27/02/2017 § 10 Comments
My darling Flora Puddleduck went to sleep today. I’m heartbroken but take some comfort from knowing that she had a wonderful life and was so much loved and well looked after every day of her little life. She’d have been 6 this Spring.
A while ago I did a post about her here with links to some of my favourite posts. When my husband passed away and I didn’t want to blog, I spoke through Flora who became my guest blogger. She’s been a constantly cheerful garden companion, a feisty character and a charming member of our family who has regarded me as her Mother Duck, since she first spied me that morning in Cornwall when she was a tiny, newly hatched scrap of feather and beak.
I’ll look back through the hundreds photos of her one day but it’s too soon at the moment. Today, the garden seems very quiet without her quiet quacking whenever I venture outside. She used to quack a louder greeting whenever I drew up in the car and Belle has been looking for her in all her secret places this afternoon.
This poem will always be a poignant reminder of my darling Flora Puddleduck …
With a bit of luck, a duck will come into your life.
When you are at the peak of your great powers
And your achievement towers like a smoking chimney stack
There’ll be a quack,
And right at your feet, a little duck will stand.
She will take you by the hand and lead you,
Like a child with no defence;
She will lead you into wisdom, joy and innocence.
That little duck.
We wish you luck.
Night, night Flora
26/08/2016 § 1 Comment
enjoying the sunshine …
If I’m in the garden, Flora is never far away. She loves my pink slippers and given any opportunity, and if I’m still for long enough, will waddle over and comfortably settle herself next to them!
She is a rather plump duck who has, for a week or so, been spending a generous part of each day sitting on an egg. I left it in her ‘nest’ (a leafy bower by the pond) as it’s been a shady spot for her during these long hot, humid days that we’ve been having recently. However, I relieved her of her nesting duties last week and now she’s totally forgotten about it all and is back to being a busy presence around the garden, gobbling up slugs and snails.
I can’t quite believe that she’s over 5 years old. That tiny scrap of feather and beak that followed me back to the cottage we were staying in by the sea in Cornwall, with such an instinct to follow and make herself heard so that I would rescue her from the seagulls. To this day, I’ve never seen any domestic ducks in that village!
Here are a few posts that follow her progress over the years …
Edited to add “Flora’s little life ended on 27 March 2017 – she was very much loved and is hugely missed”. Rest Easy Flora
I’m busy quilting – I know, as my daughter says ‘Same old, same old’! But I LOVE it and am trying a new technique, so will take some photos when the quilt’s all done. I can’t put it down, so hopefully it won’t be long before there’s another quilt finished. I’ve posted some photos of recently finished quilts over on my Patchwork Quilts page (look left) and am trying very hard to keep up-to-date with all the photographs as I make them here. Such fun!
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, this weekend and the weather’s set fair. I think the roads will be packed, so I’m going to put my feet up in the garden and enjoy watching Flora as she snuggles up to my slippers!
Enjoy the sunshine …
10/07/2016 § Leave a comment
Well, it’s raining and yesterday in Alton, it was blustery (but very warm and dry, thankfully). So good to meet up with such lovely folk from Alton and the surrounding villages, at the monthly market when us ‘Makers’ team up with those ‘Farmers’ and set up our stalls on and around the High Street, whatever the weather!
Everything in my garden is growing like crazy – I thought you may like a few photos …
The Dublin Bay rose is in full and glorious bloom, as is the red rose over the archway down to the pond.
One of my favourite places to sit and enjoy the afternoon sun (so I haven’t been sitting there very much recently)!
The veg plot is very green – runner beans, peas, broad beans, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes in the greenhouse – I can’t wait for the runner beans to be ready. My friend introduced me to a stunningly simple but delicious meal – freshly boiled runners topped with crispy bacon rashers, to be enjoyed on their own or with a hunk of bread and butter. Do try it – it’s amazing!
But possibly my garden favourites this week are the sedums in my miniature gardens, planted up in galvanised trays, and made into outdoor coffee tables with an upturned baker’s rack and a couple of concrete pots. I love this little feature on the lower patio. Here it was in May before those sedums started to bloom …
and now …
Mrs Quacky, aka Flora Puddleduck, is very vocal at the moment. She’s guarding her nest and hides her eggs so effectively, I sometimes don’t catch up with her latest secret nesting spot for a few days!
Flora says ‘Hello’, in a rare moment of sunshine last week!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend – I have LOTS of sewing to do …
PS – I’ve just been notified that my Carnival Blanket has been featured on Houzz, in an article about the benefits for those of us who knit and crochet (and I suspect sew, too).
02/10/2015 § 19 Comments
I’ve come away to spend some time by the sea and the collies and I have been blessed with the most amazing week of weather – high tides, sunshine, fishing boats and beach walks, wide blue skies and magical sunsets …
A quilt has been finished – I sat outside overlooking the harbour whilst hand-stitching the binding and then promptly took the quilt for a walk up onto the coastal path, for a late afternoon photoshoot …
and I’m hoping to link up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday later on today. The quilt is a commission and perfectly captures the colours of the waves, sky, sails, white horses and seagulls.
Walks along the coastal path every day have meant that precious memories have been revisited and laid peacefully to rest …
there’s no better place to be.
~ ~ ~ please leave a comment, it’s one of the best bits about blogging ~ ~ ~
19/02/2015 § 12 Comments
Mother Duck has been snatching sunny moments in the garden. She’s been having a lovely time finding worms for me – such a tasty treat – and I’ve been helping by getting under her feet and pushing my beak in where her trowel is digging and planting. I can’t wait till she gets going in the main garden instead of faffing around with pots of bulbs and those big white sinks.
I thought you might like to see some rare winter colours and pretty corners of my garden …
Then, I had a waddle down to see what was happening under the rose arch, then back to my daytime perch on the verandah – it’s a bit chilly and damp today. Good weather for ducks!!!
Mother Duck’s been doing a lot of quilting so I’m sure she’ll have lots to show you next time!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ please leave a comment ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
04/02/2015 § 8 Comments
Here’s the ‘back story’ – as Kristin Nicholas of Getting-Stitched-on-the-Farm blogspot calls them …
Do you recognise this old fellow?
It’s Johnny Morris who presented Animal Magic for many years, on children’s’ television. I absolutely loved this programme when I was 8 or 9 – maybe younger. Johnny would imitate the animals and have conversations with them – doing his voice and the animals. It was magical and something I still do quite unconsciously – imagine what the animal are saying.
I’ll always remember one programme where he made ‘Dabble Grish’ – a silly name for a mixture of just about anything that’s good for garden birds in winter. I made some a few weeks ago and today decided to top up the flowerpots. Curious? Here’s how to make a hanging bird feeder from store cupboard ingredients and create your own Dabble Grish …
I used some just out-of-date nuts and dried fruits to add to the wild bird seed, dripping (have no idea what that was doing in the fridge), a handful of oats, a few flowerpots, some twigs and string. I roughly chopped the whole nuts before adding them.
snip some twigs to fit across the bottom of the flowerpots and tie a loop of string …
thread through the hole in the flowerpot and place a bit of fat over the hole to stop the filling coming out. I put my flowerpots into cake cases to catch any melted fat.
Then put the ‘ingredients’ into a bowl and add the melted fat. I add as many porridge oats as it takes to soak up the wet mixture.
Mix it all up so all the mixture is coated in fat and will stick together as it solidifies, then spoon into the flowerpots, pressing down firmly.
Push a twig into each pot and firm around it. This will help the blue tits to perch close to the food while they’re pecking at it. Then hang them up around the garden, where you can see them from a window – and wait for your garden visitors.
Dabble Grish for garden birds!
There’s a useful list here of what you can feed garden birds.
I love to see the birds and always have a huge container of wild bird seed in the corner of the kitchen, from which I top up the bird feeders every morning. My favourite bird feeders (apart from my flowerpots) are these …
Such a brilliant design with suction pads that stick to the window and a little roof to keep the seed dry. You can see the birds clearly through the cut-out window in the back and the feeding tray unclips easily for cleaning. There’s a little section for water too. I bought two last year and the birds have loved visiting them – and I’ve enjoyed watching them feeding.
After all that ‘cooking’ I needed my own winter fuel this morning …
It’s still really cold here, although yesterday’s dusting of snow quickly melted. I’m just off for a good walk around the farm, with the collies. Flora’s in the pond enjoying a splash, so I’ve reclaimed my blog for today!
My next post will be my 400th and I think I may revisit some of the most popular topics from the past 4 years. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my last post – it’s so lovely to hear from you. Sometimes it feels a bit lonely, so do join in and have a chat.
Do you feed the garden birds? What’s your favourite winter fuel breakfast/lunch/dinner?
Keep warm and snug …