wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Herring Provides for All

The seiners wait in the harbour for the signal that the herring are fat enough, with a high enough roe count, to allow the roe herring fishery to proceed.

Rafts of sea lions are waiting too. They will take advantage of the herring being “rounded up” in the purse seines of the big boats. Many herring “escape,” right into the waiting jaws of these huge mammals.

Some of them like the fishy smell coming from small power boats and are trying to investigate up close.

Seagulls wheel around the seiners trying to grab any herring that swims too close to the surface.

This immature eagle is about to find out that the beach will be full of bounty as roe and herring and bycatch float ashore. These foods provide much-needed calories for the eagles especially at their nesting time, which happens very soon after the herring fishery. Healthy eagles will have healthy chicks.

And let’s not forget that as much as we scoff at seagulls and their shrieking habits, they are the janitors of the beaches, cleaning up every bit of mess.

Once the carnage has been cleaned up, the animals have to scrounge what food they can until next year’s feast.


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Beach Walk

After months of wind and rain, followed by at least a week of snowy blasts, the sun let us know that it’s still up there. It lit up the white hills and said to us, “Come out, come out. I’ll warm your back as you walk on the beach.”

The Captain and I took Emma to the beach on the east side of the spit, where the morning sun was warmer and much of the snow was gone.

Emma loved it, but then she saw something that stopped her in her tracks. “Whoah!” she said. “WHAT is that large woman doing out there in this icy water?”

She wasn’t swimming much — more like bobbing in the waves. She didn’t seem to mind the cold.

To her right, was a very relaxed sea lion head. I looked back at the woman and saw that what I thought was a head,  was really the sea lion’s flipper.

A whole group of them lay on their backs, enjoying the morning sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d had a breakfast of kippers. It’s that time when the herring come in close to the beaches to spawn. That makes the sea lions happy, as well as the eagles and sea gulls, all of whom love to eat the herring spawn and herring bodies that wash up on the beach for a wonderful smorgasbord.

Everybody (except the herring) is happy these days.

Don’t forget to visit my other blog, https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/the-trap/

Also, please visit my website to find out more about my books and my copy-editing.  http://www.anneli-purchase.com/


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Remote Control – Not the Kind You’d Like

Stuck in a remote cove on the BC coast where Robert, her handsome new husband, had a cabin tucked away, Andrea had no connection to the life she’d left behind. Her family and friends had no idea that she was a prisoner in this isolated place. No phone, no radio, no other people, no one except Robert, and he was getting more psychotic every day.

Young and pretty, Andrea had come out west for adventure, leaving her family in Ontario. Her new West Coast friends had warned her to be careful of Robert, that he had some strange behaviours. But Andrea found this commercial fisherman charming. He swept her off her feet.

Bit by bit, he charmed her into a rushed marriage, and then, bit by bit, his true nature came out.

The cabin was remote and he had control.

Andrea soon had reason to fear for her life.  She had to get away, or die.  A strong, experienced woodsman would find escape from this place challenging, whether by land or by sea. Certainly, it was daunting for a naive city girl. The woods were home to cougars, bears, and wolves, and what if she got lost?  But desperation gave her courage. She would rather die trying to escape than to risk another day with Robert.

 

You can read about Andrea’s story in Book One, The Wind Weeps, on sale for only $.99 on amazon now.

 

Book Two, Reckoning Tide, is the sequel, available on amazon for only $2.94.

Why not give yourself a treat? Give your e-reader a workout.

If you don’t have a Kindle you can always order the books at smashwords.com.


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Hard Work

It is herring time on the coast of B.C.  The herring migrate to certain parts of the coast to lay eggs (spawn) close to shore.  It is the ideal time to catch them for their roe.

The seiners didn’t have far to go to set their nets this year. Less than a half hour’s run from town, they put their huge nets in the water  and encircled the schools of herring with a huge  purse seine net.

The small skiff helps anchor one end of the net while the seiner runs around in a circle, unrolling the huge net into the water. The white floats on the top of the net help us to see where the net is. Their job is to keep the top of the net afloat. The bottom of the net has heavy lead rings tied to it through which a line passes. It is like a drawstring that closes the net so fish can’t escape through the bottom.

In the photo below, the red  boat has already closed its net. Seagulls circle, hoping to lunch on unfortunate escapees. The boat next to the red seiner might be a packer, standing by to take the load onto his boat and then to market.

The herring could be scooped out of the net with a huge brailer, like a long-handled fish net, or in some cases, the herring are sucked out of the net and onto the packer or into the hold of the seiner with a kind of (very large) vacuum that slurps up the fish and seawater and pumps it all into the hold of the waiting boat. The seawater is pumped out of the boat leaving only the herring behind in a big strainer.

To unload them, the process is reversed and water is added to the hold to enable the vacuum to suck the herring out of the boat.

 

The boat on the right side of the photo has just paid out the net in a circle to try for a catch of herring. See the white floats?


The farther boat in the photo below has hauled a catch over to the boat. You can see the seagulls going crazy with the feeding opportunities it provides for them.

Fishing for herring is hard work. In late February and even in March the weather can be raw and brutal, especially on the water.

I took the photos of the seiners from the deck of my house, so they are quite far away. The very next day, I took the photo below, of the same view, but the boats are not visible through the snow clouds. I hope no one was fishing that day.

I like to eat pickled herring, but I’ve learned that the food herring are caught in the winter (maybe November) when they are fattest.  In the spring roe fishery, the herring are skinnier and are caught mainly for their roe, highly prized in the Japanese market (at least prized by the older generation). I’ve heard it suggested that the younger Japanese generation prefers McDonalds. Not much of a choice, to my mind.

In case you are wondering what happens to the rest of the herring after they are stripped of their roe … fish fertilizer.

 


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Books for Christmas

As Christmas is only three weeks away, you may be wondering what to do for gifts. If the person you are buying for likes to read, I have the perfect solution for you. My novels are very reasonably priced and will bring hours of pleasure and entertainment.

Three of the six are set on the west coast of Canada. The remote parts of the coast are a rough and tough “man’s world,” but in my novels, the women who live in this environment grow stronger as they face the challenges of coastal life.

A friend of mine painted a portrait that she kindly allowed me to use for the “Marlie” book cover. When I first saw the painting at her house, I knew this was Marlie, the character in my novel.

How did I recognize her? It was in the eyes.

Her left eye has a hint of tears and says, “You’ve hurt me.” But her right eye is hard. It seems to say, “Don’t you ever do that again.” Look at her eyes in the cover of the book. Do you see what I mean?

You can find Marlie on all the Amazon sites. Just go to amazon.com or amazon.ca, or amazon.co.uk and type in Marlie. If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can find Marlie on Smashwords.com. It is affordably priced so as not to break the bank.

If you would like to read a review of this book, please click on the link below. The review is near the end of that post.

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/09/26/a-great-review-for-marlie/

 

You can find out more about all my novels on my website: http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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Trees

After showing you so many burnt trees in a recent post, I thought I should show the positive side of things too.

Driving past these trees, a blur of yellow and a smattering of snow in the firs reminded me that autumn was nearly finished. It was just a matter of days before the poplar (?) leaves came down.

In the higher elevations, wind, weather, and possibly some road work crew meant the dormancy or death of some trees.

Trees [5]

Trees [1]

Some of the white-barked trees were clinging to the last leaves. Birch, poplars, aspen? I’m not sure, but these are all trees with whitish bark.

Trees [4]

Back in Montana, this stand of trees reminded me of when I’ve spilled the pack of lettuce seeds and a whole clump of them grew in a bunch, crowding each other so none can do well. It also looks like a football team in a huddle.

Trees [6]

The horses don’t mind it. The thick stand of trees probably acts as a good windbreak.

Trees [7]

In southern BC, along the Hope-Princeton Highway, a tree has taken the shape of a bear – a grizzly by the look of his dished skull and the hump on his back. I believe the park was closed when we drove by (in October), but it would be a wonderful place to hike (if you aren’t afraid of bears … which I am).

Manning Park

 


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Slip Sliding Away

Along the drive from the Osoyoos to Hope, in southern BC, it is not uncommon to see talus slopes (evidence of land or rock slides).


In some of these slides, trees grew as if nothing had happened. Did the trees grow there after the slide, or  did they survive the slide, and the rocks whooshed past them and around them? I suppose it would help to know how long ago the slides happened.

These larger trees at the base of the slide (below), must have had the fright of their lives as they watched the mountain come down and then stop a short distance from them. A few more feet, a few more seconds, could have meant annihilation for them.

Below, you can see that some tree trunks lie like unburied skeletons, casualties of the disaster.

But not all living things were left unburied. I wondered how many unsuspecting little animals were swept away and buried forever under the slides.

Some of these steep slopes will continue to loosen and slide for ages, perhaps sometimes just a few rocks bouncing down the hill, or other times, a more major slip of the mountain. Wind, rain, earthquakes, and gravity can all play a role in determining when the earth will move.

Imagine the volume of the gravel and rock that came down in the photo below. If we could put it all back, would it be a hill as high as the ones beside the top of that slide? The upper part of the slide seems to be composed of smaller rocks and gravel, but just look at the size of the boulders that kept bouncing farther down the hill.

A slide cut just a small swath down this hill. Aren’t you glad you weren’t hiking there just then?


Earlier I did a post about the deadly slide that happened outside the town of Hope in 1965, killing four people. If you missed that post and  would like to  see it, here is the link to it. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/11/03/the-hope-slide/


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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.

 


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A Cool Trip – Part 1

We left Vancouver Island on our way to eastern Montana. Having waited out the unexpected September 30th blizzard, we hoped to find that the worst was over after a few days of traveling.

In the southern interior of British Columbia is the Similkameen Valley, probably best known for being a wine growing region of the South Okanagan.

For us, it was a good place to stop for a quick coffee and sandwich while the dogs stretched their legs.

Then we continued on with our truck and trailer to the U.S. border into Washington and Coulee City.

The Coulee City Community Park provides RV parking and a lovely setting on the south end of Banks Lake, a reservoir created in 1942 after the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.

Our stay at Coulee City was perfect, but the worst was yet to come. Stay tuned.


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This ‘Hood is for the Birds

Not meaning to make light of the very real shortage of affordable housing for people, I thought if  birds had any shortage of housing, here is one person’s way of dealing with it and helping them out. This tree with its “decoration” is located in a remote part of Vancouver Island. A handful of people live nearby and while some of them are very creative, all of them love nature. So this tribute to bird life is appreciated and admired by all. Some other objects have crept into a space among the birdhouses, but they don’t look out of place because they are part of the lifestyle there.

*Taken with the Captain’s little Fuji.

Do you see any objects that stand out for you?