wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


27 Comments

The Challenge of Change

A new birdfeeder presented unexpected challenges for some birds. The seeds were visible, but access to them was different from the way it was done in the old feeders. All the outlets for the seeds are near the bottom of this new feeder.

Very simple for most of the birds. The sparrow has it figured out. “Come on down,” he calls, but the towhee, on the top right, is still puzzled.

“Nice seeds, but how in the heck do you get at them?”

“Whatcha doin’ up there, Rufus?” the Oregon junco called.

“ARRRGGHH! These are the darndest things. I can see them. Why can’t I get at them?”

“You just stick your head in the red dish … look … like this!”

“I just don’t get it. I’m looking right at the seeds, and I can’t get them.”

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say to him. What a dimwit.

“I guess you could always have some suet, Rufus.”

Brand new feeder, brand new seeds,

Specially made to suit their needs.

High-tech model, high-tech spout

Way too hard to figure out.

Rufus hammers, Rufus picks,

He’s exhausted all his tricks.

Junco coaxes, junco shows,

Why is it that junco knows,

How to get them, how to eat?

Rufus must admit defeat.

He can’t get it, he can’t do it,

Junco points up at the suet.

Don’t go hungry, don’t despair,

Eat that suet over there.

Feeling stupid, feeling dumb,

What a birdbrain I’ve become.

Rufus gorges, Rufus gobbles,

Now so fat, his flying wobbles.


35 Comments

Everyone Knows it’s Windy

The fir trees in the photo below are used to bending away from the prevailing southeast winds. The bay is loaded in whitecaps, a sure sign that only fools would go out there in a small boat. No fools visible today.

It blew so hard today that the firs in my backyard suffered in spite of being partly sheltered behind my house. When the rain let up somewhat, I went outside to take a picture of the branch that broke in the wind today. Apparently the rain hadn’t quite stopped, as you can see from the big drop that fell right in the middle of my camera lens. I was going to try to edit it out, but then I thought, “No, this is part of the picture. It was wet out there.”

If you look to the left of the tree closest to you, near the middle, you can see that a branch is near the ground, but still hanging on the tree. It is broken and hanging by a thread way up high. See the birdhouse on the tree? Go up about the same distance again as the birdhouse is from ground level and you will see the break.

Here is a close-up of the top of that broken branch.

I guess I could try swinging on the branch like Tarzan and it would come off, but if it broke mid-swing, that might not be too much fun.

Branches flying everywhere,

Look! A sliding patio chair,

Time to get some firewood,

Raining, so put up your hood,

Fir cones pelt the woodshed roof,

Put your hard hat on, you goof.

Quickly, fill that barrow now,

Gusts of wind are screaming – “Wow!”

Push the wood up to the house,

Knowing you’ve exposed a mouse,

Hiding by the firewood stack

She resettles farther back.

Birds are huddling in a shrub,

Dangerous to come out for grub.

Just get through this awful night,

Tomorrow things will be all right.


42 Comments

A Little Help from our Friends

The pine siskins are whirring around in flocks of hundreds, landing here and there on the grass, in shrubs, in the garden, and wherever else they might find a bite to eat while staying in the safety of their numbers. Even the odd Oregon junco sits with them for safety from the hawks who will catch any loners or stragglers.

I feel guilty for living in a house with so many windows. I purposely don’t clean them often, so the birds will see that there’s a barrier of glass. (Good excuse for not cleaning them, right?)

But still, in their frenetic staging maneuvers, many of these little birds hit the glass. Many survive, but this little guy looked in bad shape. Broke my heart! You can see that his eyes are nearly closed, and in this morning’s chilly air, he looked to be in bad shape.

I wanted to pick him up to warm him so the cold cement walk wouldn’t sap the warmth from his tiny body, but it would have freaked him out even more and the last thing he needed was more stress.

I watched as he leaned to one side. If he had a broken foot or damaged wing he would die a slow death.

Some of his friends flew in to feed nearby and he perked up ever so slightly. He turned his head slowly back and forth as he watched them. I was glad to see he didn’t have a broken neck.

Then, as his friends chirped encouragement, he straightened so he was sitting up without leaning. He looked up at the sky, over to his friends on the ground, back and forth. He shuffled his wee legs to lift his body off the ground, and then a miracle happened. He decided he was not ready for bird heaven just yet.

Before I could get the camera turned on again, he hopped up into a nearby rhodo, and from there he flew away.

In desperate times, when we feel that all is lost, sometimes all we need is a little help from our friends.


48 Comments

Rest Area

This broad-winged hawk must have needed a rest. He chose a perch on the railing of our deck to catch his breath and get his thoughts together.

I looked on the internet to identify him and then found, to my horror, that he eats all kinds of little animals, including squirrels.

Run, Lincoln! Run!

OMG! Do you see what I see on Anneli’s deck?

But I think this fellow had just eaten, judging by the bloody morsels still clinging to his beak.


16 Comments

Surf City Plus One

These Brewer’s blackbirds are enjoying their day at the beach.

Remember the Beach Boys’ song, “Surf City”? Two girls for every boy?

Well, at this beach, it’s three girls for every boy. You may have to look hard for the sixth “girl.”

Black Bart at the bottom right says, “Now listen here, gang. It’s all very fine to cavort around, playing ‘king of the castle’ on this boulder, and leaping off it like you’re an Acapulco cliff diver, but keep in mind these are dangerous times.

“We have to stay in our bubble. Anything up to 23 is fine, but never, never, never be part of a group of 24.”

“But that just doesn’t make any sense,” chirped Betsy Brewer. “If it’s okay to be in a group of 23, what’s one more?”

Black Bart puffed up his chest. “What’s one more?” He shook his head sadly. “Betsy, Betsy, Betsy. I’ll tell you what one more is. It’s blackbird pie!

“Good grief! Haven’t you heard of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie? Here, I’ll recite it for you.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey,

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
Along came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?”

Betsy felt foolish at first, but she was not to be shamed so easily. “That’s okay,” she chirped. “When the pie is opened and the birds begin to sing, that will be me with my lovely voice, and I will please the king … and who knows? Maybe I’ll be rich.”

Black Bart rolled his eyes. “Yeah, that’s rich, all right. Rich, like a rich gravy is what you’ll be.”

*****

Please visit my other blog, anneli’s place, if you are interested in informal writing tips.

*****

If you need a good book to read, click on the cover images at the side of my blog posts. Romance, plus drama and adventure.


30 Comments

Bluffing by the Bluffs

Who knew that below these bluffs, a bluffing contest would break out? Meet the harlequins, Harley and his girlfriend, Quinn.

Hey, wait up, Quinn! Want to go sit on this rock for a while? Catch a few rays?

Oh, Harley, this is so boring. And all you ever want to do is take a nap. I need more excitement in my life. Speaking of which, I think I see some arriving, over my shoulder. But three to one … I don’t know….

Back off, boys. She’s mine.

And you two can get off this rock and go join your buddy, or you’ll see what I’m capable of. I’m not bluffing.

Did you see that, Quinn? See how I put the run on them? Now come on. You stick with me.

Okay, Harley, so I was impressed … but just a little bit.

Harley! You’re such a brute. Don’t you know a lady doesn’t like to get splashed? You’ll ruin my feather track.

Sorry, ’bout that, Quinn. Here, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll find you a crustacean for an appetizer. They’re right under here in this shallow part. See them, there, on the bottom?

Well, if you want to get it for me, Harley, go for it, but I’ll have you know I am not a bottom feeder.

Harley loved his girlfriend, Quinn,

Stood by her through thick and thin,

But the bully boys came ’round

Asking where his Quinn was bound.

“Nowhere special, just these rocks,”

Up they scrambled, all these jocks,

Harley shivered and he shook,

Quinn gave him a frightened look.

“Fear not, Quinny,” Harley said,

“We’re just fine, I’ll use my head.”

And with that, he butted them

Off the rocks, to save his femme.

“Now my dear,” he said to Quinn,

“Let’s go swimming, jump right in,

I’ve a rock crab just for you,

Tender so you need not chew.”

“How delicious is this treat?

Little rock crabs can’t be beat,

Harley Baby, you’re my man,

I am now your biggest fan.”

Please visit my other blog for all things writing related. Anneli’s Place


36 Comments

A Change in Menu

Anneli said she’s sorry, she ran out of sunflower seeds and she hasn’t been back to the Bulk Barn to buy more yet. Would I like to try some of the walnuts she has been drying?

They are wonderful! She has a whole tree of them in the backyard, but the shells are pretty hard to crack. I would have harvested them myself, but the husk around the nuts tastes bitter.

That and the fact that the backyard supervisors are always patrolling out there have kept me away.

There’s only the little black one now, but she’s dangerous. She leaps up four or five feet if she’s after something, so I’m careful around her.

And anyway, since Anneli has cracked these walnuts for me, I don’t have to hurt my teeth trying to open the shell. She takes good care of me so I don’t have to risk my life around that crazy killer dog.

Oh, ye heavenly squirrels on high! This is delightful!

I could even use this shell as a sippy cup. Slurp, slurp!

I wondered where my breakfast was,

The seeds were not in sight.

I nearly died of shock because

The change gave me a fright.

Instead of tiny sunflower seeds,

Just walnuts could be found,

The food that would fulfill my needs,

In shells so rough and round.

I checked them out and noticed then

The nuts were cracked in chunks,

It looked like I could eat again

The meat lay there in hunks.

How sweet of her to crack these shells,

To spare my tiny teeth,

Inside the nuts were little wells,

With nutmeat underneath.

I nibbled it and pulled it out

The flavour was the best,

No need to cry or mope about,

A change is good as a rest.

*****

Please visit my other blog, Anneli’s Place, for writing tips posted in small doses so as not to be overwhelming.


74 Comments

R.I.P., Ruby

Our springer spaniel, Ruby, has gone to doggie heaven as of two days ago.

To be honest, she was the worst puppy we’ve ever had – so naughty, into everything, and not listening. She bit holes in the Captain’s prescription glasses, took off and buried his special Uncle Henry knife (in the neighbour’s yard, we think), and helped me with the gardening by digging alongside of me (in places where I did not want holes dug) and helping herself to all the tools (which I then had to retrieve). She was SO bad, but we loved her.

She always had a mischievous streak, teaching Emma, the English cocker spaniel puppy, all her bad habits (like taking apples off the trees) and barking at passersby. She continued these bad habits right up into her old age.

But she was a loving dog, who turned out beautiful and enriched our lives.

She was an excellent bird dog who had all the qualities you could ask for in a hunting dog.

The bonus for us was that she was also the perfect family dog.

Ruby was almost 14 years old and the day she was ready to leave this world she told us it was time. We hated to let her go, but it would have been cruel to keep her with us a day longer. We miss her so much.

Rest in peace, sweet Ruby.


39 Comments

Rufous-sided Towhee

I don’t know …. Looks a bit suspicious to me.
I’ll just try a nibble. Mmm … mhmm … not bad.
Hey! This is all right!
Uh-oh. Somebody got pictures of me gobbling my food. Who would have thought she’d spy on me right through the window?

What a feast these berries make,

No one says how much to take.

Guess I’ll eat them while I can,

I’m becoming quite a fan.

First I wondered ’bout the flavour,

Now I just can’t wait to savour,

All the berries growing here,

At their best this time of year.

Down the street the mountain ash

Berries fell down just like trash,

Down they fell, kerplunk, kerplunk.

Robins ate them and got drunk.

Not so good for flying straight,

Easy to become owl bait.

I will stick to pyracantha

Cuz for me it is the antha.


33 Comments

Pine Siskins and Friends

I don’t know why the pine siskins all got thirsty at once, but they seemed happy, to judge by their twittering, to find this makeshift birdbath. Siskins are tiny birds of the finch family. These days they are swarming around in large flocks, feeding as much as possible, probably building up their strength for flying farther south for the winter.

Several of them are hiding in the overgrown, neglected garden. I think I see six of them hiding.

An Oregon Junco decided that he needed a bath. Being a bit bigger (not much) he took over the whole bath. One brave siskin was left at the edge, wondering if he could get a sip.

He decided to go for it and managed to get a good slurp of water.

But that sneaky junco flexed his muscles to show who was boss. Siskin didn’t like it. Hear him shrieking, “HEY! You’re splashing me!”

“Oh you think that was a splash? Just watch this,” the junco says.

If you click on the video, you can see how brazen the junco is about having his bath. The siskin reacts just the way I would, backing up from being splashed.

Please visit my other blog, Anneli’s Place, for writing tips posted in small doses so as not to be overwhelming.