poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘landscaping


with 4 comments

Our firepit has a roaming spirit.  It began its days in front of the house and we had many wonderful evening fires.  Then, as the years passed, the maple tree overhead grew until it was dangerous to have a fire under such a thick canopy.

To improve the safety of the firepit, I moved it, stone by stone to the back of the house, reassembling it exactly as it was.  We had a few fires and then, one day, our lives became busy.  We kept taking wood for the next fire and the next fire never happened.  Gradually the pile became so large, you could not see the firepit!

Last month, my husband put our tractor to use to move the firepit one more time.  I clawed my way into the pile of scrap wood and uncovered the stones.  Then we pushed them into the bucket of the tractor and away they went, to their new home across the yard.

Now they are in the driveway, waiting for their new home (see the plan in ‘plans for a rocky road’  November 13, 2011 under the category   ‘the rock project’).

The next step will be to fell four spruce trees in the area of the firepit, to make sure we can have our fires safely.  This next step may have to wait until spring since the stones are now in the frozen throes of winter!






 rattle of leaves

bark, twigs

and paper

as the air warms

finds its chimney

surges red life

into the tunnel of maple

the moment when breath

turned cloudy on cold air

becomes smoke

and lungs draw ash and fire

the summer night

when lightning strikes

when thunder

bold in its dreaming

turns beneath the earth

ions leap

and pine sap explodes

in a fistful of sparks

the warming by smiles

and clasping of hands

striking of sparks in the tinder

the flame leaps

from candle to candle

the sharp ache

at the corner of an eye

where cinders and smoke

have gathered

lungs drawing fire and ash

an effort to breathe

and fingers

warm with tremble


© Jane Tims   1995

Written by jane tims

December 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

plans for a rocky road

with 8 comments

This fall, we have begun a new landscaping project, using rocks to embellish a length of road on our property. 

On our travels this summer, we were impressed by the many ways home landscapers use stone as a signature element.  Some of these ventures were as simple as a stone wall snaking through the woods.  Some had elaborate stone benches, stone sculptures, or carefully-built piles of stones. 

We have an offshoot to our driveway, intended some day to form half of a circular road.  Over the years, we have added some stone embellishments to this road and its associated path, so it seems to me to be the perfect place to develop our own rock project.  

To date, we have the following features in place, some in an advanced state of disrepair:

  • two stone pillars, about three feet in diameter – each is a page-wire cage filled with rock
  • an ‘old-fashioned’ rock wall constructed of granite stones, each about the size of a large honeydew melon
  • a lopsided (fallen-down) sundial built of small angular rocks in the shape of a cone 
  • a chunk of black basalt, a five-sided, columnar volcanic feature, harvested from the shore where my ancestors came to Canada via shipwreck
  • a stone ‘stream’ built years ago before we purchased more property and Fern Gully Brook entered our lives – this stream is a one foot wide course of small stones screened from a pile of pit-run gravel.  It ‘runs’ from a small artificial pond and is now completely overflowing with dry leaves.
existing rock and stone features on the road and path

Over the next months, we want to add some features to the road:

  • rebuild our formerly wonderful granite fire pit in a new location along the road
  • create two new lengths of stone wall to match the existing wall
  • build a stone statue or monument 
  • lay out a circle of stones to mark the one area where we can see the Milky Way from our property (star-gazing is difficult since we have so many trees) 
  • build a stone embankment-with-moss feature to emulate a lovely roadway we saw at my brother’s wedding last year.
rock and stone features we plan to add

Over the next year, it is my intention to report back on the progress made on our Rock Project.  If you never hear another word about this project, remember – I like to plan.


Copyright   Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

November 13, 2011 at 7:27 am

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