nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘strategies for winter’ Category

working on a poetry manuscript

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This week, I am assembling a new poetry book in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series. The first two books, a glimpse of water fall and a glimpse of dragon gave readers a peek at some of the beautiful waterfalls in New Brunswick and the bits of magic in all our lives. A glimpse of sickle moon will explore the seasons in New Brunswick. The manuscript won Third Place in the 2020 New Brunswick Writers’ Federation Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

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The poetry book presents fifteen years of seasons, each presented as four poems about spring, summer, winter and fall. The poems about spring talk about floodwaters, under-story flowers and waking from hibernation. Summer poems tell about hurricanes, picking raspberries and sheep in the morning meadows. Fall poems explore first frost, wasp nests, fading flowers and ripening blackberries. And in winter–ice caves, snow drifts, walks in the falling snow and feeding birds.

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I have struggled with how to present these poems. I thought of making each suite of four represent a year in my own life and entitling the section 1978, 1980, 1996, 2012 and so on. I thought about titling each section as a special year–‘The Year of the Path,’ ‘The Year of the Groundhog,’ and so on. I have finally settled on a title drawn from a common theme in the four poems presented–‘paths through tangled woods,’ ‘where shadows meet,’ and ‘a sliver from full.’

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For the cover, I will create a painting of the crescent moon, seen through the branches of birch trees. The image below is a facsimile.

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All my best as you work on your own project.

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

Counting the days

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I have a special Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. Each day during Advent, I hang one ‘ornament.’ The ornaments are made from plain cardstock, ribbon and various bits of decor — buttons, tiny baskets, brooches, earrings. We count down the days from the first Sunday in Advent (this year, November 28, 2021).

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To make these, I selected a shape I liked from the internet, used a fancy font to add the number of days (written out, but you could also use a number), printed and cut out the shape. Then, with a glue gun, I attached a bit of decor and used a hole punch to add ribbon for hanging.

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The ornaments can be hung from a small tree or branch, or from a dowel suspended from the ceiling. I hang our ornaments from an old fashioned clothes dryer I have attached to the wall.

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Enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. They can be hectic, but take the time to sit and think about the good things in your life.

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Take care in this time of pandemic.

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 18, 2021 at 7:00 am

a storm of birds

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We are expecting major snowfall/freezing rain in the next couple of days. I think the birds must sense this because there is a veritable storm of birds at the feeders this morning.

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We have evening grosbeaks, a downy woodpecker, chickadees, nuthatches and mourning doves. By far the largest numbers are the redpolls and goldfinches. We also have red and grey squirrels, but they didn’t show up this morning.

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The birds fly in from our surrounding trees and feed for a while, coming and going. Then a dog barks or a car goes by and the whole flock leaves at once. Only a few brave grosbeaks cling to the feeder. Eventually, all the birds return and begin to feed.

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We keep the feeders full during the cold weather and feed with nyjer (thistle) seed and black-oil sunflower seeds.

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Watching the birds is lots of fun. Each species seems to have its own feeding-personality:

  • the chickadees land, grab and leave as quickly as possible;
  • the woodpeckers cling to the feeder and only leave when they’ve had their fill;
  • the finches (redpolls and goldfinches) arrive as a flock and stay, to feed mostly on the fallen seed under the feeders;
  • the grosbeaks, much bigger than the finches, mingle with them and hang on to the feeders even after other birds have been frightened away.

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Bird watching is a great way to spend time during these days of pandemic lockdown. Still haven’t seen my first cardinal! And this year I haven’t yet seen a purple finch, so common in previous years.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

February 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Coming Soon: New Title in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series

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Every afternoon, I spend some time working on reviewing/revising the proof of my new mystery in the Kaye Eliot Series. I have a cozy spot to work, in my big reading chair in front of the fireplace. Not hard to take a fanciful flight to Nova Scotia where the mystery unfolds.

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The new book focuses on stones of various types and the part they play in our history: gemstones, millstones, standing stones, building stones. It may take a while for readers to understand the title of the book: Land Between the Furrows.

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In each book, I include three illustrations. Here is one of the three: an old grist mill and its grind stones figure in the mystery. This drawing will be the basis for the painting featured on the book’s cover.

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In this book, Kaye finds a stack of very old postcards that tell the story of a missing stone. Kaye welcomes the chance to solve a puzzle with her kids but some of the visitors to the community make their sleuthing a little dangerous. Then the family discovers the ruin of an old stone house on an unexplored part of their property and finding the missing stone may be only part of their venture into history.

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Land Between the Furrows is planned for release on March 15, 2021. A perfect cozy mystery to enjoy during these long winter afternoons.

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All my best!

Jane

harvesting herbs

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The colder nights have arrived and I have decided it is time to harvest my herbs.

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I have a lot of parsley in my deck garden. All summer, I have snacked every day on the leaves, loving the taste, the fresh air feeling that is the result.

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I enjoyed the harvest as well. With scissors, I cut the parsley leaves just below the branching of stems.

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I checked each set of leaves for bugs but the parsley is remarkably bug-free.

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I harvested into my colander, washed the leaves and set them to air-dry. Once the leaves are dry, I will load them into my drier, a Salton VitaPro. In a drying time of about three hours, I will have enough parsley for winter cooking.

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I have followed a similar process with my basil. Everything around me smells really good!!

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Hope you are enjoying your own produce if you are lucky enough to have a garden.

Enjoy your day.

Stay safe.

Do. Not. Get. Covid. Fatigue!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

creating my niche

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create: 1: to bring into existence;

2a: to invest with a new form, office or rank;

2b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior;

3: cause or occasion;

4a: to produce through imaginative skill;

4b: design. 

– Webster’s Dictionary

I am very interested in creative endeavors and I like being creative.  I am happiest when I am writing, painting, drawing, sewing, weaving, knitting, and so on.

Although I best like to write, I find creative activities substitute for one another. For example, when I am not writing for an extended period of time, I am often embedded in some other activity, such as painting.

Weaving exemplifies the lure of my various creative undertakings.  The producing requires knowledge and skill, and builds confidence.  The process is enjoyable and time is made available for thought and concentration.  The threads and fabrics are luxurious to the touch and the colors are bright and joyful. When I am finished a project, I am so proud of the resulting textile, I want to show the world.

My loom is a simple floor loom, 24 inch wide.  I bought it at a country auction, about 20 years ago.  My sister and I were among the stragglers at the auction, trying to outlast a heavy rain.  In the corner we saw a bundle of varnished wood and some metal parts.  “I think that’s a loom”, whispered my savvy sister.  When the item came up for auction, there were few bidders remaining, and no one know just what ‘it’ was.  At $25, it was a huge bargain.

My loom and I have not been steady company.  It takes forever to install the warp threads, and sometimes weaving is hard on my back.  But the fabrics we make together, my loom and I, are beautiful and comfortable and good for the soul.

What creative endeavors shape your niche space?  What materials do you use and what do you love about them?

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yellow line

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the road is fabric

weave of asphalt

ditch and yellow line

warp of guard rail

fence and heddle

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trees in plantations

lines on the hayfield

shadows on road

hip and curve of the earth

weft as she turns in her sleep

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shuttle piloted

through landscape

and watershed

textile in folds

texture the yearn of the loom

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faults in the granite

potholes in pavement

rifts in the fabric

where weavers might falter

revisit work of earlier times

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learning the lesson

taught by the loom

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choose your weft wisely

balance color and texture

maintain your tension

fix mistakes as you go

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rest when your back hurts

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listen

to the whisper

of weave

of yellow line

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All my best,

staying at home, staying safe,

Jane Tims

 

the yellow line

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

a quilting story: lemons and lemonade

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I am going to share the long, twisty story of my poppy quilt.

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First, I am not a great quilter, but I have made many quilts. To illustrate, a friend once asked if I was ‘basting’ the quilt together first. I was not; I just quilt with long, uneven stitches.

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The story begins last Christmas when I ordered, on-line, a draft-stopper made from a row of stuffed sheep. It was adorable, well-constructed and perfect.

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So this Christmas I decided a cute lap-quilt with a sheep motif would be nice for the easy chair near the draft-stopper. So I looked on-line and ordered this cute little quilt.

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Something went wrong with the order (I think I ordered from a knock-off site) and when the quilt arrived I was beyond disappointed. Someone had taken a photo of the above quilt or one like it, had it printed on rayon fabric and sewed the ‘quilt’ together with a machine stitch.

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Meanwhile, I was planning to make a small quilt for our bedroom which is decorated with a poppy motif. I had some of the fabric, left over from other projects. I looked on- line and found the perfect fabric, in ready-to-quilt 5″ by 5″ squares. 42 squares, just enough for my quilt. Disappointment number 2. The fabric, when it arrived was beautiful. But, only 8 of the 42 squares were in the poppy motif! Grrrrr.

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So I said, dang the price and sent for another 42 (that is 8) squares. Now I still had to purchase a padding for the quilt. Hmmm. I have that ugly sheep quilt.

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So I used the sheep quilt for the backing, sewing individual poppy squares over the sheep in rows. Very pretty although the colours are probably the result of my flower-child years.

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Once I had the top completed, I sent for some fabric to do the underside. The first order was cancelled because the fabric did not print correctly, but, frustration aside, the final fabric is soft and beautiful. You can see my ‘basting’ stitches if you look closely!

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Now I will do a wide band for the edges, this time in a bright California poppy fabric. My quilt will be colourful and warm, and, somewhere within the layers of fabric, sleep 25 ugly sheep!

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All my best and may your quilting projects be without frustration!

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 20, 2020 at 7:00 am

root cellar

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Q. 'root cellar' Jane Tims

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root cellar

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over the hill

cold earth sequesters

seeps of water

and lichened stone

roots in dry sand

preserves on shelves

of rough-hewn boards

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mice gnaw on the seam

of a gunny sack of corn

blue mold on the surface

of a jar of apple jelly

Mama just scoops it away

pumpkins never keep

past December

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 19, 2019 at 7:00 am

hauling wood

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D. 'hauling wood' Oct 25, 2018 Jane Tims

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hauling wood

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The draft horse answers

to a click, a shake

of the reins, the squawk

of a blue jay, flushed

from the thicket. Long

tail hairs scatter flies.

Chain rings, loops around

the log, its cut end

a brake, ploughs up duff.

Nostrils flare and hooves

find gain in gather

of leaves, paw for ground.

Lather under tack,

he lowers his head.

Takes the woodlot incline

as though he’s navigated

these hardwoods

all of his life.

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Copyright   2019   Jane Tims

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 7, 2019 at 7:00 am

making snowmen

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In winter, the snowy roadside slopes keep a record of events. Animal tracks, snowmobile trails and sledding runs each tell a story of adventures in the snow.

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On a drive to Mactaquac, we saw yet another story being told. Narrow tracks, each with a small snowball at the base, document the activities of gravity and wind. I think they are taking the first steps toward making snowmen along the roadside.

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snow balls.jpg

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snowballs in dirtch

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snow games

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at first

wind and gravity

collaborate, roll

the heads of snowmen

down the grade

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wind nudges

the tracks, plays games

of parallels

and criss-crosses

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gravity tires

of rivalry, abandons

bodiless heads

in the snowy ditch

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May you encounter interesting stories on your winter travels!

All my best!

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

February 13, 2019 at 8:19 pm

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