wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Log Cabin Quilt

With all the rain we’ve had, I was taking a chance when I hung the freshly washed quilt on the line outside. I was hoping that the trees that form a canopy overhead would save it from any serious raindrops.

As I walked past the quilt, I noticed it for the first time in ages. Sure I’ve seen it on my bed  many times, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it. Here, in a different location, I saw it with new eyes. I thought of all the strips of fabric I had cut to their exact lengths, and the way I sorted them out.

The name log cabin quilt is a bit misleading. You don’t have to live in a log cabin to use it. The name is more about how the squares are made.

Each of the strips is meant to look like a log. The “logs” are sewn together to make it look like a log cabin being built. It was a great way to use up small scraps that might otherwise have been thrown out.

I only sorted the pieces very roughly by colour, but other than that, it was just a matter of using up scraps.

Partway through making up the squares, it suddenly hit me how MANY “logs” I had to put together to make the quilt the size I wanted, but eventually it came together.

 


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Oyster Mushrooms

We had a nice surprise today. A friend had been out in the woods picking oyster mushrooms and had a bunch to give us.

I’ve picked chanterelles but I didn’t know much about oyster mushrooms so I’ve never picked them. With mushrooms, you can’t take chances because many kinds of mushrooms have lookalikes and many of those can make you very sick (or worse).

So here is a picture the friend took to show us how they grow. See them there on the trunk of that dead alder tree?

The pictures were all taken by my friend with his phone, except for the two photos in my kitchen.

If you thought mushrooms always grow on the ground, think again. Here they are again, going way up the tree.

They almost look round like a tennis ball, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that they are flat and often seem to grow overlapping each other.

Because they are off the ground, they are much easier to clean than chanterelles.

I just took a pastry brush and cleaned off a few specks of dirt. No need to wash them and make them soggy.  My dryer has five layers so I filled those up with the flat mushrooms and gave my attention to the rest of them which, temporarily, are spread out on a couple of baking sheets. (They are not going to be baked.)

I put a tiny bit of butter in a pan and put the mushroom pieces in it. This is just the start of what I put in the pan. I filled the pan enough so the whole bottom of the pan is filled. One thing I learned is that it is much easier to tear oyster mushrooms than to cut them.

Once they were sauteed just until they were cooked through, I put them in a big bowl to cool off while I cooked the next batch. After the sauteed mushrooms were all cool, I put them into plastic tubs and froze them. The sauteeing ensures that the mushrooms are not rubbery when you thaw them out to add to stir fries or gravy or whatever dish you want them to be in.

A couple of the bigger pieces were perfect for adding to a sandwich. So good!

If you find the energy to go out into the woods to look for mushrooms, you might be rewarded with the sighting of a large animal – at least the sight of its hind end. I’ll spare you the guesswork – it’s an elk.

Paved road, wildlife viewing, and a load of mushrooms for dinner. What could be better?


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Flower Power

I was happy that my orchid was blooming bravely through the winter, but the room cheered up considerably when our dinner guests brought a pot of primulas. Such bright colours made it hard to be anything but happy.

 

The winter colours all around,

Seem mute, and stay benign,

But springlike colours popping up,

Are bright and so divine.

 

Absorbing rays that warm and heal,

The blossoms open wide,

Displaying cheer, inviting joy,

I know they’re on my side.

***** If you like writing, why not pop over to my other blog that is dedicated to books and writing, at https:///annelisplace.wordpress.com.

 


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Make the Best of it

I know I’ve been moaning and groaning about the snow and how hard it is for the tiny hummingbirds and other little creatures who have to try to survive in the snow and cold.

But for those of you who can shut that dilemma out of your head, you may want to make the best of this snowy weather.

If you have access to a ski hill, you can do that (if you’re still young enough to take advantage of this vigorous pastime).

 

At the top of the chairlift, have a look around and enjoy the crisp air. Take in the vastness of the valley below. Do you feel small?

 

Forget about birds that want to land on a branch. They are gone from this frozen place, leaving it all to you.

 

Pure and clean! And now for an exhilarating ride to the bottom of the hill.  Swish! … Don’t fall.

Photos by Pat Gerrie

British Columbia


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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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Be Careful What You Wish For

We waited all through the long cold, wet winter and spring for a few sunny days to come our way.

Since the middle of June, the heat and sun have been pretty much relentless. Now, in late August, I’ve learned to be careful what I wish for.

 

Grass is parched and plants have wilted,

Weather forecasts all sound stilted,

Every living thing has thirst,

How I’d love a good cloudburst.

 

Hanging baskets wilt and wail, 

“Give me water from that pail!”

Sun is great, but heat’s a pain,

Don’t you think it’s time for rain?

 

I no longer wish for sun

Too much heat is not such fun,

Sunshine scorches all I see,

Moderation is the key.

 

 


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The Easy Way

While Charlie and Chester the chickadees got their sunflower seeds from the sunflowers in the garden, Nathan the nuthatch found an easier way to get his share.

This jar of seeds is meant for the squirrels, but when they aren’t looking, Nathan zips in and steals a seed. He doesn’t linger at all, making it more of a Dine and Dash situation. At any time Jasper or Lincoln might come and put the run on him. It was hard to get a clear picture, zoomed in from the deck of the house, and needing to snap it quickly as Nathan only stays at this jar for a split second.

“Do you know who’s been into my stash?”

 

Nathan Nuthatch loves his seeds,

Not so much the work.

Squirrel food will meet his needs,

Though his theft might irk.

 

Jasper tries to guard the stash,

Lincoln also helps,

Nathan is afraid they’ll bash

In his skull, and yelps.

 

“Look how much you have to eat,

Yet you will not share,

Food laid out for you so neat,

This I just can’t bear.

 

“If the seeds you will not share,

I will have to steal,

Flying quickly I will dare,

But won’t stay to peel.

 

“In a pinch I’d get my own,

From the tall sunflowers,

But until my cover’s blown,

This will save me hours.”

 

 

 


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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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Fish Foolery

No, we don’t eat bananas with our trout, but it’s there to show the relative size of the fish.

You’d think it’s easy to be smarter than a fish, but have you ever tried to catch one that didn’t want to be caught? You might be surprised how wary they are, and if you try to lure them to bite a hook, you’ll learn that they are choosy too.

Fish basically eat insects, and each other’s babies. Nasty little critters, aren’t they? And yet, when I’m lucky enough to get one onto my dinner plate, they don’t taste nasty at all. The trick is to get them there.

So I’ll defer to the Captain, who has been trying for a lifetime to outsmart a fish. He loves the art of tying “flies” (lures made with fur and feathers and other components), to suit the mood and appetite of the fish at any particular time. Appetites change with the season, the temperature, the weather, and a few other factors.

Assuming you have a fishing rod and a boat to get out onto the lake to try fishing, here are some things the trout might look for. What we are trying to do is to create a lure (a fly) that simulates something the trout might be attracted to. We need to be a little bit mean, and hide a sharp hook in this “fly” to catch our dinner.

When flying ants are hatching, the trout love to make a meal of them near the edge of the lake where the swarms of newly hatched ants are crawling on the overhanging branches and often drop into the water. The simulated ant below has wings made of window screen mesh.

Another favourite food of the trout is the nymph dragonfly. The eggs are laid near aquatic plants in the quiet waters near shore. Sometimes in as few as five days, the eggs hatch into the nymph stage of the dragonfly. This is when they are often picked off by trout. The nymphs who survive, split their skin up to twelve times on their way to adulthood (rather than sitting in a cocoon to wait for development to be completed), and this series of molting can take up to four years. Once adulthood is reached, the dragonflies mate and the female lays eggs. Both male and female dragonflies only live about four or five months after mating.

Below is a dragonfly lure simulating the nymph stage. The nickel is placed in the photos to show the relative size.

 

Below is a shrimp “fly.”

And of course there are leeches in many of the lakes. Not nice for swimmers, but lovely for a trout’s meal.

And this nasty little critter, below, is a bloodworm, the larval stage of the midge fly. It lives in the shallow lake bottoms and can give people or animals a venomous bite that hurts like a bee sting.

When the bloodworm changes to the pupa stage of the midge fly (Chironomidae) it floats up to the surface of the water, and then in the next stage it turns into a small fly.

In the above flies, the one on the left has a white bubble that floats the pupa to the surface where it rests for a while until its wings dry and it can fly away (if a trout doesn’t snap it up first).

 

Trout have no scruples when it comes to eating other fish’s babies.  Here are some of the lures made to look like minnows used to entice them to bite.

But now comes the lure that I find the most fun. It is made from a small piece of rabbit fur. Yes, rabbit fur!  Made to look like sculpins and bullheads, fish that stay near the bottom, these lures have an amazing action that simulates that of these bottomfish.

 

Here is a short video showing the action of one of these lures.


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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.