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.

Happy Autumn

whale-cove-copyright-kim-smithRebnogged from Good Morning Gloucester, Columbus Day

I’ve had the exciting task of cleaning closets ALL afternoon and haven’t had a chance to put together a proper post. Here are some snapshots from an early morning walk Saturday taken before heading to work and before it clouded over. I hope everyone is having a terrific long weekend. Happy Autumn, Happy Columbus Day!whale-cove-2-copyright-kim-smithwhale-cove-3-copyright-kim-smith

High Among the Tree Tops

great-blue-heron-sunset-2-copyright-kim-smithWell before I could get close enough to take a crisp photo of the Great Blue heron feeding at the water’s edge, he flew up and away towards the opposite side of the river. I didn’t mind too much as it was so beautiful to see this magnificent bird soaring into the sunset.great-blue-heron-sunset-copyright-kim-smithessex-river-sunset-copyright-kim-smith

great-blue-heron-essex-river-copyright-kim-smithGreat Blue Heron and Seagulls

Misty Morning Daybreak

Beauty treat this morning as the fog rolled offshore and away from Good Harbor Beach.



Sailboats for Miles

marblehead-harbor-copyright-kim-smithClick panorama to embiggen

Recently I gave my Pollinator Garden program to a great group of women in Marblehead, the Winter Garden Club. Their first meeting of the year is held at the Corinthian Yacht Club, which overlooks Marblehead Harbor. The sight of so many sailboats was exquisite and made me wonder what it must look like not on an October morning but a summer Sunday. There is also an Audubon refuge located on the Neck, the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, which looks wonderfully interesting. I’ll definitely be returning!


painted-turtles-niles-pond-gloucester-copyright-kim-smithI laughed out loud when looking through photos from several days ago, not realizing that at the time when taking snapshots of these beautiful Painted Turtles at Niles Pond they were not only basking, but also rubbernecking, and mostly all in the same direction. The turtles were on a rock adjacent to the Snapping Turtle (below), which at first glance looked like two rocks, a smaller stone (its head) and a large stone (body).

snapping-turtle-niles-pond-gloucester-copyright-kim-smithThe Snapping Turtle was about a foot long, unlike the Snapping Turtle furtively gliding through the murky water several weeks ago at Henry’s Pond. The stealthy one in the last photo was huge and appeared to be just shy of two feet!!

snapping-turtle-henrys-pond-copyright-kim-smithTurtles are ectotherms, relying on sunlight to warm and regulate their body temperature.

New Film: Scenes and Vignettes from the 32nd Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival

So many thanks to everyone for watching! I was a bit worried about posting a 25 minute unnarrated film set to music alone but the response has been wonderful. Feeling blessed and thankful for our beautiful community.

2016 Gloucester Schooner Festival

Dedicated to Kay Ellis

Highlights from Gloucester’s magnificent Schooner Festival, including the schooner welcome, Parade of Sail, the schooner race from a rocky cliff outpost, awards ceremony where Fly Amero and Daisy Nell honor Kay with a song, Daisy tells a funny joke, Adventure Captain Stefan Edick wins a special award, fireworks from Stage Fort Park, and more. The film opens with scenes of Cape Ann schooners, participating schooners, and Gloucester fishing boats, shot all around Gloucester Harbor during the weekend of the festival.

With special thanks to Al Bezanson, Daisy Nell, and Schooner Welcome Committee members Brett Ramsey, Max Ramsey, and Nick Ramsey.

The Gloucester Schooner Festival is held each year over Labor Day weekend and organized byMaritime Gloucester and the Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee. The Schooner Festival celebrates the role the fishing schooner has played in the maritime heritage of the east coast, especially Cape Ann.

Race Results

2016 Particpating Schooners and Captains

Adventure – Stefan Edick

Ardelle – Harold Burnham

American Eagle – John Foss

Apella – Dan Hall

Bald Eagle – Paul Cole/Judith Nast

Blackbird – Peter Thompson

Columbia – Karl Joyner

Eileen Marie – Peter Houston

Fame – Mike Rutstein (not raccing)

Green Dragon – Andy Bezanson

Hindu – Josh Rowan

Ishmael – Fred and Sarah Murphy

Istar – Josiah Mayo

Lettie Howard – Colin Graham

Liberty Clipper – Dylan Saltzman

Light Reign – Mike Lawrence

Malabar II – James Lobdell

Narwhal – Bob Bernert

Principles – Derek Durling

Redbird – Daisy Nell/Stan Collinson

Roseway – Tom Ryan

Sugar Babe – Ed Boynton

Thomas Lannon – Heath Ellis

Tree of Life – Paul Morse

Tyrone – Matt Sutphin