wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Help Yourself

This spring, a friend gave me some started sunflowers to plant in my garden. I had never had success with them, mainly because the wind often knocked them down as soon as they got more than a couple of feet tall.  This time I planted them by the fence and tied the young plants to it as they grew.

Now they are taller than I am and besides making me happy whenever I look at them, they are making the birds in my yard happy.

I had been feeling guilty about not refilling the feeder this summer, but I hadn’t wanted to attract hawks (as I’ve done other years) and inadvertently killing the very birds I wanted to feed. I decided I could always fill the feeders when the weather got cooler and food became scarce.

But the nuthatches had other ideas. They’re used to helping themselves and somehow they knew that the sunflower seeds were ready to eat.

I had a very hard time getting any pictures of them because they are so fast, but here are a couple of photos that are not as blurry as the 40+ others that I deleted.

You may have to search for the little guys. They blend right in with the greens and grays of the garden.

It gives me a headache just looking at them hanging onto the stems upside down. When was the last time you sat upside down to eat?

I guess the Captain will have to do without his toasted, salted sunflower seeds, unless he buys them in the store.


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Seedy Saturday

I have been saving seeds for over 35 years. I always looked forward to seeing the descendants of my plants growing. The long line of repeated generations became like old friends. Recently I found out that there is a whole cult of seed saving going on out there.

What a great discovery! Besides planting my own saved seeds this year, I will plant seeds from other seed saving gardeners.

Just look at the crowd of gardeners looking for something special at Seedy Saturday in Qualicum on Vancouver Island.

Seed companies offer their time-proven seeds each at their tables set up in the big hall, but off in a smaller room are the seeds that other seed savers (local gardeners) have packaged up for sale. At 50 cents a package, it is a bargain.

On my wish list, were two plants that I wanted to find seeds for, but I really didn’t get my hopes up too high. I knew the chances were slim. I was looking for seeds of poblano peppers. These dark green medium hot peppers are  popular in Mexico but outrageously expensive to buy here.

I was also looking for seeds of a dark-skinned (black) tomato like the ones I had eaten for the first time last summer after a friend gave me some as a gift.

 

I was thrilled to see that the first two packages of seeds I came across were poblano peppers and black-skinned tomatoes. What are the chances?!

Then a local gardener gave a talk, and although I had been gardening for many years, I was happy to learn several new gardening tips.

I also learned of a new (to me) type of potato (Sieglinde) that I will try this year, along with my tried and true Norgolds, Kennebecs, and red Pontiacs.

Here is my happy stash of purchases all for a grand total of $10. I’m a cheap date!

Now where is that warm weather?


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Winter Apples

As it snowed heavily all around today, the Captain brought in some of this fall’s apples we had stored in our workshop. How bright they look against the snow. I think the smaller red one on the left is a MacIntosh, and the other three are called Wilmuta, which is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. The Wilmuta is a great winter apple. It matures in October and keeps well in a cool place. What a treat to see them today in a January snowfall. The rest of my garden is asleep under the snow, but the apples are still edible after a sleep in the workshop.

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What sleeps in winter garden beds?

Some kale and wilted lettuce heads,

Carrots tasty, shriveled chard,

In soil that’s frozen very hard.

The chives are shivering with cold,

But in the springtime they’ll be bold

And send up shoots that say to me

Your salad’s where I’d like to be.

One day the sun will warm the soil

And Anne-li will go out and toil

Turning over weedy dirt

While working in her short-sleeved shirt.

She’s anxiously awaiting spring

So she can go and do her thing.

 

 

 


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Harvest Moon

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A full moon in the autumn of the year can have many names (full moon, hunter’s moon, and others), but my favourite is “harvest moon.”  Something in that name appeals to the farmer/gardener in me.

I have always loved the feeling of  bringing something in from the garden (besides the dirt on my boots), whether it’s fruit or vegetables I grew, or a few eggs my chickens laid, or some blackberries that grew wild in the backyard. It’s the same feeling I get when I find mushrooms in the woods, or catch a trout for supper.

I think I would have been a good pioneer, but I’m thankful that I don’t have the hard life they had. It’s much easier to enjoy my modern-day hobby gardening and then sit back in my comfortable home and be content.

Here is the kind of meal I appreciate: squash, carrots, potatoes, and chard from my garden, and a lovely trout given to me by a friend. This meal was enjoyed out on the patio near the end of summer.

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May we always remember how fortunate we are, give thanks, and help others.

 


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The Birds and the Bees

 

Like mini Viking trolls, these skinny  guys with blond beards and orangey-red helmets are the sentinels guarding my veggie garden.014The reddish helmets are loaded in something the birds and the bees find irresistible. I have no idea what it is inside those round petals, but it seems to make for good slurping.

What’s keeping this hummingbird from having his breakfast smoothie?

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Should I risk it?

Maybe it’s the little fellow who is already at the breakfast table that is giving our hummer pause.

017aA gaggle of curious redheads leans out of bed, trying to see what’s happening around the corner.

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“Do you see anything?’ “Well, maybe I could if you’d get your big head out of my way.”

But cooler heads will prevail.

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“Stay in your bed, Dah-lings. I’ll be the judge of who has the right-of-way – the bee or the hummingbird.”

How hungry is he? Will he risk being stung? Or maybe he’s not worried at all, since he’s pretty fast and so much bigger than the bee. Oh look! I think he’s going for it.

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Looks like it was worth the wait.