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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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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!!

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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.

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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!!

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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!

🙂


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Music in the garden, rain on my plants …

Yesterday (Sunday) the weather was overcast and I was so sure the sun would come out as it usually does when I want a cloudy day.   So it didn’t and the rains came down instead.  I needed to go outside to pick some more beans and at the same time I wanted to listen, yet again, to the most beautiful music in the world – Adam Sutherland’s Squall!  Here is how I did that!   The sound was a teensy bit muffled but my ipod and speaker stayed nice and dry & I could hear the music so that was fine!   Plus, a lid to keep my mug of Yorkshire tea  from being diluted by the rain worked well.  And .. lately .. I’ve been finding things lost and thought I’d never see again.  The most recent is the packet of Irish Shamrock seeds.  I’d located the packet of  Irish soil a few days ago and sort of lamented that I’d misplaced the seeds .. et voila!
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Speaking of finding lost things .. lately I’ve been either finding things or else the things that I want to have are right there for me.   Having written that, I might better explain this by giving some examples.  When I was working on tidying up the stony area beside the house a few days ago, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I had some more landscape fabric.  I went beneath the sundeck and there is a folded section of the same that I’d bought last year and hadn’t used!   Right there, waiting for me!  I didn’t have to go searching, it was just there.  Other similarities, wanting string ..oh, there it is.  Looking for a certain container .. oh, there it is. On and on .. other examples don’t spring to mind, but it has been happening quite a bit – enough for me to notice.

Now, what is happening?  Are all these things that I “need” noticed by my unconscious and when my conscious mind thinks ” oh .. I must have this .. or that .. and where is it …?” then my unconscious kicks in and I am able to locate them?  Whatever is happening, I’m quite happy that the end result is that I am able to find what I need.

Out in the rain with little JaneE Kat .. she is having her outdoor shower via the skies above.

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The rain was soft at first and then changed into a steady pour ..

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Loving how the raindrops bejewel the petals of the sunflower ..023

I’m rooting for this squash to grow so I can see what type it is.  It is nearing the end of August and there should be a month plus of growing weather.  I didn’t plant the seeds till July and am not sure if that was late or not.  One more thing to check next year – the fun of gardening.   030

The graceful tendrils of the squash tumble down, lending an aura of decadent beauty.  Utterly beautiful, by Mother Nature!

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Rain droplets on a blueberry plant .. a diverse array of shapes and designs ..

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Cherokee Trail of Tears … the beans turn green when cooked .. they are delicious and crunchy when eaten fresh off the vine.  Yum.

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Beneath the protection of my umbrella, I checked the vines of some Scarlet Red Runner beans.   Yesterday I’d noticed that they had grown back on themselves, seeking a structure to cling to and they were so intertwined that I knew the vines would break if I tried to untangle them.   They were also in the way as they hung down about  5 feet from the ground – I had to move them aside to get anywhere.   I fetched my ladder and simply tied them to a branch of the apple tree and they seem to be settling in quite well.

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Never cease to be amazed by the vigour of this old rose plant .. it just keeps on flowering and reaching up to the sun.  Now, should I use the descriptive “old” or just “mature”?? Either way this plant has grown for many years (I’m guessing 30 when I planted it).  I was younger and so was the plant.  Now .. I’m still “young”in my heart and will stay so.  Maybe we are both “older and wiser” .. tough and durable and still pretty !!

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Red lupins .. love how the rain paints a dainty trim of watery lace around each leaf and then gently drifts down to the centre, creating a silvery pool of water .. very ethereal.

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Spanish Musica, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Blue Bush beans.  I vowed I wouldn’t freeze beans this year, but with such a bounty, have changed my mind.   Found an easy way to treat them .. rinse, dry, chop, freeze.  No water bath.  That’s my kind of winter prep.  Although now that I’ve learned the proper way to prepare beans (big pot of slightly salted water, add beans, cook for 3 minutes) I think all the beans will be happily eaten before winter!  My lovely plants are so generous.

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A few years ago I began my little garden note book and in it I wrote what I planted and when.  This serves as a good reference for me.  However, this year I couldn’t find that little book until I’d planted everything and of course this year I didn’t write down when I planted what.  And later on I found that little book!! I know that I planted the beans in July, and the squash seeds after that.   There is always next year to keep notes so I’ll just relax this year and enjoy the generous bounty of my lovely garden.  We were lucky to have hot sunny summer weather which enabled all the plants (properly watered!) to grow well.

Sunny day today .. time to get on with my daily life …

🙂

 


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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, September 14, 2013

Today is starting off in a fog.  Not for me, mind you, I’m as sharp as I can be on a Saturday morning.  Sipping away at my second mug of Yorkshire Tea.  Kitties (they are all grown up, but, to me they will always remain kitties) are fed, treats given … their day is well started.

The world outside my windows is in a foggy state.  Two days in a row now.  Soon the sun will shine through and I will be outside playing in the yard.

Rains are destined to start tomorrow.   Guess that means summer is over?  However, I seem to recall from previous years that there will still be days of sun .. and for that I am thankful, or rather, my tomatoes, squash etc. will be grateful.  Oh, and the beans, mustn’t forget about them.

My marvellous crop of Kentucky Wonder Beans are doing so well this year.  Last year, I’d left the package outside and it rained .. and they sprouted .. and then I planted them in the shade.  So much to learn about veggie gardening.  I’m making progress.  Decided to grow the easy veggies:  squash, lettuce, beans, peas, tomatoes (well, still learning about them).  And my absolute favourites – garlic and shallots.   And although my experiment with growing potatoes in bags didn’t work out for me this year ..I will try again next year with another system.   Despite a very late start to the growing season … I’m happy with what my garden has given me.

Anyway, my KWB’s grow like crazy … spiraling ever higher!  I had grown some in pots and trained them up trellis up high onto my sundeck.  And learned yet another lesson.  How easy is it to gather the beans from this high?   First of all, I need a ladder set securely on the ground to reach halfway.  Then when I go up to the decking, I am only able to reach down and gather a few.   So think next year I might just grow decorative vines in this area and will leave the beans to flourish on a much better type of structure.

Speaking of garden structure!   I wasn’t really prepared for the extravagant growth of my beans so have been making makeshift forms for them to grow on, adding bamboo stakes, garden trellis, a real mish mash.  I’ve taken photos, just for me to chuckle over during the winter months.

So, one day in August I went for a walk … lovely skies …

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And I met this most lovely dog.  Isn’t he handsome?  I also had a nice chat with his doggy-mom about making blackberry jelly, using apples for the pectin source.  You see, I was picking blackberries on that morning.  And my first reward was meeting this great dog!

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Another reward for my walk was seeing random wild flowers, growing and blooming, despite the dry weather conditions.  The bees love them.

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And these cornflowers brighten up the area also …. random beauty, free growing plants, uncontrolled by any gardener, except for good ole Mother Nature!

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Here are some jars of blackberry juice from my first blackberry pickings.    Now in the freezer.  Yum.

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Blue beans from Renee’s GMO free, organic seeds.  🙂

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As always, loving the diversity of sunflower shapes in my back yard.   Always spreading cheer and beauty.  Thank you .. my lovelies.

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Enjoying this day and ready to change into my gardening outfit … lovely worn Carhartt bibs and long-sleeved tee-shirt, gumboots, gloves (which I rarely wear) and sun cap.   OH .. wait .. I need to brew more tea so I can start my gardening day with a walkabout and admiration of all that is growing in our little paradise.

More on that later.  Time to watch the birdies also.  The lovely Chestnut-backed Chickadees, the Red-chested Nuthatches, the Anna’s, the Fox Sparrows, some house sparrows.  Wrens also.   The Robins seem to have disappeared right now … wonder where they have gone?  Bet I’ll find them when I start moving the compost around, though!  They love those big earthworms.

🙂


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Sharing the beauty of flowers, ocean waves .. and little Duncan communicates with JaneE

Sunday, October 7, 2012

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  So I haven’t been blogging for a little while.  It does take a little bit of discipline.  And it is eerily like exercising.  As I was doing last year … for months…. then skipped a week.  And well, um, time does go by quickly.  Tomorrow is always the better day.

So I just want to share some lovely pictures from my garden.  I now have 5 roses in my yard … including one tea-rose.  It is so beautiful and is aptly named “Perfume”.  The other roses are so pretty to look at, but lacking in scent.

We are still enjoying lovely sunny weather but the grounds do need rain.  As do the salmon up-island.  There is quite serious concerns about the Chinook, waiting to spawn and for now are filling an estuary … instant meals for the seals.

Lucky me .. ordered and received 6 yards of that lovely miracle mulch.  Finely ground leaves, twigs (no bark!) and have been busy loading up containers and placing a thick layer on all of the perennials that edge our property.   Great way to burn calories, I say.

I was going to write about gratefulness today .. this being Thanksgiving weekend and all.  And I’ve been thinking about all many, many things in my life that I am truly thankful for.  Too many to list, but I will mention a few.

  • Today is quiet .. bliss.  Normally there is heavy construction taking place in the neighbourhood .. thus taking away the joy of being outside in my garden.
  • Today is sunny . .and I will go outside soon .. time to plant my garlic. And this year I will clearly label what is planted where!
  • Thankful that I have my good health and can bend and stretch and shovel .. all the attributes needed by a gardener.
  • Grateful that our two cats, Duncan (brother of our little Youbou, who we lost a few weeks ago) and JaneE (our little girl cat) have started communicating to  each other.
  • Thankful for good friends .. wonderful to discuss the world with and learn more about gardening and how to grow various plants.
  • My lovely DH ..
  • Happy to see the lovely birds flitting about the yard .. chirping, drinking at the little water containers in the yard.
  • Ecstatic to watch eagles, hawks, seagulls and, yes, even crows …. soaring overhead.  A reminder to look up at the skies from time to time.
  • Lucky to be surrounded by so very many beautiful places to wander, here on the island.  Wild ocean beaches.  Cool woods.  Sandy paths.  Nature Sanctuaries.  So many places to visit and enjoy the natural beauty that is here.

Yesterday I was outside in the sun, enjoying a cup of Yorkshire Tea .. when I noticed JaneE wandering in front of a mirrored window that I had just left leaning against a container.   At first she was very cool and ignored her reflection.  But, curiosity got the better of her and finally she stopped, and just stared at this “other” cat!

She sniffed all around, couldn’t find out where this other cat was, so she walked around to the back to see if the cat was there.

Then Duncan noticed that JaneE was outside.  He seemed quite agitated and ran over to where she was sitting and stopped.  She just stared back at him.  He began a conversation, composed of short and long meow-chatter.  Ending with a mournful howling sound that brought tears to my eyes.

I know that he was communicating with JaneE, wondering where his little brother was.  He still misses him.  We hope that eventually, they will communicate more and perhaps, some day, they will cuddle up to each other.  Companionship.

So many more things to be grateful for.  But time is marching on and the sun beckons me outside.  That garlic won’t plant themselves.


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Watching Turkey Vultures soaring high above ..

Friday, September 28, 2012

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Another beautiful sunny day .. and a busy one!

First thing, I loaded up quite a few, maybe 7 …paper yard bags, full to the brim with branch cuttings and weeds gathered from the past few weeks.  Even had one in the passenger seat .. didn’t want to leave any at home!   And soon I’d arrived at the local municipal yard and emptied their contents into one of the large bins there.   Next step, they will all be shredded and composted.

Back home, felt great that I’d actually accomplished something, early in the morning!  Soon, outside and digging away.  Happy with the way the re-shaping of the back yard is going .. in particular, the veggie garden.

I’ve been digging up a small mountain of mulched material from last fall .. a mix of alpaca manure, spent hops, spoiled hay and oak leaves.   Nearly a year later and this mixture has resulted in the most loveliest of soil!  So I’ve been placing this around the newly created “berry forest”!

I had a good growth of perennials against the back fence and had a wood chip path extending in front of that.   Decided to ditch the path and just add more soil and then create a little jungle .. composed of an intermixing of blueberries, raspberries, some thornless blackberries, some bamboo and a few other plants.

And I just love this.  No point posting pictures yet .. not much to see .. but I can feel the difference and will post pics next summer.

These changes are giving a different feel to this area of the yard.   A richness of plantings.   Really amazing how many plants I’ve dug up and moved around.

And surprised at how the Chickadees have taken notice of the changes.  I’ve seen them flitting about, sitting on the branches of the plants as they are now in their new locations.   Quite nice to see!

After this little jungle .. then .. I am placing the garlic beds!  They will sit in full sun and a perfect place for them.

Looked at my zucchini, squash and tomato plants .. these are still growing in what will soon be  .. the garlic bed!  Almost dug them up tonight, but decided to give them another week and then .. kerpow!

Spent a fair chunk of time looking up at the sky today .. as I happened to notice the Turkey Vultures soaring overhead.   They soared yesterday .. and I know they are getting ready to migrate south.  It’s just a matter of days.  In the meantime, though, I cannot tear myself away from the grandeur that is high above me.  Their majestic soaring compels me to watch.  I was able to take some photos .. they might just look like dots in the sky, but they represent  the power and majesty of nature, which far surpasses what happens down below, on terra firma.

How lucky I am to spend as much time as I like, just gazing upwards, looking through the binoculars at these huge birds.  And then taking the time to create new areas in the garden.

Very lucky, indeed.

🙂