Archive for October, 2010

Sunny Saturday

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October 30, 2010

Yesterday was quite a busy day .. to the Saanich yard with garden cuttings, recycling, dentist and then finally, home, free to garden!

Working away at the side yard … thinking, how to sove the problem of comfrey, blackberry and weeds growing in the gravel path.  Last year I had removed deeply rooted blackberry plants .. we had never used this area of the yard so this was quite a challenge.

It took a few days of hard work and finally, I cleared the area away.  Then I’d spent a few days, working at levelling the ground surface . .using a pickax, shovel, etc.  After this, I carried in a supply of old bricks, to use as edging, laid down a layer of landscape fabric.  In hindsight, several layers of heavier fabric would have been better!  Or perhaps, putting old carpets on the ground first, then a layer of the fabric, would have deterred the weeds from growing.

Then I carried over, one by one, rubbermaid containers of (sorted, sieved, rinsed) gravel and shovelled this on the fabric, and installed round pavers to create a pathway on the gravel walkway.

I was able to install a few plants and place ivy cuttings in pots, before winter set in.   And that was that for this area.  Until a few days ago, when I attacked the weedy growth that was again overtaking all my work.  So now the area is again clear and I was thinking that I should bring more gravel over to make the pathway thicker.

So .. after my running around was done, I came home, donned my gardening gear and escaped outside to relax in the sun, sudoku and mug of tea.  I pondered the energy required to move more gravel to the side area.   While working the Sudoku numbers, thoughts of the side yard kept popping up .. maybe it was the postivity of the conversations that I’d recently had at the dentist’s office combined with the warmth of the sun’s rays .. but I suddenly thought “why did I make the gravel pathway so wide .. it could be narrower and I could plant more plants”!!!

Walked over to the side, visualized “more plants” and thought, yes, this will work!!! I’d mixed up some peat moss/organic soil mixture in my ‘barrow, so quickly planted some bushes and topped up areas around a boxwood (these are tough, tough, plants … survived a year without having been properly planted last year!)

Now, with garden tools, empty ‘barrow, rubbermaid containers & tarp .. I began the task of shifting the gravel.   My plan is to remove the gravel, put in containers and as space becomes available, onto a tarp.   Once this is done, I’ll dig out as much of the weeds as possible, then install a triple layer of l/fabric, creating a slightly curving path.   Then I’ll plant more of the recent sale bushes.

By this time, the mulch should be here, so I’ll be digging, filling containers and bring them, one by one, to install over every plant in the yard.  And look forward to seeing all the new growth next year!

Also, I’ve decided, starting November, to only blog on one page!  Since gardening does occupy most of my life .. it seems silly to go back and forth.  Besides the retirement blip has passed and I’m now in my next stage, of gardening.  And I’ll be focusing on getting my business going.  But I’ll only be writing about my own gardening!!!

These past two months have been so therapeutic . . I’ve been working hard every day, and feeling more energized every day.  My creativity is making a very strong comeback.  Ideas on things I can make for gardens, methods of working, playing around with found materials .. it’s all very exciting.  And ideas grow more ideas, and so on and so forth.

Camera set to “on” .. I walked around, taking pictures of happy flowers .. memories for this summer and points of reference for next summer.  I’d removed the tarp used to shield the interior of my car from soil, when I took more garden stuff to the yard.   Rinsed it off and draped it over one of my pvc arches .. worked well.  Tarp dried and easy to fold up. (photo)


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Fluently Friday

October 29, 2010

Fluent: (adj) (of speech, writing, etc. etc. ) flowing naturally; able to speak a language naturally; articulate; (of movement, etc.) easy and graceful.

This morning was very fluent.  Loaded up 8 rubbermaid containers with garden cuttings, leaves, etc.  Moved them around to the front yard.  Prepared my echo for the trip, large tarp carefully placed around the cargo area (love my hatchback car, it has so much cargo room!) and carefully loaded these into the back.  Also loaded items, bottles & clean plastic to be returned.

Had an enjoyable gardening talk with a neighbour .. then was on my way.  Amazingly enough, made it to the yard with only 2 red lights, that is just stupendous!  Quickly positioned my car into a spot at the yard, parked, pulled out the containers (some were so heavy, but this builds muscles!) and was out of there in less than 10 minutes.

Green lights again .. all the way to the bottle depot.  The whole exercise, leaving home, doing these errands and back again, took less than an hour!

Back home, carried the totes & tarp to the back yard.   Arranged the tarp over one of my incredible pvc arches, hosed it off and it is now drying in the sun!!

One more dentist visit and then I can come home and start planting again!  Oh happy days!


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Clearing away, Wednesday & Thursday

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October 28, 2010

Well … for all of yesterday and most of today (except for  todays dentist visit!) I toiled away at the side of the house where I’ve been busy creating a gravelled area, with an idea to making this the place to have lots of greenery and a little bistro table/chair/wine .. you get the scenario.  This side of the house visits my lovely gardening neighbours.  We have our privacy, grace of the high fence that we installed 20 years ago.  Yet we can always communicate with each other.  This is my wonderful, plant-sharing neighbour, M!

Yesterday, I only meant to do some light weeding, so that I could plant some of the bonus plant sale bargains that I recently purchased.  However, somehow, I found myself starting to prune tree branches!  omg.

After hours of doing that, and getting increasingly more anal on clipping out dead branches, etc., yesterday, I vowed to just clean up, today.

Well, that was another broken dream.  Today I continued the process of removing unwanted/dead branches. Then spent hours, cutting said branches into pieces so that I could fill the paper yard bags, with an eye to taking them for composting today!

A marathon of clipping and bagging garden cuttings .. I carefully clipped all branches (now is when I would like a chipper machine), filled 5 garden bags (now is when I would like a truck) and then filled my little Echo with the paper bags and containers of garden clippings and took them to the municipal compost area.   sigh.

Yard does look better. 


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Whirly Wednesday and Thursday!!

October 27 and 28, 2010

Well, so many things to do that I didn’t make the time to write anything down yesterday, so will make a quick recap and also mention today.

Aren’t we so fortunate to be in a time when we can just go ahead and easily create a blog, thanks to some creative, energizing people!  The discipline of creating some random thoughts, daily, is a boon to me. 

Since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to write, and from time to time, I did do that.  I remember walking around our very quiet neighbourhood when I was about 10 or maybe less.  “Back in the day” .. when kids were allowed to wander freely about, without adults.   We could just leave the house, have lots of adventures, visit our “auntie” neighbours for koolaid, and then return home for supper when we heard our names being yelled out .. from the back yard or kitchen window!

Really, we were so innocently lucky.  Imagine that scenario nowadays .. wouldn’t happen.

Anyhow, piece of lined paper and pencil in hand, I walked the streets, seeking a newsworthy story.  This might have been inspired by my mother recounting tales of a member of my dad’s side of the family, reportedly a reporter in Montreal, there was mention of a signet ring .. this information was very interesting to me.  I always wanted to meet this unknown family member, however, it never happened.

Discipline wise, I haven’t been constant at keeping a journal, or diary.  For years I’ve tried that practice, but haven’t been consistent.  However, this keying in a few sentences every day has become a great tool for me to do that – and I am inspired to key in some daily thoughts and find that this method works for me.

Speaking of discipline, today, while driving to an appointment this morning, I happened to hear a radio reporter recounting her experience at the Cesar Millan audition in Richmond.  She & hubby had their dog behind the stage, went for the interview to see if they qualified to go live on the show there.  Had to laugh, she was recounting how she would introduce a toy to doggy .. shake the toy in his face and then, in a high pitched voice, repeatedly say, higher and higher “what’s this, what’s this, what’s this”  Isn’t this all to familiar!  Well, Cesar has us humans going through transformations and stopping that habit.  He advises putting the toy in front of the dog, walking away, and letting the dog play with it. 

Oh, if I could go back in time and be the better pack leader, I would change so many things.

How fortunate we are to have Cesar, on tv, and now.. so luckily .. in Canada!   To give us a nudge as to how we can interact with our dogs!

btw .. at this point in time, I do not have a dog.   First time in 25 or so years.  That will change.  However, we do have 3 cats, 2 are former feral cats.   When I got home after the Victoria October 26 show, I practiced some of the Pack Leader tips with our cats and they were, well, sort of effective !!!  Cats are a whole other breed.  Wonder if there will be a Cesar Millan for the cat culture happening?

Yesterday, out working in the garden, heard a hummingbird busily chattering away!  Found him and tried to take a photo and/or film, so I could present him here!  Wasn’t very successful, with my Sony Handicam .. no eye view-finder, so very difficult to find this little darling.  However, I did take the time to study this sweet little bird.  He (she) preened the wing and tail feathers, fluttered little wings in the air.   Tilted his sweet little head and the sun glinted sparkly shades of red.   This little bird seemed quite chubby.  Then another hummer flew by and no fights, so maybe they are mates.

Quite a fun day, yesterday and today!


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October 26, 2010

Outside, enjoying the warmth of the sun on this otherwise chilly Tuesday, I plop down my gardening “purse”, thrust the garden fork & shovel firmly in the ground, turn on my music (not loud and only  instrumental music)…. and ponder the day. 

Walk around the yard, lifting leaves, looking at flowers .. noting how well everything is doing in this mulched soil.

Not really sure where to start today, so I begin by looking through some garden design books for inspiration.  Time passes and still I continue… so very many good ideas.  I’m limited to, or shall I say, creatively inspired by materials on hand.

As I continue on, I see some ideas that can be successively carried out, so I’ll play around with those today.  Still stymied about path layout in my garden patch.  Really am not inspired with squares or rectangular shapes, am more inclined to use rounded shapes, undulating paths .. I do want to get going and unshovel my gravel mountain .. but just don’t want to be too hasty.

Saw one idea about using an old plank as a pathway.. and as I read this, my eye wandered over to the 2 remaining raised gardening boards that I’d  uncovered from the infamous gravel/b/berry etc. pile.   hmmm .. I could drag one over and see what that looks like and maybe keep this and add gravel underneath, for a pathway.

Another ideas pops out of this book … to create a little circular “bottle” feature, sinking coloured bottles into the ground, bottoms up, so that the colourful circles form a design .. and .. as I’m reading this, my eye is drawn to the container of bottles that have been sitting in a container, ready to be cleaned and recycled.   Another .. hmmmmm… so I’ll try this.

Time to get on with these ideas.  Oh, and saw a few more ideas about plantings to create interest in the yard, so will play around with that too!!

So I planted 4 Passion flower vines at 4 fence locations .. they look tenacious!  I played around with the concept of a gravel path and decided to utilize some aluminum tubing in lieu of wooden fence guides in my garden patch.  I measured an equidistant space between 2 parallel tubes, and hammered in cut sections of bamboo to keep them in place.  Next I installed a (folded) layer of landscape fabric and then started shovelling in gravel (from the gravel mountain).  Looking good!

Installed 2 more pvc garden loops .. picturing next summer, when vines will grow over the lengths of these .. or perhaps I’ll drape some lengths of natural lightweight cotton to create an arbian garden … mysterious and flowing  .. sounds cool.

After that I proceeded to start some weeding at the right side of the yard and pulled mountains of weeds … looked at the time, and decided it was time to call it a day and go inside to get ready for the CM show!!

And I have this quick little photo of Tye Dog .. a very handsome brown lab, who I had the pleasure of taking doggie walks with .. at Swartz Bay!!


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Terrific Tuesday

October 26, 2010

Today I have so many choices of things/chores “to do” and I can make brilliant arguments to myself as to prioritizing and then proceeding.

Weather is cloudy and overcast.  At first.  Then the sun breaks through the clouds, I hear a flock of geese flying overhead, and the decision is swiftly made … I’m gearing up in my gardeners outfit and heading out side.

Fully garbed, booted and approaching the back door to unlock and go outside to start my day when I hear another flock of geese, flying directly over the yard, low flying.   Did the math and knew if I hadn’t initially delayed my decision, I would have been outside, taking in the beauty and majesty of these magnificent birds flying in formation close up.   Air so still I could hear the rustle of their feathered wings as they worked the texture of the air.  Ok, I wouldn’t have had my little camera out of its case, but still.

Vow to get going outside earlier tomorrow .. fingers crossed the lovely sun will be out, but, even if ….it might be percipitating, I’ll be out there.

And, remembering that tonight is the Cesar Millan show!!!!  Look forward to hear him speak in person and demonstrating effective methods of dog training.  I’d like to thank the sponsors who brought him here to Victoria to start his tour!  And to enjoy being in the midst of many hundreds of other caring people who love and care for their dogs… who have the best interests of their furry friends in mind.

Well, I went to the show and it was simply amazing.   So very informative, there were wonderful dogs there and he demonstrated very clearly (like magic) how subtle changes in human behavour changed behavioural problems.

There was also Monique Anstee, of Naughty Dogs, there, an impressive dog trainer, with her incredible dog (I didn’t write down the details, but am sure they will be in the Times Colonist tomorrow) and together they demonstrated an awesome follow-me (I call dancing) routine.  So impressive.   Words do not do this justice, so I’ll have to research her name and look on the internet, for there surely is lots of information and videos on her training techniques.

Cesar discussed how we interact with dogs and shared some techniques with us.  He is an amazing young guy … in just 20 short years, he has transformed our (dog) world, as we know it.   He has a great sense of humour, so we spent a lot of time laughing!

At the end of the show, there was Q & A.  We wrote questions on cards and submitted them .. they were sorted and the most challenging ones were responded to, and the persons were handed a microphone to voice their question and he would reply.

Cesar answered my question from the stage (not really, but I’d like to think that he did!) My written question was “Do you think that some dogs come into our lives to teach us something (eg strength, patience, etc). as a Spiritual Guide.”   And coincidentally enough, he spoke at some length on this.   Thank you.

So I talked with some fun people tonight, we shared dog photos, talked dog stories, laughed and had a great time.  Talked about the experience of standing in line at Bosleys, yesterday!!  I actually sat beside the 2 young mums whose babies Cesar held and had photos taken of.  They were avid Cesar fans !  I’d first noticed him a year ago and am already a follower. 

I’m very glad that Cesar’s tour started in Victoria and that I attended this show.  We also (the Pack Leader group) received a Cesar Magazine, looking through this I see many interesting articles.

In the segment regarding “how you feed your dog”, there was a little  ginger/white curly dog that reminded me so very much of my little Oreo .. I was glad that I’d brought my binnoculars so I could see this little doggy close up …sigh.  And this segment was a real eye opener .. the lady and dog used for examples in this example were very very good and I could really relate to her behaviour!!  Well done!

Above all, he spoke of peace and love and calmness .. elements that, combined, will really save the world.    And I agree.

Nighty night!  A.M.

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Won Ton Monday

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October 25, 2010

So today was the day to rush over to Bosleys on Burnside .. find a parking spot and walk quickly over to Bosleys.  Joined the queue and stood in the rain for 2 hours, awaiting our turn to quickly say hi to Cesar Milan and have a signature.

Bosleys kindly passed out blue rain ponchos for the humans, that was good.  We each had to dodge each others umbrellas.

Met some lovely dogs .. little Teddy, little Froto.  Had some fun conversations with people in the lineup..

Saw a lot of dogs, all types, many in stylish rain gear.  Not having a little dog right now, I almost walked into the SPCA, but stopped at the last minute.   I sure miss my dogs.  This is the first time in over 25 years that I haven’t had a dog, in my adult life.  There was Sadie (Golden Lab X) &  her daughter Muffy (Border Collie X); then Samuel T Dawg (Belgian Shepherd X)  and my little Oreo (Bearded Collie X)    So not many dogs and we were so very lucky that we did have them for a long time, although, really, never long enough.

I’ll be posting doggy photos one day soon …. happy pictures!!

Went for delicious Won Ton at Dakota Cafe today!  A break in the rhythm of  W T Wednesdays!!

Throughout the afternoon, had great doggy conversations with people … even in the lineup at Country Grocer!!  One customer had taken her lab along the Dallas Road area, saw the Cesar Milan group being filmed and her dog chose that time to wrestle some food from an otter!  She said that, luckily, filming had stopped at the time.

So will have to look at the news tonight.  In the Bosley lineup, a lady in front of me was interviewed for CHEK and later, a lady behind me was interviewed, so I’ll have to look for both of these interviews.

Reminds me, when I went to a community college many years ago, I was entered in the telecommunications course, really wanted to operate a  news camera, so that way I could be present when events happened .. this would open doors to happenings, see  people and places that normally I wouldn’t have had access to – how exciting.    There had been a teachers strike at the time … so the course was abruptly halted.  Then life happened, and I didn’t finish the course.  Years later I became involved in learning community cable camera, but again, life happened, I started working shift work and so discontinued that.  I wonder if I will pursue this a third time?  Food for thought.

Anyway, this has been quite a fun, busy day.  Sun briefly shone this afternoon for a short while and then the rains returned.


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