observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Tip Time: What to do with Coffee Grounds

    be sustainable: how to use your coffee & tea grounds

    The TIPS:

    • Sprinkle coffee grounds around plants to deter slugs and snails.
    • Coffee grounds are an ideal and economical soil amendment.  The grounds act as a slow release fertilizer with some of the nutrients available immediately and other nutrients available over a period of time.
    • Earthworms love coffee grounds so they further condition the soil.
    • Apparently cats don’t like the smell of coffee, so sprinkle coffee grounds liberally in areas where they may be using your garden as their potty.
    • Acid loving plants (such as azaleas, rhododendrons for instance) will benefit from digging coffee grounds in the soil or adding to the mulch.
    • Add extra coffee grounds to your compost pile to be incorporated and ‘diluted’ so they end up being suitable as well for non-acid loving plants.
    • Add coffee grounds around blueberries, cane fruit such as raspberries, and fruit trees.
    • Because coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, they can also be raked into the lawn though I’d rather use it on the shrubs and garden area first.
    • For the same reason (high in nitrogen), it’s a good idea adding coffee grounds early in the season to some of the heavy feeders in the vegetable garden (think any of the squash family, tomatoes, sunflowers, etc.).

    PS: If you are still using paper coffee filters (why not use the permanent, washable filter and save money and trees?) toss the filters into your compost bin and not the garbage.

    WHERE to Get Coffee Grounds:

    Did you know your local Starbucks bags-up their grounds and they are pleased to give them away (free) — all you have to do is ask.  Don’t forget about your local coffee shops — they too are willing to save grounds (you may be asked to provide a small compost pail or counter-top bin for them to save them in).  If you have a coffee maker in your workplace or coffee room, ask your co-workers to save the grounds for you. As long as you pick up / remove the grounds regularly without having to be asked, all these sources will be happy to do this for you.

    And, of course, the other place to source coffee grounds is right at home. The only thing I will caution against is using any of the flavoured coffees. Those contain synthetics, oils, and artificial flavourings. If you only brew flavoured coffee then toss the grounds in your composter and not directly into the soil.

    Of Note:

    I understand that the concentration of coffee can be harmful or make a dog sick. So if your dog starts eating up the grounds (can’t imagine why), simply work the grounds into the soil. My dogs don’t touch the coffee grounds and I have them all over my yard and am constantly replenishing certain areas.

    How easy is that?

    how to use your coffee grounds

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    lisa - April 5, 2014 - 1:38 pm

    What a great post this is, Diane. I knew very little about this, and you can bet I am going to start saving my coffee grounds, and get them into the garden this year.

    Thank you so much!!!

    Susan - April 6, 2014 - 10:15 am

    Thanks for spreading the word. Our Tim Hortons has about a dozen large rubbermaids they fill with coffee grounds. The public pick up the bin, take it home, use the grounds and return the clean bin to TH. I love the element of trust and respect.

    Susan - April 9, 2014 - 9:46 pm

    Great ideas, thanks for sharing, Diane!

    […] Read the source article at dianeschuller.com […]


    knitting at www.dianeschuller.com

    Still knittin’ away. Still forging ahead building up my stamina on daily walks. Still grateful for: being able to walk again; continuing to improve; good friends; living in such a beautiful environment.

    My grand daughter is arriving today for her spring break. How lucky am I?

    Remember that weekly environment column I used to write for one of the local newspapers in Alberta? Last year I wrote a loosely similar type of post I had planned on sharing here in my blog. The topic is coffee grounds. Since I’m so busy lately, I may resurrect that draft and post it here. Stay tuned … when I get a chance I’ll pop in a photo or two and post that information on coffee grounds to share with you. Until I get around to doing that, here is a link to “Coffee, tea, and the environment”, one of my columns I wrote back in 2011 which is now archived online. You will likely be surprised at how decaffeinated coffee is made. And if you think tea is any better, think again. Tea growers use extensive amounts of pesticides — I refuse to drink tea anymore because of the headaches I would get from the pesticides, even though I still love the smell of it when I brew it at the request of guests.

    Would you have a difficult time giving up or simply adjusting your coffee or tea habit?

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    Susan - March 31, 2014 - 1:12 pm

    Oh dear, not great news about the tea. Is nothing safe? I grow my own veggies but I can’t grow tea. What do you use for a hot refreshing drink.

    dinahmow - March 31, 2014 - 2:40 pm

    Brava! I’m afraid I’ve been going on at boring lengths for years! I no longer drink tea, but always used loose leaf.Peter, when “home alone” uses tea bags.And you know how I like my coffee!

    So pleased to see you doing so much, Diane.And I wonder if you and grand daughter will play a duet?

    lisa - March 31, 2014 - 4:34 pm

    Oh, no!!! I am almost afraid to read this (but I am going to). Scary what we don’t know about some of the things we eat/drink.

    I am so glad to hear that you are doing so well, my friend, and how exciting to have your granddaughter coming to visit.

    Enjoy every moment. xo.

    Michele - April 3, 2014 - 8:10 pm

    I gave up coffee in November. I was having heart palpitations. It was difficult at first but I have adjusted. Now I just drink the occasional cup of peppermint tea.
    I miss it at times…but feel much better.
    Hope you are enjoying your granddaughter.

    Susan - April 4, 2014 - 5:21 pm

    Hope you had a wonderful week with your granddaughter, Diane. I am a bit afraid to read that article…I live for coffee! Seems everyday I read about a food or drink that’s not good for us. 🙁

    Currently, the Daffodils

    learning piano
    The piano lessons have resumed but they sure aren’t easy. Nevertheless, I really do love the piano and sit with it each and every day. I hope one day to make her sound as beautiful as she deserves. She’s been incredibly patient with me through these lessons.

    daffodils www.dianeschuller.com

    Symbolism of the daffodil / narcissus:
    “Symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring. Though their botanic name is narcissus, daffodils are sometimes called jonquils, and in England, because of their long association with Lent, they’re known as the “Lent Lily.” Lore connecting the daffodil to not only a sign of winter’s end but a lucky emblem of future prosperity is found throughout the world.

    … a gift of daffodils is said to ensure happiness. But always remember to present daffodils in a bunch – the same legends that associate this cheerful flower with good fortune warn us that when given as a single bloom, a daffodil can foretell misfortune.” ~~ taken from teleflora.com.

    narcissus / daffodils © DianeMSchuller

    knitting by www.dianeschuller.com


    digging (as in liking): when we break bread with friends

    knitting:  currently working on a very simple rib-knit something (might be a wrap or might be a small blanket) for the guest room

    feeling: so in love with life

    weather: windy like crazy, but full of sunshine and the waves on the ocean today have been remarkably boisterous

    grateful for:  good friends who really care — and daffodils 🙂

    looking forward to: the next Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (dinner party with Newcomer’s Club)

    NOW YOU … what’s the best part of your past week?

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    steph - March 17, 2014 - 8:34 pm

    ooooo—are the daffs from your garden? Not a sign yet of mine!!! best part of my last week was one beautiful warm day (we’re back below freezing. grrr)

    Anita - March 18, 2014 - 4:25 am

    Diane – It is lovely to see this bloom. So glad you are getting your strength (and coordination!) back. It is still very much winter here = we had another 3″ of snow yesterday and a “drizzly mix” today, so it is bleak. And with “spring” only a few days away!
    Yes, that is Aedan, who is now 3, looking across at New Orleans from Algiers Point. He has a little brother now, age 20 months. I was just there last week for a visit. My daughter-in-law just got a 2 year position at Tulane – Yeah! So they will be living in The Big Easy for the foreseeable future.
    Take care.

    Celia - March 18, 2014 - 10:21 am

    Hi Diane, thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. Yes I see your blog popup in my Bloglovin list but I don’t always click on it so hadn’t taken in about your stroke. Knitting must be very theraputic for you, I can tell you are now hooked!
    My blog was 7 years old last Friday! And Phoebe, my oldest hen has been with me for the whole time. x

    lisa - March 18, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    Yaaaaaaaay! on those piano lessons, Diane. I am so thrilled that you are back to it.

    Without a doubt, the best part of last week for me, was my son being here while on spring break. It went by way too fast, as it always does, but it was the absolute best!

    Have a wonderful evening, my friend. xo.

    Sherry G. - March 22, 2014 - 7:18 am

    Those daffodil images are just wondrous. I think it is while yet for daffs back home. I have been missing reading your blog and the beautiful blogs of other friends since I have such intermittent and slow Internet access here in the Bahamas. Today I have a few good minutes so I decided to visit. You always show me what it is to appreciate and be grateful for life. I’m glad you are back at the piano. I’m sure it’s hard but hard things that we love are so worth it. xo Take care my friend.

    Annie @ knitsofacto - March 24, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Have you noticed how the improving weather is perking everyone up?!

    The best bit of my past week has to have been it being light enough at the end of the day to take the dogs for their afternoon walk before the sun goes down. Such a simple thing but a splendid one.

    Susan - March 24, 2014 - 7:03 pm

    Oh so happy to see you’re back at the piano…and those daffodils are all so beautiful! Yay for new beginnings! Happy Spring, Diane!

    Shawna - March 28, 2014 - 6:07 pm

    Such an uplifting and soothing post, Diane. Such beauty. Thank you…..

    Candace - March 30, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    The daffodils are beautiful and I’m sure your piano playing is lovely, too. You have so many various talents.

    walking gently through the world

    walking gently through the world …

    I love making things for others. Homemade artisan bread – a photo book – natural bath salts – knitting a scarf – knitting a cowl – homemade napkins.

    Neighbours are beginning to open their garage doors, bring out their rakes and are poking about in their yards. Yesterday I sat beside the pond and knit a bit.

    Speaking of neighbours, it was a neighbour from whom I gleaned an answer to the question I asked of you in my previous post. He went ‘digging’ and found the answer to how the sprinkler head on watering cans came to be known as roses. It’s also quite appropriate that he was the one who ‘unearthed’ the origin of that term since he is French and so is the answer. The French word arrosoir means sprayer and the French verb “to water” is arroser. Therefore it goes that the sprayer on watering cans is called a rose. It all makes perfect sense. Thanks Lionel.

    copper pot with brass rose

    “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~Eckhart Tolle

    ripples © Diane M Schuller

    ripples n

    “There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story”  ~ Linda Hogan

     And since I’m in a quoting sort of mood, I thought I’d also post what I am currently using as the ‘signature’ in my emails lately:

    May the Sun bring you new energy by day. 
    May the Moon softly restore you by night. 
    May the Rain wash away your worries. 
    May the Breeze blow new strength into your being. 
    May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.
    ~ Apache Blessing

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    lisa - March 12, 2014 - 5:50 pm

    Knitting by the pond…
    This sounds so wonderful, Diane.
    No chance of that here right now.
    We’re getting hit hard again with another snowstorm. 🙁

    Sending thanks to Lionel!! 🙂

    Have a wonderful evening, my friend. xo.

    katieb663 - March 13, 2014 - 9:38 am

    great information on the watering can! who knew? being able to sit outside for any length of time would be so nice~ we just had what i hope to be our LAST snow & cold snap~
    happy knitting my friend!

    steph - March 15, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the follow=up on the watering can. Of course, that makes perfect sense!!

    beautiful work on the needles!

    Smiles and a Brass Rose

    copper pot with brass rose

    Observed along the way: She walks along the roadway, a clouded afternoon, the sea air warm for an early March day. Her smile contagious and given to her soul’s inner thoughts. A middle aged couple, chatting freely, the woman’s arms flitting in sync with her thoughts, he smiles knowingly. Another woman approaching briskly, head held high, her smile shines from a distance. As we pass, we nod, each of us with our secret thoughts blooming through our smiles. The day has been charmed by smiles.

    “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    Brass Rose: I have always appreciated my two Haws watering cans even though they are the modern heavy duty molten plastic version. The spray heads, or rose, always produces such a lovely soft-as-rain flow of water, they are easy to carry and non-spill. I also have always found copper, whether bright and shiny or well patinaed to be very appealing, something like jewelry. The other day we were in Victoria to see the neurologist and after my appointment we went to Lee Valley to pick a few things up. My husband gifted me with a beautiful copper watering can for my indoor plants. The copper can has a heavy gauge brass rose that really grabbed my attention once we arrived home and I put it to use. But that got me to wondering, where or how the spray ends became known as “roses”. A lovely term indeed. I have been unable to find the origin of that name though I did learn that Haws of England patented their design in 1886. If you happen to know the origin of the name “rose” for the spray end of watering cans, of which Haws seems to be the ones to use that term, I would dearly love if you’d share that with me.

    Knitting: Now that I finished my first knit lace project (the white scarf you saw in progress), I’m so thrilled with it. I began knitting a lap blanket for the guest bedroom but had to start over twice because I lose count on which row I’m doing (I think that’s part of the residual issues from my stroke) and the pattern goes all wonky. So, after ripping it out twice, I decided to start another quick project before trying again. I started an infinity scarf that will likely be a gift though I don’t know for whom just yet. I got half of it done yesterday and plan to finish in the next day or two.


    Remember in a previous post I talked about how much I was not enjoying the last book club selection? Here is a brief summation of my thoughts on the book (NOT recommended by the way) over on Goodreads. Our next book club selection is The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. So far so good; interesting and no complaints. Where does your bookmark rest these days?

    www.dianeschuller.com Knitting in progress


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    Leanne@CottageTails - March 9, 2014 - 11:53 am

    The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert I’ve not been tempted to read as I found Eat. Love, Pray annoying – I wanted to shake her while reading it. So I await your review of The Signature of All Things.
    Love Leanne NZ

    steph - March 9, 2014 - 7:39 pm

    why did i not know that the sprinkling end was called a ‘rose’!!! Lovely. I’ve needed to know this for a long time!!! (hee hee!!!)…..and you live near Lee Valley????!!!! My favorite catalog. How fun!

    lisa - March 10, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    What a beautiful quote this is, Diane, and how very true it is also.

    Congratulations on finishing your scarf!

    That brass watering can is so lovely, and what a sweet husband you have!

    Wishing you a beautiful week ahead.


    Lionel Daneault - March 11, 2014 - 7:35 pm

    Hi Diane!
    Being a speaker of French I should have made the connection. The sprayer on a watering can is called a “rose” which comes from the French word “arrosoir” which means sprayer. The French verb “to water” is “arroser”.
    Now you can sleep tonight.

    Sherry - March 14, 2014 - 6:47 am

    I love your beautiful image of the gorgeous watering can. Love Lee Valley too! Did you know that the founder Leonard Lee comes from Almonte where I live in the winter.? He is a fascinating man. SenDing hugs from Green Turtle CAy in the BaHamas.

    mystery bag: an assortment of this n’ that

    rhododendron ready to bloom in Parksville, BChomemade baked beans & artisan bread || www.dianeschuller.comKindle and knitting || www.dianeschuller.com
    stitch markers for knitting

    Kindle nestled in lace mohair scarf || www.dianeschuller.com

    Now that the rhododendrons are threatening to pop open, I’m thinking how nice it would be to throw a brunch party — just like this — (well maybe for us ‘more mature’ gals)  just because, or maybe to celebrate something or another — spring perhaps.

    The other day I made enough homemade baked beans that, after I filled a bean pot and added one of my homemade artisan breads for a friend who is not well, we had enough leftover so we could also enjoy some for lunch.

    We are always amazed at how surprised people are when they realize we don’t feed our dogs kibble; instead feeding them strictly real meat and raw bones. We made the switch more than a decade ago after finally thinking for ourselves about how to feed our dogs. I came across this blog post quite serendipitously and thought I’d share it with you. It’s about how dogs deserve better health (even if you’d rather not consider what we do): “Your Dog Deserves The Best …

    One other ditty you may not realize about me: I am really drawn to __(these things)____ .

    Have I mentioned that I’m actually enjoying my Kindle Paperwhite? I used to be one of those who said I’d never read anything but real books thank you very much. But I’ve loosened up on that. There’s no glare, it’s easy on the eyes; it can easily be read in bright sunlight or a darkened room; it’s much like holding a real book; you can make notes or highlight while reading right on the device or even use the vocabulary builder (how cool is that!); and the battery life is astoundingly generous before needing to be recharged. It’s easy to carry around, especially with it being in a protective e-reader carrier. That said, I still prefer holding a real book and have only read a few books so far on my trusty little Kindle.

    The pretty black and white chevron e-reader came from this Etsy shop. But if you care to make one, here’s a decent tutorial.

    The beautiful stitch markers are from Lavender Hill Knits on Etsy. I love the ones made from tiny shells.

    Thanks for slogging through my bag of miscellany. To end this all with a smile on your face, take a look at this little ditty I recently added to my Pinterest boards.

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    Debby - March 5, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    Vancouver island sounds so lovely. I just picked up a Louise Penny novel recently just because it’s set on your beautiful island. What pretty photographs you’ve shared. I have a big pot of rose coco beans cooking on the stove. I cook them with a big spoonful of tamarind sauce and serve them up with lots of fresh lemon juice squeezed in and a glug of olive oil. What a lovely idea to make some for a friend with your home baked bread. It sounds like a good remedy. I still love the feel of reading a real book. How the weight shifts from one hand to the other as you go through the pages. But I can see how practical it would be, especially when travelling. Think of all the tomes you could carry in one go.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Candace - March 5, 2014 - 6:04 pm

    Diane, beautiful bokeh in the first photo. I love labyrinths also and the one you showed is especially beautiful. We have one here that I frequent altho it is made of stones.

    One of my co-workers has a paperwhite. I still have and use an older Kindle but I really like her paperwhite. She dropped her old Kindle in a swimming pool so had to get a new one. I kind of keep hoping mine will fall into a pool, too, because I can’t justify getting the new one when my older, larger one works fine.

    Nat @ Made in Home - March 6, 2014 - 4:57 am

    I love your pictures! That knit looks so soft -a nd great quote on Pinterest, very funny and very true! Thanks for checking out my blog.

    Jenna | The Eighty Twenty - March 6, 2014 - 6:06 am

    Thank you so much for linking back to Danielle’s post on The Eighty Twenty. Our pets, like our children, really deserve the same quality of life, and food, as we do! Thanks for spreading the word.

    If you’re ever up for writing a guest contribution on the topic, we’d love to have you!

    Jenna | Founder + Editor

    Leanne@CottageTails - March 6, 2014 - 6:56 am

    Hi lovely to meet you! I’ve just had a peek through your blog – all the very best for your journey back from a stroke. ((HUGS)) Life changing I bet!

    I too love labyrinths, don’t feed kibble to our dogs and love nature. But I’ve yet to do kindle SMILE.
    Love Leanne Nz

    Susan - March 7, 2014 - 11:55 am

    I’m still in my PJs but as soon as that is rectified I’ll go take a look at my rhodos, I’m desperate for something to bloom. I have two brave little primroses and one crocus so far. I love labyrinths. I’d like to see one in our small town on a piece of unused land by the seawall. Unfortunately our council lacks imagination and I have my finger in too many pies.

    Kelly @ JAX does design - March 7, 2014 - 12:02 pm

    The beans & bread look delicious! I love my Kindle too – although it’s been a while since I read a book. Too busy playing Words With Friends and doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad! I would love to come to your brunch party to celebrate spring – too bad you’re so far away! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    katieb663 - March 7, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    hi diane~ beautiful photo’s! thanks for sharing lavender hill’s shop, lovely goodness~

    happy weekending~


    lisa - March 8, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    Thank you so much for the doggie link, Diane. Definitely something to consider.

    I just love those stitch markers. Surely they are far more attractive than the plain rings you normally see.

    I actually just played with the Kindle Paperwhite a couple of days ago. Like you, I never thought I would use a reader of any kind, but then along came my iPad. I added the Kindle app, and the rest is history. I love the ability to carry many books all in one place.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo.