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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Feels great to be tapping on the keyboard again .. and I’m sharing some of the lovely sights I’ve seen today! Oh, there is more, much more!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Funny how time just flies when life is just rolling along, similar to a nonstop whirling round and round and round and I just want to stop!  🙂

Times were kinda slow at the beginning of the year .. I was focused on getting fit for the summer by going for very long walks and exercising.  Then our lovely tenants had to move and my focus totally changed and I stopped my lovely exercise regime and DH and I began the task of preparing our sunny rental into a home for new tenants. This involved (me) scrubbing and repainting all the rooms and cupboards and DH worked on the hard-scaping and landscaping (a huge job).

The task is slowly nearing the end.  I’ve kept track of our daily adventures and although it seems a very long time ago (beginning of February) as I look over my notes I remember the forgotten tasks.  Selecting and taking home 8 huge cedar trees from the grower’s fields (oh wow they were tremendously heavy).  Together DH & I carefully unloaded one tree at a time from a lovely trailer that a friend lent us.   I love this trailer.  Anyway, we’d carefully put one cedar on a tarp and made a pathway of other tarps so we could (ever so slowly) slide one cedar at a time to the back yard.  Where we’d dug deep holes for them.   Added some magical organic fertilizer to assist the roots in their growth.

And I won’t bore you with the other details.  About how I (ahem) transported one ton of nave-jack from the trailer at the front of the house  by shovelling 7 scoops at a time (this stuff is very very heavy)  into my trusty new yard cart and made a bazillion trips, slowly, walking backwards to the yard and slowly created a mini mountain from which my DH would scoop some with bags of cement into the cement mixer and began the creation of a sidewalk.  Similar with the heavy sand for the base of the sidewalk.

So exhausted I just didn’t have the creative energy to post anything .. so have decided to get back in the habit of that.

We still have a way to go before the yard is finished, but, since we both have other projects on the go .. we have been taking a few days away from yard transformations and I have had the joy of spending a few days in our own yard.

So a few days ago, I was digging out weeds and bluebells from the back side-garden, when what did I see!    This was growing up from under a large rock, which I rolled away so I could get at these precious bulbs, you can see the indentation below.

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Somehow I missed digging up a few garlic bulbs, how on earth could I have missed them!  And  so they grew and so I dug them up.   All planted now amongst the flowers and I will keep a sharp eye on them this summer!

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Really, I haven’t a clue as to what this mystery plant is .. must have planted it last year, no tag, tsk tsk!

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We had sun for a day .. sigh

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So I took some time out and just stood there, staring up at this beautiful sky …

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The manner in which this little leaf was laid ever so carefully on a branch of the tree reminded me of laundry hung out to dry, perhaps one of the wee little garden sprites had been busy and had forgotten to bring in this leaf or .. perhaps I startled them and they disappeared!

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So today .. I went to visit my pal D, for tea in one of her fancy tea cups.  She has quite a beautiful collection of the most dainty beautiful items.  Doesn’t this look so pretty .. and creative?   Well, you are right, it was!

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After a few hours of sipping and nibbling at the cashew mixture and a delicious sourdough sandwich, we decided to go for a walk in the rain.

And thus I began to learn more about the little neighbourhoods of Fernwood and area .. here is a pathway at Bowker Creek (blush, I hadn’t visited this area before!)

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This magnificent and majestic Willow tree rising out of the creek bed was an Avatar moment for me.

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Another surprise was the sight of this Eucalyptus tree, regrowth from the base of the seemingly dead trunk!  Lovely.

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Many many burls on this massive tree ..

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Someone had placed a live tree in the centre of this trunk ..look at the size .. how old this tree must have been …

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Look, D said .. see what joins these houses together!   Solid rock that wasn’t blasted away when the houses were built!  Solid foundations!

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Gigantic Rosemary .. taller than D . . to the left!

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When I saw the size of this Flowering Red Currant (so enamoured by Hummingbirds) I began to rethink where I was going to plant the 3 that I have at home!

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Ha ha .. tucked away in the front yard of one home .. the crow was chilly and so wore his toque and scarf today!

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Two similar houses ..one all prettied up and the other … sadly neglected .. mirror images..

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And some lovely little homes:

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I so totally fell in love with this one!  D told me that new owners had changed the yard from neatly trimmed lawns to this current wildly artistic happy yard.  We saw two cats sleeping on the front porch.  In the back there is another small home plus several little buildings.     This is the most fascinatingly magnificent home and yard I have ever seen.

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Well .. after this most lovely long walk … my first in a long time .. I felt my happy creative energy start to flow .. my goal now is to emulate the happy carefree spirit of this yard above …

Back home .. I found myself creating lovely foods for supper .. it all started as I began to clear out the fridge .. but I’ll share those happy items tomorrow!

Feels great to be back blogging again …. 🙂


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More happy pics from a lovely frosty morning ..

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yesterday was another beautiful sunny day!  And a busy one!   Went for my lovely long walk, taking various routes, walking as briskly as possible.  Breathing in the crisp fresh air .. sturdy walking shoes gripping the pathways along the way.   Started earlier in the day … fewer people out and about.  Lots of birds chirping.

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Frosty covered boardwalk … not slippery at all!  While on my walk, spoke with several other walkers who kindly warned me about slippery patches!  I was feeling so confident that I wouldn’t be affected.   And both times I thought this very thought .. well … I happened to be on icy patches and found myself gliding along and flailing my arms for balance.  Coincidence?  I think, perhaps, maybe.  So I stopped thinking about slipping and guess what!  It didn’t happen again.  The power of the mind!05

Saw the lovely Cormorant .. the one who escaped being the eagle’s lunch yesterday.  Noted that the Cormorant kept looking upwards at the sky.  Survival.  And he didn’t perch on the rail for grooming and he didn’t go for a flight .. at least while I was there.06

Love this stand of trees .. birches, I think.  Their silvery silhouettes were very striking and cool looking.07

Still waters .. watery reflections of the earthbound formations gazing down .. 09

And this Arbutus makes a willowy shapely form .. with the side branches outstretched, it appears that the tree is dancing very gracefully.

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Little birds quickly taking advantage of quiet to take a little drink of water .. so I stopped to let them enjoy a few minutes without interruption.

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This stately willow never gets tired .. always beautiful in rain, sun, all seasons .. magnificent.

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Here is the shadow me .. taking a photo of the shadowy bench .. talk about another dimension!12

Way up in the tree sits a little grey squirrel.   Softly nestled on a bed of moss, the branch is high enough to avoid close encounters of the human kind.13

Ok, he’s seen me and really wants me to continue on my way .. so he crouches down to wait till I do.14

Saw a flock of tiny birds feeding away at the little pine cones.  Their cheerful chatter was quite delightful as they frolicked about the branches .. eating delicacies.   Don’t know what kind of birds they area .. but very sweet.   Felt very fortunate to see them.15

Back home .. Mrs. Downy Woodpecker is nibbling away.  Don’t know what was in the air yesterday .. maybe the birds thought it was spring or something.  Noticed some huge Robins having flying altercations and tumbles in the trees.  Then I saw the Downy Woodpeckers going through a troublesome patch also.  Think there were 4 of them ….they seemed to choose a feeder then change their minds.  In the end, though, peace and quiet.16

Sigh …17

The bulbs are emerging … the weather has them fooled into thinking that spring has arrived.  No such luck.18

And here they are .. delightful little Bush-tits …. there are quite a few this year.  And I think that they are slowly getting used to me.  19

Love them …20

Wonder who is in the plane .. where is it going …

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The consensus is good for the new feeder.  03

And my garlic .. growing greens up through a very thick layer of ground oak leaves and seaweed….02

And on this note … that’s it for the day .. 01


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Revisited Swan Lake for a lovely walk. And planning creative activities for the New Year. Fun!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A few days ago I decided to renew my walks to Swan Lake .. so off I went .. it was an overcast day and just a very light mist of rain from time to time.

Felt so great to be walking the trails once again .. I was determined to keep walking around the Sanctuary and tried to minimize my stops   Challenging to do as I really wanted to stop and savour the peace and quiet.

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This is one of my favourite sections … where the path travels at the end of the of the side ponds.  Edged with luscious moss-covered boulders, islands of ferns and gentle silhouettes of Oak branches.  Slightly mystical feel to this area.02

Did stop for a few minutes to look up at one of the local eagles .. have been watching them in this tree for quite a number of years now.   At one time I thought they nested here, but think most likely this is one of their favourite perching areas.  They can see quite clearly for miles from this tree.03

The Marsh Wrens were communicating to each other … lovely sounds.

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Only saw this lone female Mallard over at the short observatory … she swam swiftly over when  I brought out the flatted oats.   She daintily pecked away at those I tossed into the water.  Before leaving this place, I scattered a generous handful onto the surface of the marsh grasses nearby.

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The Staff and Volunteers of Swan Lake have been quite busy, pulling invasive plants and planting trees for the future.  An impressive amount of work has been done and the changes are quite evident.06

I took a photo of the project’s sign …..07

The restoration work was started last year  One area of this side pond had been cleared of invasive plants, the ground had been heavily mulched and this year I notice that this pond is quite large .. or maybe it just appears that way, since more land is viewable.  More room for the birds to feed, nest.08

A natural fence made of branches, serves to act as a barrier to keep joggers, walkers out of the area, to allow the natural process of growth to take place.  I like it.09

Farther along, I viewed a Great Blue Heron in a tree .. grooming time ..10

Time to relax away from the crowds.11

At Tuesday Pond I stopped on the little bridge and fed the Mallards some of the flatted oats .. they cautiously came over to where I was standing, way above them.12

Soon there were a few of them gathered around ….13

Now I was at the long walkway and saw a little group of Mallards ahead of me.   It was early in the day and the crowds weren’t yet here .. quiet time ..

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Stood for a while to see if there was any great bird activity .. no Geese or Hawks or Eagles .. and no seagulls!  Hmmm .. no seagulls equals an Eagle nearby.  Oh, that’s right .. one of them was over at the huge Oak tree on Saanich Road ..

Saw a little feather floating on the surface of the water …a gentle gray blended with white …15

Noticed some nests tucked away .. waiting for spring …16

And another one17

Piles of clipped blackberry branches .. wonder if these will be used as mulch?  18

Another nest tucked away …19

More information on invasive plants and what will be planted instead ..20

It was a lovely walk and wonderful to re-visit the nature sanctuary.  Funny when I first retired I went there nearly every day .. now I find myself “too busy”  hm……. maybe I should just make the time as the rewards are so great.

Also, at one point the ducks seemed to recognize me (cause I was feeding them a lot) and this time  .. we seem like strangers.  It is a Sanctuary after all and the birds (all of them) can easily find their own food.  I only leave the flatted oats (much of which I purchase from the Swan Lake House) and feed them at the public observatory places … this is expected and allowed, which is a good thing.

I’ve found the last two years to have been a kind of whirlwind for me.  Having worked hard all my life and at times having to work two jobs just to pay the rent … it was very overwhelming to have my life schedule unmarked by “having” to go somewhere every day.

At first I just walked and walked and walked.  Then I started my little gardening business while at the same time I took ground-school over again (for aviation) … once the course has been paid for initially, one an retake it over again, which is great .. learning the newest regulations.  Then my DH arranged for me to have dual instruction.  So I’d go out to do my gardening work, race home and then out to the airport.  All was in a whirl.

Not wanting to pause in my whirlwind of learning, I enrolled in the Organic Master Gardening  Course (Gaia College) at Royal Roads.  Oh, wow.  My life changed.   All my time was spent in trying to get my head around this new way of understanding the living soil, new terminology, methods . .this was a very intensive course.  And I’m still studying my notes.

Started back at making soap .. I’d begun in 1986 and then took a break .. so happy to be going back to that.

Ok, I had a few minutes to spare so I enrolled for the Ecological Landscaping course …. oh … my.   Twice a week, intensive planning, measuring, studying .. really … I feel that I’ve learned so much and more incentive to get out my books and draw and plan some more.

However … I have decided not to continue on with the course.  Part of me feels so overwhelmed and really I need the $$ to pay down some debt .. so I feel  bit “underwhelmed” right now.

This decision allows me much more free time … no more 3 hour classes twice a week with the additional days of planning and study.

I can use these blocks of time quite well, thank you very much.  Decluttering continues .. bags of books to take to the blue boxes by Thrifty’s .. these are donations to reading programs.   Plus, I need to make more shelf space for the upcoming end of January “Friends of the Library” book sale!

Time to plan my soap making for the new year.

Work in the garden (or really “play” in the garden).

Spend some time sewing .. time to dust of my sergers .. I have two .. a 3-thread and a 5 threader.  Love making things. Maybe I’ll spend some time finally making a purse that I really love.  Have kept a particular pattern for years, vowing that some day … well, the day has arrived (this year).  It’s a funky little purse, round in shape.  Straps are part and parcel of the purse.  Wide straps, one is longer than the other and it just slips through the short one and voila, it’s closed.

I will post a pic when I make one.  Creative ideas have been bouncing around my head for years on this purse.  Time to make it a reality.

Oh, the sewing projects I have!  And this year for sure … I will take my sewing machine outside to work.   I actually did this one year .. made drapes outside.  And felt much more creative working in the sun.

A fun year and it’s started already!

🙂


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Gnarley beauty of trees. Stoney landscaping. Beautiful leaves .. and .. painted windows!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ha ha .. I was visiting a local dollar store and saw a display of foldable flower vases, and just couldn’t resist this one.  Thought it was going to be like the type you find at Ikea .. where you just add warm water and the vase can be shape shifted .. kind of fun.  Turns out this one is a little different.  The vase is heavy plastic, and can indeed be folded (when empty!)  There is a little packet of green crystals that are added .. and voila!  These marble type formations result.   So rather cool, I thought!

Had to stop and look at the gnarled beauty of this venerable old tree.  Loved the rugged dignity of the gnarled bark, this tree has seen a lot of the world .. and then there is the delicate beauty of the little tree growing beside it.   Will the intelligence of the older tree be shared with the younger one?   Sharing knowledge from one species to another, one era to another.

Loving the randomness of nature’s beauty .. windblown leaves resting on the branches of this California Lilac.

 

Now .. this here .. is your industrial “non-maintenence” type of landscaping.  Only very brave plants could grow through these stony layers!  Alas.  Oh .. and “shudder” …

Yum … lots of oak leaves for mulching in the garden!!  I’ve been gathering lots of them for the winter protection of my garlic and potted plants.

Don’t know if you can tell .. but those little dots are actually seagulls, soaring in a little thermal that was developing.  Scenes from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”    If you ever want to watch one of the most wonderful films in the world, I highly recommend this one.  And .. to hear Neil Diamond singing throughout .. is just too magnificent for mere words to describe.  I can only watch this film in little bits . .there is so much beauty therein.

This window is from the little strip mall that I visited a few days ago ..love this!

 

And . .an old-fashioned type of ice-cream parlour is there also!

Sometimes it’s good not to have a viewfinder .. in order to discover unexpected sky shots like this one.   Almost looks like a little “glory” to the right and I love the translucent layered look of the clouds.  And of course, the brilliant sun .. sending rays of light in all directions.  Quite a happy little picture, hey???

The cherry tree is tenaciously clinging to the leaves .. but it’s a losing battle.  Already, the ground is covered with the lovely yellow vegetation .. which I shall rake up today!  And place them ..like a blanket .. on my perennial gardens.

Took advantage of a recent sunny day .. to clip more roses.  Which I dried to add to my soaps.

A little sparrow is nibbling away at the suet.  Even the starlings are welcome.  There are only a few of them. I admire their plumage .. and like their gentle cooing sounds that they use to communicate with each other.  Quite the little singers, these birds are.  And I look forward to a  few glimpses of the Flickers when they appear.  Magnificent birds.

Just a short little post today …lots to do …including more studying of the landscape materials for my very intensive course.  The doors of knowledge are opening and I need to continue on!

So away I go on this lovely rainy day!

🙂

 


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Life is funny .. sometimes .. but it has its ups and downs

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Have I been lazy, not writing every day?  I’ve missed quite a few days.  Frankly, my energy level has been quite low lately.  Due a lot to the loss of our little Youbou cat .. we loved him so very much and it’s been a struggle to deal that.  But we’ve dealt with that.   Duncan is spending more time inside and we spend a lot of time with him.

Also with JaneE cat .. she’s started a new habit.

Now, when I’m at the computer, she sits on the floor beside me, meows hello, then stands up and stretches, gently putting her claws against my leg.  So I pick her up, she sits on my left arm, like a little armchair, and rests her paws on my left shoulder.  And purrs happily.  So we sit like that for a while .. I continue clicking away at creative sites and she is content.

The other factor in my lack of energy is the constant construction noise that is taking place in our neighbourhood.  Huge buildings are being built .. that will soon shadow the streets and take away the sunshine for most of the day for those who live nearby.   We are far enough away that our light won’t be affected.

That noise is intrusive and nasty …and takes away the joy that I normally have in the garden.  So I relish the quiet times, at the end of the workday and the weekends, when I can sit outside in the quiet and hear the birds sing.   And the lovely silence.

I did stock up on some of the lovely silence during the weekend, so my creative and artistic batteries have been recharged.   And suddenly, I feel happier, more optimistic and more my usual self.  Lovely.

So what have I been doing in the past few weeks?  Well, I’ve been playing around with the layout of the veggie garden.  Still haven’t planted my garlic, but nearly there.   I’ve decided to plant the garlic in blocks, so am making little paths between the blocks and have been putting a thick layer of that wonderful miracle mulch between them .. great for walking on and it will eventually turn to soil..

Then I’ve been thinking about how to relocate some large rocks in this area.  I want to make a little grouping and then place some of the little rounded, flat rocks (gathered by the seashore) and tiny little rocks amongst them ..to make a casual place where I can sit in the sun.  I’ve been playing around with the rock arrangement .. and will post a pic when done.

I’ve also been planting the Dragon Kale that my lovely gardening neighbour has given me.   These will grow blue when placed in the sun and will stay green, when they are planted in the shade.

I’ve also discovered that what I thought was a wild plum root-stock (the wild and crazy tree) is actually pear stock!   This is the tree that we planted many years ago, the graft tree died and I nursed back one of the root growths.

And I’ve discovered that the orange spots on the leaves are pear trellis rust.   Argh.  Felt very dismal when I first noticed the spots and the protuberances on the underside of the leaves, they looked like ugly barnacles.

Now …. this tree affords us tremendous privacy in the yard during the growing season and we do not want to cut it down.

So today I’ve learned that the Juniper is the host for this fungus disease.  And that there are organic ways to rectify it.  Oh, I am so very glad that I took the Gaia Organic Master Gardening course .. for that is where the positivity for the healthy repair  came from!

So I’ll be composting the fallen leaves in a separate container, with lots of EM, vegetation, etc.   And then I’ll be placing healthy composted soil around the tree, lots of seaweed.   Lots of EM.   And I’ll be spraying seaweed and kale liquids on the leaves.   Looking forward to next year at this time to see the results.  This is so very positive and I’m so very happy ….  yea!!

On the weekend, DH & I went for a “little” walk to a magnificent restaurant.  Along the way, on the Blenkinsop trail, we had a happy time.  We met Cowboy, the Quarter-Horse, whose owner was taking her little brother for a ride .. and then she let him lead the horse while she rode.   I told her that she was making a lot of people happy  .. seeing that handsome horse, and she smiled!  Lovely.

We saw the random garden artwork that is well displayed at a property that is up for development.  Thought I’d better take more photos, cause one day, with the development, this personal touch will no longer exist.

Finally we reached our destination and had the most delicious meal, seated at a window overlooking the ocean.  Sigh …

The meal over, we began our homeward trek … and I found out that we’d walked over 10 miles (there and back) .. didn’t seem like much of a walk .. we love walking.  Especially in the sun.

Lots more happened, but I’ll talk about this tomorrow.  About a day trip with a friend that ended up with us visiting a casino, a beach and a second-hand store!  🙂

I’m back in my normal energy level .. loving the exploration of my world and garden.   Oh and the birds!   I’ve got to say that there is this huge robin in the yard .. he’s massive!   And I’ve been taking photos of him as he poses around the yard.

ha ha ha ….. 🙂

 


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Wednesday was a lazy hazy kind of summer day

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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Yesterday was a day full of beauty, adventure and surprises all day long.

It was also a day of sadness as it was exactly one week ago that we lost our lovely little Youbou cat.

coincidentally .. my good pal D had contacted me to start our usual wandering/adventures that we started a few years ago.

So we discussed where to go and decided on starting out at Swan Lake.

I took lots of photos of the day and have posted some, but not all of them.

We had the most marvellous fun day .. I really felt like a kid again, although one with a driving license, all grown up and ready to go.

Started off at Swan Lake .. walked the pathways through the beauty of the woods.  Stopping to watch the aerial activity.  Saw Bushtits cavorting in a tree.  Then a pair of yellow feathered darlings flew about .. sorry, can’t remember the name .. will post later.

Several groups of loud talkers passed our way .. I shut out the noisy conversations and settled into the lovely peace of the woods and nature surrounding us.

Finally .. I feel so happy to be back at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  It’s been a few months since I last visited this lovely place and heavenly to be back there.

Saw the Canada Geese, majestically paddling about the lake .. and the Mallards.  D noted that the Drakes were moulting, turns out this happens twice a year.  Some of them looked a little bedraggled.

We threw flatted oats to them all and soon were surrounded by lots of these feathered beings.

D found a cricket .. sadly unable to walk .. perhaps a heavy footed jogger caused some harm?  she gently placed him amongst some tall grasses .. perhaps he will heal and soon be hopping around.

She discovered fruit trees (she’s an apple tree magnet!) and gathered a variety of apples, then later, pears from a boulevard.  It was here that I started feeling like a kid.  Car parked on a side street.  We wandered around a pear tree, trying to find any ripe fruit.  No worries, no schedules .. fun!

From there we made stops at various places.  Chez moi, to gather some fruit from the trees.  Oh, and to drop off some free treasures found in a driveway along the way.  A funky trellis for the garden.  Some plant saucers, a plastic little table, ready to be painted.  Talk about decluttering and then I bring these things home.  I daren’t tell DH!  What would he say?  Well, I think he would laugh, but I’ll leave that subject for now.

Next we went to a local greenhouse, the owners have been there for 50 years!  Bought some terrific produce.

Next we made our way to Saxe Point.  Now, I thought I’d been there years ago, but really, I discovered that in all the years I’ve lived here .. I’d not visited this jewel.

Wandered through paths, made our way down the rocky bluffs to the shore (if you can call it that).

We noticed a couple of scuba divers, happily exploring the waters along the shore, finding treasures in the water.

Such beautiful scenery … ocean lapping at the rocks.  Small areas of dried ocean salts.  D found some coins tucked away in a rock.

Fun times.

It was an amazing, fun, relaxing day .. one of those old-fashioned summer days.  The kind where you just explore areas of the city and find unexpected scenery, flowers, things that don’t cost money.

Just having fun.

So .. more tomorrow .. must head out to the garden now .

 

 


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A variety of things, including flying, gardening, mulch .. etc.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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So, August is zipping along.  Lots of gardening.  Lots of flying.  Now that summer is here in full force, it’s so easy to forget those cold rainy days.

Veggies are growing well.  I finally shovelled the last of the 5 yards of the miracle mulch and so the perennials have a nice soft blanket to retain moisture and keep the soil cool.

And yesterday, so lucky .. woke up to the sound of branches being buzzed and then ground up as a few neighbourhood trees were being trimmed.  These included an oak tree.

Quickly grabbed my mug of Yorkshire Tea and dashed out the door … and politely asked the working crew if I may have the chips!  Well, lucky me .. they said yes and I was ecstatic.  These are things that only a fellow gardener can understand!

So at least 1 ½ yards were gently deposited on a tarp in the driveway and I spent a few happy hours shovelling up this lovely mulching material and spreading under our first Christmas tree … the 2 yards that I placed there yesterday has nearly disappeared.

And I noticed that this tree only has a very few cones on it this year .. this means that the tree is not under stress.  Finally, I’m giving it the love and attention that it needs.

Once all this shovelling was done, I decided to clip some roses for drying.  But first, I:

–          Discovered that the branches of an old apple tree in the back were in my way, so went to find the clippers to trim away some of the ones that were at eye-height

–          Then I thought it would be a good time to drag out the soaker hoses for the recently updated side yard .. this took a good chunk of time as I sorted through the two sizes of hoses and too late remembered that I couldn’t attach the 3/8 to the 5/8 .. so undid my work and started again

–          Put aside a tarp to take to the front yard, to help when I weed that area

–          Became enthralled with the sight of the bees buzzing around flowers, so took pictures

–          Again, became enthralled with the skies up above and more time spent there

–          Took a few minutes to search for berries

–          Had a look at the various squash, basil and pea pods growing

–          Then finally I walked to the rose-bush, clippers in hand (after searching for a basket to hold the flowers) and finished what I’d wanted to start over an hour ago, that is, clipping roses

Then, time to go to the front yard and begin pulling out some invasive perennials .. they’ve served the purpose of greening up the yard, but time to remove these, fluff up the soil and then go shopping for some ferns and things to complete the woodland look along the front of our first Christmas tree.

And now I must go outside and continue what I started yesterday.

I forgot to mention that my work was stopped by a thunder & lightning storm …  heavy raindrops, thank you for watering my garden!

🙂


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Today is a planting day .. no more procrastination!

Monday, July 23, 2012

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Sunday was quite the day .. with the skies changing from overcast, cloudy …to bright and sparkling blue .. decorated with quite a beautiful changing series of amazing clouds.  So I spent some time just admiring the scenery and clicking away.

It was also a lazy day .. we are usually away on the weekends, but the weather wasn’t the best for flying .. so it was stay at home for us.  I don’t mind these types of weekends.  Lots of time to just not rush around .. time to slow down and enjoy.  So we did.

Outside, looking around the yard, amazed at the changes brought about by the addition of the EM to the garden.  Never have the fruit trees bore so much fruit.  I am so very very happy that I took the Organic Master Garden course (Gaia college) .. it totally changed my way of gardening forever.

And the “shifting of paradigms” as noted at the beginning of the course is so true .. my view of gardening has gone in a whole new direction.  I am aware now of the worlds beneath my feet .. the living beings that inhabit the soil and transform it into a healthy growing medium for plants.  Healthy soil = healthy plants.  And as I gaze around my yard I see the proof.

More about that on a later date.  Today I just want to share the joy that I feel as I walk around my garden.

I’ve made enquiries about where to have the bountiful crop of apples transformed into lovely apple cider .. no rush, they won’t be ready for a few months yet .. but I want to be ready!  Last year I’d made jams, baked pies .. but want to try my hand at the cider.   Having not done this before and how fun to sip on cider from the trees.

I’d found sites on making cherry wine from frozen … so might try that … however, I’ve gotten into the habit of using the frozen cherries (from our tree) as ice cubes in summer drinks.   And they taste delicious at the bottom of the glass, plus, vitamin C!

The squash, cucumber and zucchini plants are starting to grow tendrils so I’m trying to find things to use for guides .. tree branches, that sort of thing.

My lovely garlic crop is drying beneath the sundeck.  I spent some time hanging groups of them from nails along the boards …. planning which ones I will save for the fall crop.

Looked at the veggie bed .. planning more garlic rows .. for more garlic.  This time I’ll give the cloves a bit more space for them to grow.  I’d tried growing some in containers, resulted in smaller cloves .. so won’t do that again.

Heavy crop of raspberries and blueberries.  Really enjoy just going outside everyday and picking a basket of them for us.   Memories of days spent on a relative’s farm … hot sunny days, fun times.

The plum trees are fully laden.  We have three types:  Italian (large plump fruits); tiny purple (don’t know the type) and another type of medium purple (again, don’t know type) .. they are all good .. and so I might have these made into something like wine or whatever .. depends on how much fruit makes it to the end of the season.  Plus, this year I’ll spread out tarps to collect the dropping fruit .. easier to clean up.  To avoid the end of the season hornet attacks .. I’ve been picking up all fallen fruit daily and over to the compost they go.

Admiring the green lush growth of the grass .. where the seaweed has dripped … not that I’m into lawn, but, I like to maintain what we have.   Notice that there are fewer dandelions growing throughout ..a sign that the lawn has been receiving nutrients required, the extra vitamin C is no longer required, there is sufficient now, it seems.

There are still perennials to be planted .. I’ve arranged them in the approximate areas where I’d like them to grow … and so today I think .. is the day to do this!

Beautiful sunny day and now I’m on my way.

A – planting – I – will – go!  Goodby – procrastination!  Hello – happy plants in their new places!

🙂


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The magic of roots and the tranquility of a misty morning visit to a local beach.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Spent some time on the weekend, while DH was flying .. to relax in a decadent bout of reading.   Time to relax and just explore the pages of my gardening books.  There never seems to be the time to do this during the week so I look forward to these lovely indulgent weekends.

Looking through my treasures .. one of a handful of gardening books that I truly treasure .. this one is “Living Earth” by Peter Farb, by Pyramid Books .. entitled “The Words of Science, Biology”.

Now I hadn’t studied biology in school and I don’t know if this sort of thing is being taught nowadays, that is, the subject of the magic of the root system of plants.   And in such a down to earth manner of explaining!

Peter Farb’s book is fascinating.  First published in January, 1959…. this copy that I hold reverently is 50 years old!  A real treasure. I picked this one up at a local library book sale. One of those magic moments, you know .. when you see a little inconspicuous book, pick it up and open it up and it’s one of those OMG moments.

Words pop out of the page. Worlds open and enchantment begins.  You see, I have a very active imagination and can visualize what I am reading.   Most of the time this is a good thing.  And that is why I mostly read positive things and steer away from nasty things.

Anyway, Chapter 4 “The World of the Root” … describes the importance of tree roots  How they pry and twist beneath the forest soil  The strength of the system.  More than half of the tree’s bulk is underground …busy growing, feeding ..busy roots that have enormous power that we do not see on the surface.

He describes how a healthy root system can “scarcely be destroyed” … chop down the forest giant and its roots sprout dozens of new saplings.

Tree roots grow best in adversity, when the soil is poor and water hard to come by.   Experiments in laboratories have shown that “a rye plant , grown for only four months, developed an underground system of 7,000 miles of roots”!!

And he goes on to tell us that roots go back in the history of the soil about a third of a billion years .. plants have greatly modified their aerial parts, the stems and the leaves in the past 350 million years, but the root structure shows little change.  He states that perhaps in the conservative environment of the soil, there has been little need for  adaption.

Next, he describes 3 areas of the root system which bring forth the magic to me!  These are:

Root-Cap

This is at the very tip of the root, it fits like a thimble and takes the brunt of pushing through the soil.   Constantly renewing itself, it bears the brunt of the movement through the soil.

The Zone of Elongation:   Now I first heard of this in my recent Master Gardening course and the phrase pulled me like a magnet.  Here I discover more about this zone.  It sits directly behind the cap, seldom more than three-tenths of an inch long and this is where rapid cell division occurs .. it is the only part of the root that increases in length.  In all roots.  And finally:

Felty Root Hairs:  Right behind the Zof E, is the only place where the roots feed!  And these are followed by the corky brown roots, older sections, once they fed the sapling, now they are no longer taking in water but now act as pipelines connected to the tree.  It has the same cork covering as the tree bark, but is much thinner.

This book references specialists for further studies and I am so very grateful for their work, enabling me to further understand the magic beneath my feet!

After reading about the root system, I found myself wandering around recently ploughed soil .. and saw root stems lying hither and thither.  After much debate with myself, I finally decided to gather up some sections.  Simply because I normally do not see tree roots in my normal day-to-day living.  And these alder roots were lovely.  So I quickly gathered some up and formed them into wreaths.  To hang them in the trees in my yard .. to add to the natural beauty.

As I pulled some of the tips out of the ground, I could see the tenacious spreading of the root tips and smell the earthy smell of the mycorrhizal fungi as they clung to these areas.  Just doing their job.  Reminders for me as to the magnificence of nature.

I could go on and on about more information contained in this chapter, but, another time!

A few days ago, when I went to a beach up-island, I was fortunate enough to be there at a time in the morning when there were only a few others around.   The morning was misty and a surreal fog was gently engulfing the water and shoreline.

It was one of those very rare moments of peaceful quiet in a beautiful surrounding and I felt honoured to be there at that time to enjoy this lovely gift.    The only sound was that of a few gulls crying out and the sound of the water lapping against the rocks.

So I’m sharing a few pictures of my special time there in all that quiet beauty.

Now .. I must go outside to spread out recently acquired seaweed.  Today is predicted to be hot and sunny and I need to dry out this crop as soon as possible!

On and on with this day!