wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Great Blue Heron

Blue herons don’t have a dark patch on their shoulders, but this one does. I think something (like an eagle) tried to grab him and he got away. Not unscathed, but he’s alive.

I once saw a heron circle around and around, going higher and higher, until he was nearly out of my sight. In the airspace below him, an eagle was doing his best to climb higher as well, to get at the heron. I think herons must have lighter bones and probably a lighter body in proportion to the wings. They can outdistance eagles  and stay very high up in the air until the danger has passed.

I suspect that this one was caught napping and was attacked at ground level. Somehow he managed to escape the eagle’s clutches, and he lived to tell about it.


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Narcissus

I did a post a while back about Daffy Dolls, the narcissus.

 https://wordsfromanneli.com/2020/02/01/daffy-dolls/

At that time (Feb. 1), only the stems were peeking up above the ground. No hint of flower buds yet.

Now, most of the buds have opened and are looking hopefully towards a beautiful spring. The daffodil is associated with hope and for this reason has become the emblem for the Canadian Cancer Society.

A second batch of daffodils is growing in a shadier location, and they, too, will bloom very soon.

The Daffodil’s Story

 

I’m named after Narcissus
Who lived so long ago,
He was pursued by misses,
But always told them “No.”

 

Narcissus was a beauty,
He loved himself so much,
No one was worthy of him,
His motto, “Look, don’t touch.”

 

One day beside the water,
He gazed into the pond,
And there he saw an image
Of which he was quite fond.

 

He looked upon perfection,
Desired it then and there,
But couldn’t make connection,
And that he could not bear.

 

Reciprocating actions
From water to the boy,
Elusive was the image,
As if with him to toy.

 

It mirrored all his kisses,
Repeated smile and wink,
But touching brought on ripples
Each time he groped the drink.

 

At last in his frustration,
Narcissus, wanting more,
Fell in to try to catch him
And died there near the shore.

 

A nymph named Echo called him,
But he did not respond,
She only found a flower
A-floating on the pond.


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Owl Pellets

I found these pellets (not poop, and most likely from an owl) on my driveway yesterday. Thanks to the many trees, we have a lot of owls in the neighbourhood.

When the rabbit, mouse, or rat populations get too high, the owls show up in greater numbers and stay until those populations are down again.

By the way, did you know that while rats and mice belong to the order rodentia, rabbits do not? They belong to the lagamorpha order.

You might think that owls are greedy, eating the whole animal from head to toe (and they literally do start at the head), but they have it all figured out. The crunched up fur, bones, and claws are  cast out in pellet form. In plain English, they throw up the parts they don’t want to digest. This is sometimes called casting.

In the pellets below you can see that the owl probably ate something with gray fur. A few bits of bone are showing in one of the top left pellets.

If you think this is a rather  disgusting way to eat, consider how we might tackle a piece of meat with our knife and fork. We cut around the bone and we cut away pieces of fat and gristle. The owl, lacking a knife and fork just does this job in a different way, but the result is the same. The unpalatable parts are discarded.

You might not give a hoot about this info, but owl bet you learned something. 😉


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First Day of Spring

It’s the first day of spring and I should be getting into the mood. Thought I’d write an email to my mistress, Dawn, to help me perk up the day. She has to have her cup of coffee. I need my fix too.

So can you help me with this? How do you spell, “Treats, please”?

I’m sure she’ll head for the cupboard as soon as I hit “Send.”


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Biting the Hand that Feeds

I pushed my luck today. I did a dumb thing and offered Lincoln his breakfast from my hand instead of putting it in a jar as I usually do.  I had a palm full of sunflower seeds and I guess he wanted some meat with his seeds.

The first nip didn’t hurt, so I thought I’d wait to see if he took the seeds next, but he took a bigger nip of my finger and that’s when I decided to let him get his own breakfast from the jar. The bit of blood makes it look worse than it is, but I did check out diseases you can get from squirrel bites. I won’t put my hand out to him again. Lesson learned.

It was awkward taking a picture of my right hand with my left, but “you get the picture.”

A nearby junco saw the whole thing and I heard him say, like Tweetie, “Ooooooh! Dat hadda hurt!”

Meanwhile, Lincoln went back to enjoying his quiet breakfast, sassy little guy. After all, he is a wild animal, and not a pet. Wake up call for Anneli.

Lincoln ate sunflower seeds for breakfast while I had humble pie.


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No Fancy Man

A good man is hard to find. But Marlie isn’t looking for a man. Oh no! She just wants to start fresh with her teaching job on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and enjoy its famous beauty and serenity. And if there’s a man who will take an interest in her, well, so be it, but she’s not looking. Not really…. Or is she?
Be careful what you wish for, Marlie.

Anneli's Place

She pulled over to the side of the gas station after she gassed up, and made the call. At the pumps Brent was leaning his shoulder into the side of his truck, staring off into space as he held the nozzle in the gas tank. The profile of his face was perfect—manly, but fine. His blue checkered work shirt had a tear in the elbow. Jeans were dirty and smeared with dried blood—from the deer, she presumed. She sure hoped that was what the blood was from. How was she to know? She’d only just met him. His canvas vest had lots of pockets, more practical than fashionable. Seemed like islanders tended to be that way. Kodiak boots half unlaced told her he must have walked a lot today and maybe his feet were sore. Fancy, he was not.

Marlie, a young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands…

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Hard Work

It is herring time on the coast of B.C.  The herring migrate to certain parts of the coast to lay eggs (spawn) close to shore.  It is the ideal time to catch them for their roe.

The seiners didn’t have far to go to set their nets this year. Less than a half hour’s run from town, they put their huge nets in the water  and encircled the schools of herring with a huge  purse seine net.

The small skiff helps anchor one end of the net while the seiner runs around in a circle, unrolling the huge net into the water. The white floats on the top of the net help us to see where the net is. Their job is to keep the top of the net afloat. The bottom of the net has heavy lead rings tied to it through which a line passes. It is like a drawstring that closes the net so fish can’t escape through the bottom.

In the photo below, the red  boat has already closed its net. Seagulls circle, hoping to lunch on unfortunate escapees. The boat next to the red seiner might be a packer, standing by to take the load onto his boat and then to market.

The herring could be scooped out of the net with a huge brailer, like a long-handled fish net, or in some cases, the herring are sucked out of the net and onto the packer or into the hold of the seiner with a kind of (very large) vacuum that slurps up the fish and seawater and pumps it all into the hold of the waiting boat. The seawater is pumped out of the boat leaving only the herring behind in a big strainer.

To unload them, the process is reversed and water is added to the hold to enable the vacuum to suck the herring out of the boat.

 

The boat on the right side of the photo has just paid out the net in a circle to try for a catch of herring. See the white floats?


The farther boat in the photo below has hauled a catch over to the boat. You can see the seagulls going crazy with the feeding opportunities it provides for them.

Fishing for herring is hard work. In late February and even in March the weather can be raw and brutal, especially on the water.

I took the photos of the seiners from the deck of my house, so they are quite far away. The very next day, I took the photo below, of the same view, but the boats are not visible through the snow clouds. I hope no one was fishing that day.

I like to eat pickled herring, but I’ve learned that the food herring are caught in the winter (maybe November) when they are fattest.  In the spring roe fishery, the herring are skinnier and are caught mainly for their roe, highly prized in the Japanese market (at least prized by the older generation). I’ve heard it suggested that the younger Japanese generation prefers McDonalds. Not much of a choice, to my mind.

In case you are wondering what happens to the rest of the herring after they are stripped of their roe … fish fertilizer.