My Garden – Mon Jardin – Mi Jardin – Mein Garten – Daily Adventures & Thoughts

No matter the language, my garden is my paradise. To watch the lovely birds that nest in the trees and bushes. The bees, butterflies are such a joy to see.

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I decluttered with a vengeance and now I have lots of space! Plus, I decided to go to Cesar Milan show, yea!

October 31, 2012 … Happy Halloween …

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And .. no chocolate for me .. cause .. today .. is the day that my Ecological Landscaping Course begins.  Once again I’ll enter worlds of knowledge about gardening that will raise my awareness to a whole new level.  I’m quite looking forward to this.  I know that we will be learning how to graph out a landscape and that will be a challenge for me .. or .. will it?

Anyway, yesterday I found my “Inner Organizer/Declutter” energizer had taken over my being for the whole day.

I fought this at first.  Looking around my computer room, seeing stacks of books, papers and other things that just somehow accumulated bit by bit over the months.  You know, the things that are just placed on the desk “for a minute” or “till tomorrow” or some other such vague period of time in the future.  Relief at not having to focus on tidying up in the present time.

Things that are hastily stuffed into attractive storage boxes “just for now” and they slowly make a home for themselves on the shelves, gathering dust.

I played around with sorting at first.  Casually picked up a few pieces of paper for recycling.  Looked through some books.  Went to the kitchen.  Made tea.  Searched on the computer.

Debated about this upcoming Sunday .. suddenly there are two activities that tug at my heart and they are both happening in the same time frame.  What are the odds?  (I know, a Canadian band, as my DH tells me!).

Cesar Milan will be appearing on Sunday!  I went to his show a few years ago, and stood in the rain for several hours beforehand, for the opportunity to meet him and I was fortunate enough for that.  And he autographed a photo that I have of my little Oreo, looking into a mirror up at me.  I’ll post that on one of my posts during the winter.

So, dilemma.  Go to the show .. or go to the fall Friends of the Library book sale.  This one is going to be a great one and will be held in a huge sports arena.

The only trouble is that they are both occurring in about the same time frame.  I play with the idea of rushing to the sale, wait for the doors to open at 1:15 or so, gather up about 10 bags of books, rush to the car, drive to the arena, try to find a parking space and then go to the Show.

Or ..I could relax, and not go to the book sale, leave early for downtown, find a parking spot, casually enter the arena and this time look at the items for sale.

I know that DH and D both tell me that I have enough books ..and looking around me (and thinking about the shelves of unread books in the basement) .. I do have to agree with them.  So I’ll read like crazy in the winter and then will have some empty shelves, ready for the January book sale!  Oh, decisions, decisions, decisions!

Anyway, after I came back from town, with my ticket, I realized that I must focus on the decluttering.  And you would have been proud of what I accomplished, starting out, bit by bit.  And I decided that I could take my time .. I had the balance of the morning, all afternoon and evening to focus on this task.

Mercilessly I went through boxes of Christmas cards from over 20 years ago .. shred .. shred .. shred.  Puzzle books from that era .. to be donated, along with quite a few books that were purchased, new, not read .. from years ago .. time for someone else to read them.  (I donate these to a literacy program).

Ended up with 2 huge bags of paper recycling and one of those gigantic Ikea blue bags with items to donate & recycle.

This little room feels so much better and I’ve accomplished much, but there is still more to go and I’ve reached the energy level where I will be culling things that aren’t necessary any more.  What a freeing feeling!

Anyway, I’ve posted more photos of our little shopping trip on Monday, that lovely sunny day when D & I wandered around our famous old Chinatown shopping district, the Fisgard Street neighbourhood.  It’s been years since I’ve done that and it was quite a fun experience.

There are still more photos to post and I’ll try to post them tomorrow.

Anyway … on with this lovely rainy Halloween day ..


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Recent rains decadently decorated the garden! And I went shopping downtown!

Raindrops on the Pyracantha berries, from Sunday

So it rained a bit on Sunday … it being a lazy day for us .. I decided to not do any intensive gardening, despite the fact that Sunday is the only day of the week that is free from the constant dynamiting and construction noise of a nearby building site.

But, I did wander outside and savoured the silence.  I treasured the quiet in our yard and the beauty of the rain drops gently gracing the structures of the fruits, leaves, stems et al .. that are  growing so happily in our yard.  So I’m sharing some of my precious moments with you.  Please enjoy.

How delicate are the raindrops on these tiny apples

These little apples are wild, as the tree that is growing is the root-stock of the tree, the grafted apple has died away.  However, even though the apples taste bitter ( I just compost them) they are jewels of colour in the yard and for their beauty we are thankful.

Luxurious translucent crystals of water adorn the Mock Orange bush.  They sparkle in the sun’s rays (when the sun does trickle through)

Oh .. sweet pea .. won’t you dance with me …ta ra la la la la …

My gardening neighbour gave me the seeds for the lovely coloured sweet peas.

I always love the silvery droplets –  spheres rolling atop the surface of the leaves.  They seem like so many ethereal and  magical decorations by nature.  Or .. are they the work of little night flower fairies?   Busy through the long evening hours, while we sleep –  painting such exquisite designs on flowers and leaves .. for their nightly secret parties?  I wonder ….

And just look at one of my beautiful kale plants!  My lovely gardening neighbour gave me handfuls of the tiny kale seedlings months ago and look how they’ve grown!  I’m excited about these plants, never having grown them before.  And I love them .. as we can keep cutting away at the leaves until the early spring.   Then I can save the seeds for the next crop. Oh, and they are very nutritious also .. a bonus in addition to the beauty & rich colouring of their leaves.

And the little maple tree has shed its leaves … see the last yellow leaves tumbling down.  This is a little souvenir of my home town, taken from my brother’s yard.  DH & I will plant this one when we have a larger property.  It will be fun to watch this grow skyward.  A place for birds to play and nest.

A decadently entwined mixture of kelp … all twisted up.  I wonder if I should just gather up these ropes, let them dry and then create some kind of decoration out of it?  Hmmm .. food for thought.

Oh, sweet lovely blue skies .. a nice surprise today .. totally unexpected and so very appreciated.

For quite a long time in the backyard this morning  .. I stood still .. watching the cloud formations twirl and swirl  and dance around in joyous abandon …  way up above me .. high  in the clear blue sky.  Constant movement, delightful to watch.  And then there was one, two, three .. and more .. seagulls .. all sailing along in a thermal that was developing along the way.   So I thought … am I really outside to garden?  Or do I just use that as an excuse so that I can just go outside and gaze upwards?  And thus, neatly avoiding housework!! I’m starting to wonder about myself, ha ha ha.

For awhile, the construction noise hushed, I believe it might have been a lunch break, for which I was truly grateful.  Thus allowing me the luxury, the sheer joy of momentary silence .. in order to savour the ordinary garden sounds and just drink in the beauty overhead that was in constant play up in the warm blue sky.

So I played around in the yard a bit .. repotting some plants.   Did I mention that I happened upon another great plant sale last week?   I think that I did.  Anyway.  My wonderful, thoughtful DH had given me a gift card to a local nursery, oh, he is so thoughtful!   And as luck would have it .. there was a sale on the day that I decided to go plant shopping.  (I use the term of DH for Dear Hubby, so that is who I am speaking of .. )  🙂

Anyway, after that .. I set out to pick up my pal D .. we were going shopping downtown!!  And as I haven’t been downtown for simply ages, I was quite pleasantly surprised at the changes! I’ve taken quite a few photos today and will share a few today and then the rest tomorrow, so be prepared to feast your eyes.  I’ll present them in a slideshow tomorrow.

Victoria is quite a lovely town, and there are some amazing pockets of fantastic little shops.  With the most amazing people who work away in them!  I really enjoyed our shopping session and think that there will be many more.   See, above .. D noticed the play on words!  The Y.A.M. (for a Victoria magazine) in the forefront .. and the JAM Cafe sign behind.  That was fun.

And this little alleyway was interesting ..I love the brick. I don’t think I’ve ever been here before .. D knows where to go .. everywhere in this city.  So I’ll be showing more photos of the city as we go about our walks during the fall, winter and spring.  You know, the times that are too wet and cold for gardening.  That is walking weather.

And another little alleyway.  I just love these .. and for all the years I’ve spent shopping downtown, I just don’t recall these.  I love them.  And I apologize for putting my little logo thingy in the middle of the photo .. but I went ahead and save the photo . .and then couldn’t figure out how to move it!  Anyway .. you can see how inviting the brick lined walls are and the herringbone design of the walkway’s surface.

Ok .. here’s the last photo for today.  Isn’t this lovely .. it’s the outdoor seating area for a magnificent little restaurant. Union Pacific, on Herald Street.  So lovely and peaceful at this time of the year.  Great service, there was a special on Mocha today, so D & I each ordered one.  With whipped cream!   And there were a bazillion sprinkles .. I ‘ll show you tomorrow.

And I’ll natter on about the plants I bought today.  I tell you .. plant sales are my best friends!  I always find them.

Oh .. and I’ll show you the pictures I took of this lovely Beardie, named “Musha” (I’m guessing at the spelling.

One more thing before I sign off tonight.  I was outside talking with a neighbour when suddenly we heard the loud noise of flapping wings .. and saw a shadowy shape flit among the trees.   Then we saw it sitting on some overhead roadway wires (hydro or ??)..  the owl wasn’t having the best experience of stabilizing its feet on the swaying surface and so it fumbled for awhile .. and then rose up and flew away into my back yard!!
I went inside, grabbed a flashlight, went outside and shone the light through the yard and there he was!! Perched atop one of the rounded pvc arches that I had installed in the yard (for growing sweet peas and other climbing plants).

He was huge!!  And quietly sitting there .. until I shone the light on him and away he flew!

I know that this is a nightly occurence, but I’m normally not outside at night .. so it was a thrill to see bird activity!  Although, not for his prey!  I did notice that the owl had taken a little, ahem, shall we say, bathroom break at the front yard.  So tomorrow I will venture forth and try to find that .. to see what little artifacts are therein.

Anyway, it’s been a fun day and I look forward to more tomorrow!
Yawn ….


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Saturday was a busy day! Shopping at Ikea. Attending Asmira’s 25 Anniversary show. Stepping back in the past with memories from friends!

28 October, 2012

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  So DH & I  had quite a fun day yesterday!  We travelled on the ferry .. shopped at Ikea … met some interesting people .. watched seagulls soaring .. I attended a 25th Anniversary celebration .. and, I was brought back into the past, quite a trip!

We had things to do on the Mainland yesterday, which necessitated a drive out to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal .. where we boarded one of the most uncomfortable ships I’ve ever travelled in.  One of the “new” Coastal ships … the very expensive looking passenger seats were created for body types that weren’t like ours, so that was a very uncomfortable experience.  Then, the constant very heavy pounding of the ships engines brought on neck pain that I hadn’t experienced for years.  I spent the majority of the trip trying to get comfortable on these seats and alternately massaging my neck to try to alleviate the pain.

I have to say that this was the worst trip that I’ve ever experienced and it made me wish that I’d stayed home.  But .. we persevered and (not soon enough) we were driving off the ferry and heading towards Ikea!

The trip entailed taking the Ladner Trunk tunnel (aka Deas Tunnel) .. here are some links for more information:

It started off being called the George Massey Tunnel:

We soon arrived at Ikea .. it’s been years since we’ve been there, and (as D had told me) .. the building had been torn down and a new one built nearby.  I didn’t even let myself dwell on the fact that I missed some amazing store closing sales!  So I won’t go there!

We were at the store nice and early and so lucky to get underground parking close to the entrance!’

First of all, we headed to the cafeteria style restaurant, which  is quite large and orderly.  Soon we had our breakfasts on trays, searched for and found (with me asking fellow shoppers where to find some things!!) all that we needed.  I noticed that some shoppers were wheeling little shelved trolleys, with trays full of food .. to their tables.  How clever, an easy way to bring breakfast to the table for the family.

I happened to chat with one of the employees .. who was placing spent coffee filter & grounds on a cart and, just for the heck of it, asked if Ikea composted anything!  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they did this!  And when I asked if I should remove the spent teabags from my tray, I was assured that all foods are sorted back in the dish washing area!  How cool is this!

For the next few hours, DH & I took our time, wandering through the store .. the displays had been well set up, showing complete rooms, including closets, with clothes hanging in there, making the displays appear to be liveable, and you know, it worked!  It felt as if we were wandering through a friend’s place .. everyone treated the displays with respect.  This was a good way to visualize the furniture and see how the many items could be best utilized.

My favourite places were the kitchen displays.  Each one had a dishwasher, oh, joy, I would love one of these.  And my favourite item in all the kitchens was a counter-island, with storage all around each side.  A sink, and dishwasher!  High stools so friends (and myself!!) could sit, chat and sip on glasses of wine.  How comfy would that be.

I made purchases here and there.  Thought of taking photos, but, there are enough photos of Ikea online and they are nice and clear.  Besides, I kind of forgot to take my camera out of the case, because I was so enthralled at looking at all the beautiful and useful items that were there.

Oh, I love Ikea and sure wish that the store would return to the island, but it was a failed experiment in years past and so I don’t think it will ever happen.  sigh.

What did I buy?  Well, how could I resist some economical new duvet sets?  So I chose 2.  Lovely.  Then there were heavy re-useable Ikea branded ziplock bags, they came in 2 colours, pink or blue.  And then, each box had 2 sizes!  Oh, these Swedish people are clever and practical!  So I bought only one box of each .. instead of 3 or 4, as I would have done in the past.  How very mature.

A cute little work lamp for only $11.95!  Little things like that.  Oh, so much fun to wander around and get ideas.

We caught the mid-afternoon ferry for our return trip.  Oh, lovely .. this time we travelled on the Spirit of British Columbia, that model that should have been used to build the last “new” ships.  What a lovely trip this was!  Comfy passenger seats, just the normal comfortable rumblings of the engines down below.   And the atmosphere, I swear, was so much friendlier!

On this trip, people talked with each other, there was a wonderful ambience all around .. this is the way that ferry travel should be!  Guess next time I’ll check ahead to see which ships will be sailing before I plan my travels.   I do not want to travel on those Coastal ships again, shudder, shudder, shudder!

I noticed that someone was throwing treats down on the deck for the seagulls.  Although this practise is not encouraged, it is harmless and raining and the seagulls were performing delightful aerial stunts, which brought out more people and their cameras.

Later on, the Captain announced that there was a young Humpback whale to be seen, so crowds of us rushed outside … how lovely was this sight!  We saw the whale spouting and then the flip of its fin and it went below the water.  As the ferry travelled on, we could see the whale continuing with these actions .. how beautiful was that.  I caught a little bit of action, not much but enough for me to appreciate the wild beauty of sea-life.

And again, I thought of the fight against a proposed Enbridge pipeline that the government wants to be installed, and how it would jeopardize our fragile sea creatures.   Here is a link showing what’s going on, just for greedy money with only lip service to the environment: 

And then I read a story in today’s Time Colonist, page D8, showing a photo of a 78-year-old woman standing on her property.  Trying to ward off the construction of a Keystone XLoil pipeline that will bring oil from Canada.  Here is a link to the Los Angeles Times newspaper article:

Turns out that the TransCanada company created an easement on her property under Texas’ “eminent” domain law, which will pay her half the money she was originally offered.  How horrific is this .. to have no control over your own property. This scares the hell out of me.   And this has also happened in Canada.

Sorry to rant, but these things, these greedy actions abhor me.  However, we humans have to learn what is going on with our earth, do our best to protect it.  We must learn what companies are trying to do with our natural resources.  Just tsk tsk’ing and turning the pages or changing the channel does not serve us well.  We need to educate ourselves and learn to speak up against these things.  Get off the fence.

I will endeavour to lighten the mood now.

So I took lots of pics of the seagulls playing around in the air, balancing on the ship’s rails, pecking away at the potato chips .. and in so doing, chatted with fellow passengers, had a good laugh and thoroughly enjoyed standing outside in the rain.

Back home .. took out my new purchases and played with them all .. ah, it’s great to have enthusiasm.

Later on, I attended Asmira’s Silver Anniversary Show, here’s a link to some photos:

And here is where I stepped back into the past!  Another friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, was dressed up as a very sexy  devil, artfully dressed all in red .. showed me what she was using for the tail of her costume!  It was a red velvet hairband tie that I had made for sale about 20 years ago!

I’d completely forgotten about these things .. back in the day when I was busy sewing, crafting and selling my creations.  Now the curtains of my memory parted and once again I was back in the past, making trips to fabric stores, visualizing the finished product,choosing materials,  making purchases.  Going home to my sewing room, measuring, cutting, sewing.    Taking my items to a friend’s shop for sale.   And all these years later, all that I’d forgotten flashed into my mind.  All that excited creative energy from the past beckoned me, begging me to let them live again!

And another reminder, another friend who I hadn’t seen in a very long time reminded me of a memory she had of me, back when, as a group, we all flew to Seattle and visited theNorthwest Folklife Festival!  She remembered that I’d bought a small tin of lip balm, made of honey and spices.  And that I’d like it so much that I kept applying it to my lips, till at the end of the day, the tin was empty!  Wow .. ok, flashes of this started to pop up!  Nice.

And this reminder of how time travels much too quickly sometimes!   I was chatting with another friend, not seen for… hmmm … how many years?  Well, let me tell you!

I was reminiscing with her about that same Folklife weekend, she was pregnant and we were wandering around the food building and she was eating a variety of foods.  She warned me to not try to follow her lead, as I couldn’t keep up with the ravenous food cravings of a woman who was pregnant.

So I asked her how her “little” boy was doing .. and learned!!!!

That he was 30 years old, married, with a daughter.  There was a silent hush as our mental calculators clicked away.   Ouch.

I would love to go back to Seattle in the spring and revisit the Folklife Festival again … so maybe next year we could get a group together and just go back to watch the marvellous folk arts, the dancing (the Clogging!!!)  To watch the most amazing dance performers and perhaps this time we could try to get into the Gospel celebration .. it was packed full and we could only hear the singing very faintly.

Here’s a link:

And I do not like crowds, but I remember being there, thousands of people milling around and feeling so happy to be there with all those who share a love of dance, crafting, creating things, and what a wonderful place to be.

Oh, I do chatter on .. and it’s time to get going. The rains have stopped and I have plants to re-pot.

Just thought that I’d like to post those photos of that long ago visit to Folklife .. the pictures of the cat riding along on his owner’s shoulders.  The vast cooking areas.  The broom makers.

I’ll have to dig out those photos and scan them …ha ha… the days before digital cameras!!

ttfn …..


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Sharing some photos of my sailplane ride in the early morning skies at Port Alberni, way above the clouds!

Friday, October 26, 2012

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  Too quickly October is ending.  Halloween approaching and so is the start of my Ecological Landscaping!  This I am looking forward to.  And, thankful that I will not have to hand out chocolate bars (and sampling them over and over from those gigantic bags!).
Today the weather was overcast and rainy … a perfect fall day.  No photos from today. Although I did have my camera with me, just in case I saw something interesting in my travels.

What travels .. well .. I made my way to one of the local Canadian Tire stores .. and had fun wandering around.   Picked up some oversize, heavy duty ziplock bags to store my dried seaweed in.

Then for a greater part of the afternoon, back at home, I tried to find sources of luffa’s!!  A few years ago, these dried gourds were just absolutely everywhere.  Now, it’s a struggle to find a source for them, at a reasonable price.

That does it, next year I will plant them again in the garden.  They are really easy to grow and produce quite a good supply of seeds for the next year’s crop.  Except, the last time that I grew them, a few years ago, some savage insect cut down each huge flower when they bloomed.

But .. next year .. armed with my EM and seaweed .. and vigilance, I don’t think that this will happen again.

Anyway … I looked through my files of photos taken in October and realized that I hadn’t posted photos of my lovely early morning flight in the PW5 at Port Alberni .. so I’ll share those with you.

The day started with a sky full of clouds and I was fortunate enough to be able to go as a passenger .. way up in the skies .. above the clouds.

Such a peaceful place to be .. .magical and mysterious!

Now .. I love the skies .. I love being up there, far above the earth .. and since I’m not a pilot, I am in massive appreciation for my DH, who has introduced me to so many varieties of flying up in the skies!  He is part bird and I think I must be also .. to love the skies so very much.

And it is so much nicer to be way “up there” looking around at the clouds, blue skies and earth formations down below … and this gives me the impetus to gaze up at the skies when I’m gardening, or walking … sweet memories.

So I’ll end this little blog for this day .. and hope that you enjoy the photos that I have posted from this early October flight!


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I found myself cooking up a storm a few days ago, my inner chef emerged to take over the kitchen!

Thursday, October 25, 2010

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   I’ve done a lot of this and a little of that, during the past few days.   You know the kind of days that these are.  A little bit of housework.  Some reading.  Some walking.  A few exercise sessions (Callanetics by Callnan Pinckney)

I have the book and had the video, but gave that to my sister, as I know all of the exercises.  I loved her first video, but subsequent videos/dvd’s were just to spacey and new age for me.   The first time I saw her demonstrate her specific types of exercises was on a Johnny Carson show, many years ago.

She was very straightforward in her approach and the exercises were simple, no machines were needed.  You could exercise anywhere.  So I’ve started doing them again and can feel those muscles in my legs and tummy shouting … yea .. at last … so am slowly marching down the road to getting back into shape.  Already my posture is better, I carry myself taller, shoulders back.   Feels great.

Baby steps.

Anyway, yesterday and part of today was spent bundling up my containers of dried seaweed, to store them over the winter so I can use them from time to time.

And a few days ago I think that I called upon my Inner Chef because I found myself cooking up a storm!  Using recently purchased bags of eggplant and some special long green peppers!  I scoured the internet for recipes and soon was making a variety of foods.   Which included:  eggplant hamburgers, which called for peeling &  cutting up the eggplant into cubes, steaming, mixing with eggs, shaping into little patties, light dusting of flour and fry in the pan.

Next time I’ll mash the eggplant into more of a mush.  Good tasting.

Then there was the eggplant au gratin.  This recipe simply said to peel & slice the vegetable, cook in water till tender, then mash (which is the way I will prepare the e/burgers if I make them again).  Next, simply place layers of the eggplant and grated cheese into a greased casserole.  This looks and tastes delicious!

Finally, I prepared the stuffed special green peppers.  I say special, cause I’ve not seen these type before, they are not hot, and they are longer than the regular green bell pepper.  I have saved some seeds and will try and grow them next year.

So I mixed up quinoa/organic beef/garlic/rosemary and a few spices from the cupboard.  Then I cut the tops off of the peppers, ran a knife down one side and popped them all in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Removed them from the pot, placed, cut side  up in a casserole dish.  Spooned the meat filling in each one.  Poured salsa sauce over it all and baked in the oven.  When done, after about 30 minutes, I sprinkled a liberal dose of crumbled mozzarella cheese on top.

Didn’t think I’d like these, but they remind me of lasagna, without the pasta calories.  Delish!

Finally, came the soup.  Why soup?  Well, I guess I had the freezer part of the fridge kinda overstuffed with my zealous supply of frozen fruits from the garden.  DH opened the freezer door and out onto the floor fell frozen bags of tomatoes, packets of meat, etc.  So I decided, instead of trying to make everything fit into that small space again, it was time to make soup!

And also, this is when the idea formulated inside my head .. to make the stuffed peppers!!

So I thawed out the tomatoes, put them in some chicken soup base in a pot.  Cooked it all.  Tried to remove the skin on the tomatoes, finally whipped out the hand blender and soon the soup was looking nice and rosy.  Next I grated one of those lovely potatoes from the garden, to try to thicken it up.  Added a little bit of garlic and rosemary.  Whipped in some sour cream .. and yum, delicious soup!

Lots of food at a very low price and our fridge is full!

Today I went for a drive in the country and obtained some lovely large plant pots … for potting up my recent sale purchases!   So happy am I!

I love driving through the local countryside .. such a beautiful time of the year .. lovely fall colours.   Beautiful farms … lots of work, though, I’ll bet.

Next I went to visit my friend D!   I was invited to try some of her borscht soup. Now, I’ve never tried borscht soup .. somehow the idea of having beets in soup has never appealed to me.  However, today I ventured forth and realized what I’ve been missing.  Now I want to try to make some.  Absolutely delicious.  And I understand the beets are full of good things too!  Oh, I’m learning so much now.

The borscht was served in lovely blue Period  Pyrex bowls … so pretty!  And these were placed on delicately painted dishes!   Did I mention the dollop of sour cream on top!  And D also make these terrific rice cake sandwiches!  She spread some grainy mustard & organic mayonnaise on the top.  Next there was large, flat nasturtium leaf!   Ok, I’ve never eaten a nasturtium leaf (or a flower) before, so this was another tasty treat!  On top of this was a lovely layer of baked salmon.

Now this was a gourmet lunch and very delicious.  Dessert was a decadent square of chocolate!

She is such a magnificent cook, and is always preparing lovely ingenious meals for her family!  I’m learning a lot from her and trying out some of the things I’ve learned at home!  Food is fun, especially this type of food.

After a lovely visit, spent talking non-stop about creative things for several hours, it was time for me to head home and go outside to play around in the garden.

Which I did!

Cause we are supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days!








It helps to know what kind of a person you are! Especially with procrastination.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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Nearing the end of October already!  Fall is here.  And brought with it the rains. But .. there are still sunny breaks now and then.   And the weather reports show that Thursday is to be a sunny day .. so guess I’ll be going outside to plant.

Yes, plant.  For I have again succumbed to the plant sales and purchased yet more and more perennials!   Some magnificent plants and way cheaper than wholesale!     And I need to get them dug into the ground before the frosts arrive .. so I think I have a few weeks yet.  Is that procrastination?  I think so.

Our yard is starting to look like a little park, but not the kind with clipped grass.    Instead, the kind that you wander around, seeing a mixture of plant types all growing well together.  Both the taller screening plants and the mid to low-level bushes and ground covers.  A relaxing, comfortable place to be.

I’m starting the Ecological Landscaping course in 2 weeks and I just know that I’ll be learning how to properly space plants and also what to plant where.   So I might be moving a lot of these plants around next spring.  Or not.  Depends.  That gives me leeway for more procrastination, eh?

Right now I’m in blissful ignorance of all that future learning.  I do, however, look at the plant labels to see if they have preferences for sun or shade, so that is good.

I refilled the bird feeders and happy to see the Juncos’ returning.   Or maybe they’ve been here all summer and I’ve just missed them.   I make sure that I buy good bird seed suet for them.  I just can’t bring myself to use the Miracle Grow Scott brand, as they had put poison in their bird seed a few years ago (so that vermin wouldn’t eat the seed).  I was so upset, that I called the company and when I checked the coding of the packages that I had, I found out that this batch was fine.  However, this has clouded my vision of their product and so I now use other brands.

We consumers trust a lot, don’t we?   Is that trust misguided?  Shouldn’t we check the products that we buy to ensure that there is nothing harmful in them?  GMO‘s (they are voting in California, Proposition 37, to create a law that requires that GMO’s be listed on food labels:

But there is good news on that link also, about Johnson & Johnson (their  many products are listed) will  remove dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde-releasers and triclosan. Johnson & Johnson is the first major personal care products manufacturer to take such an important action in favor of its customers’ safety.

Now .. isn’t that good news!!

Things are slowly changing for the better, it only takes the Power of One and then progress happens.

But enough about that .. I just started out chatting about my garden and procrastination and whew .. I went off on another path!

So during the past few days, I’m walking through my garden ..looking at the recent plant purchases, playing around with where to dig them in for the winter.  I can always move them, right.   Now that I’m armed with the amazing EM (effective microorganisms) I feel that I have magic for the plants.  And I do.  I’ve mixed up a batch of 16 litres (8 – 2 litre plastic milk containers).  Started 3 days ago .. and have them all covered with a towel and sitting on my plant propagating sheet, which I plug-in for an hour or so a day.  I think this batch will be ready in a few weeks.    It mixes up quicker in the warm summer.

I  noticed that the sweet peas have grown to be quite tall, nearly 7 feet!  And producing a great quantity of seed pods, which I’m collecting when they are ready.  I’ve already planted some for the spring …my gardening neighbour gave me lots to plant in the fall.  So I’m looking forward to a veritable of forest of flowers in the spring.

I’ve procrastinated about planting, about gathering, about many things this year.  But the most obvious sign of this habit was noticed by me yesterday.  When I looked at the container of garlic seeds and little garlic buds (from the hardnecks) that I’d placed “just for now” in a container outside.

With all the recent rains, the seeds have started to sprout!!!  Now, I can’t just leave them there …you know that I have to plant them!  I know that these seeds will take years to produce cloves, so here goes, I’ll be putting them into those lovely styrofoam rooting flats and let them grow till next spring.   Then I’ll decide if I’ll actually plant them up in beds or pots or whatever.  sigh.

Well, that’s enough rambling for now .. time to get going with this day.




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If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed seeing so many beautiful things, and met some lovely dogs along the way.

Monday, October 22, 2012

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The other day, I decided to go for a little walk, to catch some of the sun’s rays before evening set in.  And I am so glad that I did.
Otherwise, I would have missed seeing some beautiful cloud formations way up in the sky.

And I would have missed seeing more dogs … this is one of my favourite rewards on my walks.

Lovely happy dogs!  The first one, Mojo, was a rescue from the Mainland, Vanderhoof, I believe.  What a sweet gentle fellow he was!  I asked his doggy parents  if I could take a photo for my blog and they were happy to oblige.  He sat obediently when asked.  His trusting gaze looked up at me.  My heart melted.  I felt so happy that someone, somewhere, found him and others who were badly treated and enabled them to have this safe life.

And I thought again, for the zillionth time, how could people mistreat such loving animals.  Dogs, well treated, give their entire beings to people.  Actually, even if not treated well, they give their trust to those who care for them.  I’ve seen that, and wonder how this happens, but it does.

Dogs provide such true companionship.   I think back to the wonderful dogs that I have had the great fortune to have in my life and I’m extremely grateful for having them.  Such love.  Unconditional.   I miss them all.  Each one unique.  Each one wonderful beyond compare.

I truly believe that each dog comes into our life to teach us a specific lesson.  The main lesson, of course, is unconditional love.

And they give us a reason to go outside and discover the great outdoors and to have long interesting conversations with other doggy people.

Anyway, this all flashed through my mind as I left lovely Mojo and continued on my way.

I’d decided to walk along the path which led between the highway and the local allotment gardens.   I’ll have to go for another walk and take more photos.  This year I don’t expect them to flood, as there have been some repair done to the drainage systems  in this area.  Fingers crossed for the gardeners!

There were still gardeners happily working away.  Fetching loads of yummy oak leaf mulch to cover some areas.  Some were making sure that plastic coverings would be firmly attached to little greenhouses.   I felt that I should be at home, working away, but it was nice to just get out and walk.

Met another happy dog walker and stopped to chat about the pathway.  I normally don’t walk along this particular route and was surprised to discover such a winding walk just in our neighbourhood.  How lovely.

Anyway, now the path divided into two so I had to decide which one to take.  A decision to go left was made!  So I found myself in a lovely little cul-de-sac with a bit of a sidewalk that led up to the greenhouses on Glanford, near the corner of McKenzie !  In all the years I’d lived in this area, I realized now that I had never entered this particular neighbourhood.  Too busy driving to work or shopping.  Well, no more excuses.

So then I decided to go on this walk again yesterday.  And this time, I took the path that went to the right.  And I discovered another little neighbourhood tha led to the first one!  Gollee … see what happens when I venture out into our neighbourhood instead of walking across town.

I discovered one dead-end street that had quite a hill to walk down and then back up.  A good workout for my legs.  I marvelled at the tranquility of this neighbourhood.   And saw that little auto with the skeleton in it.  Now, this wasn’t real, ha ha . .it was for Halloween!  (At least I think it was!)
There was a lovely bit of marshland at the foot of this street, which added to the feeling of calm… and I hoped that there wouldn’t be townhouse developments built there to ruin their country atmosphere.

Anyway, I have begun my fall walks and, combined with renewed exercise sessions three times a week, I’ve begun to feel my old zest for life and energy returning.  Feels great.

Besides experiencing the beautiful outdoors, discovering new places in our neighbourhood, I’m also getting to meet the most lovely, happy dogs and this brings me great joy.

Mini-adventures available for free.  No tickets to buy.  No planning to make.


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Sharing my photos from Thursday’s adventure, gathering seaweed, visiting thrift shops and then lunch at Little Vienna Bakery Café

Saturday, October 20, 2012

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So I’m back to the slideshow method now .. this works much better for me, as I love to share photos of where I’ve been.  Maybe sometimes I’ll just insert a few photos.  But not today, though!

I’m sharing photos taken last Thursday.  A day that started out in a sunny fashion.   And my pal D and I were set to embark on another seaweed gathering day.  But first, I noticed the roses still blooming at the side of the house, so I gathered some and put the petals in a flat tray on a little table in the backyard,  Envisioning that they would be mostly dry in the lovely sun.

As it turned out, though, the rains poured down while we were up-island .. so as soon as I returned back home, I quickly gathered them up and put them on paper towelling so they would dry .. and they did, quite nicely!

Anyway, we began our day, driving to some lovely thrift shops.  We each picked up some treasures!   Including some black computer chairs, which we tried out in the thrift store, sitting on the chair and swirling around in circles.   Why even bother trying to be a sophisticated shopper anyway!  This was way more fun.

Everytime I buy a little knickknacks, I’m justified in the purchase.  Even though I’ve been busy decluttering at home!   DH asks me, when I show him my treasures .. well, actually, he just shakes his head and doesn’t say much … he’s very patient!  I try to explain why exactly I “need”these new things .. how they add beauty to the house!  Especially those decadent tureens (one with a lid) and the platter.

So, we visited 3 thrift shops and then it was time to go to Little Vienna Bakery Café  The rains had started in earnest, so we decided to have lunch inside!

I had a magnificent butternut squash soup, so rich!  And D had the sumptuous dumplings with a wicked mushroom sauce!  And desert!  Well, that was wrapped up and taken to our respective homes … for a later treat.

Well, finally, we reached Whiffen Spit.  The waves were crashing to shore and I asked someone nearby if my car would be safe where it was .. and I was assured that it would be!

Normally when we visit this place, the tides are out a bit .. and even the high tides weren’t as high as they were on Thursday.  So it was a change to see the waves come rolling in and then crash to shore.  Bringing with it enormous amounts of bull kelp and seaweed.

So we walked along a bit.   Then ventured to a sheltered area, to gather some seaweed.  Which was broken up into pieces by the powerful wave action as they were plummeted to shore.

We were in seaweed heaven!  Soon we had a few bags gathered and I put them in the back of my car .. being careful not to dislodge our recent treasure of purchases!

I also gathered some sea water, to use in the garden .. and thus add precious minerals to the lawn and garden.  Still working on getting the pear tree back to health and avoid the pear trellis rust.
I’ll be composting the leaves from the pear tree in a separate compost pile.  Adding lots of EM, seaweed and seawater.   The resulting mulch I’ll be using on the side garden.

As I noted before, last year, before my shift of paradigms (garden wise) I had just raked up all those lovely leaves with orange spots and composted them.  Hadn’t had any problems.  However, this year, with my new knowledge, I’ll be treating them differently.  And curious to see if this rust doesn’t return next year!.

Well, pouring rain thundering down, we decide that it’s time to return to the metropolis (ha) of Victoria, so we make our way back.  I keep to the posted highway speed in this type of weather … respecting the highway, the downpour and other vehicles.

Soon we are at D’s place and together we take her treasures inside, laughing as we remember what we bought at which store!  Another fun day.

Then, time for me to take my little car home and start the process of emptying the contents.   Sea water and sea weed taken to the back yard, about 4 trips.  Then I carefully gathered my rose petals to dry inside.

Next, my treasures are unloaded and brought home .. all freshly washed and dried!.

So much fun and such a low-cost.  My car gets great mileage .. up to 60 mpg on the highway, so that was negligible.   Then, the total cost of my treasures were under $40, so I had great value there.  Plus all the happiness they bring.

When it’s time in the future to pass these treasures along to someone else (so I can make room for more, as D says!) then I’ll enjoy the process.  It’s all fun anyway.

I must admit, I’ve quite enjoyed picking up little treasures for low costs … challenging my creative spirits and laughing along the way!

Well .. on with this day ….


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Here are some pics of some blue skies, some crows, lovely flowers and proof that I’ve planted my garlic

The crows were not pleased with the presence of the Great Blue Heron on “their” roof!

Last week on one of those rainy/sunny days, I decided to use my Cannor’s Nursery gift card, the one that DH gave to me for my recent birthday.  I wandered around outside, not many people there, just enjoyed the ambience of the proximity of thousands of plants.  Wondering which ones would be coming home with me.  Suddenly, the sound of crows cawing away directed my attention to the top of a nearby roof.

I watched for minutes while one crow in particular tried to scare the Great Blue Heron away from the roof.

So this one particular crow tried scare tactics .. but the Heron just yawned and continued preening.

The crow would fly up and then swoop down on the Heron, but the Heron just ignored him and continued his grooming.


Beautiful water flowers at Cannors Nursery

These flowers attract insects for fine dining .. I believe.  Quite beautiful in their arrangement.

And it was a rainy day, perfect for wandering the garden nursery

Aren’t the glistening drops of rain beautiful . . transforming the leaves into amazing natural works of art .. finer than any jewel could ever by.  Fashioned by Mother Nature.


Ok, this photo was from last week .. lovely skies

The beautiful blue skies from last week .. the clouds were constantly changing shape and so I was busy clicking away, taking little breaks from planting my lovely garlic.  I love the skies and  am constantly looking upwards, there is so much to see.  Always.   And thus the beauty.

One little block of garlic ready to be nestled in for the winter

Here is one little block of garlic.  I dug little trenches, put in the cloves, pointy side up.  Then watered them well with EM.   Next, I carefully covered the cloves with soil.

After the soil was spread over the cloves, next came a layer of seaweed/grasses

Then I covered them with a thick layer of seaweed.  Which D & I gathered over the summer months.   Followed by a cover of dried sea grasses.  (All of the grass was washed up by the tides, gathered gratefully and dried in the sunshine)  A lovely blanket for the garlic.

Sigh ..


Sigh says it all!

One of my recent “treasures” found in a thrift shop, for my garden

When D & I went for our seaweed gathering, we began to add little routines to our day.  When we began, we would collect spent seaweed,  then we would go to a nearby cafe for lunch.   We started adding variety to our trips a few weeks ago.  This included a visit to the Casino

I collected my $5 Birthday voucher,  and then she chose the machine.  It was Egyptian, of course!  Every time the points would increase, the costumed guard of the tomb would do a pretend arm “dance” we giggled quite a bit at that!   Wisely, she suggested that I cash out, once my winnings were at $19.  So I did.  But then, I put in $10 and when that rose to $18, the reminder was given again, and so I cashed out again!  Actually walked away from the Casino with cash!  Usually on my Birthday $5 vouchers, I just make my yearly visit, spend the $5 in less than 10 minutes and walk away.  So I was quite pleased to walk away with more than I started with!.
Anyway, next we visited the local St. Vincent de Paul.  Oh, my, and thus began a series of “must have” purchases for home.  Above, is the garden mirror that looks great outside, leaning against a tree.

Then, I bought a cat scratching recliner thingy for JaneE.  Beautiful decanters and bottles.   Lovely.

One of my plant purchases at Cannors Nursery

One of my recent purchases for the garden!

Lovely Canna Lilies

Including a gorgeous pot of Canna Lillies!

ha ha ,, DH, adjusting the labelling of my oat bran!

So I opened up the kitchen pantry doors a few days ago and saw this and thought “Goat Bran” .. oh, DH was having fun changing the wording of my “Oat Bran“.  🙂

D’s 3rd crop of basil, from the same plants! The magic of EM!

And, oh, wow .. this shows the power of EM!  D had bought this pot of basil, kept it in the same soil.  Added EM .. and this is the third crop of basil that she has gathered.  And the same soil, now totally enriched with the EM.  Are you sold on this EM yet?  🙂

D’s little tomato plant, soldiering on, still bearing fruit, despite the weather! (EM!!)

And this is one of the famous four tomato plants.  The plants grown from the same seed as last year, small bushy plants.  This year, D watered them with EM.  Results were towering plants, a crop of way over 400 tomatoes from 4 plants.  And this plant is still growing.  Leaves and fruit are smaller, but still .. power to the EM!  And beyond.

D’s yellow tomato .. quite the interesting shape.

And D always is finding unusual fruits and veggies in her wanderings.  Here is one example of a strangely shaped tomato!  Like a quadruple tomato, eh?

Oh, Duncan, our little darling …

Darling little Duncan .. he’s wandering around the yard .. and he doesn’t like the camera!.

Well, I just wanted to share some photos from last week and yesterday.  To show my garlic, finally planted.  I created some rectangular areas in the garden and tried to plant one type per section.  So I have  mostly hardnecks, and I’ll be collecting the scapes next summer for more garlic pesto.

I planted the golf size and larger round bulbs in one section.  So looking forward to see the results next year!   And then the gigantic elephant garlic.  Lots of garlic.  And I saved one block for some winter veggies . .must go looking for some.

My lovely gardening neighbour has given me more Dragon kale, so I’ll be planting that soon.

I’ve been feeding my pear tree (the one with the pear trellis rust) with lots of seaweed solution and placed a fair amount of actual seaweed at the base.  And sprayed the branches as best as I could with the liquid seaweed.

After wonderful advice from the Gaia Community Board, I’ve been reminded that “healthy plants don’t get sick” … of course, now I remember that from my Organic Master Gardening Course, Gaia College!!   I’ve also learned that what I thought was the root stock of a plum-tree is actually pear stock.  So much to learn, how exciting.  We’d planted this tree about 30 years ago, so I forgot what it was.  🙂

D and I have been adding activities to our seaweed gathering days.  These now include 3 thrift shops!  Oh my.   I’ll post the pictures of my recent treasures tomorrow.  I think there are enough photos for today.

So today I tried a new way of posting photos.  And I will revert back to the slideshow method tomorrow.  As this posting of photos, one by one, just takes so much more time, and I’m the kind of person who wants to get on with things.

Anyway, I’m back to blogging.

So much more to talk about.  Including, ta da .. .another gardening course!  This one is Ecological Landscaping .. so I’ll be talking about that as I go along.  It starts Oct 31 and ends Dec 8 .. so another whirlwind session of learning is about to start.  Two sessions a week, 3 hours each.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these photos and tomorrow I will post pics of the crashing waves at Sooke and the pics of my recent purchases!
Now .. on to either gardening or decluttering.  Wonder which will win out?












Life is funny .. sometimes .. but it has its ups and downs

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Have I been lazy, not writing every day?  I’ve missed quite a few days.  Frankly, my energy level has been quite low lately.  Due a lot to the loss of our little Youbou cat .. we loved him so very much and it’s been a struggle to deal that.  But we’ve dealt with that.   Duncan is spending more time inside and we spend a lot of time with him.

Also with JaneE cat .. she’s started a new habit.

Now, when I’m at the computer, she sits on the floor beside me, meows hello, then stands up and stretches, gently putting her claws against my leg.  So I pick her up, she sits on my left arm, like a little armchair, and rests her paws on my left shoulder.  And purrs happily.  So we sit like that for a while .. I continue clicking away at creative sites and she is content.

The other factor in my lack of energy is the constant construction noise that is taking place in our neighbourhood.  Huge buildings are being built .. that will soon shadow the streets and take away the sunshine for most of the day for those who live nearby.   We are far enough away that our light won’t be affected.

That noise is intrusive and nasty …and takes away the joy that I normally have in the garden.  So I relish the quiet times, at the end of the workday and the weekends, when I can sit outside in the quiet and hear the birds sing.   And the lovely silence.

I did stock up on some of the lovely silence during the weekend, so my creative and artistic batteries have been recharged.   And suddenly, I feel happier, more optimistic and more my usual self.  Lovely.

So what have I been doing in the past few weeks?  Well, I’ve been playing around with the layout of the veggie garden.  Still haven’t planted my garlic, but nearly there.   I’ve decided to plant the garlic in blocks, so am making little paths between the blocks and have been putting a thick layer of that wonderful miracle mulch between them .. great for walking on and it will eventually turn to soil..

Then I’ve been thinking about how to relocate some large rocks in this area.  I want to make a little grouping and then place some of the little rounded, flat rocks (gathered by the seashore) and tiny little rocks amongst them make a casual place where I can sit in the sun.  I’ve been playing around with the rock arrangement .. and will post a pic when done.

I’ve also been planting the Dragon Kale that my lovely gardening neighbour has given me.   These will grow blue when placed in the sun and will stay green, when they are planted in the shade.

I’ve also discovered that what I thought was a wild plum root-stock (the wild and crazy tree) is actually pear stock!   This is the tree that we planted many years ago, the graft tree died and I nursed back one of the root growths.

And I’ve discovered that the orange spots on the leaves are pear trellis rust.   Argh.  Felt very dismal when I first noticed the spots and the protuberances on the underside of the leaves, they looked like ugly barnacles.

Now …. this tree affords us tremendous privacy in the yard during the growing season and we do not want to cut it down.

So today I’ve learned that the Juniper is the host for this fungus disease.  And that there are organic ways to rectify it.  Oh, I am so very glad that I took the Gaia Organic Master Gardening course .. for that is where the positivity for the healthy repair  came from!

So I’ll be composting the fallen leaves in a separate container, with lots of EM, vegetation, etc.   And then I’ll be placing healthy composted soil around the tree, lots of seaweed.   Lots of EM.   And I’ll be spraying seaweed and kale liquids on the leaves.   Looking forward to next year at this time to see the results.  This is so very positive and I’m so very happy ….  yea!!

On the weekend, DH & I went for a “little” walk to a magnificent restaurant.  Along the way, on the Blenkinsop trail, we had a happy time.  We met Cowboy, the Quarter-Horse, whose owner was taking her little brother for a ride .. and then she let him lead the horse while she rode.   I told her that she was making a lot of people happy  .. seeing that handsome horse, and she smiled!  Lovely.

We saw the random garden artwork that is well displayed at a property that is up for development.  Thought I’d better take more photos, cause one day, with the development, this personal touch will no longer exist.

Finally we reached our destination and had the most delicious meal, seated at a window overlooking the ocean.  Sigh …

The meal over, we began our homeward trek … and I found out that we’d walked over 10 miles (there and back) .. didn’t seem like much of a walk .. we love walking.  Especially in the sun.

Lots more happened, but I’ll talk about this tomorrow.  About a day trip with a friend that ended up with us visiting a casino, a beach and a second-hand store!  🙂

I’m back in my normal energy level .. loving the exploration of my world and garden.   Oh and the birds!   I’ve got to say that there is this huge robin in the yard .. he’s massive!   And I’ve been taking photos of him as he poses around the yard.

ha ha ha ….. 🙂