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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Feels great to be tapping on the keyboard again .. and I’m sharing some of the lovely sights I’ve seen today! Oh, there is more, much more!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Funny how time just flies when life is just rolling along, similar to a nonstop whirling round and round and round and I just want to stop!  🙂

Times were kinda slow at the beginning of the year .. I was focused on getting fit for the summer by going for very long walks and exercising.  Then our lovely tenants had to move and my focus totally changed and I stopped my lovely exercise regime and DH and I began the task of preparing our sunny rental into a home for new tenants. This involved (me) scrubbing and repainting all the rooms and cupboards and DH worked on the hard-scaping and landscaping (a huge job).

The task is slowly nearing the end.  I’ve kept track of our daily adventures and although it seems a very long time ago (beginning of February) as I look over my notes I remember the forgotten tasks.  Selecting and taking home 8 huge cedar trees from the grower’s fields (oh wow they were tremendously heavy).  Together DH & I carefully unloaded one tree at a time from a lovely trailer that a friend lent us.   I love this trailer.  Anyway, we’d carefully put one cedar on a tarp and made a pathway of other tarps so we could (ever so slowly) slide one cedar at a time to the back yard.  Where we’d dug deep holes for them.   Added some magical organic fertilizer to assist the roots in their growth.

And I won’t bore you with the other details.  About how I (ahem) transported one ton of nave-jack from the trailer at the front of the house  by shovelling 7 scoops at a time (this stuff is very very heavy)  into my trusty new yard cart and made a bazillion trips, slowly, walking backwards to the yard and slowly created a mini mountain from which my DH would scoop some with bags of cement into the cement mixer and began the creation of a sidewalk.  Similar with the heavy sand for the base of the sidewalk.

So exhausted I just didn’t have the creative energy to post anything .. so have decided to get back in the habit of that.

We still have a way to go before the yard is finished, but, since we both have other projects on the go .. we have been taking a few days away from yard transformations and I have had the joy of spending a few days in our own yard.

So a few days ago, I was digging out weeds and bluebells from the back side-garden, when what did I see!    This was growing up from under a large rock, which I rolled away so I could get at these precious bulbs, you can see the indentation below.

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Somehow I missed digging up a few garlic bulbs, how on earth could I have missed them!  And  so they grew and so I dug them up.   All planted now amongst the flowers and I will keep a sharp eye on them this summer!

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Really, I haven’t a clue as to what this mystery plant is .. must have planted it last year, no tag, tsk tsk!

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We had sun for a day .. sigh

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So I took some time out and just stood there, staring up at this beautiful sky …

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The manner in which this little leaf was laid ever so carefully on a branch of the tree reminded me of laundry hung out to dry, perhaps one of the wee little garden sprites had been busy and had forgotten to bring in this leaf or .. perhaps I startled them and they disappeared!

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So today .. I went to visit my pal D, for tea in one of her fancy tea cups.  She has quite a beautiful collection of the most dainty beautiful items.  Doesn’t this look so pretty .. and creative?   Well, you are right, it was!

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After a few hours of sipping and nibbling at the cashew mixture and a delicious sourdough sandwich, we decided to go for a walk in the rain.

And thus I began to learn more about the little neighbourhoods of Fernwood and area .. here is a pathway at Bowker Creek (blush, I hadn’t visited this area before!)

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This magnificent and majestic Willow tree rising out of the creek bed was an Avatar moment for me.

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Another surprise was the sight of this Eucalyptus tree, regrowth from the base of the seemingly dead trunk!  Lovely.

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Many many burls on this massive tree ..

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Someone had placed a live tree in the centre of this trunk ..look at the size .. how old this tree must have been …

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Look, D said .. see what joins these houses together!   Solid rock that wasn’t blasted away when the houses were built!  Solid foundations!

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Gigantic Rosemary .. taller than D . . to the left!

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When I saw the size of this Flowering Red Currant (so enamoured by Hummingbirds) I began to rethink where I was going to plant the 3 that I have at home!

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Ha ha .. tucked away in the front yard of one home .. the crow was chilly and so wore his toque and scarf today!

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Two similar houses ..one all prettied up and the other … sadly neglected .. mirror images..

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And some lovely little homes:

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I so totally fell in love with this one!  D told me that new owners had changed the yard from neatly trimmed lawns to this current wildly artistic happy yard.  We saw two cats sleeping on the front porch.  In the back there is another small home plus several little buildings.     This is the most fascinatingly magnificent home and yard I have ever seen.

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Well .. after this most lovely long walk … my first in a long time .. I felt my happy creative energy start to flow .. my goal now is to emulate the happy carefree spirit of this yard above …

Back home .. I found myself creating lovely foods for supper .. it all started as I began to clear out the fridge .. but I’ll share those happy items tomorrow!

Feels great to be back blogging again …. 🙂


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These are a few of my favourite things ….

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Haven’t spent much time out in the yard and today was just a totally luxuriantly lazy day .. so I thought I would share some of my favourite things!

First on the list is this most wonderful yard cart that DH gave to me on Christmas Day.   Not sure what I love more .. the fact that he gave me something that is such a labour-saving device in the garden .. or the fact that he spent so much time on Christmas Day assembling it for me.  I think the two facts are part and parcel … really, a gift of love, priceless!

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Next on my list is the amazingly beautiful vista overhead .. the ever-changing sky landscape.  I must admit that I really don’t get a lot of gardening done on beautiful days like this!   Spend a lot of time looking up at the sky!  Really, can you blame me, though?13

 

This was a soft … gentle sky … wispy clouds11

 

And these were all taken on the same day, can you believe it!  10

 

Moody .. in a happy way …09

 

Lovely cumulus clouds .. they resembled a stack of fluffy pancakes .. 08

Ok .. these really struck a chord in me .. so beautiful ..06

 

and my other favourite things ( on a very long list ) are .. birds.    Here is a little Chestnut-Backed Chickadee at one of the suet holders.05

Mustn’t forget my latest plant purchase .. for our next home … there is one more at the store .. and .. I … must … resist … purchasing … that one!04

 

Sweet little Bushtits … they are so very darling ..03

 

They are also very polite .. waiting patiently for their turn at the suet block02

 

Ok .. I like them a lot …01

and .. look how easy this is . .no more shovelling the contents of the cart .. just pull on the tipping handle and all the contents are on the garden bed .. saves me so much shovelling. (this is after)

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and this is during … such ease .. I am feeling quite pampered now!

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At first I thought that the cart wouldn’t hold much material .. but as I continued shoveling the fine mulch into the cart .. I was really amazed .. it holds a lot!19

 

Well .. there you have it .. a pictorial display of (some) favourite things .. there are many others, of which I am quite grateful.

Sigh.

And for the New Year .. .I’m not one for making resolutions, “but” I will continue on my decluttering activities.  Since I’ve already started that this year … guess I’ll just continue on.

About procrastination .. I’ve been working on that this year and actually making some headway .. yea to me.  However, I’ve recently found that the phrase “I’ll start that in the New Year” quite appropriate and have been using that mantra during the past few days. As I look at areas that I fully intend to organize/recycle/finish!!!  Just as I start to feel that I “should” get started, but really don’t feel like doing …right now!

As soon as I say the magic words “next year” I feel as if a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

It’s a fait accompli, or something like that.

So .. if I am not inspired to blog tomorrow .. although I think that I will ..  for right now – I’ll hoist a glass of dry white and wish everyone a very very Happy New Year .. 2013 .. wow!  All the best and all that! (sip … sip ..)  ha ha

🙂

 


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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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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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How Friday went .. in my garden

 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

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So Friday started out overcast .. but I could see the sun way up high, working hard to fight through the overcast layers and before long it had succeeded and the day turned out to be sunny.

And I enjoyed the look of one of my newly painted found objects.   A little plastic table, found on D’s and my little adventure day on Wednesday.  Transformed with some flat black spray paint .. now ready to be used somewhere in the garden.

A large plant pot, painted green with gold overtones .. I think I’ll add more green paint and will post a pic … then there is a metal filigree plant holder, painted black .. looks kind of cool and I’ll post a pic tomorrow of that.  One of those funky things that looks good in a garden.

Played around with my garlic crop .. separating them into baskets.  I saved the largest cloves for planting this year, in another month .. my gardening neighbour plants garlic mid-October and I’ll follow her lead.

Besides, right now there are some squash plants sprawling all over the area where I plan to grow the garlic and i want to give these plants some time to produce some squash!

Patience!

Then I sorted garlic to be given away .. and some to be sent to my sister .. oh, and some for me to use also!

A basket of garlic that hadn’t a covering on their cloves .. guess I dug them up too early .. more patience needed for next year, it seems.

Finally, a little basket of garlic seeds and one of those little yellow bulbets .. I’ll put some in pots and see if I can grow garlic greens for eating now!

I tried an experiment that I saw posted all over Pinterest, that of re-growing green onion greens.  It’s magic!  Day one, there were little new shoots and now, day three, they are growing  larger.

Now, today, I will separate them into two groups and in one jar I will add some EM .. just to see what the difference will be.

And I bought these green onions from a local greenhouse, so, no chemicals!!  Yeah.

So that was pretty much my gardening time yesterday .. and I plan to continue today.

Time to plant the Dragon kale that my gardening neighbour gave me …. this type turns blue in the sun and stays green in the shade.  Lovely, I say.  I’m really loving this kale and have fun just clipping away the lower leaves when I need some for a meal.  Fun in the garden.

Well .. time to go outside and plant those kale plants …  🙂

 


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Spending time decluttering and taking time to watch the birds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Such a beautiful time of the year .. sun is still shining, veggies are still growing.  Birds are flying and playing.  A perfect time to continue decluttering, with some time out to just stop and watch what is going on.

I’ve recently been busy sorting out, decluttering and organizing various areas in the yard and quite impressed with my results.

Start out dreading the task I’ve undertaken … then I get totally involved with the decision making and before the end of the day, I’ve succeeded in weeding out what I need to keep and what needs to be sent along to recycle, donation, etc.

And so a few days ago I began this decluttering activity in my little wee garden room in the basement.

This is the place where I’ve put things “just for now” and “until later” .. well, later has arrived.

And I’ve discovered that I have way too many gardening gloves .. if that is possible.  I gathered up all the gloves, tossed them in a container and brought them outside for sorting.  Only found a few unmatched sets and ended up with a lot .. I didn’t actually count how many .. but believe me when I say that I have more than 20.  Too embarrassing to actually take a count, so I won’t!  Threw them all in the wash and dried them in the sun. Now, they are all in one container and I have absolutely no excuse for going shopping for more.

This is one good reason why decluttering is good.  When you can’t find something and buy more just to save time searching for things (say, um, gardening gloves) .. then it is high time for decluttering.

I set up a large work table just outside the back door.  And began the million trips of emptying shelves and baskets,  taking one or two things outside.  Putting them on the table.  Decision making.   Keep, recycle, discard .. one after the other.

Slow going.  I searched for tips on decluttering, as I was finding it challenging to muster up the energy to just get rid of everything.

I found some good inspiration.   that clutter is blocked energy.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Life is a flowing river.  It’s okay to change the course, it’s good to have it flow and bubble around rocks in its path.

I found these gems here:  http://eliminatecancer.hubpages.com/hub/Declutter-Your-Home-and-Re-energize-Your-Life

There were other inspirational sites that I found, but this one resonated with me.

So downstairs I went.   Back to my little room.   And I was discovering that the room was feeling better, more spacious.  Less clutter.

Soon I had a stack of empty baskets.  A huge Rubbermaid container full of things to give away, things I no longer use .. time for someone else to play with them.

I’m halfway finished.  Spent a lot of time moving things around.  Making progress.  Feeling more energized.

Unearthed some crafty projects, purchased years ago from a sewing convention.  A little kit for  beading, weaving ribbon, embroidery .. to make a little sewing needle case.  Well, really, why did I ever buy this?  Never in a million years will I ever tackle this little delicacy.  What was I thinking of, anyway.  Plus, the two extra packages of eyelash embroidery!!!

Took an old shelving unit outside, slapped on some neutral paint to freshen it up.   Today I’ll splash on some leftover lavender paint to brighten it up and then will use this for storing empty baskets on.  Something to brighten up my little room.

And in between times, lots of breaks .. taken outside.   Watched one of the local eagles soaring overhead.   Flocks (gaggles ??) of Canada Geese, flying so low overhead, I could hear the strong silky swoosh of their  wings as they flew over .. the late afternoon sun cast a mellow golden glow over their feathers.  Beautiful nature, wild and free.

The local little band of Bushtits swirl in .. chasing away the sparrows.  They are so darling as they flit about the branches.  Taking turns nibbling at the suet cakes.  Busy chirps.  Then suddenly they depart.  Love these energized little visitors.

Chickadees visit the hanging water bath that I’ve placed in the cherry tree.

Lovely sights and sounds.

Then I walk around the garden patch.  Squash are still growing … I’m impatient to prepare this area for planting garlic, but there is still time.  My gardening neighbour tells me not to plant till October 20 .. so I’ll leave them to grow another month.

Sweet peas are still flowering, fruiting, growing.  Ok, I’ll leave them also.  Some zucchini plants are still growing.  As are some tomato plants.  Sigh.  I’ll let them flourish in the sun for a few more weeks.  I’ve been picking some tomatoes and freezing them for future stews and lasagna in the fall months.  Mmmmm.

And yesterday, I was preparing supper, brought out a bowl of peas from the fridge .. I’d only picked them a few days ago, it seems.  And .. a lot of them are sprouting.  So I quickly searched growing peas in this part of Canada and lo and behold, there are a fair number of people who have successfully planted fall peas .. so I decided to try that!

Lovely times.


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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 …..