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Archive for January, 2012


Tuesday, January 31, 2011

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  Ah, Monday .. Monday .. where did you go?  I was up early enough .. wanted to go for a quick walk and then buckle down with my garden studies.

But … did I follow through with that?

Heck no!

I dillied and dallied and played with our new computer.   Took care of the feeding, playing and cleaning up of the feline part of our family.

Went outside, filling up bird feeders & suet holders.

Finally .. outside and started my walk.   Or at least, that is what I intended to do.  Then I met a neighbour and so we began a conversation about the neighbourhood . .and the ugly big box building that is going on in the neighbourhood.   And things along that vein.    Another neighbour joined our group.   And the discussion continued.

Finally, shivering .. it was chilly!  I bade goodby and began my trek to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.

Promised myself that I would only walk to the short observatory and then return home .. lots of studying to be done.

Well .. once I got there .. I just relaxed and continued walking on the pathways –  looking out for birds.  Then I met up with one of the guardians of this wonderful treasure of nature and we had a chat about the goings-on.    Sad to hear that the eagles had captured a Heron.   At first I was shocked, and then, later on, during my walk,  I remembered hearing that Beacon Hill Park had experienced the same problem .. years ago.  That was a time when I wasn’t tuned in to the majestic beauty of these birds.  Now, this saddens me.  I know .. it’s nature.

So I enjoyed seeing the cheerful appearance of the Robins .. the wrens .. the Mallards.   Didn’t see any eagles during my time there.  Not much happening at the short observatory.   Looked at the marsh grasses .. wondering when these grasses would grow tall enough for the Marsh Wren to build her nest.

The lake was empty of birds ..only a few Coots swimming around.  No Herons.  No Geese.  They must be dining elsewhere.  Funny, last year I used to walk around the Sanctuary nearly every day and I always saw so much activity.  This year I’ve settled into a different pattern of more activity, less walking .. and I don’t see very many birds. (except for today and I’ll write about that tomorrow!!   whoo .. eee .. this was a great day!)

Finally, time to go back home and start my “learnin”!

In the kitchen, I turned on the laptop .. this thing is a workhorse.  It’s a second-hand Toshiba that I purchased last year for $85.  It’s not the fastest laptop in the world, but .. it’s paid for.  And it plods ahead.

I opted to using this instead of our brand spanking new computer because:

a) the new computer is in the side room or “study”

b) the laptop is portable .. and I set it up on the kitchen table.  This way, I can look out the kitchen window and see the birds.

We’ve set up one of those translucent bird feeders that attach to the window with suction cups.  The birds love it.  And the aluminum blinds, well, I’ve angled them so that the birds can’t see us .. and so they can relax and feed at will.  So sweet to see them standing on the top of the sundeck fencing area and on a board beneath the window .. nibbling away at birdseed.

They are so very sweet .. tiny little sparkling eyes, fluffy plumage.  And yesterday morning, after I’d opened up the blinds and flung aside the kitchen curtains .. there was a little Red-Breasted Nuthatch.   I love his little nasal chirps.  No mistaking him.

There is so very much information to learn … I just worked away, reading from the course textbook, typing notes .. willing all this information to stick to my consciousness.

Then, later, supper prepared for DH and then it was time for me to go out for a monthly Coronation Street supper … a few hours of talking about the show .. and other things.  Quite a fun evening.  Listening to some friends discussing their travels… and catching up on what’s been going on.  Lots of fun.  There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a good meal and lively conversation and that’s what we enjoyed last night!

Then, we dissect the life out of the show’s scripts .. sometimes they are so good and other times .. not worth the air time.  There is always a variety of writers so the scripts are sometimes much better than others.

Oh oh .. a reminder that DH & I will see William Roach in just over a month!  yippeee.  I still need to make up a list of questions. A once in a lifetime opportunity to do so.  So the questions need to be good .. and unusual!

Well .. the day is done and so time to end this lengthy rambling.

Tomorrow … I’ll focus on more studying.  I sure love this Organic Master Gardening Course .. a program like no other!!

And .. I just have to visit Swan Lake again .. I’m hooked!

🙂

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Monday, January 30, 2011

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So .. Sunday started out as an overcast, slightly rainy, chilly day .. so we headed out to Dakota Cafe for breakfast.   We were lucky enough to arrive there between the waves of crowds .. so we were able to enjoy a quiet breakfast and check out the “spot the 10 differences”  … argh … the 10th one is always the hardest.

Jen, aka “the circler” is really quick at these and is swift at finding out the differences.  Darn!  However, happily for once I was able to point out a tiny detail to her.  Victory is mine .. hee hee hee!

Outside to check on the plane .. the wing covers have soaked up quite a bit of rain .. so DH removed them and I gathered one of those wonderful Canadian Tire tarps .. the type with the heavy corded rope in the hemmed sides ..so we placed the folded wing covers in one and tightened up the cords and neat as a pin, DH carried the unit to the car .. later home and the covers are now drying out.  They need to be sprayed with scotchguard or something like that, to retain the water repellant properties.

Then it was time to go to Mother Computers and look at some suggested computers.  Our old computer was not repairable, the mother board was gone and it would have been just too problematic to repair it.  Time to march on into the future.

So we looked at a few and then decided on a computer that was built by the store, using good solid components.  They installed the hard drive (that I’d purchased last fall for my old computer) and now I have 2 internal hard drives.   Once I’ve transferred the material from hd #2 to hd#1 .. then I can erase #1 and that will be my extra storage area.

We went home and carried on with our day .. .the computer wouldn’t be ready for a few hours.

I studied my organic gardening material for a period of time.   oh, my goodness .. will all this information actually sift through to my consciousness?  I feel a little overwhelmed.  Then I calm down and I know that I can remember a large part of it.  Try to not  be so hard on myself.   Baby steps.  Little bricks in the building stage.  I will succeed!

Anyway, time passes ..and finally, it’s time to pick up the computer … we are so happy.  Take it home ..set it up .. and time to play.

Except .. I can’t find the “send” button .. where is it?  Frustrated, I give up.  Then, this morning .. I search around .. still getting used to the newness, the different way of doing things.  And I discover that I need to configure my e-mail.

I try doing just that.  Not successful.  So I contact Shaw Cable and am swiftly (within 10 minutes .. that is indeed swift!  I called at the right time!) am connected with a service rep, who calmly walks through the steps, remotes in .. .and solves my problem.

So now I have my Send button and all is right with the world.  For now, anyway.

Dh and I are happy with this new system.   Light years ahead of the old system, which was built (using cheap components as I’ve recently found out!) by another store.  We’ll stick with Mother Computers.  Cause, as we all know:  “mother knows best”  … ha ha ha

sigh.

Seriously, though, it’s a pleasure to be able to pick photos & upload them to my WordPress blog in just a few minutes, compared to the painful time-consuming length of time that it took with the old computer.

Going forward is a good thing.!

Well, that’s it for tonight.  I wanted to share some information that I’ve been learning in my Organic Master Gardening Course, but … it’s late.  Perhaps tomorrow.

🙂

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Sunday, January 29, 2011

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  The past few days have been kind of busy.  On Friday we actually experienced some bright sunshine.  I discovered this once I’d arrived at Swan Lake and was so happy to see the blue of the overhead skies and the wonderful changing cloud patterns.  Very uplifting after a few days of wind and rain.

Noticed that the Mallards are keeping a low profile this year.  Usually they throng  at the ponds, but I notice that they are keeping a low profile.  Thus far, anyway.

Stepped onto the boardwalk at the small observatory … couldn’t see any bird activity … except for one little female Mallard who suddenly appeared at the far end … and when she saw me, she started to make her way over.  So sweet.  I unzipped my back pack, removed the Ziploc bag of flatted oats and slowly approached her, scattering the flatted oats onto the surface of the boards for her.

I’d spoken with a Naturalist last year about feeding the wild birds there .. she condones it at the boardwalk, as the kids love it and doesn’t like it as a general rule though.  So I respect this and only feed the ducks at the observatories.  And nevermore at Tuesday Pond .. as the Geese can be very aggressive and I just want to enjoy the tranquility of nature there.  Although there are some Mallard Drakes who approach my vicinity and look up … waiting for treats.  Not there, though.

Saw some Common Mergansers over by the short observatory .. don’t remember seeing them before.  Last year I was lucky enough to see a couple of Cinnamon Teals at Tuesday Pond.

I walked at a leisurely pace around the Sanctuary … enjoying spotting little groups of Mallards tucked away in marshy side ponds.

Spoke with some birders along the way .. discovered that the wren groupings had been updated to reflect “Pacific Wrens” .. interesting.   Walking on .. I happened to catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron .. standing ever so quietly in a side marsh … he wasn’t easy to see and I had to strain my eyes to make sure that he was even there, so perfectly did he blend in with the nearby trees and grasses.  Stopped to take some photos, and then he bounded into the sky.  To seek more privacy.  Sorry about that ..GBH!

Nearing the floating boardwalk, I looked up and saw an eagle swooping low .. so I sped up my steps and soon was on the walkway … binoculars aimed skyward.   There they were .. the local couple, snow-white head and tails clearly evident.  Seagulls flying in the same thermals …. these regal birds weren’t hungry .. just going for a little flight.

Watched for a while  .. till they gracefully flew out of sight.    Cast some flatted oats out to the few Mallards who happened to be there.

Regretfully started the trek towards my car ..lots to do at home and it’s time to get going.   I felt very energized with my little walkabout at the Sanctuary.   Breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the beauty of the trees, bushes, plants and wildlife that exist in this treasured pocket of paradise.

Once back home, I had every intention of spending hours going through my course information on gardening.  However, my study habits weren’t up to par and instead I found myself doing household chores that “needed” to be done.  This and that .. till finally, I made myself sit down at the kitchen table.  Open the books .. and started reading, making notes, repeating .. trying to comprehend the vast amount of information that needed to reside in my head .. before next class.

Then later that evening, DH & I headed to the Imax .. to see “Tornado Alley” and what made that so special was that Sean Casey, the filmmaker …. was going to speak after the film!  This film had been 8 years in the making .. that is dedication.   The film was fantastic .. my favourite was the part where he was in his famous storm watching vehicle, the turret was open, his helmeted head was being pounded from the heavy rains as the tornado passed through.  The powerful force of the winds emitted the most unearthly sound of wild and crazy screams … it was like the forces were verbalizing their power.

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/storm-chasers/teams/teams.html

We were fortunate, after the film, to spend several minutes chatting with him.   What would it be like to have the opportunity to spend a few hours with him, talking about weather.  A heaven-sent chance.  Hmmm …. I wonder if we could somehow manage that?  Worth a try, I think.

I read in Saturday’s paper that the storm vehicle, which was parked outside the museum, would be gone mid-morning.   Since we hadn’t brought the camera last night (what was I thinking, I usually don’t go anywhere without it!!) .. I thought that I would surprise DH with some photos.

Soon I was on my way and lucky enough to find a parking space which was free for the next 30 minutes!  Parked and ran out to the storm vehicle .. no one else there … so I spent quite a few minutes walking around,  clicking away.  Took so many photos that I nearly depleted the fully charged camera!   As I touched the various sections of solid metal I felt a vicarious thrill at being so physically close to this mighty machine that had been driven so  many miles searching for tornadoes.  That is the closest I’ll ever get to something like that (fingers crossed, anyway, I wouldn’t wish to be in the proximity of such weather).

Ok .. back home .. more time spent avoiding studying!  At one point, I’d been holding little Jane E at a front window .. when .. suddenly .. I saw a bald-headed eagle swooping low across the road.   Quickly … grabbed camera, threw on some shoes and I was outside …. looking for the eagle!   Was able to film him sitting atop a nearby tree .. and then he swooped away.

Followed him down the road .. and I could see that he’d been aiming towards a group of seagulls that were feasting, along with some ravens and crows .. on the remnants of some takeout food that was left on a side road.   The eagle then had flown onto a tree across the highway, on the outskirts of Swan Lake .. and then he flew away to hunt somewhere else.  The ravens left and soon the roads were quite quiet .. even those noisy crows had departed.

Then .. I buckled down to study.  For the next few hours, I read, made notes, read again.  Went through a quiz.  Wondered how on earth I was going to comprehend this new information on Super Kingdoms, Domains, Kingdoms, bacteria, fungi, fungi, protista, Animalia, Plantae … words that up to now were not in my vocabulary.

As the hours sped by, I found myself in a very relaxed state of learning.  And quite enjoyed this experience.   Slowly, the new vocabulary started to make sense.  I was getting glimmers of understanding the basics of the  unseen world that had been discussed at our last class.   And how exciting it all is.

This new discipline of working hard at learning is quite enjoyable.   I feel myself enjoying the discipline of studying .. even though it is a struggle, I know that before too long, the osmosis will have happened.  And I’ll keep on studying and working hard at learning the new material.  There are a number of lessons left.  And then I plan to write the examination for certification.  Lofty goals for now, though .. but goals they are.

And I plan to revisit the information that was taught at ground school last summer.  Studying weather and aviation with more discipline.  And perhaps I’ll continue with more dual flight instruction with my most wonderful instructor, Kristen!  I’m finding that I am quite enjoying this energizing power of learning.  It is a very satisfying sensation to go beyond the bounds of everyday living and enter these new rooms of knowledge.

New worlds … full of the most fascinating information.

🙂

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Thursday, January 26, 2011

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 I actually saw sunshine this morning!   I was typing away in the kitchen, using my sloooooow Toshiba laptop (my desktop computer is still shutting off and on) .. and suddenly, clear as a bell .. (where did that phrase originate anyway?) .. I saw the dust on my keyboard!  Another good reason for cloudy days .. these things just aren’t seen!

I briefly toyed with the idea of running outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun’s rays, but decided to soldier on with inside duties.   I plan to spend a few hours again going over the material presented at my first OMG class on Tuesday.

Thoughts kept running through my mind as I thought about the widespread insidious use of pesticides in food.   Things like .. were the sunflowers and seeds that I feed to the backyard birds .. were they affected?   The lettuce that I buy at the supermarket .. the apples .. the bananas .. the almonds .. were pesticides used in these foods?

Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine, many years ago, discussed the use of banned pesticides being shipped to foreign countries.  Is that still happening?

Now that I’ve started becoming more aware of this aspect of gardening .. I appreciate even more hearing good news about gardening.  The organic kind.  And I applaud all those people who work hard to produce foods that are grown in healthy soil, without the use of artificial products of any kind.

I laud allotment gardens, neighbourhood gardens, boulevard gardens.  All of these are steps towards educating people towards the good use of the earth.  Little pockets of green ….raising awareness.  Me included.

I’ve taken just one class in this course and already my horizons have expanded tremendously.  My awareness is heightened.   And I am so incredibly energized.

When we were kids, we were fortunate to visit relatives who farmed and raised beef cattle.   I remember the stack of farming articles that were piled on tables at our aunt & uncle’s dining table.  I used to leaf through them and try to read the articles.  At the time, the words seemed rather dry and stale.  And my uncle would smile when he noticed my interest in them.  I really made an effort to derive some understanding from the articles, but I just couldn’t.

And so this somehow became my understanding of the world of horticulture when I was young.   Dry, scholarly reports and talks on food.

It was only many years later, when DH & I purchased our first home and we had a yard, that I started to feel the draw of the earth and the joy of growing things.   Our first garden was hilarious, when I look back!  We’d encourage a long row of what turned out to be weeds!  I thought the plants looked rather pretty and kept watering them.   When I showed one to a neighbour, she promptly explained that it was a weed!  So … pulled them all up.

We’d tried growing potatoes … but I’d dug them up too soon and they were green!  Then there were the really long rows of carrots and other vegetables …. too many, growing in soil that wasn’t much more than clay.

Then came the years of adding kelp, seaweed, fish heads .. oh, that was a story.  I’d gone to a fishery place close to town and collected a large pail of fish heads, as I’d begun reading Organic Gardening magazines and was learning how to replenish the soil, and fish heads were one of the suggestions.

So I lugged the covered pail home .. it was raining .. so I placed the pail in the basement for “a few minutes”.  Well, weeks later, DH was sorting out the basement, saw the pail (guess I’d forgotten to tell him about that) .. he was curious, so took off the lid.  And promptly stepped back, gagging at the horrific stench.

Uh oh.

So I was prompted to quickly “get that stinky suff” out of the house!   Oopsie.   I grabbed the pail and a shovel and outside I went to the garden.

First I dug a trench and then, when I removed the lid and poured the decomposing fish heads into that .. I was suddenly surrounded by a number of screeching seagulls that had quickly appeared overhead.

Those birds were quickly attracted to the smell!   I hurriedly covered the fish with a thick layer of earth .. then filled the pail with soapy water, to try and remove the odoriferous scent.

Now and again, we’ll laugh about that .. but at the time I was highly embarrassed.

Anyway, flash forward to the present years .. and my gardening skills have improved tremendously.  And I’m so excited to be expanding my horizons with the colourful, informative, organic worlds of gardening that I’m entering.

Well .. .time to stop tapping these keys and get going with this most lovely of days.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2011

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Well … I have the first class of the organic master garden course under my belt .. but not totally in my mind yet.  Last night I learned that I was not as knowledgeable about gardening as I’d previously thought.

I’d travelled with the rest of the moving parking lot that is the Colwood Crawl at 5:30 (I wanted to be early to class) .. an accident had just happened at the 6 Mile Pub and I was fortunate enough to have missed that one.

Funny how last night, the first night of the class (because snow had cancelled the classes for last week) .. was dark and rainy .. exactly the same weather that I drove through for the Information session on the course, a mere 2 weeks ago.  Not being a great night driver, especially on such a dark and rainy night .. I wasn’t going to let the weather deter me from the class.  Except for the snow, but thank goodness that Royal Roads had cancelled them.

I had brought with me 3 treasures of garden books … A-Z latin names and a few others .. along with my binder and my water bottle.   Imagine my surprise when I parked my car, grabbed my bag from the passenger seat and saw that the seat was soaked!  What the hey ….. had a window been open?  I quickly reached into my bag and, oh boy, the stopper (which I swore was tightly closed) had become loose and there was water everywhere.

Luckily, there wasn’t much damage done and I paper blotted the moisture and finally took the books to a hand dryer and let the warm air evaporate the balance of the pages.  Now I have delicately rippled pages and I’ll try to iron them flat.

sigh.

For the next 3 hours and 20 minutes …. the doors to new worlds opened to me and I gladly ventured forth.  We learned about the secret inner workings of plants, what makes them tick, how they work and all sorts of intimate details.

Over the years, I’d read about the damages that pesticides cause .. to the soil, the environment, animals, birds, insects, people.  But nothing prepared me for the in depth explanations that were spelled out last night.   And again, I was aware that there are big companies making big money out of chemicals, ensuring that “problems” were eradicated so that maximum growth would ensure huge fail-safe crops.

In the past I’d read articles of how chemicals killed the soil and how some farmers were taking care to bring back a natural balance to the soil, introducing a variety of insects, encouraging weeds to grow.

But, I’d never been aware before last night how far reaching the money and power people can cause laws to change, in a snap of the fingers, to allow GM products.   There was a sombre mood in the class as we each felt the significance of  pesticides on farmland and gardens.

Among the positive things, our instructor talked about permaculture  and here’s a site that explains it:  http://permacultureprinciples.com/ and there are many more.

In this course we will be learning so very much information and I am so fired up with all that I learned last night.  A terrific benefit of this course is that, as a student, we are able to logon to Gaia College, access their library and also connect to gardening forums.  I’ve visited one this morning and I’m in heaven.

Anyway, I have so very much work to do, to view again the videos and slideshows that were presented last night, make copious notes, read, read, read.    To go over and over the information that was given.  Read a chapter of our course book.  Read, read and read some more.

The College uses Firefox as the web browser for the online information.  I’ve downloaded it …. totally agree with what this program is all about!  My life is speeding ahead in a new stage of growth and I’m so very very energized!

Anyway, time to start studying and making notes.

I am enjoying this learning curve tremendously!

🙂

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Tuesday, January 23, 2011

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So .. yesterday I finished putting away my latest book acquisitions and found another bag that I’d missed!  Here were some treasures!  A few books on glass painting (how timely);  one on stonework and another on brickwork .. in the garden!   And I actually took the time to open them up and look through them.  Excited about the  many ideas now for this spring and summer!

And then today, I was taking little Youbou for his acupuncture treatment, and what did I find tucked away behind the front seat!   Another crafty one “How to Build with Bamboo” .. 19 projects.  Some easy crafts in that one.

The weather has been rather a mixed assortment today.  Already there has been rain, overcast skies!  Sunny skies, followed by overcast.  With a dash of wind thrown in.

Nevertheless .. I’ve gathered an assortment of wood and will shortly go outside to attempt some temporary repairs to our little fence .. the section with the loose and fallen boards.   Really looking forward to new panels replacing the older sections.

I’ve planted rather a large assortment of plants along all of the fence, trying to create a nice deep garden in some areas.   And there are a lot of bulbs intermixed with the perennials, so I’ll have to make some colourful markings so that they won’t be stepped on.

There are some cedars that I planted a few years ago .. .after hand digging a nice deep trench for them .. and placing them a few feet apart, so they will eventually grow into a solid green “fencing”.   When I look at these, I remember my travels, many many years ago .. I was invited to stay at a lady’s home for several days.   And I remember looking out the kitchen window, they had a beautiful tall, solid wall of green cedars totally encircling their yard.  They loved it and so did I.

Such privacy and greenness!  It took quite a few years for the trees to have grown so high and I know that ours will eventually grow and fill out.  I think that they will make a strong growth spurt this year.  And it will be time to trip a few inches off the top so that they will fill out more .. the growth will expand to the side branches.

The joy of gardening lies in the adventures of growing, propagating, and the energizing aspects of all plant life.  Even weeds have their place.  Which reminds me of a CityLine show from last week.  Three Greek sisters were cooking greens (which they highly recommend every day) .. and saying (true) that we don’t eat enough greens.  They even cooked dandelion greens .. ok, that I’ve heard of, but have not tried.  The greens that they cook were huge, they resembled lettuce heads, I swear!   And, no pesticides were used (Ontario) so they were safe to eat.

I must say the few times I’ve prepared greens – chopped & garlic, chopped, quickly cooked in a bit of oil, they were delicious.  Guess it’s time to start doing that again. Easy, quick and nutritious.

I found a good site on trees .. here is a most interesting site:  http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2fZ9bg/listverse.com/2011/07/30/10-magnificent-living-trees/

Lately I’ve been paying more attention to trees, looking through my books, becoming more interested in the types available.   Reading about the incredible job they do in their growth cycle.   When I found the above extremely well written site and read the section 7 about the phenomenal root system from which grew 47,000 Quaking Aspen trees … this added fuel to my desire to learn more.

And .. learn more I shall … because tonight the Organic Master Gardening Course begins!  The snow had cancelled the first two .. so they are scheduled to start tonight.

Yippeeeeeeeeeeee ….more hours of gardening talk and learning, learning, learning.

Lovely, lovely .. lovely!

🙂

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Monday, January 22, 2011

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 It was up at at ’em early this morning .. before the sun had risen.  I find it’s such a productive day when I’m up and about early in the day.  Lots of time to relax, pot of Yorkshire Tea .. tend to the kittie-kats and then spent some time entering the details of my latest batch of gardening books into my data base.

A few hours later, called Mother Computers to see about the state of the computer .. turns out that all I need to do is to plug in the external hard drive and the hub into the back of the tower, these items will then power from the actual motherboard .. instead of at the front.  The result is that my computer now runs well, very well, actually.  And I don’t have to deal with purchasing a new computer.   This store is where I will purchase (eventually, when the $$ has been saved) my future computer.  The service is always excellent at this store.  The guys know their computers and treat all of us non computer-savvy people with patience and, shall I say, respect?  Very comfortable atmosphere.

Then, I decided to take some time to visit Swan Lake Sanctuary.   I needed a connection to some re-energizing  intensive nature therapy and of all the lovely natural places that  feed my soul .. this is the closest one.

I was feeling a little, um, un-energized.  Just before I’d left to pick up the computer tower, I’d gone for a look around the back yard .. to check on the status of the bird feeders.   Most of which were empty as a result of the whirling winds of yesterday.   And I was saddened to see that a number of fence boards had become detached at one area of the fence.   They were lying on the ground and there were gaping spaces into another yard.

Most of the fence is standing strong, it’s just in some areas where the boards have become loose .. the majority of the fence is in good shape.

And I felt such a loss of privacy, it really struck hard.  My garden is my haven.  So I went about the activity of propping up the boards as best as I could, to try and restore the sense of intimate solitude that normally exists in this space.  We’ll be replacing a number of the panels this spring .. and for now, simple repairs will need to be done.    I’ll get going on these interim repairs as soon as the weather stays sunny for a few hours.

So a sense of energizing positivity was in order.   Soon, I was walking along a pathway at Swan Lake.   As I went along, I became aware of the six foot high stand of marsh grasses that bordered the section of path.   It felt like a fence and so I started thinking about the significance’s of fences.

Over the years I’ve read about, and spoken with people about .. the importance of fences on their property.   That, and screening are topics of great interest to many people.

As I walked along the path, aware of the physical presence of this fence-like growth of grassy barrier, I felt a quiet energy emanating from it .. it seemed to add a layer of privacy to the creatures that live in the Sanctuary .. a buffer between them and the thousands of people who visit their natural living spaces.   Allowing them to live their daily lives away from the prying eyes of the public.  Space for them to build their homes, raise their young, defend their territory.  A space of dignity and privacy.

And to me, this embodies the physical presence of a fenced in yard.    Most of us do not have the luxury of large properties.  In the cities, we only have a yard.   And in this yard, we live our outdoor lives.   To garden, to create and enjoy a limited square footage of freedom from strangers eyes.   A haven for relaxation and a space to be alone with our bit of freedom.   Our own little renditions of  Swan Lake.

I breathed deeply … walking slowly … enjoying the solitude.  It wasn’t quite lunchtime yet and the noon joggers weren’t yet outside.   Cheerful chirps filled the air.  The silky whisper of the dry grasses mingled with the sounds of the little streams that rippled down the sloping fields were all like music to my ears.

Until, that is, I caught a glimpse of the white tail feathers of one of the local eagles.  Flared out and flying low.  So I sped up my pace and quickly reached a higher elevation with a better view.  Except, the bird had flown on.  Darn.  Reached the little observatory and gently tread on the wooden boards … a pair of  Mallards swam out from the edges of the shore and approached the walkway.  I brought out the bag of flatted oats and tossed them out onto the surface of the water.   Luckily there were no other ducks nearby, so they were able to feast quietly.

Stood at the end of the observatory … noticed some beer cans and bottles left by some highly (not) sophisticated nocturnal visitors.   I’d noticed that someone had plucked some debris already, from the lake and there was a tidy little pile waiting at the beginning of the boards.

Out in the middle of the lake, a group of Geese and mallards were attending to their daily ablutions.   Much flapping of wings against the water, raising up on tiptoe …. they were contentedly social.  And all of them were very vocal, chattering back and forth.

Looked at the side grasses .. thinking that the Marsh Wrens will be nesting in a few months.

Not much happening here .. so I retraced my steps and went for a little walkway down the trail .. and then .. back again .. time to go home and get going.   Stopped at a little side pond.   Looking at a little Mallard who was quietly feeding in the waters.

Hey up!  Caught some aerial movement, looked through the binoculars and saw the eagle, flying low and slow over the water … was able to get a quick pic as it flew away.   Happy that I had stopped to catch sight of this magnificent creature.  By this time of the day, there were a fair number of people jogging and walking .. couldn’t see any one stop and look up to the sky, though.    What they missed.

Feeling much better for having seen, heard .. and experienced such a bevy of positivity.   Reached the end of the path .. decided to stop and have a final look at the Sanctuary before I left.   Glad that I did.

Noticed an Anna, hovering beside the top of a tall tree, then quickly, it flew swiftly skyward … higher and higher to a certain point, and then dive bombing the air space down below .. resulting in that high pitched whistle .. the supersonic sound of its flight!  I’ve often heard this in the backyard, but could never pinpoint where it was happening.  How lucky that I felt to be witness to this, today.  He repeated the procedure a number of times and then flew away.  Leaving me marvelling again at the wondrous beauty of nature and humbly grateful at my good fortune to witness this without intruding.

I returned home in a very positive state of mind.  Ready to tackle mountains.  But really, I just finished putting away my books.

Anyway, I actually did a lot more than that .. but that’s enough for today.  A lovely day.

 

 

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