wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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A Glimpse into the Future

 

The swaths of clouds embraced the hills,

What lay between gave me the chills.

The first snowfall this season kissed

The fir trees peeking through the mist.

 

The robins fled their berry patch

For lower lands, their food to catch,

The geese and sandhills winged away

To find a warmer place to stay.

 

Yet later when the sun came out,

It said, “What’s all the fuss about?

I’ll shine my best and melt it down,

This early snow just makes me frown.

 

“I know it will return one day,

A month from now, the snow will stay.

So be prepared and fill the larder,

Soon the days will be much harder.

 

Make your shelters, line your nest,

Keeping warm will be a test,

But we will get through winter’s cold,

If we are ready and we’re bold.”


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Marshall

Yesterday was like a usual West Coast winter’s day. Wind and rain, followed by rain and wind.

This morning it looked like Christmas on the hills. Luckily we don’t live up in the hills.

The air is still icy and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s March, still cold, but with a promise of warmer days to come. It reminded me of the stupid “Knock, Knock” joke which I’m sure you’ve all heard.

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Marshall.

Marshall who?

Marshall come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.

May it be so!

There’s hope, if these daffodils are telling the truth.


39 Comments

Dinner at the Diner

I wonder if there’s a restaurant up there. They dropped some food here on the floor, but maybe there’s fresher stuff up top.

Ah … this is more like it. A real borgasschmord of meaty worms and grains. Looks like a zinnia dropped some seeds here, and a bunch of other weedy things left promises of more weeds in the spring. I could help Anneli out by eating the weed seeds. But it might be easier to go dine at The Suet Block today.

Uh-oh! Looks like Mr. Darling Starling is already tucking in.

“Hey, Star! Don’t you know Anneli doesn’t want you here?”

“And why might that be, you little piece of Junc-o?”

“Well … she says you gobble too much food and don’t share, and anyway, she doesn’t like feeding baby killers. You know you’re a nest robber.”

“Harrumpf! Watch it, Twirp, or I’ll peck your eye out. And anyway, you’re not social distancing.”

“OMG! OMG!” said Harry, the hairy woodpecker. “I’d like to go down there, but – sheesh! That starling is star-k raving mad! … and-and-and he’s m-m-mean too.”

“I’m being good, Mr. Starling. See? I’ll keep my distance. I’ll just sit here and watch until you’re done.”

“Well, Twirp, you should have brought a chair. I’m gonna be a while.”

“Heh, heh, heh. Here comes Anneli. Look at that coward fly. He’s a “star” at running away. Coward! Heh-heh-heh. Wish Anneli would sit out here in the rain with us … sigh….”


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Skywatcher

I’m becoming a skywatcher. Who would have thought mid-winter clouds could be so pink without a real sunrise? The cloud was a blanket over the hills. The cold snow under the blanket was turning blue.

What struck me was the contrast between the pink cloud and the cool blue snow.

The picture is not touched up. These are the weird colours of the morning sky. That’s why I ran for my camera.

The day turned stormy with a complete blanket of gray clouds scooting past only to be followed by more of the same. High southeast winds did nothing to blow the clouds away and reveal blue sky. Clouds just kept coming. I was surprised the winds were not from the north, so icy were they.

It was a weird day, weatherwise.

Winds SE 52 km (32 mph), gusts of 67 km (42 mph) later in the day.


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Eat or be Eaten

A few days ago when the snow came down hard and heavy, I felt sorry for the birds, as I always do when the weather makes their lives hard to bear. But I had forgotten that not only do some birds — the weak, the injured, and the unlucky — have a hard enough time finding food, but they have to beware of becoming food for other birds.

The forested patches near our house are home to many bald eagles. Because the ocean is nearby, it is ideal for them, especially now as herring time draws near.  But until the herring fishery begins, the eagles take advantage of the suffering of other bird species. They are especially fond of snatching seabirds from the water or the beaches.

Out in my backyard, under one of the firs that the eagles love to use as their dining room, I found, discarded, a wing that had been stripped of all meat. My guess is that it was from a loon, as these seem to be one of the eagle’s favourites. I have found several loon carcasses under the dining tree in the past. For the photo, I have put a pop can beside the wing to show the relative size.

In the animal world it still goes that you must “Eat or be eaten.”


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A Parting Shot

I didn’t learn about the possible connection between “a parting shot” and “a Parthian shot” until just a few years ago. It seems that the Parthians who lived in a region in the northeast of what is now Iran, had a sneaky technique that worked very successfully for them in battle. They might be outnumbered four to one, but as long as they had a constant supply of arrows (which they always brought along to the battles), they could put their horsemanship and archery skills to good use.

Their tactic was to fake a retreat, understandable when they were outnumbered, and as the enemy fell out of their organized formation and pursued them, the Parthians turned to shoot at them with their large supply of arrows, and ended up winning many a battle this way.

This one (and many more) last shot as they (supposedly) fled, came to be their trademark “Parthian Shot,” and some believe that our modern expression “parting shot” derives its origin in this Parthian tactic.

Well, winter has taken a page from the Parthian history books and given us a Parthian shot this morning. After several warmish, springlike days, we woke up to this early morning scene.

Emma jumped up to her usual seat on the back of the couch to watch her favourite nature show of passing rabbits and eagles, and was dumbfounded. I heard her say, “What the …?”

The valley was socked in with a snow cloud.

But when the sun rose, a promising pink glow said, “Don’t worry, I’ll melt the snow off that willow in the front right of your picture. The pussywillows will still be there, unharmed.”

 

The birds are so happy that I refilled the feeders yesterday before it snowed.

 

Hang in there. Spring will come one day. I’m not going to be taken in by winter’s Parthian shot and go out there to shovel snow that will melt by tomorrow.