wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Rich Without Money

Having money can help make life easier, but wealth need not always be measured in dollars.

After supper, a quick trip to the beach, just five minutes away, is a rich experience of another kind. The Sleeping Princess presides over the valley. Looking down on the bay, this glacier, unfortunately,  is melting a little more every year, but it is still unique and beautiful.

If she turned her head, the Sleeping Princess could see the beach I’m standing on. She would see the morning glory, or field bindweed, in bloom. It is invasive and tenacious and widespread. Just ask me!!  I want to hate this flower because its vines tangle up everything in my garden. But it has a beauty of its own. I imagine this bell flower holding rainwater for Tinkerbell to drink from.

Here are more of these morning glory flowers popping up among thorny blackberry vines. How tough must it be to endure the pain of those prickles?! And yet how daintily these two invasive plants complement each other.

Glory be! Look at those blackberries! They want picking. I ate a few of them. Sweet, sweet, sweet! But my arrangement with the Captain was already made. We have a lot of blackberries at the back of our own yard and the deal was that if he picked the berries (and endured the thorny scratches and spiders and wasps and stickiness), I would make jam.

I didn’t know he would be so enthusiastic. I had a challenge to use up those berries. But now we have enough blackberry jam to last the rest of our lives. So we’re rich! Rich in jam.

I think I have the sweetest pantry in town.


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Flower Favourites

Four favourites are growing in my garden (along with many other favourites that have finished blooming).

The hollyhock is amazing me this year with its flowers and the height of its stalk. It must be at least ten feet tall.

The lily doesn’t bloom for long but is so pretty.

And who doesn’t love the sunflowers which, the Captain hopes, will provide seeds to salt and toast? They are a necessity for cracking and chewing and spitting out while waiting for the fish to bite.

One of my special favourites is the snapdragon. My first experience with snapdragons was when I was a very little girl in Germany and my mother showed me how these flowers could open their mouths. They’re not called snapdragons in German but Loewenmaeulchen (little lions’ mouths), and if you press the sides of the flower together, it opens up like a mouth. As a child I was fascinated by this idea of a little lion flower opening its mouth. Of course in Canada they are dragons who open their mouths to snap.

Do you have favourite flowers in your garden?


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A Change in the Weather

Large and many were the drops of water that fell from the sky, their countless splashes  silvery like mercury.

Outside the wheelhouse, drops cling to the window pane. But what’s wrong with this picture?

Look at the angle between the horizon and the bottom of the window frame. That will give you an idea of how much the wave action was tipping the boat back and forth. Even in this stiff breeze, it wasn’t too bad. If it had been worse, the Captain could easily have lowered the trolling poles and thrown out the stabilizers that attach to them. When the stabilizers drag through the water, one on each side of the boat, it stops the rolling. But since I wasn’t turning green yet, we kept going without the stabilizers out for the short trip home.

As we got closer to town, we  noticed that the navy cadets were practicing their sailing lessons. The (My) Captain commented on how quickly the tiny boats could turn on a dime as the sailors adjusted the sails.

No sooner had these words left his mouth than the next boat turned … right over! The occupants were tossed in for an unexpected swim. Here they are clambering up on the bottom of the sailboat, with the mother hen hovering nearby.

Now what? It seemed to take a long time for the two women to be plucked off the hull, and even longer before something was done to right the boat. We didn’t have time to watch. They had all the help they needed so we kept going and got out of their way.

Doesn’t it just make you want to learn to sail?


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Swamped

Our friends stayed the planned one night, but the Captain and I stayed an extra night. (I’ve blurred their faces for anonymity.)

We moved to a more sheltered bay not far to the south. Several sailboats were anchored there. We chose an empty space and put out the anchor with lots of line in case the wind came up as the forecast said it would.

Within minutes a sailboat came into the bay and anchored so close to us that if a wind came up, they would surely be blown right on top of us. We decided to move farther away to the other side of the bay.

The skiff with the outboard motor on it was tied alongside the troller. For a short trip like this – a few hundred meters – it was okay to travel this way, rather than to tow it behind the boat.

I went up to the bow to kick out the anchor,  while the Captain ran the boat in reverse, paying out the anchor line, and giving it a good tug at the end of the pay-out.

As I came back to the main deck area, I yelled, “The skiff! The line broke!”

The back of the skiff was close to the fish boat, but the front of the skiff had swung out and away from the boat.

Worst of all, the skiff was full of water to within an inch or two of the top.

The oars were floating loose, and the gas caddy was floating but tethered to the motor by the fuel line.

While the Captain quickly secured the anchor winch so no more anchor line would go out, I grabbed the pike pole and snagged one of the oars. The other oar was already out of reach, drifting away with the tide.

The Captain took the pike pole and brought in the fuel caddy. Fortunately it had not leaked. Then it was my turn with the pole again, to pull in the skiff while the Captain reached for a rope to re-tie it onto the fish boat. It was no easy feat to pull a skiff full of water.

Then the bailing began. The Captain used the deck bucket with a rope on it to bail until the bench seats of the skiff were above the water level in the skiff. At that point I volunteered to get in the skiff to continue bailing as it could be done faster from there.

I hoped that my weight wouldn’t be more than that of the water we had just removed. A slight tremor of fear went through me as I prepared to step into the skiff. Just then, the Captain said, “Put on your life jacket,” and the tremor became a quake.

Have you ever had a sinking feeling? Well, I did at the moment I put a foot into the skiff. Everything sank a little bit but not enough to let more water in. I bailed furiously and soon had the water down to a less worrisome level. In the photo, I’m growling at the Captain not to take my picture.

When I had removed enough water so the skiff would hold the Captain’s weight, we traded places. He reattached the gas caddy and prayed that the motor would start. He kept bailing as he motored away in pursuit and search of the second oar.

Luckily he came across it, but it had travelled quite a distance in that time.

At last, things returned to normal and we could take the dogs to the beach to explore the new area. It would be good to walk on solid ground and let the adrenaline calm down.


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Bounty on the Beach

At first glance the beach looks somewhat empty of life, but if you take the time to look closer, you can see that it is like a giant grocery store filled with millions of small morsels of seafood.

If you’re not hungry, just go for a walk.

Tiny butter clams make a good snack later on. Be sure you have your saltwater licence though.

Here is one of the millions of clams that make such a delicious appetizer.

Steamed in a pot, the clamshells open and the little clams inside are ready to eat. Melted butter and lime juice adds a wonderful flavour, or if you prefer, you can eat them with garlic butter.

Oysters are also there for the picking, but be sure to shuck them on the spot so the shells with the bits of oyster are left behind to ensure their reproduction. And before you ask, NO, I don’t know how oysters make love. They seem to have “clammed up” and won’t talk about it.


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Over, Under, Upside Down

I wanted to show you the water lily, but I ended up studying the photo and seeing all kinds of crazy things.

I’m in the boat (you see the edge of the aluminium skiff at the bottom of the photo), and over the water. The lily is over, on, under, and above the water.  But what is that big hill doing, hanging upside down from the top of the photo?

Once I started looking at the way the lily was growing, I was quite fascinated by the roots on the lake floor, the stems reaching for the surface of the water (some unsuccessfully, so far), and the leaves floating on the surface, some of them half sunk, others lifting up, yet others lying flat on the bottom of the lake.

And then there are the two flowers that are really only one plus a reflection.

The longer I looked the more I could see.

And to think that at first glance I thought it was just a boring weed in bloom.


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The Tulip’s Story

Before any other tulips open up in my yard, still among weeds that I haven’t dealt with, here is the first of the season, just “born” today.

I’m surprised at how happy it makes me, after such a long dreary winter.

The name of the tulip is thought to have come from some connection to the turban, or to the fact that a tulip was sometimes worn on a turban as decoration.

Thought to be originally from Persia, the tulip arrived in northwestern Europe in the 16th century.

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A Tulip’s Story

It’s not because I have two lips that I received my name,

A sultan wore me on his hat so it would not look lame.

He put a turban on his head and wrapped it good and tight,

And then he looked into the glass, but something wasn’t right.

He said, “It needs a pick-me-up, a tad of fashion flair,

This tulip bright would do the trick, but oh dear, do I dare

To wear a flower on my head, what kind of man am I?

But I will show the world out there, I’m brave without  a lie,

The ladies will all flock to me, admiring my good taste,

And this is such a perfect chance, I simply cannot waste.”

And so he put me on his hat and strolled along the street,

Smiling at approving looks from ladies he did meet.

Perhaps this fashion disappeared, no longer quite the thing,

But I am famous everywhere, for brightening up the spring.