wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Bonnie and Benny Bunny

A new load of firewood waits for someone to move it into the shed. Doesn’t seem like a big job unless you consider that each piece of firewood must be picked up and set down again. If there are 300 pieces of firewood that means I have to bend down to pick up or put down wood 600 times. My back hurts already!

If I thought this prospect was daunting, how do you think young Benny Bunny felt when his hiding place was discovered after only a short time and he came bouncing out from under the firewood? Now he will have to find another place to hide.

 

“Don’t fret, Benny,” said Bonnie Bunny. “As long as we have each other, we can snuggle up together tonight. But for now, let’s get out of here. Quick like a bunny!”

You can see how tiny Bonnie is compared to the piece of firewood she’s sitting beside.

 

Bonnie, see these sunflower seeds?

These are all a bunny needs.

I know we prefer the lettuce,

And the carrots I will get us.

 

 

Even though the garden’s poor,

What I’ve noticed on my tour,

Is that still the weeds can grow,

Found some good ones that I know.

 

 

All these seeds are empty shells,

They’re the ones the squirrel repels,

Leave those sunflower seeds alone,

Better eat the greens I’ve known.

 

 

No more hiding in the wood,

There’s a place I know we could,

Enter in the veggie patch,

All new sprouts go down the hatch.

 

 

Hipping, hopping, off they go,

To the place that Ben will show,

Ducking through the garden fence,

Once inside they’re not so tense.

 

One important thing says Ben,

Don’t eat more than eight or ten,

If we put on too much weight,

Can’t squeeze through the garden gate.

 

 

Though they barely made it through,

They were thrilled to chew and chew.

Bonny says, “I’ll just eat seven,

And I’ll come back to this heaven.”


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Badlands

Are the badlands really bad?

The lack of a steady supply of water makes it hard to grow much. And look at the terrain. Can you imagine an expensive piece of farm machinery trying to negotiate those hillsides? I think farming this area is out of the question.

Still, some vegetation just plants itself. It has to be tough to survive. Grasses are real survivors if they only have a chance to sprout.

But seeds are easily washed away if not in the sparse rain, then at least in the run-off from snowmelt. The wind lends a hand too. Between them, wind and water carve out a landscape full of curves, rifts, pillars, and odd-shaped hills.

So what is the good of these badlands? That is, if there is anything good about them.

At first glance, it looks like a wasteland. You’d be surprised though, how much life it supports. Insects, obviously, and those attract birds and snakes. Lots of snakes.  I guess that’s a good thing, if you like snakes. They have to go somewhere.

The carved out crumbling rock formations provide many crevices and holes for a snake to hide in – a place to get out of the hot sun. In the late fall, rattlers will travel miles through prairie grasslands to the badlands where they seek out underground chambers (caves and tunnels) and scooped-out areas where they can snuggle up together for the winter in their very own hibernaculum. These dens are often underground and close to the water table, but preferably in a place where it stays above freezing.

The erosion in the badlands creates all kinds of possible hiding places for small animals.  The fields at the edge of a badlands area could provide food for insects, small rodents, rabbits, and game birds such as grouse and pheasants, which in turn attract predators such as hawks and owls.

Even deer may be found wandering through the badlands.

 

 

 

If you have a dog though, watch where it goes. You don’t want it to be bitten by a sneaky snake. If you take your dog there, maybe to hunt a partridge or other game bird for dinner, the best time to do that is probably early in the morning when it is cool and the snakes are still a bit poky.

A friend told me of a time when his dog (same breed as our Emma – an English field cocker) was running down a path ahead of him and a rattler was in the path directly in front of her. The dog leaped over the coiled up snake and kept going. It was lucky that, because of the cold morning, the snake was still quite lethargic. A few hours later, this scenario could have had an unhappy ending.

If you’re ever in a badlands area, keep your eyes open and your camera handy, and bring along your snakebite kit and the local vet’s phone number.

Internet image

 


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Introduced Species

The balance of nature has been out of kilter for hundreds of years – basically, since man has interfered to make things better. In many cases, some species have been introduced to an area where they are not indigenous to solve a problem “naturally,” without resorting to pesticides or culling of another species.

An example is the cane toad in Australia. It was brought into the country to deal with the cane beetle in the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately the cane toad is now the bigger problem.

Rabbits, too, were introduced there, and have multiplied as only rabbits can, making their population unmanageable.

The green crab has been transported in ships’ ballasts and has upset the marine ecosystems wherever it has established itself.

Zebra mussels are also an invasive species transported by ships.

Feral swine (also called wild pigs, Eurasian boar, or feral hogs) destroy agricultural fields and impact the regeneration of forests by eating the seeds, nuts, and cones of trees. The swine are omnivorous and so are a threat to young livestock. They can do tremendous damage to the agricultural industry. Feral swine carry at least 30 types of diseases and 40 types of parasites. They are really bad news!

Burmese pythons have been introduced to Florida’s Everglades through the pet trade and have upset the balance of nature there. They prey on rabbits, foxes, raccoons, and birds, to name a few. Many populations of smaller mammals have been decimated. The Burmese python has also brought a pentastome parasitic disease, infecting other reptiles. The parasite is now considered to be endemic in Florida.

 

So you see that introduced species can be quite detrimental to their new habitat.

While trout fishing on a local lake recently, the Captain encountered a new invasive species, the freshwater crocodile. It is pictured here, photo taken with the Captain’s little point-and-click Fuji camera. It is a bit blurry because he was shaking with fear, and paddling with one hand while he risked his life to take the photo with the other.

If you ever find yourself tempted to swim in a freshwater lake in British Columbia, be aware that these newly introduced crocodiles could appear from the depths to nibble on their favourite delicacy, swimmers’ toes.


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Easter Snack Time

“These walnuts are really good, but what’s that you say? There will be eggs? It’s too soon for the birds to lay eggs, isn’t it? Otherwise I’d think about helping myself.”

“No-no-no-no-no!” says the bunny. “Not now, Lincoln. They’re for Easter. But you can’t have them yet. I have to paint them first.”

“What? Aw, no. You can’t fool me that way. I can see they’re already painted. Just look at them!” 

And sure enough, the eggs Anneli buys look like it’s Easter every day.


Happy Easter, everyone.

 

Chickens lay the Easter eggs,

Rabbits like to paint them,

Lincoln likes to steal the eggs,

So, he’s not a saint then.

 

Lincoln tries to rob a nest,

Sticks his head right in there,

Momma bird gives him a peck,

Feels just like a pin there.

 

Maybe it’s a better plan

Not to steal the birds’ eggs,

Walnuts do taste very good,

Looking cute, the squirrel begs.

 

But who cares about the day

That the folks call Easter,

Lincoln eats his walnut snack, 

Sitting on his keister.

 

 


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Not “Hoo” but Where?

It was an owly night. I couldn’t sleep for the sounds of hooting and hissing and screeching right outside my bedroom window. But WHERE were they? I needed them to get rid of those pests.

Owls are not the only animals on nightshift.

Look what that destructive little bunny did to my front yard. I don’t know what he’s digging for. I suspect it’s the roots of those tiny dandelion-like flowers (weeds). He must have heard the owls, but these roots are so yummy (I guess), it’s worth the risk of becoming dinner himself.

He deposits some tiny raisins of fertilizer – a snack for Emma and Ruby –  to show his appreciation for the midnight snack, but … those huge holes are everywhere.

Einstein and the junior professor are asleep at the switch. I guess that’s what happens when you stay up all hootin’ night.

 

 

The night was black until the moon

Lit up the darkness and the gloom,

“Soft lighting on our dinner plate,”

The old owl says, “It’s getting late.

Glide down with me. I’ll show you how

To catch this rabbit. Come! Right now!”

 

As Einstein swooped on silent wings

He thought, Tonight we’ll dine like kings.

The bunny leapt, he heard the whoosh,

As talons missed his ears and tush.

Into the hedge he slipped away

“I’ll eat those roots another day.”

 

 

“The holes I’ve dug will still be there

I’ve dug so many everywhere.

I know that Anne-li will be mad

And curse me out for being bad,

But everybody’s got to eat,

As long as I’m not Owl Meat.”

 


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Hugging Trees

Okay, Junior, forget about pecking at houses. This is how we find the best bugs — on the trees. You hold on with your toes and hop around all sides of the tree. The tree doesn’t mind. It thinks we’re hugging it.

And keep an eye out for hawks. They like to snatch up flickers, especially young naive little morsels like you.

You got that? Look, I didn’t mean to frighten you, but we have to watch out for them at all times.

Okay, Mom.  Sheesh! It sure is a long way down!

Oooooh, look! A rabbit!

Yikes! So it is! Keep looking up, Junior!

Never mind the rabbit!

 


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Quick Like a Bunny

M-m-m! These tall grasses smell delicious!
Oooh! Yummy! They are exquisite.
I wonder if I should turn on the tap and give the grasses a drink of water to make them grow.
This long stem is so good, and it gets better the closer I nibble it to the top. Hahaha! I could come to a seedy end!
Uh-oh! Did I hear the backyard supervisors? Those dogs are F-A-S-T! At least, the little black one is. The other one is getting pretty old (thank goodness)!
I’m just going to hide here for a minute. If I stand straight, I’ll look like part of the pipe. I think I’m slim enough, don’t you?
On second thought, maybe I should crouch down and hold still. This is when I wish my ears weren’t so long.
Just to be on the safe side I think I’ll skedaddle, quick like a bunny, until the coast is clear.

I found some grass with flavour grand,

Beside the tap and in the sand,

I nibbled it and loved the taste,

I could not let it go to waste,

But then I heard a vicious dog,

My eyes bugged out, I stared agog,

I tried to hide but then I thought,

This battle’s one that can’t be fought,

The dog has biting teeth and jaws,

I sure don’t want to give her cause

To bite my soft brown bunny fur,

I’d rather run away from her.

I’ll come back later, in the night,

When she is sleeping curled up tight.

And then I’ll munch and lunch till dawn

Cause I am safe while sun is gone.

But, oh, what is that hooting sound?

I think I’d best not stick around.


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Waxing Gibbous?

“Waxing gibbous”…. This expression made me think of a group of gibbons depilating themselves. After all, the hairless chest is the look these days (in some people’s opinion).

But no, waxing gibbous refers to when the moon is waxing (growing) towards becoming fully illuminated by the sun.

I learned a new word today when I finally looked up “gibbous” instead of just using the word ignorantly. It means “convex or protuberant” – sticking out, like bulgy eyes. I think they used that choice of words because the gibbous phase of the moon is when it is more than half but not quite full.

I grew up with the phrase “the man in the moon” and I still see two eyes and a mouth when I look at the moon.

However, while visiting in Baja,  I met a friend there who told me they call it the rabbit in the moon, “el conejo en la luna.”  Sure enough, when I looked for a rabbit, I saw it. There he is in the photo below. He’s facing to the left with his long floppy ears streaming over his back. Do you see him? They even have a legend about how he got there.

Quetzalcoatl was tired and hungry. He had traveled far, so he sat down by the side of the road to rest. A little rabbit came along and chatted with him. When the rabbit learned that Quetzalcoatl was hungry, he offered him vegetables to eat, but Quetzelcoatl said he didn’t care much for veggies. He needed something more substantial.

“But I’m only a small insignificant rabbit, and this is the only food I have to offer,” the rabbit said.

Quetzalcoatl was moved by the humility and generosity of the rabbit and he rose up to the moon with the rabbit. He said, “Now you will no longer be insignificant, but be seen and admired by everyone forevermore.”

My own opinion about this legend is, that’s all very nice, but no one asked the rabbit if he wanted to spend the rest of his life up there on the cold lonely moon. It reminded me of people who help blind people cross the road when all they wanted to do was stand on the street corner.

So what do you see? The man or the rabbit? Or both?

Whichever you see, as of this morning’s full moon, it is no longer waxing, but will start waning. Sigh, now I should do a post about Wayne….


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Help Arrives

 

Early yesterday morning, the skies were clear with a hint of spring in the fresh air. Our neighbours’ willow tree was welcoming a change of seasons. I had taken the dogs out into the yard. As I stood, enjoying the stillness, I realized it wasn’t still at all. Two sea lions called to each other, perhaps to claim their territory among the schools of herring  off the nearby beach. I love the deep sound of their barking, “OW! OW! OW!” I smiled to think that they were back to visit for a while. I know the herring fishermen don’t smile to see or hear them, but …

Before I could stop smiling, I heard, for the first time this year, a Eurasian collared dove calling from a stand of trees nearby.

Yes, spring is coming! Then a robin called its urgent pipping song, and a rufus-sided towhee added his two cents’ worth, asking, “ME? … ME?”

Later in the morning it was time to clean up the yard for the fourth time, after yet another windstorm. As I raked, I came across a circle of tufts of fur lying on the grass in the same place as the feathers of an eaten seabird lay a few months before. Both were under a tall fir –  the favourite tree stand for birds of prey, especially eagles and owls. These birds sit quietly and watch for their dinner to pass by underneath.

Ruby sees the rabbit fur and is most likely thinking about what probably happened here.

Will you look at that? No way he survived that much hair loss.

Ruby is shocked. She ponders the implications of losing a rabbit at this time of year.

Will there be an Easter? Who will paint the eggs and hide them?

But just as the sun was sending its last warm rays to light the underside of the clouds, I looked towards the hedge and saw ….

Reinforcements! He stands bravely under the killing tree and announces to the world:

Easter will go ahead as planned. And you owls, listen up. You can NEVER kill us all. Where there are two rabbits, there will soon be two thousand.

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he says, “it’s less than a month until Easter and I have some serious work to do.”