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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What with gathering oak leaves for the garden, continuing my course and making soaps, I’ve been kinda busy … but, oh so very happy.

Thursday, November 27, 2012

Looking through my dashboard, I found this blog that I’d started on Nov 15 but hadn’t posted .. so will share this now!

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Oh .. we are so very lucky here in Victoria!! There have been several days of sunshine, such a welcome from the overcast rainy days.  Although, I really don’t mind those kinds of days … those are the days when I can do the work inside the house.  The work that just doesn’t get done on sunny days .. when the garden calls out to me and I answer readily by going outside.

Or, perhaps it’s time to go on a shopping & exploring day with a good friend.  Or .. actually, I can pick any number of reasons to not do housework .. but, no worries, I always do my fair share of keeping our happy home nice and tidy!

I’ve been so busy lately, feel like I’m on whirling merry-go-round ..but enjoying the ride!

In addition to getting back into soap making, I’ve nearing the end of my landscaping course, normal housework duties and collecting oak leaves for the garden.  So far I think that I’ve collected nearly 30 bags and yesterday I went for more!    There is a lovely large property not far from our home .. with many oak trees and the generous owners of this place allow me to gather as many leaves as I want!  Yesterday found me dashing over there and madly filling as many bags as possible before dusk descended.  Those wonderful handy-hands (large plastic flat circles, with a zig-zag edging) allow me to scoop up  large amount of leaves at one time.  I posted pics last year and will take another today, to show what they look like.

I’d filled about 18 bags and finally accepted the fact that it was too dark to see the leaves clearly, so I stuffed 8 bags into my little car (now, I would have taken a picture of that but it was too dark) and have a collection of 10 more to go back and pick up.  Oh, lovely food for the garden this will be!

I took a few pics from my first sale effort in more than 20 years!  I had set up a table at a flea market on Sunday past … it wasn’t the right venue for my soaps, but it was a start!

I really enjoy talking with people and so I really enjoyed my  first foray into the selling arena.   Although it wasn’t a craft show .. it brought me back to the lovely world of selling things I made and also gave me the opportunity to listen to lovely conversations, feeling the happy energy of people shopping for things that interested them.

And I have made inquiries to join a few more craft sales in the city .. small ones .. more personal than huge organized ones.  Perhaps I’ll try for them next year.  For now though, I am quite content at rejoining my initial excitement at creating soaps … and look forward to playing around with the various combinations.  There is the creative energy that I’ve reconnected with.   So very much fun.

Well .. on with this day ….


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More plants on sale .. oh, I am so lucky!

Monday, November 26, 2012

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There has been a mix of weather here lately .. a mix of sunny crisp days … rain .. frost (today).  Lovely time of the year to sort of slow down from the busyness of the year.

My landscaping course has been progressing .. learning lots .. looking at yards differently now.  Even though I’m finding the measurements, the math .. a bit rigid .. this too is progressing.  I much prefer the creative flow of looking at a landscape and visualizing the beauty of plantings, I do realize that structure is important.   So only 3 classes left in the course.   There is a part 2 of the course and at this point I am not sure if I will continue on to the second section.

There are a few months left to make this decision and so I will let that slide for now.

Anyway .. I couldn’t pass up some recent plant purchases.   I now have four of the Eucryphia – Leatherwood  for our next property.

D has seen this magnificent tree at Beacon Hill Park … so I must go there to see it .. and it flowers in spring .. thousands of tiny white flowers.  The sales person at Capital Iron (the lovely place where I bought these trees) was a little wistful at seeing the tree leave, as she’d not  seen the flowers.  Perhaps next spring I’ll take some pictures and show them to her.

Ok, I couldn’t refuse some bargains at a local supermarket.  A flat of roses for only $5!!  And a flat of sage for $5!  Includes a purple sage.  I have lots of sage seeds (purple and white flowers)  but these little guys will make a lovely hedge.


D & I went for a quick shopping trip last week .. to Capital Iron …. and this time I brought my camera so that I could take some pictures of the wonderful antiques that are still there, in the lower section, tucked away in the garden area, by the Christmas decorations.

Years ago, this complete area was full of lovely antiques of all kinds, including marvellous magazines from the 40’s.  Piles of them.  Wonder where they have all gone?  Hopefully to a collector who treasures them .. and perhaps scanned them for sharing?

And vessel engine parts of all sorts.  Great memorabilia.  Nowadays, there are only a few of these antiques left and they are all for sale.

We wandered through parts of this venerable old store.  And then time to visit the local health food store.  Where we had the most delicious lunch.  I tried the spelt pizza .. very thin crust, delicious assortment of toppings .  D had the wonderful broccoli soup, with cocoanut milk base.

Shopping done for the day .. I went home to continue making soap and packaging them up.

More later .. must run …


p.s.  coincidentally, further to the photo that I posted, showing a car bumper sticker to stop testing on animals… I received a request from the Humane Society to stop cruelty for:  street dogs;  lab animals;  all animals.

Please visit:


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It’s been a busy week in my life thus far .. and I’ve gone back to making soap!

No photos today … but I will try to paint some pictures with words today!

I’m a multi-tasker .. as are most women.  Why do just one thing when I can wear myself out doing four or five?

Example.  Yesterday.  Finally .. outside in my favourite dirt-stained Carhart bibs .. looking forward to bringing more new plants to the back yard (more on this later!)

I fully intended to do just this one thing.  Then, decided to go back inside the house to get some bird seeds for the feeders.  And here is where it started.

Might as well take care of the laundry while I was inside.  So I emptied the dryer and filled the washer.  Then, well, might as well heat up a quick cup of tea.

The compost bucket was full, so outside it went.

Soon I was outside, enjoying the warmth of the cup of Yorkshire Tea.   Next, over to the compost bins .. emptied veggie & coffee material to the compost.  Added seaweed, layer of cardboard, sprinkle of glacial rock powder and some EM.  This is going to be awesome compost.

Next, check the hummingbird feeder.  Topped up the bird seed stations.   Began picking up more of the hundreds of apples that had fallen from the tree.

Finally .. the time came to move the new plant purchases.  Two more of the lovely spring-flowering evergreens, a winter flowering pink currant (for the hummingbirds and some ground covers.

I know … I know .. a month or so ago I promised myself that I wouldn’t weaken and would not buy any more plants.

Well .. I only bought these yesterday … because I happened to go downtown and just wanted to make a quick visit to Capital Iron.  And I thought, well, if it’s meant to be … meaning, if there were any more of those trees left there in the lower lot (half price!!!) then I’d purchase them.  And you know what!  There were two of them left!  So I took this as a sign and soon I was loading my new purchases into my car .. after paying for them, of course.

When there is a plant sale on, I can justify every single purpose.

So, that is my most recent plant story.

Back to the yard.

By now, after all my running back and forth it was late afternoon and the skies were slowly darkening.  So I spent some time chopping up my oak leaves for mulch.

Soon, dusk had seriously descended and it was to hard to see what I was working at .. so, begrudgingly I gathered up all my toys and trudged back to the house.

But wait, one more thing to do.  One of our homework assignments (landscaping course) is to take the measurements of a staircase .. so I grabbed a tape measure, pencil and paper and began this task.

The math part of the course has been a struggle for me and for some others in the class also .. so I don’t feel quite so bad.  I’ll work my way through .. though.  And so very lucky that everyone is so sharing in the class .. makes the struggles more bearable.

Just as the Organic Master Gardening changed forever the way that I garden, so to will the landscaping course change forever the way that I look at gardens, structures, placement of landscapes and all that.

Sigh.  Just have to struggle through and I will be ok.

And so .. I’ve been quite busy with all this and other things also.

For I have gotten back into soap making!  Found some of my notes from 1986, when I was writing out soap recipes!

So I’ve been spending evenings mixing up soaps.  Playing around with colours (using herbs & flower petals) and some with scents and some without.

My good pal D gave me a wonderful gift of dried Calendula petals.  She gathered the flowers and carefully dried them.  I think it was 5 cups or so of petals were reduced to several cups, once the moisture was removed.

And last night I mixed up a soap with these beautiful petals, some ground up orange peel and they look so pretty.   I’ll take some pictures later today and will post them.

Next will be the packaging of them .. for I am going to try to get a table at a local artisan type of craft show.  Fingers crossed I’ll be able to do that.   Because I’ve made nearly 30 pounds of soap.   Bought the most beautiful fabric to wrap them in.

And so my life continues in its little multi-tasking way.

And I’ve only listed the highlights of the past week.

Yesterday I saw the most beautiful rainbow .. saw it twice actually!  Once when I was downtown (coincidentally, I was on my way to look at the plants on sale!)  And another time when I was nearly home.  No camera with me .. but happy to see a young guy taking lots of photos.  So the beauty was captured, except not by me.

Anyway .. on with this day.  Shopping to be done.  Homework assignments to be completed.  Soap to wrap.  And all the other daily things that need to be done.

But first .. I’m going to spend a few more minutes looking out our kitchen window.  Admiring the beauty of the birds that are visiting the feeders and flitting about the trees.  The Juncos, the Flickers!!!The Anna Hummingbirds, a few European Starlings, Chickadees, Nuthatches, sparrows and some lovely little songbirds.  Yet again I am so very happy that we planted all the trees in our yard, so many years ago.  Safe little places for all the birds to settle in and relax and preen themselves.  And I’m also rewarded by their songs!

🙂  On with this day.

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Learning Curves, what would we do without them! And my pal D and I went shopping again!

what a beautiful mirror … in the washroom!

Oh .. .sigh …another learning curve is being encountered in my life .. one of a number, it seems!

The latest one is my new Asus or Acer, or whatever .. computer!  I still have my trusty old $80 Toshiba as a backup.  But .. after hours of losing connectivity and waiting for yet another slow web page to download .. I thought .. argh .. no more.

So … looked at my savings .. and there was nearly enough for a new one.  Discussed with DH … and .. went over to Mother Computers to see what they had.   This is our chosen computer source … we are not computer savvy and leave the details to them … whom we trust!

Ended up with this wonderful, lightweight notebook, has all the bells and whistles. Plus, Windows 8 and an annoying Skype setup.

Tonight I went through the i-manual and have the keyboards functions down pat …. so that is great.  I’m slowly learning how to find my way through the changes.  And wowee … there is a camera in this thing!

That little learning curve is chugging along fine.  As is the Ecological Landscaping course.   Such a formidable wealth of information.  And numbers … I dream of numbers now.  Measuring exactly on grid paper with an architect’s ruler (3 sides).  Could I ever have imagined that I’d be doing this?  No.   But, I’m slowly getting through that hurdle .. or .. gigantic learning curve.


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But enough about that .. look at these skies from last week … lovely!

My pal D and I decided to leave the reality of the everyday world and embark on an escape day … which means shopping at some very wonderful thrift stores.  And .. perhaps .. some seaweed gathering .. who knew what the day would bring.

Our shopping started with some little oddities!  Driving down Blanshard (and missing the turn-off that I should have taken) we noticed a boat-laden pickup truck being driven the wrong way … the driver had somehow travelled part way up the highway and ended up in an enclosed area of the road that was cordoned off for road repairs.

This resulted in us driving down another road and saw a dog standing in the middle of the traffic .. luckily not much traffic at this time.  So I parked D went to gently get the dog off the road.  He ran away.  We drove down a side road to find him.  Located him climbing over the low fence of a local yard.  All seemed ok (except .. if this was my dog, he would not be outside!!)

D noticed she’d lost a glove (a new one, right!)  so we retraced our steps …stopped at one place and .. there was a bright purple Purdy’s Chocolate bag .. neatly folded.  However, it hadn’t been there a minute ago.  Strange.

Drove on a bit .. and voila .. there was the lost glove found!

We drove on and on.  Reached our first store.  Spent hours inside, wandering, wondering, considering, choosing.   Found some treasures.  Then .. lunch time!  Found the most wonderful Thai restaurant!!!


My yummy lunch

D’s delicious looking lunch

Such a lovely and restful restaurant.  And there were some interesting chairs.  We chose a table with some sparkly plexiglass chairs .. so very pretty and very comfy.  Fun chairs.  Looking around the restaurant, we noticed that there were other styles of chairs also.  In particular, massive carved elephant chairs.  I tried to move one and just couldn’t.   Beautiful, elegant elephant chairs!

What a cozy sight ..

Time was quickly ticking away! How I love that clock ..

Shades of Polar Express! What a great buy this was

We had loads of fun.   Found such a variety of lovely dishes, graceful glasses, useful measuring items (for me and my course) even found this fantastic sleigh bell collar for a horse.  What a deal and I just love this.  Perfect for Christmas and perfect for the garden.

We had such a wonderful time going to the thrift shops!

And then I wanted to write about it .. but.. learning curves and photos didn’t mix.  Kept losing my photos in the Gallery .. so finally downloaded them into our desk computer!  Sigh.

Guess learning curves are just little challenges sent our way so that we can expand our horizons.  Work hard.  Perhaps some frustration (it’s math, for me!)  And the lovely feeling that arrives when the curves are past .. and the path is forthright.  Until the next curve!
Anyway .. I do like my new laptop.   And it’s ever so helpful for my course ..
So .. nighty night .. enjoy a lovely relaxing evening .. and I will try to write more about our shopping trip tomorrow.  And perhaps a little about my landscaping field trip today.  And .. more oak leaves gathered!




Gnarley beauty of trees. Stoney landscaping. Beautiful leaves .. and .. painted windows!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ha ha .. I was visiting a local dollar store and saw a display of foldable flower vases, and just couldn’t resist this one.  Thought it was going to be like the type you find at Ikea .. where you just add warm water and the vase can be shape shifted .. kind of fun.  Turns out this one is a little different.  The vase is heavy plastic, and can indeed be folded (when empty!)  There is a little packet of green crystals that are added .. and voila!  These marble type formations result.   So rather cool, I thought!

Had to stop and look at the gnarled beauty of this venerable old tree.  Loved the rugged dignity of the gnarled bark, this tree has seen a lot of the world .. and then there is the delicate beauty of the little tree growing beside it.   Will the intelligence of the older tree be shared with the younger one?   Sharing knowledge from one species to another, one era to another.

Loving the randomness of nature’s beauty .. windblown leaves resting on the branches of this California Lilac.


Now .. this here .. is your industrial “non-maintenence” type of landscaping.  Only very brave plants could grow through these stony layers!  Alas.  Oh .. and “shudder” …

Yum … lots of oak leaves for mulching in the garden!!  I’ve been gathering lots of them for the winter protection of my garlic and potted plants.

Don’t know if you can tell .. but those little dots are actually seagulls, soaring in a little thermal that was developing.  Scenes from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”    If you ever want to watch one of the most wonderful films in the world, I highly recommend this one.  And .. to hear Neil Diamond singing throughout .. is just too magnificent for mere words to describe.  I can only watch this film in little bits . .there is so much beauty therein.

This window is from the little strip mall that I visited a few days ago this!


And . .an old-fashioned type of ice-cream parlour is there also!

Sometimes it’s good not to have a viewfinder .. in order to discover unexpected sky shots like this one.   Almost looks like a little “glory” to the right and I love the translucent layered look of the clouds.  And of course, the brilliant sun .. sending rays of light in all directions.  Quite a happy little picture, hey???

The cherry tree is tenaciously clinging to the leaves .. but it’s a losing battle.  Already, the ground is covered with the lovely yellow vegetation .. which I shall rake up today!  And place them a blanket .. on my perennial gardens.

Took advantage of a recent sunny day .. to clip more roses.  Which I dried to add to my soaps.

A little sparrow is nibbling away at the suet.  Even the starlings are welcome.  There are only a few of them. I admire their plumage .. and like their gentle cooing sounds that they use to communicate with each other.  Quite the little singers, these birds are.  And I look forward to a  few glimpses of the Flickers when they appear.  Magnificent birds.

Just a short little post today …lots to do …including more studying of the landscape materials for my very intensive course.  The doors of knowledge are opening and I need to continue on!

So away I go on this lovely rainy day!



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Remembering “Lest We Forget”

On this rainy day the 11th day of November .. I am again forevergrateful for the many brave men and women who fought to save others …


To them I am eternally grateful for my life .. my wonderful life …


They gave up theirs so we could have ours ..


What greater gift ….


Love and peace to all on this day ..

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Went on a lovely little walk, sort of got lost and then found my way! Lots of fun!

Saturday, November 10, 2012
A few days ago .. I treated myself to a long long walk outside in the sun.  It had been quite awhile since I’d indulged in this type of activity and so I was quite looking forward to what I would see, what types of dogs and how many times I could just stop awhile and enjoy the scenery.

A lovely long walk with a few intended stops along the way and the rest … well, I was just going to “wing it” as it were.

Well .. to start off with .. not too long into my walk –  I got lost!  One of my intended stops along the way was going to be a local shopping mall.  Normally I would drive there or follow the long and winding walkway that was on the other  side of the highway.

I’d stopped off at a building supply warehouse to inquire about some building materials.  Enjoyed a good chat with one of the sales reps.  Told him that I was taking a new route to the mall .. so  – to save me about 20 minutes, he unlocked  the back gates of the large service area so that I could take advantage of a short cut.

And here my little adventure began.  Amazing how different the city appears when suddenly a new street appears out of the blue.   I ventured along a peaceful quiet  neighbourhood.
In a few minutes – I happened upon this lovely little dog, named Dougal .. so gentle and kind:

Gentle little Dougal

and then, continuing along  .. I noticed a playground nearby …

Funky little red car in a local playground

I kept looking up skywards …  lots of cloud formations, birds flying … such a beautiful expanse of blue and white ..

Blue skies .. nothing but blue skies

And then I came upon the most delightful home and yard, loved the whimsical artwork & everything looked so creative and carefree .. a very happy place to be!

Creativity knows no bounds on this house

Lizards abounded in various places and they were a myriad of colours!

I stopped to gaze at these two magnificent totems …

And I will return for another walk on a sunny morning so that I can capture the top of this totem … this is where a viewfinder would greatly help me.

And now I realized that I wasn’t really lost after all!  My sense of direction had righted itself and I knew where I was.  And very happy that I’d discovered a new route to the mall.  A very relaxing and pretty route.

I finally reached the mall …and stopped for a few minutes to look at the brightly painted furniture for sale .. how cheerful these are ..

I began my walk back home … stopping at a local little strip mall.  Which contains some very lovely shops, cafes and this most accommodating laundromat:

I then ventured into a little cafe…. and took come photos of the signage .. yum yum!  If you look closely, you can see a reflection of me taking the photo .. I’m still wearing my summer straw hat .. this is Victoria, you know!  We don’t conform to seasonal dressing .. anything goes here.  Even (shiver) shorts ..

I’d ordered lunch to go, for DH and myself .. so I really enjoyed looking at these very colourful posters, all well framed:

I’d always wanted to try one of these Naanwiches .. so decided now was the time .. one for DH & me … lunchtime was approaching & I was hungry.

And tonight is Diwali, the Festival of Light  …and there will be a big show at UVic!  The young server in the cafe is going to dance in the show .. she is so happy!!

I tucked the delicious, warm, freshly made & well wrapped  Naanwiches (packed in colourful little cardboard boxes)  into my carry bag and headed for home!  Looking forward to surprising my DH with this scrumptious meal.

Well .. I hope that you enjoyed my walk which included getting lost!  These walks are always treasures that I love.  New places, new streets, new adventures!