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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Seeking Positivity in a garden space – it is there – you just have to look.

In today’s world, it seems that quite often, due to massive construction in quiet little neighbourhoods .. that privacy and quiet becomes like a long lost dream.  It’s happened in our little area and speaking with visitors from Sweden a few years ago .. it happens over there also.   What to do?  And why does this happen?  ($$$) And how to deal with this?

Where once we had a view of mountains in the distance – there is now a multi-story care facility.   There went the skyline, I thought.  Cringing from the mountain of cement that now loomed, 7 stories high.

Then in the same time frame – another multi story set of condos went in down the street.

During the past number of years, we have had to endure the mess, noise and infringement that all this construction brought in.  It was not a happy time.    It was a struggle to even want to be outside in the garden.    And so I didn’t continue with a number of projects that I’d started and my yard was no longer my creative haven.  I went outside with a heck of a positive attitude and creative energy – only to be driven back inside, frustrated with the ugly sounds of all the construction activity that just couldn’t be avoided.  Even with my sump pump water fountain and my IPod at its loudest volume.

I sought solace elsewhere, going for walks, joining an exercise group – just to experience some peace and quiet.  Frustrated that I had to leave home to find it as it wasn’t available anymore in our yard.  My heaven.

Now the noise is nearly over – hopefully will soon disappear.   And I can again seek joy and solitude in my garden.

Myself .. I’m thankful that I let our fruit trees and bamboo grow to their heart’s content and that affords us a lot of privacy.  I can almost pretend that my garden is my paradise.

For now, after 3 years of horrific noise I can now find the energy to continue with garden projects long neglected.  Noise has such negative energy that my creative soul went away for a holiday and I’ve been inviting it back.   It’s been returning in little bits.  I’m imploring it to stay awhile.

I do this by focusing on the beauty and positivity that exists in little pockets in the yard.

Here is a tiny little beneficial  hover fly in a bird-planted flower.

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friday-03This hardy rose continues to flower and will continue till the fall.  Lovely scented roses.  It demands absolutely nothing – I don’t water it and don’t add fertilizer and it flowers away madly!friday-05An actual photo of the squash, steadily growing away.  I quite liked the play of shadow on the surface ..very art nouveau, I thought.

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Here is one little area.   Years ago there was just grass here.  I  had gradually planted some cedars, Nandia bamboo, Crocsomia, Southernwood .. and mulched it quite heavily.  Yesterday I returned to this long-neglected area (one of many in the yard) and tidied it up a bit, forming a temporary little brick wall and when it was all done, I stood back to admire it.  And quite like the friendly look of this little corner.  There is a section of oak tree in there that I keep moving around the yard.  Eventually I’ll use it in a small hugulkultur – but for now am trying to grow moss in the openings.   And I’ll pour a glass of white wine and set myself down at the little bistro table to relax a bit, one of these evenings.   Or, just a mug of Yorkshire Tea .. if I decide to relax during a sunny afternoon.  Whatever.  A place to relax – hidden by the branches of the old apple tree and tall bamboo at the side.friday-10Flowers of the Nandia bamboo – diminutive little flowers that grace this section of the yard with their beauty and elegance.friday-12Nearby is a sturdy little Southernwood … love the perfume from the feathery leaves.friday-12-2

My dear Lady JaneE .. sitting on the little bench ..majestically awaiting her treats.

friday-18Although I have bought pricier treats for her .. she insists on Temptations.  At nearly 21 years of age – who am I to argue.   A Cat always rules the house and yard.  We mere humans bend to their rules!   She is a happy little girl.Friday 19.JPGThe Bush-Tits swirl into the yard … I think that I’ve been seen .. but they ignore me and nibble daintily at the suet.   I place small amounts of the suet in feeders throughout the yard as little treats for my feathered friends.

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Then one of these little darlings perches on a section of nearby bamboo – looking for the rest of the flock:

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He travels to the nearby “first Christmas tree”for a few seconds and then flies away to join his family.friday-08

 

Serene blue skies above ..friday-04

A hollyhock flower catches my eye … another bird planted beauty?  It grows quite tall and if I hadn’t been looking at the Bush-tits, I wouldn’t have noticed this at all!

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Growing  higher than I can reach, even standing on a step ladder – are my “favourite beans” which I will let dry and save them for seed.  Some for me, some for friends and family.  Sharing is what gardening is all about.

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One of two Pyracanthus bushes in the yard, this one is huge.   The full 8 foot height is bent over due to the heavily laden branches which are covered with the orange berries.  I’ve tried various methods of staking this plant and tired of being attacked by the sharp thorns had decided to prune it back.  But first, I checked with Ann Nightingale (a Birding Expert in British Columbia and far beyond!)   When I am stymied with a bird question, I send her an e-mail inquiry and she always responds with the answer!   Yesterday I was trying to find out if the Pyracanthus berries are favourites for birds.  Not finding an answer to my question online, I e-mailed Ann.    And her swift response helped me make the decision to prune!  I can then either dry or freeze the berries for the winter time.  And then I can add these berries to the feeders when the cold weather arrives.  As our freezer is full to bursting with fruits and veggies from the garden, I’ve decided to dry them.   So I’ll clip the branches and leave them hanging over a tarp and when they are dry .. I will shake the berries off.  http://vibigyear.ca/

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Towering pole beans – like this Scarlet Red Runner Beans – add pockets of privacy throughout the yard.  I have more growing in the yard!!

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So I do feel a bit of my creative energy coming back in my garden.    And I dream of our next place which will definitely have more yard than house.   An opportunity to create another paradise where no buildings will be seen and I’ll have the space to create lovely outdoor rooms for dreaming in.

🙂

 

 

 


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Oh joy .. green beans can be juiced!!

We  have had a fair bit of sun and rain this year.  Long hot spells finally cooled down lately and for that I am grateful!   The days are getting shorter  .. no longer does the sun shine till 9 pm but starts setting around 7:45 … what we’ve taken for granted as long hot summer days are slowly preparing us for fall weather.  But.  It is still officially summer until Autumn comes knocking at the door.  So I will continue to revel at the sight of the most cheerful of all flowers … the sunny Sunflower!

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For a change of pace .. here is a b/w of yet another sunchoke!  I’ve read that you cannot gert rid of this plant and I believe it.  Over the past few years I’ve dug up the knobby root and listed it for free with lots of happy people who love this.   This plant resembles a sunflower but is much taller, with smaller flowers.   Argh.  Not that I dislike this plant but I would rather have more sunflowers.  (and in some part of Victoria, someone is thinking the exact opposite!)tuesday-2

This is the largest of my squash that is actually fruiting.   It is a close up photo and the squash is actually only about 3″ in diameter.    Frosts are in the distant future and there is still about 7 weeks of growing.    Exciting to wait and see what will happen.tuesday-3And alongside this plant .. there are a few other hopefuls growing away.  I added some lovely llama manure to all the plants yesterday so hopefully this will give them a boost.tuesday-4And the beans grow steadily onwards.  These are some Scarlett Red Runner beans … growing from the apple tree branches.  The flowers are so pretty and the bees and Annas love them.tuesday-5A quick glance at these two plants and it appeared as if the squash flower was devouring the bean leaf.tuesday-6I’ve been trying to train this squash plant around the garden screen ..sort of a success .. it will be interesting when the squash start growing .. to see if they will hang properly from the frame.  Yet more beans in the background .. growing along the stakes in the ground.  More Scarlet Red Runners to the left. They are everywhere.   If you want instant privacy in the yard, grow pole beans!!tuesday-8I had placed a variety of (saved) squash seeds throughout the yard and they all grew .. along with any seeds that were in the compost.  Even if I don’t get any squash from these plants, the flowers add so much beauty and nectar for the bees.tuesday-7And yet more beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears, Spanish Musica, Blue Lake Bush beans, Annie Jackson Pole Beans) this morning I picked a basket of beans .. went inside and thought .. omg .. the freezer and fridge freezer are both full.  I cannot cram another  batch of apples or beans…. what can I do!

Then .. I wondered .. can green beans be juiced?   Yes .. the internet resounded loudly.  Not only can they be juiced .. they are full of vitamins and minerals.  So good for you.

I almost broke down and cried I was so happy!!   A bountiful year for beans and now I can juice them!!!   So I did just that!   And the nice thing was that there was very little pulp left in the juicer!

Not being someone who follows a recipe, I threw in some carrots, celery, lots of beans, a few apples .. and soon DH & I were sipping on the delicious juice!  Forgot the ginger, but will add that tomorrow.

So happy!  JaneE Kat wanted to go back outside a few hours later.  She, being a cat, envisioned more treats and so that was her motivation to meow at me to get on outside.  So I did.  After giving her about 3 to 4 sets of treats, I set about picking more beans so I could juice them tomorrow.

Despite having meticulously picked through all the plants for beans this morning, I still found even more this afternoon.  Oh I am so very happy that I won’t have to freeze them any more .. but will just enjoy them in a juice format!   DH is very happy also as I won’t be overstocking the freezer.

Despite the perfect storm for growing food this year (hot weather, lots of rain) … I know that it is the combination of the lovely Llama manure (no medicines used!) and the EM (effective microorganism mixture that I mix up) that create such happy healthy soil for everything to grow in.    Also, seaweed that I have gathered.  If I run out of seaweed, I just use liquid seaweed.  Same stuff without the bother.  🙂  Over 60 minerals adding richness to the soil.

There is nothing like the magic of a garden to focus in on the beauty of life.

🙂


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Sky Art! We flew to Comox Airport – and we met some very interesting people!

Another sunny Sunday .. and so we took the day for play and went flying up in the sky.  Such amazing clouds everywhere.   While DH navigated our flight, I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery, madly clicking away to capture some of this beauty.  Love being a co-pilot 🙂0009

Honestly, the clouds were so dense in areas that they seemed to be just like cotton candy that one could just nibble on.  A firm surface that could be ventured on for exploring the mysterious caverns and pathways that seemed to exist there.

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Towering cumulus clouds everywhere .. this was a close-up of a much bigger area.0004

 

 

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Sometimes I did look down and noticed this fish hatchery.  At first glance I thought it was an irrigation method for watering crops, but DH did a bit of research and found out what it really is.

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Continuing along .. lost in the mystery of the clouds again …

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We went to the Courtenay Airpark .. such a place of beauty and friendly people.   Plus I had a lovely kindred spirit conversation about creativity and art with a young lady who works at the Cafe there.  I love those energizing types of idea sharing along the artistic wave length.

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Such beautiful surroundings … many people walk, run or bike by themselves, with friends, family, dogs (love them!) along the pathway that surrounds the marsh … so very relaxing.

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And we were fortunate enough to meet some highly interesting people!   http://www.daleerhart.com/     A fellow pilot was just telling us about Dale Erhart when himself arrived a few minutes later (in this plane that he built).  No sooner had he jumped out of the plane (the opening is not that large, so one has to be fit to enter and exit!)  .. then he was on his phone, calling his wife … That is sweet!!!

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I noticed his enthusiasm and energizing, positive manner, so when I went searching online for more information (from his business card) .. I really wasn’t surprised that he is a motivational speaker.      Here he is .. living the dream, with a highly diverse background of flying and now  still flying, building aircraft, travelling and sharing his passion of flight.  Inspiring people.  http://www.challenger.ca/gallery_crankin’n’bankin.html

He, along with 3 other pilots – one of whom lives nearby and was an instructor at Cold Lake, Alberta, where one of his students was Chris Hadfield (yes, that Chris Hadfield!). .. will be taking their planes to France next spring,  “that will fly a formation of 6 replica WWI fighters over Vimy Ridge in tribute to two anniversaries of nationhood: the Centennial Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Commemoration of 150 years since Confederation” (from their FB page).  For more information you can visit their FB page:  vimyflight.ca

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And shortly after this, he departed, to join up with the other members of the group of 4.

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DH & I then left the airpark to return back home …

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And soon were in the “land of clouds”once again .. flying amongst the sky art that I normally see from the ground ..

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Back home .. loving the sweet Robin and Sparrow who rest atop our first Christmas tree .. over 30 years ago DH planted this tree in front of our house.   It provides privacy and a haven for many birds to live in.   Provides me with joy and happiness because of that.

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Beside this tree is a cedar that I also planted .. perhaps a bit too close, but what did I now way back then?  All the trees live well together.

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A lovely ending to a wonderful day.

Now on with this day .. lots to do!!

🙂

 


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Some rambles from the spring – willows, sheep, birds and all that sort of thing ..

Some days I just like to get in my little car and wander around … visiting farms, discovering new “eye candy” in nature and things along that vein.   Just me and my car.  Or just me and walking .. whatever.  Just me.P1230926So in the spring I went to visit the Fickle Fig farm .. an organic farm full to bursting with lots of crops, and farm animals.  Here are some of the goats.   As I walked across the muddy fields, a small group of them started to follow me .. not being a really incredibly brave person, I called to my friend “help .. they are all following me” .. how impressive is that.  To be unnerved by these little goats.  Nonetheless,  he swiftly sent them off in another direction.  whew!!  Still they do look very handsome (from a distance and on the other side of the fence, lol)6661aSome Canada Geese taking a rest in a nearby field.6673Then I made my way to the Wood Willow farm .. where I am the #1 customer!  Here are some of the cuttings that I brought home with me and planted.6670Here is  a handwoven willow basket .. how beautiful ..6667Some local landscapers were creating a habitat for the French Lop-ear rabbits (rescue rabbits).

6664I forget the type of willow used in this project, it is supposed to be a type that the rabbits do not like to nibble on.  However, this little guy chose to try it anyway.  He chewed away a bit and then left .. guess it works!6666A round opening is made so that the rabbits can enter at will.6665The project progressed ..6683Carefully allowing space for the trees to flourish ..6684Proper coppicing of the willow ..6680The cuttings are carefully tied  together.6681Inside Rosemary’s kitchen .. she kindly gives me a bouquet of the heritage daffodils, they are beautifully scented.    And I choose which cuttings I would like as she displays a variety for me.6686And I came away with some gigantic goose eggs .. have never had these before .. they were delicious and quite rich!6678And also some Swedish Blue duck eggs!6676

6677Back home and time to admire my feathered visitors .. here are the darling little Bush-tits.  I know they must be nesting somewhere in the yard and the location of their nest is a mystery.  That’s ok with me.  they need their privacy .. don’t we all.6669The Juncos are frequent visitors in the fall/winter/spring and fly elsewhere for the summer.   They love flax seed so I bought a huge bag of it for them!6672And where there are birds, there are hawks .. this is in one of the fruit trees in the back yard.6674Dear little Nuthatches .. nesting somewhere nearby .. I’ve been lucky to see some of the babies in the spring ..this is an adult.6660Female Downy Woodpecker .. this is my favourite suet holder ..and the birds sure like it.6668And the arc-en-ciel was a beautiful scene to see  ..6671

As I haven’t been blogging for such a long time – and I have not stopped taking photos .. I will start to upload them here!  Creating good memories for me to look at during the winter months!


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It rained .. yea!!!

Yesterday morning . I opened the curtains in the kitchen to see …. rain!!  Yea … I can go and play in my craft room today!  But .. as usual .. the rains stopped .. I went outside with JaneE Kat and spent some time wandering around the yard.   Graceful droplets of rain on the sunflowers ..

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Not sure if there will be any squash from these plants, today is the first of September, but in the garden, you just never know.  This strong flower promises sturdy squash ..

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Annie Jackson Pole Beans … the first of many .. .. growing in clumps of 3 beans ..

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… and groups of 2 beans ..

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Dainty flower of the Annie J beans ..

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Scarlet Red Runner flowers ..

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And the S R R beans growing away .. this one is a little out of focus ..and I had only noticed this one and now I see a few others in the background.  Surprise beans .. the best kind.

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A little bit of sunshine created this subtle bit of leaf art ..light and shadow .. both are powerful and necessary for contrast.  Can’t have one without the other (as the song goes)

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This Buddleia is a cutting from an original plant.  It struggled to grow in a shaded yard, reaching up to the sun, flowering at the top.   I took a cutting and planted it in the sun and oh my .. did it grow!  This plant towered in the back corner, it grew so big and flowered so much that the main stem couldn’t bear the weight so it broke in half.  I pruned it to the ground in the spring and just a few months later .. it grew to 5 feet tall, thrived and burst into flower.  Nectar for the butterflies and Annas.  I will definitely prune this soon, so it won’t become too invasive for the other plants in this spot.

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Another Buddleia … the Swallowtail butterflies just love this one and that is why I hadn’t pruned it in the spring.  As a result, it crowded out all the other plants with negative results so I really had to prune it quite extensively.  There were still many flowers for the butterflies though and I see that the one stem that remained had also burst into flowers.  I know that the Buddleias are considered invasive in some areas but aren’t a problem in my yard.

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Tomatillo plants growing in a few areas of the yard … from plants grown years ago.  I know that I won’t get the fruit this year but can’t bear to just pull up the plants.  Much nicer to let them grow as long as they want to.   The flowers are so pretty.

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The leafcutter bees have been industrious as usual.   I actually saw one a few years ago.  Buzz .. buzz and then it was gone.  I’ve had Mason Bees for a few years and quite enjoyed the process of caring for them.  Unfortunately, my last batch of them weren’t strong enough to break through their cocoons so only a few males hatched.  I purchased more from a garden store, but same thing happened.  So I decided to just go with Ma Nature and it turns out there are many bees in the yard.  The Leafcutters in particular are very hard workers.

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Love the flowers of my favourite bean .. 2 colours .. do the flowers start out yellow and end up white or are there 2 different colours??   The allure and mystery of the bean world.

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A tiny patch of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans.  There is still a month of warm weather and I have every confidence that there will be a heavy crop of these beans plus a few pods for seeds for next summer!   Dainty little flowers.

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And yet again, the daily crop of Spanish Musica beans ..

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Such a variety of sunflowers throughout the sunny areas of the yard .. always cheerful and inspirational …

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Darling little JaneE kat .. taking a break from her sump-pump showers and demands for her treats!

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Finally .. after weeks of hot sunny weather .. a day that started out with rain.  This meant I could run to my crafts room and play with my beads and wire.   As any crafter is well aware .. what starts out as a tidy work area soon becomes a muddled (creative) mess of beads as I try out one idea after another.  Lately I haven’t had much time to organize so yesterday I took advantage of the rain to do just that thing.

I have talked with other creative souls and this is the norm.  Plus it is kind of meditational to re-organize things like wire, findings, beads, etc., into a sense of order.  Labelling containers, rearranging the pegboard.   All the time .. ideas are swirling away in the subconscious which will manifest themselves at a later time.

Time spent also leafing through my old violin books .. re-reading yet again how to hold the left hand without a stranglehold grip.  Playing the fingering movements .. remembering that it takes time and lots of practice and remembering that again and again.

A busy day and a fun one .. always!

🙂