poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘red maple

maple blossoms

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This week, as Red Maple (Acer rubrum) flowers bloom, the woodland blushes scarlet.  In the driveway, a tree-shadow of blossoms has begun to form, as the flower clusters reach their peak and then drop to the ground.

Each flower is a puff of reddish-pink bracts surrounding the male and female flower parts.  The stamens (the male part of the flower) consist of a thin filament topped by a dark anther where the pollen is formed.  The pistil (the female part) is made of a style topped by a stigma; once fertilised by pollen, the maple seeds will form here.  Red maple flowers may have both stamens and pistils, or may be only male or only female.  The flower looks like a tiny fireworks, the burst-effect created by a bundle of stamens or stigmas.

When I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, I always loved the flowering of the Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) in spring.  Their flowers are green and most people mistake them for new leaves.  I used to wonder what the ecosystem consequences might be if the flowers were bright orange or purple instead of green.



red maple blossoms


across brown sky

strontium bursts of bright

sparks bloom

against dark



©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

maple syrup time

with 16 comments

Well, the time has finally arrived.  The nights are cold and the days this week are predicted to be sunny and warm.  In our house the combination of cold days and warm nights means the sap is moving in our maple trees.

We tap Red Maple (Acer rubrum L.), although Sugar-maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) is preferred by commercial syrup producers.  Last year we tapped 12 trees, about at the edge of our low-tech capability.  This year we are tapping 10 trees.

We usually use the ‘old-fashioned’ spile and aluminum bucket method.  This year, for the first time, my husband is trying a plastic spile and pipe system for 5 of our taps.  It seems a little easier since the sap drips directly into a plastic reservoir and this eliminates one step in the endless pouring process.

For those of you unfamiliar with tapping trees for sap, the basic idea is to collect the sap and boil it down to make maple syrup.  We select a tree, bore a hole, insert a spile and hang a bucket on the spile hook.  The spile is a cleverly designed spigot which channels the sap from inside the tree into the bucket.  The bucket is fitted with a cover to keep out rainwater or snow and reduce insect access.

So far this year, we have collected 25 liters of sap.  This will boil down at about 40 to 1 to make a little more than 500 ml of syrup (about 2 cups).  Last year, from a season total of 329 liters of sap, we made about 40 pint jars of syrup.  If you try to calculate that at 40 to 1, it will never come out correctly since we don’t boil all of the sap to the same concentration and we drink some of the sap as a sweet drink.

Collecting maple sap is so much fun.  It is good exercise and a great way to get your dose of warm spring sunshine.  And, we have enough maple syrup to last for the year.

I’ll be keeping you up to date on our maple syrup adventures this year.  Right now, the pot full of sap is boiling on the deck.



sugar song


cold nights

warm days

cold nights


sap plucks stainless steel

different rhythm, every tap

quick and dead slow

in sync

with the downy woodpecker

or the bird with the round warble in its throat



©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 19, 2012 at 8:01 am

refections on the water

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I have realised there is a sequence to the vanishing of the autumn colour. 

First the maples lose their leaves in the early autumn winds.  The next will be the poplars, now glowing with banana colours. The oak leaves, ruddy and slick with reds and oranges, will succumb by late October.  Tamarack, a deciduous conifer, will lose its amber needles in early November. The beech trees will keep their ochre, papery leaves all through the winter, finally losing them in spring when the new leaves emerge.

This past weekend, we found some maples still in autumn garb.  At Watty Brook, flowing into McDougall Lake in south-west New Brunswick, at least one maple has taken longer than most to lose its leaves.  At its sheltered location in the low valley of the brook, the tree has eluded the winds.   It was reflected clearly in the brook, and its orange and gold were captured in the rocks showing through the tea-coloured water.

  In spite of the movement of the water, the tree was reflected in all its splender.


in the millstream



deer are drinking

and the raindrops

swell the running

this I know

from bubbles



I am a rock

in the millstream

seasons and freshets 

have smoothed

my edges


once I met the water

a cleaver


now I ask the water

to flow

around me


© Jane Tims 2003

Written by jane tims

October 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

under the red maple

with 7 comments

We have a huge red maple (Acer rubrum L.) in front of our house.  It forces a turn in the walkway, but I love to greet it every morning and watch it through the seasons.  When we first lived here 30 years ago, the tree was small enough to encircle with thumb and finger.  Now I can’t fit my arms around its girth.

Autumn inspires this tree.  It takes its time, gradually turning yellow, red and orange over several days.  Then it gives up all its leaves within a day. 

When I drive my car away the next morning, a dark rectangle of driveway remains, within the circle of new-fallen leaves.


summer in flames



leaf fall

embers settle

on the walkway

patio table and chairs




to walk in silence

red flames

and careful steps

a conflagration



shadows lost

and branches

scratch the sky

sun bright

hands warm before the fire


© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

October 14, 2011 at 7:59 am

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