wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Moving Day

Usually we think of moving day as a marathon of packing up boxes and then calling muscular friends or a moving company to throw all the furniture and other belongings into a truck to take it all to the new house. But what if you found a real bargain of a “fixer-upper” and you had a small piece of land to put it on, but that place was farther up the coast from where you lived? Or maybe you wanted to turn the “fixer-upper” into a house to rent out.

These houses appear for sale now and then, parked on wooden blocks to hold up the house on each corner, on a loading area near our town. The houses are sold and then brought in by tug and barge, often from some remote place, to be taken away to another location, often another coastal area.

A truck with a long low platform drives under the raised up house which is then lowered onto the lowbed and driven onto a barge to be towed by the tug to its new location. The low bed is unhooked from the tractor and can be reconnected to another one for unloading at the destination. I can barely make out the wheels of the trailer under the house at the front of the barge.

This (above) was the scene looking out from my house one day, but I found an article in the Times-Colonist that showed pictures of other houses being moved by this method. The houses are not necessarily  all “fixer-uppers.” The circumstances could be quite different.

 

So if you like your house, but it’s not in the right location, you can now move the house instead of your belongings.  Or you can find a  house and have it moved up the coast to your property. For that matter, if you’re stranded on a desert island, you can just use your smart phone and order  a house to be brought in.

And maybe, if you have Amazon Prime you might save yourself the shipping charges. Ya think?


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Pigs, Music, Books

We know that pigs are smart.

I read somewhere that pigs like music, especially Mozart’s compositions. While this piece is not by Mozart, it is a German song often sung by community choirs, so maybe that inspired the pig to learn to play it. It is called “Komm, Trost der Welt” (Come, Comfort of the World), and refers to the night and how it brings consolation, respite, and relief to many  who work hard all day long and have a lot of cares.

You can see that I used the music sheet that the pig is playing from as part of the cover of my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

The pig is not a character in my book, but once he learns to play the song, I’ll teach him to read so he can enjoy “Julia’s Violinist.”

You can buy this novel for less than the price of a hamburger at amazon if you have Kindle, or at smashwords.com if you have any other kind of e-reader.  Just click on the image of the book on the sidebar of this blog.

 

 


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First Dampish Days

A dampish day, but that’s okay,

The sky is overcast,

The garden’s wet, so I’m all set,

The watering chore is past.

 

A squirrel hops, he looks, and stops,

He chatters to my face,

Then turns to run and have more fun,

At some much safer place.

 

I pick a pear and am aware

That rabbits like to chew,

If fruit should fall to ground at all,

It’s nibbled through and through.

 

The garden thrives and gives up chives

To make a lovely sauce,

But not the squash, it was a wash,

Complete and total loss.

I’m glad that kale does not get stale,

It’s growing, slow but strong,

This healthy plant in soup just can’t

Make anything go wrong.

 

A lonely rose, so bravely grows,

And blooms its last few days,

But come next year, you must not fear,

Again, it will amaze.


36 Comments

All Masked Up

 

First it was the dog, growling and barking at me, and now it’s that woman waving her camera around like she’s a journalist and I’m the star of her freak show. I can see the headlines now: Masked Bandit Hides in Tree

Only one thing to do, and that’s go higher and stay put. The woman doesn’t look like she’s much of a climber – not at her age.

Emma, her dog, can jump a few feet, but of course, she can’t climb.

 

 

Well … let’s see … what’s the best way to get up here?

I’ll just have a stretch before I climb any higher. Get limbered up before I go up the limbs.

Ouch! I forgot about my owie. Think I scraped it the other night going up a tree in a hurry. Couldn’t really see where I was going and I gave myself a sore arm on one of those broken branches.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, check out Mrs. Journalist. Yup, she’s still standing there pointing that black thing my way. Well, at least she can’t identify me with my mask on, so I can cause any kind of mischief I want. But I am complying with all the Covid rules – I have my mask on …  which is silly, because we’re outdoors in the fresh air.

When will she stop pointing that camera at me?

Sorry, but I’m a bit camera shy.

She’s a brazen one! Still there. Still pointing that gadget at me. Good thing I have a mask on for anonymity as well as for Covid. But still, still, still….

I’d better stay hidden behind the tree. I’ll just peek out now and then to see if she’s gone yet, and to make sure that dog isn’t around.

Reggie Raccoon felt quite brave around noon,

He just couldn’t wait until dark.

Running so hard across Anneli’s yard,

He leaped up the nearest tree’s bark.

 

Rushing he scrambled, his fate he had gambled,

He came close to losing his tail,

Emma, the jumper, leaped up to his bumper,

It’s lucky her snap was a fail.

 


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A Hard-earned Treat

Even though the summer has been dry, the blackberry vines were loaded. Emma has learned that the pain from pokes and prickles of thorns is worth the trouble.

 

She loves blackberries.

Her tender little nose takes a lot of punishment in order to get at the berries.

Some are not so willing to fall off and be eaten. Emma doesn’t mind pulling.

If only I could teach her to place them in a container for me without slobbering on them, and bring them to the house.

When I pick berries for myself I’m always sure to pick the ones that are higher than about a foot off the ground.

 

Once I saw my people pick,

Blackberries from bushes thick,

Why not do the same as them?

Looks like they are quite a gem.

 

Sure enough, the taste was fine,

But my poor lips bit a spine,

“Yikes! That hurts,” I yelped in pain,

Then I tried it once again.

 

Sweet and juicy was the taste,

Not to eat would be a waste,

Now I grit my teeth and pull,

And eat berries ’til I’m full.


36 Comments

Stop Bugging Me

This horrible creature – ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – loves my yard, especially the potato patch.  A few years ago we had some of these (1.5″ to 2″) beetles hanging around the place, but things must have been going very well for them since then, as they are now extremely prolific. Not only do they fly around the yard at night like little helicopters and try to land on my back when I have the dog out for her last pee, but they get into my garden, lay their eggs, and when the grubs hatch out, they eat the potatoes.

 

Here is a pathetic little potato, mostly eaten by one of these ten-lined beetle larvae. I was discouraged by my struggling potato crop, since not much was growing in the very dry soil. Even after watering it every day, the soil was dry except for the first half inch. So I decided to pull up the potatoes and cut my losses. Why water these potatoes just to feed the bugs?

A few days ago, I pulled up half my potato crop and found about thirty of the grubs. I put them on an upside down garbage can lid and placed the lid at the base of a tree I had seen raccoons climb up a day or so before. The next day the grubs were gone.

Two days later, I dug up the rest of the potatoes, and again, found all these grubs that you see on the garbage can lid. I left them there, on offer to any raccoons that might be passing through the yard at night. I know the raccoons are here every night because I hear them, I see them, and I see the holes in the grass where they have been digging to try finding these grubs without my help.

With any luck, these grubs would become racoon food and save me the trouble of stepping on them to squish them. I don’t want them to suffer, but they are destroying my garden, and it already needs all the help it can get.

Do you have these terrifying insects in your yard? I hope not.

*****

 

Update: A few hours later I looked at these grubs and saw that a bunch of yellow jackets had found them and were eating them alive. It seemed cruel to me, but I didn’t feel sorry enough for them to try to save them.

Early in the morning, all traces of the grubs were gone, so I am assuming that the raccoons ate them.

 

 


33 Comments

Be Careful What You Wish For

We waited all through the long cold, wet winter and spring for a few sunny days to come our way.

Since the middle of June, the heat and sun have been pretty much relentless. Now, in late August, I’ve learned to be careful what I wish for.

 

Grass is parched and plants have wilted,

Weather forecasts all sound stilted,

Every living thing has thirst,

How I’d love a good cloudburst.

 

Hanging baskets wilt and wail, 

“Give me water from that pail!”

Sun is great, but heat’s a pain,

Don’t you think it’s time for rain?

 

I no longer wish for sun

Too much heat is not such fun,

Sunshine scorches all I see,

Moderation is the key.

 

 


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The Easy Way

While Charlie and Chester the chickadees got their sunflower seeds from the sunflowers in the garden, Nathan the nuthatch found an easier way to get his share.

This jar of seeds is meant for the squirrels, but when they aren’t looking, Nathan zips in and steals a seed. He doesn’t linger at all, making it more of a Dine and Dash situation. At any time Jasper or Lincoln might come and put the run on him. It was hard to get a clear picture, zoomed in from the deck of the house, and needing to snap it quickly as Nathan only stays at this jar for a split second.

“Do you know who’s been into my stash?”

 

Nathan Nuthatch loves his seeds,

Not so much the work.

Squirrel food will meet his needs,

Though his theft might irk.

 

Jasper tries to guard the stash,

Lincoln also helps,

Nathan is afraid they’ll bash

In his skull, and yelps.

 

“Look how much you have to eat,

Yet you will not share,

Food laid out for you so neat,

This I just can’t bear.

 

“If the seeds you will not share,

I will have to steal,

Flying quickly I will dare,

But won’t stay to peel.

 

“In a pinch I’d get my own,

From the tall sunflowers,

But until my cover’s blown,

This will save me hours.”

 

 

 


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A Seedy Place!

The sunflowers are ripe and going to seed. I’m not sure what this bee is collecting, but it is not the only creature interested in the harvest.

Chester the chickadee has found a sunflower that has lost its petals and is well into seed production.

“Whoah!” he says, “This will require some acrobatics.”

“But, oh … those seeds are so good. And this flower is loaded!”

“Hey, Charlie! Come over here! I’ve found a goldmine.”

 

“Now, where was I? Oh yeah, I was getting right in there for the best of those seeds.”

Charlie and Chester are flying around

Looking for places where seeds might abound.

Chester finds sunflowers full of ripe seeds.

Says to himself, “These will fill all my needs.”

 

“Charlie, come over,” he calls to his friend,

“Seeds are so heavy, the flower does bend.”

Chickadee brothers fill up on their snack,

Flittering down from the fir trees and back.

 

And if a seed needs some coaxing to split,

Wedge it in bark and then hammer on it.

When it pops open, the flavour is fine,

Lovely to see how the chickadees dine.

 


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Annie and the Honeydew Man

When my sisters and brother and I were little, we lived in a newly built, but unfinished house on the edge of town. The streets weren’t even put in place yet. Our road was just a track through a field of yellow grass. But it was perfect for us to play cowboys and gallop our pretend horses around the trails and up and down the hills of dirt that were not yet backfilled to the new house. We pretended to be characters from the western movies of the day — Annie Oakley, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.  But Annie was my favourite.  My sister was really too little to keep up with us as we tore around on the hills of dirt, so she played Annie Oakley and guarded the house while the rest of us were out on the range.

I don’t know what is wrapped around her right hand, and I just noticed for the first time in decades that there is a doll peeking out from behind her left shoulder.

Fast forward to more modern times. When the Captain and I were on one of our trips to Baja California, we stopped to do some shopping in Ensenada. I found a puppet-style doll that I couldn’t live without. She was the Mexican version of Annie Oakley. What made me even happier, was buying the doll that had to be her partner.  He is pictured in the photo below Annie.

The store proprietor told me that this doll represents the hen-pecked husband, the Honeydew man (Honey, do this and Honey, do that), but in Spanish they called this fellow a “mandelon,”  because he is ordered about. What woman would not want a mandelon to do things for her? I had to have this doll!

In my novel Orion’s Gift,  Sylvia is all alone in the world. It seems that her life has taken a sudden turn and everything has been going wrong for her.

She has “run away” to Baja California and is living in her VW van.

She really needs someone, so I gave her a mascot to lend her strength. Below is a short excerpt from Orion’s Gift, telling about how Sylvia came to adopt Annie.

Excerpt:

In one shop, handmade puppets on strings hung from the ceiling. Each doll had a unique character and, like orphans hoping to be adopted, seemed to call, “Take me with you.” I fell in love with a Mexican Annie Oakley. She held a mini six-gun in each hand and radiated confidence and self-reliance. I paid for her and happily carried her home to my van. I rigged up a spot on the curtain rod behind the seat for Annie to watch over me at night. She’d be my mascot, a reminder that I was strong and could take care of myself.

You can read Sylvia’s story in my novel “Orion’s Gift.”  She’s going to need Annie’s strength to face some of the challenges of being a woman travelling alone in Baja.

The e-book version is marked down to only 99 cents for the next few weeks.  Just click on the link to  amazon.com or smashwords.com for other e-reader versions.