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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Looking backwards in time .. to a sunny day in June!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Well, I really want to talk about my garden.  Started looking through my photos and perused some sunny days in June when D and I went seaweeding in Sooke.  Our good friend R joined us in September, I think, and I have some good photos from that time and will post later.

Anyway, it was a midweek day and D & I set off to Sooke.  Looking forward to spending time on the beach, harvesting some seaweed for the garden.  Breathe in the fresh air and just spend some time away from the reality of daily life.  So, it was a sunny day, see this beautiful sky ..

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It was early in the day and the tide was way out there .. we could walk for miles along the shoreline .. see the seaweed covered rocks.   Lots of sea lettuce.   I’ve seen people just hacking away at these and stuffing huge bags full .. to use in restaurants.   That is just so wrong.  D & I, having taken seaweed courses, know that you just carefully trim a leaf from a plant, leaving the rest to continue growing on the rocks.
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Such an eerie feeling, really .. to walk along these rocky shores that normally are full of water, too deep for me to ever enter when the tide is in.  I am so grateful for this experience.

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Tide is coming in .. the hidden sea creatures can now escape their hiding places and cavort about in the salty brine of the ocean.

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And here is D .. she’s found a lovely kelp, the fronds are still attached.  The plant itself is ok to harvest, it is not still growing.   Treasure indeed, my garlic thanks you.

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Yum yum .. says my lovely garlic .. more than 60 minerals in seaweed .. enriches the soil quality and adds taste to the garlic.

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And the Elephant Garlic mumbles a gnarly thanks also … it is too busy growing to pay us much attention!02

 

Later we wandered along this lovely wooden walkway that stretched over the waters of Sooke …16

 

And along the way we saw this happy family busy throwing their crab traps … they would carefully check the size of the crabs and any too small or too large would be cast back into the ocean.

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Don’t these branches remind you of a giant dinosaur or a monster of some type?

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The beautiful blue skies continued overhead .. how lovely is this ..18

 

Saw some magnificent trees along the switch back walkway that led us down to the ocean .. strong, beautiful trees .14

 

Loving the contrast of light and shadow.  The Yin and the Yang.  The Positive and the Negative.  Balance in all things.  Too much of one is boring, but a subtle mix is seductive and interesting, non?15

 

 

A last look at the shoreline .. and it was nearly time to leave.

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Back home, in between unloading the seaweed and moving to the back yard, I just had to stop and admire busy bees cavorting in the lupines.

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And the red-hot poker plants … the birds and insects love these blooms.23Sigh .. that was a lovely visit back to June .. especially in this winter.  Although, the weather in Victoria, BC today was sunny, there was some chill, but not much.  So we can’t complain.   And must not boast, you know.  But we all do enjoy this lovely weather.  And I, for one, just plain dream of next spring and summer.

 

 

 


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We certainly have a mix of weather here in Victoria!  Yesterday started out overcast as I busily filled my car with just an amazing amount of recycling items and headed off to the local Bottle Depot!.

Despite all items having been carefully rinsed beforehand .. once I’d loaded them onto the wheeled cart at the Depot… I noticed several hornets buzzing around to investigate  my bottles and tins.   I tell you that I’ve never pushed a fully loaded cart up the cement ramp so fast!  Just racing to get inside and once there, the hornets had decided to leave.  Sheesh, anyway!

Back home, I decided to just go for a little walk to pick some blackberries … just enough to make a pie for my DH when he comes home from work.   The big fat berries were way out of my reach and I had to avoid some busy hornets/wasps that were hungrily gorging on the fat juicy berries .. so I contented myself with gathering about 2 cups worth of berries … that’s enough .. I’ll mix them with apples for a one-crust pie.

Enjoying the antics of a little Red-Chested Nuthatch:

16So spritely and teeny-tiny … there are a number of them in the yard, very busy munching on insects so the birdseed is a treat for them to enjoy.

02The Hummingbird feeders have all been cleaned and refilled … and they pass inspection!  The Anna’s are very particular and require clean feeders so I do my part at taking care of them.

14I’ll definitely plant more of Renee’s seeds next year …. lovely beans

15One of my recent acquisitions from a consignment shop in Port Alberni .. a friend suggested a plant would look good in this .. a great idea and I’ll do this.  The top hinges open for easy access.

10Found this little gem at the SPCA thrift shop in Port Alberni … great for making applesauce!

12Coincidentally enough, on the same shopping day, in another thrift shop .. I found this treasure, brand new and the receipt inside!   I might try grinding up some dry seaweed in this one.  The proprietor of this shop was the most amazing lady.  She and hubby live on acreage in Port Alberni.   They have masses of dogs and cats and chickens.  Oh, the funny stories she told me .. .I was so happy that I went shopping there and look forward to returning!

11My crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans … I’m waiting for the beans to rattle in the pods so I can harvest them for drying.  Some for soup and some for next year’s crop!

07Gentle sunflowers at the end of the day .. getting ready for a night full of sunflower dreams … sleep well….

04My one little acorn squash is growing quite well …yum yum!!

03And seeing that I was going to be saving my dried Kentucky Wonder Beans for next year’s crop …. I started looking for blog sites on seed saving.  And there are quite a few .. thank goodness for all of them.  I quite liked this one, as I wasn’t sure if I should just pluck some pods, shell them and dry them (which I’ve been doing).  Then I thought, maybe the pods should be drier ..  I like the information that this blogger shares:  http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.ca/2007/06/saving-peas-for-seed.html

I’m so glad that people share their garden lessons so we can all learn .. so very helpful.

Than I decided to go and search how to save strawberry seeds.  Well .. I certainly learned a lot about that!!   As my knowledge about growing healthy plants increases, so too does my awareness of the preciousness of heirloom fruits and veggies.

I discovered that the small, pretty, white strawberries (that I bought from the most amazing couple in Port Alberni!!) are actually heirloom strawberries.   http://gardentherapy.ca/save-alpine-strawberry-seeds/

Afterwards, I went looking for information on potatoes.  Oh, well .. that is quite another story for another day!

On y va!!!  A new day commences and I need to go for a little walk!

🙂


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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Today is starting off in a fog.  Not for me, mind you, I’m as sharp as I can be on a Saturday morning.  Sipping away at my second mug of Yorkshire Tea.  Kitties (they are all grown up, but, to me they will always remain kitties) are fed, treats given … their day is well started.

The world outside my windows is in a foggy state.  Two days in a row now.  Soon the sun will shine through and I will be outside playing in the yard.

Rains are destined to start tomorrow.   Guess that means summer is over?  However, I seem to recall from previous years that there will still be days of sun .. and for that I am thankful, or rather, my tomatoes, squash etc. will be grateful.  Oh, and the beans, mustn’t forget about them.

My marvellous crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans are doing so well this year.  Last year, I’d left the package outside and it rained .. and they sprouted .. and then I planted them in the shade.  So much to learn about veggie gardening.  I’m making progress.  Decided to grow the easy veggies:  squash, lettuce, beans, peas, tomatoes (well, still learning about them).  And my absolute favourites – garlic and shallots.   And although my experiment with growing potatoes in bags didn’t work out for me this year ..I will try again next year with another system.   Despite a very late start to the growing season … I’m happy with what my garden has given me.

Anyway, my KWB’s grow like crazy … spiraling ever higher!  I had grown some in pots and trained them up trellis up high onto my sundeck.  And learned yet another lesson.  How easy is it to gather the beans from this high?   First of all, I need a ladder set securely on the ground to reach halfway.  Then when I go up to the decking, I am only able to reach down and gather a few.   So think next year I might just grow decorative vines in this area and will leave the beans to flourish on a much better type of structure.

Speaking of garden structure!   I wasn’t really prepared for the extravagant growth of my beans so have been making makeshift forms for them to grow on, adding bamboo stakes, garden trellis, a real mish mash.  I’ve taken photos, just for me to chuckle over during the winter months.

So, one day in August I went for a walk … lovely skies …

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And I met this most lovely dog.  Isn’t he handsome?  I also had a nice chat with his doggy-mom about making blackberry jelly, using apples for the pectin source.  You see, I was picking blackberries on that morning.  And my first reward was meeting this great dog!

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Another reward for my walk was seeing random wild flowers, growing and blooming, despite the dry weather conditions.  The bees love them.

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And these cornflowers brighten up the area also …. random beauty, free growing plants, uncontrolled by any gardener, except for good ole Mother Nature!

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Here are some jars of blackberry juice from my first blackberry pickings.    Now in the freezer.  Yum.

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Blue beans from Renee’s GMO free, organic seeds.  🙂

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As always, loving the diversity of sunflower shapes in my back yard.   Always spreading cheer and beauty.  Thank you .. my lovelies.

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Enjoying this day and ready to change into my gardening outfit … lovely worn Carhartt bibs and long-sleeved tee-shirt, gumboots, gloves (which I rarely wear) and sun cap.   OH .. wait .. I need to brew more tea so I can start my gardening day with a walkabout and admiration of all that is growing in our little paradise.

More on that later.  Time to watch the birdies also.  The lovely Chestnut-backed Chickadees, the Red-chested Nuthatches, the Anna’s, the Fox Sparrows, some house sparrows.  Wrens also.   The Robins seem to have disappeared right now … wonder where they have gone?  Bet I’ll find them when I start moving the compost around, though!  They love those big earthworms.

🙂


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next year, I vow (again) I will have an improved veggie garden.

I’m learning (quickly) my strengths and weaknesses in growing vegetables.

My pal D has a definite green thumb.  She can grow tomatoes like there is no tomorrow, harvesting hundreds of tomatoes from several plants.  She even gave me 2 healthy specimens for my garden.  Alas, I have not harvested as many as she has.  She nurtures the plants, carefully watering them, turning them daily to ensure they receive enough sunlight.  I, on the other hand, do water them but not as carefully.  And the squash tendrils (from the container squash plants) have quite grown through the tomatoes so that I cannot easily turn the pots.

Ah, next year!!

And my squash plants have gone crazy!  I’ve planted 3 types so won’t be able to save the seed from this years crops .. but, hey, that is what Seedy Saturdays are for!  These look like spaghetti squash, but  I don’t think they are … pretty though.   Labeling the plants would help! sigh.

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Nice hidden treasures …

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It feels like Christmas morning, going outside to check on the squash!  Little hidden treasures on the ground.

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Here is a reason why I have difficulty turning some tomato plants around … squash has taken over!

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Quite literally – taken over .. growing onto the grass ..

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I made a makeshift area for the squash to grow … they seem to like this!  (next year, ahem, I’ll plan accordingly, in advance of planting the squash seeds!)  The joys of gardening, the adventures!  The discoveries!  Plus  .. happy memories to remember in the winter!

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I had filled Rubbermaid containers with water, to make it easier to nourish some plants that weren’t directly in the easy reach of the hose.   One day I found a ladybug vainly trying to swim in the water .. oh, silly ladybug, you are meant to fly, not swim!  So I scooped her out .. see ..

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And then I gently placed her on the leaf of a nearby .. yes!  Squash leaf!  They do come in handy for these types of rescues!

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Hard to believe that this area was quite thickly planted with my lovely garlic … and now home to squash!  Happy memories of my garlic … time to plant again in a few months.  Yum!

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Kentucky Wonder Beans … although they grew rapidly up the lattice, I haven’t harvested many beans from these, planted in a container.

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Quite an abundant harvest from the same type of bean, growing in partial shade, twisting and turning .. as they grow just as rapidly

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Happy honeybees ….

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Any excuse to stop and marvel at the magic of nature ..

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I’ve lost the marker for this flower .. any idea of the name??? I bought it for the hummingbirds .

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I bought 2 of these little feeders at the SPCA thrift store in Port Alberni weeks ago .. the Nuthatch approves!

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And this dear little Chickadee is happy also!

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Well .. the day is starting .. time to grab a pail and check out the local blackberries .. for juicing later on today …


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Saturday, July 13, 2013

The hot sunny weather continues … these are the lovely long days of summer!  Here’s a pic of my first attempts at braided garlic.  As I went along, braiding rope after rope, I began to imagine how easy it would be to incorporate coloured ribbon, flowers, all sorts of things.   That will be my goal for next year.

For now, I’m happy with the rustic look.   These will be gifts to friends .. and for me, a reminder of the summer.  A complete day given up to sorting this years garlic crop.  Hours spent, trimming the roots, brushing away the surplus soil.  Sorting into sizes and beginning my attempts at braiding!  A very happy day.  Oh .. and I must select the largest cloves for planting this fall!

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All the garlic is now braided or bunched and hanging to continue the drying.   I stood there amongst the garlic … savoring the tranquility and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.  Oh, and I also dreamed a bit.  Of moving to a place with more land so I could grow more garlic.  I’m also growing shallots, they are easy to grow .. so would like to plant more of that also.  A gal has to have a dream, right?

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One of the zillion busy bees in the garden.  Industrious creatures are bees …

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Shasta daisy .. a cheerful sight to behold in the front yard.  Modest flowers, I don’t notice them growing away until they burst into flowers adding so much beauty . . asking for nothing in return, save a bit of water in order to grow.

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The edible peas are growing into giants and I harvest some daily.  Still magical, isn’t it .. one little seed produces so much food.   And such beauty.   These vines have grown quite tall, over 6 feet in height.   I’ll be saving some seeds for next year, you can bet!

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I love this sky .. reminds me of a giant bowl of clouds being stirred around ..

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Now .. this is an impressive cloud …

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I watched as it evolved quickly, growing and spreading … see the cavern in the center?  There was rain hours later …

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A happy view of the suns rays beaming down onto this developing formation …

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My favourite channel to tune into .. the sky … every changing and breathtaking ..

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The Pawnee coming in for a landing .. it is the tow plane for the sailplane (glider).  Having released the happy pilot & passenger way up in the blue skies .. it will land in a few seconds.  Lovely plane.  Formerly used for crop dusting, now it has a happier life towing sailplanes!    The only thing that should be spread on crops is compost tea!

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Ohhhhh .. a baby, wispy cloud.. how ethereal …sky art.

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Look Dick, see Jane and hey Spot .. here is the Pawnee …

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Nothing cheers me up like the sky does.  No matter what is happening down here .. there is always something beautiful to see up there.  Not man-made .. just nature doing its thing!

Yesterday I spent some time bracing up my bean crop.   Using cut lengths of bamboo .. I made a makeshift frame and began running strings from the horizontal bamboo to tie onto the beans and peas to give them something to hold onto as they began their upward growth.

I was wearing my gardening outfit, muddy as usual and kneeling on the ground, focusing on ensuring that the string was snug when suddenly there was a flapping of tiny wings and a young sparrow landed on a length of bamboo that was just inches away from me.  I think it got caught in the strings and then decided to cling to the bamboo to get its bearings.   I scarcely dared to breathe and didn’t make any movements as we locked eyes .. Me looking at this tiny little innocent bird as it, in turn, stared, wide-eyed back at me.    Complete silence for a brief moment of time.

The little tiny feet couldn’t quite get a grip on the smooth surface of the bamboo and he twirled and swirled in graceful minute arcs, round and round.   Quickly he flew away and I, just as quickly, added some yellow plastic ties to warn other winged creatures that the strings were there.

Later on I stood quietly watching birds in the cherry tree .. munching away .. and saw the same sparrow.  It had to be the same one, as he continued to swing in circles around branches.  A fledgling member of the Cirque du Soleil, perhaps?

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There are always unexpected surprises in the garden.  Whether these be unexpected flowers, playful encounters with my feathered friends .. or something like this:

IMGP3603Honest to Pete, I had tried my best EM treatment with this Mexican Orange tree.  It was one that I had neglected and it was really nothing but a stick with a few branches, nothing green whatsoever.   I applied a liberal dose of EM about a month ago, but nothing happened.  I was going to chop it up for composting, but, just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Yesterday, moving things around in the back yard, I happened to see this strong new growth.

It was one of those magical gardening moments and I just felt again the impact of the forcefulness of nature, the resilience of plants (and the power of EM).     This was awesome and in so many ways it was a sign of encouragement and of not giving up.  Truly an inspirational moment and humbling at the same time.

A mini-miracle that gave me such joy.   And affirmed once again the positive power that we all discover in the garden.

🙂

 


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I finally prepared my magnificent Luminara pumpkin ….curry vegetable stew and so very delicious

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I’ve slowly begun to be sort of active and getting things done lately, not much, mind you .. but some.  And as things just build on themselves, without really trying – I’m sure that I’ll be back to my busy whirling dervish kind of person again.

Although I’m not a super big Christmas and New Year celebration kind of person … I did find myself getting swept up into the spirit of things.   And grew to really love shopping .. just to be out in the friendly shopping malls in town and perhaps a visit or two downtown.

Energizing to speak with fellow shoppers.  See the joy in other’s faces.  And sometimes the sadness.  There is always lots of both out in the world.

Years ago I’d decided to feel the joy of Christmas every day of the year so that it wouldn’t feel as if the happy holiday energy wouldn’t suddenly disappear after a few days .. but would stay with me.   And it has.  Although I must admit to loving the atmosphere of Christmas.  The delicious foods (shortbread, Christmas pudding, a little fruit cake) rum and nog, perhaps a fancy drink or two.  Visiting with friends.  Snuggling with my DH .. that’s my very favourite.

Thus far in the New Year .. I decide to get back into exercising .. and I’ve done that with my lovely daily walks.   Walking everywhere and mostly ending up at Swan Lake …quite often.  There are other beautiful places to be in town .. but this is the closest and besides I love seeing the birds of all types.

And back to decluttering.  Spent a bit of time yesterday sorting out books to donate to the blue box (reading program) and have about 100 (yes, that many!!) neatly placed in bags and boxes to take over tomorrow.

Those are fictions books, including some videos and music cd’s.  And I need to cull my gardening book collection .. but not today.

So yesterday, after doing all that .. I decided that it was high time to cut up my wonderful crop of (one) Luminara pumpkin.  But first, I have to ensure that this is non-GM .. so spent some time searching and found that it is not.  Although I still have the plant tab that came with the plant “somewhere” in my gardening stash .. so will double-check on the ‘net once I have that little item.

I’m not knowledgeable about pumpkins and only found out this year (blush) that there are more varieties than the normal orange Jack-o-Lantern!  Months ago, I’d chosen a curry vegetable stew at a local restaurant which contained rich orange pumpkin .. and thus I entered the world of pumpkin land!

So you can see that I was quite happy when I cut up my treasured pumpkin and discovered that the fruit was a rich orange colour!

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Then I spent awhile looking up recipes for curry pumpkin stew .. and there are quite a few.  I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I ended up making up my own recipe!

I steamed 2 of the large sections in a covered roasting pan …. later scooped all the lovely pulp into a bowl.    Added some butter on top and a light sprinkle of pepper!

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Now .. this looked so delicious that I had to put some in a little bowl for tasting.  oh .. my .. this was just ambrosia and tasted like sweet potato!  I managed to freeze most of this to add to a future soup.

The rest of the pumpkin .. well .. I cut it into cubes.  Along with cubed sweet potatoes.  They really looked pretty and I wish I’d taken more photos so I could share in my culinary boasting .. but ended up being so busy, measuring, and all that .. so it completely slipped my mind.

Chopped up onion & garlic (of which I have quite a bit of!) and swirled them in a soup pot with some olive oil.  Added the pumpkin, sweet potato, curry powder, sea salt, freshly ground pepper.    Organic chicken broth & a tin of crushed tomatoes.

Cooked for a while ….. tasted .. and another wonderful dish was born! Yum.  Some for the freezer and some in the fridge for lunches.

And I’d rinsed and rinsed and rinsed the seeds:

31Removed the pumpkin fruit from them …. patted them dry .. and now they are drying in a dish.  Many many seeds!    Lots for me to grow this summer, share with friends and perhaps donate at Seedy Saturday.

Finally, clean-up time.  Lots of materials for composting.

Tired .. but happy .. a great way to end another wonderful day!

🙂


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Well, it was another seaweed-y kind of day, with some shopping thrown in .. all on a rainy day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

D and I chose yesterday as the “day in the week” for our weekly adventuring.  The weather was predicted to be dry and perhaps a little sunny.  So we weren’t totally surprised to see the pouring rains.

Due to the proximity of the mountains in this part of the world, the weather predictions just aren’t always reliable ..but we are used to that.  This time of the year, it’s normal to carry an umbrella and sunglasses, to cover all bases.

We pondered over whether we should travel today or not .. and decided to continue …. the rains would probably stop at some point.

As we drove to our first destination .. amidst the steady, downpour of rain, windshield wipers efficiently working away to keep the glass nice and clear for good visibility… we chatted about this and that ..  commenting on the weather .. and why the heck there was a steady line of traffic heading towards Victoria and away from Sooke.   Normally, early mid-morning, traffic is very light.  Hmmm .. perhaps dwellers of Sooke were travelling to the big city for Christmas shopping and we were going there ….

So .. our agenda consisted of shopping .. to the delightful Lighthouse Bakery in Langford … I bought the most delicious assortment of cake squares .. a lovely mix of Nanaimo Bars, Langford Bars and some lemon square.    Delicious and such reasonable prices, I couldn’t make them for the price they charge.

Finally .. champing at the bit .. we head to our first thrift store.   We always enter the store, firmly deciding that we would make no purchases and soon we are carrying little shopping baskets … filling them up as we go.  Not just any purchases, but genuine treasures.  Delicate little ornaments to add to the tree (I’ll show pictures tomorrow!!!)

There seems to be a trend of items from the 60’s available now .. and so we have lots to choose from.  Including delightful Christmas wrapping paper from that era.  I did pick up a package .. but will I use it or save it?  I think that first I will take a photo, to preserve the look .. and then .. I will use the paper.  It’s been saved long enough .. time to get out there and let everyone admire the beauty.

Then on to Glenwood Meats … local product .. support the Island businesses, we say.

A few more shops .. more treasures found.  Lovely glasses.   A Dr. Oekter’s flan tart pan (only $3.50 and half price at that ) brand new!!  I plan to make some shortbread, using some delicious vanilla brandy that D prepared, generously giving me some (glad she told me it was for baking, I’d been looking forward to having a sip of this mixture!)

What else did we find ?  Oh, the most absolutely wonderful capacious travel bag .. brand new … with “mots en francais, partout” .. .I’ll take a picture of that and will share tomorrow.  As I’ve said before, D has a special talent for unearthing the most amazing treasures when we go shopping.  This bag had been sort of hidden away and she unearthed it!  Could it be any more perfect for transporting my soaps .. in a grand and stylish way!

Oh, we gathered such wonderful treats.  And I found an unusual SPCA zipped bag .. just had to get that and I’ll share that tomorrow also.

Time for a wee break … once all of our shopping was done .. and away to our favourite bakery for a little bit of soup and a beverage .. the Little Vienna Bakery!!!

See the lovely festive Christmas decorations decorating the mantle of the sideboard at Little Vienna Bakery .. yesterday …

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And dainty little blue globes adorned the branches lovingly arranged in the container nearby

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I wonder …. if I were, perhaps, a little taller .. would I have been tempted to see if I could tastefully remove this delicious cookie for a taste test?

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A close up of one of the sparkly decorations in the window …

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Finally … time to visit the beach to gather up some of the lovely chopped seaweed .. for the garden.   Sun would be setting fairly soon .. so we had a timeline.  And together we gathered up quite a bit in a very short time.  Yea … my garden is going to be so happy and healthy.

And .. guess what!!!  The rains had stopped pouring down by this time .. we were so lucky!!  Our timing was right on!   Yea!!!

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The tide was coming in so we had to work fast.

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The sounds of the waves got louder and louder and we swiftly glanced at the incoming waves as we scooped up the seaweed potpourri ..

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Some ducks flew by overhead and I quickly snapped a picture .. can you see them .. among the branches?

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The tide was swiftly coming in .. as each wave cascaded onto the beach ..swiftly encroaching on the bounty of seaweed .. reclaiming it again to the depths of the ocean …

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Oh, the massive amounts of seaweed lying there on the beach .. quite an impressive sight .. so close, and yet so far .. with the waves washing in … no way was I going to brave the power of the ocean .. tempting as it was ..

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And then .. along comes someone who savours the power of the waves … as a sort of open highway for his board ..

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D and I watched as he carefully placed his board on the water, getting ready for his ride upon the waves …

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And soon he was paddling away .. nice way to end the work day, what!13 14 15

And we on shore looked down at the quickly disappearing beach .. adieu … until another day ..

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Driving home, tired and happy .. we discussed our purchases and couldn’t recall exactly all of the things that we chose .. so that just adds to the surprise later.   Like a practice Christmas morning!

The car smelled deliciously of the ocean …. as we had quite a few netted bags of chopped seaweed in the back of the car.   Spread over top of these were our new purchases .. here and there!

So .. D back home to prepare supper for her family .. and I made my way home … DH is working so I can quickly unload the seaweed to the back yard and transport my treasures to the kitchen for a quick scrub and dry .. before putting them all away.

I’ll show him what I’ve brought home … later ….  he is quite appreciative of my frugal purchases.  And, if I don’t show him all of the things .. well .. ummm … some are supplies for my soap making .. so I’m quite sure he wouldn’t be interested in those things, right now, anyway.

I know that I need to be decluttering like crazy .. but for now .. in this time before Christmas … I will just accumulate just a few more things.  I can always pass them along, can’t I?

And the fun that D and I have on our shopping trips is just priceless.  We both appreciate the quality of items from times gone by.  Not for the monetary value but always for the beauty, the care taken of the objects by their former owners.  And we both respect the value of that energy.  And pass it along.

The items that we purchase are things that were actually made by people who cared .. therein lies the beauty.

🙂


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Enjoying the sights and sounds of flowers, birds in our lovely backyard as Autumn takes over..

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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  Well .. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again .. where does the time go?  Time doth fly on winged feet …

Monday loomed bright and sunny .. so I spent a lot of time outside.  How could I not.

Drinking in the lovely autumn perfume of the fallen leaves .. mixed in with the scent of the apples decorating the lawn .. still lots hanging from the branches.

Happy birds chirping throughout the yard.   So happy that DH & I planted so many trees in our yard .. all those years ago.

Such a variety of birds hide amongst their branches.  I’m sure there must be a variety of tiny little nests tucked away for little families to grow in the spring.

Ours is quite a happy yard.  Activity all day long.

The birds know that there is a source of food for them here.

Not just the bird seed and the suet blocks.  They feast on flower seeds, the lichen on the branches.  Tiny bugs that travel the highways of the branches and leaves.

They sip from the raindrops that cling to the leaves after the rains.

And they provide us with an ongoing visual feast of delight in seeing them perch throughout the yard.   On the garden hoops that encircle the garlic beds, on the handles of my gardening tools.   They perch on the edge of the little water dishes that I’ve put out for them …

Their happy chirping sounds and songs enrich the air with their joy.

What a lovely little world this is .. our back yard!

So much to enjoy.

So today, I’m just tapping away a few words .. sharing some photos taken a few days ago.

And now I must go and work away on my landscaping course.  Numbers to crunch. Drawings to make.  Shapes to practice on blank paper, transforming marks into squares and circles.  Using mostly a Sharpie .. and sometimes pencils.

Lots to learn .. lots to do .. an intensive number of weeks remain before the course is done.

I’m quite enjoying this challenge to unleash my inner artist as I travel along this new pathway.

🙂

 

 


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I found myself cooking up a storm a few days ago, my inner chef emerged to take over the kitchen!

Thursday, October 25, 2010

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   I’ve done a lot of this and a little of that, during the past few days.   You know the kind of days that these are.  A little bit of housework.  Some reading.  Some walking.  A few exercise sessions (Callanetics by Callnan Pinckney)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callan_Pinckney

I have the book and had the video, but gave that to my sister, as I know all of the exercises.  I loved her first video, but subsequent videos/dvd’s were just to spacey and new age for me.   The first time I saw her demonstrate her specific types of exercises was on a Johnny Carson show, many years ago.

She was very straightforward in her approach and the exercises were simple, no machines were needed.  You could exercise anywhere.  So I’ve started doing them again and can feel those muscles in my legs and tummy shouting … yea .. at last … so am slowly marching down the road to getting back into shape.  Already my posture is better, I carry myself taller, shoulders back.   Feels great.

Baby steps.

Anyway, yesterday and part of today was spent bundling up my containers of dried seaweed, to store them over the winter so I can use them from time to time.

And a few days ago I think that I called upon my Inner Chef because I found myself cooking up a storm!  Using recently purchased bags of eggplant and some special long green peppers!  I scoured the internet for recipes and soon was making a variety of foods.   Which included:  eggplant hamburgers, which called for peeling &  cutting up the eggplant into cubes, steaming, mixing with eggs, shaping into little patties, light dusting of flour and fry in the pan.

Next time I’ll mash the eggplant into more of a mush.  Good tasting.

Then there was the eggplant au gratin.  This recipe simply said to peel & slice the vegetable, cook in water till tender, then mash (which is the way I will prepare the e/burgers if I make them again).  Next, simply place layers of the eggplant and grated cheese into a greased casserole.  This looks and tastes delicious!

Finally, I prepared the stuffed special green peppers.  I say special, cause I’ve not seen these type before, they are not hot, and they are longer than the regular green bell pepper.  I have saved some seeds and will try and grow them next year.

So I mixed up quinoa/organic beef/garlic/rosemary and a few spices from the cupboard.  Then I cut the tops off of the peppers, ran a knife down one side and popped them all in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Removed them from the pot, placed, cut side  up in a casserole dish.  Spooned the meat filling in each one.  Poured salsa sauce over it all and baked in the oven.  When done, after about 30 minutes, I sprinkled a liberal dose of crumbled mozzarella cheese on top.

Didn’t think I’d like these, but they remind me of lasagna, without the pasta calories.  Delish!

Finally, came the soup.  Why soup?  Well, I guess I had the freezer part of the fridge kinda overstuffed with my zealous supply of frozen fruits from the garden.  DH opened the freezer door and out onto the floor fell frozen bags of tomatoes, packets of meat, etc.  So I decided, instead of trying to make everything fit into that small space again, it was time to make soup!

And also, this is when the idea formulated inside my head .. to make the stuffed peppers!!

So I thawed out the tomatoes, put them in some chicken soup base in a pot.  Cooked it all.  Tried to remove the skin on the tomatoes, finally whipped out the hand blender and soon the soup was looking nice and rosy.  Next I grated one of those lovely potatoes from the garden, to try to thicken it up.  Added a little bit of garlic and rosemary.  Whipped in some sour cream .. and yum, delicious soup!

Lots of food at a very low price and our fridge is full!

Today I went for a drive in the country and obtained some lovely large plant pots … for potting up my recent sale purchases!   So happy am I!

I love driving through the local countryside .. such a beautiful time of the year .. lovely fall colours.   Beautiful farms … lots of work, though, I’ll bet.

Next I went to visit my friend D!   I was invited to try some of her borscht soup. Now, I’ve never tried borscht soup .. somehow the idea of having beets in soup has never appealed to me.  However, today I ventured forth and realized what I’ve been missing.  Now I want to try to make some.  Absolutely delicious.  And I understand the beets are full of good things too!  Oh, I’m learning so much now.

The borscht was served in lovely blue Period  Pyrex bowls … so pretty!  And these were placed on delicately painted dishes!   Did I mention the dollop of sour cream on top!  And D also make these terrific rice cake sandwiches!  She spread some grainy mustard & organic mayonnaise on the top.  Next there was large, flat nasturtium leaf!   Ok, I’ve never eaten a nasturtium leaf (or a flower) before, so this was another tasty treat!  On top of this was a lovely layer of baked salmon.

Now this was a gourmet lunch and very delicious.  Dessert was a decadent square of chocolate!

She is such a magnificent cook, and is always preparing lovely ingenious meals for her family!  I’m learning a lot from her and trying out some of the things I’ve learned at home!  Food is fun, especially this type of food.

After a lovely visit, spent talking non-stop about creative things for several hours, it was time for me to head home and go outside to play around in the garden.

Which I did!

Cause we are supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days!

🙂

 

 

 

 

 


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Oh Kale plants, how I enjoy your presence in the garden, such an easy care plant! Along with my lovely garlic.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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So here we are in September .. and I have another birthday looming up .. not for weeks yet.  I love birthdays .. another opportunity to celebrate!

The heat of the summer has been slowly winding down and now the days are shorter, darkness falls around 8 pm.   Gearing down for the fall .. lovely lazy days.  No more rushing around to plant veggies & flowers.  Time to relax and enjoy the beauty.

Yesterday my lovely gardening neighbour came over for a visit and to pick some of the plum bounty.  She laughed as she saw, once again, that I’d planted some tomatoes in the shadier parts of the yard.  She is teaching me some good gardening techniques that she has brought with her from the Russian Ukraine, so I’m slowly learning by experience.

The Kale plants that she’d given me (Tuscany, Dragon and a ruffled type) were all doing well and they would last me through the winter, she assured me .. and I could collect the seeds in the spring.  I quite like growing kale.   All I have to do is plant it, some water, some EM ..wait for a bit and then just clip the outer leaves.  My kind of easy care plant.

The cabbage plants that she’d given to me .. well, they were sun lovers, and as they are planted in the shade .. I’ll not expect much more than a few leaves from them.

She quite liked the way that the pumpkins were growing over the little arbour!   And I have one large pumpkin and a few smaller ones.

Of all the squash plants that are growing, I might be able to pick a few small fruits for cooking.

Oh .. next year .. just wait .. I’ll start my veggie plants earlier and I will carefully tend them during the cool spring months.  I promise that I will!

My very best crop, my absolute favourite .. is my garlic!  And I will plant them in mid-October (this is the best time, she advised me).

And the strawberry plants, that I’d placed in those lovely long oval tin planters, well, the soil isn’t deep enough for them .. so when the weather turns a bit damp, then I’ll be planting them in the side garden border, where they can develop longer roots.

I like the idea of growing vegetables, fruit and flowers together.  Pretty and practical.

Last weekend we went up-island for more sail planing .. and there we met the most wonderful pilot-in-training!  He is 86 and learning to fly!  He travels over 3 hours to reach the flying destination.  Wonderful person.   And to top it all off, he brews tea .. makes up a lovely pot of tea and shares!  How very decadent is this!   So we all enjoyed a hot brew in the morning sun.

I love meeting such interesting people who just go out and live life.

Oh and I meant to talk about Coombs, the famous place with the goats on the roof!  This time I didn’t take any photos of the little animals on the roof, they must have been inside a pen.  But I did take some pictures of a few of them grazing in their meadow.

How many times, over the years, have I stopped by the Coombs general store, parked the car, gone inside and shopped, and then left.  Too many.

This visit, however, DH & I decided to wander around to see what other businesses there were.  Oh ..wow .. another world appeared.

There was a little wooden structure, very picturesque and I think this was a cheese shop.  Then there was this most elegant of buildings that housed a pizza restaurant.  High scale .. reminded me of the many similar buildings that I saw in Europe, too many years ago.  There were the black iron filigree designs around the windows, the large Boxwood plants in tall planters and inside, I could see the draperies tied back to show tables all set and waiting for customers to dine.

And then we met Thor from Whistler .. his doggy daddy was happily taking photos of Thor at various locations & I took some photos of both of them.  We learned that friends always looked forward to Thor’s travels and his pics!

We discovered many more little shops and large parking areas.   All of this was always there and we wouldn’t have known, if we hadn’t just taken the time to walk around.

Well . .I could go on, but the morning is flying and I must go outside.

A lovely gardener has given me some plants .. ferns and grasses and I look forward to planting them in various areas around the yard.

Enjoy the day …..