poetry and prose about place

Archive for March 2018

someone has a plan!

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This time of year the winter ice on the rivers in New Brunswick is starting to break up. At the concrete bridge over the South Branch of the Rusagonis Stream, not far from where I live, there is a narrow band of melted ice.


However, someone has plans for that part of the river. Have a look at the next two photos and guess who the ‘planners’ are.




Beavers! Not ice scour since softer trees at the same level are not involved. Also, two of the trees have deep ‘v’s cut out on the bank side.


We will be watching to see the next stage and the results of this plan. A beaver dam on the Rusagonis. Oh my!


Copyright Jane Tims 2018


Written by jane tims

March 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge

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world of the covered bridge.jpg

May 12, 2012 'enter' Jane Tims.jpg~

in the shelter of the covered bridge

by Jane Spavold Tims

poetry with illustrations

Chapel Street Editions 2017

poems about plants and animals living in the vicinity of the covered bridge


SCB Cover


73 poems, 35 bridges, 21 illustrations


apples, Malone Bridge.jpg


From the Preface:

Where I live in rural New Brunswick, driving through a covered bridge is a daily occurrence. The sounds of the tires on the decking, the glimpses of river and sunlight between boards, the fun of seeing a family fishing and the sight of a groundhog carrying her kit across entryway of the bridge — these are touch-stones for my existence.

The inspiration for this book came in 2015, when my husband and I crossed the Patrick Owens Bridge on the Rusagonis Stream and startled a rabbit in the middle of the span. The rabbit raced through the bridge in front of the truck. I can still see the shadow of his long ears and the scurry of his feet. Since the incident occurred during the February 21, 2015 conjunction of Venus and Mars, with the sickle moon just above the planets, I thought of all the legends about the hare and the moon. This led to the poem “conjunction” and a question about what other plants and animals find shelter in or around our covered bridges in New Brunswick.

My husband and I carried out the field work for the book during 2015. We focused on covered bridges in the entire Saint John River Valley, but we also visited bridges in Charlotte and Westmorland Counties. Travelling around the province, visiting covered bridges and paying special attention to the nearby wild life, was an ideal way to spend a spring and summer in New Brunswick. Some bridges were easy to find, others a challenge. Each bridge contributed its own personality, history and component flora and fauna.

The covered bridge is endangered in New Brunswick. In 1900, there were about 400 covered bridges in the province. By 1944, there were only 320. In 1992, when Glen, Michael and I visited some of the bridges for Canada’s 125th birthday, there were 71. In 2017, as I write this, there are only 60 remaining. Vandalism, flood, accident, fire and age claim more bridges every few years.


… In 2018, there are 58 covered bridges remaining …


Book available from Chapel Street Editions



dry wind

French Village Bridge

Hammond River #2


the bridge leans, upriver

wind enters, a beer can

rolls on the deck


white butterflies obey

the valley breeze

navigate the scent of wild roses


avoid the dogs

cooling off in the river

the beach folk, sunning themselves


bracts of Yellow Rattle

and Silene, inflated bladders

dry as old boards


aspens tremble

a song sparrow stutters

a loose shingle rattles in wind


May 12, 2012 'enter' Jane Tims

drawing of the French Village Bridge 2015: ‘enter’


About the Author

Jane Spavold Tims is a botanist, writer and artist living in rural New Brunswick, Canada.  She has published two books of poetry, within easy reach (2106) and in the shelter of the covered bridge (2017), both with Chapel Street Editions, Woodstock. Her first four books in the Meniscus series, Meniscus: Crossing The Churn, Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, Meniscus: South from Sintha and Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb, were published with CreateSpace in 2017 and 2018 under the name Alexandra Tims. In 2016 she won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Writing Competition for her manuscript of poems about bird calls. She is interested in identifying plants, bird-watching, science fiction and the conservation of built heritage. Her websites feature her drawings, paintings and poetry.


two poetry books


both books available from Chapel Street Editions


herb growing in winter #4

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The identity of the odd plant in my AeroGarden is no longer a secret!


What is the plant on the right hand side of my garden?


The plant in question is the bushy ‘herb’ to the right. It has dark green leaves and a thick stem.


As you know, I am a botanist and if this plant was presented to me in any other way, I am sure I would have identified it immediately.

But the label said ‘mint’ and so I expected mint.

My first suggestion of mistaken identity came when I popped a few of the young leaves into my tea. The taste was terrible.


Then I took a closer look. The stem was not square – an immediate identifier of the whole mint family.

So I went back to the package material. Possibly I switched the labels. Perhaps it was curly parsley. Deep frown. Didn’t look like curly parsley.


All this time, I kept pruning and drying the leaves. My bottle of dried mystery leaves is quite full!


What is it?


Then I saw the flowers and took a step back. They were yellow and clustered. The leaves were compound, very hairy. The light came on! Tomato!

You will think I am a terrible botanist!


So now I am waiting for my first tomatoes. I have discarded the dried leaves (tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family and the leaves contain a poisonous alkaloid).


the unopened ‘flowers’ of my tomato plant (the hairy green buds) … in a few days I will have baby tomatoes!


Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

herb growing in winter #3

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My AeroGarden guide says “don’t be afraid to prune.”  Me, I love to prune. I must be doing it correctly since I am getting a small harvest every day or two!


My plants are Basil, Tai Basil, Genovese Basil, unknown (labelled ‘Curly Parsley’ but definitely not), Thyme (hardly growing but trying) and Romaine Lettuce (planted last week).

I chop the leaves as I prune them and they are crisp enough to crumble in a couple of days.


Photos of my ‘harvest’ …


my garden after today’s pruning … gro-light makes a good photo difficult


my ‘harvest … lots of leaves make a small amount of dried herb …



Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 21, 2018 at 7:02 am

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

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Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

by Alexandra Tims

an illustrated long poem

first in the Meniscus Series

science fiction – romance – adventure



Follow the adventures of Odymn and the Slain!



On the alien planet Meniscus, Humans are slaves. Every twilight, Odymn runs through the forests outside the city, practicing the art of parkour. Her runs give her strength, flexibility and endurance, and a way to survive a life of servitude under the oppressive Dock-winders. When the silent Slain rescues her from a brutal encounter with a gang of Gel-heads, Odymn believes she has reached the end of her search for freedom. In their travels through the Prell’nan District of Meniscus, she and the Slain encounter dangerous woodlands, dramatic water-climbs and an impassable water churn. Odymn and the Slain work together to evade the Gel-heads and overcome the dangers of the landscape. But is Odymn really free or is she caught in a cycle of trying to escape the inevitable?


In the first of the Meniscus series, Crossing the Churn tells the story of the meeting of a young woman and a genetically-engineered Slain whose kindness may not be consistent with his purpose.


try …. fail … repeat …

sometimes no matter how hard you run, the past grabs at your heels …




The sky congeals,

coughs up churning darkness,

and the air moves.


Reminder of home, on Earth.

The creaking weathervane

above the hay barn door.


The wind tosses sparse droplets.

Plucks handfuls of dust.

Pebbles like sleet.


The broken hills kilometres away.

Obscured by a looming sandstorm.


The Slain walks faster.

Distance widens between them.

She stumbles, falls to her knees.


“Why should I follow?” she whispers.


His hand grips her arm, drags her to standing.

Forward in uneven strides.

Leaning into wind.


About the Author

Alexandra Tims is a botanist, writer and artist living in rural New Brunswick, Canada. Her first four books in the Meniscus series, Meniscus: Crossing The Churn, Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, Meniscus: South from Sintha and Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb, were published with CreateSpace in 2017 and 2018. She has also published two books of poetry, within easy reach (2106) and in the shelter of the covered bridge (2017), under the name Jane Spavold Tims (both with Chapel Street Editions, Woodstock). In 2016 she won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Writing Competition for her manuscript of poems about bird calls. She is a fan of science fiction – books, television and film, including Star Trek, Stargate and Firefly. Her websites feature her drawings, paintings and poetry.


Other books in the Meniscus Series


Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days

Meniscus: South from Sintha

Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb



a new bird feeder #2

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I have given up manufacturing. In the last month I built two bird feeders: one from a two liter Coke bottle and one from coconut shells. The squirrels bounced on the bottle feeder and broke it, bad squirrels. And the snow filled up the coconut shells, bad snow. So we went to Co-op and bought a new feeder. Metal, very fancy, a simulated lantern. No anti-squirrel technology (our squirrels puzzle out every one).

The birds are delighted. A day after our big snow storm, they are here by the dozens: goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, lots of blur-birds (my photography is not stellar).


chickadee at the new feeder (sunflower seeds)


chickadee and goldfinch at the new feeder


Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2018 at 7:01 am

Posted in bird song

Tagged with , , , ,

Guest Post – Liza O’Connor: when stories write themselves

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Welcome to author Liza O’Connor, a writer with some seriously wild adventures in her life!

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.


When stories write themselves…

By Liza O’Connor

I have two stories coming up soon that fall under the category of writing themselves.


In the first book, Lessons from Wabbaseka, coming Mar 8, the story comes from my personal life. As will happen during a career, I was let go when my company downsized. When my great aunt and uncle heard I was unemployed, they wrote me a letter inviting me to come to Wabbaseka Arkansas (population 300) and live with them. While I remained in NJ and located a new job, I couldn’t get the ‘what if I had gone to Wabbaseka’ out of my head.

I loved my great aunt, but I was pretty certain I’d go crazy in such a tiny town. Also, to get a job, I would have had to drive an hour to Pine Bluff to find a crappy underpaid job. (And I hate Pine Bluff, it was where I grew up.) So, I wrote them back, reminding them I had a house in NJ, and I would find another well-paying job, which I quickly did.

But I couldn’t get them out of my mind, I kept thinking about what if I had really gone to Wabbaseka. The only way I could stop wondering was to play the scenario out on paper. Not surprisingly, it starts out funny as I’m driven insane by the people so very different than me, but then it gets serious. Turns out there are a handful of single men in the town of 300, and I fall in love with one and then someone tries to kill me. (That has actually happened many times in my life. Fortunately, I don’t die easily.) In the story, I did change everyone’s names except the first names of my aunt and uncle. I changed their last name, but they are the reason the story exist, and they had to be Aunt Peck and Uncle Lee.


The second story that wrote itself is Arrival: Titan coming May 7th.

It came to be due to Cassini and NASA discoveries in the last year.

Seriously, the second book of this series was dead in the water until Cassini and NASA discovered some mind-boggling stuff in this last year. Stuff so astounding that the world isn’t ready for it. Nor have they gone out of their way to clearly state what they know. Even when they shared the information, it was done in an obscure way, so most people will never realize what their discoveries meant.

Fortunately, the truth is right there for anyone to see. That truth enabled a vibrant story to come alive all by itself. While I made up the sentients that my people have to learn to live with on Titan, the truly crazy stuff is all compliments from NASA and Cassini. With the revelations from Cassini and NASA, this book became the easiest book I’ve ever written. And while most will think I’m one imaginative author, and this is a crazy story, the astounding truth is that the impossible to believe stuff is almost certainly true, only NASA does not want to admit it. But the pictures from Cassini and NASA reveal the truth to anyone who wants to see the truth. And in this case, reality is stranger than most fiction.

But there is no need to turn your world upside down with uncomfortable probable realities. You can safely read the story as a highly imaginative Sci-Fi and be no worse for it. That’s how I’m dealing with it.

I have a blog on the main extraordinary events, with Cassini and NASA pics to help prove my points. I should warn you in advance: no one has declared me spot on. Although, I have gotten many compliments for my creative imagination.

Honestly, I don’t need anyone to actually see what I see. I just need you to have a grand time enjoying the book that NASA and Cassini made possible.

Arrival: Titan coming May 7


Thanks to Liza for her post. You can learn more about Liza’s books here:

Liza’s Multiverse Blog

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

All the Many Books Liza has written

Written by jane tims

March 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

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