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Posts Tagged ‘Plants’


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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So Tuesday was slightly overcast and I went for a little walk to Swan Lake .. only for 1 ½ hours !!  I just had to go and see the new structure by the Nature House, with the green roof.   It is just beautiful and planted with native grasses, plants and flowers.  I look forward to seeing the changes over the coming seasons, as the garden grows and grows.

Listened to the cries of the male Red Winged Blackbirds as they called out, marking their territory or calling to their mates?  Heard the songs of the Marsh Wrens.  The territorial honking of the Canada Geese.   Didn’t see many Mallards though .. perhaps they were all in the side marshes.

Saw one of the local eagles soaring .. nearby was a seagull, both seemed to be sailing along on the same air currents.  The eagle wasn’t hungry, so the gull was safe.  Later on .. I noticed some crows playing around with the eagle .. and the eagle just ignored them and flew farther afield.

Not many people out walking when I was there .. just a few joggers, birders out on the trails.

Talked to one of the Sanctuary employees about the markings on the Mallards .. turns out that each one does have a different look about them.  The older ducks have longer back feathers.  There are slight differences in eye markings and colouration.  The green billed Drake is a bit unusual and might be the result of some breeding with another type of duck.  So now I will start to pay attention to the differences.  I do note that some of the females have darker feather markings.

Lovely relaxing walk!

Then, back home, outside, busy reshaping the veggie garden .. an easy thing to do, since I use rocks and bricks as borders.   Room for change .. which is a great thing for the garden.

Still feel so terrible about the Scotts Miracle Gro birdseed .. and awaiting a response to the e-mail that I sent yesterday.  I’ll go to the supermarket to fetch more fat for the feeders.

Sat down for a while to leaf through my birding books, seeking recipes for our birds.  I have most of the supplies in the cupboard so will make some for the fall.  Right now there are plenty of insects for the birds to munch on .. and I still have sunflower seeds for them.

Felt wonderful to be outside.   I’m trying to decide where to place my many propagated plants.  Think that I might change the shape of the veggie garden and then re-arrange the plants in a nice tidy fashion.

The branches are starting to green up with new leafy growth and soon the yard will be nicely framed with greenery.  The Silver Lace Vine (aka “mile a  minute”) is living up to its name and there is new growth on the old woody stems and now is the time to train them to grow along the top of the fence.  They have a tendency to grow up the plum trees . .so I’ve caught them in time.

I’m trying to pot up the comfrey so that it won’t grow wild in the yard.  There is a type of comfrey that doesn’t spread, Bocking 14, a Russian cultivar .. so I’ll be looking out for this one.  The comfrey that is in our yard (all over the yard!!) originated from just a few plants that I obtained many, many years ago.   The bees love the flowers (which unfurl a few at a time) and the leaves are good for the compost, so it really is a good plant.  I just don’t want it growing all over, as they get to be quite large.

Replanted the two large currant plants .. there is a lot of new growth on these.  And still digging out raspberry canes to form a raspberry bed.   These canes originated from just a few canes given to me by a co-worker, many years ago.   And I’ve given away the volunteers for years and they keep on growing.  Good thing, as they produce massive amounts of berries!

This year I’m also training blackberries along the fence, nice and neat.  What tastes more delicious than ripe berries, warmed by the summer sun?  I’ve dug up tons of these berries from the yard and finally decided to keep some of them.  Why fight them, they will be a nice addition on the fence, no harm.

Well, the day is marching on and I’m eager to get outside.

🙂

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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We’ve been lucky with weather lately, and actually had 4 days of sunshine!  This all ended yesterday … and now we are back to overcast with some rain.

DH & I went flying over town on Friday .. and we could see this huge band of dark cloud formation, quite unusual.  It was as if someone with a gigantic paintbrush had simply painted a long swathe of cloud.  It stretched from Hope, BC over to us and then continued.

This was the forerunner to the weather changes leading to our current slightly rainy weather.

It was wonderful to be flying again .. up in the air so high, everything down below seems like a little toy world.

Then on Saturday, full sun!   Felt kind of lazy, garden wise .. it’s the same every year.  Impatient to be outside getting my hands in the soil .. and then .. sort of like wandering around, daydreaming as to what I’ll be doing here and there.

Brought out my EM, mixed some with water and added to some plantings.

A friend of mine will be travelling and I’ll be looking after her plants .. so while she is off exploring, her plants will be at “club med” relaxing in the sun.  They are all placed together so they can communicate with each other.  I’ve given them all a healthy watering of EM, so that feels quite good .. nice healthy microbial action to liven up the soil and give these plants a good diet.

Can you see the photos of the cedars with the sweaters?  She just happened to have 2 matching woolen sweaters (English, don’t you know!) and placed them over the burlap covered rootballs, so that there wouldn’t be any soil loss, while they were being moved.   And now the trees are in planters for the summer and coming seasons, till the time is right for them to be moved again.  They are safe here.

So then I had to mix up more EM and watered all the plants in this side area of the garden.

Then I had a nice surprise conversation with my gardening neighbour, M .. the lovely lady who constantly gives me perennials, and lettuce and other vegetables during the growing season.  She also gives me tips on propagating (roses, she always takes cuttings, puts them in soil filled containers, with a glass covering and slowly, they grow roots!!).

So on Saturday, I’m trying to explain the wonderful new things I’ve learned in my OMG course and when I said the word “mycorrhizal” .. her eyes lit up!   And when I showed her the blueberry cuttings in sand (they are sprouting leaves already) she noted that there is more air in the sand so that is a good growing medium.

Then, she tells me that she was a teacher in the Ukraine!  And she taught biology, chemistry and (I think) botany!  OMG .. what a treasure and she is my neighbour!!!  She is working on improving her English .. which is radically different from the sentence structure in Ukrainian.  I am so looking forward to learning more gardening knowledge from her, as her English improves.

The key word was “mycorrhizal” .. and I’m so glad that I worked hard to understand & remember the significance of this word.

Anyway .. after all this … DH comes home and it’s off to the airport we go!   A local flight .. and yee-haw .. it’s magic to be back in the air.

And on Sunday, we were up up up and away .. gone the whole day.  Spent lovely time at the flying club … time to tend the garden, I must go out there sometime with my clippers and strings to support the sweet peas .. still growing from last year!  And time to transplant a few of the bigger plants.  Always something to do.  And I think I will apply some EM to the plants there also.

Well .. time to get going on this day.  I’ve read in the  paper that there is now a “green roof” full of native plants at the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.  I’ve noticed the structure being built, was curious .. really look forward to seeing this green roof first hand.

So now I’ll try not to spend 3 hours on my walk there!  But it’s so hard when there are so many beautiful things to see!

🙂

p.s. I came across this article a few weeks ago .. about Miracle Gro birdseed, the company knowingly added pesticides to the birdseed… , despite the advise of their ornathologists – how many wild and domestic birds have been poisoned?  I’m going to contact the sources of the birdseed that I’ve been buying, to find out what they have to say about their products.  Scary.  Who would have thought that an innocent product like birdseed would be contaminated?

http://grist.org/list/scotts-miracle-gro-pleads-guilty-to-selling-poisoned-bird-seed/

And I’ve just gone downstairs to check my bird feed supplies and what do I see but the name “Scotts” on the front of the package.  So I visited the website that is listed on label, and it is the Scotts Miracle Gro birdseed site.  Now I feel quite sick about having fed the wild birds this suet.  So I’ve e-mailed the store where I purchased the suet, asking that they discontinue selling  this product.  And I’ve just sent off an e-mail to the Scotts birdseed site.  www.scottswildbirdfood.ca berating them for knowingly adding the pesticides.

This is truly a “Buyer – Beware” situation.  From now on I’ll stick to the plain fat that I can get from the supermarket meat department.  Thrifty Foods is quite helpful in that respect.

As for the remaining unopened suet block that remains, well, I’ll be treating that like hazardous waste.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

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Oh, argh .. argh .. argh ..I’ve been trying to write every day, to get in the disciplined habit of just writing .. but yesterday was a hurdle.

I’ve been practising adding my blog name to my pictures (thanks Claire!!) and so for each picture I would right-click, choose “Paint” then painstakingly learn the ins and outs about that.  As you can see in the photos, sometimes the font is small, sometimes the colour blends in with the background.  Sometimes it is on the left, then the centre, then the right .. oh, and along the top and middle also.   I tried to go back and change, via the text box, but that wasn’t proving to be too successful, so I just let things be as they were.  Laissez-faire, sort of thing.

Ok, this was sorted out.  So next, I went to my little Toshiba laptop on the kitchen table .. to proudly post my pics.

Well .. I’d add subtitles, go to the next one, add subtitle .. then, the laptop would freeze up and then I’d lose everything.  I lived through this 3 times.   And then I gave up.  sigh.  I’ve discovered that there is not enough energy for the laptop to operate with a) music and b) another website opened up.  So it’s either one or nothing.

And I had all these lovely pictures that I’d taken on Friday that I wanted to share.  So here they go, better late than never.

So, Friday morning starts out a little overcast, then some sun.  Time for a little walk to Swan Lake.   Another little 3 hour walk.

When I arrived there, midmorning, the birds must have been taking a siesta .. I could only hear some far off singing .. and no ducks at the smaller observatory.  Continuing along the long and winding pathway .. I heard the little chirping sounds of a hummingbird, so stopped to watch and listen.

What a lovely little sight .. I saw a little Anna hovering about the delicate moss (or maybe it was a spider web) at the base of a tree along the side of the path.  What a lovely moment of nature .. I watched, motionless, as she tugged away at some tiny material . .then she flew a few centimetres farther, and tug, tug, tug.  She repeated this a number of times then swiftly flew away to the upper branches of a nearby tree.

I decided to wait, no one else was running or walking along the route .. so I opened my camera and prepared to wait.  Several times more, she flew in, hovered around .. and then tugged away repeatedly for more materials to build her next.  Finally, she flew to sit on a branch of a nearby bush and just rested.  She wiped her delicate beak on the surface of the branch, perhaps to remove any sticky residue from the web or moss.

Oh, my this was such a wonderful moment time, such a gift .. to observe the delicate workings of nature in action.   And the timing . . if I hadn’t been there in that particular place at that particular moment in time, I would have missed this precious moment.  All in the tranquility and solitude of Swan Lake Sanctuary.

And that reminds me .. the hummingbird feeders in our yard are being fully utilized right now.  On Saturday, I’d just refilled the feeder for the front yard family and then stood back for some time to watch the activity.  It seemed as if there were about six of them taking turns at the feeder, flying around, but really it must have been four.   And the back yard Anna’s .. I usually only see three.  Ok, something else to learn .. how hummingbirds live and socialize.

So I continued on my way.  Over to the Galloping Goose.  Struck up a conversation with a lady and her dog, Tessa, a beautiful golden girl, very friendly dog.   I’d noticed them walking along the asphalt pathway and Tessa (as I learned her name later) kept looking back at me .. as if she wanted to say “hello”.    As I caught up to them, her doggy mom and I struck up a conversation and chatted of many things.  At the end of the trail, we introduced, shook hands and then went on with our day.    This is just an example of the lovely things that happen when you venture out into the world.  This wouldn’t have happened if I had decided to “not go for a walk”!.  🙂

Over to the Mediterranean store for some goodies, which included some lovely smoked cheddar .. yum, yum .. this is delicious.   And I need to go there again for more!

And now I’ll share with you a story about lasagna.

After I returned home (3 hours later!) from my little walk, I decided to make up a lasagna.   By this time, the weather was sunny, but I just wanted to get this done.

So I prepared all the food.  Chopped up the onions, garlic, added to the pan along with ground chicken.  All sizzling away.  Pot of water on to boil, added a combination of spinach and plain lasagna strips.  Opened up the bottle of hot salsa and added to the chicken mixture.   (I’ve been using this now for lasagna, so delicious.  Thawed out the frozen spinach and drained out the extra moisture.

Brought the food processor down from the top cupboard.  I’d bought this at Eaton’s (when it existed, alas, no more) so the machine is about 20 years old or so.   Grated the mozzarella.    Drained the cooked lasagna strips.

Then the fun began.

I thought that I’d just make a small lasagna, so brought out the 8 x 8 glass pan.  Put some salsa on the bottom, added 3 strips, spooned on a layer of the salsa/chicken mix.  Added some spinach.

Hmmm.  With this one layer, I’m already at the halfway level of the pan.  Perhaps I’ll try the larger pan, it’s not deep  .. that should work.

So, I put more salsa on the bottom, added some strips, scooped off the chicken mixture from the smaller pan, then began the layering again.

Hmm .. this doesn’t seem to be working, again I’m at the halfway level … so perhaps the larger, deeper pan will work.

By this time, I’ve run out of salsa, so opened up a tin of stewed tomatoes, blended the contents with the hand blender.  Spread some on the bottom of this, the largest, pan.  Again with the lasagna strips.  Scooping the chicken mixture et all from the last pan.

Well, I didn’t take any photos of this fiasco to share .. too embarrassing.  Finally, the lasagna was all nicely layered, and covered with sauce and cheese.  The final topping was the smoked cheddar .. a thin layer of delicious cheese on the top.

Cleaned up all the pots and pans, counter and floor.  Stove and sink.  Neatly covered up this most wonderful of lasagna’s and carefully placed in the fridge.

Escaped to the outside back yard where I played with this and that.  So happy to be outside.

Later, DH home and I put the lasagna in the oven .. and you know what!  This was the most delicious lasagna that I ever made!   We each had generous helpings and there was more than enough for supper last night and tonight.

A lot of work and I realize that I am not the type of person to create a small dish of food for supper.  I’m destined to make large servings of food.  I try to  make “just enough” for a meal .. but it just never seems to work out that way.

Oh well.

And tomorrow I’ll share some photos of our recent flying trips!!!

🙂

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       Monday, March 19, 2012

The weekend was a mixed bag of weather.   Some sun, some rain .. wonder if the plants were going crazy ..bloom?  grow?

On the overcast/sunny Saturday morning, I continued to learn more about plant identification.

Learned some more about invasive weeds and recognizing more wild plants.  The Alaskan Onion is now a familiar to me – grass-like type plant.  I hadn’t taken any photos (but I plan to do that!)

Here are some excellent sites for further information (oh, wow, I am in the learning mode now!)

http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/GarryOakEcosystems.html

And ..finally, some photos:

http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/ShowDBImage/gallery.aspx?page=0&specrep=0&code=PMPOA3X0J0

Onion grass looks like .. well, grass!  Right now, what I’ve noticed is that the blades seem a bit wider and “boxier” like and to find out if the grass is onion grass. … you just carefully move the grass away at the bottom of the plant and feel around for the little bulbs at the ground level, where they are protruding from the soil.  Once I can touch and look closely at a plant .. a wild plant anyway, I know it and can locate others.   So far, anyway, touch wood.  (ok, now where did that phrase originate!)

I learned how to identify licorice fern and tasted the inner portion of the root, which was bright green.   Just a tiny taste and the licorice flavour developed  more and more as time passed.  Quite dainty and delicious.  Oh, mother nature, you are good!

S and I worked away, lifting invasive ivy  … .loosening the soil.  She carefully removed the invasives from the struggling tiny leaf wild rose plants, tough plants, growing through the tight covering of the vines.   She also found some wild honeysuckle and these now will grow quite strong, now they are free to do so.

We worked away for a few hours, soon had a good size area clear, the rich forest soil loosened up.   Once hidden plants now able to breathe freely and grow as they should.

I brought away with me a tiny deer fern, surrounded by a little blanket of moss.  It’s potted up and I’ll be planting this treasure in the shaded woodland part of the yard.

S also gave me some pussywillow, rooted, and some in water to root.  I look forward to these growing in the yard and will bend them over as they grow, to form a little umbrella shape.

Another thing about us gardeners .. we share and share and share our plants.  Such a fun thing to do.  And I do intend to name them somehow .. must think of an easy way to do this.  Maybe carry around some cut-up plastic or aluminum sections of window blinds & a black marker, so I can easily write down the names and place the section in the plant.  I’ll work on that.

Anyway, I am getting very spoiled now.  Twice I’ve had the most amazing little cups of espresso.  Made from home-roasted beans and ground up especially fine.  Saturday, I just had to take a photo, to share .. see, how beautiful this is!  What a treat.

So, Saturday was a busy day.  A friend of mine is going travelling, so I will be “mother” to her plants while she is away.  And today .. I’m going to water them with EM.  As a matter of fact .. today .. is the day for me to add EM to all the outside plants.

I’ll put some of my precious EM in water, and spray the leaves and water the base of the plants.

Plus, time to move some raspberry plants.

Yesterday I noticed a yellow jacket (I think it was that, some kind of wasp) and didn’t have a chance to take a photo.  I think it must be the Queen. So now I’ll be very careful and looking for potential nests.  And now is the time to do all the digging in the side gardens, last year I waited too long and just had to leave them alone.  There was so much wasp activity, and I can’t bear to be stung again.

Looking forward to spending this whole day outside in the yard!!

And tonight .. finally .. we go to see William Roache (aka long-suffering Ken) from Coronation Street.  He’s acted in this show since the very beginning.  We are so looking forward to seeing him in person.  We have the first row seats and will have the opportunity to meet & talk with him after the show.  Oh, what shall I ask him?  Dare I comment about “Deidre’s” neck .. how the veins stand out when she’s yelling .. “oh, Ken!”    🙂

I was going to take a lot of CS memorabilia with me, but, will try to be mature and just take a few things.  But which few?  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Well .. on with this day!!!

🙂

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

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And a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  Oh, the joys of Facebook & Skype.  Via Facebook, I was able to watch one of my great-nephews play his fiddle, along with his instructor, playing some Irish tunes.  He plays much better than me, despite the lessons I’ve taken. However, I’m not giving up.  I might never play at Massey Hall (ha ha ha ha ) but I can scare the heck out of any marauding crows that visit the yard.

Hmmmm .. maybe I should just dust off my fiddle case and practise in the backyard, when the European Starlings visit . .should be interesting to see if this would act as a deterrent!  I remember our dogs cringing when I opened the case.

Anyway, I’m travelling on the lovely gardening path into my ever-expanding world of gardening .. it’s a wonderful journey.  I’m continuously meeting the most interesting people and learning more and more about plants.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to volunteer in pulling invasive species out of a natural forest area.   I’d heard about the magical results of Fawn Lilies growing in areas which were once heavily infested with ivy and Himalayan blackberries.  Once the heavy top-growth was removed .. the Lillies appeared. Isn’t that amazing!  The powerful energy of nature.  Humbling, I would say.

So I was excited to be part of this activity.  We uncovered a very heavy growth of ivy from a number of tree stumps.  And once that was done .. the space seemed to be calmer, cleaner .. sort of feng shui of the area.    Huckleberries are going to be planted in the trunks so I really look forward to seeing that.  I posted some pics and will follow-up when the berries are growing.

Learned about other vegetation, such as Alaska onion grass .. the leaves look exactly like grass and one must look to the base of the blades to see the little bulbets!  And, I also learned that the tiny weeds that I’ve been busy pulling out of the ground at home, are actually a type of cress, edible and most likely high in minerals and vitamins.

Oh, Nature, you are so subtle.   Leaving lots of plants around for us to nibble on, we just have to learn them, pay attention.

We chatted with a young man, who is a finishing carpenter .. now that is a trade to be proud of … my dad was such a person.   Such a joy to meet talented people who, it follows, most certainly must have a love for natural materials.

Back home, I refilled the hummingbird feeder and while I was standing there .. I saw several zipping around, so camera out.  I think that there is a Mr & Mrs, there were 2 at the feeder at the same time, sipping companionably.  Then one, without the red neck feathers, omg, this must be the female!  Her head looked to be shades of brown .. I’m standing there trying to focus and she just hovered there in the air.

I wasn’t able to click a photo of her .. hovering .. but I will always remember the joy of the moment!  Hummingbirds are little sprites in the air. They are tough little birds.  And so very beautiful.

Friday .. and Saturday .. well, lots of sun, followed by bursts of rain. Perfect gardening weather.

I’m just so looking forward to working in our yard .. to chop up the kelp & seaweed & spread around the garlic bed.  Then, my first major gardening feat will be to empty the 3 composters, one by one and start layering them in properly with the carbon/green layers.   Once that is done, I will feel so much better about the composting process.  Instead of just throwing vegetable waste in (which is what I’ve been doing) I’ll be consciously layering, creating a good atmosphere for the specific bacteria to grow.  Some like it hot, some like it warm, some like it cool.   Just like Goldilocks & the 3 Bears!

I’m going to build the compost just right!

Anyway, on with this day.  More ivy to pull.  Some plants are moving in for a vacation while their plant mom is away travelling.  Here is my chance to give them some EM and keep them in a healthy condition till she needs them back.

So .. away I go .. on this lovely Saturday morning.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

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  The winds returned yesterday .. .I spent a bit of time moving the bird feeding stations onto branches that were a little more sheltered so that the little winged darlings could feed!  

The hummingbird feeder in the backyard had been buffeted so much that all the nectar was gone .. so I put some in and hung it on a tree branch.  Then changed the location again, as I saw the little Anna zipping about .. looking for it. So I placed it a bit lower in the little archway.

Glad to see my garlic growing away.   I’m just waiting for a nice day to spend outside and I can start chopping up some kelp around the new green growth.  Still have a fair amount of garlic from last year.  Enough for us and some to share with friends.  I wonder if I’ll actually take the time to properly braid some strands this year? 

I’d started out doing that last year, with the best of intentions.   My desire to do so had diminished, as I dug up more and more small garlic bulbs.  I’d bought 4 lovely garlic types from Richters, so the problem wasn’t the quality of the bulbs.  Discovered that garlic likes sun … I’d planted them in relative shade.  Even though the soil was lovely, rich in mulch, it still needed that sun!  So this year, they are in the sun. 

And everywhere else also, it seems.  I can see garlic greens popping up everywhere in the side garden .. and I was so positive that I’d dug them all up!    More of the magic of gardening.

I’m so glad that I’ve continued on with this blog.  I’d started it after I retired, someone suggested it would be a good way to keep in touch former coworkers who also loved gardening.

I have discovered other gardening type blogs over the past year and it is so fun to find out how others are gardening, from all over the place.  Very interesting people.

There is Bridget, in Ireland, they live in the country and have the most lovely goats: http://arignagardener.wordpress.com/author/arignagardener/

and Claire – a creative chef  and intrepid gardener .. her fascinating blog:  http://promenadeplantings.com/

and Paul, who is a creative gardener and is sharing the gardening adventure with his children at:  http://seedtosalad.wordpress.com/

and Malou, who gardens in Holland: http://malouprestado.wordpress.com/author/malouprestado/

and Susanne, who currently is living in Australia: http://theemeraldgarden.wordpress.com/author/yomtoto/

It is such a joy to read their blogs and find out what is happening in the gardens where they live.  I take a little time travel each time I visit their blogs.

I feel as if we have become such good gardening buddies and I find so many interesting ways to do things and wonderful new foods!   Claire has lovely recipes for pumpkin biscotti (beautiful pumpkins from France, I haven’t seen any here). 

And they all have links to other blogs too!

Well, time is running out .. tonight is our last Organic Master Gardening Course (Gaia College) at Royal Roads and I will have to leave shortly.  Wah .. it’s been a huge adventure, this course.  A complete departure from the normal ways of gardening.  So I’ve begun this adventure and am very happy.

The most amazing instructors and a great group of learners we are.

So I’ll say nighty night till tomorrow.  When I will come back and talk about more gardening and the exciting things that happened today!  Yes, I met more gardening people… what a wonderful day this has been  … and I’ll share more pictures!

It’s been a lovely day.

🙂

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Tuesday .. that wonderful day which follows Monday .. was a mixed bag of weather.

By the time I set off on my trek to Orr’s Butchers (to fetch some Farmer Ben’s eggs) there was a slight sprinkling of rain.  And, since I’m not made of sugar and won’t melt in the rain .. I just simply started walking.

Just simply stepping onto the pathway leading into the Nature Sanctuary felt absolutely wonderful .. the perfect way to start the day.   Looking around at the emerging new growth of leaves and the richness of the mosses & lichens draping branches and trunks .. felt the magical touch that nature bestows on all living things.

Only a few people at the time I was walking .. so peaceful and quiet .. couldn’t see many birds .. and saw the little Anna, who likes to perch atop one of the tall, narrow trees along a pathway.

Noticed the emergence of the growth of the marsh grasses.  Spent stalks of last year gracefully folded back, the structural breakdown  to feed the soil already well begun.

Finally reached the little observatory . . a few Geese majestically sailed over, expecting food.  And a little Ms. Mallard flew up to the wooden decking, looking for flatted oats .. which are sitting in a bag at home.  Reminder to keep a supply in my purse, cause ya never know!

Continued on my way … to Orr’s to pick up a few dozen Farmer Brown’s eggs .. to the Mediterranean deli!  Here I picked up a Mizithra cheese, an assortment of feta, humus, olive tapenade (the humus & tapenade are made there!) Plus some beautiful baklava etc.

Now my shopping bag is very heavy and I ponder the wisdom of shopping while walking.  Well, I’m not a delicate little flower, so I hoist the bag onto my shoulder and trudge onwards.  Soon I’ll be home.

Decision time .. take the shorter, overland path or descend to the walkway down below?  As always, I choose the latter and soon am nearing the little observatory again.  This time there is a birding group, including a former work mate .. so we chat for a few minutes.  Then all is quiet, as the birders listen to an assortment of bird calls, identifying each one.  Oh .. my .. I simply must join a birding group for a walk, “one of these” days.  I always learn so much.

Then . .homeward bound .. where I reward myself with a mug of Yorkshire Tea, my spanakopita and one of those delicate baklavas!!

Yesterday was another great learning session at our gardening class.   This session was devoted to lawns .. the creation, maintenance, troubleshooting .. the whole spectrum.

As our instructor opened up the doors to this new world, I found myself gaining great respect for this plant.  I learned that lawn is actually composed of thousands of plants, now that was not something that I was aware of before.  Grass was just, well .. grass.  Oh, no, that is not so.

We learned of the varieties of grass and why such a mix of types are used and how best to determine that.   About the zone of elongation .. who knew?  Why thatch develops.  Natural lawns are a bit longer than conventional lawns and are so much healthier.

Why and when to mow and .. understanding the “why” “when” “nurturing” makes only sense, now that I am more aware.

And for years I’d heard of people planning their lawns, layering, adding sand, plugging, fertilizing, etc.  Creating an artificial environment which really is toxic.

Imagine, feeding the lawn with chemicals and then letting children and pets play on this surface.   All those materials are in contact with the things you love .. is that good?   And then visualizing innocent birds pecking away at the poisonous concoction and being part of the food chain, passing on the chemicals, on up through the various life forms.

We discussed the benefits of natural materials, again, just like the “soil food web” nurturing the soil with materials  like EM (effective microorganisms) Compost Tea (Dr. Elaine Ingham), rock dust, on and on.

I have much more to study, transcribe my notes …. to further understand all of the information that was given to us last night.

Ok, grass, I respect you and your tenacity.  You are not just a blade beneath my feet.  You are an entity unto yourself and I intend to treat you with the care that you deserve.  And besides, anyway, as much as I’d like to rid the yard of lawn, it’s here to stay and I’ll make the best of it by taking care of it the natural way.

So .. on with this day.

Oh, yes, yesterday’s weather!   I was typing away at the keyboard, happened to look up and saw .. what?   Snowflakes!

Ran outside and sure enough, there was a steady stream of tiny, then shortly, larger flakes of snow tumbling down!

Grabbed the camera and started taking pics .. I knew that all over Victoria, there were many people doing the same thing.  ha ha .. what do you do when you live in a place like this and have a camera, anyway!

Then the sun finally came out and transformed everything . .and that was a day!

Well, on with this day!

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