Archive for November, 2011

Tuesday, November 30, 2011

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 Hmmm . .took some pics in the garden yesterday, late in the afternoon  .. .the sunset/rise and twilight settings seem to darken them … methinks I need a flash on this camera!

Yesterday, let’s see now .. what did I do?  Oh, yes, went through every freakin pile of paper on my desk, in the drawers and in my new storage containers, looking for a receipt for recent purchases.  I sometimes have the very bad habit of not looking at the total when I buy items on sale.  thinking that the cash registers are correct.  However, I believe that this time  I didn’t receive the sale discounts!

I distinctly remember tossing the register receipt in the general direction of my desk when I got home.  However, somehow it has disappeared into oblivion.   This does happen of course.  I sometimes wonder if we actually are living in a parallel universe .. when things that are long lost do reappear.  Like socks, you know?

Spent a few hours sorting, looking, searching, but no joy.  The result is that my little office is looking neat, though.  DH commented on this when he arrived home after a long hard day at work.  He was quite impressed.

I, on the other hand, was still feeling frustrated at not finding that little piece of paper. I just know that it is here “somewhere”.   And, looking around my room .. it does feel better, everything in its place.   I start out like that and then get caught up in the daily routine of life and it doesn’t take long to attain that “casual” look!

Finally, yesterday, gave up the search, admitted defeat and decided to zip down to Michael’s to use a 50% coupon.  (oh, those darn coupons, anyway).  Almost bought a very inspirational book, however, balked at paying full price, so back on the shelf it went.  Enjoyed my visit, only bought a few items and then home again.

Since the weather was cold and rainy .. I decided to spend a few happy hours organizing my cozy craft area.  Rearranged the placement of my lovely old oak table, brought in that re-painted cupboard with drawers, the garage sale special that I had transformed with paint .. it sits very nicely beside the table.  Sorted out the variety of paints, adhesives, design books.   Set up my laptop.  Settled in and started searching StumbleUpon.

This little area is just perfect for storing my garden tools!  I love my colourful multi-drawered storage unit  – my amazing $10 buy from Used Victoria!   Saw the same type of unit at Michael’s, but only one column of drawers (my $10 set has two columns of drawers!).  And there was a great difference in price!!  I just love getting unexpected bargains!

This reality of having lots of time to just relax and focus on my crafts is taking awhile to sink in and absorb.  For so many years I’ve always been busy with extra jobs, hobbies, duties … dreaming of that far off day “when” I could spend untold hours to play.

I remember distinctly a moment in time .. at high school.  Watching a group of fellow students entering the Art room .. I so badly wanted to join them, but it wasn’t in my curriculum.  I envied these laughing, carefree people, taking their time entering this most hallowed (to me) universe.

Then many years later, listening to more laughing people who were attending Art School.  Wow.  Art School.  Where you could play around with creativity, play with paints and just have fun all the live long day.

And then, the years spent working in a milieu of, let’s say “non-artistic” surroundings.  When all I wanted was to fill my world with music and beauty.  Well .. now I am rewarded with this most precious of all gifts & rewards.  Now I do spend my time in beauty, creativity and appreciation of nature.  I’m a little more mature than I was.  But, really, what is maturity?

I used to think that maturity meant keeping my face very haughty, non-smiling.  That was when I was a teen and I think that this is hardwired into every teenager.   Looking back .. now … I can smile at my sweet little haughty photos!!  Me wearing a homemade blue & white polka dot,  polished cotton dress.  I was quite the little sewer then.   No detail too tiny to add to any outfit.  I impressed myself, even.   French seams on gauzy blouses, bound buttonholes, bias cut petal shaped dress collars, intricate inlays of wavy rick rack sewn carefully.  Lined skirts.

I can still utilize those crazy sewing styles now .. creating fabric items is fun!  And I love translating ideas into reality.

Well, this morning is speeding along .. so off I go, to start another wonderful day in my lovely daily life!  There are sales to attend.  Birds to watch.  Friends to visit.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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 Yesterday morning the skies were just beautiful .. rosy pink clouds scattered overhead, I just had to go outside for a little walk to have a closer look!  What an amazing way to start of the day, with this most magnificent display of beauty!

It was a little bit chilly and I saw a thin layer of frost on a few garden items in the back yard.   Early in the morning, the birds were happily nibbling away at the seeds, the suet and the chunks of fat in the suet holders.

Saw a pair of Spotted Towhees swiftly searching the ground for any delicacies .. .of which there are a plentiful supply .. bird seed, insects, you name it.

Happy to see a pair of Red-Breasted Nuthatches flitting about.  The Sparrows (white crown, gold crown) were there also.  As were the Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  Haven’t seen the Downey Woodpecker, but maybe that is just a matter of timing .. I’m not there when he’s out there feeding.   I miss the little fellow.

At my last visit to Michael’s I’d enjoyed interesting conversations on knitting and was particularly interested in a new (to me) type of circular scarf.  It is either knitted in the round or crocheted or knitted on 2 needles.   The bottom sections are sort of twisted and then attached.  The resulting scarf can then be worn as a hood, wrapped around as a scarf or used as a mantle.

This intrigued me .. so I searched through a nearby knitting magazine, saw a pattern, committed the stitches to memory . .chose some wild wool & an accompanying fuzzy wool to jazz it up and planned to create one of these magnificent scarves.

And I knitted and unravelled .. over and over.  I’d start out with 65 stitches, k1, p1, then 2nd row, p .. and somehow kept dropping and picking up stitches.  It was challenging to pick up both strands of wool, as they were each multi-coloured and the one strand was so delicate.   I felt as if I was in a Lucille Ball episode.  It was truly hilarious.

I’d  play around with the method of casting on the first row.  Finally settled on the 2 strand method.  I’d been holding the needles so tightly that I can feel the muscle strain in my right shoulder.  Too tense.

After quite a number of attempts at following various pattern instructions, I was happy to find this site:  http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-knit-simple-fake-moebius-scarf-413466/  Knitting by Judy.  I love her instructions – knit the scarf as wide as you want and as long as you want!  Those are my kind of instructions.

So I’m soldiering on with this scarf, I will not let it defeat me.  And soon I ‘ll have some of the tangles undone!

Yesterday was quite the day!  I spent way too much time searching crafting sites on StumbleUpon!

Followed by a few hours of playing outside, which included planting salal, flowering bulbs, potting up ivy cuttings into larger pots.   Planting more garlic bulbs that I’d found!

Lots of time looking at the birds.

The showers began and I continued to dig and play.  Finally, the drops were just a little too heavy so I went inside.  Time to start perusing my beading and art books.   Made notes, dreamed, planned .. lovely.

And so another day starts now!  Soon I’ll be taking little Youbou to his second acupuncture treatment!  yea!!




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Monday, November 28,2011

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This past weekend has been a mixed bag of weather!

Saturday was sort of rainy .. I was up bright and early, quickly preparing another batch of granola.  Mixing the honey and oil with the oats, almonds, wheat germ, and other ingredients.   Filling the baking pans with the mixture.  Stirring every few minutes till all was toasted and yummy.  Cooled and then placed in covered glass containers.

Next, time to whip up a batch of soup .. I sort of followed a recipe which allowed for carrots, onions  & parsnips.  I also added celery, red & green peppers and some frozen green tomatoes (from the garden).   Added organic chicken broth and let it simmer away.  Love the smell of soup cooking on the stove .. very comforting.  When all was sufficiently cooked, I then brought out the amazing blender stick thingy and whirled it around the mixture, resulting in a nice textured soup.  Poured into freezer containers and my meals for busy days were all ready.

Next it was Recycling at Reynolds, so I gathered all my items and headed out to join the line-up.  Bless these volunteer kiddies .. some of them were visibly shivering in the chill of the damp weather, but still stayed to continue their sorting duties.

I paid for my items, quickly sorted them into the appropriate containers and left, glancing at my watch, it was barely 10:30 am.  I’ve had a full day already.

Let’s see .. what to do?  Hmmm .. I had my $5 coupon burning a hole in my wallet, so I once again made my way to Michael’s Craft store.  I’m rediscovering the world of crafts and it’s been a happy journey thus far.  Each time I visit, I wander into different areas.

On Saturday, I made my way over to the scrapbook area.  Looked at the tiniest little bejeweled, painted, printed items that I ever did see.  A complete universe of elaborate miniature appliques perfect for the embellishment of   family and friend photos.

And the cutters, such an amazing assortment.  A wide variety of sizes, shapes, combinations.  Did a little calculation of the costs of just owning a basic set and quickly realized that one could very easily spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars just to start this hobby.  As a matter of fact, one of the employees revealed to me that she had spent at least $5,000 on the items for this art!  And she would get a good employee discount.

And then there is the sparkly adhesives and paints that are available for all surfaces.  Years ago, before these were available, I would simply paint on a few touches of white glue and sprinkle on sparklies and voila, cards, decorations etc. would be transformed.  The sparkly business has morphed in quite a creative way.

Once again, I’d planned to quickly zip into Michael’s, purchase, leave.  And, once again, time stopped when I entered the door and started exploring.    A couple of hours passed quickly!

When I finally gathered up my purchases and made my way outside .. the sun was shining, the skies were blue!   So out to the backyard, checking on the bird feeders.   Taking time to watch the birdies.  I’m learning about birds, little by little, as I study the feathered visitors to the yard.

It’s been a relaxing weekend .. accomplished a fair bit in my household duties. Finally accomplished one sewing feat, and shortened a pair of drapes.  That was one of my “inside” chores successfully completed.  I have a few other sewing jobs to do .. and these will get done, when it rains.

Rediscovering the creative side of my life is such a pleasurable process.   I’ve found a good collection of painting books, art books, things that I’ve been accumulating over the years .. and I’m actually using them now,  yea!  I’ve prepared a nice little atelier in my inside garden area .. not far from the back door .. conducive to my creativity.  And a few steps away from the backyard .. where I can look at the lovely birdies living their lives.

And I think that I’ll spend some fun time there today .. playing around with paint!


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Saturday, November 26, 2011

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Friday was a whole day away .. now let’s see .. what did I do yesterday?  Hmmm.. I did return to Michael’s Craft Store.  That place is addictive.  With every purchase I receive a 40% discount on one item.  Yesterday I received a surprise $5.00 on any one purchase.  Oh, they are crafty, they are!

I stocked up on more glass paint .. this is fast becoming addictive, I find it quite creative.

The skies were blue and the sun was shining, and, as in another similar day, I asked myself “why am I shopping when it is sunny????  I “should” be outside, digging in the garden.

Oh, well, decided that I needed a bit of retail therapy .. so I decided that since I was already there, my car was parked and I didn’t have to worry about plugging the meter .. I might as well wander around a few stores.

First stop was Fabricland .. and it really should be called “Wonderland” with its thousands of bolts of beautiful materials.  Glittery, ribbons, tie-dyed and luxurious .. it is just plain fun to wander the fabric aisles .. dreaming of things to make.  Then there are the ready-made drapes.  Years ago I would have scoffed at buying ready-made drapery, as I use to sew these quite a bit.  However, doing the  math, it was more cost-effective to purchase some lined drapery panels in lieu of buying yards (oops, metres) of fabric,  thread, pleating tape, lining.  Then there is the measuring (better be careful with this one), cutting, pressing, sewing, pressing.

Wandered through the trim section .. and there is that rhinestone zipper!  Amazing.  Tempting to just buy this for the sheer elegance of it.

Finally left this marvellous creative place and made my way to London Drugs.  Purchased a few more glasses to practise my glass paining.   I have always liked to learn how to paint.  And have taken the occasional class in acrylics and one in watercolour.  My shelves hold “how to” techniques and I have the acrylic & water-colour paints.  With the new interest in painting on glass, I find that this outlet will serve me well.

Oh, the ideas that are rolling through my imagination right now are quite exciting.  So many items to transform,  paint and embellish.  I have a little treasure trove of beads, marble items. jewellery findings, you name it!

Let the creativity begin.   And I am so hooked on “StumbleUpon” .. such a creative place to visit!

Also, yesterday at Michael’s’ .. I came “this close” to buying a book on how to transform old t-shirts!  And I’m not one for purchasing new books, so they have to be pretty special.

When I returned home, I made a fresh pot of Yorkshire tea, turned on the computer and started searching for re-purposing t-shirt sites and of these, there is a plethora!   There are even blog sites which list the most popular t-shirt blogs!

Interesting to read David Suzuki‘s article in the Saanich newspaper yesterday, regarding the “D” word of today.  (Disposable) .  He spoke quite eloquently about the impermanence of today’s electronics etc.   Items purchased barely a year ago, soon are “out of date”.  And the example given about his wife’s search to purchase a charging cord  for her cell phone, only to be told that it was no longer available, cell phone was only 1 1/2 years ago.  My DH noticed this a few years ago.

David talks about corporations having to show profits each year.   I wonder, when does this stop?    Ok, I won’t go there .. but .. things like this spur me on to find ways to re-purpose things today.

Years ago (when I was a kid) .. we didn’t have the tremendous choice of things to buy .. we made do with what we had .. and there was a simple honesty mixed up with that.  That is why I’m so pleased to see so many creative people around the world, who are so talented and so imaginative .. they think up just the most amazing ways to reuse items.  Things I would never have thought of and things that I just want to try.

Like the humble t-shirt.  There are blogs and tutorials on how to cut the t-shirt into a long strip, knit into bags, rugs, etc.  Make carry bags from spaghetti stringed summer t-shirts.  Create kids clothing, teen skirts, leggings, the list is long. (yea!)

So I’m going to play around with those ideas.  We have a supply of old t’s that I was going to take to W.I.N. for retextiling.  However, I plan to try making something, then dyeing it with a bright koolaid mixture.   And for many years I’ve wanted to try textile dying of fabrics using onion skins etc.   Now is my chance to play with that.

Oh, I am so energized .. this feels so great!

Went out to the yard for a while .. dug in some plants, just so they would be settled in for the winter and tossed generous handfuls of leaves around them.

Watched the birds.  Filled up the feeders.  The little Chickadee keeps an eye out and sets up some happy chirps when I refill the feeder.  The little birds cling to the empty suet holder, they know that it is supposed to hold food  .. and even when it was empty, they continued to visit, clinging on to the framework with their teeny tiny little feet.

I now have 4 suet holders hanging from the branches.   The most favourites are the holders containing beef fat!

Picked up the rake and scooped up more leaves from the grass.  There are still a few chores to do .. to finish sifting some sod that I’d removed from the edge of the side garden.   A few more garden pots to stack up.

And I’m sure that there are other things I can do in the garden .. with the lovely mild weather, I might just take some cuttings from the Bay tree, to put in those lovely rooting trays!

It was a great day .. creative in every way!




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 Friday, November 25, 2011 

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Yesterday was one of those days when the weather was dubious enough to make one think that it might rain .. at least that is how the day started out.  Once the morning household duties were done and I’d dutifully spruced up the three litter boxes… I pondered “what should I do today”.

It wasn’t raining, so I decided to not do the “inside” jobs .. ie .. shortening the drapes.  I’m waiting for a very rainy day to do that chore.

So, I went outside, to check on the supply of birdseed in the back yard.   And once I’d spent a few minutes enjoying the feathered flurries .. I’d made up my mind to visit Swan Lake again.  And shortly thereafter, I was on my way there.  With a bag of flatted oats to feed to the Mallards .. and I sure looked forward to visiting them again.  The babies from spring are all grown up and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen them.

Ah, it felt wonderful to be walking along the pathways once again.  No birding groups were seen and I only saw a few people along the way, included some joggers and others like me .. just wandering around.

A soft carpet of leaves covered parts of the walkways, random sizes and types creating a luxurious layer of earthen beauty.  The now-bare branches of the deciduous trees punctuated the edges of the grassy meadows casting a dramatic aspect to the fall scenery.  The tall marsh grasses, in all their muted shades of gold .. swayed gently in the breeze .. creating a whispery orchestral song that filled the air.  Wow …  I sure love this place!

Along the way, I stopped off at the little observatory .. but no joy .. couldn’t see any ducks .. the wind was picking up .. sending sweeping ripples of water along the surface of the lake.

Continued on my way … enjoying the tranquility of this most lovely place.  Eventually I reached the main observatory .. and again .. could not see any ducks!   When I reached the floating boardwalk .. there was a sign showing that the walkway was closed .. and there was an alternate route, but this involved walking along roadways and neighbourhoods and I just wanted to get away from that right now .. preferring to stay in natural surroundings … sigh .. so I retraced my steps.

And on my return trip, decided to stop at the observatory.   This time I saw a little otter undulating through the water near the shore.  Such a smooth swimmer and it was just the tiniest movement that caught my eye.  He swam to shore and then played around the base of the tall marsh grasses.

I noticed that the tall grasses by the edge of the observatory had shrunk from the tall glory of spring and the remnants of the Marsh Wren‘s nest were no longer visible.

Stayed here for a while … looking out at the waters of Swan Lake, drinking in the beauty of this place .. fully appreciating the work of those who had worked so hard to retain this natural gem .. thank you thank you thank you thank you

Resumed my walk along the pathway .. stopping now and then to look at creatures along the way.  A grey squirrel, sitting on his haunches in the middle of the pathway … caught unawares of my presence .. stood still for a full minute .. and then I finally brought my camera out of its case to take a pic .. and…. Murphy!  he scampered away into the bushes!

Then a group of Robins flew past me .. settling in the trees!  So lovely.

Soon I’d reached the concrete stretches of sidewalks and shortly thereafter I was back home.    My walk had lasted for 2 1/2 hours .. so it was a decadent bit of time that I fully enjoyed.

Now I was all set to garden and so I stepped outside .. all ready to do just that .. but the rains stopped me!  So I spent some time painting glasses!  But more about that tomorrow!

It’s been a day .. and I’m happy that my fall nature walks have again resumed.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

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Yesterday was such a brilliant day.  the morning started off in a damp, slightly rainy way.  But I wasn’t concerned!  Yesterday was the start of sale days at Michael’s and I was looking forward to spending a few minutes looking for glass paint.

When I arrived at the store’s parking lot,  I noticed that there weren’t many spaces left.  It’s been years since I’ve been involved in crafting  and shopping for things, so I had forgotten the frenzy that is stirred up by these sales.  I’d forgotten the excitement of participating in 6 or 7 craft shows, and the state of running out of supplies and stocking up on things.

So my happy ole memories were stirring up a storm as I entered the store.  And for the next two hours, I just lost myself in the joy of discovering and playing.  I could feel the adrenalin flow again as I studied paint types.  Started the trip of imagining creations of beading, painting, and many other worlds of beauty.  I know that my eyes were glowing with the energy of artistic ideas, steadily popping up in my mind . .I could do this, add that, on and on and on.

I did notice that the layout of the store lent itself to allowing shoppers to wander easily through the aisles.  There were young moms with their kiddies .. the little ones being introduced to all the bright baubles in a positive way. Artists in wheelchairs, walking with the aid of canes, all searching for the right items needed for their creations.  There was a sprinkling of the male persuasion, of all ages .. sprinkled through the mixture.

This is a world of escapism to a bright and pretty place, full-out .. and I’d forgotten how energizing that world was.

Everyone was polite, no pushing or shoving here .. it was a rich artistic and happy mood that prevailed here.

I wandered the aisles, one by one, just in plain awe at the many products that are now available.  Simply amazing.  Scrapbooking items of every description.  Dainty little add-on cutouts to embellish a scrapbook, a shadow box, earrings, just whatever one could imagine.

And so I allowed myself to dream away .. lost in my creative world.   A world shared by the other shoppers and as we passed, we shared a happy smile .. each knowing that this was a very comfortable and supportive state of being.

Finally I made my purchases among which were included little bottles of chalkboard paint, destined for some clay pots.  Some specialized glass paint .. so I can decorate some plain glasses.  A little bag of tiny, rounded, natural coloured stones – to embellish some garden items.  Some tiny needlepoint Christmas designs, happy Snowman faces, angels and others.  I haven’t done these for years and they are always fun to do!

On the way home, I was planning how I was going to decorate my glass items .. and looking forward to doing that.

Time to put my new toys away and travel all the way across town to the Cook Street Village, to meet a friend for a hot drink and a long walk.

Once she finished her tea and I drank every last drop of my expensive, whipped cream topped hot chocolate (it was a treat, but $$$??).

The sun was shining brilliantly, puffy clouds decorating the blue surface, ever so pretty.   We walked along Cook Street to Dallas Road.  And, omg, be still my heart .. we walked past little mountains of oak and maple leaves.  The City of Victoria leaf collection trucks were vacuuming up these treasures.   I have to make myself just stop coveting leaves.  I have enough . .is my mantra ..although when I see such piles of leaves, it’s challenging for my self-control to kick in.

Anyway, we sauntered across the road and soon were walking the trails alongside Dallas Road.   I’ve been coming here for over 30 years and it just never gets tired.

From the time, many years ago, when DH & I shared a house in this area .. he would hangglide along the cliffs .. “back in the day” when the pilots had wooden “kickers” , boards to brace their feet against when they flew.  A far cry from the sophisticated pods that are now used.   One of our friends, a daredevil type of guy, you know the kind.  He would launch normally, then, as he flew back and forth above the cliffs, he’d turn himself around and he’d be flying backwards!  Laughing all the way.  Memories.

And DH would do his best to get me up and go for a run in the early mornings .. I did do that a few times.  Back then, the morning area was sparsely populated with runners, unlike today, when many take advantage of this most perfect area for a run.

My friend and I caught up on the latest news, since we’d last seen each other.  We had a good visit!  And plan more.

On the way back to Cook Street I remarked on the number of coffee houses and little cafes that had opened up. All seemingly doing brisk business.  The plant guy is still there, stands of plants and bulbs still set up on the sidewalk.  I see little food carts … now more firmly established in the village.  Book shops, grocery stores, traffic calming .. this is quite the place to be.  Close proximity to the ocean, to meals, shopping .. this place has certainly come into its own.  Good to see.

Then, time to come home .. wander outside, ensure the birds have an ample supply of food.

It’s been a great day.

And time to start on this one!


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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Yesterday was a sporadically wet and rainy day!  My morning started off with a quick trip to our nearby Bottle Depot.  Having originally sorted everything carefully in containers I was able to quickly arrange everything neatly in the cart and within 5 minutes of parking my car I was calmly pushing my full cart to the cashier.

And a brief minute later, I was marching to the scanning machine with my register tape and soon the money tumbled out of the little banky-thing!

Next on the agenda was bottling my cider and as I had well over an hour to spare, and having a choice of things I could have done, I decided to call HP regarding my little iPAQ .. which is in a frozen state.  Well, I was on that phone, dialling numbers which directed me to places I didn’t want to go .. and finally, after about 10 minutes, I was directed to a rep for Canada.  Except he wasn’t in Canada and the connection was very faint.  After about 25 minutes, during which we each strived to maintain a modicum of patience, it was decided that, since soft and hard booting wasn’t successful, he would call me back with the cost of repairs.

As the repair costs equal the cost of a new iPAQ, I decided to just let it go.  It’s been a great little gizmo, however, we are living in a time of quick and easy replacements, it seems, so unfortunately I’ll have to recycle this item.

My lifestyle does not require the quickest, fastest electronic items .. thus I have my flip cell phone (and it doesn’t take photos, it’s that old!) and pay my $10 a month.  I now have hours of stored time.  When I first started using my cell, I was on the phone constantly, especially on my birthday, when I could call anywhere local for free.  This soon grew old and I now just use it for quick calls and have it handy for “just in case” situations.

I even access my messages on my landline, just to save the extra charges!  That does save a fair bit.

Then there are these electronic book readers, a variety of them exist.  I’ve looked at them in Chapters, and to be honest, I’ve spent my years staring at screens all day, so this just doesn’t appeal to me.  Give me a paper book anytime.    And for the argument that it’s handy for holidays, you can take many electronic books with you instead of dragging a bag of books .. well, I always have my Sudoku puzzles with me, they travel light.

It’s not that I’m against all the new electronics, they are absolutely wonderful.  They just don’t fit into my lifestyle.   Which is mainly a life that spends the majority of time outside in the garden, walking and birdwatching.   When I’m not out flying with my DH … that’s the biggest part of my life …. travelling around, discussing of the many bits of information that one needs in order to understand the world of  flying.  Believe me, we have lots to talk about.

While I prefer to believe that flying is sheer magic, one just pushes a button and swiftly we are in the air, soaring the skies high above the ground .. in reality, there is so much to know.  My way would be much easier, though!

So, the phone conversation finally finished, I dash out the door .. and make my way to Bedford Brewing.  I’d purchased a Used Victoria coupon to make some cider and Tuesday was the day to bottle this.   I missed a turn, was temporarily lost .. and stopped to ask a passerby if she knew where the Brewery was located. Well, isn’t this a small town … turns out she is someone who used to work for the same company that I did, many, many years ago!  We had a laugh.  What are the odds, 20 or so years later, bump into each other on a small street in a quite part of town!

Soon after I’d located the Brewery, brought in my bottles and was introduced to a world of advanced organization in the activity of bottling.  They had several huge rectangular shaped bottle washing stations.  You just place the neck of the bottle onto the many individual washer spouts, all kept neatly in place with an acrylic template which sported spacing cutouts to ensure that the bottles would stay in place.  Pulling a lever caused a lid to descend upon the bottles, to keep any water spray contained.  Press the start button and the washing, sterilizing and rinsing process began.    Wow.

Once the bottles were clean, they were brought over to a bottling station.  Wow factor again.  There were two “filling” spaces.   First step, feed the neck of the bottle onto the filling tube, press the “go” button, the front enclosure automatically closes, the bottle fills, the door opens, you remove the full bottle and replace with the second one.

Now, because there are two filling spaces, some coordination is required in order to keep up the steady flow of remove bottle A, replace with empty; remove bottle B, replace with empty.  And placing on the cap, tighten, wipe the bottle, place in container.

At first the process was awkward, but I soon got the hang of it.

I am so glad that there was a Used Victoria special, otherwise I would not have found this gem of a place.  The owners have grown with their hobby business and are very efficient, friendly and extremely hard-working.  It was a pleasure to visit, make and bottle my cider.  I do look forward to visiting them again.  And the beers ..well..this is a place for real beer making.  A very popular place, I was extremely fortunate to have found an appointment, especially this close to Christmas.

As I left, I looked at my watch .. it had taken less than an hour for the whole process .. very swift indeed!

The rest of my day was pretty casual.  I finally finished planting the thyme plants at the front by the sidewalk.  These should grow well and make a nice flat intermixing of plantings by next summer.

Next I raked up yet more leaves and put them on the pile.  And the rains started.  At the beginning, I just stayed outside, watching the birds as I so love to do.    Still looking for that little fluffy bird .. where are you and I hope that you are ok.  He hadn’t been timid and hadn’t run away when I approached him.

Finally, the raindrops were sufficiently heavy enough to convince me to go inside ..no more plantings today.  Although I did walk around the yard, studying the plants, they were all growing so well.   The soil is so lush, with the compost, Miracle Mulch and all that leaf mulch from last year.  I’m quite happy with the results.

And then I went inside to play around with StumbleUpon.  One project I quite like … involves decorating plain glasses into works of art, using Crystal Glass Enamel .. so I’m off to Michael’s (there is a sale on, yippee) to purchase a few colours.

Oh, drat, there goes my promise I’d made … to not go shopping at Michael’s.  Well, it lasted about a year.   I keep telling myself that I have all the craft items one needs to make anything.  but I don’t have any glass paint, is my excuse for this morning’s trip … hee hee hee

🙂  now .. time to start the day

Hmmmm .. just got back from several hours at Michael’s Craft Store .. I had such a great time!  And now I understand how those “new fangled” (ha ha ha) mobile coupons work!  I was always a bit curious!  The young lady ahead of me clicked away on her cell phone, the cashier passed the electronic reader over the face, oops, icon too small .. so she touched the screen and voila!   It was legible enough to be scanned.

We talked and I laughingly admitted that “now” I understood how those discounts work .. much handier than carrying around paper coupons.

So, I lack the electronic shopping gadgets .. however .. I only pay $10 a month, compared to $100 plus the taxes .. so I guess, paper suits me fine!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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  Yesterday was a mixed bag of weather.  The morning was  slightly overcast, the sun tried in vain to break through the clouds.

I spent some time raking up more leaves and tossing them to the top of the massive leaf mulch pile.   And then it was time to hop up on the pile and stomp around.  These leaves are going to be broken down quite nicely by next spring.

Still looking for that sweet fluffy little bird of a few days ago, but no joy.  I placed another fat-filled suet block in a tree . . so now there are 3 and I have one more that I’ll fill with a seed  & berry filled block … when the weather turns a bit colder.

Haven’t seen the Red Breasted Nuthatch for a few days, nor the Downey Woodpecker .. maybe I’m just out there at different times.  Enjoy seeing the Golden-Crowned & White-Crowned Sparrows, though.  And the Junco‘s and the Spotted Towhees (they are very similar in appearance, I find).

I’ve been noticing that the days seem long .. as I’m getting up in the early hours and busy busy all day .. sometimes I’ll think back to the morning’s activities and think “was that today or yesterday?”

Speaking of time, it does seem to slow down and speed up I find.  I remember as a kid, trying to understand the concept of time ..couldn’t quite get a grasp on it .. .there were no borders, it seemed to go on endlessly.

Sometimes when a project needs to be completed in a very short time frame, I think of Nancy Napier’s guideline to timelines:  “I have enough time in the time that I have to accomplish what I need to do” .. not exactly how she wrote that, but near enough.  And you know, it works.  It’s as if time slows right down.   And, maybe it does!

During the pouring rainfalls of yesterday afternoon .. I took advantage of the “non yard” time and did some pretty amazing things!  For one .. I organized my closet, removed the summer clothes .. the clothes that I had opportunity to wear in our brief 3-week summer!  Tidied up and just impressed the heck out of myself.  This is one of those dreary ole chores that I’d do “someday”,  groaning at the time it would take.  And there I was, spending all of 10 minutes or so, pulling things from hangers, folding them haphazardly and piling them in the hamper.

Some of them I’ll pack away for next summer and the balance will be either donated or sent off for re-textiling at W.I.N.

Then I was onto another chore, sorting out the recycling for this weekend at a local school.   Everything was cleaned and I resorted them into the various categories and they are ready to throw into the car when the time comes.

I was on a roll!  Even finished sorting out the cans and readied them for taking to the Bottle Depot!

By this time, I was all energized and did more housework  … Gadzooks!

A few times I tried to escape to the garden, but the rain was coming down a bit too heavy so I just leaned against the open doorway and watched the bird activity.  Noticed that there were only a few leaves left clinging to the branches of the Cherry tree.   Now I’m just waiting for the balance of the Plum tree’s leaves to change into their autumnal colours and drift onto the ground.  Where I’ll rake them up and add to the leaf pile.

Then, oh, horrors, I went back to visit StumbleUpon and visited many many craft sites.  Great ideas, very addictive, I must say.

Well, I notice that it isn’t raining right now .. so I’ll attempt to go outside again!  Yippeee … sounds of me running downstairs and outside!


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Monday, November 20, 2011

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 Sunday was a lovely, frosty day!  By the time we set off in our little car, thought, there was just a thin layer left to scrape from the windows.    Off to the Dakota Cafe for a Sunday morning breakfast!

Soon we were seated at a window table,  each trying to find the 10 “Spot the Differences” .. sometimes these are “easey-peasey” and other times, well, the 10th is just the hardest one to find!  Even the “Circler” (as we call her, hee hee) has difficulty at times.  We always have fun, though!

Glad to see that the little garden is faring very well .. despite the frost.  And the glass panels are beautiful, covered as they were with a thin layer of frost.  I took some photos .. and later remembered that I’d set the camera at “twilight” .. so perhaps that explains the true details of the beauty of the frost.

Dear Santa .. another item for my list (besides the truck!) is a camera with a larger zoom.  My current camera, Sony Handycam, 60x .. takes fantastic videos and lovely detailed pics of flowers and plants.  It’s just the bird photos that seem to lack detail.    argh.

Back home .. and it’s race time for DH .. Sunday was the big one, end of the season Nascar!!!  I love the whole Nascar set up and it’s taking me awhile to understand the finer points of the races.  Yesterday I noticed one of the pit crew swiftly removing a plastic covering from the windshield, and DH explained that there are a number of such layers placed on the windshield and the top one is removed at a pit stop.  No windshield wipers on these hot cars!!

So I dither and dather, laundry, normal household duties.  Little Youbou’s right hind leg is looking stiff again, so DH massages his little leg and soon he is bouncing around again.  His next acupuncture visit will be next week.  We are so looking forward to the following visits, as his medications will be slowly decreased to the point where he will not be using the Prednisone at all .. merely the occasional acupuncture visit, to ease the inflammation in his leg.  For now, though, little Youbou is a trooper, dutifully eating the little pill that I feed to him on a spoon.  We are all so happy that he is nearly back to normal .. after those first few weeks of him dragging his right leg, his lethargy.  Not knowing at the time, despite all the tests, what was the problem.  Acupuncture rules!

I went outside yesterday afternoon, looking at the yard, at the birds … looking in vain for the quite rotund, un-shy little guy from a few days ago.  I even stood, motionless, watching for him.  The Juncos and sparrows (including the lovely Golden-Crowned Sparrows) just ignored me and were solely focused on pecking away at the bird seed, both in the feeders and on the ground.  They presented quite a lovely airshow .. it was fun to watch them zoom from the tree branches and then land on the tiny branches of plants, onto the edges of the strawberry planter .. and many other items in the garden.

Once I made a movement, though, they all flew away.   So I went inside, to leave them to enjoy their feeding in peace and quite.

And I remembered to bring the Hummingbird feeder into the house, so it wouldn’t freeze!    This morning I dashed outside with it and discovered that the weather had changed, there was no frost.  Well, guess I’ll start paying attention to the weather forecasts now!  And if there will be not frost, then I’ll just leave it outside.

The day has started, so it’s time for me to get going!   I plan to play outside today .. yippeeeee!

  • 🙂

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

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The frosty weather is now upon us and brrrrr it is chilly in the mornings, frost covers everything.  However, the sun came out in full force and Friday was a reminder of what summer was about.

I’ve received feedback on the little bird that I saw on Friday in the backyard and it’s supposed to be a Dark-Eyed Junco .. however, it doesn’t resemble the Juncos that I see in the yard.  Maybe this one is a baby, I’ll have to research for more information.

Friday .. I spent time tidying up the yard, and it’s amazing the amount of space that we have, once I’ve organized all the pots, hoses and other paraphernalia.  And I guess I really like galvanized tin items also ..as I rounded up an old washing tub, some buckets, a little propagating unit (like a cover with a handle) and a watering can.  Plus the old tin kettle, that is developing a lovely patina of blue on the spout.  This will be incorporated into a watering feature.

My most tranquil moments are spent in the yard, including front, sides and back.   I’m quite happy in these happy places.  Dreaming and digging.  Mulching and stomping. Relaxing and observing.  Enjoying watching the antics of the birds that visit the feeders.   Excited at the progress of plants.  Looking forward to seeing the results of propagated plant cuttings.

It’s a great place to be.   And I look forward also to our next place which will have a bit more space for me to mulch, propagate and tend to the gardens.  Baby steps.  It won’t be happening for a while and for the present, I will tend to what we have right now.

Now that the chilly weather is upon us, it’s time to return to my daily long walks, camera in hand, to visit local nature sanctuaries and watch for the winter birds.

There still will be warm and sunny days and I’ll be playing in the yard on those days.

And I’ll be meeting friends, going for long walks with them, re-visiting favourite places and discovering new ones.  Visits to little restaurants for hot chocolate or tea.

I’m wondering whether to invest in my gardening future by taking a Master Gardening Course.  There are several offered in the city, and they both appear to be equally as good.  However, I am just torn between spending the $$$ to invest in my gardening credibility (a title always looks good on a business card) or just to continue with my greatest love and inspiration .. to create little natural gardens.  No formality in any way.  Just little bits of land devoted to growing hardy native perennials, lovely mulched soil.  Easy care gardens … they are my favourites.  I do seem to have a knack for creating these special little hideaway.

Food for thought.  And I do have all winter to pore through my little gardening library.  And to play around with creating little bits of garden art.

Well, it’s been a busy few days and I have really appreciated having the back yard to escape to .. to drink in the beauty of the fall garden and the playful antics of the birds just make me laugh out loud, they are so sweet.

I’ve been refilling the bird feeders almost daily . .and recently purchased huge bags of bird food, one of mixed seed and the other with large and small sunflower seeds.  It turns out that the majority of the birds prefer the shiny black birdseed.  I have noticed an abundance of the larger black and white striped seeds are just laying on the ground.  These are really for the bigger birds and I know the local squirrels will snatch them up.

There are now 3 suet containers in the yard .. two are filled with suet (fat) and one with the wild bird seed suet.  So my little winged friends will feed well over the winter.   And I must remember to bring in the backyard hummingbird feeder in at night, so it won’t freeze!

I’ve stocked up the cupboard with lots and lots of suet blocks, there is more fat in the freezer and goodness knows there is enough bird seed to last till January .. so we are all set for the winter.

Life is fun and there is beauty everywhere!





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