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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Sunny & frosty days …some snow has arrived to transform the garden. And the birds are happy. I think the Faeries have been partying at night!

The weather here in Victoria has been pretty normal, what with the rainy days, the sunny days and the faintest touch of snow once in awhile.  This is why everyone is drawn to this beautiful city.

Yesterday I was in the back yard .. topping up the bird feeders, tipping out the ice from the bird-baths (ok, we have had a few frosty mornings, I can live with that) … and my eyes were drawn to this (still) potted Hellebore .. which I will plant when the weather warms up a bit.  It is a tough little plant and has been enjoying the balmy parts of the day when the sun warms up the yard here and there.P1350675

Yesterday, those darling little Bushtits were hungry and so they didn’t fly away when I approached them.  They love these little ceramic and coiled metal suet holders .. this design is perfect for them and so I’ve placed several in this corner of the yard.

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Here is another chunk of slag .. left over from a glass factory many years ago.  Love how the sun brings out the blue/green colour.

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I’d bought this at a garage sale, many, many, many .. years ago.   It’s nice and chunky, someone’s prized stained glass project.  Here I have placed it upside down … it’s nicely covered with some garden soil and it could serve as a night-time party surface for the wee faeries when they come out at night to party and enjoy the solitude of the garden.  It’s placed far enough from the house so that their music and singing isn’t heard inside.  Tempting to tip toe outside on a hot summer evening to see if I can see them frolic and play.  That would be fun.

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The frosty weather is nature’s opportunity to change things up in the yard .. a chance to show us her creativity.  Here is a lovely display of ice .. so pretty, sparkling in the sun.. but not easy for the birds to drink!   Maybe .. the faeries have donned their winter clothing and skates .. perfect surface for them to practise their skating techniques during the nights when we sleep.  Perhaps the crackles were cause by a few of them, having had one too many little hot toddies as they demonstrated their triple axels??  (or whatever they do when twirling about on the ice in their tiny jewel encrusted skates!)  Can’t you just picture this?  I can!

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So I tipped the ice out and added some water for the little birdies!  To drink and perhaps have a little bath.P1350681

When I’d finished tipping out the ice, I looked at those round circles and decided to play with them and create a little ice path!  For viewing only, for beauty only.  sigh.

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Today was brrrr in the yard … I know that birds who visit our yard are wild and can fend for themselves .. however .. I did invest in a rather fair bit of a variety of bird seed expressly for them .. so out I went .. and added a generous amount to each feeder and made sure there was a healthy chunk of suet in each holder.  Good thing.  As it turned out, this afternoon we had a surprise coating of snow. Pretty to look at.  The yard transformed and magical again.

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I took some photos through the kitchen window .. I knew that if I went outside to take photos, the activity would frighten the birds away and I just wanted them to enjoy some quiet time and a chance to fill up their little bellies for the cold night that approaches.  Here is a beautiful Spotted Towhee …P1350695

Some Junco’s, sparrows .. the yard was full of birds flitting about and doing their little shuffle-shuffle dance to find sunflower seeds hidden in the snow.P1350700

Here’s another photo of that beautiful Hellebore ..looking lovely against the grass of yesterday!

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So very excited .. am I!!!  Recently received my order from Salt Spring Island seeds!!!  This is going to be such a fun summer of growing peas and beans and a few other things.  It won’t be long before there will be tunnels of these in the garden.  A little room in the back where I can sit on my bench, glass of white or mug of Yorkshire Tea (depending on the time of day!!).   A place where I don’t see any buildings .. only the green of the lush vines growing all around!P1350692

And today my order from Annapolis Seeds arrived!   Lots and lots of beans for juicing, munching and freezing!  This year will be abundant.  And I’ll be freezing the beans whole (no blanching required as the beans won’t be touching the ground!)

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My final photos is from Seedy Saturday, last Saturday, at the Victoria Conference Centre.  This is the first year that I haven’t volunteered, since I retired and I really enjoyed my time .. happy to see  garden friends there .. an exciting time wandering the tables and a choice of very informative seminars!  So many knowledgeable speakers!

Normally I take photos every few feet but this year I found myself drawn more into conversations and so ended up taking only one photo and here it is!

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I’ve really missed my daily blogging .. instead have been utilizing my time in a dozen different ways.   Busy all the day long.

This past Friday, I decided to change that.  When the weather is more conducive to being inside, I appreciate this opportunity to do those things that I find challenging when the warm weather calls for me to be outside.

Recently I decided to focus all my energies into starting to learn the theory of music.  It’s something that I had decided was way to hard to me to comprehend.   My fiddle teacher has been very patient in trying to help me understand this.  But the doors in my mind refused to open.   Then, at my 2nd to last singing lesson, my teacher and I were talking about theory and I realized that I must learn this.  No more to use the excuse and stubborness to veer away from learning.

So, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I spent many long hours, at my computer, a stack of index cards to write on.  A pile of beginner fiddle books.  Many online sites.   And the light is dawning.   The doors are opening.  The comprehension has begun.

Music is a language .. I love learning languages … and I love learning more about music!.

Well .. time for supper and I look forward to practising my fiddle and learning more!

🙂


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Surprises and Magic in the garden .. what a fun place to be – all beneath beautiful blue skies ..happy is me!

Tis the season of blue skies and rainy days here.  Like .. yesterday!  The sun was shining brilliantly  in the morning.  I dutifully practiced my singing exercises, followed by my fiddle session.  These are easy to set aside for a later time in the day but I find that, when I do that, procrastination takes over, big time.  So .. I just focus on these 2 lovely sessions.

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When I did finally go outside, a slight rain had occurred and again .. there were blue skies overhead!

So my darling little Lady JaneE came outside with me.  She is my gardening cat.   Born in ’96, the year of the “big snow” here in Victoria, she literally rules the roost in our house.  We love her so much.  Anyway, she is waiting for some treats which I place on the steps beside her.  One of our gardening rituals.april 18, 08 (2)Sipping my mug of Yorkshire tea, I wander around the yard a bit .. this also is a ritual that I follow.  To see all the changes that Spring has brought to the garden.   And enjoy the sweet little songbirds.  Here is a little Golden Crowned Sparrow.. I love their songs and find them very comforting. april 18, 09

The Spotted Towhee .. another lovely bird, very shy but bold in colour.  They have a wide range of sound and sometimes they sound (to me) like the Bewick Wren!   april 18, 05

Sweet little Red-breasted Nuthatch … zooming in for some suet!   The trees in our yard are tall and provide nesting areas for many of the birds that visit our yard.   april 18, 04

The tall Oregon grape is flowering nicely .. cheerful yellow flowers brighten up a bit of the yard.   The leaves on the fruit trees are starting to grow and fill out.   Soon they will be accepted as a normal part of the trees but during this growth period after the winter, they are marvellous bits of magic manifesting in the yard.  I like that.

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Tiny little pink flowers on this perennial which I am pretty sure is an Escallonia …  april 18, 08

Flowers of a fruit tree.  I potted this up last summer, and am not sure if it is plum or cherry.   Guess I’ll find out this year!  More of the magic & a surprise to unfold.  Love the mystery.april 18, 06

I discovered this idea, to cut up (organic) seed potatoes, from a great youtube video of allotment gardening   This guy is just amazing!  Anyway, I have potted these up now and am waiting to see if they will grow and then I’ll plant them.  I have a few ideas as to how I will do that and will post when that is done!    A nice surprise for me last week .. was discovering 2 sprouting garlics!  Last summer I had tied up bunches of garlic to dry beneath the sundeck and these 2 must have fallen down! april 18, 01

I’ll pot these up in containers and look forward to harvesting them at the end of summer!  They are hardnecks, so more scapes for pesto!  Yumm april 18, 02

Last week I visited Russel Nursery in North Saanich, what a wonderful place for a gardener to be!  I was there at least 3 hours, which seemed like 5 minutes.  Everyone there is so knowledgeable and helpful.  This is one of a few wooden structures there that I totally fell in love with.  So much character and beauty.  A portal to the plant world.

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Another sky photo.  Such beauty for us to see.  april 18, 11

Hey, hey, hey!  Have I found the perfect gardening tea mug?????  Yes!   And yesterday I filled it with lovely Yorkshire tea and sat on the front steps to drink it and enjoy the greenery around me.   This lovely hypertufa mini-garden is the perfect place for it to be.

Many, many, years ago, I purchased all the ingredients to make one of these and life just became too hectic for me to accomplish this!   So I bought this one ready-made and love it so much.  Perhaps I will try again, this motivates me to think about that.

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This day is starting out in a gentle fashion.   Cloudy skies, sporadic rain showers.  Birds singing in the yard.

Time to get on with things,  Practicing my two passions.   The fiddle and the singing.  And then on to other things .. like the garden which is calling out to me.

🙂


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Little Squirrely visits again .. bulbs are appearing and spring isn’t far away it seems!

Little Squirrely … I leave unshelled peanuts in various locations around the yard.  This one doesn’t bother anyone.  Although one day I happened to look out the window and saw 2 squirrels in the tree, they moved so quickly it seemed as if they were flying .. territorial clash or something?

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Signs of spring.  Bulbs planted, forgotten .. thrive emerging from beneath the rock.  When I see this type of growth I am always reminded of the words of Kashtin (when I saw them perform in Victoria, many years ago) that sometimes a plant has to go through a rock before it can flower.  This resonates with me.  Emergence is a stronger and thriving life in the sunshine.

p1310567Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee ..  here I am again!  Planted years ago, and popping up already .. preparing to display lovely blue flowers in the spring. p1310570The magnificent rose bush that resides nearby ..proudly showing new growth and also a graceful remainder of a rosebud from last season.p1310572Once again at the most beautiful jewel of serenity close by .. the walkway at Swan Lake .. I plan to visit there again today.   Love this place so much.p1310598

Such beauty …p1310596

At Swan . beautiful moss and lichen adorn a tree branch .. lots of material for the birds to use in their nests ..p1310587

Lovely …up above …

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It was a quiet time of the day when I went for my little walk .. a gentle breeze created the smallest of little wavelets on the surface of the water.  Such a peaceful place to be.

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Stately Geese in a side marsh .. looking over .. ever so subtlely .. perhaps I had some flatted oats with me?  Not today guys .. I need to visit the Nature House to buy a little packet of the oats for them, on another visit…p1310591

Some Mallards were busily seeking out delicious treats from the water …p1310592

Stopped for awhile to gaze at this hawk, tucked away in the branches.  Looking for a midday meal.

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Suddenly, the hawk flew away and I stood there awhile, watching this raptor soar up above and then away.   p1310627

Back at home, I was wandering around the yard and saw this beautiful Spotted Towhee perched in some branches, near one of the bird feeders. These birds are very shy and I knew it would fly away so I stood quietly … hoping to get some pictures.   I zoomed in as much as possible, from 30 feet away.

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Patience was rewarded.  Such a strikingly handsome bird.

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I fought the urge to take a photo of this camper, which was filling up at a local gas station.  But I could only stand this for awhile and in the end, grabbed my camera and took a pic just as it was leaving the station.  And I fought the urge to go and speak to the driver .. to ask questions about this lovely camper.  If I see it again, though, and it is possible to speak with them .. well .. I will do that!

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It is so lovely to feel the approach of spring .. with the emergence of bulbs .. although it is still February and I know that there will be frosts again in the coming months.  The ground will thaw and freeze and repeat.

Still, it is wonderful to be outside and dream about changing the garden.  I should be outside, cleaning up the various areas, and keep putting that work off for a little bit more.  So I can practise my fiddle and play with my beads and wire.   When the days are warm and sunny it will be impossible to stay inside when the outdoors beckons so tantalizingly.

And it looks like the day ahead is going to be one of these lovely sunny days so I’d best get going and see what adventures await me and my camera!

🙂


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Cheerful photos from those hot summer days.. to enjoy on this rainy day!

Sometimes .. there is a period when time seems to stand still .. and then it speeds up and before you know it .. a season is over and another one has begun!

Spring and Summer are like that for me.  One moment I’m all excited, planting flower & veggie seeds.  Watching them all sprout and grow.  Enjoying the enchantment of each living thing becoming what is what meant to be.  This is magic.  The long hot sunny days blur into each other, becoming an endless series of wonder.

Then the seeds, having grown into their potential, give us a plentiful supply of food, nutritious and delicious.   I’m still excited but becoming more grateful and appreciative.

Here is a spring photo of a Swallowtail Butterflying sipping at the nectar of the Budleia.  This plant I hadn’t pruned for years so it was massive.  After the flowers had finished, I cut it back thoroughly.  I know that it will again grow tall with many flowers for the butterflies next Spring.  These plants are amazingly resilient!

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Darling little JaneE Kat .. enjoying a peaceful siesta in the sun ..thurs01

A very hardy Clematis flowers over a little arbour in the garden .. the butterfly is enjoying taking a little rest on a flower .. how  beautiful and delicate this all is.   This Nature.  thurs-20

The first batch of peas ready to pick .. they were delicious!thurs-07

Dainty pea flower growing away … I hadn’t noticed before the graceful designs in the flower and now I see how gentle and magnificent this is.thurs-06

About 4 or 5 years ago, I’d planted some bamboo .. and had encircled the root system with heavy grade garden plastic.  Happy to see that this barrier worked to keep the bamboo well within this wrap and didn’t spread along the fenceline.  It was very easy to just lift the plant from where it was and then I divided it into sections and replanted them in large pots – to be replanted another day.  And I believe that this is the “clumping” type of bamboo, not the runner type.thurs-03

During the summer I participated in a few craft markets and here are some wine charms that I made for a customer.   I have many interests, thus many types of crafts, too many, perhaps.   I need a store!!thurs-05

A Spotted Towhee perches atop the wild and crazy tree.  Later he sang a lovely song ….here is a link where you can find all details of this sweet  Towhee  thurs-11-2

Hot pink geraniums in the yard …thurs-11

Hey .. more treats for me??? (of course, sweetie, all you want!)  My darling Garden Kat.thurs-08

The robust  bees love the Budleia too!  thurs-12

Wildflowers in a field … thurs-13

Translucent rainbow spheres of mystical delicacy waft towards the mountains .. are these tiny transportation orbs for the fae that dwell nearby?

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Majestic mountains .. I look forward to flying up there next spring!  My DH will be at the controls of the PW-6U and I’ll be all comfy, settled in .. happy to be soaring skywards!!thurs-14

The B-17 Bomber that visited the Victoria Flying Club in June of this year!thurs-09

During the lovely warm days of spring and the hot times in the summer, I love taking the photos of things that I love and never have enough time to stop and enjoy thoroughly.

Now is the time when I can relax, spend some time going through the photos, rediscovering all the beauty that flourishes everywhere.

And planning for next year.

Enjoying today.

Feeling a tremendous sense of satisfaction in my life and surroundings.

A great deal of appreciation, gratitude and joy.

Now .. time to go and check out my latest supply of apples, carefully prepared early this morning and distributed in the 6 trays of the dehydrator!    Treats for snacking and for sharing!

I feel like the little ant who worked so hard preparing for the winter and enjoying the process!

🙂


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Thursday … time spent looking at the birds in the backyard .. and.. yea .. my new garden cart!!!

Friday, December 27, 2012

Yesterday, Thursday, slightly overcast with lots of sun shining through.  The kind of day that teased with promises of sun till the rains came down, sun still shining through.

Lots of visitors to the yard, though.   Heard the steady chirping between Mr & Mrs Downy Woodpecker.   They were chatting away, flitting among the branches and then each settled down on separate suet feeders .. quietly nibbling away.

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Skies overhead …. mostly like this:

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I’d filled up the hummingbird feeder .. it was quite empty .. lots of little Anna’s flitting about.  Funny, last week I’d noticed two of the young ones flying around.  It was obviously schooling time for them.  The parents, much slimmer .. sat on branches nearby, issuing orders.   The two youngsters perched nearby.  Heads constantly on alert status, looking quickly to the left, right, left, right – never still.  Then they would zoom overhead, tiny wings touching as they did so … resulting in little thwap-thwap sounds.  I couldn’t help but laugh at these antics, which they repeated over and over.

Really, this is deadly serious life training for them … however, this is the first time I was privy to such schooling and I was totally unprepared for the their activities.  I felt honoured to be there, quite frankly.

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Then I happened to look over at the Downy on the suet .. he seemed to be king of the suet, the way he stood so proudly on the top!  Quite a noble pose.11

Wandered over to the garlic beds and happy to see the sweet-peas have continued growing.  I’m not one to pluck everything out of the ground once summer is over.10

The birds are still daintily nibbling away at the fallen apples .. they are very thorough in their pecking away .. leaving a graceful outline of the apple base.  Garden art at its best!

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and the darling little Bushtits .. yesterday they were everywhere, it seemed.  Groups of them visited 3 of the suet blocks.   Many of them awaited their turn … sitting patiently above the blocks.

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And of course squirrels have to eat.   This one is a resident, I believe .. having seen him (or is it a her?) throughout the yard at the front, sides and back.05

Oh .. a beautiful Spotted Towhee.   Not sure if this one is nesting nearby.  There have been a few tall trees cut down in the neighbourhood.  Not in our yard, though.  Lots of perching room for everyone.  I’ve seen the Towhees at the bird feeder, nice surprise.  This one is resting in the old plum-tree by the kitchen window.  Nearby (but not in the photo) were some Junco‘s, a golden-crowned sparrow and a house sparrow.04

The roses are still blooming at the side of the house …03

Some ducks enjoying the quiet tidal waters by Spinnakers Pub …

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The log created a breakwater for them .. a place to calmly settle in for the morning.01

I must share this with you .. DH surprised me with this most wonderful, tilting wagon!  And he spent hours on Christmas morning, putting it together for me!  I could hardly wait to take it outside to use in the garden.  Here is my first trip yesterday .. time to take the geranium filled pots to the back yard, to rest in a frost-free zone for the balance of the winter!

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Next it was time to test a load of the Miracle Mulch .. so I loaded up the wagon .. it holds quite a bit.  And see those tires?  No more do I have to worry about being careful going from point A to B in the yard .. these sturdy tires just roll everywhere.  And they turn on a tight radius also!  yea!!!

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Another bonus to this lovely cart!  I can easily dump the contents by simply pulling on the handle at the back of the base and .. voila .. no more shovelling!  I love this!  Then I just pop back the box and it locks in place!

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That just took a few minutes and now the mulch covers this area of the yard.  Well done and with little effort.  Now I’ll have time to do more things in the yard!

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And as I wandered around the yard .. .looking up .. .seeing these glorious rays of the light at the end of the day …

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So beautiful

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And thus ended another lovely little visit to the backyard .. more today!

🙂