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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We had a bit of snow and then we had some sun .. but the best part was that my garden had fun!

Victoria was ahead of the game last week when we had some snow.  I wasn’t going to take any photos, but decided, what the heck so I fetched my camera and took a few pics.

Some snow on the Mexican Orange shrub .. this plant is tough as nails!  I can do an extreme pruning and then a few months later, it flowers!  Nov 7 02Below, photo taken this week .. snow has gone (yea!!) and the flowers are still looking great.Nov 7 -09My little garden bench .. where JaneE loves to perch and await her treats!  I liked the way the sun brought out the shadows which always adds interest.  Nov 7 01Leaves decorating the frozen water in the bird bath.  I replenished the water so that the birds could bathe.   Nov 7 - 07Honestly, these sweet little flowers just add so much beauty and carefree energy to the garden .. love them!Nov 7 -98One of the many reasons I love taking photos in the fall .. so I can remember how beautiful nature is.  Took this photo last week.  Nothing like a cheerful sunflower to brighten the atmosphere, n’est-ce pas?Nov 7 -05And this venerable rose bush, another tough as nails plant!  I planted this – maybe 35 years ago?  I swear it lives on love as I rarely water it even during the hot summer.  It does not mind a heavy pruning and just seems to flourish.  The Anna Hummingbirds love this one!Nov 7 -10Alpine strawberries.  I do not plant these in the ground as they are tenacious and would soon cover the yard, as I discovered a few years ago!  Now I just keep one plant in a pot and that is enough.  Yesterday, this caught my eye, I loved the dainty flowers against the broken clay pot.  This .. to me .. is true beauty of the best kind.Nov 7 03A few days ago, I gathered some pumpkin seeds and scrapings, placed them on a Rubbermaid container lid for the birds to feast on.  Our lovely JaneE (nearly 22 years old now) loves pumpkin squash and I caught her eagerly dining on this!  She soon stopped and walked away to her little bench.  The Stellar Jays noticed this food and quickly made this disappear.  I noticed one of the Jays swallow a seed whole, snatched up another and flew away to rest in one of the trees!Nov 7 -06

Last year I only noticed one Stellar Jay in our yard .. this year there are 4 and they are such beautiful birds.  If only their song would match their beauty!  Happy to see them pick out the peanuts I leave for them.  Nov 7 -04

It is the first week of November and I still haven’t planted my garlic.  This week I will definitely plant a small patch just to enjoy their growth.  At one time I really wanted lots of property so that I could grow lots of organic garlic to sell.  Plans change and now I am content to just plant a small amount.

As all gardeners know.. the peace and tranquility of a garden soothes the soul and the joy of watching plants grow, the love of watching the interaction of the birds has an energy unlike anything else.

Sometimes I wander outside, a little overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done.   After giving JaneE her treats, and filling up the bird feeders, checking on the hummingbird feeders to make sure they have enough for the day .. I wander around, with my mug of strong Yorkshire Tea .. looking at the various areas in our garden.

And I truly surprise myself (time after time after time!) at what happens next.

I move a few plant pots, tie up a few wandering berry vines and soon find myself involved in changes that involve a different way of using the yard.

Loving the idea of creating private garden rooms and not wanting a permanent structure anywhere .. I am always thinking of a different way of doing things.  And so happy at the results.

This year I’ve placed two arbors (from Lee Valley .. not the expensive types) in the garden about 5 feet apart … and next year will plant a string bean tunnel!

And I have quite a few planters with bamboo and am playing with them to use as green walls in another garden place.  It’s funny how I’ve been focusing on just one area of the yard, forgetting about others and now I am re-discovering these sort of forgotten areas.

And mulching the seaweed that my pal D and I gathered a few weeks ago with straw from the summer and leaves raked last week.   This will make lovely soil for next year and also provide a place for the birds to peck away, looking for the insects that will live there.

Love being in my garden.

But now, off to practise my fiddle and my singing as I have another voice lesson soon!  Loving this also!

🙂


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Life is so wonderful .. soaring the blue skies, practising the fiddle and discovering that there is a National Two Different Coloured Shoes Day!!! Yippee

Magnificent skies up at Port Alberni last weekend  …on Sunday, the day started off like this .. clouds obscured the Beauforts and then they started to clear away ..July 20, 20

and the clouds lifted .. and lifted … to reveal the mountain range ..I love this happening …

July 20, 21

So, DH says, want to go for a flight?  He knows that he doesn’t have to ask me twice, so I quickly (and oh so carefully) scramble into the back of the PWU-6, being uber careful to only put my feet where there are supposed to go.  I settle in while my harness is connected and soon we are up in the skies where I love to be.July 20, 23

So much fun to be up in the sky .. closer to the clouds as they are slowly rising up from the mountains.  I am one lucky gal, I know!July 20, 22

sigh … I am so HAPPY …July 20, 25

Entering the final glide to the landing strip .. wah .. I want to stay up there, but no thermals up there, save for the tantalizing resident thermal that always pops up on the final glide .. oh you are such a tease, you are!July 20, 24

Flight over and DH continues with his aviation life and I settle in to pursue my loves .. one of which is the fiddle, relaxing here with some of my favourite hats!

July 20, 06

Besides my incredible learning lessons with my fiddle teacher, I have also purchased these books to further my knowledge ..

July 20, 07

I’ve also begun teaching myself the harmonica .. and my pal D has generously given me the “Chromonica” German made harmonica that was her dad’s!!!  So that is part of my musical education that I pursue.  A week ago, the #1 Blues Harmonica player was in Port, but alas I wasn’t able to go to the show.  What are the odds, though, that there would be such an entertainer up there.  Bittersweet that I wasn’t able to go but there will be other times I know.  Love the Blues.

Someone was practicing their chainsaw technique and wouldn’t this look fantastic in a garden!!!!!

July 20, 05Another one .. beautiful!!   I did  take some little wedge sections for my garden .. couldn’t resist doing that.July 20, 04On the way home, little baby girl was so sleepy .. and worn out from pacing back and forth in the car, she finally succumbed to dreamland.  Love her so much.July 20, 09

Back home .. admiring this most delicately flowered plant that I bought, it’s an Australian plant and I need to look up the name .. tiniest little flowers so very pretty.July 20, 13And the great scape escape.  I had a feeling, while I was hanging bunches of garlic to dry beneath the sundeck, that I may have missed a scape or two.  Proof here that I did!!   I could plant the seeds and in a number of years of replanting, I might receive a regular garlic.  Might just do that for the fun of it … but will need to clearly label the container!!July 20, 11

I now know that Clematis vines are not delicate little things.  Discovered this last year when I had to cut back this very vine, as it was getting mildew.  After a hard cutting, it flourished and quickly grew back, the daily growth progress was amazing.  Here the flowers are opening up and tumbling to the ground.  Nature’s beauty is the best.I July 20, 12

I normally do not spend a lot of money on shoes or clothing, preferring to buy plants and gardening things.  However, a few days ago, while out shopping, I stopped in to visit SoftMoc at the Hillside shopping centre.  The staff there are always so positive and friendly and I soon found myself trying on some Converse shoes.  And I fell in love with them.  The lovely clerk who was helping me out was wearing a lovely pair of naturally weathered black Converse shoes and I immediately loved the faded look.  They seemed to be shoes that were well made and worn with love.  I look forward to my shoes becoming weathered little walking shoes.   Anyway, after enquiring if anyone had ever worn two different coloured shoes and no, that hadn’t been done, I decided (with the encouragement of the clerks and a few customers) to wear a green and a lavender.   Confidentally I walked out of the store and everytime I looked at my feet, I felt energized, daring and creative.  This is what it is like to be different and I like that feeling!  I sent a photo to the Canadian arm of the company and I wonder how long it will take for others to wear odd coloured shoes (of the same type, mind you!) together?

July 20, 10

Well, I just did a bit of research, and as creative as this is, it isn’t new!  However, I am over the moon to know that I am not alone in this!!!      two different coloured shoes

ha ha .. .well … on with this day .. things to do and places to go .. at the end of my running around, I plan to play in the garden!  And tomorrow .. I will spend the whole complete day in the garden and not go anywhere else.  Sheer Bliss!!

And lots of Yorkshire Tea!!

🙂


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

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

april 18, 12

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

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

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

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

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

april 18, 07

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

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

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

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

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

april 18, 03

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

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

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

april 18, 10

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

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

🙂


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Watching a Hawk, going for a walk and making bead chain link necklaces!

I hadn’t been to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary for a very long time, so yesterday I decided it was time to do that.  It was mid-afternoon, the shade was kicking in and there were still patches of slippery ice.  As I entered one of the many paths that enter the Sanctuary, the cheerful colour of some rose-hips caught my eye .. so of course, I just had to take a picture!

01

Along the way, I met up with a lovely young man who, like me, had decided to take some time and explore this most beautiful area.  We had an easy conversation, talking about how his newly retired dad was investing mega dollars into camera lenses (to take magnificent photos of birds and flowers).  He was currently not working and was seeking employment.  We had a relaxing conversation about many things, life, birds, nature and that sort of thing.   I rarely meet up with people in this manner so it was a special treat on a sunny day.

We parted ways and I continued on my path homewards.

Love the contrast of light and shadow and this tree was a good example of that.  Now .. if I were to try and draw this tree, where would I start?  Hmmm .. time to get out my drawing materials and try that.  There were many other such examples of contrast, showing bumpy bark, interesting branches, rocks and things but I’ll leave that for another day for my photo session.

02

This section of the Galloping Goose was once a railway corridor and I am so happy that this asphalt bike/walk roadway exists!   I’m sure that there are books about this subject as there are quite a number of people who love researching and sharing this information, lucky for us!  Here is a link to such information:  Galloping Goose

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And this is a majestic entry .. it’s fun to whistle or sing (not me, but others do!) while passing under this massive tunnel.  Lots of traffic on Blanshard above, drivers oblivious to the world below.

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Another section of highway above, hundreds of vehicles overhead and below all is tranquil.

03

Up above now, walking the sidewalk towards home, I noticed some seagulls soaring overhead and one bird … seemed to be a little different!  It was a hawk!  Hawks of Swan Lake area

So I just stayed there, quiet on the sidewalk as traffic swirled up and down the very busy Carey Road.  Just happy to have the opportunity to be there as the hawk was soaring overhead, looking for supper.   His wings would gently ripple as he (she?) maintained that particular air space.  I could have taken some photos, the hawk was so close, but I chose to just enjoy the sight.  By the time I did remove my camera from the case, it had moved on and soon disappeared from sight and I was left with blue sky.  Sigh.

06

I’ve been a busy little bee lately.   Filling my time with the challenge of my fiddle, the tranquility of my Sonic Drum and also playing around with making chain loops.  Here is my first effort:

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My second necklace:  (so my lighting isn’t so balanced here, hope these photos are clear!)

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Another effort:

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And here is my latest (and then I’ve started on another one!)

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It’s challenging to make the tiny loops, using 26 g wire and my needle nose, flat nose pliers and magnifier.  Practice makes perfect and I’ve now found my ideal “take along” hobby.   To play with in a calm area, not while driving or flying, 🙂

Now .. I wonder what fun things I’ll be doing today?

Time to make another mug of Yorkshire Tea and discover what this lovely day brings.

🙂


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It snowed last night! And the angst of memorizing music!!!

Happy New Year 2017!   Looked out the window today .. it snowed last night!!  Brrrr …

Then I look out at the back yard and see some birds are pecking away at the thistle seed and the bits of suet remaining in their containers.

The darned squirrel(s) have been feasting on the sunflower seeds that I place in the new wooden open feeder .. I plan to purchase a squirrel baffle this week to stop that practice!

Speaking of practice .. I’ve pondered which spelling to use, just searched and found this explanation:  “practice is the noun, and practise is the verb” .. ok, that makes sense.

I’ve been practising my fiddle music and have been hitting a few hurdles.   Searching online I find many theories as to why this happens.  And in my lesson yesterday, I played the beginning section of a song quite well (according to my teacher) and then I floundered for the second half.

The reason?  Well, he was right when he noticed that my 2nd and 3rd fingers were over the A, and my inner critic was saying .. 3rd, no, 2nd, no, 3rd and it all went downhill from there.

Frustation, yes.  Overcome this?  Yes.   And the satisfaction that I will feel when this happens?  Great joy and incentive to learn more.

So now is the time to practice, practice and practice some more .. and this I will do.  The more I practice, the more enjoyable the music is to me.  The songs begin to seem like friends to me, the kind I’d like to know better.

Here .. I’ll share a photo from many years ago .. my pen pal in France sent this to me yesterday.   What a gift.  I used to take my Muscovy Drake, Huggers, my dogs and cat .. to the SPCA Santa photos.  I was thinking about one of these photos and wasn’t sure where to start looking and decided to put this off for one of those thousands of “to do” things in the New Year.

Well .. the photo that he sent gave me such joy .. I’d forgotten how sweet my pets were.  JaneE Kat is still with us, although my Huggers and Muffy had since made their way to the Rainbow Bridge where they frolic with Sam, Sadie and Little Guy.

I loved dressing Huggers up with my red and silver Egyptian scarf, edged with silver bugle beads … he looked quite handsome.  Plus the generous bows that I made for Muffy and JaneE .. very festive.

hugs-muffyjanee-my-violin-and-me-with-santa

How many years ago?  Does it matter?  I was younger and thinner (weren’t we all) and I used to be a bit more stylish in my dress.  There is that inner critic!  Begone you!   Happy memories and I am grateful for these.   And my little violin is there .. happy now that I am really learning how to play it finally!!

If you are reading this, Thierry, thank you .. so much!

Anyway, yesterday at my lesson, I was learning the finer points of bow placement, music timing and feel that I’m making hard won progress, yea!

So we are just getting over really bad winter colds so we are into day 2 of Pyjama Day and binge watching Funny TV shows .. right now it is Fawlty Towers.  It is good to laugh.

Anyway, I must put on my winter outerclothes and go outside to fill up the birdfeeders and put fresh water into the bird baths.

Then .. I plan to brew another mug of Yorkshire Tea and practice for a bit .. the first in the New Year.

🙂


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My garden is so good to me and I love a cup of Yorkshire Tea!!

Thanks to the recent mild weather, raspberries are still growing in the garden.  The first frost date is due the beginning of November and so I’m enjoying this beauty.

sat-01

Sweet little JaneE Kat is nibbling on some grass .. in the sunshine of the afternoon.

sat-10-2

Sweet Robin atop the wild and crazy tree .. which has let go of the leaves and they now scatter the ground below .. I’ll sweep them up with my homemade bamboo broom which works so very well.

sat-16

On Friday I gathered some more beans and little tomatoes (which I will dehydrate and powder .. ready to flavour winter soups and things) .. Some Kentucky Wonder and Spanish Musica beans also, for drying.  There are still quite a few pods on the vines which I will pick later.   For sharing and for the next garden.sat-07

Tiny little squash growing away ..there are a few scattered throughout the yard and I’ll harvest them soon.  Started late and really I’m surprised that these even grew!

sat-12

Loving this real garden art by Mother Nature!sat-08

And yesterday, I was so sure that there weren’t any more beans left .. but .. look at this!   My garden is so generous.  Plus a few kale leaves and another little tomato!!   I’m almost afraid to look again as I have a feeling there are yet more beans hiding away in the bean forest!sat-15

Friday skies .. fluffy cumulus clouds sedately dancing away .. how I look forward to being up there again …sat-11

Sometimes .. you just don’t need words …sat-10

You are so beautiful …. to me …sat-09

This will provide a lovely addition to a meal!  I’ll save some of the seeds for next year, if they are mature enough.sat-03

Sweet woodruff .. this lovely ground-cover spreads so easily.  I used to use them in one of my potpourri mixes.   Lovely vanilla scent when the leaves are dried.sat-02

Time for more treats!  She literally runs across the grass and settles on this little wooden bench when she sees me nearby … what a darling little girl is my garden kat!sat-17

I happened to look up at this part of the garden and realized that, perhaps I do have an eye for balance in the garden.  I had not intentionally placed the watering containers and bird baths in any particular order at all and so was pleasantly surprised by this symmetry. To the right is the wild and crazy tree.  The pear tree graft had long ago died and I had chosen one of the resulting branches of the root stock to grow and this is the result.  It is tall and helps to add privacy and a place for all the birds to perch in.  And all those leaves will be swept up today, to be used as mulch for the perennials.  At one time, the leaves bore the dreaded pear tree trellis rust, but good nutrition got rid of this.  (seaweed, EM, llama manure).sat-13

This is my lovely tea caddy, a gift from a good friend who went back to Jolly Old and brought me this tin!    I’ve seen on fb that this is no longer available and YT isn’t sure when more will be made so it is even more special (if that is at all possible).   I love this tea and here is the website for Yorkshire Tea  – it is beautiful, witty and you must visit it and have a good laugh at the videos!!

sat-14

I have to accept that summer is truly over and the frost is coming.  So today I will spend outside, dismantling what temporary structures I have made in the garden.

And today I will plant my garlic so it will have a chance to start roots in advance of the winter time.  This year I will plant them all in containers .. ready to move when the time comes.  Another garden to be created in another location.

Today is a beautiful and sunny day – a perfect day to spend outdoors with a few mugs of strong Yorkshire tea!

🙂


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Cup of Tea, Anyone?

I used to drink tons and tons of coffee … and my life used to just buzzzzzz … gradually I turned to tea.

And I went through many brands.   Red Rose.  Salada.  Twinings.  Bigelow.  All types of herbal teas.  I was just a tea nut, trying out many different brands over the years.

Then I discovered this lovely tea, at London Drugs.   It was the packaging that caught my eye, but it was the taste that drew me in.  Besides all the wonderful ethics of the company .. they are also very witty.  They are British you know.  I love buying the large boxes of this tea and have um, about 6 in the pantry right now.tues-02

Here is the   Yorkshire Tea   web site .. and be sure to click on the videos, they are amazing!!

Then someone treated me to some Irish Breakfast tea.  I hadn’t heard of it before so I just had to buy some at Thrifty Foods.  Regular and Decaf!   Good tea.

tues-03

So, in the Quality Foods Flyer a few weeks ago, I notice that there is a Scottish Tea.  Good heavens, is there no end to these UK teas??  Last Saturday I went to the store and couldn’t find this in the Tea section, a young clerk (from Scotland!) helped me find this box.  And neither he nor I could figure out what “Specially Blended for Scottish Water” means.  I even asked someone in Scotland and was told the water there is the same as the water here.  So this must be a marketing ploy.    🙂  The teabags are built like a pyramid, with their tri-corners.tues-01

It almost seemed like a tempest in a teapot.  That makes no sense, but the thought popped up so I just typed it!

A group of Girl Guides were selling the cookies at the mall, so after I bought the tea, I paid for a box of cookies.  Tea and cookies!  Delicious on a Saturday afternoon and the cookies did not last long, they were so good.   I was very mature and only bought one box!tues-04

We were stopped at a traffic light and I wasn’t driving, so I swiftly took my camera out and snapped this happy photo.  Well done, hay?   Very cheerful and people were out in the fields, choosing their special pumpkin for Halloween.tues-06

And back at home, I was able to gather some gifts from the garden!!

tues-05

So, fall is officially here.  The beans are still growing .. I am able to pick many of them every day and more are growing on the vines!

And such a busy time, preparing the beans for the dehydrator.   And drying the corn, fruit leather and then the green tomatoes for veggie powder mix.

Getting ready for the wintertime, for the lovely hearty soups and stews that will be so comforting on cold and rainy days.

I feel like a busy little ant!

🙂