Author Archives: Kimsmithdesigns

About Kimsmithdesigns

Documentary filmmaker, photographer, landscape designer, author, and illustrator. "Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly" currently airing on PBS. Current film projects include Piping Plovers, Gloucester's Feast of St. Joseph, and Saint Peter's Fiesta. Visit my websites for more information about film and design projects at,, and Author/illustrator "Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden."


Produce Ordering!

Our website is open for ordering farm fresh produce. Orders must be in by Thursday @ 6 AM.

We’ll be assembling everyone’s order during the day Thursday, please pick up your produce on Thursday 10/26 between 3PM and 7PM. Select your pick up at checkout.

Order Here

We will be adding more produce and variety as it becomes available each week.

This week offers lots of greens from the greenhouses including spinach, arugula and a mixed greens compilation that is sweet and salad ready. We have dug more of our delicious sweet carrots and have harvested all the potatoes that are very pretty and ready for roasting. Check out our website for a full list of whats available now!

We are open for produce orders to be placed online and picked up curbside (Farm side). at Cedar Rock Gardens.

Come to the farm, drive past the first parking lot on the right and all the compost bales and take a quick right toward the barns. Pull right up to the red barn to pick up your produce. The road winds left around the big brown barn so you can access the produce pick up “Drive thru” Style!

We will be opening our website for produce orders throughout the season and will alert you to such in these emails. We look forward to seeing you soon!


What a thrill to see the Eagle close-up, and to see it fly by our City skyline!

After a great morning filming local wildlife and as I was heading home, flying down the road overhead was a large brown bird with an entourage of Crows and gulls in tow. Wow. That’s weird I thought, Crows don’t usually dive bomb Turkey Vultures. To everyone walking down the road’s utter delight, it was not a Turkey Vulture, but a gorgeous Bald Eagle.

The not yet fully mature Eagle hovered over Niles Beach at one location for some time, circling back several times. I couldn’t figure out what he/she was so interested in. Perhaps it was the giant fish head that had washed ashore several days ago. After a bit, the Eagle flew off to the tippy top of a pine tree overlooking the water.

Eagles are superb hunters and fishers, and also love to scavenge carrion.

I think the Eagle is a sub-adult, about 3 and a half to four and a half years old. The above photo is of a mated adult and a sub-adult, taken in Gloucester last spring.


A pair of Coots is currently residing at Niles Pond. I wonder if they will stay the winter. Cape Ann is part of their wintering range, although we are at the northern reaches.

There is definitely a pecking order within the flock of waterbirds currently at Niles. The Geese are at the top, Coots in the middle, and Mallards at the bottom rung.  After being chased by a goose, one of the Coots bathed and preened on the special rock that the birds love to stand upon. The female Mallard waited patiently for the Coot to finish. As soon as the Coot swam off, she hopped on to the rock and began preening.

Coots do not have webbed feet and are therefore not ducks. They have long toes with broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water.

American Coots range map


We now have PINK onesies (and a matching pink tee for Mom, Auntie, Grandma!).

Thinking about the current rage for Barbie and all things pink, we ordered six onesies and six tees in the pink to see if there is interest. The onesies are adorable and I hope so much everyone likes them! The pink tees are available in S, M, and L. The onesies are available in sizes 6-12 months and 18-24 months

Alexandra also has a brand new batch of unisex cerulean blue tees, in sizes small through extra large.

You can pick up your Plover tees, onesies, and stickers at our wonderful local bakery and home goods shop, Alexandra’s Bread, located at 265 Main Street in Gloucester. Alexandra also carries super cute Twin Lights onesies, too!

As we are building inventory and navigating our way through selling T-shirts, the sales from the tees/onesies goes to ordering more. Eventually, we hope that $13.00 from the sale of each T-shirt will go towards helping to fund our documentary, The Piping Plover of Moonlight Bay. To read our most recent progress update and learn how you can help support the Piping Plover Film Project, please go here.


The recent whoosh of wind from the north brought a new batch of migrating songbirds. They are loving the great insect, seed, and berry feast found at Cape Ann woods, marsh sides, and roadways.

I am often puzzled about which species of warblers when out filming our local wildlife, especially at this time of year when many songbirds are in their non-breeding plumage and there are many juveniles on the wing. After I have a chance to look at the images at my desktop, it’s simpler to id, but not always.

This warbler is easier to identify than many. Is it a:

1) Magnolia Warbler

2) Yellow-rumped Warbler

3) Nashville Warbler

Clue – stay til the end of the clip and you can see why this warbler is named as such.


Lately there has been a pod of Gray Seals just off shore. I counted five one morning. Mostly they yawn and doze but the other day, two were sort of “frolicking,” if you can call it that.

I read Gray Seals mate and pup at this time of year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what their next moves are. They’re official name is Gray Seal, but I love one of their nicknames, the Horsehead Seal, because it is aptly descriptive. The bulls especially have large heads.

One of the ways to tell the difference between a Harbor Seal and a Gray Seal is by looking at their heads. Harbor Seals have the large round “puppy dog” eyes, heart-shaped nostrils, and proportionately smaller heads.

Harbor Seal

Gray Seals have proportionately large heads and flaring nostrils.

Harbor Seal head shape left, Gray Seal head right

Harbor Seals have a concave shaped forehead, with a dog-like snout. The head of a Grey Seal is elongated, with a flatter forehead and nose.


The stunning Tall Ship Lynx rounded Eastern Point light just after sunset and headed in for its annual maintenance haul-out at the Marine Railways. Schooner Adventure greeted the vessel and they were firing off guns as they came into port.

The Tall Ship Lynx travels throughout New England in the warmer months and winters in the Golden Isles of Georgia at St. Simons Island.

For more information about the Lynx, visit

Tall Ship Lynx in Gloucester through the years


Dear PiPl Friends,

A huge shout out to our newest contributors to our Piping Plover film project fundraiser. My deepest thanks and appreciation to Alice and David Gardner (Beverly), JoeAnn Hart (Gloucester), Kim Tieger (Manchester), Joanne Hurd (Gloucester), Holly Niperus (Phoenix), Bill Girolamo (Melrose), Claudia Bermudez (Gloucester), Paula and Alexa Niziak (Rockport), Todd Pover (Springfield), Cynthia Dunn (Gloucester), Nancy Mattern (Albuquerque), Sally Jackson (Gloucester), and my sweet husband Tom 🙂 Thank you so very much for your support and for seeing the tender beauty in the life story of the Piping Plover.

Progress update – We are currently working with the stellar editing staff at Modulus Studios in Boston. Eric Masunaga and his assistant Shannon also worked on our sister film project, Beauty on the Wing. Keeping my fingers crossed and not wanting to jinx our progress, but the hope/goal is to have a cut ready to begin submitting to film festivals by the end of 2023. We have also received exceptionally helpful content advice from both Carolyn Mostello, the Massachusetts Coastal Waterbird Biologist and Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist for Conserve Wildlife New Jersey.

Thank you so very much again for your kind help.

Warmest wishes,


To contribute to The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our online Network for Good fundraiser DONATE HERE


To learn more about The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay documentary please go here.



“Get a room,” my friend Lauren laughed when we arrived at the Pond, noticing within moments dozens upon dozens of bluet damselflies readying to mate. The little pond is surrounded by a magnificent variety of vegetation however, the damselflies were only interested in perching on the cattail blades, in some instances three pairs per blade!

During mating, the male clasps the female by the neck while she bends her body around to his reproductive organs, forming a “mating wheel.” The damselfly photos here show the damselflies in the initial stages of mating.

There are no fewer than twenty different species of bluet damselflies in Massachusetts. One quick way to tell the difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly when out in the field is to look at the eyes. Dragonfly eyes are large and spaced very close together, whereas the eyes of damselflies are smaller and separated.

Cattail flowers are not bright and showy because they do not need to attract pollinators. Multiple tiny florets grow on the cylindrical-shaped stalk and are pollinated by wind. After releasing pollen, the flowers fall off leaving behind the spikes. The spike falls apart eventually to release the fluffy seeds, which are also disseminated by the wind. Clearly, the blades of Cat-O’-Nine-tails are useful to damselflies. The fluff is also wonderfully beneficial to songbirds, such as Red-winged Blackbirds, for lining their nests.


Last night’s induction ceremony into the New England Music Hall of Fame was a tremendous honor for Tom and his Atlantic’s bandmates. Held at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Boston rockers and rock industry media greats were honored, including Lizzie Borden and the Axes, Human Sexual Response, Robin Lane, Donna Summer, Steve Morse, Carter Allen, and Carmelita. I filmed a bit of Lizzie Borden and the Axes set and will post that asap.

DJ Dee Tension introduced the Atlantics. Tom’s song writing partner, bass player, and co-founder of The Atlantics, Bruce Wilkinson, passed away at a young age. Accepting the award in his place was his sister Bev and his nephew. Paul Caruso, the drummer, also passed away at a relatively young age, when he was only 50 years old. Accepting the award in his honor was his wife Susan and sons Christian and Zachary.Fred Pineau, Jeff Hartford, Billy McCarthy, Bev Wilkinson, Reese, Jeff Lock, Susan Caruso, Zachary Caruso, Christian Caruso, Tom Hauck, and Ray Fernandes at the mic.

Digging around online, I was happy to find another video of the Atlantics from back in the day – 


My husband, Tom, is being inducted into the New England Music Hall of Fame tomorrow evening. Tom is one of the co-founders, along with Bruce Wilkinson, of the Atlantics, a 70’s/early 80s power pop punk band. He’s so low key about it. Tom had this band before I met him but still I am super proud of him.

The sold-out awards ceremony is taking place at the beautiful Regent Theatre in Arlington and we’re planning to make a night of it. Photos from back in the day and today. He’s still the same brilliant, funny, kind hearted man I met all those years ago, just wiser, and even smarter.

For Atlantics fans, read more here


Last week on Election Day, the elementary kids that attend East Veteran’s had the day off.  Charlotte is in love with Cloud, the resident sheep at Russell Orchards, so off we went to go visit Cloud. We were in luck as one of my favorite apples, Gala, was perfectly ripe for the picking. To find out which variety of apples are available to pick, check out Russell Orchard’s website here.

After filling two bags with sweetly delicious little pink gems, we stopped at the gorgeous zinnia patch adjacent to the apple orchard. The patch was abuzz with myriad pollinators, including Monarchs, Sulphurs, Swallowtails, bees, and as is typical at this time of year, Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackers weren’t interested in Charlotte and I, only in pestering the Monarchs. One even alighted on a Monarch’s wings!

Russel Orchard’s zinnias are a knock this year and I believe the variety of zinnias is Benary’s Giant.

Flowers of the Air


Recently I was contacted by a gentleman, Bill Girolamo, who was a passenger aboard the magnificent Schooner Denis Sullivan during the Parade of Sail and race. He was hoping to find images of the Denis Sullivan from shore and after a google search he found mine. The Schooner Denis Sullivan is a 3-masted Great Lakes cargo schooner and was recently purchased by the World Ocean School. 2023 marks the first year the Denis Sullivan participated in the Gloucester Schooner Festival.

Photo by Ron Grant: the Schooner Roseway crossing Whaleback Lighthouse in Kittery Maine

Bill shares that the Schooner Roseway, also owned by the World Ocean School, is in Mystic, Connecticut, undergoing a complete restoration. I hope this means we’ll see Roseway in next year’s festival! Bill writes that “The Roseway will be 100 years old next year. There will be a Centennial Celebration for it once it is out of Mystic CT, in one more year. Its life was amazing, having been built originally in Essex MA by the owner of the Hathaway Shirt company from lumber on his land in Ipswich as a Schooner fishing boat and the story continues for the next 100 years… amazingly.”

Last year, in 2022, Bill was invited to sail aboard the Roseway during Schooner Fest as his uncle was a pilot on the Schooner during the years it was a pilot boat in Boston Harbor. The Schooner was also a patrol boat during World War II and was was mounted with guns and painted gray. Bill wrote the lovely sonnet in tribute to the Schooner Roseway.

Many, many thanks to Bill Girolamo for sharing these wonderful connections!



Tiny Piping Plover chicks weigh about as much as a nickel at the time of hatching. Although capable of running about within a few hours after pushing out of their eggshells, one-day-old chicks are extraordinarily vulnerable. They are also adorably funny as they learn how to navigate the varied beach terrain and to forage for food. The hatchlings study their out-sized feet, stretch tiny wing buds, fall into mini fox holes, and tumble over even while only trying to scratch themselves. It’s not easy being one-day-old!

Mom and Dad spend a great deal of time helping the chicks to regulate their body temperature, especially in the earliest days of the chick’s life. In the last clips, Dad calls to the four siblings to warm up under his downy soft underwing feathers.  And by the way, Plover Dads are truly super heroes in the life story of the Piping Plover, co-parenting equally, and even then some.

The footage in this short is from the forthcoming film, The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our online fundraiser to help complete our documentary. Filming is finished however, post-production and festival costs have sky-rocketed; they are much greater than when we released our sister film project about species at risk, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. Without our community’s help, we could not have launched Beauty on the Wing. Working with the community to produce Beauty on the Wing made it far more meaningful.

We are deeply appreciative of any gifts given. Thank you.

Please donate here to our Network for Good online fundraiser




Question Marks LOVE sap. The freshly emerged beauty seen here repeatedly returned to the one spot at the deeply creviced branch, vigorously sucking up tree juice from a slit in the wood, while warming its wings in the sun, and also fending off flies – butterfly multi-tasking.

The Question Mark is one of two butterfly species that “punctuates, ” the other being the Eastern Comma. Look for the four dots on the dorsal side of the upper wing and the tiny question mark on the ventral side of the lower wings.

Question Marks on the wing at this time of year are the “fabricii” form, emerging from late August through October, as opposed to the darker “umbrosa” form seen in the spring. The wing pattern is prettier in the fall, more brilliant orange with anglewings tipped in frosted violet fringe.

To attract Question Marks, grow elms, nettles, and hackberry for their larval host, or caterpillar food, plants.


Last evening, the Tall Ship Lynx arrived to Gloucester Harbor just as the sun was setting. The sky grew rosier and rosier long after the sun had dipped below the horizon.

Tall Ship Lynx and Schooner Adventure

Autumnal Equinox Sunset Ten Pound Island Lighthouse


From the Tall Ship Lynx website – The Tall Ship Lynx is an educational organization dedicated to hands-on programs that teach the history and present examples of America’s struggle to preserve its independence. The ship is an interpretation of an actual privateer built in 1812. The maritime challenges during the War of 1812 are taught aboard Lynx utilizing a comprehensive, interactive program designed to enrich personal achievement through teamwork and the discipline of sailing.

In 1997 Woodson K. Woods embarked on a journey to build a privateer inspired by the original historic tall ship from the War of 1812 – The Privateer Lynx. His goal was to create a living history museum to educate children and adults alike about American history through active sail training aboard a real wooden sailing ship.

What went into Lynx was not just wood, rope, brass and canvas. It was not just sweat, blood, heartache and laughter either. What went into her goes far beyond history, ambition, inspiration, determination and commitment. In 2016 Lynx was purchased from Woods Maritime LLC , by the Lynx Educational Foundation, Lynx hails out of Nantucket Island, Ma. Donald Emmons Peacock, President and captain. Our partner in education is Egan Maritime Institute in Nantucket. Lynx winters in city of St Petersburg, Florida our winter home. Since 2015, Lynx Donald E. Peacock, president, and Captain Lynx winters in St. Simons Island, GA, November through May.

On July 28, 2001 in Rockport, Maine Woods’ vision was realized. Past and present converged as Lynx was launched in a gala event ordaining a magnificent future on the high seas.

The creation of Lynx embraces eternal truths: passion, sacrifice, perseverance, honor and courage. All of these emotions gave her a soul long before she tasted her first saltwater. At sea, Lynx is the legacy of her creators: the thinkers, the designers, the builders, and most important, the dreamers…


Pretty clouds over Gloucester harbor skyline this morning.

Look to the sky over the next few days. Sunrise will be directly east at 90 degrees and sunset, directly west, at 270 degrees.


Over the course of past week, we on Cape Ann have been graced with a splendid mini Monarch migration across our shores, and many other species of butterflies too are on the wing. To my utter delight, yesterday while filming at what I like to think of as a butterfly hotspot, a pint-sized butterfly went zooming past. Wow, that is the smallest Monarch I have ever seen. But no, the butterfly traveled across the field, and when it paused for a few moments to warm its wings, I realized it was a Viceroy Butterfly! This was the first time I have observed a Viceroy on Cape Ann.

The Viceroy has a faster flight pattern than the Monarch and I was only able to get a few minutes of footage and only several photos before it disappeared over the horizon however; you can see from the photos how very similar the wing pattern is. To make a quick comparison when out in the field, the Viceroy does not have the mitten-shaped cell that the Monarch possesses and it has a prominent black line running along lower wings.

Monarch Butterfly

Viceroy Butterfly

To read more about Monarch and Viceroy fakery, read the following terrific article from New Jersey Audubon here: “Monarchs and Viceroys: A Tale of Mimicry”

The ‘royal’ butterflies –



Looking forward to attending the Boston Film Festival opening night premiere and Q and A of Breakwater at the Shalin Liu, tonight, Thursday, at 7pm.

See Gail McCarthy’s article in the Gloucester Daily Times for information about the film. Honors will be presented to actor Dermot Mulroney for Film Excellence as part of the event.  The following is an article from Variety –

From Variety –

Dermot Mulroney is set to star in the upcoming indie thriller Breakwater.

The veteran actor, of “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “August: Osage County” fame, will team with writer-director James Rowe on the feature.

“Breakwater” will see Mulroney star as prison inmate Ray Childress, who charges a just-released fellow prisoner with finding his daughter. The ex-con soon discovers the daughter’s past may be more dangerous than anything he’s faced in prison.

“Dangerous charmers are a fixture in Southern stories,” Rowe said in a statement, “and Ray is a man whose surface cool masks a desperate volatility. Dermot’s appeal and his expansive range, along with his willingness to defy expectations, make him the ideal choice for this guy driven by conflicting impulses.”

Loose Cannon Pictures is producing the project, led by Matt Paul (the SXSW selection “Violet”). Larry Hummel and Edward Winters of Winterstone Pictures (“Adolescence,” Disney’s “Black Beauty”) will also produce. Casting directors Orly Sitowitz and Stacey Pianko will be rounding out the lead cast in the coming weeks for an early September start on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Mulroney most recently starred in the Netflix guilty pleasure “Deadly Illusions” opposite Kristin Davis and Greer Grammer. He has no less than seven films in various stages of production, including Netflix’s “Along for the Ride” opposite Kate Bosworth, “Agent Game” with Mel Gibson and “Umma” opposite Sandra Oh.

Mulroney is represented by Jim Dempsey at Paradigm Talent Agency and Nate Bryson at Luber Roklin Entertainment. Rowe is represented by Myman Greenspan.


My Friend Kathleen writes,

Dear Friends,
I hope you’ll come to one of the two performances this weekend (Friday or Saturday) of “Dogtown Common.” If you were at our earlier production, you will see refinements (among them, Gabrielle Barghazi’s incredible backdrop) and if you have not already seen it….well, we think there’s something to it, and that you’ll be moved. Peter Littlefield’s retooling of this epic poem renders the place, the time, and the tragedy in a minimal, packed hour that reverberates weirdly with the present. I get to make some noise, too! Space is limited. It’s an intimate experience at Windhover….very special.


With tiny shapes of human figures for scale


Favorite wave photo from today. If only all hurricanes could be this splendid and non-destructive (hopefully other communities managed as well as did Gloucester).



Waves, wind, and a beautiful sunset –


Mother Ann awash in waves today



A huge shout out and many, many thanks to Jon and Alexandra for distributing our Plover tees and stickers. Yesterday I dropped off the last few from the initial order and am placing a re-order with Seaside Graphics today!

Jon shares that customers are loving the positivity of the stickers and tees. Thank you community for supporting our Cape Ann Piping Plovers <3

Tees and stickers are available for sale at our wonderful local bakery and home goods shop, Alexandra’s Bread, located at 265 Main Street in Gloucester. 

There are several ways in which readers can help support our forthcoming documentary, The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay. Approximately $12.00 per each T-shirt goes toward the film project, the rest goes toward making more tees.

To contribute a larger gift, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our online Network for Good fundraiser DONATE HERE

To learn more about The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay documentary please go here.


Filmed at my friend Paul Wegzyn’s sunflower field, at Felix’ Family Farm

“Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra – downloaded from the Internet Archive of royalty free music.