January 4, 2012
Yesterday was overcast and the rains would come and go so I decided that it was a perfect time to finish taking down the Christmas decorations. Found the few ornaments that were hiding amongst the branches, as always, a Christmas tradition.
Took down the sparkling Christmas lights that encircled the room .. so pretty. Neatly bundled and carefully placed in those lovely zippered clear bags from the new drapes.
Finally, removed the tree trunk from the stand and the tree made it’s way (with my assistance!) from the living room to the yard. I plan to re-use the tree in the garden. I’ll clip the branches and these I’ll just cut up and place appropriately around plants .. perhaps beneath our “first Christmas tree” .. to dissuade cats from utilizing the ground as a litter box! Yes, I’ll do that!
and then the trunk … I’ll definitely use that to stake up some plants or perhaps I’ll use it as part of a trellis for growing sweet-peas!
Eventually, the house was back in order, containers of Christmas decorations put away downstairs. Vacuuming finished, dusting finished and our house was back to normal. This year I’m not so sad at completing the “putting away” process … we’ve had a good Christmas & New Years and now it’s time to get on with this new year!
Looked out the kitchen window .. from time to time .. puzzled by the lack of activity. Couldn’t figure out what was going on .. the bird feeders were full … as were the suet holders. Hmmmm.
Finally .. I “really” looked at the yard and noticed a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, high atop the branches of the wild and crazy tree! Aha! This was why there wasn’t any bird activity in the yard.
I took my little camera and stepped out onto the sundeck …trying to be as quiet as possible …and soon noticed that the hawk wasn’t fazed by my presence. He was a regal being and I was beneath his radar, not above it.
So I clicked away … appreciative of the fact that I really was lucky to be seeing this bird in the yard. I realize that he must frequent the yard often .. and I’m usually away, so I feel fortunate to be there.
The little Anna is completely unfazed … and boldly perches on a branch on the other side of the tree. Chirping away quite loudly. He zooms past the hawk several times, as if he is taunting the hawk.
Seagulls fly by … as do some crows. But no other winged creatures.
I had some errands to do and when I returned, walked around to the back of the yard … the hawk was still there and seemingly content to stay for the rest of the day. Time was spent grooming his feathers.
Saw a bird feeder had crashed to the ground a few feet away from where I had placed it and wondered ..when had it tumbled to the ground? Was this the start of the hawk’s adventure this morning? Diving towards the feeder, dislodging it and then it fell? I’ll never know. But it had to have taken some energy to remove the feeder from the coiled wire that it had hung from. Mysteries.
Went about my household activities, continuously returning to the window to check on the status of the hawk. Finally …. saw that the tree was void of his presence .. so I missed his departure. And I wondered if he’d been successful in hunting down some lunch?
Birds didn’t return till later .. and then they returned in droves .. starving for the bird seed and suet. The day was ending and I felt so happy to see these little guys back in the yard. Hopping and flying … filling their little tummies for their long night’s sleep.
Didn’t see the Nuthatches though … although I saw Mr & Mrs on Monday, taking turns visiting the suet feeders. Mrs lacks the rosy chest that Mr has .. quite a striking colour, though.
Inside, I decided to finally turn a dream into a reality. Just a small dream, mind you. One that involved slicing up some triangular ciabetta buns that were getting a little stale. These were lovely, topped with a variety of grains and I just didn’t want to discard them.
There were just two of these buns left … so I sliced them as thinly as possible and placed them on a cookie sheet. Into the oven at 300, letting one side toast to a golden brown and then flipped the slices over, to complete the crispy process.
Yea, they looked wonderful .. as crunchy and tasty as could be. They looked so pretty in the clear glass containers that I placed them in. So I had to take a pic!
Hmmmm… DH gave me a terrific soup book for Christmas and I have my eye on a delicious onion soup recipe, these slices will be perfect. And onions, I have a great supply of in the pantry. Potatoes and onions .. I have to have these foods in the kitchen .. otherwise, it’s quite an empty place. These are basics.
And, then, last night .. the time came to head on out to attend the free information session regarding the upcoming Organic Master Gardening course to be held at Royal Roads.
I am not a great night driver and last night the roads were dark and the heavy downpour of rain made the drive a challenging one for me .. but I drove with caution, determined to attend the session.
Once there, I found a seat at the front of the class … and had time for a conversation with the instructor. And, what a very tiny little world this is! We had met at Swan Lake, a year ago!
When I was adjusting to my early retirement, my life newly unconstrained by time limits, hours of work and lunch breaks. I’d been in the process of creating my Lovely New Life!
So I practically lived at Swan Lake … and went for walks there nearly every single day.
And during the process, I met some very interesting people … birders, philosophers .. it was a lovely time.
And so I thought how coincidental this world is .. if I hadn’t gone for those walks, then I wouldn’t have connected with a great group of people.
As it turns out there are 4 instructors for this course. We will have lectures, discussions, hands on classes, assignments. We will learn the symbiotic relationships, communication between organisms and insects soil processes and partnerships, soil ecology, soil testing, soil fertility management. Soil/water relationships. Composting .. with hands on assignments. Water wise gardening.
There will be two classes on diagnosing landscaping health problems. We’ll make site visits. Learn how to make strip gardens (I think that’s what it’s called) .. cardboard base then topped with soil/mulch. We’ll learn which plants need to have cuttings made in the cardboard, to allow their roots to go through. And which plants are so tenacious that they will do the job themselves.
I’ve used the newspaper layering, then the cardboard, for years. And although I might know a good bit about natural gardening, I know that, through this course, I will learn much more. So I’m really looking forward to that.
Lawn care .. ok, so I’m not in love with lawns, but I do look forward to learning about natural inoculants to improve the soil for lawn growth.
There will be sessions on pruning … Tamara went over the basics of pruning, how injuries to trees cannot be healed by the tree itself, the importance of branch collars. Information that I’d skimmed over in my books.
I really look forward to attending classes, absorbing all the information, then returning home to make more notes and research from my books.
Also, we’ll have access to Gaia College’s online information .. so that is quite exciting.
About plant names .. those aren’t a priority ..we can easily learn these on our own. This course focuses on learning techniques that can be applied to all plants. Eco systems that work. Alternative construction methods & materials.
Creating healthy, vibrant gardens, focusing on healthy plants.
This course resonates with my gardening self. It will give me the structure that I’ve been searching for .. in my gardening business. Everyone involved is focused on natural gardening and I know that I will meet more like-minded people.
And there will be places to go, people to meet, products to try .. ideas for me to experiment with …. all is coming together re my gardening life and I’m ever so happy!!!!
Well .. on with this rainy day .. I’ll be working away with my gardening book data base! And looking for ideas as I go along!
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