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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Either in the sky or on the ground – there is a lot of beauty to be found!

Graceful dancing skies .. swirling .. twirling .. dance of joy above us ..thursday-16

Mystical – ephemeral – can you see the two faces and the arms entwined  ….dancing .. flying …

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On a more practical day – these clouds are ready to fly you away … however, we took the plane instead.

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And soon we were up in the air .. .along with all those lovely clouds!

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This plane is so happy it is smiling .. see the big cheerful grin!     Liking this plane a lot.

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4 Nanchang’s flying formation .. a beautiful sight to see .. but even better would be to be sitting in the back seat!  DH & I were able to do that a number of years ago … simply Stupendous!!!!thursday-02

 

Back home .. in the garden ..here are all the Pyracantha berries that I clipped from the gigantic leaning Pyracantha shrub that I pruned a few days ago.   That is a lot of berries!

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And I’ve spread the berries over two large drying surfaces .. here is one:  Luckily we have had sun for a number of days so the berries have started the drying process but there is a long way to go yet.   Looking at the weather forecast, rain is predicted starting tomorrow sometime so I’ll have to move these inside the house to help them in the drying process.  Once dried .. I’ll save them for the winter months so the birds will have a treat!thursday-13

A  sweet Sword Fern .. oops .. I see ivy that needs to be pulled up.  It started off as a tiny little plant many years ago .. I remember planting it!  Now it is a monster that needs to be eradicated.  We have struggled with pulling this invasive plant out but obviously need to continue.

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Nature is delicate .. I love how this fine strand of a squash plant is seeking support in the most gentle way ….

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I wish that I could wire-wrap my jewellry crafts as uniformly and tidy as these strands!!

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Some Red Delicious apples .. so pretty to look at and so tasty to eat!   And drink when juiced!  And most likely scrumptious in pies!!

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Little baby girl, JaneE Kat … sleeping in the sun .. my garden cat!

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Some of these beans are just quirky.  this bean was growing in lots of space, unimpeded by other beans, yet it decided to twist things up, as it were.

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A number of weeks ago, I’d inadvertently knocked off the flower of this tiny little sunflower.  As magical as nature is .. the plant continued go grow and is sporting a tiny little flower again!!

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One of the joys of bountiful pole beans and sunny weather!

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Summer is still officially here (I think) and I can see the signs of the approaching Autumn … which is sending us little signals that it is heading our way.

The wild and crazy pear stock tree is starting to show colours in the leaves .. no longer a solid deep green, the oranges and burgundy colours are starting to appear and the leaves are beginning to drop.   The pear trellis disease is not showing up much now .. lots of good soil, EM (effective microorganisms) and llama manure have given strength to this tree.   So much so that it is dropping tiny little round pears!   Some are tasty and some are tart.    After  about 30 years, it is nice to see that this tree is getting healthy again.

A few of the Blue Lake bush beans and Spanish Musica beans are starting to show yellow.  Some of the squash leaves are showing the spots of mildew (I clipped and discarded these).  And I trimmed back the superfluous leaves of the self-planted tomato plants so that the energy could go to the tiny fruits.  Next year, I vow, I will actually start some tomato plants early!   ( I promise .. I will do that!)

Today, while the sun shone warmly and I gathered an enormous amount of beans (for juicing) and the occasional orange tomato (to ripen inside, in a basket) .. .I realized that the days are limited for summer enjoyment of the garden.  Soon the rains will start.  There will be the warm sunny days again ..but these special hot days .. will be, for the most part, just a memory.

Autumn will take over and along with that come the chores to tidy up the garden.  Finally sort the pots.   And to decide which plants need to be placed in slightly larger pots for the winter.   Time to remove the plant saucers so that the rains will just flow through the plants and not stockpile in the saucers.

Cooler days to trim  branches.  A time to sort garden items out .. some things to give away and some to keep.

Time for more mugs of Yorkshire Tea.

 

 


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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I haven’t made resolutions for years simply because I used to set up these lofty goals that I ended up not keeping .   So I thought .. let’s just try not making resolutions for a few years and this has worked out very well.

I have been setting little goals and these have worked.  Like the one about downloading photos daily .. this goal has been achieved and works well.  I can now select photos from a certain time frame and know when things have happened.   Important things.  Records of my first luffa.  Tumbling jewels of tiny tomatoes ripening on the vine.  Sweet little birds frolicking around the yard.

Photos of delicious squash and other veggies growing in the yard.

Except something happened this year that caused me to rethink this whole resolution thing.

It was a squash that changed my mind and started to turn my world around.

Here’s me with my Brode Galeux d’Eysines, a French heirloom.  I’d started my squash plants way too late (sigh) yet I was successful with growing some.  I felt so very proud of this one!  D took the photo.  I know I look like a Gomer with my hair all over the place, but, hey, I’m in the garden, right?  Plants are more important than my wardrobe!  Sheesh.

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This lovely squash weighed 20 lbs (and a half, I think!):

IMGP5791And there were other squash also .. here are a few more:

IMGP5793So I had this one giant squash and 2 smaller ones of the Brode type.  The largest one I proudly placed on a shelf .. actually I kept moving it around it was so beautiful.  I was going to cut it up in January and share with my pal D.

However, she told me that a friend was having problems with squash, growing soft and had to be composted.  No, I thought, this won’t happen with my crown jewel from the garden.  I would tap the exterior from time to time and it felt solid.

Except, one day, I had this funny feeling .. so I went to my computer room and carefully picked up the squash.  And, the bottom fell off.  Oh  No.

Yes … the worst thing imaginable had happened.    This treasure had started composting internally  .. most likely weeks before.  I carried it carefully to the sink.    Delicately, with a sharp knife .. I tested cutting through the skin.  And it sliced through quite easily.

With a sinking heart I opened up the squash .. and .. believe me when I tell you that there was nothing to be retrieved from the interior.  Thank goodness there is no smellivision in blogs.  Pheweeeeeee!

I was able to gather a handful of seeds which I washed and cleaned and am drying for another try at growing this year.

So this adventure has taught me a very valuable lesson.  Admire the squash, but cook it and enjoy it.   Take a photo and admire the beauty.  But … cook it!

So I have been cooking and freezing the rest of my squash, jut to avoid any further disappointments.

Another resolution I will (try) to keep!   To not buy up a carload of plants just because they are on sale and are perennials and are so very beautiful.  Here is a photo of one of several (ha, several can mean 3 or 4, can’t it?) carloads of plants that I bought last summer.  Now all potted up and waiting to be moved to our new home in the coming year!

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Looking through my photos of last summer, found this beautiful shot, taken when I was flying in the front seat of the PW-6U glider in Port Alberni.  Such beauty.IMGP4701

This was a great bumper sticker I saw during the summer.  Speaks volumes.IMGP4285

Another lovely summer sky ….. how uplifting

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I was so proud of this squash patch.  However, next year, I’ll grow them in very large containers.  I did grow some in very large pots this summer, but they weren’t terribly successful.
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This is why I love taking photos in the summer .. reminders during the winter of what is soon going to be happening again in the yard.

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My pal D is an avid collector of teacups …. here is one that she bought and it just matches the cover of the Butchart Gardens blue poppy seed packet!
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My collection of organic seeds.  I had so many packets that one sunny afternoon last summer, I placed them all out on a table, just to see how many I had.   Enough, I think,  Except for the Heirloom seeds which I later purchased from a small organic farm in Antigonish, Nova Scotia!  I’ll be sharing these with fellow gardeners next summer.

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Another dreamy sky from 2013 ..

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Well, it’s been a year full of happenings.   And I look forward to a growing year in 2014.

Happy New Year to everyone and I wish all the very very best!

🙂


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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well so much for my getting over procrastinating about blogging!  It’s been awhile .. and so I am making a huge effort to get back.

What reasons can I use for not blogging for over 2 months?   I’ve spent so much time in the garden … and have joined the most amazing bootcamp and dog sitting and you name it.   So this sign that I saw in a local park was totally appropriate, I think, for my first photo on my return!

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I’ve enjoyed the most amazing skies …

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These sky pictures are from a week or so ago .. very dreamy overhead ..in the heavens .. when I was out for a walk with darling little Coco dog.
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We were pet sitting her for over a month and now she has gone back to her doggy parents.   She is a sweet little dog.

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This is one of the sights along the path way of the Gorge park … our boot camp goes to the most amazing places.  Victoria, BC is one of the absolutely amazing places to be.   I have gone to places hitherto unknown to me and I’ve lived here for many many years.   There are incredible forested areas deep within the heart of this city and without this group I would have had no idea that these pockets of paradise exist.

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Just had to stop and admire this carved birdhouse ..15

Such a tranquil setting and the pathway is very lengthy and totally beautiful

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This is from another outing.    If I don’t take signage photos, then I really have no idea where I am.  Let me tell you, this group is just a fantastic gathering of interesting ladies!  My life has changed so much since I’ve joined them.   I have way more energy and my interests have broadened as I listen to conversations on art and life.  And my chattering on gardening and the magic of EM!! (effective microorganisms … see:  http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/).

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And on another day, I met with a friend for lunch at the Stonehouse Pub, just the other side of Sidney, B.C.  This is a little sunken garden and I just felt like being silly.  Actually, I would love to have a little sunken garden like this one .. so I was dreaming a little bit about that and M took this photo.  I have a little lunch takeout box with some beautiful lichen that I found on the ground… silly me.

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Today it snowed .. brrrrrrr .. here’s a little apple left out for the birds to nibble on…

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One of those cute garden decorations that are enhanced with the snow.  Perhaps there are tiny inhabitants of this little building .. I wonder …

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The birds had been doing their “shuffle shuffle” dancing on this circle of ice ..

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Guess I’ll have to empty this container as I don’t think the carrots will be growing anymore.  I planted the seeds at the very end of the summer, just couldn’t resist trying to grow them.  Organic, non GMO … the only kind to grow, don’t you think.

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And yesterday, while the sun was out shining .. I moved my garlic containers around.   I’d been devastated this summer as I realized that my garlic had grown in the same area for 2 years and I needed to plant them elsewhere.  This was the sunniest part of the yard so I hadn’t many options.  The option I chose was to use containers!  I guess I kind of got carried away, because I now have: 8 blue styrofoam containers, one large half oak barrel, 31 very large plant containers, 2 raised beds, and a number of rectangular containers.   Plus garlic from Ireland and some from Christine!

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Seen from farther back, you get a better picture .. but .. there are other containers planted withgarlic at the side .. sigh.

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Some Rosemary cuttings ( I have 2 flats of these) taken in the summer .. fingers crossed that some of them will root for springtime.

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Sweet little Anna sitting in the sun . .there are quite a few in our yard ..

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I took this photo of a Spotted Towee, sitting outside our kitchen window .. beautiful winged creature.

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Can you see the squirrel?  I took this photo from the kitchen window also … felt bad for him, I’d moved the sunflower feeder to another area so he was confused and hungry.   I sprinkled a generous amount of sunflowers seeds on this bale of hay and soon he was happily munching away.
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Sweet little gold crowned sparrow .. choosing sunflowers that have fallen from the window feeder.  The tones of their songs touch my heart deeply and I was so very happy when I heard them calling from the trees in our yard a few months ago.

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And now I’ll sign off … with a good-bye to our little Duncan .. a once feral cat, well loved .. he was called to the Rainbow Bridge 2 weeks ago.  He was lord of the yard and after years of trying to get along with JaneE .. he’d finally accepted that she was the boss in their cat relationship.  We will miss him forever and he’s always in our hearts.

Dunky


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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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Monday, September 16, 2013

Such a lovely quiet weekend .. spent time in my garden.  Decadent hours with some of my gardening book collection scattered around me.  A few mugs of Yorkshire Tea.   Inspirational and melodic music playing from my iPod.   Birds twittering.  Sun trying to break through the clouds.  I hadn’t spent such a peaceful relaxing and decadent time in the back yard for a long time.  And it was just wonderful, thank you very much.

And I finally started a long-awaited project of naming the plants that surround me  …. this is truly a formidable task and one I’d started a number of times and just given up.

But Saturday was the day that I once again began this Herculean task.   Armed with my (new) aluminum writing case (I’ll just have to take a photo today to show this and my notes)  …. I started at one side of the yard and began the initial rough drawings, along with a legend of names.

Discovered quite a few name tags were not attached to the plants, so began taking photos and will do some research.  If I have trouble identifying them, then one day soon I will post photos and ask for help from the gardening community!

Oh, wow .. I know that I am a plantaholic but even the list that I made overwhelms me.  I’m currently on page 11 and have only covered maybe less than 3/4 of the yard.  Gulp

Then I took time out to move some of the recently acquired bales of hay .. the dance of moving the bales from the car, through to the back yard and then to the compost area has begun:

01While moving the hay, I heard the soft trill of the European Starling

15aDainty little sunflower peeking out of the tomato planted basket .. how sweet ..

02Volunteer tomatoes have sprung up among the squash plants …

14It seems as if these jewels have popped up overnight …. they are pretty

10The magic of plants .. ever-growing in the sun (and the rain)

12Tiny little squash .. still lots of growing time left as the first frost in Victoria isn’t predicted till early November.

11Another little patch of sunflowers .. growing near one of the bird feeders

13This squash is growing quite well .. wondering how big it will be when it is time to harvest!  I plan to save this one for decoration until it’s finally time to cook it ..

09Lots of surprises every day in the garden … as I find little treasures tucked away …

07I truly was surprised to see the one luffa plant that survived!  I’d started out with maybe 6 that had sprouted.  This jewel keeps opening up flowers daily …..I love the shape and texture, they are very delicate ..almost humble

06Every luffa fruit that had grown lasted only for a few days before dropping off, so this really was a treat to find an actual luffa growing around the aluminum tubes that are stored here.  And imagine my surprise when I found another one growing nearby yesterday!  These really are gifts from my garden.  Thank you.

05And I just liked the look of the sage plant growing nearby …. I have zillions of sage seeds, so perhaps next year I’ll plant a hedge .. that would be very striking in the summer!

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Grow on .. squash … whether or not I actually am able to harvest squash from this plant matters not   The beauty fills my heart with the joy of the magic of plants.   Plus this will be nice to look at in the cool winter months when I dream again of planting my veggie garden!  Although I think that I might make a structure for them to grow on.  This is my first experience of growing them and is a bit of a learning curve that happens to all.

03There are a few of this type of squash growing .. looks like a spaghetti squash, but not really sure what it is.

08It just never gets tired .. the joy and magic I find in my garden.   And I’ve so enjoyed the wonderful time just being outside, looking through books.   Getting to know what is growing where and listing the names.  I’m reconnecting with the beauties that I’ve been gathering for a few years.

Some will be moved to another area of the yard.   Some will be propagated quite easily.  Lots to do yet in my back yard adventures.  And more delightful discoveries to be made as I venture out there.

sigh.

Time to start my day!

🙂


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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.

🙂