Posts Tagged ‘nature sanctuary’

Friday, February 24, 2012

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Thursday was a mixed bag of weather .. .sunshine .. clouds.

After morning chores completed, decided to go for a brief walk … which lasted about two hours!  Started out towards Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary .. .it’s been awhile since my feet walked along those trails.

Pure bliss to be there …. seeing the new spring growth of leaves on trees and bushes as all plant life prepares for a new season.  Listening to the breeze rustling the dry marsh grasses .. music to my ears.  Stopped to look at the slim thread of water trickling through the mix of dried and emerging stems of grasses.

Not many birds out when I was there.  Thought back to my lucky encounters a few weeks ago .. when I saw my first Cedar Waxwings and then the Northern Shovellers … such beautiful winged beings.

Saw .. and heard .. some Marsh wrens calling out.  And some Red Winged Blackbirds singing away.  At the smaller observatory I chanced upon some Mallards .. they were very cautious though .. and I understood why later on.

I pulled out a bag of flatted oats and scattered them onto the surface of the lake … one little Mallard swam over.   Followed by a female .. then more and more and finally there were about 10.   Scattered more oats on the surface boards and them some on the side marsh ..

Continued on my walk.  Noticed new signage showing the latest improvements to the Sanctuary .. growing specific plants/trees to attract a wider variety of birds and animals.

Looked way up and sure enough .. at the top of the flat-topped tree . .there was one of the resident eagles.  They’ve been favouring this tree since for years now .. I used to spend so much time watching them over the years . .even lucky enough to see part of their mating ritual.  I was in the backyard and just happened to look up to see them, talons intertwined as they tumbled through the sky .. remember to look up .. .there is so much going on.

Well, this year they have attained the mark of maturity, with their white heads and tail feathers .. wonder if they will nest in that tree?

Anyway, their presence explains the absence of bird activity.

Time to visit Orr’s Butchers for more of Farmer Ben’s eggs … and then some grocery shopping.   And then .. the long walk homewards with a heavy Thrifty’s shopping bag.  I decided to ignore the hefty weight .. I’d soon be home!

Returned via the Sanctuary .. one more opportunity to walk in nature … all birds, ducks are well hidden away.

As I made my way home .. enjoying the beauty of the day .. kept looking up to the sky .. but no aerial activity.  And .. soon I was home .. groceries put away.  Kitties fed.  Ole Toshiba turned on … spent a few hours lost in the worlds of gardening and re-trying the online quizzes of Gaia.

Then I allowed myself to enjoy the wonderful world of gardening outside .. sheer bliss.  And a bit sad, also.  My gardening world has turned all topsy-turvy with the new learning.  As I stood and looked at my leaf mulch pile .. I thought of how my focus has changed.

Where once I truly believed that oak leaves were the be-all and end-all of gardening .. now I realize that, although they do serve well as mulch to retain water for landscaping purposes .. they are not the cure-all that I thought they were.  That because the centre of a pile gets to be “smoking hot” .. that feature isn’t conducive to supporting healthy microbes in the soil.

I quickly fill containers with the mulch and sidedress the trees and plants along the fence .. this does dress up the areas.  Just a few months ago I was saddened at the thought of not having enough .. now I just want to disperse it all around the yard.

It’s not that it’s a bad thing .. just not quite the thing for my veggie garden.

Worked away, not conscious of time .. till DH arrives home .. and surprises me with a mug of Yorkshire Tea!  Yea, time for a Sudoku break and a quick look through some stone landscaping books (treasures from the “Friends of the Library” book sale.

Enjoy the brief break and then .. ta da .. back to the garden.  More shovelling, moving, planning, dreaming.

Another lovely day ….



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Tuesday, January 31, 2011

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  Ah, Monday .. Monday .. where did you go?  I was up early enough .. wanted to go for a quick walk and then buckle down with my garden studies.

But … did I follow through with that?

Heck no!

I dillied and dallied and played with our new computer.   Took care of the feeding, playing and cleaning up of the feline part of our family.

Went outside, filling up bird feeders & suet holders.

Finally .. outside and started my walk.   Or at least, that is what I intended to do.  Then I met a neighbour and so we began a conversation about the neighbourhood . .and the ugly big box building that is going on in the neighbourhood.   And things along that vein.    Another neighbour joined our group.   And the discussion continued.

Finally, shivering .. it was chilly!  I bade goodby and began my trek to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.

Promised myself that I would only walk to the short observatory and then return home .. lots of studying to be done.

Well .. once I got there .. I just relaxed and continued walking on the pathways –  looking out for birds.  Then I met up with one of the guardians of this wonderful treasure of nature and we had a chat about the goings-on.    Sad to hear that the eagles had captured a Heron.   At first I was shocked, and then, later on, during my walk,  I remembered hearing that Beacon Hill Park had experienced the same problem .. years ago.  That was a time when I wasn’t tuned in to the majestic beauty of these birds.  Now, this saddens me.  I know .. it’s nature.

So I enjoyed seeing the cheerful appearance of the Robins .. the wrens .. the Mallards.   Didn’t see any eagles during my time there.  Not much happening at the short observatory.   Looked at the marsh grasses .. wondering when these grasses would grow tall enough for the Marsh Wren to build her nest.

The lake was empty of birds ..only a few Coots swimming around.  No Herons.  No Geese.  They must be dining elsewhere.  Funny, last year I used to walk around the Sanctuary nearly every day and I always saw so much activity.  This year I’ve settled into a different pattern of more activity, less walking .. and I don’t see very many birds. (except for today and I’ll write about that tomorrow!!   whoo .. eee .. this was a great day!)

Finally, time to go back home and start my “learnin”!

In the kitchen, I turned on the laptop .. this thing is a workhorse.  It’s a second-hand Toshiba that I purchased last year for $85.  It’s not the fastest laptop in the world, but .. it’s paid for.  And it plods ahead.

I opted to using this instead of our brand spanking new computer because:

a) the new computer is in the side room or “study”

b) the laptop is portable .. and I set it up on the kitchen table.  This way, I can look out the kitchen window and see the birds.

We’ve set up one of those translucent bird feeders that attach to the window with suction cups.  The birds love it.  And the aluminum blinds, well, I’ve angled them so that the birds can’t see us .. and so they can relax and feed at will.  So sweet to see them standing on the top of the sundeck fencing area and on a board beneath the window .. nibbling away at birdseed.

They are so very sweet .. tiny little sparkling eyes, fluffy plumage.  And yesterday morning, after I’d opened up the blinds and flung aside the kitchen curtains .. there was a little Red-Breasted Nuthatch.   I love his little nasal chirps.  No mistaking him.

There is so very much information to learn … I just worked away, reading from the course textbook, typing notes .. willing all this information to stick to my consciousness.

Then, later, supper prepared for DH and then it was time for me to go out for a monthly Coronation Street supper … a few hours of talking about the show .. and other things.  Quite a fun evening.  Listening to some friends discussing their travels… and catching up on what’s been going on.  Lots of fun.  There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a good meal and lively conversation and that’s what we enjoyed last night!

Then, we dissect the life out of the show’s scripts .. sometimes they are so good and other times .. not worth the air time.  There is always a variety of writers so the scripts are sometimes much better than others.

Oh oh .. a reminder that DH & I will see William Roach in just over a month!  yippeee.  I still need to make up a list of questions. A once in a lifetime opportunity to do so.  So the questions need to be good .. and unusual!

Well .. the day is done and so time to end this lengthy rambling.

Tomorrow … I’ll focus on more studying.  I sure love this Organic Master Gardening Course .. a program like no other!!

And .. I just have to visit Swan Lake again .. I’m hooked!


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

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Yesterday morning, looking out the kitchen window . .I could see a Spotted Towhee high up in the wild and crazy tree.   He looked so beautiful .. that I just wanted to run outside and watch and listen to the lovely silvery songs.

Reality, though, as soon as I’d open the door .. the sounds would send the birds flying.  So I just watched quietly and enjoyed the sight.

There have been frosts most mornings .. but not this morning.  I was up bright and early … the weather was quite comfortable .. not chilly at all.   I wonder if that means that today will be sunny (or some rain??)

We’ve been so fortunate with these lovely sunny days.  I go outside with all intentions of working diligently, finishing all projects .. and then find myself just relaxing.  Enjoying the warmth of the sun.   The lovely sight of the sun dappled leaves, grasses … everything in the yard.

The antics of the birds.   Now I just have to stop and watch them.   They are slowly getting used to me being in the yard.  Lately I’ve begun to notice that .. when I remove an empty feeder & take it to a table to fill up, there is an excited chirping chorus that spreads around the yard, from tree to tree!   So I know that they notice what I’m doing!

One feeder, in particular, is very popular and I’ve been filling that up daily.    Although they love the thistle seed in the tall cylindrical feeder, with the wraparound wire feature that allows them to perch as they feed .. the simple pop bottle feeder (with the kit attachment that I purchased from Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, for only a few dollars) is the most heavily visited.

Thistle seed is very inexpensive.  The seeds are black and tiny as can be.  The 4 kg bag is still half full and I’ve replenished the feeders several times.

I’ve prepared another mixture of nectar for the hummingbirds.  Still surprised to see wasps hanging about, despite the cold frosty mornings.  Today I’ll bring in the backyard feeder for a quick wash .. noticed that there is a bit of black grunge at some of the blossoms.  Nothing but the best for my little guys.

I’m so glad that we planted so many trees in the yard many years ago.  If I’d paid attention to the proper spacing of trees, we would not have so many.  But I’m very glad that we did.  These are complete little universes for the wide variety of winged wonders in the yard, at the back, sides and front.  For as long as we live here . .it will stay the same.   And should we move somewhere else, well, I’ll be planting more trees!

Just finished a very well worded article on the importance of trees.  The embellishment of the description covered the minute details that really just point out that leaves breathe, create shade, provide protection.  The author neglected to point out that birds live in the trees.  They eat the insects that bother the trees.  These are little worlds for them.  The more trees, the more worlds there are.

Last fall a young neighbour cut down a lovely old tree, because the leaves were too messy.   How sad.   By the time I could even think of approaching him to say that I’d gladly collect the leaves, the tree was down.  One less habitat.

Which reminds me of the filled in lakes and ponds at Babe’s Honey Farm.  And the potted owls on Africam http://www.africam.com/wildlife/index.php# .  On the one hand, developers don’t care one whit for nature and cold heartedly destroy natural habitat.  On the other hand, there are those who appreciate the plight of nature’s creatures who need and deserve a space on this earth.

Anyway .. back to yesterday afternoon and my determination to work hard.   I started out working on the neglected side of the yard.   I had accumulated large amounts of newspaper and cardboard, intending to lay down this material and cover with mulch.

Happily surprised to realize that the heavy layer of hay/compost that I’d distributed last year had successfully stopped the growth of most of the weeds.  Oh, happy day.

So I tidied up, staked some vines, planted another .. finally planted the two ferns and topped up with the Miracle Mulch.  This section of the yard feels much better.

Then I started trundling some of the mulch to the far side of the yard.   Of course, I had to stop and admire the flowers.    The Costmary plants are just gigantic, nearly five feet tall.   I’ll check out the plants this morning and see if I can break them apart and pot them up for next spring.  Then I can thin out the raspberry canes.  I’m a lazy gardener and don’t bother cutting down old canes till they are dry and can be snapped off.

The cedar trees that I planted a few years ago are growing quite nicely.  I’ll trim the tops next spring to encourage bushy growth.

Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t spent all the time god sends .. in my garden .. and realize that this past summer, my first ever complete summer in retirement .. was very busy.   I was simultaneously living 3 lifestyles.

Becoming more comfortable in the cockpit with my flying lessons and then two evenings a week at ground school for 6 weeks;  timidly starting my gardening business; and learning to structure and live my new life.  No wonder the days just flew by .. I was going from one thing to another.  I’ve had loads of fun and met the most amazing people.

I think winters are meant for people like me.  Time to slow down … get organized.

I plan to (really, really this time) work on my business handout, have business cards printed out. Think about taking an organic master gardening course (money that should really be spent on debt) or not.   Take time to read the pile of books I’ve been accumulating.

Spend many hours going through my gardening books,  making notes, lists, plans.

Play with my collection of beads, paints, tiles.

Go for many long walks.   Start my exercise program again.

Dust off the sewing machine.   I plan to make some doggie beds out of an old duvet.  Think I can make 4 comfy beds and then slip covers for them .. to donate to the SPCA.  Perhaps some doggy toys out of fabric .. I’ve been finding creative ideas online.

Then soon it will be spring!

Oh, wow, I’m really enjoying myself, aren’t I … what a lovely crazy full life.

Anyway, on with this most lovely day!  I can hear the birds chirping, time to go outside and have a look!


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