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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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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An object forgotten leads me to Dallas Road and a lovely visit to the beach!

It’s a lightly raining day here .. and I decided to post some photos from yesterday.

Happy on this raining morning.. sipping on a mug of Yorkshire Tea, listening to John Mayo … some things don’t change over the years.  Memories of my younger self – listening to my LP’s on the great little turntable that I had, mugs of whatever kind of tea I favoured way back then.    Cannot remember what records I had  beside the Beatles!!  Something bluesy, though.

Listening now to the sound of the harmonica, I wonder if I still have my harmonica purchased a few years ago to try out . ..must look for that.  Either I donated it to charity or placed it on a shelf somewhere.

Sweet little Gold Crowned Sparrow perched on a tiny twig , feasting on some seeds from the nearby bird feeder.

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Skies from a few days ago .. I was in the backyard (where else!) happened to look up and noticed that these clouds seemed interesting, they seemed to be pointing downwards  .. had to run inside to fetch my camera and the effect in the photo isn’t as clear as it really was . .. but isn’t that the way, though.saturday-02

Had to run an errand yesterday, I’d forgotten something somewhere and since I was close to the ocean side of town – thought I would wander down to Dallas road and watch the water for awhile.  Such a restful place .. one of my all time favourites and I just haven’t been down there for awhile so this was a rare treat.  Met a few dogs, one young bulldog named Edgar, sweet little thing!   He was soaking wet from dashing into the ocean and was just a happy .. happy little dog!saturday-12

How lucky are we to just have this wild beauty so close .. a place to wander, relax, breathe in the sweet salty air and just totally chill out.   There is an upper pathway, to the right, along the grassy edge.  It was created a number of years ago, a place to walk and admire the ocean when the tide comes in.saturday-13

The little Gold Crowned Sparrow is not shy and is quite used to people wandering about.saturday-10

Big bundles of kelp washed up on shore.   Great stuff for gardens, I collect my seaweeds elsewhere though!  For the patient and artistic types, beautiful baskets can be woven from the dried kelp.   Don’t leave it out in the rain though!  🙂  Seaweeds have more than 60 minerals and add value to the soil.saturday-06

A big container ship sails slowly past .. objects in the distance have an allure that is missing closer up.  The mystery is delightful though.  Where is it going .. where did it set sail from .. what is it carrying in the hold .. saturday-07

A little island of kelp bobs about the water .. wonder if it will reach the shore or just stay floating out there?  So many questions!!!   saturday-09

A lovely section of sandstone … natural art ..saturday-15

Some interesting sea life creations live on a huge section of styro-foam topped cement that rests on the beach.saturday-14

I think these are Cormorants out on the water .. diving for food and enjoying a swim in their natural element.saturday-08

Cars park along the top at the left, there are marked spaces and lots of room for everyone.   Many people relax in their vehicles there and enjoy the sights of the water and the activity therein.  A little sports car has driven down the cement slope to get a closer view.  I love walking down and when the tide has been out .. you can wander out for quite a distance on the rocky outcropping that is currently covered with water.  Quite a lovely experience to do that .. but not today!saturday-03

I picked up a few stones and tried to skip them on the water .. that was fun.  Sometimes I collect special stones for memories and sometimes i just like to enjoy their beauty on the beach and leave them there for others to enjoy.  This photo is a good enough reminder of my relaxing time at the beach.saturday-11

One more look at this beautiful sight and then time to hop back in my car and get on with the day.  Glad that I had the opportunity to come down here for my little visit.saturday-05

Back home I glanced at my shadow and thought .. this is what it is like to be taller!  Well, my shadow was taller than me and it’s “me and my shadow” so that meant that I was tall.  (in my mind anyway) 🙂  Pretending is fun for a little bit.saturday-04

Time to get on with this day!  Much to do and time is rolling along.

Another batch of dehydrated apple slices (yum) to empty from the dehydrator and fill the trays with lovely cinnamon and nutmeg scented applesauce for fruit leather!

Leaves to rake.  Beads to pack up.  Violin to be practiced ( a lot! )

I do love the violin so very much and pleased that I’ve begun to learn.  Learning is a rocky road, I struggle with a lot but it is so satisfying to make the strings sound a bit more like some kind of music and not a screaming cry for help!!!

🙂


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Foggy morning equals sunny afternoon!

A week or so ago, my pal D and I travelled to Sooke for one of our infrequent trips to this lovely little town not far from Victoria.  Our aim is to enjoy the relaxing ocean atmosphere, gather a little bit of the raggedy seaweed (not too much and only that which is not home to living creatures).  Breathe in the invigorating salt air.  Drink in the sight of such beauty.  And just chill out.  Each with our own thoughts and each wandering about the beach in our own little walks.   A time for relaxing.  A treat.

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I’m not a boater but I do enjoy watching the vessels, sailboats etc., that journey across the waters.  The air and the ground are my elements.   The water is beautiful, though.thurs-09

In the distance, the remaining fog resembled earthbound clouds, struggling to get back up high (that is what it seemed to me!)thurs-08

Very peaceful indeed … tranquil, restful, all that and more …thurs-03

Here the fog looks like gauzy waves dreamily forming against the mountains .. sigh.thurs-02

The seagull has some tasty treasure to feast on ..thurs-05

Feeding over, time to just rest among the seaweed ..thurs-04

The comforting solid density of the rock … warm to the touch .. interesting in the textures formed by the years of pressure, travel and the sort of thing that happens to rocks over the years.thurs-07

How beautiful is this ….thurs-06

I love personal touches such as this … a respite for a little bird, how sweet.

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Beach time over with .. we head to our favourite Cafe ..

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Time for a decaf mocha Americana .. yum ..thurs-18

Such a restful and tranquil garden at the back of the cafe ..love the hedge of boxwood around the fountain.thurs-15

Pretty flowers, eye candy for gardeners ..thurs-19

With the noise cancelling sounds of the fountain and the lush plantings, it is difficult to remember that there is heavy traffic on the other side of the bushes and plants.  Nice!

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And there is my little red car .. my trusty little vehicle .. so practical and so fun to take on little holidays and daytrips such as this!  🙂thurs-16

How sweet is this .. colourful and fun …thurs-14

And at the front of the cafe are little tables for people to sit at, sip their drinks and ponder the world.thurs-13

So we had just a most relaxing and fun filled day.  Afterwards we went to the one thrift shop that remains in the town.  There used to be another one which was quite fun to shop at .. but for some reason, it is shut down.  So now there is a mad rush for everyone to go to the one place that exists.  Still fun and we do find some treasures.

It is fun to zip away for the day with a friend and just do some exploring .. at the ocean .. at a cafe .. at a thrift shop.

We never know what we will see or discover and we always have such a great time.

Well .. the day is speeding along .. so on with this most beautiful and sunny day.

🙂


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I met the most wonderful dog named Buck. And I’ve re-discovered the joy of dehydrating fruit and veggies!

One day last week, I started my adventures in a garden center!   This is Cannor’s at the Sears Mall .. a lovely gathering of the most wonderful plants and delightful things for the garden.  This sign caught  my attention, cause that is what gardening is all about, right?

I noticed some male and female Sea Buckthorn plants!  I have one at home, but darn if I know which sex it is.   So, after talking with the very knowledgeable Manager there, I learned that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the male and the female plants, besides – the plant tags showed that they both bore orange berries.

After learning that the plants were on sale, 50% off … the decision was easily made for me and so I bought one of each.  So now I have 3, either 2 male and 1 female or the opposite.

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A lone crow flies overhead, flapping madly to join his pals …up in the wild blue sky.a08

Later on I made my way to a local Starbuck’s and happened to meet this most wonderful dog named Buck!  He is so very sweet and I fell in love with him.  I learned that he was born in England, has travelled all over the world and now lives here in Victoria.  I felt so very honoured when he showed his trust by rolling over and offering his tummy to be rubbed and then sat up and leaned into me for a good hug.  And I felt so happy hugging him and feeling all that honest and innocent doggy love.  I miss having dogs and so I value all the dogs that I meet in my life.  All are so very special.

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Now time for a little rest … sweet little Buck.  I learned that Buck is named after the travelling dog in the book published in 1902:  Buck

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Last week, when I dug up a huge container of potatoes, I found a strange green lime-shaped object.  It was something I hadn’t planted and so I was quite puzzled, but brought it into the house anyway.  Before discarding it, I decided to just peel away the outer green covering and lo and behold – found this walnut.  Mystery solved,  a squirrel must have hidden this treasure for a winter treat.  I’ll plant this in a pot (with a label!!) and will wait and see if it will grow for next year.  Those squirrels.  I’m constantly finding peanuts in the shell that they have planted.  For whatever reason (I don’t want to think) the squirrels don’t return and so the peanuts either grow into plants or just fall apart.  I wish that they would just enjoy the peanuts now but that isn’t their way.

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Darling little JaneE Kat, water beading off her fur, she has just had another wash tub sump pump shower and now is munching on her treats.  Life is good.

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During one of my random wanderings in the back yard, noticed this tiny pink geranium flowering away.  I hadn’t noticed the little bee, though, till now .. love such surprises!

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Another sweet surprise, tiny flowers quietly bursting forth ….little trumpets for the bees.

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Last week, my pal D and I went out for a day of gathering seaweed and thrift store shopping.   More about that another day, but just wanted to share a lovely find!  She is always discovering the most amazing little treasures in the shops and here is one!    At first I didn’t pay any attention, but, as she pointed out, this broom was made entirely of bamboo!   As I have a lot of bamboo growing in the yard, this caught my attention quite quickly.  So I purchased this one.   Back at home, I gathered the necessary materials and made one of these brooms for myself!    Tying bunches of the bamboo side branches securely around a length of the solid length of bamboo, using flexible coated garden wire, I soon had it done.  These brooms are just fantastic for sweeping up fallen leaves – I tested them.  More gentle than a rake.  Now I have an interest in trying to make brooms out of fine branches pruned from trees .. these would make a slightly sturdier broom for sweeping.   Another interest to pursue, love it!

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And I’ve fallen madly in love with dehydrating!   Haven’t done this for many years and it is just so much fun to rediscover this again!  I bought a great little dehydrator from Lee Valley .. it works like a charm and was not expensive at all.   Our freezer is full to bursting with a surplus of frozen fruit so I removed about 10 bags which included plums, blueberries, raspberries and pureed them all together.  I then added home-made applesauce and a little bit of liquid honey which was given to us by friends.

This is the result and it is delicious . I’m so excited.  At Lee Valley I also bought the most amazing book on dehydrating,  by Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff & September Ferguson  – full of details on every aspect of dehydrating.   Normally I do not buy books unless they are on sale.  But when I find a book that is so full of information, I do not hesitate to buy it.

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I cut the large circles into 2 sections and rolled each one up in waxed paper, nice and tidy.  Easy to pack in my purse and take along for a quick energy boost throughout the day.a05

I’ve been trying a variety of things to dehydrate.   One mixture has beet leaves, sorrel, nasturtium leaves and kale – dried and powdered and in a jar, ready to sprinkle into stoups or stews for the winter.  And these tomatoes from the garden dry & powder so well!   Hadn’t thought I had many tomatoes at all but it seems there are sufficient.

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Right now I’m waiting for the “Longview” organic red/orange and green pepper slices to dry and I’ll be crumbling them up into little flakes for future dishes.   And there are a dozen ears of corn to be lightly cooked, then the niblets cut away and into the dehydrator.   Dried items take up way less space than frozen food and I really need to make more space in the freezer.  I know there is enough frozen fruit to make a few more batches of fruit leather!   Some for us and some to share.

This is a big bag of greens that I bought from Silver Rill farm last week .. long since washed, cut up, dried and now ready for adding to meals.  What fun.

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So recently my life has been chock full of new discoveries outside and in the kitchen.  Exciting adventures in dehydrating foods and just loving how things are turning out.  Plans for future mixtures are dancing away in my imagination.  In the dehydrator book .. there are ideas for making fun shapes of fruit leather with various colours of fruit puree.  I was just too impatient to try this out at first, but think I will attempt this another day.

And normally I make a paste out of garlic that is left over from planting and sharing.  And freeze the paste, great to add to anything (but not ice-cream!)   This year I will try drying the garlic and powdering some of it.   Delicious garlic grown in the best organic way in my garden.  Yum yum yum!

Oh the endless possibilities of dehydrating.

Now I must go and empty the dried tomatoes & greens and prepare the corn.

On y va!

🙂

 


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Mature trees in a park …. birds in my yard .. a blue-eyed Emu and it’s the end of a gardener’s day!

My exercise group travels all around the city and Central Saanich.  On this particular day, we’d travelled to Dominion Park on East Saanich Road.  Beautiful park .. I especially loved the beauty and grace of the mature trees that live there.  This venerable tree seems to be smiling, don’t you think?

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And there were many more like that!  Here are some .. growing in a happy little group.  The Blue Spruce is very diminutive and appears to be protected by the larger trees on either side.  That is my story, anyway!

 

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And this Spruce is leaning a little to the left, maybe it likes the Leaning Tower of Pisa and is emulating that?  🙂  Very arty, I think.

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Another happy grouping .. and I can see that the deer have been nibbling away on one of them.

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As we walked along, a set of stone stairs appeared .. it was a slightly foggy day out there and it did feel as if we were stepping back in time.

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More stonework and a cascading little waterfall added to the ambience.

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Further along, the water was guided along by the stone-banked walls.

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Meanwhile .. back at home… I was finally able to take a photo of a Junco!  There are quite a few of them and I usually see them when my camera is somewhere else.  Murphy!

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Oh, sweet little Chickadee!  Curious about the Hummingbird’s attraction to this feeder, he just has to take a try.  So cute.  He keeps trying, but no luck.

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Ah ha!  This is much better!  Sunflower seeds in this little feeder.  That is more like it

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This was from a week ago .. but the skies were like this today also!

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Tiny little Bush-tits … so very darling and cheerful.

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So happy to have the Bewick Wrens visit.  Very handsome birds they are.
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Time for some suet …511A few weeks ago, I went out to buy some Llama manure and there were Emus there also.  The owner has had 2 of them for many years, 15, I think.  Anyway, this female has one blue eye and thus was not able to lay eggs.   Every time she turned and I could see her blue eye, she would move away!

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Here you can see her blue eye …

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So today I was able to escape to my yard and, mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand .. I began to look at the chores I would need to do.  More about that next time.  But this photo is quite familiar to all gardeners, right?   Nothing speaks volumes like a shovel, dirty garden gloves and a wheelbarrow!    Of course, when I read what I have written, I’m thinking, if this was a mystery story, then this could be a nasty story!  But I’m not like that, so this is a nice story.  🙂

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