Woodman’s is open for take out! Click here to see the menu.
Good Morning Gloucester reader DB took a snapshot and reports that she saw this little Porcupine moseying along the side of the road in Essex on Friday.
The North American Porcupine is more commonly seen in central and western Massachusetts, less so in the eastern regions of our state. Porcupines are nocturnal, preferring to hide away during the day in dens and treetops, which is another reason we don’t often see them in these parts.
So wonderful that DB saw this and was able to get a photo. Thank you for sharing DB!!!
A sewer pipe in Essex broke over the weekend, spewing raw sewage into the Essex River Salt Marsh. I am so very sorry for our local clam diggers–just as the season was getting underway–devastating. The clam flats will be monitored, at a minimum, over the next 21 days before any determination about reopening will be made.
Essex River Clammers
About the Great Marsh
“In Massachusetts, the North Shore’s Great Marsh is the largest continuous stretch of Salt Marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. The Great Marsh includes over 20,000 acres of marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands extending across the Massachusetts North Shore from Gloucester to Salisbury. In recognition of these extraordinary resources, a portion of this area was designated by the state in 1979 as the Parker River/Essex Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The Great Marsh is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) as it contributes to the preservation of many breeding and migratory birds. This unique complex of natural systems add ecological, economic, recreational, and cultural value to our daily lives both on the coast and inland where land is connected by river and stream networks.” Read more about the Great Marsh Coalition here.
Look for special group exhibits and readings to be announced later in 2018- “Cape Ann Reads to Hit the Road” by Gail McCarthy, Gloucester Daily Times
This month: come to Gloucester’s City Hall on January 27 for a Cape Ann Reads celebration. Explore early drafts & drawings as well as published children’s picture art and books–all by Cape Ann artists and writers. The Book Store of Gloucester will have a satellite book shop devoted to published picture books right on site.
One for All and All for One !
Local women retailers and colleagues from Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich and Rowley met early last spring about working together to market their businesses. These street level shops represent 4 cities and towns, and share a regional ‘Main Street’ – Route 133/1A, part of the gorgeous 90 mile Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. The new Woman Owned Businesses Along The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway brochure will be in stores before Labor Day. I’ll re-post with higher resolution images and final copy when it’s unveiled. While you’re exploring this contemporary woman owned businesses trail, don’t miss the fantastic historic exhibition The Women of Essex – Stories to Share show sponsored by the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, on display on the 3rd Floor of the Essex Town Hall and Library, 30 Martin Street (Route 22), Essex.
Fun route is easy to follow
#1 Pauline’s Gifts, Gloucester
#2 Essex Bird Shop & Pet Supply, Essex
#3 Sea Meadow Gifts and Gardens, Essex
#4 The Essex Exchange, Essex
#5 Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery, Ipswich*
#6 AnnTiques, Ipswich
#7 Be Modern, Ipsiwch
#8 Lost Treasures, Rowley
#9 Serendipity at Todd’s Farm, Rowley
*Johanne Cassia, who owns Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery –#5 on the new map–painted the illustration of their businesses featured on the brochure.
I’ve included a few scenes from The Women of Essex – Stories to Share exhibition at Essex Town Hall and the renovated bright space on the top floor, accessible for all.
photo- Women of Essex: Restauranteurs (detail from installation Essex Town Hall)
Just like sheep, alpacas need to be shorn at least once a year. Their beautiful fleece is so thick by the time spring comes along, the animals would suffer tremendously in warmer weather if not shorn.
Andrew Spinney from Paynter Saltwater Farm in Essex brought three of his alpacas for shearing, along with Maggie the sheep. Maggie likes getting shorn, so much so that she turned into an acquiescing blob of jello.
Alpaca lower teeth and upper dental pad.
Alpacas only have bottom teeth. On the top they have a hard dental pad. Alpacas eat by trapping grass between their teeth and the dental pad, and then nipping it off. Some alpacas are genetically pre-disposed to misaligned teeth and need to have their teeth trimmed. If the teeth were not trimmed, it could lead to eating disorders and starvation. A protective guard is placed in the mouth and the teeth are quickly ground with an electric grinder. It takes all of about 30 second for an alpaca’s dental treatment!
Pippi Longstocking’s first dental check up.
One-year-old alpacas Maisy, Rascal, and Pippi Longstocking had their first shearing. The yarn made from the first shearing is referred to as baby alpaca, and it is silky soft, luxurious, and super warm.
Maggie’s wool is more course and contains lanolin. After she was shorn, you could feel the sticky lanolin on her skin. Because alpaca fleece bears no lanolin, the yarn is hypoallergenic.
Pippi Longstocking’s first buzz cut.
Phew, I was exhausted just filming the Marshall Family corral twenty plus alpacas and one tubby little Maggie. The Marshall’s alpacas are beloved family members, each named, and each with a unique personality to go with their name–Pokey, Magnolia, and Rascal, to mention just a few. Animal farming is super hard, non-stop work, especially when the animals are as well taken care of as are the Marshalls.
The public is welcome to come stop by and visit the alpacas. Yarn from the Marshall’s alpacas is available to purchase. At the present time, Angie’s Alpacas is open by appointment. Call 978-729-7180 or email Angela at Angiez65@hotmail.com. Marshall’s Farm is located just next to Marshall’s Farm Stand at 148 Concord Street in West Gloucester.
Essex River Sunset and Great Blue Heron
Readers, what do you think?
December 27th Gloucester Daily Times letter to the editor from Elizabeth and Brad Story.
“To the editor:
Cape Ann folks should be aware of the fact that there is significant opposition to dredging the Essex River in town and it comes from local people who know the river best. Rather than celebrating a boondoggle like dredging, we ought to be mourning a body blow to an incredible local natural resource.
The reason the Essex River hasn’t been dredged since the ‘90s is that dredging:
— actually causes the river to fill in more quickly;
— is terrible environmentally, no matter where the dredge spoils are dumped;
— is a waste of money.
When the channel is dredged, the banks are steeper. More boats use the river at higher speeds and the wakes and turbulence from the boats causes the steeper banks to collapse. The collapsed bank material fills in the channel. Now the river is spread out over the tops of the old banks and more filling in occurs.
We have seen this over and over again. If you look at the time period between dredging projects in the 20th century you will see that the time gets shorter and shorter. This is because the dredging makes the river less deep over time.
In the 19th century hundreds of huge Gloucester fishing schooners, steamers and other large vessels were built and launched on the banks of the river and were brought downriver on successive tides. There was plenty of water for them in the basin where they were launched and the trip down river just had to be guided by someone who knew the river. Once steam tugs were available they didn’t even have to necessarily wait for more than one tide.
Harold Burnham, who brings the Schooner Ardelle up the river to his boatyard, and has brought other large vessels up the river many times, uses the same method today. It is not a problem. My family operated the Story Shipyard, where the Essex Shipbuilding Museum is now, for many generations and I did business there until 1985. I built and launched many boats there and sailed from there downriver to Ipswich Bay hundreds of times.
The only people who have a problem are people who want to zoom up the river to the restaurants or marinas, and don’t want to deal with the state of the tide or the shoal areas. The police chief/harbormaster, who has so far refused to dock his boat at Conomo Point where there is deep water on all tides, also wants dredging. Maybe we need a harbormaster who doesn’t have to do double duty as police chief and therefore doesn’t need to be close to his office in the center of town? Might this work better without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on harmful dredging?
The Coast Guard has always had a problem getting in the lower Essex River but dredging won’t affect that. The problem is the sandbars shifting across the mouth of the river and between the ends of Crane Beach and Coffin’s Beach each year. No amount of dredging will ever change that, nor is it intended to.
The main problem in the Essex River is not its shallow draft. It is people going way too fast in big, powerful boats. This is our public safety problem. We face it every time we try to go boating, especially on summer weekends.”
From the owners of the Blue Marlin Grill in Essex now comes The Boat House Grille. Located at the old Lewis’ Restaurant….and later Castle Creek. I haven’t had a chance to get there yet, but I’ve heard great things about the menu, the food, the staff, and the ambience. Looking forward to seeing what Corey Matthews and his group has created in the very near future!
The Riverbend restaurant still under construction is coming to the Essex Marina area with a target date of sometime in June. Great views from this spot of the marshes and Essex River. They are still looking for help in the wait staff and bartending positions. More to follow.
This is a spot I’ve visited a number of times, just waiting for the perfect view to photograph. One morning I really didn’t want to get out of bed at 4am but I knew a storm had come through the night before and the cloud cover might be interesting so I dragged my butt over to Essex and wasn’t disappointed! Of course I got there and the sun hadn’t started to rise yet…it was just cloudy and grey, but it’s amazing how in a span of 15 minutes a scene like this can unfold before your eyes. This is one of my favorite photos of last year and a 16 x 20 canvas print is one of the prints available at the Art at the Schoolhouse this weekend so stop by! Thanks to James and Anna at Cape Ann Giclee for their expert printing of this canvas!