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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A lovely sunny February day ..

28 February, 2014

We have had several days of sunshine and cheerful skies ..

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I find it challenging to “not” look up at the sky .. it is so addictive when there is such incredible beauty up there …

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Constant changes, artistic shifting of fanciful clouds …

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See that  little mark up there against the blue .. that is a magnificent eagle.  I could see clearly with my binoculars 

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lovely …

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Isn’t this a peaceful sight .. the owner has lovely veggie gardens, he used to keep bees, and see the rustic old fence … and the magnificent trees in the background.1

Sadly .. this is a fuller view .. big box homes being built onto the hillside adjacent from that pastoral view.   Wonder how many trees were cut down for these boxes.  Creepy. And that is what is happening around this town, all over.

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On a happier note .. our group had just finished an energizing walk/hike for nearly 1 1/2 hours and now we were doing some warm down stretches.  When suddenly .. Casey appeared!

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He was a very social dog and made a point of going to each of us, to say a cheery hello!   Isn’t he so sweet … and loving …

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Back at home .. I fed Squirrely some peanuts .. here she looks like she is going to score a touchdown, left arm to the ground, right arm poised to throw the football .. ha ha ha
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And now she is taking her treasures elsewhere, playtime is over.

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Then I spent a happy few hours, shifting leaf mulch/hay from an area where I had tucked a lot of potted plants into a protected area against the winter.  Now it was time to move them aside and dig up the composting material.  I drilled holes in the bottom of several waste bins …and later filled them up with the material.   Lots of holes so the water can drain and breathe a bit, before I use this lovely stuff throughout the yard.

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I discovered this lovely packet of Irish Shamrock seeds & Irish dirt, a gift from my SIL years ago.  I’ll finally plant these in a pot .. tomorrow!12Well, I realize that I didn’t talk about my trip to the Llama farm … so will do that tomorrow!
🙂

 


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today the weather was sunny and a bit of overcast ..but last Sunday, there was snow!  My garlic is all covered … but it is very resilient.

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My winter sown summer seeds are safe in their individual greenhouses

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Monday .. more snow and some rain .. here is my wonderful garden cart … I really should have put it away from the elements .. but it is a tough little cart.12

My little crop of lettuce, spinach and Mizuna and other greens were doing well, during the snow/thaw/snow/thaw routine.   And a few days ago I removed all of these containers from the old hot tub cover and took down below to my potting area.   There was lots of cilantro .. I potted some of that up .. will show later.

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These stair photos are from last Friday .. here is a view at the top looking down (and thank goodness we only made one trip down and one trip up!)

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This is the view from the bottom (at the beach part) .. lots of stairs..

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Last Wednesday, as we walked briskly along .. I happened to notice this beautiful formal pond and statuary down below .. can you imagine having such a garden?  So peaceful.

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We continued on to the most wonderful Finnerty Gardens at UVic

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Ok, this was a bit funny to me .. this is obviously an oak stump .. talk about excess signage .. still, rather sweet..

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I believe this is a deer tongue fern ..2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the city of Rhodo’s .. here is yet another …There is another park, Playfair, in Victoria, which has a forest of rhodo’s .. the park is also a doggy park and I spent many many hours there with my lovely dogs.

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Back at home, I noticed many daffodils, snowdrops, tulips and other bulbs that were preparing to show their flowery wonderfulness .. here are some daffs …

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Our neighbourhood squirrel was trying to get a drink of water out of this bucket .. however, I had emptied it .. so she was a little surprised.   There are lots of water sources in the yard for the birds and squirrels.

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Here she is, attempting to hide her cache of peanuts .. oops .. she sees me ..

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Yesterday’s glorious skies …

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Lovely …. sky art ..20So, some snow, some rain, some sun, some rain.  Typical Victoria weather .. aren’t we lucky!

And today I went to get some lovely Llama manure .. more about that tomorrow.   Today also I attacked my triple compost bins .. emptying, sifting, mixing, spring is definitely on its way!
🙂

 


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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How time doth fly on winged feet!  Even though this is the quiet time of the year, I find so many things to do.  One of them, and the highlight of them all .. was to participate in Seedy Saturday, held at the Convention Centre, downtown Victoria, B.C.

This is my second year at volunteering in this huge event and what a wonderful garden-y atmosphere it is.  So this year I went in early and took some photos before the crowds filled the room.  And fill the room they did .. there was barely space to go from one wonderful booth to another.

Here is a beautiful poster for the Victoria Natural History Society, www.naturevictoria.ca

I picked up a few issues and they are full, cover to cover, of the most amazing natural events and I will be subscribing to this association.   Absolutely everyone contributes selflessly to the furtherance of nature .. how can I not join.

60There was a prize of this most incredible raised bed .. from one gardening business.  I entered and .. sob .. didn’t win!

71And this same business had a small model of a garden shed that they could build .. oh, how sweet this is ..

72Here is the front view ..

69Honestly, you could not get near this table once the crowds came into the area.

70And another very important table … http://www.seeds.ca/en.php

 

68The Seed Exchange tables were busy (later on) and it was good to see families with young children involved.

67And this was a truly very important table .. http://farmlandprotection.ca/I am sure that many countries are involved in the same fight to protect agricultural lands from being fracked and abused.   There were a few bumper stickers left and I was able to get one.  This is so very important in every way.

66Another seed company .. all of these organic seed business are very crucial to help us all to grow organic, non GMO seeds … and also to share them with friends.

65Again .. this empty space was only seen early on the morning .. and soon it was crowded .. enjoy the empty looking area …

64Fruit trees …lots of information ..

63There is a tremendous amount of preparation that goes into the setting up of the tables early in the morning .. before the crowds arrive ..

62And one more table …well set up

61This was a handy sheet of information of when to plant ..

IMGP9666And, although I really didn’t “need” more seeds …

IMGP9665These are local native seeds … I’ll plant these in pots …

IMGP9664sigh .. I am surely a happy consumer, busily buying up more seeds, supporting local seeds companies (who work very hard)

IMGP9663And I had quite a conversation with this grower .. he was very knowledgeable and obviously a very serious gardener!

IMGP9662I am definitely growing more greens this year ..

IMGP9661And these were the seeds that I’d ordered in November, from Annapolis Seeds in Nova Scotia .. all heritage seeds .. and I’m sharing them with friends …

 

IMGP9660There was a contest from local schools, the children had created scarecrows for judging .. to earn money for their school gardens  .. aren’t they sweet.

75And this was a talk by Dr. Richard Hebda on the Crop-Climate Project

https://www.facebook.com/RoyalBCMuseum/posts/511883918853926

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73Dr. Hebda also spoke about heritage potatoes ( and I bought a selection from 3 organic companies, quite a variety and I plan to grow them in large pots!!)

Here is a list of the speakers from the last Seedy Saturday:

http://jamesbaymarket.com/seedy-saturday-speakers-2014/\

Twas a most lovely Saturday, despite the rain!  I indulged in paid parking for the whole day, so that I could relax and wander the aisles freely without time restrictions .   My gift to myself.

Happy Gardening everyone!


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Great Horned Owl Eastern Screech Owl was visiting my sister’s home a few days ago!  Her DH took some photos and look at this!  Doesn’t look quite real, but it is.   It is still winter  in Peterborough, Ontario and so it is ok to have Christmas garlands decorating the house outside!

Horned owl Pictures 003 (2)

Here in Victoria, BC .. the skies were so blue a few days ago .. this was on Monday .. what a treat.  Note:  I no longer brag to my eastern relatives about how lovely the winters are here in Victoria.  I stopped doing that in 1996 when we experienced a heavy snowfall that brought the city to a crippling halt.   We haven’t had the same situation since, but, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and not tempt fate!  🙂

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On Monday our little boot camp started our vigorous walk at Gyro Park and this is one of the most gorgeous views along the way.   It was a group decision to hike up a rocky hill to this lovely vantage point.

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What a view!  I felt transported to some far away country .. this is a view quite spectacular, indeed.  It is good to traverse our beautiful city in order to see such beauty.  Of which there is a bounty, n’est-ce pas?  Notice the lack of trees which surely must have existed here .. long, long ago.49

This view was actually seen at the sidewalk level.  Notice a cargo ship off in the distance.

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Incredible skies on Monday!  I love how they frame the faraway mountains, the ocean and the land below .. everything in layers ..

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Puff … puff .. we went up and down these stairs several times.  I just had to click a photo of the shadows of the railing .. painting the surface of the cement steps.

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At one point we saw the bus .. how tempting it would have been to just hop on and travel around the city.  But, no, we were exploring, having adventures, exercising.  No bus for us today!

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Some funky garden art .. au naturel …

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and a heart .. for Valentine’s Day?  A heart for everyday!44

Look .. a baby cloud!  oooohhhhh how sweet!

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Now we were wending our way through streets and neighbourhoods unknown to me.  This area was lovely, a collection of homes that gardened with care … there was a good feeling to the homes.  Sadly, this little home seems to be abandoned, awaiting demolition .. I would have passed by without a second thought when D remarked on the lack of a front stairs!  Sure enough .. there was a weedy garden established there.  She notices everything!!
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One more sky shot … so very cheerful .

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And here is a house being prepared for removal to another location.  Nickle Bros. are well established in this business.   Beautiful home.  Glad to see that it has not been dismantled and will live on in another location!

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Some seagulls were enjoying the quiet calm of the morning, paddling silently in the clear ocean waters ..

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Back home, time for a treat and I started to peel the sticky label off of the organic banana and noticed the words.    Good words.

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A little walk around our own back yard and I could see some daffodils growing away .. there are quite a few in the yard now.  Strong leaves and the flowers will be bursting forth in a week or so.

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Well .. that was a lovely day .. now it is time to sign off and get some zzzzzz’s for another boot camp tomorrow .. Fridays are always the most strenuous!  Makes us appreciate the upcoming weekend.

🙂


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This Service Dog Flies

This Service Dog Flies.

What a beautiful story about a most wonderful Golden Lab named Lizzy and her most amazing doggy mom!

Service dogs are angels from heaven .. whenever I am fortunate enough to see these amazing dogs I am in awe and really do believe they are truly gifts from above.

via This Service Dog Flies.


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Monday, February 10, 2014

A few days ago we had snow!!  Here is my little car looking nice and cheerful in the snow.  I was waiting for R & D to pick me up for our Friday exercise outing.  I thought we were going to have a big snowfall and don’t have winter tires, don’t like driving in snow so was going to stay home .. but .. D convinced me to go.

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I tried to capture the fluffy snowflakes on the bamboo leaves, they looked so pretty.
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And there are iris rhizomes, bulbs, climbing vines, flowers … just waiting for the warm weather so they can grow .. grow .. grow ..

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To think that I would have missed this beautiful vista if I had stayed home!!!

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I could easily see a tiny faery door in the interesting textured bark of this tree .

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Our little group of four were among a few others up early to walk along this marvellous pathway in the woods.  We were at Thetis Lake park .. quite a beautiful place to be.

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Majestic, handsome, rugged, ancient .. the roots of this tree run deep and .. you know that they communicate with all of the other trees in the forest.  Instantaneous messaging of any changes.  Magical. And I can clearly see a little faery door at the front base of this tree . …how fun.12

Salal growing out of a decaying tree stump .. which feeds the soil and provides a lovely home to this plant and many other creatures besides.

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Such incredible beauty … 08

The water in the lake was still .. like glass .. doesn’t it make you feel that there is really another dimension living in that space .. and we can only catch a glimpse of it when the water is quiet like this.

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Silent beauty speaks for itself …

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There were two Bouvier des Flandres or just “Bouviers” happily trotting along with their doggy daddy .. I was just able to snap one quick photo before they were gone.  This one had just been called away from the water’s edge … where he was testing the weight of the ice and we could all hear a distinct crunch as his paw made contact with the icy surface.  Good thing he obeys right quick!  It would have been a big struggle to get him out of the water, with all that heavy fur!05

The thundering noise of a fast-moving creek caught our attention and called all of us to a side path to see what was going on.

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Ok, we had a little discussion about whether the sign was warning everyone of a possible UFO sighting.  It was much more interesting to make that interpretation!

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We continued along our way .. footbridge looming ahead, our session is nearly done.  But perhaps we will see more interesting sights along the way.  We usually do.

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Blue skies are appearing overhead .. a lovely sight to see …

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And here is sweet little Lilly … a little doll!

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This dog was just priceless .. his doggy daddy was trying his best to have him pose with his stick in his mouth, he kept picking it up and dropping it and looked so cute.  But he just wanted to either play with his stick and jump around or just sit , stick on the ground and look up, adoringly at his dd!

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So I took several photos … while he was temporarily still! (edit:  I just looked closely at his bandana and this is what I found . … fantastic!  http://dogbeach.org/  oh, to think that I would have missed this if I’d stayed at home!!)

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Back at home, I’d been taking the hummingbird feeders in at night as the temperatures were low and the nectar was freezing. (I make 3:1 for the winter).  While I was holding 2 of the feeders, a little Anna came up and started feeding.  Don’t you just love those special moments in the garden ….
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And this little one visited the other feeder once I had hung it back in the tree.  I’ve read that hummingbirds don’t depend on these feeders, they eat insects and drink moisture from the leaves .. but when the weather is freezing, we all want to ensure that they have nectar.

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Looking out through the basement window I saw this little White Crowned Sparrow ..30My decluttering is coming along in bits and pieces.  I’ve been finding all sorts of positive posts about this issue.  Many have struggled .. as am I … and I love reading the stories of their progress.  So I thought that this subject would deserve a posting .. perhaps in a few days.

Anyway …here I go again .. to try to fill up some of the empty boxes that I picked up a few days ago.   I was going to have a garage sale with my “wonderful” stuff .. but have decided to donate to a charity shop.  So I’ll give everything a quick clean and a polish before filling up the boxes.

🙂


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Saturday, February 8, 2014

We actually had a smattering of snow yesterday!  I was going to cancel out of going to the Friday workout and actually called my pal D… who convinced me to go and R would drop by and pick me up.  So despite myself I went exercising with the others and it was so very beautiful.  I took lots of photos and will post them tomorrow.

Anyway .. look at this beautiful sky!! I went outside this morning to re-fill the hummingbird feeders (otherwise they freeze) and replenished the bird feed.  Looking up .. what sky eye-candy!

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more….

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and more .. and then I really had to get going … although the sun was a little warm, the air temperature was not!

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A chubby little Robin flew past me and settled onto this little gate post.  This is one of my new raised beds full of garlic .. see the lovely green leaves.  And this funky gate is so lovely and I plan to use it as a little feature all throughout the garden.  Then you can see the pvc loop (I put green plastic mesh for climbing plants) and then there are those wonderful garden trellis planter things .. I have 3 and they are very portable to put throughout the yard.   I’ve just left them here for the winter.

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Here is a longer view of that same photo of the Robin.   All those pots you can see in the background have garlic growing.  Even those little buds from the bottom of the Elephant garlic are planted in shallow pots.07

Then I caught a glimpse of the little grey squirrel, racing up the sidewalk and heading for the stairs … excited to fetch two more peanuts from the sundeck above.   They have to eat .. theirs is  a precarious life and so I am happy to provide them with food during this freezing weather.  Can you imagine if humans had to travel so far for so little and survive on these few peanuts?  I thought about that last night as I grabbed a handful of peanuts from the large bag that I bought (for them!) and thought how easily I can provide them for myself, compared with the little squirrels, who value these treasures and travel far and wide to gather them, cache them and save for future meals.

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I was still watching the little Robin when I caught sight of the squirrel racing away with his treasures.  I clicked the camera and hadn’t expected to actually get a good photo!  He’s racing like mad.

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Oh, I must share these photos.  Dh & I had this ficus for many years.   It flourished well .. except for a time last fall .. when all but a few leaves survived on a sad looking dried branched tree.   It had developed soil mites .. they were little little fruit flies.    I searched for remedies and tried them .. like putting a layer of sand on the surface of the soil so the eggs wouldn’t hatch.  That didn’t work.   I put the plant outside for weeks .. .the mites were still there.  Drastic measures called for a new pot, new soil.  I removed the figus from the old pot, washed the rhizomous roots in a light solution of Ecos laundry soap and then rinsed thoroughly with clear water.  Into the new pot, with new soil. And .. a good application of EM .  I didn’t bother to even trim away the dry branches, as I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Well .. a few months later and we are astounded at the tiny little new growths and now these have become leaves and stems!   I believe it was the EM that saved it and encouraged the tree to grow.  Isn’t it lovely!  I’ll trim away any dried stems in a month or so.  We are so happy .. DH, myself .. and the ficus, all three!

11Then there is another success story.  This plant below, was purchased from a “big box store that I will not name” over 10 years ago.  I don’t know the name of the plant.  If anyone could identify it .. I would be most grateful.  This plant is tough.  It has survived on no care, no water and has been moved about a lot.  For the past 4 years, it has sat in the back room of the basement.   I moved it outside for the summer and back inside for the winter.  Then, a few weeks ago, I felt so bad for this living plant that just wanted to keep on growing and wouldn’t die.  So I added a bit of soil to the top surface.  Gave it a liberal dose of EM and some sunlight.  And look!  It is so very happy and is growing so well.   The power of a tough plant and the magic of EM!  I love you little plant.

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Just can’t get enough of this beauty ..

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Thank you .. lovely skies up above for this glorious display!  I could look at you all day!03

And finally … a friend told me about a little bird that was drawn into a Buffalo (airplane!) which was flying low and slow .. the little bird perched on the Captain’s finger .. I found this to be such a fabulous photo & story and I’m sure you will agree:

http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/news-template-standard.page?doc=search-and-rescue-crews-take-unusual-passenger-on-board/hkdonpzz

The tiny bird sitting so confidently  .. while flying inside the mighty Buffalo!

I sent the photo to Ann Nightingale, a birder extraordinaire, based in Victoria, BC.  !  I haven’t met her in person yet, but whenever I have a photo of a bird that has issues or a bird that is unusual, I always e-mail her and she always has the right answer for me.  I look forward to meeting her someday.

Anyway, here is Ann’s information on this little bird:

“It’s a Kinglet … perhaps (because the photo is from July) a baby Golden-crowned Kinglet .”  How magical!!!

Sigh .. what a wonderful world!  And such amazingly wonderful people!

🙂


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Sunday, February 2, 2014

There is a good little Compost Education Centre in the Fernwood area of Victoria.  I hadn’t visited it for quite a few years and decided it was time for me to register for some workshops.  So on Saturday I did this.  Look at the funky welcoming sign, attached to the outer fence, I love it!  btw, the membership cards have the same design.

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After I paid for my membership, bought a few seed packets it was time to go to the  building where the workshop would be held.  And it is in the most lovely Cobb house!  I’ve seen photos but have never actually seen one so this was quite a treat for me.

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Here is a side view.  I found the thick walls of the straw/hay mixture were very effective at retaining the heat, plus I loved the look of this.

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and here is a photo from the opposite side of the building ..

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Among some of the items discussed, and the workshop was about vegetable gardening year round .. were the following:   So me, loving gardening in general and not very clever (yet) in vegetable gardening .. I found this information quite helpful.   So the thing is .. to plan when the seedlings need to be planted out and then work backwards from that, to actually start the seeds.  Although, with the “winter start of summer seedlings” I’m waiting to see how those seeds will sprout!

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And, of course, this is quite important ..18

 

And the sun came out and the skies were blue …. while we were outside .. looking at the raised beds.

17Clever and inexpensive way to have a protected crop.  Seen in books and lovely to see in real life.

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I just loved these permanent places to grow peas, beans, squash!

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Clever way to keep neighbourhood cats out of the garden, tiny stakes planted helter skelter to dissuade our feline friends from using raised beds as their toilet.  In the past I’ve used those airy plant trays to keep kitties out .. but this idea is one that I will try.  I think it might also keep cats away from the birds.  Since our Duncan has departed this earth, I’ve noticed some neighbourhood cats .. cute as they are .. in our yard and I want to discourage them.

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These raised beds look wonderful .. lots of work has gone into their creation and I can only imagine the lovely crops that will appear in the summer.

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Here is a cover crop of vetch in one raised bed.  So that is what vetch looks like!  There is already lots of that around the yard!11

 

And I really like the look of this lovely old willow …. looks like it is well used.

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There is even a composting toilet .. that is a subject for another day, I think.07

The blue skies were there for a while .. and when I was inside, I was impatient to be outside.  Right.24

 

And how did I miss this very attractive display of container gardening!06

 

There are also allotment gardens for the neighbourhood at the Compost Centre … very interesting gardens they were.
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And on the way out .. I caught sight of this lovely little garden gnome/elf .. thought he was kinda cute.

21The workshop lasted from 2 to 4 pm and I appreciated the knowledge of the Instructor  (an Organic Master Gardener and certification of Permaculture from Gaia College!!!) .. and I learned much about planning a vegetable garden.   Now I need to plan what I am going to plant.

And I’m still checking on my “winter sowing of summer seeds” that I started in Mid-January.

This was a fun day and I quite enjoyed being in a gardening atmosphere in a place that I hadn’t visited for way too many years.

🙂