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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A memory of frost, a walk along the beach and a most delightful dog that I met along the way …

Frost is lovely to look at and I happened to have my camera with me one morning while outside .. replenishing the bird feeders.  These marbles looked so pretty with their light covering of frost.  In the summer I had added water to this dish, hoping to attract some butterflies to rest and have a sip of water …the cold has caused the dish to fracture so guess I’ll have to find another container for the summer.

01And each day, I trundled out to the yard to knock out the frozen ice in the bird baths and added some clear water for the birdies.   The ground is frozen hard and all the life therein is resting, waiting for the spring to arrive.

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Yesterday I had some extra time in between appointments so I took advantage of this and visited Willows Beach .. a lovely place especially for dogs and their families to run and play.  Overhead, there were lovely blue skies and fluffy clouds.

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And some interesting skies over the water .. a bit darker …but not much, really.

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Lots of parking for vehicles at the side and it was mid afternoon so not very busy either.

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Refreshing sounds of gentle waves … such a pretty sight to see.

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Of all the dogs that were playing and running .. this darling little Olive caught my attention.  She was 100% positive energy, excitedly running for the ball that her doggy mommy would throw for her.  She is a prime example of how to enjoy life!  She ran with such joy and speed!   I visited for a few minutes then continued my walk, so incredibly happy to have met this darling little girl so full of life.

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The ocean shares what is hidden to our eyes … a visual treat.

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Grass will grow where it wants, don’t you think?  I liked the mini garden that grew in this log, a lovely contrast of weathered wood and the tenacity of the grass.  With the velvet addition of the moss to pretty it up and provide a place for insects to hide.

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There were a couple of people enjoying their kayaks and they looked quite colourful on the water .. here is one of them ..11

Such strength and beauty in this weathered chunk of wood .. in so many ways ..

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I sat on a comfy log and just relaxed, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere, the silvery grayness of the water and then began noticing the flow of the water on an apparently flat section of the beach.  Watched as the water followed a design of its own, meandering in style to the ocean where it joined that body of water.   And thought of how life is like that, if we just allow ourselves to be, to follow the flow that is meant for us and not worry or be sad, just be. All will be fine and that was comforting.    I guess that is where the “go with the flow” phrase comes from!

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I scrambled over some rocks, carefully, as some of the rocks were a bit slippery and I didn’t want to take a tumble, by myself, how awkward would that be, 🙂  Sometimes life seems like that pile of logs, all topsy-turvy .. yet wild and free!  My life feels like that and I’m happy, it suits me.

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So .. normally I do not spend money on myself.  My $$ seems to go on trips to visit family,  I would rather go to France, Ireland, Germany, but duty prevails. And on groceries and of course, on plants!    However, yesterday, I succumbed to the lure of this lovely Sonic Drum and decided that I deserve some joy so now this lovely drum is mine.

I love the silvery magic sounds of the Hang Drum and dreamt that someday I would have one.  However, the $$$ of that drum, plus the large size (awkward to carry around) helped me decide to get this drum.  It is hand-made in Indonesia, tuned to A Major.  I love the sounds and am having so much fun playing around with the sounds, the middle section can be treated as a drum and I gently tap the smaller cuttings and then play some drums and the result is so lovely.  I’ll be playing this quite a lot, I’m thinking.  Plus .. it is yellow …. my favourite sunshine colour!

Here is a site with a similar type of drum, so you can hear some of the magic:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGk4y1Y3MS4  and there are many others, here is one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HHLmwORr3Y

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There are quite a variety of steel drums out in the world, ornate and simple, tuned to various keys.  I’m happy with mine.  Some use little batons, but mostly one just lightly taps, with an upward motion for the sounds.

And the types of instruments that can be played along with this drum seem to be endless.  Here is a video of a Hang Drum with trumpet (starts at about 1:57) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZdGUrqTbjA

Sigh.  A busy week this has been .. a mixed bag with some happiness thrown in for good measure.

On with this day.

 


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Sometimes it seems that the most interesting things happen in the garden when I don’t have my camera with me!!

Like so many other people this year – I have had a few bouts of the flu – which left  me uncharacteristically devoid of energy for quite a long period of time.  So I lived in my pyjamas … of which I have a few sets, which include a lime green  Sponge Bob Squarepants (I think these are my  favourites!!).

While the frigid winds took over the city, the snow made  a few visits and the rains poured down, there I was, all cuddled up in my favourite faux-quilts, alternating between bouts of coughing, sleeping, drinking more water than I have ever drank  in my life and wondering when I would be back to my normal over-active life!

Dreaming away of how I would change things in the garden .. move this, dig that etc.

Well, it finally happened …the flu worked through its course and I am once again feeling some of my normal energy … enjoying walks and watching the birds of all types.

Spent some time outside – just being still and watching a Bewick Wren .. 2 different days .. wonder if this is the baby from last year?  I don’t know enough about their habits so must look up that information.

One day the Wren appeared quite suddenly, a few feet away from where I was standing in the front yard.  He hopped around one our lilac bushes, just a few feet away from me .. flitting from branch to branch, pulling away mossy bits .. perhaps digging out some insects.  Then he went to the ground and pecked away .. back to the branch, a little stroll on the fence and then away to another yard.

The second time I was in the back yard, replenishing some bird suet when I saw him again!!  He (she??) seemed to accept my presence and so I just stayed and watched him for a precious few minutes.

Both times I didn’t have my camera and then I wondered .. is it a coincidence that I don’t see these shy little birds when I have my camera with me?  Of course, I don’t need to take photos of all the birds in my yard but I do like the happy memories when I’m looking through my camera at the end of the day.  So much happens in the yard and I don’t keep track of everything nor would I ever want to.

So I’m back to being my active self.  Exercising.  Clogging, working on my German language skills and practicing my fiddle.  Binge watching Acorn & Netflix (when I find interesting series) and playing away with my beads.

Currently I’m having lots of creative fun making chained beaded links – a very absorbing art form and I love playing around with the many ideas that keep popping up.

Loving life .. ever thankful and appreciating the happiness and joy that comes from pursuing interests that I love.

Just a few words to keep up my positive thoughts on my most interesting and magical garden world.

So maybe tomorrow I’ll bring that camera outside with me when I wander the yard, replenishing the bird feeders.  Who knows . . perhaps that little Bewick will come by to visit where I am .. that would be lovely.

🙂


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Wispy skies, Eagle in a tree, garlic is growing and happy is me!

Is there anything as wonderful as having a good friend to talk things over with?   Someone you’ve known for yonks and have shared information with and trust with your life?

Count yourself fortunate, lucky, wealthy beyond measure if you have a friend like this who will listen and not judge but just .. listen.

I was out walking with my long time pal a few weeks ago and enroute, we were totally discussing some very important life details when a lady  passing by us stopped us to point out the eagle in a tree beside the water.

Normally my eyes gravitate to these birds of prey but our conversation had taken precedence … so my friend and I stopped and looked out at the eagle.  I think this is the female and we saw her partner soaring the skies beyond.

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It was a wonderful day, an amazing walk and a very therapeutic talk and we then parted our ways … happy that we had solved any worries or concerns that each of us had.  Ready to start the day.  Me .. home to my garden to see what is happening and time to feed the little birdies.

Here is a photo of one of my (20?!!) containers of garlic.  A thick layer of oak leaves nestled around the green shoots.   Dreaming of the next batch of garlic scapes.  I’m a bit nervous as this is the first year that I’ve planted my garlic only in containers, not in the ground.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that there will be lots of garlic to share and to enjoy.

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Oh, little Squirrley!  I get so upset with you when you invade the new wooden bird feeder.   Then I scatter peanuts in the shell around the yard for you to discover.  All creatures have to eat especially in this cold weather.   And you do look cute, nestled in the wild and crazy tree!

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Yesterday I stood outside  in the cold, looking up at the blue skies … saw a few seagulls soaring a little thermal that wafted upwards.  Dreaming that soon I’d be up there too … flying amongst them.  With DH at the controls of the PWU-6 and me settled in all cosy in the back!

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With the New Year of 2017, I realized that I hadn’t made any “Resolutions” .. and then I remembered that I’d stopped all that years ago!   The pressure was off.  I long ago decided to just live my life as best as I can and then seize the opportunities when they arose.

Of course, we have control of our lives and make our own opportunities as best we can.  I promise to try to go through each day as effortlessly as these delicate wisps of clouds appear to be.   To enjoy every day and to fill each day with things that bring me joy!

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I have many interests so that is not a problem!!!

Seedy Saturday is fast approaching, just 6 more weeks!!!!!

My fiddle music is improving as I practise every day.  Feeling the enthusiasm and joy of capturing a tiny touch of the flow of the rhythm.    Happy that I am honouring my younger self by continuing to work hard and to enjoy this music.

Working on my study of the German language!  Until my lessons start, I am working with Duolingo which is an amazing way to study any language, I can guarantee you!

Playing around with my beads and creating bracelets, garden bling.

All sorts of creative endeavours in my lovely craft room.

Life is good.

I look up at the skies before returning to the warmth of the kitchen and see the faint outline of the moon up above …how ethereal and dreamy it looks …

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And as I am posting these pictures, I come across this photo I’d taken of some cider .. it was flavoured with honey – I loved the story behind the company  Ernest and it was appropriate to sip this in a glass decorated with bees.

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On with this day .. time to feed my little winged friends and that squirrel too!

🙂


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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.

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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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A glimpse into the world of Violins and music ..and I didn’t know that the Zaghareet is a sound of joy (must be why I love it!)

Music is everywhere around us and always has been.  When life is busy as it normally is, then it is challenging to take some decadent time to just stop and listen.  For forever I have loved instrumental music and for forever those magical sounds have transported me away to beautiful places of colour and sound that just didn’t exist in my real surroundings.

I’m trying to remember when I first heard music and how it affected me .. maybe it was just always.  Growing up “way back then” music wasn’t around us as it is nowadays and so I am grateful to be living in these times when it is everywhere.

Mystical Persian type music with the sparkling and tapestry bejewelled notes seems to be the type of music that seemed full of promise and magic.  At least that is how I now remember it.

During the age of the Beatles, we were introduced to the seductive sitar- what a treat! Thanks to George Harrison, who was my most favourite Beatle.  What an age that was.  And Ravi Shankar!!!!!!!!  Just checking my IPod and I have 3 of his cd’s in my library.  I plan to treat myself to a few more in the New Year ..

I’ve been having fiddle lessons now for nearly 5 months, off and on and sometimes I have a little chuckle, checking my notes from the beginning.   Seriously writing where to place my left hand on the strings, how to hold the violin, hours spent trying to bow properly.  I’ve gone through the aches and pains and now, am still learning, but my focus has  moved on and some of those beginning efforts are now ingrained and I don’t even think about them.  That is just progress.  Focus changes.

Anyway, I was trying to tune my fiddle a few nights ago and broke my first string.   It was my D string.   Something I’ve dreaded and did my best to avoid. My heart broke when I looked at my fiddle, only 3 operative strings.  The store was closed so I couldn’t just hop in my car and drive there to buy one.  And .. I was having a great old time practicing, over and over, the tunes that I am learning.  So, picture me sad. 😦

The next day, I’m at Larsen’s Music on Cook Street, buying a new set of strings, having the most wonderful and interesting chat with the young lady, M.   The conversation started with my comments on the beautiful fiddles that were displayed in the glass case in front of me and also the fiddles on the walls.

Which reminds me of Itzak Perlmann’s comment on (I think, The Fiddlers House) that you could tell how many people lived in a house by the number of fiddles on the walls.  I couldn’t fathom at the time how wonderful this would be.   Hmm .. I think that I will treat myself to some more of his cd’s, plus Yo You Mah!!

http://www.itzhakperlman.com/   Such joyous music.

Anyway, I learned that there are Makers/Luthiers who actually make violins locally.  This information is something that I am sure all musicians were fully aware of and so it is nothing new.  But to me, a novice, I found it extremely interesting as I learned of some of these wonderful people.  Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to spend a few hours talking to them!

The violin on the left was made by Laura Wallace (who used to work at Larsen’s)  Laura Wallace

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This violin, below, on the right, was created by Galen Hartley, who used to work at Larsen’s and who now lives in France!!  Galen Hartley

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For the serious violinist:

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More lovingly crafted violins …dec2315

I also learned that there are locally handcrafted violins, bows and guitars by Robert Anderson, of Victoria:    Robert Anderson

Finally, there is a local artist who creates guitars and ukulele’s!!  Steve Doreen

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More interesting worlds to delve into!

Formerly, I just thought that these instruments were cellos.  Not so.  Cellos are smaller, the musician is seated .. these Base are much bigger .. the artist stands.  That is it (for the moment) for my knowledge on this subject.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_family – from this brief glimpse on wikipedia (there are many more sites on the subject) I’ve learned that “The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the 16th century.[1] At the time the name of this family of instruments was violas da braccio which was used to distinguish them from the viol family (violas da gamba).[2]The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass

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Sigh ..so much music … so beautiful.

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My fiddle is tuned up, I had another lesson yesterday, and am making progress.

A few days ago I was at a house party full of musicians .. it was an annual event and I was happy to go to my first ever Winter Solstice.  Thinking that there would be lights and bells involved, I brought along a few strings of tiny sparkling lights, intending to coil these around my head as I normally do (only at Christmas, mind!).  However, since there weren’t any people (besides the hosts) that I knew, finally decided to keep these in my purse .. it doesn’t do to make one’s personality shine to a house of strangers . .with friends, it’s ok .. but .. sometimes it’s better to just dial down a bit.

I did bring out my zills, though, and my jingly horse sleigh bells and couldn’t resist some zaghareets and folk dance yips.   That part of me was impossible to squelch.  So I was a little bit outragous among strangers, but I figure, they don’t know me and who cares.   My friends know and accept my natural idiosyncrasies .. however .. strangers would just, umm .. perhaps, not understand my silliness.  🙂

And something I just learned about zaghareet is that it is used to express joy and happiness.  I just find it energizing and full of positivity.   Here are some videos that I’ve just found that show a variety of Zaghareets .. I would easily fit in at these gettogethers and feel totally at home!!

 

Well, now I’ve shared a tiny bit of new information and the day is progressing .. perhaps I will go and practice my fiddle.

🙂

 


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Blue skies from a few days ago and .. Crows in Trees!!

It is a rainy overcast morning here in Victoria .. but I have reminders of lovely blue skies from a few days ago.    This is like the underside of my favourite umbrella .. sombre exterior but underneath cheery blue skies .. that is why I like using that umbrella for long rainy walks!   It reminds me that the skies are not always gray .. although I like those too.  For long dreamy walks throughout the city.

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Ahhhh .. here is another one ..yummy!  Looks a bit like a mackerel sky developing on the right side.

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A few days I went for another walk with my exercise pals .. this time at Gyro Park.  But, instead of starting along the shoreline, we veered off to the left, to begin up and down hills on cement pathways.  Here are some lovely little Mallards settling in for the morning.  I must start to bring flattened oats with me to scatter for these little guys!

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One of the moss covered rocky little outcroppings that we climbed up.  This section was a bit slippery and I did a lovely graceful slide, the most important thing on my mind was to “not drop my camera!”.  Successful!  Yea.  And I continued onwards.

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A little pathway took us through this little wooded section.  Lovely to know these areas exist in our city.   Habitat for all kinds of little animals and birds.

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A few days ago I was outside, getting ready to go somewhere and noticed the incoming murder of Crows.  There are some great tall trees down the street, a favourite perch for the local Eagles, Hawks, Ravens and a myriad of other birds.   These trees overlook the valley down below, wherein lies the highway and Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  A vast array of bird life that provides us with the most interesting insights into their lives.  We are lucky.

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Quite often I’ve noticed that the crows have surrounded a Hawk or Raven in the trees.   The clever “hunted” stay hidden for long periods of time and sometimes make a dash for freedom.  It is quite challenging to be a robust raptor, one against many lesser birds in the food chain.   I couldn’t see if there was such a raptor tucked away in the branches and the placement of the crows reminded me of a decorated Christmas tree.

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Speaking of birds, here is one of my recently purchased feeders .. I like the open nature of this feeder, it allows a number of birds to feed at once.    And they can swiftly fly away without encumbrances.

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Well .. I was going to talk about violins and what I have learned in the past few days .. but there is so much I want to write about and time is flying by this morning .. I’ve decided to share that till tomorrow.

I am happily learning so much of what is going on and just want to share that.

🙂

On with this lovely day.

 


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Walking along Dallas Road on a windy day.

Yesterday I joined some friends for a lively walk around the Ogden Point area – lovely to be outside now that the snow has completely disappeared!  It was a bit of a windy day and the ocean was just rolling in waves, tossing huge logs around with such ease – nice to watch safely from above! dec08Walking along one section of the gravelly beach areas, more logs have been tossed into a pile.  Magnificent to see the waves splashing up and over any barriers in their way.  Can’t stop the power of a wave.dec13There are a number of stairways leading to the beach areas.  The wooden steps were a tad slippery, so it was good to have sturdy rails to hang onto, to catch one’s step. dec02After a cloudy start to the morning, the skies soon cleared and there was beautiful sky art overhead to brighten up our little world.  Seagulls happily flying overhead.  Watching their side-slips and swift turns made me long for the summer and high flights in the glider.  Just a few more months and then that will  happen, oh great joy! dec06Yummy .. yummy … kelp!  Good for forming baskets (keep them out of the rain, haha) or chopping up for the garden.  My pal D and I will go seeking seaweed in the new year.  Lovely for the garden!!  Adding zillions of minerals to the soil. dec-03A couple of seagulls taking a bit of a rest between flights.   Checking out the weather conditions and where is Charlie anyway?  He promised to join us here!  Lots of logs making their way to the beach area.dec-05Another set of stairs, the wood looking lovely and weathered by the salty air.dec01

More people walking along Dallas Road, enjoying the beauty and power of the wind and waves.  Snow covered hills in the background and there, to the left, is the beautiful walkway with (thank heavens) wire railings on both sides.  A safety net for those (like me) who are appreciative of such guides in open spaces! dec07

A closer view and lovely paintings all along the sides to add beauty to the surface of the cement walls.dec09

There were a few Cormorants in the waters – such beautiful birds, I quickly snapped a photo before this one dove down into the cold waters.dec10

A closer view of the wire “walls” or “fencing” that gives us the feeling of safety against the open vista of water.  Now I don’t feel as if I’ll tumble over the sides.  In the past I have encountered people, nervous like myself, as we gingerly passed each other on the walkway.   I didn’t notice any nervous people .. .everyone walked along confidently, happy in their walks.  Smiling as we passed each other.  Felt good.dec12

As we neared the end of the walk, I noticed this gull.  Perhaps this was Charlie and he forgot the rendezvous location and was seeking his two pals?  I wonder. dec11

So, a lovely hour and a half in the fresh air .. what a lovely experience after having had a miserable cold/flu!

And the days are starting to be longer!   Soon I will be outside in my garden.  Tidying up .. as I never did finish doing that in the fall.

I even left all the bean poles up – more places for the birds to perch and hide when necessary.

My garlic has been growing greens (photos tomorrow) due to the warm fall weather.  Some of the greens look pale and weather-beaten I hope that this doesn’t affect the quality of the cloves.

Every year I think that I haven’t planted enough garlic.  You know, lots for home, lots for friends and the largest cloves for planting.  Oh how I long for more property so I can start planting much more garlic.  Soon I hope.

Anyway, about 13 large containers with at least 10 (or more) cloves planted in October.  Instead of planting the various ‘stans of garlic purchased from Richters (love them!) I just planted Elephant (leek family, but, oh my, my Elephant “garlic” is very garlicky!)     And a ‘stan (I think Kazakhstan, from Richters many years ago).  These grow very well for me and the cloves are super easy to pull apart.

Dreaming of the upcoming days when I can be outside, watching the birds, loving the sky art above and perhaps doing some work .. I will enjoy, for now, the luxury of being inside.  Playing and creating with my millions of beads.  Practicing my fiddle.  More decluttering (does it ever end!)

Looking forward to my clogging, practicing dumbeq with a friend, beginning my study of the German language (something I’d started years before).

I find myself delving into interests that I had for so many years … activities put aside on the shelf till a later date.    And the happiness that I feel in doing so just fills me with such joy and satisfaction, that money just can’t buy!

🙂