Tag Archives: gloucester

Would You or Wouldn’t You?

Oh, God, No.

Look, I LOVE oysters.  I really do.

The more horseradish sauce the better.

I happily ate probably no fewer than 20 last weekend in New Orleans and it is a given that I look forward to eating them up each and every time I step foot in Halibut Point.  Key West to me screams “Raw Bar” and Nantucket means oysters at “CRU”.

So, last night was no different.

I happily met one of my best friends in the whole entire world….ordered from one of the best bartenders in the whole entire world (that’s right, Jack), and chatted with the one and only Heather…who has made it into 2 blog posts in a row….not that that is any claim to fame ;)

We ordered a dozen Duxbury Oysters and THANK GOODNESS this one didn’t make it to our plate.

So, my friends, after seeing this photo, the question I ask is, “Would you or wouldn’t you be able to choke this down?”  For the record, as you can see, it is the size of the a woman’s hand.

See Poll Below

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What to Feed the Robins

American Robin in the Snow ©Kim Smith 2014The robins in our community have several different habits for surviving winter. There are year round resident robins that breed throughout Cape Ann during warmer months and also spend the winter here.  A second group only breeds in our region, then migrates further south during the winter months. A third group, the robins that we see flocking to our shores beginning round about January 28th, are migrating from parts further north. They are very hungrand are looking for berries, fruit, and small fish.

In early spring, robins begin to disperse from flocks. The ground thaws and worms, insects, and snails once again become part of the robin’s diet. Spring, too, is when we begin to hear the beautiful liquid notes of the male robin. He is singing to attract a mate. The robin’s song is one of the of most beloved and it is his music with which we associate the coming of spring.

With several edits and updates since I first wrote the following article, I think you’ll find the information helpful in knowing what to feed and to plant for the robins.

American Robin Sumac ©Kim Smith 2014Flock of American Robins Eating Sumac, Halibut Point Rockport

Food for the American Robin

During the winter months Cape Ann often becomes home to large flocks of robins, and we have had the joy of hosting numerous numbers in our garden. I can’t help but notice their arrival. Their shadows descend, crisscrossing the window light, followed by a wild rumpus in the ‘Dragon Lady’ hollies. This pair of hollies is planted on opposing sides of the garden path, alongside my home office. I have learned to stealthily sneak up to a window, as any sudden activity inside startles birds that are investigating our garden, and they quickly disperse. Dining not only on berries of the ‘Dragon Ladies’, but also the ‘Blue Princess’ Meserve holly and winterberry bushes, I find dozens of noisy, hungry robins.

These winter nomads flock to trees and shrubs that hold their fruit through January and February, feasting on red cedar, American holly, Meserve hollies, chokecherries, crabapples, sumac, and juniper. Robins traveling along the shores of Cape Ann also comb the shoreline for mollusks, and go belly-deep for fish fry. Depleting their food supply, they move onto the next location. Gardens rife with fruiting shrubs and trees make an ideal destination for our migrating friends.

Year round resident robins will call your garden home when provided with trays of chopped fruit and raisins, supplemented with meal worms.

What to Plant for Robins

The garden designed to attract nesting pairs of summer resident robins, as well as flocks of winter travelers, would be comprised of trees and shrubs for nest building, plants that bear fruit and berries that are edible during the summer and fall, and plants that bear fruits that persist through the winter months. Suburban gardens and agricultural areas provide the ideal habitat, with open fields and lawns for foraging insects as well as trees and hedgerows in which to build their nests.

The following plants, suggested with robins in mind, will also attract legions of songbirds and Lepidoptera. The list is comprised primarily of indigenous species with a few non-native, but not invasive, plants included.

Trees for nesting ~ American Holly (Ilex opaca), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida).

Summer and autumn fruit bearing trees, shrubs and vines for robins ~ Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Blackberry (Rubus spp.), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), Gray Dogwood (C. racemosa), Red-osier Dogwood (C. sericea), Silky Dogwood (C. amomum), Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Apple (Malus pumila), Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana), Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), Wild Grape (Vitis spp.).

Trees and shrubs with fruits persisting through winter ~ Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana), Crabapple (Malus spp.)Sargent’s Crabapple (Malus sargentii), American Holly (Ilex opaca), Meserve Hollies (Ilex meserveae), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Common Juniper (Juniperus communis), Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra), Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina).

American Robin winter crabapple turdus migratorius, americanus ©kim Smith 2015American Robin Eating Crabapples

I Love Sumac

Worms!

The American Robin and Bird Food

Snow: Gone Today and Here Tomorrow

SnowCleat5485wm

My friend Donna Ardizoni reports that Main Street, in Downtown Gloucester, now has sidewalks clear of snow. Tomorrow, Monday February 2nd, we’ll have plenty more of the white stuff. If the oncology clinic at Addison Gilbert Hospital is closed, I’ll stay home. Now that I’ve had some practice with my cane cleats, I feel more comfortable on paths shoveled thru the snow.

Trenel Cove, circa 1915

a8357_082wmTrenel Cove is where a ferry went between Gloucester Island and the mainland. Ferry Street, off of Washington Street, goes there. Today, the Route 128 A. Piatt Andrew Bridge crosses the Annisquam from the hill just behind Trenel Cove. Clammers still pull up their skiffs onto the beach at the head of the cove. This Trenel Cove photo is going to hang in…..Trenel Cove!

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