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 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!

🙂


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I began my day today with a simple idea of dehydrating celery and this led to a whole day of cooking!!! Oh, and it actually snowed a bit today!

So, here in little Victoria, we had a little bit of snow, a little bit of freezing and a little bit of sun!

I swore I wasn’t going to take any snow photos this year, however, once i went outside and saw a few icicles dripping off one of the bird feeders, I just had to go back inside and fetch my camera!!

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I do clean out the bird feeders every few weeks, as I want to keep the feeders clean!  This is the only feeder that showed icicles on it, so of course, I had to take a pic!

Then I noticed the scarlet red runner beans, the seeds hadn’t fully formed, so I might just leave them here on the vine, or I might just take them inside to juice them along with apples and carrots.

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Strawberry plants growing in plant bags .. I really need to root these, in order to get fresh plants so new strawberries can grow.

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This year, I planted all my garlic in large containers.   I’ll be working on prepping the yard for a basic grassy area, so will grow all my crops (peas, beans) in containers like these.  They work well.

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Vigorous elephant garlic, greens growing away like crazy!  Very healthy soil.  And leaf mulch!

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Snowy covered grass.  I really should have cut the grass a few weeks ago, but, procrastination won out in the end.

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Blue skies from yesterday, sparrows were flying every which way!

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From yesterday also, I discovered this healthy raspberry cane growing away amidst some tall plants at the back of the yard.   Don’t expect any fruit, but am impressed with the vigour of this cane, so I’ll pot this one up!!

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Sweet Mock Orange, from yesterday, before the snows came.  The flowers are still there today.

dec-6-03Well, that is it for photos.

Now I’ll tell you what else happened today!

And I seem to remember that what happened today has occurred in previous years!

Today, for some strange reason, perhaps it is due to my genes and preparing for winter!  I just seemed to morph into a kind of little busy bee that was hell bent on preparing food for the winter.

For I found myself just mindlessly going into food preparation mode!  This has happened before!

Oh, wait!  I didn’t mention that really, my day of food preparation started off with a lowly bunch of celery!!!  Organic celery.   I just didn’t want to use a bit of this in soup today and wanted to dry it for use for the winter, so that it wouldn’t go bad.

Thus, I started to search online for celery powder, which led me to onion powder, this in turn lead me to garlic powder.    This is how I began my culinary day today!!

I found some sites which showed how delicious it could be to combine powdered veggies would make a good alternative to salt, so that is how I began my dehydrating section of the day!

Then I found myself searching online for the best ideas for making freezer hash-browns!   I had a bag of organic potatoes which had begun to sprout roots!   And so I became an industrious busy bee, peeling potatoes, shredding them, putting them in a large pot of boiling water and then after a few minutes, cooling them off in a bowl of iced water.  Followed by layering them in paper towels and clean tea towels, twisting them to squeeze off excess water and then layering them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.    And, once frozen, placing the finished product into zip-lock bags for future hash-brown breakfasts.

Then it was time to reduce the recently baked organic chickens that I had baked a few days ago – broth for soup and chicken shreds for the soup and then for quesadilla’s for the freezer (with lots of shredded cheese and capers!)

After this, it was time to remove the bags of frozen garlic cloves (from my recent harvest of July).   Prepare them for the foil squares & drizzle of olive oil & bake in the oven.  Following that, time for cooling off and a few hours of time spent squeezing the garlic paste out of the cloves, mashing them and putting dollops on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and in the freezer!

OMG.

After I removed the delicious chicken soup from the slow cooker, placing it in the fridge for tomorrows lunch time meal .. I began the tedious task of cleaning up my dishes and the counter.

It has truly been a day!

A day of hanging around the kitchen, preparing food for the winter.  Constantly cleaning up pots, dishes and the stove and kitchen counters.

Not a day that I would repeat too often, but,  a satisfying day.  One that didn’t require a lot of thinking, but one which was, nevertheless, highly satisfying.

A happy day!

🙂

 


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It seems to be that time of the year again .. revisiting uncluttering & getting rid of things.

A few years ago I gathered up a great supply of garden items no longer needed and in the process met an energized fellow gardener!  She was happy to collect the items for her gardening business and we spent a happy few hours talking about gardening in general.

At the end of our conversation I mentioned that it was a good time for me to get rid of things no longer needed at which point she said that she is in the space of accumulating things.

Of course, this led me to thinking of the various times that I’d become interested in various hobbies to such an extent that I searched out items pertinent to each interest and the accumulations began!

Sewing .. oh the fabrics I bought!  And although I created many fun items, including draperies, I stockpiled lovely things which I’ve since given away.

I love reading, particularly mysteries and stock up on these at the annual Friends of the Library book sale.  This is a safe hobby, as I donate books, once they are read, to the blue box reading program.  Whew.

Another hobby was making beautiful glass garden totems and so a few years ago I sought out lovely glass items and began making many of these which sold quite well the first year.  Now this hobby no longer interests me and I’ve donated most of my supply to thrift stores.

An ongoing hobby for many years has been gathering a wide variety of beads .. not rare and costly types, just beads which sparkle with many colours!  I’ve made a variety of items with these, garden bling, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, many things.  I used my earnings from sales to pay for my fiddle lessons!   Time to get productive again????

Now I’m wondering if I should continue with this hobby or just package everything up and get rid of it.  But .. the big but .. as I go through my supplies, looking at the vast assortment of tools, findings and beads .. I start to have second thoughts.

So I went searching online for some advice on giving up beading and did find a good blog:

https://unclutterer.com/2008/04/04/saying-farewell-to-a-hobby/

And then I look at some sites that I marked as favourites and thus I know I am hooked on beading and cannot give this up right now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-MHCsHUoSI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPifdgbVxAY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0be3CH9xdp0

using peyote stitch;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chsbdSIB3T0

peyote and hematite:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pepp-zbklOQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt8PQkRN6hI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS1l41t_W8I

good explanation  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7bdJg172X4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gOEYQI0REM

good video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQeaxnPR8Kg

viking knit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvQmDZ89rfg

viking knit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOcTXqBul-g

Beaducation, good, wire weave:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cS_z_tem-I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiNOJGH7

MGs

So I guess I have answered my own question and will keep on beading – for now, anyway.

It is an overcast fall day here in Victoria (I don’t think that winter has officially started yet).

Right now I will take a break from uncluttering and go outside to fill up the bird feeders for my little feathered friends.

I am kind of proud of myself for what I’ve done this week!  3 huge bags of gardening books to donate to 2017 Seedy Saturday!  So now I am down to just one shelf of treasured gardening books and I hope other aspiring gardeners will love the books I’m donating.

Plus, I have gathered a lot of miscellaneous items no longer needed and these will fill my car next week as I take them to a thrift shop.  Slowly creating lots of lovely space in my craft rooms.

Feels good to just dance my fingers across the keyboard and see my thoughts fill the page.  Cathartic and just feels good to do so.   In my declutterings I have found a few short stories that I’d written over the years and they still kind of resonate with me so perhaps I will revive that little hobby.  It doesn’t take much space at all and is very creative and freeing!

🙂