Friday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday morning I was up way early, baking pies. Sorry, no pics, they were so good, they are nearly gone. I used the Tenderflake recipe which makes a light flaky crust. Actually mixed up the pastry a few weeks ago, and froze some portions for future use. Which turned out to be Wednesday.
I used the single crust method, rolling the pastry into a circle, prepared the filling and then folded the edges up, forming a plate sized open pie! And the fillings! I’d frozen apple slices and cherries from last summers’ crops and finally used them.
Still have some more of the above, plus plums, minced green tomato and tomatillos. Oh, and lots of little jars of jam, applesauce, chutney also.
Then I spent many hours at the little Toshiba laptop at the kitchen table. Began the arduous task of typing out my hastily scribbled notes taken during the intensive Organic Master Gardening Course, recently completed. Originally I had the best intentions of doing this in an ongoing manner while the course was taking place .. however, um, I didn’t do that. Was spending my time studying the course materials, online and from our study book.
As I was typing these pages, I am time travelling back in time to the classes. Every detail is clear and I am so glad that I took these notes. The instructors gave us so much valuable information, sources to research, names to look up .. I’ve reached 9 pages of single line notes so far and scads to go before I’m done … I plan to just spend a few hours a day in this endeavour. I take little breaks from the tapping of the keys to look up some of the information .. whole new worlds of beneficial natural gardening.
I’ve never ever taken this amount of time and devoted it to studying and I find this quite satisfying.
Then, time to go outside and play. I’ve been using DH’s camera a lot lately and discovered that it has the best motor drive for multiple pictures .. so I’ve been utilizing this drive when taking bird pictures. And the result is so very many clear pictures, when I click from one to the next, it looks like a slow motion picture!
I see that Mr. Downy Woodpecker has taken a wife! Very striking couple they are. I’ve seen him in the yard for a few years, very distinguishable with his brilliant red colouring at the back of his head. At first the female was shy and would fly away, but she is getting used to my presence in the yard, so I’m able to take photos of her. She is equally striking with her plumage, and lacks the brilliant red, and she is also, I think, a little smaller than her mate. Welcome additions to the yard!
I’ve been applying that wonderful seaweed/grasses/kelp carefully on the garlic bed .. making sure that the mixture doesn’t cover the garlic and just goes around them. Mmmmmm .. interesting to see what a difference this mineral laden material will make to the size of the bulbs. And I’ll be applying EM to them also, either early in the morning or late afternoon, when the weather is a bit cooler.
Finished emptying and then properly layering in the other 2 compost containers, so now all 3 are in better condition. Layers of green (seaweed/kitchen scraps) and brown (hay/leaves/manure) & cardboard. Lots of oxygen for the microbes. Yesterday, remembered that I’d forgotten the glacial rock dust & EM .. so I sprinkled on a handful of the dust and watered each container with about 2 cups of EM liquid.
I’ve mixed up 2 Litres of the EM and they have both reached the final litmus stage of 3.5, so ready to use. Today I’ll mix up a 2 L batch .. I’m going to spray all plant leaf surfaces in the yard, plus the soil and the lawn, so I’ll need lots of this precious liquid.
Here’s a link which explains what EM is and there is a video showing how to prepare it:
This might be kind of weird, but now that the compost containers are properly layered, there seems to be a different “feel” about them .. before, these containers were just places where I threw the kitchen and garden wastes. things “composted” but they were just dark containers that held materials that would simply break down.
But now, they feel like bright happy places, populated with busy worlds of microbes of all kinds, working away to break down the structure of the materials .. transforming it all to healthy compost. Which I will use throughout the garden. Sort of like that fairy story, where a princess (me??) wove straw into gold.
Gardeners are fanciful, aren’t we?
Yesterday, walking around the garlic bed, smelling the lovely tantalizing perfume of the seaweed mixture, I remembered the trek out to Sooke with my walking pal D .. the fun we had .. on that sunny trip. She would explain the varieties of grasses and seaweed … it was a fun, learning trip. And I plan to make another one .. cause, I only have 2 containers of this material left!! It’s going fast.
I then spent some time digging out raspberry and red & black currant canes from around the fence .. I’m creating a berry bed in part of the yard and want them out in the sun more. Besides, we’ll be replacing some fence panels soon and I don’t want them damaged!
I’ve been learning that ivy is not the best plant to have in the yard and horrors .. what it does in the wilds, suppresses the growth of native lilies. But, I do think that ivy has its place. It’s good for privacy. I’ve seen a nifty inexpensive privacy screen at an outdoor restaurant. It was simply a framed lattice section, anchored in a rectangular planter, with ivy growing rampantly up the lattice. The unit was free-standing, not connected to a fence or wall, so the ivy was kept neatly trimmed.
So, then, yesterday, I was preparing to fill a few of the bird feeders. The sun was shining .. and the yard was quite, the birds had disappeared. Hmm .. wondered if the hawks and eagles were out there somewhere. Suddenly I saw a seagull soaring lazily up in the sky, crying out in that loud seagull fashion .. so figure there weren’t any of the raptors out there . .otherwise the gull wouldn’t have been so brazen.
Focus brought back to the bird feeders, when I heard the raucous cries of some crows .. looked up and omg, there was the eagle! Seagull clutched firmly with strong talons, flying low over our yard, just a few hundred feet above the wild and crazy tree. I simply dropped everything and ran to the middle of the yard, just as the eagle flew overhead. Wanted to take pics, but no time .. truly amazing. I seem to remember that the crows were cheering on the eagle, at the time . .there was a little gaggle of bird activity in the sky, but I was focused solely on the eagle.
Had to stop for a few minutes and regain my gardening energy . . it was a bit tough for a few minutes though, having witnessed that surge of raw animal power.
This is Nature’s way .. the birds have to eat. They don’t go to the supermarket.
So .. back to the garden. Continuously looking sky-ward. Saw some eagles chasing a regal raven … they soon tired of the play and the raven elegantly sailed away.
Wow .. so now here it is Friday and lots to do outside .. so that’s where I’m heading soon!