Archive for July, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

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There was a bit of rain during the night .. I actually felt the tiny droplets that were covering the handrail of our new front stairs .. at 4 am this morning.

It was a restless night … and I could hear the neighbours chickens were making quite a racket .. and wondered if something was bothering them.  So I’d stepped outside, listened and then clapped my hands together loudly to make noise and suddenly all was quiet.   So I gathered that something might have been outside their hen-house and perhaps I’d scared it away.

The chickens still made some noises, but not as loud as before.

Anyway, glad to see the rain .. and Murphy’s Law kicked in .. I’d already watered the garden last night.

Thinking back to yesterday, I was glad that I had allowed myself to do some shopping therapy.  Buying the oak barrel and pumps were splurges, but, what the hey.

It’s funny .. I won’t spend the money on buying clothes or shoes “just for the heck of it” … as I have enough.  However, when it comes to buying something for the garden, well, um … I can justify every purchase!  And then some!

And as a bonus, I really enjoyed wandering around lower downtown, peeking into the stores on Fisgard Street.   Walking through Capital Iron … feasting my eyes on the colourful items in the housewares department .. toyed with the idea of buying a few things, but decided against that.   Although it was very tempting.

However, I did buy some wonderful new gumboots!  A tall sturdy pair with good tread, reinforced toe area and perfect for gardening  .. no more slipping.

The time had come to replace the tree planter’s boots that I’d purchased at a garage sale, years ago, for only $5!  Terrific boots .. alas, the tread was finally almost non-existent .. so it was time for new ones.

Although I’ll still keep my old pair ..  they’ll still be good for use .. and perhaps they’ll become planters, who knows.  Or, I could practise painting designs on them .. that’s another creative thing I’ve meant to try.  And I have the materials necessary to do the painting with!

So, planning my day … I will play again with my new half oak barrel . .now where will I locate this one?  And more digging to be done .. planting a few more hardy perennials.

Some time for creativity and playing around.

Looking forward to experiencing this lovely day!


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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Well, this is a lovely sunny day .. here in the tea capital of B.C.!  So I started the day out with several mugs of delicious Yorkshire Tea!!!

Normal household routine done .. I set out in my little car to pick up, drop off and search for items.

I felt as if I was on a holiday … going here and there.  Spending some time at our famous China town on Fisgard Street.  Unable to find what I was looking for, I change direction and head to wonderful, exciting, interesting and diversely stocked Capital Iron.  I just love that store immensely.

And I was sorely tempted to purchase a Coronation Street dvd trivial game .. all encased in a shiny tin box, decorated with the photos of most of the main characters.  All this for $9.99.   I wavered this way and that and read the instructions .. and it can be played on tv via a dvd player .. so I opted out of that.  Of course, I could always change my mind later.  I mean, how much Coronation Street memorabilia do I need?

I already have a couple of Rovers Return coasters, the CS board game, a number of books, a tea bag saucer, autographed by Audrey (when she and hubby were in Victoria, at the Bay, many years ago).  The bar towel, the decorated beer tray.  A couple of mugs.   A thimble.  And I’m certain that there are other items in the house also.

Then I saw the oak half barrels and decided, today is the day that I’m buying this one, plus the liner .. and another water pump.   The other half barrel that I’d emptied was very old, infested with ants and fell apart!

So I spent some time making my rounds and finally, reached dear home sweet home.

I’d opened up the back of the car and was trying to figure out the best way to haul out the barrel, when suddenly, two huge black & white hornets zoomed into the car.  They could smell the hamburger in one of the bags .. they went right for it!   I jumped backwards and walked this way and that .. what to do.

Noticed that they momentarily there right now, so grabbed all my shopping and raced to the house, unlocked the door and threw everything in by the door!  whew.

Then, it’s back to the car, great, I don’t see these pests, so I start to lift out the barrel liner and darn if one of those nasty varmints flew out!   And, thankfully, away.

So I moved some tarps beneath the barrel, rolled it out (ha ha .. roll out the barrel and we’ll have a barrel of fun .. that darn song kept singing in my head!)   Then I rolled it to the back yard, imagining what it would be like to roll a wine-filled barrel along the floor of a winery in France!   So I pretended that I was doing that .. it made me laugh and took the focus off the energy required to move the thing.

And then, oh joy, I’m really in the modern world now!  I removed the new extender out of the box and, following instructions, connected it to the Shaw box and now I have a PVR with a trilobite (a lot) of memory.

First program to record, of course, is Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer!  And a program about Canadian Aviation.  Then, I couldn’t get a handle on how to program future shows of CS .. so I’ve sent a little e-mail to Shaw for guidance!

It’s been an interesting day.  And now, time to go outside and play with my oak barrel.


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Friday, July 29, 2011

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A beautiful, hot and sunny day .. and it’s Friday.  What a combination.  And I’ve also remembered to put out the recycling … the day is starting off well.

Then I decided that today is the day to get rid of the old tv .. it was our first colour tv, purchased nearly 30 years ago .. a channel turner.   It survived through all of the changes in tv-land.  We had to connect it to a converter in order to get channels past 12, but that quickly paid for itself.

Thank goodness for the advent of modern tv technology .. cause if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think that we would have purchased a new one this year.   And what a difference it made, seeing programs on a larger screen.  We’d become so used to watching the world on a small screen .. now we laugh when we watch Nascar.  How did we ever manage to see programs before?

I’ve toyed with the idea of going tv free … however, there are some pretty amazing shows on Oasis and Speed that really provide glimpses into worlds that we otherwise wouldn’t see .. so  it is worth it.  Oh, yeah, there is also that British show, Coronation Street …. sometimes I wonder why I watch it as it as been fighting for ratings and the scripts have mainly left a lot to be desired.

But I faithfully watch, anyway, and relish the few moments that show the true English wit .. those are treasures.

Anyway, a few mugs of Yorkshire Tea and then it was time to take the outdated tv down the steps and into the back of my mighty little Echo.  We also loaded our first ever microwave, hmmmm… I think that it was maybe 15 or so years old.

Then it was just a quick trip to the local Bottle Depot and I unloaded these relics onto the electronics shelf.

Back home .. I entered the living room and felt the absence of the tv and it felt great.  Now I’m gearing up to go through the house, one area at a time.  This is the weekend to really make a dent in my collection and organization.    Along with some gardening, of course!

Yesterday I was playing with the area around my new garden space.  Digging away, making the back path a bit wider .. planning where to put some tall perennials.    I was “in the moment” of the joy of gardening and it sure felt great.

I’ve been thinking about human nature, lately, thinking that has been brought on by the Wednesday ground school class of Human Factors.  About stress levels brought on by various reasons .. and how it affects flying.   And how it takes away some of the focus of the learning process in flying lessons.   Where a calm state is required in order to absorb all of the learning that is taking place.

And I thought, hmmm… I’d really not stopped to think about that.  My normal way of doing things is to work hard, rush when necessary and not take the time to think that, well, I’ve been doing x numbers of activities .. so it’s been my way of life.

Now I think about it .. I like the calm feeling that happens when I set timelines and allow myself to consider all things that I do during the day.  Is is necessary to rush around as I am wont to do ?

So I’ve decided to give myself permission to take care of myself by enjoying quiet times, watching birds .. taking photos .. time to unwind.  And this calms me down and I feel so much more creative, it is simply amazing!!!   It’s as if the doors to my inner treasure trove are opening and I’m excited to enter this lovely energy flow.

I even think that I will cut up an old fence board and play with creating a sign for the garden .. I sure have the paint and sparklies etc. that would go towards creating one.  Just one… only one .. to start with, hee hee hee!

Oh, and I also have some beautiful tiny tiles and … lots and lots of other items to play with.  And to start with, I’ve already cleared away (and scrubbed!) our old plastic patio table . .perfect for working on .. outside in the yard!

This is going to be a fun, creative, energizing weekend!!

So .. on with this amazing day!!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Yesterday I pruned some of the tomato plants.  Next year, I thought, next year will be better.  I’ll prune the plants properly .. I’ll make some plastic tunnels to protect them from cool spring nights and I’ll have a bumper crop.

Next year I’ll also have another try at growing Luffas .. .this year was such a cool one, they wouldn’t have grown much anyway.

The Gardener’s optimistic mantra “next year will be better” .. and it always is!

As I look at  my luscious gardening soil .. I remember last year, digging away in the rubble of overgrown comfrey, blackberries and gravel … sorting, sifting and all that grunt work.  And now I’ve transformed this area.  I’ve accomplished a mini-miracle and am very happy with that.   So I know that next year will be better.  I already have magnificent rich soil, that’s a good starter.

Anyway, I picked some raspberries .. and notice that the plants have multiplied amazingly since I planted a few plants 2 years ago.  These are all the ancestors of a few raspberry plants that a co-worker gave me .. many, many years ago.

She was thinning out her raspberry canes, asked me if I’d like some and brought in some which I took home and promptly planted.   These multiplied and over the years I have given hundreds of plants away.   So now I re-planted a few of them alongside the fence and, due to the rich soil, they’ve multiplied again!

When fall arrives, I’ll be moving some of them to another area of the yard .. to create a few rows, making it easier to pick the berries.

Then I picked a basket of fresh lettuce leaves .. this is the first year that I’ve planted lettuce and I’m very pleased with the results… how fun to just go outside and pick fresh leaves for salad or sandwiches!

Noticed a jolly little robin hunting for fallen cherries …then, chirp, chirp, he found one and stands there, all proud, a ripe red cherry settled firmly in his beak .   What a character.

Oops .. times running short .. off to ground school, tonight’s class is on Human Factors in flying.    Well taught and important details.

So .. sun is out, I’m out to garden again .. making lots of progress as I wander around the yard!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Another sunny day .. with some gray in the skies .. a little overcast.   I like these types of days for working outside .. when it isn’t overwhelmingly hot!

Out early this morning … turned on the water and a loose connection in the middle of two joined hoses causes a miniature water spray.   Which is gently watering some container plants .. and also attracts the attention of some tiny little songbirds.   I’ll have to look in my bird books to see the variety.

Tiny little things, they take turns flitting down from the high fruit trees nearby and land on some rounded rocks, then on the sides of some tiny potted ivy and into the leaves of a nearby bush.  So very sweet.

At the same time, a little hummingbird has come down to the four flower feeder, tiny feet clutched tightly to the little rungs and happily feeding away.

So I spend some time just being still, watching the antics of these little flying beings living their lives, flitting around .. the tiny birds enjoying little bird baths .. the resident butterfly resting on some maple leaves.

A few wrens are trilling away quite cheerfully and sitting top of the fence …

This is a quiet morning .. and surprise, I didn’t even turn on my iPod, how unusual.

Then I walk around my little veggie garden, watering the plants, rinsing off the aphid dew on the overhanging plum and laurel trees .. these attract the wasps, which I don’t want.  Cheered to see how the tall evergreens around the fence have been steadily growing!

I see that the tarps have been doing their job, catching the windfalls of cherries .. making it easier to clean up the yard around it.

Feeling very energized today .. I think that cutting some slack on my drive to just try to do 20 projects at once is helping.  Just thinking about all the things I want to, “right now” and deciding “where to start” has been tiring, I now realize.

“give yourself a break” I lecture to myself.   And suddenly I feel that great flow of energy, having given myself permission to enjoy just relaxing outside.

Going slower equals getting more done.  Besides, I have had years and years of rushing around .. now is the time to focus on just one (or maybe 3 to 5) projects at once.

That and all the laughing yesterday have unblocked my sort of un-energized state!

After awhile I walk around the yard .. .trying to decide which area to work on next .. but .. hold on… time for tea!


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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Well, July just keeps zipping along .. and today arrives with some sun and some overcast skies.   Promising weather .. for working outside and getting lots done.  I’m really on a roll now.

Took a mug of tea outside to my dh and watched the little hummingbirds buzz around.  They are quire mesmerized with the four flower feeder, going from one blossom to another.   Wonder if they are trying to find out the best flower to feed from?  Or do they just like the sheer luxury of having choices?

They are busy little creatures.

And realize that I need goals and deadlines to keep me going, inspired and energized.  I haven’t really had any pressing timelines for nearly a year and now it’s time to get going on that.

My dh has his “to do list” and shortly I’m going to grab a lined notebook and sit outside on the steps to work on my list.  Think that I’ll have headers, subheaders, columns and check-lists.  This pretties everything up and at the same time shows my status.

Although no “real” timelines .. as in those wonderful, long, drawn out and boring meetings.   Where everyone nods their head “yes” while dreaming of the last weekend or the upcoming one.

Nope.  My time-lines will be my own.   As in “this week” “by September” “when it rains” .. along those lines.

And suddenly, up pops a thought from my childhood days.  Our mom did her best to instill in us a sense of fairness, honesty and respect.  One line in particular lights up my mind today .. it’s “if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all.”   A good mantra.

Wonder if it also covers thoughts?  Can I think un-nice things about people?  Nah, that just takes up too much energy.  I prefer to focus my thoughts and energies towards like-minded positive people.   And gardening!  And creating.

As inspiration for me to get going with my gardening .. I’ll put, in the sidelines of my fancy schmancy “to do list” .. make time to take out my:

– watercolour materials (paints, sketchbooks, instructional guidelines)

– beads (kits, collection of beads, sparklies, wires, tools and tons of materials)

– sewing (take my sewing machine and serger outside on the sundeck .. work on some projects )  For example … the hgtv messageboard tip to tear up old towels into rectangles to fit on the Swiffer, serge the ends and create a supply to use and wash.  Then I can stop paying $7 for a box of throwaway replacement Swiffer cloths!

– organize my cd collection ( ha haha .. that will be near the bottom of my list)

– organize my gardening books (ha ha .. maybe in the winter)

– read for an hour a day .. just like in the old days .. put on some jazz music, relax in a comfy chair with a couple of books.

– study my flight manuals and make notes.

– dust off my Spanish language books and learn a new word a day.

– ditto with my French.

– look through my collection of family negatives and discuss with my dear sister, RM!

Well, that’s just a rough outline.  Not bad for a start.

So … on with this lovely day!

I worked awhile on raking up the ground around the base of the cherry tree… filled 3 Rubbermaid containers with grass, fallen cherries .. and added to the compost.

Went inside for lunch .. and, oh, no.   Started watching a funny movie with wonderful Sally Fields, about the life behind a soap opera “the sun always sets” .. this was so very funny, that I just had to stay and watch the whole movie.  Cause we don’t have the final component for a pvr yet.  Waiting for a sale at London Drugs.  Then I’ll be able to record away.

Ok, movie over, I make my way outside to resume my work.

Brought over a few tarps to cover the ground .. so that it will be much easier to scoop up any fallen fruit and put in the compost.  I’ll try to keep the ground clean from fallen fruit.

Soon the apples and plums will be plump and I’ll repeat the process.  Less fodder for the wasps!

Then I finished digging up the tiny garlic bulbls from one area and lay the whole greens & garlic bulbets onto a section of screen to dry.  Next year, I’ll be cutting the greens and selling them at a local market.  If I knew a month ago what I know now about garlic greens, well, I would have had easily a few bushels full.  Oh, well, wiser for next year!

Then I started rooting around my garden supplies beneath the sundeck and brought out a lovely little bucket/water feature .. which uses 4 slices of rock, of varying thicknesses.  A hole has been blasted into the middle of each rock and then the hose is inserted through and attached to the pump  in the bottom, water fills the bucket and .. voila, a gentle water feature.  I plan to set this up tomorrow.

Then I found my tidy Lee Valley potting bench/tray .. so I brought that out also.

And then .. in the tool bin, I rediscovered my Lee Valley, triangle shaped long handled weeder .. so of course, I had to go around the yard and dig away at the weeds … this thing is magic!

Ok, enough playing around .. time to get ready to go out.  So I brought my tools inside, fed the kitties. changed my outfit and out the door to meet friends at a local restaurant.

Good food .. and I just can’t remember when I laughed so much … this is good medicine for the soul and I feel so wonderful!

One of the many subjects under discussion was trying to understand how a pvr works, you can stop a program with a button … and then resume and even backup a live program … huh?  ok, this is just magic.   Just accept that it works and go on.

And so, this has been a great day.  I think all the funniness and the laughter really did the job for me.  I’ve been feeling a little unenergized lately and it’s time to get going.    And I think that all this joy and silliness is spurring me on to activity.

So .. this really has been just the bestest day!!


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Monday, July 25, 2011

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The first day of the week starts out well enough.    Except, I don’t and really, I want to be in fast forward gear and find myself moving in a slow gear.   La dee dah .. what’s the rush!

I think part of the reason that I feel so sluggish is that I want to avoid any and all contact with wasps and thus my trepidation in getting ready to go outside.

Anyway, finally, no more excuses can be logically made, so I head outside, armed with all my gardening gear and accoutrements (camera, iPod, zap bat).

Once outside, and finally moving about, I can feel my energy returning.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have so many potted plants to plant or maybe it’s the lovely cool breeze .. that all combine to transport me into a gardening mood.

Our lovely First Christmas tree is indeed looking so much healthier .. as are the nearby Blue Spruce (I think that was our third or so tree, can’ t remember that far back ) and Cedar tree .. are all sporting new growth.   Thanks to the lovely rich layer of the Magic Mulch that I shovelled onto the surface.  And I’ve watered this area very well.   It won’t need much looking after soon .. this will be a very self-sufficient area.

So today, I planted some lovely hostas and day lillies that a good friend gave me.    I planted them amongst the area beneath the FC tree.  And this just looks wonderful.  This is going to be a perennial paradise.  I’ve also planted some tiny plants, that will spread and flower next year, yea!  And some Sweet Woodruff groundcover.     This area will be like a Secret Garden type of place.   A graceful breaker between the roadway and our house.  And it will just get better and better.

Then,  I finally planted some very patient annual flowers on the other side of the driveway … watered everything.   Planted some day lillies here too … slowly, slowly, the yard is starting on the road to getting in shape.  Just takes time .. I have to remind myself, trying not to be too impatient!

I focus my attention on the area where the half oak barrel once stood.   And unbeknownst to me . .there also dwelt a village of ants!    Yesterday, I removed the broken down bits of ant-infested ants.  Today, I was inserting some ant traps (sorry, I’m just desperate to get rid of these ants) and I found some covered up pavement.

That’s right, many years ago, I’d covered this area up with soil and then placed the barrel right beside it.  Well, time to roll back the clock, I thought, as I carefully dug away at the soil, adding it to a Rubbermaid container.   In no time at all, I’d uncovered a small swathe of concrete .. so I swept and hosed it down with water.   Hmmm .. not really sure how to deal with this right now .. so I go to the back yard, load up the Rubbermaid wheelbarrow with my newly planted scented geraniums and scented mint, pretty in their blue round-shaped pottery pots … and soon I have them placed on the concrete.

Fine .. that will do for now.

Next, I see my gardening neighbour, M!   And I invite her over to see the yard .. to see the changes from last year.   She is so very encouraging.   And gently points out to me that the garlic seed heads .. if not used for decoration and allowed to seed in the garden, won’t grow garlic for two more years.  Also, because I have allowed the seed heads to develop … all the energy for the garlic cloves  (to make them bigger) has gone to the production of these very seed heads.

As I dig up the first batch of garlic, the greens have dried up .. I see that this is so.  My much awaited beginning crop of garlic is quite small.  I’d been revelling in the beauty of the seed heads and was totally unaware of the process of nature.

So I dug away for a while and think I’ve dug up most of this first batch.   And spread the tiny bulbs onto a screen  .. to dry.   Tomorrow I will dig up another patch .. and then there will be 3 more areas.  sigh.

Oh well .. I will dry out these bulbs and then I’ll plant them in some metal containers, in October.  Just wait till next year.  I envision a gigantic yield of huge garlic bulbs.   For this is a gardener’s dream.  Next year will always be better.   And it always is.

Next we head out to my lovely little curved garden beds.  uh, oh .. it seems that I’d not pinched out the side shoots. so I will not get many tomatoes this year.   However, my potato plants are looking wonderful and I will get an amazingly large crop.  All from a few handfuls of seed potatoes from my gardening friend, S!

And another good thing .. I can finally give something to my gardening neighbour!   Recently I’d picked up many tomato cages from Free Victoria .. and it turns out that I had surplus to my needs … and my neighbour needed some .. so finally I can give something back!

Time was running out .. just time to gather up my gardening things, head inside .. feed kitties .. freshen up and race out (in a dignified manner) to the Flying Club.  My very favourite flying instructor is teaching Canadian Air Regulations!  She is an amazing instructor and clearly, calmly, knowledgeably .. discusses the many, many, many guidelines for flying, take-offs, landings and the myriad of other details that one needs to know, in order to fly safely.

Class over, I head home .. glad to see that the new traffic circles at McTavish and the highway are constantly looking so much better.

Driving home … I remember, just a few short weeks ago .. seeing the very protective mother Canada Goose on the shoulder of the highway, protective wing shielding her precious baby against the traffic.  Her manner very gentle as she led her little  one away to safety.  I like to think that the traffic finally quieted down enough for them to make the return journey across the lanes and into safety.

It’s been a day.  Productive, energizing and fulfilling.  I dream of tomorrow, going out to the yard and more constructive work … digging garlic … moving the metal planting beds ..  I’ll paint them a brilliant colour .. to brighten up the yard.



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