wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Trees

After showing you so many burnt trees in a recent post, I thought I should show the positive side of things too.

Driving past these trees, a blur of yellow and a smattering of snow in the firs reminded me that autumn was nearly finished. It was just a matter of days before the poplar (?) leaves came down.

In the higher elevations, wind, weather, and possibly some road work crew meant the dormancy or death of some trees.

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Trees [1]

Some of the white-barked trees were clinging to the last leaves. Birch, poplars, aspen? I’m not sure, but these are all trees with whitish bark.

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Back in Montana, this stand of trees reminded me of when I’ve spilled the pack of lettuce seeds and a whole clump of them grew in a bunch, crowding each other so none can do well. It also looks like a football team in a huddle.

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The horses don’t mind it. The thick stand of trees probably acts as a good windbreak.

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In southern BC, along the Hope-Princeton Highway, a tree has taken the shape of a bear – a grizzly by the look of his dished skull and the hump on his back. I believe the park was closed when we drove by (in October), but it would be a wonderful place to hike (if you aren’t afraid of bears … which I am).

Manning Park

 


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Montana Fields

We try to get out to Montana every year in October for some bird hunting and photography and hiking. This year, we arrived to about an inch of snow. While it is beautiful, it is quite chilly. The good thing about it is that rattlesnakes don’t like cold weather so I didn’t have to worry as much about Emma and Ruby getting bitten.

You may remember Emma as a puppy four years ago. We had great hopes that she would someday become a good flusher and retriever of game birds.

She hasn’t disappointed us. In spite of being quite small, this English field cocker spaniel is full of energy and her cuddly nature takes a back seat when it comes to finding birds. Nothing gets away from her.

If you thought the prairies were only boring grassy fields, you couldn’t be more wrong. The coulees are full of prickly shrubs, birds, and small animals. A fat hare came tearing out of the shrubs here and just as I was about to snap a photo, my battery died.

But later I caught this mule deer running away from all the commotion. I traipsed along behind the Captain and Emma as they did their pheasant hunting thing, hoping for something interesting to photograph, and I saw something the deer had left behind last year — an antler shed. It was only the second time I had ever found one and I was quite happy about stumbling across it.

After the snow from the day before, the mostly clay ground was “wettish,” and while we had heavy clods of mud on our boots, Emma’s feet were getting harder and harder for her to pick up. Besides collecting many burrs in her fur, she had huge clumps of clay on her feet. Here she is getting them soaked off, just before I took the comb and scissors to her curly ears to remove the burrs.

She is usually so energetic, we weren’t sure this was our Emma flaked out on the couch after the day’s outing.

It was Ruby’s turn to go out today, but she is sick. We think she drank some bad water. This has happened one other year and we have given her some meds that we hope will fix her up in a day or two.

PS Now, two days later, Ruby is feeling much better. We are so relieved.

 


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Camo

What is it with camo-gear? Isn’t it for disguise?

Every once in a while I see children (and sometimes adults) wearing camouflage clothing around town and I have to wonder what they’re hiding from?

Animals have natural camouflage, traits that have evolved  over thousands of years. I can understand that. Man copied the idea and used it during WWl. Okay, if we must have war, camo is smart.

To be properly camouflaged you have to try to blend in with the colours around you. Sand coloured khaki for the desert, dark blue or gray on rocky terrain. But by far the most popular style of camo-clothing is the kind with splotches of olive green, brown, and beige.

In the Vietnam war, camo-gear was everywhere and has been popular ever since. But has the marketing gone a bit too far? In many cases I have to wonder, what is the purpose of wearing or using camo-gear?

For civilians, there seems to be little reason to wear camouflage.

Two sensible exceptions come to mind:

1)      hikers, who may want to hide so they can see more animals while out on a nature walk, and

2)      hunters, trying to hide from animals they are stalking.

But, for both hikers and hunters, the use of camo-gear can backfire.

Relatives of a lost hiker may report to Search and Rescue that their loved one was last seen wearing camo-clothing. Please search for a large cluster of leaves that isn’t one.

Hunters in camo have the same problem, but they have one advantage. With their excellent disguise, they may be mistaken for a game animal, so for safety, they often sport blaze orange sleeves on their camo-shirt or a bright orange brim on their camo-cap. Now they can be spotted easily if they get lost and at the same time, avoid being shot.

But wait! Am I missing something here? What was the point of wearing the camo-clothing in the first place?

Now we come to the rest of the camo-gear. We have all kinds of accessories in camouflage colours: backpack, flashlight, knife, shotgun case, shotgun stock, even the barrel in some cases.

Imagine the scenario: The hunter sets down his gear to take a break, to retie the laces of his camo-boots, or camo-runners, or to have a drink from that camo-flask of water he can’t find just now. He set it down here somewhere….

He checks his camo-watch, decides it’s getting late. He sets his shotgun down on the ground for safety while he climbs carefully over the barbed wire fence. He’ll just hunt this one last field and call it a day. Once on the other side, he adjusts his camo-pack and reaches for his gun. But where is it? Quick! There’s a bunch of pheasants getting up out of the tall grass. Where’s the damn gun? Too late, he finds it perfectly hidden, right in front of his eyes.

Tired out, he comes home at last after tromping incognito through miles of fields. He strips down to his underwear and crawls into bed for a quick late-afternoon nap. What’s this? Camo-underwear? Is he hoping his wife won’t find him in the bed and kick him out to have a shower first?


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Sounds of Autumn

The sun warms my back, the wind cools my hair.

I photograph leaves that soon won’t be there.

Shushing and rustling cottonwood leaves,

Some cling to life in the stiffening breeze.

Others have flown, for the chilly night air

Has sent them a warning. “Oh trees, do beware.

The harsh days are coming; it’s time to prepare.

Your fluttering whispering dresses of gold

Must leave you alone now to suffer the cold.

But fear not, for soon you will warm up again.

New dresses will grow in the coming spring’s rain.”

 

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The video clip is of ten seconds in Montana. The wind is rumbling a bit in the microphone and the Captain is calling Ruby with his whistle, but the main thing I love about the clip is the sound of the wind in the leaves. It’s best if you make it full screen and you can almost feel as if you are there under the trees. Be sure to turn on the sound. That’s what it’s all about.

 

 

 


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Have you seen Rebecca Spit?

That Rebecca must be quite a tomboy to have a piece of land named after her spitting abilities. But no, I’m not talking about a girl with a disgusting habit, and this post is not about how far Rebecca can spit.

I’m talking about a landform. I wonder sometimes where these terms come from. A spit of land…. Could it be because the long “tongue” of land is formed by deposits of sand being “spit” up by the waves and deposited on the open, seaward side of it?

Whatever the origin, Rebecca Spit is a park on Quadra Island. To get to Quadra you have to take a ferry from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. At the recent quilting retreat on Quadra, my friend and I took a short drive to the 2-km.-long spit and walked the trail in this park. The water you see on the left of the photo is the sheltered side. In the summer it must be a beautiful place to swim.041

Here is a better look at the beach on the sheltered side of the spit.

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As we continued down the trail, the spit became narrow and it was possible to see the water on both sides at once. The open water of the north end of the Strait of Georgia was much rougher than that of sheltered lagoon.

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The forest facing the open water on my right  had taken a beating. Where were all the branches and greenery? No sign of fire damage, but many  branches were gone and tree trunks were broken off. Could extra high tides have drowned the trees and soaked their feet in very salty water? That might have killed the trees which then dried out and were at the mercy of the strong winter winds. Trunks and branches would have broken in the wind. I’m not sure what happened here but the trees right near the beach on the exposed side of the spit were damaged and different from the rest.

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The end of the spit is a pretty place to stop for a few photos. Boaters must have local knowledge or a good map to avoid getting lost in the maze of small islands that dot this coastline.

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On our way back to the car,  we see a warm glow of late afternoon sunlight on the trunks of the trees, living and dead.055

And in case you think dead trees are useless, just ask any woodpecker.

pileated woodpecker

 


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Drive-by Shootings

The holiday is nearly over and it’s time to drag our little home on wheels back to the rainy west coast. Most of the photos on the way home were taken from inside the truck, so they will be a bit blurry but I couldn’t resist trying for some of the beautiful scenery that passed us by. So prepare for a few drive-by shootings.DSCN2697This photo (below) was nothing special but I love the way the blurriness caused by the moving truck made the picture look more like a painting.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve thought, “One day I want to drive through here without dragging a trailer, so I can stop anywhere and get out to take a good photo.” But then, the logistics would all change and in the end, it just wouldn’t work.

These rocky hills have the most fascinating formations. If I had very high and durable leather rattlesnake-proof boots, I’d love to clamber around on the hills and explore them up close. I’d take a bottle of Benedryl (in case of snakebite) and a cell phone just in case (not that there would likely be cell phone coverage). ??????????

And next time I’ll bring my fly rod. The rivers in Montana are so beautiful. I don’t know how many times we passed over the Clark Fork where it goes under the highway, but it gets more picturesque each time. There is a lot of drift boat fishing on the Clark Fork and the Missouri. I bet that would be loads of fun.??????????

Here is one of many spots that looks inviting for a bit of fishing if you’re camping your way through the state.

??????????It’s hard to drive by without stopping every ten minutes for another photo, and even harder to find a place to stop with a trailer in tow, if you really wanted to get that photo.  But at least I got a few shots as we whizzed past all the beautiful scenery in Montana. This is only the eastern and middle part. There is so much more I haven’t even seen yet. Adventure awaits.