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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Some rambles from the spring – willows, sheep, birds and all that sort of thing ..

Some days I just like to get in my little car and wander around … visiting farms, discovering new “eye candy” in nature and things along that vein.   Just me and my car.  Or just me and walking .. whatever.  Just me.P1230926So in the spring I went to visit the Fickle Fig farm .. an organic farm full to bursting with lots of crops, and farm animals.  Here are some of the goats.   As I walked across the muddy fields, a small group of them started to follow me .. not being a really incredibly brave person, I called to my friend “help .. they are all following me” .. how impressive is that.  To be unnerved by these little goats.  Nonetheless,  he swiftly sent them off in another direction.  whew!!  Still they do look very handsome (from a distance and on the other side of the fence, lol)6661aSome Canada Geese taking a rest in a nearby field.6673Then I made my way to the Wood Willow farm .. where I am the #1 customer!  Here are some of the cuttings that I brought home with me and planted.6670Here is  a handwoven willow basket .. how beautiful ..6667Some local landscapers were creating a habitat for the French Lop-ear rabbits (rescue rabbits).

6664I forget the type of willow used in this project, it is supposed to be a type that the rabbits do not like to nibble on.  However, this little guy chose to try it anyway.  He chewed away a bit and then left .. guess it works!6666A round opening is made so that the rabbits can enter at will.6665The project progressed ..6683Carefully allowing space for the trees to flourish ..6684Proper coppicing of the willow ..6680The cuttings are carefully tied  together.6681Inside Rosemary’s kitchen .. she kindly gives me a bouquet of the heritage daffodils, they are beautifully scented.    And I choose which cuttings I would like as she displays a variety for me.6686And I came away with some gigantic goose eggs .. have never had these before .. they were delicious and quite rich!6678And also some Swedish Blue duck eggs!6676

6677Back home and time to admire my feathered visitors .. here are the darling little Bush-tits.  I know they must be nesting somewhere in the yard and the location of their nest is a mystery.  That’s ok with me.  they need their privacy .. don’t we all.6669The Juncos are frequent visitors in the fall/winter/spring and fly elsewhere for the summer.   They love flax seed so I bought a huge bag of it for them!6672And where there are birds, there are hawks .. this is in one of the fruit trees in the back yard.6674Dear little Nuthatches .. nesting somewhere nearby .. I’ve been lucky to see some of the babies in the spring ..this is an adult.6660Female Downy Woodpecker .. this is my favourite suet holder ..and the birds sure like it.6668And the arc-en-ciel was a beautiful scene to see  ..6671

As I haven’t been blogging for such a long time – and I have not stopped taking photos .. I will start to upload them here!  Creating good memories for me to look at during the winter months!


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I found a lost Staffordshire and then we had to go looking for his owner

Friday, January 25, 2013

A few days ago, on my daily walk … I was standing at the edge of the path, watching one of the resident eagles who was perched in a nearby Oak tree.    A guy came walking fast up towards me and asked if I’d seen a white dog.  A Staffordshire dog …named ..well, his name doesn’t matter.   I hadn’t seen him and promised that I would look for him.

I continued with my walk and met a group of birders .. asked if they had seen this dog. Sure enough, he had been following them and then he exited the Sanctuary (yes, at the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary again!)    So I took the same path and began asking all that I met .. if they had seen the dog.  No … but .. looking ahead . .I could see this dog .. he’d just crossed a busy road and was walking along the wooden bridge.  So I started to run .. .yelling “stop that dog”.

And you know what!  A lovely young man did just exactly that!  I gave him my scarf and asked him to loop it under the dog’s collar .. which he did!  Scarves come in handy!

So now .. I’m feeling so happy that I’ve found the lost dog .. and start walking where I think the owner might be.

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After a few minutes of walking around .. I see the owner and yell out to him that I’d found his dog!    Whew … turns out the dog is a Houdini and is able to open windows and escapes to explore the neighbourhood.  The owner has paid high fines and says that I’ve just saved him hundreds of dollars.   Well .. I’m just glad that the two are together again.

So I said goodbye .. and continued on my way.  Certain to have burned off a few calories in this little adventure …bye little dog .. glad that all is right in your world now …

02Lovely blue skies from that day …

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So very alluring …. so very beautiful07

Walking towards Tuesday Pond, I encountered a small flock of Canada Geese … these birds get very defensive some times .. so I proceeded slowly…

 

 

 

 

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They moved .. just as slowly .. into a side marsh ..

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And soon these stately birds had exited .. whew … I was glad.10

Farther along .. I saw the reason for the Mallards to make their quick and noisy departure from the pond … there was a hawk high up in the tree ..

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These gray squirrels are not native to Vancouver Island .. they’ve usurped the black squirrels, however, I caught a glimpse of one last week ..

14More beautiful aerial scenery ..

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So relaxing to look at .. and cheerful ..04These wonderful walks are invigorating.  I just cannot imagine how my days would be without them.  I wouldn’t meet some very lovely dogs.   Have little adventures like finding a lost dog.  How wonderful is that.

And the places my lovely muddy walking shoes take me!  Along very long and winding streets.   Up and down hill.   Through lovely local parks.  To the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary .. where there are lots of knowledgeable birders I can talk with and learn.

Such lovely quiet periods of time .. to stop, reflect on nature.  Have the opportunity to watch birds living in the wild.    As in this grouping of Double-Crested Cormorants .. relaxing on a float near the main walkway that spans Swan Lake.IMGP9442

So every day is different and every day the walks are long!  I think that I need to get up real early in order to have these wonderful walks and then have enough time left over to spend lots of time in the garden!

I’m still carefully removing the heavy mulched layer from the garlic beds.  Every day, more and more of the leafy growth is emerging.   Oh, I can hardly wait to dig up the large elephant garlic .. this is going to be the best crop yet.

And my lovely chopped oak leaf mulch is waiting to be used.  Along with the lovely batch of seaweed that D and I collected last week.  Marvelous magic for the garden.

Well .. end of the day .. time to close off .. it’s been a great week – all told!

🙂


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Out for a walk … and I saw some lovely dogs!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

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It’s been a busy and fun time in my life during the past few days.

Besides focusing on decluttering, I’ve gone for a lovely walk to the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.   Participated in our first field trip in the Ecological Landscaping course.  Enjoyed seeing (and talking with!) some sweet dogs.  And other daily things.

I had decided to go shopping and combine this with a walk a few days ago.  Made up a list and even remembered to bring it with me!  Enjoyed the calming beauty and tranquility of the Sanctuary.   Not many Mallards out .. nor seagulls .. guessed that might translate into the close proximity of the local eagles .. even if I couldn’t see them.

Continued on to the shops .. chose my purchases .. reached into my bag and .. oh, no wallet.  Great time to remember that I’d changed purses the day before and neglected to transfer my wallet into this bag!  Oh well .. I returned home, to fetch that and enjoyed the long walk anyway.

Noticed a flock of Canada Geese visiting our neighborhood .. this was a first.   They have been displaced from their usual field across the street.  That place that is becoming a mini-city block of ugly highrises that none of us wanted.   So now they have to find a new area to rest up before they begin their long flight south for the winter.

I know many people don’t want the geese in their golf courses and fields.   I admire their beautiful markings, their proud stance and their innocent lives.  They are nature.   I wish them well on their long flight and knowing that they mate for life, I also wish them good safe flights.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet with dogs as I go my way walking in the neighbourhood and along the beaches.  There was Hunter, the big gold lab that I saw yesterday .. I approached him gently, after asking his doggie mom if I could pet him .. and so I gently stroked his head and down his back and added that special little massage at his back, above the tail.  He really liked that.  And his owner sincerely expressed surprise that he allowed me to do that, as he really didn’t let people approach him.  She was serious about that .. so I felt honoured and mentioned that I really miss my dogs .. and she said that Hunter must have sensed that.

Then there was little Misha, sweet with her little pink collar and leash.  She looked up at me so trustingly and smiled …. what a darling.

And Rocky and Alex .. the handsome English Bulldogs that I met in our neighbourhood … very gentle and patient dogs!
Lucky me to have met these wonderful happy beings!


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Wednesday was a lazy hazy kind of summer day

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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Yesterday was a day full of beauty, adventure and surprises all day long.

It was also a day of sadness as it was exactly one week ago that we lost our lovely little Youbou cat.

coincidentally .. my good pal D had contacted me to start our usual wandering/adventures that we started a few years ago.

So we discussed where to go and decided on starting out at Swan Lake.

I took lots of photos of the day and have posted some, but not all of them.

We had the most marvellous fun day .. I really felt like a kid again, although one with a driving license, all grown up and ready to go.

Started off at Swan Lake .. walked the pathways through the beauty of the woods.  Stopping to watch the aerial activity.  Saw Bushtits cavorting in a tree.  Then a pair of yellow feathered darlings flew about .. sorry, can’t remember the name .. will post later.

Several groups of loud talkers passed our way .. I shut out the noisy conversations and settled into the lovely peace of the woods and nature surrounding us.

Finally .. I feel so happy to be back at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  It’s been a few months since I last visited this lovely place and heavenly to be back there.

Saw the Canada Geese, majestically paddling about the lake .. and the Mallards.  D noted that the Drakes were moulting, turns out this happens twice a year.  Some of them looked a little bedraggled.

We threw flatted oats to them all and soon were surrounded by lots of these feathered beings.

D found a cricket .. sadly unable to walk .. perhaps a heavy footed jogger caused some harm?  she gently placed him amongst some tall grasses .. perhaps he will heal and soon be hopping around.

She discovered fruit trees (she’s an apple tree magnet!) and gathered a variety of apples, then later, pears from a boulevard.  It was here that I started feeling like a kid.  Car parked on a side street.  We wandered around a pear tree, trying to find any ripe fruit.  No worries, no schedules .. fun!

From there we made stops at various places.  Chez moi, to gather some fruit from the trees.  Oh, and to drop off some free treasures found in a driveway along the way.  A funky trellis for the garden.  Some plant saucers, a plastic little table, ready to be painted.  Talk about decluttering and then I bring these things home.  I daren’t tell DH!  What would he say?  Well, I think he would laugh, but I’ll leave that subject for now.

Next we went to a local greenhouse, the owners have been there for 50 years!  Bought some terrific produce.

Next we made our way to Saxe Point.  Now, I thought I’d been there years ago, but really, I discovered that in all the years I’ve lived here .. I’d not visited this jewel.

Wandered through paths, made our way down the rocky bluffs to the shore (if you can call it that).

We noticed a couple of scuba divers, happily exploring the waters along the shore, finding treasures in the water.

Such beautiful scenery … ocean lapping at the rocks.  Small areas of dried ocean salts.  D found some coins tucked away in a rock.

Fun times.

It was an amazing, fun, relaxing day .. one of those old-fashioned summer days.  The kind where you just explore areas of the city and find unexpected scenery, flowers, things that don’t cost money.

Just having fun.

So .. more tomorrow .. must head out to the garden now .

 

 


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Spending time decluttering and taking time to watch the birds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Such a beautiful time of the year .. sun is still shining, veggies are still growing.  Birds are flying and playing.  A perfect time to continue decluttering, with some time out to just stop and watch what is going on.

I’ve recently been busy sorting out, decluttering and organizing various areas in the yard and quite impressed with my results.

Start out dreading the task I’ve undertaken … then I get totally involved with the decision making and before the end of the day, I’ve succeeded in weeding out what I need to keep and what needs to be sent along to recycle, donation, etc.

And so a few days ago I began this decluttering activity in my little wee garden room in the basement.

This is the place where I’ve put things “just for now” and “until later” .. well, later has arrived.

And I’ve discovered that I have way too many gardening gloves .. if that is possible.  I gathered up all the gloves, tossed them in a container and brought them outside for sorting.  Only found a few unmatched sets and ended up with a lot .. I didn’t actually count how many .. but believe me when I say that I have more than 20.  Too embarrassing to actually take a count, so I won’t!  Threw them all in the wash and dried them in the sun. Now, they are all in one container and I have absolutely no excuse for going shopping for more.

This is one good reason why decluttering is good.  When you can’t find something and buy more just to save time searching for things (say, um, gardening gloves) .. then it is high time for decluttering.

I set up a large work table just outside the back door.  And began the million trips of emptying shelves and baskets,  taking one or two things outside.  Putting them on the table.  Decision making.   Keep, recycle, discard .. one after the other.

Slow going.  I searched for tips on decluttering, as I was finding it challenging to muster up the energy to just get rid of everything.

I found some good inspiration.   that clutter is blocked energy.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Life is a flowing river.  It’s okay to change the course, it’s good to have it flow and bubble around rocks in its path.

I found these gems here:  http://eliminatecancer.hubpages.com/hub/Declutter-Your-Home-and-Re-energize-Your-Life

There were other inspirational sites that I found, but this one resonated with me.

So downstairs I went.   Back to my little room.   And I was discovering that the room was feeling better, more spacious.  Less clutter.

Soon I had a stack of empty baskets.  A huge Rubbermaid container full of things to give away, things I no longer use .. time for someone else to play with them.

I’m halfway finished.  Spent a lot of time moving things around.  Making progress.  Feeling more energized.

Unearthed some crafty projects, purchased years ago from a sewing convention.  A little kit for  beading, weaving ribbon, embroidery .. to make a little sewing needle case.  Well, really, why did I ever buy this?  Never in a million years will I ever tackle this little delicacy.  What was I thinking of, anyway.  Plus, the two extra packages of eyelash embroidery!!!

Took an old shelving unit outside, slapped on some neutral paint to freshen it up.   Today I’ll splash on some leftover lavender paint to brighten it up and then will use this for storing empty baskets on.  Something to brighten up my little room.

And in between times, lots of breaks .. taken outside.   Watched one of the local eagles soaring overhead.   Flocks (gaggles ??) of Canada Geese, flying so low overhead, I could hear the strong silky swoosh of their  wings as they flew over .. the late afternoon sun cast a mellow golden glow over their feathers.  Beautiful nature, wild and free.

The local little band of Bushtits swirl in .. chasing away the sparrows.  They are so darling as they flit about the branches.  Taking turns nibbling at the suet cakes.  Busy chirps.  Then suddenly they depart.  Love these energized little visitors.

Chickadees visit the hanging water bath that I’ve placed in the cherry tree.

Lovely sights and sounds.

Then I walk around the garden patch.  Squash are still growing … I’m impatient to prepare this area for planting garlic, but there is still time.  My gardening neighbour tells me not to plant till October 20 .. so I’ll leave them to grow another month.

Sweet peas are still flowering, fruiting, growing.  Ok, I’ll leave them also.  Some zucchini plants are still growing.  As are some tomato plants.  Sigh.  I’ll let them flourish in the sun for a few more weeks.  I’ve been picking some tomatoes and freezing them for future stews and lasagna in the fall months.  Mmmmm.

And yesterday, I was preparing supper, brought out a bowl of peas from the fridge .. I’d only picked them a few days ago, it seems.  And .. a lot of them are sprouting.  So I quickly searched growing peas in this part of Canada and lo and behold, there are a fair number of people who have successfully planted fall peas .. so I decided to try that!

Lovely times.


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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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Despite the short summer, it’s been a delight in the garden, busy and happy times. Spending a lot of time looking at the skies!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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August will only be with us for a few more days and I will miss this end of the summer.  Our summer was only two months long and it really was wonderful.  Once the summer heat began and the race was on to grow things in the garden.

I must admit that I hadn’t prepared my veggies for growing, depending on purchased plants.  The proverbial “next year” sounds good to me right now!  Well, next year, I will start in the spring to prepare the seedlings for planting.   And … next year .. I will prepare little plastic houses for the tender plants.

This year, though, I am quite happy with the results of my garden.  I definitely have one pumpkin and see a few others growing .. I still  have another month for them.

And my cucumber plant has one cucumber, slowing maturing.  It might be the only one. The basil plants are limping along.  The lettuce is producing daily.  Sweetpeas, late, but strong.  Flowering and producing seeds for next year.  Lovely plants.

My friend D has given me the most lovely planters … quite ornate, open metalwork, with coir linings.  I dug through the soil and found some lovely sparklies and a little yellow lizard amongst the soil .. treasures!

I’m going to dig up some kale and put them in these containers … so they will continue to grow .. and I can start shape-shifting the mulch pile where they grew all summer.

Blueberries are still fruiting .. I have some late bearing bushes.

I’ve also started decluttering my garden supplies .. and today gave away hundreds of plant pots and over a dozen propagating trays.   I had way too many .. how many do I really need!   And so it’s fun to share with fellow gardeners.

Tomorrow I plan to finish clearing out my garden work area .. to sort out what I need and what I can give away.  Feels great to do this.

I walked around my garden .. looking at the changes I made this year.   Feel amazed that I actually planted all the plants that I purchased in the past few weeks. . that is a record for me and feels like I’ve accomplished quite a lot … and I have!

Spent hours today digging up dandelions in the back yard.  Noticed that there were hardly any in the areas of lawn that were well watered and that there were so many in the drier patches.  Interesting.  I’ve put them all on a tarp, to dry in the sun and then I will add them to the compost bins.

The Italian prune plums are just dripping from the branches.  I’ve been picking quite a few.  Dehydrated some in the oven and quite a few were put on a pot to stew and then I’ll freeze some containers to use later as sauce for chicken or for a jam.

I’m quite enjoying this time of the year .. clearing up my garden areas.  Watching the birds.  I see the little Fox sparrow .. like a little sprite way up in the tree.

Yesterday and today I was treated to an aerial show of the Canada Geese as they flew overhead, en route to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary for the night.  I wonder if these are the spring-born goslings, all grown up …. preparing for their winter flight.   They sound so strong and fly so well … my heart goes out to them.  Theirs is a tough life of survival.    I know that a lot of people don’t like Geese .. but none have harmed me.    I’m smart enough to turn around and walk the other way when I’m confronted with them.  Their beaks are very strong!

I watch little Youbou out in the yard, vigorously scratching away with his strong right leg.  Hard to imagine that last spring he couldn’t walk on that leg .. for reasons unknown, despite the many veterinarian tests.  Luckily acupuncture was able to help him.  He’s no longer on Prednisone and has his acupuncture visits about once a month or so, just to keep him aligned.

The skies have been so beautiful to watch that it’s a wonder I get anything done in the yard when I’m out there!   In the spring I gazed upwards to watch the eagles and now I watch for the Geese and the ever-changing panorama of beautiful shades of blue and white.  sigh.

And finally, on Monday, I spent the day preparing my garlic for the winter.   Set up my outside working tables and began the task of untying the bunches of garlic from beneath the sundeck, where they have been drying and curing for a month.  Noticed that quite a number of scapes escaped me!  How did that happen, anyway!  I was so sure that I’d clipped every scape to make pesto!

Just like last year, I was sure that I didn’t have enough, but when all were cleaned up and put in baskets, I realized I have more than enough.  Enough to cull the largest for planting next month.  Enough to send some to my sister back east.  Enough for us.   Enough to share.   So I’m happy about that.
And the hardnecks have these little yellow cloves, they look like kernels of corn.  I’ve read that these can be planted for spring greens.  And I’ve read that they also can be grown for several years to reach the size of a garlic bulb.

Speaking about enough .. I started thinking about all the work I’ve done over the past few years.  Gathering oak leaves from properties.    Filling bags, stuffing them in my car.  Taking them home, starting the dance of moving them from the car to the back yard and then mulching them.  Ordering bales and bales of spoiled hay .. wonderful for mulching in the yard.

What if I don’t feel like doing that this year?

Well, I’m not worried.   Because I have 3 compost bins.  Lots of lovely soil already in the yard.  And I really and truly depend on my EM to save the day!    As long as I continue to prepare my batches of EM .. I will always have the most fertile, rich garden!

Well, I’ve been enjoying the days this week .. working had and accomplishing a lot.  Feeling quite pleased with the progress of my garden.  And looking forward to making more changes.  And taking time to watch the birds … listening to the cheerful little nasal chirps from the Bushtits, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Fox and other sparrows.  And the energetic antics of the Anna’s.  And hoping to get a closer glimpse of the Geese as they soar overhead.

Another lovely day!