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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We had a bit of snow and then we had some sun .. but the best part was that my garden had fun!

Victoria was ahead of the game last week when we had some snow.  I wasn’t going to take any photos, but decided, what the heck so I fetched my camera and took a few pics.

Some snow on the Mexican Orange shrub .. this plant is tough as nails!  I can do an extreme pruning and then a few months later, it flowers!  Nov 7 02Below, photo taken this week .. snow has gone (yea!!) and the flowers are still looking great.Nov 7 -09My little garden bench .. where JaneE loves to perch and await her treats!  I liked the way the sun brought out the shadows which always adds interest.  Nov 7 01Leaves decorating the frozen water in the bird bath.  I replenished the water so that the birds could bathe.   Nov 7 - 07Honestly, these sweet little flowers just add so much beauty and carefree energy to the garden .. love them!Nov 7 -98One of the many reasons I love taking photos in the fall .. so I can remember how beautiful nature is.  Took this photo last week.  Nothing like a cheerful sunflower to brighten the atmosphere, n’est-ce pas?Nov 7 -05And this venerable rose bush, another tough as nails plant!  I planted this – maybe 35 years ago?  I swear it lives on love as I rarely water it even during the hot summer.  It does not mind a heavy pruning and just seems to flourish.  The Anna Hummingbirds love this one!Nov 7 -10Alpine strawberries.  I do not plant these in the ground as they are tenacious and would soon cover the yard, as I discovered a few years ago!  Now I just keep one plant in a pot and that is enough.  Yesterday, this caught my eye, I loved the dainty flowers against the broken clay pot.  This .. to me .. is true beauty of the best kind.Nov 7 03A few days ago, I gathered some pumpkin seeds and scrapings, placed them on a Rubbermaid container lid for the birds to feast on.  Our lovely JaneE (nearly 22 years old now) loves pumpkin squash and I caught her eagerly dining on this!  She soon stopped and walked away to her little bench.  The Stellar Jays noticed this food and quickly made this disappear.  I noticed one of the Jays swallow a seed whole, snatched up another and flew away to rest in one of the trees!Nov 7 -06

Last year I only noticed one Stellar Jay in our yard .. this year there are 4 and they are such beautiful birds.  If only their song would match their beauty!  Happy to see them pick out the peanuts I leave for them.  Nov 7 -04

It is the first week of November and I still haven’t planted my garlic.  This week I will definitely plant a small patch just to enjoy their growth.  At one time I really wanted lots of property so that I could grow lots of organic garlic to sell.  Plans change and now I am content to just plant a small amount.

As all gardeners know.. the peace and tranquility of a garden soothes the soul and the joy of watching plants grow, the love of watching the interaction of the birds has an energy unlike anything else.

Sometimes I wander outside, a little overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done.   After giving JaneE her treats, and filling up the bird feeders, checking on the hummingbird feeders to make sure they have enough for the day .. I wander around, with my mug of strong Yorkshire Tea .. looking at the various areas in our garden.

And I truly surprise myself (time after time after time!) at what happens next.

I move a few plant pots, tie up a few wandering berry vines and soon find myself involved in changes that involve a different way of using the yard.

Loving the idea of creating private garden rooms and not wanting a permanent structure anywhere .. I am always thinking of a different way of doing things.  And so happy at the results.

This year I’ve placed two arbors (from Lee Valley .. not the expensive types) in the garden about 5 feet apart … and next year will plant a string bean tunnel!

And I have quite a few planters with bamboo and am playing with them to use as green walls in another garden place.  It’s funny how I’ve been focusing on just one area of the yard, forgetting about others and now I am re-discovering these sort of forgotten areas.

And mulching the seaweed that my pal D and I gathered a few weeks ago with straw from the summer and leaves raked last week.   This will make lovely soil for next year and also provide a place for the birds to peck away, looking for the insects that will live there.

Love being in my garden.

But now, off to practise my fiddle and my singing as I have another voice lesson soon!  Loving this also!

🙂


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Oh what a lovely summer it has been !! Lots of beauty, fun, magic in the garden and I feel so very happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gosh .. I haven’t blogged for awhile!  On the computer anyway.   I’ve been blogging a lot in my head but somehow that didn’t carry over to the computer.  For now, that is.  I am positive that in the very near future (if not now) this can be done.   Sending thoughts as electrical impulses  and in a nano second, the words appear on a screen.

Funny, I remember “way back” in high school, I created a few newsletters and in one of them, I predicted that in the future, clothes would be available in a tin can!  And I believe that this is now passe.

Anyway.  This summer has been a very busy one and it really flew right by, day after day after day!  So much happened and I was so very fortunate to have met so many interesting people and to have seen so many beautiful things.

I’ll start off with the VERY MOST IMPORTANT!!

This would be up in Port Alberni .. where I met Kevin, who was creating a Totem that will be moved up to Alert Bay next week!!!

I saw the totem from the beginning .. when Kevin had finished graphing out the Totem, had applied the measurements and markings to the Ancient Red Cedar (between 600 and 700 years old!!!)  I was chatting away with him, and then when I drove away .. I thought “OMG .. I JUST SAW A TOTEM POLE BEING CREATED”  This was a very powerful experience.

I asked for permission to take photos and then I happily clicked away.   This photo is from a few weeks later .. the Totem is taking shape.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.Oct 29 - 1

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Over the summer, every time that we went to Port Alberni, I would visit Kevin and the Totem.  I didn’t take a photo of the last visit.   At this point the Totem was nearing the finish and it felt alive and vibrant.  I felt honoured to be so close.

Over the summer, many people stopped by to watch and talk with Kevin .. learning about his culture and the Totem.   I wish I was there right now so that I could visit again and see how the Totem looks .. the carving details nearly done .. the whitewash, red and black paint applied.

 

Anyway .. on to the everyday activities.

Here is darling little JaneE Kat …waiting for more treats .. I love her.

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Lovely Mexican Orange .. beautifully blooming away this week!Oct 29 - 19

Roses blooming away, delicate rose perfume ..Oct 29 - 18

Our neighbours are from the Ukraine and Mira gave me tons of tomato seedlings!  This one is a genuine Ukraine tomato that you cannot find in Canada!  I am so lucky!  It matures into a sort of heart shape, with lines and ripens to a delicious red.  I placed this one on the kitchen table and it did ripen and tasted delicious in a salad.

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The Scarlet Red Runners are abundant .. I’m leaving these to mature as beans (because they are way to high to reach and have gone beyond the stage where I can chop them up in a salad!Oct 29 - 17

This photo is a little blurry, but I saw this little Junko up in Port in September and was so happy to see the return of the Junko’s for the winter!  Not a bad photo, considering I was in the motorhome and quickly grabbed my camera and aimed it out the window, the Junko was about 10 feet away.Oct 29 - 13

More recently (last Thursday!!)  my pal D and I went to Sooke to gather seaweed for our respective gardens!Oct 29 - 16

Lots of seaweed .. we took just a little bit.Oct 19 - 16a

I have always loved Faeries … here is one in my garden .. seemingly stepping from one tree to another … as Faeries are wont to do, don’t you know?Oct 29 - 21

And here is another one .. resting on a water bath .. contemplating … whatever it is that Faeries contemplate on.Oct 29 - 20

It’s been a lovely time … and I’ll share lots more in the days ahead.

I’m continuing to enjoy my Daily Life .. between my singing lessons, practising my fiddle, focusing on my German lessons, daily Yoga breathing and exercising.

Happily .. till next time!!

 

🙂

 


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Foggy morning equals sunny afternoon!

A week or so ago, my pal D and I travelled to Sooke for one of our infrequent trips to this lovely little town not far from Victoria.  Our aim is to enjoy the relaxing ocean atmosphere, gather a little bit of the raggedy seaweed (not too much and only that which is not home to living creatures).  Breathe in the invigorating salt air.  Drink in the sight of such beauty.  And just chill out.  Each with our own thoughts and each wandering about the beach in our own little walks.   A time for relaxing.  A treat.

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I’m not a boater but I do enjoy watching the vessels, sailboats etc., that journey across the waters.  The air and the ground are my elements.   The water is beautiful, though.thurs-09

In the distance, the remaining fog resembled earthbound clouds, struggling to get back up high (that is what it seemed to me!)thurs-08

Very peaceful indeed … tranquil, restful, all that and more …thurs-03

Here the fog looks like gauzy waves dreamily forming against the mountains .. sigh.thurs-02

The seagull has some tasty treasure to feast on ..thurs-05

Feeding over, time to just rest among the seaweed ..thurs-04

The comforting solid density of the rock … warm to the touch .. interesting in the textures formed by the years of pressure, travel and the sort of thing that happens to rocks over the years.thurs-07

How beautiful is this ….thurs-06

I love personal touches such as this … a respite for a little bird, how sweet.

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Beach time over with .. we head to our favourite Cafe ..

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Time for a decaf mocha Americana .. yum ..thurs-18

Such a restful and tranquil garden at the back of the cafe ..love the hedge of boxwood around the fountain.thurs-15

Pretty flowers, eye candy for gardeners ..thurs-19

With the noise cancelling sounds of the fountain and the lush plantings, it is difficult to remember that there is heavy traffic on the other side of the bushes and plants.  Nice!

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And there is my little red car .. my trusty little vehicle .. so practical and so fun to take on little holidays and daytrips such as this!  🙂thurs-16

How sweet is this .. colourful and fun …thurs-14

And at the front of the cafe are little tables for people to sit at, sip their drinks and ponder the world.thurs-13

So we had just a most relaxing and fun filled day.  Afterwards we went to the one thrift shop that remains in the town.  There used to be another one which was quite fun to shop at .. but for some reason, it is shut down.  So now there is a mad rush for everyone to go to the one place that exists.  Still fun and we do find some treasures.

It is fun to zip away for the day with a friend and just do some exploring .. at the ocean .. at a cafe .. at a thrift shop.

We never know what we will see or discover and we always have such a great time.

Well .. the day is speeding along .. so on with this most beautiful and sunny day.

🙂


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I met the most wonderful dog named Buck. And I’ve re-discovered the joy of dehydrating fruit and veggies!

One day last week, I started my adventures in a garden center!   This is Cannor’s at the Sears Mall .. a lovely gathering of the most wonderful plants and delightful things for the garden.  This sign caught  my attention, cause that is what gardening is all about, right?

I noticed some male and female Sea Buckthorn plants!  I have one at home, but darn if I know which sex it is.   So, after talking with the very knowledgeable Manager there, I learned that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the male and the female plants, besides – the plant tags showed that they both bore orange berries.

After learning that the plants were on sale, 50% off … the decision was easily made for me and so I bought one of each.  So now I have 3, either 2 male and 1 female or the opposite.

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A lone crow flies overhead, flapping madly to join his pals …up in the wild blue sky.a08

Later on I made my way to a local Starbuck’s and happened to meet this most wonderful dog named Buck!  He is so very sweet and I fell in love with him.  I learned that he was born in England, has travelled all over the world and now lives here in Victoria.  I felt so very honoured when he showed his trust by rolling over and offering his tummy to be rubbed and then sat up and leaned into me for a good hug.  And I felt so happy hugging him and feeling all that honest and innocent doggy love.  I miss having dogs and so I value all the dogs that I meet in my life.  All are so very special.

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Now time for a little rest … sweet little Buck.  I learned that Buck is named after the travelling dog in the book published in 1902:  Buck

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Last week, when I dug up a huge container of potatoes, I found a strange green lime-shaped object.  It was something I hadn’t planted and so I was quite puzzled, but brought it into the house anyway.  Before discarding it, I decided to just peel away the outer green covering and lo and behold – found this walnut.  Mystery solved,  a squirrel must have hidden this treasure for a winter treat.  I’ll plant this in a pot (with a label!!) and will wait and see if it will grow for next year.  Those squirrels.  I’m constantly finding peanuts in the shell that they have planted.  For whatever reason (I don’t want to think) the squirrels don’t return and so the peanuts either grow into plants or just fall apart.  I wish that they would just enjoy the peanuts now but that isn’t their way.

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Darling little JaneE Kat, water beading off her fur, she has just had another wash tub sump pump shower and now is munching on her treats.  Life is good.

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During one of my random wanderings in the back yard, noticed this tiny pink geranium flowering away.  I hadn’t noticed the little bee, though, till now .. love such surprises!

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Another sweet surprise, tiny flowers quietly bursting forth ….little trumpets for the bees.

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Last week, my pal D and I went out for a day of gathering seaweed and thrift store shopping.   More about that another day, but just wanted to share a lovely find!  She is always discovering the most amazing little treasures in the shops and here is one!    At first I didn’t pay any attention, but, as she pointed out, this broom was made entirely of bamboo!   As I have a lot of bamboo growing in the yard, this caught my attention quite quickly.  So I purchased this one.   Back at home, I gathered the necessary materials and made one of these brooms for myself!    Tying bunches of the bamboo side branches securely around a length of the solid length of bamboo, using flexible coated garden wire, I soon had it done.  These brooms are just fantastic for sweeping up fallen leaves – I tested them.  More gentle than a rake.  Now I have an interest in trying to make brooms out of fine branches pruned from trees .. these would make a slightly sturdier broom for sweeping.   Another interest to pursue, love it!

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And I’ve fallen madly in love with dehydrating!   Haven’t done this for many years and it is just so much fun to rediscover this again!  I bought a great little dehydrator from Lee Valley .. it works like a charm and was not expensive at all.   Our freezer is full to bursting with a surplus of frozen fruit so I removed about 10 bags which included plums, blueberries, raspberries and pureed them all together.  I then added home-made applesauce and a little bit of liquid honey which was given to us by friends.

This is the result and it is delicious . I’m so excited.  At Lee Valley I also bought the most amazing book on dehydrating,  by Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff & September Ferguson  – full of details on every aspect of dehydrating.   Normally I do not buy books unless they are on sale.  But when I find a book that is so full of information, I do not hesitate to buy it.

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I cut the large circles into 2 sections and rolled each one up in waxed paper, nice and tidy.  Easy to pack in my purse and take along for a quick energy boost throughout the day.a05

I’ve been trying a variety of things to dehydrate.   One mixture has beet leaves, sorrel, nasturtium leaves and kale – dried and powdered and in a jar, ready to sprinkle into stoups or stews for the winter.  And these tomatoes from the garden dry & powder so well!   Hadn’t thought I had many tomatoes at all but it seems there are sufficient.

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Right now I’m waiting for the “Longview” organic red/orange and green pepper slices to dry and I’ll be crumbling them up into little flakes for future dishes.   And there are a dozen ears of corn to be lightly cooked, then the niblets cut away and into the dehydrator.   Dried items take up way less space than frozen food and I really need to make more space in the freezer.  I know there is enough frozen fruit to make a few more batches of fruit leather!   Some for us and some to share.

This is a big bag of greens that I bought from Silver Rill farm last week .. long since washed, cut up, dried and now ready for adding to meals.  What fun.

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So recently my life has been chock full of new discoveries outside and in the kitchen.  Exciting adventures in dehydrating foods and just loving how things are turning out.  Plans for future mixtures are dancing away in my imagination.  In the dehydrator book .. there are ideas for making fun shapes of fruit leather with various colours of fruit puree.  I was just too impatient to try this out at first, but think I will attempt this another day.

And normally I make a paste out of garlic that is left over from planting and sharing.  And freeze the paste, great to add to anything (but not ice-cream!)   This year I will try drying the garlic and powdering some of it.   Delicious garlic grown in the best organic way in my garden.  Yum yum yum!

Oh the endless possibilities of dehydrating.

Now I must go and empty the dried tomatoes & greens and prepare the corn.

On y va!

🙂

 


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Oh joy .. green beans can be juiced!!

We  have had a fair bit of sun and rain this year.  Long hot spells finally cooled down lately and for that I am grateful!   The days are getting shorter  .. no longer does the sun shine till 9 pm but starts setting around 7:45 … what we’ve taken for granted as long hot summer days are slowly preparing us for fall weather.  But.  It is still officially summer until Autumn comes knocking at the door.  So I will continue to revel at the sight of the most cheerful of all flowers … the sunny Sunflower!

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For a change of pace .. here is a b/w of yet another sunchoke!  I’ve read that you cannot gert rid of this plant and I believe it.  Over the past few years I’ve dug up the knobby root and listed it for free with lots of happy people who love this.   This plant resembles a sunflower but is much taller, with smaller flowers.   Argh.  Not that I dislike this plant but I would rather have more sunflowers.  (and in some part of Victoria, someone is thinking the exact opposite!)tuesday-2

This is the largest of my squash that is actually fruiting.   It is a close up photo and the squash is actually only about 3″ in diameter.    Frosts are in the distant future and there is still about 7 weeks of growing.    Exciting to wait and see what will happen.tuesday-3And alongside this plant .. there are a few other hopefuls growing away.  I added some lovely llama manure to all the plants yesterday so hopefully this will give them a boost.tuesday-4And the beans grow steadily onwards.  These are some Scarlett Red Runner beans … growing from the apple tree branches.  The flowers are so pretty and the bees and Annas love them.tuesday-5A quick glance at these two plants and it appeared as if the squash flower was devouring the bean leaf.tuesday-6I’ve been trying to train this squash plant around the garden screen ..sort of a success .. it will be interesting when the squash start growing .. to see if they will hang properly from the frame.  Yet more beans in the background .. growing along the stakes in the ground.  More Scarlet Red Runners to the left. They are everywhere.   If you want instant privacy in the yard, grow pole beans!!tuesday-8I had placed a variety of (saved) squash seeds throughout the yard and they all grew .. along with any seeds that were in the compost.  Even if I don’t get any squash from these plants, the flowers add so much beauty and nectar for the bees.tuesday-7And yet more beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears, Spanish Musica, Blue Lake Bush beans, Annie Jackson Pole Beans) this morning I picked a basket of beans .. went inside and thought .. omg .. the freezer and fridge freezer are both full.  I cannot cram another  batch of apples or beans…. what can I do!

Then .. I wondered .. can green beans be juiced?   Yes .. the internet resounded loudly.  Not only can they be juiced .. they are full of vitamins and minerals.  So good for you.

I almost broke down and cried I was so happy!!   A bountiful year for beans and now I can juice them!!!   So I did just that!   And the nice thing was that there was very little pulp left in the juicer!

Not being someone who follows a recipe, I threw in some carrots, celery, lots of beans, a few apples .. and soon DH & I were sipping on the delicious juice!  Forgot the ginger, but will add that tomorrow.

So happy!  JaneE Kat wanted to go back outside a few hours later.  She, being a cat, envisioned more treats and so that was her motivation to meow at me to get on outside.  So I did.  After giving her about 3 to 4 sets of treats, I set about picking more beans so I could juice them tomorrow.

Despite having meticulously picked through all the plants for beans this morning, I still found even more this afternoon.  Oh I am so very happy that I won’t have to freeze them any more .. but will just enjoy them in a juice format!   DH is very happy also as I won’t be overstocking the freezer.

Despite the perfect storm for growing food this year (hot weather, lots of rain) … I know that it is the combination of the lovely Llama manure (no medicines used!) and the EM (effective microorganism mixture that I mix up) that create such happy healthy soil for everything to grow in.    Also, seaweed that I have gathered.  If I run out of seaweed, I just use liquid seaweed.  Same stuff without the bother.  🙂  Over 60 minerals adding richness to the soil.

There is nothing like the magic of a garden to focus in on the beauty of life.

🙂


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Spiders and seaweed .. some of the things I have in my garden. Plus some photos of the moon .. how fun

This is one of 2 Silverberry plants that I bought many .. many years ago.   Tough as nails these plants are.  They survived neglect (kept in a plant pot out in the garden .. forgotten) and although they didn’t grow much, they didn’t give up.  Bless em.  4 years ago I finally planted them and last year they started to flower.  These plants are quite large now and I’ve begun pruning them.  The flowers are a positive sign that they are happy …and I’m loving them for hanging in!  This is just a small section to show the flowers up close .. there are hundreds of these tiny little beauties of joy.

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A few days ago I was removing plants that had come to the end of their growth .. trying to make some space for kale,spinach and mizuna plants.  I noticed this spider had settled in on the squash vine .. so, not wanting to disturb him … I left the removal of this spent vine for another day.

02Finally all the seaweed sacks were emptied, the seaweed either dug into the soil or put in the compost bins.  These were then rinsed thoroughly and draped on the conduit frame and bamboo, wherever there was space .. to dry and soak up the sunshine.  Ready for another trip sometime in the future.

03At the end of the day …. spider was still there … he looked settled in so I left him in peace.

04Part of an old window from our house and a little stained glass sunburst them I made years ago.  Just waiting for me to re-purpose them into something artsy for the garden.  For now they will just stay put .. pretty to look at and not in the way of anything.

 

05Last year my pal D and I went to the beach shores in Sidney, there is a small section which receives a lot of broken ceramics and bricks .. washed ashore from a nearby island.  Lots of treasures to be found .. I might sprinkle some into a fairy garden, they would be perfect.

06Each sunflower is different, some have broader petals, smaller faces .. each one is beautiful.

07The moon two nights ago .. I was playing with my camera to see how close I could aim with the 30 zoom (Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40) …. loving this camera .. here are some views that I took ..

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11The moon doesn’t really seem that far away .. shapes and craters can be seen ..

12And just as I finished my little tour around the garden .. I noticed that a potato had been growing away in bean container.  Fancy that .. I must have used some compost here .. it will be interesting to see if I harvest any little taters here!

10Well .. its’ a new day, lots to do .. .which includes a garlic workshop at the Victoria Compost Centre later on in the day.  I intend to learn a lot about this lovely crop!

🙂

 


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Enjoying the beauty of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans … and other beautiful growing plants in my little garden

My pals, R & D & I went seaweed collecting last week … we carefully chose the seaweed that was battered and torn up … nothing fresh and growing.  Anyway, part of our ritual is to stop for lunch at the Little Vienna Cafe in Sooke!  Delicious food .. happy atmosphere.  We sat outside and there is the most marvellous water feature there …

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And if you happen to have an old wooden boat handy on your property and are at a loss as to what to do with it .. here is an idea!  Plant a garden!   Hmmm … wouldn’t it be lovely to see garlic growing away in this? (I love garlic!)

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Such magnificent blue skies.  I love blue skies and take a zillion (seriously!) photos .. so many, in fact, that D suggests that I create a “Cloud” blog .. well, that is certainly food for thought.

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A crow flying overhead … just one crow!  Where are his buddies?

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Definitely eye candy overhead on a sunny day …

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And here is eye candy of another sort .. out in the garden …

06There is always one in every crowd .. you know .. the one that stands out and seems to say “it’s me .. see me” .. in a nice way, though!

07Lovely Clematis flower … soon it will be time to sleep and rest during the fall and winter months.  Ready to spring forward and bloom anew in the warmer seasons.  Thank you for adding to the magnificent beauty in my backyard oasis.

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How lucky am I .. strawberries are still growing away and it is the end of September.

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With the promise of more berries to come.  Way to go, strawberries!

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More of Nature’s garden art .. how delicate and sweet ..

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Doesn’t this make you smile?  I don’t cut the sunflowers down .. just let them grow away and provide food for the birds when it is time.

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I love these Cherokee Trail of Tears beans .. they are a very vigorous plant and the vines are super tough ..and talk about fast growing!  I had put out a few tall stakes, however, their rapid growth caught my by surprise.  I was concerned that perhaps their intertwining might mean not so many beans, but as you can see, that is not the case!

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Their diminutive flowers are so gentle and calming .. funny thing for me to say about a flower, but that is the sense I have when I’m outside, admiring them.

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So I’ve learned yet another thing about planting beans!  Planting these Tiger Eyes bush beans next to the Cherokee Trail of Tears was not such a great idea as they quickly became shadowed out.  However, a few pods have grown so I will save them for seed for next year.  When I’ll plant them in their own area!

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See how the Cherokee beans grow right up through the trees!

016Yesterday was a most beautiful sunny Sunday.  And I was able to spend the complete day outdoors!   I spent so much time wandering around .. soaking up the beauty of the flowers, beans, vines, plants.  It was just such a wonderful day.

And I finally spread around the seaweed that my friends and I gathered last week .. it was getting to the stinky stage and I put lots in the compost containers and dug in the rest into the garden soil .. with lots around the pear stock tree!

I dug up a brick path that I’d installed last fall .. to create a pathway in the veggie bed.  Time for change.  My gardens are all about change and moving things about.

Anyway .. time is speeding up and I have my exercise group to join .. so more later!

🙂