wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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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.


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Reckoning Tide

If you’ve read The Wind Weeps, you’ll remember that I left you hanging at the end of that story. Now you can find out what happens to our pretty, but naive Andrea.

The tide will turn in the sequel of this coastal drama, and there will be a reckoning.

Pure natural beauty, but it was Andrea’s prison.

Robert is becoming more dangerous by every turn of the page. He is desperate to win back his wife, whom he considers his chattel. How dare she run away? Didn’t she know how much he loved her? He would never share her.

When he kept her in his cabin on the coast, he took great care to maintain isolation. No phone, no radio, no human contact. She was his beautiful prize and no one could take her away.

Yes, Andrea was a lovely girl, and now she was malleable too. She would bend to his every wish. She knew what would happen if she didn’t.

But the human spirit can find surprising reserves of inner strength. Desperation and despair drove Andrea nearly to the point of giving up. From somewhere deep inside, a surge of survival instinct welled up in her.

Robert hadn’t counted on her being so gutsy as to try a daring escape. He would do anything to get her back. Anything!

The Wind Weeps is free on amazon (and on smashwords.com for those with e-readers other than Kindle). Be sure to follow up with the sequel, Reckoning Tide, for the exciting conclusion to this coastal drama.

eBOOK_RECKONING_TIDE

Reckoning Tide is available at amazon.comamazon.ca, amazon.deamazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle,  and at smashwords.com in all formats.

For more info, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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West Coast Travels

At the end of the fishing season this past summer, the Captain was ready to head home.  A new phase of the adventure begins with the rising sun.

Along the way home, he stops to check out this little building. You would never guess that inside this shack is a pleasant surprise.  A cemented enclosure fills with warm water through a  pipe from hotsprings behind the cabin. Step inside and have a soak to take the ache out of your bones.

The falls at the head of Lowe Inlet splash relentlessly. Except for the odd raven chuckling in the treetops, the rush and gurgle of the water are the only sounds. If you think you might want to try casting a dry fly towards a coho, be sure to take your bear spray with you – just in case.

 Need a warm cabin for drying out those wet clothes? This Fisheries cabin at Lowe Inlet, aptly named the Lowe Budget Hotel,  is very cozy after the Captain has spent some time trying his luck fishing in the cold mist of the falls. 

He remembers to follow the rules about the woodstove, posted on the wall. Don’t want to risk burning the cabin down.

Almost there. Running the boat down Grenville Channel.  Beautiful trip but there’s no place like home.

Meanwhile at home, I’ve been writing, and thinking about my fictitious character, Andrea, who has had an experience that seems bizarre at first. But in truth, this has happened to other women who have ventured out to the coast.

How did a city girl like her became trapped in an isolated cabin on this remote coast? Will she ever escape this lonely place where she must live with a man who is mentally deranged?

You can download The Wind Weeps (FREE), and then you can find out the conclusion in a sequel, Reckoning Tide, that is only $2.99. When did you last get so much enjoyment and entertainment for such a small price?

Why not get them both today at amazon.com or amazon.ca and smashwords.com?

You can find them all with supporting reviews at my website www.anneli-purchase.com


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Passing By

Leaving the dreary, rainy west coast behind took a few hours longer than expected, as the wet weather stretched eastward for more than 100 miles.

But on the highway between Hope and Princeton (in BC),  the clouds lifted and the day became quite pleasant. Ruby and Emma were happy to get out of their traveling crates to have a quick swim and a dash along the banks of the Similkameen River.

At Osoyoos we crossed the Canada/US border and headed for Omak and then eastern Washington. The sun played games on the fields, turning them golden when it peeked out over cloud banks.

The pullout after reaching the summit at Mullan Pass in Montana allowed time for a five-minute break and the snapping of a photo.

Winding our way along the Clark Fork and the Missouri Rivers, we ooh-ed and ah-ed at the scenery. Rocky formations on one side, and gorgeous river on the other.

As we got closer to our destination in eastern Montana and the hills were not so pronounced, we saw more coyotes, hawks, and several groups of pronghorn antelope. This bunch allowed me a quick drive-by shooting if I promised not to hurt them as we whizzed past.

Having arrived, I will post eastern Montana photos for the next while. Had to laugh as I wrote that “I have arrived.”


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Ripple Rock

Every year when the captain (my captain, that is) takes his commercial troller from Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands on the northern coast of British Columbia (and back again), he has to go through a tight passage called Seymour Narrows.

Located just north of the town of Campbell River, this stretch of water was described by Captain George Vancouver as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.”

Whenever I have accompanied “my” captain through the narrows, I’ve nearly given myself an ulcer beforehand, as Seymour Narrows has such a terrible reputation. Yet each time, going through the passage has been a piece of cake, with calm waters. That’s how it should be, if you wait for slack water, between tides.

The passage through Seymour Narrows is now much safer thanks to the removal of the tops of Ripple Rock,  a submerged twin-peak mountain that lay just nine feet beneath the surface of Seymour Narrows. According to Wikipedia, it was a serious hazard to shipping, sinking 119 vessels and taking 114 lives.

In the case of the William J. Stewart, when it struck Ripple Rock  in 1944, I’m not aware of any loss of life, and the ship was beached and later restored. It was due to be scrapped in 2017.

On April 5, 1958, after twenty-seven months of tunnelling and engineering work, Ripple Rock was blown up with 1,375 tons of Nitramex 2H explosive. It was quite the project.  A 500-foot vertical shaft was built on Maud Island, and then a horizontal shaft of 2,370 feet  was drilled out to Ripple Rock. From that point, two vertical shafts were drilled up into the  peaks, with shafts for the placement of the explosives. Very advanced technology for 1958.

I think those columns of smoke are blowback  from the explosion, coming out through the drilled shafts.

The explosion spewed debris almost 1000 feet into the air falling on land on either side of the narrows.  After the blast, the two peaks were 13.7 m (45 ft) and 15.2 m (50 ft) underwater.

Some very smart engineers had the foresight to detonate the charge at a time when the tide was running its fastest, so the rocks  blown off the tops would not fall straight back down onto the peaks, but rather, be swished along beyond them.

Even after the top of Ripple Rock was removed, it remains a challenging route. In March 1981, the Star Philippine, a freighter, ran aground in the narrows.

When the captain was coming home from a summer of trolling, he took pictures of his navigation instruments as he went through Seymour Narrows quite close by Ripple Rock. The red triangular icon represents his boat as he is heading south, just past Ripple Rock. Arrows show the direction of the tidal flow at that time. You can see the depths of the peaks as 15.2 m, and 13.7 m.

In the monitor of the depth sounder below, you can see the twin peaks of the rock. The reading is taken on the far right where the scale is marked. This tells me that the boat has just passed the second of the peaks of what is left of Ripple Rock.

Even knowing that the rock has been topped, I still have a healthy respect for this stretch of water. The colour photos (near the beginning of this post) of the swirling eddies are recent, well after the explosion of Ripple Rock, so you can see that going through Seymour Narrows when the tide is running full is still not a good idea.

My preference is to stay on land whenever possible.