nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘crossing the river’ Category

Next painting for Isaac’s Way art auction …

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On January 25, 2016, the 25th Art Auction and Sale at Isaac’s Way Restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick will come to an end. Only a few more days to own some reasonably-priced art and help kids-in-need. As of January 4, 2016 this 25th auction has sold 22 paintings and raised $7,600 for art lessons for kids. For a look at the paintings still available, visit http://isaacsway.ca/art/. To have a look at my submission to the 25th Art Auction, see my post for September 18, 2015 https://janetims.com/2015/09/18/art-auction-new-painting/

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My next submission, for the Isaac’s Way 26th Art Auction and Sale, is a landscape.  The piece features a view of the Saint John River, from the Nerepis Marsh at Grand Bay-Westfield towards the Westfield Ferry. It is entitled ‘across the bay’ (24” wide by 20” high, acrylic on canvas, unframed with gallery edges). This auction will run from January 27, 2016 to late May, 2016.  The proceeds from the auction will go to sponsor kids-in-need. I am donating 50% of the proceeds from my painting to the charity.

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‘across the bay’ Jane Tims

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a narrow bridge

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On our drive last weekend, we visited three covered bridges.

Usually our visits last at least an hour. At each bridge, we:

  • get a good look at the abutments beneath the bridge
  • watch and listen for birds
  • identify the trees near the bridge and any wild plants in the vicinity
  • photograph the covered bridge and any interesting architectural elements
  • take notes about the state of the bridge, any new construction and the condition and covering of the roof
  • look for animal tracks, holes made by woodpeckers, birds nests, spider webs and feathers
  • record any notations in the bridge – carvings, chalk, felt marker, pencil, pen and paint
  • make a list of the sounds I hear and try to absorb the ‘feeling’ each bridge evokes.

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2015 117_crop

Florenceville Bridge, New Brunswick

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I knew ahead of time, the Florenceville Bridge across the St. John River would be a different experience. Walking the bridge would be unlikely – there is no pedestrian walkway, the traffic is quite heavy and the bridge is narrow.  I did cross the bridge in our truck, a harrowing adventure since the bridge traffic is two-way. Cars slow down when they meet, but the locals are seasoned to the width and scary-brave.

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a red truck and a white truck meet and pass on the narrow bridge

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Only one span of the Florenceville Bridge is covered (built in 1907) and this is very well maintained. The other four spans are steel trusses. The pigeons perching on the roof of the bridge are its most obvious wild life.

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keeping watch

(Florenceville Bridge)

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fifteen pigeons swim through air

fill gaps on the ridge line

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perch on the shingled roof

scrutinize the traffic

the squeeze of half-tons

on the bridge

the kiss of mirrors

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pigeons quit the ridge, glide

to the shingled shore

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river winds shiver

hawkweed and sumac, displace

blankets of wild cucumber, billow

the skirts and Tilley

hats of tourists

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2015 125_crop

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

September 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

a covered bridge – the Burpee Bridge, Queens County, New Brunswick

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Last weekend, driving home from Miramichi, we followed the Grand Lake Road.  It is mostly unpopulated, devoted to tree plantations and a preservation site for mature white pine.

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Along the way, we stopped in at the Burpee Covered Bridge on the Gaspereau River near Gaspereau Forks, Queens County.  This bridge is listed as Gaspereau River #2 in the April 1992 pamphlet ’Covered Bridges in New Brunswick’ (no author indicated).   This means there was once another covered bridge crossing the Gaspereau River but it is now gone.

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The Burpee Bridge was built in 1913.  It is 167′ 9″ long with a span of  163′ 6″.   The roadway width is 14′ 8″, and the load limit is 8 t.   The maximum clearance is 3.9 meters.

The bridge is on a main road and the grounds on both sides of the river are nicely kept and mowed.  The bridge was named for the family living nearby in 1913.

Inside the bridge, there is a window, with a good view of the Gaspereau River, showing the exposed bedrock of the river banks.

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The rafters of the bridge are populated with swallows and their nests.  The swallows chirped at me and swooped in and out of the bridge while I was there.

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I couldn’t find any carvings in the failing light, but the inside of the bridge is covered in graffiti.

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A lot of fluorescent paint has been used and it would be interesting to shine a black light inside the bridge … no doubt it would glow with spooky color …

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We didn’t visit this bridge in 1992 as part of our Covered Bridge Project for Canada’s 125th anniversary.  I am sorry we didn’t do more bridges that year … some are now gone, and it is interesting to compare the information for those that have survived.

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This year, on July 27, the community plans a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Burpee Bridge.  The bridge will be turned (temporarily) into a museum of photos and artifacts about the bridge and community.  Keeping our covered bridges in the eye of the community helps to preserve their heritage and value.  It also encourages sharing of the wonderful stories about the part these bridges have played in our communities and lives.

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

a ford in the river 5-3

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houses in Le Gué d'Alleré

houses in Le Gué d’Alleré (image from Street View)

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Day 5-3 1 Logbook

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Day 5-3 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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April 18’s virtual bike ride took me through the town of Le Gué d’Alleré.  A ‘gué’ is a place on a river where the water is shallow enough to allow easy passage, in other words, a ford.

The river in Le Gué d’Alleré was so shallow, it had no water at all.  I know this river sometimes holds water since there is an image embedded in Street View showing the river full of water!

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river in Le Gué d'Alleré

river in Le Gué d’Alleré (image from Street View)

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When I was young, we often visited my grandfather’s farm in Nova Scotia.  One of the places I remember well was the ford across the stream at the end of his road.  The water was shallow at this spot and people from the community would bring their cars to the ford to wash them.  It would not have been good for the environment.  Soap suds and leaking oil and gasoline would pollute the downstream water, probably harming the aquatic life, including the fish people liked to catch.

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ford

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at the intersection

of the lane and the County Road,

a ford crossed the stream–

flat stones and riffles

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in the shade of serviceberry and maple

we watched as distant cousins

washed their cars,

all suds and Daisies

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then took clean cars

further down the road

(further down the stream),

for an hour of fishing

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Best View: an image from my memory …

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'washing the car at the ford'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

abandoned bridge – South Nation River

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In south-east Ontario, the South Nation River winds through farmland…

Driving along the river in October of 2012, we found an old metal bridge, closed to traffic.  Although left to rust, this bridge was beautiful in its simple construction.  The deck of the bridge was rotted, but wildflowers had taken hold in the debris.

According to the South Nation River link at  http://www.nation.on.ca/en/geocaching/ (South Nation Conservation), the bridge has now been removed.

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abandoned bridge, South Nation River

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years since I crossed the metal bridge –

we take the long way now,

over that engineered, concrete

contrivance, upstream

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the old bridge CLOSED, of course

trusses red with rust, corroded

pitted as the river bank

and its swallow-burrows

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once we walked those girders

leaned from the railings

amused ourselves by pitching rocks down

into the duckweed

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wouldn’t be safe today, the deck

rotted where hawkweeds bloom

all summer, cheerful

you’d think they’d been planted

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Published as ‘abandoned bridge, South Nation River’, Canadian Stories 15 (85), June 2012.

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

November 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

a walk through the covered bridge – disappearing covered bridges

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Last week we took a drive to re-visit some of the covered bridges we saw in 1992 as part of a special project to celebrate Canada’s 125th birthday. One of these was the Stone Ridge Covered Bridge (formally known as Keswick River #6), crossing the Keswick River at Upper Stone Ridge in York County.  I was looking forward to seeing the bridge because we had recorded some interesting carvings in 1992.  Among the usual initials, someone had craved the images of three houses, one with steps and two chimneys, and one, a cottage, on the sill of the bridge window.

A short drive on a pretty country road along the Keswick River brought us to the bridge… a metal Bailey bridge, constructed to cross the river at the point where the covered bridge had once stood.  The new bridge was sturdy and had its own charm, but it was so disappointing to know the old covered bridge was gone forever.  The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was lost to fire on October 10, 2008.

The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was built in 1914 and had a span of 123′ 4″ and a total length of 126′ 4″.  It had a roadway width of 14′ 10″ and a capacity of 10 T.

I wrote in our journal, on May 1, 1992: “most carvings were on the flat of the horizontal plate that formed the window sill and ran the length of the bridge”.’  I also wrote: “lots of hacking and hewing done on the window part of the sill”.  The oldest date we recorded was ‘May 9, 1951 VHA’.

Some of the other carvings on the bridge in 1992 were: ‘LA + LB’, ‘WLR 54’, ‘VHA MARCH 7, 1952’, ‘1951 [or 1957] MAY 7 WLB [and a small heart]’,  ‘KM 1952’, ‘KMB 9/55’,  and ‘BB 1951’.  There was also a separate carving of an upward arrow beside a  ‘B’ and on the next line, ‘KM A4 54’.

I wonder who was VHA and how often did he or she return to the bridge over the years?  Who was KM in 1952, and did she return, married, in 1955 with her new last name beginning with ‘B’?  Was she married on April 4, 1954 to ‘B’?  A mystery, perhaps solvable by looking into some local marriage records?!

It is sad to see the covered bridges in New Brunswick disappear, one at a time.  Some are lost due to the dramatic power of the spring freshet.  Others are lost to vandalism (fire) – every Hallowe’en residents keep a careful watch on the covered bridge in our community.   In 1992 when we did the covered bridge project, our list had 71 covered bridges.  The New Brunswick Department of Transportation website  http://www.gnb.ca/0113/coveredbridges/coveredbridges-e.asp says there are presently 61 covered bridges in New Brunswick.

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

a walk through the covered bridge – Falls Brook Covered Bridge, Falls Brook on the Nackawic River

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On May 16, 1992, we visited the Falls Brook Covered Bridge in York County as part of our project on covered bridges for Canada’s 125th anniversary.  The Falls Brook Covered Bridge, on the Nackawic Siding Road at Nortondale, is also known as the Nackawic Siding Covered Bride, and is formally known as Nackawic River #5.  This means that there used to be at least four other covered bridges crossing the Nackawic River or its tributaries, but they have been lost for various reasons.

This past weekend, we visited the Falls Brook bridge again, to see if it is still there.  The sign at the end of the road was hopeful, indicating a covered bridge could be found on the road.  Most of New Brunswick’s covered bridges are marked by these signs.

My notes from 1992 said the road to the bridge was in poor shape – ‘spooky but very pretty and other-worldly’ was what I wrote.  The road has deteriorated over the years to become a narrow track with deep potholes and large outcroppings of rock.

The bridge was still there, tucked in among fir and maple woods.  It had been renovated within the last couple of years, based on the presence of some new large timbers and completely new wood siding.

The Falls Brook Covered Bridge was built in 1927.  It is 63′ long, with a span of 60′.  It is 14′ 10″ wide and has a maximum load of 8 T.  The height clearance is 4.0 m.  The architecture of the bridge is amazing, showing brace and beam construction with various hardwood joinery.

Unfortunately, the renovations have removed many of the markings we noted in 1992.  At that time, the oldest dates were a carved ‘1885’ and, in black ink, ‘Ptarmigan hunter Ray Brown May 12th 1896 Horse had bad leg’.  I have asked a well-informed birder about this and he told me there are no other records of ptarmigan in New Brunswick.   Other carvings we noted in 1992 included: ‘M.A.K.’, ‘WDH’, ‘Colin + BrenDa’, ‘Could be fishin’ ‘ , ‘D C ‘ and ‘TOGETHER AGANE Betty and Johnathan’.

The markings from the 1800s were gone, but ‘D.C.’ was still there, as well as some interesting new markings.

Some show that height is no barrier to leaving your name!

If you have covered bridges in your area, take note of the markings people have left behind!  Your record may be all that survives!

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

September 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

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