Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wintry Harbor Walk at Dawn

The Harbor Walk was beautiful yesterday morning at dawn after the first significant snowfall, with a deceptively warm-appearing orange sherbet sunrise. Despite frozen fingers and toes, I couldn’t help but feel blessed by the beauty that surrounds.

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter ©Kim Smith 2012

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-2 ©Kim Smith 2012

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-3 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-4 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -5©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -6©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-7 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -8©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -10©Kim Smith 2012Gloucester Harbor Walk December 30, 2012

Christmas Whimsy 2012

Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure -2 ©Kim Smith 2012

Several weeks ago I posted experiments taken with the new Fujifilm X-E1 multiple exposure setting. I really like this feature although I received some flack from a photographer friend reminding me that double exposures can be created in Photoshop. Of course I know that, I just like the immediacy of composing in the camera and in the moment and think the feeling that is achieved is reminiscent of accidental effects in film photography. These photos were all shot in very low light indoors and I am looking forward to playing more with this feature outdoors on a warm sunny spring day, with butterflies and other living creatures for muses, rather than imaginative Christmas fairies!

Click photos to view images full size.

vintage christmas decoration

Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 -1 Multiple Exposure ©Kim Smith 2012Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure -3 ©Kim Smith 2012Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure -5 ©Kim Smith 2012Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure -4 ©Kim Smith 2012Christmas Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure ©Kim Smith 2012 copyFujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposures 

Thank you Craig Kimberley!

Last week Craig Kimberley spent a morning editing and assisting me with my Black Swallowtail film project.  It’s been great getting to know Craig and I am feeling very blessed that he is interested in working on my project. Because of his knowledge and expertise, I know my film is going to be more beautiful than ever I imagined. Thank you Craig.

Hannah, Craig, Johnny Mac

Hannah and Craig Kimberley and John McElhenny

Good Morning Gloucester contributor Craig moved to Gloucester nearly a year ago. His beautiful wife Hannah followed six months later as she was finishing her doctoral degree in English from Old Dominion University in Virginia. Hannah was just recently hired for her first professional writing job.

Craig is a freelance Director, DP, and Editor. He is currently working on Trev Gowdy’s Monster Fish on the Outdoor Channel as the Director, Editor, and Director of Photography. He is also currently creating a cooking show starring Tony Carbone. This is Craig and Hannah’s first Christmas in Gloucester together. Welcome!

To read more about Craig and see several of the great videos he has shot for Good Morning Gloucester ~

Please Welcome New GMG Contributor Craig Kimberly- St Peter’s Fiesta Parade Video and More

Behind the Scenes Look at What it Takes to Create the “Most Creative” Horribles Float

Video Saturday 2012 Greasy Pole Champion – Nick Avelis Video from Craig Kimberley

Video Sunday 2012 Greasy Pole Champion Stew McGillivray In HD and Slow Motion Video By Our Boy Craig Kimberley

Yikes! Only Five More Days Until Christmas!

Orange Wine and Tapenade

Making Christmas cakes and orange wine and wrapping, and more wrapping–getting my boxes ready to ship to family and out-of-town  friends. I hope their gifts arrive before Christmas! Too much Christmas-making to write a brand new post. Orange wine is one of my favorite recipes to prepare at this time of year and I posted this same recipe last year. Try it. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. My daughter loves orange wine and during the holidays I also make another of her favorites, which is tapenade (so easy) and the two pair beautifully. Spread a thin layer of  tapenade on home-baked crostini and serve with orange wine before dinner.

Tapenade

1/2 cup black olives, pitted

6 anchovy fillets, cleaned, rinsed, and drained

1 1/2 tablespoons capers

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil (more may be needed)

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped basil

Place all ingredients, except for the basil, in the blender and blend on high speed for a few seconds. Push down with a spatula and add more oil if too think. Pour into a bowl and check seasonings; if too salty add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Add basil and cover. Will keep for approximately ten days.*

Crostini ~ Slice thinly on the diagonal best quality French or Italian bread. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Flip the bread slices and drizzle a tiny bit more olive oil and salt and bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Optional, add a very slight sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese, after flipping, and prior to baking the second time.

Orange Wine

Orange infused wine, or vin d’orange, is a warm weather Provençal aperitif, but I never remember to make it during the summer months, only during the holidays. Although, when drinking it, I like to imagine sipping orange wine from a garden somewhere (anywhere!) along the Côte-d’Azure. Vin d’orange is marvelously easy to prepare and makes a much appreciated holiday host/hostess gift.

Over the years I’ve experimented with the original recipe, which was, to my way of thinking, much too sweet—add more sugar if you like a sweeter aperitif. I think you will find this concoction intoxicatingly fun, light, and aromatic. I hope your family and friends enjoy as much as do mine!

12-15 Clementines thoroughly washed and cut in half

3 bottles modestly priced dry white wine

1 Cup sugar

½ Cup Courvoisier

Long strips of orange zest

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl combine the wine and Clementines, gently squeezing each half to release some of the juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 5 days. Save the empty wine bottles and corks; wash and remove labels. You will need a fourth empty bottle.

Remove orange infused wine from the refrigerator and squeeze any liquid remaining in the orange halves into the large bowl. Discard oranges. Add the sugar and cognac, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour wine concoction into wine bottles. Insert a strip of the zest into each bottle and cork. Chill the wine for one week. Serve neat or over ice. The vin d’orange will keep for 6 months when chilled. Makes approximately 4 bottles.

*The tapenade recipe is based on Mirelle Johnson’s classic Provençal cookbook, The Cuisine of the Sun (Random House)

Local Author JoeAnn Hart Shares Her Beautiful Story About Niles Pond

JoeAnn Hart is the author of the novels Addled and the forthcoming Float (Ashland Creek Press, February 2013). Float, set in coastal New England, involves the fishing industry, conceptual art, jellyfish, marital woes, and plastics in the ocean.

Ocean Path at Niles Pond

Niles Pond and the Narrow Path

Folklore has it that Niles Pond was once in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the closest body of fresh water to the ocean, but I can’t verify it. No matter. Not only does it seem true, but as with other Guinness records, such as the heaviest weight lifted by tongue (27.5 lbs.), it also seems impossible. Yet there it is. This 38 acre pond is separated from the salty Atlantic by a causeway just wide enough for a footpath. There is Niles on one side, neatly defined and calm, and on the other, the pounding surf of Brace Cove. To stand between the two is to feel washed in conflicting emotions. I walk this route with Daisy, my fuzzy mutt who believes herself to be a famed hunter of ducks and likes to splash into the dark pond up to her sternum to stir them up.

Niles is named after the farmer who once owned Eastern Point, the small spit of Gloucester land where I live. Of the many unique features of the intertwined land and waterscapes here, Niles is nature’s odd duck. It is a Massachusetts Great Pond, meaning that it is like a Common, where citizens have the right to graze their sheep, except this Common is made of water. Instead of grazing, it is reserved for hunting, fishing, ice-making, and recreation. Duck hunting is no longer feasible because of all the homes built up along the shore, and fishing is also a moot point because the perch have been eaten by the snapping turtles. As for ice, Cape Pond Ice (“the coolest guys in town”) churns it out for the fishing boats these days. That leaves recreation. I’ve never seen anyone but Daisy swim in the pond, what with those snappers, but there are skaters when there is ice. There was no ice last winter, speaking of breaking records, but that is a topic for another time. The point is, Niles is left mostly in the hands of wildlife, as nature intended.

Phragmites at Niles

But what does nature intend? Does it intend for the pond to be choked by phragmites, the feathery reed that is prowling along the perimeter? In geologic time, Niles was once part of the ocean, an extension of Brace Cove. Over the years, rocks rolled to shore, sand accumulated, and the dune got higher until one day it was shut off from the sea. A natural spring bubbled up and slowly replaced the salt water with fresh. In the 1830’s, sensing that the ocean might want to stake a claim again, Farmer Niles reinforced the 400-foot dune with granite to preserve the pond for ice-cutting and “ornament.” It remains a prime resting place for migratory seabirds, and a source of fresh water for the stealthy mammals of the land, including fisher cats and raccoons. At any given time, grebes, cormorants, and ducks float on the surface, while herons and egrets stand around on one leg pretending to be reeds. The mute swans are probably a human introduction, but they are hardly mute. They hiss and snort and otherwise act aggressively because people feed them, which confuses wild animals and makes them testy. That, and the fact that the turtles pull their cygnets from below and eat them. But the phragmites are more aggressive than either swan or snapper.

Migrants

According to Fish and Wildlife, non-native phragmites appeared in
coastal ports in the eastern
 United States in the 19th century, probably as seeds clinging to the hulls of ships. Maybe humankind’s natural purpose on earth is to help immobile species move around the globe. It is hard to figure out where we fit in, but in this aspect, we’ve succeeded. The rapid spread of phragmites in the 20thcentury is attributed to habitat disturbance and eutrophication. Raise your hand if you know what that is. It’s over fertilization from the nitrates from lawn fertilizers and phosphates in laundry detergent seeping into the pond. Phragmites are usually an indicator of a wetlands system out of balance. Well, aren’t we all?

Daisy on the path

Niles Pond wants to grow up to be Niles Marsh. Humans want it to stay a pond, as, I’m sure, do those migratory seabirds. A group of residents is working to have the phragmites dredged. But they’re tenacious plants, with stolons like bullwhips. The upside of this tenacity is that they might hold the earth in place when the Atlantic comes calling for the pond. But, again, that is a topic for another time.

Mallards and Cormorants

Daisy and I do not think of all this when we walk. Her mind is on ducks, mine on “ornament.” It’s particularly hard getting out of the house this time of year. I have to leave unfinished work behind in order to beat the early-setting sun, but Daisy and I need the exercise and the mental cleansing. When we get to the causeway, she scrambles down the steep bank of Farmer Niles’ stones in search of her ducks, while I, shedding myself of the day’s challenges, walk that narrow path between internal calm and unleashed energy.

Sunset at Niles

Reblogged from Newfound, the online journal about place for which JoeAnn is a monthly contributor.

Congratulations Emily Forshay Crowley-Winner of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Dear Friends,

I truly wish I could give each and everyone of you who wrote your thoughtful and cherished comments a copy of Oh Garden. Thank you.

Warmest wishes for a joy-filled holiday season and many thanks again for your participation.

Kim

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! .jpg

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! On sale for 15.00 at David R. Godine, Publisher

How to Offend Flowers

Cornus florida rubra ©Kim Smith 2012

Native Pink Flowering Dogwood ~ Cornus flordia rubra

While writing Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! I would often come across what seemed at the time random information, but would jot it down anyhow hoping that it would find its way into the pages of my book. The following excerpt was found within a display of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) porcelain at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore where I was researching Chinese flower and bird painting. I laughed out loud when reading and it makes me smile with every subsequent read but wonder if it is only funny to we flower- lovers.

Enjoying flowers with tea is the best, enjoying them with conversation the second and enjoying them with wine the least. Feasts and all sorts of vulgar language are most deeply detested and resented by the spirit of the flowers. It is better to keep the mouth shut and sit still than to offend the flowers. 

—from a Ming Dynasty  (1368-1644)  treatise on flowers Walters Art Museum

The idea that flowers can be offended by bad manners reflects the belief that the world we inhabit is an organism in which all phenomena interrelate. By the same reasoning, someone who drinks tea from a peach- shaped pot will live longer (peaches symbolize longevity), and someone who dips his writing brush in a peony-shaped bowl will have good fortune, as the peony is a metaphor for success and wealth. The love of flowers was and continues to be a passion among the Chinese and trees and plants are genuinely loved as living creatures.

To win a free copy of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities ! Notes from a Gloucester Garden leave a comment or see yesterday’s post about the Magnolia virginiana.

The Emperor of China and How to Make Chrysanthemum Tea

Emperor of China Chrysanthemum ©Kim Smith 2012

An ancient variety of chrysanthemum originating from China, the ‘Emperor of China’ resembles and is thought to be the chrysanthemum depicted in early Chinese paintings. Chrysanthemums are also grown for their medicinal properties, and their purported magic juices were an important ingredient in the life-prolonging elixir of the Daoist. Fragrant chrysanthemum tea was considered good for the health, and tonic wine was brewed from an infusion of their petals. Although thought to be rich in healing properties and lovely in form, a more modest well-being was conferred by the vigorous blossoming of the chrysanthemum. Perhaps the late flowering chrysanthemum suggests their connection to a long life, for other plants have finished flowering just as the chrysanthemums begin.

The techniques for learning to paint the orchid, bamboo, plum blossom, and chrysanthemum comprise the basis of Chinese flower and bird painting. They are referred to as “The Four Gentlemen” and are thought to symbolize great intellectual ideas. The orchid is serene and peaceful, though sophisticated and reserved from the world. Bamboo is vigorous and survives throughout the seasons, forever growing upright. The plum blossom expresses yin-yang dualities of delicate and hardy, blooming through snow and ice to herald the arrival of spring. Chrysanthemums continue to flower after a frost, are self-sufficient, and require no assistance in propogating themselves.

China owes its astonishing wealth of plant life to a combination of geographical incidents. The mountains escaped the ravages of the great ice caps and unlike much of Europe and North America, where many plants were wiped out, plant species in China continued to evolve. Additionally, the foothills of the Himalayas are moistened by soft winds from the south, creating an ideal climate for alpine plants. In this warm and moderate environment, three different floras – that of the colder, drier north; that of the sub-tropical south; and that of the alpine species – all mingled and crossed freely for thousands of years.

CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA

Chrysanthemum tea is a tisane made from dried chrysanthemum flowers. The flowers are steeped in boiling water for several minutes, and rock sugar or honey is often added to heighten the sweet aroma. Popular throughout east Asia, chrysanthemum tea is usually served with a meal. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, the tisane is thought to be a “cooling” herb and is recommended for a variety of ailments including influenza, circulatory disorders, sore throats, and fever.

Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden.Leave a comment to be eligible to win a copy. See yesterday’s post about the Magnolia virginiana.

Read more about the ‘Emperor of China’

Chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’ begins its lovely tableau in mid-fall and continues to bloom through the first hard frost. Plum rose with silvery highlights, the quills shade paler toward the outer margins. When the plant is in full bloom, the rich green foliage shifts colors to vibrant hues of bronze to scarlet red. The ‘Emperor of China’ exudes a delicious lemon-spice fragrance noticeable from some distance.

As with New York asters, it is helpful to pinch the tips of each shoot to encourage branching and more blossoms. Repeat this process at each four- to six- inch stage of new growth until the middle of July, or when the buds begin to develop. ‘Emperor of China’ is hardy through zone six and thrives in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil. This cultivar forms a 21/2′ mound in only a few years. Give the plant a top dressing of compost and mulch after the first hard frost.

Win a FREE Copy of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail©Kim Smith 2010

Tuesday through Friday of this week I will be bringing you expert gardening advice excerpted from my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester GardenMy book is currently on sale on my publisher’s website (David R. Godine) for the unheard of price of 15.00 (the list price is 35.00.) In response to Godine’s super sale, I am offering a free copy of my book.

Leave a comment or question on any of the posts by Friday at 8PM to be entered into the drawing to win. Multiple entries are allowed. One person will be chosen at random. The book will be shipped on Monday, the 17th, which should allow time for it to arrive by Christmas. Shipping is included to addresses within the United States and Canada.

Praise for Oh Garden: Smith’s writing is lithe and clean and her experiences in conjuring beauty out of her garden in Gloucester make for excellent reading.
Hawk and Whippoorwill

Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Part One: Creating the Framework, Chapte Three ~ Planting in Harmony with Nature

Magnolia virginiana ~ Sweetbay Magnolia

Located in the heart of Ravenswood Park in Gloucester there is a stand of Magnolia virginiana growing in the Great Magnolia Swamp. It is the only population of sweetbay magnolias known to grow this far north. I took one look at the native sweetbay magnolia and breathed in the fresh lemon-honeysuckle bouquet of the blossoms, fell in love, and immediately set out to learn all I could about this graceful and captivating tree.

Magnolia virginiana ©Kim Smith 2012 copy

Returning from a trip to visit my family in northern Florida, I had tucked the bud of a the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) into my suitcase to paint upon my return. I was dreaming of someday having a garden large enough to accommodate a Magnolia grandiflora and was elated to discover how similar our sweetbay magnolia is to the Southern magnolia. For those not familiar with the Southern magnolia, it is a grand, imposing specimen in the landscape, growing up to fifty feet in the cooler zones five and six, and one hundred feet plus in the southern states. M. grandiflora is the only native magnolia that is evergreen in its northern range, flowering initially in the late spring and sporadically throughout the summer. The creamy white flowers, enormous and bowl-shaped (ten to twelve inches across), emit a delicious, heady sweet lemon fragrance.

In contrast, the flowers of the sweetbay magnolia are smaller, ivory white, water-lily cup shaped, and sweetly scented of citrus and honeysuckle. The leaves are similar in shape to the Magnolia grandiflora, ovate and glossy viridissimus green on the topside, though they are more delicate, and lack the leathery toughness of the Southern magnolia. The lustrous rich green above and the glaucous silvery green on the underside of the foliage creates a lovely ornamental bi-color effect as the leaves are caught in the seasonal breezes.

Magnolia virginiana is an ideal tree for a small garden in its northern range growing to roughly twenty feet compared to the more commanding height of a mature Southern magnolia. M. virginiana grows from Massachusetts to Florida in coastal freshwater wetland areas as an understory tree. The tree can be single- or multi-stemmed. Sweetbay is a stunning addition to the woodland garden with an open form, allowing a variety of part-shade loving flora to grow beneath the airy canopy. The leaves are a larval food for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Almost immediately after planting we began to notice the swallowtails gliding from the sunny borders of the front dooryard, where an abundance of nectar-rich flowers are planted specifically to attract butterflies, around to the shady border in the rear yard where our sweetbay is located.

Garden designs are continually evolving. Part of our garden has given way to a limited version of a woodland garden, for the shady canopy created by the ever-growing ceiling of foliage of our neighboring trees has increasingly defined our landscape. We sited our Magnolia virginiana in the center of our diminutive shaded woodland garden where we can observe the tree from the kitchen window while standing at the kitchen sink. Gazing upon the tree bending and swaying gracefully in the wind, displaying its shifting bi-color leaves, provides a pleasant view when tending to daily chores.

See Tuesday’s excerpt about pear trees

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail ©Kim Smith 2010Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Win a FREE Copy of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Tuesday through Friday of this week I will be bringing you expert gardening advice excerpted from my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester GardenMy book is currently on sale on my publisher’s website (David R. Godine) for the unheard of price of 15.00 (the list price is 35.00.) In response to Godine’s super sale, I am offering a free copy of my book.

Leave a comment or question on any of the posts by Friday at 8PM to be entered into the drawing to win. Multiple entries are allowed. One person will be chosen at random. The book will be shipped on Monday, the 17th, which should allow time for it to arrive by Christmas. Shipping is included to addresses within the United States and Canada.

 

Praise for Oh Garden! from The Boston Globe’s Carol Stocker ~ Oh Garden! is a treasure, and perhaps the best garden gift book of the season. Both dream-like and practical, it captures the gardener’s journey by integrating personal essays, hand’s-on advice, and paintings.
—The Boston Globe

Monarch Butterflies Mating ©Kim Smith 2010.jpgA Pair of Monarchs Mating in Our Pear Trees 

Excerpt from Part One: Creating the Framework, Chapter One

He who plants pears, Plants for heirs

Pyrus communis, or common European pear, is not seen growing in the wild. The cultivated pears as we know them today are thought to be derived from Pyrus nivalis and P. caucasia. Few pears ripen well on the tree and that may be one reason they have not been grown as extensively in America as apples and peaches, although apple and peach trees are not as long lived as pear trees. A healthy pear tree can live and bear fruit for several centuries.

The trick to harvesting pears is to pick them as they are ripening, while they are still quite firm. If you wait until the flesh yields with pressure on the outside, the fruit will be rotted inside. Each individual variety of pears has an estimated ripening date from when the tree blooms. Note the date when the tree begins to flower and count the days forward to the approximate ripening time. The quality of the soil, where the tree is sited, as well as changes in the weather from year to year will influence the number of days until the pears are ready to be harvested. Bearing in mind that this is only an approximation, begin monitoring the fruit closely as the day approaches. Nearing the correct time of harvest, the color of the fruit will begin to change. For example, the ‘Beurre Bosc’ begins to turn a light golden yellow beneath its russet skin. Carefully hold the stem of the pear in one hand and the fruit-bearing spur in the other hand. Gently twist with an upward turn. Remove the pear and stem, not the bumpy, fruit-bearing spur. It takes several years for a spur to develop, and if damaged or accidentally harvested with the pear, the crop will be significantly decreased the following year.

Stack the fruit in the coldest section of a refrigerator and store for several weeks. After two to three weeks, remove a pear or two and let it ripen at room temperature for several days. At this point the pear will ideally be fully ripe and ready to eat. Depending on the cultivar, pears will keep for weeks to several months when kept well chilled.

My Book On SALE for ONLY 15.00!!! “Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden”

Just in time for your holiday gift giving, my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden, which I both wrote and illustrated, is on sale on my publisher’s website for only 15.00. The price is unbeatable as the list cost is 35.00.  Oh Garden! makes an ideal gift for the garden-maker and nature lover on your holiday gift list and at this price, I recommend you buy one for yourself and one for a friend!

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! .jpg

Praise for Oh Garden ~

Anyone who gardens along the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to South Carolina will appreciate Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! (David R. Godine, $35). This book is filled with design ideas and plants that work well in this coastal region, as author and garden designer Kim Smith relates her experiences with her garden in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The first part of the book, “Creating the Framework,” delves into trees, shrubs, and other elements for creating structure in the garden, while the second section addresses how to fill out the framework to create a harmonious living tapestry in your garden. —Viveka Neveln, The American Gardener

Oh Garden! is a 250 page hardcover book crammed full of the most excellent gardening advice you will find anywhere, guiding you through the four seasons, and woven throughout with over 85 illustrations, and fabulous plant lists. All week I will be bringing you excerpts from my book, with more praises from The Boston Globe and other literary reviewers.

Johnny Linville and Friends of the High Line

Johnny Linville©Kim Smith 2012

Perhaps the Future Holds a Friends of the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens

Last night I had the joy of hearing Johnny Linville, Manager of Horticulture for the Friends of the High Line, at Bolyston Hall in Boston, presented by COG Design. The dynamic Mr. Linville spoke to a full house of designers, landscape architects, and students eager to hear his presentation and he did not disappoint. With slides and a great sense of humor, Linville shared their successes, and some few failures, reminding us that the ‘park in the sky’ is a living experiment.
Bolyston Hall ©Kim Smith 2012
The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York and maintained by Friends of the High Line. This event is timely for Gloucester as Chris Muskopf, the lead architect of the Gloucester Harbor Walk, and I have been speaking about the possibility of developing a Friends of Gloucester Harbor Walk. Friends of the High Line is a non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure the High Line is maintained as an exceptional public space for all visitors to enjoy. I am hoping that perhaps we can create interest in developing a Friends of Gloucester Harbor Walk to help with the educational component of the butterfly garden and to help with maintenance.
Johnny Linville -2©Kim Smith 2012.

Available on the High Line webstore, and at the top of my Christmas wish list, is the book High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s park in the Sky, written by Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 100% of the proceeds from this book go toward maintenance and operation of the High Line.

From the High Line website: The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.

Special thanks to Lucia Droby, COGDesigns Executive Director for organizing the event and for assistance with my ticket!

Multiple Exposure Fujifilm X-E1

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure ©KIm Smith 2012

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure  ©KIm Smith 2012

To create a double exposure select the Multiple Exposure mode in the shooting menu. Take your first shot, and if acceptable, press ok. The first photo is now visible in both the viewfinder and the LCD monitor, which allows you to easily compose the finished photo. Take the second shot and press ok to exit. If you do not like the second shot, you have the option to retry.

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure©KIm Smith 2012Multiple Exposure shooting mode allows you to change focal length, degree of focus, and aperture between shots. I absolutely adore this feature and can think of a hundred thousand images. Creating double exposures is always possible post production although I prefer the ephemerality of composing in the moment.

Swans Niles Pond-1 ©KIm Smith 2012

Swans Niles Pond ©KIm Smith 2012

Over the past several months I have spent many mornings at Eastern Point trying to film the resident swans in their pre-dawn flight. My hope was to capture 20-30 seconds of swans silhouetted against the red rising sun. For the most part I have been  unsuccessful and have only managed a mere snippet or two. The swans eye me warily and then head to the far side of the pond. Yesterday morning I went to my usual observation point to experiment with the Fujifilm X-E1 multiple exposure shooting mode. Perhaps because I was so focused on my exposure experiment and wasn’t paying a lick of attention to them or perhaps because I did not have my tripod with me (I am convinced now more than ever after today that the swans think my tripod is a rifle), but for whatever reason, two decided to groom themselves within arms reach.

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure-5 ©KIm Smith 2012

In this image you can see the typical first photo from my little experiment.

Holiday Concert at Willowdale Estate

Willowdale Holiday Concert©Kim Smith 2012Lisa, Lora, and Briar sang to a packed house last night. Their solos, and voices in unison, of traditional classic songs, made for a beautiful evening of holiday music. My favorites were Carol of the Bells and the tender lullaby by Paul Williams and Joseph M. Martin: Still is the Night; also by  Joseph Martin was the joyful O Come Emmanuel and Listen to the Stars, both from The Voices of Christmas.

Lisa and Lora TamaginiMezzo Soprano Lisa Tamagini and Soprano Lora Tamagini

Sisters Lisa and Lora Tamagini and Briar have known each other since they began their opera careers in Boston. Lora and Lisa have toured the world over and Lora’s original music can be heard on three CDs: Joy in My SoulSing to the Lord, and Sing Gloria. Briar is passionate about supporting local artists and it has been her dream to host musical concerts. The success of Willowdale has made it possible for her to create unforgettable holiday performances for everyone to enjoy!

Willowdale Holiday Concert-4©Kim Smith 2012

Willowdale Holiday Concert-3©Kim Smith 2012Briar’s festive and delicious Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

jpeg

Maggies Farm

Maggies Farm Middleton ©Kim Smith 2012

Last night we stopped at Mark McDonough’s newest restaurant, Maggies Farmlocated in Middleton. Disclaimer: our son Alex recently started working there although, I can honestly say, our dinners were simply outstanding. And as you can see in the photos, the portions are enormously generous.

Maggies Farm Restaurant Middleton ©Kim Smith 2012-2

Alex recommended the Nachos and, even though I generally dislike shouty capitals– WOW is all I can say!

The host Kai was gracious and friendly and our waitress was super professional and efficient. The ambiance was warm, welcoming, and fun, and the crowd ranged in age from 20-somethings through the ages including dating couples, sports bar fans, a group of women getting together after work, and sitting next to us, was a grandmother with her granddaughter discussing the granddaughter’s upcoming wedding plans.

Maggies Farm Restaurant Middleton ©Kim Smith 2012-3

Husband Tom ordered the Fish and Chips. I did not try the fish however, the onion rings were the best I have ever tasted–extra crispy flavorful golden brown on the outside, perfectly sweet, tender onions within. We were not sitting under the lights and I apologize for the not-so-great photos, but we’ll be back often.   I ‘d love to return at lunch time for better photos and to try more items on the menu. I struggled to decide and was more than happy with the delicious Pan Roasted Chicken with cranberry cornbread stuffing, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, and gravy (and much too full after the perfectly enormous plate of nachos to eat all my dinner). The menu is a collection of favorite comfort food from many cuisines, and is comfort food at its most sublime. For sushi-lovers, the sushi looked very tempting and is half-off on Monday nights. I can see any number of reasons to head over to Maggies for lunch or for dinner as it is only a five minute drive past the long stretch of shops, stores, and car dealerships that line Rt. 114. Maggies is located adjacent to Richardson’s Farm. When the weather warms it will be lots of fun to make a night of Richardson’s mini golf and dinner at Maggies!

Maggies Farm Restaurant Middleton -4 ©Kim Smith 2012.

The name Maggies Farm is taken from the Bob Dylan song he penned (from the album Bringing it All Back Home), after his departure from acoustic folk to electric rock. See Mark McDonough’s Gloucester restaurants Alchemy, Latitude 43, and Minglewood.

Self-publishing Event at the Sawyer Free Library

Self-publishing event sawyer free 2012

Self-publishing event sawyer free 2012-1

The Self-publishing Event at the Sawyer Free was packed. Ironically, when the program was held two years ago, moderator Susan Oleksiw said that there were more people in the panel than in attendance, which speaks to the overall dismal state of traditional publishing houses versus the growth of the self-publishing industry. Susan did a great job moderating and each panelist brought to the discussion a different approach based on their individual experiences with self publishing. The sheer range of options is fascinating and anyone facing the challenges of self-publishing would be well served to thoroughly research all.

Tom Hauck Self-publishing event sawyer free 2012Editor and Author Tom Hauck