nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘St. John River

puddle ducks

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This time of year the St. John River is at flood levels and backwaters are good places to see many species of duck.

Last weekend, when the water still had a few shallow grassy places for dabbling, we saw these fellows along the old Trans Canada between Oromocto and Jemseg:

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Wood Duck … notice the long crest at the back of the head …

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American Widgeon … a rosy breast and a white cap on his head …

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Mallards … notice the white ring around his neck and his yellow beak …

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Ring-necked Duck … a terrible photo … note the grey beak with a white ring, vertical white before wing and black back …

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There were also lots of Canada geese and a Blue Heron we scared up from a roadside pond …

 

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I am not a good photographer but that cannot take away from the thrill of seeing these birds every spring!

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Happy bird watching!

Jane 

 

 

Written by jane tims

April 30, 2018 at 7:00 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge

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world of the covered bridge.jpg

May 12, 2012 'enter' Jane Tims.jpg~

in the shelter of the covered bridge

by Jane Spavold Tims

poetry with illustrations

Chapel Street Editions 2017

poems about plants and animals living in the vicinity of the covered bridge

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SCB Cover

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73 poems, 35 bridges, 21 illustrations

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apples, Malone Bridge.jpg

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From the Preface:

Where I live in rural New Brunswick, driving through a covered bridge is a daily occurrence. The sounds of the tires on the decking, the glimpses of river and sunlight between boards, the fun of seeing a family fishing and the sight of a groundhog carrying her kit across entryway of the bridge — these are touch-stones for my existence.

The inspiration for this book came in 2015, when my husband and I crossed the Patrick Owens Bridge on the Rusagonis Stream and startled a rabbit in the middle of the span. The rabbit raced through the bridge in front of the truck. I can still see the shadow of his long ears and the scurry of his feet. Since the incident occurred during the February 21, 2015 conjunction of Venus and Mars, with the sickle moon just above the planets, I thought of all the legends about the hare and the moon. This led to the poem “conjunction” and a question about what other plants and animals find shelter in or around our covered bridges in New Brunswick.

My husband and I carried out the field work for the book during 2015. We focused on covered bridges in the entire Saint John River Valley, but we also visited bridges in Charlotte and Westmorland Counties. Travelling around the province, visiting covered bridges and paying special attention to the nearby wild life, was an ideal way to spend a spring and summer in New Brunswick. Some bridges were easy to find, others a challenge. Each bridge contributed its own personality, history and component flora and fauna.

The covered bridge is endangered in New Brunswick. In 1900, there were about 400 covered bridges in the province. By 1944, there were only 320. In 1992, when Glen, Michael and I visited some of the bridges for Canada’s 125th birthday, there were 71. In 2017, as I write this, there are only 60 remaining. Vandalism, flood, accident, fire and age claim more bridges every few years.

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… In 2018, there are 58 covered bridges remaining …

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Book available from Chapel Street Editions

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dry wind

French Village Bridge

Hammond River #2

 

the bridge leans, upriver

wind enters, a beer can

rolls on the deck

 

white butterflies obey

the valley breeze

navigate the scent of wild roses

 

avoid the dogs

cooling off in the river

the beach folk, sunning themselves

 

bracts of Yellow Rattle

and Silene, inflated bladders

dry as old boards

 

aspens tremble

a song sparrow stutters

a loose shingle rattles in wind

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May 12, 2012 'enter' Jane Tims

drawing of the French Village Bridge 2015: ‘enter’

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About the Author

Jane Spavold Tims is a botanist, writer and artist living in rural New Brunswick, Canada.  She has published two books of poetry, within easy reach (2106) and in the shelter of the covered bridge (2017), both with Chapel Street Editions, Woodstock. Her first four books in the Meniscus series, Meniscus: Crossing The Churn, Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, Meniscus: South from Sintha and Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb, were published with CreateSpace in 2017 and 2018 under the name Alexandra Tims. In 2016 she won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Writing Competition for her manuscript of poems about bird calls. She is interested in identifying plants, bird-watching, science fiction and the conservation of built heritage. Her websites feature her drawings, paintings and poetry.

www.janetims.com

www.offplanet.blog

www.janetimsdotcom.wordpress.com

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two poetry books

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both books available from Chapel Street Editions

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painting of a covered bridge

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When I was preparing the basics of my new book, ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’, I did a couple of paintings as a possible cover image.

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One of the paintings I prepared was ‘choke cherries at Ellis Bridge’ (24″ wide by 20″ high, acrylic, gallery edges, painted June 2016) a study of late summer at the covered bridge over the North Becaguimec River in Carleton County. Since another painting was chosen as the cover art for my book, ‘choke cherries at Ellis Bridge’ is my new submission to Isaacs’s Way Restaurant for their art auction. My painting ‘Farmyard in Winter’ sold before the Autumn Art Auction #31 was over and most artists submit a painting to fill their ‘space’.

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‘choke cherries at Ellis Bridge’ by Jane Tims (24″ wide by 20″ high, acrylic, gallery edges)

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The Ellis Bridge is a charming covered bridge, situated on a little-used road near Carlisle, Carleton County, New Brunswick. Built in 1909, it is one of 59 covered bridges remaining in New Brunswick and a lovely spot to pass a summer day. Two poems in my book are based on our visit to the Ellis Bridge. One, ‘bunches of bitter’, features some of the initials carved inside the bridge.

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bunches of bitter

Ellis Bridge

North Becaguimec River #4

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beside the Ellis Bridge

choke-cherries hang in mist

and berries blacken

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R.S., E L O

who were they?

Braxton, KAMRYN

S M, G M P

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did they wade the shallow water?

fish for trout?

shout and listen for echo?

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did they strip berries from branches?

pucker lips and cheeks?

does Eric still love Linda?

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I love showing my work at Isaac’s Way. The art is viewed by everyone enjoying a meal at the restaurant and 50% of the proceeds from my sales are donated to ART lessons for kids-in-need. If you love covered bridges and would like some original art for your home, drop by and have a look at my work.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

December 13, 2017 at 7:15 am

spring comes to the Saint John River

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We have waited eagerly for spring here in New Brunswick. With late snow storms and temperatures still in the minus degrees Centigrade, my day lilies are just peeking through the grass at the edge of the snow.

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There is still ice on the river with windrows showing the last snows …

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but the ice is gradually receding, revealing vast strips of blue water …

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Every year, my husband and I watch for our own harbinger of spring …. the return of the Canada geese to the river. We went for a drive last week to find many examples of geese feeding in the bare fields and along the river edges.

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We saw geese in several fields along the way, but our best view was on a side road to one of the river’s many concrete wharves …

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prediction of spring

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necks of geese

are the steep upward

curve of charts showing:

—— longer , brighter days

——- larger areas of meltwater

——— warmer expressions of sun

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

an intelligent world of blue

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Yesterday, we went on a drive along the Saint John River from Oromocto to Jemseg. We hoped to see some birds or other wild life. But we didn’t even see a crow!!!!

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However we did see the world painted in a sweet-toned shade of blue … the ice on the river, the long shadows on the meadows and the sky. I was reminded of Douglas Adams and his tribute to hooloovoo ‘blue’.

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A Hooloovoo is a super-intelligent shade of the color blue.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy    

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 3, 2017 at 7:57 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – final manuscript

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In the last weeks, I have been working towards completion of the book-length manuscript for ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’. It includes poems and drawings about the plants and animals living in and around some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick.

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Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to win a mentoring package from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. I chose a talented, award-winning local poet to work with me on the manuscript and during the early part of the summer, with her expert guidance, I made revisions to the poems. She focused my attention on word choice, clarity and ‘showing not telling’. She also helped me with a handful of poems I thought were not salvageable and now some of these will make it into the manuscript!

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In the last few weeks, I have worked on revisions, ordering of the poems, and, hardest of all, my footnotes. Since the poems are about the remaining covered bridges in the St. John River watershed, I want to include some basic information in the footnotes as well as notes I made during my visits to each bridge. I have also worked on the drawings I will include in the manuscript.

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pickerel weed - Canal Bridge

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The process of preparing a manuscript is long and certainly goes beyond the fist few lines written on the page way back when this manuscript was just an idea. But if the way is about the journey, this has been such a memorable experience.  Best of all, I have been lucky to make the acquaintance of many of New Brunswick’s covered bridges. Last Thursday, as we returned home from a visit, we saw a double rainbow in the sky and I was able to snap a shot as we waited to take our turn crossing the covered bridge across the Rusagonis River (the Patrick Owens Bridge):

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double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis August 19, 2016

double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis, New Brunswick – August 19, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

August 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – manuscript completed!!

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Last year, in the competition of April 1, 2015, I was awarded a Creation Grant from artsnb (The New Brunswick Arts Board). The award was to create a manuscript of poems about plants and animals living in the shelter of covered bridges in New Brunswick.

I have now completed the manuscript and am ready to submit my final report. During the project I visited 28 covered bridges in the drainage basin of the Saint John River and 5 in Charlotte and Westmorland Counties. I was also able to use the notes and records from my visits to some covered bridges in 1992.

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The final manuscript includes  81 pages, 8 new drawings, and 63 poems, organised into five themes:

liminal spaces – 8 poems about bridges as places of transition and change

notch of a lily pad – 10 poems about the covered bridge as habitat

grit of a blade – 9 poems about engravings and graffiti produced by human visitors to the covered bridge

a blade of grass between thumbs -10 poems about mysterious discoveries in covered bridges

heads of timothy – 6 poems about encounters at the bridge

gaps between boards – 10 poems about deterioration and loss due to vandalism, fire and flood

a loose board rattles – 10 poems about the sounds resonating in a covered bridge

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Many thanks to artsnb for helping me in the making of the manuscript and for the chance to undertake such an enjoyable project!

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in the eaves

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2016 at 7:47 am

Next painting for Isaac’s Way art auction …

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On January 25, 2016, the 25th Art Auction and Sale at Isaac’s Way Restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick will come to an end. Only a few more days to own some reasonably-priced art and help kids-in-need. As of January 4, 2016 this 25th auction has sold 22 paintings and raised $7,600 for art lessons for kids. For a look at the paintings still available, visit http://isaacsway.ca/art/. To have a look at my submission to the 25th Art Auction, see my post for September 18, 2015 https://janetims.com/2015/09/18/art-auction-new-painting/

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My next submission, for the Isaac’s Way 26th Art Auction and Sale, is a landscape.  The piece features a view of the Saint John River, from the Nerepis Marsh at Grand Bay-Westfield towards the Westfield Ferry. It is entitled ‘across the bay’ (24” wide by 20” high, acrylic on canvas, unframed with gallery edges). This auction will run from January 27, 2016 to late May, 2016.  The proceeds from the auction will go to sponsor kids-in-need. I am donating 50% of the proceeds from my painting to the charity.

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‘across the bay’ Jane Tims

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a narrow bridge

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On our drive last weekend, we visited three covered bridges.

Usually our visits last at least an hour. At each bridge, we:

  • get a good look at the abutments beneath the bridge
  • watch and listen for birds
  • identify the trees near the bridge and any wild plants in the vicinity
  • photograph the covered bridge and any interesting architectural elements
  • take notes about the state of the bridge, any new construction and the condition and covering of the roof
  • look for animal tracks, holes made by woodpeckers, birds nests, spider webs and feathers
  • record any notations in the bridge – carvings, chalk, felt marker, pencil, pen and paint
  • make a list of the sounds I hear and try to absorb the ‘feeling’ each bridge evokes.

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Florenceville Bridge, New Brunswick

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I knew ahead of time, the Florenceville Bridge across the St. John River would be a different experience. Walking the bridge would be unlikely – there is no pedestrian walkway, the traffic is quite heavy and the bridge is narrow.  I did cross the bridge in our truck, a harrowing adventure since the bridge traffic is two-way. Cars slow down when they meet, but the locals are seasoned to the width and scary-brave.

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a red truck and a white truck meet and pass on the narrow bridge

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Only one span of the Florenceville Bridge is covered (built in 1907) and this is very well maintained. The other four spans are steel trusses. The pigeons perching on the roof of the bridge are its most obvious wild life.

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keeping watch

(Florenceville Bridge)

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fifteen pigeons swim through air

fill gaps on the ridge line

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perch on the shingled roof

scrutinize the traffic

the squeeze of half-tons

on the bridge

the kiss of mirrors

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pigeons quit the ridge, glide

to the shingled shore

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river winds shiver

hawkweed and sumac, displace

blankets of wild cucumber, billow

the skirts and Tilley

hats of tourists

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2015 125_crop

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

September 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Baker Brook #2

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Of the 60 covered bridges in New Brunswick, most are in the southern part of the province. Last week we went to see the three remaining covered bridges in Madawaska County in the north-western part of the province.

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One of these was Baker Brook #2. It crosses the Baker Brook west of Edmunston and is no longer in service. The bridge has been protected in a small park with a parking area. Bird boxes, flags and hanging flower baskets show there is local stewardship of the bridge.

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Baker Brook #2 in Madawaska County, New Brunswick

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The Baker Brook #2 bridge was the essence of quiet. As we entered the bridge, the only sound was the patter of rain and the trickle of water under the bridge.

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I don’t get many photos of myself, but this is a good one – I am ready to take notes on the plants and animals I see in the Baker Brook # 2 covered bridge … these notes and my photos and memories become the basis for future poems

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The bridge is set against a backdrop of tranquil hills and fields. A deer watched us from a hayfield at the north end of the bridge. A white-throated sparrow called once and a crow made a few comments from the top of a round bale of hay. Otherwise, we were alone.

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I love the way the lichens have colonized the bridge and follow the boards, like rain, in lines down the outer walls.

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Some visitor had left a small collection next to the outer wall of the bridge. Three rocks and a broken bit of glass…

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2015 at 7:20 am

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