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Posts Tagged ‘massachusetts’

Art: Meredith Fife Day.
Studio Life.

The day job of artist Meredith Fife Day was for many years running a department at a community newspaper chain in Massachusetts. That is where I met her. She was my first boss in publishing. After retiring from the newspaper, Meredith focused on her art while teaching art at a local college during the day and working with the amazing nonprofit she founded, Making Art with Artists (MAwA). MAwA enabled low-income urban kids to practice art under the guidance of working artists. I wrote about the award Meredith received for that work here.

Recently, I asked her if I could do a post on her art, and she sent me these riches.

From her bio: “Her art reviews and essays have appeared in a variety of publications for more than 25 years and she chronicles her days through journaling. She writes poems which, like her paintings, are frequently in homage to observational response, memory and imagination.

“She has exhibited paintings for more than four decades in numerous invitational shows and national competitions. She earned an MFA degree from Boston University after receiving BA and MFA degrees from Louisiana State University in her native Baton Rouge. Meredith has been awarded fellowships at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Va., and Auvillar, France, and Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, N.Y.  She has taught at Art New England/Mass Art summer workshops in Vermont and Cullowhee Mountain Arts in North Carolina.” 

Note how much the ficus plant below returns Meredith’s love by modeling for her on repeated occasions. And do you sense the joy the artist takes in homely things lifted to a spiritual level? I love her work.

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Covid Murals

Photos: John.

John was in Malden yesterday and saw the Covid murals on the bike path. He was stunned. I tried to find a descriptive article about them online but ended up having to copy lines of poems from the photos on Flickr. I hope I got all the punctuation right. Poets care about such things.

How soon we forget what it was like to be deep in the midst of this! When we thought protecting ourselves meant wiping down the groceries with bleach. When doctors and nurses were having to reuse masks and were sending out pleas for people to find old masks in their garage workshops and take them to emergency rooms. When there were few test kits and no vaccines. How soon we forget it was all about breath and breathing!

The memorial to lost lives in Malden features both art and written words. These are excerpts from the poems.

Terry E. Carter wrote a poem about his mother called “Ventilation.”

“She wouldn’t wear a mask.
“I couldn’t even ask. …
“Said her freedom meant more than anything —
“wasn’t gonna let the liberals win.”

Ten-year-old Elliana J. Shahan’s poem “Because of You” honors farmers, shopkeepers, postal workers, doctors, teachers, and all who kept the world running in the dark times.

Jessica Frazier Vasquez’s is poem about the beep beep beep of her dad’s ventilator showing he was at least still alive: “It tells me that you’re still fighting/Battling to come back.” At least for a while.

Sharon Briner Santillo’s poem noted how one never used to know what was going on behind a neighbor’s windows and how one may feel more connected now.

“I know you
“Your sorrowful heart
“Your beautiful resilience …
“I know you
“And you know me.”

There is another by Dina Stander called “Breath”: “May her memory be for a blessing.” And one by Denise Keating called “A Slow Goodbye” about her father, who had already been paralyzed by a stroke for 10 years.

“We hovered by the window
“Moths fluttering for your voice
“We went away.
“You slipped away.
“And now.
“Guilt-stricken.
“Paralyzed.
“We let you go.
“We didn’t want you to fight.
“But we still struggle
“To remember
“To breathe.

More at MaldenArts, here. Be sure to look at the Flickr pictures, here: you can zoom in to read the words. Most of the poems are not literary, but all are heartfelt.

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Photo: Stanley Forman.
A bear seen in Middleton in August represents the surprising Massachusetts black-bear comeback.

I’m sure you know it’s Fat Bear Week and time to vote on your favorite grizzly based on how successful the bear has been fattening up to hibernate.

Everybody loves bears — almost as much as dinosaurs. The advantage is that bears are still around. In fact, in today’s story we learn about a bear comeback. One caveat: it’s not safe to play with bears, anymore than with dinosaurs.

Billy Baker at the Boston Globe reports that black bears, once nearly extinct in Massachusetts, have staged their comeback without any help from wildlife officers.

“The story of the black bear that is coming to a suburb near you begins one day in the fall of 1969,” Baker reports, “when two bears showed up along a road in the northern Berkshires, in the tiny town of Florida, and appeared to be drunk.

“Back then, black bears were barely hanging on in Massachusetts, at the losing end of a 12,000-year fight with humans and [development], and the tiny population of survivors was believed to live somewhere nearby, along the border with Vermont.

“Still, these two bears were different. They hung around, happy for the crowds that came to watch them. Game wardens said the ‘tipsy bears,’ as they became known, were drunk from too many apples fermenting in their bellies.

Wardens even went so far as to briefly close the hunting season to give the bears time to ‘sober up’ before someone took a shot at them.

“Ultimately, it turned out the bears were comfortable around humans because they were semi-tame, raised by a guy in Shelburne as a roadside attraction for his gift shop on the Mohawk Trail, then released when he couldn’t afford to feed them. But all the fanfare forced the state’s wildlife experts to acknowledge that ‘we didn’t really know anything about bears in Massachusetts, other than there are some,’ according to Jim Cardoza, then a young biologist for MassWildlife.

“Thus began a five-decade effort to understand and conserve black bears in the state, a project that has succeeded beyond most people’s wildest dreams. …

“Starting in 1970, just after the ‘tipsy bears,’ the state shortened the bear hunting season to a single week, from 10 weeks since the early 1950s, and tasked Cardoza with figuring out how many bears lived in Massachusetts and the history that brought them there.

” ‘I was able to learn that at the time of Colonial settlement, bears were widespread in the state, except for very Southeastern Massachusetts and the islands,’ Cardoza said. But as settlement advanced inland to the Connecticut River Valley and the Berkshires, bears saw their forest habitat turned into farms, and their status lowered from king to pest; farmers could, and still can, legally kill any bear destroying their crops, at any time.

“They nearly disappeared in the decades between the end of the Civil War and the onset of hunting regulations in the early 20th century. By the mid-1970s, when Cardoza finished his study, he estimated there were only 80 to 100 bears in the state, all in the Berkshires. With such a small base, conservation goals were modest.

“ ‘The dream would have been to see them get established in western Franklin and Hampshire County,’ he said, but worried even that was a stretch. It wasn’t.

“By the early 90s, bears were thriving in the western part of the state, with an estimated 1,000 throughout the Berkshires and nearby hill towns. At the time, the Connecticut River was seen as a natural barrier to the east for all but the most adventurous young males. Yet over the next three decades, as the bear population in Western Massachusetts became more concentrated, females crossed the river in search of unoccupied territories, spreading throughout Central Mass., crossing endless natural and man-made barriers, including highways here, there, and everywhere.

“By 2011, the last time the state attempted a proper bear census, their numbers had grown to about 5,000. More incredible was how they were doing it, showing time and again an incredible resourcefulness, especially among breeding females, who figured out how to raise young in the woods behind a Target. …

“ ‘The expansion east is just a natural phenomenon of population expansion,’ said John Organ, a conservation scholar and former University of Massachusetts professor who recently joined the board of MassWildlife. ‘Bears are territorial, so those bears that are entering the population are looking for new unoccupied territories, and much of the state has returned to habitat where they can do quite well, even into Eastern Massachusetts.’ …

“If there’s anything biologists have learned in these five decades of studying bears, it’s that there is no overestimating their resourcefulness.

” ‘We had very little to do with [their success]. Bears are just extraordinary animals,’ said John McDonald, a professor at Westfield State University who did his doctoral research on Massachusetts black bears three decades ago. ‘What’s been satisfying is to see our predictions come true.’ …

“They’ve learned to live around people almost entirely without incident. The reverse cannot be said; with no natural predators, humans remain the chief source of bear mortality. Between 25 and 65 are killed by vehicle collisions each year, according to state environmental police records, but the actual number is likely much higher.

“Hunters now have three seasons when they can target black bear, but it remains a fringe pursuit, largely due to the extreme difficulty, after the state outlawed the use of traps, snares, bait, and dogs to hunt them. Most of the 200-250 bears harvested each year are by opportunistic hunters in tree stands waiting for deer.

“Yet as the number of bears increases, MassWildlife has stepped up efforts to get more hunters into the woods pursuing them, both to thin the population and to keep them from losing their fear of humans. …

“The best way to keep the bears at bay is exceedingly simple, specialists said: Get rid of birdfeeders and put electric fencing around chicken coops. They are the two biggest attractants to backyards and hardly anyone had either a few decades ago.”

Oh, dear! Give up my birdfeeder? I am a block from the train and my town is almost urban. Probably I will never see a bear here. If I do, good-bye birdfeeder. More at the Globe, here.

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Photo: Suzanne and John’s Mom.
My teabag tag: “The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.” In fall, it hits us that wild asters are flowers. Bees go bananas for them. The bees knew all along.

Happy October. Time to gather recent photos to share. I use only my phone for photography, I’m sorry to say, so if you want to see what a real camera can do with nature scenes in my region, check out bloggers like jmankowsky and her site From My Window, here.

The first two pictures below are by Sandra M. Kelly and were taken at the Painted Rock in New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

In the Massachusetts town where I live, there are lots of painted doors, an Umbrella Arts initiative. The one pictured, over by the parking lot for two childhood homes of Louisa May Alcott (the Wayside and the Orchard House), features four kinds of poems for the four seasons.

The next two photos were taken at the Umbrella’s annual woodland art show. The theme this year had to do with getting out of balance with nature. The problem is, most of the artists thought they had to use a lot of plastic to express themselves on the topic. John and the kids and I really didn’t like all the plastic. The real-life frogs in the wetlands were fun though.

The mural off Thoreau Street has been wearing well. I wrote about its development in 2012, here.

I loved the sign at my older granddaughter’s soccer game. Also loved hearing blogger Will McMillan, Carole Bundy, and Molly Ruggles (not shown) singing at Porchfest.

In the second-to-last picture, Boston’s Post Office Square is a lovely urban oasis. And I close with shots of the boat house and the nearly dry Sudbury River in September.

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Photo: Suzanne.
The Painted Rock gets the best art in the off-season. This was in early June.

Today I’m rounding up a few photos from summer in New England (although, of course, the badger photo was not taken in New England but on that wedding trip).

There are four photos of some really artistic work on the Painted Rock. Next comes a typical island clothesline in the mellow light near sunset. That’s followed by a pile of rocks that someone (a child?) collected at the edge of the Tug Hole, a sign showing that some landowners are welcoming, and a sharp Queen Anne’s Lace shadow on a guard rail. Those photos were all taken in New Shoreham,, Rhode Island.

The next few are from Massachusetts: Purple Loosestrife near a stone wall, a food-themed mural, a painted door with 3-D touches, and a juvenile red-tailed hawk at Minuteman Park. There were three of the young hawks horsing around that morning. They threw me off the identification until I learned that red tails whistle and that the tail isn’t red in the first year.

Finally, the Wisconsin tough guy.

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Looking for turtles.

I do my wandering in a small circumference, but I’m always finding something new. Today’s photos are from favorite haunts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

As a kid, I spent a lot of time exploring the woods. Now the granddaughter above and her friend enjoy doing the same thing. They particularly like tromping through the less traveled paths — a great opportunity to practice poison ivy identification.

The next photo shows another Providence pond beloved of turtles. My granddaughter worries about them when they lay eggs on the small beach where people walk.

The next scene was taken from the North Bridge in Concord. The little boathouse belongs to the Old Manse. A fisherman is having a relaxing day on the river near there.

Lots of lupines in a yard devoted to native plants. Iris in my yard. Clematis on a phone pole.

Do you have a guess how far below the Clayhead Trail the beach in the next photo is? This is a true optical illusion as the distance is scores of feet down. Would love it if someone from New Shoreham could tell me just how many. 100?

The next shot is of our town in Massachusetts. The play Our Town was actually performed outdoors in the street here, directed my my friend Dorothy Schecter years ago.

A creative resident hangs a lantern with poetry free for the taking.

I hope you’ll get a kick out of the bumper sticker. Unfortunately, no one was singing when I walked past. Next is a photo of a local second hand shop, followed by one of the cute veggie tables at the new health-food store.

The quilted warning about eating the fish you catch was in Pawtucket at an Art League of Rhode Island show called “Under the Surface.” The Make Way for Ducklings wallpaper covered the windows of a Boston shop that was being renovated.

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My first photo today is from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where a homeowner is expressing the solidarity that most of us feel for Ukrainians defending their homeland against a crazed invader.

Some other recent photos also make me think about solidarity — and how good things can happen when folks band together. Remember the WPA? Many of its works are still in use. New Congressional allocations will be doing some of the same kinds of infrastructure projects, thank goodness.

I loved the sign on the bank of the Seekonk River showing the power of “unionized” little fish in a dangerous world.

The photo of the pollinator sign highlights the banding together of neighborhoods in Massachusetts and elsewhere to protect honey bees and other pollinators, guardians of a healthy environment.

Looks like Providence’s official guardian on the river may actually be needed more on the road.

Meanwhile, encouraging signs of spring give us hope that winter won’t keep returning after random warm days. Still, winter can have attractions. Note the bluebirds that have been regular visitors to our feeder.

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Photo: Nathan Klima for the Boston Globe.
Health care professionals at a Mass. General vaccination van parked near the La Colaborativa food pantry administered COVID-19 vaccines and tests for residents during a mini-festival for teens in Chelsea, Mass., on Oct. 06, 2021.

Today I’m thinking about all the people who keep on keepin’ on. Some may think they have no choice, but that doesn’t make them any less heroic to me. There is a kind of unconscious daily heroism of putting one foot in front of the other without any expectation of light at the end of the tunnel that I used to see among tired commuters on the subway. Endless Covid has a bad effect on my gumption, so I greatly admire truckers, grocery workers, nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners, housecleaners, farmers, teachers, and the many others who just keep going.

Today’s article from the Boston Globe shows, I hope, that such dedication pays off. Even if things get worse after they get better, it pays off again and again.

Felice J. Freyer, Bianca Vázquez Toness and Diana Bravo wrote last fall, “The crew had been out on the streets for more than an hour before they found a man who needed a shot.

“The five young people in torn jeans and mint- and cantaloupe-colored T-shirts had already accomplished a lot on this bright late-September day. Stopping stroller-pushing moms on the sidewalk and knocking on the doors of triple-deckers, they told people about the food pantry, the English classes, the sports and music lessons for children, the upcoming block party, where to get help with a leaky oil tank — even how to register to vote.

“But until they came across Gato, sitting at the open door of a shed under the staircase to his home, the promotores de salud — community health workers — did not have occasion to talk about the vaccine against COVID-19, an illness that had stormed this small impoverished city with notorious ferocity.

“ ‘Have you been vaccinated, Gato?’ asked Natalia Restrepo, the 29-year-old engagement coordinator for La Colaborativa, the community service group that hired and trained the promotores.

“ ‘No,’ he said. Restrepo knows Gato; he’s friends with her husband. But she did not know this troubling fact about him.

“He was a member of the unvaccinated minority. According to state data, 74 percent of Chelsea residents are fully vaccinated, above the state average of 67 percent. That happened even though Chelsea’s population is dominated by groups traditionally hard to reach — immigrants, poor people, Latinos. …

“And new COVID-19 cases in Chelsea have plummeted to below the statewide average. Chelsea has made itself into a vaccination standout, the result of a person-to-person campaign by multiple community groups.

“ ‘The Chelsea experience is one we really need to learn from,’ said Carlene Pavlos, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. ‘It’s one where we can see the value of efforts that are locally designed, locally led, and developed by the people most familiar with the community and most trusted by the community.’ …

“The pandemic had raged like a wind-whipped fire in Chelsea, a 2.5-square-mile city across the Mystic River from Boston, bringing fevers and hacking coughs to apartments and houses packed with grandparents, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters — a mysterious sickness that rode home with folks who took the bus to jobs serving food or cleaning hotels or hospitals.

“In April 2020, according to a new report from the environmental group GreenRoots, the COVID-19 infection rate in Chelsea was one of the highest in the nation, 57 per 10,000 residents, higher than the worst days in New York City, six times the statewide infection rate. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that by April 2020 one-third of the city’s residents had acquired antibodies to the virus, indicating they’d been infected. …

“But sickness wasn’t the only source of pain: By June 2020, with the economy flattened by the pandemic, one in five Chelsea residents was out of work. …

“Founded in 1988 to serve a new influx of Latino immigrants, La Colaborativa [offered employment and more]. It set up a food pantry, delivering food and medicine to those in quarantine. ‘We became the survival center,’ said Dinanyili Paulino, the chief operating officer.

Gladys Vega, the CEO, recalls encountering an 11-year-old in the food line. The girl had been left to care for her 6-month-old sibling when their mother was suddenly hospitalized with COVID-19.

“ ‘We adopted that girl for three weeks,’ Vega said, making sure she had diapers and food, and neighbors checking in on her.

“So when it came time to vaccinate, Paulino said, community members wondering whether the vaccine was safe turned to La Colaborativa —’the people that have been with them from the beginning.’ …

“When the COVID-19 vaccines were approved in late 2020, the organization trained mothers to form a cadre of promotores, who teamed up with doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital going door to door to talk about the importance of vaccination. …

“Despite such preparations, despite the severity of COVID-19 in Chelsea, the vaccine itself was slow to arrive. … Advocates were outraged, and undeterred. …

“The first big vaccination clinic in Chelsea opened on Feb. 4. The doses didn’t come from the state. Instead, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center received them through a federal program and agreed to set up a clinic at La Colaborativa.

“Offering the vaccine at their headquarters, Vega said, ‘sent a strong message that, if we are welcoming the vaccination, that means that you as an individual should get vaccinated.’ ”

More at the Globe, here.

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Once a year, they close off a block on Main Street.

Saturday was quite a joyful day in town. The weather was beautiful (not too humid), the farmers market boasted vegetable car races for kids as well as vegetable stalls for grownups, and the Covid-delayed library book sale made a record haul from book lovers overjoyed to be back.

So today seems like a good day to share pictures from those events and also from late summer in general. The beach plums are in New Shoreham. My neighbor knows the secret places for every kind of berry, and he goes out at dawn to pick them so Sandra can make jams and jellies. This year was a bust for blackberries, but Sandra expects to get several batches out of the beach plums.

Next comes one of the better Painted Rock designs from 2021, followed by a photo of seining for small fish and shrimp in Great Salt Pond.

From those scenes we turn to the lobster pots and breathtaking vistas of Lewis Farm. Then a view of Old Harbor boats and the National Hotel.

The windmills did not get much action this summer, partly because of the cost and partly because of repairs. That’s what I was told, anyway.

The fishing boat is docked in the active port of Galilee, the last stop in Rhode Island today.

Next we return to Massachusetts, where I want to share a bit regarding post-Covid life. First, a delicious Dutch pancake that I learned to make during the pandemic. Then, the story of my hair. My daughter-in-law loved how it grew out during the year and a half I stayed away from scissors, and she made beautiful braids for me. But in the end, I couldn’t manage long hair and resigned myself to easy care.

I was glad to see the Umbrella arts center still has a lot of opportunities to enjoy art outdoors. The Millbrook farm stand offers a different kind of art. Similarly, the colors of autumn sedum and lily-of-the-valley berries make an unstudied picture. The praying mantis is another work of art, busy going after the less welcome bugs in the yard.

Hello and good-bye, Happy Sunflower.

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Photo: Andrea Pyenson.
In this 2019 photo, a student harvested lettuce at the Rivers School’s Freight Farm.

Are we all too disconnected from the wisdom and skills of our ancestors? At the Rivers School and other Massachusetts schools, students have been getting hands-on insight into growing food — but a bit differently from how our ancestors grew it.

Boston Globe correspondent Andrea Pyenson reported on the hydroponic initiative in a January 2020 article.

“Inside the big white shipping container parked behind a classroom building on the campus of the Rivers School in Weston, it smells like a verdant field on a warm spring day, with a degree of humidity that is completely at odds with the cold, dry air outside. A variety of lettuces, herbs, and a smattering of other vegetables grow on vertical towers in adjustable rows. The sixth-grade students who maintain the school’s Freight Farm cycle through in groups of four to reap the bounty of work they started at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. The first harvest day was in late October.

“ ‘They all love to come in here,’ says Emily Poland, who teaches eighth-grade science and is the farm director at this independent school for grades 6 through 12. The Freight Farm and related projects are built in to the sixth-grade curriculum, incorporating humanities, social justice, and science, among other subjects. Students spend time there once a week planting, cleaning, and harvesting. Farming is a club activity for the school’s high school students, who can go in during their free time.

“Based in Boston, Freight Farms manufactures technologically advanced hydroponic farming systems. In 320-square-foot, climate-controlled shipping containers, users can grow up to 13,000 plants at a time, vertically, without soil. The company was founded in 2010 by Brad McNamara and Jon Friedman. Several area schools, among them Rivers, Boston Latin School, and Worcester State University, are using the farms to grow food for their own communities, for their neighbors, and as educational tools.

“For Poland, managing the farm was a natural extension of her teaching. ‘I like to create curriculum. I care about food. I like to be outside,’ she says. One of the sixth-graders’ annual activities, which combines academics with community service, is cooking a meal for the Natick Open Door at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. These are hosted every week and attended primarily by seniors. Poland explains that planning the meal incorporates math skills because the students have to scale recipes to feed up to 45 people. And naturally they use their own greens in the salads. …

“Boston Latin, a public exam school for grades seven through 12, acquired its farm in 2013 after students in the Youth Climate Action Network won the $75,000 prize in the Global Green Schools Makeover Competition. Farming is a student-run after-school activity here, under the guidance of eighth-grade history and civics teacher Cate Arnold. …

“Addy Krom, a junior, notes of the farm, ‘You can come in, it’s a whole different environment. All the stress from school [goes] away.’ Adds sophomore Azalea Thompson, ‘This makes locally grown food more accessible to the city.’ The students give the food they grow to faculty members, bring some home, and are working to create a CSA. With Arnold’s help they are also trying to reestablish a more consistent connection to a food pantry in Jamaica Plain, where a former Boston Latin parent, recently deceased, used to deliver their greens.

“At Worcester State, Mark Murphy, associate director of dining services, oversees the Freight Farm, which sits outside of Sheehan Hall, the school’s newest dormitory and site of its main cafeteria. Rich Perna, former director of dining, made the decision to purchase the farm five years ago, says Murphy, ‘to bring hyperlocal produce to the campus.’

“Murphy has been responsible for the farm for the last two years. An employee of Chartwells, which has the contract for all of the school’s food services, he grows almost all of the greens for the cafeteria, as well as for alumni catering events. …

“At full capacity, Murphy explains, the farm produces about two acres’ worth of crops. He is constantly looking for different varieties of lettuce that will appeal to the students and is currently ‘trying to figure out a gourmet mix.’ In addition to three varieties of lettuce, he grows kale, rainbow Swiss chard, parsley, and basil. He coordinates with the cafeteria’s cooks, telling them what he is growing so they can plan menus to incorporate the farm’s production. …

“Through a partnership with the Worcester Public Schools and its program that helps young adults with differences transition from school to the workforce Murphy has three part-time helper/trainees. Once a week three students, who have completed high school with a certificate, come (often with a job coach from the program) to seed, plant, harvest, and clean. Murphy is in the process of hiring one of the students, who has aged out of the program. She ‘has a lot of passion for the farm,’ he says.”

More at the Boston Globe, here.

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Photo: Suzanne’s Mom.
At Verrill Farm’s Sunflower Day, lovers of pick-your-own sunflowers benefit both themselves and the pediatrics unit of the local hospital.

It’s only August, so I’ll have more summer photos down the road, but I decided to share what I have today. This collection includes both inspiration from nature and quirky things that just call out for a picture.

When you wait in line at the big grocery store in New Shoreham, RI, if your eyes wander to the ceiling, you will note the shop’s unusual version of a seahorse. More like a mermaid horse than a real seahorse. At the island’s smaller market, I was drawn to an antique cash register.

An artisan at a craft show converted watering cans and lanterns into bird houses — whether for actual birds or just for display, I don’t know.

In the woods near Ben Wohlberg‘s gallery, there was a wooden sculpture like a signpost.

The stove-in double-ender on display at the historical society is in need of some love and attention. This was historically the kind of boat island fishermen used.

Next is one of the many old, unused outhouses on the island, followed by bird nests, also unused. Then a picturesque outdoor fireplace by a stone wall.

Moving on to Massachusetts, Indian Pipes, giant tomatoes at Verrill Farm, and the farm’s version of social-distancing guidelines.

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An example of tiny houses designed to combat homelessness.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about tiny houses (you can search on the term to see what I posted before), and I was curious to see what was going on in the movement. To my surprise, I learned that a tiny-house community is being planned to combat homelessness in Worcester.

Tori Bedford writes at GBH News, “Plans for a community of tiny homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Worcester have been announced, with a small village slated to open in 2023.

“The village, to be located at 264 Stafford St., will have 21 tiny homes that contain a bedroom, bathroom and combination kitchen and living room, contained within about 480 square feet. As of 2019, 84 people in Worcester were chronically homeless, according to data reported to Central Mass Housing.

” ‘It’s expanding the options for people,’ said Amy Arrell, a service director at Open Sky Community Services, ‘because different things work for different people, depending on their trauma history, their need for privacy, their different experiences when they’ve been out on the streets.’

“Arrell says Worcester’s homelessness crisis has heightened during the coronavirus pandemic: at the height of the crisis in April of last year, nearly half of the population at a Worcester adult emergency homeless shelter tested positive for COVID-19.

“Open Sky is working in partnership with the Worcester East Side Community Development Corporation and a group of local real estate developers, organizations and agencies to offer permanent housing for people who have struggled with chronic homelessness, mental health challenges and substance use.

“Applicants for residency will be processed through a coordinated entry process, led by the city, Open Sky and the Department of Mental Health, to select candidates who don’t thrive in a group setting or temporary housing. …

“The village will include on-site housing specialists to help transition tenants into the neighborhood, as well as individualized and group mental health and substance use treatment. Staff will live in a central building that also serves as a community center, offering monthly social activities like barbecues and picnics. Residents will additionally have access to both individual and community gardens.

“Subsidies will be available to cover the cost of rent based on a percentage of income, and resources for job placement will be made available to residents on-site. …

“ ‘In permanent supportive housing programs, people usually don’t live there forever, they live there for as long as they need to. But there is a sense of security as you’re recovering to know that if you do need that, it’s a permanent option for you.’ …

“Some funding has already been secured through UMass Memorial Health’s anchor mission program, which has connected Worcester East Side CDC and Civico, a real estate development firm that has designed the model based on similar projects across the Pacific Northwest.

“ ‘We abide by some of the principles referred to as “trauma-informed design,” ‘ Taylor Bearden, a partner at Civico, said. ‘The idea is that you’re actually designing for the population and the experiences that these people who may have suffered from chronic homelessness have had in their life. You’re not creating dark corners. You’re making sure that, from the bedroom, you have a clear line of sight to the front door. Certain things that may be triggers for trauma are sort of addressed in the architecture of the spaces themselves.’

“Bearden says safety and community are huge factors in designing a space that can serve as both a recovery center and a liveable space for people who have experienced trauma.

“ ‘The goal is to create a really permanent community where the people who live there develop relationships.’ “

More at GBH radio, here. At the Christian Science Monitor, here, you can see what some other cities are doing to address homelessness.

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New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Hello, Everyone. Here are a few summer photos. They mostly speak for themselves. The first eight are all of Rhode Island. As you can see, I’m fascinated by stone walls, lichen, and dirt roads.

Also, I took a shorebird hike with the Nature Conservancy and saw oyster catchers, among other cool birds. Our guide (with the telescope) taught Suzanne and John all about bird banding when they were young.

The Great Blue Heron here, however, is not the one I saw in Rhode Island but one that stood in the flooded path of Great Meadows National Wildlife Sanctuary in Massachusetts. After the heavy rains, I found I couldn’t walk there because I had no wading boots, but it was a treat to see people silently watching this bird, including a troop of little boys with bicycles. When I left, everyone was still waiting for the heron to decide what to do.

Also from Massachusetts, are photos of an agricultural lawn ornament, summer lilies and wild flowers, and Concord grapes in a vine honoring the founder of that variety, Ephraim Bull.

The last photo is neither from Rhode Island or Massachusetts but one Suzanne sent from the west coast of Sweden, where her family is renting an apartment on a horse farm near where they’re boating.

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I think I have enough June and early July photos for another round-up. Most of these were taken in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but I’m including two that Melita sent from Madrid, where (she reports with relief) foreign nationals have finally been able to get Covid vaccinations.

Working backwards from New Shoreham’s July 4th parade, I apologize that the banner is missing an apostrophe. But there was such a sense of relief and gratitude in the air, I think I can let that go. No one knows how long our relief will last — I for one, still put up a mask when I get close to strangers — but it sure felt good for one day.

Another shot from New Shoreham features a blue Lace-Cap Hydrangea. How I love that flower! It says July to me. Next, I have a photo of Great Salt Pond on a cloudy day when the waves on the ocean side of the sandbar were too rough for the grandchildren. Later on, I collaborated with them to identify the Red Admiral butterfly. My husband caught it flying around the house and let it go outdoors.

The gorgeous iris and peony from Madrid are followed by the papery bark of the river birch. Such a beautiful tree! And speaking of trees, please applaud the tree puzzle I finally finished. It took me almost six months. It was the hardest puzzle I ever did. But everyone said to do a puzzle in the pandemic.

The dry cleaner’s sign speaks for itself. It’s followed by the boat house on the Sudbury River, a kind of garter snake, more flowers, and shadows. I can never resist interesting shadows.

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What’s weird about WordPress is that it keeps changing how things are done and forgets its own history. So, for example, it recently decided to congratulate people for consecutive days of posting. I guess it started counting when the new editing system went in. But when it throws exclamation points at me for “1,449!” consecutive days, it’s really a bit insulting.

Every day for ten years is 3,650 plus three leap years. So ex-cu-use me!

Well, enough of that. Today I also thought I would post some spring photos, the one above being ten years out of date. Suzanne, of course, looks exactly the same, but I really got old!

First, I want to share three pictures I took of redbud trees, which I always thought were plum trees until the dear sister who died in 2019 showed me an especially beautiful one on Fifth Avenue in New York. I realized from studying these photos that it’s the delicate shape of the branches from a distance that charms me most. And I always think of my sister now when I see redbuds.

Next are apple trees growing wild along the Sudbury River and cherry blossoms coexisting on a branch with moss and lichen.

Also looking pretty: woodland trails, dogwood, barberry flowers, rhododendron open and opening, plus a rare pink Lady Slipper.

And it wouldn’t be a Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog photo round-up without some shadows.

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