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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Sunny & frosty days …some snow has arrived to transform the garden. And the birds are happy. I think the Faeries have been partying at night!

The weather here in Victoria has been pretty normal, what with the rainy days, the sunny days and the faintest touch of snow once in awhile.  This is why everyone is drawn to this beautiful city.

Yesterday I was in the back yard .. topping up the bird feeders, tipping out the ice from the bird-baths (ok, we have had a few frosty mornings, I can live with that) … and my eyes were drawn to this (still) potted Hellebore .. which I will plant when the weather warms up a bit.  It is a tough little plant and has been enjoying the balmy parts of the day when the sun warms up the yard here and there.P1350675

Yesterday, those darling little Bushtits were hungry and so they didn’t fly away when I approached them.  They love these little ceramic and coiled metal suet holders .. this design is perfect for them and so I’ve placed several in this corner of the yard.

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Here is another chunk of slag .. left over from a glass factory many years ago.  Love how the sun brings out the blue/green colour.

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I’d bought this at a garage sale, many, many, many .. years ago.   It’s nice and chunky, someone’s prized stained glass project.  Here I have placed it upside down … it’s nicely covered with some garden soil and it could serve as a night-time party surface for the wee faeries when they come out at night to party and enjoy the solitude of the garden.  It’s placed far enough from the house so that their music and singing isn’t heard inside.  Tempting to tip toe outside on a hot summer evening to see if I can see them frolic and play.  That would be fun.

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The frosty weather is nature’s opportunity to change things up in the yard .. a chance to show us her creativity.  Here is a lovely display of ice .. so pretty, sparkling in the sun.. but not easy for the birds to drink!   Maybe .. the faeries have donned their winter clothing and skates .. perfect surface for them to practise their skating techniques during the nights when we sleep.  Perhaps the crackles were cause by a few of them, having had one too many little hot toddies as they demonstrated their triple axels??  (or whatever they do when twirling about on the ice in their tiny jewel encrusted skates!)  Can’t you just picture this?  I can!

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So I tipped the ice out and added some water for the little birdies!  To drink and perhaps have a little bath.P1350681

When I’d finished tipping out the ice, I looked at those round circles and decided to play with them and create a little ice path!  For viewing only, for beauty only.  sigh.

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Today was brrrr in the yard … I know that birds who visit our yard are wild and can fend for themselves .. however .. I did invest in a rather fair bit of a variety of bird seed expressly for them .. so out I went .. and added a generous amount to each feeder and made sure there was a healthy chunk of suet in each holder.  Good thing.  As it turned out, this afternoon we had a surprise coating of snow. Pretty to look at.  The yard transformed and magical again.

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I took some photos through the kitchen window .. I knew that if I went outside to take photos, the activity would frighten the birds away and I just wanted them to enjoy some quiet time and a chance to fill up their little bellies for the cold night that approaches.  Here is a beautiful Spotted Towhee …P1350695

Some Junco’s, sparrows .. the yard was full of birds flitting about and doing their little shuffle-shuffle dance to find sunflower seeds hidden in the snow.P1350700

Here’s another photo of that beautiful Hellebore ..looking lovely against the grass of yesterday!

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So very excited .. am I!!!  Recently received my order from Salt Spring Island seeds!!!  This is going to be such a fun summer of growing peas and beans and a few other things.  It won’t be long before there will be tunnels of these in the garden.  A little room in the back where I can sit on my bench, glass of white or mug of Yorkshire Tea (depending on the time of day!!).   A place where I don’t see any buildings .. only the green of the lush vines growing all around!P1350692

And today my order from Annapolis Seeds arrived!   Lots and lots of beans for juicing, munching and freezing!  This year will be abundant.  And I’ll be freezing the beans whole (no blanching required as the beans won’t be touching the ground!)

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My final photos is from Seedy Saturday, last Saturday, at the Victoria Conference Centre.  This is the first year that I haven’t volunteered, since I retired and I really enjoyed my time .. happy to see  garden friends there .. an exciting time wandering the tables and a choice of very informative seminars!  So many knowledgeable speakers!

Normally I take photos every few feet but this year I found myself drawn more into conversations and so ended up taking only one photo and here it is!

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I’ve really missed my daily blogging .. instead have been utilizing my time in a dozen different ways.   Busy all the day long.

This past Friday, I decided to change that.  When the weather is more conducive to being inside, I appreciate this opportunity to do those things that I find challenging when the warm weather calls for me to be outside.

Recently I decided to focus all my energies into starting to learn the theory of music.  It’s something that I had decided was way to hard to me to comprehend.   My fiddle teacher has been very patient in trying to help me understand this.  But the doors in my mind refused to open.   Then, at my 2nd to last singing lesson, my teacher and I were talking about theory and I realized that I must learn this.  No more to use the excuse and stubborness to veer away from learning.

So, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I spent many long hours, at my computer, a stack of index cards to write on.  A pile of beginner fiddle books.  Many online sites.   And the light is dawning.   The doors are opening.  The comprehension has begun.

Music is a language .. I love learning languages … and I love learning more about music!.

Well .. time for supper and I look forward to practising my fiddle and learning more!

🙂


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ha .. again the weather report was wrong and today was a sunny day and no rain!

Enjoying the tranquility of my garden and the lovely plants that are happily growing therein!  Here is a lovely basket of lettuce & some carrots that I harvested a few days ago:

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I felt quite pleased with myself for harvesting a variety of lettuce, some I’d quite forgotten that I’d planted!  Cause they were in pots around the yard.  Good idea to have them in the same area!

One of the many beautiful skies overhead .. I love the muted blues in this one

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This geranium is slowing opening scarlet flowers .. such a lovely surprise .. it hasn’t flowered all year, imagine that!  So I am quite happy to see this ..

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So happy, also, to see that the birds have been feeding on the sunflower seeds

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While I’ve been doing other things in the house and yard, my feathered friends have been enjoying these seeds …

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Next year I will search for very large sunflower seeds to plant so I can grow lots more for the birds to feed on.  These plants have grown from the seeds fallen from the bird feeders .. a good trade, I think.

02This time of the year is so rewarding … time to enjoy the garden.   Watch the birds.  Look way up at the skies.

It’s been a good summer and I’ve already started ordering Heirloom seeds for next year’s beans and peas.   More later.

It’s been a busy day and time to relax.

🙂


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Such a lovely quiet weekend .. spent time in my garden.  Decadent hours with some of my gardening book collection scattered around me.  A few mugs of Yorkshire Tea.   Inspirational and melodic music playing from my iPod.   Birds twittering.  Sun trying to break through the clouds.  I hadn’t spent such a peaceful relaxing and decadent time in the back yard for a long time.  And it was just wonderful, thank you very much.

And I finally started a long-awaited project of naming the plants that surround me  …. this is truly a formidable task and one I’d started a number of times and just given up.

But Saturday was the day that I once again began this Herculean task.   Armed with my (new) aluminum writing case (I’ll just have to take a photo today to show this and my notes)  …. I started at one side of the yard and began the initial rough drawings, along with a legend of names.

Discovered quite a few name tags were not attached to the plants, so began taking photos and will do some research.  If I have trouble identifying them, then one day soon I will post photos and ask for help from the gardening community!

Oh, wow .. I know that I am a plantaholic but even the list that I made overwhelms me.  I’m currently on page 11 and have only covered maybe less than 3/4 of the yard.  Gulp

Then I took time out to move some of the recently acquired bales of hay .. the dance of moving the bales from the car, through to the back yard and then to the compost area has begun:

01While moving the hay, I heard the soft trill of the European Starling

15aDainty little sunflower peeking out of the tomato planted basket .. how sweet ..

02Volunteer tomatoes have sprung up among the squash plants …

14It seems as if these jewels have popped up overnight …. they are pretty

10The magic of plants .. ever-growing in the sun (and the rain)

12Tiny little squash .. still lots of growing time left as the first frost in Victoria isn’t predicted till early November.

11Another little patch of sunflowers .. growing near one of the bird feeders

13This squash is growing quite well .. wondering how big it will be when it is time to harvest!  I plan to save this one for decoration until it’s finally time to cook it ..

09Lots of surprises every day in the garden … as I find little treasures tucked away …

07I truly was surprised to see the one luffa plant that survived!  I’d started out with maybe 6 that had sprouted.  This jewel keeps opening up flowers daily …..I love the shape and texture, they are very delicate ..almost humble

06Every luffa fruit that had grown lasted only for a few days before dropping off, so this really was a treat to find an actual luffa growing around the aluminum tubes that are stored here.  And imagine my surprise when I found another one growing nearby yesterday!  These really are gifts from my garden.  Thank you.

05And I just liked the look of the sage plant growing nearby …. I have zillions of sage seeds, so perhaps next year I’ll plant a hedge .. that would be very striking in the summer!

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Grow on .. squash … whether or not I actually am able to harvest squash from this plant matters not   The beauty fills my heart with the joy of the magic of plants.   Plus this will be nice to look at in the cool winter months when I dream again of planting my veggie garden!  Although I think that I might make a structure for them to grow on.  This is my first experience of growing them and is a bit of a learning curve that happens to all.

03There are a few of this type of squash growing .. looks like a spaghetti squash, but not really sure what it is.

08It just never gets tired .. the joy and magic I find in my garden.   And I’ve so enjoyed the wonderful time just being outside, looking through books.   Getting to know what is growing where and listing the names.  I’m reconnecting with the beauties that I’ve been gathering for a few years.

Some will be moved to another area of the yard.   Some will be propagated quite easily.  Lots to do yet in my back yard adventures.  And more delightful discoveries to be made as I venture out there.

sigh.

Time to start my day!

🙂


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Thoughts on creativity, and the like, on a quiet Sunday morning.

 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

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I’ve been reading some lovely blogs recently and quite a few of them list the reasons why they blog and I find that quite interesting.  And I thought, why don’t I do the same thing .. try to explain why I blog.

I didn’t know what a blog was a few years ago.   In fact, I went to a writer’s group at the local library at that time and listened to some interesting audience  feedback to the presenter, a published author, who was talking about writing, and how to get the stories out there in the world.  She said that blogging was an excellent way to do this.

One person listed his blog and stated that it helped him with his creativity in writing fiction.  It was something like … Running with the Tao, or something like that.  I remember thinking how brave he was, to publicize his thoughts .. could I ever unlock my soul to be so sharing also?

Interesting, also, he discussed the fact that his sister had created a small one-person play and played this part over and over and over, at fringe fests all over the place, Canada and the US.  She perfected the play so well that it was finally produced as a tv show.  Unfortunately, I didn’t note his or her name, nor the name of the show.

What I did remember, though, was the persistence of the woman, how she rehearsed her little play, the same one, over and over and over until it was polished sparkly bright.

That imagery of her focus stayed with me.  That is the power of dedication.  I love hearing stories of people who work hard like that.

Reminds me of the poem:  A diamond is only a piece of coal that stuck to its job you see.  If it wasn’t for that piece of coal, where would the diamond be!

Anyway, I dutifully copied down his blog address, went home and typed it into the url location, expecting it to take me to a web site.  No joy.  After a few more attempts, I gave up.

Then, nearing retirement, 2 years ago, and wanting to continue yakking about gardening, a co-worker suggested that I start a blog.

What is a blog, I said?  And, who, me?  Who would read what I wrote?  And could I really write my thoughts down so that others, people I don’t know .. could read them?   Bare my thoughts about gardening and how it brings such pleasure into my life?

Another co-worker helped me with locating a good blogging site, ahem, WordPress!

And so I went there and timidly (I’m serious!!) I registered and started writing.

At first I was stiff and very conscious that others might possibly read what I wrote, so I was very cautious   And really, I wasn’t used to just letting my thoughts flow from my mind down through my fingers tapping away at the plastic keys of the keyboard, resulting in all these neat and tidy black symbols on a white screened background.

Sheer magic.  I fell in love.

Once again, I felt the joy of creativity.  I enjoyed the power of unleashing my hidden thoughts.  The energy of the free flow of my dear subconscious, free at last from the chains of being in the background.  I’d not used my creativity for quite a few years and thus this freedom was such a joy.

After awhile, I stopped worrying  about what I wrote, how I wrote it and what people would think, if they bothered to stop and visit, that is.

Now, I know that I must write everyday if I can.  The simple pleasure of sitting at my keyboard, mug of Yorkshire Tea, photos downloaded .. time to look at what’s been happening in my life and appreciate all those treasures.. is such a treat.

I love very much the beauty that surrounds me.  The activities and awareness of nature that fill me with awe .. like the magnificent ocean visits, the cheerful whirlwind that is the flock of Bushtits that twirl around the suet block.

The little sparrows that momentarily alight on my little water fountain (actually a barrel liner with a bamboo spout).  The quizzical chirps of the Chickadees as they flit from branch to branch on the various trees in the yard.

The Anna’s who dive and zoom and sip at the nectar in the hummingbird feeder.

All of this is right here and having the time to just sit outside in the quiet of the day and enjoy all this is quite a treasure for me.

Beauty .. it is everywhere .. sometimes I have to look hard, but when I shift my view .. well, there it is!

Well, that’s enough for a Sunday morning .. time to get going and see what else is happening out there.

Enjoy .. and if you liked my ramblings, well, that is good .. and I feel happy for having taken the time to ramble on and on and on.

🙂

 

 

 


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Watching the birds figure out the upside down bird feeder. The Chickadee soon has it all figured out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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I wonder where the birds go during the daytime?  I think that they keep to some sort of schedule.   A pre-determined list as to which yard to visit at specific times.

Haven’t seen the Flicker or the Downy Woodpeckers, but that could be because they are out and about in the early hours of the day, before I go outside.

The sparrows seem to be here all day and they have a lookout for fresh birdseed .. whenever I top up the feeders, I hear a series of loud chirps and soon there are quite a number of them feeding away.

The demure little Fox sparrows visit .. but mainly the thistle seed feeders.  There are three, but they favour the two that are hidden away.  One of them is for birds who feed upside down … I’d purchased it on sale and hadn’t noticed this until I was assembling the feeder and thought, well, this is weird!

The Chickadee soon has it figured out.  And I reckon that the Nuthatch has also discovered the proper way to get at the seeds .. except that I haven’t seen them for a few days either.

Our home is on the flight path to the local Nature Sanctuary .. and so I am lucky enough to see a few Canada Geese flying overhead in the early evening, before the sun slips away.

Sometimes they catch me by surprise, flying low overhead .. so low that I can see the light of the sun reflecting off of their underbelly.  Flapping their wings in unison, resulting in that lovely swoosh swoosh sound .. and then their strong calls as they head to their nightly sleeping  place.

And sometimes there is a lone straggler, I don’t hear him till he swoops over, calling out a loud Honk!  ha ha . .you caught me there!

My camera isn’t quick enough to catch them flying so close .. so I content myself with blurry images as they fly over houses in the neighbourhood .. still hoping to snap a pic when they fly low over our yard.

Patience.

Taking time out to watch the antics of the birds is such a rich block of time .. to watch these tiny beings.  Taught how to survive by their parents.  They seem so defenseless .. how will they survive.  But their world is much tougher than ours and they are schooled well .. so they forge out their daily lives very well.

Loving the brilliant splash of colour that the surprise sunflowers bring to the yard.  Tiny or tall .. I love them all!

The mystery flowers that spring up .. they are welcome here anytime.  Perhaps the birds bring them in to decorate .. now that’s a lovely idea!

Yesterday I began the transformation of the veggie bed.  Dug up and potted some of the kale plants that are growing.   Several of the cabbage plants that are growing in the shade and should be in the sun, well, they are being added to the compost.   Yet, there is one little cabbage, it is forming a solid head, so I’m leaving that one to continue growing.

I dig away at this makeshift garden bed that I formed, simply to have a neater mulch pile.  There are bales of spoiled hay, alpaca manure, oak leaves, spent hops .. all combined to create a lovely garden soil.  So instead of leaving this in a mulch pile .. I’ve used it as a place to grow kale, squash and cucumber.

Moved most of this material into the middle of my veggie bed .. to prepare for my next garlic bed.  This year the cloves are larger .. and I’ll plant more, but will ensure that I space them with lots of room to grow.

I worked away for a few hours, then time for a break … feeling quite satisfied at the progress that I’ve made.   And more to be done.

So away .. the start of a new day …. out in the sun!


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Watching the birds .. spreading the Miracle Mulch .. enjoying the hot summer sun

Friday, August 3, 2012

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I almost did some time travelling into the year 3012 .. good thing that I check my typing as I go!

Anyway, continuing to enjoy these most lovely of sunny days.

Standing outside yesterday, I was thinking back to the cold snow months of January and onwards.  Snow tumbling down.  Me, outside with birdseed and suet blocks, furiously filling out the bird feeders so that the birds would have lots of food.  Tromping through the snow.

Not caring if I had warm clothes on or not, the most important objective for me was to ensure that all the birds who visited our yard had enough to eat.

Remember looking outside the basement window, marvelling at the sight of a Flicker, crouched down on the gravel by the sundeck, pecking away at some insects.   That was lovely.

But .. back to the present.  And enjoying the warmth of the sun as I took a break and revelled in the antics of the Redbreasted Nuthatches, the Chestnut-backed Chickadees .. taking turns at the bird feeders.

I was all set to write about the various shapes of leaves ..but . that will be something that I can attack at a later date.

For now .. I just want to look at the antics of the birds.  Used the motor drive of the camera to capture all kinds of flying movements of our little visitors!

Then … it was back to work.

I’d ordered 5 yards of Miracle Mulch (leaves, tiny branches, no bark, etc.) and it was sitting on a tarp in the driveway.  I’d promised DH that I’d clear this away in 2 days.  Oh, wow, that was a promise that I just had to keep.   That is, if I wanted to keep on ordering this lovely material for the yard.

So yesterday I shovelled for hours, slowly moving the mulch to  ….the front side yards, the back side yards .. and on and on.

And today, I finally finished!

This material is so lovely for the ground .. it protects the soil, and retains moisture, thus less watering needed.

I want to order 5 more yards in a few months so that I can top up everything again.  I was told of someone who ordered over 240 yards of this material .. oh, I would just be in mulch heaven if we had enough property so that I could order that much.

Today, I planted more Mondo grass, some other perennials and topped up the surface with the mulch and the one side garden looks lovely.  Pictures to follow.  Including photos of a few years ago .. when this was just a blackberry patch.  That was a story.  I so love transforming little areas of yards …

So tonight I will EM everything in the yard . .that should take a few hours.   I love this part.  A few days after treatment .. such an amazing increase in leaf colour, fruits, flowers .. just magic, I tell you!

🙂


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Interesting activities to be seen in the yard … that I otherwise might have missed

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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This past week .. now that we have had more than 5 consecutive days of warm sunny weather, I found myself just watching what’s happening in the yard.  So nice to have the time to do that, finally, after years of being on the treadmill.

And I find the most loveliest little signs of activity that I would have otherwise missed!

Saw a chubby little honeybee .. taking a few minutes out of his busy day, collecting nectar .. to just chill out on a plant leaf.

There are a number of butterflies in the yard and I was able to take some pics of the brownish/black type when they rested.

So busy looking at a busy bee in a sunflower that I almost missed the little ladybug that was tucked away in the yellow petals!

Again, so lost in admiring the texture and flippant designs of the daisy petals, that I almost missed the little spider who was making its home in the flower!

And there was the very yellow, cheerful .. snapdragon .. blooming away, as it grew beside a patio door .. that is slated for installation but for now is just resting against the house.  A surprise bit of colour.

I’d scrubbed out the hummingbird feeders .. and enjoy the little show.  4 of them were flitting about the feeder .. taking turns resting atop bamboo stakes ..  and then two of them sat quietly af the feeder,  sipping on the nectar.

Heard the most cheerful chirps of a group of Bushtits .. who came visiting, flitting from one tree to another.  I think they were disappointed in the lack of suet block .. every time I put one out, the darned sparrows attack it .. so I’ve just left up some fat in the feeders.  They like that.  So uplifting, the way that they just swarmed into the yard .. as if to say .. ta da .. we’re here!   And the babies must be in that group!

The cilantro that I planted yesterday is growing well.  Looking forward to harvesting some.

Clipped some green chives, chopped them up and dried them in the oven .. disappointing, the bright green colour faded and the chives were tough.  Methinks these are best fresh.

Haven’t seen the eagles for a while .. they usually fly around 11:30 am .. looking for their lunch.   And I’ve been elsewhere at that time … must try to have a look next week.

There are only a few cherries left on the tree .. I’ll leave them for the birds.  I can only imagine the feasting that has been going on, in the wee small hours, over the past few weeks.  I’ve picked enough for us and am glad that the birds were able to enjoy them also.

Transplanted some raspberry canes around the back and sides .. they fill in some empty spaces.

Nearly done planting most of the potted perennials … sure takes a bit of time to decide the best places for them.  And …. I can always move them later.

Feel quite satisfied with my week’s worth of work.  Next, I plan to seed more lettuce, spinach and edible pea pods .. in a few days.

🙂