Posts Tagged ‘bird feeder’

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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Wednesday started off in a cloudy fashion.  I felt cloudy also.  As in, not energized.    You know the kind of feeling .. life is rolling along, full of positivity and energy.    Open to new possibilities and learning.   Then there is a blip.  So I was in a blip.  Hmmm. .. that could very well be a new adjective, couldn’t it?   As in “it was a blip situation” …:)

So I went outside to experience some positive energy from our yard .. to take a few moments to watch the birds.  Check out the ground, look for spring flowers .. that sort of thing.  Pondered walking over to Swan Lake, to see the ducks and watch for the local eagles .. I’d really like to see them.

Decided it really was time to stay home, study, spend some time in reading through the materials on organic gardening.  Not many classes left.

Brr .. chilly in the early morning.  Rain starting to fall.  I was determined to finally install the Lee Valley hanging saucer beneath one of the bird feeders.  A green circle of about 1 1/2 feet in circumference, which would be attached to the bottom of the feeder.   There was a cover for this saucer, which was full of holes for the bird seed to tumble into (instead of tumbling onto the ground!).

By the time I’d assembled (found!!!) my pliers, saucer, bird seed and was outside, a light rain was falling.  My hands were numb with cold, but I was determined that I was finally going to assemble this saucer thing which I’d bought before Christmas!

Deciphered the instructions, arranged the chain and attached to one of the bird feeders – I’d lost all track of time so really don’t know how long it took me to do that.  Anyway, as all gardeners know, time doesn’t exist in a garden   🙂

Finally, the bird feeder with the new saucer was placed carefully, hanging from a branch of the apple tree, freshly filled and awaiting the discovery of the birds.  A sense of accomplishment was strongly felt.  yeah.

Next, time to fill up the hummingbird feeder and the rest of the bird seed feeders.

And …. ta da .. there is a new addition to the village of bird feeders!  I finally broke down and bought the Mark Cullen covered suet holder, it’s cute, made of cedar, with a sloped roof, underneath is the suet holder.  It’s made specifically for the tiny members of  birds .. the darling little Bush-tits, the Red-Breasted Nuthatches and the Chestnut-Backed Chickadees.   Bigger birds (Junco’s, sparrows, European Starlings) kind of take over the other suet block.  So this is special for them.

Wandered around the back, inspecting the branches of the dwarf apple tree that we’d planted a long time ago.

Looked up to the sky and wow .. there is one of the eagles flying around.  I found it really amazing to be looking through the tight web of branches and actually see this magnificent eagle flying and .. I actually had my camera with me!  So I quickly drew the camera from the case, clicked it on and took a few pictures.  This camera doesn’t have an eyepiece, it has one of those little screens which doesn’t show clearly what you are looking at .. so it was really sheer luck that I was able to zero in and take some photos.

As the eagle flew in ever larger circles, I ran to the center of the yard and found it again .. and clicked away.  So very grateful that I was outside at that moment in time, and looked upwards.   An inspirational bit of time which filled me with joy at the sheer magnificent beauty of nature.

The eagle then changed direction, soaring effortlessly in another direction, lost to my sight.

Well, then.  I was able to see the eagle and saved myself a few hours from walking to Swan Lake.

Time to go inside and get some studying done.

And you know what?  Once I started going through my notes and the online lessons, I was transported away to the world of composting and the many lifeforms therein.

Quite the learning day for me . .one that I thoroughly enjoyed.



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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012


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  Tuesday … such a beautiful day … decided to get outside and go for a long walk so that I would have exercise in the sun!

Walked down Blanshard … normal busy day … and so lovely when the traffic momentarily was hushed, due to traffic lights.

The lines on the roadway at one section were being repainted.  While waiting for a light to change to “walk” I took the opportunity to talk with one of the workers .. turns out that his company is involved with installing the heavier markings for the pedestrian walkway sections.  Which are composed of plastic .. recycled?  And … “supposed” to be environmentally ok .. but he had his doubts.   Walking onwards, I glanced over and saw the clouds of dust in the air as the workers were removing old lines and getting ready to paint new lines.  And I noticed that no one was wearing any sort of respiratory device to avoid inhaling the dust.  Hmmmm …

Anyway, continued on my walk to pick up some ink and printing paper.  High time .. the last time I’d purchased printing paper was so long ago, that I can’t really recall what year it was.  So, time to pick up another package.  We rarely print and it’s just nice to have a supply ready for the few times that we do.

Such a lovely day I really enjoyed the long walk.  In about one and a half hours I’d walked to Staples and then on to Save-On Foods and then home.  Really, really, really wanted to visit Swan Lake, but really, I knew that I would spend at least a few hours wandering around.

So I opted to return home and hit the books again.  Going over terminology, looking up information .. preparing for the gardening class in the early evening.

Enjoyed watching the birds flying in the yard … I’m still at the kitchen table, with my little Toshiba laptop and books & lined cards for notes.  The birds love the clear bird feeder that is attached to the kitchen window, the window blinds hide me so they don’t notice me as I watch them cavorting around.  So sweet.

Tuesday was a good day … I really wanted to play outside, but decided that a little discipline was in order, thus I stayed mostly inside.   Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m understanding a little more each time .. of how the soil, plants and air interact.

Nature is a wonderful thing.



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Wednesday, December 17, 2011

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  So much for bragging about living in the best little place in Canada .. Victoria, B.C.!  And posting sweet little pics of frost-tinged plants … oh how sweet!

Winter blasted us starting yesterday and continued full force today.  Yesterday would have been night #1 for my Organic Master Gardening Course at Royal Roads.  And also, Youbou’s interim acupuncture treatment was booked in the early afternoon.

Snow came pouring down yesterday .. stopped for a while .. sun shone brilliantly ..and then was tucked away .. replaced with driving snow.

So I had to cancel the acupuncture … and .. the Gardening Class was cancelled .. due to the weather.  What are the odds that, after waiting for years to finally enroll for a stellar gardening course .. on the first night of the series, snow caused the class to not happen.  Murphy.

And tomorrow’s class is cancelled also due to the snow.  Argh to the 100th power, I say.

I kept busy though, laundry and housework wait for no (wo)man it seems.  Yesterday I was met with 3 shocked feline faces as I swept through the house, dusting, vacuuming, and – yes, ladies and gentlemen .. the washing of the floors.

Three sets of eyes followed my initial activity as I became one with the zen of my cleaning energy.  Even dear little Youbou stared at me unabashedly while I moved through the rooms.  I guess they were trying to figure out what brought this on.  It’s usually DH who ministers to the cleanliness of the house. 

For the floor – buckets of hot sudsy water enriched with that most useful of cleaning products “Pink” .. which is no longer even pink, that’s how environmentally proper it has become.

Hours passed un-noticed as I focused on scrubbing, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, washing …. I was really in that flow of housework.  I try not to connect with that part of my being too often.   Saving that energy for the garden .. much more satisfying.

Anyway .. on with the snow story.   This morning I shovelled my way into the back yard.   A vast expanse of snow transformed every surface and I slipped off of the sidewalk area several times.  In my quest to fill the bird feeders …did that several times during the day.

Spent long periods of time outside, watching the many birds flutter back and forth .. at times a few of them nearly collided with me, so intent were they in the quest of food.   After awhile, they just ignored my presence as they hopped around the surface of the snow, doing their little scratching dance movements .. seeing the sunflower seeds.

The hummingbird feeders kept freezing and I kept taking them inside the house to defrost.  I plan to pick up a few more and then, if a freeze happens again, I’ll just move them inside/outside.

Interesting developments with the front feeder.  Aft first, I’d defrosted it and hung it in the usual place .. on a branch in the cedar tree at the side of the house.  A few hours later, I checked on it and .. fully frozen!  So, inside, defrost .. and this time .. I hung it by the front door.    Happy to see the little Anna find it and feed away.  Then, the little darling flew up and down, to check out the location of the feeder, flew around in a sort of loop, and then hovered right outside the window … looking in at me!  For a long few minutes, he did this .. and I could see clearly his sparkly red coverings close up.   I think he was thanking me!  Then he settled down at the feeder an supped for awhile.

Awhile later, I was looking out the front window and could see the Anna sitting on an ivy leaf by the feeder.  He looked up at the feeder and then over at me, repeated this look .. look …look .. so finally I went outside and, sure enough, the nectar (3:1) had frozen .. so I went through the defrost again.

Later, still .. I was looking out the front window .. and notice that he had alighted on one of the little perches.  Stuck his beak into the flower and then had trouble .. he was trying to remove it, but it was stuck . .and he began to move about as if he was in trouble.  This happened a few times .. he was trying to get the nectar and somehow, his little tongue had become stuck onto the frozen solution.

So, inside, defrost and outside again.

With the back feeder, the solution was the same .. so .. inside, defrost .. and then I hung it from a eave near the kitchen door.   Tomorrow I’ll keep checking and I think that I might just trudge down to Canadian Tire and buy two more feeders, as backups.

Sigh .. quite a day .. more tomorrow.

And so I’ve posted pictures from my lovely walks at Swan Lake and Christmas Hill.  Walks taken in the days before the snow.


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Monday, January 16, 2011

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  I’ve  been spending a fair chunk of time lately entering my gardening book data into an excel sheet.  I know that I have acquired many excellent books and I’ve leafed through them from time to time as I’ve relocated them from one room to another.   From the shelves of one bookcase to another.

But I’ve never really spent a lot of time just flipping through the pages, looking for information that just pops out at me.   Actually reading and highlighting sections (these are my own books, after all and I’m free to draw pictures, write notes … all those things!) for quick reference at a later date.

And I just have about 50 or so more books to go.  Then I’ll go through the house and collect any spare books that I’ve left in various rooms.

Next .. guess I’ll make a list of my birding books.   Followed by my craft books .. of which I have a good supply.  Art, beading, (Bedouin in particular – lots of creative ideas for painting in those pages), watercolour … I have quite a variety.

We’ve been experiencing a light dusting of snow here lately …. a little reminder that winter is still here.  Wandering around the yard I see many bulbs were popping up all over the place … new growth emerging for the new year.  I’d planted such a variety of bulbs throughout the front, side and back yard … it will be a nice surprise to see what pops up.  My lovely garden-neighbour has given me a variety of bulbs over the years and this year I’ll try to identify them.

Oops .. another “to do” .. is to map out what is growing where.  I’d started this project last year and then life became crazy busy with all my activities .. so I kind of ran out of time.

Light is dawning .. time to place the hummingbird feeder outside at the back … I’d brought it in last night, to avoid the frozen mixture that awaited the birds yesterday morning.

Some reminders of the beauty of tranquility and trust .. in the garden.   A few days ago .. I was standing quietly …. watching that lovely little rotund bird.  The one that is supposed to be a Junco .. yet I cannot find a photo in any of my bird books.  This little bird is not afraid of me … he (she?) stands quietly, feeding on luscious treats he finds in the ground cover .. as he does the shuffle-shuffle dance.  Little feet moving forwards and backwards.   Enjoying the peaceful quiet as I temporarily live in his world.

Another reminder came a few evenings ago.  Little Anna was at the back feeder.  He would take a few sips, then he would lean back, whirlwind wings steadying him as he perched there, tiny talons firmly gripping the little bar… take a few glances to ensure he was safe, then a quick sip and he’d lean back again.  Then, after repeating this a number of times, he finally relaxed and simply sipped at the nectar .. content that nothing was going to harm him.  He fed for quite a long time it seemed … at least a full minute.  A companionable moment in time.  

Unexpected rewards of gardening.  Priceless.  And very precious.

I’ll try and post some of the “snow” pics tomorrow .. Our main computer is being fixed by that wonderful store “Mother’s Computers” … the machine has been shutting itself on and off for a few days, problem was getting worse .. so it was time to take it over there for a looky-loo.  And a quick glance by the techie, once the cover was removed (and he showed me how to easily do that when I clean the insides in the future)  told him that the power pack that was originally installed was of a very cheap variety!  I’d had the ‘puter built for me at a little shop, many years ago.    Even new, today, the boxes don’t cost much, maybe $50 or so .. so I was left to wonder .. why did the original shop not put a proper one in, if they were so cheap!

I’ve only dealt with this store a few times and each time I’ve been impressed with the sincere assistance, down to earth helpfulness of the personnel.   I trust them, based on my past dealings.  And, once I can justify getting new equipment .. I’ll purchase from them. 

Anyway .. time to go outside and put up the hummingbird feeder for my little backyard guys.  And refill the feeder at the front for the family there!

Time to get on with my lovely daily life on this lovely new day of the week!

Update .. just came in from .. guess where .. the yard!  Spent some time filling up the birdfeeders with more seeds, added lots of black oily sunflower seeds.   As I was doing this .. heard a series of chirps from the birds as they started to gather in the trees.   Placed the hummingbird feeder in the little arbour. 

Carrying a light aluminum ladder and refill for the hummingbird feeder in the front yard … I walked through the extremely light covering of snow to my destination.  Along the way . .. thinking back to last year .. brr .. there had been quite a bit of snow .. I’d worked away, shovelling the sidewalk, and had even built a snowman.  Thankful that there wasn’t much of a snowfall here this year!

So I worked away …set up the ladder .. unhooked the feeder .. undid the lid and filled it up.  As I stood at the top of the ladder, holding the full bottle in my left hand .. ready to hook it securely onto a branch .. Isuddenly heard a whirring of little wings and voila!   Up flew a tiny hummingbird .. it was looking for the feeder and appeared to be a little puzzled to see it  .. but not in the usual location. 

He darted here and there .. trying to figure things out.  There was the feeder.  Not in the normal spot.  Hmmmm ..  he darted from one yellow cage to another .. and .. joy of joys … he settled onto the little cage directly in front of me .. and only inches away from me.   How very precious was this moment, I cannot say.

I would have loved to have taken a picture ..but stayed motionless … not wanting to interupt this most magical moment.    Looking at this tiny little being, perched securely on the little red bar, wings neatly folded tight against his little body as he contendedly sipped away at the nectar.   Trusting my presence.   I didn’t dare breathe all the while .. just drank in the incredible beauty of this most precious period of time.

It’s treasured moments like this that nourish my soul and add to the magic that is nature and gardening. 


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Friday, January 13, 2011

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 Another sunny day is promised today!  With the possibility of a tiny little sprinkle of snow on the weekend.  I can handle that.

Yesterday was sunny at times .. chilly for sure.   Went outside to place the newly scrubbed bird feeder outside … and refilled all the containers.  Plus, fresh block of seed filled suet.

Glad to see that the birds are still nibbling away at the fat in the suet holders.  Not sure if I mentioned a little trick for squirrels .. something I learned in a conversation with a Thrifty’s employee, a few months back.

This lady’s grandfather used to feed the birds and the squirrels also.   For the squirrels, he would spread peanut butter between pieces of cardboard.  Then, the  clever squirrels would separate the cardboard, holding the sections in their little paws and it would look as if they were reading a book.  Sounded like a lot of fun.  And he would take photos of the little guys.

There was a fluffy grey squirrel outside, yesterday, gobbling up seeds that had fallen from the feeders.  I went outside to chase him away and he tried to camouflage himself in the tree .. hey, that didn’t work.  So then he spent time leaping from tree to tree .. seeing if I would go away, thinking he was gone.  Uh uh, mister .. so finally he gave up and ran away.

I did buy a large planter saucer that would hang beneath the bird feeder, to catch any wayward seeds.   Time to figure out how to attach that to one of the feeders.  Seems like a good project to tackle today.

Posted some pics of my lovely walks at Royal Roads and the Esquimalt Lagoon … and again I was pleased that I’d taken a wrong turn, thus discovering (for myself) those venerable old trees.  Moss laden branches .. so beautiful.

Tempting to travel out there again today .. but .. time would be better spent working on continuing to catalogue my gardening books.    I still have about three more shelves.

Still enjoying the entering of details, though, and this project allows me the opportunity to just leaf through the books.  Finding out amazing treasures .. lots of good ideas.

And I am so looking forward to starting my gardening course.  A wonderful series of time spent learning and talking about gardening.  Sheer bliss.  Plus, meeting other like-minded persons.

It feels absolutely fabulous to finally have the time to spend on my passion for working with the soil.  For so many years, I’ve taken a large quantity of my vacation credits to spend time in the  garden.  Seemed normal to me.  Now, I’ve progressed to the point where I have started my wee little gardening business.  And am adding to my gardening knowledge with classes.   It just keeps on getting better.

I must admit, when I was visiting Royal Roads, walking along a pathway alongside the Camosun Horticulture centre, seeing students digging away in a walled garden .. I felt a pang of longing to be in that course.   For many years I would have wanted that, however, it is true .. it is never too late to become the person you want to be .. or to do the things that you want.

I’m not interested in travelling the world … I like where I am.   But I am able to delve into the many layered worlds of gardening and the joys that unfold through that portal.  So for that I am eternally grateful.   And the adventures that happen along the way are treasured.

Anytime, time to get up and get going .. on this most beautiful day!  I have keyboards to tap, tickets to buy, places to go!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

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The weather has been kinda rainy for the weekend .. that just adds to a nice lazy ambience.   The hot summer sun will soon be here, so might as well enjoy these relaxing times.

There seems to be a scarcity of birds in the yard … looking out, I can’t see the Cooper’s Hawk in the wild and crazy tree .. but he must be somewhere in the vicinity.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I went out side to check on the bird feeders .. .nary a bird in sight at first, then, slowly, the chickadees started arriving .. followed by the Juncos.  So sweet.

I stood very still and the Chickadees forgot about me .. they chirped away in their happy fashion.  Took turns landing on the suet block, little legs firmly attached to the grid of the suet cage, pecking away … choosing a little sunflower and flying away to a nearby tree branch to nibble on the delicacy.

Glad that I had shovelled another layer of leaf mulch onto the garlic bed .. as the birds like to do their shuffle shuffle dance over there.  Nestled snugly in the leaf mulch pile are my latest garden plant treasures!  Not exactly sure where I’ll be placing them ….yet.

Spent some time entering more garden books onto my excel sheets … finding more and more information as I leaf through the books.

Much of the same information is spread throughout the books .. wording is a little different, but most carry the same message.  About what to plant where, how to best propagate a variety of plants.  How to organically take care of pests in the garden.

One book mentions that swallows like to feast on tent caterpillars .. yea .. I’ve seen them around the yard in the spring.  And of course the chickadees are renowned for this also, so I’m hoping that the caterpillars won’t be too much of a problem this year.

Last spring I kept on top of the tent caterpillars, removed most of them when they were in the beginning stages.  I’ve read that the best times for this is in the early mornings and evenings .. when the pests are in the tent.  I did miss a few last year, but they were neatly tucked away.  Anyway, as a result, the trees retained the majority of their leaves.

I’ve heard tales that the caterpillars really aren’t that bad ..sure, they eat leaves, but the leaves grow back.

Soil testing .. I’ve been finding out that you can easily test acidity etc. using vinegar .. baking soda .. .for a quick and easy evaluation.

Well … more later .. it’s back to the books for me. The first gardening class starts in a few days and I plan to research as much information as possible for this.

Lovely .. .lovely .. lovely…

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Friday, January 6, 2012

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Heavy rains yesterday … combined with the Cooper’s hawk‘s presence in the wild and crazy tree .. resulted in another day without the birds in the backyard.

I’ve become so used to see them, enjoying all their antics .. and the absence of their presence in the yard is quite a blow.

The hawks nest in the vicinity and although I’ve seen one or two passing through the yard .. I’ve not seen one hang around quite so much.

So towards late afternoon yesterday I was quite pleased to see the return of the little guys .. the Dark Eyed Juncos, the Nuthatches, the Chickadees, the Thrush.

They needed to feed quickly as night was falling, so instead of going outside and upsetting them .. I took photos of them through the rain spattered window .. and they came out well!

I’m slowly making progress, entering the hundreds of garden books into an excel sheet .. and along the way, reading through these books .. gleaning the treasured gardening information that they contain.

I start my Organic Master Gardening Course next week .. quite looking forward to this.  And then there are four other components, which I will take, and these all lead up to a diploma in organic land care .. it will take a couple of years but that is something to work towards.

These “wintry” days are good for us .. a time to slow down.  Relax.  Cocoon.  I know that these chilly days will soon pass, summer will be here and again .. there will be those long long days with many hours of activity .. so I’m taking the opportunity to relax now.  Time to do those “indoor” activities now so I can ignore them once the warm weather arrives.

And I do have so many plans.

For now though .. it’s back to entering all those books and enjoying the time to look through them.

Here is a quote that was attached to a recent e-mail .. I found it to be quite uplifting and want to share this: 

“Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past.” 

Maurice Maeterlinck

Ok, I found this quote to be quite intriguing, so, of course, I had to look for more information on this person .. and here is a link, complete with a photograph:   http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1911/maeterlinck-bio.html   From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

He was born in Belgium.  Looking at his photograph, I see such thoughtful, dreamy eyes .. quite a handsome guy .. and very philosophical.

I find it interesting to see that he meandered to the bees, gardens, mystical things and all those wonderful creative elements of the universe. 

More positivity … sigh


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January 4, 2012

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Yesterday was overcast and the rains would come and go so I decided that it was a perfect time to finish taking down the Christmas decorations.   Found the few ornaments that were hiding amongst the branches, as always, a Christmas tradition.

Took down the sparkling Christmas lights that encircled the room .. so pretty.  Neatly bundled and carefully placed in those lovely zippered clear bags from the new drapes.

Finally, removed the tree trunk from the stand and the tree made it’s way (with my assistance!) from the living room to the yard.  I plan to re-use the tree in the garden.  I’ll clip the branches and these I’ll just cut up and place appropriately around plants .. perhaps beneath our “first Christmas tree” .. to dissuade cats from utilizing the ground as a litter box!  Yes, I’ll do that!

and then the trunk … I’ll definitely use that to stake up some plants or perhaps I’ll use it as part of a trellis for growing sweet-peas!

Eventually, the house was back in order, containers of Christmas decorations put away downstairs.  Vacuuming finished, dusting finished and our house was back to normal.   This year I’m not so sad at completing the “putting away” process … we’ve had a good Christmas & New Years and now it’s time to get on with this new year!

Looked out the kitchen window .. from time to time .. puzzled by the lack of activity.  Couldn’t figure out what was going on .. the bird feeders were full … as were the suet holders.  Hmmmm.

Finally .. I “really” looked at the yard and noticed a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, high atop the branches of the wild and crazy tree!  Aha!  This was why there wasn’t any bird activity in the yard.

I took my little camera and stepped out onto the sundeck …trying to be as quiet as possible …and soon noticed that the hawk wasn’t fazed by my presence.  He was a regal being and I was beneath his radar, not above it.

So I clicked away … appreciative of the fact that I really was lucky to be seeing this bird in the yard.  I realize that he must frequent the yard often .. and I’m usually away, so I feel fortunate to be there.

The little Anna is completely unfazed … and boldly perches on a branch on the other side of the tree.  Chirping away quite loudly.   He zooms past the hawk several times, as if he is taunting the hawk.

Seagulls fly by … as do some crows.  But no other winged creatures.

I had some errands to do and when I returned, walked around to the back of the yard … the hawk was still there and seemingly content to stay for the rest of the day.   Time was spent grooming his feathers.

Saw a bird feeder had crashed to the ground a few feet away from where I had placed it and wondered ..when had it tumbled to the ground?  Was this the start of the hawk’s adventure this morning?  Diving  towards the feeder, dislodging it and then it fell?  I’ll never know.  But it had to have taken some energy to remove the feeder from the coiled wire that it had hung from.  Mysteries.

Went about my household activities, continuously returning to the window to check on the status of the hawk.  Finally …. saw that the tree was void of his presence .. so I missed his departure.    And I wondered if he’d been successful in hunting down some lunch?

Birds didn’t return till later .. and then they returned in droves .. starving for the bird seed and suet.   The day was ending and I felt so happy to see these little guys back in the yard.   Hopping and flying … filling their little tummies for their long night’s sleep.

Didn’t see the Nuthatches though … although I saw Mr & Mrs on Monday, taking turns visiting the suet feeders.  Mrs lacks the rosy chest that Mr has .. quite a striking colour, though.

Inside, I decided to finally turn a dream into a reality.  Just a small dream, mind you.  One that involved slicing up some triangular ciabetta buns that were getting a little stale.  These were lovely, topped with a variety of grains and I just didn’t want to discard them.

There were just two of these buns left … so I sliced them as thinly as possible and placed them on a cookie sheet.  Into the oven at 300, letting one side toast to a golden brown and then flipped the slices over, to complete the crispy process.

Yea, they looked wonderful .. as crunchy and tasty as could be.   They looked so pretty in the clear glass containers that I placed them in.  So I had to take a pic!

Hmmmm… DH gave me a terrific soup book for  Christmas and I have my eye on a delicious onion soup recipe, these slices will be perfect.  And onions, I have a great supply of in the pantry.  Potatoes and onions .. I have to have these foods in the kitchen .. otherwise, it’s quite an empty place.  These are basics.

And, then, last night .. the time came to head on out to attend the free information session regarding the upcoming Organic Master Gardening course to be held at Royal Roads.

I am not a great night driver and last night the roads were dark and the heavy downpour of  rain made the drive a challenging one for me .. but I drove with caution, determined to attend the session.

Once there, I found a seat at the front of the class … and had time for a conversation with the instructor.  And, what a very tiny little world this is!  We had met at Swan Lake, a year ago!

When I was adjusting to my early retirement, my life newly unconstrained by time limits, hours of work and lunch breaks.  I’d been in the process of creating my Lovely New Life!

So I practically lived at Swan Lake … and went for walks there nearly every single day.

And during the process, I met some very interesting people … birders, philosophers .. it was a lovely time.

And so I thought how coincidental this world is .. if I hadn’t gone for those walks, then I wouldn’t have connected with a great group of people.

As it turns out there are 4 instructors for this course.  We will have lectures, discussions, hands on classes, assignments.  We will learn the symbiotic relationships, communication between organisms and insects soil processes and partnerships, soil ecology, soil testing, soil fertility management.  Soil/water relationships.  Composting .. with hands on assignments.  Water wise gardening.

There will be two classes on diagnosing landscaping health problems.  We’ll make site visits.   Learn how to make strip gardens (I think that’s what it’s called) .. cardboard base then topped with soil/mulch.   We’ll learn which plants need to have cuttings made in the cardboard, to allow their roots to go through.  And which plants are so tenacious that they will do the job themselves.

I’ve used the newspaper layering, then the cardboard, for years.   And although I might know a good bit about natural gardening, I know that, through this course, I will learn much more.  So I’m really looking forward to that.

Lawn care .. ok, so I’m not in love with lawns, but I do look forward to learning about natural inoculants to improve the soil for lawn growth.

There will be sessions on pruning … Tamara went over the basics of pruning, how  injuries to trees cannot be healed by the tree itself, the importance of branch collars.   Information that I’d skimmed over in my books.

I really look forward to attending classes, absorbing all the information, then returning home to make more notes and research from my books.

Also, we’ll have access to Gaia College’s online information .. so that is quite exciting.

About plant names .. those aren’t a priority ..we can easily learn these on our own.  This course focuses on learning techniques that can be applied to all plants.     Eco systems that work.  Alternative construction methods & materials.

Creating healthy, vibrant gardens, focusing on healthy plants.

This course resonates with my gardening self.   It will give me the structure that I’ve been searching for .. in my gardening business.   Everyone involved is focused on natural gardening and I know that I will meet more like-minded people.

And there will be places to go, people to meet, products to try .. ideas for me to experiment with …. all is coming together re my gardening life and I’m ever so happy!!!!

Well .. on with this rainy day .. I’ll be working away with my gardening book data base!  And looking for ideas as I go along!


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Friday, December 30, 2011

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Thursday was a fun shopping experience day!  I was so happy to have received gift cards for some Christmas gifts .. from family that know my deepest desires:  gardening (Lee Valley, Cannor’s Nursery and Chapter’s books!!!)

So I hemmed and hawed on Thursday .. what to do .. what to do.  Outside to fill the bird feeders.   Some mugs of Yorkshire Tea.  Some pondering over what to do and made a list.

Made sure the kitties were all taken care of, breakfast, litters cleaned … that sort of thing.  Then off I went in my little car .. following the list that I had made.

My first visit of the day was to Lee Valley … wanted to go there first, to avoid that horrible Colwood Crunch!

There was an in-store sale on, so I wandered the aisles.   Finally chose a handy portable folding screwdriver set, consisting of 6 screw heads, all fixed on 2 sets of  rotating bars, handy for future use.  Don’t know how much time I’ve wasted looking for a simple bit to fix a gardening implement .. now, for the majestic sum of $2, I’ll have a complete set.

Picked up a few other items, including a catch-saucer to be attached to a bird feeder.  Quite clever, it will contain any seeds dropped from a bird feeder so they won’t fall to the ground.  I plan to set this up tomorrow.  Then a “Creative Gardeners’ Software from “Eden” .. a program that I quite like.  I’ve installed the one-time installation disc and look forward to seeing how well this works out.

Off to PetCetera .. to refill the kitty litter container ..such a deal, $2 less when a pail is refilled!  I quite like this store and am so glad that the original owner was able to re-establish the Tillicum location, once the previous owners had gone bankrupt.  Quite a positive story.  Plus, this chain of stores do their best to have dogs (and cats?) adopted to good homes.  Oh, I really miss having dogs around.

Dear Universe .. I want to have at least 3 or maybe 6 dogs … all rescue and all not puppies.  Although, a mix of ages would be ok.  thank you.  🙂

Then I decided, what the heck, why don’t I travel downtown to Chapters!  I usually save my lovely $$ gift card till later in the year, but yesterday, I just felt like shopping, so decided to visit the book store.

Car nicely parked in the parkade … I’d forgone street parking ( $$$ !!! ) and 2 hour free parking zones .. because, once I’m in a book store .. time just disappears.  Just like in my garden.

So I wandered in the front entrance .. thankfully accepted the whipped cream topped cup of coffee ..yum yum yum .. from a coffee laden tray as it was passing by!   And then  I started seriously browsing the sale tables.   First I sought gardening books .. perused some.  Picked up some terrific Sudoku books .. these are always handy to have, in the car, in my gardening bag, everywhere in the house!

Looked through some terrific gardening books .. I’m always curious to see if I can actually find books that I don’t have at home.   Books were getting heavy .. asked a store associate if there were baskets and she quickly gave me a Chapters bag to put my books in .. while I was shopping.  How nice was that!

Wandered downstairs .. seriously looking through the gardening section.  This store is heaven.   Spent a large chunk of time trying to choose two books from the section here.   Finally  …  I really have no idea how much time I’d spent down there .. I made my way to the stairs to ascend to the main level.  Before I did, though, I just stood there .. looking around me at all the books.  Incredible.   I was almost afraid to walk around… in case I was attracted to more books … time to go, lady!

Upstairs, I gave my heavy bag to a sales associate and asked her to leave it behind the counter, while I went looking for more .. .. oh, dear, my shopping persona is on the hunt now for more gardening books.

I unearthed a “Green  Guides Compost” book .. a marvellous book.  and a Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees (Steve Cafferty).  sigh.  Then I went to the counter, claimed all my books, paid and left.  One very happy gardener.  With more books for my collection.

Other books I purchased from my shopping trip:  “The Practical Gardener’s Encyclopedia (Geoffrey Burnie); Container Gardening (stellar book) from the editors & Contributors of “Fine Gardening”;  the Garden Flower Book (Bay Books);  and, finally, “Gardening, Step by Step (DK Publishing)

I spent a fair bit of time with each book .. went through many pages .. and discovered excellent wisdom and ideas from each one.   So these were excellent purchases and I am so very happy with these additions to my library.

Retrieved my car from the car park, paid .. and soon was on my way .. to .. Cannor’s Nursery!  More gift cards ..  hee hee hee.

Oh, my .. how lucky was I .. to be the only customer to wander the perennial section!!  Heaven!  The personnel were very helpful .. and I took my time to select some wonderful perennials.

Although I love visiting this store .. yesterday was my most favourite experience of all!  Because, as I entered the covered perennial area .. I came face to face with the most beautiful white steed!   Sigh.  From a display that had been at the Bay  centre.  How very beautiful this was.  So I quickly took a photo to share.

Yesterday was so much fun.    And I am so happy with my beautiful new plants .. my lovely new stack of gardening books .. and items for the birds.

Yea … that was the right decision .. to shop and shop all the live long day.

And supper .. well .. that turned out alright too!   According to my lovely DH!





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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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I’m liking this quiet time of the year.   So do the birds .. I can see the flurry in the back yard as they flit about the yard.  Flying in the trees .. feasting on the fat in the suet holder and the seeds in the bird feeders.

The yard was super quiet when I went outside to refill the containers.  I missed the presence of the birds of all varieties that are usually visiting.  There must be a lookout, though, because as soon I took down one of the feeders and started refilling it .. I heard a cheerful series of chitter chatter break out!

So, despite the rain that was falling, the little guys were watching for the refills.  Such happy sounds fill the air …. I felt so much better.

The yard is getting a little mucky from the rain .. but that’s no big deal .. all will settle down soon enough.

Still enjoying the relaxing bit of the holidays .. and so I spend some time on a variety of things:  knitting on another scarf;  searching StumbleUpon for more creative ideas to follow.  Kinda restless, but I think this is due to a little too much chocolate!

Spent a few minutes on recycling ..  keeping on top of the tremendous amount of material that quickly accumulates.

Looking forward to spending time in my garden area.  This is like an Aladdin’s treasure trove!  Idea-wise, that is.  All excited about the many little projects that I plan to work on.   Things that don’t cost much money, just need to spend time and create things for the garden.

I have lots of flower and veggie seeds to plant.  Some I’ve had for years and I know that they are still good.

Looking forward to my garlic bulbs sprouting.

Books to read .. fiction and gardening.

So very many things to plan for the spring.

One thing I’ve learned during this busy Christmas Season .. and that is the gift of relaxing.  It’s not an activity that I’ve actually focused on before… and I’m finding that a little bit of time spent in the relaxation mode actually makes me more energized and creative.

Go figure.

However, it really makes a difference.  Sort of “slow down and smell the roses” instead of plowing through them, being busy busy busy.



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