Nova Scotia’s Annual Tree on Boston Commons – fascinating history and ties!

Annual tree at Kent Circle in Gloucester, Mass., also from Nova Scotia.

Follow the excellent thread to learn more about Canada’s annual remembrance and giving tree; its history concerns a disaster as catastrophic as the Johnstown Flood.

There are many Nova Scotia ties in Gloucester, too. Canadians immigrants, especially ones born on the east coast, settled throughout Massachuestts. Canadian born fishermen worked and lived in Gloucester. More than 1200 Nova Scotians went down to the sea and are memorialized here.

Thanks to the Tarr family, Gloucester has an annual tree from Nova Scotia. Read more about this year’s journey to install the tree from Shelburne Falls at Kent Circle.

Visiting my friends at Marshall’s Farm stand

I love visiting the Alpacas at Marshall’s Farm stand in Gloucester.  These cuties are friendly and very smart.  When I was over there on Wednesday they were chowing down on an a Christmas Tree.  Alpacas love them.

Here a couple of photos of these cuties.

This is Buttercup she a the mom of Hoppy who was born last June.

Cutie Frankie, she actually gives kisses

Loving the Christmas Tree.

Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree – gather round

The lobster trap tree in downtown Gloucester at Main and Pleasant Streets basked in glorious early morning light and festooned with buoys hand painted by kids at Cape Ann Art Haven.

A welcome pause any time any vantage.

Gather round_lobster trap buoy tree morning light_Gloucester MA_vista to inner harbor from Main St_ 20181209_©c ryan

gather round_one Sunday morning lobster trap tree_Gloucester MA_ looking east end of Main Street downtown_20181209©c ryan Continue reading “Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree – gather round”

Little tree poetry: Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Charles Schulz, and Jane Kenyon

Perhaps cummings and Frost inspired the Peanuts. Quotable Christmas continues with poetry below. Quotable Christmas countdown began with Mrs Miniver 

little tree by ©1920 e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

Little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls, the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to  hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh buy you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

“Estlin” Cummings

Christmas Trees ©1916 by Robert Frost* (1874-1963)

(A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods–the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”
“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!–at what a piece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

*Frost, winner of 4 Pulitzer prizes 1924, 1931, 1937, 1943

Continue reading “Little tree poetry: Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Charles Schulz, and Jane Kenyon”

Live From Dock Square, Rockport

The Christmas Tree has arrived!  Crews are working hard to get her into place and we’re all looking forward to the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony next weekend!  Santa will be arriving, per usual, by lobster boat and the tree will be lit on Saturday, December 3rd.


Finding “The One” at Beverly Tree Farm

Exactly one year ago I was waxing poetically (well, maybe not poetically) about how much we love cutting down our Christmas tree each year at the Beverly Tree Farm.

This year was no different.

Click HERE to read more about the Beverly Tree Farm

With a gorgeous red “barn”, a roaring fire, cider, hot chocolate, Christmas Cookies, holiday decorations, the friendliest staff going, and beautiful decorations, our time there each year screams Warm Fuzzies.

To some, the trees may seem pricey at $90 each, but the experience of living the good cheer, walking the fields, searching for THE ONE, sawing it down, and tagging it is honestly, truly priceless.

Another thing that you should know, is that every penny over the expenses of operating the tree farm goes to a worthy charity.  Over $110,000 has been gifted in just the four short years that the Bertolon family has been running the farm.  This year’s charity is the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem.

This year we spent a good hour searching for our perfect tree. CERTAINLY not because there were not hundreds of good options, but simply because it was fun to take our time.

We went on Saturday after gaining confidence that the rain was over.  In talking to the owners we learned that more than 450 trees had been sold on Friday.  Which, they also pointed out, was one tree every 48 seconds!

Sadly, if you are feeling inspired to go find the tree that speaks to you, you only have one more day to do so.  With so many fans, friends, and returning customers the tree farm sells out quickly.  They plan on being open Saturday, December 5th but that just may be the end of the season!  Please check the link above to be certain.

Christmas Tree. Check.

Another successful search for the most perfect of trees is in the books.  Cheers again to the Bertolon Family and Beverly Tree Farm for opening their doors, helping us to create lasting memories, and raising money for The Cabot Performing Arts Center.

Beverly Tree Farm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank You Nichole Schrafft for the Beverly Tree Farm Recommendation!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany thanks to Nichole for her wonderful recommendation to purchase Christmas trees at the Beverly Tree Farm. Nichole wrote of her family’s tradition in this week’s “Nichole’s Family Picks of the Weekend.” Although we don’t have little ones any longer living at home to enjoy the wonderful hospitality provided by the Bertolon Family, I needed a freshly cut tree that will last through an extended holiday season. Usually our tree goes up the second week or so in December, but as our daughter won’t be home for Christmas she asked if we could get the tree up and decorate while she is visiting.

The dork that I am, I showed up at the farm by myself and without saw–I thought it was pick your own, not saw your own, too! Fortunately, the very sweet Mrs Bertolon had just the solution, which was to select from a small pile of trees that folks had cut the previous day, but had left behind.

My next dilemma was the fact they place the tree on top of your car, but for liability reasons cannot tie it down for you. After watching the dad in the car next to mine expertly tie his down, I attempted to secure ours. I couldn’t have been more inept and within a few moments, the super nice dad had successfully tied mine down, too (he mentioned that he formerly worked at a tree farm). Thank you beautiful family from Marblehead!

The Farm is only open tomorrow, Sunday, and next weekend, December 6th and 7th, or only as long as this year’s crop of harvestable trees last.

For more about Nichole’s family’s experience read her post here and visit the Beverly Tree Farm website here.


the-girls-and-JacksonMrs. Bertolon (holding her granddaughter)

Images courtesy Beverly Tree Farm Website

Kent Circle Christmas Tree photos from Anthony Marks

Hi Joey
It’s that time of year. Ringo Tarr and crew set up the Kent Circle Christmas tree Friday November 15th.  Ringo Tarr and Joe Novello traveled to Nova Scotia to pick up the tree.
The Santa parade a part of the tree lighting will step off about 3:00 pm Sunday December 1st from the state fish pier in Gloucester.
The parade route is Parker street to Main street to Western ave. and ends at Kent Circle for the annual Christmas tree lighting with Santa and Mrs. Clause.
Hope to see you and the girls there.
Best Anthony

Origami Fish from Out of State

The other day I got an envelope in the mail from someone in Pennsylvania named Ali Thome, who read my blog posts about the origami Christmas/Fishmas tree, and decided to chip in!

Thanks for the beautiful origami, Ali!

She draws caricatures for a living. Check out her blog!

Fr. Matthew Green


Snoop Maddie Mad and The Bean Decorate Their Trees 2012

Continuing a tradition in the house since Eloise was born and captured last year by Desi Smith for Cape Ann Magazine-

Crazy? Yeah We Got That. Snoop Maddie Mad On the Cover of Cape Ann Magazine

Posted on December 16, 2011 by Joey C

I’ve been getting emails from all over the country ( I didn’t realize how many people get Cape Ann Magazine delivered to addresses out of state) in regards to Snoop Mad being on the cover.  They all say how cute she is and all but what they don’t know is the level of crazy I’m dealing with.  Check out this video of this conversation we had yesterday.MadelineCapeannmagazine

Desi Smith came by the house and did a fantastic job shooting for the article. Desi also does some portraiture work you can check out his site here


It’s A Barbie Christmas At Daphne Papp’s Gloucester Home

Sista Felicia Captures The Magnificence Of Barbie At Daphne Papp’s Home

Video Coming

Results Of The Christmas Tree Poll For Our Jewish Readers

A couple of days ago we posted this poll-

I’m curious amongst our Jew buddies here on GMG, Do you freak out when you see Christmas Trees lit up on town squares or are those just the extremists Jews in the community raising a stink?

Personally I’m more pissed off that we’re gonna have to listen to Christmas muzak starting any day now all the way through January and at “those neighbors who leave their Christmas lights up past Easter”, but then again I’m not Jewish.

I just read the first of the obligatory annual “Jewish townfolk are pissed off because someone put lights on a Christmas tree” story in the newspaper and it struck me as being a bit early for that.

I’d like to know where the middle of the road Jews stand on this issue. Thanks in advance for your comments below.

Here are the results through two days-


and the comments-

  • lise breen – 15 hours ago

    I feel strongly that we should keep any overt religious symbol such as the ten commandments, creches and menorahs out of government buildings and public spaces. But, in contradiction, we do like to watch the Rockport pageant on Main St. with its donkey and girls wrapped in sheets and boys with fake beards and squawky loudspeaker recitation of the nativity event.

    I so enjoy the trees and the colored lights. Despite their name, they don’t signify Christianity to me. The lobster trap tree is fun especially since children decorate the buoys.

    I would prefer not to be bombarded with recorded religious music in commercial establishments. I enjoy religious music of many denominations in their appropriate sacred spaces or in my own home. Silent Night is gorgeous and best heard sung by local carolers on the street corners during a chilly, snowy Ladies Night.

    We are lapsed members of the Give Me More denomination with worship of its Santa Claus deity and elve disciples in store sanctuaries. It seems to be a rite of passage for those with children that is not easily avoided. We have had great times reading the Night Before Christmas and leaving carrots for the reindeer before a piney tree with colored lights with hokey music and giving holiday hugs and eating Christmas cookies.
    It’s complicated.

  • Natalie Simon – 17 hours ago

    I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Weinstein. Amen!

  • Ellen Bevins – yesterday

    I find the Christmas/holiday season with all the lights on the trees very uplifting. It does not offend me. I love that the lights are left on throughout the year.

  • Mark Godfried – yesterday

    A jew for 77 years, who has always seen Xmas as a wonderful expression of faith for Christians and acknowledges that historical Jesus existed and bettered mankind. For any of us to do otherwise is disengenuous! Would you not heed Martin Luther Kings words because you are not afro-american! Creches, menorahs, trees, and what-have-you are all welcome! And Joey, you’re right! Let the music start after Thanksgiving!

  • EPK – yesterday

    It doesn’t bother me as long as you don’t bother me about my religion. Live and let live.

  • Jenny Bernstein Rangan – yesterday

    I love Christmas trees, I love Christmas lights, I love giving and receiving Christmas presents. I have a tree and a menorah. Any opportunity to celebrate. The tradition is older than the religion it is associated with and I see it as part of an impulse in the dark of winter to create warmth and joy, connection and sacredness with light.

  • Miriam Weinstein – yesterday

    The Supreme Court has been inconsistent about the constitutionality of this, but as a member of a minority, it always feels hurtful and offensive. Saying that a tree is not a religious symbol is disingenuous. And no, I don’t want a menorah displayed next to the creche.
    The best protection is a separation of church and state.

  • On the third day of Christmas, I saw THREE ships…

    …come sailing in, on my Christmas tree!

    Remember, it’s still Christmas until January 6th (you know, the 12 Days of Christmas…). I didn’t get three French hens, but at the suggestion of several people after my earlier post, I added a third ship to my tree.  (On the left is an origami snowflake folded from a hexagon.)