wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Beary Scary

Years ago, before I got a good camera, I took this photo of a grizzly. It’s not  very clear, but I really didn’t want to do a close-up.

This is the Orford River which flows into Bute Inlet on the west coast of British Columbia.

We had tied the fish boat to a small dock in a bay around the corner, and then took a ride up the river in our aluminum skiff. The area was known for grizzlies and we wanted to see one, but I hadn’t counted on two things:

that we would actually see one not too far away,

and that the mouth of the Orford has a lot of sandbars.

I’ve had nightmares about bears forever, but it would still be a big deal to see one. I knew if a bear actually came along and tried to chase us, we could just turn the skiff around, rev up the outboard, and roar out of there.

On the way upriver though, we were pushing the boat off one sandbar after another with the oars to keep in water deep enough to use the motor. These sandbars were spotty and just when you thought you were in the clear, up popped another one. So I was even more nervous than usual. And of course that’s when we saw him.

Even with his hind end in the water, as he swatted at salmon going by, I could tell he was huge. We watched for a moment or two, but when he saw us, we knew it.

His head came up and he stretched his neck up tall. Then as he sauntered in our direction along the fallen log that you see lying across the river, we thought it was time to get out of there.

There are some things you do in your life that seem okay at the time, and later you say to yourself, “What was I thinking?!”

This was one of those times.

It was a big thrill to see the bear, but what if he hadn’t been so agreeable? Didn’t I know how fast they can run for a short sprint? And what if we had gotten high-centered on one of those sandbars in our haste to get away.

Everything could have ended up differently.

And I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about it,

because bears don’t have Internet inside their bellies.

 


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Foaming at the Mouth

No, it’s not a rabid animal. It’s just a creek flowing into the lake, but at its mouth, there is a lot of foam.

The frothy bubbles swirled and flowed in sweeping circles, making patterns on the lake.

This is clean, clean water, but for some reason the foam formed when the water splashed over the rocks at the mouth of the creek, and stayed frothy for quite some distance into the lake.

Foam like icing on a cake,

Lightly drifting on the lake,

Swirling, flowing, curling round,

Who knows where it may be bound?

 

Lacy curtain for a fish,

Saves him landing in a dish,

But when he jumps in the air.

Foamy mustache he will wear.


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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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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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Queen Anne’s Lace

 

One of the prettiest weeds in our area (IMHO) is Queen Anne’s lace, or wild carrot, as it is commonly known. It is considered an invasive species, a threat to recovering grasslands after the soil has been broken for agriculture. It is tenacious in clay soils.

The flowers are named for the lace that was prominent in fine clothing in the days of Queen Anne of Britain, or perhaps of her grandmother (Anne of Denmark). In the center of the flower cluster is a red spot that is meant to represent a drop of blood from a pricked finger of the lace maker.

Even if it is invasive, I think it is beautiful among the other flowering weeds growing wild beside the local beach.

If you handle the leaves of the plant, you risk irritation of the skin  when it is subsequently exposed to sunlight. If you have sensitive skin, best to leave this plant alone.

Nature’s garden is not geometric, but that is one of the things I love about it.

By the way, the bitter wild carrot root, in spite of smelling like carrot, is not meant to be eaten. In a young plant it may still taste all right (although not worth the trouble) but it soon gets woody and unpleasant to eat. Also, eating it is not advised since it can easily be mistaken for poison hemlock and other toxic plants.

 

The flower looks like Queen Anne’s lace,

Its roots smell like a carrot,

It also looks like poison plants,

Be careful to compare it.

Don’t rush to touch its pretty leaves,

Your skin may get a blister,

With phyto-photo-dermatitis,

Sun will put an itch there.

So be content to look at it,

Admire it from afar,

And tell it from a distance,

“What a dainty flower you are!”

 

 

 

 


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Pacific Tree Frog

This little Pacific tree frog was so small that at first sight I thought he was a beetle. Then he moved and I saw that he had legs and had no resemblance to a beetle except his size, which I guess to be about 3 centimeters at the most, or just under 1 and 1/2 inches. I love those little pads on his toes that help him get a grip.

He looks like he’s wearing a jogging suit with that racing stripe around his nose and eyes.

Did you know he can change his colour from green to mottley green/brown to brown?

It was thought at first that tree frogs change colour according to their environment (for camouflage) but in fact it is triggered by background brightness set off by seasonal changes. Some changes in colour can be noticeable within a few hours but complete colour change can take weeks or months.

 

I’m watching out for garter snakes,

If you should see one, heaven’s sakes,

Do warn me in a timely way,

In case of danger, I can’t stay.

I know you do not see a crown,

I dropped it, so just look around,

And you will figure out my hints–

Inside me lives a tiny prince.