wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


44 Comments

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?”

 

 


30 Comments

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!'”

 


23 Comments

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.

 


41 Comments

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.

 

 


23 Comments

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. 

 


42 Comments

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!”


37 Comments

Apples – A to Z

Apple time is nearly over and each type of apple has its season. Our transparent apples, tart cooking apples, are the first to ripen, followed by the Gravenstein, a delicious eating apple. Then comes the MacIntosh, thinner skinned, but also a good eating apple, and finally the best winter apple I’ve ever tasted, the Wilmuta.

The apple trees were loaded this year, probably to make up for last year’s almost non-existent crop.

I’m guilty of not pruning the trees well (or at all) last winter and the trees were so weighed down with apples that a major branch threatened to break. I stuck a piece of wood under it to prop it up. I promise to prune the trees for next year.

I had never heard of Wilmuta until I bought this one, almost 30 years ago. My favourite apple is probably the Gravenstein, but Jonagold comes a close second. Wilmuta is a cross between these two varieties. The goal of apple biologists was to produce a large apple like Jonagold, but with the rosy colour of a Gravenstein. The result was a huge mouth-watering late season apple that is as sweet as it is hardy, well into late October.

October is nearly over and these apples are still on the tree, but I think it’s time to bring them in out of the cold soon. They are really good keepers, except for getting eaten eagerly once they are ripe.

If I were to buy another apple tree, Wilmuta would be my first choice.

*****

Apples keep the doctor away. Sorry, Doc.

Baking with apples

Crunchy fruit

Delicious, dripping sweetness

Eve tempts Adam

Festive

Gravenstein

Hardy

I love apples

Juicy Jonagold

Keepers

Lovely

MacIntosh

Nutritious

Over the top

Pippins

Quantities – never enough

Ripe

Sweet apple sauce

Tart transparents

Unbelievably good

Varieties abound

Wonderful Wilmuta

X-tra good

Yes, they’re the best

Zero calories … almost.


49 Comments

Finicky Finch

This female house finch has just had a bath and is now looking for a snack on my brussels sprouts plants.

These tasty sprouts are still so small,

That’s not much food for me at all,

To peck them isn’t worth the work,

I’ll have to find some other perk.

So many pairs of pears I see,

Too many hanging in one tree,

Too big for tiny little finches,

I’d get fat and put on inches.

The sunflower seeds will soon be ripe

And then I’ll have no cause to gripe,

They are my favourite snacking food,

To nibble them improves my mood.


29 Comments

Slime Mold

No, it isn’t what the dog threw up, but it sure looks like it could be. It was growing in the bark mulch in my backyard. First time I’ve seen it.

Back in April, Pit from pitsfritztownnews posted a photo of slime mold (also called dog vomit slime mold), and I said that we don’t have it here. He’s in Texas; I’m on Vancouver Island. I’ve added a link to his post at the bottom of the page.

This slime mold is about the size of an adult hand with fingers spread out.

Apparently this fungus frequently comes in bark mulch and grows when the weather is humid. Hot dry weather usually dries it up and it dies. Meanwhile, although it is not meant to be eaten, it won’t kill you and it’s not toxic to pets. It is just to be tolerated and possibly admired for its uniqueness.

 

Here is Pit’s link:

https://pitsfritztownnews.wordpress.com/2020/04/10/this-here/