About james

I grew up in the 60s on a farm where we had a huge vegetable garden but I didn't start gardening myself until 2008 once we bought a property of our own we could dig in.

Walked Downtown Moncton To Catch The Sunrise At The Petitcodiac River

sunrise on the petitcodiac river moncton
The Sun Is About Ready To Burst Forth on Moncton

bankNot much going on in the yard and garden this early in the morning so when I looked out the bedroom window at about 5am I saw just a few clouds along the horizon so I decided to hike downtown to the Petitcodiac river to catch the sunrise.

On the way to the river I took a few photos as the sky was lighting up enough to see. I did give myself a few extra minutes of time just to take a few photos on the way to the river.

I looked at the Caisse Populaire on St. George street and the artwork looks so cool with only the street lights to light it up. Had to take a photo of that. It’s hard not to take photos so between home and the river I took 80 photographs.

Even though I took a lot of photos on the way I still managed to get there 5 or 10 minutes before the sun broke the horizon. So glad because the sky was starting to look like it was going to be too cloudy like the photo at the top.

Just a couple of minute after I was worried I wouldn’t see the sun I saw the tiniest red sliver on the horizon and I got excited again.

sunrise on the petitcodiac river

I have lived in Moncton for more than 30 years and even though it is only a half hour walk away I have never caught the sun coming up over the river. So when the sun was high enough it started hitting the muddy riverbank and turned it into gold.

sunrise on the petitcodiac

When I looked up river to see what the mud looked like that was behind me I saw the seagull tracks in the mud. Not sure why they would walk in the mud when they can fly. There must be insects and stuff in the mud that keeps them grounded.

bird tracks in the wet river bank mud

Well that was so much fun that I want to see if I can catch the sun setting from the other side of the river. I would love to get the moonrise and moonset on the Petitcodiac river as well.

Got back home just in time to start turning my yellow pear tomatoes into that sweet chutney Jenny and I love on our Sunday morning toast.

Picked The Last Yellow Pear Tomatoes Today

yellow pear tomato basketJenny and I really enjoyed the Yellow Pear tomato chutney I made last fall with our own yellow pear tomatoes. The plan was to do the same and more this year however plans don’t always work out the way we planned.

I was a bit depressed about the whole start to the growing season but the work I did in the garden by adding raised beds will pay off next year. We are even adding a couple more before winter sets in so the entire garden will be higher and less likely to flood out.

The Last of the Yellow Pear Tomatoes

We have had a couple of nights that dropped to only 2C so I decided to bring them in and call it a season. I do have enough to make a couple of bottles of chutney. Jenny and I only use the Chutney with Sunday brunch so those two bottles will last most of the winter.

Looking forward to the next growing season already.

Our Mountain Ashe Makes Smile

mountain ashe berries
Healthy Example of a Mountain Ashe

mountain ashe leaves changingThe Mountain Ashe in the photo above isn’t our tree but it is right in our neighbourhood and one of the trees that made me want it in my backyard.

So I was quite excited when I find a couple growing in our yard. One in the front yard and the other in the backyard along our property fence.

The one on the fence is about 4 foot tall however it would have been double this high if I hadn’t cut it off along with the rose canes I didn’t want. It was of course an accident and I’m glad to see it started growing back.

The leaves are a bright green except for the those that are making the change to red and eventually a very cool brown before they fall off. The photos below are on the same 4 foot tree on the same day.

summer autumn mountain ashe leaves
Mountain Ashe Leaves On Same Day

Rudbeckia–Coneflower–Black-Eyed Susan Flowers

early morning sunI love seeing large groupings of Black-Eyed Susan flowers when I go for walks and take photographs to share online.

Well, last year I created my first Hugelkultur bed and planted it with wildflowers. I enjoyed so many gorgeous flowers for the summer and into the fall.

However one flower I didn’t see was the Black-Eyed Susan or Coneflower from the plant genus Rudbeckia in the family named Asteraceae.

This year the Hugelkultur bed filled with Black-Eyed Susan which has me confused. The only thing I can think of that might make sense is if the seeds only produce the following year so maybe I should have planted them in the fall.

I took a walk to Centennial park a couple of weeks ago. The route I took to get there included a stop at Jones Lake as I had not been there for years. These Black-Eyed Susans greeted me at the entrance to the park. Aren’t they beautiful?

black eyed susans jones lake
Black Eyed Susan Group at Jones Lake

I like them so much I plan to start a couple more beds around the yard for the colour as well as to attract more pollinators. The group outside my office always has pollinators on them so the more the merrier.

coneflowers
Happy Home Gardening in Your Backyard

Checking Out The Community Garden At The YMCA

tall sunflowerI took a few minutes out of my walk to Centennial park to check out the community gardens at the YMCA. Didn’t see anyone working in their garden as early as I was out this morning but they sure are looking good.

I waited until it was late enough that the sun was up over the trees to the east of the their gardens so I could have the best lighting I could get. Not much for clouds by then either so there were no seconds wasted waiting for the clouds to stop blocking my light.

The first thing I saw as I approached the YMCA other than their logo was this happy nine foot tall sunflower with about a dozen flowers. Such a beautiful site. People who walk this way for work each day much love the view.

Below is a photo of the YMCA community garden. The YMCA building is behind me in this photograph.

ymca community gardens

I would love to have been on the roof for this shot so you can see that it extends all the way to the billboard. The sunflowers and pole beans kind of cut it in half. I should have taken a photo from their parking lot as well but I looked through last year and found one that will give you a better idea.

ymca side view

There is also another section to the community gardens. I noticed that in that section there is a Boy Scout logo. It would be nice if they are doing this for badges and sharing what they grow with soup kitchens.

What Growing On Here

I took about 50 photos before I continued on to Centennial Park. Here are a few of them in a smaller format.

marigolds yellow and red nasturtiums

Lots of vegetables but it’s nice to see that there are plenty of flowers growing as well and add a little extra beauty to the whole thing. There are little groups of marigolds as well as nasturtiums. There are other types of flowers too.

I love looking at the vegetables growing. I visit the garden in early spring when they start digging and keep coming back as the summer progresses. My visits get closer together as we hit the end of summer so I can watch as things really start to produce.

pumpkins ymca beets

I love pumpkin pies and who doesn’t like a cute or maybe scary jack-o-lantern. Pumpkins just say Autumn. I love beets too they are so good with butter and pepper. Mmmm

Well I only stayed a few minutes and then headed out so that’s it for this post. Hope you enjoy the harvest time and maybe lookup the YMCA in your area to see if they have a community garden.

A Foggy Moncton Morning And Yellow Pear Tomatoes

walk

Popped a few yellow pear tomatoes from our home veggie garden in my sweater pocket and headed out into a foggy Moncton morning to get a few foggy photos.

It was foggy but the visibility at street level was pretty good. I could still see street lights and pedestrian lights at about a block away.

Looking a little above the lights and it was still quite thick fog which blocked a lot of the buildings from view.

I thought I would try to get to the river before the fog lift, again, which is about a half hour walk. I tried a week ago but the fog lifted before I had walked halfway to the river. I tried to go fast but so many things looks so cool in the fog.

Victoria Park: Same Spot The Fog Lifted Last Week

When I got to the halfway point which is Victoria park the fog was still hanging in there. I snapped a couple of pictures and kept on going towards the river. The fog was still low but getting thinner.

park
Victoria Park Moncton

When I got to the Subway which only goes under the tracks as we really don’t have a subway I could not see the downtown buildings I normally see looking this way. That was a good sign that the river may still be foggy as I was only 5 minutes away now.

subway in the fog
Downtown Moncton in the Fog

The first thing I saw as the river was becoming visible was this Bald eagle on the muddy riverbank. As soon as he saw me he grabbed his breakfast and headed across the river where it was quieter.

eagle on riverbank
A Bald Eagle Enjoying Breakfast at the Petitcodiac River Moncton

eagle with a seagull dinnerI managed a couple of photos of him flying across the river. Looked pretty cool over the water gliding with a seagull in his talons.

When I first say what he was carrying I thought maybe it was an Atlantic salmon but when I zoomed in on my photo I could see it was a seagull.

This is when I wish I had a zoom lens that would take me further. Maybe for Christmas.

The fog was pretty much off the water by this time but when I looked behind me the city was still under a blanket of fog from about 20 feet up so the tops of building were mostly hidden from view.

I could see builds right in front of me but those right behind them like the Assumption building was hard to see. The Aliant or NBTel Tower was completely hidden in the fog still.

foggy assumption building

The Fog Covered Spider Webs With Dew

spiderwebThe fog quickly lifted in Moncton but I could still see the fog was over Riverview on the other side of the river so I followed the river trails to Vaughan Harvey Blvd and then straight up Vaughan Harvey to Mountain road where I live.

As I was getting closer to Vaughan Harvey I noticed spider webs were visible because of the dew the fog left on the webs. Very cool as they are normally hard to see and sometimes hard to photograph.

The River View of Riverview in the Fog

As I walked to Vaughan Harvey Blvd I was constantly looking left to Riverview as the fog was lifting so that just the top of trees were in the fog. Love seeing fog like this.

fog in riverview
Looking Across The Petitcodiac River Towards Riverview

Enjoying Our Yellow Pear Tomatoes

yellow pear tomatoesDefinitely been a strange spring and summer for us so we weren’t even we would see a harvest due to really late planting this year.

I was pleasantly surprised to see yellow pear tomatoes ripening a few days ago. I was taking photos this morning and brought a few in for a taste test.

Last year I made the best Yellow Pear tomato chutney that lasted most of the winter. It was the first time I made it. Glad it was so easy to make and so good.

I would love to make a few more bottles this fall. Just have to wait for more to ripen for the first batch. Can’t wait.

Pumpkins Are Now Looking Like Pumpkins

pumpkinMy first year growing pumpkins I was wondering if I had planted something else as I had expected them to be that pumpkin orange a lot earlier than the change actually happened so this year I was clued in but still glad to see the colours coming out.

I didn’t get to plant any pumpkins this year, sadly, but I have been following the progress of the YMCA Community gardens and these small but healthy looking specimens seem to be enjoying all the sun and rain this summer. They still have a month to go maybe even longer so they could double in size.

pumpkins

We haven’t had a Halloween pumpkin since our son stopped enjoying it as much as we did and moved away for work. Maybe they will come back with a grandchild and we can make some Jack-o-Lanterns.

Jenny And I Visited Butterfly World Moncton

butterflyJenny and I were suppose to go to Fundy National park Friday but things fell apart when it started raining so we went to Butterfly World  in Moncton across from Magnetic Hill.

I took my camera of course and we got to see a variety of butterflies I have never seen before other than the Monarch butterflies from when I was a kid growing up in Ontario in farm country.

We got inside just as the rain started and it rained hard. It would have been nice if the sun was out so the lighting would have been better. As it was it was a light but not quite enough.

Don’t think by the last statement that we didn’t enjoy ourselves. We had a great time but Fundy Park would have been an entire day trip. Butterfly World was just about an hour and I had seen all I could see.

blue butterfly blue morpho on window

monarch butterflySome of the butterflies had slightly damaged wings but little kids don’t mean to hurt them while they are learning. Most of the time it’s by accident.

We were able to attract butterflies to slices of orange peel or to gently put your finger in front of them so they can walk onto it. I got Jenny to do this with the big brown butterfly with the eyes in the wings called the Blue Morpho. When she put her finger close the butterfly open her wings to walk on her finger. Beautiful creature.

I am learning the names of these butterflies from the Butterfly World Butterfly Guide.

black butterfly

blue morpho butterflyI even got to see a Blue Morpho drying as it had just come out of its now empty pupa. It was in a small heat controlled Plexiglas chamber so I couldn’t get very close to them. It was easy to see them all and it is amazing how many varieties were in there.

They open a window at the top of the booth where kids can’t get there hand in to touch anything and to allow the new butterflies to exit once they are strong enough. So very cool.

I have captured caterpillars in my yard and fed them the leaves they had been found on until they went into the pupal stage. Very fun to watch and a good project to do with your kids or grand kids.

Then I would watch them until they arrived into this world as a butterfly or moth. I then released them outside. I just released a cabbage moth yesterday and thought my dad would have kicked my butt for letting it go anywhere near the garden.

We were back home by lunch time and just in time to avoid being out in the pouring rain and wind. We timed it between down pours without even trying. Sometimes it’s great when things go your way and you stay dry.

This rain has been great for our gardens and we got a chance to see a local site Butterfly World.

Transplanting Mid Summer – DOH!!

raised bed gardenI am in my 60s and still have a great memory but I have to say that spring and summer 2014 has to be the strangest I can remember. Our vegetable garden was just a big rectangular mud hole.

The spring rain started, of course, but then it just wouldn’t stop. Before the garden could drain and dry there was more rain. You can read about our spring conditions here.

Ooops Veggies Way Too Close Together

The first raised bed of tomatoes is doing fine but the second raised bed was looking way too crammed for space. The crappy looking peppers and tomatoes I bought grew like weeds once they were in the raised beds and before long I realized they were way over crowded and the tomatoes had completely covered up the peppers.

I decided to try and transplant the peppers as I was sure they wouldn’t survive being covered up in the tomatoes.

Transplanting Our Green Peppers

green peppers in raised bedI built a third raised bed and put this one right on the lawn between two flower beds I started last year.

Because I put it directly on the lawn I put black landscape cloth under the bed to keep the grass from growing through the bed and then filled it with organic mulch and garden soil we bought earlier in the spring.

Jenny and I started by adding an inch of organic compost in the bottom and then mixed in an inch or two of garden soil. Then we almost filled the bed with garden soil we had purchased in the spring.

I dug up the pepper plants and Jenny moved them the new bed where I quickly got them back in the ground. Even going as fast as we did it only took about 10 minutes for the pepper plants to start looking dead. I gave them water twice a day and just two days they were already looking better than they did when I transplanted them.

Transplanted A Row of Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Once we had transplanted the green pepper plants from their original bed I could see just how close together I had planted the Yellow Pear tomatoes. So while I was in the transplanted mood I decided to move one row of tomatoes to the spot the peppers had been in.

I planted size of the tomato plants and still had two left so I put those two into separate flower pots big enough for them. A very risky move I know but I was certain they would produce very little if I left them crammed together so tightly.

They looks so sad by the time I was done and for the following three days. Didn’t think they were going to make it but still felt it was the best choice if we want some Yellow Pear chutney this winter.

This morning which is 5 days later they are starting to look better and very few withered leaves so I’m thinking they are going to produce some tomatoes after all.