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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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I haven’t made resolutions for years simply because I used to set up these lofty goals that I ended up not keeping .   So I thought .. let’s just try not making resolutions for a few years and this has worked out very well.

I have been setting little goals and these have worked.  Like the one about downloading photos daily .. this goal has been achieved and works well.  I can now select photos from a certain time frame and know when things have happened.   Important things.  Records of my first luffa.  Tumbling jewels of tiny tomatoes ripening on the vine.  Sweet little birds frolicking around the yard.

Photos of delicious squash and other veggies growing in the yard.

Except something happened this year that caused me to rethink this whole resolution thing.

It was a squash that changed my mind and started to turn my world around.

Here’s me with my Brode Galeux d’Eysines, a French heirloom.  I’d started my squash plants way too late (sigh) yet I was successful with growing some.  I felt so very proud of this one!  D took the photo.  I know I look like a Gomer with my hair all over the place, but, hey, I’m in the garden, right?  Plants are more important than my wardrobe!  Sheesh.

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This lovely squash weighed 20 lbs (and a half, I think!):

IMGP5791And there were other squash also .. here are a few more:

IMGP5793So I had this one giant squash and 2 smaller ones of the Brode type.  The largest one I proudly placed on a shelf .. actually I kept moving it around it was so beautiful.  I was going to cut it up in January and share with my pal D.

However, she told me that a friend was having problems with squash, growing soft and had to be composted.  No, I thought, this won’t happen with my crown jewel from the garden.  I would tap the exterior from time to time and it felt solid.

Except, one day, I had this funny feeling .. so I went to my computer room and carefully picked up the squash.  And, the bottom fell off.  Oh  No.

Yes … the worst thing imaginable had happened.    This treasure had started composting internally  .. most likely weeks before.  I carried it carefully to the sink.    Delicately, with a sharp knife .. I tested cutting through the skin.  And it sliced through quite easily.

With a sinking heart I opened up the squash .. and .. believe me when I tell you that there was nothing to be retrieved from the interior.  Thank goodness there is no smellivision in blogs.  Pheweeeeeee!

I was able to gather a handful of seeds which I washed and cleaned and am drying for another try at growing this year.

So this adventure has taught me a very valuable lesson.  Admire the squash, but cook it and enjoy it.   Take a photo and admire the beauty.  But … cook it!

So I have been cooking and freezing the rest of my squash, jut to avoid any further disappointments.

Another resolution I will (try) to keep!   To not buy up a carload of plants just because they are on sale and are perennials and are so very beautiful.  Here is a photo of one of several (ha, several can mean 3 or 4, can’t it?) carloads of plants that I bought last summer.  Now all potted up and waiting to be moved to our new home in the coming year!

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Looking through my photos of last summer, found this beautiful shot, taken when I was flying in the front seat of the PW-6U glider in Port Alberni.  Such beauty.IMGP4701

This was a great bumper sticker I saw during the summer.  Speaks volumes.IMGP4285

Another lovely summer sky ….. how uplifting

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I was so proud of this squash patch.  However, next year, I’ll grow them in very large containers.  I did grow some in very large pots this summer, but they weren’t terribly successful.
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This is why I love taking photos in the summer .. reminders during the winter of what is soon going to be happening again in the yard.

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My pal D is an avid collector of teacups …. here is one that she bought and it just matches the cover of the Butchart Gardens blue poppy seed packet!
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My collection of organic seeds.  I had so many packets that one sunny afternoon last summer, I placed them all out on a table, just to see how many I had.   Enough, I think,  Except for the Heirloom seeds which I later purchased from a small organic farm in Antigonish, Nova Scotia!  I’ll be sharing these with fellow gardeners next summer.

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Another dreamy sky from 2013 ..

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Well, it’s been a year full of happenings.   And I look forward to a growing year in 2014.

Happy New Year to everyone and I wish all the very very best!

🙂


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Looking backwards in time .. to a sunny day in June!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Well, I really want to talk about my garden.  Started looking through my photos and perused some sunny days in June when D and I went seaweeding in Sooke.  Our good friend R joined us in September, I think, and I have some good photos from that time and will post later.

Anyway, it was a midweek day and D & I set off to Sooke.  Looking forward to spending time on the beach, harvesting some seaweed for the garden.  Breathe in the fresh air and just spend some time away from the reality of daily life.  So, it was a sunny day, see this beautiful sky ..

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It was early in the day and the tide was way out there .. we could walk for miles along the shoreline .. see the seaweed covered rocks.   Lots of sea lettuce.   I’ve seen people just hacking away at these and stuffing huge bags full .. to use in restaurants.   That is just so wrong.  D & I, having taken seaweed courses, know that you just carefully trim a leaf from a plant, leaving the rest to continue growing on the rocks.
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Such an eerie feeling, really .. to walk along these rocky shores that normally are full of water, too deep for me to ever enter when the tide is in.  I am so grateful for this experience.

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Tide is coming in .. the hidden sea creatures can now escape their hiding places and cavort about in the salty brine of the ocean.

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And here is D .. she’s found a lovely kelp, the fronds are still attached.  The plant itself is ok to harvest, it is not still growing.   Treasure indeed, my garlic thanks you.

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Yum yum .. says my lovely garlic .. more than 60 minerals in seaweed .. enriches the soil quality and adds taste to the garlic.

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And the Elephant Garlic mumbles a gnarly thanks also … it is too busy growing to pay us much attention!02

 

Later we wandered along this lovely wooden walkway that stretched over the waters of Sooke …16

 

And along the way we saw this happy family busy throwing their crab traps … they would carefully check the size of the crabs and any too small or too large would be cast back into the ocean.

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Don’t these branches remind you of a giant dinosaur or a monster of some type?

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The beautiful blue skies continued overhead .. how lovely is this ..18

 

Saw some magnificent trees along the switch back walkway that led us down to the ocean .. strong, beautiful trees .14

 

Loving the contrast of light and shadow.  The Yin and the Yang.  The Positive and the Negative.  Balance in all things.  Too much of one is boring, but a subtle mix is seductive and interesting, non?15

 

 

A last look at the shoreline .. and it was nearly time to leave.

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Back home, in between unloading the seaweed and moving to the back yard, I just had to stop and admire busy bees cavorting in the lupines.

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And the red-hot poker plants … the birds and insects love these blooms.23Sigh .. that was a lovely visit back to June .. especially in this winter.  Although, the weather in Victoria, BC today was sunny, there was some chill, but not much.  So we can’t complain.   And must not boast, you know.  But we all do enjoy this lovely weather.  And I, for one, just plain dream of next spring and summer.

 

 

 


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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well so much for my getting over procrastinating about blogging!  It’s been awhile .. and so I am making a huge effort to get back.

What reasons can I use for not blogging for over 2 months?   I’ve spent so much time in the garden … and have joined the most amazing bootcamp and dog sitting and you name it.   So this sign that I saw in a local park was totally appropriate, I think, for my first photo on my return!

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I’ve enjoyed the most amazing skies …

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These sky pictures are from a week or so ago .. very dreamy overhead ..in the heavens .. when I was out for a walk with darling little Coco dog.
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We were pet sitting her for over a month and now she has gone back to her doggy parents.   She is a sweet little dog.

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This is one of the sights along the path way of the Gorge park … our boot camp goes to the most amazing places.  Victoria, BC is one of the absolutely amazing places to be.   I have gone to places hitherto unknown to me and I’ve lived here for many many years.   There are incredible forested areas deep within the heart of this city and without this group I would have had no idea that these pockets of paradise exist.

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Just had to stop and admire this carved birdhouse ..15

Such a tranquil setting and the pathway is very lengthy and totally beautiful

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This is from another outing.    If I don’t take signage photos, then I really have no idea where I am.  Let me tell you, this group is just a fantastic gathering of interesting ladies!  My life has changed so much since I’ve joined them.   I have way more energy and my interests have broadened as I listen to conversations on art and life.  And my chattering on gardening and the magic of EM!! (effective microorganisms … see:  http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/).

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And on another day, I met with a friend for lunch at the Stonehouse Pub, just the other side of Sidney, B.C.  This is a little sunken garden and I just felt like being silly.  Actually, I would love to have a little sunken garden like this one .. so I was dreaming a little bit about that and M took this photo.  I have a little lunch takeout box with some beautiful lichen that I found on the ground… silly me.

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Today it snowed .. brrrrrrr .. here’s a little apple left out for the birds to nibble on…

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One of those cute garden decorations that are enhanced with the snow.  Perhaps there are tiny inhabitants of this little building .. I wonder …

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The birds had been doing their “shuffle shuffle” dancing on this circle of ice ..

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Guess I’ll have to empty this container as I don’t think the carrots will be growing anymore.  I planted the seeds at the very end of the summer, just couldn’t resist trying to grow them.  Organic, non GMO … the only kind to grow, don’t you think.

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And yesterday, while the sun was out shining .. I moved my garlic containers around.   I’d been devastated this summer as I realized that my garlic had grown in the same area for 2 years and I needed to plant them elsewhere.  This was the sunniest part of the yard so I hadn’t many options.  The option I chose was to use containers!  I guess I kind of got carried away, because I now have: 8 blue styrofoam containers, one large half oak barrel, 31 very large plant containers, 2 raised beds, and a number of rectangular containers.   Plus garlic from Ireland and some from Christine!

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Seen from farther back, you get a better picture .. but .. there are other containers planted withgarlic at the side .. sigh.

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Some Rosemary cuttings ( I have 2 flats of these) taken in the summer .. fingers crossed that some of them will root for springtime.

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Sweet little Anna sitting in the sun . .there are quite a few in our yard ..

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I took this photo of a Spotted Towee, sitting outside our kitchen window .. beautiful winged creature.

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Can you see the squirrel?  I took this photo from the kitchen window also … felt bad for him, I’d moved the sunflower feeder to another area so he was confused and hungry.   I sprinkled a generous amount of sunflowers seeds on this bale of hay and soon he was happily munching away.
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Sweet little gold crowned sparrow .. choosing sunflowers that have fallen from the window feeder.  The tones of their songs touch my heart deeply and I was so very happy when I heard them calling from the trees in our yard a few months ago.

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And now I’ll sign off … with a good-bye to our little Duncan .. a once feral cat, well loved .. he was called to the Rainbow Bridge 2 weeks ago.  He was lord of the yard and after years of trying to get along with JaneE .. he’d finally accepted that she was the boss in their cat relationship.  We will miss him forever and he’s always in our hearts.

Dunky