wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


23 Comments

Lying Around

On the beach, I found some things that have been lying around for a long, long time.

This tree, for example, has been clinging to life for decades, possibly waiting to change into a lizard and join its friend farther up the beach. Something happened to the tree, perhaps as it fell over with its roots still in the ground. Maybe at that time it was much smaller and the huge boulder injured it, or prevented it from growing straight.

This may have been when the gnarly knot that we call a burl was formed. These twisted lumps have an interesting grain, and markings that make them special. Artists love to take burls to their woodworking shops to make clocks and coffee tables out of the slices they can cut from the burl.

Just look at the size of this burl. I’m sure the rock had something to do with its formation over many years.

Under this tree, the sandy soil contains countless clamshells. The shells are not in all parts of the higher beach, making me wonder why they are all together in one place.

One guess is that it might have been a midden – a place where early peoples camped and ate clams, leaving the shells  in their “dining room.”

I found a similar midden in Baja California, where the native people from decades gone by brought their shellfish from the beach to a small cave where they ate the seafood and left the shells behind.

Here is another example of the parts of the beach with and without shells, higher up on the bank.

There could be other possible explanations, but for now, I like to think it was a midden – the lunch table where no one cleared away the dishes.


40 Comments

Remembering

In the fall of 2014, a blogging friend and I exchanged seeds through the mail. She sent me hollyhock seeds and I sent her poppy seeds. We looked forward to the spring when we would plant each other’s flowers.

I was sorry to hear that the poppy seeds didn’t sprout for her that next year, but her hollyhocks grew for me.

In November of 2015, she died of cancer. I was shocked because she had been such a positive person. I never would have guessed that she would lose that battle.

I planted the hollyhocks in my vegetable garden because I go there every day, rather than in a flower bed I might rarely visit. Year after year, I think of my friend fondly, yet sadly, almost every day  when I watch her hollyhocks grow, from the earliest leaves to the huge stalks loaded with flowers. It’s as if she’s saying hello whenever I go out to my garden.

If you would like to visit the blog of Barb Beacham, and browse back in time over some of her posts, here is the link: https://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/ 

She was a wonderful person and I still miss her. I’m so glad I have her hollyhocks in my garden.


41 Comments

A Change in the Weather

Large and many were the drops of water that fell from the sky, their countless splashes  silvery like mercury.

Outside the wheelhouse, drops cling to the window pane. But what’s wrong with this picture?

Look at the angle between the horizon and the bottom of the window frame. That will give you an idea of how much the wave action was tipping the boat back and forth. Even in this stiff breeze, it wasn’t too bad. If it had been worse, the Captain could easily have lowered the trolling poles and thrown out the stabilizers that attach to them. When the stabilizers drag through the water, one on each side of the boat, it stops the rolling. But since I wasn’t turning green yet, we kept going without the stabilizers out for the short trip home.

As we got closer to town, we  noticed that the navy cadets were practicing their sailing lessons. The (My) Captain commented on how quickly the tiny boats could turn on a dime as the sailors adjusted the sails.

No sooner had these words left his mouth than the next boat turned … right over! The occupants were tossed in for an unexpected swim. Here they are clambering up on the bottom of the sailboat, with the mother hen hovering nearby.

Now what? It seemed to take a long time for the two women to be plucked off the hull, and even longer before something was done to right the boat. We didn’t have time to watch. They had all the help they needed so we kept going and got out of their way.

Doesn’t it just make you want to learn to sail?


23 Comments

The Changeling

The stickleback lizard staggers towards the water.  Having lost his right hind leg, his body has tried to make up for the loss by sprouting two extra front legs. However, they are all but useless.

If only he can reach the water, he hopes to float, and ease the burden of his heavy trunk and the unwieldy stickles on his back.

In another life he was a proud fir tree on the shore. But high winds and heavy rains, coupled with extra high tides undercut his beachfront home. Each winter, he lost more of his grip on the land of his roots, until one day he was too weak to withstand the eroding waves and howling winds.

With a creak and a crash, he toppled onto the rocky beach, breaking a leg and bruising his skin.

He lay in his tidal grave for many years, watching his lovely needle coat wash out to sea, twig by twig, until at last, he gave up being a tree.

One dark night, a shiver of change trickled through him. The bark turned scaly, and the trunk became a lizard’s body. The limbs twisted into lizard legs. The skinnier upper limbs proudly proclaimed his trademark stickles.

“Ahhhhh … yesssssss!!!” he hissed. “Now if I can only crawl into the sea, I’ll have a good long drink of salty water. Then I’ll relax and float on my back for a while, using the stickles to help steer me. Once I get my sea legs, I’ll go look up my freshwater cousins Nessie and Ogo Pogo.”


26 Comments

Rocky Times

This part of the beach is very much to Emma’s liking. Sand is easier to run on than rocks.

Farther along, some giant hurled a handful of rocks onto the beach, to the north …

and to the south.

A closer look at some of them make me suspect that over thousands (maybe millions?) of years, some clumps of sand hardened into rocks like the one below. It’s a temporary resting place for the baby rock on its back, or maybe it’s on his face….

Do you see the face in this rock? A big slash for a mouth above the chin; a smooshed up nose; two puffy eyes; a scar that goes from his left eye to the right corner of his mouth; and a wart on his left cheek.

Yes, the maple leaf tells us we are in Canada. I’ll let you speculate what it means that the leaf is upside down just now. ( I didn’t touch it! That’s just the way it is.)

I must learn to be more like the old barnacles on the rock by the end of the maple leaf stem, and hang in there. Time marches on and things change. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. Maybe the next tide will flip the leaf over.

 


39 Comments

Swamped

Our friends stayed the planned one night, but the Captain and I stayed an extra night. (I’ve blurred their faces for anonymity.)

We moved to a more sheltered bay not far to the south. Several sailboats were anchored there. We chose an empty space and put out the anchor with lots of line in case the wind came up as the forecast said it would.

Within minutes a sailboat came into the bay and anchored so close to us that if a wind came up, they would surely be blown right on top of us. We decided to move farther away to the other side of the bay.

The skiff with the outboard motor on it was tied alongside the troller. For a short trip like this – a few hundred meters – it was okay to travel this way, rather than to tow it behind the boat.

I went up to the bow to kick out the anchor,  while the Captain ran the boat in reverse, paying out the anchor line, and giving it a good tug at the end of the pay-out.

As I came back to the main deck area, I yelled, “The skiff! The line broke!”

The back of the skiff was close to the fish boat, but the front of the skiff had swung out and away from the boat.

Worst of all, the skiff was full of water to within an inch or two of the top.

The oars were floating loose, and the gas caddy was floating but tethered to the motor by the fuel line.

While the Captain quickly secured the anchor winch so no more anchor line would go out, I grabbed the pike pole and snagged one of the oars. The other oar was already out of reach, drifting away with the tide.

The Captain took the pike pole and brought in the fuel caddy. Fortunately it had not leaked. Then it was my turn with the pole again, to pull in the skiff while the Captain reached for a rope to re-tie it onto the fish boat. It was no easy feat to pull a skiff full of water.

Then the bailing began. The Captain used the deck bucket with a rope on it to bail until the bench seats of the skiff were above the water level in the skiff. At that point I volunteered to get in the skiff to continue bailing as it could be done faster from there.

I hoped that my weight wouldn’t be more than that of the water we had just removed. A slight tremor of fear went through me as I prepared to step into the skiff. Just then, the Captain said, “Put on your life jacket,” and the tremor became a quake.

Have you ever had a sinking feeling? Well, I did at the moment I put a foot into the skiff. Everything sank a little bit but not enough to let more water in. I bailed furiously and soon had the water down to a less worrisome level. In the photo, I’m growling at the Captain not to take my picture.

When I had removed enough water so the skiff would hold the Captain’s weight, we traded places. He reattached the gas caddy and prayed that the motor would start. He kept bailing as he motored away in pursuit and search of the second oar.

Luckily he came across it, but it had travelled quite a distance in that time.

At last, things returned to normal and we could take the dogs to the beach to explore the new area. It would be good to walk on solid ground and let the adrenaline calm down.


25 Comments

Bounty on the Beach

At first glance the beach looks somewhat empty of life, but if you take the time to look closer, you can see that it is like a giant grocery store filled with millions of small morsels of seafood.

If you’re not hungry, just go for a walk.

Tiny butter clams make a good snack later on. Be sure you have your saltwater licence though.

Here is one of the millions of clams that make such a delicious appetizer.

Steamed in a pot, the clamshells open and the little clams inside are ready to eat. Melted butter and lime juice adds a wonderful flavour, or if you prefer, you can eat them with garlic butter.

Oysters are also there for the picking, but be sure to shuck them on the spot so the shells with the bits of oyster are left behind to ensure their reproduction. And before you ask, NO, I don’t know how oysters make love. They seem to have “clammed up” and won’t talk about it.