Category Archives: Douglas fir

Ups and Downs

Great excitement in the front yard. Linc came back for a visit. Who is Linc? If you haven’t met Lincoln the young rascal, you can visit the two blog posts with the links (unavoidable pun) below. Linc doesn’t sit still very long and he’s awfully lippy, scolding me the whole time as I tried to get his picture. He wouldn’t let me get very close so he looks fuzzier than he is in real life, due to being zoomed in on before he zoomed off.

Here are the links of his previous visits.

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/06/26/lincoln-the-delinquent/

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/07/20/linc-is-back/

Sitting under a Douglas fir, Linc contemplates his find.

The hazelnuts from the nearby trees are nearly ripe. Linc checks out the best way to get into the nut.

He savours the flavour.

Best to find a safer place to eat this.

“Oops! There’s Anneli. I’d better run around to the back of the tree.”

“I didn’t intend to go up that high. Getting dizzy!”

“Eek! I’d better put on the brakes before I do a somersault.”

“On second thought, I’m safer up here. The sky’s the limit.”

Lincoln, having made a find

Struggles to make up his mind,

Up the tree and down the tree,

From up top you sure can see.

There’s a lady down below

Hoping for a picture show.

“What about the nut I’ve found

By the tree down on the ground?

Surely she won’t want it back,

It was very hard to crack.

She has plenty in  her yard,

And for me the winter’s hard.

I don’t think she’s mad at me

Fallen hazelnuts are free 

Just in case though, I will run

Way up high towards the sun.

I will scamper up this tree.

Hide beneath its canopy.

Then I’ll chatter and I’ll scold

And she’ll know that I am bold.

She will write another post

‘Bout the squirrel she loves the most.”

Let Me Tell You!

 

I’m a red-shafted northern flicker. I happened to flick through the pages of Anneli’s latest book, “Marlie.” It took me back to a time when I made a return flight up to the northern coast of BC. I flew across to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), but the weather up there is something else, let me tell you! I nearly blew all the way to China in that windstorm.

On Graham Island near the fishing village of Masset, I ended up gripping a hemlock branch. In one wind gust, a lovely lady on the cover of Anneli’s book flew by and got hung up on the branches too. Since I was already gripping the branch, I grabbed it and thought, “How fitting!”  I’d read it before and it was  a gripping story.

When I read it, did I ever have my eyes opened. Let me tell you! Here’s Marlie, this lovely lady, newly arrived on the islands just like me, trying to make her way all by herself, just like me, and she ends up struggling not to give up on living in the new place, just like me.

I flickered through some more pages. Well! This smarmy artist fellow (I’d seen him around town looking like a charming beach boy – can’t stand the type myself), came onto Marlie. She’s a looker, let me tell you! But she’s too kind for her own good. Finds it hard to say no. And when she finally does say no – screams it, in fact (I heard her all the way to my tree in the woods near the beach) –  it doesn’t do her any good.

Now what?! She’s so much like me. She can’t go home  and admit she’s a failure. Like me, she just got here. We have to stick together. So when I found out what happened, I flew over to the dumpy trailer she was renting and imagined that I whispered in her ear, “Never mind. There are other people in the world besides those beach boy types. No one else knows what happened in the woods. Just do like me. Fly away and mend for a while. Maybe you’ll meet a friend. I know a fisherman. Handsome fellow and very capable. Good person.”

But, to be honest, I wasn’t sure they were suited. Marlie’s politics are a bit left-wing (government job, you know) and this fisherman, Brent, I’m sure is far right, being in business for himself. You never know, though. They say opposites attract.

“I’ll fly over to his fishboat in the Masset harbour,” I imagined telling Marlie, “and sit on the crossbar of his mast. I’ll get his attention, doing what birds do  in the rigging. I’ll drop some ‘e-mail’ down to him and when he looks up, I’ll tell him about you. Maybe I’ll drop the book cover image down to him so he can see how pretty you are.

“I’ll put a bug in his ear,” (Ha ha, I have some real juicy ones, let me tell you), “and then the rest is up to you.”

By the way, you lovely followers of Anneli’s blog, if you need a book to read during Christmas break (or any time) you can find Marlie on amazon (just type in the title) and on smashwords.com if you have an e-reader other than Kindle.

You will love it, let me tell you!  And so inexpensive. Less than the price of a hamburger, but fifty times as good, it lasts a long time and not on your thighs either.

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Thank  you all for indulging me. My book is just out and I’m a bit excited about it. I won’t hit you up about it all the time. I think I’ve got that out of my system now – for a while anyway.

I wish all of you a very happy Christmas season and hope 2018 is good to you.

See you in the next year or maybe sooner.

 

Large Flakes?

Looking out the window this afternoon, I saw huge snowflakes. Or were they leaves? But they were floating so easily, like snow. More and more flakes came down, and yet, not enough to say, “It’s snowing,” and besides, it was just a tad too warm. Something didn’t feel right. I went to investigate.

I picked up some of the “snowflakes” and saw that they were feathers. They kept falling from the sky. I thought of the German folk tale about Frau Holle who shakes the featherbeds (goosedown duvets, in our modern western world) in the sky and makes it snow.

I traced the path of the feathers to their origin and strained my eyes to study the top reaches of a fir tree. For a few minutes I saw nothing, but at last I made the culprit nervous.

A huge eagle took off from the tree with its dinner in its talons.

I knew from the feathers that the eagle’s meal was a duck. The harsh reality of  life and death in the animal food chain always leaves me with mixed feelings. Both are beautiful birds, but why does one have to eat the other? Couldn’t they just eat pancakes instead?

 

 

Seize the Moment, Seize the Camera

 

I was lying in bed awake, thinking, “Five o’clock. Too early to get up. Still dark!”

But my mind was nagging me to make some changes to the manuscript of my latest novel (work in progress), so I sneaked over to my laptop and worked on those changes. I was so engrossed in the writing, I barely noticed that daylight had crept in. As I looked out the window, I saw what you see here below.  If I had hesitated I would have missed it.

My first thought when I saw this sudden light on the trees, was “Wham!” and then, “Morning has broken.”

 

Luckily the camera was handy and I seized the moment. Seconds later, the fir went back to its dark green colour and that’s how it stayed all day.

It got me thinking about how close I came to missing that photo, missing the sight completely. What if I’d stayed in bed like millions of normal people were doing? I would have missed this splendid light show.

Life is full of gems like this, that we might miss out on if we don’t seize the moment.

Quilting Retreat

Anybody who loves to quilt or sew, knows that it’s a time-consuming job. Often we have to leave our sewing to deal with everyday chores like cooking and cleaning. Even answering the phone takes us away from  projects we’re working on and the momentum is often lost. This could be why so many quilters have UFOs (unfinished objects) in their sewing rooms. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could just take a step back from regular chores and concentrate only on our quilting projects?

If you belong to a quilting guild that books a place like Camp Homewood on Quadra Island (a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island), you might make that dream a reality. Imagine four days for yourself. All you have to do is eat, sleep, sew, and maybe go for a little walk now and then to stretch your legs.

This building is the main lodge for the camp. About 40 quilters from the Schoolhouse Quilters’ Guild have booked in here to work on their sewing projects.

Sewing machines, boxes of fabrics and sewing notions, folding tables, irons, bedding, toiletries, and clothing are unloaded at the main door on the left. From there the sewing  equipment is taken into the main part of the building where the women (no men this time) set up their machines and tables. The bedding and clothing is taken to individual rooms that have been assigned at registration time, weeks earlier.

 

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My friend and I slept in rooms in the guest house below tucked under a canopy of Douglas firs. It’s a short walk, maybe 100 yards, from the main lodge. But most of our time was spent in the big building working on our sewing projects.014

Below you can see the newer addition of the lodge. Huge windows have been placed all around to take advantage of the fantastic view on the front.

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Let’s climb up the steps on the far right of the building. Just inside this door we set up our sewing machines. Once in a while we might glance up and see a gorgeous view of the salt water passageways and small islands. On a clear day, the mountains are visible in the distance, but not today.

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Stepping out onto the deck on the front of the building, this is the view that greets you and bathes you in peace for the next four days.

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In the next post I’ll show you some of the work the quilters have done during their stay at this quiet retreat.

 

Spring Has Sprung

I’ve been impatiently awaiting signs of spring this year. I don’t have many daffodils in the yard, but this bunch always comes up in the same spot at the side of the driveway. Daffodils make me think of my mother because many years ago, as a new Canadian, she could never get the name right and always called them daffy-dolls. It still makes me smile today.

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I find the narcissus prettier, but I don’t have many of these either. Just this one precious bunch.

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The sun was out for a change, so I rushed around taking a few quick pictures. The azalea shrub I bought for $5 at Buckerfield’s Feed Store over twenty years ago is still going strong. Buckerfield’s, sadly, is not. They went out of business a long time ago.

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The primroses are a gift from a friend who was getting rid of extras. They seem happy here. Thank you, friend.

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I was about to put the camera away when I noticed that “the nice light” had come out. So I have to include a couple more photos with the evening sun shining on the trees. The maple is just getting its first leaves. This winter was cool, damp, and dark, and the moss on its bark grew rampantly.

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The firs that strike terror into my chicken-heart when they sway and roar during storms look beautiful today with the warm setting sun on them.

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I was about to come back into the house when I saw that I’d been watched – for quite some time, judging by the steamy glass pane on the screen door.

“What are you doing out there?” she asks. “Can anybody play?”

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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.