Mallard CoveBlock Number: 82
By Ginger Todd
Denice and Tom Rechtiene, who reside at 2301 Mallard Cove Drive, a gated waterfront community, have added another quilt block to those that are best viewed from the waters of Lake James. On Monday April 4, 2011, Mike Lucas and Jack Raker attached Block #82, named Mallard Cove, to the dock of the Rechtienes. The 4 X 4 block sits back in one of the multitude of inlets and coves around the lake, angled catercorner. It faces north toward the open lake waters with a panoramic view of Shortoff Mountain and the tip of Table Rock. Denice relates that they purchased the property back in 1995 after visiting her sister-in-law who had a home in one of the lake’s other communities. They fell in love with the area; however, not until 2005 did they move from Georgia and build their beautiful home in Mallard Cove. They are excited to be a new part of the lake’s waterfront blocks on the McDowell Quilt Trail.
Lake James, located at the base of Linville Gorge, is 15 miles long with 150 miles of shoreline. Man made, built over a seven-year period beginning in 1916, the waters of the Catawba River (including North Fork) and Linville River were contained by the construction of three dams to produce hydroelectric power for Duke Energy Corporation. Regulated by Duke Power, the water level is currently temporarily down to allow repair work, however the full water level is around 1,200 feet above mean sea level. The unique shape of Lake James provides recreation for all water sports and its approximate 6,800-acre surface area hosts various species of fish, boat launches and a marina. Camping, biking, hiking and wildlife programs are also popular at the two state parks.
The newly installed block adds colorful interest to water enthusiasts, with attention being drawn to the male Mallard duck in the foreground of the block. The Mallard, well recognized in the northern hemisphere, is the most wide-ranging and abundant duck on earth. Although occasionally found in brackish wetlands, they prefer the calm shallows of freshwater. While the female is a mottled drab brown with hints of iridescent purple-blue wing feathers, the male is much more distinctively colored. As portrayed on the block the iconic green head of the drake sits atop a white neckband setting off a deep brown colored chest and white body. The ducks, that rarely dive, but may be seen head dipping completely upending in the water, grow about 26 inches long and weigh up to three pounds. They nest on the ground or in a protected cavity and lay about a dozen eggs with an incubation period just under thirty days.
The quilt design was a joint venture with the Rechtienes by Jill and Mike Lucas, who also painted the block. It portrays a male Mallard on a surface of calm deep blue water with cattails in the foreground and a mountain in the background that may be interpretive of Shortoff. The coastline contains two pine trees done in four shades of green, certainly a common sight around the lake. The Carolina blue sky with fluffy white clouds completes the visualization of Mallard Cove on Lake James. Jill Lucas and Janet Williams, both members of the McDowell Quilt Trail, presented a Certificate of Authenticity to Denice. If you’re out and about boating this summer, be sure to wander over to Mallard Cove to get a close-up view of this block.