Posts Tagged ‘spotted towhee’

Saturday, December 3, 2011

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Yesterday was another lovely sunny day, so I just had to go outside.   Actually accomplished a lot in the garden, despite spending huge chunks of time just watching the bird activity.

There is a new bird in the yard … of course, maybe he’s been here all along and I’ve just not been outside when he’s visited.  He’s larger than a sparrow, his chest is a mottled sandy/white colour and his wings are sandy brown.  I’ve searched through my bird books, but not able to see what type he is.

Also, there is a bird that strongly resembles the Spotted Towhee, however,  I realize that he isn’t. There are Spotted Towhees in the yard . .and I love their silvery song.

This bird (there are a pair of them) has the Junco head covering and mantle.  Their eyes are black and they have red colouration and a white chest.

If anyone could identify these 2 birds, a big thank you .. and I’ll enter their names beneath their pics.

Oh, my, do I want a more powerful camera.  I have 3 right now.  My Yashica FR1, 35 mm camera . .which my DH gave me for my birthday, so many years ago.   My little Nikon 5.8  17.4 mm, 1:2.8-4.9 and my Sony Handycam, 60 x zoom.   And I am having no joy at picture-taking in the early morning and at twilight.

I know, read the manual.   I have lens envy, when I see the amazing photos that friends have taken.  I still have my photography books from long, long ago … maybe my enthusiasm for our yard birds will push me towards saving up for another camera.   Photography is a huge universe, people fall so in love with capturing amazing photos of birds that they just continue on and on.  There is always something to strive for, more goals, better lenses, cameras, tripods, places to visit .. it just goes on and on.  There are people who travel the world to photograph birds.  How impressive!

Me.. I’m happy in our back yard . .there is much to see there.  And here in Victoria we are so fortunate to have areas that haven’t been touched by developers and thus far are safe havens for birds.

Yesterday I found more large garlic bulbs in my garden room .. so I decided to plant them, in some large garden containers.    I know they will grow into lovely heads of garlic .. and I’ll move them about in the yard so that they will always be in the sun.

I’m getting more than a little interested in growing lots of garlic.  Our next place will definitely have more garden area and I plan to grow as much as I can!  For now, though, I’ve dedicated a large space in the garden area for garlic and they are rooting away.  I know this, because some of them have been dug up by the birds!  No problem, I just replant them.  There is about 3 – 4 inches of soil plus a thick layer of compost and another layer of leaves on top of the mini crop of garlic.

Yesterday (as today) there is a lovely thin, almost transparent layer of frost covering everything in the yard with its translucent beauty.  It will disappear by noon and then there will be sun!!

Well, this will be a short little blog today .. I’ll soon be outside, playing again in the garden, watching the birds.  Mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand.

Which reminds me!!!!!

A friend sent me an e-mail that I was really excited about!!!  William Roache (aka Ken Barlow, of Coronation Street fame) is making a cross-Canada tour.  And.  He is going to be at the Royal Theatre.  In March, 2012.

That is only 3 months away!!!!!!!

So I’ve purchased some VIP seats for DH and myself!!  And I’ll be going through my stash of CS books, to research some questions to ask him, during the “meet and greet” session!   And I’ll have to find something wonderful for him to sign!

I wonder if I still have my CS fan club sweater???  Unless I donated it for someone to wear in the winter.    Having starting the CS fan club many, many years ago, I still have my CS pin from that time, so I’ll definitely wear that.

And .. is my Raquel t-shirt still wearable .. not sure .. might have worn that for gardening.

Let’s see .. I don’t want to look too silly, but, I do have a fair bit of CS memorabilia, it wouldn’t do to bring all of it.  But an occasion such as this merits bringing some special items to show.

I even have the CS monopoly game, CS oven mitts, CS tea mugs (even one that plays a tune when you pick it up). And then there is the CS Rovers Return tray, 2 bar cloths, coaster .. oops, I know that isn’t the full list, but those are just the things I can think of right now.  And there is a CS tea tin with Alfred Roberts store on the front.  It’s on the shelf beside my computer and I can see it as I type.  And a little bone china thimble.

There is a supply of CS magazines, the first few years the magazines were small, the size of the tv guide and these are filed away in the binder (we were all so excited when these binders were available).  Then the magazine format changed to magazine size.  I have lots of those.  Plus the books, omg, the books!!

There are some signed photos also.   Sigh .. time to go through my stock and see what I can bring!  I will try to be mature, but, then again, this is my one chance to meet and greet the character who has been on the show since the beginning.  I don’t travel to England, having been there only once, too long ago.  DH and I are so excited and looking forward to seeing William, hearing his talk and actually meeting him!!!  An event to look forward to!!!  (oops, I’m running out of exclamation marks!)

So, on with the show, this is it!


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yesterday was a most beautiful day!  There was a frosty film covering every surface of my little car!  I had places to go and very little time to scrape off enough of this icy material .. so I quickly worked away with my recently acquired Toyota ice scraper.  Soon I was on my way.

Friday was my chance to root for my choice of New Mayor for our municipality .. and I was looking forward to that!

Not long after, I was on a foot walkway atop a busy main thoroughfare of our fair city, happily waving to thousands of cars that passed by .. people en route to work.

Our team of 5 were all enthusiastically waving and cheering and we received many happy waves in returns, plus many cars showed their agreement by honking their horns!

That was such fun and I enjoyed every second of it.

The skies were blue, the clouds were tinged with a rainbow of colours .. portents to a good day and a good election!

Ok . .then home and lots of busyness in the garden. I’ll talk about that later.  Right now I’m off to do my participation in this most important day of days, Election Day!

However, I must post pics of this most darling, rotund little bird that suddenly appeared by my feet last night.  I’ve spent hours this morning, trying to lighten up the photos that I took.  My camera wasn’t set at twilight.

Anyway, if anyone knows what kind of bird this is, pls let me know .. he wasn’t timid and didn’t fly away.

Away I go .. and will return later to recount events of yesterday!


So yesterday, at the end of my long day spent clearing up the garden, sorting pots, raking leaves (and stomping on the gigantic leaf mulch pile) .. I took some time to just stop and watch the antics of the birds.

It was around 4 pm or so, the sun was setting, and the light wasn’t the best.  I was standing near the main food station, which is the lovely little Lee Valley arbour .. from which I have placed: a bird feeder; a thistle seed container .. and a hummingbird feeder.

I was standing there ever so quietly .. blending into the shadows, as it were .. enjoying the frolicking of the Dark Eyed Juncos, the Anna Hummingbird (the backyard family, that is), the Sparrows, including the White Crowned Sparrow (they seem to appear in the late afternoon .. perhaps they have a busy schedule all day long).

And I was so happy to see that there was not only one .. but two!!! Spotted Towhees!  So I didn’t dare breathe, and kept clicking away on my camera.  I was afraid to startle them, so I wasn’t able to adjust the camera to the twilight or sunset mode.

Then I just happened to glance down at the ground and there was the most rotund little bird that I have ever seen in my life!!  I don’t know how he had arrived there.

He was just barely 2 feet away.  It was so strange.  He was breathing quite rapidly, his little chest rose and fell at a rapid pace, and I wondered if he had been in some kind of crisis.   He lifted his sweet little face up to me and I saw a pair of the brightest little eyes and, I might be totally imagining this, but his demeanor was quite trusting.

Staying in the same spot, he was busily munching away on the seeds that were dropping from the bird feeder overhead.  The Juncos were quite comfortable with his presence and moved freely around.  After I’d clicked quite a number of pictures, I bent down to have a closer look.  He didn’t shy away and run, so I was curious about that.  Looking closely at his back, I could see quite a bit of fluffy, sort of down like feathers on his back.  His little wings were neatly folded and there didn’t appear to be any problems with them.  He was so rotund that I couldn’t see how he could fly.

After a while, I moved a little closer to him.  His breathing had appeared to be more normal now.  He didn’t fly away, but just seemed to scuttle along on his little feet and I soon lost sight of him.  Argh.

I decided to walk along the opposite side of the yard and soon caught sight of him again . .there he was .. walking along the newly planted ferns.    In a few seconds, he had perched his little feet onto the stem of a plant, so I thought that was a good sign.  He moved on again until he reached a grouping of potted Red Hot Pokers.   I moved closer … until he disappeared and then popped up again, in one of the pots.  There were some hanging cedar branches nearby, so I decided that he was alright.

I don’t know what kind of bird he is.  This being November, I don’t think that any bird-babies are happening, but I could stand to be corrected.

Quite the little mystery, it seems.  I’ve been searching for information on what type of bird he is .. but no joy so far.

And today has been quite a day.

More tomorrow!


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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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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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Sunday, October 30, 2011

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 Lovely day today, except for the rain.  And I forgot that I’d left my garden boots outside by the back door.  Oopsie.  Good thing I have another pair.

Yesterday was spent .. for the large part .. driving around town.  Normally I get this done during the week .. just to avoid the weekend traffic, but it really wasn’t that bad.

Funny how the rain poured so heavily in the morning and then we had warm sunshine in the afternoon.   Spent some time just being in the back yard, enthralled with the mixture of birds that are now visiting the yard.  Waiting for the sweet trill of the Spotted Towhee.

Today, rain as usual .. so we head out to Dakota Cafe for breakfast …good as usual.  Plants are doing well.  One Rosemary, in particular, is at the window sill level.  Next summer for sure, there will be lots of blue flowers which will attract the Hummingbirds.  I see that the Red Hot Poker is growing well .. so they should be flowering next year also … and we can watch the sparrows hang upside down on them, sipping the nectar!

Rain on and off today,  with brief periods of bright sunlight!  Oh, how I want to go outside, but today we are doing household duties.

A bit of diligence and now I can again see the surface of my desk.  Oh happy days.

And I’m keeping up the “recycle” habit and have discarded quite a pile of unnecessary paperwork.  That is a good feeling.

Using my new lavender covered lidded storage boxes, I soon have my paperwork sorted and tidily organized.  Oh, la … dee ..da!

Right now I can see the sunlight glinting on the branches of the cedar at the side.   Lovely sight.

I bought a lovely acrylic bird feeder, the kind that is attached to a window with suction cups .. it’s a great little item, the birds can just hop inside and feed away.   And that is what one of the little Chickadee’s did this morning.   He’d been perched in a branch of the apple tree and finally flew over, settled in and started munching in the seeds.   Suddenly he noticed me (I think) and flew away.  Soon there were 2 little Chickadees in the tree, chattering away to each other.  I really thought that they were going to visit the feeder, but they flew away!

This is way better than television, any day.

Well, this is the kind of relaxing Sunday where nothing great need be accomplished.   Just little things, and that’s enough.

And I’m looking forward to November 1 .. when the great writing begins to happen.   NaNoWriMo  I’ve read some posts by those who have entered this and they have some funny comments and positive feedback for everyone.  So, I’ll be doing my best to write something and won’t (or will try not to) worry about the style.  It will develop, I’m sure.

I’ll just label each chapter numerically.   I’m feeling a bit nervous, yet excited at this challenge.

Well. … on with this lovely day!

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Sunday, October 16

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 Today was certainly a gift .. .a day just like yesterday.   A little chilly in the morning and then lovely warm sun in the afternoon.

Looked out the kitchen window .. saw a Spotted Towhee hopping around the yard .. wow . I love this bird.  Grabbed the camera and headed outside .. knowing all to well that the chances of him even being there when I arrives were slim .. to none.  But I just had to try.

Darn .. he’d scooted off.  Well, he’ll be in the neighbourhood till next spring so I know that I will see him again.

A few days ago I’d put a high energy suet block in the suet holder .. and this was a very popular site for all  the birds who visit our yard.  This morning there was a sliver of suet left and shortly thereafter .. all gone!

I don’t like putting out the suet blocks until winter .. when the weather is frosty ..but I’d had some suet from the butcher’s and they all liked that.  It had been outside for many weeks and was starting to look a bit grungy .. so I replaced it with the block.

Ok .. I decided to fetch the balance of the suet from the butcher’s.  Once I’d scrubbed out the suet holder, I then crammed the balance of the suet in the block and hung it from the tree branch.

It wasn’t readily acknowledged .. but a few hours later, the Juncos’, the sparrows, the Bushtits ..were all happily munching from the container.  I noticed the Chickadee’s would peck away at the suet and then dash away to a tree branch to finish eating their treasures.

Also noted that the Chickadees would fly to the sunflower seed heads, pick a seed and then fly away to a nearby tree to crack the casing and eat the tender part of the seed.

The hornets are getting quite vicious now .. I watch them at the hummingbird feeder, trying in vain to reach the sweet nectar.  They can smell the mixture, but are baffled .. they are unable to reach the mix as the little yellow baskets of the flower stop them.  The Anna’s definitely do not like them.  There are altercations as the Anna’s try to feed and then the hornets fly up … the Anna’s leave .. sometimes they try to wave the hornets away, but they give up and fly away.  To return shortly afterwards .. to feed again.

The 3:1 mix is quite a hit with the Anna’s… I’d filled the containers last week and they are both halfway finished.  That’s ok .. I have prepared more and it’s waiting in the fridge!

In the morning I went to my leaf source  (from last year) and stuffed my little car with 8 bags of this wonderful material.  Several of the bags felt quite heavy .. be still my heart .. for these are aged leaves, perfect for using in the garden right now.

A bit of running around, mail letters, pick up a few groceries.   Back home … out to the garden!

I’m working on the veggie garden.  This garden has quite a history .. and perhaps on some rainy day when I feel like playing around .. I’ll prepare a slide show.  Showing the yard as it used to look .. with the raised beds and gravel pathways.   A long time ago!

And I’ve been working for a few years on this area, sifting the gravel, moving the old boards, digging out the comfrey,  blackberries, Sweet Cicely ..   all of these wonderful plants have the most amazing benefits. .. and they share the same drawbacks!  They reproduce like crazy.  So now I’ve reached the stage where I can quickly spot new plants emerging and simply dig them out.

The soil now is just rich and beautiful.   Full of composted oak leaves/hay/manure.     This year I have two sources of oak leaves and I’m gathering all that I can.  Not sure if I’ll search for hay and manure this year.  Might take a break. But .. you just never know!

Spent hours playing around with design of the veggie garden.  Straight paths … tried that ..doesn’t work for me.  Tried bracing up wood to use for edging .. but I decided that gently curving paths suit this garden best.   Funny .. I’d worked hard for a few days, setting up frameworks for raised beds and pathways behind one area .. but it just did not feel right.

So today I just took all the framework away and, using my rake, gently brushed the ground with the rake, tracing out slight curving paths ..and all of a sudden everything felt right.

Then I decided to add a selection of raspberries and blueberries to the back section (raised soil) … once this was done .. the veggie garden felt even better.    In the summer there is sun and partial shade and I know from experience that the berries do well in both.

Next .. it was time to look at the layout of the future garlic bed.  I shovelled a little path (gentle curve) from the first path (which leads from the entrance to the garden … all along the berry section)  .. to the garlic area.  Good.  And continued this path to the beginning of the garden.   A loop.  Now I had created a little island between the berry section and the garlic section.   Yes, this feels different and suits the garden.  I can enter the garden, follow the path, stop midway, and follow the path back to the entrance.

Finally .. drum roll .. time to plant some garlic.  I scooped out a small trench (one of many to be dug!) … placed some aged composted on the bottom .. carefully placed garlic cloves 6 inches apart.   Topped with lovely, lovely … aged oak leaves and then a light sprinkle of compost.

This year I’m planting the garlic in a sunny area, with lots of composted leaves, and the garlic bed is actually quite high .. to catch all the rays that the sun can send.

I look forward to harvesting large healthy cloves next summer.   Hardnecks, softnecks and some elephant garlic.   And .. next summer, I’ll be cutting down the greens (yum yum) so that the energy will go into the creation of larger cloves!   How exciting is this.

I just love this .. creating new garden spaces, changing the flow.   Moving plants.  Trying things out.

The broad leaf bamboo seems to like the rich soil.  At the front of the house, the soil is heavy clay.  I’d planted a clump of this bamboo over 20 years ago, and it behaved quite nicely, it did not spread.  however, different story in the new soil.   It is very eager to grow.   Well, grow away .. I can quite easily clip any new roots that grow out.  Elsewhere in the garden, I had planted a different bamboo .. and because they are surface rooters, I’d simply encircled the plants with very heavy landscaping plastic, so the roots would be contained.

I could have done that in the berry garden ..  well, it’s never too late.

Spent some time birdwatching .. always so relaxing .. they are so sweet.

It’s been a great day .. and I look forward to going outside tomorrow … to play in the garden again.


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