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Posts Tagged ‘Gaia College’


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!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

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  well .. the sun has been out in full force for several days now.  It’s times like this that I just want to play outside all day.  But, I need to study and get those botany, soil and organic gardening worlds of information in my head.

Nevertheless, I did go on my trek to Swan Lake Sanctuary yesterday morning.  It was only meant to be a quick one hour walk   … sigh … turned into more than 2 hours.  Such a beautiful sunny day.   How could I not go?

Besides, I was looking forward to another glimpse of the Northern Shoveler and the Cedar Waxwing .. but .. no joy.   So I walked all around the Sanctuary … enjoying the magnificent sunshine.  Saw the local eagles way up in their resting tree.

There are some areas by Tuesday Pond that are being worked on .. and the results are already noticeable.    A lovely wooden criss-cross type of fence keeps walkers from entering this new jewel.   Soon robins will be packing mud for their nests from here.    And many other places also.

Funny, last year I saw very few robins and this year there are so many … such robust cheerful little beings.

I’ve never really fully appreciated the beauty of the flowers and berries of the Hawthorne tree.  Yet lately I’ve begun to notice the squirrels and the birds (especially the Robins) feasting on the red berries of this tree.  And listening to the CBC podcast yesterday, with Botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger describe the healing properties of the scented Hawthorne flowers .. I am appreciating the magic of this tree.  One of which has been growing in our yard for many years.

Finally  …. back home … strolled around the yard, enjoying the warmth of the sun.   Loving seeing the signs of spring evidenced by the buds on the fruit trees, the green spikes of bulbs eager to show their flowers.

Spend a few hours studying my gardening information.  Happy when information starts to make sense.   Lots of work to be done …aiming to write the exam for certification in a month or so.

The kitchen table is my workplace …  thus I can easily look out at the backyard .. to watch the birds!  Books, writing papers piled high, stacks of pens, little workhorse Toshiba laptop all set up .. slow, but works.  This will be my station till the course is over.  And then, I’ll still be studying anyway … since I’ll have access to the online Gaia resources to read.  Sheer heaven!

Looking out the side kitchen window I happened to see some little Bushtits cavorting on the branches of the plum-tree.  Completely unselfconscious … they spend moments hopping about, grooming, chit-chat.  Chirping away.  Such darling little birds.

To soon .. time to set out for my evening class.  Such beautiful skies .. blue .. and clouds that took on the shape of smooth circular designs .. no camera, no pics!

Parked my car .. and made my way to the class .. where I spent the next 3 hours listening .. trying to absorb all the details … well, they do eventually sink in.

Last night we participants .. or “learners” did a soil sample test .. quite interesting as a matter of fact.   I prepared two samples using soil from several areas in the back yard, placed the soil in jars & added water .. shook the jars for 15 minutes .. and now the jars are sitting on a table .. awaiting for the sand, silt and clay to settle into their layers.  At which time I’ll write a report to be sent in for marks (gulp).

Anyway … Thursday was a good day.  I’ve been searching for guides on how to study properly and have found quite a few.  And I’ve found what works for me is to start again at the beginning lessons .. read … make copious notes .. then succinct notations .. and then .. bingo … words like “mycorrhizal fungi” become friends and stay in my vocabulary.  Next .. I can visualize them …and imagine where they exist in the yard.

Little baby steps.

 

🙂

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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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