nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Smyth Covered Bridge

woodpeckers and covered bridges

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'Hairy Woodpecker'

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Woodpeckers are common in our area.  Both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers visit our feeders in winter.  Pileated Woodpeckers hammer on our trees in summer, their flaming heads a blur as they excavate dead trees for insects.

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'Pileated Woodpecker'

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Woodpeckers don’t confine their tapping to dead trees.  I have seen them pounding on telephone poles, metal roof flashing and even the shingles on the side of our house.

Lately, as a result of a project I am planning, I have been thinking about covered bridges and their use as wild life habitat.  So, a question …

Do woodpeckers excavate the wood of covered bridges for food?

Last week, we visited three covered bridges in Sunbury County in New Brunswick and, in two of them, we found the answer …

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woodpecker holes in the soffit at the gable end of the Smyth Covered Bridge near Mill Settlement, Sunbury County (April 2015)

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old woodpecker excavations on the face of the Bell Covered Bridge near Juvenile Settlement, Sunbury County (April 2015).

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woodpecker holes inside the Bell Covered Bridge (April 2015)

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I would love to be in a covered bridge when a woodpecker comes to play his staccato song.

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

April 24, 2015 at 7:04 am

ceiling of stars

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190

gaps in the roof, Smyth Covered Bridge, April, 2015

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ceiling of stars

(Smyth Covered Bridge – South Oromocto River #2)

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left to the years

to frost heaves, wind

and winter storms

the roof-skin peels

away

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crisscross layers

gaps between boards

shape tiny squares

and sunlight spills

between

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afternoon stars

constellations

and raindrops ooze

saucepans to catch

the drips

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deafening, would

scare swallows, field

mice, snowshoe hares

and spiders, all

away

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims 

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Smyth Covered Bridge, Mill Settlement, New Brunswick

 

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Written by jane tims

April 22, 2015 at 7:32 am

a walk through the covered bridge – Smyth Bridge, South Branch of the Oromocto River

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On our August drive along the South Branch of the Oromocto River, we crossed two covered bridges.  I love these bridges… they are picturesque and so pleasant to walk through.  They are also part of the local history of many communities in New Brunswick.   I’ve talked a little about covered bridges before in my Blog – please have a look at  https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/inside-the-covered-bridge/

One of the bridges we saw on this drive was the Smyth Bridge.  It crosses the South Branch of the Oromocto River, near Mill Settlement in Sunbury County  (listed as South Oromocto Rover #2 in the April 1992 pamphlet ‘Covered Bridges in New Brunswick’, no author indicated).

Inside the bridge, it is cool and dark.  When a car drives through, you hug the side, hoping the driver will see you and slow down.  I love the sound of the tires on the timbers making up the floor of the bridge.

Down-river, the shallow water of the river glows in the sun.  Most of our local rivers are the color of tea, a consequence of their origins in wetland areas.

Up-river of the Smyth Bridge is a gravel beach and water for wading and swimming.

The Smyth Bridge was built in 1912 and has a total length of 139′ 1/2 “, and a span of 136′ 1/2 “.  Its roadway width is 14′ 9”.  Its Maximum Load is 10 t (6 t for double axle vehicles) and its center clearance height is 3.7 m.

During our Covered Bridge Project for Canada’s 125th anniversary, we visited the Smyth Bridge on April 16, 1992.

In 1992, the oldest dates we could find carved into the bridge were ‘Oct 3, 1915 Sunday’ under the initials ‘R K’ (in pen or pencil) and ‘Feb 1931’ beside the initials ‘LTF’ and ‘LEIK’ to the right of three simple crosses.  There was also the totem of a face carved into the south side of the bridge, on the outside corner post.  We also found a few other initials, deeply carved: ‘M B’, ‘R H’, ‘C B’, and ‘CED  ER  May 63’.

Finding these carvings requires patience, a good flashlight and about an hour per bridge, so I didn’t check to see if any of the carvings were still there on our recent visit.  Sometimes they are lost when boards are replaced in the bridge during renovations.

I wonder if these people remember leaving their initials in the bridge so long ago?

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‘LEIK’

             – initials carved on the boards of the Smyth Covered Bridge, 1931

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dark

silent

sequestered

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light leaks between gable

boards, window squares cut high

river water below

sparkles in August sun

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carved initials announce

the focused presence of

ghosts with knives

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the clatter of tires

on timbers, as a car

rattles across the bridge

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Copyright   Jane  Tims  2012

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