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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Snow is Just a Memory …Spring Approaches!!!

I was just looking through my photos taken during the winter, when we had snow here!! I remember thinking, how lovely to have this time to get things done, plan my garden, declutter!  Well, that ship has sailed!!

Now, summer is approaching, we are experiencing spring and I’m really wondering just where “all that time” has gone!

I’ve actually done a lot of decluttering (much more to do) and have been spending time doing what I love doing!  Gardening!  Playing with our lovely cat Spoiler.

He’s so very sweet .. and, like all cats, cannot resist a paper bag (or a box or any kind of container) … he saw this bag on the kitchen floor and quickly went into the safe world of paper bag:

Spoiler -What's in the bag

Once inside … he noticed “feather” .. he has many of these. They used to adorn my desk displays, but, he preferred them to be on the floor so he could play.    He’ll throw them up in the air, then he goes into all kinds of crazy contortions, as he plays with them.

Spoiler & bag & feather

Suddenly, inspiration struck and just after I clicked this photo, away he went .. on some other adventure!

Sweet Spoiler

Brrrr .. outside in the backyard …a few months ago.  This is my Favourite Tea!  Yorkshire Tea!!

YT, Jan 15, 2020

Lovely blooms in March …P1420681

Wow .. .I was so happy to see these growing!  A few years ago, I salvaged some native plants (I belong to a group who salvage plants when changes will be made to areas)  I cannot remember the name, thought they were Fawn Lilies, but not able to find any photos.  I’ve kept them in the same container since the day I brought them home.  It has sat, quietly in the side of the yard.  Happy to see they have prospered. I should find out what they are in a month or so.

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Around mid March I prepared flats of coir for my peas .. here they are, nicely labelled.  Such a sophisticated gardening setup .. don’t you think?    I’m composting in Rubbermaid garbage cans, they work really well!!!  And here are some bamboo lengths that I use to create structures for the garden.

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More excitement in the garden, the peas have started their magic!

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This photo was taken a week or so ago and the seedlings are much bigger now .. still, there is that magic!  The magic never goes away …

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Spotted Towhee .. love them ..

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White Crowned Sparrow ….We have so many birds visiting our yard all the time .. a joy to watch.   A Barred Owl spent the day in January … I’ll post photos later .. I was over the moon as I’d never seen one and had been thinking about that when suddenly .. I saw him!

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This years garlic bed layout!  A few days ago, I dug up self-seeded garlic (about 30!!!) and transplanted them into some large circular planters!  Yum .. yum .. garlic!!P1420660

Not sure if it is clear, but here I am forming “tunnels” that will run perpendicular to the back of the garden.  I use the bamboo lengths and various extendable fencing items to create “walls” and a “roof” for all my vining plants to grow.  It’s really cool! The tunnel isn’t straight, it curves slightly, adding mystery to the garden.   In my mind’s eye .. I see what this is going to look like this summer.

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Those large containers all contain the most beautiful compost!!!!  I’m adding this to the tops of the beds that I’m preparing.  Sheer gold!!  Can you see the bricks .. these are my little beds for the peas that I will plant in a few weeks.  Since this photo, I’ve created more “walls” where all the vines will grow!!

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I’ll be planting a variety of beans, squash, they will be growing happily in the sun .. transforming this bare skeletal structure with lush green and delicious flowers for the bees to feast on!!  In the middle of this area I will create a little seating area where I can sip Yorkshire Tea, do a Suduko and have little Spoiler Kat outside with me.

Every year it’s the same thing.  I dismantle last year’s growing area and think .. what on earth can I do to create a different layout.  And every year … the new ideas appear .. from somewhere and I’m always so excited.

Once the actual layout has been determined .. then I will fill in the walking areas with some beautiful Century oak wood chips.  Right now they are patiently waiting at the side of the yard.  Once they are installed, this will brighten everything up.

Also, I have some lovely unsprayed straw that I will use for topping up my container potatoes.

Sigh … I love the magical energy of gardening.

 

 


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Oh joy .. green beans can be juiced!!

We  have had a fair bit of sun and rain this year.  Long hot spells finally cooled down lately and for that I am grateful!   The days are getting shorter  .. no longer does the sun shine till 9 pm but starts setting around 7:45 … what we’ve taken for granted as long hot summer days are slowly preparing us for fall weather.  But.  It is still officially summer until Autumn comes knocking at the door.  So I will continue to revel at the sight of the most cheerful of all flowers … the sunny Sunflower!

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For a change of pace .. here is a b/w of yet another sunchoke!  I’ve read that you cannot gert rid of this plant and I believe it.  Over the past few years I’ve dug up the knobby root and listed it for free with lots of happy people who love this.   This plant resembles a sunflower but is much taller, with smaller flowers.   Argh.  Not that I dislike this plant but I would rather have more sunflowers.  (and in some part of Victoria, someone is thinking the exact opposite!)tuesday-2

This is the largest of my squash that is actually fruiting.   It is a close up photo and the squash is actually only about 3″ in diameter.    Frosts are in the distant future and there is still about 7 weeks of growing.    Exciting to wait and see what will happen.tuesday-3And alongside this plant .. there are a few other hopefuls growing away.  I added some lovely llama manure to all the plants yesterday so hopefully this will give them a boost.tuesday-4And the beans grow steadily onwards.  These are some Scarlett Red Runner beans … growing from the apple tree branches.  The flowers are so pretty and the bees and Annas love them.tuesday-5A quick glance at these two plants and it appeared as if the squash flower was devouring the bean leaf.tuesday-6I’ve been trying to train this squash plant around the garden screen ..sort of a success .. it will be interesting when the squash start growing .. to see if they will hang properly from the frame.  Yet more beans in the background .. growing along the stakes in the ground.  More Scarlet Red Runners to the left. They are everywhere.   If you want instant privacy in the yard, grow pole beans!!tuesday-8I had placed a variety of (saved) squash seeds throughout the yard and they all grew .. along with any seeds that were in the compost.  Even if I don’t get any squash from these plants, the flowers add so much beauty and nectar for the bees.tuesday-7And yet more beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears, Spanish Musica, Blue Lake Bush beans, Annie Jackson Pole Beans) this morning I picked a basket of beans .. went inside and thought .. omg .. the freezer and fridge freezer are both full.  I cannot cram another  batch of apples or beans…. what can I do!

Then .. I wondered .. can green beans be juiced?   Yes .. the internet resounded loudly.  Not only can they be juiced .. they are full of vitamins and minerals.  So good for you.

I almost broke down and cried I was so happy!!   A bountiful year for beans and now I can juice them!!!   So I did just that!   And the nice thing was that there was very little pulp left in the juicer!

Not being someone who follows a recipe, I threw in some carrots, celery, lots of beans, a few apples .. and soon DH & I were sipping on the delicious juice!  Forgot the ginger, but will add that tomorrow.

So happy!  JaneE Kat wanted to go back outside a few hours later.  She, being a cat, envisioned more treats and so that was her motivation to meow at me to get on outside.  So I did.  After giving her about 3 to 4 sets of treats, I set about picking more beans so I could juice them tomorrow.

Despite having meticulously picked through all the plants for beans this morning, I still found even more this afternoon.  Oh I am so very happy that I won’t have to freeze them any more .. but will just enjoy them in a juice format!   DH is very happy also as I won’t be overstocking the freezer.

Despite the perfect storm for growing food this year (hot weather, lots of rain) … I know that it is the combination of the lovely Llama manure (no medicines used!) and the EM (effective microorganism mixture that I mix up) that create such happy healthy soil for everything to grow in.    Also, seaweed that I have gathered.  If I run out of seaweed, I just use liquid seaweed.  Same stuff without the bother.  🙂  Over 60 minerals adding richness to the soil.

There is nothing like the magic of a garden to focus in on the beauty of life.

🙂


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It’s a Beautiful Day in a Beautiful Summer

It is a beautiful sunny day here and time is just flying by!  Literally!

Unless I get up at 5 am (not happening) I seem to take “forever” to do my household chores before I can run outside!    I think life would be simpler living in a minimalist manner.  Looking around at all my “stuff” which I simply cannot live without .. I wonder what life would be like.

Having read many articles on minimalist living I find there is an attraction.

Life is simpler and energizing.  Having uncluttered over and over and over again .. I do enjoy the feeling of empty space in my living area.

However, ahem .. having just come from my craft room .. I think it is easier said than done.

There are my watercolour and acrylics, paints, books, pens, brushes.  I do have fun from time to time playing around with that.

There is my huge glass collection.  I’d spend untold shopping trips rounding up glass items that attracted me.   Then I made way too many glass totems .. sold some of them.  Vowed I’d stop that and I even had everything boxed up, set aside, waiting either to have a garage sale or take them to a thrift shop.   Then someone admired them and bought quite a number of them.

sigh.

So I went shopping again.  What is with me.  I love creating them and do love how everything comes together.  Plus I’ve been playing around with my beads and making glass garden bling.   And faerie decorations.  What am I going to do with them?   I’ll work on that.  Weekend craft shows are out due to our life style.

I think I will just decide not to decide right now.  There, that feels better.

Anyway … I’ve been having a wonderful summer .. enjoying the magic of peas, beans, squash seeds morphing from a single seed to the most amazing plants.  I’ve been taking so many pictures and will post them.

There .. that’s another thing!  I love writing away…. letting my thoughts flow .. my fingers flying across the keyboards.  Except, there is this time thing … time to spend in the garden, time to fly with my DH up in the skies ..time spent all day and evening being busy, creative, and somehow I really miss this time when I just relax at the keyboards and enjoy the words appearing on the screen.  Decadent time to fly away and chatter on and on in a away that gives me energy and gratefulness for my life.

Well .. its’ time for me to run along and get some shopping done and then I can run outside and play in the yard.  I’m creating a lot of changes in the yard.  Bought 4 huge Yew trees and in the process have been digging up a side garden and creating a nice privacy area for our yard.

Sure takes a long of energy though.   Creative energy.  You know the kind .. where you wander outside, knowing there have to be changes made .. unsure where to start.   Then the first step …. moving potted plants .. digging up plants, creating space for other plants.

The second day things get better.  The third day .. things are taking shape.  Ideas are happening.  Joy builds up in the air and there is that “aha” moment … where I really do feel that what is happening in the reshifting of the soil and plants is going along nicely.

Now the fourth day .. I will go outside in a few hours and just spend a little time … dreaming, moving plants, shifting compost (oh, lovely rich compost that I just sifted out a few days ago).

But for now .. off I go!

And here is a photo that I took in June … it’s how I feel right now …happy !

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My Mason Bees were absolutely amazing … and I have concerns over Bees and Neonicotinoid Pesticides!!!!!!

Yesterday I finally cleaned up my lovely Mason Bee Cocoons!  I’d bought my little MB condo and about 16 cocoons at the North Saanich Market 2 years ago.

Last year was my first session of cleaning the cocoons for winter and my pal D and I sat out in the sunshine doing this!   We opened up the channels of the MB house, cleaned up the cocoons and put them away in a container for the winter.

The cocoons stayed put, in their clear container (from the Crown Bee  website) until March when I put the cocoons into the top tray of the Mason Bee house, and set them in a sunny area of the yard.

Oh the magic of seeing them hatch and fly away.  The industriousness of the 2 females (one  of the three females didn’t survive) who worked steadfastly through the warm summer months to lay eggs, leave pollen .. making many trips to do so, seal the space with clay and repeat this many times.

I was so excited .. how many cocoons would I get this year?  Well as it turns out … yesterday when  went through  the cleaning process .. I counted 57!!!! Yes!! 57 from 2 females from a total of only 16 cocoons that survived.  Happy am I??? YES!

So here is my little Mason Bee Condo .. see .. there are 8 channels filled:

02Here is the top layer, only one channel and you can see where a few eggs didn’t mature into cocoons, for whatever reason I don’t know .. and I didn’t take photos of the other trays but they had missing sections also.  Nature’s way? I need to research what could have gone wrong.  There seems to be a fair bit of pollen and, I’m guessing – mites in the empty sections so this must have been the reason.

03After 3 rinses in clear, cold water .. the cocoons are floating on the clean water.  This is a good thing, only cocoons which are alive float so I was very relieved to see this!

04I patted the cocoons dry on the paper towels and then put them all into the clear container (seen in the first photo) and now they are in the crisper in the fridge until spring.  Oh this is so exciting.

05I’ve been paying attention to pesticides and bees and have read that neonicotinoids (pesticide) have been the cause of bee deaths.   And I’ve read that some Ontario beekeepers have launched a lawsuit over this pesticide:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canadian-beekeepers-sue-bayer-and-syngenta-over-neonicotinoid-pesticides-1.2754441

The chemical companies know full well the outcome of the pesticides which are not needed anyway.    Healthy organic farming practices negate the need of any chemicals.

I was so distraught when I finally bought some annuals (I normally don’t buy these) in the spring.   Feeling decadent and seeing these pretty flowers at two shops .. I decided to buy quite a number of flats.  Once planted .. I read about the chemical.   With a feeling of dread, I contacted the two shops and asked them to check with the growers to see if this chemical was used and I was assured that it wasn’t.  However, I do wonder if the seeds had been treated .. how would I know?  The flowers themselves look so pretty .. and I’ve watered them with EM (effective microorganisms) and this is why they are still flowering like this (plus the sunny October weather)!

06So perhaps I’m over-worrying .. but I want good plants in good soil.  The neonicotinoid pesticide lives on in the soil and when the bees visit the flowers, they are poisoned.  Oh I hope I can trust the growers who supplied the shops where I bought the plants.

07Well .. next year I plan to start my own annual flower seedlings .. I have purchased quite a few packets of organic flower seeds and so I will know for sure, without any doubt, that the beautiful flowers will be safe for the bees.

Recently I’ve been discovering the magic of my new (Panasonic 30 x zoom) camera and taking photos of the moon  … here is a shot from last night .. the moon seems like a close neighbour .. not as far away as I’d thought!  And we are going to be treated to a most wonderful red moon (I think) on Wednesday morning!!

08This tiny little squash is growing away in one of my containers .. thanks to EM and the warmth of the sun.    I wonder how big it will get to be?  There are quite a number of little baby squash growing now … I will have to keep a close eye on their growth, harvesting when the frost hits!  I think this is another volunteer from the compost soil .. how fun.

09Nasturtiums in the sun from this afternoon …

10And this little sunflower caught my attention .. with the swirling, ever-growing tendrils of a squash plant growing up the stem .. looking like one of those crazy English hats!  Quite a sight, don’t you think?

11There are so many things to do in the garden right now!  I’ve finally sorted out the Red Wigglers from the compost container.  What a job that was.  I’ve had the worm compost for three years and finally took the time to sort out the lovely rich worm castings from the wigglers.  After about a week .. I think … I’ve finally sorted them all out and now have a fresh compost containers .. and a container of rich castings for my plants .. plus a container of wigglers to give to a friend!

Finally, this was done, my Mason Bees were cleaned and put away in the fridge.  Now I can focus on other things to do in the garden.  One of these things is to figure out what plants I have and where to put them.  Imagine my surprise when I found this lovely Pussy Willow .. it needs sun, but managed to survive in the shade.  Oh lovely darling ..I moved you to the sun and tomorrow will treat you to a drink of EM ..
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Well .. it’s been a day .. and now JaneE and I are away to watch Coronation Street!

🙂


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About the pleasures of walking, new routes. Lovely dogs met. And I now own a dandelion weeder, it’s great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I’ve been discovering such a variety of walks in my neighbourhood, makes for such a fun opportunity to strike out and get some exercise. Plus I keep on meeting some lovely dogs and see such a variety of birds.

I just love walking.  In the rain, in snow, under cloudy skies and on sunny days.   For 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours .. all day!   And I try to keep up a brisk pace and only stop for short periods of time to watch birds or talk.

Ok, I don’t mean to say that “I” talk .. by myself .. well, that would be a little strange.

However I’ve noticed quite a number of people out in public, seemingly talking away on a hidden earpiece which is connected (I hope!) to some kind of new-fangled cell phone or whatever.   I wonder if people know how weird this looks .. out in public by themselves .. talking away .. looks a little strange.  I always try to steer away from these people.  They reveal so much about their personal lives .. not realizing that we can hear them … ick.

No .. I mean to say that when I’m out walking and stop and talk to doggy parents and their dogs.

Today I decided that I’ll vary my time walking .. so instead of leaving at a specific time for a specific route .. I’ll endeavor to add variety .. which is the spice of life.

Just a quick calculation on walking routes brought up at least 10 choices at least, from our front door.

From a to b or a to z .. which one I take will be up to me!  🙂

Yesterday, after just 10 minutes out . .. I met a lovely little dog named Miko (sp?):’04At first she was very very shy … and then … less and less so ..

01Till finally, I was kneeling on the sidewalk and she had jumped up, put her little paws on my arm and was giving me kisses!  Lovely darling little Miko.

Her new family had adopted her from the local SPCA, about a month ago .. what a wonderful Christmas gift she is.

Cloudy skies yesterday .. so I’ll slip in a photo from a few days ago just for fun.

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I was so excited about seeing Jupiter on Monday night!  I’d contacted the Dominion Observatory and received the information that on Tuesday, the Moon would then be on the left side of Jupiter .. so I was quite looking forward to seeing that.  Unfortunately, with the overcast skies that didn’t work out.   Here is a NASA site, click on the video to see more about Jupiter and other planets close to the moon in January (how exciting!):

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.php?id=1178

Here s one of my latest greatest gardening gadgets.  I’d always wanted one and it was on sale at Lee Valley!!!   Bonus.  Plus, the instructions are printed on the handle.  How clever is this.

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Easy to operate, see how the grippers open up … you place these in the center of the dandelion which is happily growing in the lawn,  and then step on the lever

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This action causes the grippers to close tightly around the dandelion

22And all you do then is to lift the digger from the ground and see … dandelion plus the tap-root .. successfully removed!!   No chemicals needed.  No pouring of vinegar into the soil – which not only kills the weeds, but also upsets the balance of soil life and kills the worms that are so important in chewing through the soil

23See … complete dandelion removed.  And now . .. you can just lay the whole plant at the side of the garden, to let the plant dry out (and the goodness of the plant will be absorbed by the soil).  Then you can just add the dried plant to the compost pile.  No, it won’t re-grow.  It will break down into the lovely compost.  All natural.

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I was also very fortunate on another great gardening tool … a compost turner.  I was going to buy one and lucky to find that there was one in the sale bin, half price.  Oh, happy days.

Robust Robin, tucked away in the tree ..

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And later on, found this happy Robin … munching away on the apples that have fallen from the apple tree (wild root-stock, apples are not tasty at all .. but the birds don’t mind).

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Ms Downy Woodpecker is nibbling at one of the suet blocks … here she has a blob of suet on her beak … hmmm… I don’t think that she meant this to happen.

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Ms. Townsend’s Warbler patiently awaited her turn at the suet block.

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And the Anna’s took to their new hummingbird feeders right away.  This is part of a double feeder, which has the option of being used separately also.   Supposedly these feeders deter ants and hornets.  Well .. we shall see.07

Some snowdrops growing away .. luckily without the snow.

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Oh .. and my garlic crop has been growing away.  I’d tried to deter this by piling on more seaweed and chopped oak leaves .. but yesterday, decided that I can’t fight Mother Nature.  So I carefully lifted away the heavy top layer.  Some greens broke off, but I figure more might grow.  Anyway, just another example of how growth will continue, despite my efforts to deter it.  Thus, a lot of the greens are actually white and spindly, crooked from seeking the sunlight.  No worries.  After a few more days .. they will be strong and green.  Then it will be time for another photo session.

09While I was busy doing this work of removing the top composted layer .. I suddenly noticed some loud thumping noises coming from the back fence … in some bay and laurel bushes.  What the hey … it sounded like some animals having a fight but I couldn’t figure out more than that.

Suddenly a form flew out and landed on one of the big sturdy branches of my wild and crazy tree (the wild pear rootstock, now a huge tree).  It was a huge hawk.  Looked to be about 2 feet in height and only about 10 feet away.

I said a few expletives out of surprise and we just stared away at each other  I saw some orange colouring in the tail feathers and was admiring the charcoal and white variegated body feathers.  Then it swiftly and quietly flew away.  I couldn’t see anything in the beak so don’t know if the bird that was attacked got away.  A few minutes later I went over to the bushes, but could only find 2 tiny black and white feathers.  So, while I hoped that the hawk hadn’t caught one of the Downy Woodpeckers,  I couldn’t be sure that he had captured something.

Now this is something that must go on daily in the yard .. but to be actually outside while it was happening ….was pretty darn exciting.  True nature.

Then I spent time sorting out the stones that were caught up in the seaweed that D & I had gathered…. to use in a garden feature.  Tedious work sorting through the piles of seaweed over my soil sifter .. but well worth the effort.  Once I figure out what the garden feature will be like.  No worries though … the ideas will come when I’m working with the soil.  They always do.

🙂


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Enjoying the lovely fall days, colourful leaves, happy chirping birds .. and all that!

Lovely fall days …

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Just sharing some colourful photos of beautiful fall scenery around here.

I love watching the brightly hued leaves swirling about .. carpeting the ground, adorning the bare branches of trees.

Birds chirping about .. happy to visit the suet block and flit about the yard.

This is truly a time of the year to wind down the outdoor chores and spend relaxing time enjoying the activities that are happening all around us.

I’ve been spending a lot of time potting up my plants … using the rich crumbly soil from composted areas to fill up the pots.  Nice fat earthworms have toiled in the soil, making it easy to work with.

My lovely kale plants are doing well and I’ve slowly been moving them to the side of the yard, to mingle in with the regular perennials that are already in place.   Adding lots of the lovely composted soil so they will grow big and strong.   My gardening neighbour tells me that kale loves this rainy chilly fall weather and so I expect we will have enough kale to last us through to the spring.

We’ve enjoyed a wonderful sunny day and this brought back memories of our short but hot and sunny summer.   Lovely memories.

And the time change .. fall back one hour .. made this day seem like a very long and productive one.

I finally started potting up those sprouted garlic seeds and I must say that the garlic odour is quite intensive.  More so than the cloves.  I started putting these sprouts into propagating cells, but realized that, since the greens are growing now, it would be best to just pot these into a planter and then just clip the greens.  The balance of the seeds that have not yet sprouted .. well, there are about a million of them.  And I don’t look forward to potting them all up . .so .. I might just scatter them in the background of the perennials.  And wait to see what happens.

Is there such a thing as too much garlic?  I wonder.

I’ve been collecting oak leaves .. have amassed quite a collection .. and tomorrow I’ll see if I can run my little lawn mower over some of them ..just to see if I can break them down a bit.  Fingers crossed.

Walking around the yard, I can see roses still blooming, tiny sunflowers continuing to flower.  Lots of apples to pick.  Lettuce still growing in their pots.  Rosemary is still flowering.  Lots of beautiful activity in the garden.

Oh happy days.  I do love this time of the year!

🙂

 

 

 


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Sharing my photos from Thursday’s adventure, gathering seaweed, visiting thrift shops and then lunch at Little Vienna Bakery Café

Saturday, October 20, 2012

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So I’m back to the slideshow method now .. this works much better for me, as I love to share photos of where I’ve been.  Maybe sometimes I’ll just insert a few photos.  But not today, though!

I’m sharing photos taken last Thursday.  A day that started out in a sunny fashion.   And my pal D and I were set to embark on another seaweed gathering day.  But first, I noticed the roses still blooming at the side of the house, so I gathered some and put the petals in a flat tray on a little table in the backyard,  Envisioning that they would be mostly dry in the lovely sun.

As it turned out, though, the rains poured down while we were up-island .. so as soon as I returned back home, I quickly gathered them up and put them on paper towelling so they would dry .. and they did, quite nicely!

Anyway, we began our day, driving to some lovely thrift shops.  We each picked up some treasures!   Including some black computer chairs, which we tried out in the thrift store, sitting on the chair and swirling around in circles.   Why even bother trying to be a sophisticated shopper anyway!  This was way more fun.

Everytime I buy a little knickknacks, I’m justified in the purchase.  Even though I’ve been busy decluttering at home!   DH asks me, when I show him my treasures .. well, actually, he just shakes his head and doesn’t say much … he’s very patient!  I try to explain why exactly I “need”these new things .. how they add beauty to the house!  Especially those decadent tureens (one with a lid) and the platter.

So, we visited 3 thrift shops and then it was time to go to Little Vienna Bakery Café  The rains had started in earnest, so we decided to have lunch inside!

I had a magnificent butternut squash soup, so rich!  And D had the sumptuous dumplings with a wicked mushroom sauce!  And desert!  Well, that was wrapped up and taken to our respective homes … for a later treat.

Well, finally, we reached Whiffen Spit.  The waves were crashing to shore and I asked someone nearby if my car would be safe where it was .. and I was assured that it would be!

Normally when we visit this place, the tides are out a bit .. and even the high tides weren’t as high as they were on Thursday.  So it was a change to see the waves come rolling in and then crash to shore.  Bringing with it enormous amounts of bull kelp and seaweed.

So we walked along a bit.   Then ventured to a sheltered area, to gather some seaweed.  Which was broken up into pieces by the powerful wave action as they were plummeted to shore.

We were in seaweed heaven!  Soon we had a few bags gathered and I put them in the back of my car .. being careful not to dislodge our recent treasure of purchases!

I also gathered some sea water, to use in the garden .. and thus add precious minerals to the lawn and garden.  Still working on getting the pear tree back to health and avoid the pear trellis rust.
I’ll be composting the leaves from the pear tree in a separate compost pile.  Adding lots of EM, seaweed and seawater.   The resulting mulch I’ll be using on the side garden.

As I noted before, last year, before my shift of paradigms (garden wise) I had just raked up all those lovely leaves with orange spots and composted them.  Hadn’t had any problems.  However, this year, with my new knowledge, I’ll be treating them differently.  And curious to see if this rust doesn’t return next year!.

Well, pouring rain thundering down, we decide that it’s time to return to the metropolis (ha) of Victoria, so we make our way back.  I keep to the posted highway speed in this type of weather … respecting the highway, the downpour and other vehicles.

Soon we are at D’s place and together we take her treasures inside, laughing as we remember what we bought at which store!  Another fun day.

Then, time for me to take my little car home and start the process of emptying the contents.   Sea water and sea weed taken to the back yard, about 4 trips.  Then I carefully gathered my rose petals to dry inside.

Next, my treasures are unloaded and brought home .. all freshly washed and dried!.

So much fun and such a low-cost.  My car gets great mileage .. up to 60 mpg on the highway, so that was negligible.   Then, the total cost of my treasures were under $40, so I had great value there.  Plus all the happiness they bring.

When it’s time in the future to pass these treasures along to someone else (so I can make room for more, as D says!) then I’ll enjoy the process.  It’s all fun anyway.

I must admit, I’ve quite enjoyed picking up little treasures for low costs … challenging my creative spirits and laughing along the way!

Well .. on with this day ….

 


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Life is funny .. sometimes .. but it has its ups and downs

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Have I been lazy, not writing every day?  I’ve missed quite a few days.  Frankly, my energy level has been quite low lately.  Due a lot to the loss of our little Youbou cat .. we loved him so very much and it’s been a struggle to deal that.  But we’ve dealt with that.   Duncan is spending more time inside and we spend a lot of time with him.

Also with JaneE cat .. she’s started a new habit.

Now, when I’m at the computer, she sits on the floor beside me, meows hello, then stands up and stretches, gently putting her claws against my leg.  So I pick her up, she sits on my left arm, like a little armchair, and rests her paws on my left shoulder.  And purrs happily.  So we sit like that for a while .. I continue clicking away at creative sites and she is content.

The other factor in my lack of energy is the constant construction noise that is taking place in our neighbourhood.  Huge buildings are being built .. that will soon shadow the streets and take away the sunshine for most of the day for those who live nearby.   We are far enough away that our light won’t be affected.

That noise is intrusive and nasty …and takes away the joy that I normally have in the garden.  So I relish the quiet times, at the end of the workday and the weekends, when I can sit outside in the quiet and hear the birds sing.   And the lovely silence.

I did stock up on some of the lovely silence during the weekend, so my creative and artistic batteries have been recharged.   And suddenly, I feel happier, more optimistic and more my usual self.  Lovely.

So what have I been doing in the past few weeks?  Well, I’ve been playing around with the layout of the veggie garden.  Still haven’t planted my garlic, but nearly there.   I’ve decided to plant the garlic in blocks, so am making little paths between the blocks and have been putting a thick layer of that wonderful miracle mulch between them .. great for walking on and it will eventually turn to soil..

Then I’ve been thinking about how to relocate some large rocks in this area.  I want to make a little grouping and then place some of the little rounded, flat rocks (gathered by the seashore) and tiny little rocks amongst them ..to make a casual place where I can sit in the sun.  I’ve been playing around with the rock arrangement .. and will post a pic when done.

I’ve also been planting the Dragon Kale that my lovely gardening neighbour has given me.   These will grow blue when placed in the sun and will stay green, when they are planted in the shade.

I’ve also discovered that what I thought was a wild plum root-stock (the wild and crazy tree) is actually pear stock!   This is the tree that we planted many years ago, the graft tree died and I nursed back one of the root growths.

And I’ve discovered that the orange spots on the leaves are pear trellis rust.   Argh.  Felt very dismal when I first noticed the spots and the protuberances on the underside of the leaves, they looked like ugly barnacles.

Now …. this tree affords us tremendous privacy in the yard during the growing season and we do not want to cut it down.

So today I’ve learned that the Juniper is the host for this fungus disease.  And that there are organic ways to rectify it.  Oh, I am so very glad that I took the Gaia Organic Master Gardening course .. for that is where the positivity for the healthy repair  came from!

So I’ll be composting the fallen leaves in a separate container, with lots of EM, vegetation, etc.   And then I’ll be placing healthy composted soil around the tree, lots of seaweed.   Lots of EM.   And I’ll be spraying seaweed and kale liquids on the leaves.   Looking forward to next year at this time to see the results.  This is so very positive and I’m so very happy ….  yea!!

On the weekend, DH & I went for a “little” walk to a magnificent restaurant.  Along the way, on the Blenkinsop trail, we had a happy time.  We met Cowboy, the Quarter-Horse, whose owner was taking her little brother for a ride .. and then she let him lead the horse while she rode.   I told her that she was making a lot of people happy  .. seeing that handsome horse, and she smiled!  Lovely.

We saw the random garden artwork that is well displayed at a property that is up for development.  Thought I’d better take more photos, cause one day, with the development, this personal touch will no longer exist.

Finally we reached our destination and had the most delicious meal, seated at a window overlooking the ocean.  Sigh …

The meal over, we began our homeward trek … and I found out that we’d walked over 10 miles (there and back) .. didn’t seem like much of a walk .. we love walking.  Especially in the sun.

Lots more happened, but I’ll talk about this tomorrow.  About a day trip with a friend that ended up with us visiting a casino, a beach and a second-hand store!  🙂

I’m back in my normal energy level .. loving the exploration of my world and garden.   Oh and the birds!   I’ve got to say that there is this huge robin in the yard .. he’s massive!   And I’ve been taking photos of him as he poses around the yard.

ha ha ha ….. 🙂

 


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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!


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Wednesday was quite the garlic-y day for me .. and guess what, I’ve finally dug some up

Thursday, July 5, 2012

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We are finally enjoying hot summer weather and it’s wonderful for the garden and the humans also!

Yesterday I heeded the information that the garlic is ready to harvest when the bottom leaves turn yellow.  Although I’ve also read that one should wait till the crowns have wilted.  Anyway, I was so excited about digging up some of the garlic that I just started digging away.

The garlic was well rooted, what with the composted soil, the addition of lots of seaweed plus liberal doses of EM …. plus the recent rains had made it a bit more challenging to lift the garlic.

Nonetheless, I did harvest quite a number.  As I was cleaning off the bulb and then trimming the roots neatly, I had a thought.  What if the roots are meant to be left on?

So, into the house and I started searching for information on garlic.  Found several sites.  But .. the best site, bar none, was this one, and located in British Columbia!  Boundary Garlic Farm.  http://www.garlicfarm.ca/about-us.htm

And here I learned to keep the leafy section and the roots attached to the bulb, so that they would add more energy and growth to the bulb.   And not to worry about the dirt around the roots, these can be gently removed later when they are dry.

Besides recipes and many, many growing tips and information on how to choose which garlic would be suitable for various climates .. I learned that I can slice the cloves of garlic in a food processor and then dehydrate them.   I’ll try that .. drying them in the oven.  Then, the dried slices can be kept either in an airtight container or in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  Later, they can be ground to a powder.

Lots of helpful information on this site.

I did find a site that mentioned that the garlic roots are a delicacy .. but can’t try that out, as the root cuttings from yesterday are scattered, drying, in the garlic bed.  Murphy!

Well, I decided to let the rest of the garlic just stay nice and cozy in their bed until the leaves are more yellow.   This will give the soil time to dry out a bit, making it easier for me to harvest them.

I’m sure going to need a lot of space to dry these giants … and luckily, my friend D gave me a wonderful netting that will be perfect for drying.  I’ll take a picture tomorrow!

I am very impressed with the size of the garlic, it’s mostly hardneck (I’d bought 4 types from Richter’s a few years ago) and they are the size of elephant garlic.   I had bought several cloves of elephant, but wasn’t very successful with those.

Other things I learned while searching for information in the world of garlic .. were that the seeds of garlic can be sown .. they will grow into various shapes over the following 3 years, resulting in large bulbs.

And that the “rounds” can be harvested …. dried .. and then planted again and the result will be larger bulbs.

And that those tiny little round chickpea-like growths that are on the hardnecks can be planted again.  So I’ve soaked quite a number of them in concentrated EM and put them in a container for rooting.  At which time I’ll plant.

Also, some “rounds” might result from bulbs not receiving a month of 10 degrees of coldness in the fall.

And that you can speed up the rooting of garlic cloves, if time is tight in the fall, by putting them in containers, filled with compost, in the kitchen, until the roots form … which they will do, quickly . .and then plant them out.

Yesterday was quite a garlic-y one for me.

Yum.  Yum.  Yum.