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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The beauty of nature and the magic of the garden …

One of the zillion positive items from Cannor Nursery!   Does your mind boggle at the thought of all the happy activities that can constitute a day?  And with joy and abandon?  🙂

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Jane E Kat knows!  She’s perched on her little bench, awaiting yet more treats and .. at the same time .. being, oh, so cool!  She does that very well.

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Last Saturday we went to the Beachhouse (a most wonderful, fantastic and amazing restaurant that you will ever find! )   The food is divine.  Service is sublime.  And the view .. well .. breathtaking.  Here is the website:  web site

We were so very lucky to get a window seat!  A great storm was predicted and we were looking forward to seeing the waves!  We weren’t disappointed.  The trees on the beach were waving wildly  …

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And the waves were steadily getting wilder!   Note .. this isn’t a shark fin .. it’s a branch or something.   🙂   🙂  🙂

mon-16The waves were a constant .. and slowly building to a crescendo … (what is a crescendo, anyway, 🙂   )  sounds veddy dramatic, dahling …

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So ..  back home .. today (Monday) was rainy, rainy, rainy.  And that was so fine with me .. finally .. a day where I can focus on indoor stuff.   But, again, the sun came out .. so JaneE Kat and myself went outside.  I added more food to the bird feeders, gave JaneE some treats and then ventured around the yard to see how things were going.  The leaves of a blueberry plant caught my eye.  They looked to be so strong, so textured, so beautiful.mon-20

And this hot pink geranium flower bore the droplets of the recent rain and they were just so pretty …mon-10

The skies overhead were so joyous and free .. mon-13

It was a joy to see these clouds after the grayness of the day …

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I looked around at my potted plants and saw this self seeded Tomatillo …I grew them a few years ago and the seeds are in the compost, scattered about the yard.  They started rather late this year and I didn’t expect to see any fruits.  The flowers are dainty and good for the bees.  And the pods are just so pretty and graceful.

So I was quite surprised to find this tomatillo fruit on the ground .. positivity .. I will dry the seeds and plant them early next late spring/early summer!

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Perfect place to put my mug of Yorkshire Tea whilst I am looking for pretty things in the garden .. right???  🙂mon-15

Ah .. love in the garden .. these two Kentucky Wonder beans are intertwined and look so happy .. such is the wonder of the magic of the garden!mon-14-2

Most darling Bewick Wren in the wild and crazy (Pear stock) tree!  I think this is the baby!!  So happy to see this one!mon-06

The male Downy Woodpecker .. I ran out of suet, so sorry!  But he still likes the sunflower seeds!  (and thank goodness, these are still non gmo!!!)

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One more sunflower for the road!  I have noticed that the birds prefer the unshelled sunflower seeds and avoid the more expensive shelled sunflower seeds!  So I won’t be buying any more of the more expensive shelled types!

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And the lovely Gold Crowned Sparrow .. I love their songs and welcome them to the yard for the winter!!!

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And yet more beans from the bean forest!  I’ve been dehydrating them for winter soups and stews .. what fun!!!

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The weather here in Victoria has been a delicious mix of sun and rain.  I love both so either one gives my joy.

With the rainy weather, my choices of activity are diminished  .. from “playing outside” to “playing inside” my options are clear and easy.  ( for a Libra this is great)

So, seeing the rainy exterior, I had settled in for a lazy interior day.  Then the sun came out and I would have been a crazy fool not to have gone outside.   So that is where I went.

And filled up the bird feeders.     Picked beans from the bean forest.  Gazed at the birds.  Watched Jane E.   Looked up high at the overhead sky.

Soaked up the beauty from the skies ( oh, my) and just enjoyed the heck out of being outside.

🙂

 


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Some rambles from the spring – willows, sheep, birds and all that sort of thing ..

Some days I just like to get in my little car and wander around … visiting farms, discovering new “eye candy” in nature and things along that vein.   Just me and my car.  Or just me and walking .. whatever.  Just me.P1230926So in the spring I went to visit the Fickle Fig farm .. an organic farm full to bursting with lots of crops, and farm animals.  Here are some of the goats.   As I walked across the muddy fields, a small group of them started to follow me .. not being a really incredibly brave person, I called to my friend “help .. they are all following me” .. how impressive is that.  To be unnerved by these little goats.  Nonetheless,  he swiftly sent them off in another direction.  whew!!  Still they do look very handsome (from a distance and on the other side of the fence, lol)6661aSome Canada Geese taking a rest in a nearby field.6673Then I made my way to the Wood Willow farm .. where I am the #1 customer!  Here are some of the cuttings that I brought home with me and planted.6670Here is  a handwoven willow basket .. how beautiful ..6667Some local landscapers were creating a habitat for the French Lop-ear rabbits (rescue rabbits).

6664I forget the type of willow used in this project, it is supposed to be a type that the rabbits do not like to nibble on.  However, this little guy chose to try it anyway.  He chewed away a bit and then left .. guess it works!6666A round opening is made so that the rabbits can enter at will.6665The project progressed ..6683Carefully allowing space for the trees to flourish ..6684Proper coppicing of the willow ..6680The cuttings are carefully tied  together.6681Inside Rosemary’s kitchen .. she kindly gives me a bouquet of the heritage daffodils, they are beautifully scented.    And I choose which cuttings I would like as she displays a variety for me.6686And I came away with some gigantic goose eggs .. have never had these before .. they were delicious and quite rich!6678And also some Swedish Blue duck eggs!6676

6677Back home and time to admire my feathered visitors .. here are the darling little Bush-tits.  I know they must be nesting somewhere in the yard and the location of their nest is a mystery.  That’s ok with me.  they need their privacy .. don’t we all.6669The Juncos are frequent visitors in the fall/winter/spring and fly elsewhere for the summer.   They love flax seed so I bought a huge bag of it for them!6672And where there are birds, there are hawks .. this is in one of the fruit trees in the back yard.6674Dear little Nuthatches .. nesting somewhere nearby .. I’ve been lucky to see some of the babies in the spring ..this is an adult.6660Female Downy Woodpecker .. this is my favourite suet holder ..and the birds sure like it.6668And the arc-en-ciel was a beautiful scene to see  ..6671

As I haven’t been blogging for such a long time – and I have not stopped taking photos .. I will start to upload them here!  Creating good memories for me to look at during the winter months!


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Sweet little visitors came to my yard …

Friday, February 13, 2015

As I typed today’s date .. I thought back to the last time that I blogged .. it has been months since I’ve done that.  And I just love blogging .. writing about things that happen in my yard, places I’ve visited around town and things like that.

And photos .. hundreds of photos of birds, nature, skies, ocean, beaches.  And visits to various places.

I do feel quite happy, creative and energized when I make the time to post some photos and express my thoughts, just letting them flow from my fingertips as they tap along the keyboard.  It is really a decadent pleasure, writing.  Having loved writing since I was a kid, I mostly wrote in my mind until I learned about blogging!

Having the discipline to write daily has opened up the dusty doors of my imagination and how exciting it is to let loose the treasure trove of thoughts that I’d kept hidden away.  My mind really feels like Aladdin’s Cave .. full of precious and sparkly thoughts.  What a delight it is, to read my thoughts at a later date.  I wonder sometimes, where the words come from.  And I do have to laugh sometimes at what I’ve written.

Anyway, I’ve decided to polish off that discipline and delve back into that treasure trove.  So today, I will show some photos of some lovely feathered friends that are in my yard.  Nesting in the tall trees that we planted over 30 years ago

Here is one of the Red-Breasted Nuthatches visiting a suet block.  They look like little bandits and they are often quite difficult to find because they are quick to fly away, preferring to stay hidden away.  So I’m quite happy when I see them and I don’t even breathe, while I click-click away with my camera.

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And there are quite a number of Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  They are clever little birds and chirp away when the feeders are empty, as a reminder that they need to be replenished

14There is a family of Downy Woodpeckers, this is the female, the male has a band of red at the back of his head.  They always announce their presence with their cheerful little chirps “here I am”.  The sound is similar to a Robin’s cheerful chirp, I think.

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Sweet little Bush-tits,  they are social little birds and always swirl their way into the yard.  A few months ago, I was outside, digging away in the garden and overhead flew the largest flock of them I had ever seen.  I was so enthralled by the sight that I didn’t even want to waste time getting my camera case open.  It seemed as if there were hundreds of these little Bush-tits flying over my head … straight through the yard and aiming for a tall tree in the front yard.

Yesterday, there were only a few and after they ate some suet, they took some time to groom themselves.

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I felt lucky to zoom in on some of them, they flit about so quickly it’s challenging to focus on them and take some photos!

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A healthy looking Robin was tucked away in the branches of an apple tree, seemingly content to just stay hidden away for a while.  He was there for quite a long time.

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He kept an eye on me while he sat there, surveying the yard.

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Just a few Bush-tits at a suet block.  The others were either perched nearby or in the midst of the tree, grooming themselves.  How very sweet they are.

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And I was so focused on getting a photo of the little Anna (upper middle area) that I completely did not see the Bewick Wren staring right at me!   What a surprise that was, when I looked at this photo!   Can you see it, almost in the middle of the photo .. tail feathers spread out in a fan shape.  There is a family nesting somewhere in our yard and I feel honoured to have them here.

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Some lovely skies a few days ago .. graceful sweeps of frothy clouds .. eye candy for the soul.
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Here is one of the Bewick’s .. lovely singer

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I was extremely fortunate to take more photos .. I think this one might be the baby, nearly grown now.  Their nest must be hidden away quite well .. these birds are very challenging to find.

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Little Anna, sipping away.  I must start making the nectar 4:1 soon, as the weather is quite balmy and they don’t need the 3:1 sugar right now.  Must do that tomorrow and clean and refill their feeders.

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A few weeks ago this hawk was settled into the wild and crazy tree.  Eventually he flew off.  Quite a beauty, isn’t he.

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Darling little Black-Crowned Sparrow.  Very distinctive.  I’ve heard a few Gold-Crowned Sparrows, but not many, yet.

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I don’t see this squirrel around much . .I think she is Squirrely’s daughter.  Love the white markings on her chest.

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Well… blogging is continuing.  I’ll share my Mason Bees adventures when they are put outside to hatch.  Right now they are snug in their container in the fridge’s crisper drawer.  Their house is all cleaned up.  And at the end of February or beginning of March (I am told) I can put the cocoons into the top drawer of their house and put them outside!

🙂


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Calm and serenity in my back garden ..

Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day … it started out with our exercise group hiking around the hilly areas of Oak Bay, climbing some very steep stairways to a lookout and then around a variety of streets and back to the start.

At one point I saw a very noisy Blue Jay perched on a branch, screeching away at something while trying to hide a treasure.  No camera with me yesterday, of course!

Finally .. back at home .. in my lovely little garden.  I’ve been driving a lot lately .. traffic has been heavy and I’ve just longed for the peace and quiet of my garden.  I badly needed a “fix” of just being surrounded by all the greenery that is growing lushly there.

So, mug of Yorkshire Tea, IPod playing gentle music, camera at the ready .. I just slowly wandered around .. having a good tour of what is happening.

First .. there were the lovely skies overhead:

01Followed by more lovely skies overhead .. ever-changing artistic paintings ..

02Then I spent some time looking at the House Sparrow and male Downy Woodpecker .. each eyeing the suet .. each waiting for the other to move in first ..

03Two ways to view this – either the woodpecker was a gentleman and let the sparrow feed first or the sparrow was pushy and claimed the prize .. either way it was  a sweet scene of patience and gentility.

04sigh ….. I’m torn between looking up at the sky, watching the birds or looking through my bean plants to see if any are ripe enough for picking.  And there is also the work factor – this comes after my play time is done (it never is really done, though!)

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I’d recently fallen off the wagon ( of my firm decision to not buy more plants!)and bought a few more plants … these Burgundy Baby Weigela plants attract hummingbirds, so of course I must have a few of these.

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Another year of self-sowed Sun-chokes .. there are at least 4 of them in the yard, each are at least 10 feet tall … I’m going to cut them down soon, the stalks are quite sturdy and I’m curious as to whether they will dry in a firm state and I can use them to stake up plants.  Here is a good site with lots of information:   http://www.canadiangardening.com/gardens/fruit-and-vegetable-gardening/you-say-jerusalem-artichoke-i-say-sunchoke/a/35286  Although I didn’t plant these, I suspect the birds did!   And they are now in a variety of places .. even though I dug them all up & gave them away last year .. some of them had hidden themselves away to grow this year!  And this year I will try them to see what they taste like.  Just a little bit, to try.

07I’d been rinsing out my seaweed gathering sacks and some water made its way to the sunflowers .. adding a sparkling look to this cheerful flower

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Besides the sparrows and woodpeckers that I saw in the garden, I also saw the Bewick Wren (the juvenile) these birds are evasive and swift, so I counted myself lucky to have seen it.  The darling Bush-tits were around a few times.   I can only imagine what other birds visit the yard when I’m not out there (hawks, crows, eagles up high).  What lovely gifts these are .. to see these birds up close.

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The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are just treasures .. I will always grow them.  Prolific, with sturdy vines .. each growing an abundance of beans.  They are growing into the trees so I will harvest the dried pods at the end of the season and plan to share them with friends.

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Here is a young bean and you can see the round beans growing inside .. the mature dried beans are blue!  I’ll take some pics when these are harvested.

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Looking up (important in the garden!) I noticed a group of at least 9 hoverflies!   I was able to get a little photo of one and the group kept moving about so I wasn’t able to take a pic.  However, I found this clear video on Youtube, it’s just marvelous:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xh9BlbUaAU

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This sky was like a summer sky … lots of gentle ripples ..

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My dear Lady JaneE .. sleeping soundly in the sunshine ..

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Sleepily waking up ..

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And back to sleep again …

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The overhead beauty continued …

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And the teasel plant is flowering.   Quite pretty with the delicate lavender flowers.18So I did actually get to work. Washing out bags of plastic gardening items for recycling.  Raking up the debris of the pear trellis leaves . infested with rust from some juniper tree in the neighbourhood.  This rust is an annual issue and I had it under control 2 years ago (multiple spraying of EM got rid of most of it then) and last year I wasn’t so diligent and about half of the leaves have the rust.  Next year I will be more vigilant, spraying with EM and then with liquid seaweed .. just as the leaves emerge!  And then after the flowers are finished.   I’ve read that the  rust settles in by August so I’ll make sure that I take care of this tree.

The leaves are not compostable (so I’ve read) so I’m bagging them up for disposal.  It breaks my heart to do this but it is for the best.  I don’t have a hot enough compost to ensure that everything breaks down.  The rust is ugly .. seen up close.  I won’t post pics, it’s bad enough looking at them up close, yuck.

Finally, calling a halt to the work day .. I exited my garden and back to the house.  Totally tired but happy from nearly a full day in the garden.

So .. going back out there today … what a treat!

 


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Blue skies! And I am so very lucky .. there is a beautiful female Townsend’s Warbler visiting our yard!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Everyday I think .. that perhaps I’ll just sit down at the computer and type away.  And every day I don’t.  There seems to be a timeline that works best for me .. early morning ..and once that early time has passed .. the day just gets to be busy and so I procrastinate till later.

Weather has been fantastic.  Lots of sun which results in lots of birds flying around the yard.

Some photos of the lovely sky paintings recently:

 

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This series of formations were just awesome ..02

As you can see .. a lot of time spent, again, gazing upwards ..03

Little Bushtits .. many more this year.   The families are growing.  Note to self:  research these darling little birds and find out their territory and more details.  Very clever and cheerful little sprites, they are!04

They just seem to swirl into the yard.  I have 5 suet holders so there is lots for everyone.05

Little Chickadees visit the feeders and the suet blocks …alternating between both, for a more balanced diet.  And all of these little birds peck away at insects on the trees, on the house .. everywhere. They certainly earn their keep.  Plus they bring so much joy into my world.06

But .. look here .. this very striking bird started visiting our yard a few days ago.  Thus far I’ve only had the most tantalizing little glimpses.   Yesterday I stood motionless for at least half an hour, trying to take a picture!  A few days ago, I happened to be standing by a suet holder and this little bird flew to a branch just inches away.  I didn’t dare breathe .. just stood quietly so I could watch.08

Yesterday .. I was busy trimming branches and omg .. there she is!!!!!  Quickly whipped out the camera and so lucky to snap some photos!  I’ve learned that she is a female Townsend Warbler!   How exciting is this!  And they are only in a specific area …living in forests .. and here she is .. in our little mini-forest!!!09

Time to go outside and work with some of the seaweed that my pal D and I gathered a few days ago.   Another great day and I’ll share that tomorrow.

For now, though … .here is lovely Val … we met her at Sooke and she posed for a photo.  What a darling kind dog she is!!Val DogSo, time to make a mug of tea, change into my gardening costume and head outdoors!

🙂

 


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Wednesday was a sunny day .. perfect for playing in the yard. Watching birds, helicopter, the skies …

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday (like today!) … lots of sun and blue skies overhead, yea!!

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Spent some time playing with my newest garden treasure .. my yard cart .. it is so very useful, how did I manage without it!  It holds so much material and also handy for easily moving tools around the yard.  I really feel like a spoiled gardener!

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This looks like a low flying helicopter, but no worries, I’d just zoomed in.  Looks kind of cool, seen through the branches of the wild and crazy tree (aka, pear rootstock)

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During some quiet times I simply stood motionless and watched the Anna’s fly to the hummingbird feeder23 - Copy

And watched the Bushtit hop over to the feeder … to check out this interesting feeder … the perch is just the right size for his little claws to cling to.22 - Copy

He seems a bit puzzled now … where is the food ..21 - Copy

Ahem .. the little Anna seems to say … pardon me ..but this is not for you …20 - Copy

See .. it’s built just right for me ..19 - Copy

The Bushtit wasn’t convinced .. so he just had to study the feeder more closely 18 - Copy

Perhaps you are right .. this one is perfect for me!17 - Copy

Sigh ….16 - Copy

Soon, all was right with the world as the Anna returned to the feeder .. no other birds visited here again .. they’ll stick with the suet15 - Copy

I saw 3 Downy woodpeckers in the yard .. wondered, are some of them the babies from last year?   They visited all of the suet blocks in the yard.  I’ve placed 5 of them throughout … and this one is the special, made in BC item that D noticed on the side of the road, a few weeks ago.  It’s once again fulfilling its purpose .. to hold food to feed the birds!14 - Copy

And .. I did not see this rainbow till I downloaded the photos …. how perfect is this …is this positive energy from the feeder  … happy again, feeding the birds ???13 - Copy

And those roses .. are still blooming .. how very pretty they are12 - Copy

2 years ago … I couldn’t see many robins in the yard at all.  Yet this year there are quite a few.  And they are all robust.  This one is pecking away at a fallen apple.

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The little Fox sparrow .. patiently waiting, again!08 - Copy

Hi Mr. Robin …..07 - Copy

Jet overhead … someone going somewhere exotic?   I like to think so.06 - Copy

Sweet-pea seed pod ….I’ve left some on the plants .. maybe they will sprout and grow more beautiful flowers.05 - Copy

Still can’t bear to pull the sweet-peas up .. I’ll let them go on their own time.

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Sweet little Bushtits …. chirping away .. happy sounds in the yard03 - Copy

Beauty ..02 - Copy

Like a visual poem in the skies above…

01 - CopySurprise treasures in the yard!  I’d just finished planting some garlic cloves (found a good head of garlic from Salt Spring Island and wanted to grow some of that type).  When, surprise, I found these bulbs had rooted in a pot.  No soil.  Well, bulbs are hardy, that is for sure.  So I carefully separated them and covered them with some mulch, ready for planting today.  There are also some other bulbs with them, I think they might be tulips.  Will plant them in a pot and wait for Spring to see if I am right!

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So .. time to put on my lovely gardening outfit .. my trusty Carhart bibs .. how very elegant!  🙂 and outside to plant these lovely garlic cloves .. there is still time for them to grow.  In the spring (not far away) I will commence with the application of EM .. on everything!!!  Magic.

Twas a great day and I expect more of the same today!

🙂