wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Moving Day

Usually we think of moving day as a marathon of packing up boxes and then calling muscular friends or a moving company to throw all the furniture and other belongings into a truck to take it all to the new house. But what if you found a real bargain of a “fixer-upper” and you had a small piece of land to put it on, but that place was farther up the coast from where you lived? Or maybe you wanted to turn the “fixer-upper” into a house to rent out.

These houses appear for sale now and then, parked on wooden blocks to hold up the house on each corner, on a loading area near our town. The houses are sold and then brought in by tug and barge to be taken away to another location, often another coastal area.

A truck with a long low platform drives under the raised up house which is then lowered onto the lowbed and driven onto a barge to be towed by the tug to its new location. The low bed is unhooked from the tractor and can be reconnected to another one for unloading at the destination. I can barely make out the wheels of the trailer under the house at the front of the barge.

This (above) was the scene looking out from my house one day, but I found an article in the Times-Colonist that showed pictures of other houses being moved by this method. The houses are not necessarily  all “fixer-uppers.” The circumstances could be quite different.

 

So if you like your house, but it’s not in the right location, you can now move the house instead of your belongings.  Or you can find a  house and have it moved up the coast to your property. For that matter, if you’re stranded on a desert island, you can just use your smart phone and order  a house to be brought in.

And maybe, if you have Amazon Prime you might save yourself the shipping charges. Ya think?


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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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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?


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A Crabby Chapter from a Free Book

I know it’s a lot of reading, but I’ve put a chapter from my novel “The Wind Weeps” here, below the photo of these wonderful dungeness crabs the Captain brought home yesterday.

The chapter tells a bit about how the crabs can be caught and cooked, but it also shows the dark side of Robert’s abusive character and Andrea’s response to it.

The part about how to pick up the crabs comes directly from my own experience, but the rest is fiction.

You can find the novel “The Wind Weeps” on amazon and on smashwords.com. Just click on the book cover image at the side of the post or visit my web page at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

The e-book is still FREEEEEEEE. Sequels of this coastal novel (“Reckoning Tide” and “Marlie”) are also available.

 


Chapter 44

“I’m going to pull the crab rings. You coming?” Robert was friendly. You’d think yesterday hadn’t happened.

“No thanks. I don’t think I’d be much help. I’d only be in the way.” And I have no desire to go out in the skiff with you again. Ever!

“Well, at least put some water on to cook the crabs.”

I slammed a big pot of water on the woodstove to heat up. I grabbed the binoculars and watched him. Maybe he’d get caught in the coils and fall overboard. He stopped the boat by the farthest marker, reached for the float and started pulling the line in, coiling it in the bottom of the skiff as it came over the side. When the ring came up, he set it on the seat in front of him and gingerly grasped the two crabs that were now trying to clamber out of the netting. He tossed them into a bucket in the front of the skiff. He repeated the process with the closer ring, this time pulling up three crabs. After tossing them into the bucket as well, he pried loose a starfish that had settled on the fish-head bait and chucked it back into the water. With the second ring securely on board, Robert scooted the boat over to the dock again. I threw down the binoculars and tried to look busy as he came in the door.

“Put that pot of water on the propane stove now. Set it up on the porch or it’ll stink up the house. I’ll have those crabs ready to throw into it in a few minutes. Lots of salt in the water?”

“A good handful,” I said. “Is that enough?” He nodded and went back to the dock.

Once I had the water set up, I watched him tear the shells off the live crabs and crack their backs on the edge of the dock, breaking the bodies in two. Then he leaned over the float, swished out their guts in the water, and put the halved bodies in another pail.

“Get me another crab out of the bucket, will you?”

I reached in to pick one up, but it turned its beady black eyes on me and stood up on its back legs, front claws open, ready to do battle.

“Ah … er … how do I pick it up without losing a finger?”

“From behind. Like this.” Robert reached in and picked it up. “Fingers on top, thumb underneath. That way they can’t reach your fingers with their claws.” He tossed it back into the bucket and said, “Okay, go ahead.”

I started to reach in and again, the crab stood up tall on its back legs, holding its claws towards me. I turned my hand this way and that, trying to picture how to pick it up. Thumb on top, fingers underneath. Or was it fingers on top and thumb underneath? I made a move towards the crab and it went into action facing off with my hand whichever way I planned to grab it.

“Oh …” I wailed. “I can’t do it.”

Robert easily picked up the crab. I thought now he’d be angry again but he was trying to hide a smile. I took that as my cue to get away while I could.

“I’ll go check on that water.”

It was a brutal business, boiling a potful of live crabs even in halves, but later, when I tasted them, I forgot all about that, and how intimidating they had been when still alive. We laid the cooked crab on old newspapers on the porch to let them get a good chill. That didn’t take long in the December air.

“They’re really meaty this time of year,” Robert said, wiping at the crab juice that dripped down his chin.

“You mean they aren’t always?” I picked at the meat of a claw using the small end of one of the crab’s own legs.

“They stop eating when it’s time to molt and grow new shells in summer and early fall. While the new shell is still soft, the crab hasn’t grown enough to fit into it yet. They aren’t as meaty then as they are later.”

I let Robert tell me all about it. He liked showing off his knowledge. I had to feed that need for my own sake; keep him happy.

“I bet even millionaires don’t get to eat this much crab at once.”

“And for sure not as fresh as these.” Robert reached across and wiped my cheek. “You had a bit of crab flake there.” He smiled.

“My wrists are dripping with crab juice.” I dried my hands on some paper towel and picked up a piece of garlic bread.

“This is great bread,” Robert said with his mouth full. “Really good. I didn’t know you could bake bread.”

I almost said, “Janine taught me,” but swallowed the words quickly. Janine had baked goods for the restaurant at Hope Bay. I didn’t want to turn our thoughts back to that time. “Yup. I can,” I said lightly. “You like it?”

“Fantastic. Goes perfect with this gourmet crab feast.”

After the last crab leg was picked clean we pushed away from the table, groaning.

“That was good,” he said, “but I’m so stuffed, I never want to eat crab again.”

“Yeah, me neither.” I laughed. “Till next time.”

 


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The Maple Leaf is not “Forever”

I went to the wharf to make sure the boat had weathered the weather. It is tougher than I am, withstanding the first system of wind and rain that marks the end of this summer.

On the way home I took a small detour to dash out onto the beach for a photo. After many wipes of the lens I got a couple of wettish pics to show what kind of day it is.

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Thoroughly dampened, I drove home, but couldn’t resist taking a picture of this very old house on the way. Too bad the upper windows and the skylight are a modern style. They don’t quite go with the rockwork, but it’s still a unique house. Not just the huge chimneys, but even the walls are made of rock.

As I pulled into my own driveway a few minutes later, I saw a pretty, bittersweet sight — a maple leaf landed on my car, marking the end of summer and proving once again that, contrary to the old Canadian motto, the maple leaf is not forever.

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But it will come again in the spring.


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Lying Around

On the beach, I found some things that have been lying around for a long, long time.

This tree, for example, has been clinging to life for decades, possibly waiting to change into a lizard and join its friend farther up the beach. Something happened to the tree, perhaps as it fell over with its roots still in the ground. Maybe at that time it was much smaller and the huge boulder injured it, or prevented it from growing straight.

This may have been when the gnarly knot that we call a burl was formed. These twisted lumps have an interesting grain, and markings that make them special. Artists love to take burls to their woodworking shops to make clocks and coffee tables out of the slices they can cut from the burl.

Just look at the size of this burl. I’m sure the rock had something to do with its formation over many years.

Under this tree, the sandy soil contains countless clamshells. The shells are not in all parts of the higher beach, making me wonder why they are all together in one place.

One guess is that it might have been a midden – a place where early peoples camped and ate clams, leaving the shells  in their “dining room.”

I found a similar midden in Baja California, where the native people from decades gone by brought their shellfish from the beach to a small cave where they ate the seafood and left the shells behind.

Here is another example of the parts of the beach with and without shells, higher up on the bank.

There could be other possible explanations, but for now, I like to think it was a midden – the lunch table where no one cleared away the dishes.