Dedication of the Pathways Butterfly Garden

Caroline Haines butterfly garden Patheways for Children ©Kim Smith 2014Carolin Haines on ukelele singing with the Pathways Children “The Garden Song,” written by David Mallett 

Pathways for Children butterfly garden ©Kim Smith 2014

The dedication of the new butterfly garden at Pathway’s for Children was celebrated with speeches of thanks, and a song and poem performed by the Pathways children. The sun was shining, the bees and butterflies were on the wing, and there were lots of smiles of joy on the faces of the children and attendees. My most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to all who have given so much to make the garden a success! Pathways for Children butterfly garden -3 ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -4 ©Kim Smith 2014Just some of the wonderful people who made the garden possible: Andrew, Bernie Romanowski, Beth Graham, and Peter Van Demark. 

Pathways for Children butterfly garden sunflower ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden before ©Kim Smith 2014Before Photo Pathways for ChildrenPathways for Children butterfly garden -8 ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -7 ©Kim Smith 2014

See previous post on the new butterfly garden at Pathways here: HOORAY FOR PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN’S BRAND SPANKING NEW BUTTERFLY GARDEN

Please Don’t Weed the Milkweed

Common Milweed Asclepias syriaca ©Kim Smith 2014Once established, native Common Milkweed grows vigorously and rambunctiously, making itself known even in the thinnest of sidewalk cracks. Here’s a patch growing along East Main Street. I think it beautiful! What do you think?

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If you caught Tom Ashbrook’s On Point broadcast on NPR yesterday morning you heard Doctor Lincoln Brower, Karen Oberhausser, and Rick Mikula, three of the world’s leading butterfly experts, speaking about the disappearance of the Monarch and the main reason why–most notably because of the sterilization of the American landscape through the use Monsanto’s Roundup and GMO corn and soybean crops.

The following is a list of a few suggestions on ways in which we can all help turn the tide:

Plant milkweed and wildflowers. Teach members of your family and friends what milkweed looks like and why we don’t want to weed it out of the garden. The above patch of milkweed is growing next to a shop on East Main Street. About a month ago, I went into the store and, very, very politely inquired as to whether or not they knew that the plant growing outside their doorway was a terrific patch of milkweed. They had no idea. I explained what the benefits were to the Monarchs and have since noticed that the milkweed patch is still growing beautifully!

Ban GMO crops. Genetically modified seeds have been altered to withstand megadoses of Roundup. Millions and millions of tons of herbicides are poured onto Roundup Ready fields of crops, preventing any other plant that has not been genetically altered from growing (in other words, wildflowers). The application of Monsanto’s deadly destructive herbicide Roundup is creating vast sterilized agricultural wastelands, which will, over time, only need heavier and heavier does of their lethal chemicals to continue to be viable.

Don’t apply herbicides and pesticides in your own gardens.

Create wildflower corridors in backyards and highways.

Reduce salt wherever possible (and where it wouldn’t cause harm to human life). Large amounts of road salt, as was needed during this past snowiest of winters, is detrimental to wildlife habitats.

Provocative Pokeweed

The charming note posted below was in my inbox today. 

Allen writes:

Dear Madame Butterfly,

(You may recognize my name as an infrequent commenter on

GMG. More importantly, I am an FOF, Friend of Fred Bodin, although he NEVER invited me to his gallery soires !!!!!)

I always read your GMG posts and enjoy and learn from them.

I have a plant that comes up in my back yard and grows to a height of 5 or 6 feet. This week it fell down. Do you know what it is? Can I cut it up safely and dispose of it? Should I throw it over the fence in the back and let wildlife eat the berries?

Any help, thanks,

Allen

Phytolacca_americana_Sugarcreek_Ohio

Hi Allen,

Allen, as an FOF and FOB, of course you are invited to ALL GMG soirées. I hope you’ll come to the mug-up this Saturday morning at E.J.’s new summer gallery on Rocky Neck. I am planning to go, but will not get there until closer to 11:00. I look forward to meeting you!

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is what you have growing in your backyard. Pokeweed possesses nearly as many common names as the birds that find nourishment from its fruit, including pokeberry, Virginia poke, inkberry, ink weed, bear’s grape, American spinach, and American nightshade. The American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Gray Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, European Starling, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, and Pileated Woodpeckers are some of the birds that dine on the fruits of pokeberry. Many mammals such as Red Fox, Virginia Opossum, Raccoon, White-footed Mouse, and Black Bear eat the berries, too.

Phytolacca_americana_Clinton_MI_2

Pokeweed can grow to ten feet, with an equally as long taproot as is it is tall in height. It typically grows in disturbed areas, pastures, roadsides, fencerows, open woods, and woodland borders. All parts of the plant are toxic to people and livestock, and especially to children. The root is the most toxic and the berries the least. It is not recommended to add to you compost. If you have children visiting your garden, I would suggest that you talk to them about the plant’s toxicity, and only throw it over you fence if beyond your fence is part of your property. To control a plant, cut below the root crown. An older plant may have a ten foot taproot, which would be very difficult to dig up.

Images courtesy wiki commons.

Aerial Yellowjacket Nest and Why Yellowjackets are Considered Beneficial Insects

Aerial Yellowjacket nest ©Kim Smith 2014Aerial Yellow Jacket Nest

Recently at one of my landscape design project sites, which is located within a public space, a very distraught woman approached exclaiming that there was a wasp nest in a tree down the road aways. She was sure it needed to be destroyed, despite that it was at least 30 feet high up in the tree and not any where near where guests might wander. I calmly explained to her that the tree was not in my jurisdiction and even if it was, my first impulse would not be to destroy the nest. I thought it best to learn more about wasps in case there were more calls for its annihilation and after she left, I photographed the nest. I was glad she had pointed it out because it was so interesting to observe the rhythms of the comings and goings of the wasps, which after looking at the images through my camera’s lens, determined that it was the nest of the Aerial Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria).

Aerial Yellowjackets are often confused with honey bees (Apis mellifera) becasue of their similar color. In contrast, the body of the yellow and black striped wasp is less hairy and thinner than that of a honey bee’s, and yellowjackets do not transport pollen.

Side-by-side comparison of an Aerial Yellowjacket and honeybee:

600px-Gilles_Gonthier_-_Dolichovespula_arenaria_(by)Aerial Yellowjacket

http://www.besplatne-slike.net Potpuno besplatne slike visokog kvaliteta.Honeybee with Pollen Sacs on Hind Legs

The native Aerial Yellowjacket is considered beneficial because it preys on many insect crop pests. It is also serves as food for a variety of animals including frogs, skunks, birds, and other insects (I can’t imagine eating a wasp!). Yellowjackets typically sting in defense of their colony and can also be a pest at picnics, especially in late summer and fall when they switch their diet from that of a protein-based diet rich of the meat of chewed up caterpillars and insects, to a sugar-based diet.

Aerial Yellowjackets ©Kim Smith 2014The nest is is a papery-like material structured from the worker yellowjacket’s chewed wood and saliva pulp and is typically only used for one year in our region. The Aerial Yellowjacket is so named because it builds its nest high up, as opposed to underground.

We left the nest alone, and so far, no more calls have gone out for its destruction.

Aerial Yellowjacket nest -2 ©Kim Smith 2014

Honeybee and Aerial Yellowjacket photos courtesy wiki commons media.

Baby TurKey Encounter!

Turey baby poult ©Kim Smith 2014A baby turkey is called a poult.
Turkey baby poult hen ©kim Smith 2014Where was the Tom?

This little turkey family seemed so vulnerable. Although blending well with the surrounding vegetation, the hen was disabled. She was only able to half walk, half hop. Despite her injury, she kept close watch over the babies as they foraged. I was especially surprised that no Tom came charging to protect the flock, which has been my experience with past turkey encounters.

Turkey baby poults ©Kim Smith 2014Turkey baby poult flying ©Kim Smith 2014.Turkey babies poult hen ©kim Smith 2014.Turkey Hen and Poults

Apple Street Farm

Apple Street Farm ©Kim Smith 2014Located in Essex, conveniently only a few scenic miles off Route 128, every Saturday from 10am to 2pm the farmstand at Apple Street Farm is open for business. Stopping for fabulous and fresh organically fed free-range eggs, heirloom veggies, fruits, and herbs has become a favorite Saturday morning ritual.

Apple Street Farm tomatoes ©Kim Smith 2014Frank McClelland is the owner of Apple Street Farm. Not only that, he is also the proprietor and chef of one of Boston’s most beloved and famous restaurants, L’Espalier. Apple Street Farm is the primary source of produce, poultry, pork and eggs for L’Espalier.

Apple Street Farm -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Each month throughout the summer and fall Apple Street Farm celebrates seasonal harvests with special dinners held on the farm’s spacious lawn. The five-course dinner is prepared by the L’Espalier chefs and includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and wine pairings. September 5th and 6th is the Fire Pit Fiesta and October 3rd and 4th is the Essex Harvest Feast. Call L’Espalier to make a reservation at 617-262-3023.

Apple Street Farm Pick Your Own ©Kim Smith 2014Pick You Own Flowers

Apple Street Farm hummingbird ©Kim Smith 2014Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the Zinnia Patch

Apple Street Farm Goldfinch and Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014American Goldfinch Eating Cosmos Seeds-A Great Reason NOT to Deadhead!

Farm and poultry shares are available from June through September. For more information about Apple Street Farm’s CSA program, visit their website here.

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Photographing the Nubian goats was a delight. The little ones are very playful and affectionate and, when first let out of their pen in the morning, are super rambunctious. Apple Street Farm’s manger Phoebe explains that Nubian goats are great milking goats and wiki informs that Nubians are known for the high butterfat content of their milk.

Apple Street Farm  Nubian Goat Eating apple©Kim Smith 2014Apples for Breakfast

Apple Street Farm  Nubian Goats ©Kim Smith 2014The Nubians climbed upon each other to reach the fruit and seeds.

Apple Street Farm Eating Catalpa Seeds ©Kim Smith 2014Nubian Goat Eating Catalpa Seedpods

Apple Street Farm Nubian Gots airborn ©Kim Smith 2014JPGSEE MOE PHOTOS HERE Continue reading

New Film: Buona Fiesta!

Our beautiful Gloucester community is the inspiration for Buona Fiesta! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who appears in the film. I love it when you see me and smile and wave—it just adds another layer of fun to the film! 

Buona Fiesta! begins with the opening of the Friday night ceremony at Saint Peter’s Square. The statue of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, is processed around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers at Saint Peter’s Square. Joe Novello is the host for the formal opening ceremony of the 2014 Saint Peter’s Fiesta.

Highlights from the Friday and Saturday Greasy Pole events are followed by the Sunday morning Mass and the procession through the city streets to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and then back to Saint Peter’s Square. Tradition has the rallying Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers joining the feast well underway at the Giambanco childhood home, before heading over to the Gloucester House Restaurant and Saint Peter’s Club for liquid encouragement. Highlights from Sunday’s Greasy Pole are followed by the midnight closing ceremony. Saint Peter and followers process around the Fort and are greeted with more confetti and a beautiful fireworks display over the water. As Saint Peter is safely tucked back into the window at the Saint Peter’s Club, all wish him good night with cheers of Viva San Pedro…until next year’s Buona Fiesta!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners take their flags, Mark Allen, Kyle Barry, and Jack Russ; the Giambanco sisters, Sefatia, Rosaria, Marianne, and Grace, who provide a Saint Peter’s Feast for the entire community; House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Mayor Kirk, Melissa Cox; Oar’Dacious teammates and sisters, Janelle Sleepy Pallazola Puopolo, Leanne Pallazola, and Jamie Pallazola; Salvi Benson’s final Greasy Pole Walk; Nicky Avelis; Steven Le Blanc almost capture the flag; Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton; and many, many more.

A request for feedback: Is the film’s content relatively self-explanatory, or are more subtitles and commentary needed? Please, if you have a minute, let me know what you think in the comment section. Thank you for watching!

Next year I am going to just have to figure out how to film the Seine Boat Races, too, which happen further down the beach. I need two camera set-ups!!

Thank you to all who work so hard to make Saint Peter’s Fiesta a wonderful and positive event to be shared by all in the community. With thanks and gratitude to the Giambanco sisters Rosaria, Marianne, Sefatia, and Grace for inviting me to film the feast and rally at their home. With thanks and gratitude to Nicky Avelis and the Greasy Pole Walkers for permitting me to film on the boat ride to the Greasy Pole. With thanks and appreciation to Nina and Frank Groppo for the invitation to join them on the beautiful midnight procession and fireworks through the Fort.

Buona Fiesta! is dedicated to Carlo Sleepy Pallazola, John Wagner, Dominic Nicastro, Salvi Benson, and Peter Black Frontiero.

Music:

“The Walker” by Fitz and The Tantrums
“Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic
“Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Cold Play