nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘strategies for winter’ Category

herb growing in winter #3

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My AeroGarden guide says “don’t be afraid to prune.”  Me, I love to prune. I must be doing it correctly since I am getting a small harvest every day or two!

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My plants are Basil, Tai Basil, Genovese Basil, unknown (labelled ‘Curly Parsley’ but definitely not), Thyme (hardly growing but trying) and Romaine Lettuce (planted last week).

I chop the leaves as I prune them and they are crisp enough to crumble in a couple of days.

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Photos of my ‘harvest’ …

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my garden after today’s pruning … gro-light makes a good photo difficult

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my ‘harvest … lots of leaves make a small amount of dried herb …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 21, 2018 at 7:02 am

a new birdfeeder

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My coke bottle bird feeder finally succumbed to the weight of our colossal grey squirrel.

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My next attempt at a home-made bird feeder – a feeder made from a string of coconut shells. I cut the shells in half and removed the coconut many years ago, in an attempt to make a wind chime. They have been hiding in a bag in the closet and are part of my latest de-cluttering effort. I drilled a hole in the bottom of each half and strung them on a nylon chord. Let’s see what the birds think of them.

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Back to my writing. Enjoy your sunflower seeds, birds (and squirrels).

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018  

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

herb growing in winter #2

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A while ago, I told you I was starting an AeroGarden. The garden grows plants in ‘pods’, with addition of light, water and nutrients.  After 54 days, my garden is growing mint and two kinds of basil in profusion.  Two of the plants, thyme and another type of basil, are very slow, but growing and healthy. A fifth pod got mold and never grew.

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Every three days, I prune about one third of the growth. I remove the leaves, cut them into smaller pieces with scissors and spread them to dry on parchment paper. Our house is very dry and in 24 hours I can crumble the dry leaves and add them to my growing store of herbs.

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Basil is one of my favourite herbs, so I am very pleased with my AeroGarden.

It uses lots of water so I have to remember to add water every day. A little screen tells me how long the pods have been growing and when to add nutrients. Otherwise, as a garden it is trouble-free – no weeds, so I am happy!

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

February 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm

bird feeder visitors – personalities

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I put my feeders up late this year, but the birds have found them. So far the diversity is low, but the numbers are high. We have chickadees, goldfinches and nuthatches. I know from my bird diary of other years, redpolls, purple finches and blue jays will come later.

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I spend a little time each day watching the birds. And, as in other years, I am amazed at how different are the  personalities of these birds.

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Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) – sings ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ or ‘fee-bee’ 

  •  the chickadee hoards food, storing food in times of plenty under bits of bark or a patch of lichen. Canada’s Hinterland Who’s Who says a chickadee can remember where it has stored its food up to 28 days.
  • the chickadee is a grab and go kind of feeder. They zoom in on a sunflower seed, pick it and leave.
  • chickadees hang out in flocks, and have a hierarchy and a ‘pecking order’. The birds are very aggressive with other birds, chasing away other chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches.

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Red-breasted-Nuthatch (Sitta Canadensis) – sings a nasal ‘yank-yank-yank’ over and over

  • the nuthatch walks head-downward after it lands and in Newfoundland is called the ‘upside-down bird’.
  • nuthatches are very solitary at the feeder and are easily chased away by chickadees.
  • they get-their-food-and-get-going, not hanging around even for a second.
  • nuthatches also hoard and hide food.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says these birds carry tree pitch to build their nests!

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American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)  – sings ‘perchickoree’ and flies in a series of hanging loops, potato chip, potato chip.

  • at this time of year goldfinches are dull olive-yellow.
  • they hang out at bird feeders, staying put until they are chased away. They arrive at feeders in flocks and feed quite happily side by side.
  • although they eat sunflower seeds, they seem to prefer thistle seed.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says goldfinches go into feeding frenzies before snowstorms, putting on significant weight before times when seeds are scarce.

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Do you feed the birds and what kinds of birds come to your feeders? Do they have distinct personalities?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

a quilting project

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Each winter I do three things to stay warm and content:

  1. I drink tea; only a cup a day but it warms me inside
  2. I knit; mostly socks and just to keep up with my voracious need for warm socks
  3. I make lap quilts; I cannot think of a warmer occupation on a cold evening

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My quilting project for this year may seem a little out-of-season. I took all the bits of Christmas fabric I have collected from various projects over the years and put them into a small patchwork lap quilt – just 40″ by 40″.  If my husband and son look closely they will see my husband’s Christmas necktie, little bags for ‘coal’-flavoured candy brought by Santa one year, a pair of Santa-patterned shorts I bought as a joke, remnants of the Santa Cool sock I won one year at work at Christmas and so on. When there was a ribbon or draw-string associated with the remnant, I just incorporated it into the quilt. Perhaps someone will use the coal-sacs for a little treasure.

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not quite complete to the right of the Coal fabric … I will just sew another patch on the bare spot …

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the two amber ribbons are part of a gift bag …

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some of you who used to work with me may remember the year we decorated and I won the Santa Cool stocking in the lower left corner … those were the days!!!

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Today I went to Fabricville and found two pretty Christmas berry-patterned fabrics to use for the back.

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If you have read about my ‘quilting’ before, you will know that my stitches are long and uneven and they look more like basting than quilting. But my little quilts are solid. I keep them on every chair in our living room as another way of keeping the cold away!

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I will show you the final quilt when it is done in a week or so.

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Do you have small remnants of Christmas fabric and do you have a plan for them?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

feeding the birds

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I am late this year with putting out bird feeders. Two reasons: the reported difficulty with disease in bird feeders last year and my general lack of time.

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This morning I made a bird feeder from a coke bottle (my son and I used to do this when he was little) and filled three of our feeders. The old sunflower seed feeders, difficult to clean and too expensive to toss out every few days, are in the trash.

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Presenting my new home-made feeder for sunflower seeds! I may add a simple roof to keep the snow out. I can replace it at intervals to keep it clean.

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The finch-feeder with nyjer (thistle) seed:

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A pile of seeds in our frozen bird-bath, for the squirrels and deer:

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As I came in from outside, I heard a chickadee in the larch tree, so I am hoping they will find the feeders soon.

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one of the illustrations in my book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions 2017)

 

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

Written by jane tims

February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

renewal

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Here we are in chill January. Days of snow and freezing rain, bitter cold and flooding and loss. Days when we don’t get enough sun to fill our requirement for Vitamin D.  Days when summer seems so far away.

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As a retired person, my days are neither hectic nor sorrowful. My hours are filled with writing, painting, drawing, time on social media and an occasional meeting. I can go outside any time I want to get my dose of sunshine (if available). My stresses are few.

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Once life was not so easy.  I worked long days and often came home tired and in a bad mood. But my husband and son made my days wonderful. I found this poem in my files, a testament to the way our families can inject hope into a slogging day! I wrote the poem in 2010, a couple of years before I retired.

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Renewal is possible

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I am entirely new today

some aspect of morning

has cast just-born skin

on me

the song sung by the kettle

the taste of the tea

the forecast of snow

the way you said goodbye

more like the promise of hello

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most days lately

have tears at all the edges

too much to do

too little time

late nights

mugs of coffee, half-gulped

clocks and messages despised

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through the day

I have waited for

old disappointments

to discover my face

but my noon coffee

has a hint of chocolate

and all my emails

are smile-embedded

and one of them from you

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my husband getting pussy willows for me …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

January 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

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