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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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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

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

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

Ah, next year!!

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

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Nice hidden treasures …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy honeybees ….

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

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

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

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And this dear little Chickadee is happy also!

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


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Spending time decluttering and taking time to watch the birds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Such a beautiful time of the year .. sun is still shining, veggies are still growing.  Birds are flying and playing.  A perfect time to continue decluttering, with some time out to just stop and watch what is going on.

I’ve recently been busy sorting out, decluttering and organizing various areas in the yard and quite impressed with my results.

Start out dreading the task I’ve undertaken … then I get totally involved with the decision making and before the end of the day, I’ve succeeded in weeding out what I need to keep and what needs to be sent along to recycle, donation, etc.

And so a few days ago I began this decluttering activity in my little wee garden room in the basement.

This is the place where I’ve put things “just for now” and “until later” .. well, later has arrived.

And I’ve discovered that I have way too many gardening gloves .. if that is possible.  I gathered up all the gloves, tossed them in a container and brought them outside for sorting.  Only found a few unmatched sets and ended up with a lot .. I didn’t actually count how many .. but believe me when I say that I have more than 20.  Too embarrassing to actually take a count, so I won’t!  Threw them all in the wash and dried them in the sun. Now, they are all in one container and I have absolutely no excuse for going shopping for more.

This is one good reason why decluttering is good.  When you can’t find something and buy more just to save time searching for things (say, um, gardening gloves) .. then it is high time for decluttering.

I set up a large work table just outside the back door.  And began the million trips of emptying shelves and baskets,  taking one or two things outside.  Putting them on the table.  Decision making.   Keep, recycle, discard .. one after the other.

Slow going.  I searched for tips on decluttering, as I was finding it challenging to muster up the energy to just get rid of everything.

I found some good inspiration.   that clutter is blocked energy.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Life is a flowing river.  It’s okay to change the course, it’s good to have it flow and bubble around rocks in its path.

I found these gems here:  http://eliminatecancer.hubpages.com/hub/Declutter-Your-Home-and-Re-energize-Your-Life

There were other inspirational sites that I found, but this one resonated with me.

So downstairs I went.   Back to my little room.   And I was discovering that the room was feeling better, more spacious.  Less clutter.

Soon I had a stack of empty baskets.  A huge Rubbermaid container full of things to give away, things I no longer use .. time for someone else to play with them.

I’m halfway finished.  Spent a lot of time moving things around.  Making progress.  Feeling more energized.

Unearthed some crafty projects, purchased years ago from a sewing convention.  A little kit for  beading, weaving ribbon, embroidery .. to make a little sewing needle case.  Well, really, why did I ever buy this?  Never in a million years will I ever tackle this little delicacy.  What was I thinking of, anyway.  Plus, the two extra packages of eyelash embroidery!!!

Took an old shelving unit outside, slapped on some neutral paint to freshen it up.   Today I’ll splash on some leftover lavender paint to brighten it up and then will use this for storing empty baskets on.  Something to brighten up my little room.

And in between times, lots of breaks .. taken outside.   Watched one of the local eagles soaring overhead.   Flocks (gaggles ??) of Canada Geese, flying so low overhead, I could hear the strong silky swoosh of their  wings as they flew over .. the late afternoon sun cast a mellow golden glow over their feathers.  Beautiful nature, wild and free.

The local little band of Bushtits swirl in .. chasing away the sparrows.  They are so darling as they flit about the branches.  Taking turns nibbling at the suet cakes.  Busy chirps.  Then suddenly they depart.  Love these energized little visitors.

Chickadees visit the hanging water bath that I’ve placed in the cherry tree.

Lovely sights and sounds.

Then I walk around the garden patch.  Squash are still growing … I’m impatient to prepare this area for planting garlic, but there is still time.  My gardening neighbour tells me not to plant till October 20 .. so I’ll leave them to grow another month.

Sweet peas are still flowering, fruiting, growing.  Ok, I’ll leave them also.  Some zucchini plants are still growing.  As are some tomato plants.  Sigh.  I’ll let them flourish in the sun for a few more weeks.  I’ve been picking some tomatoes and freezing them for future stews and lasagna in the fall months.  Mmmmm.

And yesterday, I was preparing supper, brought out a bowl of peas from the fridge .. I’d only picked them a few days ago, it seems.  And .. a lot of them are sprouting.  So I quickly searched growing peas in this part of Canada and lo and behold, there are a fair number of people who have successfully planted fall peas .. so I decided to try that!

Lovely times.


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The Flower Fairy visited the Cafe!

Friday, August 17, 2012

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Oh, plants are just so my passion, I cannot help it.  On Wednesday, I went out shopping for a few things, at the end of the day.  Found a great plant sale at a local supermarket and came home with a car full of perennials.

Well, guess what happened yesterday?  The exact same thing!  I went out shopping in the early morning .. found a great sale of colourful annuals and perennials.   Quite a few I selected for the little garden that I take care of at a cafe.  Time to add some slash of colour.

Then, I picked up some perennials that were in need of some love.  The salesperson was very helpful as she clipped away dead growth on a Tea Rose (my first ever!!!!)  and lo and behold, she discovered at least 20 new growth areas.  I’d only seen a few.  So this was a learning session for me.  She told me that removing the dead growth gives the plant more energy for new.

I am always learning about gardening, it is such a big world and love all the new items that I find.

So soon I was on my way home … car full of plants.   Mid-way home, I remembered those lovely perennial pots filled with sturdy plants, on for half price.   So, oh  my, I sought the next safe place to make a turnaround and then soon was on my way back to Home Depot.  Now, I normally don’t drive far out-of-town to buy plants, but, umm .. what could I do?  I’m under the spell of plants.

I chose a big shopping cart, marched into the store, shared a laugh with the sales clerk, put the two plant filled containers in the cart and then proceeded to head towards the area with bagged soil & manures.    I filled the remainder of the cart space with as much of these bags as I could, then slowly pushed the heavily laden cart towards the cashier.

So we had another long garden talk and then it was time to go to my car and with some creative moving around of plants, I was able to heft my most recent purchases into my little car.  And happily we chugged our way home.

Once at home, I removed all the plants, put them in containers with water to freshen them up.  Next I mixed up some bagged steer manure with some of my miracle mulch and filled 3 large Rubbermaid totes with this mix.

And then I gathered up all the things that I needed for my planting expedition at the cafe and soon was on my way.

It was a hot day.  And I was totally garbed in my anti-hornet attracting outfit: long-sleeved black shirt, black car-hearts and my trusty gumboots.  Whew.  To say that I was hot was an understatement.  However, that did not stop me for the next 3 1/2 hours to do my gardening.

I trundled my gardening supplies across the tarmac, over to the fenced patio, heaved them all over the fence and then got to work. First thing, tarp is spread on the flooring, materials & plants gathered to one side.  Then, I brought the poor, parched, dried out plant pots over to the work area.   It was a sad sight to see these, so I didn’t take any pictures.

One by one I emptied the containers of the hard, dried soil and replaced them with the refreshing new mix.   Then I arranged the plants as creatively as I could in the containers.  A thorough watering and an application to EM and they were finally looking full and happy.

I did take pictures of these and will post on my next blog.  They look a little sparse right now, but in a week or so, they will be flowering to beat the band.

As I gathered all my materials together to make a nice, tidy exit, I pondered on  my time spent there.   And anticipated the happy look on Dak’s face when he would open up the cafe this morning!  Surprises are great!  The Flower Fairy has visited!

Gardening, transforming, is so satisfying.  I know that all gardeners share this energy.  Positive, creative, satisfying!

At the end of the day, though, as I arrived back home and unloaded my car .. I realized that I did have a touch of heat stroke.  Which I haven’t experienced for years.  So I took care of myself and rested.  Realized, after I prepared supper that I wasn’t hungry, so out went that meal as I gave up trying to eat.  Rest was instinctive and so I did.  Feeling much better today.

Today, I will work in the shady areas of the garden.  Because .. I still have all those other plants to be dug into the side gardens.

Oh, happy days!


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Thankful for the help on the WordPress Forum! They are wonderful! And also, more about my gardening life

Thursday, August 9, 2012

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Thank goodness for the so very helpful contributors to WordPress.  I’d been plagued with rather distasteful ads on my working pages of my blog .. they had all of a sudden appeared and I had no idea how to get rid of them.

So I posted on the WordPress Forum: “ Offensive ads showing on my blog ..how to stop them from appearing?” and received the most amazing help – easy to follow steps to get rid of these types of ads, which are add-ons and they are disgusting and sneaky.

If you have experienced these, then by all means, please visit the forum and you’ll find these most helpful links to get rid of them.

Now I am much happier.

So, back to gardening!

Yesterday I toiled away at the front yard  ..  completing the removal of invasive perennials that I’d let grow just to keep the area green in an easy manner.  Time to make changes and remove them.  Make room for more natural and still drought resistant type plantings.

All pulled, dug, cleared & clipped and then  top dressed with tree chippings to keep down the weeds and keep moisture in.  I didn’t take a before picture, thought of it too late.  But I will take an after picture.  This area will look a little bare  ..  I intend to pick up some woodland type plants, ferns, etc. and plant them there.

Then I began the task of pruning one of the two lilac trees that are on either side of our driveway.  For hours I clipped away at dry branches and overgrown trunks.  Some branches had grown about 4 feet over the tops of nearby cedar & bamboo plants.

At the end, I was much happier.  Noticed the chickadees flying through … and thought, oh no, they’ve lost some perching branches.   But  ..  looking around, I see thousands more of branches in our yard for them to perch in.  You see, I love the wild and natural look and am happy that there are zillions of hiding places for my winged friends.

Now the light comes through for the plants and they will grow even more!

Spent a few hours clipping away at the branches,  so that they would fit in my Rubbermaid containers, nice and tidy, so I can take them to the local municipal yard for them to compost.

And so I arranged the 3 large yard bags and 5 Rubbermaid containers into my little Echo.  How did I do this, you may ask?  Well, I pushed, shoved, squeezed and forced them all to stay in the car.  Even had one of the yard bags on the front passenger seat.  Ha ha ha …. It did look a little funny, but I was able to load the car up.

And this morning, first thing, I drove to the yard and offloaded them.   Now they will be chipped and mulched and be part of the garden dressing in the municipality.  No waste.

So now .. for the rest of the day, I can play in the back yard and be creative.   I’ll share that tomorrow!

And also for now I can enjoy a lovely mug of Yorkshire tea .. made with the loose leaves … such a very delicious treat.

🙂


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Another day in the garden, moving plants, creating space, watching plants grow

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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So yesterday, Tuesday, was quite a hot and sunny day!   I really made a lot of progress in the yard.  And later, stuffed my little Echo car to the maximum with 3 large garden bags, the paper kind .. stuffed to the gills with cuttings.

I even had two of them in the passenger seat, I love to use every bit of space in my car.  Then, in the back (I have the hatchback version) I stowed one more garden bag, full to the brim, plus 4 large Rubbermaid totes and 4 smaller ones.    I can really pack things into my little car … it is a wonderful vehicle.   Holds almost as much as a small truck.

I love using the car for a garden vehicle, tarps lining the interior, then when all the garden waste is taken to the Saanich yard for composting, I neatly pack everything away and all is back to normal, kind of nice and tidy.

Oh, how I love the spaciousness of the side yard now … and so will work on adding some hardy perennials in the foreground .. and leave lots of space for the cedars to fill out and grow tall.  they are nearly to the top of the fence and with the magical EM mixture, it won’t take them long to grow even higher.

I see that there are a few cedars that will need to be dug up and moved over a little bit.  Plus one Bay tree that will have to be moved, so that it will have lots of space to grow and fill out.

Oh, gardening is so much fun.  Always changes to be done.  Plants to move around.  Trimming to be done.

I find that sometimes I work hard for hours, without stopping and other times are just perfect for dreaming away, planning changes.   A balance it seems.

So yesterday I found myself being swept away in tidying up .. we’ve recently (I use the Royal “we” .. when really I mean DH, ha ha ha) installed new fence panels at one side of the yard .. and so there are lots of old fence boards that need to be sorted and piled up, ready to be reinstalled around the panels of the 3 remaining sides of the fence.

I have no idea how I started that chore, but start I did and spent a few hours sorting, piling, tidying, sweeping .. quite impressive, really.  I am so full of surprises.

Yesterday was a lovely day .. so I’ve posted some pictures taken on Monday.  Showing the “gently shoved aside by the giant Buddleia” cedars.  And the open spaces behind and in front of the cedars.  I’ll post pics in a month and I can only wonder at the growth that will take place as a result of the EM  .. which I definitely will apply tomorrow.

The plentiful raspberry plants are now resting quietly in a large garden pot … I’ve decided to keep them and to establish a few more garden beds.  Fresh raspberries are just plain fun to have in the yard.  Plus, they add lots of greenery.

Oh, it’s been a fun few days in the garden and tomorrow I  plan to start the day in the garden very early and to finish planting the potted plants.  Including Rosemary and Lavender.

Plus, you know, time to relax and study the lay of the land. Dream. Watch the birds.

🙂


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Mother Nature has been taking care of watering the gardens .. thank you very much.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Saturday .. what a day .. windy, blustery … rainy  .. and then the sun did come out, later on in the day.  A sweet promise of what will  happen on Sunday.

So I really wanted to play outside, but decided to save that treat for another day.

Looked outside at the trees, branches waving away in the winds … glad that we planted so many  here .. years ago.  Knowing that the birds have many places to take cover in rough weather.   Places to nest … unseen by human eyes.  I respect their privacy.  Although I would love to see their little homes . .I leave them be.

Happy that Mother Nature is watering the gardens thoroughly . .no worries about dry soil for the plants.   Oh, this will be good for everything, the berries, the garlic .. the fruit trees.  And the grass .. another opportunity for me to use my newest garden tool .. the push mower.

And I must empty the Rubbermaid containers .. that are full of seaweed.    So they can begin to enrich the plants with their mineral laden goodness.

So I didn’t take any pics on Saturday and am posting some of sunnier days:   Including some pics when my pal D & I visited the beaches of Sooke.  Slowed down when we saw a young deer standing, transfixed, by the side of the road.

Then, later, we’d been busy gathering seaweed and were surprised to see deer prints, freshly made.   It had been around our area and hadn’t made a sound!

Visited the beautiful Point No Point for the most delicious chicken soup, homemade bread and tea.  Drank delicious water, untainted by chlorine ..  Looked out the windows at the magnificent ocean vista.  Priceless.  What a lovely place .. it’s been years since I’ve been here and I vow to return again.

Wandered the magnificent property.  Walked the lovely red bridge .. a truly beautiful place to be.

Glad I took pics .. lovely memories of nature.

Well . on with this new day.  Some gardening, you say?  Of course!  At Dakota Cafe!

Laters!

A.M.


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Wednesday brings good fortune for me and bad karma for others!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

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Wednesday was one of those rare sunny days .. these ones that appear from time to time, and deludes us into  thinking that summer has arrived.  I’ve not yet put my winter clothes away yet and have found that procrastination has paid off!  For the sunny days, there are my capris and t-shirts.  For chilly days, I have my lined cargo plants, t-shirts & jackets.  Gloves and scarves too.

But yesterday was a summery day as my pal D & I headed off to a local beach to collect seaweed for the garden.

Tide was at its lowest about 9:15 …. and it was lovely to see that we could walk way .. way out to the ocean!  It was a nice quiet day, perfect for selecting this treasured material for the garden.

I’m very careful to only collect that seaweed which is dried or otherwise not still attached to rocks and yesterday, due to the heat, there was a nice crispy layer on the surface of the wet seaweed.  So I was rolling the top layer like Sushi!

I’d brought my trusty old Rubbermaid containers, the same units I’ve been using for over 20 years.  Originally I’d used them to store the variety of pot-pourri, moth repellents (herbal), stove top spices and bath herbs, back in the day when I was making the rounds of craft sales.  And also selling these items, packaged, in stores, on a small-scale.

These containers were just plain handy.  Anyway, as I started to fill them up, I noticed that there weren’t as many there as when I’d started.  I had brought 11 and now there were only 7.   Mystified, trying to understand why someone would take 4 of these .. didn’t make sense.  Perhaps there are people who just like to take things that are on a beach?

Well, karma will out.  Next time I’ll write my name on my few remaining containers.  I just hope that whoever took them finds these containers to be as useful to them as they have been to me.

Anyway, collecting done, containers filled, tucked in the car .. it’s time to relax in the sun.  Body aching from hours of bending, collecting, filling, lifting.  It was sheer heaven to settle in on the warm rocks and breathe in the beautiful fresh air.

As always, we meet people who ask what we are doing .. and explain that the seaweed is good for the garden.  Adds minerals and texture to the soil.  enriches the compost.  Garlic loves it and slugs avoid it.

We have both taken an intensive seaweed workshop and understand how to properly harvest any living seaweed, cut off just a little and leave the plant growing.

At the end of our long outing, the decision was made to visit a different little place for our special treats.  We had been going to a little place that was noisy and that was just not relaxing.  So yesterday we went to another place.

And wow .. it was as if we had been transplanted to a lovely little European bakery!  It’s called “Little Vienna Bakery” and what a beautiful change this was for us.   Entering the welcoming open front door (and there were precious mosaic designed bistro tables & matching chairs near the entranceway)… we found ourselves in the most delightful bakery.

Gilt framed mirrors were everywhere.   Spacious tables were positioned so that everyone could comfortably visit and have privacy .. no crowding of tables.   We chose a little table outside .. and were rewarded with the most colourful flowering vista!  Vehicles could be heard but not seen.  Instead, our eyes saw towering banks of colourful foxglove, a wall of sunny California Poppies, waves of delicate red poppies.  And there were other perennials also, but my eyes were drawn towards the cheerful palette of the flowers.

How wonderful to find this oasis .. a perfect way to finish our day’s outing!  Sandwiches, soups, cheeses .. are all served here.  D had the poppy-seed bar, delicate and delicious (she shared with me) and I .. fell in love….  with the Schnecke!  Bought 2, 1 cinnamon and 1 chocolate (a treat for my DH).   Well, I broke off a little piece of the cinnamon one and found myself unable to stop.   So .. bought another one, as a treat, for when I was home.  Luckily there was one remaining in the case, otherwise, I don’t know, I might have broken down and cried if they were all gone.  So I was saved that embarrassment!

D pronounced the Schneckes as perfect, identical to the dainty pastries that were served in Vienna!   So the quality of the pastries, in conjunction with the most beautiful surroundings, the decadent regality of the gilt framed mirrors .. all added to the magnificence of this treasured place.  Oh, and they serve meals also, Breakfast & Lunch.  As well as wheat free products (as in the poppy-seed bar).

I think that next time I will have a grilled Panini .. they have a choice of Sicilian and Parisienne.  Well, with names like that, I just know that they will be delicious (really, though, I know they will be delicious .. cause in this beautiful bakery, everything is beautiful and tasty)  .   I’ll order the Parisienne next time, and I’ll just pretend that I’m back in France, wandering around dusty side streets .. listening to the language being spoken all around.  sigh.

Here is the site for the Vienna Bakery:  http://littleviennabakery.com/

As I was sitting there, looking around at the flowers, D whispered … don’t move!  A striking red and black butterfly had settled on the black ribbon encircling my hat, I was totally unaware.  So I passed the camera to her and she clicked away.  Luckily . .she was able to snap two good photos showing the butterfly nice and clear.  I’ve not seen a butterfly as striking as this one.  So I wondered, is this a sign of good luck?   That’s what I’ll interpret the little visit as.

It made up for the loss of my four containers.   And I released the negativity that I was feeling over the theft.

Soon, time to begin the trek home.  Back in traffic.  Happy for the day’s outing.  It’s so much fun to spend a day like this every once in a while.  Fresh air, sandy beaches.  D noticed a deer and a mink at the beach .. she always notices these things.

Back home, I emptied the containers from the car, and began the process of moving them to the back yard.  Some that I had gathered was for the bath so these I placed out on framed lattice sections, to dry.   The rest .. well I’ll be digging that into the garden today.