Three Treats

Here is a fabulous deal for anyone with an e-reader. For the next month, until May 15th, just in time for Easter and Mother’s Day, my e-books will be on sale for only $1.00. Do you like reading the kind of book where you come away feeling like you’ve learned something new? I know I do. The setting and background in each of my books are very different from the usual.

1. The Wind Weeps takes place on the West Coast of British Columbia and takes you up the coast from Vancouver Island, to the mainland, and north to the Queen Charlotte Islands and back. But it’s not a travel book. The characters live and work on the coast and this is where their story evolves. While I have you in the grip of romantic suspense, you will inadvertently be finding out about life on the coast, at times, on a fish boat and at times in a remote cabin. Ah … a romantic remote cabin. How wonderful! But only if you’re with the right person. For $1.00 you can can enjoy chewing your nails to find out what happens next.

The Wind Weeps

2. If you’ve ever been to the Mexican state of Baja, you’ll enjoy revisiting the trip as the events in Orion’s Gift unfold in that setting. This one is not a travel book either, but you’ll feel as if you’re right there, with my main characters, Kevin and Sylvia. They each are looking for an escape to the unhappy situations they have left behind. The sparks fly and we think they might have found real love at last, but what they don’t know is that their spurned spouses are hunting them down. Discover Baja, a setting that is like a double-edged sword with its natural beauty and its raw harsh elements. Please take the time to see a recent review of Orion’s Gift at Luanne’s Writer Site. 

Orion's Gift

3. Now for something completely different again, we go to Europe in the days before, during, and after WWII. It is not a war story, but a story of a young woman who lived through it, hoping to find the man of her dreams. Timing and circumstances are rarely in her favour, but her love for her children carries her through harder times than she could ever have imagined. Love triangles always end in heartbreak for someone. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry when you read about Julia, but you’ll end up loving her, too.

Front Cover OnlyYou can buy all three of these books for a grand total of $3.00.

Go to Anneli’s Author Page to see all three books for Kindle.

If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can buy the books at smashwords.com. Click on the book you want to buy at the regular price and then type in the coupon code to get the bargain price of 99 cents.

Here are the links and codes for each book:

The Wind Weeps Coupon Code NF43D

Orion’s Gift  Coupon Code UQ49E

Julia’s Violinist Coupon Code JH64Z

Prickly Personalities

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The north central states of the USA, such as Montana and the Dakotas, are farming country and often considered destinations for bird hunters. People come from all around to visit these seemingly desolate farmlands in the fall. Bird hunters bring their dogs. Usually they bring a pair of pliers too.

If you spend much time in these states with a bird dog in tow, one of these days you are bound to run into a cute little animal that is hated by nearly everyone.

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Excitedly, I told a farming friend one day, “We saw a porcupine this morning!”

“Did ya shoot it?” was the immediate response.

I had never seen a porcupine before, and I thought it was so cute. I just wanted to pick it up and cuddle it. I could easily have caught it. It wasn’t very fast. But I knew better. They don’t like to be cuddled. They have rather prickly personalities, and even pricklier fur.

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The quills in their coat are so sharp they easily stick in a person’s (or animal’s) skin. The points have fine barbs on them that make pulling the quills out quite a nuisance; hence the pliers. And no, we don’t shoot porcupines, but I scooped these quills from a dead one we found.

In the interior of British Columbia, where cougars are plentiful, the young adult cats who are newly on their own, often have a hard time catching their prey. They are still learning hunting tactics and finding out about the world around them.

I heard of one cougar who had to be shot after it lingered near town too often, trying to pick off house cats or little dogs. Upon examining the cougar, it was found that the poor animal was near starvation. Apparently it had tried to bite a porcupine and got a mouthful of quills on the inside of its mouth. It hadn’t been able to eat for a very long time for the pain of all the needles in its tongue and the roof of its mouth. Many quills had even penetrated the skin on the cougar’s chest and had broken off between the skin and the muscle, festering there probably for weeks.

A friend told me that his Labrador retriever had been quilled by a porcupine.

“I bet he never went near another one after that,” I said.

“Aw, no!” the dog’s owner said. “He was so stupid that the next time he saw a porcupine, it made him so mad that he attacked it and got another dose of quills in his face. You’d think he’d learn, but he just goes wild now when he sees them. Dumb dog!”

Porcupines are not mean animals. They can’t run fast, or bite, or scratch (too much). Their only defence is their body armour, their coat of quills. They simply want to be left alone to eat the leaves, twigs, and bark they love. Unfortunately that means that many trees are damaged and will die from being debarked. This makes them unpopular with the farmers who plant the trees as a windbreak.

These little animals don’t go out of their way to harm anyone, but they do have an excellent system of self-defence. Any person or animal who tries to handle a porcupine carelessly will receive a painful lesson they won’t soon forget (except in the case of the lab I mentioned above).

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Don’t forget to check out my other blog once in a while: http://annelisplace.wordpress.com

Hedge Your Best

It’s now or never. Just in, the new  hedging cedars are going like hotcakes in the stores and nurseries. We needed a new hedge. The old fir hedge was on its last legs and we could see them. That was one of the biggest problems – that we could see their legs. The lower branches were weak or gone and on many trees, only the top ones greened out. We could not only see the trees’ legs, but the legs of all the people walking past. Our privacy was disappearing fast.

With the purchase of forty-five cedar trees, the removal of the old fir hedge could begin. We hired a friend to help and the first efforts seem funny in hindsight. The winch on the front of the friend’s truck turned around but the cable on it stayed as it was instead of winding up to pull out the tree trunks. Maybe if the cable on this new “Made in China” winch had been attached to the winch itself, there would have been some torque on it. With no provision for attaching the cable, the poor fellow now has a brand new winch to return.

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Plan B was a good one though. The friend’s son had a little bobcat and that made short work of the firs.

007The fun was just beginning. A big mess had to be cleared up before the new hedge could go in.

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Meanwhile you may be wondering if I helped or just stood around taking pictures for my next blog post. I did my bit by going to buy the rooting compound, bone meal, and several truckloads of composted soil to add to the extremely sandy soil on our property.

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 And now for the new trees – western red cedars. The weight of each of these potted trees was cause for many a groan.

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Once the trees were in the ground and the valiant hedge planters had moved along, the robins wasted no time getting at the freshly uprooted worms and grubs…

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while the work continued….

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 I am now very happy with my new hedge. At first I wondered if the fellows would come through for me. If not, I could always have a wood fence built. I had hedged my bets, and they had hedged their best.

 

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PS  Don’t forget to visit my other blog that is dedicated to writers, books, and writing. http://annelisplace.wordpress.com

New Stomping Grounds

032After two weeks of packing boxes and unpacking them again at my sister-in-law’s new place, we took a break to explore her “new stomping grounds.” The trail leading to the beach was a good two-mile walk through ungroomed forest (my favourite kind). This area, near Lacey, just north of Olympia, Washington, gets a LOT of rain in the winter and spring, as you can see by the moss on the trees.

The Hawks Prairie Trail is named after one of the local pioneers (pictured at the bottom of the information sign) and the area around it is preserved in as natural a state as possible.

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Ivy is finding a lot of traces of scents left behind by other visitors.

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The first glimpses of the ocean tugged at me as I hadn’t seen my beloved seashore for a couple of weeks.

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I could see the old wharf that, apparently, was once a busy loading and unloading place.

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Now to get down to it….  An iron structure had been built to make it easier to descend to beach level.

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I was impressed, but Ivy was not. She stopped in her tracks and would not budge.

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Then I saw why. The gaps in the stairs were too big for her tiny feet.

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Luckily, Ivy is tiny enough that she’s easily picked up, so she wasn’t deprived of her romp on the beach.

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Paddin’ Around Lake Padden

Moving a household is hard work, so after helping my sister-in-law pack boxes all day…001I was happy to follow her suggestion to go for a walk in one of her favourite places, Lake Padden, in the south part of Bellingham, Washington.

021aThe walk goes all the way around the lake, for a distance of 2.8 miles.

014On the way around the lake, we came across this cute little fellow who entertained us by showing us how he ate a cone of some sort. He turned it around and around, chewing, shaking it, spitting out parts he didn’t like, and savouring the rest.

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We continued to the other side of the lake and marveled at how nature works to regenerate growth. From a fallen cedar, many young cedars had sprouted, like so many children standing in a line. The decaying cedar would provide nutrients to get all these young ones started.

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Another large tree had fallen closer to the path and someone brought a power saw to carve out his creative idea. I was tempted to sit down to try out the unique benches but they were probably a bit damp and, even more probably, I would find it hard to get up again and continue the walk. After packing boxes all day it would have been easier to stay on the bench and have a snooze than to go on.

036aMy sister-in-law will miss her old stomping grounds, but I’m sure she’ll find new paths to walk at her new home.

Who Rang the Dinner Bell?

Caviar at most waterfront restaurants! Fine dining at reasonable prices. Formal dress required. White gowns or dark suits. Seating for thousands available. Quantities free while they last. No need to clean up after yourself. The sea will take care of that.

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Already seated are many white-gowned guests. Dining out in the watery waiting room are the bigger dark suits. Circles will show you where to look for these stellar guests. Actually, these sea lions are spelled “Steller’s sea lions” but they are the stars of the herring fishery so I thought “stellar” was appropriate. A few California sea lions are joining the lunch crowd. The Americans know when there is a bargain to be had in Canada.

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What could be better than dining by the seaside? The most expensive restaurants have a view of the water, but right ON the water…WOW!!!

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And here is the menu. All you can eat, caviar. Herring roe has collected on the gravel of the beach, sticking onto all kinds of seaweed, kelp being the preferred vegetable of the day. Excellent pairings of vegetables and seafood appetizers.

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For a close-up, see the delicious, clean herring eggs, lying in clusters, hoping to attach to the brown kelp leaves for security.

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This group of diners has pigged out on the appetizer and doesn’t even have room for the entree or dessert. See their bulging crops? Some of them look downright uncomfortable. Not much flying going on here. Are they even able to get off the ground anymore?

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A few have gone for aquasizes out on the water. Some are taking a time out to do their hair and check their makeup. Yet others are standing around exchanging the latest gossip tidbits.

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And out on the penthouse restaurant, the dark suits come up for a breather between appetizers and the fish entree. A nice nap while lying on his back is perfect on this sunny day.041a

My visit to the beach was also perfect today. The stellar Steller’s barked goodbye to me as I got back in my car to go home. Time to make an appetizer for myself. Maybe it won’t be caviar. It’s going to be hard to top that.

Boler Times

If you don’t know what a Boler is, you’ve been missing out. If you haven’t camped in a Boler, you haven’t lived! Boler camping is humbling if nothing else. If you have an ego that needs stroking, don’t go Boler camping. If you need a fancy rig to pump up your status, don’t use a Boler. If you have to have the luxuries of life every minute of the day, don’t camp in a Boler. But if your ego and self-image are secure and you want an adventure you’ll never forget, by all means buy a Boler and go for it. We did and we have unforgettable memories for the rest of our lives.

Camping in Baja with friends, we were like the poor relations. The little green and white bubble of a trailer is our Boler.

Boulder Patch Camping

The side roads in Baja are often like a giant washboard, and this can be hard on a trailer frame. Too much flexing can land you in trouble as you can see here. “Broken Down in Baja.” Sounds like the title of a good movie.

For a funny story about how we got out of this situation, please visit my blog Evel Knievel Rides Again.

Broken down in BajaBut it’s not all misery, unless the tide comes in under the Boler when you’ve foolishly camped on a beach at full moon when the high tide is unexpectedly extra high.

Baja11Eventually there is a palapa and peace waiting by a lovely beach. The tiny living space of the Boler is not an issue anymore because we can basically live outside and use the Boler only for sleeping. Heaven!

Boler and Palapa

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But that was a long time ago. The Boler with its new beefed-up frame has sat neglected, used only for solo hunting or fishing trips. It is time to pass it on to some other young couple looking for adventure. But first, OMG, the mildew has grown on the outside of the poor little trailer.

??????????Nothing a bit of power washing won’t fix.

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Now for a bit of TLC and fixing up, and it will soon be ready for more adventures, but with new owners.

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I wonder what places this little home on wheels will see next. For sure it will be someplace more exciting than an RV park with all the amenities.

The characters in my novel, Orion’s Gift, traveled on this path, but with newer equipment. If a trip to Baja interests you, have a look at Orion’s Gift. Just click on the book cover image at the side of the page.