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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The Darling Little Bewick Wrens are setting up house again ….

The amazing Beaufort mountain range just outside of Port Alberni …We were up there recently and I took a lot of photos and decided this one was the fluffiest for posting!   So beautiful!

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Back at home, wandering around the yard with some sunflower seeds and suet for the birdfeeders (I only put out a little at each feeder) .. I noticed that there appeared to be a little nest being constructed in the old hang glider bag.  Some Bewick Wrens had built a nest there a few years ago, but abandoned it in favour of another location.   So here they go again.  I don’t know if these are the same pair or whether the young ones have found mates and are starting a little family.

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I’d noticed two of them perching in the dwarf weeping willow a few days ago  here is one and the other wasn’t far away.

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They are so very tiny and they were intently looking at something.  I found out today what had caught their attention!

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Our cat, JaneE, insisted on going outside ..when all I wanted to do was practice my fiddle for today’s lesson!   Guess who won out .. cause ya can’t argue with a cat.  In particular, a deaf, 22 year old princess who rules our household.   I noticed what looked like a straw bowl, resting bottom up on the lawn … curious .. I turned it over and see what I found!  A Bewick Wren nest .. and notice the yellow flowers from the dwarf weeping willow!!!

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All that very fine weaving in the construction of the nest!  I noticed a small piece of plastic film at the bottom of the nest … funny .. there was also a thin piece of plastic in the nest that I found a few years ago.  I wonder how long it took them to build this nest?  I carefully replaced it into the hangglider bag, tucking it in firmly, unsure as to whether they will return to this next or perhaps build another one?    This is so very precious, I feel honoured to hold something so fine, true nature.

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And this is from a few days ago, perhaps the little Bewick was continuing to search for fine items to build the nest!

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In another corner of the yard, the Downy Woodpecker is looking for food in the bark of the old apple tree.  Hard to believe that the tree can be termed old, when it just seems a few years ago that I planted it .. but it was over 30 years ago.

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Here is our little princess .. the ruler of our household!   Little JaneE Kat!! 🙂

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And little Squirrely came by.. searching for peanuts .. I threw a handfull of them around the yard.  And I chased them out of 2 of the bird feeders!!  The yin and the yang of it all.  Glad to see that this one is eating the peanut and not hiding them!

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A few days ago I went for a walk that lasted for at least two hours, it included a visit to Lifestyles Market where I filled two bags with healthy groceries .. they seemed to get a bit heavier as I walked along!   Anyway, I’d never paid attention to this street sign before and it would have been perfect for March 17!!

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It is now officially Spring!    And typical weather in Victoria is:  Sun, followed by rain, followed by sun … etc.,   Personally I adore the rainy days and find them to be comfy and relaxing.

There is a tremendous amount of tidying up to be done in the yard … I had the flue a few times and lost months of being able to do anything .. so now is the time to start at point A and work my way around the yard.  Accompanied with JaneE Kat, a few mugs of strong Yorkshire Tea and my music!   I love world music especially when in the yard .. and have lots of Nae Plans, with  Hamish Napier and Adam Sutherland to listen to .. over and over and over .. and also some new (to me) music by Kiran Ahluwalia …..

I look forward to spending a lot of time outside and have decided that I need to get up early so I can practice my fiddle for an hour at a time and then outside and then inside and then outside!  Whew, am getting tired already.

Well .. it’s Friday night and time to relax a little bit so that is what I will do!

🙂


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Little Squirrely visits again .. bulbs are appearing and spring isn’t far away it seems!

Little Squirrely … I leave unshelled peanuts in various locations around the yard.  This one doesn’t bother anyone.  Although one day I happened to look out the window and saw 2 squirrels in the tree, they moved so quickly it seemed as if they were flying .. territorial clash or something?

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Signs of spring.  Bulbs planted, forgotten .. thrive emerging from beneath the rock.  When I see this type of growth I am always reminded of the words of Kashtin (when I saw them perform in Victoria, many years ago) that sometimes a plant has to go through a rock before it can flower.  This resonates with me.  Emergence is a stronger and thriving life in the sunshine.

p1310567Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee ..  here I am again!  Planted years ago, and popping up already .. preparing to display lovely blue flowers in the spring. p1310570The magnificent rose bush that resides nearby ..proudly showing new growth and also a graceful remainder of a rosebud from last season.p1310572Once again at the most beautiful jewel of serenity close by .. the walkway at Swan Lake .. I plan to visit there again today.   Love this place so much.p1310598

Such beauty …p1310596

At Swan . beautiful moss and lichen adorn a tree branch .. lots of material for the birds to use in their nests ..p1310587

Lovely …up above …

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It was a quiet time of the day when I went for my little walk .. a gentle breeze created the smallest of little wavelets on the surface of the water.  Such a peaceful place to be.

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Stately Geese in a side marsh .. looking over .. ever so subtlely .. perhaps I had some flatted oats with me?  Not today guys .. I need to visit the Nature House to buy a little packet of the oats for them, on another visit…p1310591

Some Mallards were busily seeking out delicious treats from the water …p1310592

Stopped for awhile to gaze at this hawk, tucked away in the branches.  Looking for a midday meal.

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Suddenly, the hawk flew away and I stood there awhile, watching this raptor soar up above and then away.   p1310627

Back at home, I was wandering around the yard and saw this beautiful Spotted Towhee perched in some branches, near one of the bird feeders. These birds are very shy and I knew it would fly away so I stood quietly … hoping to get some pictures.   I zoomed in as much as possible, from 30 feet away.

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Patience was rewarded.  Such a strikingly handsome bird.

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I fought the urge to take a photo of this camper, which was filling up at a local gas station.  But I could only stand this for awhile and in the end, grabbed my camera and took a pic just as it was leaving the station.  And I fought the urge to go and speak to the driver .. to ask questions about this lovely camper.  If I see it again, though, and it is possible to speak with them .. well .. I will do that!

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It is so lovely to feel the approach of spring .. with the emergence of bulbs .. although it is still February and I know that there will be frosts again in the coming months.  The ground will thaw and freeze and repeat.

Still, it is wonderful to be outside and dream about changing the garden.  I should be outside, cleaning up the various areas, and keep putting that work off for a little bit more.  So I can practise my fiddle and play with my beads and wire.   When the days are warm and sunny it will be impossible to stay inside when the outdoors beckons so tantalizingly.

And it looks like the day ahead is going to be one of these lovely sunny days so I’d best get going and see what adventures await me and my camera!

🙂


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A lovely long walk on a sunny day! Saw some planes along the way. And I made some earrings too!

Last Saturday was a lovely sunny day and so I decided to walk downtown .. I was looking forward to an earring workshop at the most lovely Bamboo, Bead and Bling shop downtown on Fisgard Street.  Normally I drive there but .. I really do love long walks so I decided to do that and proceeded happily on the Galloping Goose Trail.  Here is a section of it, closer to downtown.  Lots of shrubbery for the birds to hide in!a02

This section is parallel to Douglas Street, behind the Red Lion.  I love this stately portion of the trail . .these trees were planted many years ago.  When I worked downtown and biked to work . .this area was one of my favourites.  When the trees are in full leaf, it is a nice shady section and feels so European with all the greenery.
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This is near the Burnside area of town .. there are paths that lead to neighbourhoods.  More brush for the birds.  There weren’t many people walking here in the early afternoon.a14Paths are so interesting .. leading to areas unknown, adventures …mystery ..

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Just had to stop and admire the play of light and shadow on these young Arbutus trees .. warm and cheerful on this sunny day ..lots of leaf mulch on the ground.a11Nests can be seen, hidden away in the trees.  So much work was done to create these little havens for the spring-time babies.  a09Lovely surprises tucked away up high …when the leaves emerge in the spring, who would ever suspect that this nest is there ..a07

I often wondered, who is this man “Tom Arkell” and why was this side trail named after him??  Well, I discovered that he was an amazing man who worked hard for his community and here is one link that shares some information about him:  Tom Arkell

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And along that lovely trail flows a stream of water .. curious as to the name of the stream, I discovered information on  Cecilia Ravine .. (my middle name so this appeals to me!) a13

And a reminder, in all this marvellous beauty that is Victoria .. the waterways are work places for many.  See the high-rises in the background.  It is a growing city.  Vital, beautiful and welcoming to all!  a06

The Selkirk waterway … lots of activity.  Looking forward to those funky ferry boats that will soon be here.  So much fun to take a little ferry around the harbour and up the Gorge Waterway.   This is one of the boarding places.  We’ve taken the ferry to the Flying Otter and you can also stop near the Spinnaker Brew Pub.  Great food and the beer .. what can I say!!  Yum! a10

This is nearing the downtown area .. lovely native plants all nestled in at the base of these rocks.  Beautiful.  a05Benches provide a place to stop and rest.  Admire the view.  Sip on a delicious coffee from one of the nearby cafes.  Relax. a04

A tribute to one of our Best!  This is near the Burnside section.   a15

Up above …gentle sky-art that graced our city .. how lovely is this.  a03

On my way home .. looking up .. what did I see!  Two Nanchang airplanes setting out to play .. that was a treat.  I think there are at least 4 now … so impressive to see the group in formation and I count myself lucky when I see them.   Nanchang

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So I had a most lovely 2 hour walk on that day.   Blue skies.  Some birds.  Peace and quiet.  Saw some planes.  And I made some earrings!!  Not a bad day at all.    This is what I made at the workshop:  a20

And I liked them so much that I just had to make a few more pairs when I got home!  a21

And these!   a23I haven’t worn earrings for years but now that is going to change!  Lovely sparkly bling to accompany me on my walks!

Another fun day in my life!


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The snow was here and now it is gone ..some garden memories of the transformation that took place.

I’m not a big proponent of snow, having moved to the other side of Canada many years ago, before the massive influx of others that came out to B.C., and saw how beautiful this province is.   And, like many thousands of others, I would call back home and brag about the lack of snow and all that entailed (no lawn mowing, wearing shorts, yawn, yawn, yawn).   So the opposite side of all this bragging has finally shown up, and we have been experiencing snowy winters, starting with the “big storm” of ’96.   Although we haven’t been experiencing that seriousness of snow lately (at least here in Victoria) we have had snow.   So I wandered around the yard last week, replenishing the bird feeders, adding fresh water to the bird baths and decided to take some photos.  Here a little fern juts up through the snow as if to say ” hi, remember me .. I’m still here” ..

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Little footprints in the snow .. most likely a racoon I thought.  The snow helps show the nocturnal activities that take place.a7

Little birdies .. after I took this pic, I emptied the snow and ice and put fresh water here for them. a6

The hummingbird feeder hadn’t frozen so there was a sweet treat still there for the Anna hummingbirds to sip at …

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Some of the garlic containers .. the garlic is tough and easily survives the cold.

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While I’m posting this, I’m listening to Bandgladesh music from Amsterdam .. how I love this music .. so much ..dreamy and soothing to my soul ..

One of the suet holders, suet eaten, ice melted, symmetry remained ..

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The birds haven’t eaten everything from this feeder .. yet!   See the little footprints in the background .. those of a racoon???

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The footprints traverse the yard ..

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Yep, racoon prints …..

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On another day .. a walk along the Galloping Goose .. near Swan Lake .. the sun was shining … lately I’ve begun taking long walks again.   I love those.  Always discovering new things in my neighbourhood .. the exercise feels wonderful and energizes me.

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The path changes direction a little and now the sun appears …

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And I see blue skies!  I mean “Blue Skies”   🙂

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Such beautiful blue skies with swirling clouds dancing away up above .. sky art ..

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And .. beauty in the snow also.  How it transforms everything including this old apple tree ..

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Happily retired now, I do remember the years of getting up early, preparing for another day at work, concerned about the snowy route I would have to drive to go to my place of employment.  Longing for the day when I would not have to do that any more.

That time has arrived and I rejoice in the opportunity to now, finally, after a lifetime of work, having the chance now, to play.  To discover new interests and pursue the interests that I would just dabble in.

Now is wonderful.  Now is great.

So .. considering this .. it is now time to take my mug of freshly brewed Yorkshire tea and go to my creative rooms.  Time to play with my beads and wire.  Time to practise my fiddle.  Play with my Sonic Drum

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee   🙂


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

🙂