Weeds! 8-19-23

There is no end, is there? I’ve appreciated all the info about treatment of weeds – I’ll never be done but I’m anxious to finish the fence lines. Here’s yesterday – 2 big loads like this.


This is what I moved into in 1979 – iron weeds surrounding the barn! I’ve come a long way, Baby!

I write this blog to tell the story of life on a small farm in North Iowa and in that description comes what I do every day. I’m not telling you to impress you – I’m just describing my everyday life. And I’ll just bet if you started to document your daily activities you won’t believe how much you get done in a day. As I’ve said before, I subscribe to the idea of “Use it or lose it!”

Reader quilts

And here’s a shocker – I took Keeper and Hazel for shots last week and my vet discovered that Keeper is not neutered! WHAT????? I have his adoption papers which say he is and the name of the vet who did it. Hmmmmm. We’re looking into why he isn’t but in the meantime he has an appointment next week for a visit to the vet.

Jenny is going home this morning to L’Ville, KY and she came down to tell me goodbye – get a few rocks for her yard, some hydrangeas, eggs and some succulents.

It’s the season for big projects, I guess. Farmer Tim is coming over to cut a tree that’s been down for several years and is blocking an unused portion of the wilderness trail. I only thought I was going to rest my back today.

49 thoughts on “Weeds! 8-19-23

  1. Mary Fratzke

    I LOVE your blog, Mary! Love the simple, wonderful things that happen on your acreage! You are an inspiration to all of us! With the heat heading this way, I’m heading to the sewing room today! Hey, a good series to watch on Paramount+ (if you have it) while you are sewing is “Joe Pickett”.
    Have a wonderful day. mary

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary – thank you for being a blog reader! Don’t we all lead pretty similar lives? Can’t imagine any big time professional being interested – ha! The simple wonderful things are in everyone’s life – you just have to take time to see them. (I feel like a preacher – ha!)

  2. Diane in Maryland

    It’s a lot of work to keep your place so pretty but you have come a long way since 1979! The barn is beautiful today as is your property.
    Jenny is a cute gal and obviously she and Hazel love each other!
    Good luck to Keeper! How weird about his papers saying he was neutered.

  3. Vicki Ibarra

    I smiled when I read about how we all are busy in our own ways. My husband recently suggested I use some of his exercise equipment. I told him I get enough exercise doing all the yard work that I do. I started wearing a pedometer and a slow day is a 6,500 step day and busy days are 14,000 step days. It is estimated there are 2,000 steps in a mile, so I walk 3 to 7 miles a day just doing necessary work in the house and yard. I am sure many people do more, but I really feel no need to do more exercising.
    Heat and humidity are coming to our locale again. We had some beautiful fall like days and I had to wear a fleece jacket in the mornings. I didn’t mind a bit! But now we go back to the reality of a typical August in Iowa. Take care, everyone.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki – I agree! I’ve hit 13-15,000 steps many days – this winter it will go down again. I have my own gym!

  4. Sandra

    WOW, the weeds by the barn in ’79!
    Good to have a picture to see how far you’ve come.
    Sandra in Virginia

  5. Dianna in Wisconsin

    Hot in Wisconsin too. Going to a final day of a day of a quilt retreat. 9:00-5:00 but in 3 days got a lot done.
    You’re an amazing woman Mary. I’m always impressed and so thankful you have time and energy to share your life with us.

  6. DebMac

    Well, weeds in the fence line are a problem. My dad always kept up with weeds until someone new bought the farm next to ours and proceeded to plow through the fence in several places trying to get his BIG, new tractor turned on the end of rows. Pop never bothered after that as he figured he needed a bigger barrier to keep the neighbor in his field. Your barn looks so sad surrounded by weeds but you did a wonderful job renewing it.

  7. Alice

    Mary, you’ve made a lot of progress! Living on a farm entails a lot of hard work & with all of Rick’s Dr appts, surgery, & therapy that you were a huge part of…I can certainly see how the weeds/volunteer trees got out of control! Having been raised on a farm & learning to drive a tractor at age 12 to help my dad in the fields, I certainly understand! My dad raised cattle, pigs, grain ( soy beans, wheat, oats, & corn) he also raised 6 acres of tobacco! This was also 40 + yrs ago. Because he wanted clean fences, he used DDT! Of course it’s been banned now! He also found out the hard way that it causes cancer! He finally sold the farm to Amish when he turned 80. Keeping up a 150 acre farm with failing health he knew it was time! He passed at the age of 85. I agree that if you don’t use it you lose it. My former home had an infestation of thistles! I never could quite get those things under control! I even hired a girl from church to weed, lay down cardboard & mulch. It helped some, but someone else has to deal with those buggers now!! Because of our crazy spring most of our boxwoods are dying! It appears I will have to hire someone to take these out! Last person I hired “borrowed” my electric trimmer & never returned it! No more loaning out tools!!
    On a brighter note, I took a friend to Holmes County, OH to celebrate his 90th b’day! He loved it! Only drug him to one quilt shop! Lots to do & see there. Have a wonderful day, Mary!
    Alice in SW Ohio

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Alice – so you understand farm work and I’ll know when I reach that point of not being able to do the work. Your dad lived a long life. What did you buy at the quilt shop?

    2. Carolyn Rector

      I can relate to your problem of thistles. I have a small flower garden and I let the thistles go and couldn’t contain them. After I had new mulch out down I thought they’d go away. Discovered they are perennials! So I had help and had it all dug out, plastic laid down, and pretty stones put down. Now all I have growing is 2 older hosta plants. I can keep up with the few thistles that still come up. I live in West central Ohio. Troy

  8. Joyce from NY

    I agree with all of the above, you are an amazing woman & I love your blog about nothing! Cooler temps here the last couple days, I’m going to mow while it’s cooler. The lawn has not stopped growing this year or the weeds. Have a great weekend to all!

  9. Susan in PA

    I love you blog. It is the first email I open when I pick up my laptop.
    I have heard that people rent goats to get rid of weed overgrowth. I’ve even read that they used to use them around the White House in years gone by. Goats will even clear out poison Ivy so maybe you could get your goats to help out.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – my goats are too old, too fat and too well fed – most goats want to browse which means eating at head level or above. I think the goats that are rented out are starved before they get to their place of work. No, my goats are not an option. One is so lame she can hardly stand and another has been acting sick for a week now. The two palominos are also going lame. ☹️

  10. Pamela Dempsey

    That’s a ton of weeds! 🥵 love the black kitty astronaut quilt! Very cute 🥰. Susan is this your own pattern? The temps here in north east Texas are set to broil. No rain either 😔 hope Gracie and Greta are bonding well.

  11. Angie from Baltimore

    I wonder how Keeper faked that. Bet he won’t be happy after next week. I am not frustrated by me not working as hard as you but glad I can read about farming in Iowa vs farming in Iowa. I lived on a farm when I was young and have thought about how hard my mom worked. I just don’t think we give farm families enough credit. No matter the size of the farm.
    You have come a long way from when you moved in it is a beautiful place and I feel lucky to have visited the quilt shop when the Fire Works Convention was in town.

  12. Shirley Andersen Smith

    Well Mary,
    My grandmother used to say, there is no time to be bored because there is lots to do. She drove a one horse buggy out to a one room school where she taught, had 10 kids and lived on a farm. I get what you are doing. I also subscribe to “use it or lose it”. I don’t have half the work to do you do but still do a lot.

    Shirley from Oregon

  13. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Whew–You HAVE come a long way, baby! That ironweed is something else–toooo much of it in 1979, but it’s all gone–great job:) I also love that the barn is now red and so pretty.
    I love all of the quilts today and they are all different which is one of my favorite things about this blog. We’re all different, but we have many things in common including Mary. THANK YOU, as always Mary, for taking the time to keep us connected and learning about your farm, animals, and life. Susan K in Texas, is there a pattern for the astronaut kitties?
    Jenny is so pretty and it looks like Hazel is giving a very big grin:) She’s cute, too!
    Nice here this AM–53*–my kind of weather, but we’re hitting 96* on Thursday. Ugh

    1. Susan K in Texas

      The pattern is Cats in Space by Elizabeth Hartman. It’s a fun pattern to make. There is a baby size and a large size. I made the large size for my new grandson so he can use it for years.

  14. Janet Easley

    I really do appreciate getting a real view of farm life through your blog. Keeping things looking good takes work – no exercise gym needed. Walking keeps all of you moving – not just legs – a great health benefit. The 1979 photo shows how really far you and this acreage have come. This farm was just waiting for Mary’s attention. I don’t know how you find time to quilt!
    Jan in AZ

  15. Rita in Iowa

    Mary your farm is beautiful and like you I can’t stand to have weeds growing. I I have been working on the fence rows little by little and removing the old fencing that is down on the ground. I use the excuse that I trip on it when working in the flower beds. Had our grandson for 4 days and had him help load some sticks to put in the burn ring. Took him back home on Wednesday. Going to help out at my brothers go through items after losing his wife in June.
    Stay cool this week in Iowa

  16. Joy in NW Iowa

    Your golf cart reminds me of Jays side by side when he comes home some days from the field. He always tells me he has a bouquet for me. Seeing your barn reminds me of our place when we moved here in 1972. It was a lot of work and still is. Thankfully, Jay can still keep it moved and keep the weeds down. He also has the fields to do. She is summer is busy.
    It’s going to be a hot one today with 104 heat index! Yikes! I’m staying in. I need baby cards so that and sewing are in my plans.
    Have a nice weekend everyone! Mary be careful with your back!

  17. Jo in Wyoming

    Which is most cute, Jenny or Hazel?
    I don’t mind the yard work so much as the goop I have to wear…sunscreen and bug spray. Tons of it.
    Then I’m sweaty, hot and stinky.

    1. Diane in Maryland

      This made me laugh… that is the truth for all of us “real” gardeners. I’ve never looked like the pictures in Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens of the ladies with lovely wide brimmed straw hats, nice garden gloves and a woven basket full of beautiful flowers!

  18. Jeanine from Iowa

    I really like the unnamed quilt with the orphan (?) blocks. Those are still my favorite colors. I always go back to them. We are headed into a very hot week. It is 93* right now in Oskaloosa, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are suppose to get to 101*! That will pretty much end the garden, but hope my tomatoes keep producing. We just take one day at a time. Have a good weekend, everyone, and stay cool. I think it is to be hot everywhere. I follow a gal in Poland, and they are also having hot weather there. And most have no a/c there.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jeanine – yes, we are getting hot weather, too, so I decided to do some mowing today. I’ll sew in the ac this week.

  19. Kathy in western NY

    Lots to do Mary and we always enjoy seeing what your days are like so thank you for including us in your life. We all do pretty much the same things day in and day out so connecting with each of us through your blog is such a bright spot in mine. Wonderful pictures and quilts as always so thank you.

    It’s probably hard for Jenny to leave. Today I was at a funeral service for a girlfriend who passed away and her children live out of town (Chicago and Denver areas) and as they hugged and talked to those of us here, you could tell from their emotions and words how much they miss their mothers friends who watched them grow up and played with all their kids. Like they said, it’s a room full of memories looking at all who came. I volunteered at our church clothing closet this morning, the funeral this afternoon so tonight it’s a dinner out that I am so looking forward to!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy – I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend – and I see how that homecoming would be fun even in sad circumstances. We’re all friends of whole families, not just mom. You’ve had a busy day!

      1. Kathy in NY

        Thank you Mary. I remember how my grandma felt as she lost her friends and now I feel like I am counting down the ones I have left.
        And hoping to always make new ones.

  20. Sandy McPherson

    Hi Mary, in Brisbane now, going to breakfast with my brother and niece and her family. My sister Gwen is coming down for 5 days before she flies to Perth and travel by train to Sydney, a 3 day trip across Australia. Will send photos of Eileen the dog soon, she is very cute! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy – 3 days on a train is quite a long time!! Does she have family or is she on vacation?

  21. Susy from San Diego

    Hi Mary,
    Great job on the weeds! You certainly do not need a membership to a local gym. Giggle. Your hobby farm as you call it will keep you younger and in great shape. Enjoy that Beer!

    1. Karen Pidcock

      Alice in SW OH

      I think your boxwoods are suffering from
      A boxwood blight that has been infecting boxwoods for several years. Not only is there no cure, the ground they are in is also affected. Call your county extension office for more local information. I probably have 20 or more boxwoods that need removed and distroyed by burning or placing in plastic bags and taking to a landfill. You cannot replant boxwoods for six years or more is what I have been told.

      1. Alice in SW Ohio

        Karen, thanks for the info on the boxwoods. It’s strange that some are affected & some aren’t. But aren’t close to each other either. I’m going to trim the blighted ones back & see if they survive. Since they surround my small patio that the previous owner put in, I won’t replace them. It will give me more room. Again thank you for the info!

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susy – thanks! The cold beer on the porch tonight was simply delicious!!

  22. Maryjane

    With all the need for workers in your area, sounds like you need a bus load of migrants. Seriously.

  23. Kim from Wi

    Mary your farm has come a long way baby, it was in need of you. I love how nice your barn looks against the night sky. I recall walking the fence line with my dad while he swung a scythe, and I picked up all the cuttings and put them on the hay wagon. We always had a nice thermos of cold iced tea to share in the shade when needed. Slowly but surely your fence line will be cleaned up. I hope Jenny had a safe journey home.

  24. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    The readers’ quilts are great; I especially like the middle scrappy one in my favorite colors.
    So, Keeper’s trip to the vet produced some interesting findings; that was a large litter of puppies!
    Good luck with the fence weeds, but don’t knock yourself out in the heat. Thanks for the 1979 picture; you have done wonders!
    Thanks, Mary 🥰

  25. Sunflower from Michigan

    I received the Oh, Susannah book but haven’t opened it yet. I’m on a weekend visit to Florida and am going to savor opening the package when I’m home and in my comfortable chair in my sewing room! Maybe with a glass of wine, too.
    I love the blog and the photos of quilts and animals also.
    Last week I took my sister-in-law to an eye surgery at the hospital I retired from and it was so wonderful To see my former nursing colleagues. The next day I drove my mom who is 88 to a cardiologist appt. Next week I hope to get in the sewing room and sew!!
    The garden will start to need cleaning out soon, too. I love that there’s always something to keep us busy! Take care.

  26. Judy - Michigan

    Mary, Your post is what we want to read about….daily life on a farm. I grew up on a farm, then an orchard so know all about daily work. Now I live in town but I love it and so no farm for me anymore. I can enjoy yours and I do.
    Don’t worry about your just writing daily stuff. That is what we are here for!

    Hope Rick’s surgery and recovery is going well. Hips are tough because they move in many directions.

    Take care, Judy – Michigan

  27. Dee in Ohio

    How did you get all those weeds out in 1979 around the barn. I would have been overwhelmed

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dee – corn knife – I’m going to post some more 1979 photos – just for fun!

  28. Kris in WI

    Ha! I never noticed that the astronauts were CATstronauts! What a cute quilt for a little space explorer. And those fall color quilts sing to my heart. Still my favorite color combination. Kudos to you, Mary, and the rest of you avid gardeners out there who work so hard to keep your grounds and gardens in such good shape. I’m enjoying the pictures and have a little twinge of green looking at the flower beds, but my dandelions are looking good! Stay safe and watch out for the heat, fires, and flooding this week. How are you readers out west doing? Kris

  29. Judy A

    Susan Ks quilt with the little cat astronauts is adorable and funny and I love it. What a cute quilt!

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