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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🙂


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Miranda Esmond-White .. Amazing …

Ok .. I discovered the magic of Miranda Esmond-White last year.  I’d become quite a follower of her exercise regime.

All of her exercises make so much sense as you will see during this video.

The name of this exercise has changed from “Classical” to “Aging Backwards” to  “Essentrics” .. all the same, though.

Here is a link to a YouTube video, wherein Miranda explains her techniques:

It is not that I want to remain “young” .. no .. I love and am grateful for each year that I have.  What attracted me about her exercises is that I feel so much better!    And what is “young” anyway?  A newness?  Then I’m young forever!!  🙂

Her programs are a joy to follow .. she is upbeat, the shows are recorded in tropical locations and we see beautiful oceans, birds, scenery.

The  music is constantly changing and energizing.

She is so very positive and cheerful.

I laugh and cry when the exercises are tough.  (just kidding, I don’t cry!)  🙂

She employs a variety of regimes, Yoga, ballet, Tai Chi and it is never boring.

Best thing, the programs last only 23 minutes, but they are multi-movement stretches and exercises and it is equal to an hour.

Never boring.  Always positive.

I’m posting because my friends are tired of me going on about how wonderful these exercises are.

So I’m posting and I hope that someone out there gives this a try.

You will love all this positive energy .. I know that I do!!

🙂


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Monday, February 10, 2014

A few days ago we had snow!!  Here is my little car looking nice and cheerful in the snow.  I was waiting for R & D to pick me up for our Friday exercise outing.  I thought we were going to have a big snowfall and don’t have winter tires, don’t like driving in snow so was going to stay home .. but .. D convinced me to go.

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I tried to capture the fluffy snowflakes on the bamboo leaves, they looked so pretty.
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And there are iris rhizomes, bulbs, climbing vines, flowers … just waiting for the warm weather so they can grow .. grow .. grow ..

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To think that I would have missed this beautiful vista if I had stayed home!!!

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I could easily see a tiny faery door in the interesting textured bark of this tree .

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Our little group of four were among a few others up early to walk along this marvellous pathway in the woods.  We were at Thetis Lake park .. quite a beautiful place to be.

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Majestic, handsome, rugged, ancient .. the roots of this tree run deep and .. you know that they communicate with all of the other trees in the forest.  Instantaneous messaging of any changes.  Magical. And I can clearly see a little faery door at the front base of this tree . …how fun.12

Salal growing out of a decaying tree stump .. which feeds the soil and provides a lovely home to this plant and many other creatures besides.

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Such incredible beauty … 08

The water in the lake was still .. like glass .. doesn’t it make you feel that there is really another dimension living in that space .. and we can only catch a glimpse of it when the water is quiet like this.

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Silent beauty speaks for itself …

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There were two Bouvier des Flandres or just “Bouviers” happily trotting along with their doggy daddy .. I was just able to snap one quick photo before they were gone.  This one had just been called away from the water’s edge … where he was testing the weight of the ice and we could all hear a distinct crunch as his paw made contact with the icy surface.  Good thing he obeys right quick!  It would have been a big struggle to get him out of the water, with all that heavy fur!05

The thundering noise of a fast-moving creek caught our attention and called all of us to a side path to see what was going on.

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Ok, we had a little discussion about whether the sign was warning everyone of a possible UFO sighting.  It was much more interesting to make that interpretation!

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We continued along our way .. footbridge looming ahead, our session is nearly done.  But perhaps we will see more interesting sights along the way.  We usually do.

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Blue skies are appearing overhead .. a lovely sight to see …

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And here is sweet little Lilly … a little doll!

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This dog was just priceless .. his doggy daddy was trying his best to have him pose with his stick in his mouth, he kept picking it up and dropping it and looked so cute.  But he just wanted to either play with his stick and jump around or just sit , stick on the ground and look up, adoringly at his dd!

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So I took several photos … while he was temporarily still! (edit:  I just looked closely at his bandana and this is what I found . … fantastic!  http://dogbeach.org/  oh, to think that I would have missed this if I’d stayed at home!!)

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Back at home, I’d been taking the hummingbird feeders in at night as the temperatures were low and the nectar was freezing. (I make 3:1 for the winter).  While I was holding 2 of the feeders, a little Anna came up and started feeding.  Don’t you just love those special moments in the garden ….
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And this little one visited the other feeder once I had hung it back in the tree.  I’ve read that hummingbirds don’t depend on these feeders, they eat insects and drink moisture from the leaves .. but when the weather is freezing, we all want to ensure that they have nectar.

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Looking out through the basement window I saw this little White Crowned Sparrow ..30My decluttering is coming along in bits and pieces.  I’ve been finding all sorts of positive posts about this issue.  Many have struggled .. as am I … and I love reading the stories of their progress.  So I thought that this subject would deserve a posting .. perhaps in a few days.

Anyway …here I go again .. to try to fill up some of the empty boxes that I picked up a few days ago.   I was going to have a garage sale with my “wonderful” stuff .. but have decided to donate to a charity shop.  So I’ll give everything a quick clean and a polish before filling up the boxes.

🙂


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Friday, January 31, 2014

A few days ago .. the day started off overcast and a bit gloomy .. but see what happened in the afternoon!!

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Our exercise group walked briskly along the Songhees .. here you can see some of the many floating homes that are located in this area.  A nice tidy life .. and many of them have beautiful potted gardens with flowers and veggies.

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This is one of the walkways that are situated along the route.  Quite beautiful and well maintained.  There is a lot of traffic in this area .. but on this rainy day we were almost alone!

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I love these beautiful coverings on the power boxes (some kind of electrical thingy)   There is a vast assortment of these floral and artistic coverings all over the city .. creating beauty on utilitarian things.  Here … it adds colour to the woods.08

 

Sweet little ducks .. I think these are Harlequin ducks.  They are used to people but prefer the water and that is where they are heading right now.

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This type of information poster is always helpful.

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And of course .. these signs are quite helpful.   This was a rather busy signpost though.

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I saw a small piece of Turkish facecloth down below on the beach .. too far away to pick up and it’s rather tattered at this stage.  Pretty, though.

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This gorgeous bronze was situated along the way …

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This is the daunting metal stairway to a higher level.  The hardier members of our group went up and down twice!  D and I went up and then did some stretches, waiting for the others to make it up the second time and then we descended.  Slowly, because these metal stairs were very slippery from the rain!
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Would you believe that this lovely stretch of grassy area was so close to …..

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.. this veritable village of high-rise condos!!!

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There are so many lovely interesting things to see along the water’s edge …

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There are a number of Arbutus trees everywhere in the city and surrounding countryside.   The wood is very strong, like iron .. here is a good web site with more information on this most lovely tree:

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/documents/treebook/arbutus.htm

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Clever fence painting!  And wouldn’t you know it .. this home has a music studio .. so this is a fanciful and appropriate display of their art!  Now that is an easy to find home!
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This musical note is wired for light ..it must look very cheerful in the evenings.

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Here are some more lovely sky pics from that same afternoon.

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These were so enjoyable .. because yesterday, the rains just poured down all day ..

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So very beautiful and fresh ..

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Spring is approaching ..

13Such cheerful little flowers … growing alongside a sidewalk.

02 Anyway, that was part of my day midweek.   These exercise sessions are so very satisfying in so many aspects.  Getting up and out the door early to make my way to the different locations 3 times a week.   Socializing with the other ladies is very interesting and we talk about such a variety of topics.   Our walks are vigorous, followed by a series of exercises and stretches.  4 1/2 hours a week and that really adds up.

I must admit, though, that the other 2 days of the week I am a little bit lazy (don’t breathe a word, ok?)  ha ha ha …

🙂

 

 


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Monday, January 27, 2014

This sky is from yesterday .. it didn’t show up again today and so I really missed seeing it again and glad that I took some photos to look at later!

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Today was the first of 3 days of our exercise group.  The weather was a little chilly, the skies were overcast.  We were not really totally energized, for various reasons, not all of our group was there.  We walked and walked along the ocean .. so calming to hear the relaxing sounds of the gentle waves lapping at the shoreline.   Could see some seals off in the distance.  Then came time to do our mat work .. and the next 20 minutes or so were spent in various exercises.   And I again found out that skipping rope is quite a workout.

Anyway, some stretches were done and we all went our merry way.  Glad that we had made the effort to start the week off with exercise outdoors!  Oh and we saw many dogs out walking with their doggie parents .. that was lovely to see.

D  & I went for a little exploring in a local neighbourhood .. and when I saw this little train village, I just had to stop and take photos.   D had taken her son to this house when he was small .. and the owner had invited them through to the back yard to see the full train-yard effect.

I’d heard about this place years ago but had never visited it.  We think the owner must be ill or away .. because the beautiful works that he had created seemed to be in disrepair.  Ivy has started to take over areas.  Some buildings needed repair.   I can only imagine the joy that filled this man’s heart as he began the loving task to create the series of train tracks and the many buildings and scenarios in his yard.  The hours he must have spent, daily, to build, paint and decorate the many buildings that populated the project.  And I could only see the front area.  There were entrances through the fence where the trains would most likely have cheerfully made their trips.

I’ll just let you look at these photos … and make up your own stories … they are all there in the buildings …

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Hmmmm .. can you see something in the upper window?  Is there a little person peeping out the window?   A little faery, guarding the railroad station, perhaps?07 06 05Well, one thing I do know for certain about this most marvellous work of fantasy .. the gentleman enjoyed every single second of its creation.  The fulfillment of dreams that most certainly must have brought joy to many .. many people!  Of which I am one .. now that I have seen this little world.

Anyway .. we decided to continue on.  And then I saw this tree …it stood there, strong and tall.  And I could just imagine this appearance of a doorway was an entry to another world and time .. can you see it also?

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In the Estevan village, a lovely shopping area, character buildings and all that .. there was this mosaic wall outside of the barber shop .. stunning!!

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And here is a close up view of the tiny squares … can you just imagine applying these little pieces one by one?    Argh ….

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Ah … here is another fluffy blue sky from yesterday .. happy skies.

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I was sitting at the kitchen table, watching the birds .. and suddenly .. there he was!

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He saw me looking and turned around.

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See his little left paw tucked away?  I think he was getting ready to grab some sunflower seeds.  I’m trying to train him to not eat the sunflowers ..so I rap on the window, wag my finger and say “no … no  .. leave them alone” and then I throw out some peanuts.   Not sure if I’ll get through to him or not.

16I am in the process of decluttering.  This process has been ongoing and some days I’m better at it than others.   Still, as long as I’m making headway, that is progress.

Once I start, and I must admit, it is a challenge quite often, to just get started.  But .. once I do .. I find myself falling into the most positive state of mind as I deal with one item at a time.   Emptying drawers, spraying them with cleaner and wiping them dry.    Reconnecting with items thought to be long-lost.  Some I’ll keep and others I will add to the “donation” pile.

As I do this ..I find myself being lulled into a creative mode .. and I really love this.   Every time.  The challenge for me is to just get started.  And because tomorrow is going to be a rainy day .. I plan to just get started in the morning and spend most of the day in that creative place.  I quite look forward to this.

For now … it’s been a day!

🙂


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Saturday, January 24, 2014

Our Friday workout involved .. surprise surprise!  .. more steep stairways.  This was our second set and believe you me .. both stairways were workouts.  I went up and down only once for these and there were others who made multiple trips.   I bow to them.   A goal for the future for me.

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And as always we made our journey through pathways that I doubt very much I can find on my own.

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Some young deer making their way through the neighbourhood.  Someone commented that they belong in the wild.  Well, this was their wild till homes were carved out of this forested area.

08The morning had started out overcast .. and slowly we could see some blue skies.

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Some crows were having a grooming session .. taking time out of their day to just relax and watch the world go by.

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I am thankful again for this opportunity to explore the many beautiful places in our city.   Always new places .. always more tranquil settings.

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There was mesh fencing along the way .. and I’m sure there were pathways down to the ocean.  Perhaps another time.06

Couldn’t you just sit here someplace comfy and just gaze into these clear waters for a while?

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Then it’s back home .. and what do I see in the bird feeder!  A chubby little squirrel.  “get out of there” I said, rapping repeatedly on the glass.

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This one listened to me and swiftly ran away.  See his little back feet gripping onto the wood?  They are pointed backwards for speedy getaways such as this one.

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I’d purchased some burlap coffee bean bags from a local organic coffee roasting company.   The burlap is wonderful for all sorts of uses in the garden.  I always like to get the maximum use out of things, multi-purpose, you know.  So I was opening out the bags so I could get double the surface material to use.  Only problem was .. this material is as tough as nails to cut through, even with my large shears.  So, my sewing brain remembered my wonderful Olfa rolling cutters .. I chose my largest one.   Absolutely stunning!   I quickly cut through 10 bags.  So now I’m all set to be creative with this material in the yard.  And that will be for another day.

13I so enjoyed the time spent working away on this project.  For the sun had come out and I could feel the lovely warmth on my face as I cut away.  The birds were singing.  The massive construction noise  in the neighbourhood was dimly heard through my temporary water fixture (a sump pump in a big wash tin) .. this works wonders at drowning out superfluous noise!  Plus my little i-pod, playing Ravi Shankar.   It was bliss.

I noticed these notices on the coffee bags and thought I would share them .. as not everyone would have the opportunity to view these!

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See .. organic .. ethical …and I thought about all those people involved in the process of tending and harvesting the bean crops.   The persons who manufactured the burlap bags.  The machines that filled the bags and weighed them.  The office personnel who created these papers, after much research and documentation ..kept in files somewhere … the persons who stitched same to the bags.  Those who loaded the bags onto trucks and moved them to ships for transportation here.  If those bags could talk.  Well, they can’t so I’m left with my wild imagination of the steps involved.    And as I played with cutting the material I couldn’t help but think of those hard-working individuals who were involved.    All that energy in this material.  And I respect that energy and embrace that material which will help my yard in so many ways.15

See .. here is that lovely blue sky I was talking about …

10I had forgotten about this little Hellebore .. growing away in the shady part of the yard .. happily growing away, I should say!

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And, since I had a few extra 2 Litre empty milk jugs, it was time to plant some more seeds in that lovely “winter sowing of summer seeds”   Notice that one shows “Coffee”18 17

Well .. amongst some seams in those burlap bags .. I found some coffee beans.  Now, I have no idea if they will ever grow, but I thought … what is the harm in putting them in one of the containers to see if they grow.  So I will wait and see!

16Well, that was pretty much my day.  Aside from walking around the yard .. observing some tree branches which need to be clipped.   And sundry other things to be done.

Another day.

🙂


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I did it! I winter-sowed some seeds today!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I first heard of winter sowing last year on Kevin Lee Jacob’s blog:  A Garden for the House:  http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/

His is the most amazing blog .. with delicious recipes, very witty writing and such very helpful ideas on what to do, in the house and in the garden!

So a few days ago I dumpster dived for some empty milk jugs .. having recycled absolutely every one that we had in the house!    And I found 6 and rinsed them out thoroughly,  cut them as Kevin described and drilled holes in the bottom .  Filled the bottom halves with coir, watered thoroughly and left them to drain till today.

Well .. today we had some sun so naturally I had to stop everything I was doing and just gaze skyward:

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And I saw a little plane flying overhead .. oh how I wish DH & I were up there now ….09Sigh .. but we weren’t .. so I turned my attention to my newest gardening adventure.   I went through my seed stash .. omg . .there were so many to choose from.   Seeds from years and years ago and some from last summer.  I chose mainly some exotic type seeds that I’d purchased at Seedy Saturdays over the years.  Here are the containers:

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Where I had only one type of seed ..I wrote the plant name on the container and the container number on the packet.  Otherwise, I wrote the plant name on small sections of cut-up milk jugs for labels.  Very advanced system, you see!  I even planted about 10 of my most precious Luffa seeds!06Even though some of the seeds called for the oh so very carefully treatment, I decided to just try the milk jug method.  It seems easy-peasy.   And my seed stash is so large I just have to start using up the packets.  For some reason I guess I fell in love with Orach, I have 2 packets of red and one of purple.  I think my attraction was that the plants grow large, self seed and look dramatic in the garden.  Good enough reasons for me.

Here are the jugs, all closed up.  I might add strips of duck tape to keep the lids closed on cold days.  A quick application of EM was done before I closed the tops.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this experiment works!

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Some more sky views … I love this one ..

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and a closer view ..

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Here are some photos from a walk near the end of November .. stairs!  Always stairs .. but that is a good thing!  I love the curve of these stone steps.

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All the hiking and steps were worth it to see this view.

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D discovered this beautiful many layered section of ice crystals …

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This beautiful stone bridge is such a classic … solid and full of character wouldn’t you say ..32

 

Hmmmmmmm …..

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This was magnificent .. although I must admit .. I hadn’t noticed this Mallard Drake at the time!30

 

I have to keep taking photos of sign posts as I just follow the group’s direction and mostly have no idea where I am, ha ha ha …

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And suddenly a path appeared before us and we entered the woods ….

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And yet another sign so I can get my bearings later if I ever walk this way by myself (I think I will stay with the group though!)

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A water source for all the deer and other animals who pass this way ..

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Another interesting walkway as we made our way to the top of this section.

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Such beauty in our city .. tucked away … it must be sought out, as all such treasures must be!

21Well, even though it is just the middle of January, I’m getting a good feel for Spring!  Yea .. I’ve planted seeds outside in containers!   The garlic is growing so well.

All the birds are out chirping away.  And I do miss that fluffy grey squirrel …. I haven’t seen him for a few days … the peanuts that I put out for him are always taken away, but I must admit, I miss this little guy.

Still .. another great day!

🙂