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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Yesterday .. high up in the sky .. and back at home, I discovered why my garlic was so scattered last year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We’ve been enjoying a brief few days of sunshine …. and so .. DH & I went flying!  But first, breakfast outside and we shared a pot of tea!

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What you can’t see here is the steam rising from the mugs of tea!  It was very cold but the tea warmed us up.  So very wonderful to be at the airport again .. it is almost our second home …

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Soon we were up up and away …. our shadow tried to follow us …

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Mount Baker off in the distance ….

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The layers of white isn’t fog .. this is smog from brush burning down below in Central and North Saanich.  Rather disheartening to see this when brush could easily be composted or chipped for mulching ..  I think.

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The smoke spreads easily all over …

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There is Mt. Prevost off in the distance … the air doesn’t seem quite so bad over there.

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Down below are some container ships .. patiently waiting to be directed to proceed to a port for unloading.

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We flew around the Cowichan Valley for awhile …Such a wonderful flight way up high in the sky …. and soon .. time to make the approach for the Victoria International Airport .. home of the Victoria Flying Club!!  🙂

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The end of a fun flight … time to land and put our little plane to bed for the day.

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Such a lovely sky .. 03

Back at home … I realized now how the garlic bulbs were so terribly mixed up last year.  I’d carefully planted them neatly in rows only to find, when harvesting them last August, that mysteriously, some bulb were growing in groups of 3’s, crowded together and smaller.  Look at what this little squirrel wasdoing!!!!!

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There are 2 fat grey squirrels who visit our back yard.  They have been greedily filling up on the sunflower seeds left for the birds .. so I took pity on them and bought a large bag of unshelled peanuts, thinking that they would be sufficed with that.

But, oh, no .. they gather the peanuts, eat some and store the others.  In my garlic beds and containers, as I’ve discovered!!!  Argh!  Some of the garlic greens have been destroyed .. I know they will grow back, but still!  I need to put something on top of my garlic plantings, to dissuade the squirrels from digging, but I don’t know what to use.  sigh.

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The rains have returned today …. and the weather is cold.  I know full well that the warm sunny weather will soon be here.  The busy times will start.  For now, I am enjoying being lazy.  It’s not a normal condition for me, but I’ve learned to enjoy this brief time.  For I know the time will soon arrive when “there is not enough time in the day” to do the things I want to do.  That is .. being in the garden.

🙂


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Revisiting the beach .. time for soup at Mom’s Cafe .. and enjoying some relaxing time!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brrrrr … no snow (yet)  and we are very lucky so far.  At least, for those of us who don’t leap at the thought of cross-country skiing or downhill or other winter sports!

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I’ve spent a few hours here and there out in the back yard.  Using the weed eater to chop up some of the many bags of oak leaves that I’d collected over the past month.  I think I had about 30 bags and so far have about 15 or so to chop up.  Using the weed eater certainly speeds up the process for the leaves to compost.   At first I put some leaves in an empty garbage container (only used for the garden, though).  Eventually the cords on the weed eater would become entangled so I changed my method.

Now I just empty a bag of leaves in one area of the garden and then proceed to break them up.  Works like a charm.  And no worries if the occasional bits of leaves tumble onto the lawn .. this only serves to feed the soil.  That wonderful ecosystem that I’ve learned to pay more attention to.  All that busy microbial universe that, until I took my Organic Master Gardening course this year .. I was (sadly) totally unaware of.  Now that my awareness has been raised .. I pay more attention to how I treat my garden.   And so happy with the results.

Anyway, just wanted to share some photos of a trip to the beach a week ago.  D & I collected some lovely chopped up seaweed!  The kelp was lovely, sliced into perfect circles .. perfect for the garden.   If the weather permits, we’ll make another trip there this week to gather some of this lovely broken seaweed!

On this trip, we went to Mom’s Cafe!  Lovely place .. has been under various ownerships in the past few years, but the food is still delicious, even if the tea was a tad on the costly side!  We each had a bowl of the salmon & corn chowder (wild salmon of course!) and it was delicious to the last drop.

I’ve been a little busy in the past few weeks .. making soaps and spending zillions of hours in packaging them.   Quite enjoying this and rediscovering the joy I used to have, many years ago, in concocting various recipes.  Sort of like revisiting the past, with a modern perspective.

So I’ve allowed myself to be a little lazy (that is, not going 18 hours a day) over the past few days .. and quite enjoying this, for a change.  Realize that I’m not the kind of person not to be involved in 2 or 3 projects simultaneously … I think that this is normal for me.   Boredom hits me when I don’t have deadlines.

sigh.

Anyway .. just wanted to share my photos .. and so now I’m going about my day .. in my most lovely life!

🙂

 


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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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Enjoying watching the eagle activities high up in the sky .. and seeing the Juncos dining on the Joe Pye flowers!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quite a downpour of rain today .. the yin and the yang of weather here .. as yesterday we were treated to a lovely sunny day!  Which I spent outside, potting up lots of plants.

Lots of time spent looking up at the skies.   Saw 2 eagles soaring in a thermal ..then a 3rd, and by the time I saw the 4th, I ran into the house, grabbed my binoculars and was soon out on the sundeck, gazing skyward.

I didn’t take any photos, as I would only see dots in the sky … with my binoculars I was able to get a much closer view.

At one point, there was one eagle fast approaching the other .. so close I could see the white feathers blazing against the sky.  I know, white feathers don’t really blaze, but I wanted to put some action there!

I remember the last time I saw this behaviour, it was courting time and the eagles had locked talons together and tumbled through the sky.

But, this is November .. so I was puzzled.   They soon were out of sight, so I scrambled down the stairs, along the sidewalk, through the gate, out to the road and down to the large empty lot down the street.

Here I stood for a long time, looking at the eagles soaring majestically (ok, they always soar majestically, it’s a given!) overhead.   All of a sudden I saw some frantic activity and noticed a seagull dipping and diving .. at this point, they were flying around some tall trees and I couldn’t exactly see what was happening, but guessed that the eagles were looking for lunch and the gull was handy.  The time was in the late morning .. and this is the usual time that I’ve seen the eagles out looking for food.

Along came a flock of crows .. and I’m not sure at this point if they had any influence on the eagles flying away, but I lost sight of them.  The long line of crows continued .. there were hundreds.

Oh I just love these moments.

Anyway, back to the yard.  And what did I see there!

Juncos in the Joe Pye Weed (aka Eupatorium maculatum)

There were some lovely Juncos .. sitting quietly atop the Joe Pye Weed, happy as could be.   This plant is supposed to top at 6 feet, but my plants are much higher than that!

There is a line up already

They vied for space … preferring the top of the flower heads.  See, there was even a lineup!!

Can you see the little Junco in flight, left side?

I was trying to get some action shots .. and I like the flow of the wings as this Junco determined where he was going to fly.

This was the “height” of fine dining!

They look so happy, all nestled in place.  I’m glad that there are quite a few seeds for them to eat.  And so, there is lots of food for the birds to eat, all throughout the yard.

Here is a close up of the seeds that the Juncos loved

Here is a closeup of the fine little seeds …. along with the fluff that helps transport the seeds through the air .. ready to be planted elsewhere in the yard.  Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to have more of these beautiful, tall flowers.  Butterflies love them.

My circle of treasured beach stones encircling the cherry tree

I stopped for a few minutes .. to admire the Calendula plants seeds strewn a few months ago … slow-growing, usually I’d have lots of bright orange flowers by now.  Notice the circle of potted plants behind .. well, I do have a lot of plants, don’t I!!

And here is the “peace sign” ..

Ok, I got this idea of a “peace” symbol from another blog site:

http://debsdiscoveries.wordpress.com/

She has a great site!  Go visit .. go on!!

Such lovely times to be had in the garden ….so many magical moments!

Always  … remembering .. to look up on the sky …for special surprises!

It’s been a lovely day!  Despite the rain .. I like the cozy feelings of being inside while the rain pelts down.

And I also love walking in the rain . . with my cheerful, blue skies & puffy white clouds lining the inside of my umbrella.  Happy walks.

🙂


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Recent rains decadently decorated the garden! And I went shopping downtown!

Raindrops on the Pyracantha berries, from Sunday

So it rained a bit on Sunday … it being a lazy day for us .. I decided to not do any intensive gardening, despite the fact that Sunday is the only day of the week that is free from the constant dynamiting and construction noise of a nearby building site.

But, I did wander outside and savoured the silence.  I treasured the quiet in our yard and the beauty of the rain drops gently gracing the structures of the fruits, leaves, stems et al .. that are  growing so happily in our yard.  So I’m sharing some of my precious moments with you.  Please enjoy.

How delicate are the raindrops on these tiny apples

These little apples are wild, as the tree that is growing is the root-stock of the tree, the grafted apple has died away.  However, even though the apples taste bitter ( I just compost them) they are jewels of colour in the yard and for their beauty we are thankful.

Luxurious translucent crystals of water adorn the Mock Orange bush.  They sparkle in the sun’s rays (when the sun does trickle through)

Oh .. sweet pea .. won’t you dance with me …ta ra la la la la …

My gardening neighbour gave me the seeds for the lovely coloured sweet peas.

I always love the silvery droplets –  spheres rolling atop the surface of the leaves.  They seem like so many ethereal and  magical decorations by nature.  Or .. are they the work of little night flower fairies?   Busy through the long evening hours, while we sleep –  painting such exquisite designs on flowers and leaves .. for their nightly secret parties?  I wonder ….

And just look at one of my beautiful kale plants!  My lovely gardening neighbour gave me handfuls of the tiny kale seedlings months ago and look how they’ve grown!  I’m excited about these plants, never having grown them before.  And I love them .. as we can keep cutting away at the leaves until the early spring.   Then I can save the seeds for the next crop. Oh, and they are very nutritious also .. a bonus in addition to the beauty & rich colouring of their leaves.

And the little maple tree has shed its leaves … see the last yellow leaves tumbling down.  This is a little souvenir of my home town, taken from my brother’s yard.  DH & I will plant this one when we have a larger property.  It will be fun to watch this grow skyward.  A place for birds to play and nest.

A decadently entwined mixture of kelp … all twisted up.  I wonder if I should just gather up these ropes, let them dry and then create some kind of decoration out of it?  Hmmm .. food for thought.

Oh, sweet lovely blue skies .. a nice surprise today .. totally unexpected and so very appreciated.

For quite a long time in the backyard this morning  .. I stood still .. watching the cloud formations twirl and swirl  and dance around in joyous abandon …  way up above me .. high  in the clear blue sky.  Constant movement, delightful to watch.  And then there was one, two, three .. and more .. seagulls .. all sailing along in a thermal that was developing along the way.   So I thought … am I really outside to garden?  Or do I just use that as an excuse so that I can just go outside and gaze upwards?  And thus, neatly avoiding housework!! I’m starting to wonder about myself, ha ha ha.

For awhile, the construction noise hushed, I believe it might have been a lunch break, for which I was truly grateful.  Thus allowing me the luxury, the sheer joy of momentary silence .. in order to savour the ordinary garden sounds and just drink in the beauty overhead that was in constant play up in the warm blue sky.

So I played around in the yard a bit .. repotting some plants.   Did I mention that I happened upon another great plant sale last week?   I think that I did.  Anyway.  My wonderful, thoughtful DH had given me a gift card to a local nursery, oh, he is so thoughtful!   And as luck would have it .. there was a sale on the day that I decided to go plant shopping.  (I use the term of DH for Dear Hubby, so that is who I am speaking of .. )  🙂

Anyway, after that .. I set out to pick up my pal D .. we were going shopping downtown!!  And as I haven’t been downtown for simply ages, I was quite pleasantly surprised at the changes! I’ve taken quite a few photos today and will share a few today and then the rest tomorrow, so be prepared to feast your eyes.  I’ll present them in a slideshow tomorrow.

Victoria is quite a lovely town, and there are some amazing pockets of fantastic little shops.  With the most amazing people who work away in them!  I really enjoyed our shopping session and think that there will be many more.   See, above .. D noticed the play on words!  The Y.A.M. (for a Victoria magazine) in the forefront .. and the JAM Cafe sign behind.  That was fun.

And this little alleyway was interesting ..I love the brick. I don’t think I’ve ever been here before .. D knows where to go .. everywhere in this city.  So I’ll be showing more photos of the city as we go about our walks during the fall, winter and spring.  You know, the times that are too wet and cold for gardening.  That is walking weather.


And another little alleyway.  I just love these .. and for all the years I’ve spent shopping downtown, I just don’t recall these.  I love them.  And I apologize for putting my little logo thingy in the middle of the photo .. but I went ahead and save the photo . .and then couldn’t figure out how to move it!  Anyway .. you can see how inviting the brick lined walls are and the herringbone design of the walkway’s surface.

Ok .. here’s the last photo for today.  Isn’t this lovely .. it’s the outdoor seating area for a magnificent little restaurant. Union Pacific, on Herald Street.  So lovely and peaceful at this time of the year.  Great service, there was a special on Mocha today, so D & I each ordered one.  With whipped cream!   And there were a bazillion sprinkles .. I ‘ll show you tomorrow.

And I’ll natter on about the plants I bought today.  I tell you .. plant sales are my best friends!  I always find them.

Oh .. and I’ll show you the pictures I took of this lovely Beardie, named “Musha” (I’m guessing at the spelling.

One more thing before I sign off tonight.  I was outside talking with a neighbour when suddenly we heard the loud noise of flapping wings .. and saw a shadowy shape flit among the trees.   Then we saw it sitting on some overhead roadway wires (hydro or ??)..  the owl wasn’t having the best experience of stabilizing its feet on the swaying surface and so it fumbled for awhile .. and then rose up and flew away into my back yard!!
I went inside, grabbed a flashlight, went outside and shone the light through the yard and there he was!! Perched atop one of the rounded pvc arches that I had installed in the yard (for growing sweet peas and other climbing plants).

He was huge!!  And quietly sitting there .. until I shone the light on him and away he flew!

I know that this is a nightly occurence, but I’m normally not outside at night .. so it was a thrill to see bird activity!  Although, not for his prey!  I did notice that the owl had taken a little, ahem, shall we say, bathroom break at the front yard.  So tomorrow I will venture forth and try to find that .. to see what little artifacts are therein.

Anyway, it’s been a fun day and I look forward to more tomorrow!
Yawn ….

🙂


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Enjoying the wonders of the skies as I toil in the garden .. eye candy for the gardener!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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Basking in the warmth of the sun, I find myself out in the garden again.  Only this time, for the past few days, I’ve been busy, busy, busy.

Pruning the buddleia’s that have been taking over the sidegarden.

Pulling out the annuals that reseed themselves year after year, claiming nearly every inch of the garden beds.

Clipping, bagging and transporting the superfluous garden branches etc.

Joy at finding garlic bulbs that were growing, hidden away among the plants.  These I will dry and replant in the fall.

Taking lots of time to just look up at the sky.   Feeling much happiness at the ever-changing vistas .. cheering me up constantly.

Listening to the tiny chirps of the chickadees, nuthatches and bushtits as they cavort around the yard.

Cavort .. not a word I would usually associate with these tiny birds, but they do seem to be to be such little sprites of cheerfulness.  They really brighten up my world and I am so glad they visit.

The bushtits seem like little whorls of energy, filling the trees with their twittering sounds as they gather together on the branches before flitting away to visit another yard.

And the chickadees .. the yard will be quiet, until, suddenly, I hear the little nasal chirps .. seeming to say “I’m here .. I’m here”.  They are so sweet.  And smart.  When the bird feeder is empty, they will tap their tiny beaks against the sides of the feeder as if to say .. “hey up .. this needs refilling”!

I’ve been noticing the variety of leaf shapes in the garden also.  Tomorrow I’ll post the pics I took yesterday.  There are reasons why nature has chosen the shapes she has for the many food plants.  I don’t know the why’s and wherefores, but, perhaps, something else to study up on.

Yesterday, being so hot .. I spread out some containers of dried seaweed … to dry them out further so I could crumble them up and thus take up less space in the downstairs area.

Then, finally, time for the 5 yards of Miracle Mulch to arrive … and so for a few hours last night, I spent the time filling up wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow .. taking each load to the side yard, to topdress the bare garden soil.   This lovely mixture can also be used in the veggie garden .. which is lovely.  I know that the 5 years will quickly disappear ….as I carefully spread it around on all of the sidegardens.   Lovely to look at and perfect for retaining the moisture in the soil.  And .. no tree bark .. just fine branches, leaves and twigs.

So .. that will be my day today .. all day . .shovelling and moving the mulch.

Time to get started, methinks!


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Interesting activities to be seen in the yard … that I otherwise might have missed

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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This past week .. now that we have had more than 5 consecutive days of warm sunny weather, I found myself just watching what’s happening in the yard.  So nice to have the time to do that, finally, after years of being on the treadmill.

And I find the most loveliest little signs of activity that I would have otherwise missed!

Saw a chubby little honeybee .. taking a few minutes out of his busy day, collecting nectar .. to just chill out on a plant leaf.

There are a number of butterflies in the yard and I was able to take some pics of the brownish/black type when they rested.

So busy looking at a busy bee in a sunflower that I almost missed the little ladybug that was tucked away in the yellow petals!

Again, so lost in admiring the texture and flippant designs of the daisy petals, that I almost missed the little spider who was making its home in the flower!

And there was the very yellow, cheerful .. snapdragon .. blooming away, as it grew beside a patio door .. that is slated for installation but for now is just resting against the house.  A surprise bit of colour.

I’d scrubbed out the hummingbird feeders .. and enjoy the little show.  4 of them were flitting about the feeder .. taking turns resting atop bamboo stakes ..  and then two of them sat quietly af the feeder,  sipping on the nectar.

Heard the most cheerful chirps of a group of Bushtits .. who came visiting, flitting from one tree to another.  I think they were disappointed in the lack of suet block .. every time I put one out, the darned sparrows attack it .. so I’ve just left up some fat in the feeders.  They like that.  So uplifting, the way that they just swarmed into the yard .. as if to say .. ta da .. we’re here!   And the babies must be in that group!

The cilantro that I planted yesterday is growing well.  Looking forward to harvesting some.

Clipped some green chives, chopped them up and dried them in the oven .. disappointing, the bright green colour faded and the chives were tough.  Methinks these are best fresh.

Haven’t seen the eagles for a while .. they usually fly around 11:30 am .. looking for their lunch.   And I’ve been elsewhere at that time … must try to have a look next week.

There are only a few cherries left on the tree .. I’ll leave them for the birds.  I can only imagine the feasting that has been going on, in the wee small hours, over the past few weeks.  I’ve picked enough for us and am glad that the birds were able to enjoy them also.

Transplanted some raspberry canes around the back and sides .. they fill in some empty spaces.

Nearly done planting most of the potted perennials … sure takes a bit of time to decide the best places for them.  And …. I can always move them later.

Feel quite satisfied with my week’s worth of work.  Next, I plan to seed more lettuce, spinach and edible pea pods .. in a few days.

🙂