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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Yesterday .. high up in the sky .. and back at home, I discovered why my garlic was so scattered last year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We’ve been enjoying a brief few days of sunshine …. and so .. DH & I went flying!  But first, breakfast outside and we shared a pot of tea!

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What you can’t see here is the steam rising from the mugs of tea!  It was very cold but the tea warmed us up.  So very wonderful to be at the airport again .. it is almost our second home …

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Soon we were up up and away …. our shadow tried to follow us …

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Mount Baker off in the distance ….

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The layers of white isn’t fog .. this is smog from brush burning down below in Central and North Saanich.  Rather disheartening to see this when brush could easily be composted or chipped for mulching ..  I think.

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The smoke spreads easily all over …

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There is Mt. Prevost off in the distance … the air doesn’t seem quite so bad over there.

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Down below are some container ships .. patiently waiting to be directed to proceed to a port for unloading.

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We flew around the Cowichan Valley for awhile …Such a wonderful flight way up high in the sky …. and soon .. time to make the approach for the Victoria International Airport .. home of the Victoria Flying Club!!  🙂

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The end of a fun flight … time to land and put our little plane to bed for the day.

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Such a lovely sky .. 03

Back at home … I realized now how the garlic bulbs were so terribly mixed up last year.  I’d carefully planted them neatly in rows only to find, when harvesting them last August, that mysteriously, some bulb were growing in groups of 3’s, crowded together and smaller.  Look at what this little squirrel wasdoing!!!!!

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There are 2 fat grey squirrels who visit our back yard.  They have been greedily filling up on the sunflower seeds left for the birds .. so I took pity on them and bought a large bag of unshelled peanuts, thinking that they would be sufficed with that.

But, oh, no .. they gather the peanuts, eat some and store the others.  In my garlic beds and containers, as I’ve discovered!!!  Argh!  Some of the garlic greens have been destroyed .. I know they will grow back, but still!  I need to put something on top of my garlic plantings, to dissuade the squirrels from digging, but I don’t know what to use.  sigh.

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The rains have returned today …. and the weather is cold.  I know full well that the warm sunny weather will soon be here.  The busy times will start.  For now, I am enjoying being lazy.  It’s not a normal condition for me, but I’ve learned to enjoy this brief time.  For I know the time will soon arrive when “there is not enough time in the day” to do the things I want to do.  That is .. being in the garden.

🙂


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Murphy’s Law … I’d carefully watered the garden yesterday afternoon and rain has arrived overnight!  Well, I’m happy about that!   So really I should be doing housework … cause it really needs to be done.  But first, some delay tactics before I begin that Herculean task.  Tea is called for.  Next, I start to go through my photos, of which I have quite  a few.    So I’ve selected a few to share and here they are:

First .. I was downtown Victoria, heading towards Dallas Road to meet up with a friend when I happen to notice this lovely antique car in my rear-view mirror:

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This was about 3 weeks ago and there was the annual antique car show, which was the most spectacular event,  Thousands (I think) of amazingly beautiful cars arrive at the Inner Harbour and park there … while thousands of people walk around and admire these autos.  It is really quite a happy thing to drive around and see these vehicles travelling about.

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Oh my lovely Kentucky Wonder Beans … there will be quite a bounty and I look forward to cooking them and smothering them with butter .. yum!   I’ll save some seeds for next years crop!!!

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Rose petals drying in the sun ….

15Along with some calendula petals ….

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Sunflowers are so beautiful and cheerful.  They each sport a unique personality …  this one appears to have rabbit ears!

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Lovely lilies growing in the yard, my pal D tells me that these are star-gazer lilies!

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Now there are squash plants growing in the same area where I harvested my huge crop of garlic!!

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DH and I had some fun time away and made our way to Port Alberni for some time of flying and enjoying the beauty of the Alberni Valley.   No computers as repairs were being made to my new Asus.  So some time of being disconnected from the electronic world.  And I found that I quite liked that.  Although, mid-way through our holidays, we had to return home for a few days.  And the laptop had returned.  So I found myself wasting hours on both days.   Was quite happy to depart again without this item and able to enjoy the world without it.

Up in Port Alberni, A Buffalo prepares for take off .. they had picked up some sky divers who had taken part in aerial exercises .. I just caught sight of the last one landing!   Quite impressive.

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Beautiful cloud formations on a hot and sunny day …. I love this!  And in the fore front there are some trailers for sailplanes which are now happily set up and ready to spend some time in the air!

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Wheeeeeee … I was so happy to go for an hour-long sailplane ride!!!  The Pawnee is towing my pilot and myself in the PW6 !!!

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The pilot released the tow line, and we were flying, thermalling ,,,,, and we were soon flying near my lovely dh, who was flying the PW5 just ahead of us .. that was so exciting ….

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Such skies …

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We flew above some eagles .. powerful ..

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Darling little Coco …. she really wanted to be with her poppa, but it was a very hot day and we had air conditioning in our motor home …. so we hung out there for a while.  Her face tells a story, it is as if she is saying, politely ” you know, I do enjoy being here with you in this nice and cool motor home, but you really must understand that I long to be with my poppa.  I don’t meant to be rude, but, please, could you let me go to him?”

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And what a nice surprise when dh and I returned, midway through our time away … my pal D had left this lovely bouquet of sweet peas!  Friends are the best!  She also looked after our beloved kitties while we were away!

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Well, I can delay no more .. housework calls.   I know that once I begin the vacuuming, laundry, dusting activities of making our home tidy .. I will enter the zen flow of energy.   My reward today will be the totally surprised look on my dh’s face when he comes home from work today.  That will be worth it!

🙂


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Saturday, July 13, 2013

The hot sunny weather continues … these are the lovely long days of summer!  Here’s a pic of my first attempts at braided garlic.  As I went along, braiding rope after rope, I began to imagine how easy it would be to incorporate coloured ribbon, flowers, all sorts of things.   That will be my goal for next year.

For now, I’m happy with the rustic look.   These will be gifts to friends .. and for me, a reminder of the summer.  A complete day given up to sorting this years garlic crop.  Hours spent, trimming the roots, brushing away the surplus soil.  Sorting into sizes and beginning my attempts at braiding!  A very happy day.  Oh .. and I must select the largest cloves for planting this fall!

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All the garlic is now braided or bunched and hanging to continue the drying.   I stood there amongst the garlic … savoring the tranquility and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.  Oh, and I also dreamed a bit.  Of moving to a place with more land so I could grow more garlic.  I’m also growing shallots, they are easy to grow .. so would like to plant more of that also.  A gal has to have a dream, right?

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One of the zillion busy bees in the garden.  Industrious creatures are bees …

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Shasta daisy .. a cheerful sight to behold in the front yard.  Modest flowers, I don’t notice them growing away until they burst into flowers adding so much beauty . . asking for nothing in return, save a bit of water in order to grow.

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The edible peas are growing into giants and I harvest some daily.  Still magical, isn’t it .. one little seed produces so much food.   And such beauty.   These vines have grown quite tall, over 6 feet in height.   I’ll be saving some seeds for next year, you can bet!

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I love this sky .. reminds me of a giant bowl of clouds being stirred around ..

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Now .. this is an impressive cloud …

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I watched as it evolved quickly, growing and spreading … see the cavern in the center?  There was rain hours later …

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A happy view of the suns rays beaming down onto this developing formation …

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My favourite channel to tune into .. the sky … every changing and breathtaking ..

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The Pawnee coming in for a landing .. it is the tow plane for the sailplane (glider).  Having released the happy pilot & passenger way up in the blue skies .. it will land in a few seconds.  Lovely plane.  Formerly used for crop dusting, now it has a happier life towing sailplanes!    The only thing that should be spread on crops is compost tea!

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Ohhhhh .. a baby, wispy cloud.. how ethereal …sky art.

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Look Dick, see Jane and hey Spot .. here is the Pawnee …

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Nothing cheers me up like the sky does.  No matter what is happening down here .. there is always something beautiful to see up there.  Not man-made .. just nature doing its thing!

Yesterday I spent some time bracing up my bean crop.   Using cut lengths of bamboo .. I made a makeshift frame and began running strings from the horizontal bamboo to tie onto the beans and peas to give them something to hold onto as they began their upward growth.

I was wearing my gardening outfit, muddy as usual and kneeling on the ground, focusing on ensuring that the string was snug when suddenly there was a flapping of tiny wings and a young sparrow landed on a length of bamboo that was just inches away from me.  I think it got caught in the strings and then decided to cling to the bamboo to get its bearings.   I scarcely dared to breathe and didn’t make any movements as we locked eyes .. Me looking at this tiny little innocent bird as it, in turn, stared, wide-eyed back at me.    Complete silence for a brief moment of time.

The little tiny feet couldn’t quite get a grip on the smooth surface of the bamboo and he twirled and swirled in graceful minute arcs, round and round.   Quickly he flew away and I, just as quickly, added some yellow plastic ties to warn other winged creatures that the strings were there.

Later on I stood quietly watching birds in the cherry tree .. munching away .. and saw the same sparrow.  It had to be the same one, as he continued to swing in circles around branches.  A fledgling member of the Cirque du Soleil, perhaps?

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There are always unexpected surprises in the garden.  Whether these be unexpected flowers, playful encounters with my feathered friends .. or something like this:

IMGP3603Honest to Pete, I had tried my best EM treatment with this Mexican Orange tree.  It was one that I had neglected and it was really nothing but a stick with a few branches, nothing green whatsoever.   I applied a liberal dose of EM about a month ago, but nothing happened.  I was going to chop it up for composting, but, just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Yesterday, moving things around in the back yard, I happened to see this strong new growth.

It was one of those magical gardening moments and I just felt again the impact of the forcefulness of nature, the resilience of plants (and the power of EM).     This was awesome and in so many ways it was a sign of encouragement and of not giving up.  Truly an inspirational moment and humbling at the same time.

A mini-miracle that gave me such joy.   And affirmed once again the positive power that we all discover in the garden.

🙂

 


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More happy pics from a lovely frosty morning ..

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yesterday was another beautiful sunny day!  And a busy one!   Went for my lovely long walk, taking various routes, walking as briskly as possible.  Breathing in the crisp fresh air .. sturdy walking shoes gripping the pathways along the way.   Started earlier in the day … fewer people out and about.  Lots of birds chirping.

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Frosty covered boardwalk … not slippery at all!  While on my walk, spoke with several other walkers who kindly warned me about slippery patches!  I was feeling so confident that I wouldn’t be affected.   And both times I thought this very thought .. well … I happened to be on icy patches and found myself gliding along and flailing my arms for balance.  Coincidence?  I think, perhaps, maybe.  So I stopped thinking about slipping and guess what!  It didn’t happen again.  The power of the mind!05

Saw the lovely Cormorant .. the one who escaped being the eagle’s lunch yesterday.  Noted that the Cormorant kept looking upwards at the sky.  Survival.  And he didn’t perch on the rail for grooming and he didn’t go for a flight .. at least while I was there.06

Love this stand of trees .. birches, I think.  Their silvery silhouettes were very striking and cool looking.07

Still waters .. watery reflections of the earthbound formations gazing down .. 09

And this Arbutus makes a willowy shapely form .. with the side branches outstretched, it appears that the tree is dancing very gracefully.

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Little birds quickly taking advantage of quiet to take a little drink of water .. so I stopped to let them enjoy a few minutes without interruption.

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This stately willow never gets tired .. always beautiful in rain, sun, all seasons .. magnificent.

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Here is the shadow me .. taking a photo of the shadowy bench .. talk about another dimension!12

Way up in the tree sits a little grey squirrel.   Softly nestled on a bed of moss, the branch is high enough to avoid close encounters of the human kind.13

Ok, he’s seen me and really wants me to continue on my way .. so he crouches down to wait till I do.14

Saw a flock of tiny birds feeding away at the little pine cones.  Their cheerful chatter was quite delightful as they frolicked about the branches .. eating delicacies.   Don’t know what kind of birds they area .. but very sweet.   Felt very fortunate to see them.15

Back home .. Mrs. Downy Woodpecker is nibbling away.  Don’t know what was in the air yesterday .. maybe the birds thought it was spring or something.  Noticed some huge Robins having flying altercations and tumbles in the trees.  Then I saw the Downy Woodpeckers going through a troublesome patch also.  Think there were 4 of them ….they seemed to choose a feeder then change their minds.  In the end, though, peace and quiet.16

Sigh …17

The bulbs are emerging … the weather has them fooled into thinking that spring has arrived.  No such luck.18

And here they are .. delightful little Bush-tits …. there are quite a few this year.  And I think that they are slowly getting used to me.  19

Love them …20

Wonder who is in the plane .. where is it going …

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The consensus is good for the new feeder.  03

And my garlic .. growing greens up through a very thick layer of ground oak leaves and seaweed….02

And on this note … that’s it for the day .. 01


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Time for tea .. blue skies .. another plant purchase .. a lovely period of time

Monday, December 24, 2012

A few days ago … I decided it was time to go shopping downtown .. time for a quick coffee visit with a friend and also to visit the Mediterranean shop on Pandora.  Hadn’t been there for quite a few years .. how time flies and all that.

On the way there … I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look up at the beautiful sunny skies and snap some photos.  Interesting clouds.

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The white fluffy clouds tumbled and twirled .. changing shapes smoothly and quickly.  Always beautiful, though.

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Lucky to find a parking space not far from the shop … looking forward to visiting it again.  My pal J and I used to visit this lovely treasure at lunch-time, years ago.  Bought the most delicious middle-eastern foods for lunch.  Spices.  Tea.  All sorts of lovely things.  Same proprietor … working from 7 am till 10 at night … rent is high in this district.  I understand that he sells the free-range eggs for the same price that he pays for them .. so no profit from them.  I bought 2 dozen (delicious) eggs and a supply of foods for the pantry.

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Among my purchases was this delicious tea .. .. loose leaf, the best.

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Next .. I went to Penelope’s (sorry, no pic) to meet with J for a quick cup of tea.  We both have places to go, people to see .. but important to fit in a quick visit.   Lovely cafe … we enjoyed large cups of English Breakfast Tea .. and the lovely counter-guy brought us a little pitcher of milk to our table (we’d forgotten that!) …. he was so very thoughtful.

Afterwards, I drove down to the shopping area by the water .. looking forward to visiting some stores there.   Spent some time looking at the lovely old brick buildings still intact.  Below is one building used for Hydro … I’ll bet the offices there are funky!

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Another fine old building … didn’t notice the business name ..just admired the beauty.05

And … the skies were still amazing ….06

Rustic .. and protected by fencing …

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Window coverings, serving as security for the building and decorative ironwork .. liking that.

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For just a brief moment, as I walked along ….I stopped for a few seconds .. there was no traffic noise, sun warming the street .. I felt transported back to my hometown of my younger days, a little place with lots of brick buildings, no crowds .. it was a nostalgic moment and I savoured it

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Always love this mural painted on the back of a building which faces the parking lot of Capital Iron … doesn’t it seem as if the young cub is looking right at you?

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I think these are passion flowers gone to seed .. the birds were happily feasting away on the seed-heads .. cheerful sounds ..11

Ahhhhh …..12

Lovely old windows, warm butter-hued paint against the rustic brick …

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Stopped to admire the beauty of this delivery bike .. and chatted with the owner.  She and her DH worked hard to keep this sprout business going.  She bikes from the nearby Fernwood neighbourhood (about 15 minutes away) and delivers the fresh organic product to homes and businesses.

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Heading back to my car .. I noticed several pairs of pigeons, nestled on the overhead wires, soaking up the warm rays of the sun.

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Oh, and one more thing .. after seeing this tree at Capital Iron .. for over a month now … every time I go shopping there .. and thinking and dreaming about this tree .. I finally broke down and bought it!  It is a weeping pussy willow tree.   Pendula Salix caprea.   And it was half price.  How could I possibly resist.  After paying for it (and another red flowering currant .. flowers for the hummingbirds in the spring) .. I spent about 10 minutes fitting it into my car.  All efforts were worth it though!  Here it is in the back yard.  I’ll pot it up into a bigger container .. as it will be planted in our next place!   Happy am I.

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Blue skies .. birdies flying around .. more plants for the garden .. and visiting with friends …treasures indeed!  🙂


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Enjoying the creative journey to my soaps .. watching the birds in the yard .. and dreaming of the sailplane flights at Port Aberni. Sigh

14 December, 2012

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So here we are … mid-December … celebrations going on all over the place .. and I’m happy just playing in our back yard.  Oh, and making soap of course.  Can’t say that this isn’t a clean hobby, hee hee hee.

The hours disappear as I carefully mix up various concoctions .. such as Calendula & Citrus, Citrus, Parsley & Poppy seed and Poppy seed.

Hours spent meticulously cutting up the tulle to enfold the soaps.  Making labels, labouriously cutting them out and posting the type of soap on the back of the cards.  A ridiculous amount of time really, but I find myself terribly happy as I spend all these days in my creative little world.

And as I’m doing all this I’m dreaming of a variety of other herbal mixtures I will make, in the new year.  I’ll play around with shapes and colours.   Various ways of wrapping them.  All the wonderful new ideas that keep popping up.

Yesterday I was excited to find a treasure of clear oblong containers … only a supply of about 20 . .. so I took them home.  Lined them with colourful wrapping paper.  Arranged that pretend mossy material on the bottom.  Carefully nestled in some small shaped soaps and was so happy with the result.

Have decided that I’m not going to go into a snit if I can only find a limited number of containers to use for my soaps.  Whatever I find interesting .. I will use.  And venture further along the creative process.

As an example (and I”ll post pictures tomorrow) I have a lovely little collection of little wine glasses, including aperitif, liqueur, etc.  I nestled in some gold sparkly fabric in the bottom of the glasses and then arranged some sliced soaps in the top.  And I find myself adding more sparkly things for interest.  Sparkly flat marbles, that sort of thing.  The result is sweet and I’ll be selling them tomorrow at a 3 hour craft sale.  If they all sell, well, I’ll simply continue on my search for more unusual items to showcase my little soaps.

It’s interesting how the creative energy happens.  At first, when I bought these glasses .. I was all excited about using them for my soaps .. it’s what I’d originally wanted, before my packaging took another route.  So yesterday, I’m thinking .. ok .. now I have the glasses that I wanted .. now .. how to use them!  No ideas popping up .. oh no!

I let the question sit for awhile.   Then last night I started playing around with the materials at hand.  Started cutting the sheer gold fabric (oh how I love sparkly fabric!)  then played around with how to use on the glass .. wrap it around .. or use for a base in the glass and that won out.  Next I started arranging the little soap squares and circles .. liked that.  Finally, placed a flat marble against the front round of soap .. perfect!  Today I’ll play around with the fabric wrapping and a bow .. fabric or raffia?  I’ll find out later.

The weather here has been mixed .. right now it is sunny and I am so tempted to run outside and play in the yard for a bit.   At the beginning of the week .. I did just that.  And spent a very enjoyable few hours outside .. chopping up more oak leaves & spreading them on the garden, in particular, the garlic beds.

Next I unloaded the magnificent chopped seaweed that D & I collected on Monday .. some onto the garlic beds, some onto the area where the kale is growing.   If there isn’t any snow next week, we’ll be away for more shopping adventures and collect a bit more of the seaweed.

After I’d spent some time actually working away .. it was time to just savour the sight of the birds playing in the yard.

They have discovered the suet in that I’ve placed in that lovely “made in BC” suet holder that D found last week!

Happy to see the little Anna’s flitting about.

The Fox Sparrows .. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen so many in our back yard before .. I love their speckled plumage.

The Downy Woodpecker struck the most wonderful pose and I was so happy to get a good picture of that.

The Juncos .. well .. they are a delight to watch.

And again .. time to look upwards at the ever-changing beauty of the sky up above.  And dream of next spring .. when we return to Port Alberni and the overwhelming beauty of another sailplane ride(s).    For now I will just dream of them (and watch my videos!!)

My favourite video is from the early morning flight .. flying above the valley .. fluffy clouds beneath us as we flew and flew and flew.  I was the passenger and so didn’t have to think about a thing, just enjoyed the magic of soaring the skies ….sigh.

Well…on with this day .. I think I will escape to the outside for a bit .. before I return to my craft rooms .. to continue preparations for the craft sale tomorrow.

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Lots of apples tumbling from the tree! A real Louisville Slugger .. and .. a magnificent Twin Otter flying high in the sky!

Friday, November 9, 2012

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  Again and again ..we have been so very fortunate to have some sunny days .. mixed in with the rain!

A few days ago I gathered up apples that had fallen from one of our trees in the back yard.  Now .. this tree is over 30 years old (how time flies).  And it had only every grown just a few apples.

However, this situation changed last year .. when I began seriously removing the tent caterpillar nests ..and even though I was unable to reach a few of them (too high) .. I believe that this action alone helped the blossoms to reach maturity.

That and the addition of EM! (of course)

I was thinking of having cider made from the apples, but don’t believe that I have enough for that.  Looks like we’ll be having lots of apple deserts of all types over the winter.

The birds love feasting on them .. so I’ve left a generous supply of apples scattered around the base of plants that are tucked away by the fence line.  And more apples, tucked into the crevices of trees throughout the yard.

A few days ago we traipsed (ok . .we drove) out to Dakota Cafe for Won Ton Monday!  What a treat.

We saw one of the locally produced Twin Otters going for test flights.  This one of six that were  purchased by the Vietnam navy.   What lucky timing .. to be at the airport and actually see one of these beautiful works of art.

Viking Air is one of those hard-working success stories.  The company bought the rights to build the de Haviland planes and brought the Twin Otter back into production.  Inspirational story of hard work and dedication.

After our delicious lunch, we left the restaurant and were heading towards the car when my eyes caught sight of a most unusual walking stick!  At first I wondered what it was, the shape was totally unlike any other I’ve seen.

Close up .. I saw that it was a real Louisville Slugger!  The real deal!

The owner, an interesting gentleman who spoke with a soft Southern accent, reminiscent of warm syrup. bourbon and all those comfy images .. recounted that he’d gone on a tour of the factory, down in Louisville, Kentucky.  The pronunciation of this place drew me in and momentarily I was transported to the southern climates.

Anyway, he’d gone all through the tour, admiring his restraint on not buying anything .. when he saw these genuine baseball bats transformed into walking sticks. So, out comes his wallet and soon he is the proud owner .. with his name engraved on the side!

To think that I would have missed this .. if we hadn’t gone for won ton!

And yesterday .. I treated myself to a long walk around town.  And I’ll share what I saw tomorrow!

On with this most lovely, sunny day!