wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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.


48 Comments

Paying it Forward

We have so much to be thankful for.

Even the chestnut-backed chickadee is thankful for the sunflower seeds that are left behind once the sunflowers are finished.

If only the dinner plate were not upside down.

“That’s okay,” he says, “I can be an acrobat and reach around to get the seeds on the other side.”

Out in nature, the little animals have struggles with food and shelter. But what about people? Are we struggling too? I think many of us are, and not only about food and shelter.

This has been a very trying year for us all. Hard times due to the coronavirus have touched most of us in one way or another. Politics has driven a wedge between longtime friendships. The threat of shutdowns and economic upheaval have us worried about shortages of basic supplies, especially food. Social distancing has kept family and friends apart.

Trying times, for sure.

Certainly we need to think about our welfare within our household, but as we look after our own mental and physical health, it would do us good to lift our heads and look around at the connections we have with our community and friends.

How long has it been since you did something good for your friends or neighbours who are also struggling with these same issues?

Have you asked how they are managing? Whether they need anything that you can help with? Sometimes just a friendly word or moral support goes a long way.

If social distancing keeps us apart physically, why not make an effort to be in touch by phone or email, or even across the fence?

We have been very lucky to have a good health care system, good food and plenty of it, and many modern conveniences to make our lives easier. But I feel as if the social fabric of our families, neighbourhood, community, and country is threadbare to say the least.

They say “it starts at home,” so why not hug someone in your socially distanced bubble for a start? Let’s take care of our families.

What about those close friends? Neighbours? Colleagues from work? When did you last speak to any of them and let them know you care?

Have you noticed that many drivers or pedestrians in crosswalks are selfish and rude? I have. Why not set an example with considerate behaviour ourselves? Pay it forward and hope it spreads like the virus.

We have so much to be thankful for, but on this Thanksgiving Day, I thought it would be good to consider not only our own food and comforts, but to think about doing our part to begin rebuilding the mess the world is in. We can only do this one small step at a time. Yes, it starts at home. Go pet your dog or cat or feed your backyard birds. Then look around you for the next step. You’ll know it when you see it.

Think positive thoughts and do something good. Repeat as necessary.


20 Comments

A Discerning Palate

Did you know that animals have facial expressions too? Sure we know they can screech and growl, but they have subtle facial expressions too.

Oh goodie! More sunflower seeds!
Oh, yech! Not so goodie! Stale sunflower seeds.
Nothing to do but try again. Maybe it was just the one …. I hope.
YES! It must have been just one bad one.

I don’t so much mind that it’s seeds once again,

But really, they shouldn’t taste bad.

The taste lingered on though I spat out in vain,

The worst seed I ever have had.

I looked for an alternate food I could eat,

But nothing there was to be had,

And since I am fussy, just veggies, no meat,

My choice was depressingly sad.

I tried to remember advice from my mother

What was it she always would say?

Don’t give up with one, she’d say, just try another

And do it right now, don’t delay.

It tasted so yummy inside of my tummy,

The best food I ever did eat,

From now on I’ll do well to listen to Mummy

And never miss out on a treat.


32 Comments

The Over-achiever

 

Big Egg and Little Eggie

“You know Eggie, it’s not over-easy to be big. I was brought into this world the same day as you were, and right away, people had a lot of eggspectations from me. My mother, obviously, was an over-achiever. Had to be, just to lay me in the nesting bock-bock-bocks.”

“Right Big Egg, I’m sure she had to eggsert herself to squeeze you out without scrambling you.”

“Yes, she must have tried eggstra hard to lay me without having an eggsident. I remember hearing the other hens clucking around her at the birthing. What a hen party that was! “Push! Push!” they clucked, egging her on, and eggs-horting her to try harder, and the whole time she was in eggstreme pain. The yolk was on them though, because I came out big and beautiful. But it was really oval the way they teased her about having such a big baby.”

“‘And look how green his face is,’ they jeered. ‘Must have been in the womb too long before he got air.'”

“‘Hah!’ snorted my aunt Penny. You remember Henny Penny? Well, she said, ‘It was probably the air in this henhouse that turned his face green.’ That nearly cracked me up, but I have to eggree with her. It is pretty hummy in there. So green I am, and green I shell stay. Still, I’d like to add that I’m eggcited to be here.”

“But you think your life is hardboiled already? What if you were eggstra small like me? I’m just a shell of a man. It’s hardly worth adding me to a cake or an omelette. I’ll always be the odd man out; an unnecessary eggstra.”

“Oh I have an easy shellution. Your size will come in hendy. You are the perfeggt size for a special eggcasion. Before an opera singer goes on stage, she has a glass of wine with a raw egg in it. She doesn’t want it to be so big that she geggs on it, so a tiny tot like you, for eggsample, would be perfeggt.”

“Okay, so my problem is solved. What about you though? You will have to be an over-achiever like your mother. That will not be a sunny-side up road for you to follow.”

“Not to worry, Eggie. I have a secret helper. I’m really a twin and life will be fine, like two eggs, over easy. Those hens that laughed at me for being big don’t know it yet but the yolks are on them.”

 *****

 If you have not visited Carol Balawyder’s post, please do. She has kindly featured my novel Reckoning Tide, the sequel to The Wind Weeps. Visit Carol’s blog here.