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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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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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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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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Monday, August 27, 2013

Finally .. some light rains are happening which is good for the garden, although I really wish for a good downpour, just to soak the soil very well.

My squash crop is growing well .. yesterday I spent some time cutting away the mildew laden leaves … I’ve found a number of good blogs for squash growing, such as:  http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/powdery-mildew and this link was quite helpful, with regards to flowers (the first flowers are always male) and not to worry about flowers dropping off, quite reassuring:  http://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-squash/#jump-2

I love finding reading about other gardeners‘s experiences, how they overcome their gardening “issues” .. as in “powdery mildew“.  I’ve learned that it’s alright to remove the mildewed leaves, leaving 4 to 5 leaves is fine.   Was hoping to have bushels of squash to share with friends this year .. but will still have enough to share so that is good.

When it is time for harvesting, you can bet that I’ll be posting pictures.

Anyway .. .just want to share my most wonderful latest adventure!  On Sunday I had the opportunity to fly for two solid hours (more than two, actually) in the PW 6 at Port Alberni and here you can see a great video explaining what a flight is like:  http://visc.wqs.ca/

However, as wonderful as my garden is and as much as I truly love each and every living thing that grows there, there is absolutely nothing in this world that equals going flying .. especially when it is flying in a sailplane … and on Sunday .. I had the most wonderful opportunity to fly for hours!!  Sheer heaven.

The weather was splendid … a full day of the most amazing cloud formations ..

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Isn’t this crazy wonderful ???

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Little did I know at that time ..  when I was busy clicking photos of the skies above .. that I would soon be up there myself!

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So it was a hot, sunny afternoon.   I was sitting in my insect screened little tent, avoiding the hornets buzzing around .. reading the final pages of “the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” … when Andrzej called out … Anne-Marie .. do you want to go for a flight???  Well, no sooner did I hear the beginning of his sentence when I’d thrown down my book, chair toppled to the ground, unzipped the insect tent and was running across the tarmac.  Where I settled myself into the front seat of the PW-6.  And we took off minutes later!!  As you can see, this wasn’t my first flight!   I love .. love .. love .. flying!

We were soaring .. the tow line was dispatched and there was just the beautiful song of the wind coming in through the side port .. I taped a bit of this, wanting to remember this melodious yet powerful sound for later .. when I’m on the ground … wanting to remember and savour over and over and over again ..

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From the ground .. early afternoon …..

 

 

 

 

 

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From the air .. we were heading towards Mount Arrowsmith .. wow …………

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I just couldn’t believe that I would ever be so close to this mountain!   Waved to hikers along the top … WOW

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How utterly magnificent … I just reveled in the extreme joy of flying so high, I believe over 6,300 feet .. how close to the mountain we are .. gliding in the smooth air .. ever closer …

 

 

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So close . I could see trees, snow, gullies .. but most of all, I felt the sheer joy of flying with the power of the wind, the thermalling had brought us up here .. no motors .. magical .. empowering ..

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Time just stood still as we sailed past this venerable mountain .. such energies of beauty, power, majesty, nature .. struck me speechless as we travelled on in the air .. this was an excellent flying day ..

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I felt so blessed to be up here … such a great privilege ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We did fly near the Comox Glacier .. I’ll share that photo later .. here are more sky shots ..

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From up above..

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Thanks to my dh’s passion for flying .. I’ve experienced:  tandem hang-glider flights, which includes launching off a mountain, being towed by an ultra-light (flown by my dh!); flying on the back of an ultra-light (again, dh as pilot); sail plane rides in California, Nanaimo; an acrobatic flight for one of my (ahem) birthdays, could have been my 50th.   Flight in the back seat  of a Nanchang; many hours in Cessna 172’s and other aircraft.

However, nothing can even remotely compare with being in the PW 6 up at Port Alberni.   The smooth tow up by the Pawnee … the sweet ascent into the skies, the “thang-thwup” of the tow-line release.  Followed by hours of other-worldly soaring in the skies,   Soaring along the mountain ridges.  Thermalling to climb and the cross-country flying … a journey into another realm.  One that I truly love .. even though there are no gardens up there.

I am one very lucky gal .. and look forward to another flight ….and then another .. and, yes another ….

A 2-seater self-launcher is on our wish list ….

 

🙂


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

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Rose petals drying in the sun ….

15Along with some calendula petals ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Such skies …

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We flew above some eagles .. powerful ..

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

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

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

🙂


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Sharing some photos of my sailplane ride in the early morning skies at Port Alberni, way above the clouds!

Friday, October 26, 2012

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  Too quickly October is ending.  Halloween approaching and so is the start of my Ecological Landscaping!  This I am looking forward to.  And, thankful that I will not have to hand out chocolate bars (and sampling them over and over from those gigantic bags!).
Today the weather was overcast and rainy … a perfect fall day.  No photos from today. Although I did have my camera with me, just in case I saw something interesting in my travels.

What travels .. well .. I made my way to one of the local Canadian Tire stores .. and had fun wandering around.   Picked up some oversize, heavy duty ziplock bags to store my dried seaweed in.

Then for a greater part of the afternoon, back at home, I tried to find sources of luffa’s!!  A few years ago, these dried gourds were just absolutely everywhere.  Now, it’s a struggle to find a source for them, at a reasonable price.

That does it, next year I will plant them again in the garden.  They are really easy to grow and produce quite a good supply of seeds for the next year’s crop.  Except, the last time that I grew them, a few years ago, some savage insect cut down each huge flower when they bloomed.

But .. next year .. armed with my EM and seaweed .. and vigilance, I don’t think that this will happen again.

Anyway … I looked through my files of photos taken in October and realized that I hadn’t posted photos of my lovely early morning flight in the PW5 at Port Alberni .. so I’ll share those with you.

The day started with a sky full of clouds and I was fortunate enough to be able to go as a passenger .. way up in the skies .. above the clouds.

Such a peaceful place to be .. .magical and mysterious!

Now .. I love the skies .. I love being up there, far above the earth .. and since I’m not a pilot, I am in massive appreciation for my DH, who has introduced me to so many varieties of flying up in the skies!  He is part bird and I think I must be also .. to love the skies so very much.

And it is so much nicer to be way “up there” looking around at the clouds, blue skies and earth formations down below … and this gives me the impetus to gaze up at the skies when I’m gardening, or walking … sweet memories.

So I’ll end this little blog for this day .. and hope that you enjoy the photos that I have posted from this early October flight!

🙂


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Flying over eagles, gathering raspberries, blueberries …. cherries .. lovely summer

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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Where on earth does the time go??????

We are finally enjoying some hot weather here .. so that means the veggies in the garden are growing .. I can see some pumpkins and squash, flowering and fruiting .. that is a good sign.

The garlic .. well, I dug it all up today.  Except for some in pots.  There are a variety of sizes and I’m at a loss as to figure out why.

The first bundle that I dug up were mostly large.  And today, there was a mix .. some healthy sized bulbs, some medium-sized, some rounds (which I’ll plant in the fall, for large bulbs next summer) and a lot of smaller bulbs.

The cloves that were planted were pretty well the same size.  And I think that spacing the cloves out a bit more gives the roots the opportunity to spread out and grow more.  I was just antsy to plant as much garlic as I could last fall.  So this year .. I’ll try to be more mature.  But, not by much!

I do know that the EM & the seaweed made a big difference as all the bulbs were much larger than last year’s crop.

I’ve been picking raspberries, blueberries and cherries.   For the past few days I’ve been drying cherries in the oven .. they dry like raisins.  And I’ll use these in my granola .. that I’m going to make.

The winds had been so strong in the past few weeks … I was despairing of having enough fruit from the cherry tree for us to eat .. as the winds were causing quite a few fruits to drop to the ground.  I’d gathered up lots from the ground, so as to dissuade the wasps from visiting.

Anyway, 2 days ago, I noticed that the lower branches were dripping with ripe cherries!  That was a great surprise as I hadn’t noticed them before!  So I gathered quite a bit and pitted them, dried them in the oven and now have a good supply in containers, for my next batch of granola.

Today I gathered more and am waiting for a few more days for more to ripen .. and then I’ll make up some cherry pie filling!

Lots of cherries at the top of the tree for the birds and enough for us at the lower edges.

Last weekend we went to Port Alberni for DH to go sailplaning …. beautiful weather .. except we saw lots of cloudy weather which turned out to be the outflow from fires in Siberia!!

Anyway … DH arranged for me to go for a flight with the lead instructor … we were up in the air for over an hour .. sheer bliss!

At one point, we were flying over a pair of eagles who were soaring a thermal .. how utterly exciting was that!  I took pics, but they are only dots in the screen.  Suffice it to say that this was a wonderful moment.

And as if that wasn’t enough .. soon, we were flying close to DH .. that was utterly fantastic!    He was flying along at the same height .. and it was so lovely to be in the air at the same time!

A few dips and turns and such a lovely time.  I just didn’t want to land .. rather, I wanted to stay up in the air for a few more hours.

Look forward to a self-launching two-seater sailplane .. a gal can dream, right?

Well, outside to hang up the garlic .. or rather, to find a place where I can hang this lovely crop .. to dry!

🙂