Tag Archives: KIM SMITH PHOTO

Solutions for Protecting Birds from Hitting Windows

Every year, in the United States alone, over 1,000,000,000—yes, that is one billon—birds are killed from flying into windows. Chris Leahy quoted this statistic at the talk he gave last week at the Sawyer Free Library. Coincidentally, earlier that day I had been speaking with my friend Kate who has this very problem of birds hitting her windows as her home is sited on a beautiful seaside meadow in Tiverton, Rhode Island. She wanted to share with my readers about spider web decals for glass windows.

I found a website that offers a range of innovative solutions to protect birds, for both the residential home and the commercial property, TONI Bird Control Solutions. Although based in Germany, the solutions are universal.

Spider webs reflect light in the UV spectrum and are a visible barrier to birds. When you think about it, we don’t often see birds entangled in a spider’s web. Taking cues from nature, the spider’s web is the basis for TONI’s ultraviolet bird pen, bird glass, and UV decals. TONI’s solution #2, the ultraviolet Bird Pen, is well suited for residential properties. Also, check with the Essex Bird Shop. I believe they carry ultraviolet decals, not visible to the human eye.

American Robin 

If so many birds are killed, why don’t we see the dead bodies? The answer is simply, scavengers. Migrant songbirds fly at night, hitting the glass in the dark and the very early morning hours. Scavengers like gulls, vultures, crows, magpies, rats, and cats know where to look for injured and dead birds. At city skyscrapers, building maintenance daily sweep up bags of, and sometimes during peak migration, barrels full of, dead birds every morning at dawn. The high death rate around skyscrapers is also due in part to the bright lights left burning all night.

Another solution is perhaps not wash your windows quite as frequently, or wait to wash until after the spring and fall migrations. Fortunately, we do not have the problem of birds hitting our windows because of our many weathered and wavy window panes dating back to 1851. We have a different problem. During warmer months, I like to take advantage of the harbor breezes and usually have the windows wide open, and without screens (until mosquito season begins). We’ve had finches and sparrows and hummingbirds flying around my home office, but then again, none fatally injured.

View from the Jodrey State Pier

The Jodrey State Pier is named after Everett R. Jodrey, a barber by trade and activist sympathetic to the fishing industry. Jodrey envisioned a changing waterfront and eventually won support to construct a state fish pier in Gloucester. The money was appropriated in 1931; the pier opened for business in 1938.

Think Spring!


Narcissus ‘Ziva’

Which version do you prefer, black and white or color?

Beginning in November, we maintain a continuous flow of blooming narcissus by planting a new batch every two weeks or so. Paperwhites ‘Ziva’ blooms before the first of the year and ‘Galilee’ just after the holiday season. The ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’ (Narcissus tazetta var. orientalis) is almost as easy to force and has a sweeter, though no less potent fragrance. The scent is a dreamy blend of orange and honeysuckle. They are also a member of the tazetta group bearing multiple blossoms atop slender stalks, with white petals and cheery yellow cups. The ‘Chinese Sacred Lily,’ brought to this country by Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s, is traditionally forced to bloom for New Year’s celebrations.

With both paperwhites and ‘Chinese Sacred Lilies,’ place the bulbs in bowl or pot and cover with stones. The emerging green tips should be poking though the stones. Water up to the halfway point of the bulb and place in a cool dark room; an unheated basement is ideal. Water periodically and within a week or so, new growth will be visible. Then place the bulbs in the room away from strong light, continue to water as needed, and once in bloom, they will flower and scent your home for a week or more. Excerpted from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden.

Blooming today

Blooming today in my office, and with it’s “shocking pink” color and fabulous fragrance, making work all that much more pleasant.

Epiphyllum

Shocking pink was fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s (1890- 19730) signature color and she described it as “life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a color of China and Peru but not of the West.”

Marcel Vertes 1940 watercolor ad for Schiaparelli’s Shocking perfume, which shows a bottle of Shocking  reclining in a pink hammock with a floating couple above and Cupid below.

Marcel Vertes and Elsa Schiaparelli jointly won the British Academy Film award in 1952 for Best Costume Design for the original Moulin Rouge film, about the life and times of artist Toulouse-Lautrec.

Six Weeks of Fresh Flowers, for Nine Dollars!

The last stalk of ‘Orange Sovereign’ was cut, the plant discarded, and the pot tucked away for next year’s Hippeastrums. If we had a spare sunny window, I would feed and water the plant during the winter then place outside on the patio during the warm summer months, allowing the plant to replenish and rejuvenate.

Looking back at my photo files, the first snapshot of ‘Orange Sovereign’ was from December 15, 2011; the photo below was taken January 30, 2012. Growing flowering bulbs during the winter is a terrific and economical way to keep the home lively with cheery color, in spite of the gloomy grays of winter.

Hippeastrum ‘Orange Sovereign’ ~ January 30, 2012

Will Allen, Sponsored by Gloucester Writer’s Center

Will Allen gave a fascinating talk to a packed house last night. Mr. Allen is an organic farming visionary. He understands the complexities of farming and the impact of deadly chemicals. He draws from a combination of well-researched scientific knowledge and a rich understanding of organic farming practices.

Although dismayed by the breadth of, and decades over which, the chemical industries have negatively impacted every aspect of our nation’s farming practices, I was encouraged by Mr. Allen’s talk for several reasons. According to Mr. Allen, a worm-less (worms are the bellwethers of good soil) non-organic farm can typically be returned to a healthy and productive state approximately within three years, primarily by adding organic matter to the soil. By choosing to buy organic (as much as one can afford), every one of us can make a difference with our individual and collective purchasing power. I am looking forward to reading and writing a review of Will Allen’s The War on Bugs and am planning a trip this spring to the organic farm and educational center Mr. Allen co-manages, Cedar Circle Farm.

Annie Thomas, co-founder Gloucester Writer’s Center

Henry Ferrini, second from left, co-founder and president Gloucester Writer’s Center

Helen Garland, Wendy McGrath, Ann Molloy ~ Ann is one of the owner’s of Neptune’s Harvest organic fertilizers

Helen Garland, Ann Molly, Mac Bell

Click last image to see slideshow with more photos

The War on Bugs (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008) From the publishers’s webpage: Will Allen’s The War on Bugs reveals how advertisers, editors, scientists, large scale farmers, government agencies, and even Dr. Seuss, colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise.  Read more

Favorite snapshots from the pre-plunge breakfast at Passports

Thank you Passports for hosting the super delicious New Year’s Rocky Neck Pre-plunge breakfast! A wonderful time was had by all!! Beautiful Ciaramitaro family–video footage will have to wait until tomorrow– in the midst of making New Year’s dinner for my family.  Happy New Year to All!

Click the last photo to see slide show

Hippeastrum

A Note about Hippeastrum 

Living in New England the year round, with our tiresomely long winter stretching miles before us, followed by a typically late and fugitive spring, we can become easily wrapped in those winter-blues. Fortunately for garden-makers, our thoughts give way to winter scapes of bare limbs and berries, Gold Finches and Cardinals, and plant catalogues to peruse. If you love to paint and write about flowers as do I, winter is a splendid time of year for both, as there is hardly any time devoted to the garden during colder months. I believe if we cared for a garden very much larger than ours, I would accomplish little of either writing or painting, for maintaining it would require just that much more time and energy.

Coaxing winter blooms is yet another way to circumvent those late winter doldrums. Most of us are familiar with the ease in which amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs will bloom indoors. Placed in a pot with enough soil to come to the halfway point of the bulb, and set on a warm radiator, in several week’s time one will be cheered by the sight of a spring-green, pointed-tipped flower stalk poking through the inner layers of the plump brown bulbs. The emerging scapes provide a welcome promise with their warm-hued blossoms, a striking contrast against the cool light of winter.

Perhaps the popularity of the amaryllis is due both to their ease in cultivation and also for their ability to dazzle with colors of sizzling orange, clear reds and apple blossom pink. My aunt has a friend whose family has successfully cultivated the same bulb for decades. For continued success with an amaryllis, place the pot in the garden as soon as the weather is steadily warm. Allow the plant to grow through the summer, watering and fertilizing regularly. In the late summer or early fall and before the first frost, separate the bulb from the soil and store the bulb, on its side, in a cool dry spot—an unheated basement for example. The bulb should feel firm and fat again, not at all mushy. After a six-week rest, the amaryllis bulb is ready to re-pot and begin its blooming cycle again. Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Coaxing Winter Blooms

Click last photo to see slideshow

The taxonomy of the genus Hippeastrum is complicated. Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species and over 600 hybrids and cultivars, native to topical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. For some time there was confusion amongst botanists over the generic names Hippeastrum and Amaryllis, which led to the application of the common name “amaryllis” when referring to Hippeastrum. The genera Amaryllis refers to bulbs from South Africa.

Tribute from Senator John Kerry to Joe Garland

Over the holidays Helen Garland kindly lent me a copy of The Gloucester Guide, Joe’s fascinating  historical guidebook, or, as it is sub-titled, A Retrospective Ramble. I am looking for photos and information about Good Harbor Beach and recalled Joe’s book. Regrettably, I had lent my copy and it has not made it’s way back to our home. The Gloucester Guide is unfortunately out of print, but I have heard talk of it going to yet another printing. While visiting with Helen she shared the following heartfelt and moving tribute to Joe, from Senator Kerry, published in the Congressional Record, October 12, 2011, Vol. 157, No. 152.

REMEMBERING JOE GARLAND

Mr. KERRY: Mr. President, over the course of the past half-century, Joe Garland served as the unofficial historian of Gloucester, MA—its fishermen, its boats and its life. But Joe Garland not only wrote history in his books and newspaper column—he was part of history, guiding his beloved hometown through headwinds and troubled waters. Joe Garland passed away August 30, and his family and friends gathered October 1 for a memorial service. I would like to share with the Senate the thoughts and memories of Joe that I shared with those who were part of that service honoring this great champion of all things Gloucester.

If you visit the Fisherman’s Memorial on Gloucester’s waterfront on a stormy winter day, the statue of the Heroic Mariner seems to be steering the whole town into the wind toward fair weather. And if you look closely at the statue, you can almost see Joe Garland in its carved granite face, full of grit and determination, guiding his beloved Gloucester through headwinds and troubled waters.

‘‘Beating to windward’’ is the art of sailing into the wind. ‘‘Beating to Windward’’ is also the name of the column Joe wrote so many years for the Gloucester Times. And it is no surprise to any of us who knew him that Joe used the column to champion all things Gloucester.

Joe didn’t just chronicle Gloucester’s history—he was a part of it. In his column and in his books, he brought to life the era of the great schooners—like the 122-foot Adventure, the flagship of Gloucester, and the larger-than-life Gloucestermen—like the ‘‘Bear of the Sea,’’ Giant Jim Patillo, and the ‘‘Lone Voyager,’’ Howard Blackburn.

But he also used the sharpness of his pen to make his case on all kinds of civil causes—opposing unbridled economic development, warning about the loss of local control of the hospital and water supply, complaining about compromises on the environment or demanding the preservation of Gloucester’s beauty. And trust me—Joe never hesitated to offer his advice to a certain U.S. Senator, if he felt like I needed it.

Read more

Holiday Magic or Several More Reasons to Shop Small Not Mall

Alexandra's Bread

Kim Smith writes-

During my mad rush Tuesday morning to shop for our Thanksgiving dinner, I first stopped in at Alexandra’s Bread to pick up several loaves of their freshly baked bread. Knowingly, I had placed an advance order because the bread at Alexandra’s is so super delicious they are often sold out. I not only needed baguettes for dinner Tuesday evening, but for our fondue dinner planned for Wednesday evening. It is our tradition to serve fondue on Christmas Eve and to the kids, fondue symbolizes warm- and cozy-holiday-fun-dinner; they now request it for “Thanksgiving Eve” as well.

I next popped into Pearl’s to see if Sue had any fondue forks. Pearl’s is a wonderful vintage everything shop at the east end of Main Street. Fondue forks are designed with extra long, heatproof handles and I needed several additional forks for our guests. Sue did not have any fondue forks, but Deb, the meter attendant who was, very fortuitously, standing at the counter chatting with Sue, mentioned she just-so-happened to have a set at her home that had not sold at her recent yard sale. Deb said she’d be happy to deliver her forks to Pearl’s and Sue very graciously agreed to be the go-between. I bought them sight unseen for ten dollars.

Next stop was Abacus Computer and MacDaddy, across the street from Pearl’s and several doors down from Alexandra’s. Their tagline is “Your PC and Apple Repair Service Specialists.” I explained to Frank that my daughter was arriving Tuesday night and was only staying for a few days. Could they possibly squeeze in a look at her laptop to see what was wrong? Yes, no problem, and requested we bring in the computer promptly at 10:00am Wednesday morning.

The following morning Frank and Thad looked it over and thought perhaps they could repair and have it back to her by that afternoon, even though it was by no means an easy fix, needing a new hard drive, along with various other problems. WOW—you don’t get service like that at the big box stores, as a matter of fact, at the Apple Store in NYC, the salesperson told my daughter her laptop was unfixable and not to waste their time.

Next stop was Pearl’s, where we picked up the most gorgeous boxed set of wooden handled fondue forks, circa 1960—very Eames looking— and far more elegant than the forks we had planned to use. Thank you Sue and Deb and thank you Holiday Spirits!

More Holiday Magic—later that afternoon, Abacus Computer and The MacDaddy called with the good news Liv’s computer was ready for pick-up. Cleaned and repaired, it is working perfectly. Thank you Frank and Thad and thank you again Holiday Spirits for working your Holiday Magic!

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