nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘edible plants

Blackberry picking

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On Monday we drove from our cabin down to the lake (on our newly-mowed road) and picked a bowl of wild blackberries. The brambles were brutal and we came away with several scratches between us. But we picked berries to the tremolo of the loon on the lake and will enjoy a ‘blackberry buckle’ later this week. Blackberry buckle is made by adding sugar and water to the berries and covering with spoonfuls of dumpling mix. The dumplings cook in the steam of the simmering berries.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm

a feast of wild strawberries

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This week at our cabin the wild strawberries are hanging from their stems. When I see them I think of the sweet wild strawberry jam my mom used to make. And, after this weekend, I will think of  cedar waxwings.

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As we sat in the cabin, eating our dinner, we saw a bird making trips between the birch tree in front of the cabin and the grassy field to the side, where the wild strawberries grow.

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My husband identified the bird and spotted where it perched in the tree. The cedar waxwing is one of the common birds at the cabin. They love to eat fruit and we have wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries on the property.

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There were two cedar waxwings on the branch, sharing a meal of wild strawberries. Sharing fruit is a ritual behavior between male and female cedar waxwings.

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The cedar waxwings nest in our big white pines and sing in the top branches of other nearby trees. I will never see them without thinking of their little feast of berries.

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All my best,

Jane

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Written by jane tims

June 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

Green bottles and blue berries

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We have been spending time at our cabin.

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In the window, on our bench, the light flows through green bottles.

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Our paths are green tunnels.

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And in the fields and along the trails are blueberries.

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Lots to pick and eat.

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bitter blue

for Mom

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of all the silvery summer days we spent   none so warm   sun on granite boulders   round blue berry field   miles across hazy miles away from hearing anything but bees

and berries

plopping in the pail

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beside you   I draped my lazy bones on bushes   crushed berries and thick red leaves over moss dark animal trails nudged between rocks berries baking brown   musk rising to meet blue heat

or the still fleet scent

of a waxy berry bell

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melting in my mouth   crammed with fruit   sometimes pulled from laden stems   more often scooped from your pail   full ripe blue pulp and the bitter shock of a hard green berry never ripe

or a shield bug

with frantic legs

and an edge to her shell

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From ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Previously published in The Amethyst Review 1 (2), Summer 1993

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

Tendrils

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My cucumber vines are still thriving …


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And the tendrils are still so charming!


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This one wants to pull up a chair!


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On Friday, I had my first cucumber salad from my vines!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 7, 2017 at 7:20 am

wildflowers – Bladder campion

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One of my favorite roadside flowers is the Bladder campion, Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke.  The flowers are white, with five deeply lobed petals. The flowers protrude from an inflated, papery calyx, greenish, purple-veined and bladder-like. This time of year, the flowers are almost past.

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I love the scientific generic name Silene, derived from the name of a Greek woodland deity. Another common name for Bladder campion is maidenstears.

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The leaves of Bladder campion are edible, used raw in a salad or cooked in a stew.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 4, 2017 at 7:14 am

those don’t look like French fries!

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This time of year in eastern New Brunswick and elsewhere, the potato fields are flourishing and many are in bloom.

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I am so grateful for those potato fields. I love French fries, so much so that I limit my intake by making promises to myself and my son (something like: I promise to eat French fries only once per week for the next three months. I usually stick to these promises because I make them for a specific time.

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I love other potato products. I make great potato salad (potatoes, Miracle Whip, onions, bacon bits, mustard, green relish, pepper and basil). We also eat potato and leek soup regularly (a great hot-day supper). And, of course, potatoes are an ingredient in every stew I make through the winter.

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But although we love potatoes, do we ever appreciate their very pretty flowers? Like so many things, we fail to see their beauty unless we look.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

July 26, 2017 at 7:19 am

spring flowers – service berry bushes

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At this time of year, many ditches and fields in New Brunswick are filled with Serviceberry bushes in bloom. Their delicate white flowers only last a short while but later, in summer, we will be able to pick sweet Serviceberries.

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the shad are running

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after hard rain

and thin wind

between cold front and warm

riverbanks overflow

and for dinner we have fiddleheads

potatoes and shad, served

with last summer’s Serviceberry jam

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Serviceberry bushes are torn fish nets

holes poked through with fingers

white petals scattered over mossy stones

on the river shore

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Published as ‘the shad are running’ in within easy reach, 2016, Chapel Street Editions

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

A contest ! What is ‘beelwort’?

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In writing my science-fiction book Meniscus: Crossing The Churn, I had a lot of fun inventing plant and animal species to populate the planet Meniscus. I also enjoyed thinking of the various common items a traveller on the planet might encounter. I include a Glossary at the end of the book, to help the reader. However, one item is not identified, on purpose. I thought it might be fun to keep readers guessing about the identity of this item …  “beelwort” …

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What is ‘beelwort’ ???

 

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When we first meet Odymn, the book’s protagonist, she is a slave in the city of Prell. She puts in her days at a bar, waiting tables. Being a waitress in Prell is no fun. As the book says, every day has its challenges: boiling coffee thrown, the brutal behavior of the Gel-head customers, and, worst of all —

 

Slices of beelwort slipped into a pocket …

 

The “wort” in “beelwort” suggests a plant or plant product. The only other thing I know about “beelwort” is now part of my draft of Book Four — Meniscus: The Town at Themble Hill.  Odymn talks about her cooking:

 

‘When we return to Garth,” she says,

“I refuse to take another turn at cooking.

No one likes what I make.”

 

“I like what you make,” says the Slain.

 

“You’d eat beelwort on a stick,”

says Odymn.

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So what is “beelwort”?

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For example, a slice of “beelwort” in a pocket might be like having a slice of orange put into your pocket …

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I am running a contest. The winner of the contest will recieve a copy of my poetry book within easy reach, a book about edible wild plants … not a beelwort among them!

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To enter the contest, let me know what you think “beelwort” is — the answer can go in my Blog or Facebook comments. Describe it in one sentence (nothing obscene is allowed and I reserve the right to edit or not allow the comment).  I will run the answers by the members of my writing group and have them select one winner. I’ll announce the winner by March 31, 2017 and arrange to send him or her a copy of within easy reach, postage paid.

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Put on your thinking caps! What is “beelwort”?

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

 

 

 

results of the Christmas sale

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On this past Saturday, I had the fun of being a vendor at Sandra’s Market Fredericton. This was the first experience of its kind for me, although I have attended such sales for years.

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Overall, I had a great time! The venue at the Delta was beautiful, not crowded, and set-up was easy. The other vendors were pleasant and very interesting to talk to. A couple of good friends stopped by and there were lots of shoppers. I took a book to read, but watching the people at the sale was too much fun to miss. I sold five books and three paintings, including the painting ‘teaberries’, seen below.

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I think the best part of the sale was talking to the various shoppers about their experiences picking berries and gathering wild plants. A couple of people mentioned battling the squirrels for hazelnuts. Many of the older shoppers said their berry picking days were over due to ailments. A few people were interested in identifying edible mushrooms.

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wintergreen

December 8, 2016 ‘teaberries’ Jane Tims (acrylic) 8″ x 8″ $30 (SOLD)

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Wintergreen

Gaultheria procumbens

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first gathering in spring

thick leaves as leather crush

weep wintergreen

oil infuses pale tea

milk to swell aroma

sugar and midnight sparks

sweet steam meets breath

aspirin makes undelicate

my heart

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The leaves of Eastern teaberry or American wintergreen contain oil of wintergreen; the chemical in this oil is methyl salicylate, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and closely related to aspirin. Methyl salicylate will build up an electrical charge when dried with sugar and rubbed. In Quebec, the plant is known as la petit thé du bois (little tea of the woods). Flowers are waxy, nodding, bell-shaped and white.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

December 14, 2016 at 7:47 am

raspberries in winter

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On December 11, 2016 (from 10 AM to 4 PM), I will be at the Delta Hotel (Fredericton, New Brunswick) at Sandra’s Christmas Market Fredericton to sell my paintings and books. If you are in the Fredericton area, please pay me a visit!

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I have a new painting for sale at the event. December 8, 2016  ‘raspberries’ is painted in acrylics, 7″ x 5″, gallery edges, unframed. It reminds me of picking raspberries on a summer day.

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raspberries

December 8, 2016 ‘raspberries’ Jane Tims (acrylic) 7″ x 5″ $25

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mended by raspberries

for Mary

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drove all the way to Flume Ridge

to pick those berries, large as thimbles

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red as blood after we’d pricked

our fingers on needled vines

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crossed the covered bridge to nowhere

the through road blocked, the way broken

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the covered bridge at our backs

the roar of the flume in our ears

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the tipple of honey bees

lightheaded in the berry canes

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This poem appears in my book, within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016.

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

December 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

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