poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Nova Scotia

time on the shore

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On this Father’s Day, I remember times spent with my dad.


When I was a kid, he would take us to the shore near Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, to look for chunks of iron pyrite (fool’s gold) in the rocks.



time on the shore



spit of sand

grains in an hourglass

poured through gaps

in a cobble sea



waves advance

try to tangle me

wash me, turn me

like a sea-smooth stone


but I know about tides

I move myself inland

each hour



he watched whales blow here

saw sea horses dance

filled his pockets with sea glass

pitied the sandpiper

sprinkling tracks the waves erase


I hear the hiss of air

the echoing wail

small stallions prance on my toes


I close my eyes

forget to move




he takes us prospecting

we wedge into crevasses

keen for pyrite gold

cube within cube

embedded in stone


we always forget the hammer

we chip and scratch with fingernails

reach across rock

dare the waves


a sanderling cries

quit quit!





befriend me


a dowitcher sews a seam with her bill

bastes salt water to shore


the sanderling shoos back the tide



plunge into the ocean

and complain they are wet



Published as: ‘Time on the Shore’, Canadian Stories 16 (89), February/March 2013

Part of manuscript ‘mnemonic‘ winner of the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick 2016 Writing Competition



Copyright Jane Tims 2017


Written by jane tims

June 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

dancing around the daisy pole

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Perhaps strange to talk about a Maypole in July but Maypoles have been used for summer celebrations throughout the years. In the old stereoscope photo below, published by a company in Meadville Pennsylvania and  St. Louis Missouri, the Maypole is referred to as a Daisy Pole.



A rather blurry scan of a stereoscopic photo, blurry because it is curved for the viewer. The title of the photo is ‘A June Carnival – Dancing Round the Daisy Pole’ 1900


When my Aunt Jane was young, attending a small school in Nova Scotia, field days were held in June. In her book, she recalls participating in a field day:

… I was in grade 1 … we had a “field day”. My dress was made of blue and white crepe paper and, holding on to the end of a white paper streamer, I danced around a May pole. I remember my great embarrassment as a gust of wind took the streamer out of my hand and sent it high in the air to flutter in the breeze …




The decorative Maypole we made years ago to celebrate May 1 every year. Through the years, when I needed ribbon, I occasionally snipped a length from the pole, so there are a few short ribbons!


July 1 2016 'dancing around the daisy pole' Jane Tims


daisy pole plan

sketch for ‘dancing around the daisy pole’ … in some ways more lively than the final drawing


Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

July 11, 2016 at 7:00 am

early schools – the exotic and the common

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In my Aunt’s book about early schooling in Nova Scotia, she tells an amusing story about field days at school:

… I recall another field day when Dr. DeWolfe, Miss Harris, and Miss Baker came with shrubs to our school. The shrubs were ten cents each. My mother had always longed for a weigela and a snowball and we were delighted that at last she could have her wish, for both these varieties were among Dr. DeWolf’s  collection. They were duly planted at my home on the bank of the French River. One turned out to be a high bush cranberry and the other a spiraea, but today we still refer to them as the “snowball” and “weigela” and, I may mention, they have many an offspring throughout our province.


I must have seen the high bush cranberry and spiraea many times at my mother’s old home, but I don’t remember them in particular. I do remember the gardens, lush with rose bushes, tiger lilies, and grape vines.


June 17 2016 'an exotic shrub' Jane Tims


Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

coastal barren, coastal bog

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On our vacation to Nova Scotia last month, we revisited the Peggy’s Cove area near Halifax.  I spent a lot of time along this coast years ago, but I had forgotten the unique wildness and beauty of this landscape.

We explored two habitat types, the dry and rocky barrens, and the wet coastal bog.  As we found each new plant, I felt like I was greeting old and well-loved friends.

On the higher areas, growing in the thin soil on the bedrock were several species.  One of these included Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum L.), a small moss-like plant with spiky leaves and small pink flowers.  Later in the season, these will bear edible back berries.

We also found Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Sibbaldia tridentata (Aiton) Paule & Soják) with its three leaflets and the characteristic three teeth at the tip of each leaf.  The leaves are thick and outlined in red at this time of year.  Later in the year the leaves turn bright red.  The white flowers each have five petals, and are starry with stamens.

In the low-lying, boggy areas, we found a ‘merriment’ (my word) of Pitcher-plants (Sarracenia purpurea L.).

The leaves of these insectivorous plants are shaped like vessels.  Insects climbing into the leaves encounter downward pointing hairs.  They are trapped!  Eventually they drown and are digested in the water at the base of the ‘pitcher’.

We also found another carnivorous plant, the Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia L.).  The leaves of these plants are covered with tiny hairs… these exude a sticky liquid and trapped insects are slowly digested. For more information on the Sundew, please visit my post for October 31, 2011, ‘Round-leaved Sundew’.

All was not gruesome.  We also found Arethusa (Arethusa bulbosa L.), a member of the orchid family.  This beautiful pink orchid is also known as the Dragon’s Mouth.

Overall, our trip to Peggy’s Cove was a wonderful adventure.   We plan to return in the early fall, when the Crowberry and the other edible plants we saw have set their berries.

Have you ever been to Peggy’s Cove and what did you think of the coastal landscape and the plants growing there?


©  Jane Tims  2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

between the tides – sea glass

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Walking on the beach at low tide creates a two-way competition for the eyes. 

First there is the pull of the sea – the vistas of distant shores, islands, boats and buoys to contemplate, and the crash and retreat of the ocean waves…


Second is the compulsion to watch the beach as you walk, searching for shells and  patterned rocks…

or the gem of beachcombers, sea glass…

When the tide comes in, we collectors come home from the sea, our pockets full of treasures we have found. 


sea glass

 tide turns

 sea withdraws

we walk on the ocean floor

heads down

eyes conditioned to color

of sea glass translucence

of fog softened edges muffled

greens and bottle blues

rare ambers and reds

tide turns

ocean swells

glass and stone together

etched by sea


© Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

September 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

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