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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The magic and joy of being in a garden never gets tired.

Fall is near and dear and the skies sometimes reflect this …

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The little birds are getting themselves ready to endure the coming cold weather so I help them out by putting small sections of suet and bird seed out for them

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I think this is a female Bush-tit .. sweet little bird ..

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It is still hit and miss to try and get a good photo of the Gold Crowned Sparrows .. love their songs ..

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There are a number of Nuthatches that visit the yard .. they like this feeder in particular.  I’ve spent a fair bit of $$ on good quality bird seed.  The birds aren’t impressed with the costlier hulled sunflower seeds and mostly just toss them out of the feeder.  So I won’t be buying that again!  They prefer to pick out the un-hulled seeds to take away with them.

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A geranium plant is preparing to unfurl a bouquet of lovely flowers …

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It almost seems like a New Year’s celebration with all the curling tendrils of the squash plants .. all we need are sparkling lights to add to the festive atmosphere.

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The rains began, sporadically, on Friday … yesterday the pattern continued, with interspersed spots of sun and visits by the wind.

I wandered outside … looking at the birds.  The word is out that there is extra food set out in the feeders so there are quite a variety.   A Flicker belts out his happy song from up above in the wild and crazy tree.  He is tucked away in the branches so I couldn’t get a glimpse of his beautiful plumage.   I’ll get a good look, though, in the upcoming season.  They can’t stay away from the suet!

The Gold Crowned Sparrows have returned during the past week ..their lovely songs warm my heart and I am so pleased they are back.

Despite the chilly weather, I just know that there will be warm and sunny days ahead.  Plenty of time for the hundreds of bean flowers to transform into juicy green beans.

This has been a most bountiful year for all gardeners and I’ve heard many excited stories of people trading their excess of fruit and veggies with others.  Happy stories.

Myself, I am quite content with my summer of growing beans, loving the beauty of the tall pole plants providing privacy, shade and food for our freezer (and juicer!).

Healthy plants, fed with seaweed, (unmedicated) llama manure and the powerful EM (effective microorganism) that I mix up.   Along with a sprinkle of rock powder, my garden soil has enabled all my plants to grow happily.

The cleaning up of the garden has begun and I have more to do .. potting up plants, moving them to one area of the yard so they will be easier to maintain.  Some pruning to be done, some clipping of errant branches and heavy cutting of larger limbs that seemed to have suddenly appeared.   That will be dh’s job as a chainsaw will be needed.  More sun to come in the yard.

Another year of gardening has flown by .. another year of magic.  Still amazed at the power of one little seed growing into massive plants that bear food for us to eat.  Timeless transformations.  It never gets tired.

There is much to be learned from a garden.

Tenacity.  Inspiration.  Patience.  Mysterious.    Joy.  Happiness.

Just to name a few.

 

🙂

 

 


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Seeking Positivity in a garden space – it is there – you just have to look.

In today’s world, it seems that quite often, due to massive construction in quiet little neighbourhoods .. that privacy and quiet becomes like a long lost dream.  It’s happened in our little area and speaking with visitors from Sweden a few years ago .. it happens over there also.   What to do?  And why does this happen?  ($$$) And how to deal with this?

Where once we had a view of mountains in the distance – there is now a multi-story care facility.   There went the skyline, I thought.  Cringing from the mountain of cement that now loomed, 7 stories high.

Then in the same time frame – another multi story set of condos went in down the street.

During the past number of years, we have had to endure the mess, noise and infringement that all this construction brought in.  It was not a happy time.    It was a struggle to even want to be outside in the garden.    And so I didn’t continue with a number of projects that I’d started and my yard was no longer my creative haven.  I went outside with a heck of a positive attitude and creative energy – only to be driven back inside, frustrated with the ugly sounds of all the construction activity that just couldn’t be avoided.  Even with my sump pump water fountain and my IPod at its loudest volume.

I sought solace elsewhere, going for walks, joining an exercise group – just to experience some peace and quiet.  Frustrated that I had to leave home to find it as it wasn’t available anymore in our yard.  My heaven.

Now the noise is nearly over – hopefully will soon disappear.   And I can again seek joy and solitude in my garden.

Myself .. I’m thankful that I let our fruit trees and bamboo grow to their heart’s content and that affords us a lot of privacy.  I can almost pretend that my garden is my paradise.

For now, after 3 years of horrific noise I can now find the energy to continue with garden projects long neglected.  Noise has such negative energy that my creative soul went away for a holiday and I’ve been inviting it back.   It’s been returning in little bits.  I’m imploring it to stay awhile.

I do this by focusing on the beauty and positivity that exists in little pockets in the yard.

Here is a tiny little beneficial  hover fly in a bird-planted flower.

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friday-03This hardy rose continues to flower and will continue till the fall.  Lovely scented roses.  It demands absolutely nothing – I don’t water it and don’t add fertilizer and it flowers away madly!friday-05An actual photo of the squash, steadily growing away.  I quite liked the play of shadow on the surface ..very art nouveau, I thought.

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Here is one little area.   Years ago there was just grass here.  I  had gradually planted some cedars, Nandia bamboo, Crocsomia, Southernwood .. and mulched it quite heavily.  Yesterday I returned to this long-neglected area (one of many in the yard) and tidied it up a bit, forming a temporary little brick wall and when it was all done, I stood back to admire it.  And quite like the friendly look of this little corner.  There is a section of oak tree in there that I keep moving around the yard.  Eventually I’ll use it in a small hugulkultur – but for now am trying to grow moss in the openings.   And I’ll pour a glass of white wine and set myself down at the little bistro table to relax a bit, one of these evenings.   Or, just a mug of Yorkshire Tea .. if I decide to relax during a sunny afternoon.  Whatever.  A place to relax – hidden by the branches of the old apple tree and tall bamboo at the side.friday-10Flowers of the Nandia bamboo – diminutive little flowers that grace this section of the yard with their beauty and elegance.friday-12Nearby is a sturdy little Southernwood … love the perfume from the feathery leaves.friday-12-2

My dear Lady JaneE .. sitting on the little bench ..majestically awaiting her treats.

friday-18Although I have bought pricier treats for her .. she insists on Temptations.  At nearly 21 years of age – who am I to argue.   A Cat always rules the house and yard.  We mere humans bend to their rules!   She is a happy little girl.Friday 19.JPGThe Bush-Tits swirl into the yard … I think that I’ve been seen .. but they ignore me and nibble daintily at the suet.   I place small amounts of the suet in feeders throughout the yard as little treats for my feathered friends.

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Then one of these little darlings perches on a section of nearby bamboo – looking for the rest of the flock:

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He travels to the nearby “first Christmas tree”for a few seconds and then flies away to join his family.friday-08

 

Serene blue skies above ..friday-04

A hollyhock flower catches my eye … another bird planted beauty?  It grows quite tall and if I hadn’t been looking at the Bush-tits, I wouldn’t have noticed this at all!

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Growing  higher than I can reach, even standing on a step ladder – are my “favourite beans” which I will let dry and save them for seed.  Some for me, some for friends and family.  Sharing is what gardening is all about.

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One of two Pyracanthus bushes in the yard, this one is huge.   The full 8 foot height is bent over due to the heavily laden branches which are covered with the orange berries.  I’ve tried various methods of staking this plant and tired of being attacked by the sharp thorns had decided to prune it back.  But first, I checked with Ann Nightingale (a Birding Expert in British Columbia and far beyond!)   When I am stymied with a bird question, I send her an e-mail inquiry and she always responds with the answer!   Yesterday I was trying to find out if the Pyracanthus berries are favourites for birds.  Not finding an answer to my question online, I e-mailed Ann.    And her swift response helped me make the decision to prune!  I can then either dry or freeze the berries for the winter time.  And then I can add these berries to the feeders when the cold weather arrives.  As our freezer is full to bursting with fruits and veggies from the garden, I’ve decided to dry them.   So I’ll clip the branches and leave them hanging over a tarp and when they are dry .. I will shake the berries off.  http://vibigyear.ca/

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Towering pole beans – like this Scarlet Red Runner Beans – add pockets of privacy throughout the yard.  I have more growing in the yard!!

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So I do feel a bit of my creative energy coming back in my garden.    And I dream of our next place which will definitely have more yard than house.   An opportunity to create another paradise where no buildings will be seen and I’ll have the space to create lovely outdoor rooms for dreaming in.

🙂

 

 

 


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Sweet little visitors came to my yard …

Friday, February 13, 2015

As I typed today’s date .. I thought back to the last time that I blogged .. it has been months since I’ve done that.  And I just love blogging .. writing about things that happen in my yard, places I’ve visited around town and things like that.

And photos .. hundreds of photos of birds, nature, skies, ocean, beaches.  And visits to various places.

I do feel quite happy, creative and energized when I make the time to post some photos and express my thoughts, just letting them flow from my fingertips as they tap along the keyboard.  It is really a decadent pleasure, writing.  Having loved writing since I was a kid, I mostly wrote in my mind until I learned about blogging!

Having the discipline to write daily has opened up the dusty doors of my imagination and how exciting it is to let loose the treasure trove of thoughts that I’d kept hidden away.  My mind really feels like Aladdin’s Cave .. full of precious and sparkly thoughts.  What a delight it is, to read my thoughts at a later date.  I wonder sometimes, where the words come from.  And I do have to laugh sometimes at what I’ve written.

Anyway, I’ve decided to polish off that discipline and delve back into that treasure trove.  So today, I will show some photos of some lovely feathered friends that are in my yard.  Nesting in the tall trees that we planted over 30 years ago

Here is one of the Red-Breasted Nuthatches visiting a suet block.  They look like little bandits and they are often quite difficult to find because they are quick to fly away, preferring to stay hidden away.  So I’m quite happy when I see them and I don’t even breathe, while I click-click away with my camera.

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And there are quite a number of Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  They are clever little birds and chirp away when the feeders are empty, as a reminder that they need to be replenished

14There is a family of Downy Woodpeckers, this is the female, the male has a band of red at the back of his head.  They always announce their presence with their cheerful little chirps “here I am”.  The sound is similar to a Robin’s cheerful chirp, I think.

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Sweet little Bush-tits,  they are social little birds and always swirl their way into the yard.  A few months ago, I was outside, digging away in the garden and overhead flew the largest flock of them I had ever seen.  I was so enthralled by the sight that I didn’t even want to waste time getting my camera case open.  It seemed as if there were hundreds of these little Bush-tits flying over my head … straight through the yard and aiming for a tall tree in the front yard.

Yesterday, there were only a few and after they ate some suet, they took some time to groom themselves.

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I felt lucky to zoom in on some of them, they flit about so quickly it’s challenging to focus on them and take some photos!

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A healthy looking Robin was tucked away in the branches of an apple tree, seemingly content to just stay hidden away for a while.  He was there for quite a long time.

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He kept an eye on me while he sat there, surveying the yard.

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Just a few Bush-tits at a suet block.  The others were either perched nearby or in the midst of the tree, grooming themselves.  How very sweet they are.

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And I was so focused on getting a photo of the little Anna (upper middle area) that I completely did not see the Bewick Wren staring right at me!   What a surprise that was, when I looked at this photo!   Can you see it, almost in the middle of the photo .. tail feathers spread out in a fan shape.  There is a family nesting somewhere in our yard and I feel honoured to have them here.

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Some lovely skies a few days ago .. graceful sweeps of frothy clouds .. eye candy for the soul.
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Here is one of the Bewick’s .. lovely singer

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I was extremely fortunate to take more photos .. I think this one might be the baby, nearly grown now.  Their nest must be hidden away quite well .. these birds are very challenging to find.

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Little Anna, sipping away.  I must start making the nectar 4:1 soon, as the weather is quite balmy and they don’t need the 3:1 sugar right now.  Must do that tomorrow and clean and refill their feeders.

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A few weeks ago this hawk was settled into the wild and crazy tree.  Eventually he flew off.  Quite a beauty, isn’t he.

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Darling little Black-Crowned Sparrow.  Very distinctive.  I’ve heard a few Gold-Crowned Sparrows, but not many, yet.

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I don’t see this squirrel around much . .I think she is Squirrely’s daughter.  Love the white markings on her chest.

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Well… blogging is continuing.  I’ll share my Mason Bees adventures when they are put outside to hatch.  Right now they are snug in their container in the fridge’s crisper drawer.  Their house is all cleaned up.  And at the end of February or beginning of March (I am told) I can put the cocoons into the top drawer of their house and put them outside!

🙂


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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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I felt like a country mouse in the city .. happy to be back in my lovely little yard ..

I love Nasturtiums and it is a good thing for they have been growing like crazy all summer.  Something else that loves them also are aphids. I hose off what I can and depend on the Ladybugs to feast on the rest.

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Some late season raspberries .. they were a surprise!  I love garden surprises and I am going to mark this plant with a ribbon so I can differentiate it from the hundreds of others that surround our yard.

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Lots of insects in the yard .. this was a strange one and I was able to take a few photos before it flew away.  Wonder what it is??

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Spider basking in the sun .. enjoying a break in the daily routine of living in the garden.04

We went to Vancouver a few times recently … I felt like a little country mouse in the big city

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I was so happy to be back home .. in our yard .. admiring the beauty of the Crown Peas (Heirloom).  To dissuade the hungry sparrows, I tied some cd’s to sparkle in the sunshine  This seems to have worked .. since they have stopped dining on the shoots.

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Dainty sprigs of Sweet Annie growing softly … graceful plants.  This year I’d started them, ever so carefully, in single cell plant pots.  Next year I will just throw little amounts of the tiny seeds throughout the sunny parts of the year.  They will grow taller I think.

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Mmmmmmmmmm … blue skies, wispy clouds .. still seems like summer .. I like it!

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Little baby squash growing randomly in the yard … I learned another lesson the hard way this year.  It is very important to rinse the soil off the squash, once picked.  And rinse in a very light bath of water and some bleach or peroxide to avoid mould growing.  I’d picked a sweet little orange squash a week ago.  Enjoyed how lovely it looked.  Of course, I hadn’t rinsed it.  And DH went to move it from the tea towel it was resting on and noticed that it had seriously started deteriorating.  Sigh.  But not this one, though.

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Sweet darling little Bush-tit .. I think this is a female, can just barely see the yellow outline in the eye.

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The yellow is more evident in this photo.  This is a bird that would not live in a cage.   Freedom in the wild (as wild as can be in urban areas).  They are the most joyous little birds, singing as they whirl into the yard .. never fail to make me smile.  Thank you …

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Teasel .. the seed that keeps on growing now matter how much the plants are pulled.  Pretty plants although the bracts along the stem are a trifle sharp!  ;l believe they were used to comb wool in long ago days.

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Loving the light shining through the eucalyptus tree …I think this was mid-afternoon.

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A close up of those lovely Crown Peas .. I love their delicate beauty.

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Cheerful sunflowers all throughout the yard .. brightening up all the corners .. lovely!

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Hearing the raucous cries of the crows flying overhead ..  stopped to look up.  They are so brave in a group and here they are chasing a hawk.  This continues for a while and then they slowly disappear from sight.

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A short while later, the hawk has eluded the crows and now soars quietly overhead.

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These are the reason why the hawk often flies nearby … Passenger Pigeons are kept nearby.  The hawks are swift.  The pigeons .. not so much.

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More wispy clouds ….

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Now it is time to go back outside .. into the sunshine while it lasts .. a marvellous day to look up at the sky … harvest beans, tomatoes, the odd strawberry.  Dig around .. and think of ways to change the layout of the garden.

Oh, and another year of learning things in the vegetable garden .. but more about that tomorrow.  I just had to come inside and post a few pics.

Time now to fill my mug with a fresh brew of Yorkshire Tea.

🙂


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Busy times for everyone at this time of the year.  Watering our gardens, ensuring that all of our veggie plants are growing well.

Me .. well .. I’ve harvested my garlic crop.  I think that I dug them up a few weeks early, but that’s where the impatient side of my personality kicked in!  The garlic cloves that I’d planted so carefully last October, in neat little rows had fun moving around during the fall, winter and spring.  Sometimes there were 3 garlic bulbs growing together.  There was a variety of sizes, from small to medium to huge .. so that was all right!

Well .. look here .. what is this strange object in the midst of my garlic beds??

017Ok, I was having fun with the timer on our camera … hadn’t used it before and wanted to see what I looked like in my lovely garlic bed.  Don’t ask how many times I had to reset the camera and run back and quickly look relaxed .. oh, it was fun.

Our Mr. Duncan is the epitome of cool and I recently watched him as he sauntered up the back stairs. .. note the flaring ears as I called to him .. hey, Mr. D ….

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whaaaaat …… I’m busy .. lady.

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I’m babysitting some plants for a friend and was quite upset a few weeks ago, when this lovely specimen was nearly a goner.  You can’t tell by this photo .. but I’d not watered this plant for a while and was sickened to see that most of the leaves were brown and crinkly.  I watered with a liberal dose of EM and look here .. magic!

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My lovely garlic crop, nearly all dug up …21

Garlic placed on makeshift work tables (2 work tables with framed lattice in between …resulting in a lot of space to work with.  And I found an easy braiding recipe and will share those photos next time.  They look rustic and I’m quite proud of them.

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Random beauty . .a surprise flowering rocky rose

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A surprise little beetle .. looks like a ladybug .. alights on a garlic ..

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It was walking for miles on its tiny little legs .. quickly scurrying up garlic stems ..

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I watched as it travelled endlessly … and finally  it went to the ground.  A huge universe open for adventures … one that is hidden from my eyes ..

11And then … far far away …

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I had set the sprinkler on at the back of the yard .. left it and later on heard the joyous chirps of the Bush-tits and Chickadees …  quietly went over and tried to see what was going on, what were they doing?  So difficult to see them in all this greenery.

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Look .. the tiny little darlings were having a fantastic time .. showering in the tiny drops of water .. grooming themselves .. I was able to take a few photos …what a wonderful time they were having …made me smile and feel happy too!

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Lovely little darlings, aren’t they …its moments like this that adds a big sparkle to the magic of gardening …

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Well .. that is just a tiny bit of what has been going on in my life … and so I am donning my gardening costume, brewing another cup of tea and racing outside, to make some bamboo climbers for my Cannelloni beans to grow up against.

Out into the sunshine …

🙂