Setting the Table for a Regal Butterfly Comeback, With Milkweed

Monarch Caterpillar Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2013Monarch Caterpillar Eating Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Foliage

Thank you GMG readers and Monarch Butterfly friends for forwarding the following article from the NY Times!

By Michael Wines

Published December 20th, 2013

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Bounding out of a silver Ford pickup into the single-digit wind-flogged flatness that is Iowa in December, Laura Jackson strode to a thicket of desiccated sticks and plucked a paisley-shaped prize.

It was a pod that, after a gentle squeeze, burst with chocolate brown buttons: seeds of milkweed, the favored — indeed, the only — food of the monarch butterfly caterpillar.

Once wild and common, milkweed has diminished as cropland expansion has drastically cut grasslands and conservation lands. Diminished too is the iconic monarch.

Dr. Jackson, a University of Northern Iowa biologist and director of its Tallgrass Prairie Center, is part of a growing effort to rescue the monarch. Her prairie center not only grows milkweed seeds for the state’s natural resources department, which spreads them in parks and other government lands, but has helped seed thousands of acres statewide with milkweed and other native plants in a broader effort to revive the flora and fauna that once blanketed more than four-fifths of the state.

Monarch Caterpillar milkweed -2 © Kim Smith 2012Monarch caterpillar hanging from a Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) leaf rib, in the characteristic J-shape, readying to pupate.

Nationwide, organizations are working to increase the monarchs’ flagging numbers. At the University of Minnesota, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies called Monarch Joint Venture is funding research and conservation efforts. At the University of Kansas, Monarch Watch has enlisted supporters to create nearly 7,450 so-called way stations, milkweed-rich backyards and other feeding and breeding spots along migration routes on the East and West Coasts and the Midwest.

But it remains an uphill struggle. The number of monarchs that completed the largest and most arduous migration this fall, from the northern United States and Canada to a mountainside forest in Mexico, dropped precipitously, apparently to the lowest level yet recorded. In 2010 at the University of Northern Iowa, a summertime count in some 100 acres of prairie grasses and flowers turned up 176 monarchs; this year, there were 11.

Read the story here

Spring Mix Salad With Mango/Ginger Stilton Cheese & Crispy Bacon


mango cheese salad (4)

Spring Mix Salad With Mango/Ginger Stilton Cheese & Crispy Bacon


8 cups spring mix baby red and green leaf lettuce

1 1/4 cup Mango/Ginger Stilton Cheese (sold at The Cave, Main Street Gloucester)

3/4 cup dried cherries

3/4 cup whole pecans

8 slices bacon; crisply cooked; crumbled

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1 arrange greens in serving bowl; top with dried cherries and pecans

mango cheese salad (9)

2 cut wedge of cheese into bite-size pieces; add cheese pieces and toss

mango cheese salad (8)

3 vigorously whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper 1 minute; pour dressing over top; toss and mix well

mango cheese salad (6)

4  top with bacon pieces; serve

mango cheese salad (5)

Joey’s Calling You Out to Take the Plunge

rocky neck plunge call

Always a great time, whether you plunge or just come to cheer on the plungers!  The Rocky Neck Plunge will take place on New Year’s Day at 2:00PM at Oaks Cove Beach on Stevens Lane with a body and innards warming after party immediately following at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street with chowda and hot chocolate.  A perfect way to start the new year – having fun and being part of this unique community.  Who says nothing happens on Rocky Neck in the winter?!

There will be a van at the corner of Wonson Street and Stevens Lane to collect non-perishable food donations for The Open Door Food Panty so bring along some goods to help fill it up (checks are also welcome).

E.J. Lefavour

Alchemy brings New Orleans to New England for New Year’s Eve

alchemy new years poster

Alchemy will be celebrating 2014 New Orleans style with cocktails inspired by the Big Easy, creole fare and smooth jazz.

Sip Sazeracs while enjoying Chef Scott’s special prix fixe menu

Alchemy will be celebrating 2014 New Orleans style with cocktails inspired by the Big Easy, creole fare and smooth jazz.

Sip Sazeracs while enjoying Chef Scott’s special prix fixe menu:

 1st Course
Fried Oyster Po’Boy
Confit Alligator Hush Puppies
Maque Choux Salad

2nd Course
Sous Vide Grilled Filet Tenderloin
New Orleans Cassoulette
Crab & Crawdad Etouffee

3rd Course
Orange & Cinnamon Beignets
Glazed Doughnut Bread Pudding

 Judith Murray and her trio will be crooning jazz standards throughout the night, and guests who order the specialty prix fixe menu ($75) will also score a ticket to Minglewood’s New Year’s Eve party right down the street! Call for Reservations: 978.281.3997

The Franklin New Years Eve


Franklin Cape Ann

Still looking for New Years Eve plans? Look no further! 

Join us for Dinner…

We will be serving four courses with a complimentary glass of Prosecco. 

Enjoy live jazz from Billy Novick & Thomas Hebb  

6:00 – 9:30pm  

$65 per person

Call to reserve your spot 978-283-7888

We will also be reserving seating at the bar.

Our New Year’s Eve Menu

For the table…

Tuna nigiri with a jalapeno salsa

Complimentary glass of La Marca Prosecco 


First Course

Lobster Bisque


Second Course

Baby Arugula Salad

goat cheese, strawberries, walnuts, white balsamic & berry vinaigrette


Entree Course

Surf & Turf 

filet mignon, panko scallops, sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic potato, red wine sauce

Braise Lamb Shank 

spinach & mint risotto, orange zest

Pan Seared Sea Bass

vegetable succotash, saffron & caper sauce 


Dessert Course

Warm Chocolate & Banana Pudding

homemade vanilla ice cream & fresh strawberries 

Call 978-283-7888 to reserve your spot.

Join us upstairs for the biggest New Years Eve party on Cape Ann!

The party starts at 10:00pm.

There will be music, dancing, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

We will be staying open until 2:00am!

Tickets are $20 per person.
(Or free if you join us for dinner.)

You can pick up tickets at Franklin Cape Ann or call 


Hope to see you there!

Gloucester Fishing Throwback- 1983 Jose and Half a Hippie Gillnetting Aboard The Rumors

Photos from Tuffy