wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Promises and Hope

A few days ago after a fresh snowfall, the rising sun painted a slightly pink glow on the hills. It felt like a promise of good things to come.

Like many parts of North America, we had an extremely dry summer last year, with low water reserves and raging wildfires. A good snowpack on the hills is so important. The snow melts a bit at time over the summer, keeping our lakes and rivers at a healthy level.

The sun peeking through during a break in our usually windy and rainy weather  made me smile and I thought of so many good things in my life.013

Besides the usual, good health and a loving family, here are just a few of the things I am thankful for:

  • meeting wonderful people through my blog
  • people who read my books even if it’s just to be polite
  • people who enjoy my books
  • people who enjoy my books and write nice reviews for them on amazon
  • my two lovely dogs, Ruby and Emma
  • the clean air of the Comox Valley
  • clean, cool water that comes up from my well
  • the clean water of our lakes, rivers and oceans on the BC coast

I have to stop here because I just realized that I could write another whole book about all the things I’m so thankful for.

It has been a great year for interacting with fellow bloggers all over the world and I’m very happy to see your Likes and Comments at the end of my posts. I do try to follow back if I can. I have quite a long list of blogs I follow, and there is only so much time I can spend on getting back to each one, but I try.

This year, cancer robbed the blogging community of a wonderful lady. Barb Beacham entertained us with her short stories and photos on her blog, Life in the Foothills. I’m thankful to have met her through blogging and emails. She sent me some of her hollyhock seeds last year and when I see them growing in my garden I am reminded of her. I miss her dearly.

Dear blogging friends, enjoy every day and let the connections you make enrich your life. It is my great pleasure to have met you. I wish you a fantastic year ahead. May all your good dreams (and none of your nightmares) come true.

Happy New Year to you all!


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Walking Off Calories

After the usual overindulgence at Christmas, a walk was in order. Not too far from my house is a great place to stretch your legs. There’s a spit of land that reaches out into the part of the ocean that is between the mainland of BC and Vancouver Island. If you look towards the inland side of the spit, you’ll see the wharf at the Town of Comox.001

Looking back from the spit you can see where it is connected to the main part of the island. The left side of the photo below shows the mainland of British Columbia in the distance and the more open water that has washed countless logs and tree roots up onto the sandy spit. A breakwater of sorts has been built with short logs to make a fence, in the hope of keeping high surf from washing debris across the road that goes along the spit (beside the hydro poles). No surf today though.

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Looking towards Comox again, the chill of the newly fallen snow brings a breeze that stings reddened ears. The sleeping prince and princess of the Comox Glacier are on this photo, but hidden behind a swath of clouds.

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Doesn’t that water look chilly? That’s because it IS.


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Winter Begins

Monday, December 21, 2015 at 8:49 PM Pacific Standard Time

That’s when the northern hemisphere is leaning the farthest away from the earth. After that, it will come back closer to the sun by tiny degrees. Officially it’s the beginning of winter, but to me, it means the worst is over and we are beginning the journey back from the darkness and heading for spring.

Monday will be the day with the least amount of daylight. The night before that (tomorrow night) will be the longest stretch of darkness. That’s okay. I can hibernate for one more night before getting all excited about adding a minute or two of daylight to each coming day.

This fall, it has been one wind/rainstorm after another here on Vancouver Island. But a few days ago, the wind switched to the northwest and the blast of Arctic air brought some of that moisture down in the shape of snowflakes.

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With the newly fallen snow, it seems that the Christmas carols are now more festive and meaningful, although I always wondered why snow has this effect on us, since the original Christmas story took place in a desert and obviously it was warm enough there, because not even the wise men were wearing a parka.

I hope the snow stays up in the hills. I don’t need to go play in it or make angels in the snow. I’m happy enough to look at it from the warmth and comfort of my living room.

 

 

 


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Comox Glacier

 

We’ve had an awful lot of rain lately. It’s almost as bad as last year at this time. I went back to the news report from Dec. 9, 2014 when the city of Courtenay had unusually high flooding in the city park next to the river. Usually it’s just flooding over the baseball diamonds and some of the kids’ play areas, but last year was bad, as you can see from this photo by Julie Nichol, with widespread flooding over the fields and roads nearby. That’s the Courtenay River on the left and Lewis Park on the right.

Courtenay flooding 2014

This year in December, it has rained a lot again, and almost to the day there was flooding in the low areas of Courtenay.

BUT! At higher elevations, all that rain came down as snow. The owners of the local ski hill on Mt. Washington must be ecstatic to have this dump of snow just in time for their official opening today.

Those of us who did not get up to the ski hill could still enjoy the results of all this higher elevation “rain turned to snow” just by looking up at the Comox Glacier. It has been losing mass year by year, but today, even though it received only a superficial coating of snow, it looks the way it did many years ago when it was still a substantial glacier.

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Several legends are told about the glacier, and one that seemed plausible today says that this mountain is a “Sleeping Princess.” I can see her lying there with her head on the right side of the glacier, chin in the air. But then I took another photo and discovered that the prince may also be lying there to the right. Do you see him there? He has a fat belly.

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It makes me happy to see the rain turned into snow in such a beautiful way, fit for royalty.

 


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Carols and Calories

Something happened when the Christmas carols were turned on this morning. The cookbook came out and in a short time the kitchen looked like a bomb fell into it. I managed to get through it and clear away the disaster part of baking. Then it was time for my reward.

 You can see that the reward part is missing from the Striezel. 001

My mother used to make the best Striezel and I miss her baking,  but without her I have to do the best I can from memory. I know she used nuts and raisins and I know now that the dough was firmer. Mine kind of spread more than it rose, but that little piece that is missing from the end of the smaller loaf sure was good just the same.002

The gingersnaps are more traditional on the Captain’s side of the family, and the oatmeal raisin cookies were an afterthought only because they are our all-year-round standby.

Now please, help yourself. Would you like tea or coffee with that?


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A Man’s Gotta Eat

When the cold weather hit us about ten days ago, I hurried out to make sure my birdfeeders were full, and added some suet blocks to the menu. One of the first to enjoy a meal of suet was this Oregon junco. My sister calls them her little soldiers because of their black helmets. (I took these pictures through a window and using the zoom lens so that accounts for the graininess, but it’s the only way I could get close to the birds.)010

But a rather large dinner guest arrived. The steller’s jay muscled his way past the little soldier. He gobbled down a big dinner and then beat a hasty retreat when an even bigger diner flew in.012

This woodpecker, a red-shafted northern flicker landed right on his dinner plate. He had his black bib on and came prepared for dining. He looks quite dapper with his polka-dot shirt and a slash of red lipstick on his moustache. No, it’s not Mrs. Flicker, according to my bird book. In bird families it’s the men who get all gussied up and the women who keep a low profile. So here we have Jack Flash and his red slash, holding on for dear life to his seat at the table.

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“Is it okay to start eating?” he asks. (Polite young man, isn’t he?)

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Oh, maybe I spoke too soon. He’s got food all over his mouth.

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“Did you say something?”

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I told him he had food on his face, but he didn’t seem to care. He just stuck his face right into his plate.

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“This place is a bit too picky for me. Maybe I’ll try ‘Avery’s Restaurant’ next door. They don’t stand there watching you eat, taking pictures like private investigators. I suppose they’ll mail these photos to my wife. But go ahead. See if I care. She’s out to a ladies’ lunch date at the Treehouse Diner with her girlfriends  having the Insect Borgasschmord. I’ll get whatever I can get wherever I can get it, and so what if I make a pig of myself? A man’s gotta eat.” 036