Common Milkweed (Ascleipias syriaca) is the essential food plant for populations of the Northeastern and Atlantic coast Monarchs. During Colonial times, the silky floss found in the dried seed heads was used to stuff quilts and pillows. In the 1860s, in Salem Massachusetts, Common Milkweed silk was used as a mattress filling.
During WWII, Common Milkweed became the substitute for kapok, a soft cottony material from the kapok tree that was the preferred filling for life vests. Japan cut off the supply of kapok from Java, the main source of the material, and part of the wartime effort included children sent to fields to gather millions of pounds of Milkweed seed heads for the armed services.
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
An innovative Canadian clothing manufacturer, the Quartz Company and Altitude Sports, has created the first modern insulated jacket using milkweed silk. Hundreds of acres of Common Milkweed have been planted in Vermont and Quebec. Particularly noteworthy is that the fields of Milkweed are not harvested until after the Monarchs have left.
Milkweed Silk and Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis
WWII Common Milkweed photos courtesy Google image search.
What a great time on Sunday for the Gloucester Christmas Parade. Thank you to the committee for all your hard work.
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It was too chilly to stay out very long, but I just had to stop on the way home and grab a couple night shots of Kent Circle all dolled up for Christmas!
I’ve been fortunate that Paul Horovitz has shared several beautiful photos of his beloved Annisquam with me….and this is one of my favorites. It has been neat to see the village and the river through his eyes.
This is Lobster Cove at sunset taken this past weekend.
The colors are striking…and as I played with it a bit, it took on an eerie layered feeling
After the podcast, we took a ride to Essex and did a little antique hunting. Always on the lookout. It turned into a lovely day and it was the perfect activity to lead up to the Gloucester Christmas Tree lighting and parade.
I stumbled on to a nautical map of Gloucester and Rockport that I love! Who knows what I might do with it. It’s so interesting I can’t stop looking at it. I even brought it into lunch at the Blue Marlin so I could study it during the Pats game (I can admit that, right? I’m among friends, right?) Another great day on Cape Ann!
Here’s an oldie I thought appropriate, pretty much sums up our Ed. Donating his time to make every thing around him better, even in shitty windy cold rainy conditions.
Our ed weathers the storms to brighten the darkest days!
Visit our holiday pop-up shop at our Main Street office and find all your gardening, gift-giving needs like kids watering cans, kitchen tools, Backyard Growers T-shirts, gardening books, and veggie socks! All proceeds benefit Backyard Growers programs. See below for a sneak peak at some of the items and our special events!
9 am – 5 pm
271 Main Street
Also join us for…
Ladies Night! Dec 7, 5-10 pm
Men’s Night! Dec 21, 5-10 pm
This holiday season support local businesses and show your love for the Cape Ann Community! Cape Ann Gift Certificates are a great way give a gift with options – perfect for anyone on your list. They can be used at over 150 businesses on Cape Ann and can be purchased at the Chamber Office, both Shaws locations and at Tuck’s Candy & Gifts. CLICK HERE for the full list of participating businesses.
Another unique gift (and fun stocking stuffer!) is a Cape Ann License Plate. These plates can be ordered online and mailed right to the home of someone you love. See below for details. And remember… proceeds from the plates come back to the community – a great way to give back this holiday season!