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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Watching a Hawk, going for a walk and making bead chain link necklaces!

I hadn’t been to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary for a very long time, so yesterday I decided it was time to do that.  It was mid-afternoon, the shade was kicking in and there were still patches of slippery ice.  As I entered one of the many paths that enter the Sanctuary, the cheerful colour of some rose-hips caught my eye .. so of course, I just had to take a picture!

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Along the way, I met up with a lovely young man who, like me, had decided to take some time and explore this most beautiful area.  We had an easy conversation, talking about how his newly retired dad was investing mega dollars into camera lenses (to take magnificent photos of birds and flowers).  He was currently not working and was seeking employment.  We had a relaxing conversation about many things, life, birds, nature and that sort of thing.   I rarely meet up with people in this manner so it was a special treat on a sunny day.

We parted ways and I continued on my path homewards.

Love the contrast of light and shadow and this tree was a good example of that.  Now .. if I were to try and draw this tree, where would I start?  Hmmm .. time to get out my drawing materials and try that.  There were many other such examples of contrast, showing bumpy bark, interesting branches, rocks and things but I’ll leave that for another day for my photo session.

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This section of the Galloping Goose was once a railway corridor and I am so happy that this asphalt bike/walk roadway exists!   I’m sure that there are books about this subject as there are quite a number of people who love researching and sharing this information, lucky for us!  Here is a link to such information:  Galloping Goose

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And this is a majestic entry .. it’s fun to whistle or sing (not me, but others do!) while passing under this massive tunnel.  Lots of traffic on Blanshard above, drivers oblivious to the world below.

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Another section of highway above, hundreds of vehicles overhead and below all is tranquil.

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Up above now, walking the sidewalk towards home, I noticed some seagulls soaring overhead and one bird … seemed to be a little different!  It was a hawk!  Hawks of Swan Lake area

So I just stayed there, quiet on the sidewalk as traffic swirled up and down the very busy Carey Road.  Just happy to have the opportunity to be there as the hawk was soaring overhead, looking for supper.   His wings would gently ripple as he (she?) maintained that particular air space.  I could have taken some photos, the hawk was so close, but I chose to just enjoy the sight.  By the time I did remove my camera from the case, it had moved on and soon disappeared from sight and I was left with blue sky.  Sigh.

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I’ve been a busy little bee lately.   Filling my time with the challenge of my fiddle, the tranquility of my Sonic Drum and also playing around with making chain loops.  Here is my first effort:

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My second necklace:  (so my lighting isn’t so balanced here, hope these photos are clear!)

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Another effort:

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And here is my latest (and then I’ve started on another one!)

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It’s challenging to make the tiny loops, using 26 g wire and my needle nose, flat nose pliers and magnifier.  Practice makes perfect and I’ve now found my ideal “take along” hobby.   To play with in a calm area, not while driving or flying, 🙂

Now .. I wonder what fun things I’ll be doing today?

Time to make another mug of Yorkshire Tea and discover what this lovely day brings.

🙂


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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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I felt like a country mouse in the city .. happy to be back in my lovely little yard ..

I love Nasturtiums and it is a good thing for they have been growing like crazy all summer.  Something else that loves them also are aphids. I hose off what I can and depend on the Ladybugs to feast on the rest.

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Some late season raspberries .. they were a surprise!  I love garden surprises and I am going to mark this plant with a ribbon so I can differentiate it from the hundreds of others that surround our yard.

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Lots of insects in the yard .. this was a strange one and I was able to take a few photos before it flew away.  Wonder what it is??

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Spider basking in the sun .. enjoying a break in the daily routine of living in the garden.04

We went to Vancouver a few times recently … I felt like a little country mouse in the big city

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I was so happy to be back home .. in our yard .. admiring the beauty of the Crown Peas (Heirloom).  To dissuade the hungry sparrows, I tied some cd’s to sparkle in the sunshine  This seems to have worked .. since they have stopped dining on the shoots.

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Dainty sprigs of Sweet Annie growing softly … graceful plants.  This year I’d started them, ever so carefully, in single cell plant pots.  Next year I will just throw little amounts of the tiny seeds throughout the sunny parts of the year.  They will grow taller I think.

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Mmmmmmmmmm … blue skies, wispy clouds .. still seems like summer .. I like it!

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Little baby squash growing randomly in the yard … I learned another lesson the hard way this year.  It is very important to rinse the soil off the squash, once picked.  And rinse in a very light bath of water and some bleach or peroxide to avoid mould growing.  I’d picked a sweet little orange squash a week ago.  Enjoyed how lovely it looked.  Of course, I hadn’t rinsed it.  And DH went to move it from the tea towel it was resting on and noticed that it had seriously started deteriorating.  Sigh.  But not this one, though.

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Sweet darling little Bush-tit .. I think this is a female, can just barely see the yellow outline in the eye.

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The yellow is more evident in this photo.  This is a bird that would not live in a cage.   Freedom in the wild (as wild as can be in urban areas).  They are the most joyous little birds, singing as they whirl into the yard .. never fail to make me smile.  Thank you …

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Teasel .. the seed that keeps on growing now matter how much the plants are pulled.  Pretty plants although the bracts along the stem are a trifle sharp!  ;l believe they were used to comb wool in long ago days.

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Loving the light shining through the eucalyptus tree …I think this was mid-afternoon.

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A close up of those lovely Crown Peas .. I love their delicate beauty.

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Cheerful sunflowers all throughout the yard .. brightening up all the corners .. lovely!

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Hearing the raucous cries of the crows flying overhead ..  stopped to look up.  They are so brave in a group and here they are chasing a hawk.  This continues for a while and then they slowly disappear from sight.

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A short while later, the hawk has eluded the crows and now soars quietly overhead.

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These are the reason why the hawk often flies nearby … Passenger Pigeons are kept nearby.  The hawks are swift.  The pigeons .. not so much.

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More wispy clouds ….

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Now it is time to go back outside .. into the sunshine while it lasts .. a marvellous day to look up at the sky … harvest beans, tomatoes, the odd strawberry.  Dig around .. and think of ways to change the layout of the garden.

Oh, and another year of learning things in the vegetable garden .. but more about that tomorrow.  I just had to come inside and post a few pics.

Time now to fill my mug with a fresh brew of Yorkshire Tea.

🙂


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About the pleasures of walking, new routes. Lovely dogs met. And I now own a dandelion weeder, it’s great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I’ve been discovering such a variety of walks in my neighbourhood, makes for such a fun opportunity to strike out and get some exercise. Plus I keep on meeting some lovely dogs and see such a variety of birds.

I just love walking.  In the rain, in snow, under cloudy skies and on sunny days.   For 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours .. all day!   And I try to keep up a brisk pace and only stop for short periods of time to watch birds or talk.

Ok, I don’t mean to say that “I” talk .. by myself .. well, that would be a little strange.

However I’ve noticed quite a number of people out in public, seemingly talking away on a hidden earpiece which is connected (I hope!) to some kind of new-fangled cell phone or whatever.   I wonder if people know how weird this looks .. out in public by themselves .. talking away .. looks a little strange.  I always try to steer away from these people.  They reveal so much about their personal lives .. not realizing that we can hear them … ick.

No .. I mean to say that when I’m out walking and stop and talk to doggy parents and their dogs.

Today I decided that I’ll vary my time walking .. so instead of leaving at a specific time for a specific route .. I’ll endeavor to add variety .. which is the spice of life.

Just a quick calculation on walking routes brought up at least 10 choices at least, from our front door.

From a to b or a to z .. which one I take will be up to me!  🙂

Yesterday, after just 10 minutes out . .. I met a lovely little dog named Miko (sp?):’04At first she was very very shy … and then … less and less so ..

01Till finally, I was kneeling on the sidewalk and she had jumped up, put her little paws on my arm and was giving me kisses!  Lovely darling little Miko.

Her new family had adopted her from the local SPCA, about a month ago .. what a wonderful Christmas gift she is.

Cloudy skies yesterday .. so I’ll slip in a photo from a few days ago just for fun.

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I was so excited about seeing Jupiter on Monday night!  I’d contacted the Dominion Observatory and received the information that on Tuesday, the Moon would then be on the left side of Jupiter .. so I was quite looking forward to seeing that.  Unfortunately, with the overcast skies that didn’t work out.   Here is a NASA site, click on the video to see more about Jupiter and other planets close to the moon in January (how exciting!):

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.php?id=1178

Here s one of my latest greatest gardening gadgets.  I’d always wanted one and it was on sale at Lee Valley!!!   Bonus.  Plus, the instructions are printed on the handle.  How clever is this.

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Easy to operate, see how the grippers open up … you place these in the center of the dandelion which is happily growing in the lawn,  and then step on the lever

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This action causes the grippers to close tightly around the dandelion

22And all you do then is to lift the digger from the ground and see … dandelion plus the tap-root .. successfully removed!!   No chemicals needed.  No pouring of vinegar into the soil – which not only kills the weeds, but also upsets the balance of soil life and kills the worms that are so important in chewing through the soil

23See … complete dandelion removed.  And now . .. you can just lay the whole plant at the side of the garden, to let the plant dry out (and the goodness of the plant will be absorbed by the soil).  Then you can just add the dried plant to the compost pile.  No, it won’t re-grow.  It will break down into the lovely compost.  All natural.

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I was also very fortunate on another great gardening tool … a compost turner.  I was going to buy one and lucky to find that there was one in the sale bin, half price.  Oh, happy days.

Robust Robin, tucked away in the tree ..

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And later on, found this happy Robin … munching away on the apples that have fallen from the apple tree (wild root-stock, apples are not tasty at all .. but the birds don’t mind).

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Ms Downy Woodpecker is nibbling at one of the suet blocks … here she has a blob of suet on her beak … hmmm… I don’t think that she meant this to happen.

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Ms. Townsend’s Warbler patiently awaited her turn at the suet block.

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And the Anna’s took to their new hummingbird feeders right away.  This is part of a double feeder, which has the option of being used separately also.   Supposedly these feeders deter ants and hornets.  Well .. we shall see.07

Some snowdrops growing away .. luckily without the snow.

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Oh .. and my garlic crop has been growing away.  I’d tried to deter this by piling on more seaweed and chopped oak leaves .. but yesterday, decided that I can’t fight Mother Nature.  So I carefully lifted away the heavy top layer.  Some greens broke off, but I figure more might grow.  Anyway, just another example of how growth will continue, despite my efforts to deter it.  Thus, a lot of the greens are actually white and spindly, crooked from seeking the sunlight.  No worries.  After a few more days .. they will be strong and green.  Then it will be time for another photo session.

09While I was busy doing this work of removing the top composted layer .. I suddenly noticed some loud thumping noises coming from the back fence … in some bay and laurel bushes.  What the hey … it sounded like some animals having a fight but I couldn’t figure out more than that.

Suddenly a form flew out and landed on one of the big sturdy branches of my wild and crazy tree (the wild pear rootstock, now a huge tree).  It was a huge hawk.  Looked to be about 2 feet in height and only about 10 feet away.

I said a few expletives out of surprise and we just stared away at each other  I saw some orange colouring in the tail feathers and was admiring the charcoal and white variegated body feathers.  Then it swiftly and quietly flew away.  I couldn’t see anything in the beak so don’t know if the bird that was attacked got away.  A few minutes later I went over to the bushes, but could only find 2 tiny black and white feathers.  So, while I hoped that the hawk hadn’t caught one of the Downy Woodpeckers,  I couldn’t be sure that he had captured something.

Now this is something that must go on daily in the yard .. but to be actually outside while it was happening ….was pretty darn exciting.  True nature.

Then I spent time sorting out the stones that were caught up in the seaweed that D & I had gathered…. to use in a garden feature.  Tedious work sorting through the piles of seaweed over my soil sifter .. but well worth the effort.  Once I figure out what the garden feature will be like.  No worries though … the ideas will come when I’m working with the soil.  They always do.

🙂