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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Enjoying the lazies .. and getting ready to energize my garden life! But first, some photos to share …..

Finally .. I am getting over the “lazies” of winter and energizing myself to get back into my garden!  I have been visiting my little garden almost daily, making sure the bird feeders and Hummingbird feeders are topped up and cleaning them to ensure that my little feathered friends have proper eating stations.  And always, I find little treasures that I’ve placed throughout the garden.  Here is a glass fishing globe that I bought from Capital Iron many years ago .. the colour blends in with the rocks and oak leaves!

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And there are at least 6 Stellar Blue Jays that have been visiting .. at first they loved the squash seeds and now much prefer peanuts in the shell, followed by some bird seeds.  They are versatile .. and they are beautiful.  Too bad they can’t sing!

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They aren’t so shy now and I love how they stand so victoriously when they grab a peanut.  I’ve seen one of them stuff a peanut to the back of their beak and then grab another one.   Then fly back to a tree branch for a little picnic!  They are clever birds.jan2307

Here is another little upside down umbrella for some little birds to perch while they eat.  I took this photo from across the yard so it is a little blurry.  The Junco is so sweet!

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Stellar on a bamboo cane … a striking bird.jan2311

This years garlic beds (although I have a few more, just couldn’t stop myself!)  I’d covered the bulbs, back in October, with leaf mulch and seaweed .. now that the greens are growing, I’m pushing the cover aside.  This is one of those shape shifting gardens, temporary little walls of brick.  Soon there will be tall peas growing at the edges, followed by a great variety of beans ..yum!  I’ve ordered a variety from Salt Spring Seeds and Annapolis Seeds.  Nothing like sipping on a glass of dry white while looking at the online catalogues   Let’s just say that I’ll have a great variety of beans.  Even if I had been sipping on a mug of Yorkshire Tea, the result would have been the same.    Lots of pole beans, to create my little garden room! Lots of beans for eating, juicing, freezing!!jan2304

I think these are crocus bulbs, fingers crossed they aren’t bluebells, the stems seem rather strong so I’m leaning toward the crocus.  Bulbs are so hardy!jan2305

Here is a rose my neighbour gave me last year .. it is anxious to start growing so I must find a place to plant it soon!jan2302

I loved watching the Bewick Wrens in this tree last year!  Busy collecting the fluffy willow buds to add to their nest.  It won’t be long now!jan2306

Tiny little lupin flowers .. soon they will be at least 3 feet high and the bees will be buzzing!  jan2309

Our lovely little JaneE .. who celebrated her 22nd birthday the day after Christmas.  We didn’t have a cake but we did have lots of fun & cuddles.  She loves that!  She is Queen of our Yard!   Our lovely little girl!!!jan2312

And finally .. I’m turning into a sort of yard detective!  About 7 years ago, when I retired, I began changing the yard again.  Over the years, I’d had raised beds, surrounded by 6 yards of gravel (that I’d moved, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow from the front of the house to the back yard!)  Gardeners aren’t afraid of a little work!  Time for change and I’d shifted and rinsed the gravel.  I also began sifting the soil and found many interesting things (I’d posted the pics, go and have a look if you like!     Anyway, I’d found this glass slag and searched as I may, didn’t find much information!  However, recently I’ve discovered the Archives at Centennial Library and have gone for a beginner visit.  Everyone there is so helpful and I’ve begun the research for the glass factory that was here at one time.  I’ve located several building foundations, partly in our yard and shared with the neighbours. I love a good mystery .. so this is a fun journey that I’ve begun!

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Well, every year is the same, I’ve noticed the pattern.  Highly energized in the spring, summer and fall.  Finally winding down to total laziness by this time of year.  This year, I decided to embrace that laziness .. knowing full well that it never lasts long.  And the busyness begins.  I love that!

So .. time to get on with this day!  My German lesson starts soon so .. va va voom!

🙂


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Sometimes it seems that the most interesting things happen in the garden when I don’t have my camera with me!!

Like so many other people this year – I have had a few bouts of the flu – which left  me uncharacteristically devoid of energy for quite a long period of time.  So I lived in my pyjamas … of which I have a few sets, which include a lime green  Sponge Bob Squarepants (I think these are my  favourites!!).

While the frigid winds took over the city, the snow made  a few visits and the rains poured down, there I was, all cuddled up in my favourite faux-quilts, alternating between bouts of coughing, sleeping, drinking more water than I have ever drank  in my life and wondering when I would be back to my normal over-active life!

Dreaming away of how I would change things in the garden .. move this, dig that etc.

Well, it finally happened …the flu worked through its course and I am once again feeling some of my normal energy … enjoying walks and watching the birds of all types.

Spent some time outside – just being still and watching a Bewick Wren .. 2 different days .. wonder if this is the baby from last year?  I don’t know enough about their habits so must look up that information.

One day the Wren appeared quite suddenly, a few feet away from where I was standing in the front yard.  He hopped around one our lilac bushes, just a few feet away from me .. flitting from branch to branch, pulling away mossy bits .. perhaps digging out some insects.  Then he went to the ground and pecked away .. back to the branch, a little stroll on the fence and then away to another yard.

The second time I was in the back yard, replenishing some bird suet when I saw him again!!  He (she??) seemed to accept my presence and so I just stayed and watched him for a precious few minutes.

Both times I didn’t have my camera and then I wondered .. is it a coincidence that I don’t see these shy little birds when I have my camera with me?  Of course, I don’t need to take photos of all the birds in my yard but I do like the happy memories when I’m looking through my camera at the end of the day.  So much happens in the yard and I don’t keep track of everything nor would I ever want to.

So I’m back to being my active self.  Exercising.  Clogging, working on my German language skills and practicing my fiddle.  Binge watching Acorn & Netflix (when I find interesting series) and playing away with my beads.

Currently I’m having lots of creative fun making chained beaded links – a very absorbing art form and I love playing around with the many ideas that keep popping up.

Loving life .. ever thankful and appreciating the happiness and joy that comes from pursuing interests that I love.

Just a few words to keep up my positive thoughts on my most interesting and magical garden world.

So maybe tomorrow I’ll bring that camera outside with me when I wander the yard, replenishing the bird feeders.  Who knows . . perhaps that little Bewick will come by to visit where I am .. that would be lovely.

🙂


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It seems to be that time of the year again .. revisiting uncluttering & getting rid of things.

A few years ago I gathered up a great supply of garden items no longer needed and in the process met an energized fellow gardener!  She was happy to collect the items for her gardening business and we spent a happy few hours talking about gardening in general.

At the end of our conversation I mentioned that it was a good time for me to get rid of things no longer needed at which point she said that she is in the space of accumulating things.

Of course, this led me to thinking of the various times that I’d become interested in various hobbies to such an extent that I searched out items pertinent to each interest and the accumulations began!

Sewing .. oh the fabrics I bought!  And although I created many fun items, including draperies, I stockpiled lovely things which I’ve since given away.

I love reading, particularly mysteries and stock up on these at the annual Friends of the Library book sale.  This is a safe hobby, as I donate books, once they are read, to the blue box reading program.  Whew.

Another hobby was making beautiful glass garden totems and so a few years ago I sought out lovely glass items and began making many of these which sold quite well the first year.  Now this hobby no longer interests me and I’ve donated most of my supply to thrift stores.

An ongoing hobby for many years has been gathering a wide variety of beads .. not rare and costly types, just beads which sparkle with many colours!  I’ve made a variety of items with these, garden bling, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, many things.  I used my earnings from sales to pay for my fiddle lessons!   Time to get productive again????

Now I’m wondering if I should continue with this hobby or just package everything up and get rid of it.  But .. the big but .. as I go through my supplies, looking at the vast assortment of tools, findings and beads .. I start to have second thoughts.

So I went searching online for some advice on giving up beading and did find a good blog:

https://unclutterer.com/2008/04/04/saying-farewell-to-a-hobby/

And then I look at some sites that I marked as favourites and thus I know I am hooked on beading and cannot give this up right now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-MHCsHUoSI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPifdgbVxAY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0be3CH9xdp0

using peyote stitch;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chsbdSIB3T0

peyote and hematite:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pepp-zbklOQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt8PQkRN6hI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS1l41t_W8I

good explanation  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7bdJg172X4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gOEYQI0REM

good video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQeaxnPR8Kg

viking knit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvQmDZ89rfg

viking knit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOcTXqBul-g

Beaducation, good, wire weave:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cS_z_tem-I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiNOJGH7

MGs

So I guess I have answered my own question and will keep on beading – for now, anyway.

It is an overcast fall day here in Victoria (I don’t think that winter has officially started yet).

Right now I will take a break from uncluttering and go outside to fill up the bird feeders for my little feathered friends.

I am kind of proud of myself for what I’ve done this week!  3 huge bags of gardening books to donate to 2017 Seedy Saturday!  So now I am down to just one shelf of treasured gardening books and I hope other aspiring gardeners will love the books I’m donating.

Plus, I have gathered a lot of miscellaneous items no longer needed and these will fill my car next week as I take them to a thrift shop.  Slowly creating lots of lovely space in my craft rooms.

Feels good to just dance my fingers across the keyboard and see my thoughts fill the page.  Cathartic and just feels good to do so.   In my declutterings I have found a few short stories that I’d written over the years and they still kind of resonate with me so perhaps I will revive that little hobby.  It doesn’t take much space at all and is very creative and freeing!

🙂

 


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What I have seen in the garden during the past few days!!

The birds are used to the new feeders!  Actually this was sold in a gardening center for placing air ferns inside.  I immediately saw “birdfeeder” and bought about 5 or 6!   One of my many dreams coming true .. seeing the little Chickadee perched there.  Dreams can be about absolutely anything .. I love dreaming and have joy in seeing them come true!

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And then I saw this darling little Anna … busily chatting away to another Anna in a nearby tree.

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 Another opportunity to play with my new Camera .. learning as I go, what the best settings are.  I’ll study the “how to” manual on a rainy day. For now I will just take lots of photos …

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These tiny birds are so lovely to watch .. but they are tough little birds.  My cat once caught one, many years ago.  I’d heard an unusual sound from the yard and on investigation, found a tiny Anna that she had somehow brought to the ground.  Carefully I picked up the stunned little bird, surprised at the solid little weight it made in my hand – They are so small I visualized them as being as light as a feather.  It was an adventure that ended well for her.  I carefully put her in a room, opened the window, shut the door and shortly after that I saw the little bird Anna quietly on the branch of a nearby tree.

I think this Anna is the baby, still learning from the parents …

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ok .. just one more photo .. I love them!

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Strawberries are still flowering, bearing fruit even though it is mid-October.  This is a wild strawberry, the tiny yellow type which will easily invade your yard if planted.  I discovered that this summer.  Thought it would be nice to have a few varieties of wild strawberries planted among the veggies.  I soon found out that they will send out runners “till the cows come home” and ended up putting some in pots and the rest in the compost.  Hmmmmm … I realize that I will be getting a few hundred of these plants next spring from the compost!    Well, I can always share them.

At last, what a treat .. I was able to see the baby Bewick Wren!!!!!  They must be nesting somewhere in the yard …We planted many trees over the years and they have become home to Bush-tits, Chickadees, Juncos, Downy Woodpeckers, Sparrows (House, Gold Crowned, White Crowned) Flickers, Nuthatches .. on and on ..

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This was a rare treat to see this baby and I was ecstatic!   I had heard the parents “talking” to the baby over the summer and didn’t dare hope to ever see it.  Yet another one of the million delights in a backyard garden.   Right now, he is looking at the suet block below.  I must have made a little noise because after this photo, he abruptly flew away.

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There are still a few tiny little squash growing along.  I haven’t the heart to dig them up and will just leave them for awhile longer.  They are cheerful looking and brighten up the garden.

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Speaking of beauty it is all around us .. the ever changing skies overhead.

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Another treat from the compost, a surprise squash.  It is only tiny and might just grow a little bit more.

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I so love this plant, everything about it . .. even the name is cheerful “Peppermint Stick”.  I’d acquired it a few years ago and planted in the shade.  This year I moved it into the sun and like magic .. it showed me how happy it was in the new location by growing and growing and growing!   I was admiring the appearance of the raindrops and sunshine scattered along one of the broad leaves.  And here is a most interesting link that I found when looking for the proper name of this grass, I guarantee that you will find this blog most interesting  :http://www.louistheplantgeek.com/a-gardening-journal/491-arundo-donax-peppermint-stick

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Although I’ve harvested and composted the majority of tomatoes in the yard .. this is one of the few remaining and you can see why I’ve left them in place.  They look like cascading jewels, adding yet more beauty to the yard.

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The same reasoning works for these squash plants.  I’ll deal with them after the frost visits the yard .. there are still a number of weeks before that happens.

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And another sky photo …

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It’s been a busy few weeks .. having lots of fun in the yard, getting it ready for winter.   Harvesting the Scarlet Runner Beans, the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the tri-colour bush beans.   Surprises every day.

Gardening is so magical, ever changing and satisfying.

🙂


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Calm and serenity in my back garden ..

Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day … it started out with our exercise group hiking around the hilly areas of Oak Bay, climbing some very steep stairways to a lookout and then around a variety of streets and back to the start.

At one point I saw a very noisy Blue Jay perched on a branch, screeching away at something while trying to hide a treasure.  No camera with me yesterday, of course!

Finally .. back at home .. in my lovely little garden.  I’ve been driving a lot lately .. traffic has been heavy and I’ve just longed for the peace and quiet of my garden.  I badly needed a “fix” of just being surrounded by all the greenery that is growing lushly there.

So, mug of Yorkshire Tea, IPod playing gentle music, camera at the ready .. I just slowly wandered around .. having a good tour of what is happening.

First .. there were the lovely skies overhead:

01Followed by more lovely skies overhead .. ever-changing artistic paintings ..

02Then I spent some time looking at the House Sparrow and male Downy Woodpecker .. each eyeing the suet .. each waiting for the other to move in first ..

03Two ways to view this – either the woodpecker was a gentleman and let the sparrow feed first or the sparrow was pushy and claimed the prize .. either way it was  a sweet scene of patience and gentility.

04sigh ….. I’m torn between looking up at the sky, watching the birds or looking through my bean plants to see if any are ripe enough for picking.  And there is also the work factor – this comes after my play time is done (it never is really done, though!)

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I’d recently fallen off the wagon ( of my firm decision to not buy more plants!)and bought a few more plants … these Burgundy Baby Weigela plants attract hummingbirds, so of course I must have a few of these.

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Another year of self-sowed Sun-chokes .. there are at least 4 of them in the yard, each are at least 10 feet tall … I’m going to cut them down soon, the stalks are quite sturdy and I’m curious as to whether they will dry in a firm state and I can use them to stake up plants.  Here is a good site with lots of information:   http://www.canadiangardening.com/gardens/fruit-and-vegetable-gardening/you-say-jerusalem-artichoke-i-say-sunchoke/a/35286  Although I didn’t plant these, I suspect the birds did!   And they are now in a variety of places .. even though I dug them all up & gave them away last year .. some of them had hidden themselves away to grow this year!  And this year I will try them to see what they taste like.  Just a little bit, to try.

07I’d been rinsing out my seaweed gathering sacks and some water made its way to the sunflowers .. adding a sparkling look to this cheerful flower

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Besides the sparrows and woodpeckers that I saw in the garden, I also saw the Bewick Wren (the juvenile) these birds are evasive and swift, so I counted myself lucky to have seen it.  The darling Bush-tits were around a few times.   I can only imagine what other birds visit the yard when I’m not out there (hawks, crows, eagles up high).  What lovely gifts these are .. to see these birds up close.

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The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are just treasures .. I will always grow them.  Prolific, with sturdy vines .. each growing an abundance of beans.  They are growing into the trees so I will harvest the dried pods at the end of the season and plan to share them with friends.

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Here is a young bean and you can see the round beans growing inside .. the mature dried beans are blue!  I’ll take some pics when these are harvested.

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Looking up (important in the garden!) I noticed a group of at least 9 hoverflies!   I was able to get a little photo of one and the group kept moving about so I wasn’t able to take a pic.  However, I found this clear video on Youtube, it’s just marvelous:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xh9BlbUaAU

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This sky was like a summer sky … lots of gentle ripples ..

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My dear Lady JaneE .. sleeping soundly in the sunshine ..

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Sleepily waking up ..

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And back to sleep again …

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The overhead beauty continued …

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And the teasel plant is flowering.   Quite pretty with the delicate lavender flowers.18So I did actually get to work. Washing out bags of plastic gardening items for recycling.  Raking up the debris of the pear trellis leaves . infested with rust from some juniper tree in the neighbourhood.  This rust is an annual issue and I had it under control 2 years ago (multiple spraying of EM got rid of most of it then) and last year I wasn’t so diligent and about half of the leaves have the rust.  Next year I will be more vigilant, spraying with EM and then with liquid seaweed .. just as the leaves emerge!  And then after the flowers are finished.   I’ve read that the  rust settles in by August so I’ll make sure that I take care of this tree.

The leaves are not compostable (so I’ve read) so I’m bagging them up for disposal.  It breaks my heart to do this but it is for the best.  I don’t have a hot enough compost to ensure that everything breaks down.  The rust is ugly .. seen up close.  I won’t post pics, it’s bad enough looking at them up close, yuck.

Finally, calling a halt to the work day .. I exited my garden and back to the house.  Totally tired but happy from nearly a full day in the garden.

So .. going back out there today … what a treat!

 


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Visiting with old friends, watching birds … enjoying being lazy for just a little bit more

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This brand new year is just speeding along!   Here it is the 21st day of the new year and I sometimes just have to stop and think about what is going on in my life … really .. not much!  And then my days started to fill up with activities and I suddenly felt like –  hold the phone already .. I just want these long lazy days to go on and on.  At first I fought against the lethargic laziness … it wasn’t just right to not be inspired to do things.  I found myself visiting so many creative sites for inspiration.  Many hours spent there!  I did feel the tiniest bit guilty, searching for innovative ways to garden and lovely crafty sites.  This wasn’t something I normally indulged in.

And then I just gave myself up to the sheer luxuriousness of this unaccustomed state of non-doing.  And then I remembered that a few years ago I went through the same thing.    And I know that this laziness, morphing into energized activity is a normal start to the year.  Soon enough .. I will be spending my days outside, lamenting the sunset and eager to rise with the sun the next day.  So time to enjoy this brief interlude of low activity.

Anyway, a few days ago, DH & I made the trek to the Mainland.  This involved driving to the ferry terminal, boarding the Swartz Bay to Vancouver ferry, disembarking and driving for an hour or so to our destination.   It is kind of fun to do this once in a while and I’m so glad that it is not a trip we often have to undertake.

Getting around on the newly built expressways “over there” admiring the new bridges and overpasses .. I really felt like the little country mouse visiting the big city.  It’s interesting and energizing . .however .. I prefer the slower pace of life.  Anyway  .. here is one of the new bridges .. it was a foggy morning and I just loved this dreamy effect:

02and from the middle of this span:

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The highlight of our trip was visiting with old friends.  Old .. meaning .. .friends for a very long time!!!  It is such a joy to reminisce with such good friends.  And every time we visit I fall in love again with the beautiful items from the Netherlands.   I took many photos a few years ago of their fancifully painted dishes .. and so I couldn’t help doing so again.  These cheerful cups are so very sweet.
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And this cup is designed by a famous artist in the Netherlands (sorry, I didn’t write down the name.  Such beauty makes the tea taste so delicious.

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Their backyard entertains quite a variety of birds .. and I learned a bit more about the behaviour of the Stellar Jay!  Peanuts were carefully left out for these birds to munch on.  These birds are crafty!   They will quickly push food out of the feeders onto the ground just so the other Jays won’t know .. and then they go back to retrieve the food.  Here is a Jay who has just selected a peanut that was put on the roof for him … he’s thinking “where can I hide this”??04

Back home  …. it was time for me to check out the feathered friends in our yard.  This bird intrigued me.  He flew in a rather ungainly fashion … clumsily latching on to a branch, awkward flight patterns.  He was a bit larger than other sparrow types and his head seemed to be a bit large .. I was perplexed and watched him for quite some time as he made his ungainly way around the yard, from feeder to feeder.
18A little Chestnut-backed Chickadee stopping by for a sip of water.

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My garlic is growing oh, so very well!!!  Loving the sunshine.13

R’s cat .. looking outside, thinking .. well, I would love to come outside and play with you .. except .. I’m nice and warm inside.    Nice fluffy cushions .. lots of food, many places to curl up on for a comfy snooze or two.    The merits of staying in far outweigh any adventures that I might find out there.  Sorry, Charlie.

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Yes .. staying inside was a good decision.

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Look at this most lovely lemon tree!!  R has carefully wrapped Christmas lights around the tree and has covered it with an overlay of fabric to retain the heat during the winter.    This very happy tree is covered with many flowers and tiny lemons.

09And many large lemons also!  How very exciting this would be .. to go outside and pluck a lemon from a tree!  I think I want one!!!

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Blue afternoon skies .. how joyful this was!   I found myself outside in the afternoon … clipping branches, watching birds, admiring the garlic growing away.  Making plans for the spring.  Dreaming of garden transformations.
19All those things that gardeners think about.  Dreams.  Plans.

sigh.

🙂