nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘above the ground’ Category

bracket fungi

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On a drive last weekend, we saw this great example of bracket fungi growing on an old maple.

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Bracket fungi belong to a group of fungi called polypores. These produce the characteristic spore-producing bodies called conks. The shelf-shaped or bracket-shaped conks are a reproductive outgrowth of the main fungal body called the mycelium. As with all fungi, the mycelium is mostly unseen since it resides in wood or soil.

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Polypores are a significant part of the forest ecosystem because they are agents of wood decay. These fungi are efficient decomposers of lignin and cellulose.

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On a more fanciful note, the brackets of these fungi always remind me of ‘faerie stairs’, a way to ascend an ancient tree.

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bracket fungi

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in this forest

(staid

practical

grey)

could any form

construe to magic?

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fairy rings

moths in spectral flight

spider webs, witches brooms

burrows and subterranean

rooms, hollows in wizened

logs, red toadstools

white-spotted, mottled

frogs

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bracket fungi

steps ascending

a branchless tree

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(Previously published October 28, 2011 http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com )

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 4, 2018 at 7:00 am

chimney swifts

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Last evening my husband and I took a drive into Fredericton to see a population of chimney swifts do their dive into a brick chimney. The chimney at McLeod Avenue provides home to a couple of thousand chimney swifts. These fleet birds nest inside brick and mortar chimneys, an ideal example of how wildlife adapts to coexist with humans. Once, swifts used large hollow trees, but these are disappearing from the landscape. When the swifts returned to Fredericton in May, a CBC newscast spread the word about the chimney and many folks turned out to watch the display CBC .

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Last evening was late in the viewing season, so we observed a few hundred birds dive into the chimney. My photography skills are always a problem, so the birds were much faster that the setting on my camera. But I really like the silent ghostly image portrayed. In fact the air was filled with their chirping and the dive of the birds into the chimney opening was like pouring water.

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Like the hollow trees before them, brick chimneys are disappearing from the landscape. Efforts are underway to protect chimneys and to provide alternative nesting for swifts, but the struggle to improve the survival of threatened species like the chimney swift must continue.

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All the best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

June 24, 2018 at 11:26 am

Butterfly Etude

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I have not played the piano for years. Not a great tragedy as I was never very good and playing made me nervous, afraid to fail. But there are some bits of music I will know forever because I learned to play them. One is Chopin’s Butterfly Etude (Etude Opus 25, no. 9). A difficult piece, full of octave stretches and staccatos. And it perfectly captures the erratic whim-of-the-wind flight of most butterflies.

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butterfly

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Etude Opus 25, No. 9

Chopin’s Butterfly Etude

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cloud to clover

graceless flight path

earth to sky

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wrist staccato

octave stretches

disarticulated flight

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flirt and quiver

tip and stumble

clouded sulphur

butterfly

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all my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

June 4, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Safe place for a nest

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No surprise to me … a robin has built a nest in the eaves of our house. Eighteen feet above the ground, this is a safe place for a nest. The robin does not think so. When I sit on the deck for my daily cup of tea, the robin sits in a near-by tree and scolds me. He gives a single annoyed chirp. If a robin could scowl, he is certainly scowling.

Written by jane tims

May 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

alternative energy

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On our recent trip to Ontario, we were intrigued to see how much use is made of alternative energy sources.

Especially in the windy area of Lake Huron, there were many wind turbines.  Watching the blades turn is quite mesmerizing. We saw at least one protest sign about wind energy in a farm-yard, so we know there is some resistance to wind power or the way it is managed.

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Solar power is also being used throughout southern Ontario. Many farms had large solar panels and we saw one extensive installation with hundreds of solar panels. These panels are mechanized so they “follow the sun”!

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I know there are economic, environmental, and social issues with use of wind and solar energy, but my thoughts are these:

wind turbines and solar panels alter the look of the landscape, but so do houses and other buildings

diversification seems to me to be a secure approach to ensuring energy for the future

if our society demands energy, there are consequences — we should be willing to use wind and sun as sources and work out any problems

careful evaluation of the environmental and social costs should be part of decision-making

I am so proud of human innovation when it comes to solving our problems!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

October 16, 2017 at 7:57 am

a moment of beautiful – bug-shot shadows

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the space: the surface of the power pole in front of our house

the beautiful: the pattern of shadow through bug-eaten leaves

The power pole in front of our house is habitat for a vine of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.). also known as Woodbine.  I brought the vine home about thirty years ago, as a slip collected from a plant in the park beside the St. John River.  Over the years, it has struggle against the winds, determined to blow it from its perch, the power company, unhappy with its use of the pole, and the lawn mower as it snips away at the horizontal tendrils.

This year, it has a new challenge to overcome.  An insect has chewed the vine full of holes… probably not a severe problem for the plant.

On Friday, I caught the shadow pattern created by the bug-eaten leaves as the sun shone at the right angle for a moment… a new way to see the consequence of belonging to the food chain!

©  Jane Tims  2012

maple blossoms

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This week, as Red Maple (Acer rubrum) flowers bloom, the woodland blushes scarlet.  In the driveway, a tree-shadow of blossoms has begun to form, as the flower clusters reach their peak and then drop to the ground.

Each flower is a puff of reddish-pink bracts surrounding the male and female flower parts.  The stamens (the male part of the flower) consist of a thin filament topped by a dark anther where the pollen is formed.  The pistil (the female part) is made of a style topped by a stigma; once fertilised by pollen, the maple seeds will form here.  Red maple flowers may have both stamens and pistils, or may be only male or only female.  The flower looks like a tiny fireworks, the burst-effect created by a bundle of stamens or stigmas.

When I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, I always loved the flowering of the Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) in spring.  Their flowers are green and most people mistake them for new leaves.  I used to wonder what the ecosystem consequences might be if the flowers were bright orange or purple instead of green.

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red maple blossoms

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across brown sky

strontium bursts of bright

sparks bloom

against dark

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©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

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