nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘our summer place’ Category

something orange

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I love the colour orange. It must be so – it is one of the most used ‘tag’ words in my blog postings.

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This is a rather whimsical ‘side-view’ watercolour of an orange mushroom I saw recently in our cottage woods. I published the ‘top-view’ in an earlier post.

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November 22, 2015 ‘side-view of an orange mushroom’ Jane Tims

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November 5, 2015 'woodland floor' Jane Tims

November 5, 2015 ‘woodland floor’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2105 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 2, 2015 at 7:05 am

colour on the woodland floor

with 7 comments

Today, we went for a walk along the trails at our camp. My favorite path runs along the boundary, next to our zig-zag cedar fence and among young white pine, grey birch, red maple and balsam fir.

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The weather has been very damp, so I expected to find fungi along the way. But I was surprised to see a beautiful patch of bright orange toadstools, each with a distinct orange-red center. They stood out among the red-brown leaves and green mosses.

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I am not good at the identification of fungi, but I think this is Caesar’s mushroom (Amanita caesarea). It is easily confused with the poisonous Amanita muscaria, so no one should use my painting as an identification guide. Just a celebration of orange and red on a fall day.

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November 5, 2015 'woodland floor' Jane Tims

November 5, 2015 ‘woodland floor’ Jane Tims

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

summer spaces

with 11 comments

Occasionally in these posts, I talk about our cabin.  When I was a child, weekends were always spent at the cottage.  It was a special place, partly because my Dad involved me in its creation.  I still remember how proud I was to fill one of the foundation boxes with stones. It was a place where we could play in the woods and dabble in a brook.  So it is no surprise that as an adult, having a cabin get-away has always been a priority.

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a view of the lake at our cabin property

a view of the lake at our cabin property

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Our cabin today is built on a hill overlooking a lake.  Originally, the property was a field overflowing with blueberry bushes.

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our lake property in 2005

our lake property in 2005

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Today, it is a young woods, mostly of mountain birch and red maple.  We keep the paths mowed with a bush hog pulled behind our ATV.  The treed lane I once hoped for is now a reality.  I still have a few patches of blueberries and lots of blackberry bushes.

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one of our many paths through the birch and maple wood

 

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Originally, we intended to build a much bigger cottage – we even chose the plans.  But through the years the shed we built as a sort of garage has become our cabin.  It is small, only 19 feet long by 15 feet wide.  But it is big enough for my husband and I.

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building the cabin in 2010

building the cabin in 2010

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Earlier this summer, we hired a local company to finish the outside of the cabin.  We still have work to do inside, but having the exterior finished takes us a long way towards the time when our cabin will be a home away from home.

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our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete 2014

our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete, 2014

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We spent yesterday at the cabin.  We did some work on our entry gate, sat in the cabin and talked, and watched the dragonflies and blue jays.  Usually we also read, aloud, a couple of chapters of a book and have a picnic lunch. Life is fun!

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Do you have a cabin or a place to ‘get-away’?

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

August 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

the colour of November #1 (Winterberry red)

with 6 comments

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Last week, we went out to our cabin to do some reading and cutting of the ever-growing vegetation.  In spite of the mower and the thinning saw and regular prunings, the field seems to grow vegetation behind your back.  When you turn around, an alder or a birch tree has filled in a patch you thought was only grass.

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As we planned a new path across the field, we considered each sapling before we cut.  To our surprise, we found another bush of Winterberry Holly (Canada Holly, Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray).  Many grow down by the lake, but up in the field by our cabin, we know only of one other.

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This time of year their leaves are bronzed and brown and their berries are orange-red.  The berries will persist on the leafless branches all through the winter.

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The berries of the Winterberry Holly are so much fun to paint.  I started with a layer of red, added orange and then layers of white, yellow and red in turn.  I finished with a dot of black and a dot of white on the majority of the berries.

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October 27, 2013  'Winterberry red'   Jane Tims

October 27, 2013 ‘Winterberry red’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

Paper Birch

with 14 comments

In the last five months, I have been learning how to paint with watercolors.  I’ve painted with acrylics for some time, and I love to draw with pencil, but watercolors always seemed daunting to me.

If you are a follower of my Blog, you will know my early attempts at watercolor have been of views from my virtual cycling trip in central France and on the Ile de Ré.  I have also done some studies of New Brunswick wildflowers.

Among the subjects I found fun to paint on Ile de Ré were the vine-covered trees that grow along the road.

This week, on a trip to see our camp, I studied some of the characteristics of Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), a tree growing everywhere on our property by the lake …

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Some of these trees are actually Mountain Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh. var. cordifolia (Reg.) Reg.), a variety of the Paper Birch.  This variety is quite common in eastern Canada.  Its distinguishing characteristic is the heart-shape of its leaves, especially at the base of the leaf.

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The bark of the Paper Birch and Mountain Birch is predominantly white, although parts of the tree can be yellowish or quite black.  Its bark strips readily from the tree, in sheets, leaving  a reddish-orange inner bark which turns black with age  …

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To paint the birch, I used Painter’s Tape to mask the trunks of the trees.  Then I painted the background.  Once the background was dry, I stripped the Painter’s Tape away and added the bark details in the white space left behind.  Here are three paintings of Mountain Birch …

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June 21, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch’ Jane Tims

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June 22, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #2’ Jane Tims

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June 23, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #3’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

flowers along the sidewalk 5-10

with 6 comments

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flowers along the sidewalk in Saint-Xandré (image from Street View)

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Day 5-10 1 Logbook

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Day 5-10 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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On May 9, I took my virtual bike along the streets of a town called Saint-Xandré.  The sidewalks were planted with roses and flowers the color of petunias.  I could ‘smell’ their spicy scent as I peddled by …

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flowers and greenery line the main streets of Saint-Xandré (image from Street View)

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Since I can never get close enough to identify the flowers, I just imagine they are similar to flowers found here at home.   As I passed one yard, the heady smell of white lilacs filled the air …

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these flowers remind me of the white lilacs in our yard at home (image from Street View)

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One of the houses reminded me of how I would like our cottage to look.  I love the calmness of the greens on the shutters of this house …

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a charming house with cottage appeal (image from Street View)

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We have a way to go before our cottage looks like the one above.  We have just installed our big front window and will finish the siding later this spring.  Our cottage started its life as a shed.  We intended to build something bigger, but as time went by, we realised –  it is the perfect size for us …

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our cottage/camp/cabin at the lake is under construction

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Best View: pots of flowers along a street in Saint-Xandré …

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

June 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

writing a novel – the first reads

with 18 comments

So, I have completed the second draft of my novel.  This stage follows the pages of edits I had after reading my book on my e-reader.  It took two long days to make the changes.  I emerged from the experience feeling that I needed a few other eyes on my work before I start another draft.

I am lucky to have two people in my family who have volunteered to look at the draft, my son and my niece.  I am also fortunate to belong to a couple of writer’s groups and some of these brave folk have agreed to give the draft a critical read.  I don’t know what to expect, but it will be so helpful to see their comments, both good and bad.  I am so grateful to them all.

My husband is also listening to the draft.  Just before we watch Coronation Street each evening, I read a chapter from my novel to him.  He is no book-worm, but he listens carefully and gives me his impressions.  He is especially helpful on some of the technical issues.  For example, my main character’s husband, Tom, is a welder, and my husband explained to me that you can’t weld copper to steel.  Also, I find errors as I read.  So, I make a few changes each evening.

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copper wind sculpture

Tom, my main character’s husband, is a welder… in the novel, he makes a series of wind sculptures for the writers’ retreat… this wind sculpture is one we have at our real property by the lake

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I am rapidly coming to a time when I will leave the draft untouched for about three weeks.  This is Stephen King’s advice (On Writing, 2000).   It will give me a chance to return to my poetry and meet some upcoming deadlines.  Then I will pick up the draft of my novel, to read it as if brand new!  Who knows what idiosyncrasies I will find!!!

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For you to read, here is an excerpt from the book, about Tom’s wind sculpture:

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‘You shouldn’t be welding, you know,’ I said.  ‘The doctor said you might improve if you stayed away.’

‘The doctor said I’d already done all the damage I could do,’ said Tom.

I was silent.  It was an old argument.  Tom didn’t want to hear about possibilities.  He believed in the frozen-cold facts. 

‘Hey, girl, have a look.’ 

He lifted part of his project from the bench.  The main element was a long cylinder of steel.  In a coil around the cylinder, he had welded a thick, inflexible steel wire.  To the flat end of this wire, Tom had screwed a broad triangle of copper sheeting.  The triangle was shaped like an oak leaf, cupped and angled to catch the wind.  Tom stood the cylinder on its end and it became a tree with a single clinging leaf.  He reached for another piece of formed metal and threaded the two together.  With his hands, he moved the unit, giving me a glimpse of the way it would move in the wind.

‘It’s wonderful,’ I said, always awed by the mellow gleam of the copper and his ingenious designs.  ‘How many leaves will there be?’

‘Nine, in three layers,’ he said. ‘It’ll be taller and quicker than the others.’  He had already finished the first three in a series of these wind mobiles.  Eventually, they would be part of a sort of garden he had planned for the property.  ‘Writers,’ he said, ‘will visit the wind garden and be inspired.’ 

The whisper of the wind and the mobile joinery of the sculpture, the exchange of light between the burnished metal and the shimmering lake, together these would create a magical, rhythmic experience of light, movement and sound, perfect for meditation and contemplation.  

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Copyright Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

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