nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

celebration of a covered bridge

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Do you love covered bridges?

Have you done any writing about the Patrick Owens Bridge or any other covered bridge?

On Saturday August 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm join us at the Rusagonis Covered Bridge Park to celebrate our Bridge.

  • We will hear from Jeff Carr, MLA.
  • Linda Cogswell will tell us a bit about the history of the bridge.
  • I will be reading from my book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions, 2017) and $10 from every sale of my book will be donated for the upkeep of the Park.
  • Rose Burke will read a piece about the Upper Mills Bridge and cross-border travel in former years.
  • Ian LeTourneau, Fredericton’s Cultural Laureate, will read his poem about the loss of the Bell Covered Bridge.
  • We will also have an ‘open mic’ where you can join others in reading from your own work (about bridges or any other related theme).

We will have cake and lemonade as part of the afternoon. There will also be a BBQ, courtesy of MLA Jeff Carr! Everyone is welcome!

Let me know if you would like to read (in the comments or at timstims@nbnet.nb.ca).

Patrick Owens Bridge rainbow.JPG

All my best,

Jane

abandoned spaces: day-lilies

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The orange day-lily (Hemerocallis fulva) is also called roadside day-lily, outhouse day-lily, wash-house day-lily, ditch day-lily, and railroad day-lily, giving a hint of the spaces where it is found. When gardens containing the orange day-lily are abandoned, the flowers persist and spread on the site, and also escape to live in nearby ditches and fields.

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The day-lily is an herbaceous perennial with an extensive tuberous root. The flowers are borne on a long scape and each flower blooms and lasts only a day. It spreads via stolons and seeds. Although pretty, the orange day-lily is considered an invasive species. Its colonies can out-compete other native species.

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This time of year, orange day-lilies are everywhere in New Brunswick. In the abandoned community of Beaufort, Carleton County, orange day-lilies line the roadside on the way to the former community.

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the road to Beaufort … the long isolated road gives a hint as to why a community in the area was abandoned … a long way to other communities, hard winters with deep snow and few opportunities for young people

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The New Brunswick Archives says:

 … settled in 1879 following the adoption of the Free Grants Act: named for William Beaufort Mills who persuaded the government to give aid to Anglicans burned out in the Saint John Fire of 1877 and encouraged settlement in this area: PO [post office] 1881-1946: in 1898 Beaufort was a community with 1 post office and a population of 100.

Source: https://archives.gnb.ca/Exhibits/Communities/Details.aspx?culture=en-CA&community=232

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Today, there is only one, modern house in the community. But remnants of old gardens in the community still remain. we saw:

many apple trees at the roadside and in overgrown orchards …

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a young crowded stand of Balsam poplar, perhaps the hybrid Balm of Gilead …

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and a flower I have not yet identified … does anyone know what it is?

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Sad to think of the people who lived in Beaufort, planted their gardens and struggled to make their lives there.  But they left their mark, on the communities they moved to and in the plants they left behind, now beautifying the former community.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

How high can I climb?

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Not that high. But I will have to figure out how to get those beans. I planted what I thought were yellow-wax beans on my deck. And they turned out to be yellow pole beans. I threw a couple of weighted strings into the maple and of course the beans climbed.

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All my best, Jane

Written by jane tims

August 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

Indoor garden

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My harvest of romaine lettuce from my AeroGarden today. Poppy seed dressing and lunch is served!

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

escapes: Virginia creeper

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Virginia creeper, also call woodbine, thicket creeper and, in French vinge vierge, is a climbing vine with adhesive discs. Its leaves are palmately five-fingered and turn bright red in autumn. The plant has small purple fruit, poisonous to eat. The vine is common around abandoned homesteads where it persists or escapes to local woodlands.

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Virginia creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.

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In woods

on Whites Mountain

woodbine

climbs the ash.

Persistent escape

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from homesteads

long-gone.

Thicket creeper

navigates itself

to better ground,

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higher trees.

Thick rhizomes,

adhesive discs.

Five-fingered leaves

spread to cover

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every inch of bark.

Maximize

exposure to sun.

Ancestral creepers

once draped

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zig-zag cedar fences

in autumn scarlet.

Caught the attention

of farmers’ wives

on community rounds.

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October 7, 2013 'Virginia Creeper' Jane Tims

~Virginia Creeper Whites Mountain

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

abandoned spaces: remnant plants

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On a drive towards the centre of the province, we found the property below to exemplify what happens to the surrounding vegetation when home sites are abandoned.

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On the property, I could see the old home, the roof fallen in, the tin roof rusted on the half that was not shingled. All around were wildflowers, most noticeable, the fireweed. There were also remnants of cultivated plants:

  • lilac
  • rose bushes
  • hops
  • orange day-lilies

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Street View, Google Earth gives a glimpse of the property back in 2009.

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remnants

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Not meant to sprawl but climb, hops

crouch between grass, fireweed.

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Recline, each five-fingered leaf

with spaces between digits.

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Remnants of pink rose bushes

and an apple tree, apples

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green but plentiful. Lilac

lifts spent and skeletal blooms.

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The two-track road still leads to

back pasture, woodlot beyond.

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Orange day-lilies echo

the rusty reds of tin roof,

the house fallen to decay.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 6, 2018 at 7:00 am

abandoned spaces: fireweed

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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about abandoned rural areas and the remnants of gardens left behind. Although these properties are still owned, the homes that once stood there are gone or left to deteriorate. The gardens, once loved and cared for, are left to survive on their own.

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When these home-sites are abandoned, the garden plants:

  • disappear (most annuals),
  • persist (perennials like day-lilies or roses), or
  • escape (lupins, mallow or other easily-spreading plants).

Native plants, those liking disturbed or cleared areas, may move into these sites.

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an abandoned site in Williamsburg, New Brunswick where fireweed has colonized

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As I find abandoned properties, the pink or pale purple flowers of fireweed are often present. Fireweed, an indigenous plant not usually grown in gardens, is often a first indicator a house may once have stood on a plot of land. Often fireweed stands side by side with orange day-lilies and other garden escapes.

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on this abandoned site in the Williamsburg area, the fireweed stands side-by-side with orange day-lilies (Hemerocallis fulva), rose bushes and other cultivated plants

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Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium L.), also known as great willowherb, gets the ‘fire’ in its name since it is one of the first plants to colonize after fire. As a pioneer species, partial to open areas with lots of light, it also moves in to any cleared or disturbed area. After a few years, other plants will move in, out-competing the fireweed. However, the seeds of fireweed stay viable for a long time and may re-colonize the area if it is again disturbed or burned.

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Fireweed is one of many tall pinkish flowers growing in our ditches and wild areas. It is distinguished by its rather loose inflorescence, the flower’s four roundish petals and its seed pods which angle upwards.

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Fireweed spreads by the roots or by seed. In the later part of the season, the seeds are spread by the wind, aided by long silky hairs. Before dispersal the hairy seeds burst out along the seed pods making the plant look unkempt and hairy.

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Fireweed (pink) among brown-eyed Susans; the stiff, many-podded plants in the upper right-hand corner are the seedpods of fireweed, finished with their blooming

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In New Brunswick we are facing a demographic trend of movement from rural communities to cities in the southern part of the province and elsewhere. This means  many small communities that thrived a century ago are now abandoned. For example, in 1866 the community of Fredericksburg, New Brunswick was a farming community with 12 families (Source: https://archives.gnb.ca/Exhibits/Communities/Details.aspx?culture=en-CA&community=1367 ). Today only a couple of homes or camps are found in the area but foxglove flowers, that once bloomed in the gardens, thrive in the ditches. For more on the demographics of small New Brunswick communities see:

Lauren Beck and Christina Ionescu. ‘Challenges and Opportunities Faced by Small Communities in New Brunswick: An Introduction’, Journal of New Brunswick Studies Issue 6, No. 1 (2015).

https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/JNBS/article/view/23057

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foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) flowers thriving in the ditch in the Fredericksburg area

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All my best,

Jane

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