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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We had a bit of snow and then we had some sun .. but the best part was that my garden had fun!

Victoria was ahead of the game last week when we had some snow.  I wasn’t going to take any photos, but decided, what the heck so I fetched my camera and took a few pics.

Some snow on the Mexican Orange shrub .. this plant is tough as nails!  I can do an extreme pruning and then a few months later, it flowers!  Nov 7 02Below, photo taken this week .. snow has gone (yea!!) and the flowers are still looking great.Nov 7 -09My little garden bench .. where JaneE loves to perch and await her treats!  I liked the way the sun brought out the shadows which always adds interest.  Nov 7 01Leaves decorating the frozen water in the bird bath.  I replenished the water so that the birds could bathe.   Nov 7 - 07Honestly, these sweet little flowers just add so much beauty and carefree energy to the garden .. love them!Nov 7 -98One of the many reasons I love taking photos in the fall .. so I can remember how beautiful nature is.  Took this photo last week.  Nothing like a cheerful sunflower to brighten the atmosphere, n’est-ce pas?Nov 7 -05And this venerable rose bush, another tough as nails plant!  I planted this – maybe 35 years ago?  I swear it lives on love as I rarely water it even during the hot summer.  It does not mind a heavy pruning and just seems to flourish.  The Anna Hummingbirds love this one!Nov 7 -10Alpine strawberries.  I do not plant these in the ground as they are tenacious and would soon cover the yard, as I discovered a few years ago!  Now I just keep one plant in a pot and that is enough.  Yesterday, this caught my eye, I loved the dainty flowers against the broken clay pot.  This .. to me .. is true beauty of the best kind.Nov 7 03A few days ago, I gathered some pumpkin seeds and scrapings, placed them on a Rubbermaid container lid for the birds to feast on.  Our lovely JaneE (nearly 22 years old now) loves pumpkin squash and I caught her eagerly dining on this!  She soon stopped and walked away to her little bench.  The Stellar Jays noticed this food and quickly made this disappear.  I noticed one of the Jays swallow a seed whole, snatched up another and flew away to rest in one of the trees!Nov 7 -06

Last year I only noticed one Stellar Jay in our yard .. this year there are 4 and they are such beautiful birds.  If only their song would match their beauty!  Happy to see them pick out the peanuts I leave for them.  Nov 7 -04

It is the first week of November and I still haven’t planted my garlic.  This week I will definitely plant a small patch just to enjoy their growth.  At one time I really wanted lots of property so that I could grow lots of organic garlic to sell.  Plans change and now I am content to just plant a small amount.

As all gardeners know.. the peace and tranquility of a garden soothes the soul and the joy of watching plants grow, the love of watching the interaction of the birds has an energy unlike anything else.

Sometimes I wander outside, a little overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done.   After giving JaneE her treats, and filling up the bird feeders, checking on the hummingbird feeders to make sure they have enough for the day .. I wander around, with my mug of strong Yorkshire Tea .. looking at the various areas in our garden.

And I truly surprise myself (time after time after time!) at what happens next.

I move a few plant pots, tie up a few wandering berry vines and soon find myself involved in changes that involve a different way of using the yard.

Loving the idea of creating private garden rooms and not wanting a permanent structure anywhere .. I am always thinking of a different way of doing things.  And so happy at the results.

This year I’ve placed two arbors (from Lee Valley .. not the expensive types) in the garden about 5 feet apart … and next year will plant a string bean tunnel!

And I have quite a few planters with bamboo and am playing with them to use as green walls in another garden place.  It’s funny how I’ve been focusing on just one area of the yard, forgetting about others and now I am re-discovering these sort of forgotten areas.

And mulching the seaweed that my pal D and I gathered a few weeks ago with straw from the summer and leaves raked last week.   This will make lovely soil for next year and also provide a place for the birds to peck away, looking for the insects that will live there.

Love being in my garden.

But now, off to practise my fiddle and my singing as I have another voice lesson soon!  Loving this also!

🙂


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Oh what a lovely summer it has been !! Lots of beauty, fun, magic in the garden and I feel so very happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gosh .. I haven’t blogged for awhile!  On the computer anyway.   I’ve been blogging a lot in my head but somehow that didn’t carry over to the computer.  For now, that is.  I am positive that in the very near future (if not now) this can be done.   Sending thoughts as electrical impulses  and in a nano second, the words appear on a screen.

Funny, I remember “way back” in high school, I created a few newsletters and in one of them, I predicted that in the future, clothes would be available in a tin can!  And I believe that this is now passe.

Anyway.  This summer has been a very busy one and it really flew right by, day after day after day!  So much happened and I was so very fortunate to have met so many interesting people and to have seen so many beautiful things.

I’ll start off with the VERY MOST IMPORTANT!!

This would be up in Port Alberni .. where I met Kevin, who was creating a Totem that will be moved up to Alert Bay next week!!!

I saw the totem from the beginning .. when Kevin had finished graphing out the Totem, had applied the measurements and markings to the Ancient Red Cedar (between 600 and 700 years old!!!)  I was chatting away with him, and then when I drove away .. I thought “OMG .. I JUST SAW A TOTEM POLE BEING CREATED”  This was a very powerful experience.

I asked for permission to take photos and then I happily clicked away.   This photo is from a few weeks later .. the Totem is taking shape.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.Oct 29 - 1

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Over the summer, every time that we went to Port Alberni, I would visit Kevin and the Totem.  I didn’t take a photo of the last visit.   At this point the Totem was nearing the finish and it felt alive and vibrant.  I felt honoured to be so close.

Over the summer, many people stopped by to watch and talk with Kevin .. learning about his culture and the Totem.   I wish I was there right now so that I could visit again and see how the Totem looks .. the carving details nearly done .. the whitewash, red and black paint applied.

 

Anyway .. on to the everyday activities.

Here is darling little JaneE Kat …waiting for more treats .. I love her.

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Lovely Mexican Orange .. beautifully blooming away this week!Oct 29 - 19

Roses blooming away, delicate rose perfume ..Oct 29 - 18

Our neighbours are from the Ukraine and Mira gave me tons of tomato seedlings!  This one is a genuine Ukraine tomato that you cannot find in Canada!  I am so lucky!  It matures into a sort of heart shape, with lines and ripens to a delicious red.  I placed this one on the kitchen table and it did ripen and tasted delicious in a salad.

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The Scarlet Red Runners are abundant .. I’m leaving these to mature as beans (because they are way to high to reach and have gone beyond the stage where I can chop them up in a salad!Oct 29 - 17

This photo is a little blurry, but I saw this little Junko up in Port in September and was so happy to see the return of the Junko’s for the winter!  Not a bad photo, considering I was in the motorhome and quickly grabbed my camera and aimed it out the window, the Junko was about 10 feet away.Oct 29 - 13

More recently (last Thursday!!)  my pal D and I went to Sooke to gather seaweed for our respective gardens!Oct 29 - 16

Lots of seaweed .. we took just a little bit.Oct 19 - 16a

I have always loved Faeries … here is one in my garden .. seemingly stepping from one tree to another … as Faeries are wont to do, don’t you know?Oct 29 - 21

And here is another one .. resting on a water bath .. contemplating … whatever it is that Faeries contemplate on.Oct 29 - 20

It’s been a lovely time … and I’ll share lots more in the days ahead.

I’m continuing to enjoy my Daily Life .. between my singing lessons, practising my fiddle, focusing on my German lessons, daily Yoga breathing and exercising.

Happily .. till next time!!

 

🙂

 


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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

🙂