Monthly Archives: March 2012

So many fun things to do this weekend in Gloucester!

Two events I am especially looking forward to this week are the Good Morning Gloucester Spring FlingSaturday (March 21, 6:00 pm) at Bodin Historic Photo Gallery, and the premier of Wim Wenders Pina at Cape Ann Community Cinema. 

If you attended the GMG Christmas party, then you know you are in for a fabulously fun night. GMG contributors will all be there, and I especially love meeting the people who comment regularly on the blog. Fred Bodin and Joey Ciaramitaro are the perfect hosts. BYOB, bring food, or not-not required, and bring your fun-self! The party is for FOBs, FOGs, contributors, and is open to all.

Just a few of the GMG artists and FOBs you’re likely to meet at the Spring Fling!

Pina premires locally at Cape Ann Community Cinema on Friday, March 30th at 2:30, 7:30, and 9:45, with a special sneak preview at 6:00 pm tonight, Monday, March 26th.

PINA is a film for Pina Bausch, the great German choreographer, by Wim Wenders. He takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble; he follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the place, where for 35 years, was the home and centre for Pina Bausch’s creativity.

Pina ~  A Film for Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders

For more dates and showtimes visit Cape Ann Community Cinema.

Cape Ann Community Cinema

Birthday Fun ~ Talk About Spoiled!

Last Saturday for my birthday my husband Tom treated me to a beautiful and fabulous dinner at Duckworth’s. The following morning I met my Good Morning Gloucester friends for brunch at Passports–talk about spoiled–Duckworths and Passports are two of my very favorite restaurants and two of the very finest restaurants on the North Shore.

I had only my iPhone camera with me at Duckworths and don’t like the way most of the photos turned out–too little light for the iPhone’s tiny  image sensor .

Nicole Duckworth’s Fabulous Desert ~ Gingerbread with Marscapone and Poached Pears 

Brunch at Passports

Joey and Susan  -Fujifilm x100 photo

Susan and Paul -Fujifilm x100 photo

Ed and Rick  -iPhone 4S photo

Donna and Greg  -iPhone 4S photo

Greg and Joey  -iPhone 4S photo

Recording “Simple Gifts”

In looking for music for my butterfly documentary I heard a very beautiful folk version of “Simple Gifts,” then found the John William’s recording, “Air and Simple Gifts,”  with YoYo Ma and Itzhak Perlman created for Obama’s inauguration, which led to discovering Aaron Copland’s score for Martha Graham’s Applachian Spring (1944). The melody is perfect for my film. I then fortuitously ran into Kathleen Adams, the music director of the Annisquam Village Church, and Liv’s former teacher and mentor, at a cocktail party, and asked her advice. Kathleen graciously volunteered to share her talents and offered she and the church to record “Simple Gifts.” While Liv was home over spring break she very sweetly offered to sing.

Finding copyright free music is difficult and costly. I am eternally grateful for Kathleen and Liv’s generosity and for sharing their gifts. Kathleen recommended Phil Davis, who is an expert in recording classical music and artist in his own right.

Kathleen Adams and Liv standing next to the gorgeous organ that Jeremy Adams, Kathleen’s husband, built for the Annisquam Village Church

I can’t wait for you to hear Liv and Kathleen’s rendition,  played as written and with their beautiful improvising!

Although many people think that the tune of ‘Simple Gifts” is a traditional Celtic song, “Simple Gifts” was an American Shaker dance song written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett. The song has been widely adapted. Perhaps the best known example is “Lord of the Dance,” published in 1963, which was then used without coyright permission for Michale Flatley’s dance musical Lord of the Dance.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Grace Church in New York City

The photos of Grace Church and Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) were sent by my daughter Liv- a preview of blossoms to come (NYC is several weeks ahead of Gloucester in spring flowering).

Grace Church, a gothic revival masterpiece, was designed by James Renwick, Jr. when he was only 23 years old. The church was consecrated on March 7, 1846. Grace Church is located at 802 Broadway, NY, NY.

 


Happy Birthday to Our Son Alex

My beautiful son, born on the first day of spring, during a snow storm, March 20, 1993.

Alex, on his first day of college this past September. I don’t have too many recent photos of Alex; he was in the camera shy stage for all his high school years–although lately I am getting the feeling he doesn’t mind so much his Mom with her cameras.

Best friends favorite breakfast of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes and strawberry smoothies ~  Shaffy, Alex, Sam, Mike, Cam, and Andrew 2006

Alex and Liv August 2006

I am so blessed

My darling daughter is home from grad school for a few days during spring break. I adore her and we just have the best time together. iPhone 4s photo ~ Liv and Rosie

My husband Tom gave me a new iPhone for my early birthday present, while Liv is home, so that she can show me how to use it. My previous phone, a fossil from the Stone Age (as my son Alex often referred to it as) was not fun to use. When Siri started talking to us, I was just on the floor laughing in amazement.

iPhone 4S photo

Japanese Flowering Quince ‘Toyo-Nishiki’

Come join me Wednesday, March 14,  at 10:30 for my lecture The Pollinator Garden, presented by the Arlington Garden Club.

I am in the process of organizing photos for my upcoming season of garden design lectures and am enjoying looking over the past year in photos. This was my first year with the Fujifilm x100 and the photo of the flowering quince below was one of the first photos I took with the x100. I do love my camera!

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki’

Coaxing Winter Blooms

From mid-February on is the recommended time to prune members of the copious Roseaceae (Rose family) and their cut branches create stunning arrangements. The bare limbs dotted with five-petalled blossoms are particularly evocative juxtaposed against the cool, low light of winter. I am picturing the plum rose of Prunus cerasifera‘Thundercloud,’ the vivid pink of peach blossoms, the elegant sparkling white blossoms of apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca), and the brilliant fiery red-orange ‘Texas Scarlet’ Japanese flowering quince illuminating the rooms in which they are placed. I have to say my favorite of favorites is Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki,’ with buds swollen and ready to burst by mid-winter and flowering in multiple hues of white, rose, and apricot pink, the beauty of their blossoms emphasized by the sharply zigzagging branches.

Note: Flowering quince provides nectar for northward migrating hummingbirds. It is not too early to put out your hummingbird feeders.

More information about Chaenomoles ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ may be found in Chapter Three, “Planting in Harmony with Nature,” Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Bikini & Speedo Dodgeball Tournament

My friend Joey from Good Morning Gloucester blog invited me to film the Bikini Speedo Dodgeball Tournament fundraiser for Next Step.org. The event was a great success and super fun day, and as Joey says, “A Total Group Effort by the players, the sponsors, Frankie Gwynne, Rebecca Linquata, Ryan Cox, Noah, Brad, Matty K, Next Step, the fans, the media, photographers, and film makers!” Much more about the event can be found at GMG.

Next Step’s  programs provide in-person support, education and resources for young people coping with serious illness. Filmed at the Farm Bar & Grille, Essex, March 4, 2012.

Round Robin Redbreast Snowy Day Video

Round Robin Red Breast

What’s that you say? A flock of robins, in winter?

Yes, yes! Sweetly singing liquid notes. A flock in my garden!

What does a hungry round robin find to eat in a winter garden?

Red, red winterberries and holly, rime-sweetend crabapples, and orchard fruits.

And how does a winter robin keep warm?

Why, blanketed together with air-puffed fluffed feathers.

How long will they stay, how long can they last in the frost?

Only as there are fruits on the bough and berries on the bush.

Round robin red breast, silhouette in bare limb,

Calling away winter, cheer, cheerio, and cheer-up!

Each year we are visited by a breathtakingly beautiful migrant flock of American Robins. This year they arrived on leap day, many weeks later than is typical. There wasn’t much to eat as the Mocking Birds and Catbirds have eaten nearly all the berries on the Dragon Lady hollies. Fortunately, the winterberry had held its fruit. Unfortunately, the aggressive and pesky European Starlings were competing for what little fruit remained.

The following was originally posted December 2010 ~

The widely distributed and beloved American Robin (Turdus migratorius) hardly needs an introduction. The American Robin is the largest member of the thrush family—thrushes are known for their liquid birdsongs and the robin is no exception. Their unmistakable presence is made known when, by early spring, the flocks have dispersed and we see individual robins strutting about the landscape with fat worms dangling. Unmistakable, too, is the male’s beautiful birdsongs, signaling to competing males to establish their territory, as well as to entice prospective females.Read more about the American Robin including suggestions of native plants that provide nourishment for resident and nomad.

Solutions for Protecting Birds from Hitting Windows

Every year, in the United States alone, over 1,000,000,000—yes, that is one billon—birds are killed from flying into windows. Chris Leahy quoted this statistic at the talk he gave last week at the Sawyer Free Library. Coincidentally, earlier that day I had been speaking with my friend Kate who has this very problem of birds hitting her windows as her home is sited on a beautiful seaside meadow in Tiverton, Rhode Island. She wanted to share with my readers about spider web decals for glass windows.

I found a website that offers a range of innovative solutions to protect birds, for both the residential home and the commercial property, TONI Bird Control Solutions. Although based in Germany, the solutions are universal.

Spider webs reflect light in the UV spectrum and are a visible barrier to birds. When you think about it, we don’t often see birds entangled in a spider’s web. Taking cues from nature, the spider’s web is the basis for TONI’s ultraviolet bird pen, bird glass, and UV decals. TONI’s solution #2, the ultraviolet Bird Pen, is well suited for residential properties. Also, check with the Essex Bird Shop and Pet Suuply. I believe they carry ultraviolet decals, not visible to the human eye.

American Robin 

If so many birds are killed, why don’t we see the dead bodies? The answer is simply, scavengers. Migrant songbirds fly at night, hitting the glass in the dark and the very early morning hours. Scavengers like gulls, vultures, crows, magpies, rats, and cats know where to look for injured and dead birds. At city skyscrapers, building maintenance daily sweep up bags of, and sometimes during peak migration, barrels full of, dead birds every morning at dawn. The high death rate around skyscrapers is also due in part to the bright lights left burning all night.

Another solution is perhaps not wash your windows quite as frequently, or wait to wash until after the spring and fall migrations. Fortunately, we do not have the problem of birds hitting our windows because of our many weathered and wavy window panes dating back to 1851. We have a different problem. During warmer months, I like to take advantage of the harbor breezes and usually have the windows wide open, and without screens (until mosquito season begins). We’ve had finches and sparrows and hummingbirds flying around my home office, but then again, none fatally injured.