Farm News

by CountryThreads on April 18, 2017

So much going on at the farm that I don’t even have time to write about it!  Connie and I have sent out all but 3 of the quilts and I suppose we’ll be receiving those last 3 checks very soon.  We definitely have to make some more rules before we ever do this again.  Some readers thought they could just send their check and they’d get the quilt – NO!  So for all of those people who didn’t get the bid on the blog through the comments, we had to send their checks back with an explanation. Now really, think about it – a quilt sale could not be conducted in that manner.

Hazel helped Rick with the lawnmower.  She’s really growing tall and somewhat lanky but strong and wirey, too.  Her “piranha” habits are still evident but I’m hoping she’ll grow out of some of that biting.


Remember that cord that we hung the head of cabbage on in the barn?  Well, it makes for a great rope to pull on while I do chores and it keeps her occupied.


Bo is also staying with us this week but he’s almost more than I can handle on top of Hazel, too.  He’s a 6 month old lab and very active and is not kept as a house dog.  He lives in a kennel and needs more socialization.  He has not learned any manners and we are having a tough week but he’s so darned lovable that it’s hard to get mad at him.  Can you tell who’s chasing who?  This is definitely an action shot taken when we were working in the yard Monday afternoon.


And here’s Emma relaxing on a bench by the barn.


And here’s the most shocking news yet – Barn Kitty will now be named Mama Kitty!  Yes, I saw her laying under a table in the goat pen for several days in a row and on Easter Sunday I peaked under.  Much to my surprise there was something moving and I wondered how baby chicks got under there.  Ha!  Baby kitties instead – sweet as they can be and tiny, about 3″ long.  I haven’t seen a newborn kitten in at least 35 years.  I did try to trap Barn Kitty in a live trap because I was afraid this might happen but I couldn’t get her and I didn’t even know she was a she.  She would be here for several weeks and then I wouldn’t see her for several days.  She’d show up again and let me get within about 5 feet of her before she ran.  So now my main job is to get her tamed enough to get to those kittens when it comes time to find them a home.  Oh, please Dear God, let it be so!  This is a poor picture of her but look hard and you’ll recognize her.


I am feeding her everyday and trying to gain her trust.  Here’s another picture after I had reached in just a bit too far.


She was not happy – see that look in her eyes?

I’m working on the wedding quilt.  Since their last name will be Rose I made them a yellow rose block.


Another bit a news – with the help of a friend who has been feeding her dogs like this for 25 years, I am now feeding my dogs a raw diet.  I ordered Honest Kitchen base mix which is dehydrated fruits and vegetables that get reconstituted with water and then I add raw protein.  I bought a meat grinder and grind up raw chicken parts, bones and all and mix with the base mix.  I have never fed my dogs anything that they love more than this.  We cannot believe it!  They gobble it up and I don’t have to coax them to eat.  With boarding dogs here, I can’t leave food in bowls to be eaten when my dogs feel like it.  The food isn’t attractive – it’s sorta green and looks like ground up alfalfa – ha!  But I don’t have to call them twice for mealtime.

Here’s the meat grinder in action.


I am grinding chicken thighs in these pictures – yes, bones and all.  I have learned a lot about dog food and what is best and I’m willing to give this a try.  It is a lot of work, grinding and mixing all the time and needing to do it in advance so I have food on hand for everybody.  Did you know raw bones are good for dogs whereas cooked bones become soft and then they splinter and become dangerous.  I’ve been doing this for about a month now.  Even Hazel gets it and loves it.

This is the book I am using  — it was recommended by my friend who has been doing this for 25 years.


I realize this is not practical for everyone but I wanted to try it and I do have the time.  I am no expert at this yet however so I can’t answer all the questions you might have.  Read this book if you’re interested at all.

Everything is turning green in North Iowa – finally!  Yard work is almost fun on a beautiful spring day.  I was glad it rained today though because I believe I might have overworked yesterday.  Oh, what a stiff sore old body this morning – ha!

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Beverly Lockmiller April 18, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Just keep feeding that Kitty and she will let you pet her eventually. that is a big job to grind all that meat for the dogs. you are a very loving pet owner. Hazel is really growing.

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Kathy Martingilio April 18, 2017 at 10:42 pm

I want to take the time to thank you for your updates. I really enjoy “living” vicariously through you! Hugs!

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Ginny April 18, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Try the Temptations, George has a feral cat at work and he had it earing out of his hand in a week. He j I st laid a trail of them up to where he was. You definitely have to catch her and her babies lest they multiply.

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CountryThreads April 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Ginny – I started her on them last week – when I didn’t even know she was pregnant! She loves them – I gave her more tonight in a bowl as I reached in under the table.

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Colleen April 19, 2017 at 12:18 am

Can you make the dog ahead, like a huge batch, and freeze it ?
For us we have only one old cat ( she wants all our attention so when she came to live with us we made the agreement we would not bring in any new dogs/cats until she goes over the rainbow bridge ) and she is as a baby to my husband I would make food for her …. but only if I did not have to drag out the machine daily and use it and clean it and put it away

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Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts April 19, 2017 at 1:59 am

Love the photo of Rick and Hazel on the John Deere!

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Angie Rowland April 19, 2017 at 3:50 am

Barn kitty looked terrified. Maybe because she thought you would do something to her kittens. She should realize that she and her babies are safe with you. I will admit, you or at least I cannot convince my 10 year old adoptee that I know something about cats. I am more aware of the saying now, “Dogs beg and cats just stare at you until you do the right thing”
Glad about the greening of Iowa.

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Marilyn April 19, 2017 at 6:12 am

Thank you Mary for sharing with us through your blog pictures are always icing on a cake. I continue to look forward to hearing from you

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Martha Engstler April 19, 2017 at 6:37 am

Your Barn Kitty is so pretty. Bet her babies will be pretty also. Hope you can get to them so they get good homes. The feral kitty we feed is wild as a March hare. She comes EVERY day for supper but still won’t let us near “it.” It has been neutered because around here they notch the left ear of the kitties that are caught, neutered and released.

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ANITA Fetzer April 19, 2017 at 7:44 am

She’s a beautiful cat. Hope you can tame her. And find homes for her babies. She knew a good place when she came to your barn.

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Pamj/Tx April 19, 2017 at 7:49 am

Welcome to the Honest Kitchen family !! I have been feeding my American Bulldog Honest Kitchen going on 2 years. He had tummy problems when he was younger, vet put him on Embark and he absolutely loves it. And I do not have to call him fora meal, if fact he drulls while I stir it to get it reconstituted. It’s expensive but so worth it not to have all the other problems !!

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Cindie April 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

I think Emma has the right idea. She will hang out on the bench and have have the best seat in the house!
Love your blog Mary.

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Jeanine April 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

I love reading your blog, Mary. I was going to tell you that I tried the cabbage thing for my chickens, and they had nothing to do with it! They would hardly walk past it. I left it hang for several days, but no takers. I told my husband I needed some of your chickens to come and show them what to do with it! My chickens do not like anything new added to their coop. We only have 6 hens left after a fox got 4 of them earlier this year. But our granddaughter brought us 10 banty chicks this past weekend. We were not planning on that!! They are straight run, so not sure what sex they will be.

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CountryThreads April 19, 2017 at 8:50 am

Jeanine – cant believe they dont eat the cabbage! Hope all the chicks aren’t roosters

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Karen L Chaudoin April 19, 2017 at 8:29 am

Thank you for funny pictures and tales of adventure and knowledge. I will investigate the diet although we will have to use raw whitefish as one of our dogs has Inflammatory Bowel Disease that has to stay controlled with alternate source of protein or he could die sooner than my heart will allow. I adore the photo of happy dogs running! It made me happy. Kitty looks angry and so pretty.

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Jane dumler April 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

Loved this post. Sounds like Bo needs obedience school immediately. We have had labs for more than 40 years and all have been loveso ‘ but young unsocialized labs are a handful. He is a beautiful dog and needs to act like one. Love the barn kitty and her children–have fun. Try some raw chicken on her–our cat loves it. Enjoy spring–we are waiting for rain here in Denver.

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CountryThreads April 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

Jane – i really hate keeping dogs in kennels but i know not all people think like me – bo is and can be a wonderful dog! Yes, obedience school would be helpful. Hazel is going in the fall.

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Donna April 19, 2017 at 8:35 am

Mary “ditto” to all the wonderful comments about you and all your loving care of all four legged animals (chickens too). Emma has a prime spot to watch the action. Mary never a day passes when you’ve not amazed me with all you do. I’m thinking we’re about the same age and I’m pretty certain I couldn’t keep up with you “and” still have time to quilt. I, too, love your blog. It’s a welcome email each time I receive it. Thank you Mary. That Hazel is quite the silly girl. If I’m ever down your way I’ll need to stop in, with advance notice, of course.

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CountryThreads April 19, 2017 at 8:41 am

Donna – how about sometime this summer?

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Donna April 19, 2017 at 8:38 am

Mary….forgot to mention mama kitty is so pretty and I’m sure her kittens are too. She must have been out prowling st night….thus the new additions. I hope you’re able to adopt them out.

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Paula (Texas) April 19, 2017 at 9:02 am

Love the goings on at your place. All the dogs, chickens, goats, and cats! I told my husband that I wanted a goat. He just looked at me, rolled his eyes and went to his work shop.šŸ˜‚

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Pam April 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

Mary, Just had to drop a quick note about how happy your action shot makes me! It’s delightful to see them all racing around being happy! Never thought terrier was my breed but Hazel is sure making me think about that! Thanks for sharing as always! Pam

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CountryThreads April 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Pam – I wish I could post the video that was taken while they were all chasing but seems it won’t post. Probably too big.

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Diane Cannon April 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

Love Momma kitty–she is sure to have had some beautiful kittens–in my experience with kittens–once they get to be 3-4 weeks old they will wonder out of that nest and momma will probably be leaving them at times during the day–so then you can become their friend–talking to them–playing with them a bit–but no touching or she will move them and you won’t be able to tame them–once they are 5-6 weeks old–she won’t care and probably won’t move them then and if they are used to you–you should be able to pet them–and hopefully by then momma will be letting you pet her–she may enjoy playing with a string or ball herself–and that may help in her getting to know you better too–but again she probably won’t play until the kittens are at least a month old–good luck–( I have had several feral cats and batches of kittens in my day–so if you need more ideas or whatever–just email me)
enjoy the moments, diane

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CountryThreads April 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Diane – I haven’t been around kittens for 35 years so I’ve forgotten how to tame those kitties. I did think that as they got older, I could make friends with them. They can even stay here and live in the barn IF I CAN GET THEM ALL FIXED!!!

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Susie April 19, 2017 at 11:14 am

Wow! You have had a lot going on! Momma Kitty is beautiful. Hazel is really growing.
Thank-you so much for sharing your life with us. I look forward to all the updates.

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Diane April 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm

OK–Is Hazel in the lead and ready to “lap” the other two or is she trying to catch up? I love to hear all of your “doin’s” as my Nana used to say. I agree with Diane Cannon that the mother won’t take much notice of her kittens after about 5 or 6 weeks. I saw a show that said cats don’t even recognize their offspring after about 6 weeks!! Odd. Mama cat sure is wary. Squeak can’t resist tuna juice. Emma looks content watching the “race”. Enjoy every minute. I also love the yellow rose quilt. That is so pretty:)

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Helen Jane April 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Hi Mary…the adorable flag pillow arrived today. The dog chase is so cheerful. About the rose, my grandmothers maiden name was Rose. As I always say “your days are full-up.” Thanks again. A beautiful day in Texas.

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Angie Rowland April 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I received my quilts today and they are PERFECT and can’t wait to display them. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to buy them. I am delighted and hope you give us another opportunity to get more.
Angie Rowland

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Carolyn W. April 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Isn’t it nice that Rick gets to be part of your three ring circus on a daily basis? Bet he loves retirement and the fact that no two days are ever alike there. Hazel is sure she is the same size as those big dogs and is probably frustrated she can’t catch up with them. Can’t you just imagine her dreams! Good luck with the Barn Kitty and her babies.

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CountryThreads April 20, 2017 at 11:18 am

Carolyn – I know this will be hard to believe but Rick doesn’t see the fun and delight of my 3 ring circus like I do — ha!

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Carol Collier April 20, 2017 at 8:21 am

I so enjoy reading your blog, and your farm updates! We had such trouble with biting when our dog was a puppy. We tried shaking the pop can filled with pennies when he would bite us, and that helped for a bit. What really seemed to make him stop, was yelling loudly, “Ouch!” Your puppy is adorable!! The dog food is an interesting idea! Have your friend’s dogs been healthier, or lived longer in better shape with using this food? Thanks so much for sharing your life with us!

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CountryThreads April 20, 2017 at 11:17 am

Carol – we give a high pitched yelp as another dog might make and we give her chew toys of all kinds when in our laps. I hope she outgrows this piranha stage. Yes, my friends dogs have been healthy and never go to the vet except for rabies. No shots!

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MartyCae April 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

Your rose quilt block is very pretty. They will love the quilt.
What does Ernie say about Hazel? If they are friends please take a picture of them together.

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Sandy Block April 20, 2017 at 9:37 pm

You mentioned making some changes if you ever do a sale like this again. I know it would be more work for you, but I would enjoy seeing the sizes of the quilts posted…..just a thought.

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