We bought an inexpensive soil test kit from Lee Valley Tools because we were curious about our garden’s soil  compositon. I took a sample from a spot in the to be garden expansion. Sofar I have tested the ph, which is right just under 7.0. The NPK tests involve testing water from a soil/water mix, and the soil has not yet precipitated out so it will wait until tomorrow. I strongly doubt there are any elements significantly lacking yet it will be good to learn how we could fine tune ojr soil, if we need to.

Weather ahead

This could be an interesting day. It is already 15 degrees C and we could hit 20. Strong gusty winds and potentially severe thunderstorms are forecast along with possibly more than 30mm of rain. It is already quite breezy so we stowed the lightweight things in the yard that could blow away. I mulched leaves with the mower yesterday and it appears they will be replaced today.


Bird watching

Bird watching

This will be the fifth (or sixth) consecutive season I have participated in Project Feeder Watch, a cool citizen science project which is a collaboration between Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

I set up a bird feeder then once weekly record the weather conditions, species and number of birds that visit the backyard. We have the typical songbirds – English sparrows, Black-capped chickadees, cardinals, blue jays and so on. I have also seen a Sharp-shinned hawk, Baltimore oriole, and some other somewhat unusual visitors.

I photographed this American Goldfinch in April 2011. Did not get very many good photos last winter.

I invite you to visit either of these pages to learn more and participate.
For US participants:




Taken with my PlayBook.

I was working in the backyard this afternoon and Achilles came outside. As he was laying down surveying his world he looked so regal, dignified, calm, attuned. Every time I tried to pose him, Chili Dog confounded me by doing something I did not ask for – getting up, coming towards me. Then he luxuriantly stretched his head and neck up and out, and that unexpected act turned into a good shot.