wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Treasury Board

Today I put dry chopped up leaves into my garden to keep the winter weeds down and add organic matter to my sandy soil in the spring.  I noticed that some of my strawberries had leapt overboard from the raised bed and were looking for a new home. To dig them up I moved the long board that lay alongside the raised bed (this board once helped to anchor the netting I had over the strawberries).

I pulled the board forward and found hazelnut shells, all empty, and all opened from the top (not cracked and left in two halves).

The stash of hazelnuts went down the whole length of the raised bed.

Each one was empty. Each one opened the same way, with the top eaten out, presumably by something with a small jaw and sharp teeth.

Not my Lincoln then. That squirrel would have hidden and stashed the nuts, possibly buried some near the trees where he sleeps, and the shells would have been cracked lengthwise.

Some weeks back I had seen a mouse in the strawberry bed, but this was a huge stash for a little mouse.

“It wasn’t me. Really, it wasn’t.”

My main suspect is Templeton (E.B.White’s rat). Since Charlotte’s Web, every rat in the world is named Templeton.

He is very brazen, but he’s cute, don’t you think? Once he tried to build a nest in our old truck. That was not so cute. He even went for a ride in it and came back without falling out. We had known he was in there but couldn’t get him out (until much later). After the Captain drove to the wharf to check the boat and came back home, Templeton was still hidden in a space  in front of the door hinge.

“How do you like my new digs?”

So tomorrow I’ll go out to the strawberry bed and see if there is a tunnel dug through my  newly added leaves that I put over the entrance at the side of the treasury board.

And then … we’ll see.

 


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Scary Movies

Just in time for Halloween, I wanted to tell you about a movie I saw way, way back in another century, when I was a little girl. The idea of The Monolith Monsters was so scary for me that I have remembered that movie all these years. The basic plot was simple: Meteors struck the earth and when they came in contact with water, these “rocks” grew and grew until they were like giant skyscrapers that finally “lost their balance” and fell down, smashing anything in front of them and breaking into many smaller pieces of rock which then began to grow again into more skyscraper rocks, which again came crashing down.

So the rocky skyscrapers advanced, coming closer and closer to the big cities where people would certainly die from being smashed by the rocks.

When we traveled to Montana and back, we saw towers that carry high voltage power lines. They reminded me of some monstrous beings. Don’t they look like they will start walking to wherever they feel like going … carrying enough voltage to zap their way through any place they want to go? If I had more imagination I’d write a horror story about them, but even if I could, I think it I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I’m a coward when it comes to horror shows or stories. I just can’t watch them  or read or write them without having nightmares for years afterwards.

And it’s not like there is only one of these monsters. They are everywhere.

They have joined together for a more dramatic effect.

Yikes!! I’m scared. Will I be able to sleep tonight???

Oh — and the Monolith Monsters…. Do you know how they were stopped?

Some smart scientist discovered that salt stops them from growing, so it was just a matter of getting truckloads of salt to pour onto them. Whew! Just in the nick of time too!!

If you happen to know of a horror story or movie that features the power towers, please let me know. I feel as if there is a story out there about them but I can’t remember it.

Meanwhile, be careful out there. Halloween is coming.


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Slip Sliding Away

Along the drive from the Osoyoos to Hope, in southern BC, it is not uncommon to see talus slopes (evidence of land or rock slides).


In some of these slides, trees grew as if nothing had happened. Did the trees grow there after the slide, or  did they survive the slide, and the rocks whooshed past them and around them? I suppose it would help to know how long ago the slides happened.

These larger trees at the base of the slide (below), must have had the fright of their lives as they watched the mountain come down and then stop a short distance from them. A few more feet, a few more seconds, could have meant annihilation for them.

Below, you can see that some tree trunks lie like unburied skeletons, casualties of the disaster.

But not all living things were left unburied. I wondered how many unsuspecting little animals were swept away and buried forever under the slides.

Some of these steep slopes will continue to loosen and slide for ages, perhaps sometimes just a few rocks bouncing down the hill, or other times, a more major slip of the mountain. Wind, rain, earthquakes, and gravity can all play a role in determining when the earth will move.

Imagine the volume of the gravel and rock that came down in the photo below. If we could put it all back, would it be a hill as high as the ones beside the top of that slide? The upper part of the slide seems to be composed of smaller rocks and gravel, but just look at the size of the boulders that kept bouncing farther down the hill.

A slide cut just a small swath down this hill. Aren’t you glad you weren’t hiking there just then?


Earlier I did a post about the deadly slide that happened outside the town of Hope in 1965, killing four people. If you missed that post and  would like to  see it, here is the link to it. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/11/03/the-hope-slide/


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Home Stretch

Once we left the blizzard belt behind and got into the lower mainland of BC, we could smell the salt water. More than ever, we had that “horse to the barn” feeling. It had been a long drive from Central Washington that day, and we were glad to be driving beside the industrial area along the Fraser River, if only because it meant we would soon be home.

The road was busy with tractor trailers and industrial vehicles, but it was the quickest route to the ferry terminal where we would connect to Vancouver Island. (At this point, we are near Surrey and New Westminster, suburbs of Vancouver, which is on the mainland of British Columbia. Our home town, though, is on Vancouver Island, a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland. The city of Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island.)

Here, with the Port Mann Bridge up ahead,  we were traveling at highway speed with trucks and vehicles on all sides. Ahead of us, a large piece of wood lay in our lane. It had fallen off a truck, and looked similar to a loading pallet, but bigger, more like a part of a wall for some pre-fab construction, about five feet by eight feet and about three inches thick. We had no room to go into another lane and no way to avoid it without causing an accident.

I imagined our freshly changed trailer tire exploding as we drove over the wood. The bumping and crunching noise was horrendous. We sucked in our breath through gritted teeth and waited for disaster to strike us.

But the angels were watching over us (maybe they thought we’d had enough trouble already), and we continued on, relatively unscathed.

I remembered earlier that day, pulling over at a stopping place by an auto wreckers’ near the U.S. border and seeing a nearly new trailer that had run out of luck. I also remember thinking that it still had pretty good tires and wondered if they wanted to sell them to us.

By some miracle, we arrived at the terminal with about half an hour to spare before the next ferry left. But the ferry was already full and we expected to have to wait for another sailing. Luck was in our favour for the second time that day. Yes, the car decks on the ferry were full, but there was room on the deck where only transport trucks and trailers were carried.

In the photo below, most of these cars did not get on that sailing, but we got on because of having the trailer. This was one of the first times it worked in our favour.

After a two-hour crossing and another two hours of driving, we arrived at our own “home, sweet home.”

It was not blowing a blizzard and actually was quite pleasant.


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Keremeos

My apologies for a whole series of posts with photos taken as we whizzed past in the truck and trailer, but in this post, I hope to convey a feeling more than to show any particular fantastic photo.

Going through the little town of Keremeos in the South Okanagan, in spite of the chilly fall air, we are always warmed by the festive attitude of the residents. It’s harvest time, and rather than have scarecrows, they have straw people all through the downtown area. I wish I could have done them justice with less blurry shots, but you’ll get the idea of the fun on the streets of this fruit growing town.

Can you find the straw people? Two in this photo.

 

One here.

Two here.

Two here.

One here.

All seem to be pointing to the fruit markets that line the road farther along.

Did you know that pumpkins are a tasty vegetable when prepared as you would any other squash?

This is pumpkin time, as well as onions, garlic, and winter apple time.

Squashes and cauliflowers, melons and tomatoes.

And if you don’t feel like shopping but just want to stop for a bit and let the kids play in the park, the local quail welcomes you. He’s like the quail version of “Big Bird.” Can you see him there to the left of the big tree with the yellow leaves?

Here is a close up of him – although very blurry – to help you find him.

The Okanagan is full of quail, quite tiny wild chicken-like birds that have so many cute habits it’s a shame to kill them for food (although I must admit, they are SO tasty).

I love quail, dead (on my plate) or alive (in my backyard), but mostly alive.

This “Big Bird” put a long-lasting smile on my face as we drove through Keremeos.

 


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Trouble Comes in Threes

A few days earlier in Great Falls, Montana in -17 C (1 F) temperatures that felt several degrees colder than that, the trailer’s holding tank (at least the outlet) was frozen and could not be emptied. What a thing to talk (write) about!

A couple of days of bumpy roads and warmer temperature fixed that problem for us, as we found out at the sani dump in Omak’s stampede grounds.

While the Captain dealt with this task, I was looking mindlessly at our muddy, tired-looking trailer.

“Do you think that tire looks a bit low?” I asked.

I got the usual (expected) answer. “Naw, it’s just the way it’s sitting.”

Silence…. Then, “Get me that pressure gauge out of the console, will ya?”

Moments later, “Holy sh–!” (Apparently, he still had the holding tank problem [trouble #1] on his mind.) “It’s only 15 pounds!”

(I knew it should be somewhere around 30.)

Several times over the next hour or so, the Captain said, “Whoah, sure lucky you noticed that tire.”  He said later, he  thought we must have picked up a tack on the rodeo grounds.

At the first available gas station we put air in the tire. Then we hurried to nearby Home Depot lot next to Wal-Mart and found a quiet corner to change the tire, which was already hissing out air.

When the Captain got the spare tire off the back of the trailer (first time it had been touched since we bought the trailer), the pressure gauge told us this was something that we had overlooked. It had only 12 pounds of air pressure.

How lucky was it that we had brought this mini compressor along? It plugs into the cigarette lighter and can pump up a tire.

 

In minutes the spare was up to full pressure,

and the tire was changed.

So that was trouble #2 taken care of.

We had noticed more than six trailers and motorhomes in the Wal-Mart parking lot next to the Home Depot lot where we were, so we felt safe enough and thought we would have a quiet night’s sleep.

At about 11 p.m. a small car (trouble #3) came into the lot and parked right up against the back of our trailer. I peeked out through the blinds and the car backed up and pulled out.

My relief that he was leaving did not last long, as he pulled in right in front of us. NOW we were worried. He had the whole huge empty Home Depot lot to park in, yet he cozied up to us. The driver got out and crouched down by his left front tire, hiding behind his open car door.

I suggested that we take off and go park by the motorhome in the lot next to us. The Captain sneaked into the truck and drove, while the dogs and I stayed in the trailer until we were safely parked by the other campers and watched to see what the strange car would do. After a while he left and we could relax.

There is a lot to be said for parking in an RV park, but this time our flat tire had left us searching for a quick place to park and we ended up boondocking in a parking lot. I wonder if the lost sleep is worth it.

Just a day’s drive from home, we had one more calamity to deal with. Next time.


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A New Route

Along this straight, and seemingly endless highway northwest of Spokane, Washington, we pulled into a rest stop where the Captain asked a trucker about Omak. It turns out we’ve been taking the long route for the last ten years.

 

Following the trucker’s advice, we traveled home via Grand Coulee Dam rather than via the smaller Coulee City at the south end of the reservoir created by the dam. The road winds down to where the Columbia River is dammed at Grand Coulee.

To the east of the dam is Roosevelt Lake (formed by the water that the Grand Coulee Dam has backed up).

Here we see the eastern side of the dam.

Here is the western side of it, with the water much lower.

Beyond the dam and the pretty town of Grand Coulee, the road continues on towards Omak, in the Okanogan fruit growing region of Washington State. The fall colours are a treat to see. BTW, did you know that in Canada we spell it Okanagan, while in the States it is spelled Okanogan?

We arrive in Omak in plenty of time to deal with a few trailer issues we would face.

It is very dry in this part of the state, except for the areas where water is provided by the Columbia River. We don’t mind that, as long as the temperatures are milder than in the places we’ve left behind.