I’m taking a break from blogging .. using the time now for gardening .. enjoying the summer.
See you later .. enjoy your summer!
I’m taking a break from blogging .. using the time now for gardening .. enjoying the summer.
See you later .. enjoy your summer!
Posted in My Lovely Daily Life |
Monday, April 2, 2012
Oh, I am a lucky gal, I am, I am I am! And I’ll tell you why, in a moment!
But first, yesterday, Sunday, April 1 .. was a brilliantly sunny day, albeit a wee bit chilly! DH, friends and I met at Dakota Café for a lovely early breakfast. I saw the most amazing cloud formations and just wanted to run outside to take pics of them, but decided, in my maturity (?) to wait till the meal was finished and then . . I went outside!
Brrrr .. by then the really amazing cloud formations had morphed into other shapes. Well, really, they had moved on in the sky, but I like the idea of the morphing better.
Rejoined the breakfast table and the conversation!
Later, on the way home, we noticed the new eagle nest .. the old one had succumbed to weathering a few years ago. Luckily the eagles had built the new nest (it’s actually a few years old) in the same area. Just for the heck of it, I brought out the camera and clicked away as we drove by .. and luckily, the photos turned out well.
And yesterday was the final day of the Friends of the Library book sale. I wondered, would I be choosy and perhaps a bit more mature in my book selection this time? Not sure, but I made sure that I took a good supply of shopping bags with me. And decided to leave my somewhat bulky backpack/purse at home this time. Easier to slip between the crowds.
This time I was not at the front of the line but I was at a respected position of number 5, so that was good. We waited, the line getting longer and longer. Suddenly, the sound of broken glass broke through the silence of the afternoon, and as one, all of us in the lineup turned to face the direction of the sound.
A gentleman stood at the back of his truck, a look of puzzlement on his face …. While his hand continued to uphold the swing out glass door of his truck’s canopy. I’d caught the action of the broken glass tumbling to the ground as he’d swung open the door. And as he started to lower it, more glass continued to crumble and fall to the ground. No one spoke for a few minutes until suddenly a voice rang out “are you ok?”
It seems he was fine, just in shock over what happened, though. At this point, the door to the library book sale was opened and everyone trooped in .. so I don’t know the ending to that story.
Well .. I just wandered around .. not sure at which table I should start looking for books. Couldn’t see any aviation or weather books this time. That’s ok .. I was able to amass quite a few good ones at the last sale.
It was a fun time, chatting with fellow shoppers, discussing the merits of various authors. I made my way over to the garden and craft section . .and it was here that I struck gold!
There was a very thin book “Living Earth” by Peter Farb, “The Worlds of Science” .. printed in 1959. Now, before I took my life changing Organic Master Gardening course (Gaia College, through Royal Roads University) .. I would not have given this book a second glance. But, my life has changed for the better, so I quickly grabbed this treasure. And I’ve been reading it carefully, page by page. In the preface, he notes that, despite mankind’s curiosity about the soil, there “has never been a book for the untutored in science on this subject.” And he continues that there was no technical study on soil until 1957.
The title of the first chapter is “the Placenta of Life” .. and here he introduces the active life found within the soil. My new best friends “mycorrhizal fungi” are discussed in this book. Plus so very much more.
For interest, here are the titles of the chapters, how revealing they are:
Part 1 – The Living Soil: 1) The Placenta of Life; 2) The Story of Soil
Part II – The Forests: 3) The Forest Hive; 4) The World of the Root; 5) Soil Societies
Part III – The Grasslands: 6) Dwellers in Darkness; 7) Triumph of the Seed
Part IV – The Deserts: 8) Adapting to Adversity
Part V – Mutual Survival: 9) Living Together and Living Apart; 10) This Enduring Earth
Needless to say, this science report, Peter Farb had a passion for nature .. sadly he has passed on, but he has left us such gifts, namely this treasure of a book.
And, among the other interesting landscaping and gardening books is this other treasure of a book and how very fitting, since I’m beginning to learn more about native plants and ecosystems! Again, this book is small, but full of important information about ecosystems “Field Guide to Old-Growth Forests” of the Pacific NorthWest. Thank you to the forces which guided me to these books, I am so very grateful.
Later, after 3 trips to the car to put book filled shopping bags in the car and deciding that really, I had enough, I made myself leave. Anyway, the sale was over. And once again I proved that I have no will power when it comes to gathering up books.
What were some other treasures .. oh, yes, a book on the Masterpieces of Tutankhamun, glorious coloured plates therein. “Prehistoric Art” by T.G.E. Powell .. this interests me and today I’ll be going to a free lecture at U Vic on Shamanism in historic cave art & I’ll share that tomorrow.
“Treasures of Early Irish Art” 1500 BC to 1500 AD .. the artwork on the cover was intriguing. The book contains photos and history of art “from the collections of the National Museum of Ireland Royal Irish Academy Trinity College, in Dublin. As I opened the cover of this most fascinating book, leafed through the pages and saw the photos of ancient tools, jewellery, chalice, artifacts, I decided that luck had placed this gift in my path, so I tucked it away in yet another shopping bag. I’m looking through the pages right now, very happy that I decided to take it with me .. so much history, so much beauty ..
Among the Graphic Art books that I selected, there is one on the art of Renate Ulmer “Mucha”. Now, I have always loved his art, so inventive, playful .. so now I can peruse at my leisure. And, no respect to this esteemed book . .but I might be so bold as to clip some of the drawings and try to decoupage them onto some tiles .. or something.
“Minoan and Mycenaean Art” by Reynold Higgins .. .ok, I was standing way too long at the art table and after this book, I made myself move away!
But wait, what’s this .. a book on poetry. And not just any poetry, but poems from the 17th Century. Come on now, who, having read some of the lines contained within these pages, could resist??? Not me. Well, I was just looking through this book, hoping to find a short and cheerful little ditty to share ..but am finding that the dismal tone of these writings have made me decide to put this little book in the “free” pile at our next garage sale.
Oh, well, c’est la vie, as it were!
On and on with this bright new day!
Posted in My Lovely Daily Life |
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday … the end of the work week .. and another day of activity. A real mix of weather, ranging from brilliant sunshine to pouring rain.
What to do .. what to do … what to do…
Shopping of course .. made a list, actually brought it with me and then left it in the car! Groceries first .. went to a few supermarkets to take advantage of sales. Found some good deals and soon the back of my car was loaded up. Also purchased the most beautiful umbrella at the bank, proceeds go to Children’s Hospital. It’s just the loveliest umbrella I’ve ever had. There are two coverings. The outer (top) is black and the inner cover is a cheerful blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds. How appropriate for one who loves the sky so much! And I actually had the opportunity to use this in the afternoon when I went for a little walk! I had my blue skies with me, even though it was pouring rain!
Decided to just make a “little” visit to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. When I got there, the little parking lot was jammed full .. so decided to leave unless a spot happened to open up. Just as I made this decision, I noticed someone preparing to get into their car and leave. Hmmm.. what can I say? So I waited a few minutes and then parked in the now vacant spot.
Pulled on my gumboots and started walking. Sauntered along the pathway to Tuesday Pond … went to the side area .. which is now nicely covered in mulch . This mulch looks just like the pine chippings that I scooped up a few days ago, from “free” in Used Victoria ads. I’m getting to know my mulch. And glad that I still have 6 large Rubbermaid containers full at home .. plan to use this on my back pathway. Pine mulch is not good for gardens, but perfect for pathways.
Anyway .. onwards I went .. and saw no ducks at the side area .. so I retraced my steps, planning to take the shortcut to the little bridge which spans the Tuesday Pond area. Oops .. there is a large Canada Goose along the shores .. so I decided to go the long way around. The Geese can be a bit territorial and I didn’t want any confrontations.
I walked along the pathway for a while, tempted to walk the full circuit around the Sanctuary, but decided on a shorter version, it’s too easy to spend hours and hours here and I have things to do at home.
Eventually I turned back and made my way to the main observatory. Noticed many cleared areas, invasive plant growth removed, lots of sunshine now entering the cleared areas. Lovely ..lots of volunteers have helped to open up these side wooded areas.
Spoke with other people looking out for birds and feeding the ducks. Saw the Cormorants were still settled on the wooden platform which is tethered to the shore. Separate from the main walkway and inaccessible to the public, a safe haven for the birds.
Noticed a Great Blue Heron stalking prey for lunch, very stealthy. Then, ta da, he swiftly gathered up a rodent, and just as swiftly, in one gulp, it was gone. Nature at work.
Stopped and watched some Red Winged Blackbirds as they sang away. These are quite beautiful birds and the females have the most beautiful songs to sing.
Finally I tear myself away and go to the Nature House to see if my place on the Native Plant workshop has changed .. I’m currently Number 3 on the wait list. Nope, unchanged. And no phone calls as of this morning, so I didn’t make the cut. Boo hoo .. that will teach me to procrastinate! If I’d contacted them when I first saw the ad, I’d be there right now. Oh, well, there will be other workshops, I know.
Homeward bound …noticed that the sunny morning skies have changed and now were overcast. Groceries brought in and put away. Time for tea!
Played around in my garden room. Sorting seeds. Found some packages that were either purchased by me or given to me as gifts. Boxed herb seeds. A package of Korean pine tree seeds, complete with compostable plant pot and saucer. I followed the instructions given on the enclosed sheet and now the seeds are sitting in the moistened potting mix and awaiting germination. If they sprout, then I’ll keep them in pots. Perhaps I’ll plant them on our future property, but time will tell if they will indeed sprout.
Then, the herb package, sweet little clay pots, 4 labelled aluminum plant stakes and 4 envelopes of seeds. I’ll put them in plant pots and see if they will germinate. If they do, then I’ll have lots of basil, parsley, thyme and cilantro for the summer. You just never know.
Finding (and using) these hidden treasures gives me incentive to continue on with my clearing away the clutter in my garden room.
I also found time to look through some watercolour instruction books. Looking for ideas that I can use to paint some white rectangular tiles. I’ll take the painting ideas and use them on a variety of things for the garden. It would be fun to paint some leftover boards and try to make signage for the garden. Another fun project for a sunny day.
Went outside for a few minutes, in between the rainy showers and checked out the garlic, growing quite strongly now. Looked up in the sky .. no eagles flying around. Heard the rapid taps at the bird feeder as a little chickadee pecked away at the acrylic sides of the feeder – to remind me to add more sunflower seeds to the feeder! Ha ha ha .. went inside to fetch the sunflower seed container and then added a cup full to the various feeders. The birds only tap at this feeder when it’s empty, smart little guys, aren’t they?
Rains began, so inside I went. And on with my day.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday was a lovely, overcast day. The rains fell often enough to dissuade me from digging away in the garden, but not enough to keep me away from there!
I must have slept through the windstorms of late Wednesday night .. .and I was surprised to see, yet again, the backyard hummingbird feeder lying on the ground. I might have to change the location for the summertime, as currently I have the feeder hanging from the little Lee Valley archway, leading into the veggie garden area.
So I rinsed out the feeder, searched for .. and found .. the little yellow baskets that sit in the middle of each of the red “flowers”. Went to the fridge and brought out the container of 3:1 sugar nectar. Reassembled the feeder and hung it up again.
Back inside later, I mixed another mixture of 3:1 and placed several full containers in the fridge, once they had cooled down from the short cooking process, transforming the sugar/water mixture into a liquid nectar. That’s it for the 3:1 and when this mix is gone, I’ll resort to the 4:1 for the summer.
Away to the front yard and, my goodness, that feeder was empty too! So promptly refilled it. Didn’t take too long for one of the little Anna’s to zero in and settle down on the tiny little perch and start sipping away.
I noticed the beauty of the raindrops on the outer surfaces of the dainty daffodil flowers. Such grace and natural loveliness. Pretty as a picture, I thought.
Then of course, I just had to wander around the yard. Soft raindrops falling in a mist, gently painting a delicate cover of moisture on everything in the yard. I was very glad that this was happening, since there were several plants that I had dug up a few days ago, still sitting on the soil, waiting to be planted. They certainly will not dry out.
Looked up to the sky, no aerial shows to see. The winged creatures must be elsewhere or perhaps they are taking cover from the rain?
So, decided to go inside and tackle a task that I’ve been avoiding. Drum roll. My little garden room has been neglected during the last few months. And disorder had come to visit. So, ended the procrastination and began moving things around. Trying so hard to be decisive about what leaves and what stays.
I moved my tools, all the paraphernalia, hammers, saws, nails, screws, screwdrivers, all that sort of thing onto the walled shelving unit. A solidly built set of 3 shelves, installed by a previous owner. Myself, I would have extended the shelves so that they would have spanned the entire wall, for better storage. But these are solid enough, so they will stay, for now. Unless DH decides to change things .. he is so very creative about these sorts of things, he is quite amazing.
Turned the music up loud, brought out the broom and started sweeping. It’s quite amazing, the amount of leaves and mud that I’ve been bringing in, via my boots .. but that’s the way it is when I’m gardening.
Decided to create more space taken up by my bunches of dried garlic bulbs, kept finding more bunches strung around the room. Spent some time trimming the bottoms and clipping the bulbs from their papery branches. Found one bulb sprouting so took that outside for planting. Ended up with a large basket full of the savoury things.
Even had some elephant garlic .. guess I’d dug them up too soon, because there were several that were just one round ball, the size of a golf ball. Very delicate garlic scent also, not overpowering.
After a few tea breaks and time out to read some chapters of a good mystery .. I’m currently reading one by Marcia Muller “Dead Midnight” (she has the most amazing storylines and her characters are full of life!) and Lisa Jackson “Malice” (same …amazing author).
Sometimes, I just want to be totally decadent and just curl up on an afternoon and just read a book from cover to cover. This was a habit when I was a teenager and then into my 20’s and 30’s and then I just seemed to have dropped the habit. And all my time was filled with being “busy”.
Looking over to my fiction book unit I see that I have quite a few more books to read .. so that I can empty the shelves and then visit the next library book sale. Once I read a book, it goes into a bag, to be given away free to those interested. I’ve tried keeping track of the books I’ve read, but that project got away from me! I’ll try to update my list, to avoid picking them up again. But I must admit, in the frenzied atmosphere of the book sale, I just grab what I can.
Which reminds me of the most amazing luck I had at the last book sale .. for the first time I was able to select quite a number of books on weather, clouds etc. in addition to some fantastic gardening and birding books. These are treasures and I look through them from time to time. They are the kinds of books to take along on a weekend away .. when I can spend hours looking through them, without feeling guilty about time spent.
The hours just flew by yesterday and soon I had finished organizing my room for the day. DH was home and time for supper.
Today .. I plan to finish the organizing in my garden room. And now there are some tough decisions to make. Should I keep my beading and glass tile hobbies for now or get rid of them? There are some lovely bright and colourful bobbles that I’ve been accumulating .. planning to make some garden art from them. They’ve been just sitting there in their containers, not looked at, for a long time.
I think that I will most likely decide to get going and be creative. Spend some decadent hours with my creative hat on and just assemble all my little treasures out on the table and play around.
I’ll post any pictures of my new artistic endeavours when they are done. Just writing this out has helped me decide to keep my supplies for another year. This will be the year that I’ll venture into that special little world of creativity. :)
Today looks to be another overcast day and for that I am glad. Time to get going .. a little walk, fresh air, and then .. back to organizing.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday .. was .. at times … sunny .. then cloudy .. some rain .. followed by sun. A potpourri kind of day, weatherwise.
Spent some time outside, relocating some of the taller plants in the back of the yard. I’m making a kind of little secret garden, of sorts. Starting with tall perennials along the fence, with a little pathway in front of that. Then I’ve moved the garden bed back a foot, and began the process of moving the taller bamboo plants closer to the edge of that.
Then I’m moving a line of raspberries in front of them. There will then be a staggered height of plants, tall to medium and then shorter (garlic, herbs). The tall plants will give protection to the lower plants.
My garden is in constant change and it’s easy to move them. Except I had to tug away at the Buddleia, thought. The roots are mainly fibrous, with one long tap root that extended farther than I wanted to dig, so I just cut the end of the root . . still have a two foot length left and these plants are tough as nails, anyway.
Why am I doing this? Well, in a burst of creative thought a few days ago, I thought that if I could rearrange the veggie garden (part of it, anyway) then I could install my propagating area here. In a nice and tidy fashion, that is. And I find that these projects sort of take on a life of its own … I simply start the process and my inner artist takes over. The results are always creative and I’m always surprised and impressed with the results.
And I’ve decided to install rustic fencing along parts of the garden, to visually break up some of the areas. I’ll be re-using the branches and bamboo canes that I’d used to make a holding area for my mountain of mulch leaves from last fall. I have my eye on several very tall bamboo canes currently growing in one area of the yard, so luckily, I’m not lacking in fencing materials.
I like the look of the rustic fencing that was installed at the front of Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, and when I’d last visited there on Tuesday, I looked at this fencing again and thought, perfect for the back yard! So, thanks for the inspiration, Swan Lake!!
I was quite involved in digging away yesterday when the rains came .. I simply covered up my camera, binoculars, iPod and simply went on digging. After all, what’s a little rain? Then the sun came out and it felt like a warm summer day.
After what I’ve been learning in my gardening course, I’m not really happy about digging up and disturbing the soil .. saw the thin white strands of the mycorrhizal fungi in place, doing their part to help the roots of the plants. And promised that I’d add some of the powdered M. fungi that I’d purchased from the Gardener’s Pantry. I’ll soon have this soil healthy and vibrant again. Plus, liberal doses of EM!!
Took a break and read through some books on composting .. one mentions Bokashi, pallet & worm composting. However, the “helpful” information listed is nowhere near as detailed as the information that I learned in the Organic Master Gardening Course (Gaia College, at Royal Roads University). My gardening world has forever changed and I cannot go back to the way of thinking that I had before.
Funny, found a bag of plant fertilizer that I’d bought a few years back. The cardboard box holding the plastic bag had long since disintegrated and all that is left is the bag and the contents of several cups of white and pale green “fertilizer”granules. I shudder to think that I had used some of this on some plants. Now I’ll have to dispose of this in “hazardous” materials. Never, no more.
From now on, it’s EM, Compost Tea (Dr. Elaine R Ingham ), worm bins, mulch, grass cuttings, manure (organic preferably). What a difference that course has made in my life. And, luckily, I have access to the online videos and course material for a year. It will take at least that for me to go through all of these invaluable resources.
Anyway .. on with this most wonderful day. I think the rains have stopped .. can hear the birds singing away .. so out to my garden I go! And if it is still raining, well, there’s no shortage of things to do inside. Or maybe go for a walk. Choices .. it’s a good thing!