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Saturday, April 28, 2012

How very sad is this .. a magnificent mountain goat shot and killed.  For sport. For someone’s boasting.  An animal that survived the wilderness of the mountains.   Skilled at living in the wild .. now, sadly, only a momento for someone with a gun.  I cry.

http://www.theprovince.com/news/Kentucky+hunter+kills+world+record+Rocky+Mountain+goat+Stikine+River+area/6519020/story.html

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the newspaper yesterday. There was a photo of a most magnificent wild animal, dead, lifeless.  And beside this animal, a smiling young man, obviously proud of his kill.  With a gun.  How brave is he.   Not.

I asked my dh .. why, why?  He said . .you are asking the wrong person.

We both decry this wanton killing and destruction.  Poor mountain goat.  He lived his life the best he knew how.  Braving the freezing winters, scant food in spring .. he survived .. only for this?

The world weeps for this base kind of sensationalism.

Sorry, I’m not talking about gardening .. but this event, and photo in the paper has reminded me of how crass the world is towards the animals that try to survive.

I have the utmost respect for the animals that live in the wild and the utmost sadness for the humans who hunt them for reasons other than food.

😦

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hi .. still taking a break from blogging.   But, watching the busy insect activity in the yard and the beautiful blossoms & leaves unfurling from the once bare trees .. I just want to share these magnificent videos with you.

If you haven’t already seen them .. then you are in for a treat.

Number one is:  Queen of the Sun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekoeQodrVoM

Number two is: The D.I.R.T. on Farmer John:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhMWz1QWQ0g

It just takes the power of one .. of us .. at a time .. to do our part to stop the pesticides, nurture the earth and all the living insects and animals (including us).

Grow the healthy, natural way.  Throw away the artificial fertilizers .. use the effective microorganisms, the compost teas .. research the information.

Here is a good site to start, to find out about good ways to improve your garden soil:  http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/

And there are a lot of compost tea maker sites.   Each one has some excellent information (although I think that the Bruce Deuley site is the best .. down below)

Compost tea (using only one aquarium aerator): http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/how-to-make-compost-tea-why-you-should.html

Here’s another site:  http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/recycle/tea/tea3.htm

Compost tea (using two aerators): (and this is the best one, I’ll be making one of these):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8_PuUon5_Q

Yours in gardening ……


I’m taking a break from blogging .. using the time now for gardening .. enjoying the summer.

See you later .. enjoy your summer!

 

🙂

A.M.


Monday, April 2, 2012

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Oh, I am a lucky gal, I am, I am I am!  And I’ll tell you why, in a moment!

But first, yesterday, Sunday, April 1 .. was a brilliantly sunny day, albeit a wee bit chilly!  DH, friends and I met at Dakota Café for a lovely early breakfast.  I saw the most amazing cloud formations and just wanted to run outside to take pics of them, but decided, in my maturity (?) to wait till the meal was finished and then . . I went outside!

Brrrr .. by then the really amazing cloud formations had morphed into other shapes.  Well, really, they had moved on in the sky, but I like the idea of the morphing better.

Rejoined the breakfast table and the conversation!

Later, on the way home, we noticed the new eagle nest .. the old one had succumbed to weathering a few years ago.  Luckily the eagles had built the new nest (it’s actually a few years old) in the same area.  Just for the heck of it, I brought out the camera and clicked away as we drove by .. and luckily, the photos turned out well.

And yesterday was the final day of the Friends of the Library book sale.  I wondered, would I be choosy and perhaps a bit more mature in my book selection this time?  Not sure, but I made sure that I took a good supply of shopping bags with me.  And decided to leave my somewhat bulky backpack/purse at home this time.  Easier to slip between the crowds.

This time I was not at the front of the line but I was at a respected position of number 5, so that was good.  We waited, the line getting longer and longer.  Suddenly, the sound of broken glass broke through the silence of the afternoon, and as one, all of us in the lineup turned to face the direction of the sound.

A gentleman stood at the back of his truck, a look of puzzlement on his face …. While his hand continued to uphold the swing out glass door of his truck’s canopy.  I’d caught the action of the broken glass tumbling to the ground as he’d swung open the door.  And as he started to lower it, more glass continued to crumble and fall to the ground.  No one spoke for a few minutes until suddenly a voice rang out “are you ok?”

It seems he was fine, just in shock over what happened, though.  At this point, the door to the library book sale was opened and everyone trooped in .. so I don’t know the ending to that story.

Well .. I just wandered around .. not sure at which table I should start looking for books.  Couldn’t see any aviation or weather books this time.  That’s ok .. I was able to amass quite a few good ones at the last sale.

It was a fun time, chatting with fellow shoppers, discussing the merits of various authors.   I made my way over to the garden and craft section . .and it was here that I struck gold!

There was a very thin book “Living Earth” by Peter Farb, “The Worlds of Science” .. printed in 1959.  Now, before I took my life changing Organic Master Gardening course (Gaia College, through Royal Roads University) .. I would not have given this book a second glance.  But, my life has changed for the better, so I quickly grabbed this treasure.  And I’ve been reading it carefully, page by page.    In the preface, he notes that, despite mankind’s curiosity about the soil, there “has never been a book for the untutored in science on this subject.”  And he continues that there was no technical study on soil until 1957.

The title of the first chapter is “the Placenta of Life” .. and here he introduces the active life found within the soil.   My new best friends “mycorrhizal fungi” are discussed in this book.  Plus so very much more.

For interest, here are the titles of the chapters, how revealing they are:

Part 1 – The Living Soil: 1) The Placenta of Life; 2) The Story of Soil

Part II – The Forests: 3) The Forest Hive;  4) The World of the Root; 5) Soil Societies

Part III – The Grasslands: 6) Dwellers in Darkness; 7) Triumph of the Seed

Part IV – The Deserts: 8) Adapting to Adversity

Part V – Mutual Survival: 9) Living Together and Living Apart; 10) This Enduring Earth

Needless to say, this science report, Peter Farb had a passion for nature .. sadly he has passed on, but he has left us such gifts, namely this treasure of a book.

And, among the other interesting landscaping and gardening books is this other treasure of a book and how very fitting, since I’m beginning to learn more about native plants and ecosystems!   Again, this book is small, but full of important information about ecosystems “Field Guide to Old-Growth Forests” of the Pacific NorthWest.  Thank you to the forces which guided me to these books, I am so very grateful.

Later, after 3 trips to the car to put book filled shopping bags in the car and deciding that really, I had enough, I made myself leave. Anyway, the sale was over.  And once again I proved that I have no will power when it comes to gathering up books.

What were some other treasures .. oh, yes, a book on the Masterpieces of Tutankhamun, glorious coloured plates therein.   “Prehistoric Art” by T.G.E. Powell .. this interests me and today I’ll be going to a free lecture at U Vic on Shamanism in historic cave art & I’ll share that tomorrow.

“Treasures of Early Irish Art” 1500 BC to 1500 AD .. the artwork on the cover was intriguing.  The book contains photos and history of art “from the collections of the National Museum of Ireland Royal Irish Academy Trinity College, in Dublin.   As I opened the cover of this most fascinating book, leafed through the pages and saw the photos of ancient tools, jewellery, chalice, artifacts, I decided that luck had placed this gift in my path, so I tucked it away in yet another shopping bag.  I’m looking through the pages right now, very happy that I decided to take it with me .. so much history, so much beauty ..

Among the Graphic Art books that I selected, there is one on the art of Renate Ulmer “Mucha”.  Now, I have always loved his art, so inventive, playful .. so now I can peruse at my leisure.  And, no respect to this esteemed book . .but I might be so bold as to clip some of the drawings and try to decoupage them onto some tiles .. or something.

Minoan and Mycenaean Art” by Reynold Higgins .. .ok, I was standing way too long at the art table and after this book, I made myself move away!

But wait, what’s this .. a book on poetry.  And not just any poetry, but poems from the 17th Century.  Come on  now, who, having read some of the lines contained within these pages, could resist??? Not me.   Well, I was just looking through this book, hoping to find a short and cheerful little ditty to share ..but am finding that the dismal tone of these writings have made me decide to put this little book in the “free” pile at our next garage sale.

Oh, well, c’est la vie, as it were!

On and on with this bright new day!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

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I love the look of raindrops on flowers, trees, branches .. a delicate transformation of yet another layer of beauty.  Translucent beads of moisture gracefully tumbling on delicate flower petals

And I love the smell of fresh earth when the rains start  .. and imagine a giant sprinkling can wafting back and forth over the earth.  Wouldn’t that be funny?

Last year I was working in the front yard when the rains started pouring down.  Wanting to stay outside, I simply opened up the car trunk, lowered the back seats down and sat inside the dry cocoon of my car.   Breathing in the fresh rainy perfume, listening to the steady pounding of the raindrops as they pelted the roof of my car.  It was a lovely interlude and very relaxing.  All that I needed was a mug of tea, but I wasn’t going to disrupt the mood by going inside and preparing a pot of tea.  So I simply remained where I was. Calm and tranquil.

Yesterday I spent some time on shopping .. we were having a neighbourhood potluck at, where else, a neighbour’s house!  I spent time looking through my cookbooks, searching for something I could prepare.  Nothing struck my fancy, so I went to M & M’s to buy one of those hors d’oeuvre packages.  Yuck.  Never again.  I prepared them properly and put them in some lovely plain white dishes (oops, didn’t think of taking a photo . .as I’d burned my finger on one of the cookie tins, ouch!)

Wrapped them carefully in foil and DH transported them while I carried our little case of beer.

These little things aren’t too bad when they are warm, but, later, I tried to taste one  and omg, they just didn’t taste as good as they looked.  So I binned them later.

Our gardening class has a potluck tomorrow and shortly I’ll be preparing spanakopitas for that event.   Went shopping for the organic spinach, green onions and parsley.  I’ll be using goat feta and thinly sliced almonds.   And the Phylo has thawed out so I’m all set.

Yesterday the weather was chilly and overcast.  When the sun did come out, which it did sporadically .. the air was still a bit too brisk to do any sort of gardening.

So instead I walked around, looking at the birds.  The Juncos were singing away to each other.  Flying around and perching on branches, looking so darn cute.

The Annas were out in full force.   And the front yard Annas, these little beings are siphoning the nectar, I swear, cause I’m filling that feeder every few days.  No leakage, so they are just very heavy feeders. Quite unlike the backyard Annas .. just fill up that feeder once a week or so.

While I was refilling the feeder for the front yard Annas, they kept zipping around my head, buzzing like little helicopters.   Of course this made me laugh and duck as they whirled around my head .. I wonder if they recognize me out there?

I’m so very happy with all the gardening in the yard and full of joy at being able to play around there all day!   I have so many plans and am so excited about spending the whole day, up early and just plain playing around.

Having worked for the majority of my life .. now, finally, I have the opportunity to do what I most love to do in all the world … dig and plant and propagate plants and study and learn.  Endless opportunities to express my most genuine love for all living plants.  And gettting down and dirty, as I kneel on the ground and dig away.   No worries about getting my clothes dirty, or mussing up my hair or “so what, I have mud on my face”?

And remembering to constantly look up to the skies .. to see beautiful clouds, magnificent eagles, hawks, turkey vultures .. soaring by.   Spend happy moments watching the birds play around me.

Ah, what a wonderful life this is!

🙂


Friday, Sun, Rain .. and I bought the most beautiful umbrella, with lovely blue skies & puffy white clouds!.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

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Friday … the end of the work week .. and another day of activity.  A real mix of weather, ranging from brilliant sunshine to pouring rain.

What to do .. what to do … what to do…

Shopping of course .. made a list, actually brought it with me and then left it in the car!  Groceries first .. went to a few supermarkets to take advantage of sales.  Found some good deals and soon the back of my car was loaded up.   Also purchased the most beautiful umbrella at the bank, proceeds go to Children’s Hospital.  It’s just the loveliest umbrella I’ve ever had. There are two coverings.  The outer (top) is black and the inner cover is a cheerful blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds.  How appropriate for one who loves the sky so much!   And I actually had the opportunity to use this in the afternoon when I went for a little walk!   I had my blue skies with me, even though it was pouring rain!

Decided to just make a “little” visit to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  When I got there, the little parking lot was jammed full .. so decided to leave unless a spot happened to open up.  Just as I made this decision, I noticed someone preparing to get into their car and leave.  Hmmm.. what can I say?  So I waited a few minutes and then parked in the now vacant spot.

Pulled on my gumboots and started walking.   Sauntered along  the pathway to Tuesday Pond … went to the side area  .. which is now nicely covered in mulch .  This mulch looks just like the pine chippings that I scooped up a few days ago, from “free” in Used Victoria ads.     I’m getting to know my mulch.  And glad that I still have 6 large Rubbermaid containers full at home .. plan to use this on my back pathway.   Pine mulch is not good for gardens, but perfect for pathways.

Anyway .. onwards I went .. and saw no ducks at the side area .. so I retraced my steps, planning to take the shortcut to the little bridge which spans the Tuesday Pond area.  Oops .. there is a large Canada Goose along the shores .. so I decided to go the long way around.  The Geese  can be a bit territorial and I didn’t want any confrontations.

I walked along the pathway for a while, tempted to walk the full circuit around the Sanctuary, but decided on a shorter version, it’s too easy to spend hours and hours here and I have things to do at home.

Eventually I turned back and made my way to the main observatory.  Noticed many cleared areas, invasive plant growth removed, lots of sunshine now entering the cleared areas.  Lovely ..lots of volunteers have helped to open up these side wooded areas.

I could hear the calls of many birds, some of which I recognized.  The songs of the Red Wing Blackbirds, the males and the females.  The Marsh Wrens.  And many others.

Spoke with other people looking out for birds and feeding the ducks.  Saw the Cormorants were still settled on the wooden platform which is tethered to the shore.  Separate from the main walkway and inaccessible to the public, a safe haven for the birds.

Noticed a Great Blue Heron stalking prey for lunch, very stealthy.  Then, ta da, he swiftly gathered up a rodent, and just as swiftly, in one gulp, it was gone.   Nature at work.

Stopped and watched some Red Winged Blackbirds as they sang away.  These are quite beautiful birds and the females have the most beautiful songs to sing.

Finally I tear myself away and go to the Nature House to see if my place on the Native Plant workshop has changed .. I’m currently Number 3 on the wait list. Nope, unchanged.  And no phone calls as of this morning, so I didn’t make the cut.  Boo hoo .. that will teach me to procrastinate!  If I’d contacted them when I first saw the ad, I’d be there right now.  Oh, well, there will be other workshops, I know.

Homeward bound …noticed that the sunny morning skies have changed and now were overcast.  Groceries brought in and put away.  Time for tea!

Played around in my garden room.   Sorting seeds.  Found some packages that were either purchased by me or given to me as gifts.  Boxed herb seeds.  A package of Korean pine tree seeds, complete with compostable plant pot and saucer.   I followed the instructions given on the enclosed sheet and now the seeds are sitting in the moistened potting mix and awaiting germination.  If they sprout, then I’ll keep them in pots.    Perhaps I’ll plant them on our future property, but time will tell if they will indeed sprout.

Then, the herb package, sweet little clay pots, 4 labelled aluminum plant stakes and 4 envelopes of seeds.  I’ll put them in plant pots and see if they will germinate.  If they do, then I’ll have lots of basil, parsley, thyme and cilantro for the summer.  You just never know.

Finding (and using) these hidden treasures  gives me incentive to continue on with my clearing away the clutter in my garden room.

I also found time to look through some watercolour instruction books.  Looking for ideas that I can use to paint some white rectangular tiles.   I’ll take the painting ideas and use them on a variety of things for the garden.  It would be fun to paint some leftover boards and try to make signage for the garden.  Another fun project for a sunny day.

Went outside for a few minutes, in between the rainy showers and checked out the garlic, growing quite strongly now.   Looked up in the sky .. no eagles flying around.  Heard the rapid taps at the bird feeder as a little chickadee pecked away at the acrylic sides of the feeder – to remind me to add more sunflower seeds to the feeder!   Ha ha ha .. went inside to fetch the sunflower seed container and then added a cup full to the various feeders.    The birds only tap at this feeder when it’s empty, smart little guys, aren’t they?

Rains began, so inside I went.  And on with my day.

🙂

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