nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

the influence of brothers

with 4 comments

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the influence of brothers

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she says

I feel memory blue

today I found your brother’s G.I. Joe combat jeep

inside its trunk   a canvas tent    little zippered sleeping bags    plastic explosives    tiny guns

just as he put it all away

last day he played

~

I laugh

she says

you wait

your son will grow

and leave his toys behind

~

she misunderstands

I am remembering the day I found my box of Barbie

nylon dresses impossible buttons   plastic heels   and

inside her vanity with opening drawers

Barbie’s teeny tiny cold cream jars   her nail polish  her comb

and her

teeny

tiny

hand grenade

~

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~

 

Copyright 2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 26, 2014 at 7:20 am

Posted in family history

Tagged with ,

strategies for the winter

with 9 comments

Although it is only late November, I find myself shuddering at the approach of winter.  Perhaps it is the arthritis in my bones.  Perhaps the need for a quilt as soon as the thermometer registers less than zero.  Perhaps the climbing out of bed while the sun is still asleep.

~

So, never daunted, I am making plans.  These are my strategies for coping with the coming winter:

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1. hover over a cup of tea each morning – my current favorite is Scottish Breakfast, a gift from my niece.

'tea-berry tea'

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2. read, read, read – I read so much I usually feel guilty … but not this winter – I am going to read as much as I can – my current favorites are Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger, all mystery/crime novels from the UK.  Just to keep with the spirit of the season, I am also re-reading Edwin Way Teale’s Wandering Through Winter (1965), the Pulitzer-winning book describing his four month, 20,000 mile winter journey through the USA.

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3. watch the birds – I am determined to see a Cardinal at our feeders but, really, anyone will do … Chickadee-dee-dee!

one of the usual visitors to our feeder ... the Black-capped Chickadee

one of the usual visitors to our feeder … the Black-capped Chickadee

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4. bundle up really well and go for a walk each day – I have had my wool coat dry-cleaned and I have cleaned out an old leather suitcase to store our mittens and scarves in easy reach.

 

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5. Make a couple of small quilts. Working at a quilt is one of the warmest activities I know.

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6. Knit a few pairs of socks, another warm activity. I am a good knitter … I can knit anything. Once, the top to my strawberry cookie jar broke and I knit a new top for it!

 

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7. Enjoy sitting in front of a fire. This includes my small electric fireplace, our big woodstove, and, outside, our stone fire pit.

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Do you have any strategies for making winter the best season of the year?

~

Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

sharing the grey woods

with 4 comments

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a poor photo of a ruffed grouse in one of the trees behind our house

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We share our grey woods with so many plants and animals. Sadly, our interactions do not always benefit the wild life.

The big panes of glass in our picture windows have brought disaster to so many birds.  If the sun shines just right, the glass is like a mirror.  When a bird sees the reflection of trees and sky, it must think it is flying deeper into the woods.   I find keeping the window curtains closed removes the mirror illusion and prevents some collisions.

Sometimes, we will hear a thump and by the time we investigate, the bird will have recovered.  Sometimes the bird is not so lucky.

~

~

Heartbeat

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alive in morning birdsong  thud thud thudding in my ears

slow as a pulse then faster  final beats too quick to count

a spruce grouse in the thicket  on a mound of leaves

drumming for a mate

~

all day

I thought of him

and smiled

~

buried in evening   birdsong   a thud on the window

the partridge sighing in the grass

tail narrowed   feathers ruffled at his neck  oddly bent

fingers on his throat

faint flutter

blood from his beak

~

I smoothed him into a mound of dead leaves

inspected the window

a feather stuck to the glass

moved as though nostrils drew faint breath

~

nothing broken

~

~

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 14, 2014 at 7:02 am

Arthur – caution: men working in trees

with 4 comments

A milestone of our 2014 summer was certainly Hurricane Arthur (July 5).  For an account of our encounter with Hurricane Arthur, see: https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/arthur-during-the-storm/ and https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/arthur-after-the-storm/ .

For six days after the storm we were without electricity and learned to live a different life, deciding how to allocate the power from our small generator and bringing water in from diverse places.  The biggest long-term result of the storm, however, was the damage done to our big red maple.

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The maple is at our front entry way.  It has grown from a small sapling – my husband could circle it with thumb and forefinger when we built the house 35 years ago – to a huge tree.  It is our best producer at maple syrup time and spreads a carpet of red leaves in a perfect circle in our driveway.  Best of all, it has a ‘voice’.  When I arrive home or leave, it ‘squeaks’ to me, the result of two branches rubbing together in the slightest breeze.

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After the storm, we congratulated ourselves on how few of our trees were damaged.  Then I looked out of the den window and saw – the winds had not spared the red maple – one of the big branches had a wide split in the wood.

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At first, my husband thought he could take the big limb down himself.  But after removing some of the smaller branches, it was obvious that trying to cut the branch ourselves would be dangerous.  The tree is close to the house and power lines and there was no easy way to safely control the fall of the branch.

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We decided to turn to the experts and called Treecologic, since they are fully insured.  They also have a trained arborist and an excellent reputation.  Their Vision statement is ‘promoting a safe & healthy urban forest’, so they were the tree removal company for me!  For more information on the company, see  http://www.treecologic.ca/.

Since there have been so many people in the Fredericton area with downed trees because of Arthur, we knew it might be some time before Treecologic could help us.  We spent August through October keeping vehicles away from the risk zone under the tree.  On Halloween night, we put up ‘Caution’ tape to keep the spooks from danger.  And every day I tiptoed to our front door, convinced I would hear a crack as the branch came down on my head!

Then, as promised,  Treecologic arrived, ladder, chain saws, climbing ropes and all.  They worked for almost three hours, taking down a big white pine tree planted too close to the house and trimming branches from some of our other maples.

~

Then the arborist fixed a line in the highest branches of the red maple, put on his climbing belt and hoisted himself into the tree.

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Every move he made was calculated for safety and for the health of the maple.  Working his way through the tree, using a very sharp pruning saw, he gradually removed the smallest branches, including some which were scraping against our roof.

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At first I felt alarmed to see a man in our very tall tree, but after realising how carefully he worked, I began to enjoy watching the process.  To be an arborist, I now know, requires an understanding of the tree’s biology and health, but also dexterity, strength, flexibility and fearlessness.

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At the last, he tackled the split branch, first removing remote branches, then finishing with the chainsaw from a ladder.  Great work, Treecologic !

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Our tree will take a while to recover from it’s adventure with the hurricane.  Losing almost a third of its canopy will mean a couple of years of rest before another pruning.  No tapping for maple sap for the next few springs!  Meanwhile, the pruning has given us lots of hard wood for next year’s wood stove and, once they dry out, lots of kindling and twigs for my campfires!  Some will go into our wood chipper to add to the soft surface for our trails.

And, in case you were wondering, the tree still has its ‘voice’ since the branches that rub together remain!

~

~

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

November 12, 2014 at 7:41 am

Peace

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Peace

Written by jane tims

November 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

newfall of snow

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newfall: words escape me

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the white ephemeral

perhaps frost

the fir boughs divided

the sculptured steel

of a flake of snow

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try again

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paper stencil

on chocolate cake

powdered sugar

sifted on the rills

of the new plowed field

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again

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sweet in my mouth

the bitter melted in morning sun

white hot on my cheek

the writing lamp

~

a lamp to the left

casts no shadow

(the shadow of a pen

or a hand)

(unless you are wrong-handed)

~

chimney shadow

on a fresh-snowed roof

or trees on the eastern edge of the road

where the sun cannot warm

~

the morning

dusting of ice

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try again

~

~

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~

Published as ‘newfall: words escape me’, The Fiddlehead 196, Summer 1998.

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 7, 2014 at 7:11 am

abandoned meeting house

with 10 comments

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the meeting house

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crooked clapboards

doors nailed shut

remember

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they argued

into the supper hour

words threaded, knotted

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violent voices

eyes wool, ears cotton, lips

flax flayed to linen

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over wages paid

to the man who splits

the wood, stokes the fire

~

at home, needles

slid, silent, through layers

of quilting

~

women forgot their thimbles

pricked thumbs

left blood on fabric

~

~

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

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