Author Archives: Kim Smith

Cape Ann Vernal Pond team Update

Rick Roth writes,

We had a nice exhibit at the Sustainability Fair at the Gloucester High Field House a couple weeks ago.  Lots of cool stuff, solar power, wind power and much more.  Thanks to Colleen Anderson for working at the event and Ashley Gullett for inviting us.

But… I gotta tell you this part:
At one point in the day, I was speaking with one of the visitors to our display, when I realized how tired I was of being on my feet, since it had been several hours by then.  Well, I went to sit down on one of our coolers (we always have coolers at our shows because we transport our animals in them) and I neglected to calculate correctly the trajectory of my hind end so that my center of gravity ended up well behind the cooler.  Soon, very soon, the cooler and I were both upended onto the floor, at which point, my momentum carried me into one of our display panels (seven feet tall and six feet wide, wooden frame, rather heavy) and sent it on a crash course toward one of the young ladies at the exhibit next to us.  At this point, Colleen was kind of screaming “watch out, watch out”.  The exhibit lady turned around just in time to catch the falling panel, with the help of the guy with the clear plastic house model with some sort of heat exchanger in it, who happened to be walking by at the moment.  I was still buns up on the floor, but a catastrophe was averted.  But… do you see what you miss when you don’t show up for these events?

That was probably our last show of 2015.  We are already booking shows for next year.  We have a newsletter to put out.  And we need some more members for our Fundraising Committee.  So please volunteer for one of those activities.  And, we need to add a two or three people to our Board of Directors.  Lots to do in the “off season” so please get in touch and volunteer for us.

Thanks,  Rick

we only have one earth, save itLogos.AI



In case you were wondering, where do turtles go in winter?

The Eastern Painted Turtle is our most common turtle and this beauty was found at Niles Pond, crossing the road heading towards one of several little babbling brooks that flow towards the pond. Perhaps it was planning to hibernate there as it was the last day of October.

Turtles are an ectotherm, which means that their body temperature mirrors the temperature of the surrounding environment, whether pond water or sunlit rock. During the fall they find a comfy spot in the mud at either a pond or stream and burrow in. The Painted Turtle’s metabolism slows dramatically and it won’t usually come up for air until spring, although even during hibernation they require some slight bit of oxygen, which they take in through their skin. Painted Turtles do move around a bit in the mud during the winter but do not travel far and do not move very swiftly.

Painted Turtle Niles Pond ©Kim Smith 2015



Harbor Seals spotted coat Atlantic ©kim Smith 2015Providing excellent camouflage, Harbor Seals have evolved with coats that blend perfectly with the surrounding rocks and sandy shores on which they “haul out.”  Each individual Harbor Seal’s pattern of spots is unique, with two basic variations, either a light coat with dark spots or a dark coat with light spots. Their bellies are generally lighter colored.

Harbor Seals are easily disturbed by human activity, which is the reason why they are all looking in my direction. I climbed way out on the rocks to get a closer look that they found disturbing enough, when a loud crash in the distance made them all jump simultaneously.

Harobr Seal white Atlantic ©Kim Smith 2015JPGFellow friends of Niles Pond and I have all noticed that the seal in the above photo is noticeably whiter. He has a big gash on his neck as you can see in the close-up photo, which I didn’t notice until looking through the pictures. I wonder if that is why he has been spending so much time on the rocks. Perhaps he is recovering.

Injured harbor seal ©Kim Smith 2015

Interesting fact: Although Harbor Seals have been seen as far south as the Carolinas, Massachusetts is the most southern region in which they breed.


Jamy Sessleman, WCVB reporter, saw the post on GMG and wrote requesting photo permission. Here is the link to the WCVB website:

Thanks to Paul Morrison for letting us know the story was also picked up by the Globe:

White pelican Massachusetts gloucester ©Kim Smith 11-16-15


Imagine the excitement when after filming Mr. Swan this morning, I spotted across the pond a very swan-like large white bird. The first thought that came to mind was a new Mrs. Swan had magically appeared on the scene. But no–not as wonderful–but equally as exciting, with its large orange pouched bill, the bird was unmistakably a pelican!

It was swimming toward the berm so I raced back to the other side of the pond and was able to get somewhat nearer, close enough so that the footage is passable. Without warning, the pelican suddenly took to the air with elegant, graceful wingbeats and I was lucky to have movie camera in hand. The light was murky this morning and all would have been more beautiful if the sun were out a bit more. Nonetheless, it’s great to have a record of this very unusual occurrence.

The American White Pelican is a rare sight in Massachusetts and I wonder if any of our readers have ever seen one on our shores. Please write if you have. 

With wings spanning nine feet, the American White Pelican is one of our largest native birds, only the Trumpeter Swan and California Condor are larger, reportedly having up to ten-foot wingspans. Comparatively, the wings of a Mute Swan span approximately seven to eight feet. Please note that Mr. Swan is a Mute Swan, not a Trumpeter Swan, and is not indigenous.

The Niles Pond pelican was far off course. Pelicans east of the Rocky Mountains typically migrate through the Mississippi Valley, from breeding grounds in northernmost North America to the Gulf of Mexico Texas and Florida coasts. Unlike Brown Pelicans, which dive and plunge for food, white pelicans catch prey while swimming.

As with the Brown Pelican, during the mid-twentieth century, the American White Pelican was severely adversely affected by spraying DDT in fields and wetlands. Habitat destruction, shoreline erosion, and mass poisonings when pesticides are used near breeding grounds continue to threaten the American White Pelican.

White pelican Massachusetts gloucester ©Kim Smith 11-16-15Far off course, a white pelican migrates through Gloucester

american_white_pelican_map_bigMap provided by South Dakota Birds, via Peter Houlihan, who is Anna from Cape Ann Giclee’s brother. Peter teaches biology at UMass Amherst, has a PhD in biology/animal behavior, and is an ornithologist. Thank you Peter!

Community Stuff 11/17/15



SantasWorkshop_2_1254Santa’s Workshop

Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops 



A Holiday Season Event for All Ages Featuring Students from Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops


The Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops proudly presents Holiday Delights on Friday, December 11 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, December 12 at 2:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester. Holiday Delights features a cast of over 40 young people ranging in age from 6 to 17, all students in Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops. This family holiday event marks the seventh time in Gloucester Stage history that a production has featured a cast of student actors from the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop Program. First produced in 2007, Holiday Delights has become an audience favorite and Cape Ann holiday tradition. Conceived and directed by Gloucester Stage YAW Director and teacher Heidi Dallin, Holiday Delights is a festive evening of stories, songs, and dance recounting the special traditions that other cultures and families experience as seen through one young girl’s magical journey on Christmas Eve to discover what is really important during the holiday season. The 40 young actors bring the original and classic stories to life on stage with a fresh perspective. Many actors play multiple roles in the production to bring all the stories to life. Holiday Delights features over 100 costume changes, Irish step dancing, folk dancing and a traditional Hebrew dance with the added twist of dancing dreidels; classic holiday music including Deck The Halls; Three Ships, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and a holiday sing a long with the audience. Holiday Delights performance times are 7:30 pm on December 11, and 2 pm on December 12. Ticket prices are $15 for Adults; $12 for Senior Citizens, $8 for Students and $6 for Children under 12. For tickets and further information, call 978-281-4433 or visit

DreidelDancers_2469Dancing Dreidels

Glou_GabeHat1406Christmas in Gloucester



The Gloucester Writers Center, Cape Ann Farmers Market and Backyard Growers present Will Allen.


December Happenings at Temple Ahavat Achim


A Delicious Temple Ahavat Achim Fundraiser!

I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory THE PERFECT GIFT for family, friends, hostess and teacher gifts… or keep them for yourself! *** COCONUT MACAROONS (6 plain and 6 milk chocolate) – $15 for 12 macaroons *** Made in the TAA kosher kitchen with 100% all-natural kosher ingredients: coconut, pure cane sugar, ground almonds, egg whites, pure vanilla extract, salt. Chocolate macaroons also include chocolate and cocoa. The macaroons are parve and gluten-free! MACAROONS CAN BE – PICKED UP (ready at the Temple beginning Wednesday, December 9th) – DELIVERED (local Cape Ann towns only) – OR SHIPPED ($6/per package, continental US only) PLEASE PLACE YOUR ORDER AND PAYMENT NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2nd!! We accept cash, checks (payable to “TAA”) or credit cards (call Natalia at (978) 281-0739 with your credit card information)!

Community Lobster Trap Hanukkah Lighting

Tuesday, December 8th at 6 pm hanukkiah Please join us on Tuesday, December 8th at 6 pm as we light our famous Lobster Trap Hanukkiah! There will be signing, dancing and latkes. Everyone is welcome! This event is free of charge.

Gloucester Rotary Trivia Night Recap

Thanks so much to everyone that helped make this a really fun night. The bonus– we not only had fun, but we raised over $2500 for Rotary projects. In addition, the TriTown team from TBM Rotary won the 50/50 raffle and will be donating their winnings to the TBM Rotary Foundation.
Congratulations to “Hell-th Project” and “Lawyers, Guns & Money” for tying for first place.* It should be noted that “Cape Ann On-Line’s Scrambled Eggheads” tied for second place with a 3-person team. Team standings for the evening were as follows–

Tied for First Place:

Lawyers, Guns & Money
Meredith Fine, Sal Frontiero, Tom Hills, Scott Enos
Hell-th Project
Frank Millitello, Jason Brisbois, Wendy Nunes, Susan Gould-Coviello

Tied for Second Place:

Cape Ann Online’s Scrambled Eggheads
Cathy Tarr, David Tapley, Tim Perkins
Four Aces
Bob Drohan, Sue Brearley, Anthony Favaloro, Jeff Pope

Tied for Third Place:

Interact Interlopers
Mike Perreault, Bela Parco, Charlie Sumner, Lia Ring
The 4 Cricketeers
Patricia Slade, Wendy Clark, Jim Clyde, Mike Buksa

Tied for Fourth Place:

It’s All Relative
Marlyn O’Sullivan, Mike O’Sullivan, Kelly Goyette, Bill Breslin
John Dugger, Suzyn Ornstein, Tom Dexter, Anita Blackaby
Orlando & Associates
Amanda Kesterson, Kevin Kesterson, Jenn Stonage, Joe Orlando Jr
Thirsty Bankers
Pat Thorpe, Dennis Doolin, Mark Grenier, Bud Ahearn

Many thanks to our gracious hosts– The Gloucester House Restaurant and their wonderful staff!

Thanks also to the generosity of the following businesses for donating prizes to the game:
Caffe Sicilia
Cape Ann Brewing Company
Dogtown Book Shop
Gloucester House
Latitude 43
Mark Adrian Shoes
Ryan & Wood Distilleries
Seaport Grille
Sticky Fingers Bakeshop
Sugar Magnolias
TBT Post
TD Bank
Turtle Alley

Thanks again everyone! We’ll see you next year!!!

*Please note that the team standings were questioned after the event.  All paperwork was checked and an error was found– resulting in the tie for first place. 


Tuesday, November 17


Tuesday, November 24

4:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Eat at Passports Restaurant

110 Main Street Gloucester, MA and

10% of your bill will be donated to

Relay For Life of Cape Ann!

Owner Eric Lorden will create a special 3-course meal for $15.00 or
you can order off the regular menu.

Reservations are suggested. 978.281.3680

Visit Passports website for menu and more information!





Yoichi Udagawa, Music Director


Cape Ann Symphony Holiday Tradition Returns on

November 28 and November 29


The Cape Ann Symphony’s annual Holiday Pops Concert, an exciting celebration of holiday music favorites including an audience sing-along, kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, November 28 at 8 pm & Sunday, November 29 at 2 pm. This joyful Cape Ann Symphony holiday tradition features the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus under the direction of Rockport’s Wendy Betts performing songs of the season with the orchestra under the musical direction of conductor Yoichi Udagawa. The  2015 Holiday Pops Concert features the return of “Yankee Swap!: White Elephant Gift Exchange” from Suite No. 4 “Cape Ann” for orchestra by Robert J. Bradshaw, a Gloucester based composer and CAS member. “Yankee Swap!” is a super fun musical take on the New England holiday tradition. “Yankee Swap!” wascommissioned by Cape Ann Symphony and premiered at the 2013 Holiday Pops Concert. The Cape Ann Symphony concerts are held at the Manchester-Essex High School auditorium on 36 Lincoln Street in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. Manchester-Essex High School Auditorium is handicapped accessible. Ticket prices are $40 for adults, $35 for senior citizens, $5 for Youth age 18 and under. For tickets and information, call 978-281-0543 or visit

Photos: Conductor Yoichi Udagawa



This afternoon while picking up another batch of 99 cent per pound apples at Russell Orchards, I met a super nice gentleman Dave who was hand pressing apples and giving samples of the freshly pressed cider. He was so friendly I just had to ask a question that has long been on my mind, which is, why is Russell Orchards apple cider so far off the charts superior to any other cider anywhere else. Cider everywhere else seems devoid of character and is just too sickening sweet for my taste. Dave shared that no matter what apples are available they make a very conscious effort, by choosing from a variety of apples, to achieve the perfect blend of sweet and tart and that’s why Russell orchards has that wonderful complexity of flavors.

During the conversation I mentioned that when Russell Orchards closes, we don’t even bother to purchase cider again until the following fall. Dave recommends freezing and offered a simple fool proof technique. Open the jug and poor off about 3/4 of a cup. Removing just that amount allows the cider to expand without bursting the container. It’s that simple. This year we’ll be serving cider at Christmastime, too. Thanks so much Dave for the tip!

Live from Apple Pie Making at Russell Orchards AND ALL APPLES CONTINUE TO BE ONLY 99 CENTS A POUND!

GMG FOB Emily demonstrates how to make apple pie to Danvers siblings Kyla, Michael, and Ryan. Because of the banner apple crop of 2015, all varieties of apples at Russell Orchards are 99 cents per pound, from now until they close on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Happy Apple Pie-making!


Apple pie-making with Good Morning Gloucester daily reader Emily, and a family from Danvers- Kyla, Ryan, and Michael.

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

So ernest!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on


Set electrician Alec Roy, from Watertown, reports from Russell Orchards (the current Katie Fforde base camp) that filming will continue on the Northshore at least through Thanksgiving. We talked a bit about the film tax credit and he made a point of thanking everyone who supported, and is continuing to support, the film tax credit. Sending a huge shout out to our Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante for all her tremendous work in preserving the credit and undoubtedly saving thousands of well paying jobs!!!


ANNISQUAM LIGHTHOUSE Sunset ©Kim Smith 2015What a treat, these last lingering days of Indian Summer! I am trying to get out of doors as much as possible to enjoy the fleeting amber-gold moments. The photos below were taken standing at the mouth of the Annisquam, looking towards Wingaersheek Beach.

Annisquam River panorama sunset ©Kim Smioth 2015 Annisquam River Sunset ©Kim Snith 2015 Annisquam sunset November ©Kim Smith 2015

WTF 911 – where did you go??

All the excitement about today’s purported UFO landing, in reality named WT1190F (but irresistibly dubbed WTF911) and, nothing happened! The six ton mystery object was expected to land in a shower of debris off the the Sri Lankan coast this morning at 6:30.

Read more about WTF911 at astronomer Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog here. 


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