wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


28 Comments

Turkey, not the Country

Meet my friend, Meleagris gallopavo merriami (Merriam’s turkey).

When guinea fowls were brought from Africa to Europe, they were thought to have come through Turkey (the country), so they were named “turkey.”

Later when Europeans came to North America, they saw a local bird that looked liked their guinea fowl (which they had called a turkey), so they called this bird a turkey. There is no real connection between the bird and the country.

The native people of eastern North America hunted and ate turkeys, and this is how that bird came to be associated with “what was for dinner” at the first American Thanksgiving feast.

Turkey must have made quite an impression on the pioneers, since it became a traditional component of the Thanksgiving dinners that followed every year since then.

By the way, if you can’t remember when American Thanksgiving is: it’s always the fourth Thursday in November.

Happy Thanksgiving, America. We have a lot to be thankful for.


27 Comments

Mystery Building – Church or House?

This church looks so old that it begged to be photographed. It sits on a lonely rise (to call it a hill would be exaggerating) in northern Montana. I don’t think it gets much use anymore, judging from the boarded up windows, but at one time it must have hosted a fair-sized congregation.

In eastern Washington, I saw another old church. I had noticed it on several other trips through this area. This building, too, has seen better days.

But what is different this year is the new structure that has been built beside the old one. At first I assumed that it was a church, because of the steeple and the wide stairs going into the double glass doors. Possibly my thinking was influenced by the wrought iron fencing.

I think now, that I was wrong about it being a new church (just because it was built next to an old one).

My reasoning?

Here is a close up of the sign (a bit blurry) that is attached to the right of the gate.

It can’t be a church and say: Private Property – No Trespassing.

And now I’m even questioning whether the second photo from the top is really of a church.

What do you think?

 


27 Comments

Endangered Missouri Sturgeon

In the tiny town of Fort Benton, Montana, we like to stay at an RV park that is close to the rodeo grounds beside the Missouri River. Last year, after a long day’s drive, we took a walk to the river. At this point, we are about 200 miles from its headwaters.

The sun was slowly setting, and so was the moon. See the evidence? The cliffs along the riverbank are warmed by the last rays of the sun and if you look hard, you may see the moon sinking  in the sky, amid the branches of the tree.

Geese are honking from the direction of the grassy islands in the river. Later that night we would hear the coyotes howling near the same place.

 

The Missouri is a powerful river in places. It is the longest river in the U. S. flowing for 2,341 miles before joining up with the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis, Missouri.

I had been so focused on the geese flying along the river, I hadn’t given much thought to what might be under the water. What a surprise to read on this poster, that there are sturgeon in the Missouri.

If you would like to read about the two kinds of sturgeon and how to tell them apart, you can click on the photo above and it will be easier to read.

I have to confess, I had known nothing about these sturgeon, not even their names (pallid and shovelnose). The pallid sturgeon is endangered and lives mainly in this river system. It grows to a length of five or six feet and can live to be about 40 years old.

On the picture I thought it looked a bit shark-like, but that mouth on its underside is mainly for feeding on the river bottom.¬† Whew! Otherwise I wouldn’t be putting my toes in that river.

Who knew that these creatures lurk in the depths of the river!?


16 Comments

In Another Time

In another time, pioneering farmers lived in these houses and kept them cozy and inviting.

Hard times and the elements have changed the sheltering homesteads to cold windswept shells. In some cases, after the original farmers eventually died, their children, having seen their parents’ hard work, opted for an easier life away from this lonely prairie.

On a previous trip to Montana, the Captain and I saw many old homesteads.

“Let’s skedaddle,” the pheasants cluck. “I think these might be hunters. The locals welcome them, but I find them downright annoying, if not dangerous.”

“Did I hear you say the ‘H’ word?” the white-tailed deer asks. Then he shakes his head and goes back to his browsing. “It’s birds they’re after. I don’t think they’re here for me …¬† are they? Hmm, maybe I’d better run too.”

“You’d do better to be careful, Whitey,” the Harris sparrow warbles. “And by the way, watch your step.”

“The prickly pear isn’t named for its smooth skin. Those spines can really hurt.”

“Oh, what a fuss,” the robin sings. “I was enjoying the last days of autumn sunshine in this Russian olive tree. Why did they have to talk about hunters? They don’t bother me! Mrs. Hunter just wanders around with her camera. I show her my best side, and she goes home happy.”


25 Comments

Trees

After showing you so many burnt trees in a recent post, I thought I should show the positive side of things too.

Driving past these trees, a blur of yellow and a smattering of snow in the firs reminded me that autumn was nearly finished. It was just a matter of days before the poplar (?) leaves came down.

In the higher elevations, wind, weather, and possibly some road work crew meant the dormancy or death of some trees.

Trees [5]

Trees [1]

Some of the white-barked trees were clinging to the last leaves. Birch, poplars, aspen? I’m not sure, but these are all trees with whitish bark.

Trees [4]

Back in Montana, this stand of trees reminded me of when I’ve spilled the pack of lettuce seeds and a whole clump of them grew in a bunch, crowding each other so none can do well. It also looks like a football team in a huddle.

Trees [6]

The horses don’t mind it. The thick stand of trees probably acts as a good windbreak.

Trees [7]

In southern BC, along the Hope-Princeton Highway, a tree has taken the shape of a bear – a grizzly by the look of his dished skull and the hump on his back. I believe the park was closed when we drove by (in October), but it would be a wonderful place to hike (if you aren’t afraid of bears … which I am).

Manning Park

 


25 Comments

Squirrel Worries

You know I’m very partial to my friend Lincoln. Today the Captain called to me. “Lincoln’s right here in the tree by the woodshed. Bring your camera.”

I snapped a few pictures and it wasn’t until I uploaded them and had a closer (zoomed in) look that I saw the injuries to Lincoln’s arm and hip. I feel terrible to think he is suffering.

At first I thought he might have hurt his arm on a sharp branch, but then I saw the cut on his hip. It looks more like a claw or tooth or a beak might have done that.

In my previous post I mentioned the little animals that are hurt/killed in wildfires (unimaginable that human lives are also lost at times). I can’t see a wildfire image on TV without thinking about all the animals that succumb to the fire.

Even this little “owie” that Lincoln has, hurts me to think about. I hope he has a lot of hazelnuts stashed away and that he doesn’t feel cold or hungry while he’s mending.

I wish that I could capture him and take him to a vet,

Then take him home and put him in a tiny little bed.

I’d cover him with cedar boughs, a pillow made of down,

Some water in a walnut shell, a hazelnut so round.

 

I’d watch him and make sure his arm is healing as it should,

I’d have to stop him if he wanted to escape into the wood.

He’d soon be feeling well enough, and beat a quick retreat.

To scamper up and down the firs, and then his friends he’d meet.

 

“My Lincoln, dear,” his mom will say, “you worried me so much,

I’m overjoyed to have you back, to talk to you and touch.”

“I wasn’t being bad this time,” my Lincoln would explain.

“But something scratched and bit my arm, and gave me quite some pain.”

 

“Now don’t you worry, Mamakins, I’ll soon feel right as rain,

I’ll listen to you carefully, I won’t get bit again,

I’ll be more watchful after this, I promise to be good,

And I’ll stay close beside you in this lovely neighbourhood.”