poetry and prose about place

‘within easy reach’ – why did I write these poems?

with 9 comments

Later this spring I will have a book of poems and drawings in publication – ‘within easy reach’.  The poems and art in the book are about gathering local, mostly wild, foods. I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful publisher, Chapel Street Editions, interested in books about the natural history, human history, and cultural life of the St. John River Region of New Brunswick, Canada.


As a botanist, I loved making this book. Identifying plants is a skill learned in university and during years of enjoying the out-of-doors. Many of the plants are found on my own property, but my husband and I travelled throughout the region to find some species. We found edible trout lily along the banks of the Dunbar Stream, salty orach on the beaches of Saint Andrews, and dangerous-to-eat water dragon in a wetland on the Renous highway. On our own property we tried to out-smart the squirrels for hazelnuts, tapped twelve trees for maple syrup and discovered partridge berries growing in the woods behind our house. As you can see, part of my enthusiasm for the subject is about spending time with my husband!




I also did a little time-travelling to write these poems. Although most of the plants I write about are found in the St. John River Region, I looked into my own past to remember some edible plants in other parts of Canada. This included eating cactus berries on the Alberta prairie, buying cloud berries from children along the Trans-Canada in Newfoundland, and picking blueberries with my Mom and Dad in Nova Scotia. I also looked to the diaries of my Great-Aunt to get a glimpse of the growing and gathering habits of an earlier generation.


I am sure many of my poems will echo memories of your own experiences with local foods.


Eating near to home has so many benefits – these foods are often free and have not travelled far to your table. Many wild foods go unharvested although they are ‘within easy reach’. Just think of those apples in the abandoned orchard at the edge of town, the dandelion greens on your brother’s lawn, or the choke-cherries growing along the fence down the road. Although you should use care when eating wild foods, many are easy to harvest and can add variety and taste to your meals.


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In my next post, I’ll say more about why you might enjoy reading my book. And very soon, I’ll be starting a count-down on my blog to let you know how many days you have to wait until publication. I’ll have a contest and a give-away. Shameless self-promotion!


Copyright  Jane Tims 2016

9 Responses

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  1. Jane, I’m just reading this exciting news. Congratulations. I’m going to have to find the time to check the blogosphere more regularly and keep posted on your countdown! Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Jane Fritz

    February 22, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    • Hi Jane. I am so excited … I have wanted a published book since I can remember. The process itself is interesting and I learn something every day. My publisher is patient and wonderful to work with! Keep you posted! Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      February 23, 2016 at 7:08 am

  2. Your forthcoming book sounds wonderful. I have always enjoyed how you combine your knowledge as a botanist with visual and word-based art.

    Liked by 1 person


    February 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    • Thanks Sheryl. I included poems inspired by my aunt Anne’s diaries, so there is a bit of historical perspective on eating of wild foods. Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      February 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      • I want to read it! I like the diary aspect, and I don’t know much about the historic perspective on eating wild foods. .

        Liked by 1 person


        February 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

  3. Nothing shameless about it – if you don’t promote your book, who will. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    Maureen Sudlow

    February 10, 2016 at 6:05 pm

  4. Jane, it is not shameless self promotion. You have something wonderful being published and you are simply making us aware that this good work is coming our way soon. I will be happy to have a copy for myself and several others as gifts. I am sure there is much in your book which will be a reminder of my own childhood and of my present interest in nature’s gifts.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Steel

    February 10, 2016 at 7:58 am

    • Hi Carol. Thanks for your encouraging words. I have no doubt you’ll have a book also, sooner than you know! Jane


      jane tims

      February 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

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