A gray day…

I woke up early this morning – minus a couple hour’s precious sleep – to the most horrendous leg cramp I have every experienced in my life. Hours later, it still hurts to walk.

I think it must be the result of all the bending and maneuvering I did yesterday when fortifying the new duck pen. I don’t know how long I worked on it, but it is about as secure as I can get it at this point. And I have the chewed up hands to show for it!

I think I did a good job. Noodle volunteered to test it, so I locked her inside and watched for signs of possible escape. There were none. The cats are all very curious…they can’t really climb on top of the thing because of all the holes in the wire…and why did I give them such a big tub to drink out of??? They think everything is for them.

And while the pen is ready, the duckies are not. They still are not fully feathered out and it’s too cold to let them get wet, especially outdoors. I think tomorrow will work, though, as it’s supposed to be in the 70s.

At least things are looking prettier. I took this yesterday when there was sun…


After refilling the duck’s food bowl, which was upside down and empty, TG&Y nearly choked themselves gobbling down their grain. Gyrtle managed to get a lump of it stuck in her craw…do ducks have craws?…and was in a bit of distress for a while.

In efforts to supply them with some more dietary options, I chopped up some leftover potato and half a banana for them and took it out just a bit ago. Turtle nibbled. Yoyo tasted. Gyrtie watched suspiciously from afar. When Turtle shook a tidbit out of her mouth and squeaked, they all looked at me like I was playing some kind of dirty joke on them. To emphasize her point, Turtle picked up a speck of green off the floor, dropped it and kindof pointed at it with her long nose as if to say, no…green, it’s green we like…see??…green!

So, I went out and picked them a bunch of greens. They liked those much better.

It appears I have picky ducks, as well as picky cats. Oh, goody.

Speaking of green…here is a bit of progress on Aubergine and Green


I have never quilted much, but the stitching so far has such a nice feel.

The stitching I did this morning has, so far, been the best part of my day. Although, I just finished making a pot of curry soup, so I am looking forward to that. I love a good curry.

Sometimes when I am working with thread, the stitches tattooed across the surface of the fabric feel like an echo. Sometimes I feel a wordless communication in what I am doing as the elements with which I am working blend together. It is a conversation… the cloth asking, the thread answering.

I suppose it is my challenge to express what needs to be said, even if I, too, do not have the words to express it.




Slow going…trouble focusing…

I say “slow going,” but really I’ve been doing a lot. It’s like adding one more thing to my plate (the ducks) has watered down the amount of time I spend elsewhere.

It’s actually a good thing.

But now Spring is here, and I’m having trouble focusing. Yesterday was so beautiful, all I wanted to do was be outside. Since getting the ducks and warmer weather arriving, I have spent a lot more time outside.

Yesterday it was 90. Today it might be 70. We’re supposed to get rain…tomorrow? That would be great. We need a good soak.

See? Trouble focusing…anyway…

This was 3 weeks ago:


I can’t even remember them being that little.

This is today:


My, how they’ve grown…and fast! They are now as tall as their water container. (Which reminds me…they need a newer more duck friendly one…another thing to do today.)

Here is their new pen…


It is not as big as I had hoped, but it was free, procured from H’s parents. It used to be their dog’s, who passed away last year. H was grumpy when he brought it home. It was, apparently, covered and tangled in weeds. And, it was hot outside. AND, before they could go get it, he had to wait 30 minutes while his dad put on his shoes…And then the truck’s battery was dead. Haha…poor H. But I do appreciate the pen.

A pen means duckies can go play outside. It means they can get used to being outside and being around cats and the cats can get squirted with vinegar and told NO! when they get too curious…so they also get used to being around ducks and understanding they are not prey.

And, as we have many predators…hawks, foxes…and I heard an owl screeching way too close for comfort last night…it is my job today to wrap the pen in chicken wire to assist in keeping predators OUT.

I am not actually looking forward to this. However, it must be done.

On the stitching front, I have managed to get some work done on a log cabin block…


And here’s Prairie Girl on Path…







Have photos…will share…

I am realizing how photo-driven my posts are.


Sometimes I find it hard to get started writing without one.


When I wrote for the newspaper for 6 or 7 years, I was a Copy Queen. That means I could churn out copy, i.e. news stories, like crazy. It’s also why I got burned out, but that’s another story.

I also happened to be an excellent photo journalist. I could tell stories with my photos. Even years after leaving that job I would hear once in a while how that newspaper never had a better photographer.

I am hoping that talent for photography will one day transfer here. The trouble is…taking pics with cell phones and ipads. It’s just different than holding a real camera in your hands, harder to tell a story. I’ve put out vibes for a real, inexpensive, perhaps older, unwanted, in great condition, used digital camera with a lens. Do you think one exists? Of course the older cameras had a delay that used to drive me crazy. That seems a bit weeded out with the newer ones, at least on cell phones. A split second can make a big difference.

Here’s a little doodling I did using the ipad:

I am finding it really helpful to draw before stitching.

In other news, I told H the other night I wanted one of these:


I mean, really, who could resist? Yes, it’s a Great Pyrenees. Yes, it will be well over 100 lbs. Yes, I know we live in town and already have too many pets.

H nearly fainted.

Well, that’s overstating it a bit. He merely had a major panic attack. He’s barely gotten used to the idea of the ducks.

Speaking of…TG&Y have a new pond! Here’s the old pond on the right compared to the new pond on the left.


Check out Turtle’s (or is that Gyrtle’s) crazy underwater maneuver!

See how big they’ve gotten? They outgrew the blue pond in two days. Really, they are already sized for a baby pool, but that will require me moving them outdoors…and I’m not quite at that stage yet.


They LOVE being able to submerge themselves in water. I hadn’t realized that about ducks, that they loved swimming under water so much, as opposed to just paddling on top of it. My favorite is when there is grass in there and Yoyo goes under and comes up with leaves all over his head. It’s adorable.

Playing with the ducks is a lot of fun. Even Noodle wants in on the duck action.


This is the view I have of her at least a few times whenever I am in there. Noodle – the pesterer of all pesterers – is NOT allowed. But she tries, oh, how she tries.

It’s sunny and warm here finally. I’m headed outdoors to dig up unwanted saplings growing along the fence line. I hope you all are having a wonderful sunny day.


Cold again…

It was cold again today. Too cold for me to want to do much of anything outside.

Which is just as well, because I had a lot to do inside.

All I wanted to do was sit and stitch, but that didn’t happen for quite a while.

Dyed items turned out ok. I like violet.



I stuck those bits and pieces in after dyeing my Coldwater Creek jacket. The jacket dyeing was mostly a success. It’s certainly not orange any more.


Here are both versions so you can compare.

When you look up close you can see how they dye is mottled and did not spread evenly. I think I’m ok with that. I like mottled things. If it bothers me, I’ll try dyeing it again.

A new Prairie Girl emerged yesterday.


I quite like her.

A lot more stitching has been done on this one, but I will save that for next week.

The first dandelion made an appearance today.

And the duck’s tails are starting to feather out.

Lots of emerging…

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.






Wind and wondering…

The boring computer work of the day is over. Now I can get onto other, more fun things…

Like, how I’ve been wondering lately, ever since I got them, really, just what kind of ducks are these?


I have narrowed it down to two options: Indian Runners or Khaki Campbells.

On a backyard chickens site I was reading a woman posted pictures of ducklings that look just like these. She had purchased them from the same chain store I had and was wondering what breed they were. Most people guessed Khaki Campbells. Later she reported they turned out to be Indian Runners. I would be happy with either one, as both have their strong suits.

Indian Runners stand very upright and have tiny wings so they can’t fly. This would be great…no duck chasing! And no wing clipping. They are good egg layers and are on the quiet side. Indian Runners are also very sweet-natured.

Khaki Campbells are beautiful ducks. When mature they have a lovely soft tan coat…do you say coat with ducks? Anyway, they are gorgeous and I have always loved them. Also, they are one of THE BEST egg layers…which is really what I’m after. Of course, with the khakis, I will have to clip wings. That’s ok, I’ve done it before. I used to help mom clip all the chicken wings when I was little. Of course, I wondered why they could still fly after she had clipped them. Now I know it’s because she did it wrong! I will do better.

Here’s a web photo of the khakis.


I’ve always admired that emerald green of the drakes combined with that taupe.

Yesterday was art class day. The class is turning out to be an introduction to many forms of drawing. I would have preferred one focused on pencil drawing, but go with the flow, right? I’m just hoping some of what I’m learning will translate to fabric, as that is my main focus.

Here are a couple of yesterday’s efforts where we brushed with ink.



Overall, it was a fun experiment, although I never feel like I know what I’m doing.

I have the same feeling working with cloth most days.

I did manage to get a border on this log cabin piece. Finding background cloths is so challenging for me. I’m not really sure why.


I’m also feeling afraid to do any more stitching…I don’t want to mess it up. I love that messy moon, how it seems to ooze color splotches to the right. I want to accentuate that, but how? I sketched out some ideas. If I work up the nerve, I will try some.

Weather has been windy windy windy. Every day, wind! It is so windy and dry the state is experiencing serious wildfires for the second year in a row. The fires are west of here, but the past few nights the air has been filled with the smell of wood smoke and the sky is hazy. One night there were wildfires in the west and tornado warnings very close to the north. That’s Kansas for you.

Time for me to go. It’s duckie bath time!


Calgon, take me away…

My bathtub is back.


It only took four days for me to realize having the duckies inside was NOT going to work long term. It did get them past the worst of the cold, I think. And I am more confident now about keeping them warm when the temps dip down, as the forecast (if it can be believed) indicates will happen at least a couple of nights this week. I still have some things to take out to them in Chicky’s shed, but for now they are dry, fed, watered and very warm.


As you can see, they’ve already grown. It’s quite amazing because every morning I could tell a difference in their size. In a day I had to go back to the larger water trough, as the smaller containers just weren’t working out. The large chick feeder also had to go. It was just too long and the duckies had the habit of going from food to water, food to water, food to water, so that the food was getting soaked and the water was, well, disgusting. I know the water will still be disgusting…ducks are messy…but I’m hoping keeping the food and water apart will slow them down a bit, give them a little of a journey so they exercise more (they are already tired of being cooped up in this tub and can you blame them?) and make less mess for me to clean up.

I know I can’t call them the duckies forever. I didn’t mean to name them. I didn’t want to name them. But, I ended up naming them, pretty much on the first day. Like most small things, anything can happen to them and I didn’t want to get attached by naming them, but, too late, it happened automatically.

When I thought of potential names, an old store that used to be here when I was a kid in the 70s popped into my mind. TG&Y it was called. Its nickname was “Turtles, Girdles and Yoyos” because you could get just about anything you were looking for there. I like the nickname and used it as an idea for naming the duckies. They are now: Myrtle, Gyrtle and Yoyo. (Turtle just wasn’t working for me.)


Now that MG&Y are back in the shed, we will see each other less. To make up for the time away and to keep them used to me (hopefully) I decided to spend a little time every day reading to them. I’m not much of a talker, but I can read. Today they got to hear about crushing grapes at Cecelia’s place. They settled right down, snuggling into their grass and pine chips for story time. Yoyo (the one with the yellow band around its neck who I suspect may be a drake/boy) even fell asleep.

While in the shed I noticed the Asian lady bugs that wintered over there were up and swarming, trying to find their way out.


I could have opened the window for them, but why deny MG&Y the fun? They love pecking at bugs. Maybe they will even eat a few.

On the sewing front, I had some fun with In Nature this weekend. I started adding lace…and couldn’t stop.

While playing with lace I was reminded of another time when I got to play with lace. I stopped by the home of a wedding dress maker I knew, back many moons ago when I was a 20-something and worked at Hancock Fabrics in Texas. This lady would come in and buy yards and yards of brilliant white satin for the gowns she made for new brides.

This night when I stopped by her house – it was so long ago I don’t remember why or even what her name was…Anne, I think – she was working on a dress and, so she said, wasn’t getting anywhere and what did I think. I looked at the lace pieces she had scattered about and began placing them in a dramatic yet orderly fashion. There was a lot of lace as it was a huge train she was attempting to decorate. When I was finished with my masterpiece, Anne said that looks great and thanks that really helped. I’m sure she was just being polite and had her own vision firmly in place, but it really was a lot of fun.

I really loved all these pieces surrounding the center square…and left them for a day or so just to enjoy them.

I was surprised how nicely the purple worked.

In the end, I decided to go with this one, although it’s not stitched on yet.


We’ll see. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

P.S. H knows now. Nothing I do really surprises him any more.

What the tea did…

Here are the bits I tea-soaked yesterday…


I put samples of the originals next to the tea-dyed ones. Pretty dramatic change on the blues…not so much on the yellow and white piece. Hardly anything at all on the tatted flowers. You never know…

I’ve been trying out some ideas on In Nature…

Last night I got it basted to the larger cloths, both of which were also tea-dyed yesterday. I actually stitched on the wrong side of the white one…shhhhh…don’t tell anybody.

I really like that green silk. Is it obvious?

My ipad has a nice drawing feature. I know, it’s taking me forever to learn how to use that thing.

Idea one:


Idea two:


What do you think?

Ok, I’m trying to write the rest of this surreptitiously. I’ve got the screen shrunk down to a small square because…H still doesn’t know. He’s busy getting ready for an event he’s working tonight. So, I’m typing bits here and there when he’s out of the room. It’s not that I’m trying to keep the ducklings a secret at this point. I’m more interested in seeing how long it takes before he notices.

I’ve officially kept them alive for two days now. It’s also clear to me that they’ve already grown.


This is bath time. They love it, of course…like a duck to water and all that…I throw in bits of grass for them to nibble on. The water was a little deeper today so they could actually do a half swim scoot through it. It’s really impressive how fast they can move.


The plate is there so they can get out of the water and rest if they want to. Ducklings can get tired quickly…they can also drown. So, bath time is supervised closely.

While the duckies are having a bath, I’m busy cleaning their tub, which is in my bathtub. Still not real thrilled about that one, but it has to do for now.


How do you like that fancy watering system? It actually works great. Until they have a bigger space and I can use the gallon size one I bought, these will be fine. You have to be careful not to cut the hole too large, otherwise they will climb in. A couple of them have already tried.


I did just have the small container, but I added two more. One is on the end towards you in this picture. Now that they have 3 watering holes the entire tub is now soaking wet, instead of just one corner. Oh goody. That means more to clean up. Keeping them supplied with water is very important, but I am now rethinking that 3rd container.

I also realized today I did jump the gun on getting these guys. If H gets offered the job we will be traveling to check things out and likely gone for several days. If our friend has time to keep an eye on things for us like he did last time, all will be well. If not, we will have to rely on family, which would be both fine and also a worst-case scenario. Maybe the duckies will be going with us. I’m only half kidding. Either way, if he doesn’t find out on his own, H will have to be let in on the secret soon…

On the plus side, I highly recommend the experience of owning ducks and/or chickens. Watching them, I can literally feel my blood pressure going down. It is so relaxing. Today I asked them Are you having fun? They all stood up straight, flapped their tiny wings, peeped at the top of their tiny lungs and ran around the tub like lunatics.

It was great.

I’ll tell H soon. He wouldn’t want to miss this.