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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Enjoying the Beauty that is in my Garden!!

Pretty Pink Lupins!  I’ve kept these in a pot but just might plant them somewhere in a sunny spot so they can grow and prosper.  I’ll do that once they set seed and I will save some for the future!  27May 01Not far away is this lovely old rose bush .. the roots are deep so it doesn’t need much water at all .. my favourite kind of plant.  Once in awhile I’ll add some EM or some other nutrient .. liquid seaweed.  It’s a tough old plant and adds beauty and nectar for the bees and I’ve seen the Anna’s there also.27May02I planted some blue Columbines and now I see that there are pink ones also.  Love garden surprises.27May04The blue Columbines that I planted …years ago ..now flowering away like mad  .. a neighbour to the pinks!27May03So here I’m being “artsy” and applied a Slate shade to the blue Columbine.. glad that the flowers aren’t really this colour, but I do like the dreamy effect.27May11Some thornless blackberry flowers .. huge berries!!  I wonder if the Leafcutter bees have been active .. as I’ve noticed some circular indentations on a variety of leaves.  Busy Bees.27May05Sweet little Lady Jane .. this is one of her favourite places to have her treats.  She keeps running towards this little bench, sits and stares expectantly upwards .. “where is my picnic?27May06Where are the rest of my treats?????27May07I finally decided to try growing potatoes in straw, having read many online accounts of success.   I carefully unrolled some chicken wire, folded in half, lengthwise, inserted bamboo sections for the frame.   Added some organic seed potatoes and covered with the straw.   The potatoes had already started rooting when I planted them.  Added some water and now I’ll just wait to see how they grow and will keep adding straw as the plants grow.   I shovelled some soil on top, just a little bit.27May09These are the little potato sections that I had cut up, a few weeks ago, and planted them in little pots.  99% of them rooted and sprouted leaves .. see how strong the root section is!!  And also, I see a couple of bean plants in the cells  .. no idea where they came from as I had not planted them.  happy to see them, though.  Time will tell what kind of beans they are.   One of the joys of using homemade compost, I think!  the magic continues.27May10

I was out for a walk a few days ago, just had to stop and take a photo of one of the neighbourhood eagles.  I’ve seen them for quite a few years, watched them grow from the juvenile stage to adulthood.   Very convenient location, close to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.27May08Every year I shape-shift my veggie garden.  Every year I just cannot fathom how to come up with a new design .. and .. every year I do!  This year is the same.  We have had steady rains up until last week, so I haven’t gone outside to play.  Now the sun is here and I’m all excited about work in the garden.  It takes a few sessions outside before I’m really energized so patience is a virtue there.

If you’ve seen the photos of my previous years .. you’ll see a marked change.  I’ve removed most of the raised beds and planted my garlic in large pots.  To the left is the chicken wire potato circle.  At the front is another Lee Valley arbour and peas are growing up the sides.  I’ve planted some low growing berries in the little bricked areas (temporary brick formations).  And way behind is a frameworks for my beans to grow.  Then I’m removing the final raised bed.

Am in the midst of forming a bamboo teepee frame to create a little private space in the middle.  Where I can look out and only see green .. no houses at all!  and inside will be a little secret garden of sorts.   I’ll post more photos of my progress.  This is a real garden in the works, folks!27May12

Well .. time is running .. off to recycle, work in the garden and then my fiddle lesson!  The fiddle is lots of work but really gives me such joy.   I’m going through a little slump in energizing my discipline for practise but I know that this will pass.

🙂


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I Love Surprises in the Garden!!!

Some people have billions (really!) of Lily of the Valley (my most favourite of all flowers, ever, ever!) and I do envy them!  I’ve planted them throughout the yard and this is the first year that I can see them growing in little clumps .. I am so Happy!  Here are some growing away at the base of the wild and crazy tree.  A little fern is their neighbour.  Those green chunks of glass are slag that I uncovered in our yard .. many years ago (before our house was built in about 1937) there used to be a glass factory on ours .. and surrounding properties.  I love the glass.May 6, 01Sunshine on the Lily of the Valley leaves … sweet. May 6,02

Yummy swirling .. ephermeral  .. beautiful May 6, 23

The elusive little yellow bird that visits our yard daily.  This lovely little bird was about 15 feet away and this is the best photo I’ve been able to take.  (thus far)May 6, 03

A few years ago I was part of a group that were able to save some native plants and I was surprised to find this lovely Fawn Lily growing away, quietly, in a pot.  It must have been in some of the soil that I used and I will label and save this precious beauty. May 6, 22

I must have planted tulip bulbs years ago, they keep popping up everywhere!May 6, 12

Nearby some white Bleeding Hearts (what a name for such a pretty flower!) ..May 6, 13

Blossoms drifted onto a nearby branch ..May 6, 11

I think that there will be another bumper crop of fruit this year .. more apples to share with friends.  Fruit leather to make.  Dehydrated apple slices.  Applesauce!  thank you .. trees …May 6, 17

Squirrelly .. looking for some peanuts … May 6, 07

Wanton decadence .. cherry blossoms drifted to the mulch below May 6, 04

LIttle JaneE, sitting on her favourite little bench with some kitty treats.  She loves that!May 6, 08

Nearby, little Squirrelly nibbles away on a treasured peanut.  We all enjoyed some sun and tranquility for a space of time.  It was lovely.May 6, 09

Another of my favourite flowers .. Sweet Woodruff.  Grows in whorls .. easy to type but not so easy to fit into a conversation!  Anyway, dried, it smells like vanilla.  Eons ago (before everyone had showers) people would place a few whorls into a little container so they could open it and sniff the lovely vanilla perfume.  I’m just glad that we now have showers and can just enjoy the beauty of the flowers!  🙂  May 6, 19

Little baby girl, tired out and having a cat-nap.  She’s 21 and loves being outside with me.  May 6, 10

Every year I change the layout of my veggie garden.  And every year I misplace a garden tool.  No worries, I have lots.   This little trowel lasted quite well during the winter and spring and is in great serviceable condition.   May 6, 20

Yum .. more overhead decadent beauty …

May 6, 14

Sweet little garden fairy gently sniffing a nearby strawberry flower.  May 6, 18

As you can tell, I love my garden.  Every year I change the layout and this year is exciting!  I’m getting rid of my makeshift raised beds and am creating a special little secret garden.  A place where I can sit in privacy, sipping on Yorkshire Tea or a glass of wine.  Depending on the time of day.

To do this, I’ve moved the tubular forms that I used to grow beans on.   Placed them as a sort of wall at the back of the veggie garden.  About 3 feet in front of that, I’ve transplanted some delicious tall raspberry canes, to form a semi-circle.

Around one side of this area I’m transplanting white currants and gooseberry plants.

Then some tall bamboo forms for more beans to grow.  Some chicken wire potato columns.  Giant sunflowers.

I’ll post pictures as the plants start growing.  For the present, I need to go outside and dig up the remainder of my raised beds, dismantle the lumber and move the soil.

And as the day is lovely and sunny . .I must go now and continue with  my shape shifting garden!

🙂


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Surprises and Magic in the garden .. what a fun place to be – all beneath beautiful blue skies ..happy is me!

Tis the season of blue skies and rainy days here.  Like .. yesterday!  The sun was shining brilliantly  in the morning.  I dutifully practiced my singing exercises, followed by my fiddle session.  These are easy to set aside for a later time in the day but I find that, when I do that, procrastination takes over, big time.  So .. I just focus on these 2 lovely sessions.

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When I did finally go outside, a slight rain had occurred and again .. there were blue skies overhead!

So my darling little Lady JaneE came outside with me.  She is my gardening cat.   Born in ’96, the year of the “big snow” here in Victoria, she literally rules the roost in our house.  We love her so much.  Anyway, she is waiting for some treats which I place on the steps beside her.  One of our gardening rituals.april 18, 08 (2)Sipping my mug of Yorkshire tea, I wander around the yard a bit .. this also is a ritual that I follow.  To see all the changes that Spring has brought to the garden.   And enjoy the sweet little songbirds.  Here is a little Golden Crowned Sparrow.. I love their songs and find them very comforting. april 18, 09

The Spotted Towhee .. another lovely bird, very shy but bold in colour.  They have a wide range of sound and sometimes they sound (to me) like the Bewick Wren!   april 18, 05

Sweet little Red-breasted Nuthatch … zooming in for some suet!   The trees in our yard are tall and provide nesting areas for many of the birds that visit our yard.   april 18, 04

The tall Oregon grape is flowering nicely .. cheerful yellow flowers brighten up a bit of the yard.   The leaves on the fruit trees are starting to grow and fill out.   Soon they will be accepted as a normal part of the trees but during this growth period after the winter, they are marvellous bits of magic manifesting in the yard.  I like that.

april 18, 07

Tiny little pink flowers on this perennial which I am pretty sure is an Escallonia …  april 18, 08

Flowers of a fruit tree.  I potted this up last summer, and am not sure if it is plum or cherry.   Guess I’ll find out this year!  More of the magic & a surprise to unfold.  Love the mystery.april 18, 06

I discovered this idea, to cut up (organic) seed potatoes, from a great youtube video of allotment gardening   This guy is just amazing!  Anyway, I have potted these up now and am waiting to see if they will grow and then I’ll plant them.  I have a few ideas as to how I will do that and will post when that is done!    A nice surprise for me last week .. was discovering 2 sprouting garlics!  Last summer I had tied up bunches of garlic to dry beneath the sundeck and these 2 must have fallen down! april 18, 01

I’ll pot these up in containers and look forward to harvesting them at the end of summer!  They are hardnecks, so more scapes for pesto!  Yumm april 18, 02

Last week I visited Russel Nursery in North Saanich, what a wonderful place for a gardener to be!  I was there at least 3 hours, which seemed like 5 minutes.  Everyone there is so knowledgeable and helpful.  This is one of a few wooden structures there that I totally fell in love with.  So much character and beauty.  A portal to the plant world.

april 18, 03

Another sky photo.  Such beauty for us to see.  april 18, 11

Hey, hey, hey!  Have I found the perfect gardening tea mug?????  Yes!   And yesterday I filled it with lovely Yorkshire tea and sat on the front steps to drink it and enjoy the greenery around me.   This lovely hypertufa mini-garden is the perfect place for it to be.

Many, many, years ago, I purchased all the ingredients to make one of these and life just became too hectic for me to accomplish this!   So I bought this one ready-made and love it so much.  Perhaps I will try again, this motivates me to think about that.

april 18, 10

This day is starting out in a gentle fashion.   Cloudy skies, sporadic rain showers.  Birds singing in the yard.

Time to get on with things,  Practicing my two passions.   The fiddle and the singing.  And then on to other things .. like the garden which is calling out to me.

🙂


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The Darling Little Bewick Wrens are setting up house again ….

The amazing Beaufort mountain range just outside of Port Alberni …We were up there recently and I took a lot of photos and decided this one was the fluffiest for posting!   So beautiful!

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Back at home, wandering around the yard with some sunflower seeds and suet for the birdfeeders (I only put out a little at each feeder) .. I noticed that there appeared to be a little nest being constructed in the old hang glider bag.  Some Bewick Wrens had built a nest there a few years ago, but abandoned it in favour of another location.   So here they go again.  I don’t know if these are the same pair or whether the young ones have found mates and are starting a little family.

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I’d noticed two of them perching in the dwarf weeping willow a few days ago  here is one and the other wasn’t far away.

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They are so very tiny and they were intently looking at something.  I found out today what had caught their attention!

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Our cat, JaneE, insisted on going outside ..when all I wanted to do was practice my fiddle for today’s lesson!   Guess who won out .. cause ya can’t argue with a cat.  In particular, a deaf, 22 year old princess who rules our household.   I noticed what looked like a straw bowl, resting bottom up on the lawn … curious .. I turned it over and see what I found!  A Bewick Wren nest .. and notice the yellow flowers from the dwarf weeping willow!!!

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All that very fine weaving in the construction of the nest!  I noticed a small piece of plastic film at the bottom of the nest … funny .. there was also a thin piece of plastic in the nest that I found a few years ago.  I wonder how long it took them to build this nest?  I carefully replaced it into the hangglider bag, tucking it in firmly, unsure as to whether they will return to this next or perhaps build another one?    This is so very precious, I feel honoured to hold something so fine, true nature.

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And this is from a few days ago, perhaps the little Bewick was continuing to search for fine items to build the nest!

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In another corner of the yard, the Downy Woodpecker is looking for food in the bark of the old apple tree.  Hard to believe that the tree can be termed old, when it just seems a few years ago that I planted it .. but it was over 30 years ago.

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Here is our little princess .. the ruler of our household!   Little JaneE Kat!! 🙂

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And little Squirrely came by.. searching for peanuts .. I threw a handfull of them around the yard.  And I chased them out of 2 of the bird feeders!!  The yin and the yang of it all.  Glad to see that this one is eating the peanut and not hiding them!

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A few days ago I went for a walk that lasted for at least two hours, it included a visit to Lifestyles Market where I filled two bags with healthy groceries .. they seemed to get a bit heavier as I walked along!   Anyway, I’d never paid attention to this street sign before and it would have been perfect for March 17!!

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It is now officially Spring!    And typical weather in Victoria is:  Sun, followed by rain, followed by sun … etc.,   Personally I adore the rainy days and find them to be comfy and relaxing.

There is a tremendous amount of tidying up to be done in the yard … I had the flue a few times and lost months of being able to do anything .. so now is the time to start at point A and work my way around the yard.  Accompanied with JaneE Kat, a few mugs of strong Yorkshire Tea and my music!   I love world music especially when in the yard .. and have lots of Nae Plans, with  Hamish Napier and Adam Sutherland to listen to .. over and over and over .. and also some new (to me) music by Kiran Ahluwalia …..

I look forward to spending a lot of time outside and have decided that I need to get up early so I can practice my fiddle for an hour at a time and then outside and then inside and then outside!  Whew, am getting tired already.

Well .. it’s Friday night and time to relax a little bit so that is what I will do!

🙂


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It snowed last night! And the angst of memorizing music!!!

Happy New Year 2017!   Looked out the window today .. it snowed last night!!  Brrrr …

Then I look out at the back yard and see some birds are pecking away at the thistle seed and the bits of suet remaining in their containers.

The darned squirrel(s) have been feasting on the sunflower seeds that I place in the new wooden open feeder .. I plan to purchase a squirrel baffle this week to stop that practice!

Speaking of practice .. I’ve pondered which spelling to use, just searched and found this explanation:  “practice is the noun, and practise is the verb” .. ok, that makes sense.

I’ve been practising my fiddle music and have been hitting a few hurdles.   Searching online I find many theories as to why this happens.  And in my lesson yesterday, I played the beginning section of a song quite well (according to my teacher) and then I floundered for the second half.

The reason?  Well, he was right when he noticed that my 2nd and 3rd fingers were over the A, and my inner critic was saying .. 3rd, no, 2nd, no, 3rd and it all went downhill from there.

Frustation, yes.  Overcome this?  Yes.   And the satisfaction that I will feel when this happens?  Great joy and incentive to learn more.

So now is the time to practice, practice and practice some more .. and this I will do.  The more I practice, the more enjoyable the music is to me.  The songs begin to seem like friends to me, the kind I’d like to know better.

Here .. I’ll share a photo from many years ago .. my pen pal in France sent this to me yesterday.   What a gift.  I used to take my Muscovy Drake, Huggers, my dogs and cat .. to the SPCA Santa photos.  I was thinking about one of these photos and wasn’t sure where to start looking and decided to put this off for one of those thousands of “to do” things in the New Year.

Well .. the photo that he sent gave me such joy .. I’d forgotten how sweet my pets were.  JaneE Kat is still with us, although my Huggers and Muffy had since made their way to the Rainbow Bridge where they frolic with Sam, Sadie and Little Guy.

I loved dressing Huggers up with my red and silver Egyptian scarf, edged with silver bugle beads … he looked quite handsome.  Plus the generous bows that I made for Muffy and JaneE .. very festive.

hugs-muffyjanee-my-violin-and-me-with-santa

How many years ago?  Does it matter?  I was younger and thinner (weren’t we all) and I used to be a bit more stylish in my dress.  There is that inner critic!  Begone you!   Happy memories and I am grateful for these.   And my little violin is there .. happy now that I am really learning how to play it finally!!

If you are reading this, Thierry, thank you .. so much!

Anyway, yesterday at my lesson, I was learning the finer points of bow placement, music timing and feel that I’m making hard won progress, yea!

So we are just getting over really bad winter colds so we are into day 2 of Pyjama Day and binge watching Funny TV shows .. right now it is Fawlty Towers.  It is good to laugh.

Anyway, I must put on my winter outerclothes and go outside to fill up the birdfeeders and put fresh water into the bird baths.

Then .. I plan to brew another mug of Yorkshire Tea and practice for a bit .. the first in the New Year.

🙂


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Happy photos taken during the sunny spring …..great memories and more to come! Yippee …

I was going through some photos that I’d taken during the year and the sweet memories started popping up .. my visual diary of happy days and things seen during my daily life!

Saw this sign posted at a garden shop and it pretty well sums up my gardening life when I’m out in the world, away from my garden!    I’m a magnet for perennial plant sales.

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From last spring .. beauty in all things ..frid-05

Cannors Nursery at the Sears Mall .. loving the decadence of their whimsical decorations.  Course I would never ever do that to my violin!!  🙂  This one looks like it has had a lot of adventures, wonder where it was played, by whom and what lovely music has been made when it was being used for its true purpose?  Did it go travelling or just stay in town?  Did the owners love it to death and practice every day?  So many questions.  Still, I like that it is a focus of the garden area.

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Last spring, Gold Crown Sparrow resting near a blue Camus flower – at Fort Rodd Hill.

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Miners Lettuce at Fort Rodd … lush and beautiful.  Great for snacking on .. .or make a salad .. lots of natural nutrition ..frid-03

Darling JaneE Kat .. sitting on the back stairs, her favourite catnip plant right beside her, ready for nibbling on ..frid-06

Salmonberry blooming away .. these plants are easy to propagate, grow quite tall and are very resilient.  The orange berries are tasteless and I think the birds love them as I rarely find any to munch on when I go searching.  That’s all right by me!   More food for them.   I do love the flowers though.frid-07

Sweet little baby Bewick Wren .. elusive little bird and happy to be able to get a quick photo.  They are nesting somewhere in the yard.frid-08

A few seconds later, he was perching on a branch of the apple tree .. listening to his parents calling and soon flew away.  Love these precious moments in the garden.frid-09

Delicate Rock Rose flowers …frid-10

Diminutive little flower growing along the ground ..frid-12

.. and a tiny little winged creature is dining out on an early Saturday morning in the sun ..frid-13

Magnificent Beaufort Mountain Range  and the stately clouds adorn it like a crown, how very fitting!frid-11

And so DH sweeps us away up to the clouds in the dear blue skies above … flying in the PW6-U …frid-23

Woo Hoo .. this is living …. miss this and looking forward to the spring when we can go flying up there again .. and again .. and again …frid-20

Travelling in the air is so magical .. it is truly another world and I am so very happy that DH takes me away to this special place .. Let’s see .. garden .. sky .. garden .. sky .. oh I have the best of both mystical and magical worlds I am so lucky!frid-20-2

Here is a great explanatory interview of the  PW6-U   The Pawnee is the tow plane, they were used for crop dusting years ago.

And this is truly .. truly .. so beautiful … enjoy this beautiful flying video, it captures the essence of ..sailplane flight up in Port Alberni … my most favourite video ever ..so perhaps you can see how magical this flying is and why I love it so much.

Anyone can go on a Scenic flight and have a taste of what it is like to glide high in the skies at the Beaufort Mountains ..

Sigh …

The fall winds have started and the leaves have started to rain down to the ground.  A change in scenery, wild and free.

I’m looking forward to going outside to see how the bean forest is doing .. and today will start leaving out a little bit more seed and suet for the birds who visit.  Yesterday I saw my first Junco so I’ll start leaving out the flax seed that they love.

The baby birds hatched this past spring will soon be experiencing their first winter.  I know that they are wild birds and will survive.  However, I can’t resist a little picture in my mind, of knitting them the tiniest of little scarves and sweaters from silky spider webs to keep them warm!

They will survive.  And I will support them by ensuring that I keep their feeders clean, give them good seed mixes and make sure there is a steady supply of water, even when the temperature goes down.

Well … time to go and start this day!!!

🙂


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Fall has arrived but I still think it is summer in the garden …

Lucky us with lots of sun happening .. JaneE Kat doing her due diligence by the wash tub water fountain.  She just loves having her showers here …and patrols this area quite often. And then she sits in the sun to dry off.th07

Here is me and my shadow …taking a photo of me!  Another me in another dimension coincidentally occurring in the same timeline?th01And I had planted my potatoes late also .. these are supposed to be purple potatoes.  I’d planted them in a huge oversize container in the back of the yard and they didn’t get much sun at all.  Still, a respectable amount of potatoes despite all that.  And that green thing that looks like a lime is totally strange.  It grew along with the potatoes and is a strange vegetable .. one which I will not eat!th02This is the rose that I’d planted many years ago.  It survives on nothing, I swear.  I don’t water it or feed it and it keeps growing on.  The root system must be very deep.   Anyway, I’d given it a very hard pruning months ago and was surprised to see the new growth.  That’s my kind of plant.  Tough and independent and at the same time, so very beautiful.th03I know that there are many ladybugs in the yard but I really hadn’t seen many until I saw this shiny new one, resting on a bucket lid.  Did it prefer the red colouring?  Seems so.th04The pigmentation is starting to change in the bean plants ..quite pretty, I think.th06Despite this .. all of the pole beans are growing like mad and there are so many flowers and beans growing!th05A morning photo .. dew on the bean leaves .. I like the effect.th10Sweet little Gold Crowned Sparrow .. doing the shuffle shuffle dance, looking for food amongst the fallen leaves of the wild and crazy tree (pear stock).th11

One morning, I saw the White Crowned Sparrow, perched high atop a telephone wire, quite the handsome bird.  http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/white-crowned_sparrowth12

In the backyard, a diminutive Anna perched on a branch of the wild and crazy tree …there are quite a few around the front, sides and back yard ..adding a speedy sparkle to the atmosphere.th14

Oh, la la .. the French Marigold has blossomed, adding a spice of red and gold to the garden.   I’d sowed the seeds after I planted the beans and was surprise to see them (but happy at the same time!)th13-2And the tiny tomatoes keep on growing ..there are quite a few.   I don’t give them any special care and they just flourish.  See the tiny one growing on the left?  Is it a tomato or is it a tiny garden sprite, camouflaging itself so that I wouldn’t notice?  The top part does really look like the kind of headgear that a little sprite would wear during the summer, to blend in and no one could notice. th13There are sunflowers in all stages of growth near the bird feeder.   This one is at the seed forming stage …th08

And this one is at the smorgasbord stage …the birds are feasting on the seeds which are still growing .th09

I know that summer is over and fall has begun.  But when the sun shines so warmly as it has done for the past while .. it’s easy for me to pretend that it is still summer.    With a mug of strong Yorkshire tea in hand, I walk around my bean forest and bask in the joy that a garden brings.  Reliving the steps that I took to prepare the soil, plant the seed, build up the structures for the beans to grow along.

Planning what to do for next year.  Soon enough it will be time to undo all that I have done and stow equipment away for the winter.  Still have another month for that, though.  So I will just continue to wander around and enjoy what is there.

Watching the dancing blue skies above … with the achingly beautiful cloud designs that are constantly changing and adding so much design and texture.

Loving the sight and sounds of the birds as they perch in the trees, fly about the yard and surprise me with their sudden chirps.  The Chickadees, in particular, love to settle on a branch by any one of the bird feeders and demand more food.

JaneE, with her wash tub showers and imperious demands for treats makes me laugh.

The pyracantha berries are nearly all dry .. I spread the orange berries outside in the sun to dry and take them inside for the night.  I hope that the birds will enjoy them during the winter months.

The garden is a busy, happy and magical place to be!

There is much to be learned and there is a lot of wisdom there if one looks closely enough.

🙂