wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Fat Herring

“Junior! What are you looking at down there?”

 

“Nothing interesting, Ma. I’m just wondering who’s going to clean up all the mess those seagulls are making. After eating all those herring and the herring roe, I bet it’s pretty slick and hummy on that roof.”

“The squawking and shrieking is ear piercing. They have no pride. Slithering around on that roof as they digest their shreds of herring. But I guess they do a good job of cleaning up the beaches. If only they’d clean up the roof after they … you know ….  But wait! What’s that I hear the seagulls saying?”

 

I heard seagulls squawk a joke,

Hermann Goering was the bloke

That they picked on for his fat,

Not so nice, but that was that.

 

Herring seller in the town,

Cried his product all around,

“Herring, herring!” he would shout,

“Fat as that old Goering lout.”

 

Then police took him away,

Told him that’s not nice to say,

Off you go, two weeks in jail,

And you’ll stay there without bail.

 

Two weeks later he was out,

He was careful what to shout,

He had herring, don’t you know,

Fat as just two weeks ago.


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Book Bargains

In the month before Christmas I have marked my novels down to US $.99. This way you can load up your e-reader with five novels to keep you turning pages for about $5.00 total. Hours of entertainment for very little cost.

What will you get for 99 cents each?

Orion’s Gift

When Sylvia receives devastating news, she knows she has to leave her California home. While hiding away in the Baja Peninsula, living in a camper van, she meets a man with a similar dilemma. Both must avoid the spouses pursuing them, or be forced to return to the intolerable misery of their past. Will the sparks they feel for each other help see them through or only make their problems worse?

Baja camping is not without its dangers and both runaways must learn to trust and mistrust at the right times.

*****

The Wind Weeps

Andrea leaves big-city boredom in Ontario to search for love and a new life on B.C.’s rugged coast. The love of two men and a woman leads her into the world of commercial fishing. But soon, her adventure becomes a nightmare. The beauty of her surroundings is at odds with the terror that she lives every day. Trapped in an isolated cabin on the coast, she will need to test her newly acquired wilderness skills if she ever hopes to escape. Be sure to follow up with the sequel, Reckoning Tide.

*****

 

Reckoning Tide

 

*****

 

Marlie

Unlucky in love, Marlie flees a bad relationship. She accepts a teaching job in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). The beauty of the islands and the rugged challenge of northern living enthrall her. A good-looking artist has his eye on her. The perfect gentleman. Or is he? And what about that handsome fisherman? Is he just a bit too real for her with his hunting and fishing? Just as Marlie hopes that her life has made a turn for the better, disaster strikes. She is shocked to see her life spiraling downwards yet again. How could she have made such an error in judgement—an error that sets more bad luck in motion?
Not willing to lose control, Marlie takes a deep breath and sets out to get her life back on track. But can she do it alone?
Set in the remote islands of coastal British Columbia, Marlie is a heartfelt romance of love and loss and love again.
Experience the fears and joys of northern island living and delight in a second chance at true love.

 

Julia’s Violinist

Julia’s Violinist takes us to postwar Europe for an unbiased story of a love triangle.  Julia is widowed with two children at the end of WWll. She remarries and hopes to pick up the pieces to put her broken life back together. It isn’t going well. A letter arrives from her first love from twenty years ago. After all these years, he is alive and wants her to join him in a new life. She struggles with morality and a chance for happiness. Life’s decisions are not always easy and they can come at a huge price.

*****

To find out more about these novels, you can visit my website:

www.anneli-purchase.com

You can also click on the book cover images at the side of this post to go to amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can go to smashwords.com to get these e-books for all types of e-reader formats.


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Herring, and Egg on Your Face

So much fuss over a little fish.

But it is a very popular fish, especially on the tables of the UK and Germany. You can have it smoked or fried, or fried and served in tomato sauce, or pickled and rolled up into Rollmops. If you like fish, you probably love herring.

My mother told me that back in the days before WWII, a fishmonger was selling herring in the street, and he called out to the customers, “Herring! Herring! So fett wie der Goering.” (“Herring! Herring! As fat as Goering” [the commander-in-chief of the Nazi air force]). Since Goering’s name rhymed with the name of the fish, it caused a chuckle among the townspeople who came out of their houses to buy his fish.

But the Nazi bigwigs didn’t like to be made fun of so they arrested the fishmonger and put him in jail for two weeks.

When he was released, the fishmonger went back out onto the streets to sell his herring, calling out, “Herring! Herring! … As fat as … they were two weeks ago.”

*****

Right now the local herring fishery is winding up and the cleanup begins.

Here is a photo of the beach area below our house where you can see the herring spawn turning the water close to shore a turquoise blue colour.

The seiners have caught their allowed quotas of herring and most have gone home.  There is still a lot of herring spawn (eggs) in the water, a lot of it stuck to seaweed and being washed up on the beach.

This is what the seagulls gorge themselves on.

The one on the bottom left has “egg on his face” but doesn’t seem to mind it. See the herring roe sitting on his beak?

*****

In my other blog, you might be interested in a post about what turns readers off.

https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/03/20/what-turns-readers-off/


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Leftovers?

Same tree. Different bird. Same watchful eyes.

This is a good perch. I see this from my window as I look out towards the bay. I can’t resist trying to get a photo, even though it’s quite far away. I zoom in and try not to shake the camera as I press the shutter. It’s not perfect, but he (or she) is recognizable.  He’s got a great view of the beach and any activity that may signal food.

“Any leftovers?” he asks.

The herring fishery is as good as over, most boats having caught their allowed quota, but the feast for the scavengers is just beginning. Dead herring litter the beaches here and there, and strands of kelp and other seaweed have skeins of herring roe stuck to them. It all makes a tasty and healthy snack for seagulls and eagles.

I thought I’d try some of the herring myself. A friend working on a seiner gave us a few herring mainly for bait, since it isn’t the ideal food fishery time. The fatter herring are fished for food in November. But since these were so fresh, I fried a few fillets in the pan. They have a lot of little bones, but it’s so worth it to pick them out as you eat. They were delicious.

Of course they had to be cleaned up a bit first.

I feel a bit guilty about eating them. See how they are looking at me with reproach?


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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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Bald Eagles

I saw an eagle land in a tree below my house, so I went out onto the deck to take its picture.

Then I zoomed in on it and got a close up of it, but had no place to steady the camera and just took my chances.

In a second closeup, I saw that he had his beak open and I could see its tongue, but I see that the photo is quite small on the blog, so if you want to see the eagle’s tongue, you’ll have to click on the photo to make it bigger. Even so, it will be hard to see.

These birds are much bigger than they look. If you had one sitting beside you with its wings spread out, tip to tip those wings could span 8 feet. The bird might weigh about 14 lbs., the size of a small turkey. 

Anyone walking a small dog or worse yet, letting it run around in their backyard in eagle territory, had better watch out for it. They make a nice snack. Although eagles are not water birds, they will do what they have to do to procure food. I have seen an eagle with a loon in its beak, dragging it across the surface of the water as the eagle swims with one wing paddling like a lifeguard saving a drowning person, until it got to shore where it cold devour the bird. I have seen it do the same after swooping down to pick up a coho salmon just below the surface of the water. They are incredibly strong birds.

At this time of year, the herring come close to shore to spawn. This means a bounty of food for the eagles. You can see these birds showing up in the tall trees near the beaches in greater numbers to await the arrival of the herring. 

Eagles are not totally scavengers, but they are like a cleanup crew of a different kind. They are opportunists and will eat what is already dead, but they pick off sick or injured animals, whether they be land- or sea-birds, small mammals, or fish.  A crippled duck won’t suffer long with eagles around.

This is why you will often see eagles high up in a tree. They observe a large area, watching for stragglers in a flock of birds, or any weakness in animals small enough for them to pick up.

 

This raccoon may have been sick, injured, or dead, and became an eagle’s meal.

“Hmm…. There must be a little morsel left.”

 

“He’s messed up my nice white head feathers, but it’s worth it. What’s a bit of blood when you can fill your boots like this?”

“Just a few tidbits left. I hope I can still fly up into that tree with my stomach so full.”

 

Once when I was playing with Ruby, our late springer spaniel (then a small puppy), in the backyard, two eagles had been sitting unnoticed by me, in a nearby fir tree. They swooped down low across the yard, heading for tiny Ruby. I ran for Ruby and spread out my arms to provide an “umbrella” over her, and the eagles lifted up like two jets making an aborted landing. If I hadn’t been out there with her, she would have been eagle food that day.

 

So take care if you live in eagle country and have small dogs or cats. 

 


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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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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.

DSCN6995

But it will come again in the spring.


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First the Work and Then the Play

It’s that time of year again when the troller needs to be given a facelift and the whole nine yards of a spa treatment. The “spa” is a marine ways near Campbell River. After you make the nail-biting trip up the river a little way, you steer into a  passageway that has most likely been dredged out just to make sure you don’t hit bottom.

On either side of this passageway, are walkways heavily reinforced to hold the weight of a travel lift carrying a boat weighing many tons.

The Work:

Here is the travel lift that lifted the troller Eden Lake out of the water about ten days ago. While the boat sat on the parking lot, propped up on either side with braces, the Captain slaved to power wash the boat’s hull, and cooling pipes. He replaced the bars of zinc as they have been “eaten” by electrolysis. Fresh bars are put on each year to divert the electrolysis from destroying the metal cooling pipes and the propeller.

The top of the hull is sanded and repainted. The gum wood (trim and railings, etc.) is coated with Cetol. The bottom of the hull is painted with anti-fouling paint to make the wood unpalatable to any marine life that wants to make its home there.

When the boat is all clean and shiny, it’s ready to be put back in the water. The travel lift puts the belts under the boat and carries it back to the water. It drives along the two walkways until the boat is suspended over the water and then it is gradually lowered back down where it belongs.

And off it goes, all tiddled up.

The Play:

Sometimes the boat skippers hire help for this grueling work. Even women can do this job (rather well, I might add). If you want to read about a good-looking woman who found romance after working on a troller  — and no, I’m not talking about Yours Truly — why not download the free novel “The Wind Weeps”? If you enjoy it and would like to read the sequel, it would cost you a big $2.99 to buy Reckoning Tide.  The books are available on all amazon sites, as well as on smashwords.com (for those who have e-readers other than Kindle).  Why not give these books a try? You might like them a lot.

You can just click on the book covers at the side of this blog post to find out more about them.

Or go to my website: www.anneli-purchase.com


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Herring Time 2019

Two years ago to the day I did a post about the herring fishery. If you are interested you can find it here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/03/08/herring-time/

At that time a fisherman lost his life working in this dangerous job.

However, the fishery goes on. The pressure is on the fishermen to set their nets and catch what they can in the short time allowed.

As seiners from all along the coast of BC gather to await the herring opening, the wharf at Comox, on Vancouver Island, is congested at this time of year. You can see the seiners in the center of the photo above in the government fish wharf, and the toothpick-like masts of the sailboats on the far right, tucked away in their private marina.

How do these boats not get tangled!?

At one time the herring fishery was lucrative, but see, below, the problem facing the herring fishermen now.

These are a few of the sea lions left after a herring season three years ago. Since then the number of sea lions has exploded to the point where the fishermen lose nets repeatedly from dozens of these giants tearing through them to get at the herring in the seine nets.

Every animal needs to eat, but the fishermen are now finding it difficult to make a living when all they seem to do is feed sea lions and pay for very expensive nets. The staggering number of sea lions that have moved in to take up permanent residence on the coast of Vancouver Island has become an overwhelming problem for the fishermen.

Solutions are hard find, as the remedies are all controversial.