My Garden – Mon Jardin – Mi Jardin – Mein Garten – Daily Adventures & Thoughts

No matter the language, my garden is my paradise. To watch the lovely birds that nest in the trees and bushes. The bees, butterflies are such a joy to see.

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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 …


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


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?


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


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!!!


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


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


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


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 …


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 ..


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


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


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 ..


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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Wednesday brings good fortune for me and bad karma for others!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

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Wednesday was one of those rare sunny days .. these ones that appear from time to time, and deludes us into  thinking that summer has arrived.  I’ve not yet put my winter clothes away yet and have found that procrastination has paid off!  For the sunny days, there are my capris and t-shirts.  For chilly days, I have my lined cargo plants, t-shirts & jackets.  Gloves and scarves too.

But yesterday was a summery day as my pal D & I headed off to a local beach to collect seaweed for the garden.

Tide was at its lowest about 9:15 …. and it was lovely to see that we could walk way .. way out to the ocean!  It was a nice quiet day, perfect for selecting this treasured material for the garden.

I’m very careful to only collect that seaweed which is dried or otherwise not still attached to rocks and yesterday, due to the heat, there was a nice crispy layer on the surface of the wet seaweed.  So I was rolling the top layer like Sushi!

I’d brought my trusty old Rubbermaid containers, the same units I’ve been using for over 20 years.  Originally I’d used them to store the variety of pot-pourri, moth repellents (herbal), stove top spices and bath herbs, back in the day when I was making the rounds of craft sales.  And also selling these items, packaged, in stores, on a small-scale.

These containers were just plain handy.  Anyway, as I started to fill them up, I noticed that there weren’t as many there as when I’d started.  I had brought 11 and now there were only 7.   Mystified, trying to understand why someone would take 4 of these .. didn’t make sense.  Perhaps there are people who just like to take things that are on a beach?

Well, karma will out.  Next time I’ll write my name on my few remaining containers.  I just hope that whoever took them finds these containers to be as useful to them as they have been to me.

Anyway, collecting done, containers filled, tucked in the car .. it’s time to relax in the sun.  Body aching from hours of bending, collecting, filling, lifting.  It was sheer heaven to settle in on the warm rocks and breathe in the beautiful fresh air.

As always, we meet people who ask what we are doing .. and explain that the seaweed is good for the garden.  Adds minerals and texture to the soil.  enriches the compost.  Garlic loves it and slugs avoid it.

We have both taken an intensive seaweed workshop and understand how to properly harvest any living seaweed, cut off just a little and leave the plant growing.

At the end of our long outing, the decision was made to visit a different little place for our special treats.  We had been going to a little place that was noisy and that was just not relaxing.  So yesterday we went to another place.

And wow .. it was as if we had been transplanted to a lovely little European bakery!  It’s called “Little Vienna Bakery” and what a beautiful change this was for us.   Entering the welcoming open front door (and there were precious mosaic designed bistro tables & matching chairs near the entranceway)… we found ourselves in the most delightful bakery.

Gilt framed mirrors were everywhere.   Spacious tables were positioned so that everyone could comfortably visit and have privacy .. no crowding of tables.   We chose a little table outside .. and were rewarded with the most colourful flowering vista!  Vehicles could be heard but not seen.  Instead, our eyes saw towering banks of colourful foxglove, a wall of sunny California Poppies, waves of delicate red poppies.  And there were other perennials also, but my eyes were drawn towards the cheerful palette of the flowers.

How wonderful to find this oasis .. a perfect way to finish our day’s outing!  Sandwiches, soups, cheeses .. are all served here.  D had the poppy-seed bar, delicate and delicious (she shared with me) and I .. fell in love….  with the Schnecke!  Bought 2, 1 cinnamon and 1 chocolate (a treat for my DH).   Well, I broke off a little piece of the cinnamon one and found myself unable to stop.   So .. bought another one, as a treat, for when I was home.  Luckily there was one remaining in the case, otherwise, I don’t know, I might have broken down and cried if they were all gone.  So I was saved that embarrassment!

D pronounced the Schneckes as perfect, identical to the dainty pastries that were served in Vienna!   So the quality of the pastries, in conjunction with the most beautiful surroundings, the decadent regality of the gilt framed mirrors .. all added to the magnificence of this treasured place.  Oh, and they serve meals also, Breakfast & Lunch.  As well as wheat free products (as in the poppy-seed bar).

I think that next time I will have a grilled Panini .. they have a choice of Sicilian and Parisienne.  Well, with names like that, I just know that they will be delicious (really, though, I know they will be delicious .. cause in this beautiful bakery, everything is beautiful and tasty)  .   I’ll order the Parisienne next time, and I’ll just pretend that I’m back in France, wandering around dusty side streets .. listening to the language being spoken all around.  sigh.

Here is the site for the Vienna Bakery:

As I was sitting there, looking around at the flowers, D whispered … don’t move!  A striking red and black butterfly had settled on the black ribbon encircling my hat, I was totally unaware.  So I passed the camera to her and she clicked away.  Luckily . .she was able to snap two good photos showing the butterfly nice and clear.  I’ve not seen a butterfly as striking as this one.  So I wondered, is this a sign of good luck?   That’s what I’ll interpret the little visit as.

It made up for the loss of my four containers.   And I released the negativity that I was feeling over the theft.

Soon, time to begin the trek home.  Back in traffic.  Happy for the day’s outing.  It’s so much fun to spend a day like this every once in a while.  Fresh air, sandy beaches.  D noticed a deer and a mink at the beach .. she always notices these things.

Back home, I emptied the containers from the car, and began the process of moving them to the back yard.  Some that I had gathered was for the bath so these I placed out on framed lattice sections, to dry.   The rest .. well I’ll be digging that into the garden today.