Monday, November 29, 2010

Hatley Castle in early November

More of the spectacular color out at Hatley Castle earlier this November.
There is still a bit of snow and it is coolish.  I finally have a day rescheduled for my visit to Royal Jubilee.  This is running into the time when we do our annual celebration with Dan and Irene, but its the busy season. 
We now have movies of some of the winners of the photos on our Facebook connection.  The next ones will be the Contests photos of the day for each level of the Landscapes Contest and the Black and White contest.  We will have one of all the contest winners of the year, too.  Have a look at my journal on my megashot page to see these marvelous creations.
Yesterday, I cleaned up the light garden a bit and watered all.  I have two phalenopsis in bloom and several African violets.  The little orange trees that I transplanted a few days ago seem to all be surviving. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Birds at the feeder

The starling, the rufous sided towhee, and the fox sparrow are all usually ground feeders, but having a look at the feeder is always an option for them.  There was a Flicker on the deck railing but I did not get a good photo.  Actually none of the photos are that good.  The back garden is just teeming with birds.  There were juncos, and house finches, house sparrows, alaska and western robins, and I have probably missed some. 
I have four pint jars of very yummy pickled peppers and 3 of pickled beets.  These pickles are really easy to make.  There is no salt in them just lots of sugar, vinegar and pickling spice. 
Megashot continues to grow steadily, and there is lots to do on the site!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snow! You ARE kidding!

Two days ago, we had snow over night making it a bit cold and nasty. The liquid amber tree still has most of its leaves.  Some snow froze to the leaves and then the wind got blowing.  There are a couple of branches broken.  Not too bad considering the snow load.   There were robins and lots of other birds in the back garden this morning.  I had told Grace that the birds were not eating the berries off the strawberry tree.  Well, just to make a liar out of me, today the robins were scarfing down all the berries.  I guess they needed that frost to make them into the ice berry of the season. I brought in the humming bird feeder and added some hot stuff to unthaw it.  The two hummers are zipping around out there in the 0 to 5 degree temperatures, same as usual.
I have made up more pesto.  Tomorrow should be a a few pans of cabbage rolls with some to freeze.  My freezer compartment is full.  I will have to rearrange things to make anything more fit.  Tonite we had some of the purple plums I had frozen from 2009.     They were delicious.  And some of the ready made seafood chowder... its ok     has too many different tastes in it.  I added canned fish and seafood.   Next time just fish or clams and not too many of either.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Hatley Castle in November

More photos from the Japanese / Woodland garden at Hatley castle in November, showing good autumn colors.
I managed to get quite a lot of things done today.  I was busy all day.  I moved the potting soil and a bag of compost up to the deck.  These steps are really treacherous right now, in the wet weather.  I used this soil and a bit of bone meal in the 7 pots where I transplanted the orange trees. I grew these trees from pits and have been meaning to move them out of the big flower pot for years, it seems.  Now I have them in pots that I can keep in the house and hopefully they will grow and produce oranges.  I repotted two of the orchids and cleaned up one of the shelves.  I hope these orange trees thrive. Between the pots and the trays, I have $10.00 invested in each one of them, not to count the cost of soil and time to do this.
I moved several clumps of Sicilian Mint from the stepping stones at the back to the stone path at the front.  Hopefully the mint will spread.  A year ago I cleaned up this path at the front and so the little clover and other weeds should find it even more difficult to grow between the stone, when the mint is established. 
I cleaned the kitchen window so as to get better photos of birds hopefully.  When I was out in the garden in the morning there were more birds... fox sparrows, alaska robins,  the juncos and humming birds, robins, saagulls and crows, of course.  I have heard flickers and caught a glimpse of a downey woodpecker at the suet feeder. 
Megashot is growing like crazy.  I must get some commenting done tonite. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Hatley Castle in November

More photos of the Japanese garden at Hatley Castle from the beginning of November.

Grace and Jim have left for home today.  She left me 30 Queen of the Night tulips that I planted out along the garage.  The dark colors should look good against the white of the garage.  I was to Cannor and bought 30 more tulips that I will be putting along the driveway.... pastel colors.  I also have 7 good sized plastic  pots and saucers.  I have 7 little orange trees that I have grown from pits, in a flower pot.  I will be transplanting them into these new pots and keeping them in the house.  The last time I did this, I left the orange trees out on the deck and they froze, of course.  These pots don't look great, but I really do plan to see these trees produce oranges.
We were out to the Fireside cafe with the Scots on Monday night and tonite to the Dunlop House with Jim and Sheila.  Was all nice. 
We have had a few days of high winds and quite cool weather, with rain.. typical November weather. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Hatley Castle in November

I took a few photos of the pagoda in the Japanese garden at Hatley Castle.  and the bench. 
The juncos and other birds are hanging out at the feeder.  I refilled the humming bird feeder today, too.
I gathered a few more apples and made about 4 cups of applesauce.  I added a bit of ginger root, cinamon, and sugar.  Its delicious. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More November colors

The leaves have fallen off the plum tree into the pond and all over the Japanese garden area.  They have good color this year.  The moss garden is looking ok, but has lots of violets that need to be weeded out again.
The grape leaves also have good color.  The fig tree's leaves were just green/brown and have fallen also.The strawberry tree is still green and now has a few red berries. 
This is the pin oak leaves that just peak over the edge of the back of the garage roof.  This tree had been cut down to ground level because it was too close to the garage.  There are now 3 trunks growing up out of the stump.  I have been trying to train them to grow farther away from the garage roof.  They are doing ok now.  I also keep the lower branches cut off, so that the canopy will not touch the garage roof. 
The wisteria vine has twined up to the top of the evergreen tree.  It has quite nice color this year too.  In the Spring, these evergreen trees bloom with the wisteria blossoms.  The rest of the wisteria has been cut back and I am trying to train it into a small single stem tree.  Its a constant battle, but I will win.  I have seen some of these older standard wisterias that have been well trained and they look very nice!
The humming bird, sitting on the plum tree branch.  That plum tree looks like it is ready to burst into flower.

The rainbow from a few days ago. 
We have finished the apple pie and the apple sauce.  There are a lot of apples on the ground again after the high winds we have had.  I have been feeding them to the deer, but they must have lots of other stuff to eat, as they are not exactly gobbling them up.  I am still using parsley that grows on the deck.  This has been good and I am thinking about getting some basil plants next year and plant up a pot for on the deck.  We like the pesto!  Grace has given me a box of Queen of the Night tulip bulbs that I must get out and plant, soon.  They might look nice against the white of the garage.  I can add a couple to the pink marguerite tub, and some along the side of the garage, with extra compost added. 
My site meter counter is showing more hits again.  While I had the google ads the count seemed to sink lower and lower.  Now since the ads are gone, the count is climbing again.  Strange but true. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

More Autumn Colors

The front garden, with the liquid amber tree just beginning to change colors.
1931 Buick hood ornament called Mercury... Yes FTD used these cars for deliveries. I have been playing with a few of my old photos with a view to uploading a few on Megashot for the new community called Bygones and Antiques.
I just like it.  
 Another one from May 2009 when we were on the Antiques Auto run to the Sunshine Coast.  I think this was at Gibsons Landing.  Someday, I may get the "Cars" albums finished on my web page.  None of the albums are made, just starting a list.  Its good for reference.  My Travel page is 5 years behind.  Oh well.. maybe next year I will get more done.  Have been very busy with Megashot this year.
Its been a partly sunny, bits of rain kind of day.  When I got up this morning there was a rainbow to greet me.  My photos are not that great, though. 
Yesterday, I cleaned the filter on the pond pump and its running ok again.  The deer are eating the apples, but not all at once.  We have had more apples falling, and so I am taking them across the road to the deer pasture.  We still have apple sauce left from years past.  In talking with our guests it seems they spotted the blue heron on the deck railing this morning!  The bird did not go into the pond, though, just checked things out, again.  They were quite excited to see a deer as well.  :-))  The wilds of Saanich!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Birds in the Autumn Garden

The humming birds are around and feeding.  There are two of them squabbling over the feeder.  Thie house finch was in the apple tree, which is a fairly long reach for my little 12X lens on the Canon S3 IS.   Seeing a group of birders walking down the street carrying tripods and probably cameras, too; has inspired me to try to capture a few of the the birds in the back yard.  I don't know if I am ambitious enough to carry my tripod around though. 
I have put some apples out in the deer pasture and they are slowly being eaten.  We made a heaped up apple pie today.  There will be roasted chicken and apple pie tonite.  Our Scottish guests have arrived but we have not seen them yet.  They seem to have disappeared.  Have no idea what they have planned for dinner.  They can join us if they want to.. there will be enough to go around.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hatley Castle and garden dressed for Autumn

The bridge in the Japanese Garden at Hatley Castle
Hatley Castle that is now Royal Roads University, dressed in Autumn colors.

One of the peacocks in the garden.  Motion blur on the feathers. 
More Autumn colors in the Japanese Garden
A window in the outside wall that looks out over the Japanese garden. 
On Sunday, we took a deli salad out to the lower parking lot of Hatley Castle.  It was a fine, sunny day with some occasional cloud cover.  I caught the Autumn colors just about right!  This is a very picturesque place.  They want us to go through the gift shop and pay an entrance fee to the gardens, now.  There are locks everywhere and high fences.  On the great lawn at the water side of the castle the geese roam freely.  Its a terrible mess.  I guess the fences keep them out of the gardens. 
After getting home from this fine afternoon we got news that an old buddy had passed away... age 65... just a young fellow yet.  He had not been having any health problems.  It was a shock to all.  We feel fortunate to have had some visiting time with him and his wife a couple of days previous.  It was a massive heart attack and he did not suffer.  RIP Don... you will be sorely missed.
Our Premier Campbell has resigned.  The polls are showing a huge decline in the popularity of the Liberal Party and in Campbell in particular.  He has been in office for 3 terms, and has implemented many changes that have not been well received over the years.  Not the least of which was the recent HST tax grab.  A former Premier had launched a rally and was getting signatures on the protest to have this tax law scrapped.  It seems to be a long process.  The Liberals changing horses in mid stream should not save them, this time.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Parliament Buildings, Ottawa

This is one of the photos of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.  We did see the scaffolding set up for repairs to other buildings.  Since then we have noticed a big stink about the contracts and work being done on the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.  There seems to be any number of construction companies going bankrupt.  Its entirely weird.  There is suspicion of mob-related problems in the industry.    All the scaffolding aside, we had a good visit to the buildings.  The Peace Tower tour was interesting and there is a great view.
I have been doing a bit of work on my old page and have uploaded the 'under construction' page for our trip to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Rideau Canal.  I have done a few revisions on my Links page, also.
There has been a few very nasty news items recently.  The horror of Russel Williams in Ottawa, and our very own teenage kids in Victoria who pleaded guilty to the rape and burning of the body of their victim, who shall go nameless.  These two vicious animals were sentenced in juvenile court and will be eligible for parole in less than 5 years.  What's wrong with this picture??  One of the kids who helped to drown Reena Virk is already out on the streets, again.  Less than 10 years for the vicious attack.  What is wrong with our justice system?  Why can't we correct it???