poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘weather

a gulp of swallows

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The days are warm and humid. The nights offer compensating cool. The gardens are full of produce and, yesterday, we made our first stop at a roadside stand to get apples. People say “feels like fall.” On the weather channel they call this “hurricane season.”  We turn the calendar on the kitchen wall to September.


Fall is a month away, but the birds know the time of year. They flock with a sense of urgency, even desperation.


A flock of swallows is called a ‘flight’ or a ‘gulp.’


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barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)


Flight of swallows

against blue sky

gapes, as thousands

thicken cables,

telephone lines,

weather reports,

gossip. Feels like

fall. Birds follow

clues of day length,


scarcity of food.

Gulp of swallows

expands, contains

every straggler.



Copyright Jane Tims 2019


All my best,



Written by jane tims

September 2, 2019 at 5:39 pm

the worry in weather

with 4 comments


On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Snowman waited on our back deck for the Nor’easter to begin …


We are coming to the end of the rains associated with this week’s storm, a Nor’easter that brought snow, ice pellets, sleet and a lot of rain.  In our area, we had about 45 mm of rain, but some parts of the province had over 100 mm.


Many people in New Brunswick are coping with flooded basements as a result of all the rain.  After our flooded basement experience in 2010, I spent the last couple of days in worry – hoping our drainage issues are fixed and making endless trips to the basement to make sure we had no water on the floor.


Today I am grateful – we had no problems with flooding.  Our space is safe and we are warm and dry.



Last night, on the back deck in the dark, after all the rain, Mr. Snowman lay on his back. The rain took most of the snow but he is still smiling. He knows more snow will come!



Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 12, 2014 at 7:49 am

from the pages of an old diary – the weather

with 8 comments

For any given date, the first entry in my great-aunt’s diary is a note about the weather.  Weather was important to my great-aunt.  It dictated what could be done during the day, if a wash could be put on the line, if she could go out walking to visit family and friends, and if a fire had to be kept going.   

She described the weather in various ways:  ‘nice fine day’, not very cold’, ‘dark day’, ‘fine very cold’.  Sometimes it just says ‘nice day’. 

Bad weather was sometimes called a ‘dirty cold day’ (April 11, 1957). 

Some days were described in a bit of detail.  On September 23, 1957, she wrote, ‘fine in the morning very windy cloudy in late p.m.’    On March 20, 1957, she wrote ‘a big snow storm on   drifting and blowing.’  March 21, 1957, the first day of spring, says ‘roads all blocked still snowing some’.  

Christmas Day, December 25, 1957, was ‘quite cold, a few snowflurries’.

On November 26, 1957, it was so cold, she wrote ‘I washed, clothes froze before I could get them on the line’.

It might be interesting to compare the actual weather records for 1957 with the weather she recorded!



September storm

                -response to a diary entry for September 5, 1957


                                             Thurs. rained hard last nt [night] also thunder and lightning. 

                                             Dad took car up to L.S. to fix.  I made dough-nuts [and] 

                                             biscuits, did a small wash.  went up street.

                                                                                       –          A.M.W.


last night dismal, thunder wobbled

the windows, a leak

in the pantry, the rain in curtains

across the yard,  forked lightning

the clothes pole vulnerable

car would not start, the driveway in runnels

freezer and the day’s baking

at the mercy of indecisive




© Jane Tims  2012

socks and mittens knit by my grandmother (my great-aunt’s sister)

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 6, 2012 at 6:38 am

from the pages of an old diary – words about women’s work

with 11 comments

I have been thinking a lot about ‘women’s domestic work’ these days.  This not only because I do some housework myself from time to time (!), but because I am taking a History course – “Canadian Women’s History”. 

One of the assignments for the course is to read a woman’s diary or journal and learn about what life was like for her through her words.  I am lucky to have a set of six five-year diaries from my great-aunt who lived in Nova Scotia and I have decided to look at her diaries for my project.  The diaries cover the years from 1944 to 1972 .  Since I was born in 1954, I have chosen 1954 and 1957 as years to study.

Her diary for a particular year is a simple record of her daily activities.  Simple, but what a lot of information is found in a few lines of text!

I have reviewed all of her entries for the year 1957 and find she covers the following topics in her entries:

  1. the weather
  2. people who visited
  3. people she visited
  4. housework done (she includes her husband’s work around the house)
  5. community work done
  6. community events (such as funerals or weddings)
  7. letters written or received
  8. special trips
  9. unexpected events (such as the car breaking down)
  10. family health

One thing I notice about her diaries, is her faithfulness in making an entry every day for 29 years!  So many diaries I have begun fizzle after the first month or so of writing! 

Another aspect is the value of her words.  Over 50 years later, I can still find helpful advice in the way she did her work and the emphasis she put on participating in her community.  I can find specific information of the birth dates of relatives or the date our family arrived for our summer vacation in a particular year.  In addition, for anyone interested in the daily life of women in the 20th century, a set of diaries like hers is an invaluable resource and window into history.

Over the next few posts, I am going to look at various aspects of the daily life of my great-aunt and consider how similar or different life is for me today.

two of the six diaries my great-aunt wrote from 1944 to 1972 ... the quilt is one she made during the last years of her life

Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 4, 2012 at 7:38 am

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