rocky-neck-smith-cove-daybreak-copyright-kim-smithLast Tuesday was a photographer’s magical dream morning. After photographing and filming December’s “Long Night’s Moon” descending over the Gloucester city skyline, I turned toward the east to see a peaceful daybreak scene over Rocky Neck. Perhaps the sun hadn’t fully risen I thought and hurried to Brace Cove. The sun had rose behind Brace Rock with just enough clouds that it was still pretty, not blasted out by too much light.

I then walked along the edge of Niles Pond, meeting up with Mr. Swan who was occupied with his morning swim, which often indicates he is readying to take flight. He did, and with movie camera in hand, he circled the Pond before landing at Brace Cove, near the breakwater.

Eerily, the coyotes were howling in the distance, actually howling, like wolves, and for quite a long while. I often hear their meet-and-greet yipping and socializing barks that they make shortly after sunset, and too the terrible sound they make when killing a creature, but I have never heard them howling in the morning. I wonder if it had something to do with the full moon? Do our readers hear coyotes howling regularly?


Tufted Titmouse

Further along the Pond walk there was a large flock of American Robins and they, along with a lively group of Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Cardinals were hungrily eating every berry in sight, so much so that when I returned to the same spot a few days later, there wasn’t a berry or fruit to be seen. A magical morning at a magical place we’re fortunate to call home.


December Long Night’s Moon

What an honor for my photos to be chosen at Mass. General

Be a Part of Art: Illuminations Program Anniversary Challenge

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Illuminations Program – a rotating art exhibit housed in the Mass General Cancer Center – an anonymous donor will match donations up to $10,000 by the end of 2016.

Double your impact today and help bring art and inspiration to patients and families of the MGH Cancer Center.

Wreaths across America in Gloucester

I did not want to post about wreaths in every window today without mentioning Wreaths Across America and the initiative to bring that tradition home here and all the generous local support that was given straight away.

In case you missed the wonderful story about the effort in Gloucester, here’s a link to the Gloucester Daily Times coverage from  December 16th  and some photos today of the volunteers’ work in west Gloucester Beechbrook Cemetery.

Excerpt from the GDT article:

“Kesterson said the volunteers will begin laying the wreaths Saturday at noon after a brief ceremony at Beech Brook Cemetery, off Essex Avenue. They then will move on to Beech Grove. She also confirmed that the project will go on as scheduled — rain, snow, shine or any other other wintry curveball.”

From Wreaths Across America website: Wreaths Across America encourages “every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave to say that veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive. We are not here to “decorate graves.” We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”


Now we wait: the 2016 giant Lobster Trap Menorah is up and readied @Temple Ahavat Achim

Temple Ahavat Achim
86 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Temple Ahavat Achim Lobster Trap Menorah Lighting 5:15 PM December 24, 2016



Pet of the week-Chrisley

Hello my name is Chrisley and I am a sweet, playful Husky that was lucky enough to be pulled from a kill shelter in Georgia just in time. They are guessing I am about 5 years old but I am very playful and just love people. If you are familiar with the breed and know what that involves please come on down and meet me. 

I am a smart boy and know my basic commands as well, sit, shake, and stay. When I was originally rescued from the shelter in Georgia I had been having some digestive issues. They discovered I have a little bit of acid reflux (which I am sure some of you can relate to) so I take Pepcid (famotidine) daily and that helps. I also am fed 3 meals and my digestive system seems to do well with this type of schedule. I am considered a special needs adoption because I may always have a sensitive digestive system or need additional veterinary care. I was briefly around cats and did not seem to be too interested but because of my breed, I should never be left alone with a cat. As an adult rescue without too much known about my past I am looking for a home with children 10 and older. If I seem like a good fit for your family and lifestyle please stop on by and visit. 

 To see all the available animals at the Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter please go to our website: 

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and say thank you for your continued support of our shelter.

Shut the Box

If you are looking for a simple and kind of old school Christmas gift….check this out.  It is one of the Schrafft family’s favorite past times for sure.  Freddy and I first discovered “Shut the Box” while wasting away a rainy afternoon on Nantucket with a few Bloody Mary’s at what used to be the Atlantic Cafe.  We probably played for hours…and looked forward to popping a squat at the bar and playing a few rounds during later trips to the island.  We were both sad to discover a few years later that the Atlantic Cafe (the A.C.) was no longer there…nor was Shut the Box.

Several years later a friend of ours bought me one of our own for Christmas.  I had totally forgotten how much fun it was.  I actually then purchased one for my classroom as it turns out that it’s a great way to learn simple addition math facts.

We introduced the game to Thatch and Finn a while back and they immediately took to it as well.  We’ve clocked some hours playing on the coffee table at home, by the pool at various hotels, and in front of the fire up north.  The boys look forward to it as kind of our thing. I like that it is part luck of the roll…and part strategy. For me it’s a win, win, win with the boys.  They’re practicing their math reasoning, we’re spending some quality time together, and (my personal favorite part) truly anyone can win!

The same friend who bought it for me years ago, sent me a link this fall when a “Four Family Family Shut the Box” became available on Zulily.  So, I obviously bought it for them (us) for Christmas.

They started to play at halftime during yesterday’s Patriots game….so I took a quick video.

Here’s the gist….

  1.  One player goes until they can’t go any more.
  2. You roll two dice at a time and add up your score
  3. You then decide which slots of the box you want to close….to add up to the same number.
  4. For example…if you roll a total of 9…you can close just 9, or 8 and 1, or 7 and 2, or 6 and 3, or 5 and 4….or even three slots, like 5 and 3 and 1.
  5. You keep rolling and selecting which slots to close….until you roll a number that you can’t make with your remaining numbers.
  6. You add up what you have left….and that becomes your score.  For example, if you can’t roll a 7 and you only have slots #8 and #3 left…you can’t go…and your final score is 11.
  7. Obviously, the lower your final score the better.

Every once in a while you actually “Shut the Box” and close all the slots…getting a score of zero.

When one person is done, they record their score, and then the next person goes.  We usually play 5-10 rounds and add up our total scores.  The person with the lowest total wins.





A Tradition That Continues to delight- Tony Gross’ Swedish Coffee Bread Christmas present!


This year we got the red ribbon tied in the middle as opposed to 2012  green ribbon tied at the end.

2016-12-19 08.01.30




Tony Gross Comes Through With The Annual Swedish Coffee Bread!

Posted on December 24, 2011 by Joey C


Tony Gross Comes Through Again With His Famous Swedish Coffee Bread

Posted on December 24, 2010 by Joey C

Every year Tony makes Frank and I a loaf of his much sought after Swedish coffee bread. I’m afraid to open it because once you eat the first bite i can’t stop til that whole sucker is gone. (I’m not sure if he puts heroin in it, the stuff is so damn addicting).

Tony Gross 2009 Swedish Coffee Bread

Tony Gross’ Swedish Coffee Bread

Posted on December 21, 2009 by Joey C

Every Christmastime Tony Gross, the skipper of the lobsterboat F/V Sandollar makes a ridiculous number of Swedish Coffee Bread loaves and gives them out to friends.  I made the mistake and called it Nisu but because the recipe comes from an elder in Tony’s family he insists it be called Swedish Coffee Bread.

It’s delicious and best eaten within a day of cooking.  I sure am glad I’m on the list of those who get one every year!