nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘along the roadside’ Category

 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 – hops vine

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I have completed a few more paintings in the group I’ll take to my fall sale. This one is of the wild hops vine we found in Victoria County.  It is acrylic, gallery edges, 12″ X 10″, painted with Titanium White, Paynes Grey, Chromium Oxide Green, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Light and a touch of Iridescent Copper.

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Untitled

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

August 15, 2016 at 7:24 am

plants along the roadside – wild hops

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When we go for drives to find covered bridges or one room school houses, I always watch the roadside for plants familiar and unfamiliar. This habit comes from years of work as a botanist. As we drive, I name the plants I know. Sometimes there is a huge surprise!

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While driving in Victoria County last year, looking for a covered bridge, we travelled a short way on a side road. The road became quite rough and narrow and soon we were searching for a good place to turn. There, away from any habitation, among the vegetation on the side of the road, was something different: large 3 to 5-lobed leaves, climbing tendrils and golden cone-like flowers. A vigorous ‘wild’ hop vine. I was thrilled!

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Hops (Humulus sp.)  is well known as a stabilizing and flavouring agent in beer. The hops contain various flavonoids, acids and oils which impart smell and taste to beer.

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When I got home, I went hunting on the Internet and discovered a CBC article describing an Agriculture Canada study about native hops. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/hops-research-could-aid-beer-industry-1.3136764

The researchers, Jason McCallum and Aaron Mills, were (and still are) asking for the public’s help in locating wild hops in the Maritimes. Needless to say, I contacted them.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned they were coming to New Brunswick to find my hops plant. To make sure we could give them good directions, my husband and I drove to Victoria County to see if the plant was still there. It was growing more vigorously than ever, climbing among the top branches of a downed tree.

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With our improved directions in hand, the Agriculture Canada team found the hops plant, a couple of hours after a road crew went through with bush saws to widen the road!!! However, the team was able to take the samples they needed and assured me that the plant was so vigorous, it would be able to recover and continue to thrive!

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The researchers at Agriculture Canada will do genetic analyses to determine if the plant is native to North America (var. lupuloides), an escaped European hops (Humulus lupulus) or a hybrid between the two. The purpose of their study is to examine hops native to New Brunswick to see if they have resistance to disease and pests. Discovery of a native hops variety, perhaps with unique properties, flavours and aromas, would be valuable to a local brewing industry.

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Hops are cultivated around the world.  The Agriculture Canada researchers think ‘my’ hops plant may have been grown on a now-abandoned homestead. These folks may have grown the hops as a way of making starter cultures of yeast for bread-making. The elements in hops are toxic to bacteria but tolerated by yeast. Starter cultures resulted when yeasts colonized standing mixtures of hops and a sugar like molasses.

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This experience has reinforced my passion for ‘ditch-combing’ … I am so lucky to have my husband as driver so I can spend my time scanning the road side. If you live in the Maritimes, keep your eyes open and if you see a wild hops plant, let the researchers at Agriculture Canada know!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

blue in the woodland

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About a decade ago, we took a drive from Canterbury to McAdam on a gravel road.  The memory I have carried with me for years is of a section of woodland absolutely blue with flowers.  I often wondered what the flowers were and if I’d be able to find the spot again.  This weekend we tried to find the place and the sea of blue in the woodland.

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Highway 630 from Canterbury to McAdam in New Brunswick (map from Google Maps)

Highway 630 from Canterbury to McAdam in New Brunswick (map from Google Maps)

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Canterbury, like many rural communities of New Brunswick, has faced a shrinking population over the years.  Settled by Loyalists, it was a center for logging and railroad traffic and, in the late 1800s, had a population of over 1000.  Today it has only about 340 residents.  Nevertheless, it is a charming village and has a newly renovated school, housing all 12 grades.

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Village of Canterbury at the turn to Highway 630

Village of Canterbury at the turn to Highway 630

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The route from Canterbury toward the south is a numbered road.  But Highway 630 is not paved and quite rutted in some sections.  In one place we had to ask some ATVers if we were on the right road!

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Highway 630

Highway 630

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As we drove, I watched the woods for those blue flowers.  Wildflowers were certainly a theme of our drive.  By the road we saw Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis), Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) and Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea).

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Lady's Slipper and Bunchberry along the road

Lady’s Slipper and Bunchberry along the road

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The map shows a community named Carroll’s Ridge just south of Canterbury.  When we reached the location marked on the map, there were no homes or buildings, only a few old roads and cleared areas.  But there in the woods was evidence people had once lived there.  I found my sea of blue!  Forget-me-nots, escaped from some forgotten garden to thrive in the near by woods.

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Forget-me-nots escaped from an old garden

Forget-me-nots escaped from an old garden

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In my memory, the ‘blue’ of the flowers was more intense a decade ago.  But we noticed many of the Forget-me-nots there now are a white variety.  Who knows if flower colour or memory really changed during those ten years.

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blue flowers in the woodland

blue flowers in the woodland

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Forget-me-nots in the woods

Forget-me-nots in the woods

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I picked a few of the Forget-me-nots, to try an ‘eco-print’ dyeing experiment in coming days.  But what I really took away was another image of a sea of blue flowers in the woods.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

the colour of October #2 (Tansy yellow)

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So many colours!  The orange of the big pumpkin on our doorstep.  The reds and yellows of the Red Maple leaves in piles under our feet.  The bright white of the moon this month.  The golden colour of the needles of the Tamarack now falling with every breath of wind.

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The colour that has inspired me this week is the yellow of Tansy  (Tansy vulgare L.) still bright along the road in Fredericton. The flowers are like brilliant yellow buttons.

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I couldn’t duplicate the colour with the yellows in my watercolour palette, but after layers of alternating yellow and white, I have realised how wonderful the yellows of nature really are!

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October 27, 2013   'Tansy'   Jane Tims

October 27, 2013 ‘Tansy’ Jane Tims

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In a month’s time, the bright yellow heads of the Tansy will be black!

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

October 30, 2013 at 7:09 am

a quest for poppies 5-5 a

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On April 27, I took a short detour on my virtual bike tour, to find a field of poppies.  I love poppies and I’d like to find a field of them on my virtual visit to central France.

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5 side trip Logbook

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poppy quest map

map showing red field … could it be a field of blooming poppies? (map from Google Maps)

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I started by scanning the maps to the south of the area I have been visiting.  And I found what looked like a red field just south of my bike path.  Side trip!!!!

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poppy quest map two

map showing my quest to find a field of poppies (map from Google maps)

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At the first of my side trip, I saw a lady, picking flowers along the roadside …

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poppy quest a

looks like she is picking daisies … (image from Street View)

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I stopped to ask her if she knew any poppy fields in the area …

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poppy quest b

the lady stops to talk (image from Street View)

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Jane to Lady-picking-flowers: Bonjour Madame! (Hello Madame.)

Lady-picking-flowers: Bonjour!  (Hello!)

Jane: Je pense que vous aimez les fleurs! (I think you must like flowers!)

Lady: Oui.  Je trouve un bouquet pour la table!  (Yes.  I am getting a bouquet for the table.)

Jane: Est-ce que vous connaissez s’il y a un champ des coquelicots dans cet territoire?  (Do you know if there are any fields of poppies in this area?)

Lady:  Oui.  Dans le printemps, il y a un grand champ des coquelicots just à côté de cette route.  Il n’est que deux kilomètres vers l’est.   (Yes.  In the spring, there is a big field of poppies just beside this road.  It’s only two kilometers to the east.)

Jane:  Bon!  Merci!  Bonjour!  (Great!  Thanks!  Have a good day!)

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So off I went, peddling madly between fields of grain and plowed soil on a very narrow dirt road …

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poppy quest g

the poppy field must be just up ahead (image from street View)

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It was boring, but I was watching for that gorgeous field of poppies …

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poppy quest h

it should be just off to the left … (image from Street View)

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When I got to the area on the map where I was sure there was a poppy field, I saw only plowed field …

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poppy quest l

I’m sure they should be just over there (image from Street View)

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As a reward for my search, I saw two poppy blooms in the grass beside the road …

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two poppies

two poppies beside the road (image from Street View)

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I realised then, the Google Map and the Street View images were taken at different times of the year.  So sad.

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Best View: imaginary poppies …

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'poppies'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 22, 2013 at 7:05 am

wildflowers along the road

with 14 comments

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wildflowers gorse

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I have completed Phase 4 of my virtual bike ride through France!  My entire ride (Phase 1, 2, 3 and 4) since January 30, 2013  has taken me from Lusignan to Ferrières for a total of  116 km or 1155 minutes (19.2 hours).

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Phase 4 mapquest map

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The last bike ride of Phase 4 took me through the countryside east of Ferrièrres …

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Day 15 1 logbook

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Day 15 1 map

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The theme seemed to be one of wildflowers.  I saw Queen Anne’s Lace, Fireweed, and, best of all, Poppies, along the edge of the fields …

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Day 15 z

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I also saw a roadside shrub in yellow bloom.  Since the images were taken in May, I think these flowers were Gorse …

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Day 15 w

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I also saw a flock of sheep grazing in a pasture …

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Day 15 p

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Best View: a flower garden in Courçon …

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'flower garden in Courcon'~

For Phase 5 of my trip, I plan to cycle from Ferrières to Nieul-sur-Mer, near the Atlantic Coast of France.  Hope you will stay with me on my journey!

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Phase 5 map

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

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