wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Prowlers

Smoke from California wildfires is back again. This is the sun in the late afternoon.

Hours later, I saw the full moon rise, looking just as red.

I didn’t know whether to open or close the sliding glass door for the night, but decided on a compromise, half open.

Once the moon was gone, the household was asleep in pitch dark. Emma’s sudden sharp barking had me leaping out of bed. After shushing her, I stood by the open deck door, listening. Scritchety-scratch, scrabbling came from the nearby fir trees. I got the flashlight out and discovered the prowlers. Two of them!

They weren’t shy. I know they’ve been here before. This time they were after the hazelnuts that Lincoln hadn’t managed to steal yet. The Captain held the light while I snapped the picture.

In the morning I found new holes dug in the grass. I felt guilty about having accused the rabbits of making those holes a few weeks ago, but maybe they were all guilty of having digging parties. Not sure what they were digging for, but they could get jobs on an open-pit mine site.


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Flicker

What is he thinking?

Anybody home?

This house is for a gnome,

Inside what will I find?

Something left behind?

Perhaps I’ll find a stash,

Hidden oh so rash,

A home that’s for a squirrel,

Behind this bumpy burl?

Perhaps a juicy bug,

I’d better give a tug.

Shelter from a storm,

Although it’s not the norm.

Good to find this hole,

Might someday save my soul.

Writers, please have a look at my other blog for the occasional writing tips and book posts. You never know if there might be something to help you with your writing.


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Apostrophes

If you are a writer and would like to find out more about how to use apostrophes correctly, please visit my other site: https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/apostrophes-commas-in-the-air/

Common mistakes I see when copy-editing

Apostrophes

Many people confuse the purpose of apostrophes in their writing. So when should you use an apostrophe? 

Read more at annelisplace


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Valor

It’s good to have a hobby. In the case of the Captain, fly fishing is no longer just a hobby, it’s … well … to use his father’s words, “an obsession.”  But when you’re obsessed with something, and you do it a lot, you get to be good at it.  Fishing from the beach in the fall when the cohos are hovering nearby, is one of the big thrills of the Captain’s life.

Photo by Ken Thorne

Here is a coho, thumbing his nose at the Cap, just after the line has been laid. Chances are good that this very salmon might swim near where the Cap has gently landed a fly he has tied. The coho won’t be able to help himself. He’ll snap at the fly and then wonder why he is being  dragged slowly towards the shore, no matter how hard he fights to swim the other way.

Photo by Ken Thorne

But things are not always so easy. Sometimes the Cap arrives at his favourite beach to find that it is already occupied. It’s a family having a picnic. Mama Bear is near the shore, easily turning over 70+-pound rocks with one flick of her wrist, to expose little rock crabs that scurry for cover after they get over the shock of the sudden daylight. Mama Bear grunts for her two cubs to come have breakfast. See the second cub way over on the right, by the big log?

This day, the Cap putters on a little farther in his skiff to find another beach. Mama Bear can get a bit tetchy over unexpected company coming near her cubs.

This photo was taken by the Cap with his point-and-click Fuji. A bit blurry, but it’s the best that tiny camera can do.

The Cap gets up very early to take his place on the beach, but apparently bears get up even earlier, and since they are bigger than he is, he abides by the well-known saying, “Discretion is the better part of valor.”


36 Comments

Saving Seeds

Five years ago when we were in Montana on our annual trip, Mick, a farmer friend gave us two buttercup squashes he’d grown. He suggested we could cook them in the microwave in our trailer. They were so good that I decided to save the seeds and bring them home. I’m glad I did. I am still growing Mick’s “Montana squashes” now, five years later, and they taste of good Montana memories.

I harvested a squash today and cut it in half. I scooped out the center and separated the soft tissue from the seeds.

Then I washed the seeds in cold water and scooped them out leaving much of the gooey protective mush behind. I dabbed them dry on a paper towel and set them outside in a warm place to dry off for a few hours before bringing them inside out of the damp night air.

I peeled the two halves of squash and cut them into wedges to pre-cook in the microwave for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped a cooking onion and sauteed it in a frying pan.

I added the partially cooked squash pieces and cooked them slowly until they were golden brown on both sides. For spices I kept it simple: salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of some green herb (this time it was savoury, but I’ve tried others – like oregano or thyme – and found them to be quite nice too).

In the photo below the squash is not completely browned yet but one or two pieces in the center are starting to get brown and have been flipped over.  I use a generous amount of butter so the pieces don’t stick.

When the seeds are completely dry, I store them in a jar in a cool, dry place. I found out that these squashes like me a lot. When I am not diligent enough to do everything right, the bits that I’ve put into the compost over the winter will sprout in early spring if I throw shovelfuls of the composted soil around the garden.

These buttercup plants started to grow as soon as I threw the shovelful of composted soil onto the ground. It’s a bit late for them this year but I’ll keep it in mind to start some of the volunteer compost seeds early in the spring next year.

Meanwhile, today we enjoy buttercup squash and think of our generous friend, Mick, in Montana.

I save seeds from all kinds of plants and am extra happy when they grow for me. I think it could someday become a very useful bit of knowledge to be able to save seeds for future crops.

Do you save seeds? Which are your favourites?


28 Comments

Remote Control – Not the Kind You’d Like

Stuck in a remote cove on the BC coast where Robert, her handsome new husband, had a cabin tucked away, Andrea had no connection to the life she’d left behind. Her family and friends had no idea that she was a prisoner in this isolated place. No phone, no radio, no other people, no one except Robert, and he was getting more psychotic every day.

Young and pretty, Andrea had come out west for adventure, leaving her family in Ontario. Her new West Coast friends had warned her to be careful of Robert, that he had some strange behaviours. But Andrea found this commercial fisherman charming. He swept her off her feet.

Bit by bit, he charmed her into a rushed marriage, and then, bit by bit, his true nature came out.

The cabin was remote and he had control.

Andrea soon had reason to fear for her life.  She had to get away, or die.  A strong, experienced woodsman would find escape from this place challenging, whether by land or by sea. Certainly, it was daunting for a naive city girl. The woods were home to cougars, bears, and wolves, and what if she got lost?  But desperation gave her courage. She would rather die trying to escape than to risk another day with Robert.

 

You can read about Andrea’s story in Book One, The Wind Weeps, on sale for only $.99 on amazon now.

 

Book Two, Reckoning Tide, is the sequel, available on amazon for only $2.94.

Why not give yourself a treat? Give your e-reader a workout.

If you don’t have a Kindle you can always order the books at smashwords.com.


36 Comments

Easy Snacking Bread

Have you ever wished you had some little treat to offer a friend to go with that cup of tea or coffee you’re offering? No cookies or squares in the freezer? Here’s something that you can make ahead and freeze for any time. Now that I think about it, this would go well with beer or wine as well.

A bread machine helps but you can still mix, knead, and let the dough rise in the usual way. I’ve become lazy and use my bread machine all the time. This is a regular white bread recipe, but I’ve added about half a cup of 12-grain mix and eased off on the flour by a quarter cup. You can use any recipe you like – whole wheat if you prefer it.

My basic bread recipe is at the end of the post.

I’ve cut the dough into two portions to roll out with the rolling pin and put each one on a buttered cookie sheet.

Then I added a clove of crushed garlic to about a quarter cup of olive oil in a little bowl and mixed it around. I brushed the oil mixture onto the flattened bread dough, and then sprinkled some powdered cumin on it. I made the cumin powder by putting cumin seeds in an old coffee grinder to pulverize them.

You can use any kind of herbs or spices, whatever suits your palate. That flour you see in the cup was only for sprinkling on the dough as I used the rolling pin. Sometimes the dough is stickier than other times. I was lucky this time and hardly needed any.

I was experimenting here, so I wasn’t sure whether to cut the dough before or after baking, but as it turned out, cutting it before was the better way to do it. You don’t have to cut it all the way through. Just a quick score will do it.

Then let the dough sit in a warm place for half an hour to an hour – until it puffs up a bit.

Bake it in a hot 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Because of the scoring, the pieces break apart easily. You can then eat them as they are or cut them open and add your favourite toppings (or none). The piece with the Jalapeño Havarti cheese slice on it was SO good!

When the bread is cool, you can put the pieces into Ziploc bags and freeze them for using any time. Before serving, putting them into the microwave for a few seconds will make them taste as if they just came out of the oven.

Standard Bread Recipe

2 cups milk (heated 2 minutes in the microwave – that should make it just warm enough to melt the butter but not kill the yeast)

2 Tbsp. honey (or sugar)

2 Tbsp. butter (or oil)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup 12-grain mix (optional)

5 cups flour (or quarter cup less if adding the 12-grain mix)

2 tsp. fast-rising yeast

Enjoy!


40 Comments

Dark Days, Dark Nights

I thought it was cloud cover and the potential for rain at last, but no such luck. This blanket of cloud was not made of water. Smoke from California wildfires filled our atmosphere all along the Canadian south coast, and inland through the southern half of British Columbia. The air quality rating goes to 10 but today it was 10+. It was darkish all day.

The sun tried to come out, but isn’t it supposed to be yellow? It was red! Just like it was two years ago when we had wildfires all over BC.

After a dark day, the pitch blackness of night set in, and I took the dogs outside for last call. Above me in those trees in picture one, sat Einstein, screeching to the Junior Professor who was someplace deeper in the woods. They shrieked to each other every 10 to 15 seconds.

For the video clip below, I tried to hold a flashlight in my left hand and the camera in my right, and somehow bring the camera’s lens to focus on the owl in the beam of light. Then came the challenge of turning the video button on with one hand.

Later when I looked at the video, I thought the owl was probably doing that circular motion with his head trying to follow the movement of the light and the camera, which  were casting about all over the place. As always, apologies for the blurriness, but it was pitch black and I was struggling to get a picture with both hands full. But you may be able to see the owl’s head swiveling around. Did you know they have a range of about 270 degrees? 360 makes a full circle.

Also, you can hear their shrieking, screeching call, so different from the soft hoo-hoo-hooing call they use later in the winter. Einstein must have gotten something on his bib from his last meal, or maybe it was pitch from the trees. He is pulling on it to tidy himself up for the camera.

Einstein, perched high in the tree,

Poses unafraid,

Lovely, big-eyed gorgeous me,

For the camera made.

Shrieks and screeches I can make

Scaring little mice,

Keeping nearby folks awake,

Judging by the lights.

Smoke-filled air will hide me more

When I’m on attack,

And while folks at last do snore,

I will nab my snack.


38 Comments

Lincoln’s Owie

I’m sometimes surprised by what I see after I upload photos – things I can’t see without the benefit of the zoom lens. Today I noticed that Lincoln was holding up his left arm in many of the photos I took of him.

I went back outside to see if I could get some better closeups and see if he had a hurt arm.

In the meantime he had gone to the filbert tree to help himself to more nuts and shortly after I snapped a picture of him in the woodshed with his stolen lunch, my camera’s battery went dead. But here is what I saw on the photo I managed to get.

Does it look to you like he has swollen pads on his left hand? Could it be that he got a yellow jacket sting? These wasps are everywhere just now, gorging on overripe plums that have fallen from the trees.

If that’s what it was, he will probably feel better in a day or two, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down his theft of the filberts.

Lincoln hurt his little hand,

A wasp was hidden in the sand,

As he ran across the lawn,

Lincoln’s peaceful day was gone.

Zap! The wasp attacked his palm,

Lincoln chattered, no more calm,

Darn that stings, it downright pains,

Setting back his daytime gains.

He had much more work to do,

Stashing food away for two.

Girlfriend Della to impress,

Winter stores must be the best.

Swollen hand, he just can’t stop,

Has to harvest this big crop,

While it lasts with food to find,

Late in winter, he won’t mind.

Anne-li tells him, worry not,

See the owie that she got,

Clearing thorny berry vines,

Wasps hid there, she heard their whines.

Out they came from bushes thick,

Stings of fire and very quick,

Near the eye and on the thigh,

Almost made this grown girl cry.

Sorry for your owie, Lincoln,

Tears of pain you’re surely blinkin’,

But tomorrow you’ll feel fine,

And on filberts you will dine.


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Puppy Love

Our friends have a new young dog. Although the breed originated in the US, it’s called an Australian Shepherd, so they named her Aussie. This puppy gets a lot of love, but she also gives it. When Aussie hears “I love you,” she says it right back. With our friends’ permission, I can show you a glimpse into the “I love you” conversation.

Here is our friend Glenda with Aussie on the beach.

It’s not always easy to get children to say their lines when you want them to, but Aussie finally does come up with her responses to the “I love you” prompt. Watch the short video clip below.

“I love you, Aussie, you’re so sweet,”

Her darling dog just waves her feet

Up in the air while on her back

As Glenda kisses with a smack.

“I love you Aussie,” that’s the phrase

The puppy loves to hear, this praise.

When Glenda’s words are whispered near,

Her Aussie says, “I love you, dear.”

Of course it’s done in doggie talk,

But she loves Glenda, she’s her rock.