Posts Tagged ‘leaf mulch’

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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So the week started out full of promise.  Some frost in the early morning .. noticed some flakes of snow on the mulch in the back yard.  Brrr.

Monday was a day totally spent in the yard.  Sheer bliss.   I’d been spending a fair bit of time at the kitchen table, little old Toshiba connected, going through the study materials of the gardening course I’m taking.  I’ve stayed there through some sunny days and thought to myself, well, it’s good to spend the time now so I’ll have the knowledge later.

But, my goodness, how much can a gardener take .. staying indoors all this time, anyway!  So, Monday was my decadent day .. to spend completely outside.   Except for some quick trips inside to make more Yorkshire Tea and a quick-lunch, Monday was devoted to outside things.

I had a mission .. to tidy up the yard so that my gardening class could freely move around the yard.  Thus I moved hundreds of cuttings & potted plants to one area, so nice and tidy, I impressed myself.  Then, time to address the mountain of leaf mulch.  I filled tarp after tarp load with the leafy stuff and dragged them over to the perimeter of the yard, nicely topping up the side gardens, being careful not to cover the emerging bulbs.

This time of the year is such a delight .. so many surprise flowers popping up, awakening from their winter sleep.  Perfuming the air with their scent and delighting the senses with their delicate beauty.

I accomplished quite a lot on Monday .. so on Tuesday, I decided to continue.  Morning was chilly and then the sun fought to come out.  Clouds 1.  Sun 0.   But, a lovely warm mug or two of Yorkshire Tea kept me warmed up.

Our backyard is actually quite large.  Now that I’ve moved the potted cuttings, reduced the size of the leaf mulch pile, removed part of the homemade bamboo/twig fence that encircled it,  bundled the support twigs that comprised the fencing .. the yard is looking quite spacious.

Normally I’m the only person playing out here, so I’ve allowed myself to have some lazy habits.  And now that I’ve been organizing the space, I’ve quite impressed myself with my activity.

Next I moved the loose rocks and boulders to encase some island beds.  Dug in some broken bricks in the back pathway, adding to the rustic charm of a relaxed garden.  Mended some loose boards in the fence.

Stood back, admiring my work from the past few days.  I can feel the lovely fresh energy that now emanates from my garden .. my real living space.

And although the work was for naught, as the location has now been changed for the pruning demonstration and will not take place at our yard .. I feel that all was not done in vain.  For, if not for the push of the upcoming Saturday’s pruning event, I would have dillied and dallied and wouldn’t have been so active.   Much like preparing for an upcoming visit of someone and plans changed at the last-minute.  The result is a tidy space.   And the feeling of pride and joy of discovering that my organizational skills are smoking hot!    Chalk one up for me .. I’ve proved to myself how hard I can work.  Had forgotten that skill .. so this was a good reminder.

Funny .. during the last few days, when I’ve been busy doing something or the other in the yard, suddenly I’d heard some sharp rap-tap-tap noises .. looked up and some (variably) a little Chickadee or Nuthatch.  Nicely settled on an acrylic sided bird feeder.  Noisily tapping away at the clear sides … the bird version of a slot machine.  Expecting the seeds to fall into the trough?  Or, trying to catch my attention?  Either way, I complied to their needs and put some sunflower seeds into the feeder.

The idea that wild birds can communicate to us mere humans was reinforced this winter.   The front Hummingbird feeder had frozen solid, so I took it inside, thawed it out, refilled it .. and placed it by the front door.  Then DH & I would look out the front window and observe the little Anna fly around, checking it out and then settle in for a feed.  After, of course, flying up to the window, flying horizontally and vertically, thoroughly checking us out.  She knew we were there and that I had “fixed” her food source.

One morning, looking out .. I saw that the feeder was again frozen.  This time, little Anna tried to get some nectar.  No joy.  she turned her little head in my direction, looked back at the feeder, then back at me, then back to the feeder.  She acknowledged that I was the “fixer” .. the nectar was frozen .. so  .. “fix it”!  Body language was clear.

So I did fix it … and soon she was happily feeding away.

Yesterday the winds were so wild that the backyard hummingbird feeder went crashing to the ground.  Finally, I picked it up, took it inside, cleaned & added some nectar and then hung it from a little branch at a side cedar tree.  I knew the backyard Anna would find it.   She’s smart.

Well, nature and all of the beauty have been inspiring me with a wonderful gardening energy and today I will return again to the garden.

A brand new lovely day ….

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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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Sunday, December 18, 2011

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 Saturday .. started out cloudy and morphed into a warm, sunny day!  Decided to stay away from the stores .. they would be way too busy!

Spent some time, where else, in the back yard!  Walked around, checking the healthy growth of the hardy perennials … all thriving and well settled in.  Looking forward to seeing their height improving over the summer.  More green …. I just love seeing the yard surrounded by vegetation, and gradually, seeing less and less of buildings!

Although our yard is nice and private, I love the feel of being in the great outdoors, surrounded by tall trees and luxuriant plant growth.   The soil is quite decadently luxurious, due to the leaf mulch, bales of hay and composted manure that I’ve been busy mixing into the soil over the years.  Plus the amazing Miracle Mulch.

I decided to make a makeshift top for one of the suet holders.  Saw this idea in a store, there was a sort of roof, with a flat board surface, underneath which was attached a suet holder. The object of this was for dissuading bigger birds from hogging all the food.  So I attached a small section of plastic board to the top of the feeder and hung it from a branch.  The sparrows are puzzled and are unable to feed from this feeder.  However, the Downy woodpecker and Red-breasted Nuthatch have not problem.

I’ve just looked at a bird site which recommends not hanging feeders from trees or branches .. oh oh .. I’ll have to rig up a feeder.  And I want to look into getting a large plant saucer attached to the feeders so that the seeds don’t fall onto the ground.  Fewer birds to scavage seeds on the ground, safe from cats.

Am hoping to rig up something with the excess of aluminum tubing that we have. I’ll post pics.

So finally, went inside and saw a large bird in the trees.  DH & I were trying to guess which type it was, as the sun was shining and all we could see was a silhouette.   It flew onto the tiny bird feeder and then I could see that it was a Flicker!  Too far to take a photo, darn, but I could see the dark band below the throat.

Looking through my bird books, I then realized that what I thought was a European Starling .. was actually a Flicker.  Of course!  Beautiful varied feathers, soft, cooing songs … very beautiful birds.

And, I continued to search and query on e-Bay for another HP iPAQ rz1700!  Not really wanting to purchase another one, I felt sad that the one that DH had given me years ago had ceased to work.  No joy in the stores .. I don’t think that it is being made any more.  It’s such a solid, simple electronic gizmo.  A workhorse.  One that doesn’t need monthly payments to keep it going.

So, what the heck, I thought, I’ll try to see if I can get it working again.  Did the cold and hard boots… nothing.  Finally, I decided to plug it into the tower.  Eureka!  The screen is flashing!  It’s responding to the touch of the stylus .. I run it through all the setup steps .. and once again I have my little iPAQ back!  Running perfectly well.  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  A little Christmas miracle in my world.

I feel such a sense of relief!  I just don’t like this age of disposable items.  Buy something for a relatively high price, just to see the devaluation in a year.  Recycle.  I fully appreciate purchasing items which will keep their value, and they needn’t be expensive for this.

The same thing happened with one of my little cameras.  Once day it ceased to work.  The dial that changed photo options ceased to move and I couldn’t make the “click” button actually “click.  I checked out the cost of repair, ahem, and quietly put the camera aside on a shelf.  A year later, just for the heck of it, I played with the camera, and .. oh and behold, the dial works, so I rotate it, seeing the menus show up for each type of photo shot.  The “click” button works again.

Hmmm… gremlins?  Makes you wonder.  Very glad that these items are again workable and very glad that I didn’t rush out to recycle them.  It came very close though!  sigh of relief.

Later on .. we went out, driving throughout Saanich and Oak Bay, enjoying the sights of Christmas lights.  Such a lovely warm feeling of gratitude for those who took the effort and the time to beautify their homes and yards .. to share with all who pass by.

From “Botany for Gardeners“:

“As we delve into the science of botany, we shall largely be concerned with the two groups of plants with which we, as gardeners, most often work.  One, known as the flowering plants, or Angiosperms, is the largest group in the Plant Kingdom and consists of about 250,000 species.  The name “Angiosperm” refers to the fact that seeds from these plants are formed inside containers that we call fruits (Greek: angeion, vessel; sperma, seed).  The flowering plants most often decorate our homes and landscapes, supply almost all of the vegetable matter in our diets, and are the source of the world’s hardwoods.  they are the most sophisticated of plant forms and are best adapted to survive in a wide range of climates and places.

Second are the Gymnosperms, plants that produce seeds in the open spaces of cones – between the flaplike parts that make up a pine cone, for example.  The Greek words gymnos, “naked” and sperma, “seed”  describes this form of development.  On the evolutionary scale, Gymnosperms are more primitive than Angiosperms bt are of considerable economic importance as well as interest to landscapers for their compact forms and richly coloured, needle-shaped or scale like leaves.  Softwoods such as pine and fir are not only used to make paper, lumber, plywood, etc., but are the source of a group of products called naval stones – pitch, turpentine and rosin.

The Gymnosperms include all the conifers: cedar, redwood, juniper, cypress, fir and pine, and the largest living things on earth, the giant Sequoia’s.  Many ornamental shrubs, including varieties of Chamaecyparis (False Cypress) and Thuja accidentalis (American Arborvitae) are members of this group and, least typical of Gymnosperms, Cycads and the beautiful Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba, a broad-leaved species.

For comparative purposes, passing mention is made of ferns, mosses, mushrooms and other primitive plants, but it is to the flowering plants and Gymnosperms that we direct our attention since it is they that give us the most revealing picture of how marvellous plants are.”

How fascinating is this!  I love learning more about gardening.

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Friday, November 18,2011

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Yesterday started out as an amazingly sunny day!  I looked out the kitchen window and was just so excited about spending the whole day out there.  And so I did!

I raked up leaves at the front, which resulted in 2 very full yard bags of leaves .. so I began my little dance of the moving leaf bags and soon had positioned them a the leaf mulch pile.  Within seconds, I’d emptied the lovely contents onto the mulch pile.  Then I just started walking around the 3 foot high stack of leaves, stomping them down as much as I could, to get the compost action started.

It was tempting to just start doing little jobs in the yard as I saw them, but I decided to work on one thing at a time.  The new mature me.    Actually, I’m following the work habits of my DH.  He works on one project at a time, focuses his time and energy on completing the job and this always impresses me.  So I’ve decided to copy his habits, for a while anyway.  My work style is like the characters in “Family Circle” zig zagging from one project to another.

So yesterday I was firm with myself.  Once I’d taken care of the leaves, I decided to plant my recently saved Heather plant, so I dug out a nice spacious hole and nestled this plant into position, topping it all off with a supply of the Miracle Mulch.

It was time to finally plant the 3 bags of Iris corms that a gardening pal had given me, ages ago!  I carefully separated the rhizomes into as many corms as possible, then spaced them in a casual sort of design amongst the ferns, Buddleia and other hardy perennials at the front garden area.  These are a wonderful addition to my garden plantings and I am so happy to have them!  Thank you!!

Next I note that the two cedar bushes that I’d planted many years ago need to be pruned hard!  I started clipping away, and then decided to do a bit of research on the best way to prune these two bushes.  When I had planted them many years ago,  in the hard clay soil, I hadn’t known much about the planting procedure.  So the planting hole was not very spacious and they did grow, but just not very much.  Then, a few big snowfalls over the years resulted in the branches being spread out and now they have a lot of green growth, but there is a lot of bare branches throughout the centre of the plant.   So I’ll study how to best prune them.  Might just be a little at a time, over a number of seasons.

I moved over to the garden area by the side of the driveway … trimmed some plants, dug up some weeds (not many, really, due to the thick mulch!).  Noticed the lovely heavy growth of a large-leaved, fuzzy surface sage like plant.  I’d pruned it down to the ground during the summer and was happy to see that this tough plant had sprung up well!

Now, finally, I can play!  I’d recently dug up one area of the front yard, by the little sidewalk.   And this is where the propagation of the Salal branches had its beginning!  Those plants are just about impossible to dig up!  This had a lot to do with the rich layer of compost and leaf mulch that I’d place here for years.  The roots loved it and they’d created a well-knit underground carpet of roots!  I started off being very careful and finally became more aggressive in lifting out the plants.   Replanted one at the woodsy area at the front garden.  And the branches that broke off the main plants, well, I’ve trimmed them all up and they are nicely nestled in the Styrofoam rooting trays.  Yippee .. I can hardly wait till next year . .when I can gently tug at the cuttings and will find out if they have rooted!

During all this time at the front yard, I’ve met and spoken with some neighbours.  I realized that I’ve been spending most of my gardening at the back .. and decide to spend more time at the front.

I’ve reached the stage when I could finally start planting a variety of ground covering thymes, when the rains start.  Throughout the morning, there were little sprinkles, but now the drops were heavier.  Ok, time to go inside.  Besides, it was really getting to be chilly.

I was quite content that I’d made a lot of progress .. although there are still some vines & perennials that I want to dig into the ground, before the winter.

Sigh.  A gardener’s job is just never done, it seems.

Well… time to continue on my merry way .. the sun is again shining!


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Thursday, November, 3, 2011

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Yesterday started out with such promise!  Lots of sun .. a bright new day.   I went for a little walk to the local shopping centre and enjoyed being out in the crisp fresh air.   Soon had to return home .. our furnace was to be serviced and I looked forward to having heat for those cold days.

Chatted with the service guy.  Talked about this and that and finally touch on the subject of birds.  The beauty of and the enjoyment of watching them in their daily activities.   He was just leaving when he pointed out one of the adult hummingbirds from the front yard.  Yes, I said, they are quite cute, aren’t they.   No, look .. he pointed out .. there are the babies!!

What?  I’d spoken with a knowledgeable birder about a month ago, I was wondering if the parents look after their babies once they have fledged.   No, I was assured, as soon as they leave the nest, they are on their own.  Nope, ain’t true.

Here was the parent(s) and the siblings!   The siblings sported darkish feathers.  The interacted with the parent and kept close to the branches of the Bay tree!  They are much smaller than their adult parents.

Well, I never!  This just made my day!   I quickly went into the house, grabbed my (dh’s, actually!) camera and quickly took some pics.

Now, I watch the parents nearly every day and I just hadn’t noticed these young ones!   I’d prided myself on noticing the variety of birds in the back yard and just had paid cursory attention to the Hummingbirds.  Humbled now .. I make it a point to spend more time looking at these beautiful beings.  Today I made some hummingbird-like noises and the parent swooped down over my head, several times!  That was fun!

Then I decided to spend some time in the back yard.  Raking leaves.  Moving rocks.  Imagining where to put things.   Looked again at my leaf mulch.   Trimmed tree branches.   Think I’ll use these to make another fencing section at the leaf mulch pile.

The rains started .. and I continued working.   The drops started getting heavier and so I decided to give up and go inside.  Begrudgingly.  I stood in the doorway of the basement for a while, looking at the bird activity.  Enjoying the sight of such a variety cavorting about the feeders, branches, perching on anything in the yard.

They all love the seed mixture.  Yesterday I filled a wooden-topped feeder with the seed and it was fun watching them discover this one.   I replaced the suet block .. it seems to last for 2 days and then it’s time for a new one.  No problem, I have lots.   And when they run out, I’ll get some more.

We’ve been lucky, having sunny days to work with lately .. I just want to run outside first thing in the morning and there just seems to be things that have to be done that stop me from doing that.  I just feel like stomping my foot!  But temper tantrums are just so passe.

Well tomorrow, I plan to be up and at em .. outside early in the morning!

This morning and afternoon I spent some time in the front yard .. trying to dig up some Salal that had entrenched itself.   I love the plant, but it’s planted in a place that needs lower plants.

I feel that I’ve neglected part of the front yard this summer.  That is largely due to a hornet’s nest, which DH discovered and destroyed.   I’ve been waiting for this cool weather in order to go back and civilize this section.

The variegated grasses have popped up everywhere, intermingling with the salal and other perennials.  I tore out the tansy .. it just takes over.   The comfrey, also, much as I love it, grows rampantly.

So for a number of hours I dug away, lifting up sections of plants with roots, I’ll pot them up tomorrow.  Sections of salal that had broken off from the main plant .. I’ll trim them down and will put them in my lovely styro rooting boxes, with lots of lovely soil and will leave them to rest and grow roots by next year.

The Sweet Woodruff .. I’ll pot that up also.

Soon I had the one garden section cleared up and topped with a thick layer of Miracle Mulch and it looks much calmer.  I’ll let the bed rest over the winter and next spring, plan to dig up everything, sift the soil and replant.   The days are short and I have other areas of the yard to work with before the frost sets in.

Assembled all my tools, plants, cuttings etc. and began moving them to the back yard.   Ah, the skies are duller, not long before the sun sets.

I put my toys away, settle on the back steps and relax for a while, watching the aerial demonstrations.  The birds are calmer now when I’m in the yard and seem to accept my presence, as long as I move slowly.

The Downy Woodpecker cries out his cheerful greeting and goes over to a water filled tray for a drink.   The Red Breasted Nuthatch nibbles at the suet.  The Juncos‘s, male and female are having lots of fun settling at the feeders and hopping along the ground.

I see the sweet yellow-throated bird again, wandering around the ground, pecking away.   I’ll have to look in my books to see which type he is.    The White Crowned Sparrow returns, he/she is much bigger than the Juncos’ I notice.

Brrr … a light rain is falling .. time to go inside.

Night night little birds …..

It’s been a great day!

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Tuesday, October 25

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What a day I had yesterday!   Picture this .. it was sunny, the skies were clear.  Up early and ready to start my day .. I was looking forward to bagging leaves at my major leaf source.

Garbed in my garden gear, I set forth in my little car.  A supply of clear garden bags all nestled in the back of my car.  Gumboots, orange gardening gloves ( the heavy-duty, waterproof kind, the best for fall weather!) and my kneeling pads for scooping up leaves.

I arrive at my destination, park the car, gather my tools and head over to the first leaf pile.  Soon I’m happily scooping up the leaves and placing them in the first of 11 bags.  Hmm… this is going to be slow going, but well worth the effort.

Soon my hostess pops outside to say hello and we have a good morning conversation.  She leaves momentarily to fetch a gardening item to show me.

OMG .. I see gardening tools that I had seen advertised and scoffed at .. many times.  However, I’m now a believer and I want some .. badly!

She is holding out fully packed leaf scoopers!  Just with one fell swoop, she has gathered up an amount of leaves that would have taken me 5 minutes to gather with my two kneeling pads (I’d taken the cheap way out, using the pads to pick up leaves).

I try the scoops and am so very sold on these magic items.   Using them, I swiftly finish gathering up the first leaf pile.  Quickly go to a second and third.  Within half an hour I have filled up 11 large garden bags!  For a devoted gardener to whom leaf mulch is more valuable than gold (ok, I stretch the value a little, so sue me!).. these are just amazing.   And I send silent thanks to the innovative inventor.

When I think of the times that I’ve seen these things advertised and pooh-poohed them, like “who wants to spend good hard-earned money” etc., etc., etc.,  I am so sold on these things.

Anyway .. she kindly loads up her truck with the majority of the bags, and a few in my little car and we make the trip to my place.   Where I give the grand tour of my work in progress garden.   Chatting about this and that in the garden, I suddenly notice the woodpecker .. relaxed .. pecking away at the suet in the holder .. just a few feet from where we are standing.

But .. he isn’t flying away.  He is totally relaxed and comfortable with our physical proximity.  In fact, he is climbing around the suet holder, seeking choice bits.  And he’s still there.   This isn’t normal.  He always flies away when he senses any movement.  My leaf pal comments that animals accept her .. they always have.  I am just so amazed.  This is very good energy.

And I think to myself .. I aspire to have this energy.  Perhaps it’s time for me to practise calmness and not fret about every little thing.  To accept that I can only do one thing at a time.  Relax.  Not fret about landscaping the complete yard in one day.  Enjoy the journey.   I think about this later on.

I think about going inside for Y tea, but decide to drag the bagged leaves to the back yard.  Once that was accomplished, I decided to scoop up the windblown leaves from the front yard.  So I gather up my kneeling pads, don my gardening gloves and proceed to do that.  After about 10 minutes of scraping up the leaves, and with visions of the recently used leaf scoopers .. they kept flashing through my mind . .and I was thinking back to the morning .. how swiftly I was able to gather up the leaves .. and I couldn’t take it any longer.

Throwing everything to the ground .. I went to the car and decided to drive to our local Canadian Tire in search for these things.   I didn’t even change from my yard gardening outfit of mechanic’s overalls and my gumboots.  Who am I trying to impress, I am a gardener!  (Make that .. I am a Gardener!).

Soon I arrive at CT, look around the gardening section .. no joy!  I seek help from an associate … nope, no such item in the store.  What?  Disbelief!  Canadian Tire usually has everything that I need for gardening (except for, ahem, Lee Valley, that is!)

Exiting the store, I ponder the possibilities.  This is one of those heaven-sent days for working outside in the garden and I don’t want to waste my time driving all over the place.  Time is better spent in the yard.  Ok, I decide to head over to Home Hardware on Burnside.  Once there, I see the flyer proudly proclaiming their first birthday celebration will be happening soon (I think this weekend?)   Cake .. there will be cake!  I plan to attend.

And I remember their summer celebration  … I purchased quite a few annual flowering plants, which turned out to be drought tolerant and are still flowering!

I digress.  Entering the store, I make my way to the gardening section and waaaaah .. cannot see any of those garden thingies.   The cashier is helpful and searches their data base.  No joy.  The manager goes to another machine and makes a bigger search.   She is determined to find what I need.

Soon .. she has an item onscreen and quickly prints a copy for me to see.  Oh, most joyous moment .. there are the leaf scoopers!   However, none in stock.  She makes a quick call .. to an associate store and lo and behold, there are some available at the Oak Bay branch.  What a great lady!!!  She has them reserved for me and so I soon am on my way, making the long drive across town.

Grumbling to myself, what am I doing, spending valuable gardening time out driving .. on an on and on.  Then I think back to this morning .. the woodpecker being calm while in the presence of the good energy.  So I put on a change of attitude hat.  What a lovely beautiful day.  Sunny.  Traffic is sparse.

I think .. wouldn’t it be fun to have some brightly coloured leaf scoops .. orange would be pretty and cheerful and I visualize myself happily gathering up yellow/orange/bronze leaves for mulching.

Nah, there must only be grey scoops .. can’t imagine anyone going to the expense of creating a colour palette to choose from.

Oh, darn .. I’ve ended up driving down Douglas Street .. it’s noon and the streets will be full of traffic.  And so I sit at a series of red lights.  ahem .. a change of attitude hat takes place and soon I’m again enjoying the relaxing, slow drive up Fort Street.  While I’m stopped at each red light, I take a few seconds to glance around at my surroundings.

The street has gone through great changes since the last time I’ve been here.   Little stores have opened up.  Boutiques, funky “must have” objets d’art … and little restaurants.  On my right is an interesting little Lebanese place .. oh, I want to visit that place.

Soon enough, I’m in Oak Bay and parked in the lot behind Home Hardware.  Into the store I go and introduce myself to the cashier.  And .. Ta Da .. she reaches beneath the counter and hands me .. two sets of …. drum roll!

Orange leaf scoops!  Bright cheerful orange!  Oh, my, just really what I wanted!!!  And only $5.95 a pair!  I decide to take both pairs.  One for the yard and one for the car.  Now I’m all set.

Back in my car, I rip open the packaging of one set.   And another bonus, I find two sets of hand straps.  Quickly inserting the straps, I try on the scoops .. hee hee hee .. they fit like a glove and soon I’ll be using them.

Home Hardware .. I Love You!!!

Heading back home, I look forward to continuing on with my leaf collecting.  Then I remember that I promised DH to pick up some building items from Home Depot.   darn.  But, a promise is a promise, so I go home, pick up a sample of the item and in a few minutes I’m driving out towards the store location on Shelbourne.  My grumble hat is just settling in when I flip it away and toss on my change of attitude hat.  A good fit.

Finding a good parking spot, I begin my trek to the front entrance.  And decide to “just have a look” at the plant specials.   Not seeing anything that tugged at my heart, I begin to walk away … when I suddenly notice the most beautiful little pine tree .. it seems to say “I love you .. take me home” .. at least, that’s how I interpreted the feeling that came over me when I touched the sweet blue/green needles.  I felt a kinship with this tree, so headed inside to enquire about the price.

Suddenly noticed someone who looked vaguely familiar.  We did a double take . … you know, the kind of awkward moment when you bump into someone and there is something a little familiar, so you rapidly go through the image bank in your head .. flip, flip, flip.  And  .. recognition!

We hadn’t seen each other for nearly 3 years.  The last time, I was in such a frenzied space, cataloging files for archiving, working alongside a coworker from another location, borrowed for the purpose, with a very short timeline to finish.   So I only made time for a brief “hi” “by”.    And only weeks later I found out that she and her family were moving to a far away country for several years.  Oh, no, if only I’d made the time to stop and chat I would have wished her well on the journey.

Anyway, here she is.  And if I hadn’t promised my DH to pick up materials needed, and then was curious about the price of the tree, I wouldn’t have headed off in this direction and seen her!

We stood and talked for a long time .. during which the amiable sales guy searched for items that she was looking for and told us to just continue our visit, he would help us out.

So he found the price for my little tree (oh, wow, how can I not buy this tree!!) and loaded it up on a cart for me .. smiling all the time and helping us out as  C & I chatted and brought things up to date.  We exchanged e-mails and promised to get in touch!

I love my positive attitude hat!  What a difference it makes!

Life continues .. I return home, quick as a wink, I bag up 2 large bags of leaves from the front yard and start the process of taking them to the back.  After a quick lunch, outside I go.

Seeking a creative way .. still .. to organize my propagating area.   Then I borrow an idea from Swan Lake.  I look at the large pile of recently clipped fruit tree branches, and envision a little fenced area to hold the mulch.  A space where I can easily keep turning the leaves over and over and over again during the fall/winter/spring months.  The mental lightbulb flashes  on.   I search through our stash of aluminum sections, choose as many similar height/thickness little poles.  Space them in an L-shape.   Begin weaving the branches through to form little walls.

This is so cool .. so creative and it looks wonderful.  Soon I’ll go outside and finish the fenced area and will begin emptying the leaves into this space.

Oh happy day.  This is starting off to be a great day already and I haven’t gone outside yet!

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