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 …
10/10/2012 § 1 Comment
As I stirred my porridge this morning and looked out of the window, a golden glow seemed to cast a magic spell over the sleepy, still garden.
Golden confetti floats from our garden birch, with every breath of a breeze, but all was eerily, completely still as the grey morning light rose to greet the day. There was quacking from the henhouse, of course. The moment the back door opens and the collies stream out in a ripple of black and white to investigate the cat-smells and night visitors to the garden, Flora – from within her safe little house, starts quacking and hurling herself at the door, to be let out and have a flap!
This morning, Belle was waiting at the end of her ramp, for an early morning kiss …
‘Her Quackiness’ is now, pecking at the back door, with Misty’s nose pressed menacingly against the glass (from the other side)! Misty and Flora don’t have quite such a lovey-ducky relationship.
What a difference from that little duckling who travelled home with us, from Cornwall, a year and a half ago …
Enjoy Autumn, in all her glory.
There are lots of other posts too – have a look in the Claws & Paws category.
30/09/2012 § Leave a comment
We’ve been out and about – jaunting!
I love that word – a bumble-along through the countryside avoiding major roads, through English villages and country towns, past meadows of well-rounded sheep and cattle and grazing ponies, alongside woods with trees just darkening their greens and turning to russet shades almost before our eyes, behind busy tractors with fresh soil clinging to harrows and ploughs.
The destination is important – and yesterday, it was right up there with my favourite places ever – the city of Bath!
I had a bit of time to myself, after we arrived, to visit 3 of my favourite shops –
Grasse (I returned home with another little duck, this time in stone)!
Wool (you can guess what I treated myself to in here)!
Country Threads (limited myself to a few half-metres of amazing fabrics – what a choice)!
We had a quick coffee in the indoor market, gazed over at the Weirs and a pleasure boat carrying out a difficult turning manoeuvre which left the stern perilously close to the first waterfall (they were attached by a rope to the shore, but it looked exciting), I dashed hither and thither (Himself wasn’t up to dashing about and had more coffee + a sit down), and then we had lunch.
It was a late lunch – we were joined by our youngest who you may remember moved to Bristol a few weeks ago. We met up at a brilliant Italian restaurant which doesn’t appear to have a website that I can link to – I think they may have just changed their name. Anyway, excellent food (J had a super steak), great atmosphere and many tales of what he’s up to in his new home (probably an abridged version, but that’s just fine, he looked well) and a catch up with our news of home, collies and Flora (who wasn’t that impressed by Ducky, when introduced later in the day)! Gosh she’s about 3 times the size of Ducky who’s quite a chunky Mallard-sized stone specimen, himself!
Flora’s going through one of her ‘independent’ stages – sometimes she’s quite cuddly and affectionate, but these past few weeks she marches about, quacking loudly and refuses to be cuddled without protesting. I would never have imagined that keeping a pet duck could be so absorbingly interesting – and amusing.
One of my favourite things about Bath is that all my favourite places & shops are still there (since this well-documented visit last year) – I didn’t have time in a day to jaunt absolutely everywhere, as I do on weekend visits, but it was a wonderful day out and we were welcomed home by dozy, warm dogs (they sleep a lot when we’re out) and Flora quacking and a-tapping on the back door!
Ah – I need today (Sunday) to recover and reflect on that lovely day out and put Ducky into his ‘place’ on the patio, alongside a stone planter with my lucky horseshoe and pebbles!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
PS – more photos of Bath in this post Looking Up
23/03/2012 § 2 Comments
“… describe yourself!”
“Yeah – you!”
“Well – I dunno. What a daft question! Why d’you want to know, anyway?”
“OK – let’s try another one. In three words, what have you been doing this week?”
“That’s easy – I’ve been to the ART MARKET, I’ve been TAKING PHOTOS in the garden and I’ve been RIPPLING.”
“Have I passed the Three Word test?”
“OK, you’ve passed.”
“Why do you want to know?”
“No reason, just being nosey, I guess!”
It’s been a busy, busy week but I’ve managed to squeeze in some lovely time in the garden and treated myself to another tree! Yes, a Silver Birch for £4 from Tesco! It’s more of a twig than a tree, although the bamboo pole that was attached was quite tree-like! I’ve planted it in a pot and hope that it does well.
I think I may have mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve finally got the hang of crocheting the Ripple pattern. Now, I’m off and there’s no holding back. This is week 2 and I’m topping 20 rows. I’m working it in Drops Karisma, mainly although I’m not being too fussy if a pure wool from a different stable takes my fancy. I can see why people get ‘hooked’ on rippling!
Anyway, in three words – what have you been doing this week?
It’s easy, simply choose 3 happy things and all the boring bits just melt away!
Enjoy your weekend – I’m off to the Country Living Fair with my daughter tomorrow and I CAN’T WAIT!
05/02/2012 § 7 Comments
“What’s this? My little world’s all white …”
Mrs Quacky usually hurls herself at the door, as I approach and protests loudly until her freedom is granted. But this morning, it took her a full 5 minutes of peeking out at the strange white world, before venturing down the ramp …
Don’t know how I managed not to shake, I was chuckling so much this morning! I love the way that animals (and ducks) are so direct in what they do. You could hear the cogs turning in Flora’s birdy brain this morning when she encountered snow for the first time. She needed much encouragement to venture out of her safe little house and down the ramp. I love the way she looked back at her footprints!
There’s very little snow really, just a dusting. Last night I was over-excited at the prospect of a white world – I absolutely love snow! Couldn’t sleep ‘cos it was like daylight out there – it didn’t get dark at all. The sky was pale grey at 1 am – don’t know about later ‘cos I did drift off after another few rows of crochet! I lit all the candles and put on all the twinkling lights …
I ventured outside for just one photo in the dark …
and then kissed the collies, before I turned in myself …
Enjoy the snow …
02/02/2012 § Leave a comment
So it’s a good thing that some of us can spend the best part of the day with our feet up on the sofa,
warm and snuggly on a patchwork quilt …
or on a warm rug, just waiting for that blanket to drape over Missus’ lap
and keep our ears warm!
Belle & Misty love a warm house when it’s freezing outside. And boy, is it freezing outside?
I reckon the troika scenes on my Russian lacquer boxes are not so far removed from reality!
Minus 26 degrees in Moscow – seriously brrrrrrrr!
The boxes appear when it first feels like winter and share our low side table with candles, Russian pottery bunnies and Stargazer, by Dawn Benson – here, catching the first rays of the winter sun through the window. They’ll stay out until Spring has officially arrived!
Meanwhile, on the patio …
Flora continues to eye up the watering can as a potential mate!
I can sort of see that the shape of it is similar to a handsome drake!
She just loves this thing and flirts outrageously with it, especially first thing in the morning.
Stay warm – it’s really cold outside!
31/01/2012 § Leave a comment
The old garden bench would have done you proud this afternoon, when the last few rays of winter sunshine appeared and sent a warm glow across the frozen garden …
Homespun patchwork cushions and a couple of crochet blankets that I made yonks ago! Wish I could find the pattern for the aran one on the bench seat – think it was in a Phildar book circa 1980 and meant to be a bedspread, made from crochet cotton! It’s a super pattern and it’s my favourite old blanket from the back of the sofa, frequently brought into use to keep my knees warm (like Grandma)! Unless I’m crocheting something that already covers them, of course – I do get chilly knees! I wonder if the Queen gets chilly knees? She often has a blanket over them when she’s out and about! Maybe it’s a blue blood thing – my grandmother had airs and graces!
The cushions are all free-motion quilted on the patchwork side, with beautiful thick weave cotton backs. I haven’t made a stripey patchwork cushions before, but I love these – they were great fun to make.
I’ve been wanting to design something with birdies for a while too …
There must be trillions of designs with birdies in birdcages going on at the moment, but these two are obviously in love! She has a frilly tail and his crest has gone all bananas and twirly! Always love a boy with curls! They can of course fly away through the open bars, but they’re all caught up in their little dome home with a heart on top!
I’m just putting the finishing touches to a few purses and then everything will be labelled and packed up ready for the trip to the Monteagle Gallery on Friday afternoon.
If you’re anywhere near Yateley, Hants, then do pop in and have a look.
Enjoy that bit of sunshine, if it’s in your garden, but don’t take your hat and coat off – it’s freezing out there!
PS Flora is just chasing a blackbird and a pigeon on the patio – it’s SO funny! The blackbird is pecking at an apple that I threw out and the pigeon is clearing up Flora’s lunchtime feed scraps. I don’t know whether she’s feeling amorous or territorial, but she waddles purposefully towards them and looks mystified when they fly off!
27/01/2012 § 6 Comments
Maybe it’s because there’s a chill in the air …
would that explain my sudden desire to crochet?
Or could it be this most delicious collection of yarn, that’s got me in the mood?
Last October, or thereabouts, I happened across Getting Stitched on the Farm – Kristin Nicholas’ blog. I was hooked (excuse the pun) and am a regular visitor, sharing in the highs and lows of farming life in Massachusetts. On this particular day, the very first time I visited, Kristen’s yarn Julia – a heady mix of wool, alpaca and mohair – had just been discontinued and was being offered for sale at a discount from Webs.
Now, anyone who’s anyone from over-the-pond will doubtless be familiar with Webs, but I had to know more! There I found the yarn, in glorious technicolour, the colours made me swoon! It was cheaper to buy it and get it shipped than it was to buy the equivalent yardage from a local store.
I purchased a box full and could hardly contain my excitement when it arrived (despite having to pay the import duty which I wasn’t expecting)! Then, in December, my great friend who lives in NY popped over for a visit and brought me some more for my collection!
I’ve uummmm’d and aarrrrgh’d over what to make and a while ago I settled on my pattern …
My original choice of colours included a vivid scarlet and a couple of others, but this stuff was selling out as I was clicking on my basket!
I’m making a blanket – for me, well us – the family! It’s my Gypsy Blanket – those hot, tangy hues are full of character and charm.
I’ve been hooking away in quiet moments now and then, but want this to be a gentle make. No deadlines to meet, or market date for this one. I’ve put together 36 squares but I’m thinking I may stop there and work outwards with a border, to give maximum drape. What do you think?
As usual, when in doubt, I dug out one of my crochet books …
I love this book and use it as a reference so often. The projects actually interest me less than the stitch library. I think I’ve settled for this stitch …
a textured tweed that requires little brain power and will enable me to interlock colours all around instead of simply working in stripey rows. What do you think?
Have you used this stitch?
Will it drape well? Let me know your thoughts.
Now, I’m off to walk the dogs, dodging the downpours, hopefully! What happened to the glorious sunshine from this morning when I was still in work?
Note to self … must get on with planning early retirement!
Enjoy your weekend …
Flora’s loving the rain!
PS Just added in the link to Webs yarnstore, in the US.
03/01/2012 § 2 Comments
that made me smile today, despite all the wind and the rain …
It was so dark that I had to keep the lamps on in the kitchen until well after breakfast this morning. My first joy of the day though is the smell of hyacinths in the kitchen. They’re blooming next to Quackers – a birthday present from a very good friend – as he sits on top of the bowl of fresh eggs. (Smile No 1)
Flora took refuge under a large shrub for most of the morning in the downpours, but by this afternoon when I came home from work, the skies were blue, with wispy clouds skudding across. Quacking greeted me as she waddled up the garden to meet me – lore’ love-a-duck! (Smile No 2)
Daffodils – my country’s emblem flower – remind me of my home in Wales. (Smile No 3)
Happy Days …
06/12/2011 § 3 Comments
and much flapping …
Flora got fed up being photographed on the garden bench!
“There’s good long grass with lots of lovely bugs, just waiting for me to gobble them up. I’ve been here for 30 seconds and I’m off.”
In a flap, she landed and, because Flora can’t actually fly (too fat), she bumped her chin! Then straight into Hyper Waddle, all the way back to the apple tree, to scourge the grass for tasty bugs!
Just before she flapped off though …
We had a little chat about what I was doing with the clicky-thing and whether I was really going to make her a headscarf, to wear on Christmas day! We love our clucky chats, but I think that Flora loves bugs-in-the-grass more …
She’s still laying eggs (and hiding them around the garden in secret nests) and a couple, fried on top of crisp toast, were just the ticket for C who popped in on her way back up North. It was lovely to see my great friend, over from the States yesterday, too. We shared an evening of catch-up, long overdue, and I went home from my favourite Brasserie Blanc with a warm glow – tasty food, great company and shared stories about sewing machines and quilting!
Back to the sewing machine(s) now, to replenish stock for this weekend’s fairs (yes, it’s plural) …
Saturday in Alton – Craft Market & Farmers Market
Sunday in Winchester – Special Christmas Market & Farmers Market
Much sewing to be done,
Friends, family and fun …