Posts Tagged ‘Red-breasted Nuthatch’

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OMG .. it is just after 8 am on this morning and I see the sun is shining brilliantly …

I was all set to write about my gardening day yesterday (which was totally wonderful, btw).   But.. rain is predicted .. so I am choosing to go outside and dig and plant and sort my gardening pots.  Rake Leaves. (trying not to think about the lovely piles of leaves on the roadway ….)

So I will post my pics of yesterday and yak .. later on!  And if it doesn’t rain (as is predicted) .. well, I’ll be outside all the live long day!

And so.. va va vooom .. on my most lovely daily life!

🙂  Happy days are here again, the sky is clear again .. happy days are here again!

Oh, and I saw a Spotted Towhee outside the kitchen window, grooming itself for the upcoming day!

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Yesterday, Wednesday, was quite a change from bright and sunny Tuesday!  It started off overcast and very windy at times.

Nonetheless, on went my gardening outfit and outside I went!   Finished potting up the balance of the Boxwood cuttings . .I think there were about 40 .. a few didn’t root, leaves were glossy & green . … so they are being given another chance over the winter.

So I think that I now have a total of 120 boxwood plants started.  And … no .. I don’t plan to start a nursery.   I would like to try little garden borders, though.  I like the boxwood plantings at the Royal Bank on Burnside.  Every time I visit the bank, my eyes are drawn to the two tidy Boxwood framed squares outside.  Yes, I think I’ll have lots of fun with these plants.  They are quite sturdy little plants, I love plants that aren’t delicate.

Then, oh my .. I’m looking at the temporary winter holding areas that I’ve created with the landscape ties.  I’d started out with the “L” shape.  These soon filled up.  Now I have double “L” shapes.  And rapidly running out of room.

I think that our next place will just have to have a bit more property so that I can expand my propagating area.  I do seem to get carried away.  But then, I think, a lot of gardeners are like that.  I’ll just clip a “few” branches.  I’ll just start a “few” more plants.  On and on.  Oh, wait, I was planning to clip the Bay laurel tree.  Maybe tomorrow.

I’d already shaped shifted the veggie garden area.   I love changing the shapes of the garden ..  the soil there is just so rich from last years  wonderful mulch.    I can easily change the shape by moving the bricks that I’ve used to outline the beds and reshape away to my hearts content.

Anyway, this fall, I created a strip berry garden, a quarter moon shaped garlic bed and an oval bed in the middle (part of this is already planted in garlic).

I’m determined to have large heads of garlic this year.  I’d purchased 4 types of garlic for last years crop.  Somehow the names of each type didn’t make it through the winter so I now have a mix of unnamed garlic.  Including some elephant garlic.  Humongous cloves.  So they are all planted in the sunny part of the yard.  Patiently waiting till it’s time to grow.

I’d potted up all the cuttings, and then it was time to play with the garlic cloves.   I had had a large crop of garlic this year, however, having not planted them in the full sun, the results were not impressive, size wise.  And, I had thought that by not clipping the greens, the energy that would have gone into the garlic bulb went into the greens instead.  However, I’ve been searching garlic growing sites and I can see where someone actually did a comparison and concluded that it doesn’t make any difference.

So I plopped quite a few garlic bulbs into the amazing Styrofoam root tray and covered up with soil  I’m just curious to see how these will sprout.   Then I plan to make some kind of a narrow garlic strip in planters and let them grow, grow, grow.

Early afternoon, the skies brightened up and there was a little touch of sun .. ah that was great!  I spent a fair chunk of time just looking at the antics of the birds.  At one point there seemed to be quite an influx of sparrows .. they’d discovered the bird seed!  Several times I just waved them away, shoo .. fly away .. leave some for the Dark Eyed Juncos‘s, the Chickadees, the Red Breasted Nuthatch.  Speaking of which, I’d noticed that I hadn’t seen this spritely little guy .. when up he zoomed, straight for the raw suet.

Several sparrows were having quite a little “discussion” and at one point I had to duck out-of-the-way! (no pun intended!)

I have always loved being in the garden.  Time stops.  Reality is held at bay.  All that exists is the wonderment of being in a private place where I can simply enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.  Simply stop and look at the birds.  Stomp on my three-foot high pile of leaves (partly just for fun and partly to break them down faster).  I can just travel all around and see how all the plants and trees are doing.   Look at the lovely bits of lichen and moss, tiny universes.

Play around with re-using bricks, stones.   Dig away.   Dream and envision how I’ll plant things.   I really do want a little arbour .. I have the bench and the pond.  Just have to sweet talk my lovely DH into “helping” me create the area.

I’ve recently read that creativity just needs lots of time and this is my time to delve into this creativity.  All my life I’ve wanted “creative” time .. but there was always something not allowing me the luxury of this gift.  Well .. I now have the time and wow am I happy!   It’s almost decadent to have the time to play and experiment with the garden, and for that I am very grateful.

I then collected the windfall apples .. sorted them into several piles, one for the house and one for the birdies.  Then I took a handful and placed them in the nooks and crannies of trees in the yard .. so they could peck away at their leisure.

Speaking of apples, my walking pal tells me that this year is a bumper crop for apples and that next year there won’t be so many.   I’ve certainly gained new respect for apples, thanks to her explanations of the benefits of eating these crunchy fruits.   And I’m learning about more varieties.

As I gathered up my gardening tools, working in different areas of the yard, I couldn’t help but admire the large wooden handled metal scoop that I’d purchased recently at Lee Valley.  This thing is worth it’s weight in gold!  I think that it actually might be a flour scoop, but I find it so invaluable in the garden.  It is strong and I can easily dig in the yard and create a planting space.  It’s great for hacking away at stubborn dandelions and it’s wonderful for scooping up the soil mixture for potting up plants.

I cut down dead branches of deciduous plantings at the side of the house .. and discovered lots of raspberry canes that I need to dig up .. it’s getting a little crowded.   And the Costmary plants need to be split up, also.  I love the minty perfume of these shovel shaped leaves.  The diminutive yellow button flowers at the top of these tall plants are just too darling for words.

Next spring I plan to trim the tops of the cedar trees, to encourage more bush growth.   And I’m happy to see such a variety of plants that I’ve placed throughout this side of the yard .. the bed is quite wide, about 4 feet in width .. and I can see that I’ll have to reposition some of the plants.

I’d just about decided where I was going to plant my two Pyracantha plants .. when the rains started again!  Darn!

Just as I was collecting my garden gear, camera etc., my attention was caught by the yard of Miracle Mulch.  Beautiful material.  It’s been there for (ahem) a while, since I’d moved it, bit by bit, from the front yard.  I really do have to move this and distribute around the yard.

Well, there is always tomorrow, right?



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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Yesterday was such a brilliant day, from start to finish!  Looking out the window, all I could see was sun, sun, sun!  Reflected on the remaining leaves on the trees and painting everything with a golden patina of happiness.

I wanted to run right out there and continue on with my propagating work from the day before.. but first a little walk was in order.  Soon I was out the door, brr, the air was brisk, despite the sun.  Noticed the frozen water on the surface of the lid of the Rubbermaid container at the side of the house.  Container is full of Miracle Mulch, destined for a portion of a little perennial bed nearby.

Walking down the quiet roadway, I looked again at the inviting piles of oak and maple leaves,  neatly raked into lovely leafy mounds all along the sides of the road.  I steeled myself against running back home, gathering garden bags and scooping them up!  I really do have enough leaves.  The mulch pile in the back yard is quite heavily stomped down and is nearly 3 feet deep!  So I have a few good yards of leaf mulch.

Besides, any good daylight time at this point of the season will be better spent preparing my plants for a hard cold winter.

Traffic is light at this time of the morning and I couldn’t see many people out for a walk either.  I really do love this time of the year, everything seems so fresh.

Back home, I quickly change into my gardening gear and head outside.  Mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand.

Where to start???

I decided to create some temporary bedding areas for the plants that I’m propagating and plants that will remain potted up for the winter.   And soon I’ve positioned the landscape sections into an “L” shape and have spread a thick layer of leaves on the ground.   Next I position the potted plants into the vertical section of the “L” and cover up with another thick layer of leaves.  Nice and comfy against the cold.

I play around with one of the Styrofoam rooting units containing cuttings of Boxwood from last year.   I’d cut up portions of the long pine cones from our “First Christmas” tree in the front yard .. using them as plugs for the openings in the base of the unit.

When I started tugging on the first cutting, I was met with resistance .. so I poked and prodded gently and finally was able to remove the cutting.  OMG .. the root section was nearly 3″ and strong and healthy!   As I continued to removed the cuttings, my amazement grew.   There was such a variety of root formations.  Some of them were fibrous in nature, the shape varying as the roots grew and met obstacles.  Where this happened, they just went around the obstacles and continued growing!  Others were plain and straightforward, having met no impediment to their growth.

I was simply gobsmacked!   Only a few of the cuttings had not formed roots (or perhaps I had inadvertently tugged too hard and the roots became detached) the leaves were still glossy.  I’ll simply put them back in the cells for another round of growth.

These Styrofoam rooting cells are just amazing, I love them.

So, now it’s time to mix up some good planting soil .. so I gather up more of the cocoanut fibre, mixing it in well with the bags of soil & compost and soon have a nice barrow full ready to work with.  Next I gathered up a supply of little plant pots.   When I’d potted up about 6 of the boxwoods, I thought about the upcoming cold winter that has been predicted.

And I decide to put in a layer of leaves at the bottom of the pots, for protecting the delicate rooting systems.  So I empty these pots, quickly throw in a potpourri of leaves: Cherry, Oak, Plum .. so pretty!.   Then I carefully hold a cutting in place and gently toss in the soil mixture, tamping down the surface lightly.  Repeat, repeat, till finally I have 80 potted Boxwoods!  Oh boy, and there is still another tray to go, although it’s only 3/4 full I think!

Took a little time away from these duties to brew another pot of Yorkshire Tea ..lovely to sip on a mug of this most delicious brew and wander around the yard, stopping to watch the birds.  Notice that there is an increase in the sparrow population.  The word seems to have gotten out about the bird seed.  I see the little Red Breasted Nuthatch is flitting between the suet blocks and the bird seed .. I haven’t noticed him venturing near the thistle seed, though.  Maybe when I’m not looking?

The Downey Woodpecker visits .. nibbling from the suet and then goes to peck away at the wild and crazy tree.  Listen to the slightly nasal chirps of the Chestnut Backed Chickadees!  The White Crowned Sparrow seems to visit in the latter part of the afternoon.

Refilled the hummingbird feeders, one at the front of the house and another in the back.

Suddenly I heard the honking of Geese overhead … ah, there they are, way up high, flying in formation.  I quickly snap a few pics.  Knowing that they mate for life makes me admire these strong birds.  Although I would not want to be pecked by any one of them.   Ouch.  My Muscovy Duck, Huggers, had occasionally pecked at my arm, and that was painful enough!

Continuing with the potting up, I soon had all the cuttings happily nestled in pots with a thick insulation of leaves in the bottom.    And soon they were placed in trays snuggled into the horizontal part of the “L” winter resting beds, ensconced on a thick layer of leaves.  And of course, I arranged another thick layer of leaves over the tops of the pots!

Darkness is encroaching, it was time to clean up my work area.  And noticed, as I was raking up the leaves, that this area is starting to feel a little like a living room, with the pseudo walls formed by the landscaping ties.  Oh, my!  Is this good or bad?

I’m still not sure how I am going to shape this area for planting in the spring, but I know that I have a few good months to ponder and go through my landscaping books for ideas!

Looking around the yard, I see that there is much more to be done while the weather is nice.  Plants to be dug in.  Miracle Mulch to be spread around.  Raspberry canes to be divided.

And another bright idea .. I’ll put some garlic cloves into my rooting cells and I will have rooted garlic, ready to be planted in containers in the spring!  Perfect!

Well, it’s 8:30 am and time is a-wasting!  Time to go outside and work away.  Wind and rain is predicted for later this morning.  In my little world, rain means “inside” work .. and of that, there are quite a few things to choose from.

Must rush away now .. the skies look a bit cloudy . .oh no!  Maybe I’ll be sewing instead of planting!

On with my most wonderful new day now!


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Thursday, November 4, 2011

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Thursday was a day fresh full of sunshine!   No rain, just sun .. some clouds .. followed by more sun.

What did I do yesterday .. it seems so very far away!

Basic household things .. and time spent outdoors.

I started working with my last yard of Miracle Mulch.  I’d moved this from the front driveway well over a month ago and it’s been sitting on a tarp ever since.   That sentence seems to make everything sound like it was an easy thing to transport the mulch from the front to the back.   Like, I just snapped my fingers and voila .. it was transported through the air, effortlessly.

In reality, it was a lot of work.  Filling the containers, marching them to the back yard.   Emptying the containers onto the tarp that I’d laid down on the ground.

Repeated maybe 50 times or so .. until finally there was a lovely heap of the mulch ready to be used in the yard.

It’s funny.  I’d lament and cry over doing housework, say, scrubbing walls or washing floors.  Yet, to put endless energy into moving yard materials from A to B is just a given.

In between working, time well spent just relaxing, watching the great varieties of birds that visit our yard.

I love them all, and am surprised at the variety of sparrows.   I’ve noticed the White-crowned Sparrow, and am very sure that there are some Rufous-winged sparrows, but not exactly sure on that.    The Chestnut-backed Chickadees are so very sweet .. with their little nasal chirp chirps.  The Downey Woodpecker seems to love calling out before he lands on the suet.   And the Red-breasted Nuthatch .. my oh my .. he is such a darling!

And there are others that I need to identify, also.  I’ve started paying attention to the guidelines for taking care of backyard birds, one of them is having a supply of water.  Tsk Tsk Tsk .. how did I not pay attention to that before?  So I’ve been filling up flat containers for them .. high enough so the cats can’t reach them.  Enough water for them to bathe and drink.

The Downey Woodpecker ventured over to a container yesterday afternoon to have a little drink of water.   Sweet.

Then I made a point of climbing up my pile of mulch and stomped over the surface quite thoroughly.   To compact the pile and hopefully start the heating process.   I’ve decided to make a circle of stones to the left of the pile .. and I’ll shovel the leaves into this space in a few weeks or so.  Then back and forth, all winter.

Time to start working on the far side of the fenced area .. where I had planted some bushes, vines and ground covers.   It’s funny, I’d saved newspaper and cardboard to start a week barrier at this side.  However, this isn’t needed!  As last year, I’d layered on quite a thick layer of mulch and hay .. with the result that there were very few weeds there.

Yesterday also .. I finished the front section of the yard .. ready enough and feng shui’d enough till next spring!

I’m so thankful for all this lovely warm sunshine (after the morning frost has been melted away) .. and pretend that summer is still here!

There is no end to the duties of the yard .. and I am so happy for that.   I don’t think the yard will ever be finished .. there will always be something to do or change.    And there is a lot of organizing that can take place beneath the sundeck.

But, the most important thing of all .. is to just sit quietly and observe the antics of the birds.  They are so funny.   Watching them fly to the feeders, sometimes they bump into each other.  They do scold one another.  Overall, I do not see any animosity.   All the varieties co-exist peacefully with each other and all feed from the same feeders.

I only wish I could translate the variety of chirps that I hear .. I can only wonder at the conversations that are taking place.

Well, it’s been a day!

And up early tomorrow!  Placing signs along Saanich .. hoping that people will get out and vote .. for a fresh new voice for our municipality.  Out with the tired and in with the energized!!!  I’ll do my part to get things going!


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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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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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Yesterday was nice and sunny all day!  After I finished my 2 hours of distributing pamphlets .. it was time to drive over to my leaf source and bag up oak leaves!

Whew .. I knew that I had reached my limit and yesterday confirmed that.  I was rapidly filling up garden bags with oak leaves, using my orange Handie Hands!  Soon I had filled 23 bags.   I crammed as many as possible into my car, drove home, threw them in the driveway and returned to fill my car with the balance of the bags.

Then at home .. the dance of the moving leaf bags began.  At first it seems a formidable task and soon, many trips back and forth, the bags are situated near the mulch pile.   So I spend a bit of time emptying them, stomping on them to compress the layers and finally a good spritzer of water.

I’ve reached my limit of leaves .. thank goodness . now I can focus of finishing preparation of the yard for winter.   Using cardboard and newspaper, I’ll lay down a layer of these materials on the ground and will cover with a good layer of Miracle Mulch.   Some plants I just don’t know where to plant permanently, so I’ll just dig them in for the winter.

Lovely layer of frost on the yard yesterday and the same today.   Beautiful sunrises both days.

Noticed some new birds in the garden.   Some white Crowned Sparrows … at first, I had noticed some musical trilling bird calls ..looked around and saw these lovely little birds .. so I wonder if they were singing.

Another time, I noticed some birds at the feeder, they had yellow throats, tawny heads and dark bands on their wings.  Perhaps they were the singers.   I’m looking in my bird books to see the type of birds they are.

Looking through a trellis, I notice a larger bird at the suet block .. later I read that it is a European Starling.  Quite striking plumage.

Enjoyed watching the antics of the Red Breasted Nuthatch.  At one point, I was standing about a foot away from the suet block .. and he came flying in and began feeding.  He hadn’t noticed I was there … so I was able to enjoy a few minutes of up close observation.

The more I observe the lovely birds in our  yard, the more I wonder about the covered up lakes and ponds that once existed at Babe’s Honey Farm … where once there surely must have been quite a variety of birds that lived there.  What happened to them and how could this have been allowed to happen?  The 10,000 truckloads of waste that were dumped there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UGnRFeIPHA


Anyway, it was a lovely day, especially with time spent just relaxing, watching the beautiful winged creatures that visited our yard.

Then it was time to go inside, prepare supper.   And I made a huge chicken lasagna, enough for 3 meals!   More garden time for me, hee hee hee.

On with this most lovely day.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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Yesterday was a day full of sunshine!  Up early and ready to go on my first walk, distributing pamphlets for a new candidate in the local mayoral election.

I enjoyed several hours going to sections of the neighbourhood that I had never visited.  There are so many streets with lovely houses, carefully tended gardens.    Quiet and peaceful areas.

At one point, a blur of activity caught my eye and I soon focused on a hawk swiftly flying through the air, landing on the roof of a nearby home.   Seconds later a duo of crows were landing in a nearby tree.  The race was on.  By the time I untangled my camera, the hawk had moved on, followed by the crows.

The nice thing about these neighbourhoods were the abundance of tall trees .. and I imagined such a variety of winged adventures taking place.

After a few hours, decided to return home, gather my leaf collecting gear and go to my leaf source and bag some leaves.

Soon I had 21 bags filled to bursting!!   My leafy friend loaded her truck with most of the bags and I crammed 9 into my little Echo.

Very shortly, the bags were in my driveway .. .and so the dance of the moving leaf bags began.    Down the sidewalk, through the gate, to the backyard and over the leaf pile.   Emptied, one after the other and then I turned the hose on, gave the leaves a thorough watering.  And climbed to the top of the pile and stomped away.

I’ll turn the pile over every few weeks or so during the upcoming seasons and this will be lovely smoking mulch by springtime!

Spent some time raking leaves from the wild and crazy tree.  Such a multitude of colours, they resemble a brightly coloured potpourri from nature.

Then I take some time to watch the bird action.   I recognize the low, slightly hollow call of the Red-breasted Nuthatch .. enthralling.

As I watch the birds, I think again of my decision to distribute the pamphlets and what has inspired me to get involved with the local election.

It was hearing the news that thousands of truckloads of fill has been dumped onto Babe’s Honey Farm.  Babe has passed on.  Everyone knew her.  She was such a lovely person, a joy to speak with.  And had worked so hard with her bees.   Her honey and beeswax products were well received everywhere.

The farm is in receivership now, how sad is that.   And this location is now a repository of thousands of truckloads of fill.   Removed from an ugly new shopping area and from an area which is being constructed with massive box buildings.

And I’d seen these trucks driving away from the building locations.  Not knowing that they would soon empty their contents onto the lakes and ponds of Babe’s farm.

What happened to the wildlife that lived on these lakes and ponds?  Where have the birds gone now?   Surely they would have nested, raised their families and lived their innocent lives in these bodies of water.

Such an Avatar event.   Their lives totally destroyed.   In order that some people could make money by dumping fill there.  The world is getting uglier and uglier.

I’ll do my little part and it starts with delivering pamphlets.   To oust the person who has been responsible for these ugly happenings and welcome in someone who sincerely cares for the land.

And that is what I’ll be doing in a few moments .. going for another walk to distribute the rest of my pamphlets.  In hopes of encouraging people to get out and vote.  To stop this ugliness that has been taking place in our municipality.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

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Yesterday was an interesting one.  Looked out the window first thing and was shocked to see frost in the back yard!   The sun quickly took care of that and the day unfolded in a pleasant sunny way.

In my first trip to gather some of my cached bagged leaves..  I was able to shove 9 bags into my car …my little Echo was crammed to the gills!   Quickly made my way home, tossed the bags onto the driveway and was soon heading back again.

Suddenly I noticed my neighbour’s husband frantically waving to me .. curious .. I drove into their driveway.   His car battery (a new one!) refused to start so he requested a charge from my car.     Soon, the cables were connected, his car started and he was all set to go to an appointment.

I thought about the timing of things.   How sometimes just being somewhere, randomly, results in the opportunity to help others.   If I had decided to just make the one trip for leaves, I would have been in the back yard and thus he wouldn’t have known to ask for my assistance.

If I’d thought that he was just happily waving “good morning” to me as I was driving away .. I wouldn’t have noticed that his car’s hood was up.

Anyway, my second car load was 8 bags .. so I’m doing ok.

Once home, I then raked up another large orange bag full of leaves.  And slowly began the dance of the moving leaf bags.

From car to driveway.  From sidewalk to the back yard.  Then the little march to the mulch area and I soon had the 18 full bags emptied onto the previous layers.

Ok, now the level  is a bit high and I wonder if I have too much?  (perish that thought).  After a liberal dousing of water and determined stomping on my part, the mulch has again decreased in size.  And I remind myself that it will again diminish over the fall/winter/spring.   As I will keep turning it over and over .. waiting for that lovely heat that will start in the middle as the leaves break down.  Oh happy days.

Ok .. where to start next .. I think I’ve earned a little break, so quickly make Y tea, grab a Sudoku and settle on the back steps.  Sitting in the warmth of the sunshine.  Watching the leaves of the wild and crazy tree fall around the yard like multi-coloured little rain drops, soft silky sounds as they whirl through the air.

And I can take a few pics now .. so I wander around.  Suddenly I see a little bird at the high energy suet block.  It looks like a little Chickadee, with the black stripe across its eyes and face, but his little throat is white and chest is a rosy colour.   The wings look faintly blue/gray.  I quickly take as many photos as I can, and look up in one of my bird books and discover that it is a Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Oh, he is so very darling!  Moves quickly .. as all the small birds must do, in order to survive.

I admire their beauty and am so grateful that there is such a variety of birds in our yard this year.  Quite exciting.   I keep missing the Spotted Towhee ..I know he’s out there.

Well .. now is the time to take some yard cuttings out to the front, to be taken to the local municipal hall.   Passing by my car, I decided that this is a good time to do a clean up.  Try to think of the last time this was done .. hmmmm. … oh well ….

Soon I’m vacuuming up the remaining bits of hay (bags & bales from a few years ago)!  Scrubbing away at all the surfaces, removing mud, bits of leaves.   Spraying the windows inside and out, so now they sparkle (well, not really, but it seemed like a good thing to say!)

Lately I’ve been sorting and decluttering and along the way I’ve been finding things that I’d given up looking for.  Well .. another incidence of finding lost items occurred while I was busy cleaning up the car.

Noticed some bits of metallic wire caught on the carpet behind the driver’s seat .. curious … bent down to untangle whatever it was.  And there .. was a little dragon earring that I’d made a few years ago, on a hot summer’s day – over on Salt Spring island!  There were a group of us .. settled around an outside table .. containers of beads, wires, tiny decorations .. a treasure trove of jewellery making supplies.

So I’d made my first pair of earrings, they looked so pretty, gold coloured wire wrapped around little beads and amber coloured stones.   And a little dragon trailing from each earring.    Later on I’d gone shopping and during the shopping and driving activities, suddenly noticed that one of my earrings was missing.  Looked absolutely everywhere .. and finally gave up.

Had to chuckle, what I thought I’d lost was really with me all the time.   Maybe this little cleaning session will prove as a good reminder to make this into a habit.  Who knows what other treasures I’ll find!  Besides the odd quarter, nickel and pennies!

All done … the car does look nice and tidy.   I’ll really make an effort to keep it like that from now on.   It will be nice to be out driving and not see dust patterns on the dash!

Time to put all my cleaning tools away .. and go to the back yard.   Everything is settling down for the fall and winter seasons.   My garlic is all planted, more than I need and some to give to friends!  I’m really looking forward to next years crop .. now that the bulbs have been planted in the sunny area of the yard and are well mulched.  I plan to layer some of those lovely oak leaves on the surface of the garlic bed one of these days.

Soon the late afternoon takes on a bit of a chill .. so time to head inside, think about what to make for supper.

But first, I go to the back stairs .. and just sit down for a few minutes.  Taking the time to just look around the yard .. to appreciate all the growing things.  The magic of the birds.  The smell of the autumn leaves.   Knowing we have good neighbours all around us.

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