wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Reflections of Love

The other day I finally got around to cleaning some of the windows. I wondered if Quentin would be at the front door even more enthusiastically than before, talking to his reflection, hoping this “friend” would come out to play.

Sure enough, he appeared in a short time and had a conversation with himself at the window next to the front door.

Then he hopped onto the railing and sunned himself. (By the way, he does have two legs. Maybe he’s just warming one leg in his feathers.)

I told him he’s making a mess of the railing. What if someone wanted to hold onto it to steady themselves as they walked down the steps? But he just looked at me incredulously and said, “Well, I have to go somewhere!”

Just look at his beautifully designed head. So many different feather sizes, shapes, and colours, all in perfectly arranged sets of patterns.

Quentin Quail is beautiful,

Still his search is dutiful,

Hunting for his long lost mate,

Lonely living is his fate.

 

Yet he visits at the door,

His reflection to adore,

Thinking this is Queenie Quail,

Though he once again will fail.

 

Pondering his solitude,

He does nothing to intrude,

Quietly he soaks up sun,

Waiting for his only one.


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Quentin’s Return

I may have mentioned that a few years ago we had so many quail here, they crossed our yard like a living carpet of quail, forty or more.

As more houses were built, cats and dogs and people have disrupted the quail’s natural habitat, and the fate of the quail population was doomed. In a few short years the quail died off. One lone survivor has hung on, all alone for at least three years.

You may have met Quentin Quail in one of my previous blog posts. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2021/04/11/quentin-quail/

He still is the loneliest quail I’ve ever seen. I thought for sure this past cold winter would have killed him, but even after deadly cold blizzards and bone-chilling north winds, he has survived.

As usual, he is looking for the friend he thinks he sees in the window by our front door. Even with the glass so dirty from the weather and from Emma’s nose prints, he must see his reflection in it and think it is another quail. My heart breaks for him.

 

“I just don’t understand why she won’t come out to play.”

I really hope Quentin is careful. These past couple of days I’ve noticed what I think is a merlin hanging around. I tried to get a picture of it today, but it flew to a nearby pole and the picture is not as good as I’d like it to be. But here he is, the potential quail killer.

I hope he finds a mouse or a rat to eat instead.

 


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Over- and Underachievers

Seems that when spring is near, the increased daylight hours spark something in chickens that gets them laying more. Some of the younger birds lay tiny eggs, and then they skip a day and lay a double-sized egg (usually with a double yolk). It takes a while to get it all sorted out and they start laying regular-sized eggs.

The people who own the free-range chickens where we get our eggs have a contented flock of hens. These chickens have the run of the yard and the family’s big black labrador retriever keeps an eye on them. The dog and the hens are good friends. She wouldn’t dream of harassing the chickens.

It’s a happy farmyard.

Some of the hens lay green eggs; others lay brown ones. At this time of year, the size difference in the eggs can be dramatic.

I’ve tried to arrange them so you can compare the sizes. One green egg and three brown ones are huge (I felt sorry for the hen’s bum). I put a normal-size egg next to the big ones for comparison, and then there is a small … very small … brown egg.

You may wonder what the speckled egg is all about. It is a quail egg – one that I’ve had for years and is blown out. Remember in the old days when we painted Easter eggs and put a pinhole in the top and the bottom of the egg? We blew on the one pinhole and the contents of the egg came pouring out of the other. Then the shell could be preserved without a rotting egg inside.

I put that quail egg beside the small chicken egg so you can see how tiny they are.

And that reminds me. I had a very special visitor yesterday. In my next blog I’ll tell you about it.


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Hunting the Hunter

Quentin has been hanging out on the landing, looking at himself in the glass panel beside the front door. I think he thinks that reflection he sees is another quail in the house.

He must be wondering why the other quail isn’t coming out. He is so desperately hunting for others of his kind, especially if one were a female.

But he isn’t the only one who is hunting.

As I looked through the upstairs window to see if Quentin was still on the landing below, I saw, not a quail, but a quail hunter.

GASP! That’s not a quail. I ran for the camera and turned it on as I hurried across the room, hoping this predator hadn’t flown away by the time I returned. I know they are very wary.

This one was tiptoeing along the path, checking behind every little twig for the dinner of his dreams.

I was snapping pictures through the window with the zoom on because I didn’t dare go any closer lest he fly, so all these pictures are a bit “window-ish” and not the best clarity. But it was enough to identify the fellow as a sharp-shinned hawk, a very close lookalike to the Cooper’s hawk.

Moments later, he flew away.

The nearby birdfeeders were absolutely silent. No birds around. Not a peep!


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Quentin Quail

The quince is not quite blooming yet, but I needed a picture of it for this post, so I took one from a couple of years ago.

This poor lonely quail is looking for a mate. Not sure there is one in the neighbourhood for him to find, but I made one up for him.

I quail at the thought of the poem I am going to inflict on you today.

Quentin Quail is on a quest,

He quills a questionnaire,

Querying and quizzing all,

To find a queen so fair.

Quite a queue around the quince,

For lady quails so quaint,

Topknot quivering in the wind,

Our Quentin’s feeling faint.

“That’s queer,” he quips so quietly,

“She can’t be from Quebec,

And yet she calls with quality

Out of her pretty bec.”

Quentin quicksteps forward now,

He’s feeling like a prince,

Quavering he offers quiche,

And she will offer quints.

His family quota is fulfilled,

His hopes have not been quashed,

The former quandary is solved,

Of cares, his hands are washed.

Quentin will become a dad,

Of kiddies eight, nine, ten,

But now he wonders just what kind

Of quagmire he is in.


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Keremeos

My apologies for a whole series of posts with photos taken as we whizzed past in the truck and trailer, but in this post, I hope to convey a feeling more than to show any particular fantastic photo.

Going through the little town of Keremeos in the South Okanagan, in spite of the chilly fall air, we are always warmed by the festive attitude of the residents. It’s harvest time, and rather than have scarecrows, they have straw people all through the downtown area. I wish I could have done them justice with less blurry shots, but you’ll get the idea of the fun on the streets of this fruit growing town.

Can you find the straw people? Two in this photo.

 

One here.

Two here.

Two here.

One here.

All seem to be pointing to the fruit markets that line the road farther along.

Did you know that pumpkins are a tasty vegetable when prepared as you would any other squash?

This is pumpkin time, as well as onions, garlic, and winter apple time.

Squashes and cauliflowers, melons and tomatoes.

And if you don’t feel like shopping but just want to stop for a bit and let the kids play in the park, the local quail welcomes you. He’s like the quail version of “Big Bird.” Can you see him there to the left of the big tree with the yellow leaves?

Here is a close up of him – although very blurry – to help you find him.

The Okanagan is full of quail, quite tiny wild chicken-like birds that have so many cute habits it’s a shame to kill them for food (although I must admit, they are SO tasty).

I love quail, dead (on my plate) or alive (in my backyard), but mostly alive.

This “Big Bird” put a long-lasting smile on my face as we drove through Keremeos.