wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Maple Leaf is not “Forever”

I went to the wharf to make sure the boat had weathered the weather. It is tougher than I am, withstanding the first system of wind and rain that marks the end of this summer.

On the way home I took a small detour to dash out onto the beach for a photo. After many wipes of the lens I got a couple of wettish pics to show what kind of day it is.

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Thoroughly dampened, I drove home, but couldn’t resist taking a picture of this very old house on the way. Too bad the upper windows and the skylight are a modern style. They don’t quite go with the rockwork, but it’s still a unique house. Not just the huge chimneys, but even the walls are made of rock.

As I pulled into my own driveway a few minutes later, I saw a pretty, bittersweet sight — a maple leaf landed on my car, marking the end of summer and proving once again that, contrary to the old Canadian motto, the maple leaf is not forever.

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But it will come again in the spring.


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The Beastie

The little yellow-green plums are ripe, and many have fallen to the ground.

I sit in my lawn chair, keeping the dogs company, but they want more. They want me to throw a glove to retrieve; anything to get my attention.

I’m too hot and tired to comply, so Emma goes over to eat a plum.

She looks over at me. “So aren’t you going to stop me?”

I’m too tired or lazy to care.

She runs to get another plum and takes it across the yard to be sure I notice her.

“Aren’t you going to stop me? I’m eating your plums….”

I just don’t care.

Emma repeats this attention-getting plum eating thing, and I lazily count how many times she runs back and forth from the tree to the “grassy eating place.”

At FOURTEEN plums, I think I’d better haul myself out of the lawn chair before she has an accident. I imagine her little belly full of pits. I’ve checked on this before, and they do pass right through. But FOURTEEN of them? And she’s a small dog.

I walk around the yard telling deaf old Ruby the springer spaniel to please hurry up and pee so we can go in. Emma has no interest in doing anything. She’s taken off into the shrubbery around the backyard.

It’s starting to get dusky. Time to go in.  Ruby is already at the door, but where is Emma?

I call her.

No Emma.

I call again.

No Emma.

I wonder if she has slipped out through the gate somehow, but she’s really too big for that.

I imagine her lying in the bushes writhing with gut pain from eating too many plums.

Finally she appears, but she’s not running to me. I have to call her over. She has her head down and comes reluctantly.

Then I see a feather in her mouth – or wait – no, it’s a tail. OMG! Does she have a rat in her mouth? No. Too small. A mouse then? Or is it a baby rat? I have mixed feelings. If it’s a rat, kill it (and I don’t want to touch it – actually I don’t want her to eat it either). If it’s a mouse, please let the poor thing go.

But she has her jaws clamped shut. Just the tail of the poor little creature is hanging down the side of her jaws like half of a Fu Manchu moustache.

I want her to give it up, but do I want this (possibly) rat in my hand?

Gingerly, I take hold of the tail and say the magic words that make her give up whatever is in her mouth. (It’s not, “Drop it,” or “Dead bird,” or “GIVE-IT-TO-ME-RIGHT-NOW!”) I have to be polite, and say, the way I’ve taught her, “Thank you!”

She opens her mouth and I pull out a

“Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!” (Thank you, Robbie Burns.)

The poor thing is a bit wet and scruffy, but still able to run, if only it knew which way to go. I hold back the Hound of the Baskervilles and give the poor wee beastie time to escape.

 

 

Then we come inside where Emma tells me she’s eaten too many plums and didn’t have room for a mouse anyway, and that, by the way, she’ll be getting me out of bed at 12:30 in the morning to go out the dark and deal with the plums once they’ve done their work.

 

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Lincoln Returns

You may remember Linc, the delinquent.  Well, do y’all know now where “de Linc went”? He went up a fir tree in my yard.

“Nyah, na-na-nah-na,” he called down to me.  But then he thought he’d better get up a little higher, just to be on the safe side.

 

He turned just once more, and I think he was about to stick his tongue out at me, but I reminded him of his manners. He really is such a “delinquent.”

I hope he’s found a safe place to sleep tonight.

I love it when he comes to visit, but I wonder where he sleeps at night. I hope he keeps out of trouble at least until tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow….

Lincoln is a little squirrel

With a tail that has a curl,

When he visits I am glad

Even though he’s often bad.

 

Up and down the tree he’ll run,

So intent on having fun,

Wish he’d let me cuddle him,

But he says that is a sin.

 

“I don’t trust you,” he tells me,

“Safer if you let me be.”

So when he is on a limb, 

“Smile,” I say, and then, “Got him!”

 

 

 


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A Little Surprise

I’ve done a post about the leylandis before but now we have a new development.

Back in April, we decided it was time to take out the two leylandis that had grown way bigger than anticipated. They were infringing on everything around them. The walnut tree on the left of the photo was leaning farther and farther towards the sun and losing branches on the shady side where the leylandis crowded them out.

Here the leylandis are cut down and you can see that the walnut looks like half a tree.

Now in full foliage, it is beginning to look better, but it is still leaning away from the place where the leylandis were.

On the other side of the leylandis, right near the walnut, are two big fir trees that also suffered from a lack of light, being crowded out by the leylandis.  See all the dead branches?

Here is the stump of one of the leylandis, with a round of wood sitting on it.  Beside it is a small sunflower that has grown there without the benefit of much water or care. I only discovered it a couple of days ago.

What’s it doing there?! I didn’t plant it. I suspect that a nuthatch or chickadee brought a sunflower seed from the birdfeeder on the other side of the yard, and wedged the seed into the leylandi bark to hold it fast while it picked at it to open the shell. The seed must have fallen and over time, become covered with soil.

A splash of rain and few rays of sun, and  a new sunflower sprouted. Since I didn’t know it was there, it didn’t get as big as it would have, if I had watered it and put some good soil on it, but even so, I was happy to see how much it had managed to grow.

I feel like a plant detective, trying to figure out why the sunflower grew there. Did a bird inadvertently plant it, or was it maybe dropped by Lincoln the squirrel? It would be interesting to know the real answer.

 


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Beware of the Leylandi

About 25 years ago I planted two tiny leylandi cypresses. I thought if they grew as fast as I’d heard they do, I would soon have some privacy in a very exposed corner of the property.

The leylandis delivered, but then they kept delivering and delivering.

In the photo below, you can see the tree cutter we hired. The two leylandis are on the left side of the picture. When I planted them they only came up to his waist.

The sticksy tree to the left of the leylandis is a black walnut. Over the years it has been crowded out and has been leaning ever farther away from these cypresses, crying for light and water.

Our cedar hedge is fairly healthy until you get to the ones near the leylandis. It seems the shade and lack of water has not done them any good either. All the water got sucked up by the bigger trees.

The leylandis are toast now. I felt bad, but the walnut tree and the hedge are not sorry to see them go.

We can see our neighbours’ house again, but fortunately for us, they are great neighbours, so it won’t be a problem.


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What a Difference a Day Makes

Driving along beside the Comox estuary yesterday, I nearly disrupted traffic in my panic to pull off the road to take a picture. I hadn’t expected the sunset to be so spectacular over the glacier. For that matter, I hadn’t SEEN the glacier for days and days with all the cloud cover.

Next to the glacier are the bumps in the hills that the locals have called The Sleeping Princess. Unfortunately I can’t be sure which shapes represent which features of her lying there. But it’s fun to imagine.

Not even 24 hours later, we have a complete change in the weather. No more lovely sunset; just a total whiteout. My backyard with its gnarly fruit trees looks like a black and white photo.

Emma has to check out what this white stuff is.

She’s amazed at how much of it is coming down.

The warmth of sun behind the hills

Is fine for curing winter chills

But who could know the change ahead

Birds shake feathers, snow to shed,

Yesterday they picked and ate,

Now with snow, their breakfast’s late.

Giant snowflakes blanket all

How I miss the robin’s call.

Emma likes a powdery run

But the cold is not much fun,

She’s content to sniff the deck

Wondering just “What the heck?

Think I’ll go back where it’s warm

Where they’ll pet my sleeping form.

There I’ll wait till winter’s done

And we see the warm spring sun.”

 

 


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Toasty Coasties

We’ve been warned for a week or two that  north winds are coming to give us one last icy kiss before we waltz into spring. What a blow to us west coasters who are mostly used to (relatively) warmer temperatures and wind and rain.

The night before the chill was to hit,  our one sunny day disappeared as our prevailing southeast winds brought in more rain clouds. It almost had me doubting the weatherman’s prediction.

But overnight, the skies cleared and the stars sparkled like crystals over frosty lawns.

The next day the clouds moved in again, but this time from the north. They sat heavily on the hills, waiting for night when the sneak attack was to occur.

Sure enough, in the wee hours of the morning,  a biting cold wind blew flakes in every direction. Some flakes even spiraled upwards as if to undo the snowfall. A coat of white fluff barely covered the ground, but more is on the way.

I rushed out to refill the birdfeeders and put suet out for the fussier birds. When I went out onto the deck later to take this picture, the birds scattered into the shrubs, and I was too chilled to stand there waiting for them to return.

Across the street, my neighbours’ lovely willow is calling for spring, but with this ugly turn of events, the fuzzy buds are lucky to have a fur coat. They’ll need it to weather the chilly week ahead.

 

So  it seems that no one in Canada, not even this Toasty Coasty, is escaping the deep freeze  after all.