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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Surprises and Magic in the garden .. what a fun place to be – all beneath beautiful blue skies ..happy is me!

Tis the season of blue skies and rainy days here.  Like .. yesterday!  The sun was shining brilliantly  in the morning.  I dutifully practiced my singing exercises, followed by my fiddle session.  These are easy to set aside for a later time in the day but I find that, when I do that, procrastination takes over, big time.  So .. I just focus on these 2 lovely sessions.

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When I did finally go outside, a slight rain had occurred and again .. there were blue skies overhead!

So my darling little Lady JaneE came outside with me.  She is my gardening cat.   Born in ’96, the year of the “big snow” here in Victoria, she literally rules the roost in our house.  We love her so much.  Anyway, she is waiting for some treats which I place on the steps beside her.  One of our gardening rituals.april 18, 08 (2)Sipping my mug of Yorkshire tea, I wander around the yard a bit .. this also is a ritual that I follow.  To see all the changes that Spring has brought to the garden.   And enjoy the sweet little songbirds.  Here is a little Golden Crowned Sparrow.. I love their songs and find them very comforting. april 18, 09

The Spotted Towhee .. another lovely bird, very shy but bold in colour.  They have a wide range of sound and sometimes they sound (to me) like the Bewick Wren!   april 18, 05

Sweet little Red-breasted Nuthatch … zooming in for some suet!   The trees in our yard are tall and provide nesting areas for many of the birds that visit our yard.   april 18, 04

The tall Oregon grape is flowering nicely .. cheerful yellow flowers brighten up a bit of the yard.   The leaves on the fruit trees are starting to grow and fill out.   Soon they will be accepted as a normal part of the trees but during this growth period after the winter, they are marvellous bits of magic manifesting in the yard.  I like that.

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Tiny little pink flowers on this perennial which I am pretty sure is an Escallonia …  april 18, 08

Flowers of a fruit tree.  I potted this up last summer, and am not sure if it is plum or cherry.   Guess I’ll find out this year!  More of the magic & a surprise to unfold.  Love the mystery.april 18, 06

I discovered this idea, to cut up (organic) seed potatoes, from a great youtube video of allotment gardening   This guy is just amazing!  Anyway, I have potted these up now and am waiting to see if they will grow and then I’ll plant them.  I have a few ideas as to how I will do that and will post when that is done!    A nice surprise for me last week .. was discovering 2 sprouting garlics!  Last summer I had tied up bunches of garlic to dry beneath the sundeck and these 2 must have fallen down! april 18, 01

I’ll pot these up in containers and look forward to harvesting them at the end of summer!  They are hardnecks, so more scapes for pesto!  Yumm april 18, 02

Last week I visited Russel Nursery in North Saanich, what a wonderful place for a gardener to be!  I was there at least 3 hours, which seemed like 5 minutes.  Everyone there is so knowledgeable and helpful.  This is one of a few wooden structures there that I totally fell in love with.  So much character and beauty.  A portal to the plant world.

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Another sky photo.  Such beauty for us to see.  april 18, 11

Hey, hey, hey!  Have I found the perfect gardening tea mug?????  Yes!   And yesterday I filled it with lovely Yorkshire tea and sat on the front steps to drink it and enjoy the greenery around me.   This lovely hypertufa mini-garden is the perfect place for it to be.

Many, many, years ago, I purchased all the ingredients to make one of these and life just became too hectic for me to accomplish this!   So I bought this one ready-made and love it so much.  Perhaps I will try again, this motivates me to think about that.

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This day is starting out in a gentle fashion.   Cloudy skies, sporadic rain showers.  Birds singing in the yard.

Time to get on with things,  Practicing my two passions.   The fiddle and the singing.  And then on to other things .. like the garden which is calling out to me.

🙂


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Oh I Wonder Where the Bewick Wrens Will Build Their New Nest? And .. Loving the Spring Flowers in the Garden!! Also, Speaking With a Friend is Very Helpful At Times, Don’t You Think???

The darling little Bewick Wrens .. their beautiful nest has been blown out of the hangglider bag twice already … so now they are building another nest somewhere in the yard.

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Last week I walked down to the Compost Center for a workshop .. loved the long walk and enjoyed the blossoms along the way .. here they are on Blanshard Street.  Spring is definitely here.

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And I’d just finished crossing at the lights, passed this and had to walk back and take a photo ..love these graphics!

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Back at home .. wandering around the yard, re-discovering some beautiful plants that I’d purchased last fall .. I’d always wanted a Hellebore and had forgotten this one!   Darling little plant .. I will put this one in a colourful pottery container!

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Muscari flowers .. tiny little bulbs that I’d placed in some pots last year .. flowering away like mad.  Diminutive but powerful in their graceful beauty.

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And the Salmonberry plants are bursting forth in bud and flower!

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Another of the many things that I love in this life .. is imagining that tiny little beings, faeries, dwell in the garden.  If this were so, then these Salmonberry flowers would be perfect for them to use as tiny hats, don’t you think?  Imagination is a fun thing.

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Lovely blue skies with dreamy white clouds gently painted over.  We’ve had some massive skies recently .. gigantic cloud streets of enormous white cumulus entities soaring overhead.  This photo isn’t from one of those days.   I could only look at those skies .. my camera lens isn’t big enough to do justice to those skies.    These I can handle!  🙂P1320071

Tenacity of growing things!  These little plants rested all winter and now are growing up through the burlap-lined pathways in the veggie patch!  The burlap will disintegrate and I have more to place on top of them for this year.

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The rose bush at the side of the house is sporting new growth .. this is a tenacious and lovely rose!

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I’ve been a bit reluctant to get back into my gardening – spending time on practicing my fiddle – it has become my new focus, temporarily replacing my love of gardening, beading, sewing, drumming!   After all .. there are only so many hours in the day.

Time passes so quickly .. I looked at my little music notebook recently .. I’d begun taking lessons in 1996!    Then my violin stayed hidden in its case for many years until I dusted it off last July and began again with a new teacher!

And I’ve been changing a few things about my violin accoutrements.. but more on that tomorrow.

Today I am happy because:

  • procrastination overcome and I’ve blogged again!
  • I’ve just spent a huge chunk of time talking with a friend about priorities so have set some for myself.  It’s a good exercise and I feel energized already.   Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, when things are weighing a bit on your mind and you could really use a friend to talk it over .. that friend appears in your life?
  • Because of this I’ve decided to “step back” a bit and spend more time on what really fills me with joy.  And tomorrow I will blog about that!
  • It is still Saturday morning and I’ve realized that Camosun College is hosting a plant sale at Royal Rhodes so why am I still in my jammies and not in my jeans, in the car, racing to the plant sale?  Just give me 5 minutes and I’m on my happy little way!
  • and finally .. I am happy .. just because  (cause ya don’t really need a reason!)

🙂


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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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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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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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My garden is so good to me and I love a cup of Yorkshire Tea!!

Thanks to the recent mild weather, raspberries are still growing in the garden.  The first frost date is due the beginning of November and so I’m enjoying this beauty.

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

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Sweet Robin atop the wild and crazy tree .. which has let go of the leaves and they now scatter the ground below .. I’ll sweep them up with my homemade bamboo broom which works so very well.

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On Friday I gathered some more beans and little tomatoes (which I will dehydrate and powder .. ready to flavour winter soups and things) .. Some Kentucky Wonder and Spanish Musica beans also, for drying.  There are still quite a few pods on the vines which I will pick later.   For sharing and for the next garden.sat-07

Tiny little squash growing away ..there are a few scattered throughout the yard and I’ll harvest them soon.  Started late and really I’m surprised that these even grew!

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Loving this real garden art by Mother Nature!sat-08

And yesterday, I was so sure that there weren’t any more beans left .. but .. look at this!   My garden is so generous.  Plus a few kale leaves and another little tomato!!   I’m almost afraid to look again as I have a feeling there are yet more beans hiding away in the bean forest!sat-15

Friday skies .. fluffy cumulus clouds sedately dancing away .. how I look forward to being up there again …sat-11

Sometimes .. you just don’t need words …sat-10

You are so beautiful …. to me …sat-09

This will provide a lovely addition to a meal!  I’ll save some of the seeds for next year, if they are mature enough.sat-03

Sweet woodruff .. this lovely ground-cover spreads so easily.  I used to use them in one of my potpourri mixes.   Lovely vanilla scent when the leaves are dried.sat-02

Time for more treats!  She literally runs across the grass and settles on this little wooden bench when she sees me nearby … what a darling little girl is my garden kat!sat-17

I happened to look up at this part of the garden and realized that, perhaps I do have an eye for balance in the garden.  I had not intentionally placed the watering containers and bird baths in any particular order at all and so was pleasantly surprised by this symmetry. To the right is the wild and crazy tree.  The pear tree graft had long ago died and I had chosen one of the resulting branches of the root stock to grow and this is the result.  It is tall and helps to add privacy and a place for all the birds to perch in.  And all those leaves will be swept up today, to be used as mulch for the perennials.  At one time, the leaves bore the dreaded pear tree trellis rust, but good nutrition got rid of this.  (seaweed, EM, llama manure).sat-13

This is my lovely tea caddy, a gift from a good friend who went back to Jolly Old and brought me this tin!    I’ve seen on fb that this is no longer available and YT isn’t sure when more will be made so it is even more special (if that is at all possible).   I love this tea and here is the website for Yorkshire Tea  – it is beautiful, witty and you must visit it and have a good laugh at the videos!!

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I have to accept that summer is truly over and the frost is coming.  So today I will spend outside, dismantling what temporary structures I have made in the garden.

And today I will plant my garlic so it will have a chance to start roots in advance of the winter time.  This year I will plant them all in containers .. ready to move when the time comes.  Another garden to be created in another location.

Today is a beautiful and sunny day – a perfect day to spend outdoors with a few mugs of strong Yorkshire tea!

🙂