Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's a Green World

Two days from the longest day of the year, and it is still a novelty to have so much light at the end of the day. I saw our neighbours building a fence, and the children are hanging about outside. Perhaps they are celebrating the absence of rain, which has been hanging about for several days. To the delight of transplanted prairie folk, we have had several thunderstorms. Our world is green! The garden has been growing well...

I am delighted with the new growth and the number of seeds that have pushed their way out of the ground. And then on my way home, I round the corner on my back lane and see the Italian neighbours' garden, and the plants have grown to such a degree that I cannot see the earth anymore. I decided to go to Nelson Farmers' Supply and find some of their "magic," having concluded that it must be coming from a bottle. After much pondering, and questioning, and reading labels, I picked an organic fertilizer. I read the instructions and it said not to use it with bare hands, not to ingest it, not to get it in the eyes. And my plan was to put it on my vegetables? My good idea soured. And I thought of patience and virtue.

And appreciating what I have. And there is plenty of activity in my own garden. One of the tomato plants is called Moneymaker; here is what it is doing today...

Green, green - all around. On Saturday, an old friend, two new friends and I went to the annual Strawberry tea at the Ashram, which is on the east side of the lake, and requires a ferry ride. The Ashram grows a great deal of its own food, and prepares it for winter. On our tour, we got to see some of the storage area...

Abundance is all around. Light, green, fun with friends....

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Hands in the Dirt

Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment,

can be confused with paradise. 
-Henry Mitchell

It is official. The flurry of putting all the plants in the garden is done! Before I left for the coast, the weather was too cold, and then in days, it was time! Indeed, the season was shortened with the insistence of winter wanting to stay on, so when there was the opening, there was no time for hesitancy. While I was gone, most of the gardens got planted. I finished mine in May, barely; I planted it on May 31st.

I have dedicated my small plot of land to vegetables, with some flowers to attract bees. Though my garden is not done in the Intensive Gardening style, it has some of the earmarks. The tomato plants are planted in groups of two, fairly close together, the same varieties clumped together. The plants with seeds have very close rows with little room for walking between. 

This year, I measured the plot space - it is 5.5 feet by 12 feet. What is planted this year is:
- 14 tomato plants (let's just say that I was inspired)
- 4 cucumbers
- 4 celery
- 4 orange peppers
- 1 row of carrots
- 1 row of romaine lettuce
- 3 rows of beets
- 1 row of spinach
- 1 row of leaf lettuce plants
- marigolds (to repeal the insects away from the tomatoes)
- snapdragons

Here it is:

The cucumbers are delighted because (a) there has been nothing but sunshine and heat since they went into the ground, and (b) the fence that fell down with the winter snow was not put back up. 

Most of the flowers and strawberries have been put in pots on the patio. Out of the 10 strawberry plants that came from the greenhouse, only 2 have survived (that had to do with the hot time when I was on the coast). That same greenhouse (I actually got my plants from 6 places altogether) had this beauty...

This is the fifth year I have planted a garden on this plot of land, and looks like the best to date. And I am not the only one who thinks so; there are a lot of birds that I have seen hopping all over the tamped area. Hmmm.... Probably time to go dig out those extra seeds.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Aimee and Patricia's Day Adventure

Aimee (and Josh) are embarking on a new adventure. With two job offers, they are heading for Winnipeg at the end of this month. And so, as we thought of the leavetaking, Aimee and I decided to go to places that she has wanted to see on the lower mainland but it didn't happen. After I arrived at her place in record time, we brainstormed how we would spend the next couple of days. We were restricted by time because Monday morning Aimee had to work, and I had to line up in the passport office. (7 am my colleague suggested, and then I would be out of there in ONLY 4 hours!)

We decided on Victoria. For the ferry ride (Aimee's never done it) and to see the city, where Aimee has never explored.

By sunset, we were crossing the Georgia Strait on our way to Katherine and Marcus' home. Katherine took us out for some fine pizza, and we toured the city; we were bedazzled by lights on the legislature and cruise ships. We settled into our beds 17 hours after I had left Nelson.

Katherine and Marcus filled our heads with ideas of what to do in Victoria. We aimed to do it all... First of all, we captured our big adventure:

And then we went to Fisherman's Wharf, found a Harbour Ferry and found ourselves landed at Inner Harbour Centre. There were many others who thought this was a great idea. We viewed vendors and saw the tail end of a street performer:

At this moment, she was instructing the middle volunteer not to look up.

Here's our "we were here" shot...

The Photographer

Our Harbour Ferry operator showed us a seal in the water, and then directed us to a few that hang around the pier. This fellow made an offer - "I show you my belly; you feed me herring."


"And, oh yeah, I'll bring my friends."

We went to the mall (bought a beautiful purse), tried to find the restaurant Katherine had showed us the day before but were unsuccessful and then headed for the ferry. We picked up dinner in Sidney at a great Thai restaurant, and then headed for the ferry line up, our intent to eat our meal on the ride across the Strait. Except, taking the 7 pm ferry was a popular idea and it got filled before our turn, and so we sat in Swartz Bay for 2 hours.

Aimee and I are well practiced in wait lines as you may recall - HERE. We were still a long way from home - 5 hours. And 6 hours after that, we were up and ready for a new day.

I figured we were on Vancouver Island for 24 hours. Our adventure, it seems, fill every single moment!