Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

Truly Fall

The day is blustery and seasonably crisp. There is a frost warning for Plymouth County tonight. Yesterday brought warmth and a steady offshore breeze for a perfect fall beach walk at Humarock beach.


Normally uneven and rock strewn,  the ocean at low tide provided a smooth, wide swath of lightly packed sand like a freshly paved road.

The wind whipped and curled the modest waves which beguiled a couple of surfers. 



A bicyclist rode by. We exchanged hellos and nods to other couples. And a few dogs.


Afterwards, we gleaned late season tomatoes from our friends’ garden since they’re traveling in Southeast Asia. It is truly fall.

May Tidings

photo of rain gague in my garden

My new rain gauge near the clematis

How Dry I Am

Kate and Ryan gave me a rain gauge for my birthday. How neat. I like that it measures my rain in my yard – no more looking up our regional rainfall in the Boston Globe. I’m empowered!

Our friends, Grace and Jerry, went a step further and installed a sophisticated electronic weather monitoring system. It required them to scale heights to attach an anemometer onto their roof. I’m not there yet.

We have a winner

Our aging white flowering dogwood

Aging yet graceful white flowering dogwood (cornus florida)

Also for my birthday I was gifted with a lottery ticket. It delivered me $100! I purchased with the proceeds a new white flowering dogwood (cornus florida) and heaved it into the earth close by our cherished, but aging, same variety dogwood that so beautifully graces the yard in April and May. Mild winters provide a bountiful spring bloom and there is nothing more special than that tree in our garden. Hence, adding a new generation before the old one passes.

Tick Smarts

image showing tick removal with pointy tweezers

Remove ticks with pointed tweezers close to the skin

I recently joined the Arnold Arboretum and attended a lecture there on Thursday, May 17 called “More Ticks in More Places” presented by Dr. Thomas Mather from the University of Rhode Island  Tick Encounter Resource Center ( Smart guy. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the epicenter for deer tick-borne Lyme disease. It’s worth looking at his excellent website for all tick-related concerns.

Also, there’s a new tick approaching from our south called Lone Star tick – Long Island and New Jersey are already infested; it carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fun.

As a result, I’m in the market for permethrin treated clothing and we just renewed Daphne’s “Evolution” treatment. He covered so much – dispelling myths, top ten things everyone should know, personal protection measures, safe removal, etc. Tip: after you come in from outdoor activity, throw clothes in the dryer first, then the wash. Ticks die in dry heat, but may survive washing.

A Man’s Home Is His Castle

Prepping for our golden years, we’ve begun a comprehensive house renewal program. New shingled roof, replaced worn and weathered trim boards/sills, created a portico (!) over the front door, four new windows, and new stoop and replaced cedar shingles on the back of the house. Son-in-law Ryan Flynn (yes, that Ryan Flynn) designed and crafted the portico. We’re delighted! We believe the painters will start next week. Maisy appraised our new white cedar shingles yesterday and declared: “Nice and clean!”

Midday Saturday on a beautiful May weekend. Chores. This evening we attend a performance by Coro Allegro of Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at the Church of the Covenant in Back Bay.

Early Spring Dance

New England, March 2012: So odd to have late June’s cameo appearance.

image of withered echinacea and wood bridge

Last year's echinacea

We pensively enjoyed the abundant warmth and sunshine, while summer’s annoyances buzzed and swarmed around us, eventually driving us inside from the patio.

So many things sprang to life this week – the helleboros from Grace & Jerry, which must be thinned and would probably work better at the foot of the stone wall; our accidental hyacinth — a reliable, discarded gift from a beau to one of our teenage daughters, who are both in their 30’s now; streets bursting with magnolias already past their peak on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston; and, allergies galore.

I began clearing last year’s garden refuse and I re-installed the garden foot bridge on reset brick footings that lower the leading edge of the bridge so it’s neatly flush with the adjoining patio. This fundamental satisfaction I will enjoy forever. On walks at Humarock Beach I’m harvesting tumbled, black stones to supplement my medium hard-scape around the bridge; I will place the rounded rocks such that they become a Zen garden-like flow.

photo of purple and white crocus

Crocus cast in myrtle

It’s too early to put out my little water feature because here in New England, in March or April, a sudden freeze can descend at any time. One doesn’t put out one’s tomatoes before Mother’s Day. My wish is for a brief cold snap to kill off the flying insects that hatched prematurely, then, a long, drawn out spring with just the right amount of rain. We can have the most spectacular Mays and Junes.

Spring is planning and planting and visioning and acting. Who knows how this season will progress? Is the sudden warmth a friendly lark or a portent of grave weather to come? Neither, both.


Marshfield Farmers Market Public Secret

Like Poe’s Purloined Letter, Marshfield’s Winter Farmers Market is hiding in plain sight.

Building on the steadily growing popularity of farmers markets locally, regionally and nationally, the folks who bring you the annual Marshfield Fair (Marshfield Agricultural and Horticultural Society) converted a corner of the fairgrounds into a Farmers Market that runs throughout the summer and fall harvest seasons (June-October). The Fair itself, a highlight of Marshfield’s summer, was founded in 1867.

Growing and harvesting a tradition

2010 marked the 5th season of the Marshfield Farmers Market. The summer market is establishing a new tradition for locavores and community farmers.

Late in 2010, they took it another step — converting the fairgrounds’ 4-H Club shed into a frosty, enclosed market for winter shoppers. It began as a pre-holiday event in November, 2010. 

“It’s an experiment,” says Market Manager Karen Biaginni (pictured here with her team of Janet Scribner and Bill Frugoli). The result? So far so good.

Following their early success, they added dates for January and  February 2011 – next one is Saturday, February 26. (South Shore citizens take note!)

Market Day, January 2011

We stopped by the market on Saturday, January 29, which turned out to be one of the few sunny days in an otherwise messy month. Inside the 4-H barn we made the rounds.

First stop was Rise and Shine – a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in Marshfield, run by Marta and Doug MacFarland. We selected from a variety of fresh root vegetables (onions, acorn squash, cabbage, small potatoes, turnips, rutabaga and popping corn on the cob). You can order in advance from their website and join their mailing list, too. Fan Carolyn Housman (Marshfield, MA) stated “I am really turned off by grocery store waxed and soft turnips when I can buy it from Marta.” We bagged colorful dwarf onions and a few squash.

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Tending to local agriculture

Marshfield Farmer’s Market enjoys membership in the Southeast Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP), an organization formed in 1998 to promote regional stewardship of agricultural lands (and aquaculture). According to their website

SEMAP was a creation of necessity, as there was a void in our part of the commonwealth.  SEMAP became the organization providing a comprehensive source to help the region’s farmers and aquaculture operators navigate the many agencies and organizations that provide support and resources to farming operations in the region. (Bristol, Plymouth and Barnstable Counties)

Bringing it home

I was seduced by cinnamon from Guiseppe’s Cakes (Hanover, MA) , and chatted with owner Joseph Perella. To qualify for a spot in the market your offerings must be locally produced (this ain’t no flea market, baby) and Joe is proud of his product. I chewed through a tasty cinnamon twist — sweet and fresh, although I was hoping for the hard-to-find flaky variety. “My specialty is my cakes,” he explained. And he had the goods to prove it.

I munched and meandered down the aisle to the outpost for Open Meadow Farm (Lunenburg, MA), producer and purveyor  of pasture-raised organic meat. Robin and Charles Dance get help serving customers from daughter Rebecca.  Open Meadow Farm often takes orders in advance of market day from a growing band of happy customers who won’t be disappointed. Finally I know the answer to “where’s the beef!” [Not a valid template]

Psssst — Marshfield has a market, Pass it on

While most of the action occurs in the summer market (lots of produce, live music, crafts, bigger crowds), the winter market brings out true believers. It’s a great new tradition for our neck of the woods. But don’t take my word for it — bundle up and check it out yourself. For more information tell ’em to put you on their mailing list — jgscribner @

So, how do you satisfy your locavore? Add a comment and share your sustainable story!