wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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No Fancy Man

A good man is hard to find. But Marlie isn’t looking for a man. Oh no! She just wants to start fresh with her teaching job on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and enjoy its famous beauty and serenity. And if there’s a man who will take an interest in her, well, so be it, but she’s not looking. Not really…. Or is she?
Be careful what you wish for, Marlie.

Anneli's Place

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.

Marlie, a young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands…

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Hard Work

It is herring time on the coast of B.C.  The herring migrate to certain parts of the coast to lay eggs (spawn) close to shore.  It is the ideal time to catch them for their roe.

The seiners didn’t have far to go to set their nets this year. Less than a half hour’s run from town, they put their huge nets in the water  and encircled the schools of herring with a huge  purse seine net.

The small skiff helps anchor one end of the net while the seiner runs around in a circle, unrolling the huge net into the water. The white floats on the top of the net help us to see where the net is. Their job is to keep the top of the net afloat. The bottom of the net has heavy lead rings tied to it through which a line passes. It is like a drawstring that closes the net so fish can’t escape through the bottom.

In the photo below, the red  boat has already closed its net. Seagulls circle, hoping to lunch on unfortunate escapees. The boat next to the red seiner might be a packer, standing by to take the load onto his boat and then to market.

The herring could be scooped out of the net with a huge brailer, like a long-handled fish net, or in some cases, the herring are sucked out of the net and onto the packer or into the hold of the seiner with a kind of (very large) vacuum that slurps up the fish and seawater and pumps it all into the hold of the waiting boat. The seawater is pumped out of the boat leaving only the herring behind in a big strainer.

To unload them, the process is reversed and water is added to the hold to enable the vacuum to suck the herring out of the boat.

 

The boat on the right side of the photo has just paid out the net in a circle to try for a catch of herring. See the white floats?


The farther boat in the photo below has hauled a catch over to the boat. You can see the seagulls going crazy with the feeding opportunities it provides for them.

Fishing for herring is hard work. In late February and even in March the weather can be raw and brutal, especially on the water.

I took the photos of the seiners from the deck of my house, so they are quite far away. The very next day, I took the photo below, of the same view, but the boats are not visible through the snow clouds. I hope no one was fishing that day.

I like to eat pickled herring, but I’ve learned that the food herring are caught in the winter (maybe November) when they are fattest.  In the spring roe fishery, the herring are skinnier and are caught mainly for their roe, highly prized in the Japanese market (at least prized by the older generation). I’ve heard it suggested that the younger Japanese generation prefers McDonalds. Not much of a choice, to my mind.

In case you are wondering what happens to the rest of the herring after they are stripped of their roe … fish fertilizer.

 


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Super Worm Moon

I had to try for these photos of the super moon tonight. I was surprised to see that the moon lit up a few of the holly berries  where it shone through the leaves. You can see a bit of red on the berries.

After I came into the house again, I found out about this full moon in March being called a super moon. It has many other names, but one that I hadn’t heard before was a worm moon, named for the castings of earthworms making lumpy designs on the grass. When I zoomed in on the moon, I thought, yes, it does look like a bit of a minefield of earthworm “process.”

 

Tonight (Sunday), the moon looked full and beautiful, but the actual full moon is tomorrow, so you can still go looking for it on Monday night.

I wish you all a super day!


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The Camisole Model

My dream to be a model

Took an unexpected turn,

Success would be reality,

I soon began to learn.

 

The mistress had a camisole

She was too fat to wear,

And yet she couldn’t throw it out,

No, that she couldn’t bear.

 

But now it served her purpose well,

“Come try this on,” she said,

And next thing that I knew 

She had it pulled over my head.

 

She tied the straps beneath my chin, 

And stuck my arms right through 

The tiny armholes that were left,

And said, “There, that will do.”

 

“This shirt prevents your urge to lick

And nibble at your stitches

Or else we have to use the cone

Which I know you don’t wishes.”

 

Just one more knot behind my back

To hold the shirt in place

And now I am the prettiest dog

In all the doggy race.

 

A lady vet took out my lump

She clipped off my long nails

They’d drugged me first just to be sure

That there would be no wails.

 

So now I’m in the model line,

I got my photos done,

If  looking for a runway star,

You know that I’m the one.


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Woodpecker Line-up

Woodpeckers seem to like our area. Maybe the attraction is all the rotten wood of broken limbs and stumps left behind from wind damage or logging. It all provides a smorgasbord of insects for them. Sometimes these pileated woodpeckers  really get into their work, hammering at the wood, and the chips just fly off the decaying trees, exposing insects who were enjoying a nice decaying breakfast only to become breakfast themselves.

Red-shafted flickers basically do the same thing, but they don’t have the long beaks the pileated woodpeckers have, so you won’t see the chips flung quite as far afield. Flickers are happy enough to drill holes and do small-time chipping of wood, all in an effort to expose insects. Of course, if there’s a suet block around, they’ll take the lazy way out. It’s like having pizza delivered once in a while instead of cooking from scratch.

The sapsuckers don’t care about rotten wood so much. They like to peck holes into healthy trees (frequently being responsible for the eventual demise of the tree) and wait for the sap to fill the holes with the sweet liquid they love. Insects are attracted to the sap and often become dessert for the sapsuckers. The insects are also taken to the young when it’s nesting time.

 

The woodpeckers in my line-up are getting smaller. I’ve tried to line them up from biggest to smallest. This one is the downy woodpecker, another suet eater, but he likes bugs he finds in wood too. One thing I’ve learned about the downy is that they have a very loud voice for such a small bird. I once stood below a downy’s nest. The young birds stuck their heads out of the hole in the tall tree snag and shrieked so loudly I had to cover my ears. It wasn’t that they were afraid of me and they were screaming for their mother. They were just screeching at her to hurry up and bring more food. The only time they stopped was when they had a full mouth. At least they had “some” good manners and didn’t talk with their mouth full.

And then there was Harry the hairy woodpecker. He was most elusive. I was coming along a small road from a lake where we’d been trout fishing, and Harry flitted from tree to tree, keeping away from my camera. Once he stopped for a rest I zoomed in and got the only shot I could. I didn’t see if he had any red on top of his head, but in many other respects (except for the longer beak) he looked very much like a downy. He was much quieter though.

So there’s the line-up of the possible perpetrators of wood damage around here. Please be sure he’s the right one before you accuse an innocent woodpecker of the damage to your yard. I’ll try for fingerprints (or maybe beak prints would be more useful) next time for a more positive I.D.

PS   Be on guard if your house has wood siding. They’d be happy to check it out for insects like the pest control guys do, except the woodpeckers don’t fix any holes they leave behind.


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Leaping Lincoln

“Oh, no! The Captain’s going to start up that horrible machine again. There goes my nice quiet morning!”

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“Say, Cap! Over here! Up on the top of the wood pile.” Now I’ve got his attention. “Do you think you could hold off on that wood splitting for a bit? The Missus and I were just going to have our first breakfast on the sundeck of our woodshed home. But this wood splitter – I should say ‘ear splitter’ –  is going to ruin our quiet breakfast in the sunshine.”

“Oh dear! He’s not going to listen to me. No-no-no-no-no! Not at all. What to do, what to do. Oh, decisions, decisions!”

“What’s that you say? I should make a run for it?”

“Okay, that’s probably good advice. But should I go this way? … Or that way?”

“Either way, I’d better get my limbs limbered up. Guess that’s why they’re called limbs, right?  Get it? Limbs? Limbered up? Hee-hee-hee!  Okay, here goes. After all, it’s Leap Day.”

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“See y’all in March, when we’ll march around. After all that leaping, I’ll be happy to just march along.”

“And by the way, if you get tired of just marching, why not try reading some of Anneli’s great books? She’s got five of them for you (cheap like borscht, and every bit as good) at amazon outlets and smashwords.com. Even at kobo.com. ”

Find out more at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

 


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Late for Dinner

My reward for going outside to sweep off the back deck was to see the pileated woodpecker fly in and land on the nearest tree. I hurried inside to get my camera thinking the same thought I always have at a time like that — Should I stand here and enjoy the sight of the bird, or should I maybe miss out and have him fly away while I go get my camera. I took a chance that he’d still be there, but I was in a hurry to snap any photo I could get. Haste makes waste, they say, and sure enough, the photos were not as sharp and clear as if I’d taken the time to take a good steady picture.

But he does look like he’s about to fly away any second, doesn’t he?

 

And he did. Right over to the birdfeeders where all was empty. I was running late with  the refilling of the feeders and now I would pay for it by having the woodpecker fly away. He looks shocked at the empty cage where the suet block is usually kept. I don’t think he’s crazy about the seeds, but he must have wondered why I hadn’t replaced the suet.

As he wondered what to do, he noticed the truck tire so close to the birdfeeders.

“Yikes! It’s the invasion of the human truck drivers. Looks awfully close to the feeder. Maybe he won’t see me if I stay hidden behind this post.”

Seeing his dilemma, I brought out more suet and more birdseed as soon as the coast was clear. He had already left, but I’m sure he’ll be back.