poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Bay of Fundy

abandoned boat

with 10 comments

On Monday, we drove to Black’s Harbour.  On the new highway, where it crosses the inland dregs of Oak Bay, the ice was broken into big sheets along the shore.  There, in the icy debris, was an abandoned fishing boat, a wreck.  Although I have never seen it before, it has probably been there a long time.

abandoned fishing boat


Foggy Molly


she had a sixth sense –

kicked in on a grey day

when mists lobbed across the bow

and thickened her passage

she loved flat water

and a blanket of fog


she was nervous of a big sea,

preferred to be tied, snug

to the wharf,

to lift and settle,

to lift and settle

moved by the inhalation,

the exhalation

of the tides


ironic – she broke up

at berth, waiting for a re-fit

smashed by a nor’easter

and cleavers of ice



Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 30, 2013 at 7:32 am

limits of the tide #5 – Samphire (Salicornia europaea L.)

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A beach-comber this time of year may easily over-look plants of Samphire (Salicornia europaea L.), also called Glasswort, Pigeon-foot, and Chicken-claws.  Unless it is plentiful, it becomes lost ‘in the green’ of other sea-shore plants.  The genus name, Salicornia, comes from the words sal meaning salt and cornu meaning horn.  These plants consist of a branched, succulent stem, apparently without leaves or flowers.  The leaves and tiny flowers are embedded in the stem.

Although Salicornia is typically a plant of coastal areaslike Sea-blite, it is also found far from the coast, in the vicinity of inland salt springs.

Samphire greens are salty, delicious as a salad ingredient, a pickle, or a pot-herb.



salt of the sea

               Samphire ( Salicornia europaea L.)


Salicornia smoulders

on a silica shore,

flute and fire


Glass pipes,

mainstem and branches,

pickle green


Light glimpsed

through crystalline,

transparent walls


Seawater, rarefied,


to a Samphire phial


Flask of salt-sap,

brine on the tongue

Always wanting more



©  Jane Tims  2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

Written by jane tims

July 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

limits of the tide #2 – Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) – Goosetongue greens

with 8 comments

One of the edible plants we found at Oak Bay (near St. Stephen, New Brunswick) was Seaside Plantain, also known locally as Goosetongue.

Seaside Plantain, also known as Goosetongue, ready to pick… they have to be rinsed well since the outgoing tide has left a thick layer of sediment behind…

Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) grows in thick clumps, forming an intermittent carpet across the shore.  The succulent, linear leaves of Seaside Plantain are grey-green in color.  Inconspicuous green flowers, not present until later in June, rise from the rosette of leaves in a terminal spike.  Seaside Plantain is in the same genus as Common Plantain (see the post for June 13, 2012,  ‘Common Plantain’ under the category ‘growing and gathering’).  Plantago is from the Latin for ‘footprint’ and juncoides means ‘rush-like’.

Goosetongue greens are pleasantly salty and are a local delicacy, eaten as a salad or pickle, or cooked like green beans and served with butter.  For a vivid description of the experience of gathering and preparing Goosetongue greens, see Nature of Words ( by Deborah Carr, and the post for July 14, 2011, entitled ‘Goosetongue greens’.

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.



Sunday Dinner at Maces Bay

                 Seaside Plantain (Pantago juncoides Lam.)


dig right in

says your father

and nudges the pitcher of water

in my direction


I study the ‘goosetongue greens’ –

mound of green spaghetti

between spuds and chicken,

green eels diving

for the bottom of the plate


two things not in their favour –

they’re green,

they look a little like

the tongues of geese


I watch your Dad –

he adds a dollop of butter,

he weaves his fork to catch a little of each,

potato, greens and chicken,

chews with his eyes closed,

reaches for his glass of water


I sigh

and taste –

salt air and butter-cream,

crisp, the perfect crush,

mouth-feel, amazing

please pass the water



©  Jane Tims 2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

limits of the tide #1 – edible plants

with 12 comments

Last week, our travels took us to the edge of the sea, where I looked for more edible wild plants.  I found what I was looking for at Oak Bay, near St. Stephen.  At the end of a little-used road, we came out on a gravelly spit of land jutting into the Bay.

mid-tide at Oak Bay… at high tide, most of the foreshore will be covered by salt water… at low tide, the clam-flats will be exposed

There, on the shoreline, were four plants to add to my larder of edible wild.

Three of the species formed a small community near the upper reaches of the shore:  Seaside Plantain, Sea-blite and Samphire.  All three are in the photo below… can you find them?

The Seaside Plantain (also known as Goosetongue) is the dense clump of long, thick, linear leaves in the photo above…

The Sea-blite is just starting to grow.  Later in the season it will be as large or larger than the Seaside Plantain.  In the enlargement below, Sea-blite is the small green plant to the right of the clump of Seaside Plantain…

The Samphire is also very small this time of year.  Later it will be as large as the Sea-blite or Seaside Plantain.  In the photo enlargement below, it is at the base of the clump of Seaside Plantain, at exactly 6 o’clock.

The fourth edible plant at Oak Bay is Orach.  It grows on the upper shore, above the Seaside Plantain and beyond the limit of the tide.  These plants often grow together along the coast, on salt marshes, tidal flats, dykelands and beaches.

Since the plants were not plentiful and not yet ready to pick, I took only one plant of each, for my drawings.  I also took a bite of each type of leaf.  Although there are subtle differences, all four were crisp and salty in flavour, a delightful nibble of the salty sea.

These are just a few of the edible plants living in coastal areas of New Brunswick.    Over the next posts, I will explore these four species and a few others.

©  Jane Tims  2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

more horizons

with 5 comments

horizon:  line at which earth and sky appear to meet   (Oxford dictionary)

After thinking more about horizons, I looked through our photos for some horizons we have captured in New Brunswick.  Once you start to look for them, they are everywhere!  

overlooking the hilly area of Sussex... Poley Mountain (a local ski hill) is in the background

Blueberry fields provide a way to get perspective on our mostly forested landscape… 

a blueberry field and the distant hills of Queens County

Horizons are made more interesting by the passing seasons…
in autumn…

maple trees in autumn costume along the Trans-Canada Highway in Victoria County

…and in winter.

bare trees in the Grand Lake Meadows area in winter... a hawk in the tree and a treed horizon if you look carefully

Of course, I can’t forget the horizon of the Bay of Fundy…

Bay of Fundy at Saint Martins

…the horizon viewed from the ocean…

Charlotte County viewed from the waters of the Bay of Fundy

…and the horizon created by islands.

'The Wolves', special islands in the Bay of Fundy

Look to the hoizon, and see where land and sky, and sometimes water, meet.


horizontal haiku


horizon  distant  intersection  land  water sky


© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

September 11, 2011 at 9:04 am


with 3 comments

 landscape: inland scenery (Oxford dictionary)

When I see the beaches and headlands of coastal New Brunswick…

Saint Martins, New Brunswick

 or the flatland and grasses of the western Canadian prairie…

prairie in southern Saskatchewan.. a dust storm on a salt lake bed

… I know landscape influences my life. 

I also know my life has a landscape of its own, with hills and valleys, places to celebrate and places to hide, paths and roads moving ever forward.  When I take the time to be aware of my landscape, to notice the detail and understand nature, I experience the best life has to offer. 




a veil

draped across

bones of the earth

pointed tents

supported by forest

and the bent stems of grasses

soft settles in pockets 

lichens and mosses


beneath the veil


the ways I follow

quick or crawl

hollows elevations

clear eyes

or sorrow


the only way to understand

form follows function follows form

is repeated observation

lay myself on the landscape

allow my bones to conform

feel its nuance


see a field of grasses

see also awns and panicles and glumes


© Jane Tims, 2011

the parts of a grass plant (from Roland and Smith, 1969, page 68)

Written by jane tims

September 3, 2011 at 6:50 am

‘niche’ on a rock

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In July, we went to the Saint Martins area  for the day and spent some time exploring the caves and beach-combing.  We  also took the short drive to the lighthouse at Quaco Head.  The lighthouse is perched on the cliff overlooking Quaco Bay. 

the Quaco Head Lighthouse ....... “The present Quaco Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1966 and consists of a square tower rising from one corner of a concrete fog signal building. The light in its lantern room produces a white flash every ten seconds, while the fog signal emits a three-second blast every thirty seconds, when needed.” from

If you look out over the Bay, you can see some exposed rocks where sea birds make their home, and,  to the north-east, Martin Head, about 30 kilometers away.

the view to the north-east ...... Martin Head is on the horizon, to the left

Wildflowers were everywhere, but what caught my eye was a lichen on a flat rock at the base of the lighthouse.  It was bright orange, like a splash of paint. 

There are two orange lichens that live on rocks in the coastal area of New Brunswick, Xanthoria and Caloplaca.  The orange lichen I found at Quaco Head is likely one of two species: Xanthoria sorediata (Vain.) Poelt or Xanthoria elegans (Link) Th. Fr.

bright orange Xanthoria lichen on a rock .... there are also two or more other species of lichen present

A lichen is not a plant, but a composite organism, consisting of an algae and a fungus, living together in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial, relationship.



                       Swallow Tail Lighthouse, Grand Manan


air saltfresh and balsam

walls lapped by a juniper sea

pale mimic of the salt sea

battering its foundations

                      its endurance

                      a mystery

until I found

an iron ring

anchored deep

in rock

almost lost

in lichen

                  Xanthoria orange

lifted and dropped

run round

its axis

                  clashing on stone

                  creak and clank of the metal door

                  echoes climbing the welded stair

                  ground glass grit of the light 

                  fog washed clang of the channel bell

rock lashed to the lighthouse

salt breakers turned to stone


Published as: ‘Ringing’, Spring 1995, The Cormorant XI (2)


© Jane Tims

exploring the intertidal zone

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Every summer, we take a day to drive along the Bay of Fundy and explore some of the beaches and rocky shores.  Last summer, we found a small cove where the fog was just lifting. 

Through the mist we could see the ghostly form of a fishing weir and the distant rugged shore. 

a cove along the Bay of Fundy coast

The beach was pebbles and sand, perfect for beach-combing.  We wandered at random, watching for sea glass, shells and wave-smoothed rocks. 

The intertidal area, between low and high tide, is an extraordinary space, not quite ocean, not quite land.  The plants and animals who live in this area have very particular ‘niche-needs’.  They need the rise and fall of the tide twice daily.  Some plants have adaptations to help them cope with changing conditions.  For example, the brown algae Ascophyllum nodosum has bladders to help it float at high tide and reach the sunlight.   

When we explored the cove, it was low tide.  Where the sea water was trapped among the rocks, there were tidal pools, small natural aquariums of sea life.  One rock with a large hollow in its surface had its own population of bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosis), green algae (Enteromorpha), barnacles, and a lone crab. 

The barnacles are fun to watch.  They are crustaceans, and live with their shells securely attatched to the substrate.  An opening in the top of the shell is covered by a pair of  ‘sliding doors’ called the operculum.  Under water, the operculum opens and the barnacle reaches out with modified legs, designed to capture its food.  The legs, known as cirri,  look like feathery fingers, reaching out and pulling back, reaching out and pulling back.  

The ‘niche’ of a particular plant or animal can be thought of as its ‘occupation’ in the space where it lives.  For example, with respect to food gathering, the crab feeds on the larger prey in the pool, the barnacles filter out the smallest creatures, and the algae take in their nutrients from the water itself.  Although they live in the same space, the crab, barnacles and algae each occupy a different ‘niche’.

one of the smallest tidal pools ever... in the hollow of a rock


Deep Cove detail

low tide

weirs and dories indistinct

pillars of fog

glide up the long beach

attention to

drifts of mica

periwinkle paths

breaking bands of wave

water kicked into rainbows

sunlight above the fog

plover tracks sprinkled on sand

cobbles, coloured glass

float ropes, plastic pink


plaited by the sea

© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 5, 2011 at 7:02 am

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