wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Jay and Goldie

The town water hole has always been the meeting place. Jay the Steller’s  jay and Goldie the golden crowned sparrow meet there for a quick conversation.

“Oh, yuck! Who messed in the drinking water?”

 

“Was it you?”

“Are you talking to me?”

Wish he’d just hurry up and get his drink and leave. Nobody else gets a turn with him around.

 

Goldie wants a little sip,

Just enough to wet her lip.

Jay enjoys to dominate,

Making her procrastinate.

 

Jay is bigger and he’s mean,

Something Goldie’s never been.

She will put up with his swagger,

Though her look is like a dagger.

 

She will stand her ground below,

Quick to flee if she must go.

Jay the bully squawks a lot,

Manners are what he has not.

 

Gentle Goldie waits him out,

Has no need to screech and shout.

Jay gets bored and leaves the scene,

Goldie breathes, once more serene.


44 Comments

Thankful

The robins who flew down from the snowy hills a few days ago are having their Thanksgiving dinner. They may eat a few worms and bugs for meat, but the “robins’ version of cranberry sauce” for their dinner comes from these pyracantha berries by our house. Wikipedia says the berries are not poisonous although they contain miniscule amounts of a cyanide-like compound (heavy on the like, I hope). The berries are probably not harmful or I would see dead robins all over the place. They certainly gobbled down a lot of them, as they do every year at this time.

 

“Sure not much left on my plate,” he says, judging by all the emptied stems.

 

“But I think I spy a fat, juicy one down there.”

 

“Is it Anneli’s camera, or is this berry a bit fuzzy? … Never mind. It tastes pretty good just the same.”

 

“Ahh! That hit the spot.”

“And what are the rest of you Canadians having for your Thanksgiving? I hope your dinner was as good as mine. In my case, it may be just berries, but don’t we have a lot to be thankful for, even in these troubled times?”

 

 


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A Glimpse into the Future

 

The swaths of clouds embraced the hills,

What lay between gave me the chills.

The first snowfall this season kissed

The fir trees peeking through the mist.

 

The robins fled their berry patch

For lower lands, their food to catch,

The geese and sandhills winged away

To find a warmer place to stay.

 

Yet later when the sun came out,

It said, “What’s all the fuss about?

I’ll shine my best and melt it down,

This early snow just makes me frown.

 

“I know it will return one day,

A month from now, the snow will stay.

So be prepared and fill the larder,

Soon the days will be much harder.

 

Make your shelters, line your nest,

Keeping warm will be a test,

But we will get through winter’s cold,

If we are ready and we’re bold.”


32 Comments

Lincoln is Bullied

Ooh! Look at the stash of sunflower seeds Anneli put out for me today!

Darn it all. There’s that nasty Estelle the Steller’s jay. She’s got quite a beak on her. I’ll just watch her out of the corner of my eye.

I’m being cool, having a drink of water, as if I’m not worried in the slightest. That’s the only way to keep those bullies at bay. You have to pretend they don’t scare you at all.

But oh my gosh. It’s going to be that kind of day. Look who’s hovering around. That Emma looks sweet, but she can be vicious when it comes to us squirrels. Still, I’m not scared of her … very much. I’d just bite her in that cute nose of hers.

Come down here and say that, Lincoln. I dare ya.

Oh no. I see Estelle edging closer … and that mutt is still hovering. Things are just getting a bit too hot around here. Think I’ll have to abandon lunch and come back later.

You had this all to yourself, Lincoln. Time you learned to share!

And don’t stand there gawking at me while I eat or I’ll fly up there and peck you in YOUR nose.

Yikes! It’s getting just a wee tad uncomfy around here. Think it’s time to skedaddle.

“I’ll be back … ya bullies!”


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The Last Goodies

As the season officially changes on Sept. 22, at about 12:21 p.m. Pacific time, we say goodbye to the heat and drought of the summer from hell, and welcome the wind and rain of the shorter autumn days.

My garden was a disaster this year with a long cold spring that didn’t encourage seeds to germinate, and a dry, way-too-hot summer that threatened to toast any plants that dared to pop up. Watering barely kept things alive and below a half-inch barrier on the surface, the ground was often powder dry.

The fruit trees had a poor crop this year but a few plums (not as many as in other years) and a few (VERY few) apples managed to grow. My favourite apple tree, the Wilmuta (a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein) wasn’t exactly loaded either but the few apples it did have were very nice. You can see the Wilmutas below.

The last of the plums. They’re so sweet and tasty, but there were not enough of them.

The walnuts look like they’re drying right on the tree instead of falling off still in their green husks. They don’t look that great this year, but I discovered today that Lincoln has found the backyard walnut tree too (after cleaning off the two hazelnut trees in the front yard).

I don’t think Lincoln will starve this year, as the nuts did all right by squirrel standards.

Digging holes to hide the nuts,

This is what I do,

Later they will fill my guts,

Very tasty too.

 

Working hard this time of year,

Just as I’ve been taught,

Later I can give a cheer,

For the food I’ve got.

 

Days are shorter, now it’s fall,

Must pick up the pace,

Hiding nuts, I have them all,

See my smiling face.

 

Come the winter, nights are chilled,

Cozy I will be,

Lying back with stomach filled,

Happiness for me.

 


27 Comments

Pigs, Music, Books

We know that pigs are smart.

I read somewhere that pigs like music, especially Mozart’s compositions. While this piece is not by Mozart, it is a German song often sung by community choirs, so maybe that inspired the pig to learn to play it. It is called “Komm, Trost der Welt” (Come, Comfort of the World), and refers to the night and how it brings consolation, respite, and relief to many  who work hard all day long and have a lot of cares.

You can see that I used the music sheet that the pig is playing from as part of the cover of my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

The pig is not a character in my book, but once he learns to play the song, I’ll teach him to read so he can enjoy “Julia’s Violinist.”

You can buy this novel for less than the price of a hamburger at amazon if you have Kindle, or at smashwords.com if you have any other kind of e-reader.  Just click on the image of the book on the sidebar of this blog.

 

 


41 Comments

First Dampish Days

A dampish day, but that’s okay,

The sky is overcast,

The garden’s wet, so I’m all set,

The watering chore is past.

 

A squirrel hops, he looks, and stops,

He chatters to my face,

Then turns to run and have more fun,

At some much safer place.

 

I pick a pear and am aware

That rabbits like to chew,

If fruit should fall to ground at all,

It’s nibbled through and through.

 

The garden thrives and gives up chives

To make a lovely sauce,

But not the squash, it was a wash,

Complete and total loss.

I’m glad that kale does not get stale,

It’s growing, slow but strong,

This healthy plant in soup just can’t

Make anything go wrong.

 

A lonely rose, so bravely grows,

And blooms its last few days,

But come next year, you must not fear,

Again, it will amaze.


36 Comments

All Masked Up

 

First it was the dog, growling and barking at me, and now it’s that woman waving her camera around like she’s a journalist and I’m the star of her freak show. I can see the headlines now: Masked Bandit Hides in Tree

Only one thing to do, and that’s go higher and stay put. The woman doesn’t look like she’s much of a climber – not at her age.

Emma, her dog, can jump a few feet, but of course, she can’t climb.

 

 

Well … let’s see … what’s the best way to get up here?

I’ll just have a stretch before I climb any higher. Get limbered up before I go up the limbs.

Ouch! I forgot about my owie. Think I scraped it the other night going up a tree in a hurry. Couldn’t really see where I was going and I gave myself a sore arm on one of those broken branches.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, check out Mrs. Journalist. Yup, she’s still standing there pointing that black thing my way. Well, at least she can’t identify me with my mask on, so I can cause any kind of mischief I want. But I am complying with all the Covid rules – I have my mask on …  which is silly, because we’re outdoors in the fresh air.

When will she stop pointing that camera at me?

Sorry, but I’m a bit camera shy.

She’s a brazen one! Still there. Still pointing that gadget at me. Good thing I have a mask on for anonymity as well as for Covid. But still, still, still….

I’d better stay hidden behind the tree. I’ll just peek out now and then to see if she’s gone yet, and to make sure that dog isn’t around.

Reggie Raccoon felt quite brave around noon,

He just couldn’t wait until dark.

Running so hard across Anneli’s yard,

He leaped up the nearest tree’s bark.

 

Rushing he scrambled, his fate he had gambled,

He came close to losing his tail,

Emma, the jumper, leaped up to his bumper,

It’s lucky her snap was a fail.

 


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A Hard-earned Treat

Even though the summer has been dry, the blackberry vines were loaded. Emma has learned that the pain from pokes and prickles of thorns is worth the trouble.

 

She loves blackberries.

Her tender little nose takes a lot of punishment in order to get at the berries.

Some are not so willing to fall off and be eaten. Emma doesn’t mind pulling.

If only I could teach her to place them in a container for me without slobbering on them, and bring them to the house.

When I pick berries for myself I’m always sure to pick the ones that are higher than about a foot off the ground.

 

Once I saw my people pick,

Blackberries from bushes thick,

Why not do the same as them?

Looks like they are quite a gem.

 

Sure enough, the taste was fine,

But my poor lips bit a spine,

“Yikes! That hurts,” I yelped in pain,

Then I tried it once again.

 

Sweet and juicy was the taste,

Not to eat would be a waste,

Now I grit my teeth and pull,

And eat berries ’til I’m full.


36 Comments

Stop Bugging Me

This horrible creature – ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – loves my yard, especially the potato patch.  A few years ago we had some of these (1.5″ to 2″) beetles hanging around the place, but things must have been going very well for them since then, as they are now extremely prolific. Not only do they fly around the yard at night like little helicopters and try to land on my back when I have the dog out for her last pee, but they get into my garden, lay their eggs, and when the grubs hatch out, they eat the potatoes.

 

Here is a pathetic little potato, mostly eaten by one of these ten-lined beetle larvae. I was discouraged by my struggling potato crop, since not much was growing in the very dry soil. Even after watering it every day, the soil was dry except for the first half inch. So I decided to pull up the potatoes and cut my losses. Why water these potatoes just to feed the bugs?

A few days ago, I pulled up half my potato crop and found about thirty of the grubs. I put them on an upside down garbage can lid and placed the lid at the base of a tree I had seen raccoons climb up a day or so before. The next day the grubs were gone.

Two days later, I dug up the rest of the potatoes, and again, found all these grubs that you see on the garbage can lid. I left them there, on offer to any raccoons that might be passing through the yard at night. I know the raccoons are here every night because I hear them, I see them, and I see the holes in the grass where they have been digging to try finding these grubs without my help.

With any luck, these grubs would become racoon food and save me the trouble of stepping on them to squish them. I don’t want them to suffer, but they are destroying my garden, and it already needs all the help it can get.

Do you have these terrifying insects in your yard? I hope not.

*****

 

Update: A few hours later I looked at these grubs and saw that a bunch of yellow jackets had found them and were eating them alive. It seemed cruel to me, but I didn’t feel sorry enough for them to try to save them.

Early in the morning, all traces of the grubs were gone, so I am assuming that the raccoons ate them.