can read music

I profess to be a gardener but, to be honest, I may know a lot about a few plants but I know nothing about a lot of them. In my garden, I can tell you who gave me every plant, but I often forget the common names of them, and absolutely never bothered to take the time to learn their Latin names.

Recently, I was in a new garden trying to decide which plants I wanted to pilfer and bring home, but had absolutely no idea what I was looking at. It was early spring and nothing was in bloom and all were unfamiliar to me. It was frustrating to be so ignorant after all these years. Thankfully, the internet exists and I found a really useful free app which identifies plants. It is called Seek by INaturalist.

The app works for mammals, insects and birds, as well as for plants. I have been quite entertained lately taking random pictures of animals, bugs and flowers in the garden to reveal their identities.

Just about all of this year’s vegetable selection has finally been planted in the garden. Easily two weeks later than ever before. I swore I wouldn’t plant more than 16 tomatoes this year but I might have planted just a few more. There are twenty-two. Still fewer than a few years ago when I grew from seed for the first time and I had forty eight!!!!! We will also have peas, garlic, beets, beans, brussels sprouts, dill cucumbers, sweet cucumbers, carrots, spinach and lettuce. I am constantly having to remind myself that there are just the two of us living here and we prefer flowers to vegetables.

After already planting six pumpkins, I still have nine unsold and after planting twelve assorted peppers, I still have nine unsold. We may well be living on pumpkin spice muffins next winter and everyone is likely getting green pepper jelly for Christmas ’cause I can’t just throw the plants out!

I am not going to let my complete lack of formal horticultural knowledge stop me from my attempts to grow plants from seeds and cuttings. So what if I don’t know the Latin names for my plants, or whether a particular rose is a Tea Rose or a Hybrid. Neither Dylan, nor the Beatles or even Mark Knopfler

can read music

with our family

We were up early and, after a couple of hours drinking coffee, finishing Wordle and unsuccessfully attempting a new online puzzle called Redactle, I was ready to begin my day. The unmistakable loud whoosh of a humpback whale unexpectedly then announced himself below our deck. It had been a while and we were thrilled of course, to delay our chores to watch his slow progress across the channel.

The first annual plant sale with wine and cheese in the garden, party was finally held here on Sunday. The date was delayed twice because of the horrendous weather we have been having but, finally, ninety tomatoes, a whole bunch of pumpkins, peppers, and marigolds were ready to leave the safety of my greenhouse and go to their new families. There was wine and cheese served and the baby hydrangea, which I had started from a plant Eileen gave me, served as a door prize. Twenty friends in my garden, which is approximately eighteen more friends than I have been with at once in almost two years.

Now that most of the tomatoes are gone to their new homes, I have spent the week planting mine along with a few other vegies in the garden. I had emptied the compost bin last week to reward the garden beds with 4 inches of the most beautiful compost a girl could make for her plants. Honestly. It made for gorgeous soil. I have high hopes for the harvest this year.

It was really nice to finally see a few friends and share a glass of wine with them in the garden. I so appreciate their support with my plant growing experiments and have already spent my earnings on a heating mat for next year’s seeds, to hopefully avoid the cold soil issues I was challenged with this year.

So it has been a wonderful month of grandchildren, friends and a garden party. We are preparing now, hopefully, for warm summer weather to share a few sunsets

with our family.

to see to

For years a pair of Canadian Geese have said good morning to me at sunrise, floated about the waters below my deck during the day and then bid me farewell before returning to their home at dusk. Every day this goes on and, if you have spent any time with me at all over the last few weeks, you will know that I have been preoccupied with the sudden disappearance and presumed death of one of them. Sometimes, the nature channel can be sad.

For those in the back keeping score there were 1600 gallons of water stored in our tanks on May 20th last year. This year there are 7400 and the summer is only just beginning. The temperature hit 20 C yesterday for the first time this year. Assuming it continues to stay warm, 2022 could eventually be a great year in the garden. The plants in the greenhouse are finally thriving, thanks in no small part to Anne caring for them while I was away.

Yes, we have been away. You know there must have been important doings going on for us to leave the island, even if it was only for four nights, and indeed there were. We were in town to occupy our granddaughter while her brother safely arrived in their parent’s arms. It was a most welcome event and we were absolutely thrilled to help in any way we could.

Canadian Geese mate for life, and our male goose has been swimming back and forth in front of us by himself in recent weeks and it has made me so sad to watch him. I blamed the eagles who hunt from the trees next to our house and have called them all kinds of disparaging names. I know, I know eagles have to eat, it is the circle of life yadda yadda yadda but I hated watching this poor fellow alone, pining, I thought, for his partner.

But, it turns out, the female goose wasn’t missing or eagle food, she just had more important matters

to see to

fond of them

Everyone makes rookie mistakes when they move to an island like this. My neighbours must have laughed and laughed when we barged over a load of pebbles to the island for a path in the garden. Rocks to an island made of large sandstone rock with a gazillion little sandstone rocks everywhere. EVERYWHERE, and, especially, everywhere in the garden. I have spent a very good portion of my time living here over the last ten years moving island rocks into buckets, out of the garden, off the driveway, and out of my shoes.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people willing to give advice and share their experiences with the new islanders. All they have to do is ask. If not asked, everyone will keep to their own business and let you figure it out on your own. If you ask for advice and don’t follow it, you have only yourself to blame when, for example, you have to be rescued from your sinking aluminum boat with the motor which was too heavy. But, as I said, all of us have made mistakes.

Fortunately, and I say this with some trepidation that I am going to jinx things, but other than a pair of glasses, we haven’t dropped anything into the ocean when loading our belongings on and off the boat. I know of others who have lost furniture. We always wear life jackets on the boat and I continue to wear mine when we are off-loading ’cause I am sure that if I ever do fall in, it will be when we are backing and forthing along the narrow finger beside the boat carrying heavy boxes. I can just see me ever so acrobatically falling in while heroically saving the box of groceries. For just such a situation we wear auto hydrostatic life jackets which inflate when wet but are lightweight and comfortable when dry. I often forget it is even on.

I don’t know where I am going with this but, if not obvious yet, I spent some time today pulling hundreds of little rocks out of the iris bed when I was supposed to be weeding. The bed is a mess and very high on my list of things to deal with this summer. I had thought at one point I would move the iris, dig out the bed and plant roses until I realized the bed is about four inches deep and actually just a rock ledge with iris planted on it. As I pulled all those little rocks out and threw them on the path I was reminded of the money I wasted bringing path pebbles to the island.

The good news from the greenhouse, because I know you have been worried, is that the tomatoes are alive. I didn’t kill them with my soapy spray. In fact, three of the four which were really damaged by the white fly yesterday give every impression of a complete recovery. So a collective whew!!!

And, because you have been so patient to read along so far, I include tonight a video of me feeding my sweet little squirrels. We have two who have been with us since we got here. I have grown quite

fond of them

get the memo

Since the whole romancing otter event two weeks ago, there has been little opportunity here on the nature channel to entertain you. To avoid reader disappointment I will again include a favorite video clip from the past. With any luck there be some newer activity to show you before I run out of favourite old videos.

When I went up to the greenhouse today, I discovered what could be a huge disaster. There are tomatoes which have obviously been under some sort of attack. Upon closer inspection, a few have white fly. Yikes. we could lose everything! I suspect the flies came in on some bedding plants I bought at Rona last week which are still sitting in the greenhouse waiting for the warm weather to arrive.

Before the fly infestation spreads too far I have sprayed everything. A mixture of grated homemade soap, warm water and a drop of vegetable oil shaken up in a spray bottle has always been my go to for aphids on roses but I was hesitant to use it on the tomatoes. After all, aren’t we always told not to let tomato leaves get wet? They are all sprayed now. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t go up to find everything dead.

In addition to the soap spray, I made a white fly trap… Yellow paper coated in a mixture of corn syrup mixed with an equal amount of water. I cooked it down until it was a glue and once cooled, I painted it on the yellow paper to dry. Tomorrow I will hang it in the greenhouse, with my fingers then crossed.

E has now redesigned his solar hot water project three or four times. Today, he rebuilt the first two boxes to add metal sheets painted black to the inside of the boxes, under the tubes. He still had extra materials so built and added a third box to the system.. It is an ongoing experiment…

Then, he stained a bit more of the deck…

The area in front of our house is a rockfish protection area and fishing is not allowed. The sea lions apparently didn’t

get the memo

really darned cute

Normally, I am a big fan of birds, big and small. I feed them, provide baths for their enjoyment and make sure there are lots of plants and flowers for their food and entertainment in the garden. Endless hours are spent watching these welcome visitors, and I have cared for countless injured hummers, gold finch and even a hawk, but I find it very difficult to see any redeeming qualities in the turkey vultures who live on our lane. They are just the ugliest creatures about and have no business hunting the ducks in front of our house. The ducks are very much alive, get lost….

Did I mention that we opened up the rain catchment system again? First, I washed the patio table every day until there were no more signs of pollen. E then power washed the gutters and, on April 26th, we opened the system which had been closed since March 3rd. The only positive from the crappy weather lately is that we can try to get the water tanks full to the brim again. I will let you know what the levels are when we begin the summer. If the summer ever begins.

The greenhouse is officially full. I spend the majority of my time now rearranging plants to try to fit them in more efficiently. I decided to pot up the eight unmarked tomatoes and will keep them for myself. I had eight other tomatoes I wasn’t going to pot up ’cause they were so tiny but I will keep them too and just baby them in the greenhouse longer than the rest.

There is a lot that we see living here that I, for one, had certainly never seen before. I don’t know about you, but when a beaver swam in the ocean in front of our friend’s place, it was definitely a first. It happened a few years ago but a lot of you probably haven’t seen the video. I added music ’cause the whole minute just makes me so happy when I watch it.

Most of what we see here is nicer to look at than the turkey vulture and sometimes it’s

really darned cute