wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Squirrel Talk

Lately, the squirrels have been noisier when they get fed. I don’t know what they’re saying to each other, but it seems as if they can’t stop talking. Didn’t their mother teach them not to talk with their mouth full? Be sure to have the sound on so you can hear their conversation.

 

It’s a funny spring this year,

Filberts, there are none, I hear.

Even fir cones haven’t grown,

Unlike other years I’ve known.

 

I’m so thankful for these seeds,

They will sure fulfill our needs,

You eat yours and I’ll eat mine,

Then we’ll get along just fine.


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Father’s Day Flowers

One day a year we remember to honour our fathers. You may say, “My dad died years ago. I can forget about Father’s Day.” But don’t we owe it to our fathers to think of them for one day out of 365, even if they are no longer with us?

I understand that there are many unfortunate people out there who had a father that was less than ideal, but if we think hard, there is probably something in all our growing up years that is a good memory of him.

The bottom line is, without them, we would not be here.

Just in time for Father’s Day, my Oriental poppies opened up …

as well as one of my favourite irises …

to keep the old standard blue irises company.

 

Father, so proud of his children each day,

He will protect them in every way.

Sometimes he seems to be quite out of touch,

With things important, that matter so much.

 

Wait a few years and revisit the scene,

Often we see just how wrong we have been.

Fathers have been there and made those mistakes

That now his child out of stubbornness makes.

 

Sometimes old fashioned, and sometimes too stern,

Still he’s insistent that his child must learn,

Grow up with values so decent and right,

Though foolish children put up such a fight.

 

No, it’s not easy to parent a child,

Easier being too meek and too mild,

But it’s the strict laws that Father lays down

That make us thankful with smiles, not a frown.

 

If your dad’s with you, give thanks for his love,

Think how he kept your hand warm in his glove,

Caring, admiring, so proud of his child,

Little he knew just how much you ran wild.

 

Love unconditional, that’s what he gave,

In any danger, your life he would save,

Think of him kindly, and don’t criticize,

You did no wrong in his sweet, doting eyes.

 


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Randolph Raccoon Roots Around

The Captain and I were having an afternoon coffee on our deck when Randolph came to visit. He’d been lurking around the yard late at night and usually disappeared in the wee hours of the morning. But lately he is getting braver about being seen in the glaring daylight hours.

He wasn’t too concerned about anything – even took time to scratch an itch.

He came right out in the open, looking for dandelions in the grass, and this explains his more frequent visits. Our grass is loaded in weeds. Definitely not a Scott’s Turfbuilder lawn. I don’t really mind him digging out the weeds to get at the roots or bugs, but I wish he would refill the holes.

Until now I had been blaming Bonnie and Benny Bunny for all the holes dug in our “lawn,” and they do their fair share of digging, but I saw Randolph in action this day, and knew I had to allow the bunnies some leniency. They are probably only guilty of digging a third of the holes in the yard.


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Log Cabin Quilt

With all the rain we’ve had, I was taking a chance when I hung the freshly washed quilt on the line outside. I was hoping that the trees that form a canopy overhead would save it from any serious raindrops.

As I walked past the quilt, I noticed it for the first time in ages. Sure I’ve seen it on my bed  many times, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it. Here, in a different location, I saw it with new eyes. I thought of all the strips of fabric I had cut to their exact lengths, and the way I sorted them out.

The name log cabin quilt is a bit misleading. You don’t have to live in a log cabin to use it. The name is more about how the squares are made.

Each of the strips is meant to look like a log. The “logs” are sewn together to make it look like a log cabin being built. It was a great way to use up small scraps that might otherwise have been thrown out.

I only sorted the pieces very roughly by colour, but other than that, it was just a matter of using up scraps.

Partway through making up the squares, it suddenly hit me how MANY “logs” I had to put together to make the quilt the size I wanted, but eventually it came together.

 


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Oyster Mushrooms

We had a nice surprise today. A friend had been out in the woods picking oyster mushrooms and had a bunch to give us.

I’ve picked chanterelles but I didn’t know much about oyster mushrooms so I’ve never picked them. With mushrooms, you can’t take chances because many kinds of mushrooms have lookalikes and many of those can make you very sick (or worse).

So here is a picture the friend took to show us how they grow. See them there on the trunk of that dead alder tree?

The pictures were all taken by my friend with his phone, except for the two photos in my kitchen.

If you thought mushrooms always grow on the ground, think again. Here they are again, going way up the tree.

They almost look round like a tennis ball, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that they are flat and often seem to grow overlapping each other.

Because they are off the ground, they are much easier to clean than chanterelles.

I just took a pastry brush and cleaned off a few specks of dirt. No need to wash them and make them soggy.  My dryer has five layers so I filled those up with the flat mushrooms and gave my attention to the rest of them which, temporarily, are spread out on a couple of baking sheets. (They are not going to be baked.)

I put a tiny bit of butter in a pan and put the mushroom pieces in it. This is just the start of what I put in the pan. I filled the pan enough so the whole bottom of the pan is filled. One thing I learned is that it is much easier to tear oyster mushrooms than to cut them.

Once they were sauteed just until they were cooked through, I put them in a big bowl to cool off while I cooked the next batch. After the sauteed mushrooms were all cool, I put them into plastic tubs and froze them. The sauteeing ensures that the mushrooms are not rubbery when you thaw them out to add to stir fries or gravy or whatever dish you want them to be in.

A couple of the bigger pieces were perfect for adding to a sandwich. So good!

If you find the energy to go out into the woods to look for mushrooms, you might be rewarded with the sighting of a large animal – at least the sight of its hind end. I’ll spare you the guesswork – it’s an elk.

Paved road, wildlife viewing, and a load of mushrooms for dinner. What could be better?


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Innocence Backfires

When Emma, our English field cocker spaniel, first went pheasant hunting, she just did what she was bred to do. She sniffed and snarfed until she found a pheasant scent, and she did it very well.

Later in the trailer, she found a stray pheasant feather, and another instinct of hers kicked in – that of eating whatever looked good.

She’s not too proud to get her picture taken with a feather stuck to her mouth and one ear flopped back. She’s confident we will love her anyway. Quite a humble innocent.

With most babies, every new item must be sniffed and if possible, eaten. Emma was no exception. She tried to eat the cord of the trailer’s electric heater when it was plugged in (luckily we caught her before she fried herself), she ate one of my brand new Birkenstocks,

and took her time working on a pair of slippers. (She doesn’t chew them now that she is all grown up, but she nibbles and nibbles over a long time, until there’s a substantial accumulation of damage.)

“Who? Me?”” she asks?

She’s not a puppy anymore and she doesn’t chew everything in sight, but she is still very focused on putting things in her mouth.

A friend of ours came over to help us out when our lawnmower broke down. He always brings dog biscuits as a treat for Emma, and this time was no exception. Emma got her dog cookie and followed the friend around the rest of the time he was here (as she always does).

Fast forward to the next morning when I took Emma out. Something reddish-orange caught my eye after she did her business.  Was it the piece of carrot I had given her? Surely she would have chewed it more. Was it blood? OMG! I hope she’s okay.

I got a stick and poked around in the little chocolate wedding cake she had dropped, and brought the reddish-orange thing into the house. I washed it off, and couldn’t believe my eyes.

It wasn’t a dog biscuit, but it was something our friend had brought with him (and apparently lost in the grass as he was trimming the edges). It’s about an inch long and is made of a rubbery foamy material. Yep! You guessed it. It was an earplug.

But what a funny one it was. See the one hair on its head? Then go about a third of the way down on the right-hand side. Do you see the happy face? (I didn’t put that on it.) I think this earplug was happy to see the light of day again after his journey through the bowels of a spaniel innocently looking for another dog biscuit.

I think in this case, the innocent pursuit of dog biscuits backfired on Emma.

 


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Figgy News

“Lookit! Lookit! The baby fig tree has a tiny fig on it. Do you think it tastes good?”

“What fig? Where? You mean that tiny green thing partway down the stem? Our ears are bigger than that fig!”

“Yeah, but it will grow!”

“I don’t want big ears!”

“No! I mean the fig will grow.”

“Oh good. Then can we eat it?”

Baby squirrels see baby figs,

Adding wonder to their digs.

On the tree, the new fruit grew,

Squirrel babes ponder, “Should we chew?”

 

“What if figs are not like nuts,

And don’t sit well in our guts?

Better stick to what we know,

If we want to thrive and grow.”


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Under the Boardwalk

It was actually under the wharf head where the river otters, Otto and Olive, had fun “under the boardwalk.”

“She was just here a minute ago,” says Otto. “I can smell her sweet perfume. I believe it’s ‘Tang of Sea Lettuce'” by Otter de la Rent Her. Very expensive stuff. Maybe she ducked in this pool for a dip.”

“Oh there you are, Olive. (Sniff, sniff!) I’ve been searching for you everywhere.”

“Yeah?” says Olive. “Whaddaya want from me, Otto?”

“That’s easy,” sniffs Otto. “Huh! Whaddo I want from you…? Olive you! Hahahaha! Gettit? Huh? Gettit?… OLIVE you!

By Poseidon, you do smell delicious. Come on. Let’s play under the boardwalk!”

(Under the boardwalk) Out of the sun
(Under the boardwalk) We’ll be havin’ some fun
(Under the boardwalk) People walking above
(Under the boardwalk) We’ll be fallin’ in love
(Under the boardwalk — boardwalk!)


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Bonnie and Benny Bunny

A new load of firewood waits for someone to move it into the shed. Doesn’t seem like a big job unless you consider that each piece of firewood must be picked up and set down again. If there are 300 pieces of firewood that means I have to bend down to pick up or put down wood 600 times. My back hurts already!

If I thought this prospect was daunting, how do you think young Benny Bunny felt when his hiding place was discovered after only a short time and he came bouncing out from under the firewood? Now he will have to find another place to hide.

 

“Don’t fret, Benny,” said Bonnie Bunny. “As long as we have each other, we can snuggle up together tonight. But for now, let’s get out of here. Quick like a bunny!”

You can see how tiny Bonnie is compared to the piece of firewood she’s sitting beside.

 

“Bonnie, see these sunflower seeds?

These are all a bunny needs.

I know we prefer the lettuce,

And the carrots I will get us.

 

 

“Even though the garden’s poor,

What I’ve noticed on my tour,

Is that still the weeds can grow,

Found some good ones that I know.

 

 

“All these seeds are empty shells,

They’re the ones the squirrel repels,

Leave those sunflower seeds alone,

Better eat the greens I’ve known.

 

 

“No more hiding in the wood,

There’s a place I know we could,

Enter in the veggie patch,

All new sprouts go down the hatch.”

 

 

Hipping, hopping, off they go,

To the place that Ben will show,

Ducking through the garden fence,

Once inside they’re not so tense.

 

“One important thing,” says Ben,

“Don’t eat more than eight or ten,

If we put on too much weight,

Can’t squeeze through the garden gate.”

 

 

Though they barely made it through,

They were thrilled to chew and chew.

Bonnie says, “I’ll just eat seven,

And I’ll come back to this heaven.”


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Summer Games – Dressage

 

Last time we had firewood delivered, I found a badge at the bottom of the pile of wood.

Forty-one years ago, someone was a volunteer at the Summer Games held in Comox on Vancouver Island.

Somehow the badge they wore became a part of my collection of curiosities. I don’t know who wore this badge, but perhaps I brushed by that person as I climbed up into the stadium to watch the dressage competition.

I had just moved back to the island after being away for several years working in other parts of the province, and when I heard that the Summer Games were on, I went there to have a look.

The riding competitions caught my attention and I was impressed by how royal the riders looked. I even wondered if by some remote chance a young Prince Charles had entered our humble competition. He looked fine in his riding jacket and helmet.

The horse was brushed until he gleamed and his mane was braided. I was enthralled by the spectacle of this rider guiding his horse over barricades and around the ring to jump the various hurdles. The whole show made the Comox Valley feel like Buckingham Palace.

Riders work with their horses for years to train them and form a bond that leads to easy co-operation in the show. Discipline takes on new meaning in dressage.  I don’t know much about the rules of dressage competitions, but I know that the event was a real pleasure to watch.

Here are some photos from the Internet that relate to what I saw locally on a smaller scale.

 

 

I would go to another event like this in a heartbeat if it were held here again. Meanwhile, I will always wonder who lost this badge and where it has been for the last 41 years.