Author Archives: wordsfromanneli

About wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke

Generally, I look out my window at this refreshing scene. The air is clean even if it is a bit cloudy.

This morning, I took that same outlook and zoomed in for a closer look. It didn’t help make things any clearer.  There are no clouds in the sky. That would be too good as it might mean rain.

 

Here is another scene (to the right of the first photo) from some time ago when the air was clean in spite of the cloud cover.

The same view but harder to see.

 

And no wonder we can’t see much. So much smoke in the air from wildfires easily obscures the sun. This photo of the rising sun was taken early this morning.  Wildfires burning on the island are less than  100 miles away, and the smoke is drifting into our valley and hanging there.

My eyes are dry, it hurts to blink,

The smoke’s not good to breathe, I think.

My throat is scratchy, as I croak,

My vocal chords are full of smoke.

The Captain calls and asks, “What’s wrong?”

I tell him that the smoke is strong

From fires burning all around,

And ask, when are you homeward bound?

He’ll be home soon, he starts to say,

But then the sat phone cuts away.

We’ll talk again another time,

He doesn’t need to hear me whine.

And when he gets here he will sigh,

For misty isles of Haida Gwaii.

No smoke or drought does plague them there

The constant gales will clear the air.

 

 

 

Three Skies, One Moment

The last of the evening sun’s rays add a sweet pink tinge to the rare scattering of clouds in the eastern  sky. I’ve been watching for clouds, desperately hoping for a few drops of rain to end weeks of sweltering heat and parching drought.

I turn to the southwest. The glow of sunset touches clumps of cloud and wisps of smoke that have drifted into the valley from faraway wildfires.

I turn a few more degrees to the west and I’m left wondering if this is a sunset or another of those raging wildfires I’ve seen too much of on the television news. But yes, it is the sunset, searing us for a few more moments before allowing us to recover from yet another day of being barbecued.

We’ve been promised rain for today, but somehow, I don’t think it’s going to happen. The clouds that have moved in are way too high and way too thin. Just a hint of hope for relief someday, but probably not today.

Please remind me of this whining post a few months from now when I complain about the relentless wind and rain.

Scarab Beetle or is it Scary Beetle?

This scarab beetle should have been in construction or house renovation because its name sounds like Polyfilla, the goop that fills cracks in wood and drywall. But no, it is “Polyphylla” and the rest of its name refers to its ten lines (four long and two short). Like decades of lineage, it is called decemlineata. Now you’ll never forget the name of this beetle whose face only a mother could love. It’s called Polyphylla decemlineata, the ten-lined June beetle.

It’s a big scary inch to an inch and a half long, and hatches from a prawn-like grub when the weather gets hot. Then it waits until dusk when you can’t see it very well, and when you’re standing there waiting for the dogs to pee, it attacks. Mainly it tries to land on your back because that makes it hard to fight  off.

I heard this guy talking as I took his picture while he hung onto my fence.

I push the air beneath closed wings,

To hiss and buzz and make her cringe.

With beady eyes I see her stand,

And when she turns, that’s when I land

Upon her back and hear her shriek.

I only turn the other cheek.

I try to lift my spiky feet,

But threads entangle and defeat.

It seems I cannot get away

I have to stay and watch this play.

She’s running crazy round the yard,

It’s fun to cause her to discard

Her vest and fling it on the ground.

I crawl away without a sound,

But, hee, hee, heeeee. Hee, hee, heeeee.

Anneli’s afraid of me!

Photo-shy

I hesitated about posting the photo below in my last post, because it shows one of my sisters in “not her finest hour.”

We had gone for a walk – it might have been to Sunday School, judging by my mother’s suit and hat – and on the way home, my father probably suggested a family photo. We sat on the grass, ready to smile, but my sister never liked having her picture taken. My brother was laughing at the fuss she was making. It was a fairly common occurrence as she went through the Terrible Twos. For us it was, “There she goes again,” and I’m sure my mom had just said something funny to try to jolly her out of her mood.

The other part I love about this picture is how I have my arms around the youngest sister. I’ve always felt very protective of her, maybe because she was always the youngest. You can’t change your ranking in the family. I was the oldest; she was the youngest.

The old homestead (not ours) on the top of the hill was like a landmark in the days before the roads were put in. Our house was two blocks farther on, behind the old one. For years, the field in this picture had a path through it to the downtown area. Later, as more houses went up, roads were built and that beautiful field and path were no more.

Here she is again, making a fuss about getting her picture taken. You can see my mother’s arms trying to make her sit for the photo.

But it wasn’t always bad. This day when she was going to be in the Fall Fair Parade, she was happy enough to have her picture taken. I think she should always have smiled for the camera. She takes a good picture.


Rules of the Road

Being yourself, being natural, is, for the most part, a good thing. But like anything, there are degrees of what is acceptable or sensible. Nudity, for example; it’s natural, accepted in places like nude beaches and nudist colonies, but in the busy downtown shopping area, not so much. It is sensible in that the cost of clothing goes way down, and it’s convenient for swimming, but then when the sun comes out it’s not so sensible to fry your unprotected skin and turn into a lobster, or to get frostbite in the winter.

So it is with breastfeeding. Sure it’s natural, but it’s not always practical or socially accepted in all situations. Difficult to do while riding a bicycle, not a good idea while driving a car. If using a cell phone is distracting, I’d say breastfeeding while driving also qualifies.

Even if you’re not driving, but just crossing the road with the kids, it’s not the ideal place to stop and breastfeed them. It’s just not a good idea.

That’s what this mother was doing as I came upon them in my car. While I grabbed my paparazza camera to get some good breast shots for the next  Playgirls in the Wild magazine, the mom came to her senses and told the kids to scram.

“Follow me,” she said, trotting down the road. Now where was that opening into the bushes?

She ducked in, yelling over her shoulder, “Come on, kids! Don’t just stand there gawking!  Hurry up and get in here, or you’ll get shot! Didn’t you see the camera in that predator’s hands?”

“All right, all right. What’s the big deal?” the more foolish of the two drawled as he swaggered off the road.

There’s always one in the family who has attitude. Let’s hope it never bites him.

 

A Not-so-boring Boring Beetle

Many years ago I saw one of these beetles in my yard and later wondered if it was one of those terrible Asian longhorned beetles that destroy our forests. Should I have killed it and saved our forests?

Most likely our forests were not in danger, and I’m glad I didn’t kill the poor bug. Yes, it bores into wood and lays its eggs there so its progeny will also bore into the wood, but it prefers dead wood. By eating the dead wood, it is actually doing more good than harm.

Today, I found this poor little guy already dead on the walk beside my house. I picked it up with my bare hands in spite of the horror I have of touching bugs. If it had wiggled, I would have been in trouble. But no, it didn’t move. I wanted to take its picture so I could identify it for sure.

I apologized to it for placing it in such an undignified pose, but I wanted to be sure, in case I needed to confirm its I.D. by its underside.  If you click to make the photo below bigger, you can see that it has fuzzy mitts on its front legs and tufts of “fur” on its antennae.

Here is what I found out.

It is a banded alder beetle, often confused with the Asian longhorn beetle, a
damaging exotic pest.

I found more information at this site:

https://entomology.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/entomology/Banded_Alder%20Borer_13.pdf

They said:

The easiest way to distinguish these two species is  to look at the segment directly behind the head. On the Asian longhorn beetle the area is entirely shiny black while on the BAB the area is white with a single, large black spot that occupies 60% or more of the segment.

DSCN0767

On the photo above you can see that black circle on its head, a sure sign that it is a banded alder borer, and not the dreaded Asian longhorn beetle.