nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘my grandfather’s farm’ Category

getting ready for fall – blueberries

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Another painting in my series! I could call the collection paintings to illustrate ‘within easy reach’ since each one was inspired by a poem in my book.

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Blueberries are probably my favorite berry to pick. This could be because every summer, when my family visited Nova Scotia, we spent a week at my Grandfather’s blueberry farm. I picked blueberries with cousins, siblings and parents. I was never very good at the task but my idea of picking is one for the bucket, two for the mouth, so I guess you now know why I love picking blueberries!

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This little painting was fun to do. I was inspired because I had just finished putting together freezer bags of blueberries from a big box we bought at McKay’s Wild Blueberry Farm Stand in Pennfield, New Brunswick (https://janetims.com/2012/08/04/blueberries/).

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The painting is 10″ X 10″, gallery edges, acrylics, painted with Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow, Cadmium red, Burnt sienna and Titanium white.

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DSCF2491

August 20, 2016 ‘pick faster’ Jane Tims

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And, to accompany the painting, another sampling from the poems in my book ‘within easy reach’. My book of poems and drawings is available from my publisher http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com

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pick faster

for Dad

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blue ripens as morning, deft fingers

noisy pails, hail on metal gutters

this bush spent, unsatisfactory

berries over there fatter

bluer

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I am certain I see, beside mine

my father’s hands, callused

and quick

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berries roll between

thumb and fingers

I try to meet

his expectation

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pick faster

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within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

small scale economy – picking berries

with 6 comments

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'five blue berries'

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small-scale economy

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my box of berries spilled

on the footpath,

between leaves

of Kalmia and wintergreen

hawkweed and cow pies

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the cousins, their boxes brimming,

stood gawking, dismayed,

I was certain they were thinking

dumb city girl, spilled her berries

box only half full anyway

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instead, they gathered around me

sympathy in every hand

scooped most of the berries

into the box

added a few from nearby bushes

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seventeen cents he paid me

half the value of a box at full

the cousins had picked a crate or more,

remembered the wasted berries, left on the trail

and wept at the loss

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Published as: ‘small scale economy’, Canadian Stories 16 (94), December 2013/ January 2014

Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 24, 2014 at 7:14 am

rural relics (day 10 to 12)

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On my virtual bike trip along the north coast of New Brunswick, I am seeing many aspects of rural New Brunswick that are almost relics in our modern world.

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11 to 12

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-11  January 31, 2014   45 minutes  3.0 km (Eel River Bar to Charlo)

8-12   January 28, 2014   30 minutes  7.0 km (Charlo to Blackland)

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relic:

  1. object that is interesting because of its age or association
  2. surviving custom, belief or object from a past age

(Oxford dictionary)

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One of these relics is the rural mailbox.  Amid controversy, the single mailbox at the end of a driveway is gradually being replaced, so there are very few end-of-drive mailboxes along the route I am travelling.

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We had a mailbox for many years and it was always fun going to the end of the drive to get our mail.  Once when I was at my grandfather’s farm for a vacation, my Aunt Anna sent me a parcel so I would have the fun of getting a box in the mail.  I remember well reaching up to get the parcel and I remember what was inside – a snow globe!

getting a parcel in the mail

getting a parcel at my grandfather’s mailbox

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About ten years ago, we were shifted to a community mail box.  We have a key and an assigned box.  It is still fun to get the mail, but less convenient …

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mailboxes near New Mills

mailboxes near New Mills (image from Street View)

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Another relic of a more self-sufficient way of life is the remnant apple orchard.  In some cases, the apples are still used by thrifty families, but often the fallen fruit is left for the deer …

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orchard near Blackland

orchard near Blackland (image from Street View)

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I also see derelict barns and sheds along the road, abandoned as people give up farming and a more rural way of life …

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February 11. 2014 'old shed near Charlo'   Jane Tims

February 11. 2014 ‘old shed near Charlo’ Jane Tims

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Do you encounter remnant bits of our past in your travels?  Do they bring back memories?

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

swing in the orchard

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On this cold and snowy day …

'willow swing'

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in the orchard

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the old swing

soothes its child

its ropes fray

squeak with laughter

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if you hang around under apple trees

you understand the patchy shade

the reason the grass grows only so high

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in summer, the boy ties the swing high in the tree

and the mower moves under

brings Timothy to its knees

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spares field mice and bedstraw

makes mounds of hay to land on

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Copyright   2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 20, 2014 at 7:25 am

a ford in the river 5-3

with 10 comments

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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

gathering eggs

with 6 comments

When we visited my grandfather’s farm in the 1960s, boredom was never a problem.  Every day brought a new discovery or learning.  One of the best activities was to help in the gathering of eggs.

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gathering eggs

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first breath after rooster presses

crowbar under sun catches

dew in the three-angled strawberry leaves

and light pings sapphire,

red, amber, emerald to opening eyes

I see Dandy waiting

black and white counterpoint to rainbow

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he greets me, ignores

the chickens scratching

along random lines, we trek

to the barn together

push the man-door, open the pen

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Diane has promised a gather

of eggs, shows me how

to shoo the hen, part the straw,

roll the egg into my hand,

build the stack in the basket

set each in a three-angled

cradle of eggs

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Dandy watches the rooster

red comb and wattles,

amber neck, iridescent tail

ignores white eggs and chickens

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Previously published as ‘gathering eggs’, Canadian Stories 15 (84), April 2012

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

playing the parlour organ

with 12 comments

Within my grandfather’s house were rooms we were not allowed to enter, except under very special circumstances.  One of these was the parlour.

My ‘need’ to practice the piano allowed me access to this sanctum.  For each day of our vacation, I was allowed to practice on the old pump organ.  The organ belonged to my grandmother and my Dad could remember sitting on her lap while she played.

I was not an eager player and spent a lot of time testing the effect of the various ‘stops’ on the organ.  These were white knobs with mysterious black words printed on each.  When you pulled a stop, various connections were created to make the organ sound a certain way.  Now for a memory I am not sure is true or only something I imagined – one of the stops, if pulled, would make the keys play an octave below where I was playing.  They moved of their own accord and made me feel I was playing a duet with a ghostly partner!

One of the songs I chose to play on the organ was Evening Chimes.  It was an easy song and made a good impression.

'Evening Chimes', Michael Aaron Piano Course - Grade One. Mills Music Inc., New York. 1945.

Since I knew Evening Chimes by heart, my eyes could wander over the embellishments of the Victorian-aged organ as I was playing.  Its designs included flowers, leaves, exclamation marks, serpent-like creatures and four stylised figures of an octopus!  This last I could ascribe to a childish imagination, but since my sister now has my grandmother’s parlour organ,  I can verify the existence of those odd oceanic figures on the front of the organ!

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Vox Angelica 8 Fţ

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practice required

repeated bars and D.C. al fine

the E flat I could never

remember, stretch that little

finger, make it behave, do

tricky slurs and grace notes

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to coax these from the organ

was like pounding on felt

and my feet

unused to pumping

supplied inappropriate pace

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so I played Evening Chimes, folk song

over and over

rang church bells

imitated angels, impressed

my pious grandfather

and demonstrated piano prowess

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© Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

April 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

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