nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘local food

getting the better of … a squirrel?

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At readings of my book within easy reach, I often include the poem ‘beaked hazelnuts’ and tell my audience:

If I don’t pick my hazelnuts by August 6, the squirrels will get there ahead of me. They watch the calendar!

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hazelnuts viewed from the underside of the shrub canopy

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The Beaked Hazelnut is a wiry shrub found in mixed woods. The edible nut is contained in a bristly, beaked husk. We have three clumps of the shrubs in our yard, probably sprung from the stashes of squirrels over the years!

For my battles with the squirrels over the hazelnuts, just have a look at

https://janetims.com/2011/08/07/competing-with-the-squirrels/

and

https://janetims.com/2011/08/18/competing-with-the-squirrels-2/

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This year, I also watched the calendar. And on August 5, I picked most of the hazelnuts on our hazelnut ‘trees’. Picking is tricky because those pods are covered with sticky sharp hairs that irritate thumb and fingers.

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Never-the-less, I have a small bowl of hazelnuts to call my own (I left a few for the squirrels, more than they ever did for me). Now I will wait for them to dry and then have a little feast!

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beaked hazelnuts

(Corylus cornuta Marsh.)

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hazelnuts hang

husks curve

translucent, lime

they ripen

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this year, they are mine

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uptight red squirrels agitate, on guard, we watch

the hazelnuts ripen, slow as cobwebs falling, nut pies

browning through the glass of the oven door

green berries losing yellow, making blue

dust motes in a crook of light

float, small hooked hairs

shine

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two more days

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hesitate

and red squirrels

bury their hazelnuts

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From within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2016)

https://www.amazon.ca/Within-Easy-Reach-Jane-Spavold/dp/1988299004

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

August 9, 2017 at 7:45 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

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

wild strawberries to pick

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In the field around our cabin, the wild strawberries are ready for picking. Red, sweet, delicious.

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‘wild strawberries’ Jane Tims 2016

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If you love picking berries, or eating those first dew-covered berries of summer, you will like my book of poems about gathering and eating wild local foods.

‘within easy reach’ is published by Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, New Brunswick. The book is illustrated with my drawings and includes lots of information about each wild plant mentioned. The book is available here at Chapel Street Editions or here at Amazon.ca

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For another of my posts about wild strawberries, and a poem about picking wild strawberries, look here.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

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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img127-2016_12_30-00_28_35-utc

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

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