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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Being adventurous and growing lettuce, onions and carrots! A walk along the shore.

Tuesday, September 20,2013

About 3 weeks or so ago, I decided to just trying growing some greens .. the first day of frost here in Victoria isn’t due till November 1 .. so I filled up my new plant containers (a sort of waterproofed fabric with grommets for drainage).  This one has green onions and two types of greens .. quite a few have sprouted and I believe that I will be able to harvest some for a few meals.

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Some (non gmo, organic) Red Bowl lettuce .. and I’ve planted some coriander in all 3 containers.

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And some multi-coloured carrots!

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This is my first time at growing squash .. some sites state that long vines should be cut so that all of the strength would go into the growth of the squash.  Being a timid soul, I didn’t do that .. thus this lovely little squash growing at the end of a long stem of vine.  Hurrah!!

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Heritage strawberries.   Interesting that I paid nearly $7 for a plant from a market and only $2 at a plant sale in Port Alberni!  Yeah for Port Alberni.  Anyway, next year I plan to start more of these from saved seed.  They are a rampant grower!   And the berries are so tasty.  I believe they are “Fraises des Bois” and here is a good site for saving strawberry seeds:  http://gardentherapy.ca/save-alpine-strawberry-seeds/

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Last week I ventured down to Dallas Road .. the tide was the lowest I’d seen .. so I walked about for a bit. 

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Lovely skies set the scene for a quiet stroll ..

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The sea birds were enjoying the peaceful serenity .. sharing a bit of gossip, enjoying the view ..

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This little guy was taking a little snooze …

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I wasn’t wearing my walking shoes and some of the rocks were a little slippery so I proceeded along slowly … striving to maintain my dignity!  After all, falling by yourself takes on a different view than it does when walking with a friend, then it’s not so bad, eh?  One can imagine all kinds of reasons why someone would fall when walking by themselves ,,, at least, with my active imagination anyway!

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Tiny little worlds of living beings in the little tidal pools ..

09Logs left behind by the receding waters ..

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Dreamy skies …

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And then the brilliant rays of the sun and puffy cumulus clouds take over ..

06I walked on a little .. and turned back …. enjoying the sweet solitude of the early morning .  A little moment in time when the crowds were somewhere else.  I love these moments.

This is truly a lovely time of the year.  A delicious blend of sun and rain.   Now .. I love the rain.  Absolutely love it.  It’s a time when I can actually get something done in the house.  And walking in the rain is a delight.  Memories of getting soaked as a kid, then in the house, change into dry clothes.  Mug of hot chocolate or tea.

Speaking of walking .. time to get out and see what’s happening in the neighbourhood!  Maybe I’ll meet some lovely little doggies!

🙂


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ha .. again the weather report was wrong and today was a sunny day and no rain!

Enjoying the tranquility of my garden and the lovely plants that are happily growing therein!  Here is a lovely basket of lettuce & some carrots that I harvested a few days ago:

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I felt quite pleased with myself for harvesting a variety of lettuce, some I’d quite forgotten that I’d planted!  Cause they were in pots around the yard.  Good idea to have them in the same area!

One of the many beautiful skies overhead .. I love the muted blues in this one

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This geranium is slowing opening scarlet flowers .. such a lovely surprise .. it hasn’t flowered all year, imagine that!  So I am quite happy to see this ..

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So happy, also, to see that the birds have been feeding on the sunflower seeds

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While I’ve been doing other things in the house and yard, my feathered friends have been enjoying these seeds …

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Next year I will search for very large sunflower seeds to plant so I can grow lots more for the birds to feed on.  These plants have grown from the seeds fallen from the bird feeders .. a good trade, I think.

02This time of the year is so rewarding … time to enjoy the garden.   Watch the birds.  Look way up at the skies.

It’s been a good summer and I’ve already started ordering Heirloom seeds for next year’s beans and peas.   More later.

It’s been a busy day and time to relax.

🙂


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We certainly have a mix of weather here in Victoria!  Yesterday started out overcast as I busily filled my car with just an amazing amount of recycling items and headed off to the local Bottle Depot!.

Despite all items having been carefully rinsed beforehand .. once I’d loaded them onto the wheeled cart at the Depot… I noticed several hornets buzzing around to investigate  my bottles and tins.   I tell you that I’ve never pushed a fully loaded cart up the cement ramp so fast!  Just racing to get inside and once there, the hornets had decided to leave.  Sheesh, anyway!

Back home, I decided to just go for a little walk to pick some blackberries … just enough to make a pie for my DH when he comes home from work.   The big fat berries were way out of my reach and I had to avoid some busy hornets/wasps that were hungrily gorging on the fat juicy berries .. so I contented myself with gathering about 2 cups worth of berries … that’s enough .. I’ll mix them with apples for a one-crust pie.

Enjoying the antics of a little Red-Chested Nuthatch:

16So spritely and teeny-tiny … there are a number of them in the yard, very busy munching on insects so the birdseed is a treat for them to enjoy.

02The Hummingbird feeders have all been cleaned and refilled … and they pass inspection!  The Anna’s are very particular and require clean feeders so I do my part at taking care of them.

14I’ll definitely plant more of Renee’s seeds next year …. lovely beans

15One of my recent acquisitions from a consignment shop in Port Alberni .. a friend suggested a plant would look good in this .. a great idea and I’ll do this.  The top hinges open for easy access.

10Found this little gem at the SPCA thrift shop in Port Alberni … great for making applesauce!

12Coincidentally enough, on the same shopping day, in another thrift shop .. I found this treasure, brand new and the receipt inside!   I might try grinding up some dry seaweed in this one.  The proprietor of this shop was the most amazing lady.  She and hubby live on acreage in Port Alberni.   They have masses of dogs and cats and chickens.  Oh, the funny stories she told me .. .I was so happy that I went shopping there and look forward to returning!

11My crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans … I’m waiting for the beans to rattle in the pods so I can harvest them for drying.  Some for soup and some for next year’s crop!

07Gentle sunflowers at the end of the day .. getting ready for a night full of sunflower dreams … sleep well….

04My one little acorn squash is growing quite well …yum yum!!

03And seeing that I was going to be saving my dried Kentucky Wonder Beans for next year’s crop …. I started looking for blog sites on seed saving.  And there are quite a few .. thank goodness for all of them.  I quite liked this one, as I wasn’t sure if I should just pluck some pods, shell them and dry them (which I’ve been doing).  Then I thought, maybe the pods should be drier ..  I like the information that this blogger shares:  http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.ca/2007/06/saving-peas-for-seed.html

I’m so glad that people share their garden lessons so we can all learn .. so very helpful.

Than I decided to go and search how to save strawberry seeds.  Well .. I certainly learned a lot about that!!   As my knowledge about growing healthy plants increases, so too does my awareness of the preciousness of heirloom fruits and veggies.

I discovered that the small, pretty, white strawberries (that I bought from the most amazing couple in Port Alberni!!) are actually heirloom strawberries.   http://gardentherapy.ca/save-alpine-strawberry-seeds/

Afterwards, I went looking for information on potatoes.  Oh, well .. that is quite another story for another day!

On y va!!!  A new day commences and I need to go for a little walk!

🙂


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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Today is starting off in a fog.  Not for me, mind you, I’m as sharp as I can be on a Saturday morning.  Sipping away at my second mug of Yorkshire Tea.  Kitties (they are all grown up, but, to me they will always remain kitties) are fed, treats given … their day is well started.

The world outside my windows is in a foggy state.  Two days in a row now.  Soon the sun will shine through and I will be outside playing in the yard.

Rains are destined to start tomorrow.   Guess that means summer is over?  However, I seem to recall from previous years that there will still be days of sun .. and for that I am thankful, or rather, my tomatoes, squash etc. will be grateful.  Oh, and the beans, mustn’t forget about them.

My marvellous crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans are doing so well this year.  Last year, I’d left the package outside and it rained .. and they sprouted .. and then I planted them in the shade.  So much to learn about veggie gardening.  I’m making progress.  Decided to grow the easy veggies:  squash, lettuce, beans, peas, tomatoes (well, still learning about them).  And my absolute favourites – garlic and shallots.   And although my experiment with growing potatoes in bags didn’t work out for me this year ..I will try again next year with another system.   Despite a very late start to the growing season … I’m happy with what my garden has given me.

Anyway, my KWB’s grow like crazy … spiraling ever higher!  I had grown some in pots and trained them up trellis up high onto my sundeck.  And learned yet another lesson.  How easy is it to gather the beans from this high?   First of all, I need a ladder set securely on the ground to reach halfway.  Then when I go up to the decking, I am only able to reach down and gather a few.   So think next year I might just grow decorative vines in this area and will leave the beans to flourish on a much better type of structure.

Speaking of garden structure!   I wasn’t really prepared for the extravagant growth of my beans so have been making makeshift forms for them to grow on, adding bamboo stakes, garden trellis, a real mish mash.  I’ve taken photos, just for me to chuckle over during the winter months.

So, one day in August I went for a walk … lovely skies …

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And I met this most lovely dog.  Isn’t he handsome?  I also had a nice chat with his doggy-mom about making blackberry jelly, using apples for the pectin source.  You see, I was picking blackberries on that morning.  And my first reward was meeting this great dog!

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Another reward for my walk was seeing random wild flowers, growing and blooming, despite the dry weather conditions.  The bees love them.

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And these cornflowers brighten up the area also …. random beauty, free growing plants, uncontrolled by any gardener, except for good ole Mother Nature!

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Here are some jars of blackberry juice from my first blackberry pickings.    Now in the freezer.  Yum.

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Blue beans from Renee’s GMO free, organic seeds.  🙂

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As always, loving the diversity of sunflower shapes in my back yard.   Always spreading cheer and beauty.  Thank you .. my lovelies.

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Enjoying this day and ready to change into my gardening outfit … lovely worn Carhartt bibs and long-sleeved tee-shirt, gumboots, gloves (which I rarely wear) and sun cap.   OH .. wait .. I need to brew more tea so I can start my gardening day with a walkabout and admiration of all that is growing in our little paradise.

More on that later.  Time to watch the birdies also.  The lovely Chestnut-backed Chickadees, the Red-chested Nuthatches, the Anna’s, the Fox Sparrows, some house sparrows.  Wrens also.   The Robins seem to have disappeared right now … wonder where they have gone?  Bet I’ll find them when I start moving the compost around, though!  They love those big earthworms.

🙂


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer time is a fun time, right?  Too much to do and schedules and timelines are just not a high priority with me right now!  Yippee.   I’ve wanted to write and have kept putting off this decadent pleasure.    Time to start-up again so here I go!

Recently I’ve been reminded (yet again) of the amazing power of positivity.     How simply marvellous this energy is and how strengthening.to focus on the positive, especially in the garden.

My garden needed some “oomph” which it didn’t seem to be getting, so I went searching online –  looking for sites with information on the effects of negativity in the garden (for example, heavy construction noise, dynamite blasting, etc) … and I rediscovered the power of music on gardens.

A number of times I’d heard about the amazing effect of music on plant growth.  As a matter of fact, I always have music playing when I garden.   Lovely  violin, fiddle, instrumental, classical, world music.

Here is a great site on the positive effects of music on plant growth and development, showing the results of scientific testing to prove this:  http://www.musicforyourplants.com/

Some of the sites listed details of how the tonalization of the music impacts the growth of plants and you’ll find the Italian video quite interesting.

And from this site, I am learning more and more and Joel Sternheimer thoughts make sense to me, here is his site on energy and the power of music:  http://tama-do.com/roothtmls/cell-research.html

So much to learn, so much to discover!

I’ve copied some of the music onto my gardening iPod and have also included my new purchase of sitar music (ranked to be among the best for the garden) by Ravi Shankar “the Living room Sessions Part 1.

Much scientific wording and examples of music are given.  Me, I’m a believer.  And am shortly going outside to play again my lovely music and admire the growth of my plants.    I just love my garden and each and every plant that grows in it!

These geraniums had not bloomed at all this year .. but look at this ..many little buds will be opening soon!!

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I was watering some plants last evening after a very hot day.  Look at what I found in a sedum planting!   I think my friend D was being creative with this surprise!  Little kitty kat!  🙂

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Peek-a-boo .. I see you!  Little cannelloni beans growing away behind the leaves.  I’ll leave these on for dry beans later on for winter soups.   With a few set aside to plant next year, of course!

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Here is a little squash I just noticed last night, growing away so quietly.

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Yet another squash that appeared overnight, it seemed!    I was puzzled that spaghetti squash were growing and then I remembered the time last fall when I had diligently cleaned the seeds from an organic spaghetti squash, dried and put them away in a Ziploc bag.  No labeling (sigh) so I had assumed that these seeds were for another type of squash.  Note to myself, label seeds this year.

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Grow on .. little squash ….

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more surprises …

 

 

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Our area in Victoria, BC has been hit with a number of days of really hot weather!!   so everything seems to be growing great!

I’ve been sorting out my garlic, saving the largest for planting in October.  And I’ll also be planting those little yellow thingies that grow at the base of hard-neck garlic … they look a little like dried bean, but have a pointed end.   Not sure if they are  called “bulbets”   Should get a few small garlic bulbs from them.

Here is the most amazing, informative site on growing garlic!  https://www.garlicfarm.ca/

Now .. mug of tea, camera, music and I’m all set to go out and play in my yard ….

🙂

 


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next year, I vow (again) I will have an improved veggie garden.

I’m learning (quickly) my strengths and weaknesses in growing vegetables.

My pal D has a definite green thumb.  She can grow tomatoes like there is no tomorrow, harvesting hundreds of tomatoes from several plants.  She even gave me 2 healthy specimens for my garden.  Alas, I have not harvested as many as she has.  She nurtures the plants, carefully watering them, turning them daily to ensure they receive enough sunlight.  I, on the other hand, do water them but not as carefully.  And the squash tendrils (from the container squash plants) have quite grown through the tomatoes so that I cannot easily turn the pots.

Ah, next year!!

And my squash plants have gone crazy!  I’ve planted 3 types so won’t be able to save the seed from this years crops .. but, hey, that is what Seedy Saturdays are for!  These look like spaghetti squash, but  I don’t think they are … pretty though.   Labeling the plants would help! sigh.

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Nice hidden treasures …

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It feels like Christmas morning, going outside to check on the squash!  Little hidden treasures on the ground.

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Here is a reason why I have difficulty turning some tomato plants around … squash has taken over!

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Quite literally – taken over .. growing onto the grass ..

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I made a makeshift area for the squash to grow … they seem to like this!  (next year, ahem, I’ll plan accordingly, in advance of planting the squash seeds!)  The joys of gardening, the adventures!  The discoveries!  Plus  .. happy memories to remember in the winter!

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I had filled Rubbermaid containers with water, to make it easier to nourish some plants that weren’t directly in the easy reach of the hose.   One day I found a ladybug vainly trying to swim in the water .. oh, silly ladybug, you are meant to fly, not swim!  So I scooped her out .. see ..

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And then I gently placed her on the leaf of a nearby .. yes!  Squash leaf!  They do come in handy for these types of rescues!

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Hard to believe that this area was quite thickly planted with my lovely garlic … and now home to squash!  Happy memories of my garlic … time to plant again in a few months.  Yum!

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Kentucky Wonder Beans … although they grew rapidly up the lattice, I haven’t harvested many beans from these, planted in a container.

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Quite an abundant harvest from the same type of bean, growing in partial shade, twisting and turning .. as they grow just as rapidly

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Happy honeybees ….

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Any excuse to stop and marvel at the magic of nature ..

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I’ve lost the marker for this flower .. any idea of the name??? I bought it for the hummingbirds .

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I bought 2 of these little feeders at the SPCA thrift store in Port Alberni weeks ago .. the Nuthatch approves!

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And this dear little Chickadee is happy also!

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Well .. the day is starting .. time to grab a pail and check out the local blackberries .. for juicing later on today …


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Murphy’s Law … I’d carefully watered the garden yesterday afternoon and rain has arrived overnight!  Well, I’m happy about that!   So really I should be doing housework … cause it really needs to be done.  But first, some delay tactics before I begin that Herculean task.  Tea is called for.  Next, I start to go through my photos, of which I have quite  a few.    So I’ve selected a few to share and here they are:

First .. I was downtown Victoria, heading towards Dallas Road to meet up with a friend when I happen to notice this lovely antique car in my rear-view mirror:

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This was about 3 weeks ago and there was the annual antique car show, which was the most spectacular event,  Thousands (I think) of amazingly beautiful cars arrive at the Inner Harbour and park there … while thousands of people walk around and admire these autos.  It is really quite a happy thing to drive around and see these vehicles travelling about.

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Oh my lovely Kentucky Wonder Beans … there will be quite a bounty and I look forward to cooking them and smothering them with butter .. yum!   I’ll save some seeds for next years crop!!!

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Rose petals drying in the sun ….

15Along with some calendula petals ….

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Sunflowers are so beautiful and cheerful.  They each sport a unique personality …  this one appears to have rabbit ears!

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Lovely lilies growing in the yard, my pal D tells me that these are star-gazer lilies!

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Now there are squash plants growing in the same area where I harvested my huge crop of garlic!!

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DH and I had some fun time away and made our way to Port Alberni for some time of flying and enjoying the beauty of the Alberni Valley.   No computers as repairs were being made to my new Asus.  So some time of being disconnected from the electronic world.  And I found that I quite liked that.  Although, mid-way through our holidays, we had to return home for a few days.  And the laptop had returned.  So I found myself wasting hours on both days.   Was quite happy to depart again without this item and able to enjoy the world without it.

Up in Port Alberni, A Buffalo prepares for take off .. they had picked up some sky divers who had taken part in aerial exercises .. I just caught sight of the last one landing!   Quite impressive.

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Beautiful cloud formations on a hot and sunny day …. I love this!  And in the fore front there are some trailers for sailplanes which are now happily set up and ready to spend some time in the air!

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Wheeeeeee … I was so happy to go for an hour-long sailplane ride!!!  The Pawnee is towing my pilot and myself in the PW6 !!!

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The pilot released the tow line, and we were flying, thermalling ,,,,, and we were soon flying near my lovely dh, who was flying the PW5 just ahead of us .. that was so exciting ….

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Such skies …

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We flew above some eagles .. powerful ..

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Darling little Coco …. she really wanted to be with her poppa, but it was a very hot day and we had air conditioning in our motor home …. so we hung out there for a while.  Her face tells a story, it is as if she is saying, politely ” you know, I do enjoy being here with you in this nice and cool motor home, but you really must understand that I long to be with my poppa.  I don’t meant to be rude, but, please, could you let me go to him?”

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And what a nice surprise when dh and I returned, midway through our time away … my pal D had left this lovely bouquet of sweet peas!  Friends are the best!  She also looked after our beloved kitties while we were away!

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Well, I can delay no more .. housework calls.   I know that once I begin the vacuuming, laundry, dusting activities of making our home tidy .. I will enter the zen flow of energy.   My reward today will be the totally surprised look on my dh’s face when he comes home from work today.  That will be worth it!

🙂