Feb 1, 2016

Soup to Nuts Kind of Day

Soup to Nuts Kind of Day
There's a bit of everything going on today.

Spring-like temperatures showed up on the first day of the month, though much of the day was cloudy and felt cooler than the mid 50's Farenheit indicated on the thermometer.

According to some calendars, this is Saint Brigid's day, or Imbolc. We are very close to the
cross quarter day. This is a significant time in the land of my Celtic ancestors - we are really on the verge of getting the gardens going, just waiting for the go-ahead from nature.

We took the new girls (adopted ducks) out onto the deck in a quarantine pen and they seemed to relax and enjoy themselves after a bit. It's some extra work, but they are ducks, and ducks love their fresh air.

A small journal that I help edit needed some work, so I had my little imaginary editor's visor on for a while.

Crocus leaves are up a couple of inches tall, now, and the early snow drop leaves are closer to four inches tall. I expect to see early snow drops any day now. Many birds are singing their early spring songs already. Winter weather is expected to come back in a few days, so I won't be putting anything tender out.

I do, however, need to get some things started indoors, like onions, and soon, dahlias. Dahlias like warm roots when you start them from seed, I was told, so I put them on little baby plant heating pads - I kid you not, there is such a thing. Last year was the first time I tried the dahlias, and it turned out very well. In fact, so well we were squeezing them into nooks and crannies, we had so many!

This year I will be planting a small number of vegetables and flowers for people who would like to have plants to set out in their gardens. If you're nearby and might be interested in buying some custom-grown vegetable, herb or flower plants, please contact me at

duckstead at iCloud dot com

Progress continues with the next in the series of true duck stories! This time, Elf will be featured. She is our smallest Runner duck, and has her share of personality. Illustrations are coming along beautifully. The duck book series is for folks who have or love ducks, for kids who like to read, especially youngsters who have smaller siblings who like to be read to. It's light, easy reading. The books are more similar to tiny books written many years ago, pocket stories. The plan is to write a little book about each of our flock. It will take some time as this is primarily a wintertime project. But Carmella, Where Is Your Quack? was fun to write, and there has been some positive feedback, so I intend to keep the momentum going.

The Carmella book can be bought through Createspace or Amazon.

Oh, I almost forgot. Another small adventure this year is working with natural paints. Today I made tempera paint with egg yolk, pomegranate juice concentrate, frozen poke berries, and Hungarian paprika. Those plant materials produced a lovely deep reddish purple. I used a flattened toothpick to paint tiny berries on the backsplash of our new-to-us sideboard.

Tomorrow I will work on an egg white paint in green (just grabbed food coloring). The egg white paint is supposed to be very pale and translucent, and I thought that just a touch of green on the leaves would make a nice effect.