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!


2 Comments

How an early morning walk segued into my first juicing experience!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Well … yesterday I went for a lovely long walk … and found myself on the section of the pathway that paralleled the local allotment gardens.   And along both sides of this pathway were heavily laden blackberries bushes, like a jungle, they were so thick.  So I picked a few and then decided to go home, fetch a bucket and return to pick away.

It was an overcast morning and the hornets were not too much in evidence .. so perfect time for berry picking.  I hadn’t done this for years and it felt good to be just simply harvesting this wild bounty.

As cars roared back and forth on the Pat Bay Highway, which also paralleled the pathway .. not too close, though – I was protected from this traffic noise by the gigantic thick  hedge of tall Oregon Grape and the overgrown thickets of blackberries.

It was a lovely and quiet time of the day .. only two passersby … a lady with a Dutch accent who commented that the best berries are always at the top of the canes .. true!  And a brisk walker who was on her morning jaunt and on her return I saw her stop and taste the berries!

Well, I don’t really know how long I spent carefully detaching ripe berries from the thorny branches, but it must have been well over an hour.   I had nearly ¾ of a bucket and decided that was enough for now.  Next time I’ll bring a little step-ladder with me to get some of those top berries.

Back at home, I searched for recipes using these blackberries .. but not in the mood for baking, so decided to just freeze them.  A thorough rinse, patting dry and I put the first of 3 large parchment paper lined trays in the freezer.

After awhile .. a thought popped up .. I remembered that I had bought dh a juicer for Christmas and it had not been used yet.  Hmmmmmm

Maybe I’ll try my hand at juicing.

I must say, first, try to imagine a spotless kitchen, with the latest kitchen gadgets spread out on a tidy, work surface.  Everything is spotless and sparkly.

Hold that thought .. cause that isn’t how it all worked out.  But I didn’t take any pictures, so there is no proof, ha ha ha .. read on! You’ll see why I didn’t take any photos .. perhaps next time.

So I removed the 3rd tray, the berries hadn’t frozen yet.   Assembled the juicer, which is a Hamilton Beach, Big Mouth Extractor.  And what a powerful little juicer this machine is .. I love it.

The first batch of blackberry juice streamed out of the machine and I soon had a few jars full .. tasted the juice and it was very concentrated … and needed to have water added.

This is so much fun, I thought .. so why don’t I juice the frozen berries!   Went to the freezer, found all the ziplock bags, 2 large and 3 small and began my next juicing session.

Well … I soon discovered that this little machine churned out what was almost like blackberry ice-cream!!  The motor slugged away and soon I had more jars filled.   Time to empty out the pulp container… and it sure seemed like there was a lot of juice left in the pulp .. so I put the pulp in a strainer.

Finished cleaning out the juicer and thought, what the heck, why don’t I run this pulp through again .. and received more juice.  This time I put the pulp in zip lock bags to take to the compost.

I then cleaned out the machine .. this is no big deal, soapy wash, rinse, brush the metallic sieved bowl and ready for action again.

This time I juiced carrots .. oh, my.   Concentrated vitamin C.

After several hours of experimenting with other berries .. it was time to call it a day.  Carefully put all my new juices into the fridge, some in the freezer for later.  Thinking it would be a good idea to fill some ice-cube trays with juice, for easy future drinks.

I have a lot to learn about juicing, that is, to blend various fruits together, but that will happen.

Anyway, time to relax and watch some Coronation Street, so I just left the zip-locked bag of berry pulp on the counter and to the land of tv I went.

Returning to the kitchen awhile later .. I discovered another lesson learned.  That is, not to leave a plastic bag of berry pulp on the counter.

There was blackberry juice on the counter, trailing down the kitchen drawer, cupboard and puddled on the floor and baseboard for a circumference of about 3 feet.

Oh, shoot … this isn’t good.

My first thought was, darn, I could have used that juice, what a waste.

My second thought was, omg .. this blackberry juice stains like crazy.

My third thought was, omg .. I am so glad that dh is not here right now.

I quickly gathered cloths to soak up the beautiful juice that was everywhere.

Next I found my container of “Mother’s Choice” hard surface cleaner (manufactured by Pink Solution in Vancouver) applied some of the grey paste to a cloth and scrubbed away.  This magic solution completely eradicated any residue of the beautiful blackberry liquid and our counters, wooden trim on the cupboard door, plus the cupboard door surfaces, baseboard trim and flooring  now bear no evidence to my “juicing accident”.

Relief!!

Well, if I hadn’t gone for  walk yesterday, I wouldn’t have noticed the zillions of blackberries growing so close to home, which resulted in my gathering enough and this segued into my entrance to the world of juicing.

Yeah

Seems to me that every time I go for a walk, whether by myself or with my pal D, something interesting  occurs.

Which reminds me of our very interesting walk a few days ago. We were invited on a tour of a garden which belonged to the most amazing planted boulevard.   A tour which lasted for two hours!   And lots of pictures.

But that is for another time.

For now I will just marvel at the results of my first juicing experience and I think I will search out some sparkling water to add to some of this nectar!

🙂


Leave a comment

A sunny walk at Swan Lake .. my daily walking adventures continue!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lovely summer days, not sure if it is officially summer yet ..but we’ve had quite a few (more than 3!) days of  warm sunny weather.

And, yeah, yesterday I began again my lovely long morning walks.   I’d started the year out well, walking and exercising .. however, that had to be put on hold for a number of months while DH and I worked on the landscaping of our rental.

Now that is complete and my walking adventures continue!

Lovely border flourishing at the edge of the local allotment gardens!

01

And this garden area looked most welcoming .. very friendly and open.

02

Farther along .. I think this is Cottonwood fluff … looks a lot like snow!
03

Lovely cheerful sunlight lights up the leaves …

04

Can you see the tiny little dot to the left of the tree trunk?  A spritely little Robin poses for a minute.

05

At very long last .. closer to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary!!!!  Feels like I”m going home for a visit .. it’s been awhile!

06

Aptly named, eh?

07

Not many people out as I walked along the pathways.  Serious birders have most likely come and gone.  I passed a few joggers and some teenagers .. but otherwise, it was a lovely quiet moment in time.

08

All is quite peaceful at Tuesday Pond .. I’ve missed the baby ducklings and goslings.  Noticed this couple of Mallards, quickly snapped a photo and silently backed away .. to leave them undisturbed, although they knew I was there.    This is their home, after all, and I am but a visitor there.  Respect.

09

How splendid .. all growing things are fully leafed out …

 

 

 

 

10

I tiptoed along the little bridge spanning Tuesday Pond, not wanting to disturb the bathing ritual of the little Robin below.

11

One of the million or so wild roses blooming .. scenting the air with their most beautiful perfume ..

12

Dainty little wild flowers have been lovingly planted in spaces along the rock’s surface …

 

13

Next I notice the hawk perched high above .. overseeing the Sanctuary . . he knows I’m there and turns his heard around several times to stare at me as  lift my little camera to take a photo.  Decides I’m not going to cause any trouble … so that’s a good thing!

14

Time for a quick grooming …

15

A loose feather is plucked out .. and I watched as it tumbled … floating gently into the blackberry bushes below.   I was so tempted to wade into the chest-high grasses to retrieve it, but decided to leave it.   I even stepped a few feet into the grass, but realized that the odds of finding the feather in the thick growth of blackberries that surrounded the base of the tree were slim to none.

16

Leaving the Hawk to continue his search for breakfast .. I continued on my way.

18

Beautiful … beautiful .. beautiful …

19

No birds about .. must signify that the eagles are nearby …

20

The little observatory .. and I searched for the remains of the Marsh Wren’s nest, but couldn’t see any …

21

What a wonderful way to start the day!   And then I spent the rest of this most marvellous day playing in the yard.  Mulching the garlic beds with the seaweed that D & I collected last week.   This garlic crop is stupendous.   Some of the soft necks were growing out of the ground and they were huge!  Also. although I’d planted the cloves some distance apart, somehow, during the winter, some of them had converged into groups of 2 and 3!!

Ah well .. time for another walking adventure and backyard gardening!

🙂

 


Leave a comment

Why I take the photos that I do … Well .. here are some of the reasons!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

There is so very much beauty in this world …. everywhere …up above in the sky.  Scenery.  Trees. Birds.  And photos of these all make the most loveliest of memories for later on.

Such as this tiny bird, perched, ever so briefly, on a branch (I think this is a Golden-crowned Kinglet).  I was out walking and surprised to see a few of these darlings twittering about the tree.  They didn’t stay still for very long, so I was lucky to get this pic.

01

And a surprise entry pathway that I’d not noticed before.  It was only due to the fact that I chose another route to my destination and discovered this one.

09

The joy of walking along an undiscovered route heightens the enjoyment of my lovely daily walks.12

And the overhead canopy of branches seem to delicately and gently welcome me along the way.  Soon these will be wearing their summer finery and provide shade from the summer’s heat.10Imagine, this pathway was here all along and I’m happily making my way …the highway and sidewalk are way to the left and while people are busily starting their busy trips to work and shopping, I’m quietly discovering more of Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary!!

08

After a few minutes I found myself actually at the allotment gardens, a good opportunity to see these plots up close, so I opened the gate and went in.

13

So this is, I believe, part of Swan Creek .. lots of water and the reason for the bridge (above) 🙂

14

This area is vast .. so beautiful to see unique gardening plots .. lots of work.

05

Each gardener has their own unique way of gardening.  Variety, as you know …04

Along the way, I’d gone shopping at Thrifty Foods .. and my visit was made much better by the lovely daffodil that I was given!  It was a surprise and I felt great just walking along with this bright and cheerful flower nodding along in my shopping bag.  So, I just had to stop and take a photo.

16

I liked the look of the mossy covered tree trunks.  But just looking at this picture with Saturday morning eyes .. I think they also resemble great big giant legs with mossy green slippers!  Just squint your eyes a little and you’ll see what I mean.

02

I wonder if the Downy woodpecker is thinking about gathering some moss for a spring nest.  Or perhaps something else has caught her attention?

07For now, though, time to dine!

06Now .. this chubby little Robin .. is quite the robust little bird, isn’t he?  Dining al fresco on an apple nested snugly in the branches.

22

Then he (she) is gone .. leaving the apple for other birds to dine on.  They aren’t greedy.

18

Walking downtown, here is this great, gnarly tree, outside of St. Andrew’s Cathedral.  Talk about character .. gadzooks!

20

And the remainder of a delicate little frost.  Not heavy enough to freeze the water so the birds can still sip.  Grateful for the lack of snow which is causing misery throughout the rest of Canada.

 

 

19

And sometimes I take pictures like it’s my lifelong ambition to capture every single moment of activity around me.   Sometimes, if I’m visiting someplace new to me .. I want to capture the feel of the place.  What it looks like, sounds like, feels like.

Wanting to remember the crunching sounds made by my shoes as I walk on a gravel topped pathway, mixed in with those sounds are the lovely pine scent of the nearby conifers, the cheerful chirping of birds hidden from sight.

When I see the lovely dogs, stop and have a chat with their owners … seeing the happy faces of well-loved pets … brings joy to my spirit.

These are some of the reasons why I take the photos that I do.

But .. Saturday rushes in and I have lots to do today .. .no time for a walk .. that decadent treat will have to wait for another day.

🙂

 

 


Leave a comment

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Lovely!