nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘lake

planting trees at our cabin

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Last weekend, we planted about 30 Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings at our cabin property. There are lots of trees there already, but we are thinking ahead.

We bought our seedlings at the Irving Tree Nursery in Sussex, $.50 each. We planted them with the help of a metal dibble stick made especially for planting young trees.

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Here is a photo of our cabin, taken from far away, on the other side of the lake in early spring. Lots of tree there already, you say? You can never have too many trees!

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We still have more trees to plant, including some Red Pine and Eastern White Cedar. Great time spent outside where the black flies are never very bad!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

along the lake shore

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along the lake shore

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shore verbs

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water simmers at the edge

waves lounge on the shore

discuss the scudding clouds

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red pine

catches wind

with sticky fingers

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violets nod

trout lilies tire

fringed loosestrife

hangs its yellow head

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a spring leaps from the hillside

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

July 27, 2015 at 7:14 am

summer spaces

with 11 comments

Occasionally in these posts, I talk about our cabin.  When I was a child, weekends were always spent at the cottage.  It was a special place, partly because my Dad involved me in its creation.  I still remember how proud I was to fill one of the foundation boxes with stones. It was a place where we could play in the woods and dabble in a brook.  So it is no surprise that as an adult, having a cabin get-away has always been a priority.

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a view of the lake at our cabin property

a view of the lake at our cabin property

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Our cabin today is built on a hill overlooking a lake.  Originally, the property was a field overflowing with blueberry bushes.

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our lake property in 2005

our lake property in 2005

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Today, it is a young woods, mostly of mountain birch and red maple.  We keep the paths mowed with a bush hog pulled behind our ATV.  The treed lane I once hoped for is now a reality.  I still have a few patches of blueberries and lots of blackberry bushes.

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one of our many paths through the birch and maple wood

 

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Originally, we intended to build a much bigger cottage – we even chose the plans.  But through the years the shed we built as a sort of garage has become our cabin.  It is small, only 19 feet long by 15 feet wide.  But it is big enough for my husband and I.

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building the cabin in 2010

building the cabin in 2010

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Earlier this summer, we hired a local company to finish the outside of the cabin.  We still have work to do inside, but having the exterior finished takes us a long way towards the time when our cabin will be a home away from home.

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our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete 2014

our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete, 2014

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We spent yesterday at the cabin.  We did some work on our entry gate, sat in the cabin and talked, and watched the dragonflies and blue jays.  Usually we also read, aloud, a couple of chapters of a book and have a picnic lunch. Life is fun!

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Do you have a cabin or a place to ‘get-away’?

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

August 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

the colour of November #1 (Winterberry red)

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Last week, we went out to our cabin to do some reading and cutting of the ever-growing vegetation.  In spite of the mower and the thinning saw and regular prunings, the field seems to grow vegetation behind your back.  When you turn around, an alder or a birch tree has filled in a patch you thought was only grass.

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As we planned a new path across the field, we considered each sapling before we cut.  To our surprise, we found another bush of Winterberry Holly (Canada Holly, Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray).  Many grow down by the lake, but up in the field by our cabin, we know only of one other.

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This time of year their leaves are bronzed and brown and their berries are orange-red.  The berries will persist on the leafless branches all through the winter.

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The berries of the Winterberry Holly are so much fun to paint.  I started with a layer of red, added orange and then layers of white, yellow and red in turn.  I finished with a dot of black and a dot of white on the majority of the berries.

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October 27, 2013  'Winterberry red'   Jane Tims

October 27, 2013 ‘Winterberry red’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

by the frozen lake, next year

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It’s mild here today and we are expecting lots of snow.  I’m working on my novel, doing edits.

I want this post to include an excerpt from my work, so I have chosen a wintry bit.

In this excerpt, the protagonist, Sadie, and her husband are near the edge of the lake, on the property they have bought.  They’re planning to bring the Landing Church to this location, to build a writer’s retreat.

Sadie’s husband, Tom, isn’t well.  He’s dying.  His way of coping is to be a stoic, to face his death as inevitable, and to plan his wife’s life out for her.  Usually, he talks about what she’ll be doing this time next year.  Until now, he’s refused to include himself in any talk of the future.  But, as the novel progresses, his thinking is changing.

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the frozen lake

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The lake, in the grip of November, had frozen to plates of glass, interrupted by pebbly bands where the wind mixed snow into the surface of the ice.  The distant shore presented itself in silhouette, an indigo strip between the lake and the brighter sky.  The dark images of trees were frozen into the surface of the ice.  The air was crisp, but we sat, as we did in summer, on the bench by the lake’s edge.

‘Next year,’ said Tom,  ‘we’ll clear the ice for skating.  And we’ll build a bonfire, here by the shore.  There’s certainly enough dead wood to fuel it.’

I sat still, watching the lake and thinking about Tom’s words –  ‘next year’ and ‘we’.  These words were so different from what he would have said, even three weeks ago.  Ordinarily, he’d be making plans for me alone.  Ordinarily, he’d have said ’Next year, you’ll clear the ice for skating.’

We sat in silence, as we always did, just watching the lake.  Tom probably didn’t notice how thoughtful I’d become.  I wondered how I’d missed it, this transition from ‘no future’ to ‘plans for tomorrow’.  Plans to be shared by us both.  My hands began to tremble.

To distract myself, I found a flat stone embedded in the frost at my feet.  I stood, moving a little closer to the edge of the lake.  I turned my arm and cradled the stone in my hand.  I pulled my arm back and propelled the stone toward the ice.  It hit with a clear ping and bounced across the surface, leaving a line of clear notes in its wake.  I tried another one.  It sang a semi-tone higher, and the ice vibrated between the crisp air and the ice-cold water below.   Tom bent and loosened another flat stone from the ground.  He stood beside me.  In another minute, the ice was ringing with the song of skipping stones.

We’d soon depleted the shore of every loose flat rock.  The lake was still and silent.  No note remained in its repertoire.  The ice in front of us was littered with flat grey stones. 

‘No skating this year,’ said Tom.  ‘We’ve planted enough trippers to last into next spring.’

We turned from the lake and followed the path back to the field.  As we navigated the alders and rounded a corner, we came suddenly on a sturdy bush of bright red berries.  ‘Look, Sadie.  Winterberry holly,’ said Tom. ‘It usually grows by the lake, but here it is, in our field.  Our very own burning bush.’  

The bush glowed with orange-red berries, set off by bronze-colored leaves, not yet fallen.  In the silver and grey of the thicket, it was a gift…

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bush of winterberry holly

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If you have any comments, good or bad, about this piece of writing, let me know.  Is there anything you don’t understand?  I there anything I could better explain?  Have you ever skipped stones on  the ice of a lake or pond?

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Copyright   Jane Tims   2012

Written by jane tims

December 19, 2012 at 7:46 am

writing a novel – selecting a setting #1

with 13 comments

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So the poet has decided to write a novel.

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Title: unknown

Working Title: unknown

Setting: evolving

Characters: unknown

Plot: unknown

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The setting was my first consideration as I started to think about this project.  After all, I am very interested in ideas about ‘place’   …   my blog is about occupying ‘place’ and the concept of the ‘niche’, the perfect space for living.

The books I love to read and re-read have a strong sense of place.  Consider the ‘Martha’s Vineyard Mystery’ series of books by Philip R. Craig.  One of the enjoyable aspects of this series of books is the setting on Martha’s Vineyard.  Book by book, the reader grows to know the various places where the action occurs.  The reader can also follow along on a map.  The island is a perfect place for a story to unfold since there is lots of diversity in the landscape and everyone loves the ocean!

Another series of books I love are the ‘Fran Varady Crime Novels’ by Ann Granger (Headline Book Publishing, London).  The setting for these books is London.  The series unfolds as Fran evolves from being a squatter in a condemmed house, to a respectable tenant in a flat with a small garden.  Place is a strong component of the books and the reader encounters various areas again and again, some dangerous, some spooky, and some as safe as home.

As I try to think of a setting for my book, I am remembering the old saw, ‘write what you know’.  So, there is no question, the setting for my book will be rural New Brunswick.

I want to create a fictional setting within the landscape I know so well.  I also want a setting with some diversity.  I want my readers to enjoy encountering the characters in their spaces in this novel, and perhaps in other books.  I want to include elements of place which can both inspire and invoke memory.

One of the places I want to include in my setting is an old church.  I have written before in my blog about the plight of abandoned churches (see the post ‘sacred spaces’ for September 14, 2011, under https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/sacred-spaces/).

Some of these abandoned churches fall into disrepair and gradually vanish from the landscape…

Some are maintained as historic sites or as useful buildings on private property…

Some are refurbished into homes…

or even businesses…

Don’t you agree, an abandoned church would be an ideal element of the setting for my book?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

water, water

with 10 comments

In the middle of the night, five days ago, I woke to the sound of our water pump laboring.  The pump never comes on if no one is using the water, so I guessed something could be wrong.  I counted the seconds and after a count of sixty, I knew we had trouble.  The pump usually shuts off after about a minute.  While I ran off a bit of water, my husband went down and shut off the pump.  Our little saga of renewed water appreciation had begun!

We are on a private well, and so we tend to take our water for granted.  It has a delicious earthy taste, and our well supplies water at a rate of about 20 gallons per minute, so we never have quantity problems.  I am always grateful for our well water when I taste the chlorinated city water, which I have never been able to get used to.  For 20 years, our jet pump has done its work faithfully, so we are never without good, clean water, except during the occasional power outage.  Just in case, I always keep about 40 liters of water available in jugs, as a supply for these situations (the Emergency Measures Organisation suggests an emergency supply of at least 2 liters of water per person per day for the first 72 hours).

The next morning, we called the plumbing company and they came right away, replacing our old pump.  But after using all my emergency supply of water to try to prime the new pump, it became obvious that we have a clogged foot-valve… the pump would not prime.

We now have to wait until Friday for another service to come, pull up the well pipe and replace the foot-valve.  In the meanwhile, we are getting a lesson in water use and conservation.

Our main uses of water are for drinking and cooking, washing ourselves, rinsing vegetables, cleaning our dishes, and flushing toilets.  Fortunately, I had a done a big laundry after returning from our recent vacation, so laundry will not be a problem for a while.

Meanwhile, we have adopted a hierarchy for water use, saving the remnants of each use … the grey water from bathing and doing dishes gets reused for toilets.

It also rained for the first two days of our water shortage, so I collected enough water to keep ahead of our bathroom needs for the first couple of days.

Our other source of water for the bathrooms is our dehumidifier.   It puts out about a half-bucket of water a day.  In ordinary times, this water goes down the drain without a thought, but now it is an important source for flushing the toilet.

For our other uses, we are lucky to be able to buy water from the grocery shelves.  I can’t remember when water became a commodity, but I know my parents bought water occasionally in the 1980s.

Of course, we can also get our water from relatives and neighbors, or drive to a nearby lake, but our ‘crisis’ should be over by Friday.

This experience has been a good reminder for me, not to take water for granted.  I used to repeat this message when I worked in the field of water conservation during my years with government.  How easily I have forgotten my own advice!!!

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

October 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

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