My Garden – Mon Jardin – Mi Jardin – Mein Garten – Daily Adventures & Thoughts

No matter the language, my garden is my paradise. To watch the lovely birds that nest in the trees and bushes. The bees, butterflies are such a joy to see.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

The hot sunny weather continues … these are the lovely long days of summer!  Here’s a pic of my first attempts at braided garlic.  As I went along, braiding rope after rope, I began to imagine how easy it would be to incorporate coloured ribbon, flowers, all sorts of things.   That will be my goal for next year.

For now, I’m happy with the rustic look.   These will be gifts to friends .. and for me, a reminder of the summer.  A complete day given up to sorting this years garlic crop.  Hours spent, trimming the roots, brushing away the surplus soil.  Sorting into sizes and beginning my attempts at braiding!  A very happy day.  Oh .. and I must select the largest cloves for planting this fall!


All the garlic is now braided or bunched and hanging to continue the drying.   I stood there amongst the garlic … savoring the tranquility and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.  Oh, and I also dreamed a bit.  Of moving to a place with more land so I could grow more garlic.  I’m also growing shallots, they are easy to grow .. so would like to plant more of that also.  A gal has to have a dream, right?


One of the zillion busy bees in the garden.  Industrious creatures are bees …


Shasta daisy .. a cheerful sight to behold in the front yard.  Modest flowers, I don’t notice them growing away until they burst into flowers adding so much beauty . . asking for nothing in return, save a bit of water in order to grow.


The edible peas are growing into giants and I harvest some daily.  Still magical, isn’t it .. one little seed produces so much food.   And such beauty.   These vines have grown quite tall, over 6 feet in height.   I’ll be saving some seeds for next year, you can bet!


I love this sky .. reminds me of a giant bowl of clouds being stirred around ..


Now .. this is an impressive cloud …


I watched as it evolved quickly, growing and spreading … see the cavern in the center?  There was rain hours later …


A happy view of the suns rays beaming down onto this developing formation …


My favourite channel to tune into .. the sky … every changing and breathtaking ..


The Pawnee coming in for a landing .. it is the tow plane for the sailplane (glider).  Having released the happy pilot & passenger way up in the blue skies .. it will land in a few seconds.  Lovely plane.  Formerly used for crop dusting, now it has a happier life towing sailplanes!    The only thing that should be spread on crops is compost tea!


Ohhhhh .. a baby, wispy cloud.. how ethereal …sky art.


Look Dick, see Jane and hey Spot .. here is the Pawnee …


Nothing cheers me up like the sky does.  No matter what is happening down here .. there is always something beautiful to see up there.  Not man-made .. just nature doing its thing!

Yesterday I spent some time bracing up my bean crop.   Using cut lengths of bamboo .. I made a makeshift frame and began running strings from the horizontal bamboo to tie onto the beans and peas to give them something to hold onto as they began their upward growth.

I was wearing my gardening outfit, muddy as usual and kneeling on the ground, focusing on ensuring that the string was snug when suddenly there was a flapping of tiny wings and a young sparrow landed on a length of bamboo that was just inches away from me.  I think it got caught in the strings and then decided to cling to the bamboo to get its bearings.   I scarcely dared to breathe and didn’t make any movements as we locked eyes .. Me looking at this tiny little innocent bird as it, in turn, stared, wide-eyed back at me.    Complete silence for a brief moment of time.

The little tiny feet couldn’t quite get a grip on the smooth surface of the bamboo and he twirled and swirled in graceful minute arcs, round and round.   Quickly he flew away and I, just as quickly, added some yellow plastic ties to warn other winged creatures that the strings were there.

Later on I stood quietly watching birds in the cherry tree .. munching away .. and saw the same sparrow.  It had to be the same one, as he continued to swing in circles around branches.  A fledgling member of the Cirque du Soleil, perhaps?


There are always unexpected surprises in the garden.  Whether these be unexpected flowers, playful encounters with my feathered friends .. or something like this:

IMGP3603Honest to Pete, I had tried my best EM treatment with this Mexican Orange tree.  It was one that I had neglected and it was really nothing but a stick with a few branches, nothing green whatsoever.   I applied a liberal dose of EM about a month ago, but nothing happened.  I was going to chop it up for composting, but, just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Yesterday, moving things around in the back yard, I happened to see this strong new growth.

It was one of those magical gardening moments and I just felt again the impact of the forcefulness of nature, the resilience of plants (and the power of EM).     This was awesome and in so many ways it was a sign of encouragement and of not giving up.  Truly an inspirational moment and humbling at the same time.

A mini-miracle that gave me such joy.   And affirmed once again the positive power that we all discover in the garden.



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Friday, July 12, 2013

Busy times for everyone at this time of the year.  Watering our gardens, ensuring that all of our veggie plants are growing well.

Me .. well .. I’ve harvested my garlic crop.  I think that I dug them up a few weeks early, but that’s where the impatient side of my personality kicked in!  The garlic cloves that I’d planted so carefully last October, in neat little rows had fun moving around during the fall, winter and spring.  Sometimes there were 3 garlic bulbs growing together.  There was a variety of sizes, from small to medium to huge .. so that was all right!

Well .. look here .. what is this strange object in the midst of my garlic beds??

017Ok, I was having fun with the timer on our camera … hadn’t used it before and wanted to see what I looked like in my lovely garlic bed.  Don’t ask how many times I had to reset the camera and run back and quickly look relaxed .. oh, it was fun.

Our Mr. Duncan is the epitome of cool and I recently watched him as he sauntered up the back stairs. .. note the flaring ears as I called to him .. hey, Mr. D ….


whaaaaat …… I’m busy .. lady.


I’m babysitting some plants for a friend and was quite upset a few weeks ago, when this lovely specimen was nearly a goner.  You can’t tell by this photo .. but I’d not watered this plant for a while and was sickened to see that most of the leaves were brown and crinkly.  I watered with a liberal dose of EM and look here .. magic!


My lovely garlic crop, nearly all dug up …21

Garlic placed on makeshift work tables (2 work tables with framed lattice in between …resulting in a lot of space to work with.  And I found an easy braiding recipe and will share those photos next time.  They look rustic and I’m quite proud of them.


Random beauty . .a surprise flowering rocky rose


A surprise little beetle .. looks like a ladybug .. alights on a garlic ..


It was walking for miles on its tiny little legs .. quickly scurrying up garlic stems ..


I watched as it travelled endlessly … and finally  it went to the ground.  A huge universe open for adventures … one that is hidden from my eyes ..

11And then … far far away …


I had set the sprinkler on at the back of the yard .. left it and later on heard the joyous chirps of the Bush-tits and Chickadees …  quietly went over and tried to see what was going on, what were they doing?  So difficult to see them in all this greenery.


Look .. the tiny little darlings were having a fantastic time .. showering in the tiny drops of water .. grooming themselves .. I was able to take a few photos …what a wonderful time they were having …made me smile and feel happy too!


Lovely little darlings, aren’t they …its moments like this that adds a big sparkle to the magic of gardening …


Well .. that is just a tiny bit of what has been going on in my life … and so I am donning my gardening costume, brewing another cup of tea and racing outside, to make some bamboo climbers for my Cannelloni beans to grow up against.

Out into the sunshine …


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Life is just a busy fun place to be and sometimes I speed up when I really should slow down.   And that is where friends come in!

I have been busy working on the little garden at the Dakota Cafe for the past 3 mornings.   One day spent weeding and digging through the plants with my pal D to help me out.  The next day was intensive weeding and planting.  And this morning, a frenzied time of cutting back Rex Rosemary which had grown to be too high for the windows of the cafe .. it was getting difficult for customers to spot planes through the windows.. so a massive cutback was done (sob).  I’ve taken most of the cuttings home and will try to propagate them.   No photos really, but once the little flowers start blooming, I’ll be clicking away.

It sure felt good to work intensively for 3 hours or so at a time … and I was spoiled and given tea by lovely Jess .. so I happily drank my tea and gazed upwards at the blue skies.  Lots of planes, eagles, turkey vultures and other birds.  Sheer heaven.

Then time for a visit with D and her son … she gave me some great clay pots and I plan to make a crooked planting, arranging them on a section of rebar in the garden.  Then she showed me a little ladybird dragon that was morphing into a ladybug on the nasturtium leaf… how very magical!  Also, she has a Garry Oak growing in her hop plant ….I forgot to take a photo, but believe me .. it is there and very healthy.  How exciting!!


Then D wanted me to go to see the amazing boulevards in the Haultain area and here is one that is just spectacular .. I think that the homeowners were advocating boulevard gardens years ago, they were very hardworking.    And from the look of their boulevard gardens and their private gardens they haven’t slowed down a bit!  Very impressive and inspirational.


And they have provided a  lovely rustic area for passersby to relax …


Colourful nasturtium flower peeking out from the feverfew ..


Along another boulevard … labelling helps identify the plants, such as this one:


and here is the California Tree Poppy (listed above):


I love this “secret” front door …. well done!


Then it was time for refreshments … at a lovely little table outside the coffee shop … see the darling dog in the background?  His doggy parents were making sure he was in the shade, had access to water and he was one happy little guy!


Yea .. coffee grounds for the garden .. happy to see ..


I’m betting that the coffee grounds/compost material doesn’t stay around for long, there are many gardeners in the area so I counted myself very fortunate to have this bag.  Oh, see the red/white polka dot bag behind this?  It’s my special surprise purchase from today.


There is so much to see and do here in Victoria .. here are some posters showing some of the activities, music, dance, drumming ….

Ok .. this is where my special unexpected purchase took place.   As D and I walked down the street, past little shops, I noticed some clothing on a rack outside of a high-end hair dressing establishment.  Couldn’t see anything in particular .. and as I know that normally clothes that are displayed outside these types of shops tend to be expensive, I wasn’t expecting to be interested in anything.  However, something compelled me to move closer.  This shopping bag is quite interesting, thousands of cut pieces of fabric knotted onto soft burlap.  Nope, I wasn’t interested …


But then I fell in love with this very funky dress .. it is from Italy!  The owners of the shop had taken a trip there and brought back some clothes to sell.  Not sure if this photo does the dress justice, but this dress is me!  It’s raggedy,  swirling, colourful and I love the uneven hem.     See the round circles on the front, showing the colourful fabric beneath . .these aren’t pockets, just design circles.  This is my new sunshine dress and I plan to wear it a lot this summer!  I’ve been looking for a nifty dress and so happy now I found it!  This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone for this walk with D!!!  I can’t imagine not having this lovely fun item of clothing!  See the pea flowers along the right of the dress … they match!


And here is my sparkly hat (gold threads woven through that just shine in the sun!):   So now I am all set for the summer!


Then it was time to check out a lovely new little grocery shop and they have a machine that will grind up grains …. well done.


Back at home, there was just a little more garlic to harvest.  Time passes so quickly, it just seems like yesterday when I was planting the cloves in October.  Now we have gone full circle.


The garlic is now outside, curing in the sunshine .. and I plan to try to braid the soft necked garlic.


Well, it’s been a busy day.   D and I parted ways .. I went shopping for groceries and beer .. promised myself a wee glass of wine when I got home!


And now I must go outside to see if the sage cuttings (from Dakota) are doing well and to put them in a bucket of water .. tomorrow I will taking cuttings of them, the Rex Rosemary and some Wormwood cuttings also.

Also, lately I’ve been buying more plants.  I know, I promised months ago that I wouldn’t and I have not yet kept that promise.  However, a few days ago, when D and I were returning from gardening at the Dakota Cafe .. the traffic was quite heavy on the highway.  So she suggested that it might be a good time to turn left and go visit the Art Knapp garden centre at Mattick’s Farm.

What the hey, I thought, so my car dutifully turned left and .. drum roll … once again I did not keep my plant promise.   Due to the heat .. there were a lot of plants for sale.  I should mention that we’ve been undergoing a heat wave and plants are just going crazy.

Anyway, there were a lot of deals and I bought all sorts of veggies, 3 different squash plants, a tomato, and many others.  Besides some interesting berries, a purple raspberry and I just can’t remember the others.  Oh, red onion sets, white onions, a dill .. countless others.  They have been soaking in EM and water since yesterday and tomorrow I can plant them in the areas now vacated by the garlic.

Speaking of which, I harvested the last of the garlic .. kind of a nostalgic moment .. and it was a very satisfying feeling to think back to last fall, culling the largest cloves for planting.  Then the process of preparing the beds, planting them.  Covering with the seaweed that D helped me collect last summer.   And then I watered with EM at various times.

Well .. it’s been a day .. just really wanted to share my fantastic dress, really, I just love it!


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Another day at the beach … gathering seaweed .. breathing in the fresh ocean air .. and there were seals out there!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lovely lazy Sunday … slightly overcast and then the sun broke out of the clouds, yea!!!

Friday my pal D and I ventured out to Sooke to gather some seaweed for gardening.  It was a most beautiful day.

First thing, though,  had to check on my shallots .. hadn’t grown them before and had purchased some Dutch shallots from Richters Herbs… here is one of them .. shedding the papery husk of the original bulb .. I thought this was worthy of the “magic” of gardening so thus the photo.   They are tenacious growers and I would like to plant more of them.  Maybe I’ll get into a shallot growing  frenzy as I have done with garlic!

Everything is always magical in the garden .. it just never gets old and always I am humbled at the miracle of a seed growing into a plant .. the inherent knowledge of the plant (non-GMO, of course) .. nature happening in it’s own way …


Here are some Valerian plants .. growing so tall .. I need to plant them soon …


Ok, so D and I arrive at one of the many beaches in Sooke .. what a magnificent day.  And both of us are experiencing issues near our homes, where vast building projects are ongoing and we really need some natural beauty to offset the construction issues.  This s a good start.


What amazing skies ..

The stones are placed so artistically along the shoreline … now this is real art .. the natural kind.



It was a lovely outing, escaping to nature.   No cranes.  No trucks.  No hammering.  Just the soothing sounds of the waves off in the distance .. a warm breeze swirling around us as we gathered seaweed.  Now that was a lot of work and we quickly filled some bags which I loaded into my trusty little car.   Then it was time to relax and go for a walk along the shoreline.

Such clear water on the firmly packed sand .. like a mini-pool


The tide was way out there …. 

I could see tiny crabs and lightning fast little fishes darting in all directions below.


And D noticed this large piece of heavy industrial  plastic .. it looked like a hatch cover.  Would have liked to have removed it from the beach but it was very heavy, so we had to leave it there.


Such a relaxing sight to see the myriad of stones beneath the clear saltwater.


D noticed the seals … out sunning themselves on the rocks … their barking noises echoed over the water and sounded quite close to us


And I learned from D that this is sea-asparagus.  Served in fine restaurants, imagine that.  Most likely not cheap, either.


This ancient log resembles a whale, don’t you think?


More seals …enjoying their natural habitat ..



It was a fun relaxing day trip and finally it was time to leave .  However, we did stop along the way and went for another walk in a small forested area along the highway … where the fronds of the ferns were now unfurled and the well-worn pathways were edged with fields of them.

Photos tomorrow ..  now it is time to work outside .. to enjoy the one day of the week when the construction noises cease and I can pretend that today is like the normal days of years ago .. when quiet was normal.  sigh.







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About the pleasures of walking, new routes. Lovely dogs met. And I now own a dandelion weeder, it’s great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I’ve been discovering such a variety of walks in my neighbourhood, makes for such a fun opportunity to strike out and get some exercise. Plus I keep on meeting some lovely dogs and see such a variety of birds.

I just love walking.  In the rain, in snow, under cloudy skies and on sunny days.   For 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours .. all day!   And I try to keep up a brisk pace and only stop for short periods of time to watch birds or talk.

Ok, I don’t mean to say that “I” talk .. by myself .. well, that would be a little strange.

However I’ve noticed quite a number of people out in public, seemingly talking away on a hidden earpiece which is connected (I hope!) to some kind of new-fangled cell phone or whatever.   I wonder if people know how weird this looks .. out in public by themselves .. talking away .. looks a little strange.  I always try to steer away from these people.  They reveal so much about their personal lives .. not realizing that we can hear them … ick.

No .. I mean to say that when I’m out walking and stop and talk to doggy parents and their dogs.

Today I decided that I’ll vary my time walking .. so instead of leaving at a specific time for a specific route .. I’ll endeavor to add variety .. which is the spice of life.

Just a quick calculation on walking routes brought up at least 10 choices at least, from our front door.

From a to b or a to z .. which one I take will be up to me!  🙂

Yesterday, after just 10 minutes out . .. I met a lovely little dog named Miko (sp?):’04At first she was very very shy … and then … less and less so ..

01Till finally, I was kneeling on the sidewalk and she had jumped up, put her little paws on my arm and was giving me kisses!  Lovely darling little Miko.

Her new family had adopted her from the local SPCA, about a month ago .. what a wonderful Christmas gift she is.

Cloudy skies yesterday .. so I’ll slip in a photo from a few days ago just for fun.


I was so excited about seeing Jupiter on Monday night!  I’d contacted the Dominion Observatory and received the information that on Tuesday, the Moon would then be on the left side of Jupiter .. so I was quite looking forward to seeing that.  Unfortunately, with the overcast skies that didn’t work out.   Here is a NASA site, click on the video to see more about Jupiter and other planets close to the moon in January (how exciting!):

Here s one of my latest greatest gardening gadgets.  I’d always wanted one and it was on sale at Lee Valley!!!   Bonus.  Plus, the instructions are printed on the handle.  How clever is this.


Easy to operate, see how the grippers open up … you place these in the center of the dandelion which is happily growing in the lawn,  and then step on the lever


This action causes the grippers to close tightly around the dandelion

22And all you do then is to lift the digger from the ground and see … dandelion plus the tap-root .. successfully removed!!   No chemicals needed.  No pouring of vinegar into the soil – which not only kills the weeds, but also upsets the balance of soil life and kills the worms that are so important in chewing through the soil

23See … complete dandelion removed.  And now . .. you can just lay the whole plant at the side of the garden, to let the plant dry out (and the goodness of the plant will be absorbed by the soil).  Then you can just add the dried plant to the compost pile.  No, it won’t re-grow.  It will break down into the lovely compost.  All natural.


I was also very fortunate on another great gardening tool … a compost turner.  I was going to buy one and lucky to find that there was one in the sale bin, half price.  Oh, happy days.

Robust Robin, tucked away in the tree ..


And later on, found this happy Robin … munching away on the apples that have fallen from the apple tree (wild root-stock, apples are not tasty at all .. but the birds don’t mind).


Ms Downy Woodpecker is nibbling at one of the suet blocks … here she has a blob of suet on her beak … hmmm… I don’t think that she meant this to happen.


Ms. Townsend’s Warbler patiently awaited her turn at the suet block.


And the Anna’s took to their new hummingbird feeders right away.  This is part of a double feeder, which has the option of being used separately also.   Supposedly these feeders deter ants and hornets.  Well .. we shall see.07

Some snowdrops growing away .. luckily without the snow.


Oh .. and my garlic crop has been growing away.  I’d tried to deter this by piling on more seaweed and chopped oak leaves .. but yesterday, decided that I can’t fight Mother Nature.  So I carefully lifted away the heavy top layer.  Some greens broke off, but I figure more might grow.  Anyway, just another example of how growth will continue, despite my efforts to deter it.  Thus, a lot of the greens are actually white and spindly, crooked from seeking the sunlight.  No worries.  After a few more days .. they will be strong and green.  Then it will be time for another photo session.

09While I was busy doing this work of removing the top composted layer .. I suddenly noticed some loud thumping noises coming from the back fence … in some bay and laurel bushes.  What the hey … it sounded like some animals having a fight but I couldn’t figure out more than that.

Suddenly a form flew out and landed on one of the big sturdy branches of my wild and crazy tree (the wild pear rootstock, now a huge tree).  It was a huge hawk.  Looked to be about 2 feet in height and only about 10 feet away.

I said a few expletives out of surprise and we just stared away at each other  I saw some orange colouring in the tail feathers and was admiring the charcoal and white variegated body feathers.  Then it swiftly and quietly flew away.  I couldn’t see anything in the beak so don’t know if the bird that was attacked got away.  A few minutes later I went over to the bushes, but could only find 2 tiny black and white feathers.  So, while I hoped that the hawk hadn’t caught one of the Downy Woodpeckers,  I couldn’t be sure that he had captured something.

Now this is something that must go on daily in the yard .. but to be actually outside while it was happening ….was pretty darn exciting.  True nature.

Then I spent time sorting out the stones that were caught up in the seaweed that D & I had gathered…. to use in a garden feature.  Tedious work sorting through the piles of seaweed over my soil sifter .. but well worth the effort.  Once I figure out what the garden feature will be like.  No worries though … the ideas will come when I’m working with the soil.  They always do.


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Revisiting the beach .. time for soup at Mom’s Cafe .. and enjoying some relaxing time!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brrrrr … no snow (yet)  and we are very lucky so far.  At least, for those of us who don’t leap at the thought of cross-country skiing or downhill or other winter sports!

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I’ve spent a few hours here and there out in the back yard.  Using the weed eater to chop up some of the many bags of oak leaves that I’d collected over the past month.  I think I had about 30 bags and so far have about 15 or so to chop up.  Using the weed eater certainly speeds up the process for the leaves to compost.   At first I put some leaves in an empty garbage container (only used for the garden, though).  Eventually the cords on the weed eater would become entangled so I changed my method.

Now I just empty a bag of leaves in one area of the garden and then proceed to break them up.  Works like a charm.  And no worries if the occasional bits of leaves tumble onto the lawn .. this only serves to feed the soil.  That wonderful ecosystem that I’ve learned to pay more attention to.  All that busy microbial universe that, until I took my Organic Master Gardening course this year .. I was (sadly) totally unaware of.  Now that my awareness has been raised .. I pay more attention to how I treat my garden.   And so happy with the results.

Anyway, just wanted to share some photos of a trip to the beach a week ago.  D & I collected some lovely chopped up seaweed!  The kelp was lovely, sliced into perfect circles .. perfect for the garden.   If the weather permits, we’ll make another trip there this week to gather some of this lovely broken seaweed!

On this trip, we went to Mom’s Cafe!  Lovely place .. has been under various ownerships in the past few years, but the food is still delicious, even if the tea was a tad on the costly side!  We each had a bowl of the salmon & corn chowder (wild salmon of course!) and it was delicious to the last drop.

I’ve been a little busy in the past few weeks .. making soaps and spending zillions of hours in packaging them.   Quite enjoying this and rediscovering the joy I used to have, many years ago, in concocting various recipes.  Sort of like revisiting the past, with a modern perspective.

So I’ve allowed myself to be a little lazy (that is, not going 18 hours a day) over the past few days .. and quite enjoying this, for a change.  Realize that I’m not the kind of person not to be involved in 2 or 3 projects simultaneously … I think that this is normal for me.   Boredom hits me when I don’t have deadlines.


Anyway .. just wanted to share my photos .. and so now I’m going about my day .. in my most lovely life!



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Enjoying the sights and sounds of flowers, birds in our lovely backyard as Autumn takes over..

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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  Well .. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again .. where does the time go?  Time doth fly on winged feet …

Monday loomed bright and sunny .. so I spent a lot of time outside.  How could I not.

Drinking in the lovely autumn perfume of the fallen leaves .. mixed in with the scent of the apples decorating the lawn .. still lots hanging from the branches.

Happy birds chirping throughout the yard.   So happy that DH & I planted so many trees in our yard .. all those years ago.

Such a variety of birds hide amongst their branches.  I’m sure there must be a variety of tiny little nests tucked away for little families to grow in the spring.

Ours is quite a happy yard.  Activity all day long.

The birds know that there is a source of food for them here.

Not just the bird seed and the suet blocks.  They feast on flower seeds, the lichen on the branches.  Tiny bugs that travel the highways of the branches and leaves.

They sip from the raindrops that cling to the leaves after the rains.

And they provide us with an ongoing visual feast of delight in seeing them perch throughout the yard.   On the garden hoops that encircle the garlic beds, on the handles of my gardening tools.   They perch on the edge of the little water dishes that I’ve put out for them …

Their happy chirping sounds and songs enrich the air with their joy.

What a lovely little world this is .. our back yard!

So much to enjoy.

So today, I’m just tapping away a few words .. sharing some photos taken a few days ago.

And now I must go and work away on my landscaping course.  Numbers to crunch. Drawings to make.  Shapes to practice on blank paper, transforming marks into squares and circles.  Using mostly a Sharpie .. and sometimes pencils.

Lots to learn .. lots to do .. an intensive number of weeks remain before the course is done.

I’m quite enjoying this challenge to unleash my inner artist as I travel along this new pathway.





Enjoying watching the eagle activities high up in the sky .. and seeing the Juncos dining on the Joe Pye flowers!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quite a downpour of rain today .. the yin and the yang of weather here .. as yesterday we were treated to a lovely sunny day!  Which I spent outside, potting up lots of plants.

Lots of time spent looking up at the skies.   Saw 2 eagles soaring in a thermal ..then a 3rd, and by the time I saw the 4th, I ran into the house, grabbed my binoculars and was soon out on the sundeck, gazing skyward.

I didn’t take any photos, as I would only see dots in the sky … with my binoculars I was able to get a much closer view.

At one point, there was one eagle fast approaching the other .. so close I could see the white feathers blazing against the sky.  I know, white feathers don’t really blaze, but I wanted to put some action there!

I remember the last time I saw this behaviour, it was courting time and the eagles had locked talons together and tumbled through the sky.

But, this is November .. so I was puzzled.   They soon were out of sight, so I scrambled down the stairs, along the sidewalk, through the gate, out to the road and down to the large empty lot down the street.

Here I stood for a long time, looking at the eagles soaring majestically (ok, they always soar majestically, it’s a given!) overhead.   All of a sudden I saw some frantic activity and noticed a seagull dipping and diving .. at this point, they were flying around some tall trees and I couldn’t exactly see what was happening, but guessed that the eagles were looking for lunch and the gull was handy.  The time was in the late morning .. and this is the usual time that I’ve seen the eagles out looking for food.

Along came a flock of crows .. and I’m not sure at this point if they had any influence on the eagles flying away, but I lost sight of them.  The long line of crows continued .. there were hundreds.

Oh I just love these moments.

Anyway, back to the yard.  And what did I see there!

Juncos in the Joe Pye Weed (aka Eupatorium maculatum)

There were some lovely Juncos .. sitting quietly atop the Joe Pye Weed, happy as could be.   This plant is supposed to top at 6 feet, but my plants are much higher than that!

There is a line up already

They vied for space … preferring the top of the flower heads.  See, there was even a lineup!!

Can you see the little Junco in flight, left side?

I was trying to get some action shots .. and I like the flow of the wings as this Junco determined where he was going to fly.

This was the “height” of fine dining!

They look so happy, all nestled in place.  I’m glad that there are quite a few seeds for them to eat.  And so, there is lots of food for the birds to eat, all throughout the yard.

Here is a close up of the seeds that the Juncos loved

Here is a closeup of the fine little seeds …. along with the fluff that helps transport the seeds through the air .. ready to be planted elsewhere in the yard.  Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to have more of these beautiful, tall flowers.  Butterflies love them.

My circle of treasured beach stones encircling the cherry tree

I stopped for a few minutes .. to admire the Calendula plants seeds strewn a few months ago … slow-growing, usually I’d have lots of bright orange flowers by now.  Notice the circle of potted plants behind .. well, I do have a lot of plants, don’t I!!

And here is the “peace sign” ..

Ok, I got this idea of a “peace” symbol from another blog site:

She has a great site!  Go visit .. go on!!

Such lovely times to be had in the garden ….so many magical moments!

Always  … remembering .. to look up on the sky …for special surprises!

It’s been a lovely day!  Despite the rain .. I like the cozy feelings of being inside while the rain pelts down.

And I also love walking in the rain . . with my cheerful, blue skies & puffy white clouds lining the inside of my umbrella.  Happy walks.


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Enjoying the lovely fall days, colourful leaves, happy chirping birds .. and all that!

Lovely fall days …

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Just sharing some colourful photos of beautiful fall scenery around here.

I love watching the brightly hued leaves swirling about .. carpeting the ground, adorning the bare branches of trees.

Birds chirping about .. happy to visit the suet block and flit about the yard.

This is truly a time of the year to wind down the outdoor chores and spend relaxing time enjoying the activities that are happening all around us.

I’ve been spending a lot of time potting up my plants … using the rich crumbly soil from composted areas to fill up the pots.  Nice fat earthworms have toiled in the soil, making it easy to work with.

My lovely kale plants are doing well and I’ve slowly been moving them to the side of the yard, to mingle in with the regular perennials that are already in place.   Adding lots of the lovely composted soil so they will grow big and strong.   My gardening neighbour tells me that kale loves this rainy chilly fall weather and so I expect we will have enough kale to last us through to the spring.

We’ve enjoyed a wonderful sunny day and this brought back memories of our short but hot and sunny summer.   Lovely memories.

And the time change .. fall back one hour .. made this day seem like a very long and productive one.

I finally started potting up those sprouted garlic seeds and I must say that the garlic odour is quite intensive.  More so than the cloves.  I started putting these sprouts into propagating cells, but realized that, since the greens are growing now, it would be best to just pot these into a planter and then just clip the greens.  The balance of the seeds that have not yet sprouted .. well, there are about a million of them.  And I don’t look forward to potting them all up . .so .. I might just scatter them in the background of the perennials.  And wait to see what happens.

Is there such a thing as too much garlic?  I wonder.

I’ve been collecting oak leaves .. have amassed quite a collection .. and tomorrow I’ll see if I can run my little lawn mower over some of them ..just to see if I can break them down a bit.  Fingers crossed.

Walking around the yard, I can see roses still blooming, tiny sunflowers continuing to flower.  Lots of apples to pick.  Lettuce still growing in their pots.  Rosemary is still flowering.  Lots of beautiful activity in the garden.

Oh happy days.  I do love this time of the year!





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Shopping in the Fisgard Street district, kind comments .. and I’ve started my Ecological Landscaping Course .. new doors are opening for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

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So here are a few more pictures from Monday .. the day that D &  I wandered around the Fisgard Street shopping district in Victoria .. along the waterfront.  We rediscovered old shops, new shops, alleyways nicely inhabited by funky little stores.  And then, Capital Iron.  I love this store … you can buy everything (except the kitchen sink .. but .. perhaps they do and I missed that).

The rustic atmosphere is not contrived’s real!  No pseudo antiquing of the exterior walls .. how wonderful this is.

After spending some fun time purchasing plants, cramming them into the car, it was time to visit a local health food store.  It opened up last year, I think.  The dream of 2 very hard-working young women … here is their website for lots of information on their story:

I wish them every success … as it was such a fun experience shopping there.   The bright colourful signage and paintings on the walls were very cheerful.  I don’t know what occupied the building previous, this is the first time that I’d been inside.   Slight slopes led shoppers to areas that held dried spices and herbs, lovingly contained in large jars .. no plastic here.

And there was an upper cafe seating also I noticed .. .quite ample seating.  While below there was a smaller version of this.  It was my first visit here .. and the atmosphere was quite relaxing so I plan to shop here again.  Plus, parking is available outside, so that is a plus!

Anyway .. that was a fun day.

I’ve taken all the plants to the back yard.  The same plants that I bought 50% off at Capital Iron, then stuffed (carefully) into my little Echo .. taken home and now awaiting potting up into large containers!

Well, I’ve actively started on that chore .. began yesterday afternoon .. when there was a moment in time when the rains stopped .. the sun shone through.  And .. wonder of wonders .. the cessation of construction noise.

Gardening bliss.

I’ve started my Ecological Landscaping course (Gaia College course .. held at Royal Roads University)  and our first 3 hour session dealt with the history of garden design through the ages.  Very interesting .. lots to learn.  I’ll be creating another series of hole-punched lined index cards, to begin my little library of terminology and plant design ideas.

Tomorrow we go on our first field trip .. to wander around the Fairfield area …. and find out more information on what to do and what to look out for in garden design.  We are all bringing our cameras so as to capture these ideas for discussion.

The class is a nice size, 11 of us.  So happy to see some familiar faces!  Two young ladies from the Spring session of the Organic Master Gardening course!

And you know … how little things are the most precious gifts beyond measure when they are sincere?

Well, our instructor asked us to introduce ourselves and to say something that made us happy that day!

One of these young ladies said something that made me happy!

She told that class that when she walked in the doorway of the classroom and saw me sitting there .. that made her happy!   Wow.    I am glad that I decided to take this course now!

It is so lovely to be appreciated, I cannot tell you.

Maybe that is what is missing in our day-to-day lives … a few words of acknowledgement to each other.  Random acts of kindness.

Long may they reign.

PS   If we pass these acts along – I just know that we will add joy to the lives of others.  They might not acknowledge this on the surface, but inside, I know it will make a huge difference.

Go on … do it!!    See what happens!

Tomorrow I’ll share with you my newly purchased landscaping design tools.

I think that having to make drawings, in ink … will push me through that creative door that has been cemented shut in my mind all my life.  All my life I’ve been gathering art books – how to draw, how to paint … with acrylics and watercolours.  Special papers. I’ve even taken a few art classes.   But still, that door won’t budge open.

I think that this Ecological Landscaping course will blow that cement away.  And I’m scared and excited at what I will find through that doorway.  I have a feeling that this will unleash my Inner Artist .. where no books or art classes have succeeded.

Up … Up .. And … Away!