nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘waterways’ Category

jet-lag (days 46 and 47)

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I had a great time during my week in California, but it has been hard to return to my regular routines.  The four-hour time shift left me out of sync.  For about ten days after arriving home, I was constantly sleepy, napping at odd times through the day.  I also had a hard time regulating my eating and for a few days, breakfast was a three course meal (doesn’t make sense since in California, I would still be sleeping).

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I slacked off my biking as well and after only two 30 minute sessions in 10 days, I woke one morning to find my knee in pain and almost locked into a bent position.  Besides its other benefits, I think the stationary biking keeps my knee flexible and lubricated.  I started biking again every two days and now my knee is back to ‘normal’.

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46 and 47

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7-46  November 13, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  (from Port Navas to Constantine)

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Being able to climb stairs easily is important, especially since I wanted to try out this set of stone stairs along the road in Cornwall …

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November 21, 2013 ‘stone stair near Constantine’ Jane Tims

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My experience with jet-lag has shown me how much easier it is to just hop on my stationary bike and see the Cornwall coast via Street View.

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7-47  November 19, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (from Constantine to Mawgan)

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The route for the last few days of my virtual travel has taken me across the inlets of the Helford River.   This is interesting to me since I worked on waterways for so much of my career.  I also saw a flock of ducks on the water of the Mawgan Creek, also worthy of a look since Street View captures so little wildlife.

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7-46 ducks on Mawgan Creek

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A short distance farther along, the road crosses another branch of Mawgan Creek.  It was a good subject for a watercolour, so I tried to capture the reflections in the water and the contrast between the soft vegetation and the hard stone bridge.  In a lazy mood (more jet-lag???), I decided to use a spatter technique to give some interest to the scene.  I got a little carried away with the red!

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November 18, 2013  'Mawgan Creek'   Jane Tims

November 18, 2013 ‘Mawgan Creek’ Jane Tims

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I coped so badly with my ‘jet-lag’ experience, I now have renewed admiration for those who must travel constantly because of their work.

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I’d love to hear about your experiences with ‘jet-lag’.

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

sculpting land and trees

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sculpting trees

sculptured trees in La Grève-sur-Mignon (image from Street View)

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day 4-8 logbook

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Day 13 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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During my virtual travels in France, I have noticed the way nature has been modified to suit people.  We do this in North America too, pruning trees to take elaborate shapes, pulling weeds and planting domesticated plants, modifying the edges of lakes to be more ‘beach-like’, straightening watercourses, and so on.

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In France, I have particularly noticed how canal-like the watercourses are in the area of La Venise Verte.  This is a result of the area’s history.  When the marshes of the Marais Poitevin were settled, people needed dry land to farm and live.  In the tenth century, there was a huge effort to dig canals and reclaim the land.  The result is the canal system I am seeing on my virtual bike ride.  The waterways are straight and their banks are steep.  Canals intersect at right angles …

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perpendicular waterways

intersecting waterways (image from Street View)

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Other elements of the natural landscape are also shaped by human hands.  For example, older trees are pruned to take on unnatural shapes.  This may be in order to rejuvenate older trees by encouraging new growth.  It may also be for aesthetics …

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weird trees

some weirdly pruned trees near Balanger

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A man was out pruning these trees as I ‘drove’ by …

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Day 5 e

man working on trees near Balanger – he has removed all the sucker branches on the tree nearest the camera (image from Street View)

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I saw some of the most bizarre of these pruned trees in Niort …

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day 10 e5 weird trees

weird trees in Niort (image from Street View)

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I have no idea which tree species these are.  they could be willow, or even olive …

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Day 5 x

severely pruned tree in rural area near Irleau

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Do you know which species of tree is being pruned?

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Best View: pruned trees near La Grève-Sur-Mignon …

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'pruned trees near La Greve'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

a moment of beautiful – through a stained glass window

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the space: the big maple outside our front door

the beautiful: seeing a squirrel in the tree through the stained glass window in our stairwell

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As I was working at my desk, my husband called to me.  Through our stained glass window, he could see a silhouette of our grey squirrel.  I’m glad the squirrel waited long enough for me to snap his picture!

squirrel through stained glass

Can you see the squirrel through the stained glass?

©  Jane Tims 2013

Written by jane tims

February 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

winter water-scape

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On our drive to Black’s Harbour this past Monday, we took the cross-country highway #785.  It travels directly to the southern part of the province through the woods.

Many streams cross the roadway.  All are lined in snow, but the center channel is just a sheet of ice away in most streams and rivers.  In some cases, the water is moving so swiftly, the ice has been breached by the flow.  The result is a carved ice-world of frozen water.  At these openings in the frozen river, you can catch a glimpse of the winter water-scape: the layers of ice, the icicles and frosted caverns beneath the smooth upper layer of ice and snow.

winter stream

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winter water-scape

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under the ice

the river registers

its sinew

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carves a crystal path

between layers

of frost

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transparent panes

of polished glass,

lofted by pillars of ice

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ice caverns, edged by froth

a mingling of winter breath

and river tears

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 1, 2013 at 7:19 am

water, water

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In the middle of the night, five days ago, I woke to the sound of our water pump laboring.  The pump never comes on if no one is using the water, so I guessed something could be wrong.  I counted the seconds and after a count of sixty, I knew we had trouble.  The pump usually shuts off after about a minute.  While I ran off a bit of water, my husband went down and shut off the pump.  Our little saga of renewed water appreciation had begun!

We are on a private well, and so we tend to take our water for granted.  It has a delicious earthy taste, and our well supplies water at a rate of about 20 gallons per minute, so we never have quantity problems.  I am always grateful for our well water when I taste the chlorinated city water, which I have never been able to get used to.  For 20 years, our jet pump has done its work faithfully, so we are never without good, clean water, except during the occasional power outage.  Just in case, I always keep about 40 liters of water available in jugs, as a supply for these situations (the Emergency Measures Organisation suggests an emergency supply of at least 2 liters of water per person per day for the first 72 hours).

The next morning, we called the plumbing company and they came right away, replacing our old pump.  But after using all my emergency supply of water to try to prime the new pump, it became obvious that we have a clogged foot-valve… the pump would not prime.

We now have to wait until Friday for another service to come, pull up the well pipe and replace the foot-valve.  In the meanwhile, we are getting a lesson in water use and conservation.

Our main uses of water are for drinking and cooking, washing ourselves, rinsing vegetables, cleaning our dishes, and flushing toilets.  Fortunately, I had a done a big laundry after returning from our recent vacation, so laundry will not be a problem for a while.

Meanwhile, we have adopted a hierarchy for water use, saving the remnants of each use … the grey water from bathing and doing dishes gets reused for toilets.

It also rained for the first two days of our water shortage, so I collected enough water to keep ahead of our bathroom needs for the first couple of days.

Our other source of water for the bathrooms is our dehumidifier.   It puts out about a half-bucket of water a day.  In ordinary times, this water goes down the drain without a thought, but now it is an important source for flushing the toilet.

For our other uses, we are lucky to be able to buy water from the grocery shelves.  I can’t remember when water became a commodity, but I know my parents bought water occasionally in the 1980s.

Of course, we can also get our water from relatives and neighbors, or drive to a nearby lake, but our ‘crisis’ should be over by Friday.

This experience has been a good reminder for me, not to take water for granted.  I used to repeat this message when I worked in the field of water conservation during my years with government.  How easily I have forgotten my own advice!!!

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

October 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

a walk through the covered bridge – disappearing covered bridges

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Last week we took a drive to re-visit some of the covered bridges we saw in 1992 as part of a special project to celebrate Canada’s 125th birthday. One of these was the Stone Ridge Covered Bridge (formally known as Keswick River #6), crossing the Keswick River at Upper Stone Ridge in York County.  I was looking forward to seeing the bridge because we had recorded some interesting carvings in 1992.  Among the usual initials, someone had craved the images of three houses, one with steps and two chimneys, and one, a cottage, on the sill of the bridge window.

A short drive on a pretty country road along the Keswick River brought us to the bridge… a metal Bailey bridge, constructed to cross the river at the point where the covered bridge had once stood.  The new bridge was sturdy and had its own charm, but it was so disappointing to know the old covered bridge was gone forever.  The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was lost to fire on October 10, 2008.

The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was built in 1914 and had a span of 123′ 4″ and a total length of 126′ 4″.  It had a roadway width of 14′ 10″ and a capacity of 10 T.

I wrote in our journal, on May 1, 1992: “most carvings were on the flat of the horizontal plate that formed the window sill and ran the length of the bridge”.’  I also wrote: “lots of hacking and hewing done on the window part of the sill”.  The oldest date we recorded was ‘May 9, 1951 VHA’.

Some of the other carvings on the bridge in 1992 were: ‘LA + LB’, ‘WLR 54’, ‘VHA MARCH 7, 1952’, ‘1951 [or 1957] MAY 7 WLB [and a small heart]’,  ‘KM 1952’, ‘KMB 9/55’,  and ‘BB 1951’.  There was also a separate carving of an upward arrow beside a  ‘B’ and on the next line, ‘KM A4 54’.

I wonder who was VHA and how often did he or she return to the bridge over the years?  Who was KM in 1952, and did she return, married, in 1955 with her new last name beginning with ‘B’?  Was she married on April 4, 1954 to ‘B’?  A mystery, perhaps solvable by looking into some local marriage records?!

It is sad to see the covered bridges in New Brunswick disappear, one at a time.  Some are lost due to the dramatic power of the spring freshet.  Others are lost to vandalism (fire) – every Hallowe’en residents keep a careful watch on the covered bridge in our community.   In 1992 when we did the covered bridge project, our list had 71 covered bridges.  The New Brunswick Department of Transportation website  http://www.gnb.ca/0113/coveredbridges/coveredbridges-e.asp says there are presently 61 covered bridges in New Brunswick.

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

one red tree

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On a drive to see some covered bridges in York County, we took a logging road along the Pokiok and Little Pokiok Streams.

Years ago, on this road, we saw an albino deer.  On this recent trip however, the only wildlife we saw were the Flickers.  As we drove along the road, a Flicker would fly up and lead us a ways before veering into the woods on the roadside.

It was a good road, maintained by a local forest company.  Along the way, we crossed a small metal bridge and I stopped to take a photo of a small stream winding its way through a bog.

It was a lovely stream, deep and tea-colored.  Over in the corner of the bog was one red tree, reminding me that our summer is fading quickly.

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end of summer

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on the path along the brook

one leaf bleeds into water

in town the walks are stony

chaff of linden, seeds

dry ditches overflow with flowers

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I shrug

(no matter

summer is ended)

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yellow rattle

pods and grasses

rehearse an incantation

wind sulks in corners of the shed

warmth and sun

paint the orange of pumpkins

knit winter mittens

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I gather signs of autumn

asters, windfalls, flocks of red wings

frantic in the alders

acorns, hollow galls from oak

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Orion peeks above the trees

time forgotten, found

and summer with rain never ends

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I ask for rain

(arms loaded with everlasting)

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Previously published as ‘end of summer’, Sept. 19, 2011, http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com

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© Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

September 12, 2012 at 7:03 am

a walk through the covered bridge – Falls Brook Covered Bridge, Falls Brook on the Nackawic River

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On May 16, 1992, we visited the Falls Brook Covered Bridge in York County as part of our project on covered bridges for Canada’s 125th anniversary.  The Falls Brook Covered Bridge, on the Nackawic Siding Road at Nortondale, is also known as the Nackawic Siding Covered Bride, and is formally known as Nackawic River #5.  This means that there used to be at least four other covered bridges crossing the Nackawic River or its tributaries, but they have been lost for various reasons.

This past weekend, we visited the Falls Brook bridge again, to see if it is still there.  The sign at the end of the road was hopeful, indicating a covered bridge could be found on the road.  Most of New Brunswick’s covered bridges are marked by these signs.

My notes from 1992 said the road to the bridge was in poor shape – ‘spooky but very pretty and other-worldly’ was what I wrote.  The road has deteriorated over the years to become a narrow track with deep potholes and large outcroppings of rock.

The bridge was still there, tucked in among fir and maple woods.  It had been renovated within the last couple of years, based on the presence of some new large timbers and completely new wood siding.

The Falls Brook Covered Bridge was built in 1927.  It is 63′ long, with a span of 60′.  It is 14′ 10″ wide and has a maximum load of 8 T.  The height clearance is 4.0 m.  The architecture of the bridge is amazing, showing brace and beam construction with various hardwood joinery.

Unfortunately, the renovations have removed many of the markings we noted in 1992.  At that time, the oldest dates were a carved ‘1885’ and, in black ink, ‘Ptarmigan hunter Ray Brown May 12th 1896 Horse had bad leg’.  I have asked a well-informed birder about this and he told me there are no other records of ptarmigan in New Brunswick.   Other carvings we noted in 1992 included: ‘M.A.K.’, ‘WDH’, ‘Colin + BrenDa’, ‘Could be fishin’ ‘ , ‘D C ‘ and ‘TOGETHER AGANE Betty and Johnathan’.

The markings from the 1800s were gone, but ‘D.C.’ was still there, as well as some interesting new markings.

Some show that height is no barrier to leaving your name!

If you have covered bridges in your area, take note of the markings people have left behind!  Your record may be all that survives!

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

September 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

a walk through the covered bridge – Bell Bridge, South Branch of the Oromocto River

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Another covered bridge crossing the South Branch of the Oromocto River is the Bell Bridge near Juvenile Settlement, Sunbury County (listed as South Oromocto Rover #3 in the April 1992 pamphlet ‘Covered Bridges in New Brunswick’, no author indicated).  This bridge was built in 1931.  It is 126′ 4″ long with a span of 123′ 4″.  The roadway width is 15′ 5″, and the load limit is 10 t (6 t for double axle vehicles).   The maximum clearance is 3.7 meters and a metal height barrier has been installed to ensure trucks exceeding the clearance cannot proceed through the bridge since this can do significant damage to the bridge structure.

The water at this point in the river is shallow and clear.  I watched for a long time to see a fish, but they will be hiding in the cooler waters of the deeper pools.

We visited this bridge on April 26, 1992 as part of our Covered Bridge Project for Canada’s 125th anniversary.

In 1992, we found many carved initials inside the bridge, on the various timbers.  The oldest date we found was ‘April 3, 1932’.  Some of the other initials included ‘LYL May 1, 1932′, RPC [perhaps PRC] June 6 /32’, ‘RS ’77 ‘, ‘ RT MAY 49’, ‘RM AUG 38’, ‘EK’, and ‘AE Mc APR 3/32’.  We also found the initials ‘A.K.O.G. APPI 35.’ with the ‘O’ written as a diamond.

On our August drive, I noticed two unrecorded inscriptions: ‘ALIE 69’ and  ‘M.O. L R.A.’

I also found a large carved ‘S’, very hard to see…

the ‘S’ is hard to see, just above the knot and about three times the length

Do you suppose ‘M.O.’ still loves ‘R.A.’ ?

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forever

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we carve our initials

in the beams of the covered bridge

pledge our love to endure

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but these words may

outlast the love

even the people

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

a walk through the covered bridge – Smyth Bridge, South Branch of the Oromocto River

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On our August drive along the South Branch of the Oromocto River, we crossed two covered bridges.  I love these bridges… they are picturesque and so pleasant to walk through.  They are also part of the local history of many communities in New Brunswick.   I’ve talked a little about covered bridges before in my Blog – please have a look at  https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/inside-the-covered-bridge/

One of the bridges we saw on this drive was the Smyth Bridge.  It crosses the South Branch of the Oromocto River, near Mill Settlement in Sunbury County  (listed as South Oromocto Rover #2 in the April 1992 pamphlet ‘Covered Bridges in New Brunswick’, no author indicated).

Inside the bridge, it is cool and dark.  When a car drives through, you hug the side, hoping the driver will see you and slow down.  I love the sound of the tires on the timbers making up the floor of the bridge.

Down-river, the shallow water of the river glows in the sun.  Most of our local rivers are the color of tea, a consequence of their origins in wetland areas.

Up-river of the Smyth Bridge is a gravel beach and water for wading and swimming.

The Smyth Bridge was built in 1912 and has a total length of 139′ 1/2 “, and a span of 136′ 1/2 “.  Its roadway width is 14′ 9”.  Its Maximum Load is 10 t (6 t for double axle vehicles) and its center clearance height is 3.7 m.

During our Covered Bridge Project for Canada’s 125th anniversary, we visited the Smyth Bridge on April 16, 1992.

In 1992, the oldest dates we could find carved into the bridge were ‘Oct 3, 1915 Sunday’ under the initials ‘R K’ (in pen or pencil) and ‘Feb 1931’ beside the initials ‘LTF’ and ‘LEIK’ to the right of three simple crosses.  There was also the totem of a face carved into the south side of the bridge, on the outside corner post.  We also found a few other initials, deeply carved: ‘M B’, ‘R H’, ‘C B’, and ‘CED  ER  May 63’.

Finding these carvings requires patience, a good flashlight and about an hour per bridge, so I didn’t check to see if any of the carvings were still there on our recent visit.  Sometimes they are lost when boards are replaced in the bridge during renovations.

I wonder if these people remember leaving their initials in the bridge so long ago?

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‘LEIK’

             – initials carved on the boards of the Smyth Covered Bridge, 1931

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dark

silent

sequestered

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light leaks between gable

boards, window squares cut high

river water below

sparkles in August sun

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carved initials announce

the focused presence of

ghosts with knives

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the clatter of tires

on timbers, as a car

rattles across the bridge

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Copyright   Jane  Tims  2012

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