wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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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.


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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

After the skiff of snow we had in the last post, it kept snowing … and snowing … and snowing. The predicted 2 inches of snow looked more like 6 inches on our deck railing.

Partway through the snowfall I took a picture of my veggie garden and thought about the strawberry plants shivering under the blanket of snow. Hah! There’s an oxymoron – a blanket of snow. Blankets are supposed to be warm, aren’t they?

Then that night, it rained and blew

Just as it was supposed to do.

Soon the snow had disappeared,

But the damage was as feared.

See the fir branch dangling down?

It’s so long it reached the ground.

See it hanging by a thread

There beside the garden shed?

Now I’m worried it might drop

On my doggies with a plop.

More like dropping with a crash

Turning puppies into mash.

So the Captain has to tie

Rope onto the branch up high,

Tie it on the pickup truck

Yank it down into the muck.

We don’t grumble, we don’t cuss.

Oh what fun for all of us.

 

 


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The Holly and the Maple

No, it’s not “The Holly and the Ivy,” but close enough. I noticed that the maple’s leaves got hung up on the holly tree below it, and the muse tickled the keyboard once again.

The maple sheds a coat that weaves

And floats towards the ground,

Hanging up on prickly leaves

Of holly all around.

 

The holly says, “I thank you, dear,

I’m shivering with cold.

When winter nights are chill and clear

Your leaves my warmth will hold.

 

And decorated, too, am I

Just like a Christmas tree.

My berries red will catch the eye

And all will look at me.

 

But you, dear maple, what of you?

Your scrawny arms are chill.

There’s nothing more that you can do.

So pray for you, I will.

 

Be steadfast through the winter gale,

Be tough as you can be,

Till new green leaves your arms regale

With pride and majesty.”

 

 

 

 


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Redheads

“Yikes!” This guy was caught red-handed – well, maybe more like red-headed – vandalizing the maple tree. Just look at the holes he’s put into the bark! I guess they make great toeholds for him.

Who would think there is something inside that bark that makes it so enticing for him?

“Hold on,” he says. “I think I can hear something wiggling around in there.”

“Mmyeahhhh … worth having a poke around.”

“There he is! I can feel him in there. Tasty little morsel … if I can only get him out of there. I’ll follow it up with a slurp of syrup from the sap.”

“Yum! That was good, but what a lot of work for a snack. Gotta take a breather for a sec.”

“What’s that you say?” He’s shocked that I’ve questioned him. “Holes in the bark? So what? There’s tons of them. What’s one more?”

“But don’t you see that if you keep going around in a circle you’ll soon ring the tree?”

“So…?

“Well, the sap has to go up and down the tree to keep it alive.”

“But I’m a sapsucker. Duh! It’s what I do!”

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I held so still for her when I saw she had her camera.  But enough is enough.”

“I’ll pose for this one last picture and then I’m off. I can always come back later, when her arm gets tired, or her eyes hurt from squinting against the sun, or – hee hee – when her battery dies. All that zooming really eats batteries. 

Now. Where was I? Oh yes, continuing on this line of holes my buddies and I were working on last week.”