nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘biking

gates and gateposts

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Looking through my watercolours, I came across the painting below of a gatepost. I painted this during my virtual excursion through Cornwall, using Street View and Google Earth. The painting reminds me of how much fun I had, painting the scenes I discovered on my virtual journey.

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I am still using Street View to motivate my exercise program – since last year, I have been following the Saint John River from its origins in Quebec and Maine. My goal is to ‘cycle’ the length of the Saint John River, all the way to where it empties into the Bay of Fundy.

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Gateways mark change.  They represent movement from one space to another.  They can be entryways.  They can also be barriers. The challenge is always to step through that gate and keep on going.

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Oct. 4, 2013 'gate near Feock' Jane Tims

Oct. 4, 2013 ‘gate near Feock’ Jane Tims

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through the gate

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grey granite cold

black body to

absorb the sun

emit no warm

even lichens

rooted to stone

are barely alive

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the stone invites

admiration

but curves disguise

the jagged edge

biotite and

muscovite honed

razor thin

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step forward, through

the gate, ignore

the risk

the path behind

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

glimpses of country life – drying day

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For the last two weeks, I have continued on my stationary bike, touring (virtually) through the Cornwall countryside.  Since I last reported, I have gone from Rinsey Croft to the coastal town of Prussia Cove.  Since the road does not run along the coast, I have spent most of my biking miles travelling on short roads from the highway to various coastal towns.  In this stretch, I biked for 150 minutes, and saw about 9 km of the Cornwall countryside.

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Rinsey to Prussia Cove

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As I bike, I love seeing the vignettes of country life captured by Street View.  Gates, of course, and stone walls.  Cows and horses grazing in the meadows.  People hiking along the roads and working in their gardens.  And a line of washing, hung out on the line to dry.

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September 7, 2014  'drying day'  acrylic 20 X 24  Jane Tims

September 7, 2014 ‘drying day’ acrylic 20 X 24 Jane Tims

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Reminds me of home.

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IMG346_crop

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

fortification against the sea

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On the second day of my virtual biking last week, I toured Porthleven, a large town along the Cornwall coast.  Street View had done its image-taking on a clear day, but the steep cliffs along the ocean made me ponder what it might be like to stand on this exposed coast in a storm.

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I wondered why so many foundations along the cliff side of the street were abandoned.  One of the foundations enclosed what might be a giant chess board!

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abandoned foundations along the coast at Porthleven (image from Street View)

abandoned foundations along the coast at Porthleven (image from Street View)

 

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Then I had a first glimpse of the seawall and signs warning sightseers to beware …

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seawall and clock tower at Porthleven (image from Street View)

seawall and clock tower at Porthleven (image from Street View)

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The harbour itself is a maze of thick, high walls and the piers of a now absent bridge …

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the fortified harbour of Porthleven (image from Street View)

the fortified harbour of Porthleven (image from Street View)

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A little searching on the internet found a dramatic photo (credit: Annabel May Oakley-Watson/REX)  of the clock tower in the first image above, during a coastal storm … (‘Should Coastal Britain Surrender to the Tides?’,  Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, February 7, 2014).  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/07/should-coastal-britain-surrender-to-tide

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(photo credit: Annabel May Oakley-Watson/REX)

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

along the pond

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On my stationary bike last week, I travelled (virtually) along the Cornwall coast from the mouth of Loe Pond to Rinsey.  During the week, I biked for 90 minutes, and saw 11 km of the Cornwall countryside.

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The first day took me from the mouth of ‘The Loe’, along the pond to just west of Porthleven, in Shadywalk Wood.

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from the beach at the mouth of Loe Pond to Shadywalk Wood (map from Google Earth)

from the beach at the mouth of Loe Pond to Shadywalk Wood (map from Google Earth)

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The beach is a wide crescent of endless sand …

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August 16, 2014  'beach at Loe'  Jane Tims

August 16, 2014 ‘beach at Loe’ Jane Tims

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The path along ‘The Loe’ is narrow, tree-lined and shady.  I saw lots of hikers and fellow bikers, but not a single car.

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a typical part of the path along 'The Loe'

a typical part of the path along ‘The Loe’ (image from Street View)

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August 16, 2014  'along Loe Pond'  Jane Tims

August 16, 2014 ‘along Loe Pond’ Jane Tims

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Biking along a shady lane, with no worries about traffic, thick ferny woods to one side and the sparkle of a pond on the other … a lovely way to ponder the days of summer …

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Copyright  2014    Jane Tims

a return to Cornwall and its gates

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I am back on my virtual bike trip along the coast of Cornwall.  This week I have travelled 9 km from Predannack Wollas to Loe Pool for a total stationary cycling time of 75 minutes.

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I have missed the Cornwall scenes of hedgerows and meadows, stone houses and seaside quays.  Mostly I have missed seeing the gates, so it is no surprise my first watercolour for this phase of my journey is the stone pillar to a private gate.

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August 12, 2014  'stone post'   Jane Tims

August 12, 2014 ‘stone post’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 15, 2014 at 6:59 am

back to Cornwall

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Although I have done some stationary biking since I ended my virtual trip across northern New Brunswick, I want to get back to the regular schedule I followed when I biked virtually in France and Cornwall.  So I have decided to hop back on the Street View road and see some more of Cornwall.

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In Phase 7 of my virtual cycling, I finished the southern coast of Cornwall at Landewednack and Lizard.  I’ll begin Phase 9 at Predannack Wollas and cycle around the west coast of Cornwall.  I’ll look forward to seeing Arthur’s Titagel and Doc Martin’s Port Isaac.  Mostly, my knees will benefit from more regular exercise.

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Predannack Wollas to Porthleven

Predannack Wollas to Porthleven

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I have my first four days plotted and I start tomorrow.  Just for old time’s sake, here is one of my earlier paintings from southern Cornwall …

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November 26, 2013  'maple and oak near Helford'   Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

family history – the Johnson brothers

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If you have followed my blog for a while, you may be wondering what has happened to my virtual biking along the northern coast of New Brunswick.

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Well, this is what happened.  As I cycled one day, I took a side road.  It was a narrow road I had not travelled in quite a few years.  And as I cycled, I felt drawn further and further into the past.  I began to explore this past, lured by wiggling leaves that popped up as I biked along.  Yes, you have guessed it  … I found myself at http://www.Ancestry.ca , building a forest of family trees.

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I discovered I could learn about my family quite quickly… thirty minutes of biking gives me time to explore an ancestor or two … I can travel back in time to the 1880 USA Census to search the byways of Wyoming or the country roads of Pennsylvania … I can discover great-grandparents I have known for some time, or great-great grandparents I have never encountered before.

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So, for a little while, my exercise program will not be about discovering new places, but about discovering new family members.  I promise to return to the present and my virtual geographic travels eventually.

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The first people I have met on my new travels are the Johnson brothers, my great-granduncles.   They are the sons of my great-great-grandfather James Johnson.  My Mom was very interested in this part of our family and worked to leave us a little of their history.  I have photos of most of them, including a family grouping in a sepia tin-type. The original tin-type is small, about 2″ by 3″.  Tin-types are photos imprinted on a metal surface.  Most tin-types are on iron, coated with black paint or lacquer.  This type of photo was popular from the 1860s through to the 1910s.

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Johnson brothers

some of the Johnson brothers in an old tin-type photo

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The brothers were John (born 1849 ), Daniel (born 1851), James (1854), Alexander (1857), and Isaac (1866).  They had two sisters Kate (born 1847) and Mary Jane (my grandmother, born 1859).  There is some question about which of the brothers are in the photo, but my Mom had it figured out based on the boys’ ages, and photos of them at an older age.

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Only a few details survive for the brothers.  I know birth and death dates, as well as the names of wives and children.  John, James and Alexander were farmers.  John and James were adventurers and visited the west.  Daniel and Isaac were doctors.

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So much information is lost, but for now, I am enjoying small discoveries about their lives.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 23, 2014 at 7:04 am

preserving coastal marsh (day 24 and 25)

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The last few days of my virtual biking have reminded me of the need to preserve coastal areas, including barrier beaches and coastal salt marsh.  Day 24 and 25 of my virtual travels took me along Youghall Beach near Bathurst.  This barrier beach has been almost entirely developed with seasonal and year-round residences.

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24-25

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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8-24  March 24, 2014   35 minutes (south of Youghall Beach to  Youghall)

8-25  March 25, 2014   30 minutes ( Youghall to south of Youghall) 

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aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left)  (image from Street View)

aerial view of Peters River salt marsh (right) and Youghall Beach (left) (image from Street View)

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Peters River salt marsh

Peters River salt marsh (image from Street View)

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One of the reasons to protect barrier beaches from development is the close association with coastal marshes and their sensitive wild life.  For example, the coastal marshes in the Bathurst area, including the coastal salt marshes of the Peters River near Youghall Beach, are home to the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  The Maritime Ringlet (Coenonympha nipisiquit McDunnough) is a small butterfly with a wing-span of four centimeters.  It is buff-and-rusty-coloured, with a dark eyespot.

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This butterfly is endangered, because it faces extinction.  It is ‘endemic’ to the salt marshes of the Baie-des-Chaleurs – this is the only place in the world where this butterfly lives.   The butterfly can only live in the salt marsh – the Maritime Ringlet caterpillar lives on salt marsh grasses (Spartina patens) and the adult uses Sea Lavender (Limonium nashii) as its nectar source.

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Government and conservation groups in New Brunswick have worked together to educate homeowners about protecting the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly.  They list practical steps people can take to ensure the habitat of this endangered butterfly is protected.  These include: not filling in the marsh, not burning marsh grasses, not using vehicles in the marsh, not picking marsh wildflowers such as Sea Lavender, and not going into the marsh.  For more information on the Maritime Ringlet Butterfly and its protection, see  http://www.bathurstsustainabledevelopment.com/userfiles/file/HSP%20Final%20MR%20ENGLISH%20brochure.pdf

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March 27, 2014  'Maritime Ringlet Butterfly'  Jane Tims

March 27, 2014 ‘Maritime Ringlet Butterfly’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2014  Jane Tims

between the salt marsh and the sea (day 21, 22 and 23)

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My virtual biking in early March took me along the last length of coast before Bathurst.  This is an area of coastal salt marsh and barrier beach.  It is also an area where a lot of coastal development has occurred.  My bike ride revived many memories of days when I worked on the provincial coastal policy.

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21-23

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-21  March 1, 2014   40 minutes  (Petit-Rocher-Sud to east of Nigadoo)

8-22  March 4, 2014   30 minutes (east of Nigadoo to  Beresford)

8-23  March 8, 2014   30 minutes (Beresford to south of Yougall Beach)

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The prominent landscape feature in the area is a huge coastal salt marsh and a barrier beach.  I certainly understand why people would want to live near to the sea.  However, the development of the barrier beach can harm the beach environment, puts the health of the ecologically important salt marsh at risk, and sometimes creates a safety issue for the homes and cottages along the beach (people who live along the beach are at risk of coastal erosion, storm surge and walls of ice that build up along this coast).

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Beresford Beach aerial

aerial view showing Beresford barrier beach, the coastal salt marsh behind it and the waters of the Baie-des-Chaleurs (map from Google Earth)

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The community of Beresford has preserved a portion of the beach and marsh, creating the Passerelle, a long boardwalk to enable people to appreciate the marsh and the bird life there.  The Passerelle can also be seen in the upper left corner of the aerial view above (a white, curved structure crossing a corner of the marsh pond).

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viewing area along Beresford Marsh

a view of the Passerelle boardwalk on the Beresford Marsh (image from Street View)

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Once private land is developed, either for seasonal or year-round residential use, the only way to protect the beach and salt marsh is to encourage homeowners along the barrier beach to live as gently as possible.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

 

 

fencing us in (day 19 and 20)

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When I first moved to New Brunswick, rail fences could be seen almost everywhere in rural areas.  The design was simple – stacks of very long cedar logs in a zigzag without posts at the junction. The logs were piled from 3 to 4 high and were very weathered.  These fences used cedar in the construction because of its natural ability to withstand rot.

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As the years go by, these fences have gradually disappeared from the landscape.  Part of this is because the fences eventually deteriorate.  Also, people salvage the rails for landscaping and other projects.

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19-20

distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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8-19  February 25, 2014   30 minutes  (Petit-Rocher-Nord to Petit-Rocher)

8-20   February 27, 2014   30 minutes (Petit-Rocher to Petit-Rocher-Sud)

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Although I haven’t seen the zigzag style of rail fence on my virtual bike trip along the northern New Brunswick coast, I have seen other rail fence designs.  These fences are also built of cedar, but the rails are supported at the junctions by short lengths of cedar …

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rail fence Nash Creek

rail fence near Nash Creek (image from Street View)

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or on a sort of ladder, consisting of two posts and cross-members …

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rail fence Pointe verte

rail fence near Pointe Verte (image from Street View)

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When I was younger, sitting on a fence like any of these was on my list of favorite things to do.  Today, our property is fenced with a zigzag style cedar rail fence, built by my husband who is proud to say not a nail is used in the construction …

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nailess rail fence round our property

zigzag rail fence round our property

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I wonder if there are nails used in this rail fence …

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March 5, 2014  'rail fence'  Jane Tims

March 5, 2014 ‘rail fence’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

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