Rare for Massachusetts that is. This afternoon a very unusual colored squirrel briefly stopped by our garden. He sat atop the fence post, had a quick snack from our neighbor’s black privet berries, then departed as quickly as he arrived. At first glance I thought he was a Red Squirrel, but he was much, much too big. Next thought, perhaps a melanistic Gray Squirrel. Or perhaps a Gray and an American Red (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) had interbred, but that isn’t possible. However, I did learn a Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and a Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) can interbreed. But possibly what we have here is an actual Fox Squirrel, which would be quite uncommon for Massachusetts. I am still researching this. If any of our readers has seen a Fox Squirrel in Massachusetts, please write and let us know. Thank you in advance.

Eating privet berries

Fox Squirrels are diurnal, which means they feed during the day. This little guy stopped by for a snack at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Conversely, Eastern Gray Squirrels are crepuscular, which means they are more active during the early and late hours of the day.

In this year of tree squirrel super abundance, I wonder, too if that could possibly be an explanation for an appearance by a Fox Squirrel; perhaps expanding its territory in search of food.

The coat of a Fox Squirrel comes in many colors, from nearly all black to rust, tawny gold, and gray combinations–like a fox. Gray Squirrels are mostly gray with white bellies. The average size of a Gray Squirrel is 9.1 – 12 inches; the average size of a Fox Squirrel is 10 to 15 inches.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Mystery visitor

Discover Cape Ann Theatre Collaborative’s "The Beauty Queen of Leenane"!

November brings an electrifying moment of Irish theatre!

For two weekends only, Cape Ann Theatre Collaborative (CAT) is producing The Beauty Queen of Leenane—a dark comic masterpiece with more twists than Hitchcock & Bergman combined.

Hailed as a modern classic on its debut, The Beauty Queen of Leenane has been produced on the West End & Broadway, and received multiple critical awards for “Best Play.” It’s the work of Martin McDonagh, the acclaimed screenwriter ofIn Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Starring Pauline Miceli, Elinor Teele, Jeffrey Forte, and Marc St. Pierre, and directed by Marc St. Pierre, this is a Gloucester-based event not to be missed!

Dates: November 9-11 & 16-18

Times: Fri & Sat at 7:30 PM; Sun at 3 PM

Venue: Gorton Theatre, Home of Gloucester Stage; 267 East Main Street, Gloucester MA 01930

Tickets: $20 cash or check at the door

Reserve: Email catcollab@gmail.com to reserve tickets

Explore: Visit www.capeanntheatrecollaborative.com to learn more about the play, the cast, and the company!



SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11th FROM 2pm to 6pm

It’s beginning to look a lot like Present! Join us as we celebrate our opening for the 2018 season. We are located at 186 Main Street, across from the Police Station. We will have food, drink and all sorts of wonderful handmade things for you and the people you love!

Rough Seas: Readings and Reflections on War and Writing

Rough Seas


Readings and Reflections on War and Writing


from the Cape Ann Veterans Writing Workshop


Join us for an evening to honor Veterans Day


Wednesday, November 7th at 7:30


 at The Gloucester Writers Center, 126 East Main St.


Sign up for Veterans Day open mic at 7:15. Free Admission


Featured Readers


James Grigg, Poet, Viet Nam Veteran


Heather Dupont, Poet, V.A. Health Professional



Uncaring of the labors of man

The towering waves tear souls and sails

Such fury has the mind awakened.


James Grigg from Rough Seas



we stand facing The Wall

his trembling fragmentation

palpable as he whispers “I need to sit down”


Heather Dupont from Faded Songs


Elks Hoop Shoot Contest

On December 2nd from 1:00pm to 4:00pm the Elks Lodge 892 and the Cape Ann YMCA are holding a Hoop Shoot, Free Throw Contest for Youths ages 8-13.  Participants will have a chance to win 2 Celtics Tickets (winner & guardian) in their age category:  Girls: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13  Boys: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13.  Winners will also have a chance to advance through to District, State, Regional and National competitions.  This is a FREE event and all participants will receive fun prizes.  Young people from any city are welcome to participate.


As you know, the Elks is a not for profit charitable organization that promotes patriotism, youth programs, veterans assistance and community assistance programs.  

On the first Shabbat after Pittsburgh attack, Temple Ahavat Achim unites hundreds in Gloucester Mass. #ShowedUpForShabbat

Rabbi Steven Lewis welcomed the community to the November 2, 2018 Kabbalat Shabbat at Temple Ahavat Achim. Organizers had an idea just how big the support and need could be when four hundred RSVP’d. Every seat was taken downstairs and upstairs– where it was standing room only– a full house of interfaith harmony, beautiful music and prayer. It was heartbreaking and hopeful.

#ShowUpForShabbat_20181102_© c ryan

Mark your calendars-

Public progamming and community engagement is robust at Temple Ahavat Achim and informed its architecture. For those far away, you can get an idea of just how big the crowd was by seeing the interior.  For those lucky enough to worship and/or visit, upcoming announcements mention several collaborative interfaith events (see Facebook), and the date for the annual Lobster Trap Menorah lighting is December 4th, 2018.

Temple Ahavat Achim _ TAA Gloucester MassLooking to Gloucester Harbor Temple Ahavat Achim_ Library_Dale_Middle Street_ UU and more_20161210_ aerial from Gloucester Ma City Hall © Catherine Ryan

*I hope to add a link to the program and the interfaith Facebook page

Turn Back Time

A reminder that we turn back the clocks tonight and end Daylight Savings Time. Over the years, this ritual has been moved around on our calendars for various reasons. I found an interesting example in the Gloucester Daily Times microfilms available at the Sawyer Free Library.

From the Gloucester Daily Times Sept 26 1938. You will note this article states the reasoning for continuing Daylight Savings Time an additional week because “The railroad, however, is on eastern standard time and so it the post office, a condition made necessary by the new train schedule.” 


GDT Sept 26 1938

And then, a few days later, on Sept 30 1938, another tidbit “The governor issued the proclamation after he had received an appeal from the flood executives pointing out that an extra hour of daylight would aid the flood victims in clearing up their property.”

Daylight Savings Time GDT Sept 30 1938

Flood victims? Yes, (and some of you are ahead of me on this) due to the Hurricane of 1938:

1938 hurricane GDT Sept 22 1938

It was a chaotic time for all, but hopefully our transition this weekend will be calmer. See you an hour later on the morrow!



Annisquam Christmas Fair

For years, residents of Cape Ann have lined up at the Annisquam Village Hall before the doors open for the annual Christmas Fair to purchase the beautiful greens, gifts, and gourmet goodies made by the ladies of the Annisquam Sewing Circle.

The fair is known for its beautiful wreaths, but there will also be decorated boxwood trees and mantle and table centerpieces suitable for smaller spaces.

The abundance and variety of handcrafted items will dazzle the eye—sweaters, socks, hats and mittens; placemats, potholders and monogrammed dish towels; needlepoint tree ornaments created by the members of the Annisquam Sewing CIrcle just for this fair, as well as many more one-of-a-kind items that will not be found anywhere else! Once again, Circle member Grace Murray has knitted one of her unique hats (her 335th!), which will be offered in a silent auction. Only one of these hats becomes available to the public each year.

Beautifully wrapped foods and baked goods grace the gourmet table —from homemade preserves to fancy cakes, gluten-free items and even Food for Fido and your Favorite Feline. The fair also features a glittering display of costume jewelry which for many shoppers is a destination itself. Hostess baskets and grab bags are also popular traditional items at the fair.

A delicious three-course luncheon will be served at 12:30. Tickets are $18 and reservations are recommended (visit Annisquamsewingcircle.org)
Founded in 1837, the Annisquam Sewing Circle is one of the oldest continuous independent societies of women in the United States and is the oldest one on Cape Ann. All proceeds from the Fair are contributed by the Annisquam Sewing Circle to Cape Ann community programs.

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