wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Similkameen River

The Similkameen River flows east a long way from the mountains of E.C. Manning Park in British Columbia, to the *Okanagan fruit growing area in southern BC, where it turns south into the United States to  become the *Okanogan River south of Oroville, and from there to the mighty Columbia River which then flows west again to the Pacific while it forms the border between Oregon and Washington for much of the way between them.

*Okanagan (Canadian spelling)

*Okanogan (American spelling)

It can be a bit of a flood plain  in parts.

Does the river follow the highway, or does the highway follow the river?

 

Every time the highway bends,

And I’ve thought the river ends,

Then I see it once again,

Flowing past the rough terrain.

 

“Faithful follower, that you be,

Following me past rock and tree,

And you have so far to go.”

Says the river, “That I know.”

 

“I will twist and I will turn,

Shores of shrubbery and fern,

Gurgling over rocky places,

Where the little whitefish races.”

 

“Past the mountains and the streams,

Past the vineyards of my dreams,

I will hurry to the states,

Where the huge Columbia waits.”

 

“All together we will flow,

And we’ll put on quite a show.

At the western ocean shore,

You won’t know me anymore.”

 

“In the water system’s grasp,

Plunging in has made me gasp,

Sorry I’m not more specific,

But I’m in the great Pacific.”

 

 

 


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Squirrel Worries

You know I’m very partial to my friend Lincoln. Today the Captain called to me. “Lincoln’s right here in the tree by the woodshed. Bring your camera.”

I snapped a few pictures and it wasn’t until I uploaded them and had a closer (zoomed in) look that I saw the injuries to Lincoln’s arm and hip. I feel terrible to think he is suffering.

At first I thought he might have hurt his arm on a sharp branch, but then I saw the cut on his hip. It looks more like a claw or tooth or a beak might have done that.

In my previous post I mentioned the little animals that are hurt/killed in wildfires (unimaginable that human lives are also lost at times). I can’t see a wildfire image on TV without thinking about all the animals that succumb to the fire.

Even this little “owie” that Lincoln has, hurts me to think about. I hope he has a lot of hazelnuts stashed away and that he doesn’t feel cold or hungry while he’s mending.

I wish that I could capture him and take him to a vet,

Then take him home and put him in a tiny little bed.

I’d cover him with cedar boughs, a pillow made of down,

Some water in a walnut shell, a hazelnut so round.

 

I’d watch him and make sure his arm is healing as it should,

I’d have to stop him if he wanted to escape into the wood.

He’d soon be feeling well enough, and beat a quick retreat.

To scamper up and down the firs, and then his friends he’d meet.

 

“My Lincoln, dear,” his mom will say, “you worried me so much,

I’m overjoyed to have you back, to talk to you and touch.”

“I wasn’t being bad this time,” my Lincoln would explain.

“But something scratched and bit my arm, and gave me quite some pain.”

 

“Now don’t you worry, Mamakins, I’ll soon feel right as rain,

I’ll listen to you carefully, I won’t get bit again,

I’ll be more watchful after this, I promise to be good,

And I’ll stay close beside you in this lovely neighbourhood.”

 

 


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Mr. Lonely Pine

On our recent trip to Montana we saw nature at its fiercest; from fog to blizzards, rain and snow, to evidence of raging wildfires.

This region of eastern Washington is normally fairly dry, but a recent fire made it even drier. It may have been last year or longer ago that the fire went through here because the grass has had a chance to grow back.

A lucky few trees were left untouched by the fire. The rest were probably torches until their fuel burnt out.

Here is Mr. Lonely Pine, wondering where his friends have gone. Why, and how, was he spared?

What will happen to these acres of charred logs? It must take many years for them to fulfil the “ashes to ashes” ritual.

And someday the forest will regenerate and once again host insects, rodents, birds, reptiles, and small mammals (and a few big ones like these cattle).

But see how dry and long the grass is. The highway passes close by here. Be aware if you’re a smoker, and don’t toss out your cigarette butt, no matter how sure you are that it’s out.

 

They’ve named me Mr. Lonely Pine

And they are not so wrong,

I pine away and sometimes whine

If wind blows all day long.

 

I’m one of few surviving trees

Untouched by raging fire,

You should have seen it when the breeze

Whipped flames up even higher.

 

I stood in terror, trembling,

Of course I could not run,

So I began dissembling,

And twiddling my thumbs.

 

I squeezed my eyes shut, every branch

Was shivering in fright,

Next thing I knew, upon the ranch

The blaze burnt out that night.

 

And still alive I praised the gods

That spared me yet a while,

I wondered how I’d beat the odds,

I couldn’t help but smile.

 

I whispered like a pine must do

To coax the baby trees,

And soon they sprouted and they grew,

And now they’ve reached my knees.

 

I’m not so lonely anymore

These young ones chat with me,

And contrary to old folklore,

I talk, though I’m a tree.

 

I want to warn you if you drive,

A cigarette can kill,

To throw it out while it’s alive

Can burn the whole dang hill.

 

So let’s all take a bit of care

Bad endings you have seen,

If you are handling fire, beware

To keep our forests green.

 


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Winter’s Frosty Breath

It’s only October, but this farm scene would make a perfect Christmas card.

The shrubs in the distance have a frosting on them that is making the little ground squirrels living under them shiver.

Here is plenty of fuel to keep someone warm – someone far away, wherever this train is going.

The clumps of sagebrush and other grasses have been coated by winter’s frosty breath, giving them a designer look.

Did you ever mix up powdered laundry soap and water with an egg-beater and then dab the “snow” you made onto your Christmas tree? Then the decorations would be hung once the soapy snow had dried. These trees reminded me of doing that as a child. (I apologize for mentioning Christmas so early.)

The wintery air brings out the elves

They wait for dark or fog

So they can better hide themselves

Behind a nearby log.

The head elf orders laundry soap

The powdered kind is best

They spit in it and then they hope

That this will pass the test.

The soapy snow must be so thick

That it won’t dribble down

It must be right so it will stick

And give the tree its gown.

With sagey brush, like tiny brooms

They paint each branch with snow

The night is short, a new day looms

And all the elves must go.

If I’d been passing by last night

I’m sure I would have seen

But I’d have given them a fright

And I can’t be that mean.

And so I’ll just admire their trees

That look so pure and white

The elves are happy when they please

And know they’ve done it right.


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Slipping into the Fall

With this title I began to wonder if I should have a picture of a pair of crutches, but it’s not that kind of fall. Now that the equinox has passed, there’s no denying that autumn is here.

Just look at the last of the Wilmuta winter apples.

The last of the walnuts, husks drying on the tree.

And, so sadly, my zinnias, gone to seed.

Emma saw them and was sad too. Only a few mums and rudbeckias left.

But out in the yard, the roses are making a last ditch effort to bloom. This one is called Freedom.

This red one is Europeana.

It’s time for the fall crocuses to do their thing. They’re funny ducks, sporting only leaves in the spring and only flowers in the fall. Anything to be different!

But most depressing are the holly berries, reminding me that deep winter is coming and with it the “C” word.

Beautiful as autumn is,

To me it’s always sad,

It marks the end of summertime,

And all the fun we had.

My attitude I must adjust,

And treasure golden days,

For autumn also brings us joy, 

In, oh, so many ways.

 

*Please visit my webpage. http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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Pacific Tree Frog

This little Pacific tree frog was so small that at first sight I thought he was a beetle. Then he moved and I saw that he had legs and had no resemblance to a beetle except his size, which I guess to be about 3 centimeters at the most, or just under 1 and 1/2 inches. I love those little pads on his toes that help him get a grip.

He looks like he’s wearing a jogging suit with that racing stripe around his nose and eyes.

Did you know he can change his colour from green to mottley green/brown to brown?

It was thought at first that tree frogs change colour according to their environment (for camouflage) but in fact it is triggered by background brightness set off by seasonal changes. Some changes in colour can be noticeable within a few hours but complete colour change can take weeks or months.

 

I’m watching out for garter snakes,

If you should see one, heaven’s sakes,

Do warn me in a timely way,

In case of danger, I can’t stay.

I know you do not see a crown,

I dropped it, so just look around,

And you will figure out my hints–

Inside me lives a tiny prince.


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Hairy Harry

Hairy or downy? They look very much alike, so I had to investigate to find out the difference. This, I think, is a hairy woodpecker. He has a longer, heavier bill than the downy. That is the main identifying feature.

This fellow was picking at tree trunks and branches by the side of the bumpy dirt road to the lake where the Captain and I fished for trout a few days ago. With little traffic, the nearby woods are quiet, and a hairy woodpecker could forage for food relatively undisturbed.

He is known to check out holes made by sapsuckers and to drink the sap that has filled the tiny wells in those holes. Of course he does his own excavating to look for insects under the bark of trees. He also likes a change once in a while and will eat fruit, berries, and nuts.

I’d say he has a well-rounded diet.

***

Harry flits from tree to tree

Trying hard to hide from me.

Maybe he is camera shy,

Though I can’t imagine why.

Maybe he’s just playing games,

Teasing when I call him names.

I don’t think his name is Harry,

I want snaps but he won’t tarry.

O’er his shoulder, gives a call,

“Show is over, that is all.

If my name you  can’t get right,

I will simply leave,  take flight.”

 

And that is just what he did.