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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Looking backwards in time .. to a sunny day in June!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Well, I really want to talk about my garden.  Started looking through my photos and perused some sunny days in June when D and I went seaweeding in Sooke.  Our good friend R joined us in September, I think, and I have some good photos from that time and will post later.

Anyway, it was a midweek day and D & I set off to Sooke.  Looking forward to spending time on the beach, harvesting some seaweed for the garden.  Breathe in the fresh air and just spend some time away from the reality of daily life.  So, it was a sunny day, see this beautiful sky ..

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It was early in the day and the tide was way out there .. we could walk for miles along the shoreline .. see the seaweed covered rocks.   Lots of sea lettuce.   I’ve seen people just hacking away at these and stuffing huge bags full .. to use in restaurants.   That is just so wrong.  D & I, having taken seaweed courses, know that you just carefully trim a leaf from a plant, leaving the rest to continue growing on the rocks.
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Such an eerie feeling, really .. to walk along these rocky shores that normally are full of water, too deep for me to ever enter when the tide is in.  I am so grateful for this experience.

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Tide is coming in .. the hidden sea creatures can now escape their hiding places and cavort about in the salty brine of the ocean.

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And here is D .. she’s found a lovely kelp, the fronds are still attached.  The plant itself is ok to harvest, it is not still growing.   Treasure indeed, my garlic thanks you.

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Yum yum .. says my lovely garlic .. more than 60 minerals in seaweed .. enriches the soil quality and adds taste to the garlic.

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And the Elephant Garlic mumbles a gnarly thanks also … it is too busy growing to pay us much attention!02

 

Later we wandered along this lovely wooden walkway that stretched over the waters of Sooke …16

 

And along the way we saw this happy family busy throwing their crab traps … they would carefully check the size of the crabs and any too small or too large would be cast back into the ocean.

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Don’t these branches remind you of a giant dinosaur or a monster of some type?

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The beautiful blue skies continued overhead .. how lovely is this ..18

 

Saw some magnificent trees along the switch back walkway that led us down to the ocean .. strong, beautiful trees .14

 

Loving the contrast of light and shadow.  The Yin and the Yang.  The Positive and the Negative.  Balance in all things.  Too much of one is boring, but a subtle mix is seductive and interesting, non?15

 

 

A last look at the shoreline .. and it was nearly time to leave.

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Back home, in between unloading the seaweed and moving to the back yard, I just had to stop and admire busy bees cavorting in the lupines.

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And the red-hot poker plants … the birds and insects love these blooms.23Sigh .. that was a lovely visit back to June .. especially in this winter.  Although, the weather in Victoria, BC today was sunny, there was some chill, but not much.  So we can’t complain.   And must not boast, you know.  But we all do enjoy this lovely weather.  And I, for one, just plain dream of next spring and summer.

 

 

 


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Walking in the rain .. under a sky blue lined umbrella .. enjoying the peace and quiet .. how very lovely yesterday was!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Yesterday, the rains poured down from the heavens .. and this was a perfect day for a walk .. so I set out.  However .. firstly .. here is a little photo of the little Fox Sparrow, who had a serious problem with his left eye.  Today I noticed that the problem is much worse and, sadly, I saw another with the same problem with his right eye.

I’ve read, from some birding blogs, that these issues are more readily viewed when there are bird feeders closer to the house.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be noticed.  Nevertheless, I brought most of the birdfeeders & suet holders inside for a good scrub, a light bleach rinse and lots of clear water rinsing.  Amazing the amount of seeds were tucked away tightly.  Washed, rinsed, dried and fresh seed & suet.  The world was a little happier place.

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Next, at the front of the house, I’m just about ready to leave when I notice a neighbour’s cat .. very friendly … came up the front stairs … apparently quite ready to come inside for a visit.  However, a branch from our Christmas tree appeared to capture his attention.

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Sorry, sweetie .. another time … love that face!  02

I began my trek … along local pathways … no one else out at this particular time .. so only me and the rain and my umbrella .. quite  tranquil time .. loving this.

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I love walking in the rain  … especially with this very cheerful umbrella … the top side is solid black and the inside is blue… with fluffy cumulous clouds .. very happy indeed.  So in contrast, the sleet ridden roads all of a sudden don’t seem to be so gloomy.

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This pathway is new … it allows runners/bikers/walkers to enter Rainbow Park more easily and it opens right off of McKenzie Avenue.  This is the first time I’ve walked this way .. kind of curious to see how it works out .. previously, this was all a grassy hillside.

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Just before this , though, along McKenzie Avenue .. is a lovely little green area with magnificent trees …

09 And further along .. a massive amount of ferns growing along  .. very lush and beautiful …  07

And more berried bushes .. food for the deer?  Lovely to look at ..06

What a cheerful sight .. lots of flowers …

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And  .. just a few minutes from starting my walk I arrive at Rainbow Park .. a lovely place, well named.

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And what do we have here … another route to my favourite place!  There are quite a variety of routes to Swan Lake Sanctuary and it’s fun to try a different one for each visit.

13At the little observatory (once I reached it!) I could see a little Mallard out in the middle of Swan Lake .. and I think he saw me ..but, alas, I hadn’t brought any flatted oats with me .. so I left before I could draw him over in false hope for food ..

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Farther along .. you can see the fence posts, still here, from the dairy farm that once flourished here.  My pal D remembers this quite clearly .. she and her family used to purchase their milk from the store that once existed.   Kind of nice to see these posts, though, a salute to previous times.  19

I love everything about Swan Lake .. and there are some areas that are just so much more awesome than others.  This is one .. and see the nest up in the tree to the right?  Cool.

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Rain .. rain .. rain .. everywhere.  But I’m not worried .. my waterproof walking shoes are about the only dry apparel that I have .. it’s taken me awhile to walk these shoes into a comfortable state of being .. and I can quite enjoy them now.17

Some Mallards enjoy the peace and quiet.16

Moi mes souliers ont beaucoup voyagé (grace a les mots de Felix Leclerc) 15

And this signage just never gets tired!!  See the last line .. so true.14

Sigh …


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Time for tea .. blue skies .. another plant purchase .. a lovely period of time

Monday, December 24, 2012

A few days ago … I decided it was time to go shopping downtown .. time for a quick coffee visit with a friend and also to visit the Mediterranean shop on Pandora.  Hadn’t been there for quite a few years .. how time flies and all that.

On the way there … I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look up at the beautiful sunny skies and snap some photos.  Interesting clouds.

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The white fluffy clouds tumbled and twirled .. changing shapes smoothly and quickly.  Always beautiful, though.

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Lucky to find a parking space not far from the shop … looking forward to visiting it again.  My pal J and I used to visit this lovely treasure at lunch-time, years ago.  Bought the most delicious middle-eastern foods for lunch.  Spices.  Tea.  All sorts of lovely things.  Same proprietor … working from 7 am till 10 at night … rent is high in this district.  I understand that he sells the free-range eggs for the same price that he pays for them .. so no profit from them.  I bought 2 dozen (delicious) eggs and a supply of foods for the pantry.

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Among my purchases was this delicious tea .. .. loose leaf, the best.

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Next .. I went to Penelope’s (sorry, no pic) to meet with J for a quick cup of tea.  We both have places to go, people to see .. but important to fit in a quick visit.   Lovely cafe … we enjoyed large cups of English Breakfast Tea .. and the lovely counter-guy brought us a little pitcher of milk to our table (we’d forgotten that!) …. he was so very thoughtful.

Afterwards, I drove down to the shopping area by the water .. looking forward to visiting some stores there.   Spent some time looking at the lovely old brick buildings still intact.  Below is one building used for Hydro … I’ll bet the offices there are funky!

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Another fine old building … didn’t notice the business name ..just admired the beauty.05

And … the skies were still amazing ….06

Rustic .. and protected by fencing …

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Window coverings, serving as security for the building and decorative ironwork .. liking that.

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For just a brief moment, as I walked along ….I stopped for a few seconds .. there was no traffic noise, sun warming the street .. I felt transported back to my hometown of my younger days, a little place with lots of brick buildings, no crowds .. it was a nostalgic moment and I savoured it

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Always love this mural painted on the back of a building which faces the parking lot of Capital Iron … doesn’t it seem as if the young cub is looking right at you?

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I think these are passion flowers gone to seed .. the birds were happily feasting away on the seed-heads .. cheerful sounds ..11

Ahhhhh …..12

Lovely old windows, warm butter-hued paint against the rustic brick …

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Stopped to admire the beauty of this delivery bike .. and chatted with the owner.  She and her DH worked hard to keep this sprout business going.  She bikes from the nearby Fernwood neighbourhood (about 15 minutes away) and delivers the fresh organic product to homes and businesses.

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Heading back to my car .. I noticed several pairs of pigeons, nestled on the overhead wires, soaking up the warm rays of the sun.

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Oh, and one more thing .. after seeing this tree at Capital Iron .. for over a month now … every time I go shopping there .. and thinking and dreaming about this tree .. I finally broke down and bought it!  It is a weeping pussy willow tree.   Pendula Salix caprea.   And it was half price.  How could I possibly resist.  After paying for it (and another red flowering currant .. flowers for the hummingbirds in the spring) .. I spent about 10 minutes fitting it into my car.  All efforts were worth it though!  Here it is in the back yard.  I’ll pot it up into a bigger container .. as it will be planted in our next place!   Happy am I.

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Blue skies .. birdies flying around .. more plants for the garden .. and visiting with friends …treasures indeed!  🙂


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Last week I was busy collecting leaves and I found time to go downtown!

How cool is this .. the light from my Ikea desk lamp reflected the surface of my Moroccan tray onto the ceiling ..

How cool is this .. the light from my Ikea desk lamp reflected the surface of my Moroccan tray onto the ceiling ..

Ok, I’m lost in some kind of loopy learning curve .. WordPress has taken away the “slideshow” option button, so I’m not able to list photos as I would like to do.  So these are not in order, but I know I’m not alone.  Frustration with the slideshow (lack of) experience kept me from blogging .. however, today I found that I could enter a number of photos (by holding down the “shift” button and clicking on the photos that I wanted to include) ..

Last week found me driving downtown to visit a lovely little shop where I will be selling my soaps on consignment.   I didn’t take any photos, but will do so the next time I go back downtown.

This lovely little shop is lovely and calm .. there is a retro, honest feel about the place.  The young proprietor, Jenny, is very artistic and creative.  She offers sewing lessons to all ages .. and along one side of the shop is a row of lovely sewing machines and in the middle of the shop is a fantastic large rectangular wooden table.

There are displays of art by local artists … beautiful ….

As I looked around the shop, I noticed a lack of plastic and glitz … the hard-scapes are wood and fabric drapes adorn the interior doorways.

It almost felt as if I  took a step back in time when I entered the shop.  There was a feeling of calm, of not being rushed about … very relaxing.  Plus .. she loves my soaps and since I love making soap .. I’m looking forward to stocking her shelves with my product.  How exciting is this!

http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/the-makehouse-holiday-booty-market/

Across the road from this shop .. I noticed more lovely shops .. this rug shop was filled with beautiful carpets .. and I tried my best to get a good picture of that lovely blue and white ceramic object .. don’t know what it is, but loved the colour and design.

And close by .. was this wonderful shop with luxurious carpets

And close by .. was this wonderful shop with luxurious carpets

Further on, there is this great guitar shop.

This is the guitar store, what a magnificent place to discover.

This is the guitar store, what a magnificent place to discover.

But really, what caught my attention. were these magnificent guitars. (see the funky tv set and the gypsy-ish, flamenco-ish painting in the background)

Standing back a few feet .. I could see the antique tv and the flamenco dancer (painting)

Standing back a few feet .. I could see the antique tv and the flamenco dancer (painting)

The sparkly guitars attracted my eyes towards them

The sparkly guitars attracted my eyes towards them

Meanwhile .. back home in my back yard ….

The leaves are tenaciously attached to this wild apple tree.

The leaves are tenaciously attached to this wild apple tree.

And up above .. the skies were just so lovely and blue …

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Lovely lovely love blue skies

Lovely lovely love blue skies

How appropriate it was for me to see this license plate, as I drove home with my huge bags of oak leaves!  The driver noticed me taking a photo and gave me a positive thumbs up wave!   So I laughed!  How true .. no pain .. no gain!

And on the way home, stopped at a light, I saw this impressive license plate .. the driver waved at me .. ha ha ha.. true, no pain, no gain, how appropriate this was!

Out of order  .. but this was my second day and I’d filled nearly 24 or so huge bags with oak leaves for the garden!

 

My second day of gathering oak leaves and I started here.

My second day of gathering oak leaves and I started here.

Only 3 scoops with the handi-hands and the bag is nearly filled!

Only 3 scoops with the handi-hands and the bag is nearly filled!

These are my "handi-hands" totally wonderful for scooping up leaves (or seaweed!!)

These are my “handi-hands” totally wonderful for scooping up leaves (or seaweed!!)

I gathered all the leaves from this area and only stopped when daylight faded!

I gathered all the leaves from this area and only stopped when daylight faded!

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Here are some pics showing the full bags of leaves .. I crammed them into my little car .. here is the back angle …

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And I had to really push to get 8 bags in .. so the front passenger seat went way forward.

06There it is .. short and sweet .. about my daily life .. sometimes in my garden, sometimes in someone else’s  garden and once in a while .. downtown.   But always, always … .watching the skies above.

🙂

 


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What with gathering oak leaves for the garden, continuing my course and making soaps, I’ve been kinda busy … but, oh so very happy.

Thursday, November 27, 2012

Looking through my dashboard, I found this blog that I’d started on Nov 15 but hadn’t posted .. so will share this now!

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Oh .. we are so very lucky here in Victoria!! There have been several days of sunshine, such a welcome from the overcast rainy days.  Although, I really don’t mind those kinds of days … those are the days when I can do the work inside the house.  The work that just doesn’t get done on sunny days .. when the garden calls out to me and I answer readily by going outside.

Or, perhaps it’s time to go on a shopping & exploring day with a good friend.  Or .. actually, I can pick any number of reasons to not do housework .. but, no worries, I always do my fair share of keeping our happy home nice and tidy!

I’ve been so busy lately, feel like I’m on whirling merry-go-round ..but enjoying the ride!

In addition to getting back into soap making, I’ve nearing the end of my landscaping course, normal housework duties and collecting oak leaves for the garden.  So far I think that I’ve collected nearly 30 bags and yesterday I went for more!    There is a lovely large property not far from our home .. with many oak trees and the generous owners of this place allow me to gather as many leaves as I want!  Yesterday found me dashing over there and madly filling as many bags as possible before dusk descended.  Those wonderful handy-hands (large plastic flat circles, with a zig-zag edging) allow me to scoop up  large amount of leaves at one time.  I posted pics last year and will take another today, to show what they look like.

I’d filled about 18 bags and finally accepted the fact that it was too dark to see the leaves clearly, so I stuffed 8 bags into my little car (now, I would have taken a picture of that but it was too dark) and have a collection of 10 more to go back and pick up.  Oh, lovely food for the garden this will be!

I took a few pics from my first sale effort in more than 20 years!  I had set up a table at a flea market on Sunday past … it wasn’t the right venue for my soaps, but it was a start!

I really enjoy talking with people and so I really enjoyed my  first foray into the selling arena.   Although it wasn’t a craft show .. it brought me back to the lovely world of selling things I made and also gave me the opportunity to listen to lovely conversations, feeling the happy energy of people shopping for things that interested them.

And I have made inquiries to join a few more craft sales in the city .. small ones .. more personal than huge organized ones.  Perhaps I’ll try for them next year.  For now though, I am quite content at rejoining my initial excitement at creating soaps … and look forward to playing around with the various combinations.  There is the creative energy that I’ve reconnected with.   So very much fun.

Well .. on with this day ….

🙂


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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much to enjoy.

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

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

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

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

🙂

 

 


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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh I just love these moments.

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

Juncos in the Joe Pye Weed (aka Eupatorium maculatum)

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

There is a line up already

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

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

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

This was the “height” of fine dining!

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

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

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

My circle of treasured beach stones encircling the cherry tree

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

And here is the “peace sign” ..

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

http://debsdiscoveries.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

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

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

🙂