My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


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Wednesday was a lazy hazy kind of summer day

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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Yesterday was a day full of beauty, adventure and surprises all day long.

It was also a day of sadness as it was exactly one week ago that we lost our lovely little Youbou cat.

coincidentally .. my good pal D had contacted me to start our usual wandering/adventures that we started a few years ago.

So we discussed where to go and decided on starting out at Swan Lake.

I took lots of photos of the day and have posted some, but not all of them.

We had the most marvellous fun day .. I really felt like a kid again, although one with a driving license, all grown up and ready to go.

Started off at Swan Lake .. walked the pathways through the beauty of the woods.  Stopping to watch the aerial activity.  Saw Bushtits cavorting in a tree.  Then a pair of yellow feathered darlings flew about .. sorry, can’t remember the name .. will post later.

Several groups of loud talkers passed our way .. I shut out the noisy conversations and settled into the lovely peace of the woods and nature surrounding us.

Finally .. I feel so happy to be back at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  It’s been a few months since I last visited this lovely place and heavenly to be back there.

Saw the Canada Geese, majestically paddling about the lake .. and the Mallards.  D noted that the Drakes were moulting, turns out this happens twice a year.  Some of them looked a little bedraggled.

We threw flatted oats to them all and soon were surrounded by lots of these feathered beings.

D found a cricket .. sadly unable to walk .. perhaps a heavy footed jogger caused some harm?  she gently placed him amongst some tall grasses .. perhaps he will heal and soon be hopping around.

She discovered fruit trees (she’s an apple tree magnet!) and gathered a variety of apples, then later, pears from a boulevard.  It was here that I started feeling like a kid.  Car parked on a side street.  We wandered around a pear tree, trying to find any ripe fruit.  No worries, no schedules .. fun!

From there we made stops at various places.  Chez moi, to gather some fruit from the trees.  Oh, and to drop off some free treasures found in a driveway along the way.  A funky trellis for the garden.  Some plant saucers, a plastic little table, ready to be painted.  Talk about decluttering and then I bring these things home.  I daren’t tell DH!  What would he say?  Well, I think he would laugh, but I’ll leave that subject for now.

Next we went to a local greenhouse, the owners have been there for 50 years!  Bought some terrific produce.

Next we made our way to Saxe Point.  Now, I thought I’d been there years ago, but really, I discovered that in all the years I’ve lived here .. I’d not visited this jewel.

Wandered through paths, made our way down the rocky bluffs to the shore (if you can call it that).

We noticed a couple of scuba divers, happily exploring the waters along the shore, finding treasures in the water.

Such beautiful scenery … ocean lapping at the rocks.  Small areas of dried ocean salts.  D found some coins tucked away in a rock.

Fun times.

It was an amazing, fun, relaxing day .. one of those old-fashioned summer days.  The kind where you just explore areas of the city and find unexpected scenery, flowers, things that don’t cost money.

Just having fun.

So .. more tomorrow .. must head out to the garden now .

 

 


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Spending time decluttering and taking time to watch the birds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Such a beautiful time of the year .. sun is still shining, veggies are still growing.  Birds are flying and playing.  A perfect time to continue decluttering, with some time out to just stop and watch what is going on.

I’ve recently been busy sorting out, decluttering and organizing various areas in the yard and quite impressed with my results.

Start out dreading the task I’ve undertaken … then I get totally involved with the decision making and before the end of the day, I’ve succeeded in weeding out what I need to keep and what needs to be sent along to recycle, donation, etc.

And so a few days ago I began this decluttering activity in my little wee garden room in the basement.

This is the place where I’ve put things “just for now” and “until later” .. well, later has arrived.

And I’ve discovered that I have way too many gardening gloves .. if that is possible.  I gathered up all the gloves, tossed them in a container and brought them outside for sorting.  Only found a few unmatched sets and ended up with a lot .. I didn’t actually count how many .. but believe me when I say that I have more than 20.  Too embarrassing to actually take a count, so I won’t!  Threw them all in the wash and dried them in the sun. Now, they are all in one container and I have absolutely no excuse for going shopping for more.

This is one good reason why decluttering is good.  When you can’t find something and buy more just to save time searching for things (say, um, gardening gloves) .. then it is high time for decluttering.

I set up a large work table just outside the back door.  And began the million trips of emptying shelves and baskets,  taking one or two things outside.  Putting them on the table.  Decision making.   Keep, recycle, discard .. one after the other.

Slow going.  I searched for tips on decluttering, as I was finding it challenging to muster up the energy to just get rid of everything.

I found some good inspiration.   that clutter is blocked energy.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Life is a flowing river.  It’s okay to change the course, it’s good to have it flow and bubble around rocks in its path.

I found these gems here:  http://eliminatecancer.hubpages.com/hub/Declutter-Your-Home-and-Re-energize-Your-Life

There were other inspirational sites that I found, but this one resonated with me.

So downstairs I went.   Back to my little room.   And I was discovering that the room was feeling better, more spacious.  Less clutter.

Soon I had a stack of empty baskets.  A huge Rubbermaid container full of things to give away, things I no longer use .. time for someone else to play with them.

I’m halfway finished.  Spent a lot of time moving things around.  Making progress.  Feeling more energized.

Unearthed some crafty projects, purchased years ago from a sewing convention.  A little kit for  beading, weaving ribbon, embroidery .. to make a little sewing needle case.  Well, really, why did I ever buy this?  Never in a million years will I ever tackle this little delicacy.  What was I thinking of, anyway.  Plus, the two extra packages of eyelash embroidery!!!

Took an old shelving unit outside, slapped on some neutral paint to freshen it up.   Today I’ll splash on some leftover lavender paint to brighten it up and then will use this for storing empty baskets on.  Something to brighten up my little room.

And in between times, lots of breaks .. taken outside.   Watched one of the local eagles soaring overhead.   Flocks (gaggles ??) of Canada Geese, flying so low overhead, I could hear the strong silky swoosh of their  wings as they flew over .. the late afternoon sun cast a mellow golden glow over their feathers.  Beautiful nature, wild and free.

The local little band of Bushtits swirl in .. chasing away the sparrows.  They are so darling as they flit about the branches.  Taking turns nibbling at the suet cakes.  Busy chirps.  Then suddenly they depart.  Love these energized little visitors.

Chickadees visit the hanging water bath that I’ve placed in the cherry tree.

Lovely sights and sounds.

Then I walk around the garden patch.  Squash are still growing … I’m impatient to prepare this area for planting garlic, but there is still time.  My gardening neighbour tells me not to plant till October 20 .. so I’ll leave them to grow another month.

Sweet peas are still flowering, fruiting, growing.  Ok, I’ll leave them also.  Some zucchini plants are still growing.  As are some tomato plants.  Sigh.  I’ll let them flourish in the sun for a few more weeks.  I’ve been picking some tomatoes and freezing them for future stews and lasagna in the fall months.  Mmmmm.

And yesterday, I was preparing supper, brought out a bowl of peas from the fridge .. I’d only picked them a few days ago, it seems.  And .. a lot of them are sprouting.  So I quickly searched growing peas in this part of Canada and lo and behold, there are a fair number of people who have successfully planted fall peas .. so I decided to try that!

Lovely times.


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We said our final goodbyes to our special little cat a few days ago.

Saturday, September 15, 2011

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I’m finding this very hard to write and I’ve had a difficult time the past few days.  We were so proud of our little cat Youbou, who had been making marvellous progress in being able to move his lame leg, with the assistance of acupuncture.  He rarely needed to have Prednisone for the ailment since the treatments began.

Was it a year ago or so when dh noticed that Youbou was limping up the driveway?  And he wasn’t able to walk.

We took him for all kinds of tests and nothing was found that would have caused this.  He just wasn’t able to move his right leg and just dragged himself around.  When we started the acupuncture, we saw such an immediate improvement.  Suddenly he was racing around the house . . a very happy little cat.  And the day when he was able to push open the kitchen door was a proud moment indeed.

Our life was settled into a routine and once a month I would take him for his acupuncture treatment.  This would continue for a long time, I thought.  However, life had a way of changing that story and in the wee hours of Wednesday last, we were awakened by the sounds of howling from the kitchen and there we found Youbou in the throes of a major seizure.  I quickly bundled him up and we drove to the nearby veterinary hospital.

They immediately looked after him and once he was examined, we were able to visit with him.  We were advised of the state of his condition and learned that such seizures were not normal in cats.  Leaving him in their expert care, we returned home.  All this took place in about half an hour.

A few hours of sleep and a few calls to the veterinarian in charge and we went to the hospital to see if we could visit with him.  He was given the best care and the young assistants took such good care of him, monitoring his condition constantly.

By this point, he was not in good shape and we learned that he had been like this for hours and so we made the decision to end his pain.  It was not taken lightly, this decision.  But seeing how he was suffering so badly, it was inhumane to let him continue  in such a terrorized state, we were able to end that in a peaceful way.  He would not have recovered to his normal way of life.

We were taken to a little room where Youbou was brought in and we said our goodbyes as the good doctor gently administered the final medication.

Inconsolable am I.   I’ve spent hours going through my photos and am sharing some happy memories.

I’ve dealt with pet loss over the years, as has everyone else.  But the sudden unexpectedness of this has hit me pretty hard.

Youbou’s “older” brother, Duncan is lost and is continuously going to the places that they shared, looking and looking.  He’ll sit in his sofa and look over at Y’s .. but he’s not there.  JaneE looks lost.  Every morning and every suppertime, Y and J were like bookends .. each looking through their side of the kitchen french door.   His little noseprints are still there ..

I know this is part of life, but sometimes I think it might be better to not have the capacity for love … as the loss just rips away at my heart.

We are spending more comfort time with Duncan and JaneE .. they didn’t have a chance to say their goodbyes to Youbou, it just wasn’t possible.

And I know this will pass.  But for now .. I am just struggling through the pain.  We all miss him so very much .. he was only 8 years old … and I thought we had many more years together.  All of our pets live long and happy lives with us, they are treasured members of the family.

So goodbye little Youbou .. we loved you so very much and always will.


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Watching the birds figure out the upside down bird feeder. The Chickadee soon has it all figured out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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I wonder where the birds go during the daytime?  I think that they keep to some sort of schedule.   A pre-determined list as to which yard to visit at specific times.

Haven’t seen the Flicker or the Downy Woodpeckers, but that could be because they are out and about in the early hours of the day, before I go outside.

The sparrows seem to be here all day and they have a lookout for fresh birdseed .. whenever I top up the feeders, I hear a series of loud chirps and soon there are quite a number of them feeding away.

The demure little Fox sparrows visit .. but mainly the thistle seed feeders.  There are three, but they favour the two that are hidden away.  One of them is for birds who feed upside down … I’d purchased it on sale and hadn’t noticed this until I was assembling the feeder and thought, well, this is weird!

The Chickadee soon has it figured out.  And I reckon that the Nuthatch has also discovered the proper way to get at the seeds .. except that I haven’t seen them for a few days either.

Our home is on the flight path to the local Nature Sanctuary .. and so I am lucky enough to see a few Canada Geese flying overhead in the early evening, before the sun slips away.

Sometimes they catch me by surprise, flying low overhead .. so low that I can see the light of the sun reflecting off of their underbelly.  Flapping their wings in unison, resulting in that lovely swoosh swoosh sound .. and then their strong calls as they head to their nightly sleeping  place.

And sometimes there is a lone straggler, I don’t hear him till he swoops over, calling out a loud Honk!  ha ha . .you caught me there!

My camera isn’t quick enough to catch them flying so close .. so I content myself with blurry images as they fly over houses in the neighbourhood .. still hoping to snap a pic when they fly low over our yard.

Patience.

Taking time out to watch the antics of the birds is such a rich block of time .. to watch these tiny beings.  Taught how to survive by their parents.  They seem so defenseless .. how will they survive.  But their world is much tougher than ours and they are schooled well .. so they forge out their daily lives very well.

Loving the brilliant splash of colour that the surprise sunflowers bring to the yard.  Tiny or tall .. I love them all!

The mystery flowers that spring up .. they are welcome here anytime.  Perhaps the birds bring them in to decorate .. now that’s a lovely idea!

Yesterday I began the transformation of the veggie bed.  Dug up and potted some of the kale plants that are growing.   Several of the cabbage plants that are growing in the shade and should be in the sun, well, they are being added to the compost.   Yet, there is one little cabbage, it is forming a solid head, so I’m leaving that one to continue growing.

I dig away at this makeshift garden bed that I formed, simply to have a neater mulch pile.  There are bales of spoiled hay, alpaca manure, oak leaves, spent hops .. all combined to create a lovely garden soil.  So instead of leaving this in a mulch pile .. I’ve used it as a place to grow kale, squash and cucumber.

Moved most of this material into the middle of my veggie bed .. to prepare for my next garlic bed.  This year the cloves are larger .. and I’ll plant more, but will ensure that I space them with lots of room to grow.

I worked away for a few hours, then time for a break … feeling quite satisfied at the progress that I’ve made.   And more to be done.

So away .. the start of a new day …. out in the sun!


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Oh Kale plants, how I enjoy your presence in the garden, such an easy care plant! Along with my lovely garlic.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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So here we are in September .. and I have another birthday looming up .. not for weeks yet.  I love birthdays .. another opportunity to celebrate!

The heat of the summer has been slowly winding down and now the days are shorter, darkness falls around 8 pm.   Gearing down for the fall .. lovely lazy days.  No more rushing around to plant veggies & flowers.  Time to relax and enjoy the beauty.

Yesterday my lovely gardening neighbour came over for a visit and to pick some of the plum bounty.  She laughed as she saw, once again, that I’d planted some tomatoes in the shadier parts of the yard.  She is teaching me some good gardening techniques that she has brought with her from the Russian Ukraine, so I’m slowly learning by experience.

The Kale plants that she’d given me (Tuscany, Dragon and a ruffled type) were all doing well and they would last me through the winter, she assured me .. and I could collect the seeds in the spring.  I quite like growing kale.   All I have to do is plant it, some water, some EM ..wait for a bit and then just clip the outer leaves.  My kind of easy care plant.

The cabbage plants that she’d given to me .. well, they were sun lovers, and as they are planted in the shade .. I’ll not expect much more than a few leaves from them.

She quite liked the way that the pumpkins were growing over the little arbour!   And I have one large pumpkin and a few smaller ones.

Of all the squash plants that are growing, I might be able to pick a few small fruits for cooking.

Oh .. next year .. just wait .. I’ll start my veggie plants earlier and I will carefully tend them during the cool spring months.  I promise that I will!

My very best crop, my absolute favourite .. is my garlic!  And I will plant them in mid-October (this is the best time, she advised me).

And the strawberry plants, that I’d placed in those lovely long oval tin planters, well, the soil isn’t deep enough for them .. so when the weather turns a bit damp, then I’ll be planting them in the side garden border, where they can develop longer roots.

I like the idea of growing vegetables, fruit and flowers together.  Pretty and practical.

Last weekend we went up-island for more sail planing .. and there we met the most wonderful pilot-in-training!  He is 86 and learning to fly!  He travels over 3 hours to reach the flying destination.  Wonderful person.   And to top it all off, he brews tea .. makes up a lovely pot of tea and shares!  How very decadent is this!   So we all enjoyed a hot brew in the morning sun.

I love meeting such interesting people who just go out and live life.

Oh and I meant to talk about Coombs, the famous place with the goats on the roof!  This time I didn’t take any photos of the little animals on the roof, they must have been inside a pen.  But I did take some pictures of a few of them grazing in their meadow.

How many times, over the years, have I stopped by the Coombs general store, parked the car, gone inside and shopped, and then left.  Too many.

This visit, however, DH & I decided to wander around to see what other businesses there were.  Oh ..wow .. another world appeared.

There was a little wooden structure, very picturesque and I think this was a cheese shop.  Then there was this most elegant of buildings that housed a pizza restaurant.  High scale .. reminded me of the many similar buildings that I saw in Europe, too many years ago.  There were the black iron filigree designs around the windows, the large Boxwood plants in tall planters and inside, I could see the draperies tied back to show tables all set and waiting for customers to dine.

And then we met Thor from Whistler .. his doggy daddy was happily taking photos of Thor at various locations & I took some photos of both of them.  We learned that friends always looked forward to Thor’s travels and his pics!

We discovered many more little shops and large parking areas.   All of this was always there and we wouldn’t have known, if we hadn’t just taken the time to walk around.

Well . .I could go on, but the morning is flying and I must go outside.

A lovely gardener has given me some plants .. ferns and grasses and I look forward to planting them in various areas around the yard.

Enjoy the day …..


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Earth – worth dying for .. a youtube video ..worth watching

 

I was going to post some lovely sky photos an other lovely photos taken from the past week .. but a friend send me this video from YouTube, with the instructions to watch it to the end.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/nGeXdv-uPaw

So I did.

Breathtaking time-lapse photography of the most beautiful scenery from all around the world.

Then the greed kicks in.

Then we see the brave people who tried to stop the greed.

Destruction of habitat .. the devastation that many people choose to ignore.

We can each, in our own little way, step up to the bat and do our best to stop the greed.

Then, perhaps we can make a change.

Now I’m going outside to my little  garden to connect with the lovely nature that exists in my small part of the world.

While the scenes of the movie run through my mind and I’ll think of those brave people who tried to stop the cruelty.

And think of ways to create more little pockets of beauty.