It's now Day 3 for the Q Crew and they are obviously feeling quite at home in their walled in resort playpen.
Apparently ducks live a quite simple life.
They eat. They drink. They sleep. They poop and then jump in the pond. Then, they start the process all over again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
We're still taking pix through windows so it's hard to get good clear up close and personal shots.
Ashley took some this morning and I thought I'd share a few of the little fluff and fuzz balls.
Isn't this one absolutely adorable? Looks like he/she is getting ready to attack the lily blossom :).
The little tykes are getting adventurous and brave enough to hop in the pond without Mama...she quietly sits on the warm rocks surrounding the pond and lets them splash and skid through the water. They LOVE it!
Of course, once out of the pond, they are ravenous. Ashley has been mixing up some duck starter a couple of times a day and they really get into their food...sometimes, quite literally. Nothing like standing right in the mushy stuff to make sure you get your fair share!
Mama has been taking them on short excursions around the yard...nothing too far from the food and the nest, though.
She actually let me water the yard today without any hissing...just a few little quacks to the ducklings to tell them to gather 'round. Believe it or not, they listen. Maybe she could share her secret with some of the moms who bring their kids to my local Costco :).
OK, gotta go now...will update when they do some new stuff.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, egads...IT IS A DUCK!!!!!
Since it's been a while since I posted, let's rewind back to March.
One morning, I looked out the back window by my studio table and much to my surprise, there was a duck! She was swimming in the pond like she owned the place. Knowing that it was spring and that spring meant a nest and eggs and that eggs eventually meant more ducks, we gently shooed her out of the yard and back to the canal behind our house.
We figured that we had the situation handled when she didn't come back the next day.
But...the following day, she was back!
Again, I fluttered my hands at her and she flew away, quacking at me the whole time :).
This time, she stayed away for a few days...but there must have been something about our yard that drew her back.
Sorry little duck...find another spot for your nest.
Fast forward to Easter Morning. We headed off to church pretty early on Sunday morning...a gorgeous day, a great service...home to have some hand dyed Easter eggs for breakfast.
We headed outside to check what was happening in the yard and lo and behold, look what she left for us! An honest to goodness Easter egg!
OK, we got the message. She was there to stay and really...an egg on Easter Sunday? It had to be some kind of sign.
We named her Mrs. Q (for Mrs. Quacker) and decided that this whole duckling thing was going to be quite an adventure.
She began coming to the yard and laying an egg in her nest under the bench each day. Once the egg was laid, she would take off back to the "guys" waiting on the other side of the wall. What's funny is that a couple of times, she saw us walking along the canal and would slip into the yard while we were gone. Smart little thing.
She's one of the prettiest mallard ducks we've seen with striking markings around the eyes.
Of course, we googled anything and everything about wild ducks laying and nesting habits, as well as what we could expect as far as hatching. The word was that once she started sitting on the nest (that's after all of the eggs in the clutch have been laid) it would take anywhere from 28 to 30 days for the ducklings to hatch out.
We wondered how she was going to react to the patio filled with women during the April 6th workshop. She did great...popped out for a few hours in the afternoon to eat and rehydrate herself...and then came back to do her job.
We've been like expectant grandparents...counting the days, getting out extra water bowls for the ducklings, putting a grate on the pond skimmer, etc., etc.
Yesterday, Mrs. Q was restless. Yesterday was day 28. Yesterday, we were watchful.
Late afternoon, our watchfulness was rewarded when we started seeing little duck heads popping out from under Mama Q. Oh what a funny sight, both inside the house (all of us with binoculars looking through the blinds so as not to spook her and the ducklings) and outside (with the little squirts hopping around, drying themselves and rubbing against their mama to cover themselves with oil). After they were dry, she spread her wings, covered all of them and went to sleep.
This morning, she kept them pretty quiet until it started getting warm out. They hopped out from under her, started scooting around a bit, then went back into the nest. Next, she walked them over to the water dish and showed them how to take a drink.
I started mixing pancake batter for breakfast and then happened to look outside. In the few minutes I was away, she managed to hop into the pond and every last of of them (there are 10!!!!!) followed her in. Thankfully, they are all swimmers!
I snapped a couple of pictures of them from inside the house, looking through the slats of the blinds...not the greatest picture but at least you can see them in all of their cuteness! They are fairly large, healthy and really vigorous. She showed them how to pick at the lily pads to find snails and algae...they are definitely fast learners. I was telling Vern about how smart our ducklings were...and then had to laugh. I told him that I sounded like a proud grandma :))).
Here's Mama Q with her brood.
After about an hour of splashing, swimming and scooting across the lily pads, she showed them how to get out. Every last one of them jumped from one of the plant pots to the moss rock pond surround. She showed them how to shake and spread wings to dry off, then nestled them under her for a little sun bath. Once they warmed up, she put them in the nest for a few minutes.
Next, she took them exploring around the yard. Apparently, while I was uploading the pix and blogging, she even traipsed across the patio right by the back door, with 10 ducklings in a row behind her. Wish I would have seen that.
They're back in the pond.
It's going to be a blast watching them grow up. We'll have them for about the next 50 days until they learn how to fly. We've got some special feed for them to make sure they all get enough food and of course, swimming is a piece of cake for them in their water playpen :).
OK, off to see what's happening with Mrs. Q and the "Q Crew".
Back later with updates.
Looking for something in an overcrowded closet can produce some interesting, unexpected, and even eye popping finds.
Take, for example, what happened last week.
My hubby misplaced an article of clothing and, being a loving and supportive wife, I volunteered to search through our front entry closet for his missing jacket liner. If you saw how crowded my front closet is (and why do we need so many jackets/coats in a warm desert climate, anyway? :)), you would agree that I'd have to be a loving and supportive wife to offer to do this!
So, piece by piece, I pulled out the jackets and vests and plopped them on the sofa. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right! When you have so much stuff in one place, it's easy for something like a vest to get sandwiched between a couple of jackets...and really easy for it to be missed.
Well, I came pretty close to emptying out the closet when l came upon this find...words cannot adequately describe it so I'll just show you a picture.
Here's Ella, sporting my find from the past :)...
Hmmm...I ordered this? Really????
Eye-popping, bumblebee yellow fleece...sewn into a shirt jacket with pinking sheared edges. Oh, my! I had completely forgotten about this little lovely...
Of course I had to show off my find to Vern and Ashley. I held up the jacket to myself and, giggling, asked both of them if they could picture me wearing this. Both of them laughed and said that they definitely did not.
But, then Vern said something interesting. He commented that I used to dress more flamboyantly than I do now so he could see me wearing it back then, but not now. So that got me thinking.
Yes, I definitely dressed in a more showy fashion than I do now. Back in the days when I worked in a law firm, then an interior design firm, I wore the brights...cobalt blue, red, magenta, bright bumblebee yellow (together with black, no less :)), purple, etc. Shoes and purses to match were the norm. So, what happened?
Somewhere along the way, I adopted a style that is common among French women. Clothes that are more neutral in color and a more monochromatic palette is pretty descriptive of how I now dress. I like to think of it as a classic style.
I have to say that it makes life a lot easier...lots of black, blue jeans, linens in white and natural...not hard to figure out what to wear in the morning, really fast and easy when packing to travel, and definitely not worrying about whether the color I'm wearing is out (or running out to replace what I have with emerald, Pantone's new color of the year :)).
I guess it's not a great surprise that I tend toward the neutrals in the projects that I create...the latest round of "I Start, You Finish" albums definitely trended that way (with a bit of red added in, since I love red). And, it won't come as a surprise to the girls attending the sold out "Artful Hearts" workshop in February that their project will be done in a classic style...with a bit of deep, rich red here and there...my nod to a former flamboyant style.
So there you have it...the metamorphosis of Carol from flamboyant, to classic. And, all because of one closet cleaning.
And, no. I didn't find Vern's jacket liner. Maybe I'll attempt the front bedroom closet next. And that'll be a story for another day, for sure! :)
Last week, we said goodbye to our Little Missy, Bodie, our 14 year old Bouvier.
Life is really different without her. It's amazing how much of our lifestyle revolved around her needs and how embedded she was in our routines.
I still watch for her to show up in the kitchen at certain times...like when the bread Vern makes is about 20 minutes from being ready to be pulled out, or when I'm pulling out the squeaky veggie drawer in the fridge to get salad fixings (she loved bits of cucumber and crunchy lettuce pieces :)), or when we are making morning coffee and peanut butter toast (yes, we shared bits of peanut butter toast, too :)).
We knew it was time...but really, it's never a good time when they are such a vital part of your life.
This picture of Ashley and Bodie was taken in September 2009, her last long road trip, which was to Idaho.
We will treasure our memories of that special, sweet girl. There are so many of them...and so many of them still make us laugh and right now, make me cry.
She was totally unique and a perfect addition to our family. She will be greatly missed.
Last week, we got one of those dreaded phone calls. For those of you with aging parents, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about...that call that comes in on your cell at 4:45 a.m...that ring tone that just makes your heart sink.
Last Monday, we received word that Vern's mom, Lillian Wingert, had passed away and had gone to be with the Lord. We shouldn't have been surprised because Mom had faced some really tough times for years with her diabetes. In fact, we often referred to her as "the miracle lady" because she had survived against all odds. So, maybe what was going on was that the expectation was there that she would continue to be the miracle lady for quite a while. But, her time had come and God decided that she needed to come home.
Do you believe in coincidences?
Well here's an interesting one. Mom passed on on June 18th, which would have been Vern's Dad's 85th birthday (he passed away a couple of years ago). OK, I think that there was no coincidence there...that God has a great sense of humor (and timing) and that Dad wanted to share some heavenly birthday cake and ice cream with Mom on his special day :).
Over the years, I've heard women in my classes telling mother-in-law stories. Some of them are funny...some, not so much. I remember one class where the stories were coming on fast and furious and quite frankly, they weren't all that positive. One of the gals in the class asked me if I had some mother-in-law stories. I told her that I had tons of them...except that they were all good!
Sharing about Mom during her memorial service was something I just couldn't do without totally breaking down but I wanted to take a little time and write about her.
From the very beginning, when I first visited Vern's home during our college years, I was totally accepted. Mom made me feel right at home...in fact, I honestly don't remember ever going through an awkward transition from being a stranger to being the daughter-in-law. Mom's favorite place in the home was in the kitchen and though she initially turned down offers of help to cook, when she figured out that I really loved to cook and wanted to be a part of the meal process, she gave me things to do. It was during those times that I really got to know Mom.
She was really passionate about her family. Her husband and her "children" (she hated when people referred to them as "kids" :)) were her top priority for sure. Much time was spent in nourishing and feeding her family, in providing a clean and comfortable environment for them, and in tending her gorgeous flower gardens. Mom was also an avid shopper, loved to travel and was always game for new experiences and adventures.
She was a fairly quiet person, especially in large groups and most especially in her latter years, but she had high spirits and a great sense of adventure that very few people knew about. In fact, during her memorial service, the husband of her late best friend from high school and college days shared some really funny stories about the two girls that no one had known about. Hmmmm, the things that parents don't share :).
It was also really cool that Mom's three surviving children, Vern, Beth and Greg, all chose to speak at her service and pay tribute to her. I loved that each of them focused on different aspects of Mom...that each of them shared from their own perspective...and that the total picture of Mom was someone who lived her Christianity, who loved her husband, children and grandchildren, and who shared much by way of food and visitation time with her church community.
I just wanted to share a bit of Mom's life through a few pictures.
This was a really common sight to see when Mom and Dad were visiting. Not only did Mom read to each of her children, she spent countless hours reading to her grandchildren. I could always count on Dad and Mom to spend lots of time with Ashley when they came in from Pennsylvania to visit. If it wasn't reading, it was taking her to the park, or playing games for hours on end. I can distinctly remember Mom and Ashley playing Chutes and Ladders for hours and hours...Bingo was another favorite.
One of our favorite times together was when we took Mom and Dad to Chincoteague Island in Virginia for a long weekend. It was great seeing the wild ponies (Ashley was totally into the Misty and Stormy stage of her life), eating seafood (soft shelled crabs were in season, yum!), walking the beach, fishing for flounder, and of course, building sand castles. Mom talked about that weekend for years...she must have enjoyed it as much as we did.
Vern with Mom after Dad's memorial service. Mom was a gracious lady. You could count on her expressing gratitude through her many thank you notes, written until her eyesight had gotten poor. She loved writing letters and staying in touch. She also never missed a trick. When she'd come to visit, inevitably she would zone right in on something that hadn't been there the last time she was...with a little comment like "is that something new?". Sharp...right to the end :).
I loved my mother-in-law. I learned lots from her, including the gracious art of accepting people for who they were. My life is better for having known her.
Mom is in a better place. She's reunited with her husband (her memorial service was held on what would have been their 60th anniversary) and with the daughter she lost when Cheryl was only 25. I am grateful that Mom was a part of my life.
Her children and 2 of her grandchildren (Michael was unable to be there) before heading to the airport on Saturday.
Mom will be missed...but never forgotten.
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
If I could have bottled up the enthusiasm resonating from the workshop group on Saturday, there would be a long line of people wanting to buy a bottle...guaranteed.
First of all, you can't even say the word "Betwinchie" without smiling.
Then, creating little miniatures usually gets most of us pretty excited...nothing like trial size, right?
Finally, ending up with a very cool, usable project to display or to give as a gift is really the icing on the cupcake!
Apparently Betwinchies are high on the list of Christmas gifts this year. The bigger the canvas, the more the recipient is liked :). Of course, the converse would apply as well.
I kept the group small, which is great for a project that involves spreading around a lot of pieces.
It's always so much fun for me to see creativity unleased among the workshop attendees...totally made me grin to see the direction each person was taking with their boards. I've gotten pictures of completed projects from three of the ladies...they are AWESOME!
Ashley whipped up a fabulous lunch of chicken salad in bibb lettuce bowls, her specialty gourmet mac and cheese, a garden salad, chocolate chip cookies and berries with whipped cream...needless to say, we didn't go hungry.
Be on the lookout for future workshops...never quite sure when one may be announced :).
In the meantime, I made a few extra Betwinchie Canvas Storyboard kits...just in case you're interested. The instructions are designed for people who attended the workshop, but I've got large pictures of the mini squares for you to view. The kit includes the canvas, vintage rusty knob, wood accent pieces, papers and lots of embellishments (more than what's on my actual sample). There's also a beautiful white washed display easel included.
Kits are available for $87, plus shipping. There are just a few available...
Click on the Buy Now button below to place your order.
To a couple of very special moms, my mom and Vern's mom, Happy Mother's Day and a huge thanks for the investment of time, the instilling of values and the sacrifices you made for us. Love you both!
If you're a mother, wishing you a happy day! Hope you have a chance to spend time with your brood.
Gotta run. I'm smelling griddlecakes...compliments of Ashley. Yummmmm!