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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A lovely long walk on a sunny day! Saw some planes along the way. And I made some earrings too!

Last Saturday was a lovely sunny day and so I decided to walk downtown .. I was looking forward to an earring workshop at the most lovely Bamboo, Bead and Bling shop downtown on Fisgard Street.  Normally I drive there but .. I really do love long walks so I decided to do that and proceeded happily on the Galloping Goose Trail.  Here is a section of it, closer to downtown.  Lots of shrubbery for the birds to hide in!a02

This section is parallel to Douglas Street, behind the Red Lion.  I love this stately portion of the trail . .these trees were planted many years ago.  When I worked downtown and biked to work . .this area was one of my favourites.  When the trees are in full leaf, it is a nice shady section and feels so European with all the greenery.
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This is near the Burnside area of town .. there are paths that lead to neighbourhoods.  More brush for the birds.  There weren’t many people walking here in the early afternoon.a14Paths are so interesting .. leading to areas unknown, adventures …mystery ..

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Just had to stop and admire the play of light and shadow on these young Arbutus trees .. warm and cheerful on this sunny day ..lots of leaf mulch on the ground.a11Nests can be seen, hidden away in the trees.  So much work was done to create these little havens for the spring-time babies.  a09Lovely surprises tucked away up high …when the leaves emerge in the spring, who would ever suspect that this nest is there ..a07

I often wondered, who is this man “Tom Arkell” and why was this side trail named after him??  Well, I discovered that he was an amazing man who worked hard for his community and here is one link that shares some information about him:  Tom Arkell

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And along that lovely trail flows a stream of water .. curious as to the name of the stream, I discovered information on  Cecilia Ravine .. (my middle name so this appeals to me!) a13

And a reminder, in all this marvellous beauty that is Victoria .. the waterways are work places for many.  See the high-rises in the background.  It is a growing city.  Vital, beautiful and welcoming to all!  a06

The Selkirk waterway … lots of activity.  Looking forward to those funky ferry boats that will soon be here.  So much fun to take a little ferry around the harbour and up the Gorge Waterway.   This is one of the boarding places.  We’ve taken the ferry to the Flying Otter and you can also stop near the Spinnaker Brew Pub.  Great food and the beer .. what can I say!!  Yum! a10

This is nearing the downtown area .. lovely native plants all nestled in at the base of these rocks.  Beautiful.  a05Benches provide a place to stop and rest.  Admire the view.  Sip on a delicious coffee from one of the nearby cafes.  Relax. a04

A tribute to one of our Best!  This is near the Burnside section.   a15

Up above …gentle sky-art that graced our city .. how lovely is this.  a03

On my way home .. looking up .. what did I see!  Two Nanchang airplanes setting out to play .. that was a treat.  I think there are at least 4 now … so impressive to see the group in formation and I count myself lucky when I see them.   Nanchang

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So I had a most lovely 2 hour walk on that day.   Blue skies.  Some birds.  Peace and quiet.  Saw some planes.  And I made some earrings!!  Not a bad day at all.    This is what I made at the workshop:  a20

And I liked them so much that I just had to make a few more pairs when I got home!  a21

And these!   a23I haven’t worn earrings for years but now that is going to change!  Lovely sparkly bling to accompany me on my walks!

Another fun day in my life!


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The snow was here and now it is gone ..some garden memories of the transformation that took place.

I’m not a big proponent of snow, having moved to the other side of Canada many years ago, before the massive influx of others that came out to B.C., and saw how beautiful this province is.   And, like many thousands of others, I would call back home and brag about the lack of snow and all that entailed (no lawn mowing, wearing shorts, yawn, yawn, yawn).   So the opposite side of all this bragging has finally shown up, and we have been experiencing snowy winters, starting with the “big storm” of ’96.   Although we haven’t been experiencing that seriousness of snow lately (at least here in Victoria) we have had snow.   So I wandered around the yard last week, replenishing the bird feeders, adding fresh water to the bird baths and decided to take some photos.  Here a little fern juts up through the snow as if to say ” hi, remember me .. I’m still here” ..

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Little footprints in the snow .. most likely a racoon I thought.  The snow helps show the nocturnal activities that take place.a7

Little birdies .. after I took this pic, I emptied the snow and ice and put fresh water here for them. a6

The hummingbird feeder hadn’t frozen so there was a sweet treat still there for the Anna hummingbirds to sip at …

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Some of the garlic containers .. the garlic is tough and easily survives the cold.

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While I’m posting this, I’m listening to Bandgladesh music from Amsterdam .. how I love this music .. so much ..dreamy and soothing to my soul ..

One of the suet holders, suet eaten, ice melted, symmetry remained ..

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The birds haven’t eaten everything from this feeder .. yet!   See the little footprints in the background .. those of a racoon???

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The footprints traverse the yard ..

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Yep, racoon prints …..

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On another day .. a walk along the Galloping Goose .. near Swan Lake .. the sun was shining … lately I’ve begun taking long walks again.   I love those.  Always discovering new things in my neighbourhood .. the exercise feels wonderful and energizes me.

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The path changes direction a little and now the sun appears …

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And I see blue skies!  I mean “Blue Skies”   🙂

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Such beautiful blue skies with swirling clouds dancing away up above .. sky art ..

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And .. beauty in the snow also.  How it transforms everything including this old apple tree ..

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Happily retired now, I do remember the years of getting up early, preparing for another day at work, concerned about the snowy route I would have to drive to go to my place of employment.  Longing for the day when I would not have to do that any more.

That time has arrived and I rejoice in the opportunity to now, finally, after a lifetime of work, having the chance now, to play.  To discover new interests and pursue the interests that I would just dabble in.

Now is wonderful.  Now is great.

So .. considering this .. it is now time to take my mug of freshly brewed Yorkshire tea and go to my creative rooms.  Time to play with my beads and wire.  Time to practise my fiddle.  Play with my Sonic Drum

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee   🙂


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The Gold Crowned Sparrows have returned. The bees are busy .. and the rains have arrived.

A few days ago we had really artistic skies .. like this one ..

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and this one ..

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Yesterday .. these were a memory as the weather was changing, getting ready for the rain that started falling yesterday evening.  sigh.

So I wandered around the yard, looking for interesting happenings that I hadn’t seen before .. this spider’s web had a lovely sheen of rainbow haze which I couldn’t quite catch .. nonetheless .. quite beautiful.

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I had scattered some French Marigold seeds throughout the bean forest and had completely forgotten about them until, searching for beans on the Blue Lake bush beans plants, I noticed this Marigold!  Ready to flower so that will be pretty to see and more nectar for the  bees!

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One of the sunflower feeding stations which evidently is being visited by an assortment of little winged friends who visit.

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I love the weathered look of this sunflower .. seeds nearly completely gone ..

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Diminutive sunflower shyly peeking out ..

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Looks like the leafcutter bees are still active .. they are good pollinators ..

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The Gold Crowned Sparrows arrived in the yard on Monday … fresh from their long trek from Alaska.  I find their loving bird-song very comforting and was so happy to hear them.  Here is a link with more information and sound tracks of their songs:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crowned_Sparrow/sounds

When they first return it is challenging to find them, but they soon overcome their shyness and are more evident as they look for food in the yard.  Because it is still technically summer, I don’t put out much food – but I knew it was going to rain so distributed small chunks of suet and birdseed in the feeders for them.

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Loving the light playing through the bean leaves …

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This patch of beans was planted very late but peeking through the vines I was happy to discover these beans.  More will grow ..some for juicing .. some for saving seeds for next year.

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Another surprise Nasturtium growing away at the base of the bean plants.

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And another one ..

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Simple beauty .. bounty from the bean forest …thank you my garden ..

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Loving the surprises that are tucked away!!   Exciting to see how long this little squash will grow .. it is mid-September now.  I’ve just checked several online sources for the fall frost date and it seems that Nov 5 is the start, here in Victoria, BC.  So, there is still a month of growing to happen.  Lovely mix of EM/llama manure and lots of rain with sun dropping by will result in magical transformations!

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Yet another surprise squash healthily growing away, tendrils reaching out for support – there is a lot of that in the bean forest!friday-20

Bees are busy .. glad the flowers are there for them

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Time to leave and find another source of nectar ..

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As quickly as the bee buzzed in … it was gone.  Life is busy for the bees.

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A line-up is happening over at this squash flower.  Normally I notice, when there is a bee in a flower, another bee just leaves to find another one.  Perhaps this little guy was just tired and taking a break or perhaps it sensed that there was more nectar than the first bee could handle?

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So satisfying to see such a myriad of happenings throughout the yard.  There are still other areas of the yard to finish organizing and to observe what is going on.  For now, though, it is the growing portion of the yard that attracts my attention so I will stay with that.

Rain and sun for the next few days.   I’ll take advantage of the rain to do some indoor things today!!!  Soon I  will be entering my creative world of artistic endeavours – crafting away some bracelets of beads and wire … that the sunshine and outdoors drew me away from.

🙂

 


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I felt like a country mouse in the city .. happy to be back in my lovely little yard ..

I love Nasturtiums and it is a good thing for they have been growing like crazy all summer.  Something else that loves them also are aphids. I hose off what I can and depend on the Ladybugs to feast on the rest.

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Some late season raspberries .. they were a surprise!  I love garden surprises and I am going to mark this plant with a ribbon so I can differentiate it from the hundreds of others that surround our yard.

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Lots of insects in the yard .. this was a strange one and I was able to take a few photos before it flew away.  Wonder what it is??

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Spider basking in the sun .. enjoying a break in the daily routine of living in the garden.04

We went to Vancouver a few times recently … I felt like a little country mouse in the big city

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I was so happy to be back home .. in our yard .. admiring the beauty of the Crown Peas (Heirloom).  To dissuade the hungry sparrows, I tied some cd’s to sparkle in the sunshine  This seems to have worked .. since they have stopped dining on the shoots.

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Dainty sprigs of Sweet Annie growing softly … graceful plants.  This year I’d started them, ever so carefully, in single cell plant pots.  Next year I will just throw little amounts of the tiny seeds throughout the sunny parts of the year.  They will grow taller I think.

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Mmmmmmmmmm … blue skies, wispy clouds .. still seems like summer .. I like it!

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Little baby squash growing randomly in the yard … I learned another lesson the hard way this year.  It is very important to rinse the soil off the squash, once picked.  And rinse in a very light bath of water and some bleach or peroxide to avoid mould growing.  I’d picked a sweet little orange squash a week ago.  Enjoyed how lovely it looked.  Of course, I hadn’t rinsed it.  And DH went to move it from the tea towel it was resting on and noticed that it had seriously started deteriorating.  Sigh.  But not this one, though.

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Sweet darling little Bush-tit .. I think this is a female, can just barely see the yellow outline in the eye.

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The yellow is more evident in this photo.  This is a bird that would not live in a cage.   Freedom in the wild (as wild as can be in urban areas).  They are the most joyous little birds, singing as they whirl into the yard .. never fail to make me smile.  Thank you …

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Teasel .. the seed that keeps on growing now matter how much the plants are pulled.  Pretty plants although the bracts along the stem are a trifle sharp!  ;l believe they were used to comb wool in long ago days.

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Loving the light shining through the eucalyptus tree …I think this was mid-afternoon.

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A close up of those lovely Crown Peas .. I love their delicate beauty.

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Cheerful sunflowers all throughout the yard .. brightening up all the corners .. lovely!

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Hearing the raucous cries of the crows flying overhead ..  stopped to look up.  They are so brave in a group and here they are chasing a hawk.  This continues for a while and then they slowly disappear from sight.

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A short while later, the hawk has eluded the crows and now soars quietly overhead.

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These are the reason why the hawk often flies nearby … Passenger Pigeons are kept nearby.  The hawks are swift.  The pigeons .. not so much.

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More wispy clouds ….

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Now it is time to go back outside .. into the sunshine while it lasts .. a marvellous day to look up at the sky … harvest beans, tomatoes, the odd strawberry.  Dig around .. and think of ways to change the layout of the garden.

Oh, and another year of learning things in the vegetable garden .. but more about that tomorrow.  I just had to come inside and post a few pics.

Time now to fill my mug with a fresh brew of Yorkshire Tea.

🙂