wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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A Case of Harassment All Around

It was a glorious morning, very early.

Ruined!

“Caw! Caw! Caw!” came the ugly croaking call of a crow, summoning his cohorts to make a try for the breakfast that was about to happen when Robbie, Ryan, Ross, and Roberta left their robin’s nest.

I picked up some pebbles from the yard, grabbed the slingshot and went looking for the murderers who threatened to skewer the baby robins with their sharp beaks, much like hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party.

As I walked down the path in front of my house, the crows flew away, and I stood a moment to admire the view.

I took a few breaths of fresh sea air and turned to go back home. Just then, something burst out of the two-foot-high St. John’s wort shrubbery at the side of the road. It flew up onto a fence rail about ten feet away and stared down at me.

It stared and stared and stared, for maybe 30 seconds, and then it flew up into a nearby fir tree.

I hurried into the house and traded the slingshot for a camera.

It was much farther away now, and I had to zoom the camera. It’s a bit fuzzy, but I was still thrilled to get any kind of a picture of this great horned owl.

Later I saw what it might have been after.

Looking back, I was harassing the crows who were harassing the owl who was about to harass the rabbit who was about to harass my garden which held the worms that the robins were about to harass. And what was harassing me? The backyard supervisors, wanting their breakfast.

Sorry for the blurry picture of Emma. She can NEVER sit still.

And Ruby, patiently waiting for her breakfast.


37 Comments

New Beginnings

“C’mon down, Robbie.” Harriet’s soft voice was barely audible.

Farther along, on the same branch, Harry, the hairy woodpecker, edged closer to Robbie’s nest. “You guys should get out while you can. Don’t you know there’s crows around? We got out a couple of days ago and they’re still hovering near us.”

“Naaah! They wouldn’t bother me. I’m big and tough. See how tall I can be?”

“Brother Ryan left the nest this morning. I guess I’m next. Not sure what these little guys are going to do.”

“Roberta’s not looking too happy, but I think Ross will fly out with me. See him right here next to me. He’s ready.”

And in fact, that’s just what happened. The big goons left little Roberta alone in the nest, crying her eyes out.

Then finally with one panicked PEEEEEP, she leaped down out of desperation and flapped her wings with all her tiny might.

And a new adventure began.

****

It’s crowded in the old homestead

With only one small room,

Roberta being tiniest, 

Her outlook full of gloom.

 

When Ryan flew, the other boys

Just couldn’t wait to leave,

Roberta stood there all alone

And all she did was grieve.

 

She called her mother loud and clear,

She called her father too.

They heard her but said, “Berta, dear,

You know it’s up to you.”

 

“It’s so far down and I’m alone

With no one helping me,

I do not want to die so soon

By falling from this tree.”

 

“Just take a leap,” her mother said,

“And flap your wings like mad.

Your other option is to stay 

And be forever sad.”

 

Roberta plucked her courage up,

She shrieked and then she leaped,

She flapped her wings and on the ground

She fluttered, “Peep, peep, peep!”

 

With happiness and wonderment

At being on the ground,

Roberta blinked her eyes and said,

“I’m happy to be down.”

 

“My whole life lies ahead of me.

I have to do my best

To make it last a long, long time

Before my final rest.”

 

 

 


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Housebound

“Throw your head back, open your mouth wide, and look hungry,” chirped Robbie Robin. “And, oh yeah, peep as loud as you can.  Ya gotta sound desperate … like this: PEEP! PEEP! PEEP!”

“Is that you making trouble again, Robbie? You know I can only feed one of you at a time. Maybe two. Good thing your father is helping out for a change.”

“Sorry, Mom! But we’re all kind of hungry here … not to mention BORED! We’ve been in this one-bedroom nest for over 10 days now. It’s so bohhhhh-ring.”

 

“Hah! Four more days, she says. We’re going to be falling out of the nest by then. I mean there’s hardly room for me, and then there’s Ryan, Ross, and Roberta. I don’t even know if Roberta’s going to make it. She’s kind of small and getting squished. Can you blame me for being a bit grumpy these days?”

“Hey! There’s Anneli with her shaky video camera. Maybe I’ll show her how I can do my exercises and stretches, and scratch my itches. ”

“Oh Robbie, you’re so boring. You put me to sleep.” Roberta yawned and nodded off.

 

See for yourself. Roberta nods off and so does Ryan.

 


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Against All Odds

Three Great Books

We all love to read a book that is so good we can’t put it down. Imagine finding three of them! You’ll get that in the Crossroads Series written by Jacqui Murray. Her books caught me by surprise. I read “Survival of the Fittest” not realizing at the time that it was the first of three in The Crossroads Series.

Well, I LOVED the book.

It was a story that could have been true, but of course it was fiction. The setting is  Africa, 850,000 years ago. Yes, you read that right. It was a long, long time ago when mankind was in the early stages of development. People, like animals, had to live by their wits and be very strong, smart, and lucky, or die.  Only the fittest survived the ordeals these people went through in their everyday life: hunting and gathering food, traveling in rough terrain, being attacked by “Others,” and surviving natural disasters.

Though the life rules were different, human nature, even then, was something we can relate to today. The emotions that ran through these people of long ago were much the same as what we feel now.

Xhosa, a strong female character leads her group on a long migration in search of a place where they can be safe and have enough food and shelter to survive. Some other smaller tribes join up with hers for safety, and each brings a new dynamic to the group. Ms. Murray is skilled at making you care about her characters, and before you know it, you will be hooked.

Without saying too much more about the plot, I just want to tell you that I was sorry the book ended, but overjoyed to find that there was a Book Two, called “The Quest for Home.”

I devoured that book as well and still wanted more!

Now, at last, Ms. Murray has Book Three ready for publication. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview and I can tell you you’re in for a treat if you read these books. “Against All Odds” completes the three-book series.

In this final book, Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

 

 

 

 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

 Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

 

 

You can find out more about Jacqui Murray by clicking the links below:

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

For your entertainment, here is the book trailer for Book Three, “Against All Odds.”


28 Comments

Slime Mold

No, it isn’t what the dog threw up, but it sure looks like it could be. It was growing in the bark mulch in my backyard. First time I’ve seen it.

Back in April, Pit from pitsfritztownnews posted a photo of slime mold (also called dog vomit slime mold), and I said that we don’t have it here. He’s in Texas; I’m on Vancouver Island. I’ve added a link to his post at the bottom of the page.

This slime mold is about the size of an adult hand with fingers spread out.

Apparently this fungus frequently comes in bark mulch and grows when the weather is humid. Hot dry weather usually dries it up and it dies. Meanwhile, although it is not meant to be eaten, it won’t kill you and it’s not toxic to pets. It is just to be tolerated and possibly admired for its uniqueness.

 

Here is Pit’s link:

https://pitsfritztownnews.wordpress.com/2020/04/10/this-here/

 


21 Comments

Sneaky Thief

Shhh!!! The squirrels are away …  I think …

 

Quick! Quick! I’ll grab one of their sunflower seeds.

I need to crack the shell. Here’s a stick. Hurry, hurry, before they come back. Those two squirrel brothers have been doing their best not to share with me.

 

Do I dare believe my sharp brown eyes? It’s a towhee. The sneaky little thief!

 

Hey brother! We got trouble …  again!

 

Ooh! Talk about greedy! He didn’t leave much.

 

 

Holy smokes!  There’s hardly anything left. I’m really hurt. 

 

I just can’t believe he did that. He’s almost cleaned us out.

 

But wait a minute. Heh-heh-heh! He doesn’t know about the ones I have … “squirreled” away.

 

I’d better add this one to the stash.

 

On second thought, I should eat what I can before he comes back.


44 Comments

Weeding Words

Here is my garden, looking a little bit neglected as I spend more time copy-editing than I do gardening. I suppose you could say I’m weeding, but it’s words I’m weeding out, not “weed” weeds.

A western flycatcher flew over to the fence and gave me a condescending look.

 

Ooooooh! Anneli! That doesn’t look good. You’ve got to get out there and clean up that mess you call a garden.

 

So I asked if he’d like to help me weed.

“Tell me you’re joking!” he said.

“I don’t think so!” he said. “… Awww … don’t look like that. You should have gotten on top of the job right at the start!”

 

Call me when the work is done.

“Weeding words,” she calls her job,

Didn’t know she’s such a snob.

Doesn’t get her hands too dirty

Asks for help from this lil birdie.

 

I’m no weeder, I must say,

Must learn that another day,

Weeding plants is bad enough,

Weading books is way too tough.

 

 

 

 


37 Comments

Breakfast Interruptus

See how I can multi-task? I can chew a sunflower seed while tossing the shell away.

 

Oh, darn it all. There’s Emma. “Hey! What’re YOU doing here? Can’t a squirrel eat breakfast in peace?”

 

See how I did that? I told her! Cool, eh?

 

Uh-oh! What if she gets out of the backyard? Sometimes the people let her into the front.

 

I think … yup … it’s time … to RUN!

 

I bet I could catch you! I can jump, you know.

 

Not this high, you can’t. Nyah-na-na-naa-na!

Heeheeheeheeheeeeeee!


45 Comments

Ghost Plant

I found this odd plant growing along the side of my driveway this morning. It goes by several names: monotropa uniflora, ghost plant, ghost pipe, Indian pipe, and corpse plant.

It does look rather ghostly without its green chlorophyll, but  more striking than that is the shape. I’ve only ever known it as Indian pipe, probably named for its shape similar to the traditional Indian peace pipe.

I’ve always found the Indian pipe fascinating because it is so different from most other plants. I thought it was a fungus, like a mushroom, but apparently it is considered to be in the family of Ericae, the heathers. I can’t see the connection, but I trust Wikipedia to have given me the correct information.

But the Indian pipe is parasitic on fungi, deriving its energy from the root systems of fungi rather than from sunlight. It can pop up very quickly after a rain. We did have quite a downpour yesterday and here they are!

 

By the way, you might have noticed that it is surrounded by Canada’s symbol, the “maple leaf forever,” looking a bit ratty around the edges, and no wonder, the way things are going.


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Marlie

Marlie is a good person. Maybe a bit naive…. A young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands, she has a lot to learn. The rough island life tests her survival skills both physically and socially. She is surprised that with the beauty of the islands come hidden and unexpected dangers.

 

Here is a short excerpt from “Marlie” :

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.

It would have been great if she had been nicer to Brent, but as luck would have it, she chose instead a man who would get her into serious trouble. You will be shocked at how Marlie’s trusting nature is turned against her. Rough island life is about to get much rougher. When she most needs a friend, she realizes that she knows very few people in this new setting. She’s on her own.

If you like page-turner stories of love, adventure, and danger, why not download “Marlie”? It is available on all amazon outlets for Kindle and paperback, and on smashwords.com and nook.com (Barnes and Noble) for all formats of e-readers.

 Find Marlie here:   amazon.com

 and here: amazon.ca

Available in paperback as well.

To find out more, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com