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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Gnarley beauty of trees. Stoney landscaping. Beautiful leaves .. and .. painted windows!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ha ha .. I was visiting a local dollar store and saw a display of foldable flower vases, and just couldn’t resist this one.  Thought it was going to be like the type you find at Ikea .. where you just add warm water and the vase can be shape shifted .. kind of fun.  Turns out this one is a little different.  The vase is heavy plastic, and can indeed be folded (when empty!)  There is a little packet of green crystals that are added .. and voila!  These marble type formations result.   So rather cool, I thought!

Had to stop and look at the gnarled beauty of this venerable old tree.  Loved the rugged dignity of the gnarled bark, this tree has seen a lot of the world .. and then there is the delicate beauty of the little tree growing beside it.   Will the intelligence of the older tree be shared with the younger one?   Sharing knowledge from one species to another, one era to another.

Loving the randomness of nature’s beauty .. windblown leaves resting on the branches of this California Lilac.

 

Now .. this here .. is your industrial “non-maintenence” type of landscaping.  Only very brave plants could grow through these stony layers!  Alas.  Oh .. and “shudder” …

Yum … lots of oak leaves for mulching in the garden!!  I’ve been gathering lots of them for the winter protection of my garlic and potted plants.

Don’t know if you can tell .. but those little dots are actually seagulls, soaring in a little thermal that was developing.  Scenes from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”    If you ever want to watch one of the most wonderful films in the world, I highly recommend this one.  And .. to hear Neil Diamond singing throughout .. is just too magnificent for mere words to describe.  I can only watch this film in little bits . .there is so much beauty therein.

This window is from the little strip mall that I visited a few days ago ..love this!

 

And . .an old-fashioned type of ice-cream parlour is there also!

Sometimes it’s good not to have a viewfinder .. in order to discover unexpected sky shots like this one.   Almost looks like a little “glory” to the right and I love the translucent layered look of the clouds.  And of course, the brilliant sun .. sending rays of light in all directions.  Quite a happy little picture, hey???

The cherry tree is tenaciously clinging to the leaves .. but it’s a losing battle.  Already, the ground is covered with the lovely yellow vegetation .. which I shall rake up today!  And place them ..like a blanket .. on my perennial gardens.

Took advantage of a recent sunny day .. to clip more roses.  Which I dried to add to my soaps.

A little sparrow is nibbling away at the suet.  Even the starlings are welcome.  There are only a few of them. I admire their plumage .. and like their gentle cooing sounds that they use to communicate with each other.  Quite the little singers, these birds are.  And I look forward to a  few glimpses of the Flickers when they appear.  Magnificent birds.

Just a short little post today …lots to do …including more studying of the landscape materials for my very intensive course.  The doors of knowledge are opening and I need to continue on!

So away I go on this lovely rainy day!

🙂

 


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I decluttered with a vengeance and now I have lots of space! Plus, I decided to go to Cesar Milan show, yea!

October 31, 2012 … Happy Halloween …

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And .. no chocolate for me .. cause .. today .. is the day that my Ecological Landscaping Course begins.  Once again I’ll enter worlds of knowledge about gardening that will raise my awareness to a whole new level.  I’m quite looking forward to this.  I know that we will be learning how to graph out a landscape and that will be a challenge for me .. or .. will it?

Anyway, yesterday I found my “Inner Organizer/Declutter” energizer had taken over my being for the whole day.

I fought this at first.  Looking around my computer room, seeing stacks of books, papers and other things that just somehow accumulated bit by bit over the months.  You know, the things that are just placed on the desk “for a minute” or “till tomorrow” or some other such vague period of time in the future.  Relief at not having to focus on tidying up in the present time.

Things that are hastily stuffed into attractive storage boxes “just for now” and they slowly make a home for themselves on the shelves, gathering dust.

I played around with sorting at first.  Casually picked up a few pieces of paper for recycling.  Looked through some books.  Went to the kitchen.  Made tea.  Searched on the computer.

Debated about this upcoming Sunday .. suddenly there are two activities that tug at my heart and they are both happening in the same time frame.  What are the odds?  (I know, a Canadian band, as my DH tells me!).  http://oddsrock.com/

Cesar Milan will be appearing on Sunday!  I went to his show a few years ago, and stood in the rain for several hours beforehand, for the opportunity to meet him and I was fortunate enough for that.  And he autographed a photo that I have of my little Oreo, looking into a mirror up at me.  I’ll post that on one of my posts during the winter.

So, dilemma.  Go to the show .. or go to the fall Friends of the Library book sale.  This one is going to be a great one and will be held in a huge sports arena.

The only trouble is that they are both occurring in about the same time frame.  I play with the idea of rushing to the sale, wait for the doors to open at 1:15 or so, gather up about 10 bags of books, rush to the car, drive to the arena, try to find a parking space and then go to the Show.

Or ..I could relax, and not go to the book sale, leave early for downtown, find a parking spot, casually enter the arena and this time look at the items for sale.

I know that DH and D both tell me that I have enough books ..and looking around me (and thinking about the shelves of unread books in the basement) .. I do have to agree with them.  So I’ll read like crazy in the winter and then will have some empty shelves, ready for the January book sale!  Oh, decisions, decisions, decisions!

Anyway, after I came back from town, with my ticket, I realized that I must focus on the decluttering.  And you would have been proud of what I accomplished, starting out, bit by bit.  And I decided that I could take my time .. I had the balance of the morning, all afternoon and evening to focus on this task.

Mercilessly I went through boxes of Christmas cards from over 20 years ago .. shred .. shred .. shred.  Puzzle books from that era .. to be donated, along with quite a few books that were purchased, new, not read .. from years ago .. time for someone else to read them.  (I donate these to a literacy program).

Ended up with 2 huge bags of paper recycling and one of those gigantic Ikea blue bags with items to donate & recycle.

This little room feels so much better and I’ve accomplished much, but there is still more to go and I’ve reached the energy level where I will be culling things that aren’t necessary any more.  What a freeing feeling!

Anyway, I’ve posted more photos of our little shopping trip on Monday, that lovely sunny day when D & I wandered around our famous old Chinatown shopping district, the Fisgard Street neighbourhood.  It’s been years since I’ve done that and it was quite a fun experience.

There are still more photos to post and I’ll try to post them tomorrow.

Anyway … on with this lovely rainy Halloween day ..

🙂


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Saturday was a busy day! Shopping at Ikea. Attending Asmira’s 25 Anniversary show. Stepping back in the past with memories from friends!

28 October, 2012

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  So DH & I  had quite a fun day yesterday!  We travelled on the ferry .. shopped at Ikea … met some interesting people .. watched seagulls soaring .. I attended a 25th Anniversary celebration .. and, I was brought back into the past, quite a trip!

We had things to do on the Mainland yesterday, which necessitated a drive out to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal .. where we boarded one of the most uncomfortable ships I’ve ever travelled in.  One of the “new” Coastal ships … the very expensive looking passenger seats were created for body types that weren’t like ours, so that was a very uncomfortable experience.  Then, the constant very heavy pounding of the ships engines brought on neck pain that I hadn’t experienced for years.  I spent the majority of the trip trying to get comfortable on these seats and alternately massaging my neck to try to alleviate the pain.

I have to say that this was the worst trip that I’ve ever experienced and it made me wish that I’d stayed home.  But .. we persevered and (not soon enough) we were driving off the ferry and heading towards Ikea!

The trip entailed taking the Ladner Trunk tunnel (aka Deas Tunnel) .. here are some links for more information:

http://historytothepeople.ca/2011/06/the-persistent-tunnel-vision-of-british-columbias-george-massey/

It started off being called the George Massey Tunnel:

http://alex.gaio.me/delta/?page_id=836

We soon arrived at Ikea .. it’s been years since we’ve been there, and (as D had told me) .. the building had been torn down and a new one built nearby.  I didn’t even let myself dwell on the fact that I missed some amazing store closing sales!  So I won’t go there!

We were at the store nice and early and so lucky to get underground parking close to the entrance!’

First of all, we headed to the cafeteria style restaurant, which  is quite large and orderly.  Soon we had our breakfasts on trays, searched for and found (with me asking fellow shoppers where to find some things!!) all that we needed.  I noticed that some shoppers were wheeling little shelved trolleys, with trays full of food .. to their tables.  How clever, an easy way to bring breakfast to the table for the family.

I happened to chat with one of the employees .. who was placing spent coffee filter & grounds on a cart and, just for the heck of it, asked if Ikea composted anything!  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they did this!  And when I asked if I should remove the spent teabags from my tray, I was assured that all foods are sorted back in the dish washing area!  How cool is this!

For the next few hours, DH & I took our time, wandering through the store .. the displays had been well set up, showing complete rooms, including closets, with clothes hanging in there, making the displays appear to be liveable, and you know, it worked!  It felt as if we were wandering through a friend’s place .. everyone treated the displays with respect.  This was a good way to visualize the furniture and see how the many items could be best utilized.

My favourite places were the kitchen displays.  Each one had a dishwasher, oh, joy, I would love one of these.  And my favourite item in all the kitchens was a counter-island, with storage all around each side.  A sink, and dishwasher!  High stools so friends (and myself!!) could sit, chat and sip on glasses of wine.  How comfy would that be.

I made purchases here and there.  Thought of taking photos, but, there are enough photos of Ikea online and they are nice and clear.  Besides, I kind of forgot to take my camera out of the case, because I was so enthralled at looking at all the beautiful and useful items that were there.

Oh, I love Ikea and sure wish that the store would return to the island, but it was a failed experiment in years past and so I don’t think it will ever happen.  sigh.

What did I buy?  Well, how could I resist some economical new duvet sets?  So I chose 2.  Lovely.  Then there were heavy re-useable Ikea branded ziplock bags, they came in 2 colours, pink or blue.  And then, each box had 2 sizes!  Oh, these Swedish people are clever and practical!  So I bought only one box of each .. instead of 3 or 4, as I would have done in the past.  How very mature.

A cute little work lamp for only $11.95!  Little things like that.  Oh, so much fun to wander around and get ideas.

We caught the mid-afternoon ferry for our return trip.  Oh, lovely .. this time we travelled on the Spirit of British Columbia, that model that should have been used to build the last “new” ships.  What a lovely trip this was!  Comfy passenger seats, just the normal comfortable rumblings of the engines down below.   And the atmosphere, I swear, was so much friendlier!

On this trip, people talked with each other, there was a wonderful ambience all around .. this is the way that ferry travel should be!  Guess next time I’ll check ahead to see which ships will be sailing before I plan my travels.   I do not want to travel on those Coastal ships again, shudder, shudder, shudder!

I noticed that someone was throwing treats down on the deck for the seagulls.  Although this practise is not encouraged, it is harmless and raining and the seagulls were performing delightful aerial stunts, which brought out more people and their cameras.

Later on, the Captain announced that there was a young Humpback whale to be seen, so crowds of us rushed outside … how lovely was this sight!  We saw the whale spouting and then the flip of its fin and it went below the water.  As the ferry travelled on, we could see the whale continuing with these actions .. how beautiful was that.  I caught a little bit of action, not much but enough for me to appreciate the wild beauty of sea-life.

And again, I thought of the fight against a proposed Enbridge pipeline that the government wants to be installed, and how it would jeopardize our fragile sea creatures.   Here is a link showing what’s going on, just for greedy money with only lip service to the environment:

http://www.pipeupagainstenbridge.ca/ 

And then I read a story in today’s Time Colonist, page D8, showing a photo of a 78-year-old woman standing on her property.  Trying to ward off the construction of a Keystone XLoil pipeline that will bring oil from Canada.  Here is a link to the Los Angeles Times newspaper article:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/19/nation/la-na-texas-pipeline-20121020

Turns out that the TransCanada company created an easement on her property under Texas’ “eminent” domain law, which will pay her half the money she was originally offered.  How horrific is this .. to have no control over your own property. This scares the hell out of me.   And this has also happened in Canada.

Sorry to rant, but these things, these greedy actions abhor me.  However, we humans have to learn what is going on with our earth, do our best to protect it.  We must learn what companies are trying to do with our natural resources.  Just tsk tsk’ing and turning the pages or changing the channel does not serve us well.  We need to educate ourselves and learn to speak up against these things.  Get off the fence.

I will endeavour to lighten the mood now.

So I took lots of pics of the seagulls playing around in the air, balancing on the ship’s rails, pecking away at the potato chips .. and in so doing, chatted with fellow passengers, had a good laugh and thoroughly enjoyed standing outside in the rain.

Back home .. took out my new purchases and played with them all .. ah, it’s great to have enthusiasm.

Later on, I attended Asmira’s Silver Anniversary Show, here’s a link to some photos:

http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/Pioneering+Asmira+marks+milestone/7457883/story.html

And here is where I stepped back into the past!  Another friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, was dressed up as a very sexy  devil, artfully dressed all in red .. showed me what she was using for the tail of her costume!  It was a red velvet hairband tie that I had made for sale about 20 years ago!

I’d completely forgotten about these things .. back in the day when I was busy sewing, crafting and selling my creations.  Now the curtains of my memory parted and once again I was back in the past, making trips to fabric stores, visualizing the finished product,choosing materials,  making purchases.  Going home to my sewing room, measuring, cutting, sewing.    Taking my items to a friend’s shop for sale.   And all these years later, all that I’d forgotten flashed into my mind.  All that excited creative energy from the past beckoned me, begging me to let them live again!

And another reminder, another friend who I hadn’t seen in a very long time reminded me of a memory she had of me, back when, as a group, we all flew to Seattle and visited theNorthwest Folklife Festival!  She remembered that I’d bought a small tin of lip balm, made of honey and spices.  And that I’d like it so much that I kept applying it to my lips, till at the end of the day, the tin was empty!  Wow .. ok, flashes of this started to pop up!  Nice.

And this reminder of how time travels much too quickly sometimes!   I was chatting with another friend, not seen for… hmmm … how many years?  Well, let me tell you!

I was reminiscing with her about that same Folklife weekend, she was pregnant and we were wandering around the food building and she was eating a variety of foods.  She warned me to not try to follow her lead, as I couldn’t keep up with the ravenous food cravings of a woman who was pregnant.

So I asked her how her “little” boy was doing .. and learned!!!!

That he was 30 years old, married, with a daughter.  There was a silent hush as our mental calculators clicked away.   Ouch.

I would love to go back to Seattle in the spring and revisit the Folklife Festival again … so maybe next year we could get a group together and just go back to watch the marvellous folk arts, the dancing (the Clogging!!!)  To watch the most amazing dance performers and perhaps this time we could try to get into the Gospel celebration .. it was packed full and we could only hear the singing very faintly.

Here’s a link:  http://www.nwfolklifefestival.org/

And I do not like crowds, but I remember being there, thousands of people milling around and feeling so happy to be there with all those who share a love of dance, crafting, creating things, and what a wonderful place to be.

Oh, I do chatter on .. and it’s time to get going. The rains have stopped and I have plants to re-pot.

Just thought that I’d like to post those photos of that long ago visit to Folklife .. the pictures of the cat riding along on his owner’s shoulders.  The vast cooking areas.  The broom makers.

I’ll have to dig out those photos and scan them …ha ha… the days before digital cameras!!

ttfn …..

🙂


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Time for a playing day .. in the garden.

Friday, August 10, 2012

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One think that I like about gardening is that I can spend one day working very hard outside and the next day I can play if I want to.

Playing means to me .. things like .. finally sifting the beach stones that I’ve collected, separating the tiniest stones and rounded rocks from the vegetation that has been mixed in.  Ending up with little buckets of these and a bucket of fine sand & grasses, to use on a garden bed.

And putting together a little raised bed from boards left over from a project that dh has done for the yard.   I had to get help from him in putting them together.  I won’t even go into the details of how I was trying to assemble the boards, but his way made more sense.   I am just not gifted in building things with wood.  I learn really easy, but the hows and whys are just not part of my creative bent.

So I ended up with a raised bed that is truly creative .. in that it is not perfectly square and two ends are higher than the sides .. but this will go on the ground and filled with lovely mulch and so no one will ever be the wiser.

DH looked at my results, shook his head and laughed .. I told him that it was just perfect for the garden .. a true garden is not perfectly square and in alignment.

Next in my playtime . . I separated the seeds from the dried flower pods from the white flowering sage plant.  I’ve read in one of my gardening books that sage would make a good garden border, so I’ll try that.  Free sage border, gotta like that.

Then I decided to cover up my tomato plants.  Having given away yards of Remay years ago … I wasn’t sure what to use in place of that .. so ended up fetching some Ikea lightweight cotton sheers and spent some time wrapping up some of the larger plants .. I’ll take pics later today.

I was on my hands and knees, pulling out grass and plantings from an overhead bird feeder, when I noticed a young Anna hovering above .. finally settling on the  tiny perch of the hummingbird feeder.  And the camera is at least 10 feet away.   So I quietly observe this little visitor.  I believe it must be one of the babies, there is still fluffy white downy feathers on the lower part of its body, and tiny little markings at the outer edges of the eyes.   He watches me and I watch him .. timeless magic.   One of those gardening moments that money cannot buy.

Sigh.

Next I mix up dilutions of EM so that I can install some perennials in one of my newly tidied side gardens.  Which gives me an idea .. one rainy day .. I will spend some time looking through photos of the past few years and I’ll show the transformations that I’ve made in the yard.  Creating areas of beauty from badly neglected spaces.   If I hadn’t taken the photos, I would have forgotten how much I’ve done.

I planted several lavender plants, carefully removing them from their plastic pots.  Soaking their roots in EM, trowelling out a space and putting them in their new home.  Gently tamping in soil around them and a final watering of EM.

Then I notice that the sunlight has disappeared .. .dusk has arrived.   I walk around this garden edging … noting where I’ll be digging in more plants and then finally decide that the time needed for this chore is going to take hours.   So might as well pack it in for the day.

Thought back over my day, what I’d accomplished .. and reflected on my playing time (that’s where creativity kicks in and time stops) and decided that I’d had yet another most wonderful day in the garden.

So, time to take a mug of freshly brewed Yorkshire Tea (the lovely loose leaf type) and go outside for another playing day.

🙂