Wednesday Update

I know you’re all wondering about Ben and Faye and you’ve been more than kind with your comments, your emails and your gifts.  Connie is at Ben’s house today so I’m hoping she will take a picture for the blog of both Ben and Claire so that I can share that with you in the next day or so.  I am giving Faye 2 different alternative meds I ordered online which will hopefully buy her some time.  She absolutely loves going to the barn and I take my IPad with me so that I can let her stay as long as she wants.  She doesn’t want to stay there unless I’m there, too.  We have agreed that the day she doesn’t want to go to the barn is the day we will let her go.  She still doesn’t want to eat much although last nite was a record – she ate 5 chicken McNuggets! 

I have learned so much about dog food and dog treats – did you know that even some dog food companies take in large containers of “stuff” from China to include in their dog food?  Makes me sick and so mad!  Someone asked how I make my own chicken jerky.  I slice chicken breast as thin as I can and bake it on a cookie sheet in a slow oven until it’s dry and crunchy.  That’s all it is – dried chicken breast.  I should invest in a dehydrator maybe.

I sent Faye’s records to a holistic vet near us who said she is too seriously ill for him to treat but he would inquire at a larger practice to see if they would have any ideas on how to improve her appetite.   A friend suggested liver wurst which she wouldn’t eat and I made the mistake of leaving it on the counter where Telly grabbed it and ate the whole thing!

Let’s talk about sewing.  Paula asked if Singer Featherweights were popular around here and I really can’t say.  Both Connie and I own one or two but we don’t use them.  We used to take them as carry ons when we flew to retreats and classes but now we’re so spoiled with our Berninas that we don’t have the patience to sew with the Featherweights.

Here’s a simple quilt – just rectangles from a fat quarter pack of Parson Gray.  This is how many I had to make it this size and straight line quilting of course.

Remember the pink camouflage fabric I was searching for?  Well, it came and I’ve been working on the quilt. Here it is on the quilting machine.  It really PINK!

Here’s something else I’ve been playing with – just strip units – almost a strip vortex- ha!

And I’ve always said – never underestimate the power of a square.  I also found this pile of 6-1/2″ squares that I cut years ago and since I’m into sewing mindless projects right now, I have decided to make a simple lighter colored quilt for the king size bed to look more like the new white floor.  I’ll have to cut lots more squares. Ugh – I hate cutting.

When I was writing the Goat Gazette I would occasionally write an article called “Everbody’s Got A Story” and since I told you about Faye I have heard from so many of you – of your own heartaches and sorrows and your own trials in life.  I wish I were a writer – I’d like to interview people and learn about their lives.  There are so many interesting facts and stories that each one of you could tell, it would be fascinating to read!  There’s a song on the radio called “Everbody’s Going Through Something”.  How true that is!  Maybe in my next life I could be a writer.  Anybody want to hire me?

I’ll let you know tomorrow how Ben is doing.

Small acts of kindness can change the world.  My personal email is

34 thoughts on “Wednesday Update

  1. Paula

    Mary, I agree with everyone about your writing. I still have my old Goat Gazettes too. A couple years ago I went thru all of them looking for recipes. Still praying and thinking of Faye and Ben. Love it when bloggers blog alot….it makes you feel like family. Paula in KY

  2. Felicia Hamlin

    Mary your writing is so honest and from the heart, yes, you are a writer. I am keepin little Ben and you and little Faye in my prayers. Take care, Felicia

  3. Moe Baly

    Hi Mary, I love your blog, I love your heartfelt and honest writing! You definately are a writer and I am glad to see that I’m not the only one who has saved every Goat Gazette. It was a sad day when the last one came, but so happy you “write” on your blog. I’d rather read what you write than read the newspaper.

    I’m so sorry about what you are going through with Faye, we did the same with P.D. Those last few weeks we spoiled her, gave her a lot of attention, and kept her comfortable. We were glad we had that time with her, it helped us get ready for that moment she went to the Bridge. We didn’t have that with Dave, one day she was fine, the next day we had to say good-bye, I’m still heartbroken about losing her.

    Food is certainly a concern, we always gave our dogs the best we could afford but who knows if it was the best.

    Thinking about Ben and family, thank you for keeping us updated. He’s in my prayers and those of my sisters Geri and Mary. I always say the two of them have a direct connection to God, good things happen when they pray. 😊

    I love your mindless sewing projects. Great ideas, thanks for sharing.

    Have a good day, hoping it warms up soon.

  4. Cindy Y


    You are a sweet lady. Even though I have never met you nor have you met me I have followed your Chicken Scratch blog and I love it. You share so much – with your readers, with your fellow quilters/crafters and also with your love of animals. Do you realize how many people enjoy your writing and sharing? I know I do. It is a daily to-do on my list of sites to visit.

    First, I am sorry to hear of your young pup Faye being so sick. It is hard. Late October 2015 I let my two dogs out in our back yard and a few minutes later called for our 6 year old golden retriever Molly but she did not come in. I just knew something was wrong. I looked out towards one of our evergreens and she was lying down in the grass. She had passed away! How? Why? I could not believe it. My oldest son was there with me and we were stunned. Nothing was wrong with her and I can only hope that whatever caused her to pass it was quick and she did not suffer. Now our little Havanese, Bailey is my buddy. He follows me everywhere and I shower him with affection. That to me is what having our dogs is – sharing each other’s lives, learning from one another and just enjoying being with each other every day, good and not so good. I truly believe we will all see our dogs again. I have many that have passed and look forward to being with them again, forever.

    Mary, just love your little Faye. Know you are doing as much as you can for her. The love you give her is the best thing for her, and you.

    Prayers to you, Rick and your animals.

    Thank you for sharing your life with so many….it is special, and so are you.

    Cindy in northern Illinois

  5. mary margaret

    Mary you are a writer more than you know! Thank you for sharing. I do enjoy your blog. I love reading about the animals( furbabies) and quilting. China just don’t care about dogs and cats like we do. Hope Faye enjoys her life while she can. So hard to let them go. Thank you. Hugs.

  6. Mareen

    Without a doubt you could be a writer Mary! I will have to find out who the holistic vet is… prayers are with Rick, you and Faye n Tellie!

  7. Linda

    Our little Cocker Spaniel, Lily, is addicted to rawhide chews…all of a sudden last year , she seemed off and wasn’t eating well…she was only five years old…..I don’t even remember where I read what I did but we figured out the rawhide chews from China that we got at Walmart were making her sick….I read up on it all on line—very gross story of the journey of the hide and making of the chews…That stuff they are making is worse than trash….Lily is spoiled and refuses to go without her chews…I found some made in Canada that seem OK….at least I hope they are.. She is not sick chewing them…..I worry now that you say that some companies are getting some supplies from China anyway… could anyone make something that would hurt a little dog……………………………

  8. Charlotte Barnard

    Mary, you ARE a writer. And you have a very important attribute of a writer: You listen to what others have to say. I am an avid reader of your blog and am so glad you have continued it and look forward to it. Keep it up; who knows what it will lead to?!
    Meanwhile, sending up prayers for Faye, you, and Rick, and Ben, Connie and families. xxoo

  9. Heather k

    I forgot to ask, did your vet show you how to give fluid under the skin ? That can extend time in some cases – a long time.

  10. Heather k

    Mary, I am so sorry to hear about Faye. One of my friends had a cat with kidney failure and it converted her to believe in raw diets, but I don’t believe he was so advanced. Our go to bribe food for sick dogs is cheesy scrambled eggs and as a last resort, canned cat food . Both have lots of hydration so to not tax the kidneys.

  11. Cheryl Knapp

    Have you ever heard of – dog food for dogs? My golden is under treatment for lymphoma and the vet recommended I try it. She loves it – have to add a protein to it and hydrate the mix – no preservatives!

  12. Midge H


    You have probably received many diet suggestions. I received this from my vet when one of my dogs refused to eat( he got past that)
    Minute rice. 2/3 cup
    Low far cottage cheese. 1/2 cup
    Large egg. 1
    Diced poultry

    Cook rice and egg. Add cottage cheese and poultry. Keep in r frig and warm before feeding

    I also hand feed one of my Irish Setters after she had had a stroke.. She would open her mouth and I put a small amount at a time in… Work for a year and a half. Then we had to let her go.😒

    Good luck, Midge H.

  13. MartyCae

    Mary – you are a writer extraordinaire! Getting a post from you is as good as hearing from a loved one! I love all the stories about your pets, your visits to the nursing home, your organ playing and all the wonderful displays of your treasures.

    Love to Ben and Faye – here is to health and happiness.

    P.S. I am cat crazy – can’t imagine life without them.

  14. Carmen

    Featherweights are very popular here. The gals love them to take along for sew days. I still prefer my Bernina

  15. Betty Klosterman

    Oh, yes, we all dearly love your posts and all the replies. The Goat Gazette was a gem. Just like Christmas. That orange dog you had wouldn’t let me get away from the car because he wanted cheese curls. I was raised about 30 miles south of Garner, but have lived in Rapid City for 51 years. Of course whenever we went to Iowa, I always had to stop at Country Threads, and then there was the phone and mail, too. One day I overheard my husband telling a fellow “Yeh, she always has to stop at Country Threads, but actually it was a pretty nice place to wait.” He was right. All the fabulous chickens, geese, cats and dogs. The chickens were especially wonderful-the old white hen who ruled the roost. I can’t remember her name. She let everybody know what to do.
    As per feather weight Singers — Some of our quilters out here cherish them and bring them to sewing all the time. There were at least 5 of them at our last Project Warmth sewing. They like them because they are small and light. Keep sending the pictures of your quilting projects. They are so simple and scrappy with no “pattern” needed. And how long have you been cutting 1 1/2″ squares for the little blocks you were sewing on Monday” I have many of the same fabrics…..and we don’t waste anything…..
    In the meantime, keep up the reports and everybody else, keep up your replies. It is so nice to hear from everybody all over the country. I feel sorry for the lady from Florida who has always been a city girl. She missed so much…
    Thank you. Betty

  16. Beryl BC

    I, too, agree that you are a writer. I have appreciated the Goat Gazette and Chicken Scratch for quilting news, Iowa stories, and life on a farm. I have many of the old Goat Gazettes. I have some saved so I can finish a mystery quilt started several years ago.
    I am sorry about your dog, Faye, not doing well. In our house, we have cats. The last six have all been the kind that just show up and stay. We only had one for about two years, as it turned out he was an older cat who developed a malignancy.
    Keep up the great writing!

  17. Martha Engstler

    I also look forward to your every Chicken Scratch and read the Goat Gazette from cover to cover. Miss the Gazette but am glad there is still the Chicken Scratch to follow. As my dear kitty, Lucy, lays here on my desk as I write keeping me company, I’m sad to follow Faye’s problems. If only they could tell us what hurts and what we are doing right.

  18. Marilyn Miller

    I look forward to reading about your fur babies, and of course seeing their pictures, your daily projects and errands and always the quilt projects. You are such an involved and energetic person, it makes for interesting reading. Just short of a visit to Country Threads! I hope you continue to write and expend your (our) horizons. Your little Faye remains in my prayers.

  19. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Yes Mary, I agree with the comments above. As well as being an amazing quilter you are certainly a writer! I too still have my old copies of the Goat Gazette, and I look forward to your blog post very much. You have a gift for sharing the highs and lows of life in images and words. Don’t underestimate yourself!
    Thinking of you and Faye,

    Kind regards, Fiona.

  20. Carol

    First of all, Mary, between your posts and our responses, and your photos, you have a book in the making. I just read a quote…”Don’t write because you want to say something, write because you have something to say.” Mary, you have something to say that is so different from typical “quilting” blogs, you speak as a quilter, an animal lover, a musician, a friend to many women known and unknown to you. You’ve taught all of us many new things (the chicken butt paste, for example!) And our responses….you’ve elicited writing from us, too. Look at all the material you have amassed since you’ve retired. Lots of potential pages from your sisters.

    I am so sorry your days are sad, and your pup is hurting. You are doing a good thing, making us aware of the terrible things the pet food industry is pulling in this country. I know you are speaking about dog food, I am worried now about cat food, and I am REALLY concerned about what the food industry is doing to humans. I have researched this and have learned many appalling things, on my personal quest for improved health as I age…..

    I am sure there is much we do not know….

    I started two years ago concerning myself with my own intake. Nobody loves chocolate, cookies and just about every other dessert more than I, but I was not in good shape, overweight, tired all the time and feeling older than my years. Even getting off the sofa and up the stairs … my knees and hips hurt.

    I just decided, in 2014, six weeks before a surprise surgery (tumors in the left parotid gland) that the only person who could help me was me. At the time, I didn’t know if the tumors were cancerous, but I knew I was not in fighting shape.

    So, overnight, I made huge changes. No dairy, no grain, no alcohol, no sugar, no legumes, no potatoes except sweet potatoes, no packaged foods or products. In a word, paleo. We adopted a paleo lifestyle.

    We eat fruit, vegetables, and meat, use coconut oil in our cooking, and honey, maple syrup for sweeteners. Organic and local all the way, as much as living in the cold NE allows. No antibiotic animal protein.

    What a difference this has made. I think processed foods are killing us. If I don’t know the country of Origen of the food I buy, I don’t buy it. It makes me crazy when a label indicates where something is distributed from, but not where it originated from. Read your labels, you’re in for a surprise.

    I’m down 55 pounds, my blood pressure is 120/80, good pulse, sugar is down at least 13 points and good cholesterol is up over 20 points, which is in general very hard to achieve. I’ve gone from a size 2x – 3x to an 8/10 petite! I go to yoga and TRX classes 3xweek each, and row 3-5 miles three days a week. I can run a half mile now! I haven’t run in 30 years! I’m 64 years old. Running is hard work! I have no goal to run more than 1/2 mile!

    So I say all of this because, all of this time, I never thought of where my cat’s food comes from. We use Blue Buffalo and I hope no one tells me I’m slowly poisoning my kitty. And her treats are Greenies. If anyone tells me these are bad I will put her on my paleo routine and spoil her with home cooked chicken daily!

    OK, so you probably weren’t anticipating so much writing, but I am hoping your readers will think about what they put into themselves, just as you now have us thinking about what we offer our pets. I’m not selling anything, I don’t represent anything but myself, I just know that the damaged inflicted upon our animals by these pet food companies is also being done to us.

  21. Donna Sproston

    You are a writer in this life. We all smile every time we get an email that you have a new post. That makes you a very successful writer. You are not afraid to put it all out there for us. Your love of your pets is the icing on the cake. Yes, we all have a story to tell. Mine is pretty simple. My mother died when I was 8. She did not wake up from minor surgery. She loved to sew. I do not think she ever quilted, but we had two quilts of 1930s prints that she had inherited from her grandmother. All the years I was teaching, I was asked what I was going to do in retirement. My answer was always the same: quilt! and sleep later every morning. The first book of patterns I bought was from Martindale and on the back cover there was a picture of Country Threads Goes to Charm School. I joined Charm of the Month, and now we have so many table toppers and small quilts that I have to redecorate every month. My husband even drove out of the way to Garner twice. He loved the cats, especially Colton. You were the perfect teachers for me. What a gift to receive a new kit every month with a pattern and pack of charms. I still love squares and triangles, and the stacks of precuts do not get any shorter. I collect 1930s and every time I am piecing those I think of my mother and being wrapped in her quilts. And I am forever indebted to my teachers, Mary and Connie.

    1. Carol

      What a lovely story! I wish there had been some quilting legacy in my life, but I’m the first. Enjoy that retirement, it’s the greatest!

  22. Diane

    Yes, Mary, you are a writer. I was an English teacher so I know!! I, too, received the Goat Gazette for many years. My “babies” Pyramus, Spike, and Koti were in it. You always capture your reader’s attention and keep it:) I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers as well as Ben and all of his family. I like all of the quilts. You make different and interesting quilts which are beautiful. What is the pattern for the pink camo? I like it. Take care of yourself and Rick, too. Diane

  23. Sandy Kolarik

    It saddens me about Faye and when I see pictures of her she looks like a sister to my Libby. Libby came to us as a rescue.My older dog a Wirehair pointer was starting to slow down at age 10 so we got our
    little Libby to give the older one company and to get her moving. Well it worked, the Wirehair, Lucy, will
    be 16 in a few more days. Still going but a bit slow. It humbles me how these pets ask for so little and
    give so much to us. May the days ahead bring more memories of the loving friend you have. I’m still
    praying for a cure to come up. Give her a hug from me.

  24. Bea

    Hi Mary,
    I love your blog. I am praying for Faye. I’ve had many dogs so I understand.
    Just wanted to tell you about a book I read that helped me understand dog food.
    It’s called “Foods Pets Die for”. By Ann Martin 2008 copyright. She’s written many books but this is her best. I buy wellness dog food and also cook for my dog. This book is an easy read.
    I wish you the best
    Bea knight

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Bea- I remember your wire hair fox terriers – I think I still have that picture!

  25. Louise

    Mary, I am one that enjoyed reading your goat gazette for years, then I would bundle them and gift them to a couple of friends..why I even won one of your block giveaways one time. That was a very exciting day. And I will send you a was a number of years ago. I will never forget the summer we stopped by on a trip from Ca. Thank you for the update on Faye. On our Black Lab Emma’s last day I purchased a Big Mac and vanilla shake for her..she was a wonderful dog! Your blog here is on the top of my list to read each day it arrives…hank you sew much💜☺️

  26. IBrenda

    Mary what do you mean you are not a writer? Praying for Ben and Faye and all your families.

  27. Launa

    Good to hear and see Faye is eating and getting out with you. I saw a cute pillow online somewhere
    BE THE KIND OF PERSON YOUR DOG THINKS YOU ARE. It made me think of you. Anyone who reads Chicken Scratch KNOWS the kind of person all your critters KNOW you are Mary!!!

  28. Kris Gavin

    You are selling yourself short.. you are a writer… in fact, you’re one of just a few itemt I look forward to reading… thanks for sharing your life with us… I think I speak for many when I say, I enjoy having you in my life….

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