wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


26 Comments

The Reluctant Fireplace

This huge stone fireplace was meant to give comfort on a chilly evening. Originally it was without the gas insert. The firebox was roomy and deep and the wood fire gave a cozy feeling. The problem was that just on that kind of night when the wind was howling and the rain pelting down, the chimney allowed gusts to blast down it, blowing smoke back into the house.

A gas fireplace insert was the solution. We decided on a Jotul brand, which allowed for the best fit, and prepared the gas lines and the electric cables for running the fan.

The next step was to install the Jotul insert that the company ordered for us. When it arrived, so did trouble. It had been damaged in shipping.

“No problem,” they told us. “We’ll order another one from our supplier’s warehouse. It’ll be here in less than a week.”

“That’s okay,” we said. “It’s only March, and summer is coming. We just want it to be ready for when winter comes.”

The big day came, sometime in April. Time to unload it. “Oops! This one is damaged too. We’ll order another one, but there are no more in the warehouse; it will have to come from Maine. It could take a couple of weeks.”

The stove arrived, and …. Yup! You guessed it. It was damaged in transit. Another stove was ordered. Now we had to get in line. Seems there was a backup on orders.

Finally, in late July, the stove arrived — right in the middle of our big heat wave. But at least, this time, it was not damaged.

To burn off the  new metal and some of the chemicals from the stove, we let it run for a few minutes. All the while, our air conditioner was working overtime to compensate.

But at last, we had the prospect of some cozy winter mornings by the fire.

It only took four months. I’m glad we started early.


23 Comments

A Savoury Haircut

My savoury plant was in dire need of a haircut. I’m sure it thought its usual hairdresser had gone out of business with the lockdown following the Covid outbreak. Imagine its surprise when the hairdresser came along with her shears and gave it that long overdue cut.

When the leaves are dry, I’ll strip them from the stems and put them in a jar to use throughout the winter until next year’s crop is ready.

 

 

My tendrils grew so wild and free,

And I no longer looked like me.

My tresses dragged, my body sagged,

And every passing bug got snagged.

 

I knew I was in dire need,

I looked like hell, oh yes indeed.

So when the pruners clipped my hair,

Someone responded to my prayer.

 

They saved my growth for other use

And saved me from this rude abuse

My leaves when added to the food,

Impart great flavour when it’s chewed.

 

And I no longer look so wild,

With hair like some unruly child.

I now look pretty, tidied up,

The folks will taste me when they sup.

 

It’s how I pay the salon fee

A cut and set that pampered me.

I’m glad that I won’t go to waste

And give to food a lovely taste. 

 


30 Comments

Stoned on the Beach

I hope I don’t offend anyone with this shocking bit of nudity, and I hope I don’t get arrested for posting this photo when I can’t give credit to its owner, but whoever you are, Mr. Photographer, you have given me a smile every time I look at this photo on my laptop. I wanted to share it to pass on the smiles.

Please don’t do anything to infringe on the photographer’s copyright, and I hope I’m not doing that myself. I’m not making money on it, but I sure have got a lot of smiles from it.

“This is just so cool,” he says,

“Lying on the beach.”

“Shame the blanket’s small and won’t,

Accommodate us each.”

 

“Sorry dear, I’ll move aside,

And have you seen my hat?”

“Typical,” she grumbles on,

“Men! They’re all like that.”

 

Soaking up the warming rays,

They drift into a dream,

He loves her and she loves him,

Always they’re a team.


26 Comments

Bob the Cat Builds a Driveway

If we had watered it, or if there had been any rain in the last six weeks, our driveway would have been green. So much soil has been created by nature’s cycle of dropped leaves and fir needles that the driveway became almost like a messy golf fairway. All it needed was a hole punched into the middle of the turnaround and a tiny flagpole posted there.

But last week, a little Bobcat scraped that fairway clean of its dry, weedy “green.”

In this drought, the dust clouds filled the air as Bob the cat worked to renew our driveway.

I was amazed at the way a shovel could smooth the ground and a toothed kind of shovel could scrape the earth like giant metal fingernails.

Finally, the living part of the driveway was removed and only a foundation of the old crushed rock remained.

But more crushed rock was needed, so the first of several loads arrived. Bob the cat stood by ready to go back to work. You see he has the shovel back on and his claws are put away.

Here is the first load spread around.

I am always amazed at the way a good operator can move soil or crushed rock around as if the machine were an extension of his hand. In this short video, you will see how skillfully he “plays” with the crushed rock to make a smooth driveway surface.

By the time the crew was finished we had a clean new driveway.

 


2 Comments

Jacqui Murray: Laws Of Nature

I was leaving a comment when this post accidentally reblogged to Wordsfromanneli, but once it did that, I didn’t mind a bit because some people may have missed a previous post about this wonderful book. If you missed hearing about it, you now have another chance to check it out. You won’t be sorry if you do.

Anyone who buys this book will be happy they did. The rest will be sorry to miss out on such a great adventure. I loved reading all of Jacqui’s book. Don’t miss out!

Carol Balawyder

Although Jacqui Murray’s Laws of Nature (Book 2 of The Dawn of Humanity Trilogy) is a work of fiction it is based on intense research on pre-historic times. In her non-fiction introduction Jacqui Murray sites how scientists decoded the clues which were “encased in the rocks, soil, and the few surviving artifacts of her kind.”

Relying on multidisciplined scientists: paleobotanists studied plant seed, paleoanthropologists examined the condition of teeth and calcification of skeletons, Paleontologists examined the tools created during that period 2 million years ago and other paleo scientists studied the rocks, soil, the climate. All offering to Jacqui Murray a foundation for her fiction.

Of the many different scientists Jacqui Murray mentions two: Dr. Lev Vygotsky whose research was based on the means of communication – body language, hand gestures, facial expressions. Dr. Levi Leonard and Conant’s research based on the concept of counting.

In this book of the trilogy…

View original post 234 more words


47 Comments

Reggie Raccoon

Apologies for the fuzzy photo. In the middle of the night, I took this picture in a big hurry through the dining room window while the Captain shone a flashlight at this guy from the deck. Seconds later the bandit was gone.

 

Reggie saunters through the yard,

Looking for a treat,

Doesn’t want to work too hard,

Tired are his feet.

 

Sneaking ‘cross the lawn at night,

Hears a spaniel bark,

Though he jumps up in a fright,

Tiptoes through the dark.

 

Motion sensor light comes on,

“Oh, which way to go?

Hurry, get across that lawn,

Feet are much too slow.”

 

Soon he comes up to a tree,

Ponders his escape,

Opens wide his eyes to see,

And his mouth’s agape.

 

No more danger, no more dog,

Woodshed is quite near,

If he makes it to that log,

Nothing more to fear.

 

“Yikes! What is that brilliant light?

Shining right on me,

Wish I’d scampered out of sight,

Up that big fir tree.”

 

“Nothing else to do but smile,

Hope the photo’s good.

Then I’m getting out of Dodge,

Right behind this wood.”


42 Comments

Triton

Going fishing this summer? You’ll want the blessing of Triton, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, the Greek god and goddess of the sea. But god or not, no fisherman is lucky all the time, as you will see if you read on. Looks like he might have a bit of trouble aiming with the crooked tines on his trident.

Triton dwells beneath the sea,

In a house of gold,

Fisherman he wants to be,

Trident makes him bold.

 

When the fish were scarce one day,

Down he swam so deep,

Brought his conch up to the bay,

Called, and fish did leap.

 

As they neared his special rock,

Triton aimed his spear,

Fish eyes ogled him in shock,

Saying, “Dear, oh, dear!”

 

Triton flung his trident wide,

Missed them by a mile,

As the fish swam past his side,

They couldn’t help but smile.

 

 

 


32 Comments

Laws of Nature

YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!

 

This is Book 2 of a trilogy and, for your own enjoyment, I recommend reading Book 1, “Born in a Treacherous Time,” as well, but even if you don’t, you will enjoy Laws of Nature as a stand alone.

 

Have a look at the trailer and you will get an idea of the setting and some of the challenges Lucy and her people faced. Click the link to see the trailer.

https://youtu.be/gbyA9rDSy9k

Here is our author, Jacqui Murray, the fine lady who had  the “staying power” to study and research the world of the early humans and the imagination to put together a believable story of what it might have been like to live in those days, over 1.8 million years ago.

I can tell you one thing without a doubt: Life then was NOT boring! And neither are Jacqui Murray’s novels.


About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

For more author info, click on any of 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

 

Here is an excerpt from Laws of Nature.

Chapter 1

Hunting

South Africa

Lucy

Fresh blood streaked Short-tooth’s muzzle, her golden eyes alert to every movement around her as she munched on Gazelle’s meaty carcass. Each movement made the Cat’s tawny fur ripple over the powerful muscles beneath her skin. She raised her head, chewing slowly while studying the grass field in front of her, especially toward the back where it blended into the forest. She couldn’t see Mammoth but smelled it, close to the Uprights, maybe protecting them. Despite being the size of a boulder, this pachyderm could outrun most predators and would think nothing of crushing them beneath its massive feet.

Short-tooth wasn’t interested in the Uprights. Their bodies had little meat and less fat. Gazelle was more satisfying.

Cat ripped a slab of fragrant meat from the hind leg. Snarling-dog—to the far side—slapped the ground. He was hungry but wouldn’t eat Gazelle until Short-tooth finished. Cat purred loudly, close to a snarl, and Snarling-dog withdrew, but not far. Carrion-bird overhead tightened its circle and a tiny shrew the size of Short-tooth’s paw waited patiently, out of Cat’s range, eyes bright, nose twitching. A shred from the carcass was all it needed.

None of these creatures mattered to Short-tooth. She was the apex predator in her savannah habitat.

Sticky yellow globs of Mammoth dung slid down Lucy’s back and plopped to the dry thatch. The dung coat was melting under Sun’s intense heat, exactly as Lucy planned. Its purpose was to confuse Short-tooth Cat. The hotter Sun became, the stronger Mammoth’s smell.

Lucy and her young pairmate, Garv, lay motionless, like Snake sleeping, bodies pressed into the prickly grass, oblivious to the feathery feet that scurried over their backs. She and Garv, too, wanted what Short-tooth didn’t consume. They were more patient than Snarling-dog but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t eat first. The first to arrive got the best of the leftovers.

Lucy rubbed her raw eyes, bleary from watching Cat bite, rip, and chew. If Short-tooth knew of their presence, it was not because she saw them. Lucy and Garv blended into the landscape. Their skin was the color of dirt and dry grass, impossible to find if you weren’t looking. No part of their bodies moved except their narrowed eyes as they scanned the surroundings, evaluating each new arrival to the feast. The dominant scents never changed—Snarling-dog, Short-tooth Cat, something decaying in the nearby forest, her pairmate Garv’s sweaty body, and Gazelle’s ripening offal.

Sun’s relentless heat washed over Lucy in waves. Sweat dripped down her face, over her pronounced brow ridge and into her eyes, but for reasons she didn’t understand, despite his fur pelt, Snarling-dog was dry. He reminded Lucy of Ump, her tribe’s Canis member. Even on the hottest days, Ump didn’t sweat. Instead, he panted more.

Today, Snarling-dog panted hard.

Short-tooth raised her feline head, inspecting her habitat as her jaws crunched through the fresh carrion. She reeked of malevolence which meant scavengers like Lucy and Garv willingly waited their turn.

Sun climbed through the cloudless blue sky. The morning haze had burned off long ago. The dew Lucy hadn’t licked off the leaves, Sun’s heat had. Her throat was dry, lips cracked, but that mattered less than securing scavenge. Her tribe was hungry.

Lately, unexpectedly, when Lucy sat quietly as she did now, a tingle deep inside her chest told her Raza, her former pairmate, was in trouble. The first time she experienced this tingle, what Garv called “instinct,” it churned through her body as a current does in a stream. She thought she was sick until Garv explained this was instinct and it warned of danger, not illness. He told her always to listen, but how was she to do that? Raza had been captured by the tribe’s worst enemy, a formidable Upright called Man-who-preys. She didn’t know where they’d taken him. As often as she brushed the feeling away, it returned, each time stronger than the last.

Cat’s yellow eyes snapped open and her methodical jaws slowed. Something caught her interest, maybe Snarling-dog’s impatience or Carrion-bird’s relentless approach. After a warning hiss, Short-tooth shook her big head and pawed her face. A swarm of black flies lifted, buzzed briefly, and then resettled where they’d started, again gorging on the blood and carrion that stuck to Short-tooth’s face

The flies are thicker than usual.

Short-tooth returned to her meal and Lucy sniffed, wondering what drew Cat’s attention. She didn’t expect to see Man-who-preys here, but took nothing for granted. The tall, big-headed, hairless enemy always carried a long stick which he used to kill prey. Sometimes, he didn’t eat the animal, just watched it die. This unpredictability, that he followed no norms, made him more treacherous than other predators.

She inhaled, but didn’t smell his stench so turned her attention back to the hunt.

Carrion-bird floated overhead, feet tucked beneath its sleek body. The longer Cat ate, the more of the huge birds arrived. They thought their powerful sweeping wings, sharp claws, and piercing beaks made them the mightiest among the scavengers. What they didn’t realize was that Lucy and Garv possessed an even greater weapon: They could plan. Before Carrion-bird or Snarling-dog got too close, Lucy and Garv would take what they needed and flee.

They always did.

In the edging forest, Cousin Chimp hooted, the pitch and length describing the location of a tree newly bearing fruit. Leaves rustled as his band raced away. Lucy hoped they would leave enough of the succulent produce for her and Garv.

She hunkered deeper into the tall waving stalks, tracking the other scavengers and noting again how far away the trees were in case she needed to flee. A snake slithered over her foot, through the thatch and out of sight. She and Garv had been motionless for so long, Snake probably viewed them as dirt mounds in its path.

Garv tweaked an eyebrow and Lucy motioned, hands a tight circle in front of her chest, well hidden, “Dull colors, no knobs on snake’s tail—no danger.”

Her kind—Man-who-makes-tools—used a sophisticated blend of communication including body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, mimicking, and vocalization. One of their greatest defenses in this brutal world was the ability to become part of their surroundings. Voices were unusual sounds heard nowhere in nature except from Uprights, mostly the big-headed Man-who-preys. Lucy’s kind occasionally whispered and Tree-men, like Boah who was part of Lucy’s tribe, rarely made any sounds beyond huffs, grunts, howls, and moans. Only Man-who-preys jabbered endlessly.

 

Lucy’s eyelids drooped. This hunt had started yesterday when Lucy and Garv found the fresh cloven prints of a Gazelle herd. Lucy’s kind ate copious amounts of roots, nuts, fruit, juicy stems, and insects, but only meat gave them the energy to survive their dangerous lives. Because they hunted only dead animals, they depended upon predators to make the kill. Gazelle’s fleshy body always attracted Cat and its cousins, like Short-tooth. They would pick off the injured, and Lucy’s tribe would eat what they left.

Because not enough daylight remained yesterday, Lucy and Garv set out today, at Sun’s first light. They followed the herd while the rest of the tribe—the Tree-man Boah, the child Voi, and the Canis Ump—stayed at the homebase’s cave. Before Sun had traveled far, a snarl and a screech told Lucy a predator claimed its prey. When Carrion-bird and its cousins started to circle, she and Garv knew exactly where to go.

 

Garv nudged Lucy, the movement so subtle the grass didn’t even move. “Short-tooth is leaving.”

Lucy bit her lip and shot a look at Garv. His face radiated excitement.

She studied Short-tooth, tried to see what Garv saw and finally gestured, “I don’t see anything. Why do you think she’s finished?”

He motioned, one finger moving against his palm, “Instinct.” Nothing else.

But that was enough. Garv had taught her to stalk prey, knap tools, hunt, and protect herself. Because of him, she became an accomplished hunter, never missed a print, a bent frond, the fragrance left on leaves or bark, or any other sign. As partners, they always brought meat to the tribe. Most hunters didn’t.

Garv’s instinct had found more prey than Lucy’s tracking skills or senses ever did. She had no doubt Short-tooth would soon leave.

Cat’s big tongue, as long as Lucy’s forearm, licked the bloody scraps from her muzzle, a sign even to Lucy that she had finished. Lucy shifted to her hands and toes, knees hovering above the ground, prepared for what must come next. Garv did the same, his body hard from the life he lived, senses alert to every noise. Carrion-birds cawed and tightened their circle. On the opposite side of the field, Snarling-dog’s pack bared their canines, tails stiff. Drool dripped from their jowls and their gaze bounced between Cat and the Uprights, knowing from experience the scrawny but agile creatures were vigorous competitors.

You are fast, Snarling-dog, but we are smart. We will always get there first!

Lucy tensed as Short-tooth pushed up to her massive paws, canines red with blood, saliva dripping in strands from her jowls. She yawned, her mouth a dark cavity vast enough to swallow Lucy’s entire head, and ambled off. Lucy and Garv exploded to their feet and sprinted toward the carcass. Their powerful legs churned while nimble hands pulled cutters and stones from the sacks strung around their necks. Lucy’s job was to delay Snarling-dog and Carrion-bird while Garv stripped the carrion.

“Argh!” Lucy roared, waving a leafy branch through the air to make herself bigger to Snarling-dog while Garv attacked the carcass. Ignoring the fetid stench of dung and urine, he swung the sharp cutter and sliced through the hide and then muscle and tendon.

Lucy flung a stone at the lead Snarling-dog. It hit his temple, hard, and he dropped with a squeal. His pack slowed to reassess the upright creature and Lucy threw another stone, this one at the new leader’s eye. He yipped and stumbled, shook his head, and pawed at the blood that oozed from the wound and dribbled down his muzzle.

“Lucy!” Garv tossed an almost pristine haunch to her and then swung his chopper at Gazelle’s ribs. Carrion-bird, well into its death dive, talons extended, screeched its imminent attack.

“Let’s go!” Lucy called, the unexpected sound of her voice meant to startle the scavengers.

She hurled a rock at the lead Carrion-bird. It squawked and withdrew, which slowed the rest of the flock. Lucy grabbed an almost-meatless leg bone. It would be filled with nutritious bloody marrow. Meat secured over her shoulders, she and Garv fled. No one chased them. Why abandon certain meat for an uncertain meal? Lucy raced past a termite mound, noted its location, rounded a boulder bed, and lost sight of the fracas.

Not the scent, though. The tantalizing aroma sailed through the air, announcing to every scavenger around the availability of meat.

*****

Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India


38 Comments

The Nice Light

At a certain time of the evening, the last rays of the sun paint a golden glow on the tall firs. We call it “the nice light” when that happens. The morning light is similar, but the glow isn’t as warm as the evening light.

Stand tall, fellows, ready then?

Here comes that nice light again.

Soak it up and feel its glow,

Soon enough, cold winds will blow.

 

Soothing warmth and light for growth,

What good luck to have them both,

Cloudless evenings are the best,

As the sun sinks in the west.

 

When the cold days come again,

We will stand through wind and rain.

Strength to keep harsh days at bay,

Comes from warming light today.


37 Comments

Travel Lift

This travel lift can pick up a boat and take it right out of the water. People work on their boats after they are set on a parking lot. It allows access to all parts of the boat when it is sitting up high and dry.

Here the belts are being lowered into the water and slipped under the boat’s hull. You can see the front belt resting in the water, waiting for the sailboat to float over it.

Now the belts are snugged up, making a cradle to lift the boat out of the water. The travel lift, basically a frame on wheels, rolls along over the water, bringing the boat closer to the parking lot.

As it gets quite close to dry land, the operator of the travel lift must make sure that the boat is sitting securely in the cradle and that it has been lifted high enough so the keel clears the level of the pavement.

The lift operator is standing front of the boat in the photo below, using a remote control gadget to lift or move the boat and the “frame on wheels.” You may notice that there are two belts lying on the pavement. These are spares that are not necessary for a small sailboat. Two belts will be enough to lift it. But when it is time to lift a heavier boat such as the Captain’s troller (which weighs over twice as much as this sailboat), the extra straps will be needed to lift it.

 

A week earlier, the Captain had his commercial troller lifted out and put on the parking lot so he could work on the hull of the boat. Now it is time to lift it up and carry it back to the water.

How powerful must that travel lift be to raise up a 39-ft. troller and roll it across the parking lot back to the water. Notice the extra straps, front and back.

Let’s hope the operator gets the wheels of that lift aligned with the pathways for it on either side of the water. You wouldn’t want to miss. I see floating containment “booms” to keep something scungy away from the boats and the shore. Not sure what that is all about. Probably to catch any oil or fuel that might leak from a boat that is in need of repair.

 

Do you like music? Why not go to Spotify then type in The Birkenna Project in the Search bar.  Spotify – Web Player: Music for everyone

Or go to Amazon’s Music sites and do a search for The Birkenna Project. Look for three songs newly uploaded to the album with three more to come soon.