wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Two Left Feet

Once again, I was inspired by a post by David Kanigan https://davidkanigan.com/2022/06/28/walking-bring-out-your-dead/ when he wrote about feet and balance. It reminded me that about 8 years ago I had done a post about two left feet. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to re-post it just for a little chuckle. My apologies for followers from that time who have already seen this.

Chapter One

It’s easy to laugh at someone else when they do something silly, forgetful, or just plain stupid. I don’t think there’s any harm in it as long as the “someone” is laughing too. Then you’re laughing “with” them rather than “at” them.

On a weekend fishing trip one summer, the Captain and I had fished for trout on the lake and stopped to stretch our legs on a gravelly beach at the mouth of a creek that fed into the lake.

IMGP0664After a while, a fish jumped and made quite a big splash at the mouth of the creek. The Captain grabbed his flyrod and cast towards the ripples the fish had left.

Fishing [1]

The fish was a tease, jumping repeatedly, just out of reach. No problem, high gumboots meant the Captain could wade into the water and get closer.

But not quite close enough. The Captain is a good flyline caster but still, the fly landed just a little bit short each time.

“Aw…darn,” he said. “My boot has a leak. Oh well, might as well go in a bit farther. I’m already wet. I think I can get close enough. Darn it all! Should’ve brought my waders.”

Wading outfit

Persistence paid off, and the fish was hooked and released. Now for a well-deserved rest on the gravel bed. The rocks warmed the fisherman with the wet pants and sopping wet feet.

As he lay down on the gravel to soak up some warmth, I took his photo and noticed….

Two left feet up close

Not only was there a split in the bottom of one boot — the cause of the leak — but the boots were for two left feet. Somewhere at home in the garage were boots for two right feet.

Chapter Two

This may seem to be a whole other topic, but I assure you the chapters are related.

I have troublesome feet, so I wear orthotic inserts. I also have had trouble finding comfortable shoes, so when I discovered some Brooks runners that fit my feet comfortably, I bought them and wore them happily nearly every day. At last they started to look slightly worn. I went back to the same store and bought exactly the same thing again. Well, they were ever so slightly different in colour, but basically the same shoe. One would be my good pair and the other the “beater” pair. See the “beaters” below.

??????????

For now, until I would get a second pair of orthotic inserts, I put my orthotics into the shoes I wore most often (the beater pair). Last summer I bought a pair of Costco Dr. Scholl inserts as spares for the time being and put them in my new runners.

The other day I put on my shoes to go out. The left one was a bit tight, so I loosened the laces. That was better. I was going to loosen the right shoelace as well, but then I realized that, although it was snugly laced, it was comfortable as it was.

“Hmm…I wonder why that is.” My right foot should be bigger if anything, and a tighter squeeze, so why is that shoe more comfortable?” I put my weight on one shoe and  then the other. Definitely, the right shoe felt better on my feet. I had a closer look. You can take a look too. Do you see what I see?

010

When I discovered what I was wearing, I went looking for my other pair of runners. In the garage was a pair of Brooks, as mismatched as the ones on my feet, but my mumbled “OMG” got louder when I discovered that the “odd couple” in the garage had the Costco Dr. Scholl’s inserts in them. Remember, I had bought these inserts months ago, so if there was one Dr. Scholl’s in each of these shoes, they must have been like this since last summer.

Gradually a growing horror dawned on me. I had been wearing mismatched shoes since last summer and this was now almost December. I thought of all the places I had been and the homes where I visited and took my shoes off at the door. I had even been to the doctor to get a referral for new orthotics!  “OMG! OMG! OMG!”

It must be my punishment for laughing at the Captain’s two left feet.

 


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Badlands

Are the badlands really bad?

The lack of a steady supply of water makes it hard to grow much. And look at the terrain. Can you imagine an expensive piece of farm machinery trying to negotiate those hillsides? I think farming this area is out of the question.

Still, some vegetation just plants itself. It has to be tough to survive. Grasses are real survivors if they only have a chance to sprout.

But seeds are easily washed away if not in the sparse rain, then at least in the run-off from snowmelt. The wind lends a hand too. Between them, wind and water carve out a landscape full of curves, rifts, pillars, and odd-shaped hills.

So what is the good of these badlands? That is, if there is anything good about them.

At first glance, it looks like a wasteland. You’d be surprised though, how much life it supports. Insects, obviously, and those attract birds and snakes. Lots of snakes.  I guess that’s a good thing, if you like snakes. They have to go somewhere.

The carved out crumbling rock formations provide many crevices and holes for a snake to hide in – a place to get out of the hot sun. In the late fall, rattlers will travel miles through prairie grasslands to the badlands where they seek out underground chambers (caves and tunnels) and scooped-out areas where they can snuggle up together for the winter in their very own hibernaculum. These dens are often underground and close to the water table, but preferably in a place where it stays above freezing.

The erosion in the badlands creates all kinds of possible hiding places for small animals.  The fields at the edge of a badlands area could provide food for insects, small rodents, rabbits, and game birds such as grouse and pheasants, which in turn attract predators such as hawks and owls.

Even deer may be found wandering through the badlands.

 

 

 

If you have a dog though, watch where it goes. You don’t want it to be bitten by a sneaky snake. If you take your dog there, maybe to hunt a partridge or other game bird for dinner, the best time to do that is probably early in the morning when it is cool and the snakes are still a bit poky.

A friend told me of a time when his dog (same breed as our Emma – an English field cocker) was running down a path ahead of him and a rattler was in the path directly in front of her. The dog leaped over the coiled up snake and kept going. It was lucky that, because of the cold morning, the snake was still quite lethargic. A few hours later, this scenario could have had an unhappy ending.

If you’re ever in a badlands area, keep your eyes open and your camera handy, and bring along your snakebite kit and the local vet’s phone number.

Internet image

 


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Out Behind the Woodshed

Jasper and Crispin are in love. They’ve been chasing each other up and down the fir trees, and through stacks of firewood in the woodshed.

It looks like Jasper has finally caught up to Crispin.

Crispin might be having second thoughts. She’s sneaking away – a bit late – as Jasper’s declarations of love came as a bit of a surprise today. Something tells me that, after all her flirting, she wasn’t expecting quite so much attention. She’s going to find a quiet place to contemplate WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

“Crispin, come back! I love you!” Jasper calls. But she’s gone.

“That was sure fun! But will she come back? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so aggressive, but I thought she was just playing hard to get. And she didn’t say no. Heck! I thought she liked it. I know I did.”

“But what if she gets pregnant? Oh dear! I’m not sure I’m ready to be a father. Oh deardeardear! She’s probably mad at me. I may never see her again.”

“But no! Here she comes with a peace offering. Isn’t she just so sweet?”

“Does this mean you’re my girl? Will you marry me, Crispin?”


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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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Thankful

The robins who flew down from the snowy hills a few days ago are having their Thanksgiving dinner. They may eat a few worms and bugs for meat, but the “robins’ version of cranberry sauce” for their dinner comes from these pyracantha berries by our house. Wikipedia says the berries are not poisonous although they contain miniscule amounts of a cyanide-like compound (heavy on the like, I hope). The berries are probably not harmful or I would see dead robins all over the place. They certainly gobbled down a lot of them, as they do every year at this time.

 

“Sure not much left on my plate,” he says, judging by all the emptied stems.

 

“But I think I spy a fat, juicy one down there.”

 

“Is it Anneli’s camera, or is this berry a bit fuzzy? … Never mind. It tastes pretty good just the same.”

 

“Ahh! That hit the spot.”

“And what are the rest of you Canadians having for your Thanksgiving? I hope your dinner was as good as mine. In my case, it may be just berries, but don’t we have a lot to be thankful for, even in these troubled times?”

 

 


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Fall Crocuses

These crocuses don’t bloom until the autumn. In spring, they only have big green leaves which then turn yellow and wilt away. But in the autumn when everything else is dying and other blooms are finished, the flowers of this type of crocus pop up and bloom all alone without their leaves.

The Crocus family is having a meeting. They’ve seen Anneli coming along with her camera.

*****

“It’s picture time. Stand up straight, everyone!” says Ardyth. She’s the tallest crocus, the third one from the right. She likes to think she’s the boss.

They all stand up straight, noses in the air.

All except one. There’s ALWAYS one!

 

“Look at me, guys!” Mitch yells from his place on the ground. “I’m a python. I can swallow an animal whole. No teeth needed, no siree. I just open my big jaws and … GULP! Down the hatch! … Impressive, eh?”

 

If you could look into their faces, you would see the other six crocuses rolling their eyes. A breeze comes along to help them move as  they all shake their heads slowly.

So much for the family photo.

Ardyth sighs. “Oh, that Mitch and his snake fantasies.”

The row of well-behaved crocuses stretch their noses higher into the air.

“We’re being good, Ardyth,” they whisper eagerly. “But remember last year, when Gerald teetered back and forth until he finally leaned over backwards so far that he fell over and yelled, ‘Look at me! I’m a FALL crocus!'”

 


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The Last Goodies

As the season officially changes on Sept. 22, at about 12:21 p.m. Pacific time, we say goodbye to the heat and drought of the summer from hell, and welcome the wind and rain of the shorter autumn days.

My garden was a disaster this year with a long cold spring that didn’t encourage seeds to germinate, and a dry, way-too-hot summer that threatened to toast any plants that dared to pop up. Watering barely kept things alive and below a half-inch barrier on the surface, the ground was often powder dry.

The fruit trees had a poor crop this year but a few plums (not as many as in other years) and a few (VERY few) apples managed to grow. My favourite apple tree, the Wilmuta (a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein) wasn’t exactly loaded either but the few apples it did have were very nice. You can see the Wilmutas below.

The last of the plums. They’re so sweet and tasty, but there were not enough of them.

The walnuts look like they’re drying right on the tree instead of falling off still in their green husks. They don’t look that great this year, but I discovered today that Lincoln has found the backyard walnut tree too (after cleaning off the two hazelnut trees in the front yard).

I don’t think Lincoln will starve this year, as the nuts did all right by squirrel standards.

Digging holes to hide the nuts,

This is what I do,

Later they will fill my guts,

Very tasty too.

 

Working hard this time of year,

Just as I’ve been taught,

Later I can give a cheer,

For the food I’ve got.

 

Days are shorter, now it’s fall,

Must pick up the pace,

Hiding nuts, I have them all,

See my smiling face.

 

Come the winter, nights are chilled,

Cozy I will be,

Lying back with stomach filled,

Happiness for me.

 


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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.


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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.