Friday, November 25, 2011

Gardening in November

These photos are from the 18 of November.  The pin oak at the back is brilliantly red, the sweet gum tree in the front has its leaves in multiple Autumn colors.  The English oak in the back is very yellow. Now, a week later half of the leaves are gone from these trees.  We have had two storms go through with high winds and lots of rain.  The day between the storms I raked leaves off the perennials and paths, unto the grass path where I ran over them with the lawn mower.  I put this leaf mulch on the vegetable garden.  Today, I spread some 20 - 20 - 20 fertilizer over the leaf mulch to help it decay and to provide some good fertile tilth to the vegetable garden. 

The small green leaves are cyclamen coum, I believe.  I do not recall planting a cyclamen in this spot.  It is behind the water tub, so is not easy to find.  This is an area where I weeded and added woodland mulch earlier.  This plant is a bulb, so somehow it survived.  It must be a volunteer from some of the other cyclamen plants I have growing around the garden.  This is a very good plant with evergreen leaves. Mine bloom twice a year... early spring and late fall.    Also, in this area, I put in some other bulbs earlier this Fall, and I see them poking up above the mulch now.  I hope they survive the winter.  I wonder if the heat reflection from the sun on the black water tub is causing them to think its time to start growing.

While skimming leaves off the pond, I found a few dead gold fish.  I had the pump turned off because it was plugging up its filter constantly.  Also, because I had read that it is not good for the fish to have the water cooling at the bottom of the pond where they spend the winter.  Well, I guess that rule applies to clean ponds.  I have not cleaned mine out for two years, so I guess next spring will be the time to do it.  I will probably need to restock the gold fish.  I cleaned the filter and have the pump running again to try to aerate the water.  It was really rather upsetting to see the dead fish.  I will have to pay more attention to keeping part of the surface water open so that the water can absorb more oxygen. 

Sunday will be the Grey Cup CFL football game.  Our B. C. Lions team is sure to win, as they are the best team in the country. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

October walk to Panama Hill Park

a few photos from a walk to the pond in Panama Hill Park.  The colors were spectacular on October 23.  I can't believe it has been that long ago.  Some of these trees and grasses are still full of color.  There is going to be plenty of berries of all kinds for the birds this winter.
It was coolish today, but no rain.  We have been having light frosts over night.  The humming birds are looking kinda chilled when they cannot get their frozen food.  I have one of the feeders in the house to put out in the morning with warm food for them now.
Saanich now owns all of this Panama Flats area.  I am glad I got a few photos of it when it was being farmed.  I believe it is going to be allowed to turn into a bog.  It is, in actuality, a peat bog.  It had sluice gates to drain it for the farming.  In the winter people used to be able to skate on it a few decades ago.  I hope the pond area remains as is and not part of the bog.  In the winter, more recently there has been lots of water fowl feeding on the flooded crop area.  I hope it remains that way, and the bog revives.
I was out gardening for about 3 hours this afternoon.  I cleaned leaves off the moss garden and paths.  I ran the mower over all the grass areas in the front and back and ended up with two mower bags full of nice chopped up leaves.  This is added to the vegetable garden.  I must get some high nitrogen fertilizer to add to this mix.  There are more leaves on the front tree, so I should have a good thick layer of leaf mulch on the veg. garden by the end of the season.  I cut back a stringy low cedar.. well cut the bottom branches off, and it now looks rather windswept, in my best attempt at a Japanese bonsai writ large. I cut back the Jackamani clematis and cleaned up the daylilies and the simplicity rose, a bit.  Its good to get the exercise and to be on top of the garden clean up.  I wonder how the plants survived when I was not so diligent about leaf clean up!
Do you know what butterfly that cattapiller is going to turn into?  I must look for it in my butterfly book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trip to Peru and Ecudor in March 2010

The Paracas ‘Trident’ or ‘Candelabra’ is a huge cactus-shaped figure carved into a hillside at Pisco Bay on the Peruvian coast. It measures about 240 m long by 120 m wide, with trenches a metre deep, and can be seen from as far as 24 km out to sea. It is aligned almost exactly north-south. It is variously regarded as a navigational aid or as a ritual object, representing a cactus or tree of life, where high priests worshipped the setting sun. Paracas-culture pottery dated to about 200 BC has been found there. Graham Hancock notes that 2000 years ago, viewed from a kilometre out to sea, the constellation known as the Crux (Southern Cross) would have been suspended in the sky directly above the cliff diagram at the March equinox.  This quote taken from this informative web site 

This is the only figure I got a good shot of on our flight over the Nazca Lines.  I have seen it called Wing or Hands.  More information on this site
This was a very busy and active trip. 

I have set up a 'desert' community on and so got searching my old photos for some sand, desert, canyons and badlands photos.  I was up way late last nite working on this, so need my beauty sleep.  This is a surprisingly short post for me.  All the interesting stuff is in the hot links. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Moss garden

I took these photos of the moss garden a day or so after cleaning up the fallen leaves.  It, again has leaves fallen on it.  The moss seems to be growing nicely since the rains started.  The dry stream area in the top photo is actually under the deck, but just at the edge of the overhang, so, it gets moisture.  The bottom photo has the nice mossy rock and the really good moss under the mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia).  The moss is now extending past the fern and along the edges of the dry stream.  The lantern is at the beginning of the dry stream.  I took these photos with my dslr Canon Rebel and processed them in Camera Raw.  I have a lot to learn about this.  I really want a telephoto lens that is made for digital cameras.  For my uses, I really don't think I need to pay for the expensive L lenses that Canon makes.  There is much more data on the RAW files than I was getting on my S3 IS jpegs.  But the S3 IS is easier to carry around on our trips.  So... the learning continues.
I finally updated my Java thing.  I guess its necessary and does not seem to slow down my computer, that I notice.  I think I want an ipad2, and a Sony DSC 530 with the wide angle Carl Zeiss lens that does a panorama within the camera.  It is coming down in price, and I should go to London Drugs and see what is in the box for the $109 price. I hope the ipad2 is coming down in price too.  I guess there is a lot of competition in this kind of gadget, so the price should come down more.
I made a huge apple pie today, and am thinking about making apple butter to use up some of the apples.  I could make some apple sauce to freeze, too.  My freezer is full of soups and ratatouille.  I made more pickled peppers, but they do not need to be frozen, of course.  If I got a little freezer, I don't think I would have as good of a turn around on the meats and vegetables as I do now, with the smaller space.  We can always get fresher stuff.
I am 10 lbs lighter and have 25 more to go, yet.  My doctor has me coming into his office for a weigh in every month.  This is helping as I cannot seem to do this on my own.  More exercise has been a big factor, as well as watching what I eat.. and eating less.  Its really difficult for someone who likes potatoe chips and jelly beans, as much as I do.  It sure is worth the effort, though, because I feel better and much more energetic.  

Friday, November 04, 2011

Frosty Friday

Last week end we went over to Vancouver.  While visiting friends we went to lunch at the Boat House, on Indian Arm. The tree colors where ever we drove were marvelous, even through the fog.  We are having very good Autumn colors this year due to the light frost, and not too much rain and wind.  Its so beautiful where there are trees and shrubs that are planted for their Autumn foliage colors.  The Virginia Creeper, the Smoke bush and the sweet gum tree in my front garden are still in full foliage.  The back has color in the berries of the holly and fire thorn.

We picked the apples this afternoon, and I washed and sorted them.  I took the culls across the street and dumped them in the deer pasture.  There are a few more on the vegetable garden.  I put most of the apples into the plastic bin in the garage.  They should last for the winter.  I will need to make at least one pie soon. 
After finishing with the apples, I raked leaves off the flower beds and the paths.  Then I ran over them with the mower.  I now have a nice leaf mulch put over top of the compost on the vegetable garden. I gathered up most of the leaves off the moss garden.. which is really starting to look good.   The trees at the back still have about half of their leaves, so I will be doing this again.  The front trees have more of their leaves.  The pond will need draining and cleaning in the Spring.  It is covered with leaves.  I have the pump turned off, as it keeps getting its filter plugged up.  I read in a magazine that it is not good to have it run all winter, as the bottom layer of the water gets too cold for the fish.
I have been doing quite a lot of cooking lately, from recipes that look good.  Pumpkin soup, ratatouille, fennel, apple, walnut salad... it makes a nice change from the same old, same old.  I think I have the right kind of fennel growing in my garden.  I shall transplant some of the little ones I see popping up in the flower beds.  I grow this plant because the swallowtail butterflies like it.  It makes a nice vegetable in this salad.  I will want to try it sliced and cooked, next.