wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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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.


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A Windy Night

“Will ya look at that?” Emma says. “Branches all over the yard are bad enough, but that one that smashed into Lincoln’s house is huge. And it’s still up there!”

“I know! I saw the whole thing from inside my cedar hedge home when it happened.”

The Captain pulled the treetop off the woodshed roof with his old beater truck while the Admiral ran for the tape measure. Thirty feet snapped right off the top of a tree to the left of the woodshed.

And another long branch is still up there – it got hung up on the way down.

“Good grief!” wails Lincoln. “That was my lookout tree. The whole top is gone. And I had plans for all those cones left on the tree.”

“I feel just sick!”

The forces of nature make changes on Earth,

They make creatures realize what life is worth,

The wind can move trees and the branches around,

It howls and it yowls with a frightening sound,

The birds and the squirrels take cover and hide,

They shiver and shake while the storm they outride,

But after a night that they spent curled up tight,

They creep out and check in the bright morning light,

To see if their home world is standing there still,

It’s been slightly changed, but survive it they will.


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The Leaner

A small fir tree has been leaning for about a month, threatening to fall on anyone walking by. The top of the tree is hung up in the branches at the top of one of the big firs.

This tree expert digs in his climbing spikes, and hangs onto the lanyard he has slung around the tree and clipped to his belt.


He climbs a few feet and prepares to loop a second lanyard around the tree. These “ropes” are also called fliplines because he flips them around the tree before fastening them to his belt.

Once he has fastened the higher flipline, he unclips the lower one and climbs a few feet higher again. Then he repeats the process, flipping the loose line higher up the trunk and clipping it onto his belt before unclipping the lower one.

Notice that he has been climbing the bigger tree next to the leaner. Now that he is near the place where the smaller tree is hung up on the bigger one, he starts his power saw and cuts away some of the branches that the leaner is hung up in. You can see parts of the faller (his right foot on the left side of the tree, just below the lanyard that circles the big fir).

Once he has cleared away the branches that are in the way, he fastens a long rope to make a pulley system that I don’t understand, but that is strong enough to hold his weight as he leans over to cut sections from the top of the leaner.  In the photo below you can see that one section is already falling, as he has just finished making the cut.

Feeling secure enough to trust the orange pulley system, he undoes the lanyards that looped the tree, and lowers himself a little farther to cut several more sections before lowering himself to the ground.

A much shorter trunk is left standing. This length is more manageable for falling in a certain direction, to avoid tangling up with other trees and especially to avoid hitting our fence.

In the short video clip, you will see how quickly and easily the rest of the tree falls.

We love to see the trees around our home, but when they are leaning precariously and become a danger to anyone passing by, sadly they have to be taken down. As it turned out, this tree had root rot, and the top of the tree was already turning brown, and I suspect that this was a contributing factor to the beginning of its fall in one of our recent windstorms.

For those of you who are not visitors to my second blog, please feel free to come read some of my writing tips and some short stories and anecdotes at https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/the-trap/  The latest post is about a situation the Captain and I got ourselves into as we toured the former Yugoslavia.


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Everyone Knows it’s Windy

The fir trees in the photo below are used to bending away from the prevailing southeast winds. The bay is loaded in whitecaps, a sure sign that only fools would go out there in a small boat. No fools visible today.

It blew so hard today that the firs in my backyard suffered in spite of being partly sheltered behind my house. When the rain let up somewhat, I went outside to take a picture of the branch that broke in the wind today. Apparently the rain hadn’t quite stopped, as you can see from the big drop that fell right in the middle of my camera lens. I was going to try to edit it out, but then I thought, “No, this is part of the picture. It was wet out there.”

If you look to the left of the tree closest to you, near the middle, you can see that a branch is near the ground, but still hanging on the tree. It is broken and hanging by a thread way up high. See the birdhouse on the tree? Go up about the same distance again as the birdhouse is from ground level and you will see the break.

Here is a close-up of the top of that broken branch.

I guess I could try swinging on the branch like Tarzan and it would come off, but if it broke mid-swing, that might not be too much fun.

Branches flying everywhere,

Look! A sliding patio chair,

Time to get some firewood,

Raining, so put up your hood,

Fir cones pelt the woodshed roof,

Put your hard hat on, you goof.

Quickly, fill that barrow now,

Gusts of wind are screaming – “Wow!”

Push the wood up to the house,

Knowing you’ve exposed a mouse,

Hiding by the firewood stack

She resettles farther back.

Birds are huddling in a shrub,

Dangerous to come out for grub.

Just get through this awful night,

Tomorrow things will be all right.


36 Comments

Fish or Beans

Vernon Lake on northern Vancouver Island is a good-sized piece of water. Expect lots of gray days, with misty clouds, some moving around the lake, some hanging onto the hilltops nearby.

If you are in a small boat, watch for the many partially submerged logs, especially near the shores. The area around the lake was logged long ago, probably more than once, by the look of the different sizes of trees.

 

Some of the trees have been in the water for so long that the exposed stumps have decayed and supported new plant growth. Sorry for the blurry photo of that one. It was a quick afterthought photo on a drive-by in the skiff.

Some stumps had not had time to develop growth yet. Instead they took on the role of sea monsters guarding the passageway to the far end of the lake.

At that end where the river flows out, the lake narrows like a funnel. Along the sides of the ever narrowing passageway, stand snags of trees that were probably drowned years ago by the rise in the lake’s water level in the rainy season. It looked to me like Snag Alley.

 

The water was so clear you wondered if it was really there, except that it reflected the greenery from the shore.

 

The Captain did his best to catch a fish after scrambling to get all his ducks in a row.

Either our timing wasn’t right, or the Captain was hampered by having to set up the Admiral with her fishing rod, but by the time he was able to dabble, it was not a fishy time for him just then and there.

Or possibly the fish didn’t take him seriously because he wasn’t wearing all his top-of-the-line brand name fishing paraphernalia. (The Admiral didn’t care about that stuff as long as he had the bear spray along.)

Anyway, supper that day was not going to be fresh gourmet fish.

More like sausages and a can of beans.

It was time for one of my favourite sayings: Tomorrow is another day.

 


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Bark Mulch

I needed mulch to keep the weeds down between the shrubs in my yard.  A visit  to  the  local poleyard was in order.

The mulch is the chipped up bark of the mostly firs that are peeled to make nice smooth telephone poles.

All the peelings are sorted into mountains. Some are long strands of bark mulch, some are smaller chips of bark, and some are just ratty, junky pieces that aren’t good for much.

My garden needed the smaller chips so we parked the truck and utility trailer at the side of the road between the mulch mountains and waited for the loader to come and help us out.

Here he comes with his scoop in front.

One of those big scoops holds what they call a yard of mulch (we pay by the yard).

I’m always amazed at how little they drop on the way to the trailer.

Here comes our one yard of bark mulch.

When he drops it into the trailer and pats it down with the scoop, the truck shakes like in an earthquake.

It doesn’t seem like a lot until you start unloading it.

While I was waiting for the loader to come, I took a couple of short video clips to show how they take the raw logs and put them into the machine that scores the bark and flips the logs around and around. The power is awe-inspiring. Have you ever tried to juggle a log that size? Look at how the blades cut into the bark without cutting up the wood.

In the second video, you can see the bark mulch shooting out the long pipe to be piled up into those bark mulch mountains. Not much is wasted.

Next time you see bark mulch around a pretty shrub, think about how that log bounced around as it was stripped of its coat. It’s a good thing I can’t talk to the trees or hear what they’re saying, but if I had to guess, I’d bet they’re calling to each other, “Anybody got a coat they can lend me?”

“Naw, they took mine too!”

.

.


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Little Tree and Big Tree

Wow! Look at YOU, Little Tree! Just look at all those blossoms! But I wonder why they call you a dogwood. Is it because dogs do something on your wood? Terrible thing to do to a beautiful tree.
No, that’s not why they call me a dogwood. But something has stunted my growth. Would you believe I’m the same age as Big Tree across the street? That’s how it is to grow up on the wrong side of the tracks. I’ve missed out.
Big Tree has spent his whole life in the sunshine near a water tap, while I’ve been thirsty for years, shivering in the shade. You’d think that Big Tree would share his food and water since I have so little, but he doesn’t make a move to help me – I mean social distancing is one thing, but he’s downright unfriendly – won’t even talk to me.
Well, it’s not my fault if I was born with a fertilizer spoon in my mouth. My caregivers are simply smarter than yours. I show them my thanks for the food they gave me. And you’re wrong. I would share with you, but I can’t leave. I’m kind of rooted to the ground.
I see what you mean, Little Tree. He’s twice your size. Does that mean you’re the poor relation? Would you feel better if I tickled your bark to make you smile. I could scratch any itch you might have. All I have to do is run up and down your trunk a few times. Make you feel better….
You think about it and let me know, okay?


27 Comments

The Nuthatches Make a Move

I’ve decided this is a better location, Martha. Even the exterior is more interesting with its designer bark siding.

You go ahead up there, Nathan. I’m going to check out this one at the lower level. Less of a target, maybe? And the chipping is easy. Look at me! I’m almost halfway in already.

What if Martha’s right? I’m kind of conspicuous up here. Besides I’m wondering if I’m getting too close to the inside of that crater on top.

 

How ‘re ya comin’ along down there, Martha?

Eeeeuuuw! What is THAT in there? If it moves, I’ll eat it.

Oh … ah …  er … fine, Nathan …

but I seem to have come up against a gnarly knot in this hole.

Sheesh! Just look at ‘er. She’s halfway through to the other side. Maybe that gnarly knot will slow her down and put me back in the running.

Now let’s see. Where was I going with this fibre? Mustn’t let on to Martha, but was I going to put that fibre in the nest or did I just chip it out of there? Is this how it sneaks up on you? Forgetting things?

Nathan, what’s wrong with you? Put that fibre into the nest already. Dithering around like you don’t know if you’re coming or going? Unless you’ve decided on my nest after all?

Oh, this is too frustrating. I need a break. Up this tree looks like a good place to get away for a while.

 

Nayyyyyy-thannnnn! See me up here? Catch me if you can!

See me?

Here I am.

Just to the right of the trunk. If you can find me, I’ll help you with the building again….

Look at Nathan! Isn’t he just so cute, but I have to play hard to get or he’ll take off after Mitzi. She’s been mooning around Nathan, especially the other night when the moon was full.  C’mon, Nathan. Up here, in the tree. Come and find me.

Martha or Mitzi,

So itsy and bitsy,

They’re both after me

As I chip on this tree.

 

Martha is strong,

And with her I belong,

But I’ll let her dangle

Until I finagle

A way to find love with them both.

 


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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.

Trees [5]

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.

Trees [4]

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.

Trees [6]

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

Trees [7]

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