wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Heat, Rain, and Rainbows

After weeks of hot, dry weather, the cooler days of autumn are so welcome. The grass that was yellow and breaking off if anyone walked on it, is breathing a huge sigh of relief. With each little rainfall, it has greened up slightly. Now, it is getting a really good soaking as the skies opened up and torrents of water dumped out.


And of course, I ran for the shovel  when this rainbow appeared. I’m still looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sunny days are wonderful,

Warmth upon our skin,

All the flowers colourful,

Happy I have been.

 

But the sun shone every day,

Scorching every leaf,

Who would think we’d ever say,

Soon we’ll need relief.

 

People smiling through their sweat,

Lied and said, “How nice,”

Still they hoped that rain we’d get,

Even hail or ice.

 

Yet the sun just shone and shone,

As we watched the sky,

Secret rituals going on,

Rain dance on the sly.

 

Finally our wish came true,

Heavens opened wide,

Soaking people through and through,

As they ran to hide.

 

Rainbow glows in every shade,

Colours shining bold,

Hurry! Go and get that spade,

Dig that pot of gold.

.


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Fall Crocuses

These crocuses don’t bloom until the autumn. In spring, they only have big green leaves which then turn yellow and wilt away. But in the autumn when everything else is dying and other blooms are finished, the flowers of this type of crocus pop up and bloom all alone without their leaves.

The Crocus family is having a meeting. They’ve seen Anneli coming along with her camera.

*****

“It’s picture time. Stand up straight, everyone!” says Ardyth. She’s the tallest crocus, the third one from the right. She likes to think she’s the boss.

They all stand up straight, noses in the air.

All except one. There’s ALWAYS one!

 

“Look at me, guys!” Mitch yells from his place on the ground. “I’m a python. I can swallow an animal whole. No teeth needed, no siree. I just open my big jaws and … GULP! Down the hatch! … Impressive, eh?”

 

If you could look into their faces, you would see the other six crocuses rolling their eyes. A breeze comes along to help them move as  they all shake their heads slowly.

So much for the family photo.

Ardyth sighs. “Oh, that Mitch and his snake fantasies.”

The row of well-behaved crocuses stretch their noses higher into the air.

“We’re being good, Ardyth,” they whisper eagerly. “But remember last year, when Gerald teetered back and forth until he finally leaned over backwards so far that he fell over and yelled, ‘Look at me! I’m a FALL crocus!'”

 


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The Last Goodies

As the season officially changes on Sept. 22, at about 12:21 p.m. Pacific time, we say goodbye to the heat and drought of the summer from hell, and welcome the wind and rain of the shorter autumn days.

My garden was a disaster this year with a long cold spring that didn’t encourage seeds to germinate, and a dry, way-too-hot summer that threatened to toast any plants that dared to pop up. Watering barely kept things alive and below a half-inch barrier on the surface, the ground was often powder dry.

The fruit trees had a poor crop this year but a few plums (not as many as in other years) and a few (VERY few) apples managed to grow. My favourite apple tree, the Wilmuta (a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein) wasn’t exactly loaded either but the few apples it did have were very nice. You can see the Wilmutas below.

The last of the plums. They’re so sweet and tasty, but there were not enough of them.

The walnuts look like they’re drying right on the tree instead of falling off still in their green husks. They don’t look that great this year, but I discovered today that Lincoln has found the backyard walnut tree too (after cleaning off the two hazelnut trees in the front yard).

I don’t think Lincoln will starve this year, as the nuts did all right by squirrel standards.

Digging holes to hide the nuts,

This is what I do,

Later they will fill my guts,

Very tasty too.

 

Working hard this time of year,

Just as I’ve been taught,

Later I can give a cheer,

For the food I’ve got.

 

Days are shorter, now it’s fall,

Must pick up the pace,

Hiding nuts, I have them all,

See my smiling face.

 

Come the winter, nights are chilled,

Cozy I will be,

Lying back with stomach filled,

Happiness for me.

 


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Moving Day

Usually we think of moving day as a marathon of packing up boxes and then calling muscular friends or a moving company to throw all the furniture and other belongings into a truck to take it all to the new house. But what if you found a real bargain of a “fixer-upper” and you had a small piece of land to put it on, but that place was farther up the coast from where you lived? Or maybe you wanted to turn the “fixer-upper” into a house to rent out.

These houses appear for sale now and then, parked on wooden blocks to hold up the house on each corner, on a loading area near our town. The houses are sold and then brought in by tug and barge to be taken away to another location, often another coastal area.

A truck with a long low platform drives under the raised up house which is then lowered onto the lowbed and driven onto a barge to be towed by the tug to its new location. The low bed is unhooked from the tractor and can be reconnected to another one for unloading at the destination. I can barely make out the wheels of the trailer under the house at the front of the barge.

This (above) was the scene looking out from my house one day, but I found an article in the Times-Colonist that showed pictures of other houses being moved by this method. The houses are not necessarily  all “fixer-uppers.” The circumstances could be quite different.

 

So if you like your house, but it’s not in the right location, you can now move the house instead of your belongings.  Or you can find a  house and have it moved up the coast to your property. For that matter, if you’re stranded on a desert island, you can just use your smart phone and order  a house to be brought in.

And maybe, if you have Amazon Prime you might save yourself the shipping charges. Ya think?


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Pigs, Music, Books

We know that pigs are smart.

I read somewhere that pigs like music, especially Mozart’s compositions. While this piece is not by Mozart, it is a German song often sung by community choirs, so maybe that inspired the pig to learn to play it. It is called “Komm, Trost der Welt” (Come, Comfort of the World), and refers to the night and how it brings consolation, respite, and relief to many  who work hard all day long and have a lot of cares.

You can see that I used the music sheet that the pig is playing from as part of the cover of my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

The pig is not a character in my book, but once he learns to play the song, I’ll teach him to read so he can enjoy “Julia’s Violinist.”

You can buy this novel for less than the price of a hamburger at amazon if you have Kindle, or at smashwords.com if you have any other kind of e-reader.  Just click on the image of the book on the sidebar of this blog.

 

 


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First Dampish Days

A dampish day, but that’s okay,

The sky is overcast,

The garden’s wet, so I’m all set,

The watering chore is past.

 

A squirrel hops, he looks, and stops,

He chatters to my face,

Then turns to run and have more fun,

At some much safer place.

 

I pick a pear and am aware

That rabbits like to chew,

If fruit should fall to ground at all,

It’s nibbled through and through.

 

The garden thrives and gives up chives

To make a lovely sauce,

But not the squash, it was a wash,

Complete and total loss.

I’m glad that kale does not get stale,

It’s growing, slow but strong,

This healthy plant in soup just can’t

Make anything go wrong.

 

A lonely rose, so bravely grows,

And blooms its last few days,

But come next year, you must not fear,

Again, it will amaze.


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All Masked Up

 

First it was the dog, growling and barking at me, and now it’s that woman waving her camera around like she’s a journalist and I’m the star of her freak show. I can see the headlines now: Masked Bandit Hides in Tree

Only one thing to do, and that’s go higher and stay put. The woman doesn’t look like she’s much of a climber – not at her age.

Emma, her dog, can jump a few feet, but of course, she can’t climb.

 

 

Well … let’s see … what’s the best way to get up here?

I’ll just have a stretch before I climb any higher. Get limbered up before I go up the limbs.

Ouch! I forgot about my owie. Think I scraped it the other night going up a tree in a hurry. Couldn’t really see where I was going and I gave myself a sore arm on one of those broken branches.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, check out Mrs. Journalist. Yup, she’s still standing there pointing that black thing my way. Well, at least she can’t identify me with my mask on, so I can cause any kind of mischief I want. But I am complying with all the Covid rules – I have my mask on …  which is silly, because we’re outdoors in the fresh air.

When will she stop pointing that camera at me?

Sorry, but I’m a bit camera shy.

She’s a brazen one! Still there. Still pointing that gadget at me. Good thing I have a mask on for anonymity as well as for Covid. But still, still, still….

I’d better stay hidden behind the tree. I’ll just peek out now and then to see if she’s gone yet, and to make sure that dog isn’t around.

Reggie Raccoon felt quite brave around noon,

He just couldn’t wait until dark.

Running so hard across Anneli’s yard,

He leaped up the nearest tree’s bark.

 

Rushing he scrambled, his fate he had gambled,

He came close to losing his tail,

Emma, the jumper, leaped up to his bumper,

It’s lucky her snap was a fail.

 


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A Hard-earned Treat

Even though the summer has been dry, the blackberry vines were loaded. Emma has learned that the pain from pokes and prickles of thorns is worth the trouble.

 

She loves blackberries.

Her tender little nose takes a lot of punishment in order to get at the berries.

Some are not so willing to fall off and be eaten. Emma doesn’t mind pulling.

If only I could teach her to place them in a container for me without slobbering on them, and bring them to the house.

When I pick berries for myself I’m always sure to pick the ones that are higher than about a foot off the ground.

 

Once I saw my people pick,

Blackberries from bushes thick,

Why not do the same as them?

Looks like they are quite a gem.

 

Sure enough, the taste was fine,

But my poor lips bit a spine,

“Yikes! That hurts,” I yelped in pain,

Then I tried it once again.

 

Sweet and juicy was the taste,

Not to eat would be a waste,

Now I grit my teeth and pull,

And eat berries ’til I’m full.


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Stop Bugging Me

This horrible creature – ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – loves my yard, especially the potato patch.  A few years ago we had some of these (1.5″ to 2″) beetles hanging around the place, but things must have been going very well for them since then, as they are now extremely prolific. Not only do they fly around the yard at night like little helicopters and try to land on my back when I have the dog out for her last pee, but they get into my garden, lay their eggs, and when the grubs hatch out, they eat the potatoes.

 

Here is a pathetic little potato, mostly eaten by one of these ten-lined beetle larvae. I was discouraged by my struggling potato crop, since not much was growing in the very dry soil. Even after watering it every day, the soil was dry except for the first half inch. So I decided to pull up the potatoes and cut my losses. Why water these potatoes just to feed the bugs?

A few days ago, I pulled up half my potato crop and found about thirty of the grubs. I put them on an upside down garbage can lid and placed the lid at the base of a tree I had seen raccoons climb up a day or so before. The next day the grubs were gone.

Two days later, I dug up the rest of the potatoes, and again, found all these grubs that you see on the garbage can lid. I left them there, on offer to any raccoons that might be passing through the yard at night. I know the raccoons are here every night because I hear them, I see them, and I see the holes in the grass where they have been digging to try finding these grubs without my help.

With any luck, these grubs would become racoon food and save me the trouble of stepping on them to squish them. I don’t want them to suffer, but they are destroying my garden, and it already needs all the help it can get.

Do you have these terrifying insects in your yard? I hope not.

*****

 

Update: A few hours later I looked at these grubs and saw that a bunch of yellow jackets had found them and were eating them alive. It seemed cruel to me, but I didn’t feel sorry enough for them to try to save them.

Early in the morning, all traces of the grubs were gone, so I am assuming that the raccoons ate them.

 

 


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Be Careful What You Wish For

We waited all through the long cold, wet winter and spring for a few sunny days to come our way.

Since the middle of June, the heat and sun have been pretty much relentless. Now, in late August, I’ve learned to be careful what I wish for.

 

Grass is parched and plants have wilted,

Weather forecasts all sound stilted,

Every living thing has thirst,

How I’d love a good cloudburst.

 

Hanging baskets wilt and wail, 

“Give me water from that pail!”

Sun is great, but heat’s a pain,

Don’t you think it’s time for rain?

 

I no longer wish for sun

Too much heat is not such fun,

Sunshine scorches all I see,

Moderation is the key.