nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

changing communities

with 6 comments

Last week we went for a drive to the Cornhill Nursery in Kings County to buy a new cherry tree for our yard. Afterwards we took a drive to visit some of the old communities in the area. One of these communities, Whites Mountain, was a rural farming community with 17 families in 1866 (New Brunswick Provincial Archives). By 1898 the community had one post office, one church and 100 people. Today the community consists of a few farms and residences, perched on a steep hillside overlooking the hilly landscape of northern Kings County.

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On the road descending Whites Mountain, Kings County, overlooking the broad Kennebecasis Valley (September 2016)

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One of the most interesting sights on our drive may also be evidence of the farmsteads formerly in the area.  Although Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.) is native to North America, in this area it is usually associated with human habitation. In the thick woods north of the community, we found Virginia Creeper in profusion, covering the surface of the trees.

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Although there is only forest here now, perhaps the ancestors of these vines covered barns and other buildings in the area.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

 

morning sky

with 3 comments

We are approaching the end of the Isaac’s Way Summer Art Auction #27 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Art Auction is raising funds for MUSIC lessons for kids-in-need.  The last day for bidding on or buying a painting is Sunday evening September 25th, 2016 at closing time.

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My painting in this Art Auction is of a brilliant sunrise behind our grey woods.  The painting, entitled ‘morning sky’, is 24″ wide by 20″ high, acrylic with gallery edges. I am donating 50% of the proceeds from my painting to the charity.

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‘morning sky’ Jane Tims

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If you live in the Fredericton area, stop by and have a look at the art works available (and try some of the restaurant’s great food). Over 50 artists have contributed their work! You can also see the art available in the auction at http://isaacsway.ca/

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

September 12, 2016 at 7:12 am

yard work – sundial

with 2 comments

Although I have no trouble spending endless hours at the computer writing, writing, writing, even editing, editing, editing, more physical types of work have always been hard for me to enthuse over!

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And although I am a botanist, and interested in the environment, spending time out-of-doors has become harder with the years. I hate mosquitoes and black flies. Heat and humidity are no friend of mine. And, of course, there are the arthritic knees.  I do go out, on endless drives to find bridges, schools and various plants. We spend lots of time at our cabin, watching birds. And I sit on our deck each day to listen for bird songs and enjoy the evening breeze. But notice that most of this is sitting.

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Last month I put myself on a reward system (like a child earning stickers) and have spent a little active time outside each day. Usually only about an hour. I have helped my husband cut wood, piled said wood, helped him cut down our dead apple tree, broken the dead branches of said apple tree into sticks for a future fire, picked up all the fallen tree branches in our back driveway, cut the bracken fern from my back garden in two sessions, and so on. I’m sure no one else would even notice the resulting yard improvements, but I do! And going outside each day is now a habit.

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Today I tackled a long-planned project – the rebuilding of our sundial. I built the original sundial base with chunks of stone, but frost heaves and snowbanks have done their work and the old sundial base is now a pile of rubble.  I had saved the brick from the dismantling of our inside hearth this spring and had lots of material to work with. On Wednesday morning, I rolled a cement paving stone into place and used the brick to rebuild a base. Now the sundial is no longer a tumbled mess of rock.

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No work of engineering but much neater than before. And if the clocks ever stop working, my sundial will still record the passing of time!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

September 9, 2016 at 7:00 am

 a stone wall

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a stone wall

On one of our countryside drives, I watch for this stone wall. Built with care, it serves so many purposes. It provides boundaries for a property and a home. It keeps people out. Perhaps it keeps children safe, away from the highway. It adds beauty to the property, curb appeal. It reminds us of our history.

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Most of all, I like stone fences for their value as metaphor. In life, fences can represent so many experiences, circumstances and challenges – imprisonment, protection, change.

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Fences are barriers, keeping one space separate from another. They are also boundaries, transitional, liminal. Just climb over. The fence is a way to transition from outside to inside, from vulnerability to safety. Perhaps a little way along, there will be a gate. Perhaps the fence – a stone fence in particular – is permeable. There are spaces between those solid, expertly-positioned stones. Spaces for insects, water, wind or sound to cross over.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 7, 2016 at 7:00 am

getting ready for fall – blueberries

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Another painting in my series! I could call the collection paintings to illustrate ‘within easy reach’ since each one was inspired by a poem in my book.

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Blueberries are probably my favorite berry to pick. This could be because every summer, when my family visited Nova Scotia, we spent a week at my Grandfather’s blueberry farm. I picked blueberries with cousins, siblings and parents. I was never very good at the task but my idea of picking is one for the bucket, two for the mouth, so I guess you now know why I love picking blueberries!

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This little painting was fun to do. I was inspired because I had just finished putting together freezer bags of blueberries from a big box we bought at McKay’s Wild Blueberry Farm Stand in Pennfield, New Brunswick (https://janetims.com/2012/08/04/blueberries/).

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The painting is 10″ X 10″, gallery edges, acrylics, painted with Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow, Cadmium red, Burnt sienna and Titanium white.

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August 20, 2016 ‘pick faster’ Jane Tims

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And, to accompany the painting, another sampling from the poems in my book ‘within easy reach’. My book of poems and drawings is available from my publisher http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com

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pick faster

for Dad

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blue ripens as morning, deft fingers

noisy pails, hail on metal gutters

this bush spent, unsatisfactory

berries over there fatter

bluer

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I am certain I see, beside mine

my father’s hands, callused

and quick

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berries roll between

thumb and fingers

I try to meet

his expectation

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pick faster

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within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

getting ready for fall – choke-cherries

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I have finished the final painting in the group for my sale in November. The last one is titled ‘within easy reach’, the title of my book and the first poem in the book!  The painting is done in acrylics, 8″ X 16″, gallery edges, with Ultramarine blue, Cadmium red, Cadmium yellow, Burnt sienna and Titanium white.

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Choke-cherry is a large weedy shrub, found along roadways, at the edge of fields and woods, and in barrens and lakeside thickets. The dark red berries occur in drooping clusters. They are very sour but are used to make jelly and wine. When the choke-cherries are ripe, all you have to do is reach up and your pail will fill to overflowing!

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August 30, 2016 'within easy reach' Jane Tims

August 30, 2016 ‘within easy reach’ Jane Tims

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within easy reach

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Choke-cherry (Prunus virginiana L.)

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Choke-cherries flow

into pail, sunlight

into winter, glint

of ripening by fireside

and flame, a taste

of dry wine, cherry-laden

and summer within

easy reach, berries

by the handful, ice-pellets

against the glass

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within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

September 2, 2016 at 7:00 am

getting ready for fall – orchard green

with 7 comments

Thirty years ago, we planted a young Wolf River apple tree in our side yard. I wanted to create an orchard where I could walk in the shade and gather fruit in fall.

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For years we took good care of the orchard – three apple trees and a cherry. In spring I have inhaled the sweet fragrance of apple and cherry blossoms. In spring I watch the blossoms burst open like popped corn. I listen to the bees gathering their nectar. Watch the apples ripen and grow. Some years I make apple jelly, some years applesauce. In the fall I watch deer under the trees, eating their fill of apples.  One year a deer challenged me for ownership of the Wolf River tree, pounding his hoof into the ground with a loud, reverberating stomp.

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A few years ago, our interests turned to other things and the orchard was left to go its own way. The cherry tree continued to bloom but produced no cherries because it is ‘self-unfruitful’  and needs another cherry tree. Two of the apple trees succumbed to the shade and died. The Wolf River tree survived, but grew tall and gangly, trying to reach the sun that peaks over the roof of the house.

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Now, priorities have shifted. We are interested again in the ‘orchard’ and have plans for its future. In the next weeks we intend to cut down the dead trees. A friend has agreed to prune the Wolf River tree when the season is right, to bring its branches within reach.  I will buy another cherry tree so we can finally have cherries.

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To seal the plan for the orchard, I have done a portrait of the apples as they grow plump in late summer. Painted in acrylics, 11″ x 14′, gallery edges, with Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Titanium White, Paynes Grey and Burnt Sienna.

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August 26, 2016 ‘orchard green’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

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