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Posts Tagged ‘warmth of the sun’


Friday, February 3, 2012

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  well .. the sun has been out in full force for several days now.  It’s times like this that I just want to play outside all day.  But, I need to study and get those botany, soil and organic gardening worlds of information in my head.

Nevertheless, I did go on my trek to Swan Lake Sanctuary yesterday morning.  It was only meant to be a quick one hour walk   … sigh … turned into more than 2 hours.  Such a beautiful sunny day.   How could I not go?

Besides, I was looking forward to another glimpse of the Northern Shoveler and the Cedar Waxwing .. but .. no joy.   So I walked all around the Sanctuary … enjoying the magnificent sunshine.  Saw the local eagles way up in their resting tree.

There are some areas by Tuesday Pond that are being worked on .. and the results are already noticeable.    A lovely wooden criss-cross type of fence keeps walkers from entering this new jewel.   Soon robins will be packing mud for their nests from here.    And many other places also.

Funny, last year I saw very few robins and this year there are so many … such robust cheerful little beings.

I’ve never really fully appreciated the beauty of the flowers and berries of the Hawthorne tree.  Yet lately I’ve begun to notice the squirrels and the birds (especially the Robins) feasting on the red berries of this tree.  And listening to the CBC podcast yesterday, with Botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger describe the healing properties of the scented Hawthorne flowers .. I am appreciating the magic of this tree.  One of which has been growing in our yard for many years.

Finally  …. back home … strolled around the yard, enjoying the warmth of the sun.   Loving seeing the signs of spring evidenced by the buds on the fruit trees, the green spikes of bulbs eager to show their flowers.

Spend a few hours studying my gardening information.  Happy when information starts to make sense.   Lots of work to be done …aiming to write the exam for certification in a month or so.

The kitchen table is my workplace …  thus I can easily look out at the backyard .. to watch the birds!  Books, writing papers piled high, stacks of pens, little workhorse Toshiba laptop all set up .. slow, but works.  This will be my station till the course is over.  And then, I’ll still be studying anyway … since I’ll have access to the online Gaia resources to read.  Sheer heaven!

Looking out the side kitchen window I happened to see some little Bushtits cavorting on the branches of the plum-tree.  Completely unselfconscious … they spend moments hopping about, grooming, chit-chat.  Chirping away.  Such darling little birds.

To soon .. time to set out for my evening class.  Such beautiful skies .. blue .. and clouds that took on the shape of smooth circular designs .. no camera, no pics!

Parked my car .. and made my way to the class .. where I spent the next 3 hours listening .. trying to absorb all the details … well, they do eventually sink in.

Last night we participants .. or “learners” did a soil sample test .. quite interesting as a matter of fact.   I prepared two samples using soil from several areas in the back yard, placed the soil in jars & added water .. shook the jars for 15 minutes .. and now the jars are sitting on a table .. awaiting for the sand, silt and clay to settle into their layers.  At which time I’ll write a report to be sent in for marks (gulp).

Anyway … Thursday was a good day.  I’ve been searching for guides on how to study properly and have found quite a few.  And I’ve found what works for me is to start again at the beginning lessons .. read … make copious notes .. then succinct notations .. and then .. bingo … words like “mycorrhizal fungi” become friends and stay in my vocabulary.  Next .. I can visualize them …and imagine where they exist in the yard.

Little baby steps.

 

🙂

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Thursday, January 26, 2011

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 I actually saw sunshine this morning!   I was typing away in the kitchen, using my sloooooow Toshiba laptop (my desktop computer is still shutting off and on) .. and suddenly, clear as a bell .. (where did that phrase originate anyway?) .. I saw the dust on my keyboard!  Another good reason for cloudy days .. these things just aren’t seen!

I briefly toyed with the idea of running outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun’s rays, but decided to soldier on with inside duties.   I plan to spend a few hours again going over the material presented at my first OMG class on Tuesday.

Thoughts kept running through my mind as I thought about the widespread insidious use of pesticides in food.   Things like .. were the sunflowers and seeds that I feed to the backyard birds .. were they affected?   The lettuce that I buy at the supermarket .. the apples .. the bananas .. the almonds .. were pesticides used in these foods?

Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine, many years ago, discussed the use of banned pesticides being shipped to foreign countries.  Is that still happening?

Now that I’ve started becoming more aware of this aspect of gardening .. I appreciate even more hearing good news about gardening.  The organic kind.  And I applaud all those people who work hard to produce foods that are grown in healthy soil, without the use of artificial products of any kind.

I laud allotment gardens, neighbourhood gardens, boulevard gardens.  All of these are steps towards educating people towards the good use of the earth.  Little pockets of green ….raising awareness.  Me included.

I’ve taken just one class in this course and already my horizons have expanded tremendously.  My awareness is heightened.   And I am so incredibly energized.

When we were kids, we were fortunate to visit relatives who farmed and raised beef cattle.   I remember the stack of farming articles that were piled on tables at our aunt & uncle’s dining table.  I used to leaf through them and try to read the articles.  At the time, the words seemed rather dry and stale.  And my uncle would smile when he noticed my interest in them.  I really made an effort to derive some understanding from the articles, but I just couldn’t.

And so this somehow became my understanding of the world of horticulture when I was young.   Dry, scholarly reports and talks on food.

It was only many years later, when DH & I purchased our first home and we had a yard, that I started to feel the draw of the earth and the joy of growing things.   Our first garden was hilarious, when I look back!  We’d encourage a long row of what turned out to be weeds!  I thought the plants looked rather pretty and kept watering them.   When I showed one to a neighbour, she promptly explained that it was a weed!  So … pulled them all up.

We’d tried growing potatoes … but I’d dug them up too soon and they were green!  Then there were the really long rows of carrots and other vegetables …. too many, growing in soil that wasn’t much more than clay.

Then came the years of adding kelp, seaweed, fish heads .. oh, that was a story.  I’d gone to a fishery place close to town and collected a large pail of fish heads, as I’d begun reading Organic Gardening magazines and was learning how to replenish the soil, and fish heads were one of the suggestions.

So I lugged the covered pail home .. it was raining .. so I placed the pail in the basement for “a few minutes”.  Well, weeks later, DH was sorting out the basement, saw the pail (guess I’d forgotten to tell him about that) .. he was curious, so took off the lid.  And promptly stepped back, gagging at the horrific stench.

Uh oh.

So I was prompted to quickly “get that stinky suff” out of the house!   Oopsie.   I grabbed the pail and a shovel and outside I went to the garden.

First I dug a trench and then, when I removed the lid and poured the decomposing fish heads into that .. I was suddenly surrounded by a number of screeching seagulls that had quickly appeared overhead.

Those birds were quickly attracted to the smell!   I hurriedly covered the fish with a thick layer of earth .. then filled the pail with soapy water, to try and remove the odoriferous scent.

Now and again, we’ll laugh about that .. but at the time I was highly embarrassed.

Anyway, flash forward to the present years .. and my gardening skills have improved tremendously.  And I’m so excited to be expanding my horizons with the colourful, informative, organic worlds of gardening that I’m entering.

Well .. .time to stop tapping these keys and get going with this most lovely of days.

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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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