nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘farm

harvesting colour – the vegetable stand

with 2 comments

Gardens are bursting with fresh produce and we have gone to the farmer’s vegetable stand every couple of days to get our fill of locally grown food.  We usually look for new potatoes, yellow wax beans, beets, carrots, green onions and zucchini.

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vegetables at the farmer's stand

vegetables at the farmer’s stand

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This year, as a result of my ‘harvesting colour’ project, I am more anxious than ever to collect those carrot tops and the abundant leaves of beet and radish.  Cooking these leaves in my dyeing ‘cauldron’ fills the air with the savory smell of vegetable soup, and makes me wonder what colour will emerge from the dye pot.

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beet leaves and stems ready for the boil

beet leaves and stems ready for the boil

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Orange carrots, red beets and scarlet radishes … I am sad to say my expectations were low.  I was certain every batch of leaves would yield yet another shade of brown. For radishes and beets, I was correct.  Beautiful browns.

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my hand-spun balls of wool from radish and beet leaves ... the pink is from my earlier tests with pickled beets

my hand-spun balls of wool from radish and beet leaves … the pink is from my earlier tests with pickled beets

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Imagine my delight when the carrot leaves yielded a bright celery green!

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dye and wool roving from a boil of carrot tops

dye and wool roving from a boil of carrot tops

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I tried to repeat the colour on a second length of wool roving, but the second simmering gave me a gold shade of brown.   The dyestuff had offered up all its green colour in the first boil!

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colours of wool obtained from the first and second boil in a dyestuff of carrot tops

colours of wool obtained from the first and second boil in a dyestuff of carrot tops

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vegetable bin

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most look for

vitamins and

anti-oxidants

seek the colourful plate

look at the farmer’s display and see

carrot orange

radish red

spinach green

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a dyer looks

for juicy leaves

and the possibility of yet

another shade

of brown

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims   

Written by jane tims

August 13, 2014 at 7:13 am

small scale economy – picking berries

with 6 comments

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'five blue berries'

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small-scale economy

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my box of berries spilled

on the footpath,

between leaves

of Kalmia and wintergreen

hawkweed and cow pies

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the cousins, their boxes brimming,

stood gawking, dismayed,

I was certain they were thinking

dumb city girl, spilled her berries

box only half full anyway

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instead, they gathered around me

sympathy in every hand

scooped most of the berries

into the box

added a few from nearby bushes

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seventeen cents he paid me

half the value of a box at full

the cousins had picked a crate or more,

remembered the wasted berries, left on the trail

and wept at the loss

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Published as: ‘small scale economy’, Canadian Stories 16 (94), December 2013/ January 2014

Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 24, 2014 at 7:14 am

water and stone 7-13

with 6 comments

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7-13 pp

treed archway over road near Lansallos (image from Street View)

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7-13 1 journal

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7-13 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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After seeing hidden doors and arched roadways, I am on the lookout for other evidence of enchantment on my Cornwall journey.  So, when the road dipped into one of those treed valleys …

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7-13 o

treed archway near Lansallos (image from Street View)

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I was not surprised to see an unexpected stone stairway …

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7-13 p

unexpected stairway (image from Street View)

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and a roadside fountain …

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7-13 q

water ‘fountain’ in roadway west of Lansallos (image from Street View)

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I think this is a way of making the water in a hillside stream more accessible, but it made me think of the magical associations of woodland pools …

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IMG687_crop

July 25, 2013 ‘reflection’ Jane Tims

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Best View:  a stone house near Lansallos … pen and watercolor …

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IMG683_crop

July 22, 2013 ‘stone house near Lansallos’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

an abandoned house

with 6 comments

On my virtual biking trip along the Sèvre Niortaise in central France, I saw an abandoned house.  Its roof had collapsed, its side buildings were reduced to ruined stone walls and its windows and doors were empty eyes …

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'abandoned house'

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It reminded me of a painting of an abandoned house by Liam Rainsford (published as ‘Abandoned’ on his Blog on April 15, 2012).  You can see his painting at  http://liamrainsford.com/2012/04/14/abandoned-oil-painting/

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I have been writing a series of poems on the theme of abandonment and Liam’s haunting painting inspired this poem:

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abandoned house

            – response to the painting ‘Abandoned’ by Liam Rainsford (April 15, 2012)

stone ruin,

vacant, a shell

disinterested (since they went away)

in the state of the road

or comings and goings

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only the fence posts have opinions

one, a stoic, is the neighbor’s boy,

waits by the gate

one post swoons in disbelief –

roof fallen in, garden weedy,

fields overgrown

what’s a good fence for, but to keep hunger away?

keep people in?

fence wires lead off, toward the east

walk through the front door, into open air

views unobstructed

tree tops, remote hills, expanses of sky

ghosts are lonely here,

peering into windows, entering

the lean-to door

with a basket of eggs,

over and over

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

April 10, 2013 at 7:18 am

the mysterious ‘x’

with 8 comments

On my virtual biking trip along the Sèvre Niortaise in central France, I have encountered a mystery.  On many of the houses I see, there is an ‘X’ on the side of the house.  Occasionally there are two.  Sometimes the ‘X’ appears to be made of iron.  Sometimes it is pressed into the structure of the wall.

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an 'X' on the wall of a house

an ‘X’ on the wall of a house (image from Street View)

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another 'X'

another ‘X’ (image from Street View)

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At first, I thought they might mark the location of some feature, such as an underground water line…

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a pair of 'X's

a pair of ‘X’s (image from Street View)

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Do you know the meaning of the mysterious ‘X’?

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another mysterious 'x'

another mysterious ‘x’ (image from Street View)

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I think I have figured it out, based on the photo below which shows a bolt in the center of the ‘X’.  I think, at some time in the past, the metal ‘X’ was part of the method of shoring up an older house with bowed walls, in danger of collapse.  I think the ‘X’ is the outside part of a cable that runs through the walls of the house.  The ‘X’ is a kind of cleat, distributing the pressure over the outside walls, preventing the cable from pulling through the wall.

Do you think I am right?

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yet another mysterious 'x'

yet another mysterious ‘x’ (image from Street View)

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

April 5, 2013 at 7:01 am

gathering eggs

with 6 comments

When we visited my grandfather’s farm in the 1960s, boredom was never a problem.  Every day brought a new discovery or learning.  One of the best activities was to help in the gathering of eggs.

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gathering eggs

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first breath after rooster presses

crowbar under sun catches

dew in the three-angled strawberry leaves

and light pings sapphire,

red, amber, emerald to opening eyes

I see Dandy waiting

black and white counterpoint to rainbow

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he greets me, ignores

the chickens scratching

along random lines, we trek

to the barn together

push the man-door, open the pen

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Diane has promised a gather

of eggs, shows me how

to shoo the hen, part the straw,

roll the egg into my hand,

build the stack in the basket

set each in a three-angled

cradle of eggs

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Dandy watches the rooster

red comb and wattles,

amber neck, iridescent tail

ignores white eggs and chickens

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Previously published as ‘gathering eggs’, Canadian Stories 15 (84), April 2012

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

a moment of beautiful – a swing in the orchard

with 18 comments

the space: in the shade of a tree

the beautiful: an old wooden swing

The sight of a swing hanging from the solid limb of an old tree recalls happy hours of swinging when I was a child.

On my grandfather’s farm, the swing was a swing-chair, and I spent hours pushing the old swing to its limits (see ‘in the apple orchard’  the post for August 9, 2011, under the category ‘my grandfather’s farm’).  At home in Ralston, Alberta, the community playground had an adult-sized swing set, strong enough to withstand our approach of ‘stand on the seat and pump’.  And, when my son was little, we had an old-fashioned board and rope swing – it was a little off-kilter and seemed to go side-to-side rather than forward-and-backward but I remember he and I had lots of fun.

My own childhood story about board and rope swings is bitter-sweet.  My Dad built me a swing and hung it from the rafters in the basement of our house in Medicine Hat.  I loved it, but … one day I let go of the ropes and fell backwards, hitting my head on the concrete floor.  I can still remember the intense pain and the big black star that dominated my vision for a moment.  People who know me will say this explains a lot.

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swing sway

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the old swing

hangs frayed from a limb

of the apple tree

sways

hips as she waits

for the downtown bus

rocking learned

in baby years

when rhythm brought peace

and a quiet evening

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© Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 31, 2012 at 7:05 am

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