Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tall Bearded Iris - Bronze

My Irises are in bloom. This is one variety of the tall bearded iris - I have lost the name of it.
This is a photo study of the bloom, not the best background, and perhaps when I do the next one, I should get better photos of the falls.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Swallowtail butterfly

This is the best shot I managed to get of the Swallowtail butterfly today. It was flitting from blossom to blossom of the hesperis plant. It did not stay in one spot for very long. The other photo is the larvae of this butterfly feeding on the fennel that I keep just so that I can have these flying flowers in my garden. Here is a site with more information on the Swallowtail butterfly

I have been thinking about taking out the rose bush along the driveway and putting in a buddleia. Last time I did this the postman or someone dragged it right out the ground in their shortcut across between the properties. But the buddleia was a very nice shrub and did attract butterflies. The rose bush is just a prickly deterrent to keep them from pulling it our of the ground. It is not a nice rose, but does have nice rose hips for the winter.

I watered the front today and the back yesterday. Tomorrow I should mow the lawn. The rhodos are in full bloom and some of the iris. The roses are starting. The vegetables are up except for the root crops. Beets, carrots... hmmmmmmm I wonder how come. Maybe the seed is too old, not viable.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Grass Bokeh

1/500, F/4, focal length: 72 mm, ISO - 80, with Canon S3 IS

On Friday we took a deli sandwich and the campervan and went to Esquimalt lagoon for a couple of hours. It was a grey overcast day, and yet there was lots of light reflected off the water and light colored beach. I got some okay photos, but nothing that really really grabs me. I might have reached a plateau with my photography. But I know the S3 IS is a very good little camera. I just have to work harder at something... compositions maybe? Or perhaps, once you know how to do certain things the novelty wears off, the challenge is no longer there?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Campbell River Marina

I am finished the photos for the album of our 2002 trip to the North of Vancouver Island. I was using my Canon Powershot A50 at the lowest picture size. Too bad, cause there were some really good photo opportunities. This is the last one on the album. We parked our camper van overlooking a marina in Campbell River for a coffee break. The rest of the trip was just the drive home, so this is the last photo.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Alberta snowstorm

Heavy wet snow up to 14 cm (5.6 inches) fell on parts of Alberta over night causing power outages and property damage. The temperatures are expected to be normal again by the week end.

This is a photo of our heavy, wet snow in November 2006. But we had beautiful weather here on the West Coast yesterday and today.

I have about finished my renovations in the garden and now have regular maintenance to do. The vegetables are popping up out of the ground. Its all looking pretty good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

inside the tree peony

Canon S3 IS on super macro shooting into the tree peony blossom a few days ago.

The vegetables seeds have germinated. We had a bit of rain over last week end so that helped them along a bit.

Yesterday I weeded the little Japanese garden area. I clipped the shrubs back a bit. I still need to weed under the deck and around the pond. I must put down more pea gravel in the dry stream. The dry stream is the corner of the pond that overflows if it gets too full. The water runs down the gravel river going under the lantern. The water at this point is not visible and simply soaks into the surrounding area. In the summer I top up the pond's water level weekly. The moss in the Japanese garden area is slowly filling in between the shrubs. The little red cut-leaf maple looks really good this year. I am finishing up the big clean up jobs just about the time I am well ready to go into maintenance mode.

The irises, the thyme, columbines, the tree peony, the lilac and the alliums are blooming. The roses, oriental poppies and campulas are just starting to bloom. Most of the spring bulbs are finished. This year, I should clip the bulb foliage back and give them all bonemeal in the Fall. I am really pleased to see the snapdragons have survived to bloom again this year. And after we had all that snow and cold. I always thought they were annuals, but these are the same plants, not a reseeded bi-annual. I wonder if I should get some more this year, so that I will have some again next year. I should try that, with a different color snapdragon, in a different spot, probably in the front garden as there really is no room at the back.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Orchids in bloom now

The orchid with the little orange spotted blossoms is blooming for the first time. It is not spectacular. It is more delicate looking and a nice change from the showy phalenopsis. My dark pink phal. is also still blooming and now has a record 5 blossoms on its spray. The light yellow one has only 1 blossom but has another tiny bud coming out.

Apricot Cheese Cake

About a month ago Tina had the reciepe for this cake on her blog. It looked so good, that I thought I would try it. So I tried it. Its pretty good. I think I baked mine just a bit too long though. Next time!

This should take you to the original cake receipt, but here it is in text as well.

Preparation time: 20 min Baking time: 45 min Cooling time: 20 min
Yield: 16 servings

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 LAND O LAKES™ All Natural Farm Fresh Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 LAND O LAKES™ All Natural Farm Fresh Egg
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 (12-ounce) jar apricot preserves

Glaze Ingredients:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottom and sides of 10-inch springform pan.

Combine all coffee cake ingredients in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Spread batter on bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan.

Combine all filling ingredients except apricot preserves in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Pour over batter in pan. Spoon preserves evenly over filling.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool 20 minutes. Loosen sides of cake from pan by running knife around inside of pan; remove sides of pan.

Meanwhile, stir together powdered sugar and enough lemon juice for desired drizzling consistancy in small bowl. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. Serve warm or cold; store refrigerated.

Nutrition Facts (1 serving): Calories: 280, Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 220mg, Carbohydrates: 35g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Protein: 4g

5356A © 1995 Land O'Lakes, Inc.

NOTES: I will definately make this again - it was very easy & worth every calorie! - I put my dry ingredients together the night before so I had less "reading" to do at 8:00 in the a.m. - I probably could have left my butter & cream cheese out too, but I nuked them instead.

I didn't grease OR flour my spring form pan, but the cake popped right out of it - without running a knife around it to loosen it - I think this would be excellent with any jam - I used Smuckers Apricot Preserves - (with a name like Smuckers, you gotta be good) - or I would think that you could just drop some blueberries or raspberries right into the cream cheese mixture. Or maybe some lemon curd. Ho, mamma, wouldn't that be tasty?

Star of Bethlehem

This wasp sat on the deck railing begging to have its photo taken, so I did, with my Canon S3 IS I didn't get the super macro setting on before it flew away, though.

This little Star of Bethlehem (ornithogalum umbellatum) is a very well behaved bulb in my garden. It lights up dark corners in my woodland. I must get more of them. The leaf to the left belongs to a delphinium. The Star has strap-like leaves.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Winter Harbor, B.C.

I am working on tweaking the photos for the album on my web page of our trip to the north of Vancouver Island in 2002. I was shooting at low resolution with my old Canon Powershot A50. I knew nothing about RAW or how to process them. There is a lot of chromatic abberations in the color that don't show when I change them to black and white.

This is a couple of the photos from the dock at Winter Harbor. A very picturesque little logging/fishing town in 2002. Who knows how it may have grown by now! Everything up Island is getting more and more built up, as is Victoria, itself.


Canon S3 IS in P mode and zoomed all the way. Focal distance about 4 - 6 feet. To get this kind of Bokeh with the S3 IS you need some distance between the subject and the background. I like how this one turned out.

My Brown Turkey fig tree has a couple of dozen little figs on it! Yeaaaaa we might have a few that ripen in time this year. They have really grown in the last 3 days. They are almost half the size of a fully grown fig.

Yesterday I spent most of my time on the computer reading about viruses. My Norton anti virus told me it had killed a W32.Netsky.D@mm!enc. which came in an email enclosure thing from a friend. I was at first very irate to have received this thing from her. She was instrumental in getting me started on my PC 8 or so years ago. Well, now, I am afraid to email her to tell her what my Norton found. It also destroyed a Trojan called Wimad. I am not sure where the Wimad came from but probably part of the netsky payload. The Netsky is a revision of an old one according to my reading information. So, anyway, keep your anti-virus programs running and up to date. Norton needs renewal fee every year, but it just paid for more than one year renewal yesterday. Another good little program, I find, is the Spy Bot, search and destroy. I should probably donate again to the guy who made that program. It is well worth a few dollars.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I have tried to capture the colors of my columbines. The red one should have a bit more blue in it to make it the real wine-red color that it is. It is my newest purchase. The others are seedlings from the columbines I have had in my garden for a few years. I am particularly fond of the one with the white tips that seems to have developed by itself from the original old dark blue ones.

I have not been out in the garden for a couple of days. When I was out watering and pottering about a couple of days ago I got a bug bite of some kind. When I got into the house to clean up I noticed this big glob of blood on my neck and a huge bump. I washed it and applied 'after bite'. It has stopped itching and seems to be reducing in size two days later. I never noticed what bit me but it must have been a fairly hungry vampire.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Solomon's Seal

This is a Canon S3 IS photo of the Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum) against the backdrop of the Hebe. They are both thriving in this clay based soil and bright sun until the tree above them leaves out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


These two columbines are growing in the woodland area of my garden. I like the golden circle in the background, but wish that it was a bit more blurred. One of the seedlings of the blue columbine in the front garden has developed white tips to its petals. It looks quite nice with its white border. I must get photos of it before its gone. I should save its seed also. I should save the seed of this red one too. I bought a new wine/red cultivar that is much the same size as this blue one, only in a nice contrasting color. These blue ones have been self seeding in my garden, without getting invasive. I wish the red one would spread around a bit more.

St. Ann Church

On Tuesday we went up to Genoa Bay for lunch. On the way up we stopped at this old church and I spent about half an hour getting photos of the gravestones. It is at 1775 Tzouhalem Road. I could not find out much about it on the net. It was the Native People's Parish church. It must have been built sometime in the mid 1800. I will have to go back to try and find the official name and see the inside. It is still an active parish church. I believe it belongs to Duncan. There is some rich history here.

Unfortunately, the Genoa Bay Cafe was closed at lunch time on Tuesdays in May. We had to go up to Maple Bay and suffer through a not very nice lunch at the Shipyard pub/restaurant.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

blue perennial geranium

I rather like this photo of the blue perennial geranium. I consider this a foliage plant. The leaves are a good dark green with this lovely texture to them. I zoomed in on the flower on this shot and it shows quite good detail to the small intricate flower. These plants are easy to grow and are very well behaved (not invasive). They do not seem to need any special soil conditions. I have a few other perennial geraniums along the driveway. They make a lovely ground cover and are evergreen. The pink ones are in bloom right now. They can stand a bit of foot traffic and smell quite nice when stepped on and bruised.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Between the stepping stones

This cute little plant grows between the stepping stones in the stone path at the front. It is quite charming, but can be invasive. I have to keep it limited to the walkway. There is a tiny clover that is even more persistent. There are little bees that have individual holes where they live in the rock path, also. They make quite a lot of little mounds of dirt between the stones. I have no idea what attracts them. They have to rebuild each time I water or walk on them.

Yesterday I finished my Poetry page for There's a Mist. You may see it by clicking on the link.

Elvis lives

Hmmmmmmmm, I seem to have a new loading thing for my blog. I no longer see the html. Just the photo.

This fish is called Elvis because I am never sure if he is alive or not. He is very good at hiding. He has lived through some very trying times, too. There were times when there was very little water in his tub. He lived through last winter with the tub frozen over for days. I wonder if I should get another one or two for this tub. I think fish like to swim together in 'schools'.

I have two water iris in pots with nowhere to put them. I am considering getting another tub, but really have no space for it. My lilies in the pond and the one in the tub are showing leaves, at last. Looks like I still have 2 in the pond. There is a lot of water weed in the pond, but I think it also gives the fish cover and oxygenates the water, so I don't think I wll remove any of it, unless I get some of that big clover leaf stuff that floats on the top of the water.

I seldom see any of the new little goldfish in the pond. There are 8 of them and I have no idea how many old ones survived, as I never see them.

working area of the garden

This is the new compost bin and wheel barrow. The bin is almost full of clippings, weeds and household compost. It has a very good top, and tiny air vents. I am not too worried about rats getting into this bin.

Cannor delivered my topsoil, bark mulch, sand and mushroom manure today. I will be transplanting the 7 plants in their designated places and then using up one more bag of bark mulch at the front. I transplanted 4 tomatoe plants to the garden and 2 into big black pots for Tara. These are good healthy looking Beefsteak tomatoe plants. I used up 1 bag of mushroom manure in this operation. I hauled all the dirt to the places where I will be using it. I have sand, barkmulch and 1 topsoil by the bin. I will want to use this for top dressing on the grass area. I mowed the lawn and put the clippings between the rows on the vegetable garden. I watered the veggie garden and pots of violets and bamboo. Filled the pond and dropped one of the black pipe parts into the pond for the fish to hide in. I need to get some plastic string to tie to the other 2 pipe pieces before I sink them in the pond also. Then, I think I may be able to get koi again. They hide in the pipe and the raccoons, otters or herons cannot get them. The whole garden is getting to look pretty good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

There's a Mist

There's a mist hanging over me
Because of this I fail to see
Very clearly

There's a mist clouding my thoughts
Because of this I cannot
Decide a lot

There's a mist in the air
Because of this its hard to care
Who would dare

There's a mist, a creeping menance
Because of this odd circumstance
The world lacks maintance

There's a mist, dense and thick
Because of this the planet is sick
We need a cure -- quick

I created this poem yesterday and hope to get it loaded to my "out on a limb" blog soon

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I like the bokeh I managed in this one, and so left the flower off center to see more of the good background blur. Not so easy with the S3 IS, but possible. This allium is seeding its self about in a very controlled manner. Its a very nice plant. The background is from the ground cover which is a yellow/green herb, oregano, I think. I chose this color of a ground cover to go with the other colors in its immediate area. It looks surprisingly good with the purple of the allium.

I was to Cannor Nursery to day and dropped another $100.00 on plants and dirt. They do have very expensive stuff, even with my 10% discount with my membership. oh well, I get free delivery, and that makes it for me.

This afternoon I managed to get the hedges trimmed. About a 3 hour job. So, things are coming along nicely. Soon I will have just the regular maintenance to do. I need to think about doing something in the space under the deck. Now that the deck lets rain water through, the things under there are looking a lot better. I need to consider some heavy shade loving plants. Maybe now that it is more moist I could just get moss to grow all over it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tree Peony

The tree peony is covered in bloom again. Its fragrance is heavenly. Yesterday I planted the veggie garden in a cloud of lilac fragrance. Today I started clipping the hedges in a mist of peony fragrance. We are having some wonderful weather.


Another flower from in my woodland garden. I am introducing species that grow naturally in our area (Pacific Northwest). The fawn lillies are spreading nicely. This trillium remains as a single plant, as does the smaller Trillium. I must find a shooting star or two to add to the collection.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


This little red columbine is in bloom in the woodland garden. I think I need a couple more in the front garden, with the lupines and foxgloves.

Today, I spread both bags of bark mulch around the front area... it did not go very far. In the afternoon I got the vegetable garden planted. It is so neat. I put top soil over each row of seeds. I then added the 1.5 kg of bonemeal to the garden. I have space for 3 or 4 tomatoes. I have used up all the topsoil and bark mulch. I have a bag of sand and pea gravel left. So, my next trip to Cannor should get me the tomatoes, more bark mulch, more topsoil, and maybe a tower for the front clematis to climb on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Kelsey Bay

The wharf at Kelsey Bay was once the southern terminus for the B.C. Ferries Inside Passage route until 1978, when Highway 19 was extended north to Port Hardy, but is now a convenient stopping point for sport fishing and eco-tourism. Fresh seafood is often available from one or more boats tied up at the federal wharf.

I have 10 photos from our July 2002 trip to the North of Vancouver Island in our old camper van. The first day we stopped in at Richard and Rosalie's place for a wonderful dinner and a tour of the treasures in the trees. I have some of the photos of that visit noted under Richard's Rust on my page.

These are a few photos from Kelsey Bay where we had a coffee stop. Its a very charming little stop on our 5 day tour. We really must go to the North Island again and spend more time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

In the woodland garden

I am not sure what it is about this photo that I like, maybe the painterly appearance. I wish the white spot had not been there. This is a perennial with tiny blue forget me not type of flowers. The leaves are a lovely dark green. It makes a nice mound along between the garage and the woodland path.

I got a bit more gardening done today, but the sun was just too hot to stay out for long. I think I am finished cutting back the black bamboo runners, clipped back the spirea bridal veil bush, cleaned up around the star magnolia, moved the purple wall flower to by the vase planter. When I was downtown the other day I saw this huge wallflower clipped into a round shrub. It was gorgeous. I hope to do that with the one I have. Also, I want the lavender to grow into a nice big mound like the ones I saw in Anacortes. I should put down some of the bark mulch around the front area by the driveway. I will take the sand and the other back of mulch to the back and store it on the veggie garden path along with the bag of top soil.

Tomorrow I should plant the veggie garden, and if time permits start clipping the hedges and pruning back the roses. The thyme is starting to bloom. The edges of the circle need trimming also. The hebe is in bloom, its a lovely mound of violet/purple.

There is a lovely little red columbine in the woodland area. I must try and find a couple more of them and plant them out front with the lupines. I must move a couple of the foxgloves to the woodland area, and maybe some fireweed, if I can.

The make over

The 2 houses across the street from our house are going to be demolished. This land is owned by Saanich and is part of the park. It is not a pretty sight just now. We will have this green space across the street from us forever. Hopefully they will make something out of the river, as we cannot even see it now, for all the blackberries and scrub along its bank. The house out behind our property is owned by a weird old lady and will probably remain in the rundown condition it is in currently until the day she dies. All the other houses in the immediate area are newer and well kept.

It was a rather dull day today. I walked a bit but did not do any gardening. I am almost finished the front, so the next thing will be to plant the veggie garden (fun) and clean out the violets from the little Japanese garden area (not fun). Then to clip all the hedges, the bay laurel, the roses, the cottoneaster. Thereater, it should be just a matter of watering, mowing the bit of grass and keeping ahead of the weeds. Quite easy compared to renovations.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Minature Yellow Water Lily

This lily lives in the tub on my deck. Its not in bloom, yet, of course, but its little leaves are beginning to show on the surface... good things to come.

I spent about 4 hours in the garden today. I have almost all of the violets eradicated and have just one or two black bamboo runners to deal with yet. I clipped back the heathers and the California lilac. Things are looking a little more under control. I have the front strip to clean up and need to plant the lavender there. I hope it will grow to a size I have seen them grow to in Port Angeles, lovely big shrubs. I think I will have to remove the one that grows under the smoke bush, as the space is just not big enough. I do not seem to have room for the silver thyme. Unless, I put it out in the front strip. Or, maybe I could put it along the driveway strip.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

150 million year dinosaur unearthed

Since I do not have a photo of a dinosaur I thought I would use this photo from the Petrified Forest in Arizona. Its a must see, if ever you are in that area.

150 million year old dinosaur unearthed

From the Times Colonist – May 5, 2007

Buenos Aires:
Paleontologists unearthed a flesh-eating dinosaur some 150 million years old in southern Argentina with all its joints in place, the first time such a beast has been dug up so intact.
The seven-metre tall two-legged dinosaur, dubbed the Condorraptor, was found fossilized with parts of its jaw and head showing in rock near the village of Cerro Condor in Patagonia.
“It is an unprecedented discovery. It is the first time in the world that a carnivorous dinosaur of the Middle Jurassic period has been found fully jointed,” said Pablo Puerta, a paleontologist at the Egidio Feruglio museum.
The team is led by the German dinosaur specialist, Oliver Rauhut. It will take about a year to fully uncover the dinosaur.


A little gentian bavaria I bought from Beaver Creek Nursery at the Flower show. I have it in a peat mixture in a pot sitting in my deck tub. Its a tiny plant. The flower is about 1/2 inch wide, at the most. Love the clear blue color. The photo is using the 'super macro' setting with my Canon S3 IS.

Yesterday I did a couple more hours of renovation on the front garden. I found 2 long runners from the black bamboo, pulled them up and have 4 pieces in gallon pots -- hopefully they will grow. This bamboo was not suppose to run. It is not too fast, but it does run. Like the older stems, the older runners turn black too. Its a lovely plant. The clump is getting quite big though. If I get time this year I am going to thin it out a bit and pleach it... that is, take the leaves off the bottom 1/3 of the stems. It has accumulated quite a lot of 'duff' around it from dropping its leaves. The leaves turn a ivory color and this mulch looks good with the black stems and light green leaves.

Yesterday, I cleaned out more violets and dug over the soil. This soil was solid clay when I first made this garden about 12 years ago. It is now turning into some good gooey black soil ... from all the natural mulching over time. I moved the hydrangea into the spot where I took out the storm damaged globe cedar. Digging with this heavy shovel tires me out very quickly, but the shovel sure gets the job done, where my garden spade is too light for this kind of root digging work. I had a 'blue' hydrangea and a 'pink' one. Neither one of them ever bloomed. One of them got overwhelmed by the violets and so I discarded it. The other one is now moved closer to the edge of the bed by the driveway. I am going to put bark mulch down around it and all the plants when I get finished cleaning up this area.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thetis Island pier

This is the pier and shore of Thetis Island from the ferry deck as we left last week end. Its cropped to appear as a wide angle.

indian paint brush and fireweed

Yesterday a very enthusiastic member of the Western Canadian Wilderness Committee signed me up for a membership. He left a calender and much information. This is a very active group and I did not even know they existed. You can find them here: WCWC

Neither of the above species are an endangered species, but the endangered are hard to find, that's why we need to support our wildlife conservation groups.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Reflecting downtown

I was down to see Dr. C. yesterday morning and found this to shoot. It was a cloudy day. I had bags of shopping, so did not do a lot of shooting. Some of my blood counts were down on the last test. Just 2 of them were at the usual level. They were just down a bit, but I guess it was enough to make her think about putting off taking a pint of blood from me to relieve the thick blood situation. This time she said I am a conundrum. :)) The only thing I could think of to tell her that I was doing different was that I was out gardening... more exercise. But I also have been using less soap in the laundry. So I will keep that up too. If I have a fungal infection or an allergy it might explain some of the high counts, but not all, I don't think.

I did not get out to the garden yesterday, but today I got the second storm damaged globe cedar out and also dug up more violets. I transplanted the hens and chickens sedum, the white thing (like arabis but more woody -- forget its name) by the cement planter along the driveway. The renovations are coming along nicely, but slowly. I should think about getting the vegetable gardens seeds planted soon. Its going to get pretty warm soon.

I signed up for a membership to the CWCW today with a $52.00 tax deductable receipt. I was surprised at how much of our old growth forest is gone... clear cut and we now have all the nice trees at the same height coming up everywhere and are losing our natural habitat for many species.