wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


40 Comments

Dickie’s Thanksgiving Dinner

Hey, Folks! Welcome to my dinner,

See that walnut? It’s a winner.

Wish it wasn’t quite so tough though,

Broken teeth can really hurt so.

There! I’m in, and it’s delicious,

I can tell that it’s nutritious.

Getting down to slurp the last bits,

Stretched my stomach so it all fits.

Sniff the shell for sticky pieces,

With persistence, it releases.

After giving it a tap,

All is gone, so time to nap.

I hope you’re having a great day while I have a nice snooze

on my full belly.


31 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you’ve been as lucky as Lincoln has been in storing up food for his Thanksgiving feast. He has a message for you.

Hello, my friends and family brood,

I hope you’re keeping well,

Have you been saving up your food,

So supper will be swell?

 

We all work hard to make ends meet,

And put some food aside,

Then once a year we meet and greet,

Make happy our inside.

 

And as we sit around the feast,

We’re thankful for so much,

We’ve shared with those who have the least,

And lend a loving touch.

 

Our troubles may be huge this year,

But if each person shares,

We’ll face the future without fear,

And live with fewer cares.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American

friends and family.


42 Comments

The Calm

… before the storm.

The ducks all facing outward

Are waiting for their snack,

They find it in the shallows,

It makes their lips go smack.

 

The heron facing inward,

Has patience yet to spare,

He hopes to spear a morsel,

With no intent to share.

 

All take advantage of the last,

Relaxing stretch of peace,

They feel the system moving fast,

Soon comes the ugly beast.

 

Photo by Pat G.

The licorice scent of fennel wafts,

Along the last warm breeze,

A thousand seeds fly in the drafts,

To inundate with ease.

Ms. Barbara Beacham’s hollyhock,

Has found a home with me,

Although Ms. Beacham’s sent a shock,

And could no longer be.

 

Her lovely flowers bloom each year,

She sends her love that way,

I cherish her with thoughts so dear,

Much more than I can say.

A last sweet effort quickly made,

The berry patch is done,

No strawberries are left to raid,

Except for just this one.

And here it comes, the mighty beast,

So dark, this sunshine thief,

It brings much-needed rain at least,

To every plant’s relief.

It slaps the trees ferociously,

It whips the leaves around,

But they hang on tenaciously,

On hearing such a sound.

The wind is shivery at best,

Each leaf is hanging on,

They’re hoping to survive the test,

Until this breeze is gone.


57 Comments

Sea Lions

California sea lions used to visit Vancouver Island every spring and stay for the summer, following the salmon up the coast and back down to California. But in recent years many have set up residence on Vancouver Island. Why do all that traveling when the food supply is fairly constant here?

The Steller’s sea lion, named for the same man who studied the Steller’s jay, is another type of sea lion that visits our coast, usually farther north.

From these photos, I can’t tell which is which, or even whether there are both kinds of sea lions here. I do know that California sea lions, averaging about 220 lbs. (females) and about 700+ lbs. (males) are much smaller than the Steller’s sea lions which can weigh on average 580 lbs. (females) and almost 1200 lbs. (males). The males quite often weigh much more than that.

Their loud barking carries a long way across the water, as they sun themselves and socialize.

Not enough room on the raft? Make your own raft of bodies.

 

Sea lions don’t target humans who might be in the water with them, but they have been known to nip them when they get too close, and a nip with those huge teeth would not be funny.

Enemies of sea lions are mainly sharks and killer whales.

Picture by Pat G.

I’m surprised these sea lions seem so calm when the coastal ferry, Salish Orca, motors past, especially when it has pictures of the killers on its hull.

Here is a video taken by a friend. You can hear a couple of short sea lion barks (or coughs) near the end of the clip.

The sea lion couple were both rather large,

Bubba was nearly the size of a barge.

Grace, oh my darling, you’re getting so fat,

Can’t you lose weight and be sleek as a cat?

 

Bubba, my dear, it’s a way to keep warm,

And can’t you express yourself better, with charm?

Because after all, you are chubby, dear Bubba,

Don’t bother saying, it’s only your blubber.

 

Clumsy on land, Grace is propped on her flippers,

Slips in the water to eat several kippers,

Gliding around as her breakfast she nips,

Bubba’s in awe of her grace as she dips.

 

Twirls like a dancer in water ballet,

Bubba is speechless with nothing to say.

Slips in beside her, his flipper he waves,

Swims up to kiss her, this dancer he craves.

 

Let me protect you, my dear, you look pale, 

I’ll keep watch for trouble, a shark or a whale,

We’ll stay safe together, of you I’ll take care,

And fight off the enemy boldly, I swear.

 

 

Grace floats around looking up at the sky,

Bubba is wondering, lets out a sigh,

How did I not see the beauty at hand?

Grace, I’m your servant, your wish my command.

 

 


38 Comments

Too Many Branches

I took this picture from my back (second storey) deck to show how long the branches of the fir trees have become. They almost reach the house now. The philadelphus (mock orange), on the right, has also grown up high and dense.

tree trimming

Our friend offered to take down some of the big lower branches. I’ve blurred his face for his privacy. He did a great job of taking those huge limbs off, but see the photo below.  Dickie, the squirrel, was extremely upset.

He’s on top of the root of one of the fir trees, and we had to shoo him away so he wouldn’t get hurt.

Some of the branches that came down are pictured above, but a couple more huge ones joined them after I took this picture. Dickie came back to check on the progress and ended up hiding under the big ground-level canopy of branches.

Something crazy’s going on,

Men with noisy saws,

Gone, our quiet neighbourhood,

Must be some big cause.

 

One guy said, “They’re way too long,

Blocking out the light.”

Then the chain saw started up,

Gave me such a fright.

 

Horrible, the noise they made,

Chewing through the wood,

Branches crashing all around,

Near to where I stood.

 

Like flash I dashed away,

Running ’round the yard,

Now my skyway highway’s gone,

Travel will be hard.

 

 

 

 


34 Comments

Nut Job

If I’m not already a nut job, then after doing this nut job, I will be one.

I had thought there were no hazelnuts on the trees this year but I was wrong. They were a bit late to develop, but they were quite prolific. When I saw that the raccoons and the squirrels were harvesting them, day (squirrels) and night (raccoons), I thought I’d better get in on the action. Looks like a little black cocker is also wanting to get in on the action.

I let the nuts sit out in the sun to dry out for a couple of weeks, and then, as the nights grew cooler I had to do something with the nuts or watch them go moldy. It’s not cold enough to make a fire in the woodstove so hanging the nuts in burlap bags by the fire was not an option.

I decided to crack them and put the nutmeat in ziplocs and freeze them. This way I can take out what I need to use for baking through the winter.

I tried them out in a batch of banana/blueberry/hazelnut muffins. Turned out quite good.

 

 


36 Comments

Snack Time

“Folks, I’ve been working really hard from first light to last, collecting hazelnuts and hiding them for later. I hope you won’t mind if I take time to have a snack. Gotta keep up my strength.”

“Watch me in this video. See how fast I twirl this hazelnut around so I can eat it evenly on all sides. Kind of the way Anneli eats an ice cream cone, except she can’t go as fast as I can. Also, she doesn’t use her teeth, but I need to use mine to cut away the nutshell when it gets in the way.

And by the way, Anneli says to say she’s sorry she fumbled the camera partway through. Doesn’t show me at my best, but she tries.”


45 Comments

The Competition

It turns out that the hazelnut trees in my front yard had some nuts on them after all this year, although many fruit trees were nearly empty.

Under cover of darkness, the raccoons visit regularly, filling their boots with all they can eat. I’ve tried to lighten the photos so we can see the raccoons, but you may have to use your imagination a fair bit. The spot under the tree on the left is where the flashlight found the raccoons.

They get right up into the trees and knock down what they can.

Then they crack the nuts open with their sharp teeth. I find the shells in the morning. They don’t bother to clean up after themselves.

Over the next few days I frantically pick as many hazelnuts as I can. There is still plenty for the raccoons.  Today, two squirrels had a chattering spat in one of the nut trees just six feet away from me – probably telling me to scram.

“WHA-A-A-T?” says Dickie (Lincoln’s grandson). “Do you see what they’re doing? Get away from my hazelnuts! First the raccoons, and now the people!”

I’ve been robbed, I’m so upset.

All those nuts I’ve yet to get.

First those robbers with their masks,

Dedicated to their tasks.

 

Climbing up, they shake it all,

Causing all those nuts to fall.

Daylight comes, they run and hide,

Leaving shell bits far and wide.

 

Now it’s my turn, so I think,

But I can’t so much as blink

And the humans start to pick

Filling boxes quick, quick, quick.

 

Seems I have to pour on steam,

Get a buddy, make a team,

We can find enough for all,

Long as we work hard this fall.

 


30 Comments

Planning Ahead

This is perfect. Close to my woodshed where I can sleep out of the wind and rain. Old stack of landscape ties nearby for my root cellar and temporary stash….

Fall is in the air, and I have to fill the larder. I have hazelnut trees right here in the yard, but what I’m looking forward to is the brand new hazelnut tree across the street with sweet young hazelnuts this year. They’re smaller than the ones here, but they should be tasty.

Decisions, decisions. What to do? Well, I might just have to go for both.

First a little taste test. I stashed these young nuts here this morning, but after all that running back and forth and climbing the tree, I’ve worked up quite an appetite.

Yup! They’re good. Now to stash them under the landscape ties until I have time to bury the nuts here and there for my winter snacks.

But wait! I’d better check and make sure no one sees where I’m putting the nuts temporarily.

Okay, I think it’s safe enough. It’s only that kooky old lady with her camera. She’s harmless.

 

It’s so hard to gather nuts,

Every day is precious.

Later I can fill my guts,

With a snack delicious.

 

Sleet and cold may coat the ground,

Hard times lie ahead,

I will eat what I have found,

Hazelnuts in bed.

 

All the work will be worthwhile,

Though I’m tired today,

When it’s cold I’ll live in style,

I’ll just eat and play.