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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Seeking Positivity in a garden space – it is there – you just have to look.

In today’s world, it seems that quite often, due to massive construction in quiet little neighbourhoods .. that privacy and quiet becomes like a long lost dream.  It’s happened in our little area and speaking with visitors from Sweden a few years ago .. it happens over there also.   What to do?  And why does this happen?  ($$$) And how to deal with this?

Where once we had a view of mountains in the distance – there is now a multi-story care facility.   There went the skyline, I thought.  Cringing from the mountain of cement that now loomed, 7 stories high.

Then in the same time frame – another multi story set of condos went in down the street.

During the past number of years, we have had to endure the mess, noise and infringement that all this construction brought in.  It was not a happy time.    It was a struggle to even want to be outside in the garden.    And so I didn’t continue with a number of projects that I’d started and my yard was no longer my creative haven.  I went outside with a heck of a positive attitude and creative energy – only to be driven back inside, frustrated with the ugly sounds of all the construction activity that just couldn’t be avoided.  Even with my sump pump water fountain and my IPod at its loudest volume.

I sought solace elsewhere, going for walks, joining an exercise group – just to experience some peace and quiet.  Frustrated that I had to leave home to find it as it wasn’t available anymore in our yard.  My heaven.

Now the noise is nearly over – hopefully will soon disappear.   And I can again seek joy and solitude in my garden.

Myself .. I’m thankful that I let our fruit trees and bamboo grow to their heart’s content and that affords us a lot of privacy.  I can almost pretend that my garden is my paradise.

For now, after 3 years of horrific noise I can now find the energy to continue with garden projects long neglected.  Noise has such negative energy that my creative soul went away for a holiday and I’ve been inviting it back.   It’s been returning in little bits.  I’m imploring it to stay awhile.

I do this by focusing on the beauty and positivity that exists in little pockets in the yard.

Here is a tiny little beneficial  hover fly in a bird-planted flower.

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friday-03This hardy rose continues to flower and will continue till the fall.  Lovely scented roses.  It demands absolutely nothing – I don’t water it and don’t add fertilizer and it flowers away madly!friday-05An actual photo of the squash, steadily growing away.  I quite liked the play of shadow on the surface ..very art nouveau, I thought.

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Here is one little area.   Years ago there was just grass here.  I  had gradually planted some cedars, Nandia bamboo, Crocsomia, Southernwood .. and mulched it quite heavily.  Yesterday I returned to this long-neglected area (one of many in the yard) and tidied it up a bit, forming a temporary little brick wall and when it was all done, I stood back to admire it.  And quite like the friendly look of this little corner.  There is a section of oak tree in there that I keep moving around the yard.  Eventually I’ll use it in a small hugulkultur – but for now am trying to grow moss in the openings.   And I’ll pour a glass of white wine and set myself down at the little bistro table to relax a bit, one of these evenings.   Or, just a mug of Yorkshire Tea .. if I decide to relax during a sunny afternoon.  Whatever.  A place to relax – hidden by the branches of the old apple tree and tall bamboo at the side.friday-10Flowers of the Nandia bamboo – diminutive little flowers that grace this section of the yard with their beauty and elegance.friday-12Nearby is a sturdy little Southernwood … love the perfume from the feathery leaves.friday-12-2

My dear Lady JaneE .. sitting on the little bench ..majestically awaiting her treats.

friday-18Although I have bought pricier treats for her .. she insists on Temptations.  At nearly 21 years of age – who am I to argue.   A Cat always rules the house and yard.  We mere humans bend to their rules!   She is a happy little girl.Friday 19.JPGThe Bush-Tits swirl into the yard … I think that I’ve been seen .. but they ignore me and nibble daintily at the suet.   I place small amounts of the suet in feeders throughout the yard as little treats for my feathered friends.

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Then one of these little darlings perches on a section of nearby bamboo – looking for the rest of the flock:

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He travels to the nearby “first Christmas tree”for a few seconds and then flies away to join his family.friday-08

 

Serene blue skies above ..friday-04

A hollyhock flower catches my eye … another bird planted beauty?  It grows quite tall and if I hadn’t been looking at the Bush-tits, I wouldn’t have noticed this at all!

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Growing  higher than I can reach, even standing on a step ladder – are my “favourite beans” which I will let dry and save them for seed.  Some for me, some for friends and family.  Sharing is what gardening is all about.

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One of two Pyracanthus bushes in the yard, this one is huge.   The full 8 foot height is bent over due to the heavily laden branches which are covered with the orange berries.  I’ve tried various methods of staking this plant and tired of being attacked by the sharp thorns had decided to prune it back.  But first, I checked with Ann Nightingale (a Birding Expert in British Columbia and far beyond!)   When I am stymied with a bird question, I send her an e-mail inquiry and she always responds with the answer!   Yesterday I was trying to find out if the Pyracanthus berries are favourites for birds.  Not finding an answer to my question online, I e-mailed Ann.    And her swift response helped me make the decision to prune!  I can then either dry or freeze the berries for the winter time.  And then I can add these berries to the feeders when the cold weather arrives.  As our freezer is full to bursting with fruits and veggies from the garden, I’ve decided to dry them.   So I’ll clip the branches and leave them hanging over a tarp and when they are dry .. I will shake the berries off.  http://vibigyear.ca/

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Towering pole beans – like this Scarlet Red Runner Beans – add pockets of privacy throughout the yard.  I have more growing in the yard!!

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So I do feel a bit of my creative energy coming back in my garden.    And I dream of our next place which will definitely have more yard than house.   An opportunity to create another paradise where no buildings will be seen and I’ll have the space to create lovely outdoor rooms for dreaming in.

🙂

 

 

 


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Some rambles from the spring – willows, sheep, birds and all that sort of thing ..

Some days I just like to get in my little car and wander around … visiting farms, discovering new “eye candy” in nature and things along that vein.   Just me and my car.  Or just me and walking .. whatever.  Just me.P1230926So in the spring I went to visit the Fickle Fig farm .. an organic farm full to bursting with lots of crops, and farm animals.  Here are some of the goats.   As I walked across the muddy fields, a small group of them started to follow me .. not being a really incredibly brave person, I called to my friend “help .. they are all following me” .. how impressive is that.  To be unnerved by these little goats.  Nonetheless,  he swiftly sent them off in another direction.  whew!!  Still they do look very handsome (from a distance and on the other side of the fence, lol)6661aSome Canada Geese taking a rest in a nearby field.6673Then I made my way to the Wood Willow farm .. where I am the #1 customer!  Here are some of the cuttings that I brought home with me and planted.6670Here is  a handwoven willow basket .. how beautiful ..6667Some local landscapers were creating a habitat for the French Lop-ear rabbits (rescue rabbits).

6664I forget the type of willow used in this project, it is supposed to be a type that the rabbits do not like to nibble on.  However, this little guy chose to try it anyway.  He chewed away a bit and then left .. guess it works!6666A round opening is made so that the rabbits can enter at will.6665The project progressed ..6683Carefully allowing space for the trees to flourish ..6684Proper coppicing of the willow ..6680The cuttings are carefully tied  together.6681Inside Rosemary’s kitchen .. she kindly gives me a bouquet of the heritage daffodils, they are beautifully scented.    And I choose which cuttings I would like as she displays a variety for me.6686And I came away with some gigantic goose eggs .. have never had these before .. they were delicious and quite rich!6678And also some Swedish Blue duck eggs!6676

6677Back home and time to admire my feathered visitors .. here are the darling little Bush-tits.  I know they must be nesting somewhere in the yard and the location of their nest is a mystery.  That’s ok with me.  they need their privacy .. don’t we all.6669The Juncos are frequent visitors in the fall/winter/spring and fly elsewhere for the summer.   They love flax seed so I bought a huge bag of it for them!6672And where there are birds, there are hawks .. this is in one of the fruit trees in the back yard.6674Dear little Nuthatches .. nesting somewhere nearby .. I’ve been lucky to see some of the babies in the spring ..this is an adult.6660Female Downy Woodpecker .. this is my favourite suet holder ..and the birds sure like it.6668And the arc-en-ciel was a beautiful scene to see  ..6671

As I haven’t been blogging for such a long time – and I have not stopped taking photos .. I will start to upload them here!  Creating good memories for me to look at during the winter months!


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Musical Spanish Musica Beans, tasty tomatoes and inspiration from the garden (yet again!)

So here is a photo of one section of the area beside the house that I recently renovated – neat and tidy when I first did this area and over the years overgrown with bluebells, morning glory and fallen leaves & rose petals.   Refreshing, really, to see it tidy once again.   A lot more to go before it is finished, but inspirational to have tidied it up thus far!  And again, motivational and meditational.  05

And you know that good ole saying “stop and smell the roses” .. well I did!  This rose bush is old, I planted it about 30 years ago.  Don’t remember the type, but it does have a faint scent.     Bonus, it grows like crazy and doesn’t need much water at all …. I suppose because the roots are so deep.

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Love surprises in the garden .. yesterday it was this delicious little tomato!

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Kale growing all over the yard and letting the seeds go to ground for more plants for the winter!01

Spanish Musica seeds growing like crazy.  Kinda funny that this one resembles a musical note and I’m learning how to read music!

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I thought these were dry beans until I read what type they are.  Turns out that they will be delicious when harvested young like this.   And, as it is never too late to learn and undo a cooking habit .. yesterday I discovered (online) that beans are best  when placed in a large pot of boiling, slightly salted water and cooked for only 3 minutes, then tossed with butter.

And there are many other ways to finish off the beans but this suits us fine.  Nice and simple.  Although I may toss them with tiny tomatoes & slices of garlic from the garden.  Quite a change from the insipid way I had been preparing them – placing beans in a small pot with cold water which I then brought to a boil .. resulting in all the goodness being cooked out of them.  Never again!

DH loves them the new way which is great as I do not plan on freezing my crops of beans ..just plan to enjoy them every day!

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Tenacity of the squash .. quite pretty and very strong.   I look forward to seeing the squash when they start to appear on the plants!

Absolutely stunning are these plants in the light of the sun .. all from a little seed .. fascinating and humbling …nature has it all ..

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This year has been a bumper crop of fruit.  Here, one of the plum tree’s branches was so heavily laden that it cracked and broke .. I cut away most of the wood but this branch remains and will be removed later.  See the new growth from the branch?   Resilience, strength, renewal.

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Another surprise squash .. seems to be many of them in the garden .. nice one!12

And of course .. the tendrils are reaching out for support, beginning with the surprise sunflower.

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Some flowers on “my favourite bean” .. these grow in a group of four, and each one takes their turn to commence on the next step to create a bean.  A bean a day!

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And finally, the Spanish Musica bean .. online, the length of the vine is purported to be 6 to 7 feet.  These are at least 15 feet and still growing .. reaching out for support.  I’ll climb the ladder this morning to try and train them to grow on a neighbouring tree.  Inspirational?  You betcha!

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Time to finish household stuff, practise my violin, and then will literally run outside to enjoy the day.  It is a bit overcast today so it will be fun to get things done!

 


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Tenacity of beans, happy little Moonbeam yarrow and blue skies above!

Moonbean Yarrow .. this is my favourite of all yarrows!  I bought a number of them on sale, the flowers were finished and the plants looked like they were done.  I potted them up, gave them some EM and voila!  Blooming away – so cheerful in the garden!  One day I will plant them randomly and watch happily as they grow in abandonment (at our next place!)

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Inspiration comes from watching the tenacious growth of beans … they seek structure in order to grow upwards.  These are the Spanish Musica beans.

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I’d missed these long S. Musicas as I’ve been trying to pick them when they are half this size!  Still delicious though.  Amazing beans.  I’ll have lots for next years plants as the vines are growing way beyond my reach, even with a ladder.  So the ones I can’t reach will be great for next year!

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I love you two, little beans.   Despite barriers in their path, they continued to grow around them.   Another lesson of inspiration.514

As always, blessed with sky art above us.512

 

I had purchased a packet of these nasturtiums, only about 8 in the package.  So I planted them hither and yon in the garden.  This is the first flowering one .. I noticed this by chance yesterday and had to kneel on the ground to take this photo.

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Oh joy .. my favourite bean is flowering .. soon the beans will be there!517

Hmmm .. the little Chickadee seems to be noticing the low level of seeds in the feeder .. must add a bit more.  I love how they announce their arrival with short little Chickadee chirps.509

The pal of the Chickadee — the Nuthatch swiftly chooses a sunflower seed — then flies away to feast on a nearby tree.

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Loving how the beans are growing up the gigantic bamboo stake!  They find their way without my guidance (too high for me to reach, anyway!)

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It was the texture and design of the back of this bush bean that caught my eye .. the symmetry and beauty of nature’s design.

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Thanks to the birds .. they drop the occasional sunflower seed and I enjoy the beauty of the sunflowers.   I thank them for their gardening skills!!  🙂

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ha ha ha .. I had no idea that the beans would grow so much .. leaving me just enough space to walk through the mini-tunnels of live plants.   Next time I will leave more space.  Who knew those tiny seeds would be so lush??  Not me, that is for sure.  They get lots of music and love (plus EM and llama manure) to grow their best.

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One last photo.  I tugged at the outreaching stem of this Scarlet Red Runner bean .. it was very strong .. not a delicate plant.  Has to be strong to survive.

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That was part of my garden day yesterday.

And then I went drumming  … but that is another story.

🙂  On with this day.


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Computers, argh. Amazing artists at The second annual Victoria Gem & Mineral Show!

ha ha .. I actually wrote the “rock and bean show” and corrected that.  Do I have beans on my mind or what!

A few days ago, I trundled our poor ole computer over to have it looked at.  Turns out, at 10 years old, it had outlived it’s lifespan by 5 years so we actually had a good run.  Time for a newer model so I went that route. And blithely forgot what I go through every single time we upgrade and thus spent 2 days working on “where is that **%” program .. where is my music .. etc., etc., I won’t bore you with the details.  After a few visits back and forth, trying to explain what I was missing and where was it .. the experts at Mother Computers had our computer running seamlessly.   Yegads they are patient.   So we love that store!

Anyway, that storm went away so it was time for me to have a fun visit to the “second annual Victoria Gem & Mineral Show” at the Pearkes Arena.  It was so much fun that I actually went for awhile, returned home to play in the garden and went back to the show.  Glad I did as I enjoyed talking with the artists and came home with such good ideas for my creations to try and implement.   That is how creativity happens.  Travelling around doesn’t hurt either, but that isn’t in the picture so I’m glad the show is here.

This is rather artistic and was an accident .. I like it though.  The next photo shows what it was meant to be.

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Happy accident .. I think I prefer the one above.  Anyway, lovely garden at the Pearkes Arena.

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Sweet little JaneE Kat enjoying the shade on this hot day:

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My climbing beans provide shade and a place of mystery and privacy in the yard .. loving this.  204

I will never ever have a structured garden .. they will always be changeable and different every year .. and see how I’ve added a variety of structures for the beans to grow up .. a garden with personality.   The best thing for growing climbers is a section of cattle fencing .. perhaps in our next home.  For now this is perfect .. 203

 

And now on to the Gem show .. I took so many pictures and want to share what I learned so will continue tomorrow .. for now ..Lovely use of driftwood, very artistic.

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Millions of crystals in this one ..213

I bought some phantom quartz ..that was the reason for my second visit!  I bought the smaller one at my first visit.  At home, after I read up on the qualities of the phantom quartz,  I had to return to get another one!  And lucky me .. the one I chose was on sale (honest, that is not why I chose this one . .I just liked it).  Mine happened to be grey phantoms.  There are a variety of colours:  http://www.healingwithcrystalshtml.net.au/phantom-crystals.207

At another table, I bought these (more photos from this table tomorrow) .. the seller was originally from Russia and lives in Calgary.  He told me that a lot of artifacts are being found due to climate change.  And that China is taking truckloads of these away.

These are some of the items I purchased at Earth Meets Spirit (and she gave me one free, what a sweetie!)  More photos tomorrow .. just wanted to share these now.


I think this is an amethyst .. it sparkled so I had to have it:

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The one on the left is Serpentine (I bought this at the Sequim Lavender Faire last year.  I spoke with a sculpture (yegads, you know, the person who sculpted not the actual sculpture)  at the Gem show, who told me that it had been tumbled and would be easy to carve (wow .. I am going to learn about carving) and that it has saponification properties!  The chunk on the right is “slag” .. glass found in our back yard left over from a glass factory that used to be on our property before the house was built. Our house is circa 1941 .. so I guess the factory would have been here 1930’s.  I have lots of this beautiful glass and treasure it.  I was told it could be tumbled.  One artist shone a light through it and it seemed to come alive with brilliance.

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And one more photo to end the day. I’m still in awe that my bean plants have so many beans on them .. it seems only a few weeks ago I planted them.  Now, not only do they add interest, shade and privacy in the yard… they are supplying me with food!   This question mark bean was growing around a stake, it was determined and would not give up.  Like me.

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So .. it’s been another hot and sunny day here and time for supper …

🙂


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Has it really been a year??? Oh, and the magic is still in the garden. And .. today I went to the Rock & Gem Show at Pearkes Arena, Victoria, BC

Well.. my goodness gracious me.  (I’ve always liked that sentence and it seems appropriate to use it today).  I think that it is a line that was used many times in the older movies and it has a kind of gracious, civilized, yet .. homey feeling I think.

I just love blogging . .it’s been a very creative outlet for me which I began when I retired and that is about 5 or so years ago.  A time in my life when I could begin focusing my energies on things that I like doing.

Gardening is number one of course and in my first year that is what I did.  I started a small business “The Dog Walking Gardener” and actually worked for a few people and then I realized that I’d never in my life had this time for me so why am I trying to fill it up with working .. so I stopped that.  And worked on transforming our yard into a funky organic place and this has been ongoing and will stop when we move.  And then I will start again.

For those who love gardening .. and here I’ll speak for myself on this, cause there are many reasons why people garden.  I should really say .. for me .. gardening equals a strong reconnection to the earth, a grounding, as it were.  A way of channeling into my most inner, special, creative being.  I’m not being spiritual here.  I’m just stating the facts.

Today, I worked in my garden in the late afternoon .. it’s been terribly hot here and the sun has been very strong.  So when I went outside, with my mug of Yorkshire Tea .. I was just really wanting to get some good energy for moving things around.  I started out with our little JaneE Kat .. she’ll be 21 in December!  She sits in the stairway that leads to the basement, waiting for me to go outside so I can put treats on the pathway for her!  She is reward orientated.

Here is JaneE in our motorhome when we travelled to Hope, BC, to visit the Vancouver Soaring Club .. so beautiful and more about that later.  Anyway, she is getting quite comfortable with being in the motorhome, as far as she is concerned ..all that is outside is like a tv!

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Then, mug in hand, I moved around the yard, listening to the most beautiful soothing music from my IPod .. and I was watering another section of parched yard at the time.  I drifted backwards in time to when I was little … when I started a circular patch of sunflowers from a 5 cent packet of seeds, into our hard packed back yard.  I clearly remember the 5 cents and the happy sunflowers on the packet of seed .. and I have no idea where the packet came from .. I just seemed to have it.  The seeds grew and were beautiful and cheerful.  I was going to do that this year but somehow .. it didn’t happen .. there is always next year.

Here is sweet little JaneE, sleeping away on the outside stairs .. yegads how I love her.

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Thanks to the hungry birds at the feeder, though, there are lots of sunflowers sprouting throughout the yard .. so I guess, in reality, they are making my dream come through!

Anyway .. it was a most beautiful chunk of time, watering the plants, listening to the music, drifting back in time and being extremely grateful that I have this bit of paradise that I have created .. that reflects my inner self and a space where I can just revel in beauty and appreciate the energy that comes from the growing plants.

For I have become quite enamored of beans!  The climbers that I planted.  The tiny seeds that I nurtured, which grow most magically into magnificent plants that twirl above my head .. reaching always for a place to grow.   Isn’t it so humbling that a tiny seed contains absolutely everything that is needed to morph into a plant that will give me good food.  Everyday I go outside to check on them.  The Annie Jackson Pole Beans, Spanish Musica, Cherokee Trail of Tears and my most favourite bean, which I call “my favourite bean”.  It’s heritage and special and I forget the name.  One day I’ll look on Salt Spring Island Seeds or from Annapolis Seeds at:  http://www.annapolisseeds.com  as those are the two places where I’ve ordered seeds from.  Excellent quality.  Crispy long pods that crunch when you bite into them!

This photo is for me to look at in the winter so I can remember how lovely it is to watch the beans growing on my makeshift garden ..

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It’s been a busy day … and more about that another time.  About computers and the time spent getting new ones to behave, many trips to the shop.

Bees and sunflowers ..

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Smiling sunflowers .. same flower one day apart ..

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This rose was dying until I gave it some water .. like a little love ..it works miracles.

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A lovely bit of fluff on some ornamental grass .. ethereal and so sweet .

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Comfrey flowers for the bees ..
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Squash growing in some sieved compost ..what to do .. I have tried repotting one of them .. they have grown so I must try to let them grow .. in another area as there is no drainage in this container!

018This is a great year for fruit in our city .. and here is an example from one of our trees!

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Picked this up at Michaels last week .. excellent!

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A seed planted in a pot and lookee here!

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Scarlett Red Runner Beans .. this was a surprise plant .. I had looked at it one day and saw it twining upwards, perhaps a forgotten seed from last year and suddenly … beans!  They were delicious!
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Spanish Musica beans .. very tall pole beans ..

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Little Anna in one of the apple trees ..

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And I’ve been spending so very much time this year with creative endeavours.  Today, this included two trips to the Rock and Bead show at the Pearkes Arena.  I spoke with such creative people and took lots of photos, which I will share tomorrow.

Lived in a creative manner .. life is stupendous and amazing and energizing.

🙂

till tomorrow ….

 

 

 

 

 


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Monday, January 13, 2014

Funny how life changes as we go along … 6 months ago I had no idea, no inkling that my life would change in such a positive way that it has.

I had a lifelong aversion to any type of group activity .. yet, through the invitation of a friend … I found that there are exceptions to any rule.

There was this group, see, that used to exercise 3 times a week in a boot-camp scenario.  The founder of this group went along another path in life, a very creative and ambitious one!  And the group wanted to continue the exercise regime that she had started.  They all get along very well.

So my friend R invited me to join and at first I sabotaged myself, in many ways .. grumbling all the way .. any excuse would work.  The location(s) were too far away and on and on .. so I missed a few.  Then I attended one and I was hooked, line and sinker!

I can’t remember when I’ve had such a good time and enjoy great conversations with everyone.   And rigorous exercise .. up steep hills that I doubt a goat would even go.   By myself .. I wouldn’t attempt some of the climbs, but when I look and see the rest of the group just going ahead, well, that gives me the confidence to tackle it.   And though I’m out of breath, I still go on.

And parks .. well, I know Victoria, B.C. is the “City of Gardens” but, really  … I had no idea there were so many!   So very many incredibly beautiful locations, tucked away .. with the most beautiful views at certain places.   So I’m rediscovering my city of choice.

So I’d like to share bits of todays exercise … we went through Mystic Vale.

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Such a tranquil place to be .. the moving waters rippled and flowed and filled the air with the most pleasing sounds …

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I just had to keep stopping to look and snap a few pictures of this lovely nature.09

So very tranquil …
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And the splish-splash of the tumbling mini-waterfalls were delightful ..07

Acres, it seems .. of lush ferns …mossy tree trunks .. interesting textural bark designs and bumps on the trees …nature has texture .. it isn’t all smooth and unlined like glossy magazine photos are.

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Love this one ..05

Here is the same little waterfall, a few steps back ..

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And so we continued …02It truly was a wonderful early morning session … 2 more this week and I’m already looking forward to them.

Oh, this is just so fun …how could I not stop and feast my eyes!!!

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Another mixed weather day .. some sun and then the skies clouded up … I like this one though!

11Finally … I spent some time in the yard .. preparing to “winter sow” seeds!

More about that tomorrow!

🙂