wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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First Dampish Days

A dampish day, but that’s okay,

The sky is overcast,

The garden’s wet, so I’m all set,

The watering chore is past.

 

A squirrel hops, he looks, and stops,

He chatters to my face,

Then turns to run and have more fun,

At some much safer place.

 

I pick a pear and am aware

That rabbits like to chew,

If fruit should fall to ground at all,

It’s nibbled through and through.

 

The garden thrives and gives up chives

To make a lovely sauce,

But not the squash, it was a wash,

Complete and total loss.

I’m glad that kale does not get stale,

It’s growing, slow but strong,

This healthy plant in soup just can’t

Make anything go wrong.

 

A lonely rose, so bravely grows,

And blooms its last few days,

But come next year, you must not fear,

Again, it will amaze.


36 Comments

Stop Bugging Me

This horrible creature – ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – loves my yard, especially the potato patch.  A few years ago we had some of these (1.5″ to 2″) beetles hanging around the place, but things must have been going very well for them since then, as they are now extremely prolific. Not only do they fly around the yard at night like little helicopters and try to land on my back when I have the dog out for her last pee, but they get into my garden, lay their eggs, and when the grubs hatch out, they eat the potatoes.

 

Here is a pathetic little potato, mostly eaten by one of these ten-lined beetle larvae. I was discouraged by my struggling potato crop, since not much was growing in the very dry soil. Even after watering it every day, the soil was dry except for the first half inch. So I decided to pull up the potatoes and cut my losses. Why water these potatoes just to feed the bugs?

A few days ago, I pulled up half my potato crop and found about thirty of the grubs. I put them on an upside down garbage can lid and placed the lid at the base of a tree I had seen raccoons climb up a day or so before. The next day the grubs were gone.

Two days later, I dug up the rest of the potatoes, and again, found all these grubs that you see on the garbage can lid. I left them there, on offer to any raccoons that might be passing through the yard at night. I know the raccoons are here every night because I hear them, I see them, and I see the holes in the grass where they have been digging to try finding these grubs without my help.

With any luck, these grubs would become racoon food and save me the trouble of stepping on them to squish them. I don’t want them to suffer, but they are destroying my garden, and it already needs all the help it can get.

Do you have these terrifying insects in your yard? I hope not.

*****

 

Update: A few hours later I looked at these grubs and saw that a bunch of yellow jackets had found them and were eating them alive. It seemed cruel to me, but I didn’t feel sorry enough for them to try to save them.

Early in the morning, all traces of the grubs were gone, so I am assuming that the raccoons ate them.

 

 


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Annie and the Honeydew Man

When my sisters and brother and I were little, we lived in a newly built, but unfinished house on the edge of town. The streets weren’t even put in place yet. Our road was just a track through a field of yellow grass. But it was perfect for us to play cowboys and gallop our pretend horses around the trails and up and down the hills of dirt that were not yet backfilled to the new house. We pretended to be characters from the western movies of the day — Annie Oakley, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.  But Annie was my favourite.  My sister was really too little to keep up with us as we tore around on the hills of dirt, so she played Annie Oakley and guarded the house while the rest of us were out on the range.

I don’t know what is wrapped around her right hand, and I just noticed for the first time in decades that there is a doll peeking out from behind her left shoulder.

Fast forward to more modern times. When the Captain and I were on one of our trips to Baja California, we stopped to do some shopping in Ensenada. I found a puppet-style doll that I couldn’t live without. She was the Mexican version of Annie Oakley. What made me even happier, was buying the doll that had to be her partner.  He is pictured in the photo below Annie.

The store proprietor told me that this doll represents the hen-pecked husband, the Honeydew man (Honey, do this and Honey, do that), but in Spanish they called this fellow a “mandelon,”  because he is ordered about. What woman would not want a mandelon to do things for her? I had to have this doll!

In my novel Orion’s Gift,  Sylvia is all alone in the world. It seems that her life has taken a sudden turn and everything has been going wrong for her.

She has “run away” to Baja California and is living in her VW van.

She really needs someone, so I gave her a mascot to lend her strength. Below is a short excerpt from Orion’s Gift, telling about how Sylvia came to adopt Annie.

Excerpt:

In one shop, handmade puppets on strings hung from the ceiling. Each doll had a unique character and, like orphans hoping to be adopted, seemed to call, “Take me with you.” I fell in love with a Mexican Annie Oakley. She held a mini six-gun in each hand and radiated confidence and self-reliance. I paid for her and happily carried her home to my van. I rigged up a spot on the curtain rod behind the seat for Annie to watch over me at night. She’d be my mascot, a reminder that I was strong and could take care of myself.

You can read Sylvia’s story in my novel “Orion’s Gift.”  She’s going to need Annie’s strength to face some of the challenges of being a woman travelling alone in Baja.

The e-book version is marked down to only 99 cents for the next few weeks.  Just click on the link to  amazon.com or smashwords.com for other e-reader versions.

 

 


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A Savoury Haircut

My savoury plant was in dire need of a haircut. I’m sure it thought its usual hairdresser had gone out of business with the lockdown following the Covid outbreak. Imagine its surprise when the hairdresser came along with her shears and gave it that long overdue cut.

When the leaves are dry, I’ll strip them from the stems and put them in a jar to use throughout the winter until next year’s crop is ready.

 

 

My tendrils grew so wild and free,

And I no longer looked like me.

My tresses dragged, my body sagged,

And every passing bug got snagged.

 

I knew I was in dire need,

I looked like hell, oh yes indeed.

So when the pruners clipped my hair,

Someone responded to my prayer.

 

They saved my growth for other use

And saved me from this rude abuse

My leaves when added to the food,

Impart great flavour when it’s chewed.

 

And I no longer look so wild,

With hair like some unruly child.

I now look pretty, tidied up,

The folks will taste me when they sup.

 

It’s how I pay the salon fee

A cut and set that pampered me.

I’m glad that I won’t go to waste

And give to food a lovely taste. 

 


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Triton

Going fishing this summer? You’ll want the blessing of Triton, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, the Greek god and goddess of the sea. But god or not, no fisherman is lucky all the time, as you will see if you read on. Looks like he might have a bit of trouble aiming with the crooked tines on his trident.

Triton dwells beneath the sea,

In a house of gold,

Fisherman he wants to be,

Trident makes him bold.

 

When the fish were scarce one day,

Down he swam so deep,

Brought his conch up to the bay,

Called, and fish did leap.

 

As they neared his special rock,

Triton aimed his spear,

Fish eyes ogled him in shock,

Saying, “Dear, oh, dear!”

 

Triton flung his trident wide,

Missed them by a mile,

As the fish swam past his side,

They couldn’t help but smile.

 

 

 


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Wilma the Pileated Woodpecker

Wilma is a pileated woodpecker. She doesn’t have the red slash that the males have under their cheek. Wilma is a juvenile. Her red topknot is not yet fully developed.

She is hungry for insects, her main food.

“Oh, look! There’s Anneli’s garden,” says Wilma. “She’s always complaining about the bugs in it. I should check it out.”

“Now let’s have a look. Yup! Lots of weeds, so that’s good for my bug search.”

“Just got to make sure that dog of hers isn’t around. That Emma can be a real nuisance.”

“Okay, first raised bed. Hmm … nothing but stray poppies and weeds. What gives?”

“And over here, she hasn’t even planted anything … other than a few rocks.”

“These oriental poppies look pretty. Buzzing with bees inside them. But I’m looking for bugs, not bees.”

“Okay, so that was a bust. I think I’ll just stick to my roaming around and around these fir trees, and maybe check out a few stumps.”

“By the way, you want to hear my dad calling? He is magnificent!”


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What They Are Not

Lichens are weird “things.” Wiki says they “arise” from algae or cyanobacteria (bluish bacteria also known as blue-green algae). And yet lichens are not algae, as such. They live and grow among the filaments of fungi, but they are not fungi.

They come in many different colours and forms. They may look like moss, and sometimes are even called moss (reindeer moss, Iceland moss), but they are not moss.

They may look like they have tiny leaves, but they are not plants.

They have no roots to absorb water or nutrients, but they manufacture their own nutrition through photosynthesis.

When they grow on plants (like on the bark of trees) they are not parasites. They “do their own thing,” just using the plant as support.

The lichens in this photo are on a large rock near the creek mentioned in my previous post – the one that is foaming at the mouth.

 

I liken the lichen to plants,

But then I look at them askance.

The algae have similar features,

But lichen are different creatures.

 

 

Some fungi look like them a bit,

But not everything is a fit,

Although they may look like a moss,

They’re not and I feel at a loss.

 

 

Organic creations they are,

Found throughout our nations afar,

With features distinct and unique,

These grew on a rock by the creek.

 

 

So just what they are, I don’t know,

But see how they put on a show,

And next time you’re hiking or biking,

You’ll likely encounter some lichen.

 


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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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Camping

A few days of R and R were in order, so we took our old trailer to a lake that was about three hours’ drive from home, and set up camp.

Once the main chores were done, I sprawled back in my lawn chair and looked up.

This is what I saw.  Although there were people camped next to us, it was quiet because they were out on the lake in their kayaks. The peacefulness of the place was a moment to treasure. On the coming long weekend, it would be much more of a party place, but for now, it was wonderfully quiet. Just the whisper of the leaves high up in those trees.

Later we would try our hand at fishing in the lake, but it was so hard to decide whether to hold the fishing rod or the camera.

Now that I’m home and it’s the weekend, I can’t help but wonder how the party is going. I bet it is noisy and a complete change from the quiet few days we spent there. Timing is everything.