Make Way for Ducklings

Some red, white and blue, leftover from July 4th.  The first is an old t-shirt I got at my favorite camping spot, Kings Canyon National Park.  It is next to Sequoia National Park, maybe a little more known.  But they are identical in beauty and magnificent ancient trees.  Some of the tallest and oldest in the world.


The second, just a sampling of cookie cutters I’ve used to make zillions of cookies over the years, for every holiday.  The tiny bird cutter came with a group of mini animals that were also used to make play doh critters when my son was a toddler. I think I loved playing with play doh as much as making cookies.


On the day after the July 4th festivities, the animal shelter gets a lot of stray dogs whose owners have not taken care to make them feel safe from the noise of fireworks.  Extra volunteers were called in to assist.  As I was leaving the shelter to go home, one of the officers brought in a mother duck with her tiny babies found in someone’s pool.  Although I do not live in a rural area, there is a very large marsh near my house that is protected by the city and maintained by volunteers. So on the way home, a friend from the shelter and I delivered mama and ducklings to the marsh.  What a joy to see them make their way out to their new home.




My map art continues. I altered, condensed, and added to my map piece of Camargue this week.


A final note on ducks. As I was driving mama and babies to the marsh, I noticed that the ducklings could not Quack, but rather, made a very tiny almost inaudible peeping/chirping sound.  Quacking must be something acquired along the way like the bark of a dog as it grows out of its puppy stage.  But I did find that a duck’s quack is translated into different sounds depending on a person’s language.

Bengali: gack-gack,     Danish: rap,     Dutch: kwak kwak,     Finish: kvaak kvaak,     Norwegian: kvakk kvakk,       Swedish: kvack kvack,     French: coin coin,     German: quack, quack,     Hebrew: ga ga ga,     Italian: qua qua,     Russian & Ukrainian: krya, krya

Now you will know at least one word if you visit countries speaking these languages.






Hope and Expectations

Many years ago I visited Avignon, Arles, and Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer in Southern France, and also a region called Camargue. It is an area of saltwater marshes (sea origin) and freshwater marshes (river origin). It is a huge migratory stopover for over 350 species of birds. I was especially excited to see the area, because as a teen I saw a movie named “Friends”.  It was shot in Carmargue and I wanted to see the wild horses depicted in the film. The movie also had a beautiful Elton John song by the same name which made the place seem even more enticing.  I didn’t see any of the wild horse, but settled for a book that featured them.  Just goes to show you that it’s probably better to travel without expectations.  But all of the places I visited were charming and wonderful.  At one point, my friend and I were on a bus that doubled for the local school bus. It stopped to pick up the children to take them to their homes.  Here are a couple. One shy, the other waving to the camera of this tourist on their school bus.


The city of Arle was one of the places where Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin painted.  This hotel below was named after Gauguin.  I don’t know if that brought in more tourists.


So all of this is leading up to the new piece I have almost finished in my map series. Besides a map, it incorporates some images made with linoleum stamps I made, and hand stitching along with machine stitching. I’m going to add a little more hand stitching.


We’ve had constant changes in weather lately, which is extremely enjoyable.  A few days ago we got some of our summer dry heat, and today is cloudy, chilly, and even had a few rain drops.  I think the plants and birds must be confused though.  Our Chaste tree started blooming with the summer air.


I saw a lone Monarch butterfly one day.  I wasn’t able to get a photo so I painted a picture.P1030748

The warm days still had cool evenings with some unusual light.


Charlie, Maggie and Lucy just go with the flow in heat or cold as you can see in this shot of Charlie.


My life is made up of simple things, but I am constantly aware of the larger issues that are always in the news, that sometimes seem hopeless.  But there are good people living each day with hope, and people to inspire hope like President Obama did with his eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and writers who have written about it to encourage us…

“Hope is the thing that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all”.

Emily Dickinson