wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Enforcer

Hi Folks! This is King Goldie Sr. speaking. While little Prince Goldie Jr. is over there charming Bossie Betty and enjoying a warm dust bath, it’s up to me to keep the ladies in line. Not only do I have to make sure their henhouse gossip doesn’t get out of hand, but I’m responsible for their welfare in every way.

I make sure to sound the alarm if predators come around, so they can all run for cover.

I make sure there’s no “bock-bock-bock bickering” going on.

And yes … sigh … it’s up to me to make sure they eat right. They all have to get their fruit and vegetables or they won’t be up to the work of laying the best eggs in my kingdom.

So come on, my pretties, eat your veggies. You can scratch for grain any time, but these special veggies are a real treat. And if I hear any bickering, I’ll remind you to look at the enforcers on my legs. But don’t worry. They’re mainly to defend my kingdom, not to hurt my ladies. Just “cock-a-doodle-do” as you’re told.

Pretty nice set of enforcers, don’t you think?

Ladies! Ladies! Stop the squawk!

All I hear is “Bock-bock-bawk.”

Dinner’s served and it won’t last,

Want your veggies? Get here fast.

 

Stop the bock-bock-bickering,

Stop your silly dithering,

Veggies, leafy, green, and good,

Healthy fare, it’s understood.

 

I’ll stand guard so you can eat,

Cabbage, celery, and beet,

In the morning you will lay,

Eggs of quality, I pray.

 

As for me, I have my job,

While I pick at this corn cob,

But if danger here occurs,

I’ll protect you with my spurs.

 

 

 


31 Comments

Bossie’s Depression

“Prince Goldie,” said White Betty. “Just look here.  First rays of sunshine this year, and I think Bossie Betty is depressed. She’s dug herself a hole so deep she’ll never get out. Can’t you make her get up?”

“She doen’t seem to be listening to me. Not paying attention to the pecking order at all,” Goldie said. “I tried crowing and she just scrunched her eyes shut and ducked her head down.”

“Ooooh! That’s bad, if she’s ducking. She doesn’t even know she’s a chicken anymore. Well, that’s just ducky! I give up on her. I’m leaving.”

“Aw, c’mon! Don’t chicken out, Betts. We can’t just leave her there.”

“Don’t you worry, my pretty Bossie Betty. I’ll stay with you. Right here in this nice sunny spot … ahhhh…. Oh, this is ni-i-i-ice. No wonder you didn’t want to move,” crowed Goldie. “So warm! And the earth smells so wonderful, so dry and aromatic after a winter of wet muck. Yes, I could get used to this.”

 

“Would you like to go bowling, Goldie?” Bossie asked.

“Bowling?”

“Yes. Dust bowling. It’s like a beautiful bath and the sun warms you at the same time.”

“I see what you mean, Bossie.  Ah yes, it’s fit for a prince. Better than playing in a mud puddle, that’s for sure.”

*****

The chickens squawked out a rhyme today:

After weeks of muck and rain,

Icy cold, depression, pain,

I can see the sun again,

Winter doldrums start to wane.

 

Nothing like some rays of sun,

Pecking grubs outdoors is fun,

Tasty food for everyone,

Sunshine ’til the day is done.

 

Bathing in a bowl of dust,

Getting cleaner is a must,

With my hairdo I have fussed,

Now it’s cleaner, only just.

 

We are happier today,

Sun is out and we can play,

Hope that this will be the way

Sunshine finds us every day.


38 Comments

Where is She?

Has anyone seen Anneli? She hasn’t posted anything for quite a few days. Is she okay? I’ve been keeping my eyes open for her in between pecking for bugs, but I haven’t seen a glimpse of her. Anyone…?

I don’t know what’s going on,

Anneli seems to be gone.

I keep on looking out for her,

Time to make a post I’m sure.

 

It isn’t like her to neglect,

All us birds, but what the heck,

Soon she’ll get it all together,

She’s just hiding from the weather.

Okay, okay, I’m here! It’s just that I’ve been up to the proverbial eyeballs lately, and I’m very busy with copy-editing, but I’ll be back soon.  Meanwhile, hang in there, and please don’t kill that tree with all your pecking.

Talk to you soon!

Anneli


44 Comments

Who Says There’s No Free Lunch?

“Floyd! You’ve been at the suet block forever!” says Johnny Junco. “Don’t you think you should give me a turn?”

“Bah! Go eat the seeds I drop,” says Floyd.

Rufus and his Missus zoom in as soon as Floyd takes a break.  “How is it?” asks Rufus.

“A lot of fat before you can get to the good stuff,”  she says.

“Well, why don’t you get right into the cage?” Rufus says. “You’re slim enough.”

“Why thank you,” the Missus says. “How kind of you to say so. I hadn’t thought of that. But you stand guard in case Floyd or his girlfriend, Bossy Flossie, comes back.”

“I guess I’ll just have to pick at what drops on the ground,” Johnny says. “Those guys are just too big for me to take on. But at least there’s something for everyone.”

If you’re big and rough and tough,

When you eat you’ll get enough,

But if you’re a little guy,

You must wait, or stand and cry.

 

 

That’s the way the real world works,

First come bullies, then the jerks,

Dainty birds like us must wait,

Sadly this has been our fate.

 

 

At the feeder we can find,

That someone has been so kind,

Now there’s food to feed us all,

Whether we are big or small.


37 Comments

Anecdotes – Ruby and the Bug

 

The ten-lined June beetle lives underground for two or three years as a larva that looks like a hungry white prawn. It eats the roots of plants, and loves to destroy my potato crop.

 When it is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, it hatches as a beetle, in those hot days of summer. It likes to fly around and land on an unsuspecting person’s back, where that victim can’t reach it.

 

These bugs freak me out. I always turn up my collar and stay close to the house when I take our dog out for last call.

Our English springer spaniel puppy, Ruby, had a different view of these beetles. She thought God had put them on this earth for her to chase and, perhaps to bring them into the house to play with.

At this point I would like to share an entry I made in one of my journals where I wrote things of note that happened on any particular day. (The Captain was away commercial fishing and might later be interested in reading how I spent my summer.) Our puppy, Ruby, was a little bit wild and crazy those first months of her life.

August 22, 2007

Ruby brought in a beetle again, after her last pee of the evening. She’s getting very surreptitious about it. She went straight to her doggie bed and put her chin on the bed, trying to look innocent. But I’m onto that fake innocence and sure enough, I heard bug screams coming from inside her mouth. “M-m-m-r-r-z-z-z! M-m-m-r-r-z-z-z!”

It was hard to make her give it up, but finally she spat it out, and batted at it meaning to play with it. I couldn’t just pick it up with my bare hands, but a little dog bowl was nearby, so I used it to try to scoop up the bug. I say “try” because it didn’t work out so well. The beetle has tiny hooks on its legs and they stuck to the fuzzy material of the dog bed. I tried scooping again and as it let go it brushed against my hand and I shrieked. The bug was flung into the corner under a chest of drawers, and Ruby, freaked out by my shriek, leapt up off the bed and backed off a few feet.

I laughed until I cried. Again. She has me laughing so often with her antics out in the yard. I’m sure the neighbours wonder about the old woman who lives alone and goes out into her backyard laughing out loud all by herself.

 

 


29 Comments

Dickie’s New Year’s Resolution

Folks! Dickie here. I wasn’t going to make a New Year’s resolution, but something happened to change my mind. I’m sorry to tell you we’ve got thieves in the woodshed. Well, at the very least, they’re freeloaders.

Here’s what happened. Flossie and Flora Flicker and their brother Floyd were checking out breakfast joints….

“I’ve been picking at the ground for those ant eggs and beetles, but they’ve all gone into hiding,” said Flossie.

“Give it up. I know a better place,” called Flora.

“What did you say?” Flossie shouted. “I had my head in the sand there for a minute. Didn’t hear what you said.”

“I said, Flossie, there are easier ways to get a meal around here. Your brother, Floyd has already gone to look. So, are you interested?”

 

“I know the sunflower seeds are stashed around here, in the woodpile,” Floyd mumbled. “I bet Rufus Towhee knows where they are, but he hasn’t been very helpful.”

“I was just about to tell Floyd about the sunflower seeds in the jar,” said Rufus, “but then he found this big ugly bug. I just had to turn my back. Can’t stand to watch him crunching away on it.”

“And now for dessert!”

“I do feel a little bit bad, eating Dickie’s sunflower seeds. He’ll be so disappointed when he sees they’re gone.”

“Oh deardeardear! They found my stash. And Floyd is bigger than I am. Did you see that spear of a beak on him?  Well … lesson learned. My first New Year’s resolution – I’m going to have to start getting up earlier and get my share.”

 


42 Comments

A New Year

Have a happy 2023.

Find and reconnect with friends, old and new.

Enjoy playtime and exercise.

Ponder new recipes.

Try new dishes.

Go with grace and beauty.

Enjoy life.

New adventures? Dive right in.

Soar to new heights.

Keep alert for danger.

Greet each day in a positive way.

Could be a good year, don’t you think?

Best wishes for a great year ahead, from the animals in my menagerie. 

Those who were camera shy today also send you their heartfelt wishes for a happy and healthy year.

 

 

 


50 Comments

The Most Popular Elusive Guy

I think I see him. I hope he’s got my bag of grubs.

Yes, you’re right! And I see the big sack full of hazelnuts for me.

Er, ah, HERE I AM, Santa. OVER HERE!

Where? I don’t see anything.

When he does come, I hope he brings me a lot of rosehips. Wonder what they’d taste like. In the winter I get tired of these holly berries and mountain ash berries. But maybe the rosehips are too fuzzy inside. They look good though.

Oooooh! Look! He’s got sleigh troubles. His reindeer are conking out. Should’ve got a Tesla Sleigh. With inflation, the price of reindeer food today is high, even for Santa. But even so, the cost of the Tesla Sleigh itself is enough to break the bank.

Yeah, he’s in trouble all right.  Look! He’s turning around. Sniff… there goes that box of dog biscuits I asked for.

I see that. Hmm … I think I hear them complaining about being hitched up so close. Something about social distancing.

Sigh! No herring for supper tonight. Not by special delivery, anyway.


Well, I never! He’s going back to the North Pole. There goes that bunch of tree bugs I asked for.

I’ll go round up some recr-hoots.

Hey, you. Santa’s looking to hire you, Al and the Paca, to be his reindeer substitutes.

What’s that you say? You don’t play second fiddle? Huh! You’d think that in the spirit of Christmas, you’d oblige an old man. I see you are related to those llamas next door with all their llammering. You’re just lazy, the All Packa ya. Well, see if I give a hoot.

Here’s a likely crew.

Say, would you pronghorns like to save Santa’s bacon tonight?

But we’re in Montana.

That’s okay. He’ll have to go by there when he limps home with his rainydeer crew and drops them off. Maybe you can hop on and help get them home before the nightshift begins. Thanks a lot.

I’ve been watching and I don’t see him coming back yet. Must be in the workshop, adjusting the harnesses to the new team.

I think I see him now, with his fresh crew of pronghorns. Funny-looking reindeer. Better than nothing, I guess.

Oh, this is so exciting. We just can’t sit still.

Children, children, not so loud,

Reindeer’s nervous of the crowd,

Send a delegation out,

Find that sleigh, and kids don’t pout.

Let’s go meet him.

This way! This way!

Santa’s big sleigh.

Sliding, gliding,

Santa’s riding.

 

Now settle down or Santa will think you’re all quackers.

Look how well behaved we are; black and white, eating at the same table together. One big happy flock. We’re a “blended flock.”

Oh, listen to you guys. You think it’s easy being the black swan of the family?

Whaddaya mean? You think you’ve got it bad? You try being a rat. All I did was chew on a few of those lovely black licorice cords in the truck and WHAM! They lifted the trunk and exposed me to the elements. But they won’t see me hiding in the corner. Bet you can’t see me either. I’ve got a really good hiding place in the door well too. I’ll just wait there until Santa brings new wiring for me to nibble on.

One thing we all got for Christmas – not sure if Santa had anything to do with it – was darn cold weather. So when Santa had to fly back to change his Rainydeer tires for the more heavy-duty Pronghorn brand, he asked the North Wind to provide some Puddle Puzzles for us to play with while we await his return.

Actually, I thought the puzzles were more like A-maze-ing. You just try it. See if you can find a path out of this maze.

I hope your Christmas holiday time is amazing too.

Did you find the rat in the truck? Look on the far back right-hand corner of the picture (actually the left side of the truck).


43 Comments

Solstice Solace

Hi Folks,

My name is Vera. I’m a varied thrush. You may think I look a lot like Roberta the robin. She’s my cousin.

Here’s Roberta the robin this spring, looking a bit ruffled up against the wind.

Roberta came down from the hills with her friends and family last week and so did all my varied thrush friends. We’d been in the conifers in the hills, picking at berries and bugs, but then the snow came and covered all our food.

So we huddled in the woods until the worst of the weather blew over and then found out where Roberta had gone. Well, we all congregated at Anneli’s house and at some of her neighbours’ too. The bare patches of dirt had bugs and worms we could pick at, and the houses along this road had a lot of mountain ash trees growing, so we ate some of those red berries they grow.

It feels like snow will fall again,

Although we birds prefer the rain,

I’m eating berries from the trees,

Though some are icy from the freeze.

 

When bare spots popped up through the snow,

My friends and I knew where to go,

We found some tiny bugs to eat,

The little spider was a treat.

 

The yard across the street has shrubs,

We hide in bushes eating grubs,

When rays of sun warm up the lawn,

A worm that peeks out will be gone.

 

The mountain ash’s berries fall

The sun ferments them one and all,

My cousin ate more than a few,

And then into a window flew.

 

Yes, life is hard these winter days,

But it is just a passing phase,

With winter solstice we will find,

That happy days aren’t far behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


49 Comments

Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 cups warm water

1 envelope dry yeast (7 g), or 2 tsp. fast rising yeast

5 cups plain flour

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

You can make the dough the old-fashioned way, or if you have a bread machine, you can put in the wet ingredients, followed by the dry ingredients, and put the yeast on top of the flour. Then use the dough setting to mix the ingredients and let them rise in the machine.

After the dough is mixed and set aside to rise (or the machine is doing all this for you), crush a clove of garlic into 1/3 cup of olive oil.

In a separate bowl, place two medium white onions, thinly sliced, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and set aside.

When the dough is ready, having risen in a bowl or in the bread machine, punch down the dough  and divide it in half. Roll out each piece to make 30 x 25 cm rectangles (it works out to cover two of my smaller baking sheets). Place on the greased baking sheets. Cover and let stand  about 15 minutes.

At this point, preheat the oven to 450 F.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, press indentations all over the dough about a half inch (or 1 cm) deep. Brush the dough all over with garlic oil and sprinkle with half the onion mixture on each baking sheet.

Bake at 450 F for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cut into pieces to serve.

If you freeze it later on, you can take out what you need and put it in the toaster.

The batch in this picture could have been done a minute or so longer to be more golden brown, but it is still good.

Goes very well with any soups or stews, or just as a snack with a piece of cheese. It’s perfect with a glass of white wine.

If you don’t like garlic, you can substitute and sprinkle some chopped rosemary onto the dough before baking.