Posts Tagged ‘Compost’

Sunday, February 26, 2012

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  Saturday was a very mixed day.  In the morning, we had our garden bed class.   Our group went to a fellow “learner’s” home to participate and build a variety of garden beds.

We started out with a layered bed .. our wonderful instructor guided us through the best scenario to prepare for the material installation.   Digging away at a proper angle through the soil .. layering on, starting with a thick cardboard level, followed by manure, seaweed/kelp mixture, then compost, and a light covering of hay.

Next was a double dug bed .. and many people were happily digging away.

It was a chilly morning, but luckily, our classmate had one of those lovely propane heaters in the patio so that was just wonderful, plus there was a heat lamp!  How decadent!

Hot water for a variety of teas and coffee!  There were a variety of garden conversations taking place.  Heaven.

The class lasted from 9 am to 12:30 … such enthusiasm.  Such a positive feeling to be amongst a gardening group.

There were surplus materials, so, luckily, I was able to take home a bale of hay for compost .. thank you, A!

Had to be somewhere, but needed to be by the ocean .. so made my way there .. parked the car ..  stood on the beach for a few minutes.  Saw a gaggle of geese fly low overhead … making their way to the Esquimalt Lagoon.

Back in the car .. drove along the roadway, heeding the speed limit .. birds cross the road and we need to be respectful.

Passed regal swans paddling away .. a variety of duck.  No time to stop and visit today.

Home .. cleared my little car of my gardening items, all tidied up.  DH has the car for errands this afternoon .. so I made sure the car was tidy.

Then .. time for me to transform from the gardener to a regular person .. that means, putting the gumboots, plaid shirt and overalls aside and change into regular clothes.

Time to meet with friends.

Happy to reconnect with friends from the past.  And to admire the sophisticated leggings!  How beautiful .. I wonder if I could find a pair like these ..oh, I would so love to have some!  Shall I go shopping this week????

Later .. we went to Dallas Road .. to enjoy the magnificent wild beauty of the sunny skies and the power of the breaking waves cascading at the shore.

You know … it was so very enjoyable to reconnect with each other ..  it was as if time had somehow just done a little ripple to the past and we revisited the bygone years.   Really seems like just a few years ago, but to be realistic, it was 30 years ago.  Guess that is what it is like to have friends.  Time just doesn’t matter.  Just the good energy exists.

And .. we discussed plans for future visits, day trips .. oh, how fun will that be!!!  We are all so very creative, positive and happy people, especially when we are all together.   This is very precious energy.

En y va!

🙂  Let’s go!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday .. overcast, rainy, the kind of day to just relax.

I checked on the seaweed that I was drying for future use .. the Turkish Facecloth and the other rippling seaweed, the type that is a living entity, growing, attached to a rock and which must be cut with scissors.

Another day in which to study, walk, observe, listen, shop … so what did I do?  Well, what I really wanted to do was to flip on my little Toshiba laptop and spend hours exploring the information on the Gaia College web site.  But .. what did I do?

Well, after the initial morning housework chores were done .. I actually had a choice.   I looked longingly at the kitchen table where my notes, textbook, lined index cards, some reference books and the ole Toshiba were placed .. and thought that it would be sheer bliss to just sit down on the chair and pursue the knowledge.

However, I needed to purchase some items for DH’s dinner ..he works such long hours and I love to prepare a hot meal for him at the end of the day.  Tonight was gardening class .. so I would miss out on dinner (till I came home anyway).  So I actually dashed out into the world and did a bit of shopping.

Soon .. home .. and then I’m happily at the table .. doing my “learning”… of which there is a lot to do.

I’m actually very happy .. being in this class, surrounded by others who share the same passion for learning about gardening.  Discovering the existence of the lifeforms that populate the ground beneath us, coexisting with the plants.  Who knew?

For so many years, I, like many others, have toiled away at a job, and then, heaven .. . spending much of my spare time trying to unlock the secrets of the gardening world. 

And now .. yea .. I’m learning the true inner workings of the soil and plants.  It’s taking me awhile and I must remember that .. the joy is in the journey!

I spent some time looking over my treasure of seaweed, kelp and grasses that I gathered from the beach at Whiffen Spit. 

The items that I have carefully arranged in a circular basket and which rests in the basement   .. the  Turkish Facecloth and the rippling seaweed (I’ll have to ask D for the name!) fill the air with such a fresh ocean scent.  Lovely.

In the morning I had woken up from dreams of building compost boxes .. is that a good thing?  For now, I don’t have pallets … my lovely little Echo hatchback is not big enough to hold even one. 

So I imagined creating a compost area, in the section of the yard with the woven curved fenced area that I created last fall, to hold my oak leaf mulch pile.  Not a fancy fence, but one that I’d created .. hammering branch sections into the ground to act as posts. Then I’d interwoven pruned branches and sections of bamboo in and out, to create an airy structure to contain the leaf mulch.

I dream on .. yes .. I can move all that leaf mulch, put that to one side, then layer on the hay (I’ve found a source and will have some delivered soon).  Then .. the kitchen vegetable scraps.  Then the kelp.

Then I wake up .. hey .. this is getting to be bad …don’t you think?  Dreaming of making compost containers instead of dreaming of travelling to France and visiting vineyards?

Anyway … I spent some time studying in the afternoon .. then .. too quickly .. almost time to gather my things together and leave for class.  But first.   Time to prepare a supper of “smashed” garlic potatoes, pan-fried chicken and veggies for my lovely DH.  To enjoy a hot meal after a 10 hour day of working outside in the cold weather.

Then .. ta da .. race out to my lovely little car and head out to the moving parking lot that is the Colwood Crawl!



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Monday, February 13, 2012

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Well .. Sunday was a kind of lazy day.  It was time to zip off to Dakota Cafe for early breakfast .. the day was overcast and when we arrived at the Cafe, we found out that we’d just missed a full house .. so it was very quiet and relaxing while we were there.

On our return journey home, we noticed some hawks sitting on some lamp posts …  which reminds me that I’d seen some Red Tails at the airport a few weeks ago!

Sunday was really a lazy day.  There were so many things that I could have done … if I had the desire to do so.  Ennui won out.  I know for certain that when the energy arrives, I can clean the house from top to bottom.  Organize the recycling in an amazing manner.

However, Sunday just wasn’t one of those days.

So I wandered outside … checking on the growth of the garlic.  Imagining where I’ll install the pallet composter.  Where I will move the 3 cylinder type composters .. the type that don’t heat up enough.  Oh, wow… the things that I learned in Saturday’s compost session.   My head is still reeling.

A good pal and I are heading out on Wednesday to gather some kelp and seaweed.   I’ve made enquiries for fresh wood chips (the thin branch type, not the woody types).

My gardening world is changing, evolving, growing .. with the new (to me) information that I am learning.

No longer can I depend on my previous knowledge bank of what I thought was good for the garden.  Now…. thanks to my Organic gardening course .. I am learning the basics of what is happening in the soil beneath my feet.   And learning about the practises of big agricultural practises ..I am having second thoughts on what produce I am spending my money on.

And when I wander the aisles of supermarkets .. I am curious as to what chemicals, growth hormones, genetically modified organisms and pesticides that have been used on the vegetables, the meats and other products that I normally purchase.  Breads.  biscuits.  Pet Food.  Fruit . .especially imported fruits.

I’d previously chosen to just ignore the threat of the harmful effects of GMO’s et al .. however, this gardening course is making me look closely at what is happening in our world.

It’s good to be a knowledgeable consumer and to support local organic farmers .. they are our way of the future and I intend to support them.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Friday .. Friday …Friday .. the weather was still a bit overcast … as I set off on my morning walk.   Wanted to go to Swan Lake, but at the same time, wanted to check out the sale at Home Outfitters at the Tillicum Mall.

Didn’t take long to get there .. most likely under 30 minutes.   And travelling via the Galloping Goose, I avoided most of the traffic.

This store is full of attractive things for sale .. but I went straight to the scatter rug section, chose a few, walked around.   Many things caught my eye .. but I know what DH would say .. his voice is in my head.  Comments such as “we don’t need this”  “we already have that” .. so I enjoyed the looking and resisted the buying.   I must say that my impulse buying has greatly decreased during the past few years.

Except when it comes to gardening items … and I just listen to my own inner guide “hey, you just have to have that (book, plant, whatever)” .. ha ha ha ha

Then I enjoyed the walk back home.  What did I do that day?   It seems so far away.  Oh, I checked on the birds, made sure their feeders contained food.

Studied again.  Wondering if I will ever learn all this new terminology in the Organic Master Gardening Course!  Well, I’m being hard on myself .. the words are slowly creeping into my knowledge base.  As a matter of fact, I’ve recently been finding myself waking up with the new words tumbling through my mind, with the visualization of garden bacteria performing their duties.  Little flow charts emphasizing the activity going on in the soil.

It’s really all a matter of the most ingenious magic.  All from nature!

Then .. well .. I got to thinking about that sale at Home Outfitters.. and decided to take a break and just make a quick trip to the store.   Chose more of the little area rugs.  So handy to have in the kitchen and at interior doorways.   Picked up some pretty flowered ones and some with Italian wording.  Quite cheerful.   And DH was quite happy to see my purchases and shared my enthusiasm with their usefullness throughout the house.  Besides, the cats love cuddling up on the warm soft surface so that’s another bonus!

Yesterday was our first outdoor class and it was all about composting.  Everyone gathered at the home of the classmate who was having the pallet-compost structure built.  All materials that each person donated was brought to the back yard.

Our instructor, Tamara, spoke to us beforehand, on the history of composting, the bacteria that reside therein .. and why and what happens.   Oh my .. I had no idea of all the interactions that took place.

We assembled outside and the structure began to take shape.   And the layers were added. Quite lovely material, too:  hay, aged manure (both horse and chicken), kitchen scraps, pieces of cardboard, ground up arbutus branches, some volcanic rock dust lightly scattered, leaves .. layer upon layer.

The finished compost looked stunning!

The hours swiftly passed as Tamara explained the properties of the structures.  She showed us examples of other composting items.   And then it was time to make the worm composters out of Rubbermaid containers.  I made one, and it’s now on our sundeck.  I feel as if they are pets, as I need to give them little bits of food from time to time.  The values of this compost will greatly enrich the garden.

I’m really enjoying delving further and further in this magnificent gardening world.  Meeting so many lovely, interesting people.

Enjoying the journey!

After a nice cup of mint medley tea .. I then decided to go to the Esquimalt Lagoon to seek any kelp materials.

Found myself collecting rounded bits of bricks for the garden.  Glad I’d brought a carry bag in my purse .. ahem .. it was soon full.

Along the way, spoke with some doggie parents.   And then I met Misty and Dusty .. sibling brother and sister.  What beautiful dogs they were!  Very friendly.  And Misty is a mischevious little gal, playfully teasing her brother!!   She’d get this little look on her face, grab her stick and then just brush by her brother.  He’d start to run after her and she’d just move direction.   It was quite funny to watch, actually!

That was a fun interlude!

Then, time to return home … so I gathered my (heavy) bag of bricks, made my way to my little car and soon was driving homewards!

Saturday was a very good day!


P.S.   here are some powerful inspirational gardening articles about amazing people, against all odds, improving our earth .. must reads!  http://grist.org/industrial-agriculture/farmers-advance-in-their-suit-against-monsanto/ and http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/2011-12-08-new-agtivist-edith-floyd-is-making-an-urban-farm-lot-by-lot/


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Friday, February 10, 2012

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  Thursday morning was a little overcast .. I decided to walk over to Borden Mercantile to pick up some rock dust for our class on composting, to take place on Saturday.

That way, I could multi-task by: 

– getting a few good hours of walking exercise

– look for the Northern Shoveller

– look for the eagles

– look for any other birds

– fetch the rock dust (for Saturday’s compost class)

– just enjoy being outside in the lovely outdoors

Thus I found myself walking along the trails at the Sanctuary.  Along the way I saw some Spotted Towhees … such striking birds!  Not too many Robins were seen when I was there.

Still looking for the Cedar Waxwings that I saw last week. What a gift that was .. to see these gentle birds.

Walking along the short observatory .. .not a duck was to be seen.  Only a little wren, who was intent on digging away at some treasured seeds that were tucked away in the spaces between the boards that comprised the walkway.   I stopped in my steps while this little bird sought the treasures.  

When the bird was finished feasting and had flown away .. I continued my walk along the observatory.  Strangely quiet .. yet I couldn’t see any predators.  But they could have been well hidden.  Birds know when the predators are about.

 Happy to hear the trill of the Red Winged Blackbird … as he sat high atop a nearby tree .. trying to communicate with others of his species.

As I reached the pathway that connected to the asphalt section of the Galloping Goose .. I looked up to the flat-topped tree on Saanich Road.  That’s where I first saw the young pair of immature eagles years ago.    Now that they are more mature, sporting the distinctive white feathered head and tail feathers …they still favour this same tree.

So on Thursday morning on my walk, I noticed that one of them was sitting on a nearby oak tree.  And there I saw one of them.   Feathers slick with rain.  Fierce eyes scanning the meadows and fields of Swan Lake  below … looking for any activity that would entice them to soar down.

Such noble and magnificent beings. 

I continued on my walk along the Galloping Goose, quite quiet at this early morning time .. before the coffee breaks and lunchtime joggers had started to populate the scene.  Relishing the quiet.   Appreciating the many years it had taken me to reach this point.

Finally reached Borden Mercantile and purchased some volcanic rock dust and some kelp particles for our upcoming Saturday session, to build a composter.  Plus myself an a few others will be building some work composters.   I’ll take pictures.

Retracing my steps, I again appreciated the peacefulness of the Galloping Goose trail at this time of the morning.   Not very busy.

Couldn’t help but notice the nests from last year … clearly seen in the absence of vegetation.   And can’t help but appreciate the positivity of nest-building birds.   They just get on with it.

Once I’d approached the wooden section of the Goose, I was nearer the oak tree and saw the eagle’s mate approach ..and land .. on the oak tree.  So there the couple sat .. regally perched …silent communication … surveying the meadows below.

Humbled by the sight of this example of pure nature, I resumed my walk…. happily taking the muddy pathway of the Sanctuary .. in lieu of the asphalt walkway “up above”.

And continued home .. where I combined housework with studying.   Nerve wracking work on my assignment. sigh.  more later.

Thursday was, to say the least, “quite the day”.


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