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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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How time doth fly on winged feet!  Even though this is the quiet time of the year, I find so many things to do.  One of them, and the highlight of them all .. was to participate in Seedy Saturday, held at the Convention Centre, downtown Victoria, B.C.

This is my second year at volunteering in this huge event and what a wonderful garden-y atmosphere it is.  So this year I went in early and took some photos before the crowds filled the room.  And fill the room they did .. there was barely space to go from one wonderful booth to another.

Here is a beautiful poster for the Victoria Natural History Society, www.naturevictoria.ca

I picked up a few issues and they are full, cover to cover, of the most amazing natural events and I will be subscribing to this association.   Absolutely everyone contributes selflessly to the furtherance of nature .. how can I not join.

60There was a prize of this most incredible raised bed .. from one gardening business.  I entered and .. sob .. didn’t win!

71And this same business had a small model of a garden shed that they could build .. oh, how sweet this is ..

72Here is the front view ..

69Honestly, you could not get near this table once the crowds came into the area.

70And another very important table … http://www.seeds.ca/en.php

 

68The Seed Exchange tables were busy (later on) and it was good to see families with young children involved.

67And this was a truly very important table .. http://farmlandprotection.ca/I am sure that many countries are involved in the same fight to protect agricultural lands from being fracked and abused.   There were a few bumper stickers left and I was able to get one.  This is so very important in every way.

66Another seed company .. all of these organic seed business are very crucial to help us all to grow organic, non GMO seeds … and also to share them with friends.

65Again .. this empty space was only seen early on the morning .. and soon it was crowded .. enjoy the empty looking area …

64Fruit trees …lots of information ..

63There is a tremendous amount of preparation that goes into the setting up of the tables early in the morning .. before the crowds arrive ..

62And one more table …well set up

61This was a handy sheet of information of when to plant ..

IMGP9666And, although I really didn’t “need” more seeds …

IMGP9665These are local native seeds … I’ll plant these in pots …

IMGP9664sigh .. I am surely a happy consumer, busily buying up more seeds, supporting local seeds companies (who work very hard)

IMGP9663And I had quite a conversation with this grower .. he was very knowledgeable and obviously a very serious gardener!

IMGP9662I am definitely growing more greens this year ..

IMGP9661And these were the seeds that I’d ordered in November, from Annapolis Seeds in Nova Scotia .. all heritage seeds .. and I’m sharing them with friends …

 

IMGP9660There was a contest from local schools, the children had created scarecrows for judging .. to earn money for their school gardens  .. aren’t they sweet.

75And this was a talk by Dr. Richard Hebda on the Crop-Climate Project

https://www.facebook.com/RoyalBCMuseum/posts/511883918853926

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73Dr. Hebda also spoke about heritage potatoes ( and I bought a selection from 3 organic companies, quite a variety and I plan to grow them in large pots!!)

Here is a list of the speakers from the last Seedy Saturday:

http://jamesbaymarket.com/seedy-saturday-speakers-2014/\

Twas a most lovely Saturday, despite the rain!  I indulged in paid parking for the whole day, so that I could relax and wander the aisles freely without time restrictions .   My gift to myself.

Happy Gardening everyone!


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We certainly have a mix of weather here in Victoria!  Yesterday started out overcast as I busily filled my car with just an amazing amount of recycling items and headed off to the local Bottle Depot!.

Despite all items having been carefully rinsed beforehand .. once I’d loaded them onto the wheeled cart at the Depot… I noticed several hornets buzzing around to investigate  my bottles and tins.   I tell you that I’ve never pushed a fully loaded cart up the cement ramp so fast!  Just racing to get inside and once there, the hornets had decided to leave.  Sheesh, anyway!

Back home, I decided to just go for a little walk to pick some blackberries … just enough to make a pie for my DH when he comes home from work.   The big fat berries were way out of my reach and I had to avoid some busy hornets/wasps that were hungrily gorging on the fat juicy berries .. so I contented myself with gathering about 2 cups worth of berries … that’s enough .. I’ll mix them with apples for a one-crust pie.

Enjoying the antics of a little Red-Chested Nuthatch:

16So spritely and teeny-tiny … there are a number of them in the yard, very busy munching on insects so the birdseed is a treat for them to enjoy.

02The Hummingbird feeders have all been cleaned and refilled … and they pass inspection!  The Anna’s are very particular and require clean feeders so I do my part at taking care of them.

14I’ll definitely plant more of Renee’s seeds next year …. lovely beans

15One of my recent acquisitions from a consignment shop in Port Alberni .. a friend suggested a plant would look good in this .. a great idea and I’ll do this.  The top hinges open for easy access.

10Found this little gem at the SPCA thrift shop in Port Alberni … great for making applesauce!

12Coincidentally enough, on the same shopping day, in another thrift shop .. I found this treasure, brand new and the receipt inside!   I might try grinding up some dry seaweed in this one.  The proprietor of this shop was the most amazing lady.  She and hubby live on acreage in Port Alberni.   They have masses of dogs and cats and chickens.  Oh, the funny stories she told me .. .I was so happy that I went shopping there and look forward to returning!

11My crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans … I’m waiting for the beans to rattle in the pods so I can harvest them for drying.  Some for soup and some for next year’s crop!

07Gentle sunflowers at the end of the day .. getting ready for a night full of sunflower dreams … sleep well….

04My one little acorn squash is growing quite well …yum yum!!

03And seeing that I was going to be saving my dried Kentucky Wonder Beans for next year’s crop …. I started looking for blog sites on seed saving.  And there are quite a few .. thank goodness for all of them.  I quite liked this one, as I wasn’t sure if I should just pluck some pods, shell them and dry them (which I’ve been doing).  Then I thought, maybe the pods should be drier ..  I like the information that this blogger shares:  http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.ca/2007/06/saving-peas-for-seed.html

I’m so glad that people share their garden lessons so we can all learn .. so very helpful.

Than I decided to go and search how to save strawberry seeds.  Well .. I certainly learned a lot about that!!   As my knowledge about growing healthy plants increases, so too does my awareness of the preciousness of heirloom fruits and veggies.

I discovered that the small, pretty, white strawberries (that I bought from the most amazing couple in Port Alberni!!) are actually heirloom strawberries.   http://gardentherapy.ca/save-alpine-strawberry-seeds/

Afterwards, I went looking for information on potatoes.  Oh, well .. that is quite another story for another day!

On y va!!!  A new day commences and I need to go for a little walk!

🙂


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Such a lovely quiet weekend .. spent time in my garden.  Decadent hours with some of my gardening book collection scattered around me.  A few mugs of Yorkshire Tea.   Inspirational and melodic music playing from my iPod.   Birds twittering.  Sun trying to break through the clouds.  I hadn’t spent such a peaceful relaxing and decadent time in the back yard for a long time.  And it was just wonderful, thank you very much.

And I finally started a long-awaited project of naming the plants that surround me  …. this is truly a formidable task and one I’d started a number of times and just given up.

But Saturday was the day that I once again began this Herculean task.   Armed with my (new) aluminum writing case (I’ll just have to take a photo today to show this and my notes)  …. I started at one side of the yard and began the initial rough drawings, along with a legend of names.

Discovered quite a few name tags were not attached to the plants, so began taking photos and will do some research.  If I have trouble identifying them, then one day soon I will post photos and ask for help from the gardening community!

Oh, wow .. I know that I am a plantaholic but even the list that I made overwhelms me.  I’m currently on page 11 and have only covered maybe less than 3/4 of the yard.  Gulp

Then I took time out to move some of the recently acquired bales of hay .. the dance of moving the bales from the car, through to the back yard and then to the compost area has begun:

01While moving the hay, I heard the soft trill of the European Starling

15aDainty little sunflower peeking out of the tomato planted basket .. how sweet ..

02Volunteer tomatoes have sprung up among the squash plants …

14It seems as if these jewels have popped up overnight …. they are pretty

10The magic of plants .. ever-growing in the sun (and the rain)

12Tiny little squash .. still lots of growing time left as the first frost in Victoria isn’t predicted till early November.

11Another little patch of sunflowers .. growing near one of the bird feeders

13This squash is growing quite well .. wondering how big it will be when it is time to harvest!  I plan to save this one for decoration until it’s finally time to cook it ..

09Lots of surprises every day in the garden … as I find little treasures tucked away …

07I truly was surprised to see the one luffa plant that survived!  I’d started out with maybe 6 that had sprouted.  This jewel keeps opening up flowers daily …..I love the shape and texture, they are very delicate ..almost humble

06Every luffa fruit that had grown lasted only for a few days before dropping off, so this really was a treat to find an actual luffa growing around the aluminum tubes that are stored here.  And imagine my surprise when I found another one growing nearby yesterday!  These really are gifts from my garden.  Thank you.

05And I just liked the look of the sage plant growing nearby …. I have zillions of sage seeds, so perhaps next year I’ll plant a hedge .. that would be very striking in the summer!

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Grow on .. squash … whether or not I actually am able to harvest squash from this plant matters not   The beauty fills my heart with the joy of the magic of plants.   Plus this will be nice to look at in the cool winter months when I dream again of planting my veggie garden!  Although I think that I might make a structure for them to grow on.  This is my first experience of growing them and is a bit of a learning curve that happens to all.

03There are a few of this type of squash growing .. looks like a spaghetti squash, but not really sure what it is.

08It just never gets tired .. the joy and magic I find in my garden.   And I’ve so enjoyed the wonderful time just being outside, looking through books.   Getting to know what is growing where and listing the names.  I’m reconnecting with the beauties that I’ve been gathering for a few years.

Some will be moved to another area of the yard.   Some will be propagated quite easily.  Lots to do yet in my back yard adventures.  And more delightful discoveries to be made as I venture out there.

sigh.

Time to start my day!

🙂


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Murphy’s Law … I’d carefully watered the garden yesterday afternoon and rain has arrived overnight!  Well, I’m happy about that!   So really I should be doing housework … cause it really needs to be done.  But first, some delay tactics before I begin that Herculean task.  Tea is called for.  Next, I start to go through my photos, of which I have quite  a few.    So I’ve selected a few to share and here they are:

First .. I was downtown Victoria, heading towards Dallas Road to meet up with a friend when I happen to notice this lovely antique car in my rear-view mirror:

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This was about 3 weeks ago and there was the annual antique car show, which was the most spectacular event,  Thousands (I think) of amazingly beautiful cars arrive at the Inner Harbour and park there … while thousands of people walk around and admire these autos.  It is really quite a happy thing to drive around and see these vehicles travelling about.

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Oh my lovely Kentucky Wonder Beans … there will be quite a bounty and I look forward to cooking them and smothering them with butter .. yum!   I’ll save some seeds for next years crop!!!

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Rose petals drying in the sun ….

15Along with some calendula petals ….

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Sunflowers are so beautiful and cheerful.  They each sport a unique personality …  this one appears to have rabbit ears!

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Lovely lilies growing in the yard, my pal D tells me that these are star-gazer lilies!

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Now there are squash plants growing in the same area where I harvested my huge crop of garlic!!

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DH and I had some fun time away and made our way to Port Alberni for some time of flying and enjoying the beauty of the Alberni Valley.   No computers as repairs were being made to my new Asus.  So some time of being disconnected from the electronic world.  And I found that I quite liked that.  Although, mid-way through our holidays, we had to return home for a few days.  And the laptop had returned.  So I found myself wasting hours on both days.   Was quite happy to depart again without this item and able to enjoy the world without it.

Up in Port Alberni, A Buffalo prepares for take off .. they had picked up some sky divers who had taken part in aerial exercises .. I just caught sight of the last one landing!   Quite impressive.

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Beautiful cloud formations on a hot and sunny day …. I love this!  And in the fore front there are some trailers for sailplanes which are now happily set up and ready to spend some time in the air!

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Wheeeeeee … I was so happy to go for an hour-long sailplane ride!!!  The Pawnee is towing my pilot and myself in the PW6 !!!

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The pilot released the tow line, and we were flying, thermalling ,,,,, and we were soon flying near my lovely dh, who was flying the PW5 just ahead of us .. that was so exciting ….

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Such skies …

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We flew above some eagles .. powerful ..

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Darling little Coco …. she really wanted to be with her poppa, but it was a very hot day and we had air conditioning in our motor home …. so we hung out there for a while.  Her face tells a story, it is as if she is saying, politely ” you know, I do enjoy being here with you in this nice and cool motor home, but you really must understand that I long to be with my poppa.  I don’t meant to be rude, but, please, could you let me go to him?”

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And what a nice surprise when dh and I returned, midway through our time away … my pal D had left this lovely bouquet of sweet peas!  Friends are the best!  She also looked after our beloved kitties while we were away!

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Well, I can delay no more .. housework calls.   I know that once I begin the vacuuming, laundry, dusting activities of making our home tidy .. I will enter the zen flow of energy.   My reward today will be the totally surprised look on my dh’s face when he comes home from work today.  That will be worth it!

🙂


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I proudly marched in the anti-monsanto march in Victoria, B.C.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A lovely rainy day here in Victoria, B.C.  Good for the gardens and wow my garden is growing great!  I’ve been harvesting the scapes even before they are curling around .. so impatient, I know, but the scape keeps on growing, doing its thing .. so I have more to harvest.

My pal D and I went to the big anti-Monsanto march last Saturday .. it was quite important for us to join in this event.  As you can see .. the skies were beautiful ..

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Many interesting signs ..

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Ok .. this was me .. I was working at our rental and these are my gardening clothes and didn’t have time to change . .although I don’t normally wear a sign!  It was a tiny sign as I drew it up in my car with materials at hand.  It reads:  Grief and More to come, with little drawings of a sunflower, crying and a little bumblee … saying “help me”

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Of course .. lots of darling little dogs attended the event.

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Shades of Avatar …

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We marched along … all together .. a peaceable group …

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.. along the Inner Harbour, past the Empress ..
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Interesting that it was a “no news” event .. yet see here .. lots of people

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True .. it’s not nice …

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And back at the Parliament Buildings

05 04

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02There were many people there .. hopefully many more people will learn about the evil of genetically modified seeds.. the harm that is done to the environment, the crops, the people …..

 


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Well, it was another seaweed-y kind of day, with some shopping thrown in .. all on a rainy day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

D and I chose yesterday as the “day in the week” for our weekly adventuring.  The weather was predicted to be dry and perhaps a little sunny.  So we weren’t totally surprised to see the pouring rains.

Due to the proximity of the mountains in this part of the world, the weather predictions just aren’t always reliable ..but we are used to that.  This time of the year, it’s normal to carry an umbrella and sunglasses, to cover all bases.

We pondered over whether we should travel today or not .. and decided to continue …. the rains would probably stop at some point.

As we drove to our first destination .. amidst the steady, downpour of rain, windshield wipers efficiently working away to keep the glass nice and clear for good visibility… we chatted about this and that ..  commenting on the weather .. and why the heck there was a steady line of traffic heading towards Victoria and away from Sooke.   Normally, early mid-morning, traffic is very light.  Hmmm .. perhaps dwellers of Sooke were travelling to the big city for Christmas shopping and we were going there ….

So .. our agenda consisted of shopping .. to the delightful Lighthouse Bakery in Langford … I bought the most delicious assortment of cake squares .. a lovely mix of Nanaimo Bars, Langford Bars and some lemon square.    Delicious and such reasonable prices, I couldn’t make them for the price they charge.

Finally .. champing at the bit .. we head to our first thrift store.   We always enter the store, firmly deciding that we would make no purchases and soon we are carrying little shopping baskets … filling them up as we go.  Not just any purchases, but genuine treasures.  Delicate little ornaments to add to the tree (I’ll show pictures tomorrow!!!)

There seems to be a trend of items from the 60’s available now .. and so we have lots to choose from.  Including delightful Christmas wrapping paper from that era.  I did pick up a package .. but will I use it or save it?  I think that first I will take a photo, to preserve the look .. and then .. I will use the paper.  It’s been saved long enough .. time to get out there and let everyone admire the beauty.

Then on to Glenwood Meats … local product .. support the Island businesses, we say.

A few more shops .. more treasures found.  Lovely glasses.   A Dr. Oekter’s flan tart pan (only $3.50 and half price at that ) brand new!!  I plan to make some shortbread, using some delicious vanilla brandy that D prepared, generously giving me some (glad she told me it was for baking, I’d been looking forward to having a sip of this mixture!)

What else did we find ?  Oh, the most absolutely wonderful capacious travel bag .. brand new … with “mots en francais, partout” .. .I’ll take a picture of that and will share tomorrow.  As I’ve said before, D has a special talent for unearthing the most amazing treasures when we go shopping.  This bag had been sort of hidden away and she unearthed it!  Could it be any more perfect for transporting my soaps .. in a grand and stylish way!

Oh, we gathered such wonderful treats.  And I found an unusual SPCA zipped bag .. just had to get that and I’ll share that tomorrow also.

Time for a wee break … once all of our shopping was done .. and away to our favourite bakery for a little bit of soup and a beverage .. the Little Vienna Bakery!!!

See the lovely festive Christmas decorations decorating the mantle of the sideboard at Little Vienna Bakery .. yesterday …

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And dainty little blue globes adorned the branches lovingly arranged in the container nearby

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I wonder …. if I were, perhaps, a little taller .. would I have been tempted to see if I could tastefully remove this delicious cookie for a taste test?

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A close up of one of the sparkly decorations in the window …

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Finally … time to visit the beach to gather up some of the lovely chopped seaweed .. for the garden.   Sun would be setting fairly soon .. so we had a timeline.  And together we gathered up quite a bit in a very short time.  Yea … my garden is going to be so happy and healthy.

And .. guess what!!!  The rains had stopped pouring down by this time .. we were so lucky!!  Our timing was right on!   Yea!!!

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The tide was coming in so we had to work fast.

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The sounds of the waves got louder and louder and we swiftly glanced at the incoming waves as we scooped up the seaweed potpourri ..

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Some ducks flew by overhead and I quickly snapped a picture .. can you see them .. among the branches?

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The tide was swiftly coming in .. as each wave cascaded onto the beach ..swiftly encroaching on the bounty of seaweed .. reclaiming it again to the depths of the ocean …

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Oh, the massive amounts of seaweed lying there on the beach .. quite an impressive sight .. so close, and yet so far .. with the waves washing in … no way was I going to brave the power of the ocean .. tempting as it was ..

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And then .. along comes someone who savours the power of the waves … as a sort of open highway for his board ..

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D and I watched as he carefully placed his board on the water, getting ready for his ride upon the waves …

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And soon he was paddling away .. nice way to end the work day, what!13 14 15

And we on shore looked down at the quickly disappearing beach .. adieu … until another day ..

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Driving home, tired and happy .. we discussed our purchases and couldn’t recall exactly all of the things that we chose .. so that just adds to the surprise later.   Like a practice Christmas morning!

The car smelled deliciously of the ocean …. as we had quite a few netted bags of chopped seaweed in the back of the car.   Spread over top of these were our new purchases .. here and there!

So .. D back home to prepare supper for her family .. and I made my way home … DH is working so I can quickly unload the seaweed to the back yard and transport my treasures to the kitchen for a quick scrub and dry .. before putting them all away.

I’ll show him what I’ve brought home … later ….  he is quite appreciative of my frugal purchases.  And, if I don’t show him all of the things .. well .. ummm … some are supplies for my soap making .. so I’m quite sure he wouldn’t be interested in those things, right now, anyway.

I know that I need to be decluttering like crazy .. but for now .. in this time before Christmas … I will just accumulate just a few more things.  I can always pass them along, can’t I?

And the fun that D and I have on our shopping trips is just priceless.  We both appreciate the quality of items from times gone by.  Not for the monetary value but always for the beauty, the care taken of the objects by their former owners.  And we both respect the value of that energy.  And pass it along.

The items that we purchase are things that were actually made by people who cared .. therein lies the beauty.

🙂


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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 ….

🙂