she can pick them up and carry them around. Now she wants to show chickens at our county fair next summer. I do miss my chickens, but I can still get fresh farm eggs from this lady. I have two outside kittens now that have sort of taken their place. We had them neutered this week. It’s always great to see your email pop up, but sorry this one has to be so sad. I know how you can get attached to your chickens.

    Reply
  12. Melody from Wisconsin

    I absolutely love the photo of JB3 – he is one lucky kitty! I bet he knows how lucky he is to have found you.

    Sorry to hear about the chickens, do you think it could be a mink or weasel? I have heard they will normally kill the whole flock and eat very little so if you are only finding pieces I would lean towards the owl or hawk. We had a great horned owl kill a skunk in our neighborhood and the only reason we knew what happened is because we found “pieces” and my neighbor found innards and there were owl pellets by it. Do you ever see any owl pellets around? Frustrating for sure.

    Hope your cough is better and enjoy your lazy, rainy day! You deserve it with all you do.

    Reply
  13. Joy B from Missouri

    I love the red table runner! How sweet of Donna to send you the scraps. I really, really love the green cabinet that JB3 is lying on!
    Sorry to hear about your chickens. My brother always said “Farming isn’t for sissies” 🙂

    Reply
  14. Kathy Hanson

    So sorry about your chickens! They are part of your family!!!
    I am at a quilt retreat today and making progress on a quilt for our oldest granddaughter that I will lay out tomorrow at my Daughter’s home where we will sew for the weekend. So looking forward to spending time with her!!
    Finished my September orange projects, will send a picture!!

    Reply
  15. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Oh, gosh, Mary, losing an animal of any sort is so very sad. I’m not sure a hawk will leave for good. We have one nested in the woods behind our house, and he hunts in a large swooping circle until he finds what he wants. A few weeks ago my neighbor saw him swoop down in her yard and nab a baby bunny who was helping himself in her vegetable garden. Even though he was a veggie thief, she felt so sad.
    I’m sorry you’re continuing to lose your feathered friends. And you know how large your flock is, you will know your friends by name.
    Thank you for your kindness when Kitty crossed the bridge. I’m still so sad,

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Of course, you’re still sad, Carol. It takes awhile. I just did chores and Dot, the polka dot hen, didn’t make it back to the barn tonight. Makes me so sad.

      Reply
  16. Jan Hebert

    I’m so sorry about your hen, Mary. We’ve had problems in the past but knock on wood we haven’t with our current batch of chickens. They’re just beyond two years old. We have them in a large run and the coop is inside of that. Even so, I’m worried! My neighbor just showed me a video taken with a trail cam of three racoons climbing all over another neighbor’s run, trying to get inside during the night. I worry because we didn’t bury the wire under the ground and I’m sure there are gaps that can be made bigger by a determined racoon. I think the thing that has saved mine (for now) is that our setup is in an area that’s pretty open, no trees close to it for them to take cover in. Anyway, I do think that closing the chooks in the barn for a few days would help. It’s worth a try, right? We had rain a few nights ago and it was wonderful! The most rain we’ve had in a long, long time. Our trees are starting to turn color! I hope the drought doesn’t hurt the foliage colors, that would be such a shame. Jan in MA

    Reply
  17. Kathy in western NY

    I have never owned chickens and I do know I couldn’t as I would fear a coyote or fox or hawk would jump a fence or swoop in and grab them like I see off in a distance in woods. It just bothers me terribly to see anything in their mouths that I am now having difficulty even wanting a meal with meat anymore. It’s not my thing I realize as I have aged.
    Almost done with my orange UFO. Fall is finally here with cooler temps but not a lot of rain yet so still a deficit for us. Glad Three is content to sleep on the cabinet and feels right at home.

    Reply
  18. Joy in NW iowa

    No pumpkins here…no room in the garden. No chickens here either. No where to keep them warm. We have kittens and cats…wild…but the kittens play and I love to watch them and wish I had a tame one…. But then they get in the garage and ugh!
    We had rain early this morning. We went to Sioux Falls. Hubby has macular degeneration and gets a shot every 5 weeks…we do our Costco run and out to lunch etc. a chilly lazy day. Our outings are doctors appointments! Uh

    Reply
  19. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    Three is so adorable; thanks for posting this precious photo.
    I am sorry you are having trouble with the chickens again.

    Reply
  20. Leah

    Have you thought about setting up a trail cam? It might be hard to watch, but you would know what you are dealing with. I am so sorry this is happening.

    Reply
      1. Diane, Squeak, Buddy

        Mary, I was going to suggest that, too. My trail cam clued me in on the adorable, but not wanted, baby raccoons who were eating the cat food on the porch for Buddy. I just moved it inside at night and they quit. I also had a skunk!! Of course, Buddy has been totally inside for more than a year so no more outdoor food.

        Reply
  21. Kathy - SW - PA

    So sorry about your chickens, Mary. We raised chickens for about 10 years. I loved them and their eggs! I never felt like I was wasting food from the garden because the chickens got the leftovers. The chickens always got locked up at night because we live out in the country and there were always critters around at night. Somehow a really sly critter got in each night and killed one chicken, but left the body. He continued to do this until all 8 were dead. One of the worst times of my life. We searched for ways he could get in and double-secured them but nothing helped. No more chickens for us, not worth the agony. Never did figure out what that critter was. Best wishes with your situation.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy – my chickens are locked up every night without fail so this happened during the daytime when they free range. That’s why I’m convinced it’s a hawk or owl. No raccoon, fox or other predator would be out in the daylight around here. And with 6’ chain link fencing the owl or hawk could easily fly in.

      Reply
      1. Vicki

        Our neighbor has chickens that she used to let free roam during the day. Believe it or not, a fox killed several one day during the afternoon. We saw a fox kill first one, then go after another. By the time I ran into her yard to chase the fox, three were dead. It was like it killed for the pleasure of the hunt, not for food. Now she keeps the chickens in a large fenced area that has the coop in the middle. No more free range. I often do my neighbor’s chicken care if she travels, and one afternoon I found a raccoon inside the coop. I slammed the door shut right away and called my husband to get his gun. I wasn’t going to be responsible for losing chickens while taking care of them. So, fox and raccoons are out and about in the daylight hours in our vicinity.

        Reply
        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Vicki – I wouldn’t have thought they’d be around during the day but at this point I’d believe most anything. Thank you

          Reply
  22. Jo in Wyoming

    That is so sad about your chickens. They are so very different in color. I wonder if you can string triangle flags across their pen to keep the flying predators out? I’m so sorry.
    On the bright side….your book came today. Oh! It’s so pretty. It’s full of sherbet, cherries, lemons and limes. Each quilt is delicious. Perfect after so many funerals this week here. I’m smiling again.

    Reply
  23. Janet S

    Mary,
    Having animals is always a challenge. I have seen large fenced in enclosures but on wheels. Every once in a while, you move it so the chickens have new area in which to eat. Also, if your entire yard is fenced in maybe a large dog might help protect them. One more thing I have heard about is having a llama. They can be protective and will run off anything on the ground.
    Here in southern Minnesota, the weather didn’t change, it slammed into us in one day, but I sure enjoy the cooler weather. Now, I heard it will go back up to the high 80’s in a week or so.
    Last week, my son and I went up to Lake Superior and took a two hour ride on sailing ship. The weather was perfect. It would have been wonderful to stay out there for a week or so. Oh well, we’ll go for two hours again and call it good.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      A llama! I could be up for that – I need to do some research about mixing goats and llamas however. I have one goat who is a problem and wants to butt the others.

      Reply
  24. Linda

    Mary, Three is beautiful, my favorite orange and white kitty.

    I’m glad Keeper made you aware of trouble again. And I know where you are in the indecision on having chickens or not. I was down to 5 hens and three roosters that stayed in the barn because all the rooster wanted to do was rip the feathers off my hen’s backs, you know what I mean. A stinking fox discovered a sandy spot around my chicken yard where he dug up the chicken wire we buried and was able to squeeze under and kill my chickens. I was so distraught! Then he took two of my roosters which really was upsetting, Andy was hatched on my farm and he would come running to me when I called him so he was extra special. Now I only have Sherman and he roosts on the short wall by the donkeys so he’s out of reach of the nasty fox. The fox also found a weak spot in a neighbor’s chicken yard and cleaned them out. My husband said I should wait until spring and start with a bunch of new babies but I don’t think I will, it is just to upsetting when something happens to any of them.

    You have a big yard for them to roam, mine was more controllable so we had fencing as a roof over their yard to get preditors out but there’s no way to keep minks or weasels out and I hate those guys even worse! I hope you find a solution and don’t loose any more of your babies!

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      It is such a hard decision – since we’re heading into winter I’d have to wait till spring so I’ve got some time to decide. And even with a fence over the top you list your chickens. Dot has been gone 2days now and Twin this week as well. My remaining rooster from last year, Buddy, is still here and sweet Sylvia , too. I had a weasel in the barn years ago. They just pull the heads off and leave the flopping body – sickening. I told somebody I hate wildlife anymore!

      Reply
  25. Jackie in NY

    Hi Mary – I’m sorry to hear something is getting your chickens again. What if they were in a large fenced area with a chicken wire “roof” on it so hawks couldn’t get them? They’d be able to be outside but safe. Just a thought.

    Reply
  26. Colleen in Oregon

    So sorry to hear about your chickens. We used to raise them until our run collapsed from snow. We stopped feeding our wild birds last spring but the hawks still show up almost daily because they live here. We toured a farm once that grew a patch of mustard for the chickens to run and hide in when a hawk showed up. They said it worked very well.

    Reply
  27. Tammy Guerrero

    When my chickens are getting eaten, I keep them locked up for about a week.
    Sometimes it’s too hot to do that. I then make several trips down to the barn to watch over them. If they are locked up for about a week usually whatever is eating them stops. Hope your chickens stay safe! I

    Reply
  28. Georgia

    I don’t know your chicken housing situation, but here’s what I know: Roosters warn hens when flying predators approach during the day. If chickens have a cage floor, if other predators have access below coop, they will reach through cage wire & pull (your note about the ckn foot being found). My flock is in stand alone raised coop with plywood flooring covered in straw. Roosts are ample so that nobody has to stand on floor at night, which is against their druthers as they know they must roost out of reach. The small yard that surrounds coop is closed off at night with 6/8 ft. chain link. Coop is shut up as well with unreachable locked door clasp out of reach of prying hands. Screened openings (windows) to coop are also off the ground & inaccessible due to height. Main body of coop is wood. Hope this helps.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Georgia – none of this is happening in the nighttime – only during the day. They are all locked up at night in extremely secure chain link from floor to ceiling. Chickens are disappearing in the daytime.

      Reply
      1. Georgia

        If critters are hungry, displaced by fires(?) & want easy pickings, chickens, especially without roosters sounding the alarm, are at the top of most menus. Hire a local kid with a bb gun or stronger? Dogs are good at protecting too. Saw you’re getting a trail cam – you might want to ck into inexpensive, solar-powered, motion activated small cams that you can watch over thru your pc or cell phone. Farm kid w/gun would be faster : ) Hope you find this critter & stop his free meals. Sad.

        Reply

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