Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tempus Fugit (Part ii)

I have done very little knitting or crochet in the last few weeks as my hands are too sore and can't cope with both gardening and crafting.  Then I realised that it would soon be a friend's 100th marathon celebrations and I wasn't able to go so I wanted to make her something as a memento.  She's had an amazing journey to this point in her running life, pushing herself to the limit and churning out 10 marathons in 10 days last year (wow!) and although it's been really tough at times she battled through like the star that she is.

Lorraine in her 100 marathon club vest having just completed her 100th marathon seen here with her proud parents. 

The next day she gave her new vest its first marathon outing just to prove how awesome she is!

What to make her was an easy choice - a crochet star to celebrate her being a star herself!

But what colours should I choose?  I know she wears a lot of black and grey but didn't know what her favourite colours are so I emailed her boyfriend who hasn't yet been well-trained in these matters!  Bless him though, he went away, looked around her home and came back with "pink for bedlinen, orange, yellow, white for flowers" but said she doesn't have an "in general" favourite colour.  I chuckled.

So, happy, jolly colours it was then and I chose another of Heidi Bear's joyful creations.

You make 10 diamond shaped versions of the African Flower motif, 5 for each side, then sew them together.  

I joined the first side without blocking 'cos I was in rush but they were quite concave and I gave the motifs for the next side a light blocking with steam before joining.

The first side settled down nicely after a light steaming.

I changed the colours around for the second side.

This time I blocked them before joining.  To be honest it didn't really make any difference in the end.

I was doing this indoors on Saturday and it was baking hot.  Tilly decided to flop outside on the sunbed but I had to bring her in as she was getting overheated, silly girl!

The 2 sides were joined using double crochet (UK terms), leaving just one side of a diamond open.

Then I added the stuffing (not too full) and fiinished off.

I was going to fix a sparkly star to either side of the centre but thought they were too small.

So out came the button box for a rummage.  This old biscuit tin was my mums and I remember it being in her sewing cabinet when I was a child so goodness knows how old it is!

I couldn't find 2 buttons of the same colour that worked so I selected 2 slightly different ones.  I used a long needle to sew them in place, tightening the thread to produce a satisfying dimple in each side.

I then crocheted a short chain and threaded it through one of the star points, fastening it with a bow so she could remove it easily if she didn't want to hang it.  I think it's rather sweet and I hope she loves it.  I gave it to her boyfriend yesterday at the marathon so hope he remembers to give it to her.

After lunch I solved the problem of Tilly overheating…..

That's better, thanks mum!

.....which reminded me I haven't written about Mrs Duck!  I thought I'd written about it on here but realised I'd only written about it for a local Newsletter (with apologies for those of you who may not have read the Herdman Newsletter yet).  I've had to do a severe cull on the photos because there are absolutely loads of them.

Mrs Duck had been doing a recce on a place to lay her eggs for some time.  I'd seen her behind the garage, under the hedge, by the barn but her place of choice turned out to be one of the large pots at the front of the house right by the front door.

She started to redesign my planting by chucking out anything she didn't want (goodbye bedding plants!) and creating a nice cosy indent in which to lay her eggs.  She duly laid one egg each day and covered them with bits of the conifer she thought I had kindly planted for her use (bye bye poor brown conifer!).  

When she had laid 9 eggs she started to sit on them full-time.

She could only leave them for a short time each day or the eggs would get too cold so she carefully covered them with down plucked from her breast and some conifer (!) to keep them warm whilst she was away.

Each evening when she left them she popped around to the back door to let us know she needed some food so we gave her some mixed corn.  The drake always arrived to keep her company which was really sweet.

Then she'd have a drink and head down to the pond, accompanied by the drake, where she'd take a refreshing dip before flying back up to her brood.

Around that time the weather went crazy and it was unseasonably hot.  Really hot.  I noticed that she was looking rather distressed, opening and closing her beak as if to cool herself down.  Then she started shifting around and flapping her wings a bit and so I had a brainwave; the sun umbrella.


Happy duck!  At that stage she'd been siting on them for 7 days.

After she'd been sitting happily for 2.5 weeks I thought everything was OK (apparently they can sit for 2-3 weeks before the eggs hatch) and she'd changed the time she left the nest to morning instead of evening.  But then one morning, when she was away from the nest, I found 2 broken eggs on the driveway.  I hoped they weren't hers but I did worry that the Magpies had discovered her nest.  She seemed to be OK though so I didn't worry unduly.  Later that same day we came back home to find her flapping around in a distressed state.

When she saw us she quietened down and flew back onto her nest whereupon she started poking around in the nest then let out some loud rather distressing quacks and kept calling and calling as if to summon her mate.  After about 10 minutes of calling she gave up and flew off.

I went to look in the nest and confirmed the worst.  All the eggs were gone and I found their remnants scattered all over the garden.

It was is sad after all her care and hard work.  Poor Mrs Duck.

The next morning she came around for breakfast with the drake and for several weeks nothing much happened until a few days ago when I noticed she was searching around for another place to nest.  Maybe she'll be more successful this time........

Next will be our adventure at Firle Place which I mentioned in my previous post.

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