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Happy Spring!

Spring is here, and it feels more like the beginning of a new year for us than New Year’s Day did.

It’s so nice to hear the birds singing and see the daffodil, narcissus, and crocus flowers all opening.

The kitties are asking to go outside to explore,

and to take baths in the sunshine.

The ducks have come back up the hill, after spending the winter on the pond.

And I…I am at the Apple Store, almost every day, taking classes!

I even beat the Easter Bunny there on Saturday.

You know you’re up early when you beat the Easter Bunny to work.

One more day, hopefully, and we will start our new adventure, with a new computer, new software, and soon, a new blogging platform. I’ve held off on switching to WordPress until we switch to the Mac. Pretty exciting.

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Slugging away

I’ve been having a little rush on “Hug Me! Slugs” this week. These are just some of the ones I am working on. There are others, in boxes, on the ironing board, on the extra table. They’re taking over my workroom right now. Poor little Sarah, my older sewing machine, is having to stand in for my Platinum, which is in the shop for repair. The man who does the repairs thought the feed dogs might have gotten accidentally tugged out of place, a minor repair, hopefully. I think Sarah will have to go in to be serviced next, with all the fuzzy stuff collecting inside of her.

Fall finally feels like it has arrived. The leaves are turning color, and it’s slightly chilly…sometimes. It seems warm compared to NY state. It feels just right to me.

Even though Mr. Duck’s leg has healed, the ducks still come asking for cracked corn treats. We give them a little bit, just to encourage them to forage on this side of the pond and not wander toward the roads in the other direction. It’s not as nutritious for them as what they can find on their own, and you have to make sure none is left on the ground, because mold is dangerous for ducks. But they get very excited about it. I can’t believe the duckling is so big now. That’s him (or her) in front, on the left. Mama duck is watching me. She’s got her baby quacking at me now too. They are a funny bunch.

We cleaned out our flower bed out front, and this little anole has been enjoying the warmth of our solar lamps, which are now exposed more to the sun. He was sitting there sunning himself for a long time. I think I will follow his example, and sit out on the porch with some hand sewing.

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So many things to be inspired by today

I came out on the porch this morning, and realized I’ve been taking these pretty morning glories for granted. I went back in an grabbed my camera.

The morning glories have been blooming here since we moved in, and we’ve never planted any new ones.

I love to see what flowers look like from behind. You never see those views in the garden books. The sun is shining through this one.

I had another custom “Name your own slug” order, and I noticed I didn’t have all that many pinks or purples in my fabric stash. Well, now I do! Hehe. I just ironed all of these.

I had some trouble finding pinks I liked. The last place we stopped was at my favorite Raleigh quilt shop, Carolina Sew-n-Vac, and they had plenty of pinks. Yay! When we got to the counter, the couple who owns the shop started joking about how he tells her she buys too much pink. She was happy to hear she’d filled a need. She told us to tell everyone she has pink!

I added some pink, purple, and blue to my embroidery floss collection too. I’ve been trying to sort my fabric and my floss by color so I can keep better track of what I have. Before I did that, I kept thinking I was short on yellow fabric, and then I’d buy more yellow fabric. After a while, I wasn’t short on yellow fabric, but I had no idea. Having everything organized by color makes coordinating fabrics for projects much easier too.

I picked up some more yarn and socks as well. I must be ready for anything now. I get excited just looking at all these supplies.

And with perfect timing, just after I amassed my new pile of socks, Stray Sock Sewing Too: More Super-cute Softies to Make and Love by Daniel, arrived in the mail. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard it was coming out, because I love his first Stray Sock Sewing: Making One-of-a-kind Creatures from Socks book. I got mine on sale from Crafter’s Choice book club.

Both books are adorable. The dolls, the photography by Liao Chia Wei, and the narratives in each are clever, sweet, and charming. Even if you don’t sew, it’s just so much fun to look at them. I can imagine children would enjoy them also. But if you do sew…there are great tips in each one. This new book has instructions for fourteen new sock creatures, and I can see any one of them as such a nice handmade gift. The instructions don’t require the use of a sewing machine either.

Most of all, for me, they are full of wonderful stepping off points to create my own creatures. I find once I try one technique, before I am even finished with a doll, I have tried something else that came to mind. There is so much room for being creative with these.

In other creature news, this is a meeting of Ducks Against Pills. Some time around Labor Day weekend, Mr Duck decided he’d about had enough of antibiotics. What a challenge! I had a terrible time trying to catch him, falling gracelessly to the ground, nearly hitting my head on the fence, very humiliating! Ha! I did my best and we did manage to get that last pill in him. For his part, he did plenty of wiggling and spitting his pill out. I noticed someone came over to the blog looking for directions on how to give a duck a pill. An avian vet is the best at showing you how to do it, and of course, you wouldn’t want to give medication to any animal without consulting a vet first anyway. It’s a lot like giving a pill to a cat, only you really need to wrap the duck’s body carefully in a towel first. Their beaks open just like your cat’s mouth opens, when you reach over the top of the head, pressing gently behind the corners of the mouth/beak, while tilting the head gently back. And, just like your cat, they can push their pills out with their tongues, and they learn to wiggle too. It takes some patience!

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Catch and release

Last night, I had asked a friend, “How do you tell a duck to show up between 7:30am and 5:30pm so we can get him to the vet while the vet is in?” I was dreaming about catching the duck this morning when I woke up. I got out of bed, thinking I’d better check, just in case the ducks really were out there. They were! Right at opening time for the vet’s office!

I got a hold of my dad, who showed up still half asleep, and the two of us followed the ducks around the backyard for about half an hour, with a sheet, trying to throw it over the injured duck, which is what a wildlife rehabber had recommended. The only problem was that we had to avoid the duckling, and all three ducks and the duckling were sticking together, as closely as they could, for protection. The mama duck, the one who likes to talk to me, was the most loyal of all. She would not leave the injured duck’s side. Eventually, my dad got the injured duck to veer to the side, and I dropped to my knees and grabbed the duck, giving up on the sheet. If he hadn’t sat down to rest for a second, I wouldn’t have had a chance.

I wrapped his body in the sheet, with his head and neck sticking out, and I sat with him on the back step, while I called our vet. The mama duck was quacking away at me the whole time. She didn’t like the arrangement at all. I told her it was okay, and I wasn’t going to hurt him. She quacked some more, and then decided to leave him with me. She quacked all the way back to the pond.

I hadn’t been able to get the avian vet, but I had talked to our vet yesterday, and he volunteered to try to remove the fish hook from the duck’s leg. Because the duck is technically a domestic duck, even though he lives in the wild, he isn’t eligible to be treated by the wildlife rehabiliation groups. So, he had to be treated as a neighborhood pet, or that’s what the avian vet had called him.

He was a big hit at our vet’s office. Everyone loved him. They were not used to seeing ducks come in. He got lots of enthusiastic attention from the entire staff, and he seemed to enjoy it. I was told he was affectionately rubbing his head and neck against one of the techs who used to work at a zoo. Our vet gave him an injection to numb the area, and got the hook out. Yay!! Then he called the same avian vet and got some advice on an injectible antibiotic. I could hear him talking on the phone, but when he came in, he tried to deadpan that he was going to give me some medication to give the duck twice a day! Ha!

The staff said they wished they could keep the duck there as a mascot because he was so cute and nice. He had to go back to his pond though. Once we got back, I carried him down the hill, in the Pet Taxi, and when he saw the opening in the brush to the pond, he let out a big quack. The mama duck heard him and started quacking back. I released him, and watched him waddle as fast as he could go into the water. Then I saw the other ducks come running to him, and then the duckling too. He was busy taking a bath.

So, there they are, in the corner of this photo, bathing and napping. I’m sure they all feel better now. I’m so glad there are nice people in the world who are willing to help. I have no idea how those ducks came to live on the pond…they just showed up one day…but they sure aren’t well suited to the wild. They can’t fly, and they don’t migrate. They need some help sometimes. As I said before, I sure wish people wouldn’t leave their garbage behind. It seems like such a simple thing to pick up after yourself. I just wish they would.

On the way back from checking on the ducks, I snapped this photo of the purple Crape Myrtle that is in bloom all over North Carolina right now. So pretty. What a relief that everything turned out okay today.