nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

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on my bookshelf – Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada by Lyn and Richard Harrington

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Thanks to a friend, I have added a gem to my small collection of covered bridge books! Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada, published in 1976, gives a glimpse of days when there were over a hundred covered bridges still standing in New Brunswick.

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Scan0027

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Harrington, Lyn and Richard Harrington. Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1976.

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Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada includes black and white photos (and two in colour) of many of the covered bridges of the time, including one of the Southwest Otnabog Covered Bridge on Base Gagetown.

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These photos provide a glimpse into history: the types of signage used, the vintage cars, and the land uses in the vicinity of the bridge. Photos show the stacking of wooden lobster traps and log drives on the river. From the days when the bridges were used for private notices, there are photos of a circus poster and a painted eye glass advertisement.

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The book also includes written information on the history of covered bridges, bridge construction, enemies of the covered bridge and hopes for the future. The text covers topics such as traditions and superstitions, sources of bridge names, and anecdotes. I like the detailed story of the creation of the picnic park beside the Patrick Owens Bridge in Rusagonis.

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The Chapter ‘Hope for the Future’ is informative and somewhat sad. In the 1970s The League for Rural Renewal was seen by the author as the cornerstone for covered bridge protection and appreciation.

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Since the book was published, we have lost over forty covered bridges. On the positive side, appreciation for rural landscape is still alive in New Brunswick, evidenced by the many efforts of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. On our visits to covered bridges we have seen new roofs, mended walls and upgrades to abutments. Some of the photos in the book show deteriorated bridges now renovated and mended.

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The book provides a list of covered bridges in New Brunswick and Quebec in 1970. Although the list includes the names of 101 covered bridges in New Brunswick, the authors say 113 bridges existed in 1974/75 when they made their visits. The book also says there were 307 covered bridges in New Brunswick in 1950. Many of the names in the list are no longer familiar in today’s covered bridge lexicon: two bridges over the Shikatehawk River in Carleton County; Windgap Brook #1 in Kings County; Southwest Long Creek in Queens County; and Chemical Creek #1 in Albert County. As a point of interest, in the 1960s, there were still three covered bridges in Nova Scotia.

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The Foreword to the book is by Milton Gregg, born in Kings County, New Brunswick – cabinet minister, recipient of the Victoria Cross for bravery in World War II and Officer of the Order of Canada. He was also the founder and head of the League for Rural Renewal mentioned above.

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I was very fortunate to receive my copy of this book from a friend and I thank him again for the gift. Amazon lists the book as available through one of their associated sellers.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

time for picking berries (and a good read)

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One more day to get a chance to win my painting ‘berries and brambles’ … Just buy my book within easy reach from me or my publisher. www.chapelstreeteditions.com

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

passage of time

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One of the poems in my new book within easy reach recalls a walk I took with my husband and our discovery of wild strawberries growing in profusion in a clearing in the forest.

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'wild strawberries'

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Old Man’s Beard     

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Usnea subfloridana Stirt.

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you and I

years ago

forced our ways

bent through the thicket

of lichen and spruce

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                        Usnea

caught in your beard

and we laughed

absurd!

us with stooped backs

and grey hair?

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found a game trail

a strawberry marsh

wild berries

crushed into sedge

stained shirts

lips

and fingers

strawberries

dusted with sugar

washed down with cold tea

warmed by rum

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today

an old woman

alone

lost her way in the spruce

found beard

caught in the branches

and cried

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Published as ‘Old Man’s Beard’, The Fiddlehead 180, Summer, 1994

Post also published at www.janetimsdotcom.wordpress.com

©  Jane Tims  2016

Old Man's Beard (Usnea)

Old Man’s Beard (Usnea) is a lichen found growing in coniferous woods. The common name comes from its matted, stringy appearance. Lichens are made up of two species, an alga and a fungus, living symbiotically.

 

Written by jane tims

April 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Baker Brook #2

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Of the 60 covered bridges in New Brunswick, most are in the southern part of the province. Last week we went to see the three remaining covered bridges in Madawaska County in the north-western part of the province.

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One of these was Baker Brook #2. It crosses the Baker Brook west of Edmunston and is no longer in service. The bridge has been protected in a small park with a parking area. Bird boxes, flags and hanging flower baskets show there is local stewardship of the bridge.

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Baker Brook #2 in Madawaska County, New Brunswick

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The Baker Brook #2 bridge was the essence of quiet. As we entered the bridge, the only sound was the patter of rain and the trickle of water under the bridge.

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I don’t get many photos of myself, but this is a good one – I am ready to take notes on the plants and animals I see in the Baker Brook # 2 covered bridge … these notes and my photos and memories become the basis for future poems

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The bridge is set against a backdrop of tranquil hills and fields. A deer watched us from a hayfield at the north end of the bridge. A white-throated sparrow called once and a crow made a few comments from the top of a round bale of hay. Otherwise, we were alone.

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I love the way the lichens have colonized the bridge and follow the boards, like rain, in lines down the outer walls.

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Some visitor had left a small collection next to the outer wall of the bridge. Three rocks and a broken bit of glass…

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2015 at 7:20 am

I’m a Shelf Monkey!

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I see myself in many roles in this life – mother, wife, reader, writer, botanist, artist, friend, sister, and so on.  Recently, I have added one more role … I am a Shelf Monkey!

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My life as a Shelf Monkey began when I responded to a message from ecw press in Toronto.  They seek folks who love to read and would be willing to write a review of one of their titles.

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To be a Shelf Monkey, you must be 16 years or older and live in Canada or the United States.  Once ecw accepts you as a Shelf Monkey, they ask you to read and review one of their books.  First, they email you a choice of books.  Then you are entered into a draw (since there are other Shelf Monkeys).  If you win the draw, you receive an advance reading copy of your chosen book in the mail.  Your book review can be by Blog, Facebook, Amazon, and so on. They encourage posting a review within a month of receiving the book.

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For more information on becoming a Shelf Monkey, see http://www.ecwpress.com/be-shelf-monkey .

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Jane, reading

Jane, reading

 

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I am currently reading my first Shelf Monkey book – Born to Walk – The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act by Dan Rubinstein (ecw press, 2015, Toronto).  I chose the book because of my interest in mobility and the simplicity of the idea – walking can transform our lives.  I should be finished the book within the next couple of weeks and I’ll be posting a review on my Blog.

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my first Shelf Monkey book

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I would read faster, but the first chapter has inspired me to get out and do more walking!!!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

writing a novel – being consistent

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As I work on the Forth Draft of my novel ‘Crossing at a Walk’, I need to consult reference material.  I check the correct spelling and meaning of words, odd bits like ‘is Tim Hortons coffee spelled with an apostrophe?’ (no, it’s Tim Hortons coffee), and technical information such as the correct name for the shape of the windows of the Landing Church (‘Gothic with extended legs!’).

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gothic window

The windows in the Landing Church are referred to as ‘Gothic with extended legs’. This is an old church in Upper Canada Village in Ontario.

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I also keep a project-specific ‘guidance document’ (a ‘concordance’ or ‘style guide’) to make certain I am consistent about how I deal with people, objects and conversations within the text.

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Oliver

One of my main characters is Oliver, the former minister of the Landing Church. My ‘guidance document’ reminds me that Oliver always says ‘graveyard’ rather than ‘cemetery’.

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A ‘guidance document’ is a useful tool to prepare from the beginning of writing a longer piece of fiction.  It provides a set of rules to follow, to help me remember how I have previously dealt with many aspects of the book.  In dialogue, it tells me if a particular character uses the word ‘dinner’ or ‘supper’.  It reminds me that I put all business names in italics. It tells me to use ‘towards’ instead of ‘toward’ (the words are interchangeable and I often can’t remember which of the two I have typically used).  It means I don’t have to remember the title of Sadie’s university thesis: ‘Consideration of the Contribution of Writers to the Field of Cinematography’.  It also tells me details about the characters: Pat has a brother; Minnie has bright red hair; Reid’s best seller was titled ‘No Small Truck’.

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Some of the items I will only ever use once.  Often I have to look up information again and again, so I keep my ‘guidance document’ file open whenever I am working on the novel.

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matt

Matt Cromwell is a theatre student participating in the first writing weekend at Sadie’s writing retreat. The ‘guidance document’ reminds me Matt’s eyes are blue, he is 24 and he is a star-gazer in his spare time.

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You may wonder why I would forget these things.  Some items ensure consistency between my two books. In dealing with 70,000 words and 33 characters, I don’t need to keep everything in my head if I keep my ‘guidance document’ up to date.

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 17, 2015 at 5:56 pm

snow across the landscape

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end of day

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new-feathered, the valley

a black and white wing

stretches from horizon

the beat encloses

clouds and winter sky

 

field under snow, the back

of a settling dove

a lone skier presses

towards shelter, and

amber streak of sky

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 19, 2014 at 6:57 am

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