Squirrel Rampage! 8-26-23

My beautiful jade tree was the victim of squirrel rampage during the night!

I have pruned and shaped as best I could to end up with this.

I think it can come back if I’m careful with it. All the pieces that were chewed off or pruned off are waiting to be potted. So much work but I just can’t throw them all away.

I hope I can save some of them.

I bound this quilt in the shop this afternoon and let the kitties go outside for the first time – oh, how they loved it!

Took Gracie awhile to get up her nerve to go out. You know – Miss Introvert

Designed by my friend Rose so I’m calling it – drumroll, please –


Someone’s bound to ask how I quilted it so here it is. Whenever I can use a middle line of stitching it’s easy. One line close to the top seam, one line close to the bottom seam and then one down the middle. They are not evenly spaced but close enough – I do this freehand on the longarm machine and it probably didn’t take me even 2 hours. I’ve always told you that piecing is my game, not quilting.

You can order Rambling Rows by sending $5.00 cash or check to Mary Etherington, 2345 Palm Ave. Garner, IA. 50438. Please include a self addressed stamped envelope. I will not send it without your SASE.

And you can still order Oh, Susannah! for $20.00 PPD. Please include an address label along with your cash or check.

Remember when I met Peggy and Richard at the Hubbell House a few weeks ago? This display is in their lobby.

Church picnic tomorrow. Here are quilts from Vicki. Man, does she work fast!

Thanks, Vicki!

61 thoughts on “Squirrel Rampage! 8-26-23

  1. Maryjane

    I had no idea squirrels were so destructive. My problem with them is always getting into my fruit trees – esp. avocato. They are cute little things though.

  2. Cheryl Regan

    Darn squirrels! Those jade trees recover fast and love the outside heat. I have a friends that needs a trim job and some restore time outside. They also make great friendvgiveaways. Good luck!

  3. Jo in Wyoming

    Those squirrels can be so destructive. One made a nest in the truck engines one night…cost plenty to get rid of it!
    Vicki is sure busy. Great quilts.
    It was 72 degrees today…beautiful.

  4. Montana Kathy

    What pretty quilts! – but your poor tree. The squirrels that sat up in our tall trees back in Wisconsin loved nothing better than tossing the black walnuts at our heads when we were outside.Ouch! Those dang walnuts hurt, and if you looked up, the squirrels were just sitting up there staring at us and chattering amongst themselves. Unfortunately, the trees lined the driveway so we couldn’t avoid being under them when getting into the car. I swear those darn squirrels had the most fun pelting us with those nuts!

    1. Diane and the gang

      I totally agree, Montana Kathy. We put a screened porch on our house b/c the squirrels threw big pine ones on us on our deck. Nasty creatures!

  5. Linda in MI

    Squirrels, mice, racoons, possums, they are all little trouble makers but each has it’s place. I’m one of the crazies that think they are all cute, just somewhere else. I bought some of the deep buckets with ladders for the mice to climb and then fall through the lid just so I could take them for a long ride and turn them loose rather than kill the poor little things. Same thing with possums and racoons, I live trap them in the barn then let them loose a few miles away. I learned a couple of years ago after trapping the same one three days in a row that they need to be taken at least four miles away or they come back! I thought a little guy looked familiar so the second trapping I put a dab of landscaping paint on his tail, and he was back the third morning! I had an even more determined one this summer, I barricaded the door to the grain room so he couldn’t open it again and the little rat chewed a hole in the door to get in and destroy the room. Seems he loves the dog biscuits I keep in there for the pack!

    I hope .our jade tree comes back and all the starts flourish! With your green thumbs I have no doubt

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – I did the same thing and painted a possum tail with red spray paint – but I take them to a wildlife refuge quite a few miles from here. I load up the whole trap into my van and throw a tarp over it and off we go. When we get there I prop the trap open and tip him out and he scurries away. One fall a few years ago I trapped 11 possums!!

  6. Sandy McPherson

    Hi Mary, l was reading an article from England where a guys tomatoes had a bite out of all of them thanks to a naughty squirrel! We don’t have them in New Zealand, but l had a laugh at the squirrel stories! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  7. Kathy in western NY

    You crack me up Mary repotting stems to grow more plants. Always being good to not toss out a plant to the graveyard. Big round of applause from me to you. Yes Vicki does sew fast and keep us in pictures. Thanks Vicki for sharing. Nice quilts.
    We have our church picnic today too!

  8. Connie R.

    Sorry about your jade plant. Hopefully you can save most of the parts. Squirrels can be so destructive. My beef with squirrels is, they infiltrate every bird feeder you have and eat everything. If they can’t get into the feeder, they chew a hole in it. I’ve even had them chew through a plastic garbage can lid to get to the sunflower seeds inside. Cute is not the word I use to describe them.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Connie – I agree about the squirrels and bird feeders – they are very destructive!!!

  9. Kim from Wi

    Oh your poor Jade tree, what a mess the squirrel made of it. I’m glad you’re going to start some with the cuttings. Hope they take. I’m home from Iowa but I did make it to Garner to do some shopping at Junkin Gals and bought the Oh Susanna book and your Rag rug set. Yippee! It is a lovely shop, and I found a few more treasures to bring home. My mom was feeling like a road trip, and we ate in Clear Lake. It’s been cool here in Wisc and nice enough to get my walk in. I find it interesting to explore my new neighborhood while strolling and sometimes I get to meet my neighbors who are also outside. The dogs in the pool picture are adorable, think you need a bigger pool.

  10. Holly Christian

    Mary I absolutely love the material in your quilt. Did you buy it as a jelly roll or did I read you had these strips cut? Either way if you remember the name of the fabric line could you share?

    So sad about your jade tree. Does your local school have a FFA chapter? Would that teacher or possibly a science teacher be interested in some of the clippings to try growing a tree in their room? Maybe even an elementary teacher, just a thought.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Holly – Fabric by Denyse Schmidt many years ago. I’m digging deep in my stuff – all of these fabrics plus more coordinates were all together in a small tub. Evidently I had something planned years ago but what? Could easily be done with a jellyroll plus one coordinate that needs a 4-1/2” strip. Had to write it as a pattern rather than put it here because of drawings, etc.

  11. Diane in Maryland

    One would think your plants wouldn’t have been safe after being outside all summer. What a shame! Your jade tree was one of the biggest I have seen. Hope it comes back for you. Sandy, I didn’t know there were no squirrels in N.Z. Interesting.

    A whole new world for the kitties! Love the display at Hubbell House, your quilt and Vicki’s.

  12. Angie from Baltimore

    Church picnics were the best but aren’t done around here anymore. Shame it built a community within the church. In Baltimore it is hot but the humidity is horrible. Makes you just want to sit in the air conditioning and watch English football (soccer). Oh wait it is what I would do anyway. Happy Sunday and the quilts are beautiful

  13. Joyce from NY

    I agree with Sandy, all those squirrels & chipmunks are not cute, they can be very destructive!! The quilts are beautiful.

  14. Susan K in Texas

    I have succulents in the greenhouse. They are happy there but the rats love snacking on them. My echeveria have suffered greatly this summer. They have chewed them down to nubs. I guess they see them as popsicles in the heat. ☹️ I need to get one of the shocker rat traps.
    Vicki you put the rest of us to shame with all of your finishes. Such a wide variety of finishes.
    Mary I like the new quilt. Simple and very effective use of colors.

    1. Vicki in Seattle

      Susan, I have been focused on using my stash and things in my “Parts Department.” It is a fun challenge for me to see how I can work those scrap triangles, flying geese, etc. into a quilt. Most of my quilts are donated to children and those with cancer so I use lots of bright colors.
      Hope you are staying cool in Texas!!

      1. Susan K in Texas

        We’re staying as cool as possible. We got a 5 minute rain today. The first in months. This next week will be cooler as it’s only supposed to be in the 90’s.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan K – last winter when I had rats move into my barn I got very educated on traps and the electric traps worked really well until I think they got wise to them and told their friends. Then I had to resort to poison that I packed into the holes and covered the holes with cement blocks so the chickens were safe. I don’t envy you the rat problem.

      1. Susan K in Texas

        My husband wants to throw poison around instead of having it in a safe container. I don’t want my kitties to get it or some of the other wild critters we have going through the yard like possums or raccoons. Those are around though we rarely see them.
        I remembered your battle with the rats in the past.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Susan – I didn’t want my chickens, cats or dogs to find the poison either. There are also some rat traps like those that Orkin brought that let the rat crawl in to get to the poison but then can’t get out again. Are your rats Norway rats or something different? Look it up online – Norway rats are the most common, I think.

          1. Susan K in Texas

            I do think they are Norway rats. I’ve actually seen two of them since spring. They are huge and don’t fit into the mouse trap that hides the poison. One of them was carrying a poison chunk once that was 3″x1″. It ate the chunk of poison down to a 1″ cube.

  15. Sharon G,

    Have fun at the church picnic.

    The display of shoes and boots at the Hubbell House must have been a sight to see! Wow, what a collection!

    Nice quilts today, Mary. Love the name Rose’s Rambling Rows! Vicki in Seattle sure has been busy! I
    have one block done for the August dirty dozen. Might be able to finish a couple more blocks today.

    So sorry about the jade plant. Fingers crossed you can save some of it and get it to come back! I wish the squirrels would dig and eat the wild horseradish in my yard! But, oh, no, they don’t like it! Everything else is okay for them to dig or gnaw. They eat the bird seed like there’s no tomorrow! Little rascals!

    Nice walkabout for the kitties. It’s good that Gracie and Greta have each other for company and to explore and play together.

    Tomorrow I’m mowing before the rain arrives Tuesday/Wednesday.

    Take care everyone!

  16. Betty Klosterman

    Don’t anybody feel bad for the jade plant. EVERY scrap of it will root and grow like mad making lots more jade plants. If it was in the ‘wild’ each piece would probably root exactly where it landed! God is taking care of the critters and the plants. Like everything, there is the good and bad.
    Your latest creation is a great example of what color control and organization can do. And that pile of fabric is now a pretty quilt. We can make a pile of stuff into something very nice. And you know, Gramma said ‘don’t waste it!’
    Take care everybody and remember to laugh. It feels good. Betty in Rapid City

  17. Christina dickerhoof

    I have been traveling and unable to send this comment earlier where you were talking about all the weeding. There are people here in Ohio that how out their goats to eat the weeds (think poison ivy”) Then I saw you talking about having a goat. They put up a portable pen to fence the area that the goats need to eat. Just a thought

  18. Robin

    I love how you quilt your tops. I, too, use straight lines for quilting…be it cross hatch, straight lines as you show here or spaced closely or at different intervals or a slight wavy line done freehand.
    I am not a big fan of free motion

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Robin – I agree! I’ve always said I don’t want any curvy swirls on my straight piecing! That’s just me. I’m not a “curvy” sort of gal! Hahaha!!!!

  19. Launa

    I had to prove again who I was after my previous comments 😉!
    Yesterday up here in Idaho we had to have a fire in the wood stove…was 50o out n we had a big electrical storm during the night. Needed the rain for a new Forest Fire…was 85% contained. Thanks to the firefighters!

    Sorry about your Jade plant. My husband purchased a battery operated mousetrap for the garage! It sends a killing dose of electricity to mice who get inside. He found it for sale online.

    Thanks for the pictures of kittens n quilts, Mary.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Launa – nobody else mentions this issue so I’m thinking it must be a setting on your computer. When you have the option, do you tell your computer to “remember me”? Just a thought – you know I’m not good with computers.

  20. Sherry Whalen

    The squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks are so destructive at our house. All winter rabbits chewed off our spirea shrubs. I haven’t planted annuals for years because the critters won’t leave them alone. For the most part, they leave the hostas alone – so far. But my houseplants – the rabbits and squirrels have been unrelenting. And it wouldn’t be so bad if they took a stem and ate the entire thing but they seem to bite the stem off the plant and leave the rest of the stem and leaves. We had to fence our garden because the rabbits would go down the line of the bean row and bite off every single stem and leave the rest right by the root stem they just bit off. Jade plants and devil’s ivy seem to be favorites along with Christmas cactus. But hopefully they got a nasty stomach ache when they started on the diffenbachia. The jade will probably make a good come back but I know what you mean about all of the trimmed cuttings – I just can’t let them go!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sherry – I’m sorry I can’t give you some cuttings!!! I’m going to work on them this afternoon.

  21. MaureenHP

    I hope you are having a great day at the church picnic! What a shame that squirrels got to your jade tree–hopefully some of the stems will root for you.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Maureen – the annual church picnic was very fun – I met a new couple who just started coming to our church and she’s from Dublin, Ireland! So interesting to visit with her

  22. ChristieB

    I hear you on not getting rid of the jade leaves. I can’t let my succulent dropped leaves go either. They seem to be taking root. So sorry though about the squirrels desecrating your jade. Too bad it’s a bother to mail the cuttings, you could stick some in along with each book/pattern order. HA
    I feel your pain, I set my hibiscus tree (about 2 1/2 feet tall) outside and my cats used it as a jungle gym! Had to do major pruning on it. Repotted it and hoping for the best.
    Squirrels are not my problem anymore with the 12 barn cats that are usually up at the house. Not only have they tried to kill the hibiscus, they are killing our Wandering Yew bush. Need to do some more pruning on that. Before long they will have it completely killed off. But, I love my cats. They do keep the squirrel and rabbit population down.
    Love the name for your Rose’s Rambling Rows – clever play on words! I’m a sucker – will be sending in for the pattern.
    Did the kitties come back inside no problem? Aren’t church picnics and potlucks the best!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Christie – the kitties are flying in and out and are loving the outdoors but I’m not sure I can trust them not to wander too far. Rick said I should put collars and bells on them – I’ve never put collars on my cats. Gosh, your poor hibiscus and yes – but I understand. I cut them all a lot of slack. The potluck was soooo good!!

  23. Rita in Iowa

    Mary love your quilt. So simple. Vicki you are so prolific in all the quilts you make, they are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Mary sorry for the squirrel damage on your jade plant. The critters are not choosy on what they damage. We had a video of a deer pulling tomatoes of the plants and letting them roll down the sidewalk. Then took a bite out of it.
    Tried to decide this morning if I should sew or work in the flower beds. Flower beds won out. Cut the day lilies off and the old canes of the black raspberry. Weeded and sprayed some of the nasty multi flora. One bed down. Will probably do more this week till it gets hot again on Friday.

  24. Betty Klosterman

    Just a comment on a weed killer. I had heard that vinegar would kill weeds. I had some cleaning vinegar left and used it full strength in a spray bottle on some weeds that wouldn’t pull easily. It worked! At least the vinegar wouldn’t hurt the soil and the weed would be gone. And it didn’t take long either. It probably wouldn’t be good in large areas.
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – thanks for that tip! This afternoon I potted up all those little jade pieces – many to a pot in some cases. I’ll put them in the basement with a grow light and I’ll have an entire forest in time!! I took a few days off from killing weeds but now I’m ready to start again – weather is so nice and I won’t hate to be outside working.

      1. Kathy in western NY

        Betty and Mary, I poured some white vinegar left in a gallon jug on my weeds that begin to come up on the gravel part of the driveway and I preferred the cider vinegar instead. It worked faster than the white. I used full strength but now might make the solution with Dawn and see if it works as well too. For $3.25 a gallon, cheaper and safer for the animals that roam on by front of house. I haven’t bought weed killer in years.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Kathy – yes, I have used vinegar around the patio, etc. and it does work.

  25. Dianna in Wisconsin

    Your jade plant was beautiful. Squirrels are destructive for sure. We love to watch the birds at our feeders so my husband uses shepherd hooks placed as far away from trees as possible. He attaches a metal slinky to the rod of the shephard hook and wires it top and bottom. The squirrels don’t like the movement of the slinky so it has been a deterrent for us.
    He puts the rod through the slinky.
    Hope this will be helpful for someone.
    Our grandson loves to watch Mark Rober.
    You will find yourself laughing if you watch Squirrel Maze 1.0 by Mark Rover on YouTube. It’s hilarious!!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dianna – I have my steel disc blade feeders in the middle of the yard, too, and it has really helped. I’ll take a picture. I’m going to find some slinky’s however – good idea!

  26. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Oh gosh, your poor Jade plant was so nice. Sorry to see the destruction. Will it come back? Your name for Rose’s Rambling Rows is very creative.😀. I will be ordering that pattern; I have many strip sets to use. Good to see the kitties out and Vicki’s beautiful quilts. Sewing group in the AM, then company overnight, then maybe getting another binding on to finish by hand. Hope to show you both quilts soon. Thanks, as always, for your blog, Mary. I really needed it tonight because it is normal and comforting to read😀.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – we’ll see about the Jade – I repotted all the pieces and some are sure to grow. I love the name of the quilt, too. I can’t wait to start it in scrap strips!

  27. Joy in NW Iowa

    Good morning! Those nasty squirrels. I thought they were really cute jumping and running from tree to tree last winter and then when I put out the oriole jelly this spring they weren’t so cute and funny! Especially when I purchased a couple jelly feeders! They jumped up and pulled down the feeder and ate 3/4 of a jar at one time. We got that morning and Jay saw them doing all kinds of summersaults and other antics in the front yard! They were drunk on jelly! 😬. I’m so sorry about your beautiful plant! As I wasreading that you were putting the pieces in pots, I was thinking….I thought Mary was cutting back on plants???
    Saturday was canning tomato juice day. We did 28 quarts! Yikes! My friend gave me the tomatoes and she was putting them in my car….I was trying to stop her at three boxes and she said NO, you may have them all! I was exhausted! Aleve to the rescue! Well, I guess we won’t do that again for a while!
    Have a good Monday!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Joy – YES! That is exactly what I said and Rick and Becky both reminded me. But I couldn’t do it. I’ll be having grow lights in my basement again this winter and I’m considering setting up lights out in the quilt shop. The two huge plants right outside the shop simply cannot come into the house! They’re huge. I’ve so enjoyed my front room being so spacious this summer without the plants – sort of like the kids going off to college and then moving back in. Haha!
      28 quarts of tomato juice? You’ll have to use at least a quart per week – how will you do that? I have a busy Monday – it always is because all weekend I make notes about who I need to call, where I need to go, what I need to do – and then I want it all done in one day. Impossible. And that’s my problem – I want to do everything in my life FAST!

      1. Joy in NW Iowa

        Mary the 28 quarts will last a long time….I can’t even have tomatoes as they give me a rash….they are for Jay! Aren’t I a loving wife to help him with his tomatoes that he loves? Heehee

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Joy – yes, you are! I refuse to help Rick with green beans and this year he couldn’t even walk well enough to have a garden and I refused to plant them. There’s a Farmers Market in Clear Lake!

  28. Nikki in Tx

    Mary, Love Rambling Rose pattern.. checks in the mail, along with sase…& your name for quilt you made made me smile!
    Weather here continues to break record highs. 110 Friday & Saturday. So ready for some fall weather. Of course then will have to find something else to complaint about. Am sure won’t be a problem.
    Question- is there a back story about the footwear collection at the Resturant/Inn ?
    Vicki, quilts are ALL so beautiful.

    1. Kathy Hanson

      So sorry about your tree? Darn squirrels!!!
      So much work! Beautiful quilts!!!
      Hope you have a relaxing holiday weekend!!

  29. Kris in WI

    Now that is a Ramblin’ Rose you can cling to! I had to look up the lyrics to the song because it became an “ear worm” and I couldn’t shake it loose! Funny you should bring up the squirrels. Yesterday I noticed that they were using our front porch steps as a dining table. Black walnut husks and shells all over! Those stains will be there till next summer. Oh, well, the critters provide a little entertainment for the DH. Have fun watching all the jade plants sprout and grow in the basement nursery.
    Did anyone else think the first quilt (triangle-pieced rectangle blocks) reminded them of the corn head on a combine? That would be one colorful implement! Kris

    1. Vicki in Seattle

      Kris, I wasn’t thinking of a corn head for a combine when I was trying to use up the pieces trimmed from a previous quilt but the idea makes me smile! 😃
      Hope there will be a good corn harvest this fall.

      I will send Mary a photo of the quilt the trimmed pieces came from.

      1. Betty Klosterman

        And I know there are a great many of ladies on this blog that have absolutely no idea what the corn head is on a combine!!!!!

        I think we plant lovers all have the problem with just throwing away the trimmings of plants. And to watch them root really makes us feel good. Guess we just need some squirrels to help get rid of some of the problem? Or seeds sprouting? Hope springs eternal.

        Betty in Rapid City

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Betty – you’re right! Maybe this fall I’ll visit Farmer Tim and take some pictures of his equipment – with an explanation? Got all my little jade pieces planted – now I wait. I’ve got all the pots in a wagon that I pull into the garage at night and wheel out in the morning. I’m not taking any more chances.

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