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!


Leave a comment

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.

april 18, 12

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.

april 18, 07

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.

april 18, 03

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.

april 18, 10

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.

🙂


Leave a comment

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!

01

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.

02

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

04

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.

05

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

03

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.

06

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:

07

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

09

Another effort:

08

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

10

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.

🙂


Leave a comment

It snowed last night! And the angst of memorizing music!!!

Happy New Year 2017!   Looked out the window today .. it snowed last night!!  Brrrr …

Then I look out at the back yard and see some birds are pecking away at the thistle seed and the bits of suet remaining in their containers.

The darned squirrel(s) have been feasting on the sunflower seeds that I place in the new wooden open feeder .. I plan to purchase a squirrel baffle this week to stop that practice!

Speaking of practice .. I’ve pondered which spelling to use, just searched and found this explanation:  “practice is the noun, and practise is the verb” .. ok, that makes sense.

I’ve been practising my fiddle music and have been hitting a few hurdles.   Searching online I find many theories as to why this happens.  And in my lesson yesterday, I played the beginning section of a song quite well (according to my teacher) and then I floundered for the second half.

The reason?  Well, he was right when he noticed that my 2nd and 3rd fingers were over the A, and my inner critic was saying .. 3rd, no, 2nd, no, 3rd and it all went downhill from there.

Frustation, yes.  Overcome this?  Yes.   And the satisfaction that I will feel when this happens?  Great joy and incentive to learn more.

So now is the time to practice, practice and practice some more .. and this I will do.  The more I practice, the more enjoyable the music is to me.  The songs begin to seem like friends to me, the kind I’d like to know better.

Here .. I’ll share a photo from many years ago .. my pen pal in France sent this to me yesterday.   What a gift.  I used to take my Muscovy Drake, Huggers, my dogs and cat .. to the SPCA Santa photos.  I was thinking about one of these photos and wasn’t sure where to start looking and decided to put this off for one of those thousands of “to do” things in the New Year.

Well .. the photo that he sent gave me such joy .. I’d forgotten how sweet my pets were.  JaneE Kat is still with us, although my Huggers and Muffy had since made their way to the Rainbow Bridge where they frolic with Sam, Sadie and Little Guy.

I loved dressing Huggers up with my red and silver Egyptian scarf, edged with silver bugle beads … he looked quite handsome.  Plus the generous bows that I made for Muffy and JaneE .. very festive.

hugs-muffyjanee-my-violin-and-me-with-santa

How many years ago?  Does it matter?  I was younger and thinner (weren’t we all) and I used to be a bit more stylish in my dress.  There is that inner critic!  Begone you!   Happy memories and I am grateful for these.   And my little violin is there .. happy now that I am really learning how to play it finally!!

If you are reading this, Thierry, thank you .. so much!

Anyway, yesterday at my lesson, I was learning the finer points of bow placement, music timing and feel that I’m making hard won progress, yea!

So we are just getting over really bad winter colds so we are into day 2 of Pyjama Day and binge watching Funny TV shows .. right now it is Fawlty Towers.  It is good to laugh.

Anyway, I must put on my winter outerclothes and go outside to fill up the birdfeeders and put fresh water into the bird baths.

Then .. I plan to brew another mug of Yorkshire Tea and practice for a bit .. the first in the New Year.

🙂


Leave a comment

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.

sat-01

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

sat-10-2

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.

sat-16

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!

sat-12

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!!

sat-14

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!

🙂


Leave a comment

Cup of Tea, Anyone?

I used to drink tons and tons of coffee … and my life used to just buzzzzzz … gradually I turned to tea.

And I went through many brands.   Red Rose.  Salada.  Twinings.  Bigelow.  All types of herbal teas.  I was just a tea nut, trying out many different brands over the years.

Then I discovered this lovely tea, at London Drugs.   It was the packaging that caught my eye, but it was the taste that drew me in.  Besides all the wonderful ethics of the company .. they are also very witty.  They are British you know.  I love buying the large boxes of this tea and have um, about 6 in the pantry right now.tues-02

Here is the   Yorkshire Tea   web site .. and be sure to click on the videos, they are amazing!!

Then someone treated me to some Irish Breakfast tea.  I hadn’t heard of it before so I just had to buy some at Thrifty Foods.  Regular and Decaf!   Good tea.

tues-03

So, in the Quality Foods Flyer a few weeks ago, I notice that there is a Scottish Tea.  Good heavens, is there no end to these UK teas??  Last Saturday I went to the store and couldn’t find this in the Tea section, a young clerk (from Scotland!) helped me find this box.  And neither he nor I could figure out what “Specially Blended for Scottish Water” means.  I even asked someone in Scotland and was told the water there is the same as the water here.  So this must be a marketing ploy.    🙂  The teabags are built like a pyramid, with their tri-corners.tues-01

It almost seemed like a tempest in a teapot.  That makes no sense, but the thought popped up so I just typed it!

A group of Girl Guides were selling the cookies at the mall, so after I bought the tea, I paid for a box of cookies.  Tea and cookies!  Delicious on a Saturday afternoon and the cookies did not last long, they were so good.   I was very mature and only bought one box!tues-04

We were stopped at a traffic light and I wasn’t driving, so I swiftly took my camera out and snapped this happy photo.  Well done, hay?   Very cheerful and people were out in the fields, choosing their special pumpkin for Halloween.tues-06

And back at home, I was able to gather some gifts from the garden!!

tues-05

So, fall is officially here.  The beans are still growing .. I am able to pick many of them every day and more are growing on the vines!

And such a busy time, preparing the beans for the dehydrator.   And drying the corn, fruit leather and then the green tomatoes for veggie powder mix.

Getting ready for the wintertime, for the lovely hearty soups and stews that will be so comforting on cold and rainy days.

I feel like a busy little ant!

🙂


Leave a comment

Music in the garden, rain on my plants …

Yesterday (Sunday) the weather was overcast and I was so sure the sun would come out as it usually does when I want a cloudy day.   So it didn’t and the rains came down instead.  I needed to go outside to pick some more beans and at the same time I wanted to listen, yet again, to the most beautiful music in the world – Adam Sutherland’s Squall!  Here is how I did that!   The sound was a teensy bit muffled but my ipod and speaker stayed nice and dry & I could hear the music so that was fine!   Plus, a lid to keep my mug of Yorkshire tea  from being diluted by the rain worked well.  And .. lately .. I’ve been finding things lost and thought I’d never see again.  The most recent is the packet of Irish Shamrock seeds.  I’d located the packet of  Irish soil a few days ago and sort of lamented that I’d misplaced the seeds .. et voila!
020

Speaking of finding lost things .. lately I’ve been either finding things or else the things that I want to have are right there for me.   Having written that, I might better explain this by giving some examples.  When I was working on tidying up the stony area beside the house a few days ago, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I had some more landscape fabric.  I went beneath the sundeck and there is a folded section of the same that I’d bought last year and hadn’t used!   Right there, waiting for me!  I didn’t have to go searching, it was just there.  Other similarities, wanting string ..oh, there it is.  Looking for a certain container .. oh, there it is. On and on .. other examples don’t spring to mind, but it has been happening quite a bit – enough for me to notice.

Now, what is happening?  Are all these things that I “need” noticed by my unconscious and when my conscious mind thinks ” oh .. I must have this .. or that .. and where is it …?” then my unconscious kicks in and I am able to locate them?  Whatever is happening, I’m quite happy that the end result is that I am able to find what I need.

Out in the rain with little JaneE Kat .. she is having her outdoor shower via the skies above.

021

The rain was soft at first and then changed into a steady pour ..

022

Loving how the raindrops bejewel the petals of the sunflower ..023

I’m rooting for this squash to grow so I can see what type it is.  It is nearing the end of August and there should be a month plus of growing weather.  I didn’t plant the seeds till July and am not sure if that was late or not.  One more thing to check next year – the fun of gardening.   030

The graceful tendrils of the squash tumble down, lending an aura of decadent beauty.  Utterly beautiful, by Mother Nature!

024

Rain droplets on a blueberry plant .. a diverse array of shapes and designs ..

025

Cherokee Trail of Tears … the beans turn green when cooked .. they are delicious and crunchy when eaten fresh off the vine.  Yum.

026

Beneath the protection of my umbrella, I checked the vines of some Scarlet Red Runner beans.   Yesterday I’d noticed that they had grown back on themselves, seeking a structure to cling to and they were so intertwined that I knew the vines would break if I tried to untangle them.   They were also in the way as they hung down about  5 feet from the ground – I had to move them aside to get anywhere.   I fetched my ladder and simply tied them to a branch of the apple tree and they seem to be settling in quite well.

027

Never cease to be amazed by the vigour of this old rose plant .. it just keeps on flowering and reaching up to the sun.  Now, should I use the descriptive “old” or just “mature”?? Either way this plant has grown for many years (I’m guessing 30 when I planted it).  I was younger and so was the plant.  Now .. I’m still “young”in my heart and will stay so.  Maybe we are both “older and wiser” .. tough and durable and still pretty !!

028

Red lupins .. love how the rain paints a dainty trim of watery lace around each leaf and then gently drifts down to the centre, creating a silvery pool of water .. very ethereal.

029

Spanish Musica, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Blue Bush beans.  I vowed I wouldn’t freeze beans this year, but with such a bounty, have changed my mind.   Found an easy way to treat them .. rinse, dry, chop, freeze.  No water bath.  That’s my kind of winter prep.  Although now that I’ve learned the proper way to prepare beans (big pot of slightly salted water, add beans, cook for 3 minutes) I think all the beans will be happily eaten before winter!  My lovely plants are so generous.

030

A few years ago I began my little garden note book and in it I wrote what I planted and when.  This serves as a good reference for me.  However, this year I couldn’t find that little book until I’d planted everything and of course this year I didn’t write down when I planted what.  And later on I found that little book!! I know that I planted the beans in July, and the squash seeds after that.   There is always next year to keep notes so I’ll just relax this year and enjoy the generous bounty of my lovely garden.  We were lucky to have hot sunny summer weather which enabled all the plants (properly watered!) to grow well.

Sunny day today .. time to get on with my daily life …

🙂

 


4 Comments >

Monday, September 16, 2013

Such a lovely quiet weekend .. spent time in my garden.  Decadent hours with some of my gardening book collection scattered around me.  A few mugs of Yorkshire Tea.   Inspirational and melodic music playing from my iPod.   Birds twittering.  Sun trying to break through the clouds.  I hadn’t spent such a peaceful relaxing and decadent time in the back yard for a long time.  And it was just wonderful, thank you very much.

And I finally started a long-awaited project of naming the plants that surround me  …. this is truly a formidable task and one I’d started a number of times and just given up.

But Saturday was the day that I once again began this Herculean task.   Armed with my (new) aluminum writing case (I’ll just have to take a photo today to show this and my notes)  …. I started at one side of the yard and began the initial rough drawings, along with a legend of names.

Discovered quite a few name tags were not attached to the plants, so began taking photos and will do some research.  If I have trouble identifying them, then one day soon I will post photos and ask for help from the gardening community!

Oh, wow .. I know that I am a plantaholic but even the list that I made overwhelms me.  I’m currently on page 11 and have only covered maybe less than 3/4 of the yard.  Gulp

Then I took time out to move some of the recently acquired bales of hay .. the dance of moving the bales from the car, through to the back yard and then to the compost area has begun:

01While moving the hay, I heard the soft trill of the European Starling

15aDainty little sunflower peeking out of the tomato planted basket .. how sweet ..

02Volunteer tomatoes have sprung up among the squash plants …

14It seems as if these jewels have popped up overnight …. they are pretty

10The magic of plants .. ever-growing in the sun (and the rain)

12Tiny little squash .. still lots of growing time left as the first frost in Victoria isn’t predicted till early November.

11Another little patch of sunflowers .. growing near one of the bird feeders

13This squash is growing quite well .. wondering how big it will be when it is time to harvest!  I plan to save this one for decoration until it’s finally time to cook it ..

09Lots of surprises every day in the garden … as I find little treasures tucked away …

07I truly was surprised to see the one luffa plant that survived!  I’d started out with maybe 6 that had sprouted.  This jewel keeps opening up flowers daily …..I love the shape and texture, they are very delicate ..almost humble

06Every luffa fruit that had grown lasted only for a few days before dropping off, so this really was a treat to find an actual luffa growing around the aluminum tubes that are stored here.  And imagine my surprise when I found another one growing nearby yesterday!  These really are gifts from my garden.  Thank you.

05And I just liked the look of the sage plant growing nearby …. I have zillions of sage seeds, so perhaps next year I’ll plant a hedge .. that would be very striking in the summer!

04

Grow on .. squash … whether or not I actually am able to harvest squash from this plant matters not   The beauty fills my heart with the joy of the magic of plants.   Plus this will be nice to look at in the cool winter months when I dream again of planting my veggie garden!  Although I think that I might make a structure for them to grow on.  This is my first experience of growing them and is a bit of a learning curve that happens to all.

03There are a few of this type of squash growing .. looks like a spaghetti squash, but not really sure what it is.

08It just never gets tired .. the joy and magic I find in my garden.   And I’ve so enjoyed the wonderful time just being outside, looking through books.   Getting to know what is growing where and listing the names.  I’m reconnecting with the beauties that I’ve been gathering for a few years.

Some will be moved to another area of the yard.   Some will be propagated quite easily.  Lots to do yet in my back yard adventures.  And more delightful discoveries to be made as I venture out there.

sigh.

Time to start my day!

🙂