wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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After the Snow

Screaming winds ripped through the fir trees when they were still laden with snow. The weight of the snow and the push of the wind was too much for some branches. It will take some sawing to make this branch manageable in pieces for the yard cleanup.

But all is not doom and gloom. See the black creature between the trunks of the trees? She’s having fun.

Here is  closer look.

Sorry. All we can see is her hind end. The front part of her body, especially the nose and front paws, are busy investigating whatever smells so good inside that old tree stump. It will be bath night tonight … again!

I can smell it in that stump,

Is it mouse or ratty’s rump?

Something yummy for my tummy,

Hope it hasn’t turned too gummy.

 

What care I if full of soil,

In the house the rugs I spoil?

I won’t cower in the shower,

Splashing water gives me power.

 

People love me even dirty,

They make kissing noise all flirty,

They will hug me, it won’t bug me,

Better clean though, soft and snuggly.

***** Please visit annelisplace for writing tips. Today we have more troublesome words explained.

 


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A Harsh Surprise

The skiff of snow we had the other day was just the prelude to get us in tune for the magnum opus.

Some snow for Christmas was a fine seasonal touch, even if it was a bit hard on the birds, but the snowfall we had in the last two days, coupled with a drastic drop in temperatures and an increase in NW wind – well, let’s just say I’m praying for the return of my old friends, wind and rain.

Since the Arctic winds are coming from the north or northwest, I decided to put more birdseed on the leeward side of the house. Out of the wind, the picnic blanket won’t blow away or freeze to the ground as readily.

So, not being particularly house proud, I sprinkled bird seed liberally by my front door and in the dry edges near the house on the south and east sides.

Emma can’t believe her eyes. So many birds. You know she’s a “bird dog” but that is not supposed to apply to songbirds. She’s in shock that birds are right there on the other side of the glass – you know, that glass beside the door where she always looks out when she’s left behind.

“Wow!” she says. “A varied thrush!” And she tells herself to stop drooling.

“Oh, it’s you again,” says Vera Thrush. “You should stop poking your nose into the glass pane. You’re mucking it all up with noseprints.”

“On second thought,” thinks Vera, “I should maybe check out another area and come back later when that maniac killer dog is having a nap. But … does she ever sleep?” Vera turns to go. “Better safe than sorry…. Hmmpf! Can’t believe I said that. Such a cliché.”

Vera’s feathers fluff up soft,

Keeping warmer air aloft

Trapped beside her chilly skin,

She will not let winter in.

 

Hard to fathom so much cold,

Although pretty to behold,

But the chill is not a thrill,

It is often known to kill.

 

Thankfully, the seeds are spread,

All around the front door tread,

Even though they don’t belong,

Matters more that we stay strong.

 

First comes need and then decor,

Later we’ll clean up the door,

But we’ll wait till Emma’s busy

So she won’t get in a tizzy.

 

All these seeds are such a gift

Hard to find them in a drift,

Front door feeding works just fine,

Think I’ll grab some, make them mine.

 

 

 


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Under Cover

A few nights ago, while I snuggled under the covers, the outside world was also being put under a cover — from freshly fallen snow.

The hummingbird feeder I had taken down to be out of the wind on the exposed deck, was no longer nestled among the branches that the birds used to love to sit on. (See the photo below). It had become a snow trap. Any bird venturing into the maze of bent down boughs might get a snow shower which, in the case of a tiny hummingbird, could be fatal. I had some work to do but I fixed up a place for the hummingbirds to feed safely.

The regular birdfeeders needed a place that was safe from the Steller’s jays who would gobble up the whole contents of the feeder. I had found a place in the branches of the filbert (hazelnut) tree.  But then it snowed. Can you find the feeder to the left of the tree trunk and about four feet off the ground? The birds were happy to scratch up spilled seeds under the tree.

The Steller’s jay is quite the bully no matter where I put the seeds.

Pretty as the snow is, I worry about my poor little animals out there, scratching for enough food to keep warm and stay alive.

 

Last night the air was oh, so cold,

It chilled me to the bone,

My sparrow girlfriend, oh so bold,

Was shivering on her phone.

 

She called her snowbird friends last night,

They’d almost all flown south,

And she was wishing that they might

Have messaged her by mouth.

 

She’d gladly be in warmer climes,

While leaving me behind,

Their happy chirps melodic chimes,

As sunshine they did find.

 

But here in Lotus Land of North,

The snow moved in and covered us,

To find some food we must go forth,

Lest heavy branches smother us.

 

The hedge and shrubs have been a boon

But still we have to eat

And battling jays from morn till noon

Is always quite a feat.

 

Those greedy birds take so much food,

They spill what they don’t need,

We have to fight the whole darn brood,

So we can get some feed.

 

My girlfriend had the right idea,

To call her friends who left,

But if she’d gone, I sadly fear,

I would have been bereft.

 

Together we will pick at seeds,

To bolster up our strength,

Then later when we’ve met our needs,

I’ll cuddle her at length.


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Heat, Rain, and Rainbows

After weeks of hot, dry weather, the cooler days of autumn are so welcome. The grass that was yellow and breaking off if anyone walked on it, is breathing a huge sigh of relief. With each little rainfall, it has greened up slightly. Now, it is getting a really good soaking as the skies opened up and torrents of water dumped out.


And of course, I ran for the shovel  when this rainbow appeared. I’m still looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sunny days are wonderful,

Warmth upon our skin,

All the flowers colourful,

Happy I have been.

 

But the sun shone every day,

Scorching every leaf,

Who would think we’d ever say,

Soon we’ll need relief.

 

People smiling through their sweat,

Lied and said, “How nice,”

Still they hoped that rain we’d get,

Even hail or ice.

 

Yet the sun just shone and shone,

As we watched the sky,

Secret rituals going on,

Rain dance on the sly.

 

Finally our wish came true,

Heavens opened wide,

Soaking people through and through,

As they ran to hide.

 

Rainbow glows in every shade,

Colours shining bold,

Hurry! Go and get that spade,

Dig that pot of gold.

.


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The Reluctant Fireplace

This huge stone fireplace was meant to give comfort on a chilly evening. Originally it was without the gas insert. The firebox was roomy and deep and the wood fire gave a cozy feeling. The problem was that just on that kind of night when the wind was howling and the rain pelting down, the chimney allowed gusts to blast down it, blowing smoke back into the house.

A gas fireplace insert was the solution. We decided on a Jotul brand, which allowed for the best fit, and prepared the gas lines and the electric cables for running the fan.

The next step was to install the Jotul insert that the company ordered for us. When it arrived, so did trouble. It had been damaged in shipping.

“No problem,” they told us. “We’ll order another one from our supplier’s warehouse. It’ll be here in less than a week.”

“That’s okay,” we said. “It’s only March, and summer is coming. We just want it to be ready for when winter comes.”

The big day came, sometime in April. Time to unload it. “Oops! This one is damaged too. We’ll order another one, but there are no more in the warehouse; it will have to come from Maine. It could take a couple of weeks.”

The stove arrived, and …. Yup! You guessed it. It was damaged in transit. Another stove was ordered. Now we had to get in line. Seems there was a backup on orders.

Finally, in late July, the stove arrived — right in the middle of our big heat wave. But at least, this time, it was not damaged.

To burn off the  new metal and some of the chemicals from the stove, we let it run for a few minutes. All the while, our air conditioner was working overtime to compensate.

But at last, we had the prospect of some cozy winter mornings by the fire.

It only took four months. I’m glad we started early.


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The Nice Light

At a certain time of the evening, the last rays of the sun paint a golden glow on the tall firs. We call it “the nice light” when that happens. The morning light is similar, but the glow isn’t as warm as the evening light.

Stand tall, fellows, ready then?

Here comes that nice light again.

Soak it up and feel its glow,

Soon enough, cold winds will blow.

 

Soothing warmth and light for growth,

What good luck to have them both,

Cloudless evenings are the best,

As the sun sinks in the west.

 

When the cold days come again,

We will stand through wind and rain.

Strength to keep harsh days at bay,

Comes from warming light today.


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Getting Rid of the Evidence

Orson, the Oregon junco, has found a sunny spot to rest.

“Ooooh! This is so toasty on my body. The sun has warmed the railing. It feels glorious after so much cold wind.”

“Ahh … this is SO nice! I’ll get some of that warmth on my throat too. Oh, my goodness, that is so wonderful.”

“Oops! Excuse me. Nature calls. I’m trying to be modest, turning my back, but why do I have the feeling I’m on Candid Camera?”

“Hmm … the evidence … it’s still there. What to do? What to do? Oh, no! I’m such a birdbrain.”

“I just can’t have anyone pointing an accusing feather, saying it was me. They’ll probably put it on Twitter.  Still, I needn’t worry. If they put anything on Twitter, the birds would be canceled for expressing an unpopular opinion. Meanwhile, only one thing to do and that’s flee the scene of the crime.”

The evidence was left behind, but before a half hour passed by, the heavens opened up and the whole deck was full of evidence. Well … it looked like more evidence.

Loads of evidence covered the railing as a freak hailstorm blew in and then out again as quickly as it had come. Orson was spared many accusations, and he felt a lot lighter.

 


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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.


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Blue Moon on Halloween

No, the moon is not blue. More like blurry, because of the clouds. But it is called a blue moon (and many other names) when a full moon happens twice in one month. The moon would have to be full on the first and the thirty-first of a month, and that would make it a relatively rare occurrence.

This time, it happens to be on October 31st, Halloween.

Halloween will be different this year because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Trick-or-treating is being discouraged, and to be honest, I don’t want the munchkins coming to my door, no matter how sweet their costumes are. I don’t want to be picking up the virus at the door and then passing it on to my elderly family members.

The kids can have fun in other ways, just this once, until we get the virus under control. I know that missing out on trick-or-treating is survivable because I’ve done it.

So here is my story.

When I was very young, we lived in Germany. On All Saints’ Eve (what we call Hallowed Eve – or Halloween here in North America), my mother took me by the hand and we visited the town cemetery. My grandfather, who had died of cancer at the young age of 75, was buried there. I loved my grandfather and he loved me, so there was nothing spooky about going to visit his resting place. Several other village people were also visiting the graves of loved ones, and most brought candles in coloured glass containers to place on the graves. The cemetery was neat and well kept up. With the many lights glowing on the graves, the whole place was peaceful. I remember feeling close to my beloved grandfather and in awe of the pretty lights. The hushed conversation of other visitors showed their respect for their lost loved ones.

We came to Canada soon after that, when I was six years old. The following year, on Halloween, I heard about all the kids going out trick-or-treating. This would be fun! But my enthusiasm had cold water thrown on it when my mother laid down the law and said, “No child of mine is going door to door begging for candy.”

“But it’s not like that,” I whined. No amount of fussing would change her mind. For the next four years she stuck to her guns and our family became the weird ones that didn’t believe in Halloween.

By the time I was 11, she relented. She was beginning to understand that it wasn’t about begging. My younger brother and I were allowed to go out to a few houses on the block to trick-or-treat.

On the afternoon of the 31st, the radio told of a severe windstorm that was due to hit at six p.m. We didn’t really believe it. Not a breath of wind. We put on our costumes and got our goodie bags ready. As we tried to go out the door at six o’clock, we wondered why it wouldn’t open. We pushed against it and had to get our mother to help. As soon as she opened the door, it ripped out of her hand and slammed against the side of the house. The big windstorm had hit us at exactly 6 p.m. My mother yanked us back inside lest we might blow away, and pronounced, “You can’t go out in this. It’s too dangerous.”

Fast forward to the next Halloween when I was 12. I had grown into a tall skinny girl, but inside that gangly body lived a child who had yet to experience trick-or-treating. We trooped out with our goodie bags, anticipation ratcheted up into high gear. At the first house, we called “Trick or treat.” The owner came to the door and said to me, “Getting a bit old to be doing this, aren’t you? It’s supposed to be for little kids.”

I was glad I had a mask on so he couldn’t see me fighting not to cry.

I never went trick-or-treating again, and I suppose I have a warped idea of what Halloween is about. When I see scary spiders, monsters, ghosts and vampires flitting around neglected cemeteries, it is not something I find easy to relate to. My grandfather’s cemetery was clean and cared for. It had a manicured hedge and clean gravel paths between well-tended graves. It was not a scary thing to visit him. The North American version of Halloween jarred when I compared it to my first experiences of All Saints’ Eve.

Still, customs vary, and I’ve learned to accept that Halloween is not all bad. Most people love it and they are not easily scared by the horror they conjure up to celebrate this holiday.

I don’t like horror shows. They give me nightmares. I’m a wimp. I don’t begrudge others having fun, but I find it hard to get into the creepy spirit.

A tame Halloween is fine for me. Give me the pumpkin pie and a taste of that chocolate bar from the goodie bag, but keep the spiders away from me.

If you’d like to see posts on copy-editing horrors, please visit my other blog.


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Groundhog Day

The weather gods must have heard me saying all we get is wind and rain – and okay, a little bit (a lot) of snow – so they decided to send us something different just for a bit of variety.

Is it ice for the birds to put in their drinks?  We could have a party for the birds! Maybe these are tiny marshmallows for their dessert?

Then so many of these icy particles came down that it was way more ice or marshmallows than we needed for the party. And all this, just a day after I noticed the “daffy dolls.”

Things got serious when the wind came up at the same time, causing chaos at the bird feeding station.

Oh, where is spring? I hear many of the Canadian groundhogs saw their shadow today and we’ll have six more weeks of winter. Others disagreed. I hope the others are right. I like to cheer for the under hog.

Please visit my website if you need more winter reading until spring comes for keeps.

http://www.anneli-purchase.com