Round here, and a little gardening

Oh boy, I’m really having to THINK to pick up my camera these days. But I’m trying to get my garden in some sort of order to look lovely and welcoming for the Art in the Garden show at the end of May.

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The tulips are on their last hurrah, but haven’t they been spectacular this year? I’m so glad for happenstance. Last fall I had to return over 40 blighted red tulips, but all the nursery had in exchange were white ones, so I had them, and planted them all over the garden. They turned out to be so beautiful. I love white flowers and think old Vita definitely was onto a thing or two.

Robert has been sending me photos of the tulips I planted last Sept at our garden at West Cottage, and they look so lovely and colourful. I deliberately chose the brightest colours because R loves big bold and bright flowers. I miss my English garden. I hope your tulips are spectacular where ever you are in the spring-time parts of the old globe.

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Chloe has been promoted from art teacher/in charge of social media to art teacher/course writer/social media maven/branding expert/personal assistant/coffer purchaser, and still is pursuing her own interest, like designing a set of graphics for t-shirts for two upcoming music festivals and is pretty busy round the clock. We all miss her company and some of us in the household have taken to sleeping beside her to get in on some C attention.

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And I’ve hit the garden with vengeance. Just like last year, I figure and hour or two per day should get me to show garden status in the next month.

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But it’s not all work. Our lovely friend Katie came for a visit and a chat. And we spent a lovely couple of hours catching up. Also, I did a little bit of plant buying. The autumn crocuses and spring bulbs, which are in full force just now, will die down in the next month and leave bare patches, so a few annuals are in order. On this year’s plant list are lovely things such as calendula, bee balm, pinks, nicotiana, asters and rocket snapdragons.

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Morgan loves to be in on all the gardening and conversation.

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It’s evening now and the sun is beginning to fade. Rain is forecast and it’s a good thing too, the garden can use it. Chloe is still working and Milo is doing his longest cat in the world impression in a bid to get fed early. My friend Julie asked me about the windows. “How do they stay clean?” she asked. Oh boy, they so don’t, and you should see the nose prints!

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All is calm and lovely round here, and, as the sun sets, I’m looking forward to a couple of hours of climbing with the Clover tomorrow.

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Stalking my heart’s desire (warning, this post has gone to the birds)

I found an opportunity today to drive way across town, and end up with a couple hours free in the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. I haven’t visited since this last time.

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Oh what luck! This is such a wonderful place, where one can get this close to the birds. Close enough to count the drops on the drake’s back! 😀

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And the animals are so tame that one doesn’t need a super telephoto lens.

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A marshland/delta/ocean view location, ideal for all sorts of wildlife.

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Like beautiful wood ducks.

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And American wigeon.

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And pintails. Er…excuse me?

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Ah, there you are. 😀

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And, of course, the ubiquitous Canada geese.

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Who are a bit neurotic and bitchy right now, hissing up a storm.

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This is about the safest distance…unless you have bird seed in your pocket. It may be mating and egg time, but everyone is friendly for the bird seed!

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And the sanctuary provides loads of nest boxes in all kinds of habitats,

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So whether birds like trees, or marsh, or even for the do-it-yourselfers, there’s a nest, or materials for a nest really close at hand.

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And many are already being occupied, like this one in the middle of a pond has been claimed by a pair of purple house martins.

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I climbed up the three story tower to have a good look around.

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It’s 360% from up here!

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And up close and personal down there.

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But the real reason I came, the real object of my heart’s desire, are those magical sandhill cranes.

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A few are resident here. Last year they raised a couple chicks, but sadly the chicks disappeared and never grew to maturity.

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I’m hoping for a better outcome this year.

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Bye for now.

😀 OK, now I’m just writing silly lines to justify sticking one more picture into this post. But if only you know how many pictures I want to post and stop myself, you’d be impressed! 😀

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Hello from Sunday night

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country home

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City and country, a perfect blend this week.

The sun keeps shining, the daffodils are up, some of the cherry trees are in full bloom, the weeping willow in the country has that bright green flush of new leaves…you know the kind that I mean? I brought some branches home for the vase.

Just a quick mention that Vibeke’s giveaway is still going on, and will continue with a new, wonderful gift to win every day for the whole month, (my turn in on the 10th with three silver stacking rings), and to my snowy friends out East, I do have a guest bedroom. 😀

Big warm hugs.

Happy anniversary to me!

Gosh!
Wordpress sent me a Happy 5th Anniversary notice.

Five?

How in the world did that happen?

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It’s hard to believe that five years of my life are chronicled here. (OK, maybe four, because the first year I was so scared of that blank screen that I avoided writing anything…you know…it might not be perfect and someone might criticize me. I have a very strong “anti-critical mother” vibe.) But here it all is; the ups and downs, the whimsy, the silly, the beautiful, the tragic. Life. My life. I’m rather proud of it.

But I don’t have much of anything monumental to say today.

Actually, I was going to write about these clumps of daffodils. Well, I still am.

These, (of which there are at least ten clumps round the garden), started life as those cheap dafs one buys at the grocery store for about $4 to make one’s house springlike and cheerful. Well, when they’ve bloomed their little hearts out, I just plop them into the garden where they green up, feed their bulbs and come back next year as cheery and as happy, and even bigger than ever.

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In the garden are also lettuce seedlings. In the cold frame for now…as I don’t really trust the March weather…but I’m so looking forward to some home-grown veggies. That first salad from the garden is such a treat.

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There are some few garden flowers in the house. The hyacinth, same as the dafs, began life as grocery store cheeriness. It’s always a good idea to plop the bulbs into the ground and see what happens. After all, I figure since I bought them anyway, I have nothing to lose.

In the studio, is a map. I picked this map up at the local thrift for a couple of dollars, but when I took it home I realised what a special map this is. It’s a 1959 map of Austria showing the old Czechoslovakia, and, specifically, showing the exit route out of the old Czechoslovakia into Austria that my family took when we escaped as political refugees.

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And, after a bit of internal debate…there be Merlins!

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Here is the male Merlin,

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And here is the female. Still a work in progress, but I’m pretty happy with it so far.

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Of course, Morgan couldn’t care less…lol.

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But for me, five years! It’s a small monumental achievement. 😀

By the way, my friend Vibeke at A Butterfly in my Hair, is having a month long giveaway. Each day a new artist, craftsperson, amazing woman is offering a something special and unique to win. EACH DAY! My turn will be on the 10th with three sterling stacking rings in beautiful spring-toned stones. Go get yourselves in on something special. 😀

Sharing with Ivy and Elephants

Hello from Sunday night, yes I know it’s Monday morning

You know what I discovered recently?
I actually only have two hellebores in my garden and they’re not very exciting hellebores at that.

Out at my favourite nursery, Southlands, Thomas had all sorts of these beautiful guys. I love winter bloomers.

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Is it me or have I blinked and suddenly there are about a million exciting new cultivars from the boring old Winter and Lenten Rose types? Look at the ruffles and spots and variegation! Have to look around my own hood for houses which will be demolished this spring and go steal save a few.

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The Southlands neighbourhood is a very bucolic country gentry life neighbourhood, with horses and stables and rural life right in the heart of a big cosmopolitan city. It ends at one arm of the Fraser River and the Vancouver airport is on an island just beyond.

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It might look bucolic and country charming, but the average price of houses starts somewhere around $5,000,000 and goes up from there. One particular house overlooking the path and river is listed at $12,000,000 and has 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms, about 5000 square ft, and an average city lot. Buying a house in Vancouver means that you can probably afford a house anywhere else in the world…except maybe New York, London or Tokyo.

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But it is beautiful here. Blooming trees and pussy willows and horses in back yards.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. 😀

A randomness on Friday

This morning I got an email from my friend Nancy, who has resurrected her Random Friday blog hop. I used to really enjoy that hop and am really happy she’s made this decision.

So welcome back to the randomness 😀

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I’m so sorry about winter out East this year. Completely don’t understand what’s going on in the world. Here it’s mild, early spring, very little snow pack. Loving the sunshine, but am a bit worried about the lack of snow for summer water.

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Tomatoes, organic or not, big or small, roma or beefsteak, tomatoes taste rather bland this time of year, don’t they?

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Clover’s lunch time and after school art classes are going really well. This bunch of self portrait paintings, done by 6 and 7 yr olds are going to be turned into pencil cases for them. Aren’t they wonderful?

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Years ago I’ve lost one of these pots to carelessness and an unexpected frost. I still have the lid and am having the darnest time replacing the pot. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?

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Did I mention I’m loving the sunshine? 😀

Symmetry, the WordPress photo challenge

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How about one made by me and one made by Mother Nature. 😀

Sharing with the WordPress bunch for Symmetry. 😀

About the January drive for fresh, new, spring, clean

You know what I do when I need to clean up?
I buy flowers!
And what’s better than one hyacinth? Two! 😀
At the moment they are gracing both sides of the kitchen sink, but they might want to move to follow me around the house.

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So I swept the floors and got to the dining room floor and suddenly the cat hair and dust stuck to the hardwood. I thought, “what the heck?” I thought it’s my miracle orchid. It tends to drop sap drops from its blooming spikes. So I washed the wood underneath it and kept going.

Imagine my surprise and then imagine my horror when I discovered sap under my saved palm! “Oh, oh”, I thought, and had a good look and my worst suspicions were confirmed. The dreaded scale!

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Oh boy! I’ve thrown plants out for less. But this palm is already four feet tall and luxurious and I actually love it. But scale is so hard to control…and there was a huge infection! Right here is the reason I don’t really do house plants! So what to do? Save or compost?

Oh alright then…Save!

I got a large (2′ x 3′) plastic tub and filled it with warm, soapy water, stuffed newsprint into the pot to stop the soil from falling out, and tipped it sideways into the soapy suds and grabbed an old toothbrush and scrubbed the living daylights out of each and every piece of that palm for over an hour!

After the palm, I really wanted to put away the few Christmas decorations which got missed…

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…but ended up playing with Morgan instead. She commandeered the box anyway.

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Last night C took down my spotlight and vintage tripod to take some photos for her work.

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She finished her photography and said, “Mom, I think your spotlight might have an electrical fault because it really smells like it’s burning.”

Oh no! Not another thing wrong round here! 😀

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Then we investigated and guess what we found!!!
A wasp nest? What? A little wasp nest was burning under that super strong light bulb.

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Well, that makes sense. I haven’t actually touched this spotlight since since last May or so. (Counting back, May and June were fine for light, summer I was in E, and since Sept there has been that other bit of nonsense happening…so that makes sense)

I should really get back to work, but today is cold and rainy, and so we all feel like Morgan looking out into the drippy world. Well, maybe I’ll put the rest of those decorations away since Morgan is out of the box. 😀 At least I will have accomplished something today.

Boy, I really have to get back into my strong work ethic.

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A mid-winter picnic

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Take my hand and come with us. Come high up on the mountain, away from the winter ocean fog, above the clouds, into the sun. Come hike the sky line Baden Powell trail for a while. Fall in love with the dogs and mourn as their owners tug them away. Explore the winter weeds and the new spring greening. Don’t worry, I’ve packed some hot tea and some nourishing soup.

Listen to the birds.

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Walking with the Sandhill Cranes

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A bit of a distance from my mountains is the delta of the Fraser River. Across this rickety little bridge is a small island full of organic farms and the George C Riefel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

On this drippy winter day I drove out there to see something spectacular, special and rare.

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Walking thru the sea of mallards, the occasional American wigeon, wood duck, teal and moor hen, along the paths being serenaded by red winged blackbirds, chickadees and towhees I came to the objects of my affection.

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The glorious and elusive winter visitors, the sandhill cranes.

I knelt on the ground and stayed with them a while.

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Then I walked thru the sanctuary and found all 11 birds. I made a small video to share with you all.

If you’re anywhere around the Lower Mainland, I encourage you to make your way here to walk with these magnificent birds before they fly away.

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