Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


Fire in the Hole (or is that Hold?)

Fire in the hole is a warning that was called out to miners when explosives stashed in a hole in the wall of a mine were about to be detonated. It may also have referred to the lighting of the little hole in a cannon where gunpowder was packed and burned until it reached the main charge that fired the cannon.

But in this case, it was not “fire in the hole,” but rather “fire in the hold” of this boat. Around the end of May this year, fire broke out on this boat. The cause is thought to be a bad combination of gasoline fumes and electric sparks, but I’m not sure of that, since I wasn’t on the boat to know. The owner, who lived aboard had only one option and that was to jump into the water. Even so he got some burns, but he’ll be okay.

You may recognize the Royston Wrecks on the opposite shore. I posted photos of them in this post: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/04/06/royston-wrecks/025

We were a good couple of miles away as the crow flies, maybe more, so the pictures are not very clear, but the smoke leaves no doubt about what was happening.


I’m not sure if this is the Comox fireboat (whose five-minute drive took an incredibly long time – not their finest hour, nor their usual response time) or the one from Powell River (which arrived  amazingly quickly from the mainland, across the Strait of Georgia).Both arrived on the scene about the same time, but too late to save the boat.037

The fleet anchored in the bay could only stand and stare, and feel very sorry for the boat’s owner.




The One True Poppy ?

I am the one true poppy

The one in Flanders’ fields.

Surrounded here by “wannabe”s

At last my patience yields.

I’m falling prey to apoppyplexy.

Helpless as I am,

Rooted in the ground like this

I’m truly in a jam.

But look at my frustration

The lesser poppies bloom

And I am forced to bear their smirks

While I am filled with gloom.

You see that Missy Paleface

Deceitful all in white?

And what about Pink Poodle?

Her hairdo is a fright.

The crackpots growing opium

Are gossiping again.

Do they not know their sticky juice

Is going to fry their brain?

The bugs may crawl upon my face

My pollen’s falling down,

But I’m the only real one here

And I should wear the crown.


Pink Poodle


Miss Paleface






Deer up close

This post is in response to Pit’s questions about getting close to the deer in his yard in Texas. I’m on Vancouver Island and we have similar problems with the deer coming close because their natural habitat has been taken over. It is, strictly speaking, illegal to feed wild animals, but we feed birds all the time, and the deer in our area were so undernourished, their poor condition was enough to make a grown man cry. You could see the deer’s ribs and their fur was mottled and thin, marked all over by parasites that had taken up residence in their bodies. I said to the Captain, “You either have to shoot them and put them out of their misery, or we have to feed them.”

“Well, you can’t shoot around here, so I guess I’ll pick up some cracked corn at the feed store.”

At first I put piles of cracked corn on the grass. Then later I got some old pots and just set those out, so the corn didn’t get wasted in the grass. The deer soon got used to me as I crouched nearby while they ate. Each time they got more comfortable about me being there and finally they would eat from my hand. I’ve touched their cheeks and when the fawns were born, they brought them over and I touched their little faces. I’ve never felt fur so soft.

I know it was wrong to feed a wild animal, but these deer had nowhere to go and they were suffering, so the choice was easy. People had caused the problem, so people had to try to fix it. The next year, the deer were in much better shape. Two other neighbours farther down the road were also feeding them and it got the deer over the worst times when we had particularly harsh winters.

I haven’t fed the deer for several years now. This picture is 15 years old. But I would do it again if they looked needy.

Feeding the deer[1]


Goats on the Roof Again

I wrote about the Coombs Market in a previous post. Please have another look at that blog if you can spare the time. It’s a wonderful place to visit. The attraction is that there are goats living on the roof. Here is the link:


On this visit, the young fellow, Billy, had been naughty.014a


But it was lovely to see him anyway, and we shopped till we dropped underneath that roof he’s standing on.


Talent to Spare

Our friend Bruce Glover is a talented man. Not only does he know a lot about the habits of many animals, he can paint and carve their likenesses with such skill that any of his subjects would be flattered if they could see his work. Here, Bruce stands before a display of some of his work on loan to a seniors’ residence.

Bruce Glover

One of Bruce’s favourite birds to carve is the brant goose. Here is a flock of them flying near Goose Spit on Vancouver Island. Notice the various wing positions in this photo and the next one.



Now compare the live birds with carvings that he has made.


This life-size brant has fooled many an admirer whose first inclination is to touch it to see if it’s real. Of course, touching a carving is a no-no, because even the cleanest fingers leave an oily residue that would soon break down the paint. This brant is carved from wood and each feather looks delicate when you look closely. It’s hard to believe it’s not alive.

The little miniature ducks at the brant’s feet don’t belong there. That was my own (silly) addition to the scene.


Bruce also did this flock of Canada geese …



and this one of the pileated woodpecker.



The black brant carved right into this piece of wood was meant to be a sign by our driveway. We didn’t like to leave it out in all kinds of weather though, and it now hangs in the house.001

A very large sign that Bruce has recently made covers the whole table in his shop. The bend in the wood is from the way the trunk grew when the tree was knocked over by a larger tree that fell on it. The small tree continued to grow for many years and had a huge trunk when it was finally knocked down. It makes a unique piece to work with.


The lettering is part of the wood, not pieced on. So is the salmon which is about to eat a smaller fish. A great deal of work went into making this large sign which will hang at the entrance to a fishing charter business. You won’t find another one like it anywhere.032


Going Squirrelly

Shhh! He thinks I don’t know he’s behind me. Do you see him there? He’s doing some funny kind of moves to impress me, throwing one leg in the air, like “Let’s dance!” Honestly! In my condition!001a

But wait. I didn’t hear you knock. Did you just want a few photos?005a

I’m afraid this isn’t a good time. My tummy’s a bit upset. Or maybe it’s baby Perry, kicking.


I’m getting tired of waiting for the big day.


Just not sure what’s going on back there.009a

And I don’t like how their father said I was getting as wide as the broad side of a barn door.


I’m outta here. What a time to have a photo shoot. No appointment or anything.


Do you think you could come back another time? Maybe Sunday afternoon? I’d have a chance to pick the pitch out of my fur.



The Deluge

Two nights ago at 2:50 a.m. the loudest crack of thunder I have ever heard split the sky outside our house. The dogs leaped off their beds, barking at the weather gods. Huge volumes of water poured down in a short time. After a week of  hot weather, the change was dramatic. The next day again, we had buckets of rain in short cloudbursts.

Today I thought I lived in Panama, the way the rain came down in streams.


Our soil is sandy, so any water that comes down soaks away quickly, but so much water came down in such a short time that part of the yard looked like the Great Lakes.


Remember my garden being built in April?


Just look at it now. All it needed was for the weather gods to do their thing.003 004

That, and a little bit of (back-breaking) work.


Pit, from Texas, sent links to the “deluges” that came his way earlier this year.







One of my favourite little birds (I had to laugh at myself just then, because I have so many) is the chickadee. In our area, Vancouver Island, we have the chestnut-backed chickadee.


See the caterpillar the mother is about to feed the babies? Yummy (not)!



They made a nest in one of the birdhouses and I was able to get a video of them the day before they left the nest. At the very beginning of the clip the mother flies in with food, but if you blink you’ll miss it. Also you’ll hear me saying “Yeah,” to answer the Captain, who was talking to me just then. If you play it more than once it will drive you crazy.

I have Adobe Premiere Elements for editing videos but it only allows me to save clips as Adobe clips and they won’t open for anything else. Not sure how to fix it. I didn’t use my Adobe editor because of that.This is why the clip I’ve uploaded is unedited.

I apologize for the unsteady hand. I had the camera zoomed so, unfortunately, every shake is exaggerated.



After months of boat maintenance and haulout work and sanding and painting, the Eden Lake is ready for another season of salmon trolling in northern BC. It’s a good boat, well built in 1976 by the late Harald Christensen in Queen Charlotte City, BC.

It takes a lot of work to keep a wooden troller in good shape.This year, like every other, the Captain has the Eden Lake sparkling clean, safe, and seaworthy.


Here is what the back of the boat should look like during a good fishing day, with the checkers full of spring salmon.




For those who don’t know the difference between a trawler and a troller, a trawler drags a net near the bottom while a troller fishes individual hooks and lines — two very different kinds of fishing.



The Captain is getting ready to untie the lines and leave Comox Harbour. That’s the very early morning sun you see on the side of the boat. The best traveling time today will be in the morning, before any breezes start up later in the day.


In the old days, communication systems were not as easily available between the Captain and the fishwife left at home. A call from town when he came in to sell his fish might have happened once a week to ten days. Now, with satellite phones, the communication is much better.


There he goes, leaving Comox  Harbour.

It will take the Captain a good six days of running to get up to Prince Rupert and another day to cross to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), but often it takes a bit longer because the weather is not perfect every day and sometimes you just have to wait.

I feel a bit at a loss for a few days until I get used to the idea that it will be late August before he comes home, but the Captain always reminds me, “I’m only a phone call away.”



Since the black bear came to visit a few days ago, I’ve been very nervous about letting the dogs out in the backyard.   They’re always inside during those early dawn hours and at dusk anyway, but now even more so, until I hear that the bear has been taken away or enough time has gone by that either the bear or I have died of old age.

But dogs like to be outside when the weather is fine, so I peeked out to check if the coast was clear.

First thing I saw was this deer. Oh, no! I thought. How did it get in? When did I leave the gate open? Or did it jump over the lower gate at the back of the property? Is my garden eaten? Are the fruit trees stripped? I was about to go open a gate and try to shoo the deer out when I noticed the mesh of the fence was on my side of the deer. He was in the neighbours’ yard. What a relief that was.


The deer was quite used to people and didn’t run when I came close, talking softly to it. When it left, I let the dogs out. I figured there was no bear around today, since this is almost the very spot where the bear was the other day, and if the deer was here, the bear was not. I felt a little bit ashamed for being such a nervous coward when a defenseless deer was brave enough to walk the same ground as the bear.041a

As it turned out, the dogs were not outside very long before Emma started that fear-filled barking again, this time looking towards the other side of the property where the bear would also have access. Today we’re all hiding in the house. I’m normally quite brave about scary things – all except for spiders and bears.