nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘gardening

writing life,

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This summer I have been taking a break from writing science fiction. I have my next science-fiction book Meniscus: Karst Topography ready to publish so I can take some time to think about other writing projects.

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In 1997, I wrote a long mystery novel. I thought it would be interesting to read it through and see how much my writing style has changed. It has changed a lot, as you will see below. But the story was good and I had spent a decent amount of time on characters, story arcs, and point of view, so I decided to work on the draft.

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The story is titled HHGG (big reveal later in the year) and was 162,500 words. Yikes.

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This is my first draft of an eventual cover blurb …

Kaye Eliot comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children. But instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. Neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. Meanwhile, she and her kids have stumbled on a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property, a packet of old letters and an old map of the garden. And they dig up a sinister sea shell. A sea shell who looks like a grinning skull and who will not stay where he is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be victim of neighbors, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun?

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the Grinning Tun (about 25 cm or 10 inches across)

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My work on the book has been on several fronts. I have ‘tweeted’ daily about my process  since May 28, 2018 (@TimsJane):

  • Reduce the number of words. I lost a lot of words through editing and style changes. I took out the dream sequences, all the ‘ly’ adverbs, a lot of thinking and feeling, and a raft of ‘that’s. I went from 162,561 words on April 13, 2018 to 148,999 words today on July 15, 2018. It is still a little long but a good read (in my opinion).
  • I did a lot of thinking about whether to keep the setting in 1994 or modernize it to 2018. With some advice, I have decided to keep it in 1994. In fact, the story would not unfold as it does with cell phones and computers at hand. So my characters drive down to the community phone booth almost every day and look for clues in whirring reels of microfiche.
  • Leaving the action in 1994 provided an opportunity to explore the culture of the 1990s. Besides the missing cell phones and computers, people collected Canadian Tire Money, waitresses smoked in restaurants and POGs were a fad among kids. In the summer of 1994, the song ‘I Swear‘ held the Canadian single charts for three weeks and the American charts for seven weeks. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon was a thing. The slang interjection ‘like’ punctuated speaking (still does).
  • Part of the text is in Spanish so I asked my friend Roger Moore to help me proof-read the Spanish text.
  • I spent a lot of time with my Grinning Tun … I bought him on line in 2010. The more you look at it, the more it looks like a skull.
  • I spent a stupid amount of time designing a curlicue for announcing a change in sections. I am glad I did, because this new novel will include ‘Drop caps’ at the beginning of every chapter and said curlicue.

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design

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It will take me a few more weeks to proof the draft. To do this, I order a Proof from CreateSpace and do my edits as a way of passing the time effectively on my stationary cycle. Once I have the Proof, I’ll be able to concentrate on painting the cover for HHGG. This is the rough outlay for the cover, tacked together from various photos …

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HHGG cover (2).jpg

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Now you know everything about HHGG except its title!

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All my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

Gardening in my Veg-trugs

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In late May, I planted my Veg-trugs. Veg-trugs (available from Lee Valley Tools, Halifax) are small portable garden troughs perfect for a deck garden.

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This year I have planted three vegetables:

cucumber

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zucchini

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yellow wax bean

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As you can see, all are up. The maple seeds around each plant will sprout and will take lots of time to remove.

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I’ll update on progress as the summer unfolds.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

a moment of beautiful: tendrils

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the place: a planting of cucumber vines on the deck

the beautiful: winding tendrils

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I have a small garden on our deck. This year I tried a new technique; I put a bag of soil on a table, cut a slit in the horizontal part of the bag, punctured the bottom for drainage and planted some cucumbers. Later, when the leaves were established, I ran a couple of lengths of string from the table to a nearby tree.

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Now the tendrils are searching for support. When the cells of the tendril encounter a surface, such as the edge of a string, the cells respond in such a way to twist the tendril. The resulting coils and spirals are so charming!

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a note of music

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Hang on little fellow!

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coils and curls

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

July 21, 2017 at 7:00 am

finally !!!! spring

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Finally, spring!!!  The last bit of snow is melted from our lawn (although there are still patches of snow in the woods) and I have crocuses in bloom!

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This past weekend, I attended a strategic planning event at Falls Brook Center in west-central New Brunswick.  Falls Brook Center is a non-profit group working within the community to teach skills for more sustainable living.

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Setting goals for an organisation is never easy and we enjoyed a welcome break from all the group discussion and brainstorming when one of the program coordinators gave us a short workshop about how to make seed sprouters from newspaper.  In the past, I have often used peat pots, milk cartons and even Styrofoam cups to start my seeds.   Making plant pots from newspaper is easy, saves money, and reduces waste!  And making the pots is fun!

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We used PotMaker® to make our seed pots. PotMaker®  is made in Canada by Richters (Goodwood, Ontario, L0C 1A0)  http://www.PotMaker.com . The kit includes two wooden shapes, one to wrap the newspaper into a tube, and the other to ‘crimp’ the lower part of the tube into a closed pot.

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This morning, after a few minutes of rolling newspaper strips and tucking ends, I have enough pots to start a new batch of herbs for my kitchen window garden! Now, all I have to do is fill the newspaper pots with some planting mix and sprinkle some seeds.  The pots support one another and keep their shape even wet.  They can be planted directly into the garden … the roots grow through the paper and the pots disintegrate.

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greenhouse, early spring

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dead plantings rustle

skeletons brittle

pods and packets rattle

whisper me to the greenhouse

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weak sunshine warms the glass

my prints a path on late snow

meltwater sinks into grass

soaks into clay

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bits of crockery

wooden handles

leaf mould and sand

soil pressed into pots

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the gardener

awakened from winter

rooted in moss and clay

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Published as ‘greenhouse, early spring’, Canadian Stories 15 (87), Oct/Nov, 2012

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

seaweed for gardens and vines for trees 6-11

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greenery in a walled yard (image from Street View)

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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I am nearing the end of Phase 6 of my virtual cycling trip through central France, but I am seeing so many interesting things, it is hard to look forward to the end.  Today I saw a man digging seaweed into his garden.  He had spread the seaweed uniformly across his garden and was slowly digging it into the soil …

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man digging seaweed into the garden (image from Street View)

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I am interested in gardening, so of course, I stopped to talk …

Jane:  Bonjour.  ‘Qu-est-ce que vous ajoutez au jardin???’ (‘Hello!  What is it you are digging into your garden?’)

Gardener:  ‘Bonjour.  Ce sont des algues marines!  Il sont très bon pour le sol.’  (‘Hello.  I am adding seaweed.   It is very good for the soil.’)

Jane:  ‘Bon pour le sol?  C’est vrai?’   (‘Good for the soil.  Is that true?’)

Gardener: ‘Mais oui!  Ils ajoutent la nourriture et les matières organiques aux sol!’  (‘Of course!  They add nutrients and organic matter to the soil!’)

Jane:  ‘D’où est-ce que vous avez obtainer ces algues marines?’  (‘Where did you get the seaweed?’)

Gardener: ‘Ah, juste à côté de l’ocean! Ils ne coûtent rien!’ (‘Ah, just by the ocean!’ It’s free!!!’)

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Using seaweed on gardens is common on this side of the Atlantic Ocean also.  For example, in his book Vineyard Chill (Scribner, New York, 2008), Phillip R. Craig opened his mystery novel with a family going to the beach to gather seaweed for their garden on Martha’s Vineyard.

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There was lots of evidence of gardening and green thumbs on this part of my bike drive across Ile de Ré …

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greenhouses on Ile de Ré (image from Street View)

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Best View: old trees, their trunks covered with vines  (I loved doing this watercolor so much, I tried three versions) …

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'vine-covered trees #1'

June 17, 2013 ‘vine-covered trees #1’ Jane Tims

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'vine-covered trees #2'

June 17, 2013 ‘vine-covered trees #2’ Jane Tims

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June 18, 2013 ‘vine-covered trees #3’ Jane Tims

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This is the view that inspired the paintings …

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along the road

vine-covered trees (image from Street View)

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

July 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

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