Friday, April 04, 2014

Crocuses at the end of March

 These crocuses are spectacular.  They finished at the end of March when we had some heavy rain.  I should divide them and move a few to the front crocus field so that I have a longer blooming period in the field. These were the last to bloom.

 I spent some time in March playing with my photo editors.  The Paintshop Pro X4 has some very interesting filters, frames and edges.  I have had it sitting around my desk for more than a year without finding the time to play.  I don't have any more time now, so I just took the time. I did the crocus above as a cyanotype and added one of the frames or edges... cannot remember as I did this some time ago.  There will surely be more of this in time.
This is the first pasque flower to bloom.  It was open at the end of March.  There are many more of them open now.  So, there will be more on them later, too.  The garden is bursting into bloom with daffodils, wind flowers, hyacinths, arabis, etc.  More on all of it in time.
On the 31st of March I was astonished to see a butterfly on the blossoms of the plum tree.  This tree is full of blooms and gloriously shining white just behind the deck.  Today, I saw the butterfly again.  It is even more ragged looking than it was a week ago.  So, of course, there was time spent trying to determine what butterfly it was.  It is a comma I think... but pictures and more on that too.
Today I finished repotting, fertilizing and feeding most of my orchids.  The phals are all repotted, and the cattleyas.  Most of the paphs are newer and do not yet need to be repotted.  I may have killed one or two, but we will see if they survive.  The African violets and cacti are ok for now, I think. 
I have made a few more soups to freeze for handy lunches.  So, perhaps I will be able to get out into the garden next week.  There are lots of weeds, the grass needs mowing and the hedges can be trimmed now. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mid March in the garden

 We have been having quite a bit of rain since my last post.  This is good.  We needed it to top up our watershed for our dry summers.  The daffodils have been out for the last two weeks.  The crocus field is finished.  It was not as nice as previous years due, partly, to the rain hammering down on the flowers when in bloom.  Either children were picking flowers or the bunnies got some of them, too.  Now the Magnolia is in bud and about to break into bloom.  And so too is the plum tree.  The camillias are in bloom, the wind flowers, the polyanthus, the arabis, aubretia.  It is still a bit too wet to cut the bit of grass that I have.
 I was to the orchid show and sale a couple of weeks ago.  I came home with a Paph.  Vietnamense like this one (mine is tiny ), a species minature cattleya called cattleya maxima.  It does not appear to get too big.  There was one in the show that looked blue under the lights.  The tag on mine says it is lavender.  Also got a Cattleya Intermedia (Oriata x Aquinil) that should be red.  I believe I have a photo of it from the show also.  About 2 weeks ago I was to Cannor nursery to get pots and some really good orchid potting mix -- it even contains bits of charcoal.  While there I also got a huge blue hosta that should get to be 4 feet tall.  It will go under the deck and get sun through the broken down cedar hedge.  This should help to obscure the view from the neighbors back door and sitting area.  I also got a bleeding heart plant which will go with the hosta.  They both need shade and moisture retentive soil.  I have a few backs of compost that I will mix into the clay soil in the area where I will plant them and the clay surrounding the hole can retain moisture nicely.  I have cleaned up the orchids and repotted the new cattleyas.  The paph is still small.  My Pot. Lisa Taylor Gallis "Nora" (Blc. California Girl x Sc Beaufort) is in bloom and very fragrant. Pot. stands for Potinara.  This is a small cattleya. Pictures later.  The blue infused Phal. below is finished blooming.  I am saving its blossoms and have them in a dried arrangement.  When it blooms again it will revert to its original white or whatever color.
 I was playing with textures for this rendition of the blue orchid.  It is fun playing with this stuff.  I don't have near enough time to play.
I have been able to find my old PS CS and have it running on my new hard drive.  On the old PS CS I was able to add the Virtual photographer plug ins, that do some lovely conversions to black and white, etc.  The Virtual Photographer does not work as a stand alone program on Windows 7.  I don't need it though.  I have Paintshop pro X4 for the frames and some other very interesting filters that I have yet to explore.  On the old PS CS i am able to access the 'simple' web photo gallery that I was using for albums on my old web page.  When I could not seem to activate my old PS CS, I found a very nice little web photo gallery  creator that I am able to edit with my basic html.  I really like the new one and may just keep on using it.  I found it easy to use and edit with note pad.  I finished the July album and loaded it to my page:  here July Here is the homepage for the photo gallery creator if you want it.  Web gallery creator

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February snow

 Snow streaks over the plum tree in the back garden
 Small snow flakes through the tree and over the park path
 Larger snow blobs through the tree and over the park path
 Snow balls and orbs past the tree limbs
 Snow streaks in the back garden
 Shorter snow streaks in the back garden.
I was playing with AV, TV and Manual settings to get the different sizes of snow flakes that were falling yesterday morning.  By mid-afternoon most of the snow was gone.  We got a bit more today.  The driving conditions are going to be treacherous tomorrow morning. 
I have finished sizing and tweaking 165 photos for my July album of the Gardening page of my old web site.  This lily is one of my favourites.   I found a very good simple web gallery generator that I can edit in my notepad; as it is simple html in the parts I need to edit.  It looks better  than the old photoshop album creator I was using.  It will take me a while to edit all the pages.  I am looking forward to playing; AND actually making some progress on getting the page completed.
Yeaaaaaa, Canada did well at the Olympics, finishing off the games with a shut out in the Men's hockey final game for the gold.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Trying a post from ipad

Let me see if I can get a photo added 

Monday, February 17, 2014

mid February in the garden

 The cyclamen has been in bloom for weeks.  This is a very good plant that blooms in the Fall and Spring.
This is the double snowdrop that is near the entry way.  I have a photo from 2008 of this plant that shows the inside of the flower, macro setting, that I uploaded to Flickr years ago and someone just recently marked it a faveourite.  I am too lazy to get the link, but it is a fine view of the inside of the flower.  The two photos above are from Feb. 1st.
 The waterfall in the back pond area now has the mermaid at the top.  She seems to add a bit of height to the waterfall.  This photo was from the 1st of Feb.
 Just before the 8th of February we had a few days of colder weather.  There was ice on the pond, except where the water was running.  The birdbath and the tub water features were frozen over.  The ice melted within about 4 - 5 days.  The fish in the tubs survived.
 My best little phalenopsis (miniature) is in bloom again.  The green walls are not the best for background.
 Photo of my newest phalenopsis (regular size).  It really is this brilliant blue color.  I looks best against the yellow walls of my room.  It was calling my name at Home Depot when I was out there looking for a new spritzer bottle for my light garden plants.
 Photo from the 14th, although these crocuses have been up for a week or more.  Very delicate maeuve color and strong plants.  I need to move some of them into the crocus field.
These yellow crocus are the first ones up in the crocus field. They have only just opened up after our week of very balmy weather.  Photo of the 14th.
For the past few days we have been having 8 degree temps and warmer, but rain, at last.  Some people have had their power out in the high winds.  Higher altitudes have had snow.  We have only had the much needed moisture.
Yesterday I moved 2 milkweed seedlings, 3 lily of the nile and 2 butternut squash plants into milk carton containers.  They are all on my light garden and above the trays, so that they do not get water logged like some of them did.  I must keep an eye on them so that they do not dry out as others of them did in the plastic cups where they germinated.  I have a milk carton cut horizontally planted with parsley and dill seed and hope they soon germinate.  I also stuck a few red pepper seeds in the plastic cups and hope they soon germinate, too.
The early part of February I spent playing with my newly cleaned and reloaded on a SSD drive, with the other hard drives for backup and data and storage.  We were unable to authenticate my old Adobe PS CS as it seems Adobe is not running the servers for the old stuff any longer.  I wanted this old program for the web gallery generator that was in basic html and I could edit it in Notepad.  The solution for my problem that Adobe offered was plug ins for the newer PS CS5 ; but they still suggested that I use the ones web gallery generators that are now on PS CS5..  of course, they are all Flash and things I have no idea of how to 'edit'.  Too bad for us dinosaurs.  But wait... I found a lovely little html web gallery generator for free.  It looks pretty good and I think I can edit it .  I have 12 more photos for 'July' gardening album to tweak, then I shall be editing and uploading to my old web page.  Finding my way around the new instal of my very old WS-FTP was quite an adventure.  Kudos for my techie for getting it to install again on the new SSD.  Firefox is no longer my default browser as it does not get along with something from my Nvidia display card.  I will eventually figure it out, I hope.  Trevor, my techie, cleaned up the virus, and reloaded it all.  Got rid of a lot of useless programs and stuff I had ... things I never used and things I should NEVER have used... like the RegServo registry cleaner.  .. a total waste of money.  I may have inadvertently got this stupid virus when looking at a website... softtonic, maybe... that harbors malware and such, I am told by Dave D.  .. when I was looking for a calendar generator back in December.  Well, its been interesting.   I wish I knew more about the mechanics of loading all the software to my computer, and how to add hardware... but that day will never come.  I rely on the techies.
I have been spending some of my time trying to get my new Nexus phone set up so that it is not costing me an arm and a leg.  My old  cell became obsolete, so I thought I would get a new version that may be good for a few years.  I bought the phone from Google Store and wnet to Telus for the SIM card.  They abruptly sent me to the on line store to set up my contract and all.   The over the land line phone people were very helpful.  I got set up with a prepaid account.  It costs me .50 for 1 min of phone and .30 for messaging and data, I think... whatever that is.  Since I never do any of that stuff, my $100 prepaid should last me forever.  I can top it up, should I ever begin to run short of funds.  Now, my old account had me paying $30. a month and I know not what it all included, but I never used  that amount up or over extended it.  So, my prepaid should be just what I need.  I set it up as a hot spot, but will turn that off.  I have data useage blocked on my account, so this will be just a phone for occasional use.  They are charging me .75 a month for the 911 use, if ever.  I have my ipad for travel, for reading and for music, if need be.  Wifi comes with most campgrounds, or hotels, but I never use it that much anyway.  No time for it when traveling.  I wish I could figure out how to use one of these gizmos as a GPS, ... like the GPS works.  I understand that if I plan my rounte and put all the info into some app I can use it that way, but it does not allow for questions along the way that might be unexpected... like getting lost, in some city while stopping for gas or groceries, or having gone to see some park.  Well, there is always the GPS, then.  I am sure there must be an easier way,  I just do not know it.  I cannot seem to progress beyond simple html.  All the cloud stuff has me running for my hoe and spade  and out to the garden.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Off to a busy start in the new year

 The top two photos are downsized from the ones I used as the back and front covers for the 2014 calendar I made.  The photos are macro shots of the ice on the pation table, highly saturized.  The calendar turned out not too bad for my first attempt.  I learned a lot about my printer and how to size photos to print them.  Lots to learn yet.  The actual calendar pages are from a set of free templates that work with Microsoft Office program. (Lots to learn about that program too)  The photos for each month are primarily from our travels over the years, and from my garden.  I sent Momma Fran the best of the prints for her calendar and kept the duds ... which are not too bad... for my own. 

 Our friends from Port Angeles visited us for a few days at the beginning of January.  One of the things we did was spend a couple of hours at the Shaw Ocean Discovery center.  Love the jelly fish.  They are so photogenic. 
 Yesterday we took a drive, and ended up at the Esquimalt Gorge Park.  There are a flock of ducks in the area near the bridge.  I think people feed them.  It is an interesting little park.  There is a series of parks along the Gorge.  We saw that they are adding more to the Japanese Garden in one of the parks.  I must get back out there... perhaps in the autumn, as the colors should be good, with all the Japanese maples, etc.  I only had my little Sony camera with me, but it worked pretty good for this shot.
On December 12th we had a whole flock of robins in the back garden.  In a matter of a few hours they had cleaned all of the berries off the holly tree.  I wonder how they all knew it was time to feast on the berries. 
We have been having some very nice weather for the last few days.  We do need more rain, though, they tell us, or we will be on stringent water rationing this summer. 
I cleaned up my light garden a bit.  The orchids have been doing fine since I last cleaned them up.  I took the baby 'pixie' out of the parent pot and planted it up.  Hopefully, it too will be blooming in a couple more years.  A lovely miniature cattalya in pink with a slight fragrance. 
I have screwed up my mouse by adding an optional update from Windows for the mouse... ooopps ... wrong kind of mouse.  Now it freezes.  I have a few other optionals added too.  I also seem to have some sort of virus or something.  So, my machine is going in to my techies shop for its annual clean up.  Should clean up my bank account pretty good too.
I have a few more photos for the July album of my old web page tweaked... 18 more to go.  Hope to have them done by before Tuesday when I take the computer into the shop. 
I received my Nexus 5 phone from the google store on the 14th.  Telus told me that my old one was going to be obsolete by March 31st so we spent a bit of time learning a bit about the cell phones available and about the plans to sign up to.  Very nice people to deal with over the phone at Telus.  Now I have to learn how to run this new gadget.  So, I read on my ipad, play with photos on desktop, and have the phone only for the occasional use.  I am really not into this texting stuff.  I just want a phone.  The last one I had lasted for years, but I think I was paying way too much for how much I used it.  We will have to see how this new plan works out for us.