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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Tree Talk

Did you know that trees talk to each other? Just look at these two firs on the far right. They definitely have their heads together, whispering secrets to each other.

“Are you there, Conan? The fog is so thick, I can hardly see my limbs in front of my face.”

“Of course I’m here, Firginia. It’s not like I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. My feet are firmly planted on the ground.You might say I’ve put down roots here.”

“Well, it’s not like you’d get a better view  if you went anywhere else.”

“Oh, heavens, no. I knew a fellow tree, not sure fir how long, fir years anyway, he was leaning towards another  location. But it ended up all his plans went up in smoke. Some guy with a chainsaw promised him a nice cozy woodshed to live in, but the odds were stacked against him. He met some of our old friends there in the woodshed, but it wasn’t enough to save him. I’m sure from up here, I saw the other  blockheads in the shed. That girl Ashley, made a real ash of herself. Should have stayed on her mountain.  And there was some burly fellow just lying there. He thought he’d be turned into a tabletop but it ended up the tables were turned on him. He got fired, just like the rest of them.”

“That’s sounds like what happened to our friend Cy. He said, ‘Naw, they won’t burn me. They don’t like cypress. Too pitchy.’ But they piled him into the woodshed too, along with his cousin, Cedric. If only he hadn’t drawn attention to him, he might have survived. But Cy kept saying, ‘Ce-dar he is, over dar….Ce-dar, right dar,’ and he kept waving his flat, feathery fingers to point out the cedar. And just when Cedric was kindling a relationship. Now he’s just kindling.”

“I wood think about a move but I’m quite happy here, with all my cones,” Conan said. “I have a fantastic view from up here. Eagle’s eye view, Baldy told me so yesterday when he landed on one of my arms. Little pest was bouncing up and down,  though, trying to break my arm.”

“I know!” said Firginia. “He’s done that to me too. I think it’s the nesting instinct. They try to break off arms fir building their nests. I don’t mind if they break off the deadwood, but not my good arms, fir heaven’s sake.”

“I pre-fir the owls. Fowler just drifts in silently and I don’t even know he’s sitting on my arms until he calls his wife.”

“Yeah, I know. She’s always sitting on my arms, watching fir him to notice her, but he really doesn’t give a hoot.”

“Oh but he does.  Every 15 seconds, he’s hooting and ‘owling fir her. Drives me crazy some nights.”

“Well, why don’t you leave then, if you don’t like it?”

“I told you, I’ve put down roots here. Fir heaven’s sake, weren’t you listening?”

“Yes, yes. All right if you’re not going anywhere, the least you can do is hold my limbs when I reach out for you. There’s another storm coming and we have to hold on to each other, or we’ll end up in the woodshed together.”

“That woodn’t be too bad,” said Conan, twitching his fir cones. “I hear some interesting things go on behind the woodshed. Yew don’t know what yew’re missing. A hot time!”

“I said, IN the woodshed, not BEHIND it. And then you’d soon be in the wheelbarrow and heading for a hot time in the woodstove,” said Firginia.

“Well, c’est la vie. At least I’d be doing a good thing warming up the house for Anneli. I hear she’s always cold.”

“Now don’t pick on Anneli. She’s been very busy with publishing her new book, Marlie. I hear it’s a good one. Our cousins on the Queen Charlotte Islands are in it.”

“What I really like about Anneli’s books, she doesn’t insist on cutting down trees for her books. You can get the Kindle version,” Conan added.

“Oh HOT stuff! Kindle, get it? Kindle a fire under her words? I hear they’re that good!”

“But what if I don’t need to Kindle anything?”

“Then you go to smashwords.com.”

“Smashwoods?”

“Not smashWOODS! SmashWORDS. It’s smashwords.com Honestly, sometimes I think you have a wooden head.”

“Well … I do.” (Sigh!)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Nightgown Shapeshifters

Flannel on the clothesline

Sheds the dusty coat

Gathered in the fabric store,

All those tiny motes.

Filtered sunlight and a breeze

Scent of cedar from the trees.

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Quickly! No one’s looking now.

Let them stand and wonder how

The seamstress waves her magic wand.

Of nightgowns she is very fond.

Scrunch together, stretch again,

And two new shapes, now remain.

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Shapeshifters, you can take a bow,

And sleep in cozy dreamland  now.


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Wood and Water

One of the perks of having company is having an excuse to be a tourist in your own territory. Normally, I don’t go visit the waterfalls near Qualicum or Cathedral Grove, the forest of huge trees at MacMillan Park. It has been two years since my last long-term guests were here and I had a reason to make this wonderful combination trip of wood and water.

I parked the car and before we even started our walk, I looked up and saw two interesting sights. A huge arbutus tree (on the left) showed off its beautiful barkless trunks and evergreen leaves. To the right, a burl had grown on a Douglas fir. Because a burl has a lot of knots and gnarly growth patterns, it is often cut into slabs and used as a top for a small table. The knots in the grain make a beautiful design and you’ll see these tables lacquered or varnished to give the table a high-gloss finish.

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But follow me down the path into the woods and let’s go see Little Qualicum Falls.003

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From the middle of Vancouver Island, when you drive from the east coast of the island to the west coast, you’ll come to Cameron Lake, a very deep lake next to a winding road that can be treacherous in the wintertime. Little Qualicum Falls is a camping area on the east end of Cameron Lake and if you wind your way beside the long, long lake to the other end of it, you’ll come to MacMillan Park (or more commonly called Cathedral Grove by the locals).

One of the trees in this park is over 800 years old. A sign says that when Columbus came to North America in 1492, this tree was already about 300 years old. It is taller than the famous leaning Tower of Pisa.

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The trees cling to any grip they can find to keep their feet firmly on (and in) the ground, so watch your step.035But sometimes in a big windstorm, some unfortunates may topple and their roots will reach up, wondering where the ground went. This tree root has been filled in by sandy soil from the blowing dust of many years, and possibly tamped down by many a footstep. I would guess that the footsteps have been made, in large part, by  children needing to go up to see the lizard-like creature face to face. Do you see him standing up on the right of the sand-filled roots?029Last but not least, I must show off my very sweet 93-year-old mother-in-law as she investigates the hollow cedar tree. If she went into the hollow of the tree, she would disappear inside – it is that big.

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The Cathedral Grove trees never fail to impress.


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Hope Springs Eternal

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Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander PopeAn Essay on Man

I know these lines are not about spring, but I’ve been hoping for spring to come for so long that when the words got a bit jumbled in my brain, I thought of this poem. Pope has me totally confused with his big words all thrown into four lines seemingly at random, but I gather that he too, was waiting, hoping, for something.

I thought maybe the words would make more sense if they were realigned a bit to say:

Hoping for spring eternally is this human beast,

Just when she thinks it’s coming, the day warms up the least.

Her soul is uneasy, inactive too long,

Oh why is the weatherman always wrong?

—  Anneli W.(without) Hope, from “A Messy-Essay of a Woman”

I’m hopeful though. Spring is a time of new beginnings, a time for love. And here are two lips just for you. I found this tu-lip in my garden today.

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And here is a shrub that thinks it is quintessential to bringing spring. The quince bush. I started out with one plant but it has definitely had at least quints since I planted it.

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And now, here comes my punishment for being so pessimistic about the late arrival of spring. No, that is not Mount Fuji. This mountain of a cloud came to tower over my house just to remind me not to get too happy about the bit of (cold) sunshine we had today. No mountain is hiding under that cloud. It is all rainwater, waiting for me to say the word when I want my flowers and my new cedar hedge watered. Notice the cloud is white though? That’s so I don’t lose heart altogether about spring’s impending arrival.

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May it come soooooooooooon!