Category Archives: Home and Garden

FREE PINK HOUSE OF NEWBURY!

Take Me I’m Yours! A FREE HOUSE! You Only Need To…pink-house-newbury-plum-island-2-copyright-kim-smith

Many admire the Pink House that you see on the way to Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, so much so that when it came time to demolish there was public outcry. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to preserve the house by either of these two conditions. Option number one: a person can take ownership if they are willing to move the house off the land, or option number two is that if you own several acres of comparable land near the refuge, you can exchange the land for the house. Option two allows the house to stay in its current location.

Perhaps the Pink House could become a community or art center. The building has been deemed structurally sound, although there is quite a bit of asbestos that needs removing.

The Pink House is the last house remaining on the refuge. All other homes and farms were either sold or taken by eminent domain; the very last on Stage Island was demolished just this past year.pink-house-newbury-plum-island-copyright-kim-smith

pink-house-newbury-plum-island-red-tailed-hawk-copyright-kim-smithpink-house-newbury-plum-island-red-tailed-hawk-2-copyright-kim-smithSnowy Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, and other raptors like to perch on the cupola of the Pink House.

HOME SWEET HOME

Loving every minute of a snowbound afternoon

Home sweet home ❣

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It's a hot cocoa kind of day ❄️❄️❄️

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There are at least 550 different varieties of amaryllis. This cheery one is called Amaryllis hippeastrum 'Clown.'

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AN ITCH TO SCRATCH (BROUGHT TO YOU BY SEAVIEW FARM)

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Tractor as scratching post

Farmer Ken Lane’s beautiful cows are currently grazing at Waring Field. Seaview Farmstand is open on Saturdays through the winter (from December 26 through May 14).

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About Seaview Farm from their website:

SINCE 1838

The farmland was purchased by Andrew Lane in the early 1800’s and at the time was known as the Davis Pasture. The exact acreage is unknown but it was believed to have been approximately 2000 acres, all around the south end of Rockport. The original barn was moved to the property from a farm on what is now known as Jerden’s Lane. By assessing the architecture of the barn, it appears to have been built around the late 1700’s. The original barn is still standing and is currently used as a tool shed. A new asphalt shingle roof was put on in 2012, replacing the older metal roof. Under the metal roof is believed to have been some of the original cedar shingles from when the barn was moved to the property and repaired. The house was built in 1838 and the large cow barn followed. A small farm store was added onto the house in 1914, in which the farm’s vegetables, homemade ice cream, milk, candy and a variety of other items were sold.

Early on in the farm’s existence, a milk route was established. In the old days, milk was transported in a large milk can on a horse-drawn wagon and a dipper was used to measure the amount of milk a customer purchased. The cows were here until Charlie Lane sold them in 1972 and converted the business to a horse boarding facility. At Charlie’s death in 2008, his grandson Ken and wife Regina (click here to view video) moved from their beloved home in Florida to run the farm and keep the family tradition alive.

After Ken assumed control, the farm continued exclusively as a boarding facility until 2011, when a beef cow and calf were purchased.  This began Seaview Farm’s expansion into the grass-fed beef business. Vegetables were also re-introduced to the farm, and the farm store was re-opened–in its original space–for the first time since its closing in the 1930’s.

The farm has been a great fit for Ken as his background includes a high school education at Essex “Aggie” where he took animal nutrition and management, and became an FFA member. Ken also took post-graduate classes at the “Aggie” in farm management. He went on to college majoring in business at Columbia Greene College in Hudson NY.

For Ken and Regina, It has been a challenge and an honor to run the family farm these past years. They are excited to continue the family tradition of offering healthy, sustainable food for all to enjoy. The Lane family thanks all of its patrons for helping to keep the farm going from the 1800’s to now and ensuring that this wonderful family tradition is kept alive!

Read more about Seaview Farm Here

MERMAIDS HATE PLASTIC

By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
vonwong_plasticmermaid-4_plastic_drain-1024x683“If the average American uses 167 plastic bottles a year, in 60 years they will have used 10,000 plastic bottles.
Those same single use bottles will be around for your children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children.

That’s a lot of bottles to be running away from, for a very very long time.”

Read more at the artist vonwong’s project here www.450years.com

 

HOLIDAY BLOOMS

The first of our amaryllis, planted about a month ago, are blooming, and just in time for the holidays! This variety is Amaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion,” and is one of the prettiest I think. ‘Papillion’ has three separate stalks, which means three bunches of flowerheads! amaryllis-hippeastrum-papillion-copyright-kim-smith

Amaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion’

paperwhites-copyright-kim-smithChinese Paperwhites for fabulous fragrance

Gloucester Motif Monday: coastal homes with cut out shutters

From where I was standing in Gloucester neighborhoods, here are several homes (and one gallery) with cut out shutters; beginning with the green shutters seen on the Beauport, Sleeper-McCann house, one of Gloucester’s two National Historic Landmarks, and a Historic New England property.

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Beyond shutters: beginning with “Lookout Hill”, estate built by Natalie and John Hays Hammond, Sr :

SUGAR SKULL DRAWING BY LOCAL ARTIST JEFF CLUETT

jeff-cluett-sugar-skullThe above drawing was created by local artist Jeff Cluett. We purchased it from him several years ago. Jeff works at Surfari on Main Street if you’d like to get in touch with him.

Last evening, All Hallow’s Eve, marked the beginning of the three day celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Today, November 1st, is Dia de los Angelitos, the day when deceased children are honored (All Saints Day). Tomorrow, November 2nd, is referred to as Dia de los Muertos or Dia de los Difuntos, the day when deceased adults are honored (All Souls Day). We’ve created an ofrenda on our front porch and neighbors are welcome to place a photo of a loved one who has passed on the altar.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS PAPEL PICADO

I love the designs of the Papel Picado, especially the Dia de los Muertos skeletons doing everyday things. I found some at Nomad in Cambridge. Deb Colburn, the owner, curates gorgeous folk art for her shop from all around Mexico, and from all around the world. She’s a very sweet person to stop in and visit with, and is also very knowledge about Mexican culture. Nomad is located at 1741 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.

LEARNING ABOUT DAY OF THE DEAD TRADITIONS

There is a beautiful ofrenda at the Peabody Museum at Harvard, which is where I learned about the Mexican Purépecha indigenous people’s name for the Monarch butterfly, the “Harvester.” The altar is part of the Museum’s permanent collection and is on display year round.

dayofthedeadaltar1_webFrom the Peabody Museum at Harvard’s Dia de los Muertos exhibit.

The Peabody Museum’s exhibition of a Day of the Dead ofrenda or altar is located in the Encounters With the Americas gallery. The exhibit features pieces from the Alice P. Melvin Collection of Mexican Folk Art and represents the Aztec origins of the holiday and the Catholic symbols incorporated into the tradition, from skeletons to plush Jesus figures.

The altar is contained within a box covered with panels that were decorated by local students and regional and international artists. The altars were designed by the Peabody exhibitions staff and Mexican artists Mizael Sanchez and Monica Martinez.

Originating with the Aztecs, the Mexican Day of the Dead is a unique blend of Mesoamerican and Christian rituals. The holiday, which is celebrated on November 1, All Saints’ Day, is usually dedicated to children; November 2, All Souls’ Day, is dedicated to adults.

Traditions vary from region to region, but generally families gather at cemeteries to tend and decorate the graves of their departed loved ones and remember them by telling stories, eating their favorite foods, and dancing in their honor. Many families build altars at home, decorated with flowers and food, especially pan de muerto or “bread of the dead.” A festive and social occasion, the holiday welcomes the return of those who have died and recognizes the human cycle of life and death.

The Peabody’s permanent altar features items from the Alice P. Melvin collection of Mexican folk art. To see these items, click here.

Curated by Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America and Mexican artist Mizael Sanchez.

To watch a video interview with Mizael Sanchez, click here.

CELEBRATING DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

marigolds-flor-de-muerto-copyright-kim-smithThis morning when I stopped by to say hello to ELise and Tucker at Cedar Rock Gardens they were hard at work planting a humongous field of tulips, planned to bloom for next Mother’s Day. Elise generously shared pots of fresh marigolds dug from their fields, not in good enough shape to sell, but perfect for our first ever Day of the Dead altar, Ofrenda de Muertos.

The vibrant colors and fresh citrusy scent of marigolds lure the spirits–marigolds are strewn about and placed around the altar so the souls can find their way. There is a wild version of marigolds that blooms in October and the Spanish name for the flower is flor de muerto, or flower of death.

The altar, or “offering to the dead,” is a sacred Mexican tradition where those who have passed away are honored by the living. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, on the 1st to honor the souls of children and on the 2nd, to honor adults. I became fascinated with the tradition after learning that Monarchs arrive in Mexico about the same time as Dia de los Muertos is celebrated. In Mexican folklore, butterflies represent the returning souls of departed loved ones. In the native language of the Purépecha, the name for the Monarch is the “harvester” butterfly. The Purépecha are a group of indigenous people centered in the northwestern region of the Mexican state of Michoacán, the very region to where the Monarchs return every year! 

There is a beautiful ofrenda at the Peabody Museum, which is where I learned about the “Harvester” butterfly. The altar is part of the Museum’s permanent collection and is on display year round. Here is a link to the exhibit.

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 716cca8662eab19228a8cb0bd3060dc3Images courtesy google image search

MAGICALLY WONDERFUL HARVEST PARTY AT CEDAR ROCK GARDENS

pam-samantha-franny-woody-elise-jilson-copyright-kim-smithElise, Samantha, Pam, Woody, and Franny

Snapshots from Elise and Tucker’s fabulous and fun harvest party, just getting underway. Where earlier the produce had been planted, long tables with tantalizing pot luck offerings were arranged. Bales of hay with planks laid across made for practical seating. An assortment of lights and lanterns illuminated the grounds and the big oak tree was ready for moonlight dancing to begin beneath its boughs. cedar-rock-garden-harvest-fest-copyright-kim-smith

pam-samantha-franny-woody-copyright-kim-smithFavorite photo from the party, Big Sister Franny giving Woody the “pesky little brother look,” with Mom Samantha Goddess, and Samantha’s Mom, Pam Wood.

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I had to leave Cedar Rock Gardens early to attend the Cape Ann Plein Air gala, which Catherine covered. Scroll down to see her photos posted earlier today. The Rockport Art Association was overflowing with art enthusiasts, friends, and family and it was so exciting to see beautiful scenes from all around Cape Ann rendered by these master painters. Congratulations to Karen Ristuben, the project manager, and to all who helped make Cape Ann Plein Air a fabulously successful event. I do have to say though that Cape Ann’s own JEFF WEAVER rocked the house with his stunning paintings of the waterfront and downtown. 

GARDEN OF DISSIPATING BEAUTY

sunflowers-1-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithSunflowers at Cedar Rock Gardens

Thank you to Elise and Tucker at Cedar Rock Gardens for a super year in the garden. This was the couple’s first season opening the garden to the public and they did an outstanding job. Cedar Rock Gardens are a welcome addition to a fantastic and growing group of local farms. Their organic nursery and farm are brimming with a wonderful array of fresh flowers, produce, and seedlings. Every one of the plants from their nursery grew beautifully for me. Cedar Rock Gardens is closed for the year but I am so excited to be working again with them next year and will definitely be enrolling in their CSA 2017. See you in the spring!

marigolds-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithDid you ever wonder why marigolds play such a prominent role in Day of the Dead celebrations? They are referred to as “flowers of the dead” and with their vivid hues and citrusy fresh scent, marigolds are thought to guide spirits to the altars. And, too, flowers represent the ephemerality of life. 

yellow-marigolds-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smithYellow Marigoldssunflower-seed-head-cedar-rock-gardens-copyright-kim-smith

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BEWARE!

poison-ivy-vine-in-fall-toxicodendron-radicans-copyright-kim-smithPoison Ivy Run Amok

Oh how pretty! Doesn’t this bucolic scene look interesting? I had to stop and take a photo. And then began to walk toward, wanting a closer look, before catching myself. If poison ivy even looks at me, or I look at it, that most unpleasant of itchy rashes finds a home on my person.

Poison ivy is in full glorious color right now, dissipating in shades of golden yellow, tangerine, and crimson scarlet. The oils found in the foliage and stems are just as potent at this time of year as they are during the summer months.

poison-ivy-in-autumn-toxicodendron-radicans-copyright-kim-smithLeaves of three, let it be, 

Berries white, run in fright,

Red hairy vine, no friend of mine!

Cape Ann shores and meadows are rife with poison ivy and the best defense is to recognize the leaves and wear protective clothing. Not a plant one desires for the home garden, it is an important bee and bird food. The flowers provide nectar for pollinators in the spring and the small white berries are a winter staple for our some of our most beloved songbirds, including American Robins, Northern Cardinals, and Mockingbirds.

DOWN THE GARDEN PATH

monarch-new-england-aster-coneflower-copyright-kim-smithThe New England Asters and Quilled Coneflowers blooming in our garden during the months of September and October were planted to provide sustenance for migrating Monarchs. Although both are native wildflowers, the bees and butterflies visiting gardens at this time of year are much more interested in nectaring at the New England Asters.

Plant the following four native beauties and I guarantee, the pollinators will come!

New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)

Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

monarch-butterfly-depositing-egg-milkweed-copyright-kim-smithFemale Monarch curling her abdomen to the underside and depositing eggs on Marsh Milkweed foliage.

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