Always Fresh

We are constantly amazed by the ever changing face of Cape Ann. It seems like a place you walk by every day can appear as a revelation–like you are arriving at a new place, seeing it for the first time. Two favorites are Good Harbor Beach and Niles Beach. Here are a few recent glimpses at the magic show happening every day right here in the neighborhood.

Good Harbor Fog

Rays

Good Harbor Gloom

We have some gorgeous cloud formations, something that I would guess is a result of the coastal air and water currents.

Niles is also ever changing. Look through our archives. I always take my camera to Niles. You should, too.

The sunsets rarely fail to please at Niles Beach.

Exploring Niles

And finally, this shot from Michelle. The only effect is the digital zoom on our g-11. But it’s actually what the light across the water does sometimes. It’s Boston from Niles.

It really does look like this sometimes.

Cape Ann, especially Gloucester, is always fresh.

 

All photographs copyright 2012 Funky Fresh Gloucester

The Anderson Family Homestead

It seems a lot of people on Cape Ann are keeping chickens these days. I know we are. Meet our new chickens!

Atticus and the youngsters

Meadow Approved

It really is amazing how much you can homestead on a small piece of land. I guess this is the direction we’ve found ourselves heading in anyway. Now that we have bees, chickens, and a second garden bed this year, it only makes us want to grow more.

Can you see the little dinosaur in these ladies?

At first I had concerns about our new chickens and the neighbors. But everyone’s been extremely supportive–in fact they’d like us to let them roam even more so they can watch for a while. There seems to be something therapeutic about watching these birds.

Of course we have to keep an eye on predators. Coyotes and foxes are common to the neighborhood, as are large owls and red-tailed hawks. East Gloucester also supports a few fisher cats. It’s a good thing the bunny supply is so abundant. I think most predators have easier prey to go after. Our coop, tucked back in the knotweed jungle beside our house, would be a pretty tough nut to crack.

Merlin keeps an eye on the ladies.

Still no eggs, but they should be producing in another month or so. And we love us some eggs around our house, so it’ll be a real treat.

Mid-June Garden

We’ve been eating peas, broccoli, alpine strawberries, potatoes, kale, lettuce, chives,, basil, and chard from our garden. Ground cherries and tomatoes are starting to happen this week. This supplements a farm share out at Green Meadows, as well as the bounty we inevitably come home with every week from the farmer’s market. Seeing the dry conditions out west only makes you more appreciative of how lucky we are to live in this amazing place. Bon appetite!

It’s Been a While

I know, I know. You start a blog, then life gets busy, and boom. Nothing. But guess what? I’ve been laid off! Chester College of New England, where I taught creative writing for the past six years, has closed.

Closed? A college? Really? What the hell?

Yep. It happens. So here I am, piecing a new life together, trying to wrap my brain around how I can make a go of it right here in Gloucester. No more hour and a half commute. No more being stuck behind tourists on 133 as they stare at their GPS trying to figure out where they’re going.

Gloucester, baby.

I have ideas (like this project I’m working on: http://dailydoseoflit.com ). But ideas take some time to grow to fruition. For now, let’s talk about our hometown and how amazing it really is. Especially on days like this, where the temperature is soaring inland, while it’s pretty darn nice here by the ocean.

This boy just turned six!

One thing that happened here recently that was very cool is that we were able to capture our own honey bees. Capture? Yes, about a month ago, just before Father’s Day, a swarm arrived out back behind a friend’s house. A big one. And they stuck around on a low branch, trying to figure out their next move. But it seems they were having a hard time finding a home. So after a few days we (along with help from our friends) decided to spring into action.

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Swarming honey bees don’t want to swarm. They’re just looking for a nice, safe place to live. In fact, they’re incredibly docile while swarming. So what we did was grab a Rubbermaid tub, placed it beneath them, and then knocked/shook the branch until the bees simply fell into the tub. Here is Michelle, along with Geoff Deckebach and Ken Duckworth, nabbing some bees.

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After, we let them settle in overnight (a screen was placed on top, but slightly ajar so stragglers could join their family), and then hauled them over to our place for their new digs.

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This swarm was HUGE, so we were able to add a second super within a week. A month later they seem happy and safe. Gotta love some local honey, babies!

So there you go, the story of our new bees.

I’m going to try my best to keep this thing up to date. I have time on my hands (well, aside from raising two beautiful kids and putting the finishing touches on this memoir I’ve been working on). Let’s see what happens next!

Cheers!

Certified Funky Fresh: Ravenswood Park

The fall foliage this year is electric. Have you noticed? My long commute to NH a few times a week is much less a chore. I might even say this has been my favorite autumn yet. Certainly one of the best places to take all of this in is Ravenswood Park off 127, where rich populations of hemlock and magnolia (and much more more) yield a wide palette of color, especially this time of year.

On the Ridge Road Trail

Ravenswood Park is run by the Trustees of Reservations, a conservation group that helps care for greenspaces all over Massachusetts. They do lot’s of great work, and certainly could use your help to make sure we keep these places wild for future generations. Because really, this is one of the real gems of Gloucester–600 acres of history and nature, just a few minutes away. A place where you can turn your cell phone off and escape the frantic energy of this modern world. Especially good for the soul after, say, this ridiculous election season.

Hard Rock

There are ten miles of trails and former carriage roads in the park, making for a great day of exploring for the family. Most of it is pretty easy to navigate. Perfect for the kids. Sometimes you find really interesting things along the way.

Found Art

There are also great places to stop and take a breath.

A Place for Reflection: Overlooking Eastern Point and the Dogbar

Ravenwood also hosts the occasional event, usually highlighting the long history of the park, both natural and as it pertains to mankind. They even show off their snakes from time to time, which is really cool. Check out the new visitor center at the entrance to the park.

Atticus Approved

Autumn Girls

Walk

If you’d like to find out more about Ravenswood Park and other Trustees properties, check out: http://www.thetrustees.org/

–Chris

Lately Here in Gloucester

So school is kicking my ass, and the kids are keeping Michelle busy, busy, busy. While we haven’t had time to post anything new here lately, we have stolen away moments to get out in what has been mostly wonderful fall weather. Here are a few pics from our adventures.

Schooner

Out Toward Boston

Green Meadows Farm

Out in the Fields

Full Moon at Good Harbor

Surfers

Feather

Certified Funky Fresh: Lobster at $3.99 a Pound!

Okay, so we don’t eat lobster nearly enough. It comes in fits and starts, mostly because we don’t own a good lobster pot to cook ’em up in. Maybe Christmas this year. But I gotta tell you, everytime I drive by Captain Joe and Sons and see the sign out by East Main, well, I kick myself for not eating more lobster. Right now it’s $3.99 a pound, or the same price as bologna at Stop and Shop. What a choice!

Atticus gets his hands on a lobster at Captain Joe and Sons.

With Joey Ciaramitaro, blogger extraordinaire.*

We get these guys home, but Meadow wasn’t amused. Who let these big bugs into our house?

Meadow meets her first lobster. She wasn't sure what to think.

We borrowed a good pot from a friend. In the end, these guys were delicious! Really, why haven’t you dropped by the docks and picked up some lobstah? Kick yourself no more!

Along with corn from Green Meadows Farm, this is a fresh, local feast!

* I’m sure you already know Good Morning Gloucester. If not, get out from under that rock and click the link to the right.

Certified Funky Fresh: The Cape Ann Farmer’s Market

No doubt about it, our lives were suddenly richer once the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market came to town. Delivering absolutely fresh produce and meats in a beautiful location (what views!), it’s the perfect place to spend a little time on Thursday afternoon (3:00-6:30 PM).

It seems like the market changes week by week, depending on vendors and what’s in season. We’re big fans of Green Meadows, Farmer Dave’s, and The Common Crow, but we’re also pretty delighted that the Duckworth’s Beech Gourmet truck is now making the rounds, and the Teen Artist Guild is fantastic for handmade crafts–t-shirts, kid’s dresses, custom skateboard decks, and more. The seafood throwdown is pretty damn fabulous, too.

Michelle and Meadow grab a few pretzels.

Yarn spinning

The best part is how family friendly the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market really is. Not only do the kids have plenty of room to horse around, but surrounded by so much good stuff it’s hard to resist the temptation to snack on something nice and healthy (well, other than that delicious maple cotton candy). Trust me, you can’t get food like this at your supermarket. Haven’t been to our farmer’s market yet? There’s still time. You’ll be glad you did.

Apples don't get much fresher than this.

The view from the Cape Ann Farmer's Market

For more on the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, check out their website: http://www.capeannfarmersmarket.org/

Also check out Good Morning Gloucester for tons of videos and pics of one of the true gems of Gloucester. (link to your right)