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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bees and sunflowers ..

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Smiling sunflowers .. same flower one day apart ..

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

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

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

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

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Picked this up at Michaels last week .. excellent!

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A seed planted in a pot and lookee here!

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

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Little Anna in one of the apple trees ..

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

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

🙂

till tomorrow ….

 

 

 

 

 


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Music has great power if only we can listen

Much has been written about the power of music to help plants grow.  Studies have been done to prove the energy levels.  I know that constant heavy noise has a negative effect. Why do you think the birds will fly away to a quieter place?

I feed the birds and they flock around (excuse the pun!).

And I play music.  Not live, cause my fiddle playing would make the construction noise sound beautiful.

I charge up my little iPods with all sorts of world music, including music for plants. 

Here is a good site for more information on music & plants:  www.musicforyourplants.com

I’ve been busy with my plants, enjoying the “winter sowing summer seeds” in my little milk jug terrariums .. even the lavender has been sprouting!  I planted them on February 14/14 .. I’d tried growing them in previous years, but no joy .. look at this!

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Enjoy ..

I’m away to the garden and will add photos later.

Smile


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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 ..

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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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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.

🙂