Great Egret: Hunted to Near Extinction

Great Egret Gloucester airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015During the breeding season, Great Egrets grow long feathers from their back called airgrettes.

Great Egret airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015The airgrettes were the feathers sought by the 19th and early 20th century plume-hunters for the millinery trade.

The magnificent Great Egret was very nearly hunted to extinction during the “Plume Bloom” of the early 20th century. Startling, cumbersome, and hideous, hats were fashioned with every manner of beautiful bird feather. Europeans were partial to exotic birds that were hunted the world over and they included hummingbirds, toucans, birds of paradise, the condor, and emu. The American milinery trade favored herons for their natural abundance. The atrocities committed by the murderous millinery led to the formation of the first Audubon and conservation societies however, what truly led to saving the birds from extinction was the boyish bob and other short hairstyles introduced in about 1913. The short cuts could not support the hat extravaganzas, which led to the popularity of the cloche and the demise of the plume-hunters.

banned-egretsConfiscated dead egrets

humming-birds-rzsThousands of hummingbird pelts at 2 cents apiece

kate-middleton-2-435As absurdly ridiculous now as then

bird-hat-public-domainAll images except Great Egret photos courtesy Google image search

NEW FILM: VIVA SAN PIETRO!

Thank you to our beautiful Gloucester community for participating in Viva San Pietro! Thank you to the Greasy Pole Walkers for interviews given during the Sunday rally and especially to Nicky Avelis for help coordinating. A huge thanks to Joe DaSilva for the suggestion to listen to Mike Forgette’s music for the film’s soundtrack and for help in contacting Mike. A tremendous thank you goes to Mike Forgette for granting permission to use his song “Whats the Difference” (link to hear more of Mike Forgette Music).

Viva San Pietro! opens with Joe Novello preparing Gloucester’s Saint Peter’s Square for the formal opening ceremony, to which he is also the master of ceremonies. Highlights from Friday afternoon’s sporting events are followed by the procession of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan takes to the stage and provides some history about the origins of the Fiesta. Senator Tarr and all officials give praise to the committee for their tireless dedication. Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc rally the crowd with the traditional call and response that is heard throughout the city in the coming days, and Father Jim Achadinha gives his blessing.

Saturday’s Greasy Pole competition is featured with highlights from Joe DaSilva’s winning walk. Due to foul weather, Sunday’s events take place on Monday. The Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers in their zany and colorful costumes tell of past walks and wins at the rally held at the home of Sunday Walker Joe Sanfillipo. After processing through downtown with stops along the way at the Gloucester House Restaurant, House of Mitch, and Saint Peter’s Club, the Walkers head over to Beach Court. Because Sunday’s events had been postponed to Monday and the stage broken down on schedule, the statue of Saint Peter was temporarily moved to Beach Court. After blessings and prayers, the revelers headed back to Saint Peter’s Square to board the ferry to the Greasy Pole.

The men’s seine boat competition does not disappoint, with Lock and Load taking the trophy, followed by an outstanding flag capture by Jake Wagner.

The Walkers hoist Jake upon their shoulders and carry him to the Greasy Pole Hall of Fame Wall. Then it’s back to Beach Court where the closing ceremony is held. Congratulatory speeches are given by the team captains, with much cheering and accolades for all. After the award ceremony, the statue of Saint Peter is processed through the Fort amidst much merriment, joyful singing, and “Me chi samiou tutti mutti? Viva San Pietro!,” which roughly translated means: Are you all mute? (or Why are you not shouting?)—long live Saint Peter!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners Joe DaSilva, Lenny Taormina, and Jake Wagner, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan, House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Sunday Greasy Pole Walker and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc, Peter Black Frontiero, Nicky Avelis, Joe Sanfilippo, Paul Nicastro, Kyle Barry, Mark Allen, Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton, and many, many more. Viva San Pietro!

Beautiful New Cookbook from Heather Atwood ~ In Cod We Trust

In Heather Atwood’s inimitably beautiful style of writing, she presents a treasure trove of coastal Massachusetts history told through the culinary lens of cuisine and customs. I am looking forward to delving into In Cod We Trust: From Sea to Shore, the Celebrated Cuisine of Coastal Massachusetts!

91bsqXbjENLPublished by Globe Pequot Press, In Cod We Trust is available to purchase from Toad Hall Bookstore, the Bookstore Gloucester, and from Amazon.

For a sampling of recipes, read this recent Boston Globe article.

From the Back Cover

A Culinary Journey Along the Massachusetts Coastline

The Massachusetts seacoast is as varied as the coast of France. Built on whaling oil and hauls of cod, fishing villages from New Bedford to Rockport emerged as distinctively different cultures––different accents, different customs, different recipes––like strewn pearls along the tidal marshes and granite promontories that make up the Massachusetts shore.

When people think of dock-side dining in Massachusetts they imagine buttery toasted lobster rolls, steaming bowls of creamy fish chowder, and alabaster-white slabs of baked cod piled with bread crumbs, but its rich and varied cuisine reflects all who have come to call these seaports home.

Cultures––including, Sicilian, Portuguese, Finnish, and Irish––were so tightly bound that generations have stayed and continue to leave their culinary mark on coastline. Their culinary influence shows in the sweet smells coming from the bakeries and restaurants. It’s a cuisine almost frozen in time, but ever reflecting the Atlantic Ocean.

In Cod We Trust features over 175 recipes that celebrate the area’s unique place in the culinary world, and is a photographic journey for both people who love the area and those who hope to visit one day.

About the Author ~

Heather Atwood writes the Food for Thought column in The Gloucester Daily Times. She lives in Rockport, once a part of Gloucester, now a small fishing village at the far northern tip of Cape Ann. She loves learning about local food traditions from Cape Ann families who have lived here for generations. Heather also has a food blog at HeatherAtwood.com, and produces cooking videos for the production company, MPN.

She writes:  Unlike most of the world which thrives on tradition, I don’t really like making the same thing twice. I return to a few recipes – pizzocheri, Tourteau Fromage, Asian noodle soups, butternut squash and sage lasagna, Nico and Amelia’s smoked fish – but I get restless.

I always ask people what they’re eating, because it tells me a lot about them, and it might give me an idea of something new to make for dinner, or it might remind me of some old standard I’d forgotten. Even better, what they choose to tell me might lead to a story. I like stories about food almost as much I like lunch, my favorite meal of all. Lunch might mean meeting a friend, eating with a daughter, or eating alone, but it’s still part of the day’s beginning and not yet its end.

I live in a house with a name – Howlets – a century-old stone house once owned by a family of painters. We have a cat named Clara who sleeps a lot, Martha, a brave Corgi, a large yard with old crabapple trees, two quarries, and a view of Ipswich Bay. I give dinner parties. Sometimes we make cooking videos here. I also write a syndicated weekly food column, Food for Thought, for the Gloucester Times. I’m not a trained cook, but I love bringing people together with wine and a meal.

 

Kim Smith Lecture Chelmsford Public Library

Please join me Tuesday evening  at 7pm at the Chelmsford Public Library for my lecture The Pollinator Garden. The event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!

Pipevine Swallowtail Eggs ©Kim Smith 2012Pipevine Swallowtail Eggs, East Gloucester

Ducks in a Row

I wonder from where the idiom “getting your ducks in a row” comes? :)

Ducks in a Row ©Kim Smith 2015

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Annes's Lace -3 ©Kim smith 2015Queen Annes's Lace ©Kim smith 2015Although not a native North American wildflower, Queen Anne’s Lace has adapted to our climate well, reportedly growing in every state save for Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. A member of the Umbelliferae, or Carrot Family, Queen Anne’s Lace also goes by the common names Wild Carrot, Bird’s Nest, and Bishops’s Lace. The root of young plants, although white, tastes like a carrot, and when rubbed together between fingers, the foliage smells of parsley (also a member of the Umbel Family).

Black Swallowtail osmeterium ©Kim Smith 2011 copyQueen Anne’s Lace is a caterpillar food plant of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Don’t despair butterfly lovers. Although the butterflies have been slow to awaken this year, I have high hopes that just as flowering plants are several weeks behind, so too will the the butterflies emerge–only later than expected.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Zinnia Male ©Kim Smith 2013.Please join me Tuesday evening  at 7pm at the Chelmsford Public Library for my lecture The Pollinator Garden. The event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!

Queen Annes's Lace -4 ©Kim smith 2015

Addendum ~

Reader Wendy Beer writes and submits terrific photo of a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on Queen Anne’s Lace:

Hi Kim,

I came across your web site when I was trying to find out what kind of caterpillar I had in my back yard. I was thrilled to find your website and now am following your updates. Thank you so much for answering my question about the Queen Anne’s lace and the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. I have attached the picture I took in my back yard (London, Ontario) for you.

Cheers.

Sincerely,
Wendy Beer

Black Swallowtail Butterfly June 2015

HUGE SHOUT OUT TO ANN MARGARET FERRANTE FOR PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO GROW OUR CREATIVE ECONOMY!

Hearing-1This past Saturday a public meeting was held to provide State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante the opportunity to introduce the four pieces of legislation that she has put forth to help grow the Massachusetts creative economy. The meeting was organized by Judith Hoglander, Chair for the Gloucester Committee for the Arts, and took place at the Gloucester Stage Company. Judith and Ann Margaret’s hope was to have an open exchange regarding the legislation prior to its moving forward and to create an opportunity to hear and discuss new ideas. Special guest Matt Wilson from MASSCreative also spoke about the importance of arts advocacy.

Ann Margaret’s proposed legislation could not be more on target and will have a tremendously positive impact on communities throughout Massachusetts. Time and again, around the nation, and the world over, we have seen how a thriving artistic community improves the spiritual, educational, and economic well being of a region.

Summary of the four pieces of legislation:

1.Tax credit for live-theatre-to-Broadway. What does that mean? Pre-Broadway theatres would be granted a tax-credit for the six to twelve weeks of the show’s run. How does that benefit our communities? Ann Margaret explained that Boston and Massachusetts regional theatres were formerly considered the best place for theatres in New York to test their upcoming shows. It was easy and economical to pack up the show and head to Massachusetts. Not any longer because Chicago, New Orleans, and Rhode Island now offer tax exemptions for pre-Broadway shows. Boston and Massachusetts theatres are dark during pre-Broadway runs, which means the restaurants and surrounding businesses are also empty of patrons. Did you know that the Colonial Theatre in Boston is slated to close this winter? And become luxury condos??

  1. Sales tax exemptions for art sales (with a cap).
  1. Sales tax exemptions for developers to create artist live-work space. This is huge and would also contain wording to prevent the dwellings from becoming luxury condominiums.
  1. Simple red/green rating system for the handicap accessibility of cultural institutions. This would not compel any change to the institution, but simply make it easier for people with a handicap to attend the venue.

A true advocate for the arts, it is worth noting that Representative Ferrante was instrumental in maintaining the film industry tax credit. She was the point person fighting this serious threat to our regional economy. There isn’t one person in Massachusetts who has not benefited directly or indirectly from our growing film industry. The business of filmmaking creates exceptional and well paying jobs (with benefits) and supports local businesses, while also generating worldwide interest in our region. Hats off to Ann Margaret Ferrante for the stellar work that she is accomplishing for Cape Ann and for all of Massachusetts.

Judith Hoglander ©Kim Smith 2015Judith Hoglander, meeting organizer, and Chair to the Gloucester Committee for the Arts.

Jon Wojciechowski ©Kim Smith 2015Jon Wojciechowski, Executive Managing Director Gloucester Stage Company

Matt Wilson ©Kim Smith 2015Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCeative

Matt explains that the mission of MASSCreative is threefold: 1) to educate communities about the importance of the arts, 2) advocate for the arts on a political level, and 3) teach communities how to advocate for themselves. Read more about MASSCreative here.

Why does Gloucester Stage looks so funky? GO SEE OUT OF STERNO TO FIND OUT WHY!

Please Note: Ann Margaret is not running for re-election in the fall of 2015 (she will be running for re-election in 2016) and I feel strongly that by presenting the above information I am not going against the Good Morning Gloucester policy of not advocating for candidates during an active election campaign. As we have done many times in the past, it is of great value to our community to highlight the good work that is being done by our elected officials, especially in this case where the legislation that is being put forth by Representative Ferrante will directly benefit a large percentage of our community.

2010_FERRANTEJason Grow Photo