wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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We Must Tell the King

The other day I was picking up hazelnuts that had fallen on the ground. My dogs have taken a liking to them and Ruby has taught Emma to crack them in her teeth. Not a good thing to do unless you want cracked teeth, too. So I’m trying to keep a step ahead by gathering the nuts as they fall. It’s a bit disheartening when, after I’ve shaken the trees to make the nuts fall, and cleaned the whole area under the trees, a breeze comes along and more nuts fall. Impossible to keep up with it all.

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But as the nuts are falling, so are the apples. I’d picked up the ones on the ground and had gone back to raking up the area under the hazelnut trees, when a strong gust of wind knocked a beautiful, big apple out of the tree next to me. Thonk! It whacked me on the head and thudded to the ground.

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How brainwashed we are! In that split second, I was six years old again, listening to stories on Uncle Leroy’s radio show, “Kiddies’ Corner,” on a Saturday morning at 9 o’clock. Uncle Leroy played the recorded stories,  and as clearly as if it had been only yesterday, I heard Chicken Little say, “Bockbockbock! The SKY is falling! And WE must tell the KING! BaBOCKbock!”

I shook off the memory and chuckled at how these stories, like  Pepsodent and Brylcreem jingles are imprinted into our brains by the media.

Then I glanced up from my nitpicking and nut picking, and looked towards the neighbours’ house. Our back driveway is only sometimes used, but for a day or two it wouldn’t be used at all. In the previous night’s huge windstorm that caused havoc all across southwestern British Columbia, a part of the huge maple tree that stands beside the driveway had broken off and landed across it.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, BaBOCKbock! I really MUST go tell the king! (And ask him to bring his chain saw.)


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Rain, at Last

You may remember this same photo from the last post, except that the ocean and distant hills were visible in it. Today, it is totally blocked out by the huge mass of clouds that have moved in, bringing long-hoped-for rain to our parched plants.001

Below, you can barely see the streaks of rain between the bottom leaves of the hazelnut tree and the top of the last beans on the garden fencing. My garden is slurping up the rain faster than it can come down, and it’s coming down pretty hard. The grass is brown and in much of the yard it is broken off and areas of bare dirt are growing at an alarming rate. This rain will help repair that damage. The grass always comes back.

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See the streaks of rain as it dumps out of the sky? It almost looks like the hazelnut tree is crying, but if it is, those are tears of joy.

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I’m thrilled that it rained so much. The plants and our low water table need it desperately. The salmon, waiting at the mouths of dry creeks and rivers that are merely a trickle, will soon be happy  to shoot upstream to lay eggs and spawn.

We’re thankful for the rain. Now, I wonder how long it will take before we start complaining about that rain that just won’t let up.


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The Name of the Rose

The sky had some unique striations in it last night just after the sun had set, and I ran to grab my camera.

Towards the west I took this photo.
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Towards the south, the moon was already trying to inch out from behind the fir trees. I wanted to get more pictures of the moon, but just as it came out of hiding, my luck changed. The camera battery went dead. Quickly, switch batteries. But the spare was dead too, so that marked the end of the evening’s photographic efforts.

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The next morning I managed to get more photos. The rudbeckia was irresistible.

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Then I noticed this very special rose. I’ve had it for about 26 years and never knew its true name. When I bought it, the label said “Tropicana.” Its photo showed an orangey-red flower, but when mine finally bloomed, it was more like the colour of coffee with cream.

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For years I thought the rose had been mislabeled but when I did a search for Tropicana, I saw that one or two of the roses were of this “coffee with cream” colour. The rest were the standard reddish orange. So maybe it wasn’t misnamed at all, but was just one of the few specimens with special colouring. And all these years I had wondered about the name of the rose.


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Invermere Hotel

The Invermere Hotel was a landmark since 1900. Originally it was named Hotel Canterbury. Located on the main street of Invermere in southeastern British Columbia, the Invermere Hotel was the hub of the little town. Its main draw in later years was the beer parlour, but it was the center of the community’s events when the Paradise Mine was still active. Silver, lead, and zinc were mined there from the time these metals were discovered nearby in 1889 until the mine finally closed in 1964. During the mining heydays, the Invermere Hotel (Hotel Cranberry) was always bustling with community activities.

In August of 1973, the captain and I were in Invermere and decided that the way to get the flavour of the town was to visit its local drinking establishment. I don’t generally frequent beer parlours, but I’m glad I did that night. It was  entertaining, and I would never have the chance again, because that night, at  2 a.m. the two-storey frame building burned to the ground. Reports say the blaze appears to have started in an attic.

Only one guest, a permanent resident, and staff were in the building at the time. No one was hurt.

Firemen battled the blaze for more than two hours with the two available fire trucks, but there was really no hope of saving the historic landmark.

I felt quite sad when I took this photo the next morning. Another bit of history was gone.

By the way, do you see the phone booth (remember those?) where Clark Kent failed to get changed into his Superman outfit in time to save the hotel?

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Harvest Time

It seems that fall is sneaking up on us. The nights are fresh and there’s a hint of dew on the ground in the mornings. The mountain ash berries are ripening, ready for desperate robins who come back down from berry-filled hills after the harvest, looking for anything left to eat. 004

Walnuts tell us it’s fall, as they near full size. They’ll leave an awful mess of walnut stain when the outer shell breaks open to reveal the brown nut inside. Wear gloves when you pick them or you’ll have stained fingers worse than the heaviest smoker ever had.

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This apple must be the one Eve offered to Adam. It’s the sweetest and juiciest of apples, the Gravenstein.008

Smaller than the Italian prune plum are the damsons. They’re sweet and tarty, perfect for eating or making jam.

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Then there are the yellow plums (which actually still look quite greenish when they’re ripe). They are really juicy, they don’t keep long, and are best eaten right away or made into jam.  017

The red Anjou pear is delicious and looks great with the peel still on when sliced onto a dessert.016

The Wilmuta apple is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. It ripens in October and keeps well. Sweet and juicy, it’s a perfect late season apple.

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And what is this weird-looking thing? Mini squashes on a shrub? It’s quince. The shrub has beautiful red-orange blooms in the spring and then bears this fruit about the size of crab apples. When they’re yellow the quinces are ripe. I don’t recommend trying to eat them but they make a good jam of the marmalade style.

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Let’s hear it for the old standby – MacIntosh apples. What’s not to like?
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The hazelnuts are nearly ripe too. I’ve learned not to get too excited about the first ones that fall off the tree when those fall winds start to blow. Usually they are the duds, so don’t waste you time husking and drying them. Later, there will still be plenty of good ones. If you’re not too impatient and don’t mind risking losing them to steller’s jays and raccoons, you can pick the nuts up without the husks which come off more easily as the nuts dry. 021

And of course there’s nature adding to my planted efforts, providing blackberries for free. It’s a huge crop this year. 023 I really would like some help with all this harvesting and so far I’ve had one volunteer. Ruby is doing her best to brave the prickles. Tells you how good these blackberries are!026