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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Friday was a rainy day but the sun came out in the afternoon

Monday, March 31, 2014

Amazing to me how quickly the days are passing .. especially since January just didn’t seem to want to move ahead very quickly.  I think that it just seems that time is moving too fast .. when I think about the lovely longer days with more things to do especially outside.

Take Friday, for instance.  The day was a long one and it started out in a rainy fashion.  Our boot camp group met at the designated location for the Friday session.   Brrrrr .. it was grey skies, a light rain and off we went.   I am glad I went but really I was sorely tempted to stay home.  And if I had stayed home .. then I would have missed seeing this Great Blue Heron looking for breakfast!

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And as we went along the pathway, I turned and snapped another photo, so very glad I had decided to get out and get going.

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Another one of those lovely bridges/footpaths .. leading us into another area of the forest.

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I have recently been salvaging native plants (I belong to an official salvaging group) and had collected a good supply of Sanicula, which boasts the most beautiful yellow flowers.  Glad to see this plant growing naturally, to be left alone.

04Also lots of luxurious moss … with many tiny wildflowers waiting their turn to grow.05

A great grouping of Low Oregon Grape .. this is what I will plant at our next home .. mass plantings!

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Dainty little ferns growing at the base of a moss-covered tree trunk.

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After traipsing uphill through muddy sections and slightly steep (for a Friday morning!) walk .. we arrived at a viewpoint.  Lots of lichen on the trees .. a very tranquil spot.

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And on our return trip .. we noticed how high the water was at Elk Lake.   Usually there were Mallards at this area .. but they must have relocated till the waters recede a little.

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Oh, and here is another most wonderful reward for going outside!  What a very stately and handsome guy!

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D said hello to him and he patiently stayed in place for that.

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After a minute though, he had to race to catch up to his doggy-dad.  Enough time spent here … thank you very much.

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Pretty shades of green … the pale green of the Indian Plum intermixed with the deeper shade of the Horsetail … again, Nature’s Beauty is best.

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Can you see the laughing face in the tree?  and also the drooping mustache?    Quite a handsome tree.

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The contrast of the light/dark/shiny/dull image of the lake/trees/background struck a most appealing sight.

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That was the early part of my day … I then went to do some volunteering at Fort Rodd Hill .. and will share some of those photos tomorrow.

Although Friday wasn’t really a sunny day … I am pretending that the afternoon was like this .. what’s the harm, eh?  Smile

16a


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Revisited Swan Lake for a lovely walk. And planning creative activities for the New Year. Fun!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A few days ago I decided to renew my walks to Swan Lake .. so off I went .. it was an overcast day and just a very light mist of rain from time to time.

Felt so great to be walking the trails once again .. I was determined to keep walking around the Sanctuary and tried to minimize my stops   Challenging to do as I really wanted to stop and savour the peace and quiet.

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This is one of my favourite sections … where the path travels at the end of the of the side ponds.  Edged with luscious moss-covered boulders, islands of ferns and gentle silhouettes of Oak branches.  Slightly mystical feel to this area.02

Did stop for a few minutes to look up at one of the local eagles .. have been watching them in this tree for quite a number of years now.   At one time I thought they nested here, but think most likely this is one of their favourite perching areas.  They can see quite clearly for miles from this tree.03

The Marsh Wrens were communicating to each other … lovely sounds.

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Only saw this lone female Mallard over at the short observatory … she swam swiftly over when  I brought out the flatted oats.   She daintily pecked away at those I tossed into the water.  Before leaving this place, I scattered a generous handful onto the surface of the marsh grasses nearby.

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The Staff and Volunteers of Swan Lake have been quite busy, pulling invasive plants and planting trees for the future.  An impressive amount of work has been done and the changes are quite evident.06

I took a photo of the project’s sign …..07

The restoration work was started last year  One area of this side pond had been cleared of invasive plants, the ground had been heavily mulched and this year I notice that this pond is quite large .. or maybe it just appears that way, since more land is viewable.  More room for the birds to feed, nest.08

A natural fence made of branches, serves to act as a barrier to keep joggers, walkers out of the area, to allow the natural process of growth to take place.  I like it.09

Farther along, I viewed a Great Blue Heron in a tree .. grooming time ..10

Time to relax away from the crowds.11

At Tuesday Pond I stopped on the little bridge and fed the Mallards some of the flatted oats .. they cautiously came over to where I was standing, way above them.12

Soon there were a few of them gathered around ….13

Now I was at the long walkway and saw a little group of Mallards ahead of me.   It was early in the day and the crowds weren’t yet here .. quiet time ..

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Stood for a while to see if there was any great bird activity .. no Geese or Hawks or Eagles .. and no seagulls!  Hmmm .. no seagulls equals an Eagle nearby.  Oh, that’s right .. one of them was over at the huge Oak tree on Saanich Road ..

Saw a little feather floating on the surface of the water …a gentle gray blended with white …15

Noticed some nests tucked away .. waiting for spring …16

And another one17

Piles of clipped blackberry branches .. wonder if these will be used as mulch?  18

Another nest tucked away …19

More information on invasive plants and what will be planted instead ..20

It was a lovely walk and wonderful to re-visit the nature sanctuary.  Funny when I first retired I went there nearly every day .. now I find myself “too busy”  hm……. maybe I should just make the time as the rewards are so great.

Also, at one point the ducks seemed to recognize me (cause I was feeding them a lot) and this time  .. we seem like strangers.  It is a Sanctuary after all and the birds (all of them) can easily find their own food.  I only leave the flatted oats (much of which I purchase from the Swan Lake House) and feed them at the public observatory places … this is expected and allowed, which is a good thing.

I’ve found the last two years to have been a kind of whirlwind for me.  Having worked hard all my life and at times having to work two jobs just to pay the rent … it was very overwhelming to have my life schedule unmarked by “having” to go somewhere every day.

At first I just walked and walked and walked.  Then I started my little gardening business while at the same time I took ground-school over again (for aviation) … once the course has been paid for initially, one an retake it over again, which is great .. learning the newest regulations.  Then my DH arranged for me to have dual instruction.  So I’d go out to do my gardening work, race home and then out to the airport.  All was in a whirl.

Not wanting to pause in my whirlwind of learning, I enrolled in the Organic Master Gardening  Course (Gaia College) at Royal Roads.  Oh, wow.  My life changed.   All my time was spent in trying to get my head around this new way of understanding the living soil, new terminology, methods . .this was a very intensive course.  And I’m still studying my notes.

Started back at making soap .. I’d begun in 1986 and then took a break .. so happy to be going back to that.

Ok, I had a few minutes to spare so I enrolled for the Ecological Landscaping course …. oh … my.   Twice a week, intensive planning, measuring, studying .. really … I feel that I’ve learned so much and more incentive to get out my books and draw and plan some more.

However … I have decided not to continue on with the course.  Part of me feels so overwhelmed and really I need the $$ to pay down some debt .. so I feel  bit “underwhelmed” right now.

This decision allows me much more free time … no more 3 hour classes twice a week with the additional days of planning and study.

I can use these blocks of time quite well, thank you very much.  Decluttering continues .. bags of books to take to the blue boxes by Thrifty’s .. these are donations to reading programs.   Plus, I need to make more shelf space for the upcoming end of January “Friends of the Library” book sale!

Time to plan my soap making for the new year.

Work in the garden (or really “play” in the garden).

Spend some time sewing .. time to dust of my sergers .. I have two .. a 3-thread and a 5 threader.  Love making things. Maybe I’ll spend some time finally making a purse that I really love.  Have kept a particular pattern for years, vowing that some day … well, the day has arrived (this year).  It’s a funky little purse, round in shape.  Straps are part and parcel of the purse.  Wide straps, one is longer than the other and it just slips through the short one and voila, it’s closed.

I will post a pic when I make one.  Creative ideas have been bouncing around my head for years on this purse.  Time to make it a reality.

Oh, the sewing projects I have!  And this year for sure … I will take my sewing machine outside to work.   I actually did this one year .. made drapes outside.  And felt much more creative working in the sun.

A fun year and it’s started already!

🙂


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Here are some pics of some blue skies, some crows, lovely flowers and proof that I’ve planted my garlic

The crows were not pleased with the presence of the Great Blue Heron on “their” roof!

Last week on one of those rainy/sunny days, I decided to use my Cannor’s Nursery gift card, the one that DH gave to me for my recent birthday.  I wandered around outside, not many people there, just enjoyed the ambience of the proximity of thousands of plants.  Wondering which ones would be coming home with me.  Suddenly, the sound of crows cawing away directed my attention to the top of a nearby roof.

I watched for minutes while one crow in particular tried to scare the Great Blue Heron away from the roof.

So this one particular crow tried scare tactics .. but the Heron just yawned and continued preening.

The crow would fly up and then swoop down on the Heron, but the Heron just ignored him and continued his grooming.

 

Beautiful water flowers at Cannors Nursery

These flowers attract insects for fine dining .. I believe.  Quite beautiful in their arrangement.

And it was a rainy day, perfect for wandering the garden nursery

Aren’t the glistening drops of rain beautiful . . transforming the leaves into amazing natural works of art .. finer than any jewel could ever by.  Fashioned by Mother Nature.

 

Ok, this photo was from last week .. lovely skies

The beautiful blue skies from last week .. the clouds were constantly changing shape and so I was busy clicking away, taking little breaks from planting my lovely garlic.  I love the skies and  am constantly looking upwards, there is so much to see.  Always.   And thus the beauty.

One little block of garlic ready to be nestled in for the winter

Here is one little block of garlic.  I dug little trenches, put in the cloves, pointy side up.  Then watered them well with EM.   Next, I carefully covered the cloves with soil.

After the soil was spread over the cloves, next came a layer of seaweed/grasses

Then I covered them with a thick layer of seaweed.  Which D & I gathered over the summer months.   Followed by a cover of dried sea grasses.  (All of the grass was washed up by the tides, gathered gratefully and dried in the sunshine)  A lovely blanket for the garlic.

Sigh ..

 

Sigh says it all!

One of my recent “treasures” found in a thrift shop, for my garden

When D & I went for our seaweed gathering, we began to add little routines to our day.  When we began, we would collect spent seaweed,  then we would go to a nearby cafe for lunch.   We started adding variety to our trips a few weeks ago.  This included a visit to the Casino

I collected my $5 Birthday voucher,  and then she chose the machine.  It was Egyptian, of course!  Every time the points would increase, the costumed guard of the tomb would do a pretend arm “dance” ..so we giggled quite a bit at that!   Wisely, she suggested that I cash out, once my winnings were at $19.  So I did.  But then, I put in $10 and when that rose to $18, the reminder was given again, and so I cashed out again!  Actually walked away from the Casino with cash!  Usually on my Birthday $5 vouchers, I just make my yearly visit, spend the $5 in less than 10 minutes and walk away.  So I was quite pleased to walk away with more than I started with!.
Anyway, next we visited the local St. Vincent de Paul.  Oh, my, and thus began a series of “must have” purchases for home.  Above, is the garden mirror that looks great outside, leaning against a tree.

Then, I bought a cat scratching recliner thingy for JaneE.  Beautiful decanters and bottles.   Lovely.

One of my plant purchases at Cannors Nursery

One of my recent purchases for the garden!

Lovely Canna Lilies

Including a gorgeous pot of Canna Lillies!

ha ha ,, DH, adjusting the labelling of my oat bran!

So I opened up the kitchen pantry doors a few days ago and saw this and thought “Goat Bran” .. oh, DH was having fun changing the wording of my “Oat Bran“.  🙂

D’s 3rd crop of basil, from the same plants! The magic of EM!

And, oh, wow .. this shows the power of EM!  D had bought this pot of basil, kept it in the same soil.  Added EM .. and this is the third crop of basil that she has gathered.  And the same soil, now totally enriched with the EM.  Are you sold on this EM yet?  🙂

D’s little tomato plant, soldiering on, still bearing fruit, despite the weather! (EM!!)

And this is one of the famous four tomato plants.  The plants grown from the same seed as last year, small bushy plants.  This year, D watered them with EM.  Results were towering plants, a crop of way over 400 tomatoes from 4 plants.  And this plant is still growing.  Leaves and fruit are smaller, but still .. power to the EM!  And beyond.

D’s yellow tomato .. quite the interesting shape.

And D always is finding unusual fruits and veggies in her wanderings.  Here is one example of a strangely shaped tomato!  Like a quadruple tomato, eh?

Oh, Duncan, our little darling …

Darling little Duncan .. he’s wandering around the yard .. and he doesn’t like the camera!.

Well, I just wanted to share some photos from last week and yesterday.  To show my garlic, finally planted.  I created some rectangular areas in the garden and tried to plant one type per section.  So I have  mostly hardnecks, and I’ll be collecting the scapes next summer for more garlic pesto.

I planted the golf size and larger round bulbs in one section.  So looking forward to see the results next year!   And then the gigantic elephant garlic.  Lots of garlic.  And I saved one block for some winter veggies . .must go looking for some.

My lovely gardening neighbour has given me more Dragon kale, so I’ll be planting that soon.

I’ve been feeding my pear tree (the one with the pear trellis rust) with lots of seaweed solution and placed a fair amount of actual seaweed at the base.  And sprayed the branches as best as I could with the liquid seaweed.

After wonderful advice from the Gaia Community Board, I’ve been reminded that “healthy plants don’t get sick” … of course, now I remember that from my Organic Master Gardening Course, Gaia College!!   I’ve also learned that what I thought was the root stock of a plum-tree is actually pear stock.  So much to learn, how exciting.  We’d planted this tree about 30 years ago, so I forgot what it was.  🙂

D and I have been adding activities to our seaweed gathering days.  These now include 3 thrift shops!  Oh my.   I’ll post the pictures of my recent treasures tomorrow.  I think there are enough photos for today.

So today I tried a new way of posting photos.  And I will revert back to the slideshow method tomorrow.  As this posting of photos, one by one, just takes so much more time, and I’m the kind of person who wants to get on with things.

Anyway, I’m back to blogging.

So much more to talk about.  Including, ta da .. .another gardening course!  This one is Ecological Landscaping .. so I’ll be talking about that as I go along.  It starts Oct 31 and ends Dec 8 .. so another whirlwind session of learning is about to start.  Two sessions a week, 3 hours each.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these photos and tomorrow I will post pics of the crashing waves at Sooke and the pics of my recent purchases!
Now .. on to either gardening or decluttering.  Wonder which will win out?

🙂