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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I’ve Been Learning a Lot About Turtles! And Continuing My Playing in the Garden.

Last Sunday, I was happy to be part of a group of HAT volunteers (Habitat Acquisition Trust) that were going to plant native plants at a turtle habitat, near Eagle Lake.  Here is a link that shows the hard working HAT volunteers who prepared this site, below (at the HAT link go to near the bottom of the page and you can see that)  June 5, 01

I must admit that I was ignorant of the life span (60 years) of turtles, that there were so many varieties .. and how they find special places to plant their eggs, which take a very long time (I think over a year) to hatch and then the babies know where to follow their correct route.  Paige, from HAT, patiently educated me and a few others about turtles.  I now have more respect for these creatures and I felt quite proud to be part of this event. June 6, 02Everything has been carefully planted and watered  – the water was obtained from Eagle Lake and brought up to the planting site, bucketful by bucketful.  I simply had to encircle the plants with rocks.  This, hopefully, would allow passersby to understand that these plants were intentionally placed there.June 6, 05Important information for people to see and learn more about the turtles.JUne 6, 09I also learned that one can have one’s property noted as a Habitat Steward!  The information is on their web site.  This is wonderful.June 6, 10There are about 5 or 6 logs near the edges of the lake.  These were placed there by HAT, so that turtles could bask in the sun!June 6, 04

Once the planting was done, we had some time to wander down to the lake, so we followed this lovely green pathway there.June 6, 07

And here we had a good view of the lake at more of a ground level.  What a peaceful place.   There were several families alongside the lake, swimming, relaxing, enjoying a quiet Sunday away from the traffic!

June 6, 08Some aquatic plants floated in the water, a gentle breeze created some graceful arcs around them .. in a very artistic manner.June 6, 03There is a cob house in the area and the owners take people on guided tours to show them how the house was built.  I think that the same people built this cob building for the park.   It certainly suited the surroundings.  At any moment, I half expected Snow White to saunter out of a little doorway in the building, basket in hand, all set to harvest greens and mushrooms for supper.  Really, that is how my mind works and I like my imagination a lot.  We spend a lot of time together, and this is how it should be, for a creative person, n’est-ce pas???  🙂June 6, 06

Anyway, I quite enjoyed my second outing with the HAT group.  Each time was an adventure.  Another day I will blog about our very special outing to Senanus Island.

On another note, last Friday was another fiddle lesson for me.    I travel from just outside the grand metropolis of Victoria to get to my teacher’s home.   The route entails going along Blanshard Avenue, and whatever construction is happening near downtown Victoria and so I never know if I’m going to be stuck, again, in traffic.  So now I just plan to leave extra early and just relax at Beacon Hill Park until just shortly before my lesson, at which point I get back into my trusty little freckled car.  It’s freckled because the red paint has been slowly lifting off of the surface of the car, leaving a bedraggled look.   It doesn’t bother me at all, but I do get sneers and snide looks from people who seem to find it disgusting.    I mean, really, it’s just a car with a worn out paint job, what is the big deal anyway?

So here is the big watering can at the outskirts of the park, along Douglas Street.  During the hot summer months, the water will sprinkle down on lots of little kiddies and happy  parents!  Picture me, so not there!!June 6, 21So my pal, D, whom I had visited just before driving out here, packed me a little picnic treat.  She’d made a delicious apple crisp (made with the dehydrated apples I had prepared from our tree!) and insisted on giving me a portion to take with me, complete with a fork to eat it with!   She also gave me the Red Green bathroom book .. he is such a funny guy!  And there is my watch, ready to let me know when to leave for my lesson!June 6, 22Back home, I kind of wandered around the yard with my camera .. and saw the Iris flowers blooming away.   Beautiful, floppy, gentle, calming and graceful.June 6, 11From the backyard .. more pretty flowers ( and yes, cannot remember the name).June 6, 19Salal growing like mad at the front of the house .. and more evidence that the Leafcutter bees have been active!June 6, 12Darling, lovely Bewick Wren .. perched atop our First Christmas Tree … so precious.  I love them.   This photo was taken from the back yard, about 30-40 feet from this 50 foot tree (or maybe higher than 50 ft., it’s hard to tell, but it is tall!)June 6, 13I hadn’t noticed that my garlic was growing scapes, my pal D pointed them out to me!June 6, 15This is the first year that I had planted all my garlic in containers.  They are doing well.June 6, 14Bizzy Bee …June 6, 17On one of my (too) many trip to Michael’s Craft stores, I happened to notice this Guide Dog vehicle.  I have the highest respect for what they do and this was the first time that I’d seen a car with the signage on it, so I just had to snap a photo.

June 6, 20Life has been pretty busy, now that the rains have stopped and the sun has begun shining.

The rains were frequent and heavy.  I was happy for that meant that I didn’t need to be concerned with watering the plants.  This complacency continued after the rains stopped and so I lost a few precious blueberry plants.  So sad, really.

And a few days ago I began paying more attention to the needs of my garden and the rest of my plants are faring well.

I’m still shaping the veggie garden and have begun planting tomatoes and other things.  The peas are growing fine .. and even though I had bought seeds and inoculate, I kept delaying the start of planting them so I finally resorted to buying some starter plants.

Even if I don’t harvest any peas, the greenery looks lovely.

I’m still working on the placement of the tall bamboo poles, to create a special little hiding place for me to be, during the summer .. a place that will be like a secret garden, the mini version.   A place for me to be and not see anything but greenery.

I find it to be a magical process, to shape a garden.   I go outside, look around, drink mugs of Yorkshire Tea while contemplating what I would like to do.  Can’t think of a thing.

The ideas appear when I’m actually digging around the garden, moving things, the creative process begins and I’m always surprised at how things turn out.

When I’m kneeling on the ground, grubby in my long sleeved t-shirt and Carhartt bib overalls and gumboots.  Trowel in hand, I dig away and suddenly the ideas pop up and I dig away, reshaping some areas into mini-garden spaces.  It isn’t a large area but big enough for me to move around and shape things.

Once it is all finished and things are growing, I’ll post some photos.

I find it all quite exciting!

So now, it’s off to watch that dreary Coronation Street … argh.

🙂


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I met the most wonderful dog named Buck. And I’ve re-discovered the joy of dehydrating fruit and veggies!

One day last week, I started my adventures in a garden center!   This is Cannor’s at the Sears Mall .. a lovely gathering of the most wonderful plants and delightful things for the garden.  This sign caught  my attention, cause that is what gardening is all about, right?

I noticed some male and female Sea Buckthorn plants!  I have one at home, but darn if I know which sex it is.   So, after talking with the very knowledgeable Manager there, I learned that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the male and the female plants, besides – the plant tags showed that they both bore orange berries.

After learning that the plants were on sale, 50% off … the decision was easily made for me and so I bought one of each.  So now I have 3, either 2 male and 1 female or the opposite.

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A lone crow flies overhead, flapping madly to join his pals …up in the wild blue sky.a08

Later on I made my way to a local Starbuck’s and happened to meet this most wonderful dog named Buck!  He is so very sweet and I fell in love with him.  I learned that he was born in England, has travelled all over the world and now lives here in Victoria.  I felt so very honoured when he showed his trust by rolling over and offering his tummy to be rubbed and then sat up and leaned into me for a good hug.  And I felt so happy hugging him and feeling all that honest and innocent doggy love.  I miss having dogs and so I value all the dogs that I meet in my life.  All are so very special.

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Now time for a little rest … sweet little Buck.  I learned that Buck is named after the travelling dog in the book published in 1902:  Buck

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Last week, when I dug up a huge container of potatoes, I found a strange green lime-shaped object.  It was something I hadn’t planted and so I was quite puzzled, but brought it into the house anyway.  Before discarding it, I decided to just peel away the outer green covering and lo and behold – found this walnut.  Mystery solved,  a squirrel must have hidden this treasure for a winter treat.  I’ll plant this in a pot (with a label!!) and will wait and see if it will grow for next year.  Those squirrels.  I’m constantly finding peanuts in the shell that they have planted.  For whatever reason (I don’t want to think) the squirrels don’t return and so the peanuts either grow into plants or just fall apart.  I wish that they would just enjoy the peanuts now but that isn’t their way.

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Darling little JaneE Kat, water beading off her fur, she has just had another wash tub sump pump shower and now is munching on her treats.  Life is good.

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During one of my random wanderings in the back yard, noticed this tiny pink geranium flowering away.  I hadn’t noticed the little bee, though, till now .. love such surprises!

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Another sweet surprise, tiny flowers quietly bursting forth ….little trumpets for the bees.

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Last week, my pal D and I went out for a day of gathering seaweed and thrift store shopping.   More about that another day, but just wanted to share a lovely find!  She is always discovering the most amazing little treasures in the shops and here is one!    At first I didn’t pay any attention, but, as she pointed out, this broom was made entirely of bamboo!   As I have a lot of bamboo growing in the yard, this caught my attention quite quickly.  So I purchased this one.   Back at home, I gathered the necessary materials and made one of these brooms for myself!    Tying bunches of the bamboo side branches securely around a length of the solid length of bamboo, using flexible coated garden wire, I soon had it done.  These brooms are just fantastic for sweeping up fallen leaves – I tested them.  More gentle than a rake.  Now I have an interest in trying to make brooms out of fine branches pruned from trees .. these would make a slightly sturdier broom for sweeping.   Another interest to pursue, love it!

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And I’ve fallen madly in love with dehydrating!   Haven’t done this for many years and it is just so much fun to rediscover this again!  I bought a great little dehydrator from Lee Valley .. it works like a charm and was not expensive at all.   Our freezer is full to bursting with a surplus of frozen fruit so I removed about 10 bags which included plums, blueberries, raspberries and pureed them all together.  I then added home-made applesauce and a little bit of liquid honey which was given to us by friends.

This is the result and it is delicious . I’m so excited.  At Lee Valley I also bought the most amazing book on dehydrating,  by Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff & September Ferguson  – full of details on every aspect of dehydrating.   Normally I do not buy books unless they are on sale.  But when I find a book that is so full of information, I do not hesitate to buy it.

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I cut the large circles into 2 sections and rolled each one up in waxed paper, nice and tidy.  Easy to pack in my purse and take along for a quick energy boost throughout the day.a05

I’ve been trying a variety of things to dehydrate.   One mixture has beet leaves, sorrel, nasturtium leaves and kale – dried and powdered and in a jar, ready to sprinkle into stoups or stews for the winter.  And these tomatoes from the garden dry & powder so well!   Hadn’t thought I had many tomatoes at all but it seems there are sufficient.

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Right now I’m waiting for the “Longview” organic red/orange and green pepper slices to dry and I’ll be crumbling them up into little flakes for future dishes.   And there are a dozen ears of corn to be lightly cooked, then the niblets cut away and into the dehydrator.   Dried items take up way less space than frozen food and I really need to make more space in the freezer.  I know there is enough frozen fruit to make a few more batches of fruit leather!   Some for us and some to share.

This is a big bag of greens that I bought from Silver Rill farm last week .. long since washed, cut up, dried and now ready for adding to meals.  What fun.

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So recently my life has been chock full of new discoveries outside and in the kitchen.  Exciting adventures in dehydrating foods and just loving how things are turning out.  Plans for future mixtures are dancing away in my imagination.  In the dehydrator book .. there are ideas for making fun shapes of fruit leather with various colours of fruit puree.  I was just too impatient to try this out at first, but think I will attempt this another day.

And normally I make a paste out of garlic that is left over from planting and sharing.  And freeze the paste, great to add to anything (but not ice-cream!)   This year I will try drying the garlic and powdering some of it.   Delicious garlic grown in the best organic way in my garden.  Yum yum yum!

Oh the endless possibilities of dehydrating.

Now I must go and empty the dried tomatoes & greens and prepare the corn.

On y va!

🙂