nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘along the roadside’ Category

along New Brunswick’s roads

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New Brunswick is a beautiful province. We also have a great road system, both for those who want to linger and those who want to get through as fast as possible.

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This time of year I am amazed at the beauty of our four-lane Trans-Canada highway. I think the roadside has been seeded with a wild-flower mix but many are weedy species common in New Brunswick. Whatever their origins, the results are lovely.

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I have found these flowers in a quick sampling of the roadside:

Buttercup (Ranunculus sp.)

Lupin (Lupinus sp.)

Bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)

Daisy (Leucanthemum sp.)

Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Yellow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

Bedstraw (Galium sp.)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farafara)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

(plus many grasses, sedges and non-flowering plants contributing to the background of green)

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Long stretches of highway can be boring-beyond-belief, but, because of these expanses of bloom, I am enjoying our drives along the highway this summer.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

June 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

beekeeping

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As we go for our drives around the country-side, we see beehives everywhere. Occasionally we see the beekeepers, covered in their protective clothing, tending to the hives.

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The hives make honey available to lovers of locally-produced sugar. They also ensure the pollination of our apple orchards and fields of blueberries.

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beekeeper

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bees smoke-drowsy   rag smoulders   swung slowly   protected thick

in net and cotton   wicking folds   into beeswax   candle flame

pours golden   through panes   in the honeycomb

streamers   sweet circles   sink into bread

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hollows of air

yeast-filled

and honey

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the bee stings

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but the beekeeper never flinches

flicks it from his fingers

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spit and mud

for a poultice

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Published as ‘beekeeper’, Canadian Stories 17 (95), February/March 2014

This poem is also part of the collection within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2017

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to order within easy reach, contact Chapel Street Editions  

or order at Amazon

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

June 21, 2017 at 7:42 am

lupins lean

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Yesterday our drive in western New Brunswick was dominated by two things: the wind and the roadside wildflowers.

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Buttercups, bunchberry, bluets and lupins fill the ditches with bloom. The lupins  (Lupinus sp.) dominate – mostly purple and blue, but occasionally white, pink or even yellow. The wind was blowing so hard, you could use the flower heads and leaves to measure wind direction!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

June 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

spring flowers – service berry bushes

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At this time of year, many ditches and fields in New Brunswick are filled with Serviceberry bushes in bloom. Their delicate white flowers only last a short while but later, in summer, we will be able to pick sweet Serviceberries.

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the shad are running

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after hard rain

and thin wind

between cold front and warm

riverbanks overflow

and for dinner we have fiddleheads

potatoes and shad, served

with last summer’s Serviceberry jam

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Serviceberry bushes are torn fish nets

holes poked through with fingers

white petals scattered over mossy stones

on the river shore

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Published as ‘the shad are running’ in within easy reach, 2016, Chapel Street Editions

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

spring wildflowers – Trout Lily

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On a drive to Sussex yesterday, we found Trout Lily blooming in many ditches along the back roads.

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Trout Lily is an herbaceous colonial plant, covering slopes in rich, moist hardwoods. The plant is also known as Dog’s Tooth Violet, Yellow Adder’s-tongue, Fawn-lily, and in French, ail doux. The yellow lily-like flowers bloom in New Brunswick in May. The leaves are mottled in maroon and green. The young leaves and bulb-like ‘corm’ are edible but should only be gathered if the plants are abundant, to conserve the species.

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trout lily

(Erythronium americanum Ker)

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On a hike in the hardwood

north of the Dunbar Stream

you discover Trout Lily profusion

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Mottled purple leaves overlap

as the scales of adder or dragon

You know these plants as edible

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the leaves a salad, or pot-herb

and, deep underground, the corm

flavoured like garlic

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You fall to your knees

to dig, to gather, and

hesitate

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examine your motives

You, with two granola bars in your knapsack

and a bottle of water from Ontario

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(published as ‘trout lily’ in “within easy reach“, 2016, Chapel Street Editions)

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

waking from winter …

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Not everyone has been snoozing though the colder months …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

May 5, 2017 at 7:37 am

colour of spring – a palette of twigs

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The season is rushing on! Only a week ago the branches were bare of growth and today our red maples have blossomed.

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On a recent drive to our cabin, there was still snow in some ditches. But I was thrilled to see the diversity displayed by young woody shoots and saplings.

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Green of willow …

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Red of dogwood …

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And the silver of pussy willow …

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Happy spring at last!!!!!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2107

Written by jane tims

May 3, 2017 at 7:34 am

 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

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