wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Wilma the Pileated Woodpecker

Wilma is a pileated woodpecker. She doesn’t have the red slash that the males have under their cheek. Wilma is a juvenile. Her red topknot is not yet fully developed.

She is hungry for insects, her main food.

“Oh, look! There’s Anneli’s garden,” says Wilma. “She’s always complaining about the bugs in it. I should check it out.”

“Now let’s have a look. Yup! Lots of weeds, so that’s good for my bug search.”

“Just got to make sure that dog of hers isn’t around. That Emma can be a real nuisance.”

“Okay, first raised bed. Hmm … nothing but stray poppies and weeds. What gives?”

“And over here, she hasn’t even planted anything … other than a few rocks.”

“These oriental poppies look pretty. Buzzing with bees inside them. But I’m looking for bugs, not bees.”

“Okay, so that was a bust. I think I’ll just stick to my roaming around and around these fir trees, and maybe check out a few stumps.”

“By the way, you want to hear my dad calling? He is magnificent!”


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An Evening Promise

Riled up clouds go lumbering by,

Stirring up unsettled sky,

Wispy, misty moisture passes,

Light diffused upon its masses.

 

Sun’s last efforts streaming low,

Just before it lets us go,

Into darkness for some hours,

As the clouds spit out their showers.

 

Promises of warmer rays,

Shining down in coming days,

Though Sun sleeps behind the hill,

It will rise again, it will.

 

Morning rays revitalize,

More than we can realize,

But for now it says good night,

Telling all of us, “Sleep tight.”


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Competition

Jasper and Caspar are two of Lincoln’s babies. They bumble and bounce around the woodshed and the trees, quite naively, unaware that danger lurks everywhere.

But today, Jasper cares only about eating.

“It’s a chilly day for June,” he says. “I have to eat something to warm up. I’ll try this bit of bark .”

“Oops! Oh darn. It fell between the logs. It wasn’t that tasty anyway. I need to find a cone.”

“Maybe there’s one tucked inside this stump.”

“Ho-Hohhhh!” says Caspar. “What are you up to, Jasper? Anything I can help you find?”

“Nothing! Nothing at all.” Jasper tries to sound convincing. “Why don’t you just go find your own cones, Caspar? This is MY stump.”

 

“Whew! Got rid of him. But now, to find a new cone. Let’s see…. Where can I find a cone? There must be some buried around here. I’m thinking, I’m thinking….”

“I’ll try digging here. Looks like a lot of digging has been going on.”

“Ahh … yes! My reward for all my hard work. Now I’d better find a safe place to eat it.”

Jasper and Caspar have once shared a nest

Now they just fight about who is the best.

Who can find hazelnuts, filberts, and cones?

Who fills his stomach then lies down and groans?

 

One finds a treasure, the other sneaks in,

Stuffs up his face from his cheeks to his chin,

Runs to a stump where he gobbles his loot,

Before brother jumps up to give him the boot.

 

Backflips and scampers around and around,

Climbing up fir trees till he can’t be found,

“I’ll get you for that,” Jasper chatters out loud.

“So catch me,” sneers Caspar. He’s feeling quite proud.

 

“What about sharing?” our Jasper exclaims.

Quivering mad, he is tired of these games.

“Dig,” Caspar says, “there are more cones to find,

It’s called competition, and that, I don’t mind.”

 

 


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Beary Scary

Years ago, before I got a good camera, I took this photo of a grizzly. It’s not  very clear, but I really didn’t want to do a close-up.

This is the Orford River which flows into Bute Inlet on the west coast of British Columbia.

We had tied the fish boat to a small dock in a bay around the corner, and then took a ride up the river in our aluminum skiff. The area was known for grizzlies and we wanted to see one, but I hadn’t counted on two things:

that we would actually see one not too far away,

and that the mouth of the Orford has a lot of sandbars.

I’ve had nightmares about bears forever, but it would still be a big deal to see one. I knew if a bear actually came along and tried to chase us, we could just turn the skiff around, rev up the outboard, and roar out of there.

On the way upriver though, we were pushing the boat off one sandbar after another with the oars to keep in water deep enough to use the motor. These sandbars were spotty and just when you thought you were in the clear, up popped another one. So I was even more nervous than usual. And of course that’s when we saw him.

Even with his hind end in the water, as he swatted at salmon going by, I could tell he was huge. We watched for a moment or two, but when he saw us, we knew it.

His head came up and he stretched his neck up tall. Then as he sauntered in our direction along the fallen log that you see lying across the river, we thought it was time to get out of there.

There are some things you do in your life that seem okay at the time, and later you say to yourself, “What was I thinking?!”

This was one of those times.

It was a big thrill to see the bear, but what if he hadn’t been so agreeable? Didn’t I know how fast they can run for a short sprint? And what if we had gotten high-centered on one of those sandbars in our haste to get away.

Everything could have ended up differently.

And I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about it,

because bears don’t have Internet inside their bellies.

 


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Quentin’s Quest (Continued)

If you remember Quentin the quail was here on our front steps on April 11, 2021. He was lonely then, and I’m sorry to say he’s still lonely today.

He wonders if his Queenie is hiding around the corner post.

“Nope! Not there.”

“Did you see her anywhere around here? Or any other quail? I haven’t had a friend for two years! It’s almost more than I can take.”


I called and called at dawn today

In case a quail were near,

Twas quiet here at five o’clock,

You’d think someone would hear.

 

 

I hopped onto the concrete steps,

So I could better see,

But nowhere was a quail-like bird,

To be a friend to me.

 

 

I even peered around the post,

To catch a glimpse of her,

But all in vain, she was not there,

Yet naught will me deter.

 

 

I rushed up to the front door glass,

I saw her there before,

She stood there looking back at me,

From just inside the door.

 

 

The glass is messier today,

Back then it was so clean,

Perhaps  what I saw in the glass,

Was me!  Could it have been?

 

 

If that’s the case, then I will stay,

Without a girl  that’s mine.

And yet I cannot help myself,

My soul will always pine.

 

 

I guess I’ll be a bachelor,

And spend each day alone,

I’ll hang out on the porch right here,

And make this my new home.

 


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What They Are Not

Lichens are weird “things.” Wiki says they “arise” from algae or cyanobacteria (bluish bacteria also known as blue-green algae). And yet lichens are not algae, as such. They live and grow among the filaments of fungi, but they are not fungi.

They come in many different colours and forms. They may look like moss, and sometimes are even called moss (reindeer moss, Iceland moss), but they are not moss.

They may look like they have tiny leaves, but they are not plants.

They have no roots to absorb water or nutrients, but they manufacture their own nutrition through photosynthesis.

When they grow on plants (like on the bark of trees) they are not parasites. They “do their own thing,” just using the plant as support.

The lichens in this photo are on a large rock near the creek mentioned in my previous post – the one that is foaming at the mouth.

 

I liken the lichen to plants,

But then I look at them askance.

The algae have similar features,

But lichen are different creatures.

 

 

Some fungi look like them a bit,

But not everything is a fit,

Although they may look like a moss,

They’re not and I feel at a loss.

 

 

Organic creations they are,

Found throughout our nations afar,

With features distinct and unique,

These grew on a rock by the creek.

 

 

So just what they are, I don’t know,

But see how they put on a show,

And next time you’re hiking or biking,

You’ll likely encounter some lichen.

 


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Foaming at the Mouth

No, it’s not a rabid animal. It’s just a creek flowing into the lake, but at its mouth, there is a lot of foam.

The frothy bubbles swirled and flowed in sweeping circles, making patterns on the lake.

This is clean, clean water, but for some reason the foam formed when the water splashed over the rocks at the mouth of the creek, and stayed frothy for quite some distance into the lake.

Foam like icing on a cake,

Lightly drifting on the lake,

Swirling, flowing, curling round,

Who knows where it may be bound?

 

Lacy curtain for a fish,

Saves him landing in a dish,

But when he jumps in the air.

Foamy mustache he will wear.


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The Olympic Diver

Evidence of long ago logging documents the size of some of the trees that used to grow around the lake. All around, lie smaller logs that have been knocked down by wind or by the annual flooding of the lake as heavy rainfall swells the feeder creeks, or snow melt causes the lake to rise.

So the lake has areas where a boater must take care to avoid half-sunken logs and deadheads.

One such deadhead was just below the surface of the lake, so some thoughtful person attached a white float marker to it as a warning to boaters. I  don’t have a photo of this marker, but it was a fair distance from shore.

I should mention that when Emma was only six months old, the Captain was walking along the banks of the Missouri River with her in Montana. Without warning, Emma jumped from the four-foot-high bank into the river. She loves the water.

So you can guess what she did as we motored along, and Emma spied the float. She must have thought it was a duck that needed to be retrieved.

A flying leap, an Olympic dive, two gasps from us in the boat!

The Captain immediately shut down the outboard motor, called his enthusiastic dog back to the boat, and hoisted her aboard. I expected to get shaken on, but what I didn’t count on was that she leaned on me on her way back to her front row seat and got my backside sopping wet before she gave me her shower.

I remember the Captain asking me then if I still loved my dog.


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Camping

A few days of R and R were in order, so we took our old trailer to a lake that was about three hours’ drive from home, and set up camp.

Once the main chores were done, I sprawled back in my lawn chair and looked up.

This is what I saw.  Although there were people camped next to us, it was quiet because they were out on the lake in their kayaks. The peacefulness of the place was a moment to treasure. On the coming long weekend, it would be much more of a party place, but for now, it was wonderfully quiet. Just the whisper of the leaves high up in those trees.

Later we would try our hand at fishing in the lake, but it was so hard to decide whether to hold the fishing rod or the camera.

Now that I’m home and it’s the weekend, I can’t help but wonder how the party is going. I bet it is noisy and a complete change from the quiet few days we spent there. Timing is everything.


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Giant Cedars

Do you see a tiny dark creature at the base of one of the forest giants? It’s Emma the Explorer.

Look at me, Anneli. I’m at the foot of the Empire State Tree. I can’t climb, and there’s no elevator. It sure looks huge from where I am. Click to make the picture bigger and maybe you’ll see me. I’m black and have a white nose.

Giant cedars standing tall,
Many here have yet to fall,
Others tumbled to the lake,
Fell so hard the earth did shake.

Still they keep their feet on shore,
Though they won't grow anymore,
Flooding waters soaked their boots,
And by force they lost their roots.

What these giant trees have seen,
Since they first began to lean,
Has a bear once scratched his hide,
On the cedar's sunny side?

Has a buck his antlers rubbed,
Losing velvet as he scrubbed?
Did an eagle perched aloft,
Make his nest there, downy soft?

Cedars lying in the lake,
Tangle trout that lures do take,
Lucky fish will break the line,
Swim away and feel just fine.

Silent sentinels await,
And one day they'll meet their fate,
Younger trees will then stand guard,
While the old ones fall down hard.

But the cycle carries on,
Wood in water will be gone,
Many seasons come and go,
And the young have room to grow.