Posts Tagged ‘Sooke British Columbia’

Monday, June 3, 2013

A brilliantly beautiful sunshiny day!  Birds are chirping away (I replenished the feeders yesterday!)  And I am facing a full day of playing away in the garden.  Massive amounts of potting up with my many seedlings!  This year I’ve put squash plants in containers .. as I’ve used most of my veggie garden for garlic!!

And there is one section left in the sunny area for veggies.  There I’ve planted some squash, shallots and there is still room for squash there.

This year I’d purchased Mason Bees with nesting trays … and I’d placed their little home on the trunk of an old apple tree.  How exciting it has been to check throughout the spring to see the cocoons open up and know that nature is taking its course and the bees are out in the world.   Although I wondered where they were .. I’d seen a variety of bees buzzing away in the yard but hadn’t noticed any of the little black bees.  So yesterday I ventured to their home and saw that the two lower sections were sealed shut!


This led me to search for more information on these industrious creatures and I found this very informative site:  http://www.crownbees.com/life-cycle-of-the-mason-bee/   and sure enough, as the site notes, the bottom 2 left openings are filled in.   This site lists absolutely everything I need to know about raising my little winged family .. how exciting!

Lovely blue skies again … how cheerful and uplifting to have this overhead!   My umbrella has the same scenery on the inside .. more incentive to go for long walks in the rain with a view like this!


One of the many other busy bees in the yard …. lots of pollinators for all growing plants and trees throughout the yard.20

 Found this broken egg shell when D and I were out walking at Sooke last week.  We were in an area that normally was inaccessible unless we were ducks, however, the tides were way out.   She has a good knack for finding things that are  just not really evident .. perhaps this is a Heron’s egg?  It is very large, bigger than any I’ve ever seen … so I took it home for a souvenir.  I’ve placed it beside some squash shoots for a comparison.


Look .. I have Garry Oak growing in my garlic forest! Actually there are a number of them and I’ve potted up quite a few.  When I harvest the garlic, I’ll pot up the oaks growing in the garlic .. don’t want to disturb them unnecessarily.


Well .. time to go for a walk in the sun and then, oh joy, to work in my garden!


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Friday, March 22, 2012

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Busy, busy, busy .. the last few days have been busy ones for me.

Wednesday morning I was up way early, baking pies.  Sorry, no pics, they were so good, they are nearly gone.  I used the Tenderflake recipe which makes a light flaky crust.  Actually mixed up the pastry a few weeks ago, and froze some portions for future use.    Which turned out to be Wednesday.

I used the single crust method, rolling the pastry into a circle, prepared the filling and then folded the edges up, forming a plate sized open pie!   And the fillings!  I’d frozen apple slices and cherries from last summers’ crops and finally used them.

Still have some more of the above, plus plums, minced green tomato and tomatillos.  Oh, and lots of little jars of jam, applesauce, chutney also.

Then I spent many hours at the little Toshiba laptop at the kitchen table.  Began the arduous task of typing out my hastily scribbled notes taken during the intensive Organic Master Gardening Course, recently completed.   Originally I had the best intentions of doing this in an ongoing manner while the course was taking place .. however, um, I didn’t do that.  Was spending my time studying the course materials, online and from our study book.

As I was typing these pages,  I am time travelling back in time to the classes.   Every detail is clear and I am so glad that I took these notes.  The instructors gave us so much valuable information, sources to research, names to look up .. I’ve reached 9 pages of single line notes so far and scads to go before I’m done … I plan to just spend a few hours a day in this endeavour.    I take little breaks from the tapping of the keys to look up some of the information .. whole new worlds of beneficial natural gardening.

I’ve never ever taken this amount of time  and devoted it to studying and I find this quite satisfying.

Then, time to go outside and play.   I’ve been using DH’s camera a lot lately and discovered that it has the best motor drive for multiple pictures .. so I’ve been utilizing this drive when taking bird pictures.  And the result is so very many clear pictures, when I click from one to the next, it looks like a slow motion picture!

I see that Mr. Downy Woodpecker has taken a wife!  Very striking couple they are.  I’ve seen him in the yard for a few years, very distinguishable with his brilliant red colouring at the back of his head.  At first the female was shy and would fly away, but she is getting used to my presence in the yard, so I’m able to take photos of her.  She is equally striking with her plumage, and lacks the brilliant red, and she is also, I think, a little smaller than her mate.  Welcome additions to the yard!

I’ve been applying that wonderful seaweed/grasses/kelp carefully on the garlic bed .. making sure that the mixture doesn’t cover the garlic and just goes around them.  Mmmmmm .. interesting to see what a difference this mineral laden material will make to the size of the bulbs.   And I’ll be applying EM to them also, either early in the morning or late afternoon, when the weather is a bit cooler.

Finished emptying and then properly layering in the other 2 compost containers, so now all 3 are in better condition.   Layers of green (seaweed/kitchen scraps) and brown (hay/leaves/manure) & cardboard.  Lots of oxygen for the microbes.  Yesterday, remembered that I’d forgotten the glacial rock dust & EM .. so I sprinkled on a handful of the dust and watered each container with about 2 cups of EM liquid.

I’ve mixed up 2 Litres of the EM and they have both reached the final litmus stage of 3.5, so ready to use.  Today I’ll mix up a 2 L batch .. I’m going to spray all plant leaf surfaces in the yard, plus the soil and the lawn, so I’ll need lots of this precious liquid.

Here’s a link which explains what EM is and there is a video showing how to prepare it:


This might be kind of weird, but now that the compost containers are properly layered, there seems to be a different “feel” about them .. before,  these containers were just places where I threw the kitchen and garden wastes.   things “composted” but they were just dark containers that held materials that would simply break down.

But now, they feel like bright happy places, populated with busy worlds of microbes of all kinds, working away to break down the structure of the materials .. transforming it all to healthy compost.  Which I will use throughout the garden.  Sort of like that fairy story, where a princess (me??) wove straw into gold.  🙂

Gardeners are fanciful, aren’t we?

Yesterday, walking around the garlic bed, smelling the lovely tantalizing perfume of the seaweed mixture, I remembered the trek out to Sooke with my walking pal D .. the fun we had .. on that sunny trip.  She would explain the varieties of grasses and seaweed … it was a fun, learning trip.  And I plan to make another one .. cause, I only have 2 containers of this material left!!  It’s going fast.

I then spent some time digging out raspberry and red & black currant canes from around the fence .. I’m creating a berry bed in part of the yard and want them out in the sun more.  Besides, we’ll be replacing some fence panels soon and I don’t want them damaged!

I’ve been learning that ivy is not the best plant to have in the yard and horrors .. what it does in the wilds, suppresses the growth of native lilies.  But, I do think that ivy has its place.  It’s good for privacy.  I’ve seen a nifty inexpensive privacy screen at an outdoor  restaurant.  It was simply a framed lattice  section, anchored in a rectangular planter, with ivy growing rampantly up the lattice.  The unit was free-standing, not connected to a fence or wall, so the ivy was kept neatly trimmed.

So, then, yesterday, I was preparing to fill a few of the bird feeders.  The sun was shining .. and the yard was quite, the birds had disappeared.  Hmm .. wondered if the hawks and eagles were out there somewhere.  Suddenly I saw a seagull soaring lazily up in the sky, crying out in that loud seagull fashion .. so figure there weren’t any of the raptors out there . .otherwise the gull wouldn’t have been so brazen.

Focus brought back to the bird feeders, when I heard the raucous cries of some crows .. looked up and omg, there was the eagle!  Seagull clutched firmly with strong talons, flying low over our yard, just a few hundred feet above the wild and crazy tree.  I simply dropped everything and ran to the middle of the yard, just as the eagle flew overhead.  Wanted to take pics, but no time .. truly amazing.  I seem to remember that the crows were cheering on the eagle, at the time . .there was a little gaggle of bird activity in the sky, but I was focused solely on the eagle.

Had to stop for a few minutes and regain my gardening energy . . it was a bit tough for a few minutes though, having witnessed that surge of raw animal power.

This is Nature’s way .. the birds have to eat.  They don’t go to the supermarket.

So .. back to the garden.   Continuously looking sky-ward.  Saw some eagles chasing a regal raven … they soon tired of the play and the raven elegantly sailed away.

Wow .. so now here it is Friday and lots to do outside .. so that’s where I’m heading soon!


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

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Wednesday was such a beautiful day .. it was the day that my pal D and I were making the long trek to Sooke to collect seaweed.

I’d practised packing the car with Rubbermaid containers, wanting to get the maximum amount of seaweed as possible.  My little Echo hatchback has lots of interior room, once I fold down the back seats.  I carefully lined the sides and floor of the back with tarps, played around with placements and then arranged the containers.  I also brought along a shovel and garden fork, which I found .. I didn’t need at all.

D is the perfect person for this trip .. as she has worked in the holistic health category for quite a number of years.  She is so very knowledgeable in the ways of nature and the uses of items found in nature, in particular .. seaweed!   We chatted about gardening on the way to Sooke.

It has been many years since I’d driven out that way and, despite the many changes that have taken place, I found that, once I’d driven a number of miles, I felt the familiarity of the roads.  And we discussed that subject yesterday.

About having been somewhere . .years ago.  Then revisiting that area, all the memories come flooding back ..like “oh, yeah .. there is the restaurant … and here is that tree” .. that sort of thing.

I think that we really do remember so very much that has gone on in our lives .. and when we don’t need access to that information, it is filed neatly away in proper little labelled “files” in our subconscious .. easily brought out when needed.

Anyway, we had a great trip out there .. and suddenly, we were at Whiffen Spit!  Alongside the famed Sooke Harbour House!.

We met many lovely dogs, and their owners, of course!  We walked for miles. We collected a great variety of seaweed, grasses and kelp.  And I literally stuffed the containers so full that they couldn’t hold a speck more.  Then I moved the containers to the area by the car and one by one loaded them in.

I was especially interested in the “Turkish Facecloth” type of seaweed.  D explained how to use this .. once it’s dried, you can use this as an exfoliant .. and then, dry it and use it again.   And she showed me the properties of other sea items .. but .. my memory is short .. so I will ask her for the names and will post them at a later date.

She also told me about a lady, Christine (sp?), who gives workshops at French Beach .. so I’ll post that information once I have a link.

And I learned that there are different seaweeds available at different times.  Some are living entities, attaching themselves to rocks and need to be cut, with scissors.

Oh, my .. so much more learning to do.   I must admit that, although I was totally aware that seaweed & kelp is good for the garden ..I’d started gathering it over 20 + years ago .. I wasn’t totally aware “why” it is good!.

We had a lovely long walk along the breakwater area .. talked and talked and I tried to remember what I learned!

The smashing sound of the waves breaking against the shore .. all that thundering energy of nature … the brief spot of silence once the waves had dissolved .. and then the tinkling of the stones as they settled in again on the shore … were mesmerizing.

Sat on a bench and watched the surf.   And the antics of some lovely Gold Crowned Sparrows.  Flying around.  Foraging and munching.   Fluffing out their feathers and basking in the sun.

A few Mallards flying about.  A few seagulls.

More later.

Time to go home .. and we stopped at the most wonderful little cafe …http://www.stickinthemud.ca/  talked with the owner.  He was so very witty, despite not having an English accent!   He and the wonderful young gals and guys running the cafe were just absolutely wonderful!  As D noted, this is a place where one could feel very comfortable just being there, every day!  And I concur!  I am not the type of person who is easily comfortable sitting in a Starbucks or a Tim Horton’s establishment.  But, this Stick in the Mud has just the right atmosphere.  I could easily see myself visiting the cafe on a regular basis.  Cup of tea, visit with the regulars.  Pity it’s so far from home.

Oh, and their sausage rolls are just exquisite!  There was only one left so D & I shared.   Yum .. .Yum!    And we also shared a type of butter tart, mixed with raspberries on a base of shortbread.   Oh.  My.   And so I bought two to take home to DH.  And I didn’t even nibble on either one of them.  Such strength of character.   I saved them both for him.

I’m thinking that it’s even worth a quick trip out to Sooke to get more of these goodies.  Hmmmm .. perhaps next week.

So .. yesterday was a treat.  It was absolutely wonderful to wander along the way in the warm sunshine.  Visiting with all the lovely dogs that we met .. I just wanted to hug them all, they were so very sweet and trusting.  What a treasure that was to me.   Sweet memories.   And you know how dogs communicate with their eyes!!  So expressive.

Anyway .. time to call it a day .. and more tomorrow!


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