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Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/CSM.
This gourd box and ornament, on display at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in New Hampshire, were made by Jeanne Morningstar Kent, an Abenaki artist
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When I was editing the community development magazine for the Boston Fed, I published several articles on the Abenaki people in Vermont. I hadn’t heard of that tribe before and was intrigued to learn they also have a big presence in New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada. Nowadays, they are no longer living their lives below the radar, and a project launched in the middle of the Covid pandemic has helped.

Chelsea Sheasley reports at the Christian Science Monitor, “For years, Darryl Peasley and Sherry Gould, two friends and members of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, heard stories about various Native American sites dotting the region around their small southern New Hampshire hometowns. 

“There was the Indian Tie Up in Henniker, an overhanging rock formation said to have been a site where Native Americans camped or spent winters; a mineral springs sacred site in Bradford; and an old chimney in the woods in Hopkinton rumored to hold ties to Native culture. 

“Before last summer, Mr. Peasley and Ms. Gould had visited only a few spots. That’s changed since they launched the Abenaki Trails Project in August 2020 and organized outings to explore each site with other tribe members and community partners. The project aims to create a network of sites and art installations that the public can visit to learn about Native American history and the continued presence of Native Americans in New Hampshire today.  

“ ‘I want to prove that not only did we live here, we still live here,’ says Mr. Peasley, an artist who creates pouches, hats, and dance sticks in contemporary and traditional Abenaki style. He’s mulled over the idea of sharing Abenaki history more broadly ever since he heard state legislators years ago call New Hampshire a ‘pass through’ state for Native Americans, an assertion he and others say is a misconception.  

“Last summer, he and Ms. Gould decided to take action. They approached select boards and historical societies in four towns, asking to work together to better document local Native American history. They’ve held hikes, paddling trips, and spoken at community events, and they plan to branch out to two more towns this summer.

“On June 5 the Abenaki Trails Project and the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association launched an art show at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner. On display is a birchbark canoe made in the traditional Indigenous style by Ms. Gould’s husband, Bill Gould, who is Abenaki, and Reid Schwartz, a local craftsperson. They sourced all their materials, including white birch bark, spruce root, and moss, within a five-mile radius of Warner. 

“Even in its early stages, the Abenaki Trails Project is ‘raising consciousness, particularly among non-Native people,’ says Robert Goodby, an archaeologist and anthropology professor at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, who was invited to attend several of the group’s events to offer an archaeological perspective. 

“ ‘The Native people have always known that they have a long history here and that these sorts of sites exist. For most non-Native people, it’s very easy to spend your whole life living in New Hampshire and never really think about the Native presence here, and I think this is a way of bringing that presence into the light, community by community,’ says Dr. Goodby, who has found evidence in archaeological digs of Indigenous people living in New Hampshire for over 12,000 years. 

The Abenaki Trails Project aims to highlight positive relations between historic Native Americans and European settlers and dispel the myth that Native Americans disappeared from New England – or that they were primarily antagonistic toward settlers.

“ ‘We want people to understand that Abenaki weren’t just what you read in history books, the murderers and marauders. They helped the colonial settlers also or they wouldn’t have known how to plant corn, how to survive the winter,’ says Mr. Peasley on a recent afternoon at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum art show, where some of his handcrafted hats are on display. …

“ ‘Because these initiatives are going on all over New England, I’m hopeful that it will help change dialogue,’ says Christoph Strobel, author of ‘Native Americans of New England’ and a history professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. …

“One of the highlights of the Abenaki Trails Project for Ms. Gould, a basketmaker, is how enjoyable the exploratory outings are, which bring together Native Americans and non-Native community partners like historians, geologists, and archaeologists. … Yet Ms. Gould still struggles, she says, with feeling like she lives in a ‘dual reality’ where friends know she’s Native American, but in broader society ‘a lot of people want to think that’s not true or you’re trying to appropriate someone else’s culture.’ …

“It doesn’t help that there are no federally recognized Native American tribes in New Hampshire. The Nulhegan Band that Mr. Peasley and Ms. Gould are members of is headquartered in and recognized by Vermont. …

“The project’s impact continues to ripple out. Heather Mitchell, executive director of the Hopkinton Historical Society, says that seven years ago the society created an exhibit including a paddle trip with points of interest along the Contoocook River. None of the sites included any Native history. This summer, after participating in outings with the Abenaki Trails Project, the society plans another paddle trip that will focus exclusively on Native American points of interest.”

More at the Monitor, here.

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Photo: Seacoast Science Center.
The male seahorse carries from 5 to 2,000 babies in his pouch, depending on the species.

More and more dads take on nurturing roles these days, a great benefit to kids — and moms, too. That got me thinking about perhaps the top nurturing dad of the animal kingdom, the seahorse. So I was pleased to find a blog post about papa seahorses at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire.

Intern Ashley Breault, who in 2016 was an Ocean Studies and Communications student at the University of New England, wrote, “Father’s Day is a great time to thank all the dads out there who step up their game for life’s most important job! Inarguably, the most notable dad in the animal kingdom, the seahorse has some pretty unique traits that qualify them for the #1 dad in-the-sea award!

“There are more than 50 different seahorse species … all of which do something that gives them the title of best dad: they are one of the only species in which the male carries and delivers its babies. …

“After hours of a courtship ‘dance’ that includes synchronized tail movements and twirling, a male and female seahorse will mate. The female seahorse makes the eggs, and during this mating process, transfers the unfertilized eggs to the male seahorse. The male seahorse fertilizes the eggs and is now a proud father, carrying anywhere from 5-2,000 babies in his pouch, depending on the species.

“In here, these offspring will get all the food and oxygen they need to develop. Anywhere from 14 days to 4 weeks later, all these little seahorses will be born.

“Baby seahorses are called fry and once they are born, they are completely independent. Mom and dad leave them to find food and shelter all on their own. Unfortunately, only a few of the thousands born will make it to adulthood. …

“Here at the Seacoast Science Center, you can find seahorses in our Eelgrass exhibit tank. The seahorses at the Center are called White’s seahorses, Hippocampus whitei, and are actually native to Australia, where they are a very common along the coast. These seahorses are typically very small, growing no longer than 20 cm. Our seahorses are fed mysid shrimp 4 times a day and get all the love and care they need. Because they are so small, they can only eat small amounts of food at a time, which is why they get fed so often.

“One seahorse species that you might be able to find in our local waters are Lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, which can live as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Venezuela.” More here.

You might want to check out Seacoast Science Center’s other blog entries, here, especially the post called “One Ocean,” which has a holistic take on the interconnectedness of all the oceans on planet Earth. “The idea of One World Ocean is a relatively new way of thinking about the saltwater basins we all learned about in elementary school. … Over 70% of Earth’s surface is ocean, and understanding its enormous influence on our planet and our lives on land is the first step to understanding the urgency to preserve and protect this life-giving resource.”

The Seacoast Science Center is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm. They encourage people to buy advance tickets and, if unvaccinated and over age 3, to wear a mask.

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Photos: Bedrock Gardens

I’m excited that the now-public garden of our friends Jill Nooney and Bob Munger in Lee, New Hampshire, is opening up again after a long hiatus. If you live anywhere near southeast New Hampshire, you are in for a treat when you enter the magical world of Bedrock Gardens.

Although they originally created the wonderland for their family and friends and to display Nooney’s monumental sculptures, Bedrock Gardens is now a nonprofit entity open to all.

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Here is what Robin Sweetser at New Hampshire Home magazine had to say about it recently.

“This year, Bedrock Gardens in Lee is opening for its first full season as a public garden. Owners Jill Nooney and Bob Munger decided in 2007 that, for their garden not to fall into disrepair when they could no longer care for it, they would have to take action to preserve it.

‘The pleasure others derived from the garden — paired with the fact we can’t take it with us — propelled us to try and turn the garden into one open to the public,’ Nooney says.

“Bedrock was already a popular garden destination. ‘Way back in 1998, we started opening the garden two weekends a year as a stage to showcase my outdoor sculptures,’ Nooney says. …

“ ‘For several years, we were open one weekend a month, and when we went to two weekends a month, we had more than five thousand visitors!’ Munger says.

“The most impressive water feature on the property is a two-hundred-foot-long channel dubbed ‘the Wiggle-Waggle’ for the way it curves across the property. …

“The garden has been created on land that was originally a farm dating from 1740. When Nooney and Munger bought the property in 1980, the land had been neglected for about forty years. The couple spent their first years there clearing overgrown fields of poison ivy, saplings and brush.

“Actual landscaping began in 1987; then Nooney and Munger added a ¾-acre pond in 1991. The soil excavated from the pond was used to build a berm alongside busy Route 125 to buffer the road noise and block the sight of traffic. Selective cutting of trees opened up the property even more, and two miles of trails made the wooded areas accessible. …

“Nooney believes that a garden needs to have destinations. At Bedrock, there are twenty-three garden areas linked with paths to form a journey with comfortable spots along the way to sit and enjoy the sights. There are many axis views that draw visitors through the garden. One is nine-hundred-feet long, …

“Becoming a public garden has been a long process; attaining nonprofit status for the Friends of Bedrock Gardens was one of the first hurdles to overcome, taking ten years. ‘The mission of the Friends group is to take over and run the garden,’ Nooney says. The Friends group also established a governing board and brought in John Forti as founding executive director. …

“Forti recently returned to New Hampshire after three years as horticulture director at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Area folks know him from his years as curator of historic landscapes at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth and co-founder of the Seacoast Slow Food chapter. ‘His knowledge of plants, the region and its people, in addition to his magnetic personality, make him the perfect person for the job,’ Nooney says….

“ ‘We are just starting to explore how we can add plantings like a fernery, and a children’s garden space that will offer fun and meaningful lessons for families with our own unique twist,’ Forti says. … ‘Above all, I look forward to helping us grow as a land-based cultural oasis and gathering place for the community to find calm and inspiration in a harried and fractious world.’ ”

More here.

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Photo: Scott Hess/Flickr
Guinea fowl, which like to forage for ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, beetles, spiders, and more, can help protect your family from Lyme Disease.

In our family we have had reason to worry about deer ticks. Nearly everyone has had Lyme Disease at some point or at least found a tick attached and taken Doxycycline just in case. We’re always on the alert for stories about the latest vaccine research or new preventive sprays. I myself wear long pants and socks all summer.

What is the long-term solution? Some people promote expanded deer hunting or experimenting with ways to keep deer from reproducing. I like this idea from New Hampshire: guinea fowl.

A great radio show called Living on Earth has the story.

“Some homeowners in the thick of tick country are turning to guinea fowl to control ticks. Living on Earth’s Jenni Doering reports from Exeter, New Hampshire, about one family’s experience with these tick-eating machines. …

“More than 40,000 new cases of Lyme were reported in 2017, and climate change could make it even more common. A recent study found that a temperature increase of just 2 degrees Celsius could result in a 20 percent increase in Lyme disease cases in the U.S. Luckily, there are proven ways to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease: wear long sleeved clothing, use repellents, and do a thorough tick check after you’ve been in the woods. …

“JENNI DOERING: Suzy and Hazel Koff live an enchanted childhood.
On a warm July day the 6 and 3 year olds run through the sun-dappled forest in their New Hampshire backyard. … Their mother, Sarah, says this is how they spend their summer.

“KOFF: We love going outside playing in the woods. We have this great big yard that they play in and we have a sandbox out here and slack line and all sorts of things; we like to make fairy houses, and we like to garden together. …

“DOERING: But in the Northeast, where there are woods, there are ticks. A lot of them.

“KOFF: I was so, just, overwhelmed by the ticks in our yard. … I’m such a big gardener, there’s no way I was willing to spray anything on the lawn or use any sort of chemicals at all, so I thought I would try this biological control. …

“DOERING:  Enter the guinea fowl. Native to Africa, guineas are rather awkward, football-shaped birds with a tiny head, and a voracious appetite for ticks. And unlike chickens, guinea fowl won’t peck at your garden greens. So Sarah decided to give them a try.

“KOFF: Yeah, I just went on Craigslist. … As soon as we started letting them out they were immediately interested in pecking, pecking and pecking. So yeah, they were just sort of tearing up all the bugs! … They’re not pets. They’re sort of wild animals that you just have. … I haven’t seen any ticks on the kids since we’ve let the guineas go roam around. …

“DOERING: A small 1992 study on Long Island backs up Sarah’s observation.
Researchers placed guinea fowl into tick-infested areas and found that they significantly reduced the adult tick population within the enclosures. But Howard Ginsberg, a research ecologist with the Department of Interior, points out a problem with timing.

“GINSBERG: Most people get Lyme disease during June and July when the nymphs are out, and the nymphs are in the woods. The adults, which are the stage that’s targeted by these birds, [are] out in the fall and spring, out in open areas like people’s lawn. …

“DOERING: A single female deer tick can lay as many as 2,000 eggs, so removing adult ticks does appear to reduce local Lyme disease risk overall. Fortunately, even if a tick latches on to you, Ginsberg says time is on your side.

“GINSBERG: Lyme disease, that bacterium requires something like 24 to 48 hours with tick attachment before it’s transmitted. So if you do a check every day when you get back from the woods and remove ticks, you have eliminated the possibility of Lyme disease fairly substantially. … The best way to remove a tick is to just take fine tweezers, just grab as close to the skin line as possible, and slowly pull it straight out.

“DOERING: Then, take some rubbing alcohol and clean the bite thoroughly.
And get that tick safely out of your life by flushing it down the toilet.”

Meanwhile, the search goes on for long-lasting solutions to the Lyme Disease problem.

More at Living on Earth, here., where you can also listen to the audio version.

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Photo: Jason Moon / NHPR
These large stones come from the foundation of an early 17th century garrison house near Durham, New Hampshire’s Great Bay. Sea-level rise is adding urgency to archaeological digs.

I’m losing count of the ways that melting glaciers and global warming are beginning to affect our lives. This story comes from New Hampshire, which some readers may be surprised to learn has a border on the ocean. As glaciers melt and waters rise, parts of that border are washing out to sea.

New Hampshire Public Radio’s Jason Moon “joined a [University of New Hampshire] researcher for a hike to see a centuries-old archaeological site that is literally washing away.

“UNH anthropological archaeologist Meghan Howey has a map. It was made in 1635 and it shows the location of garrison houses that once stood near Great Bay in what is now Durham. Garrison houses, in case you’re wondering, were a sort of fortified log cabin built by early colonial settlers in New England.

“But Howey says even though we’ve had this map for almost 400 years, until recently, no one has actually gone out to find the sites. To look for what may have been left behind. …

“Howey and a team of volunteers discovered the location of one of the garrison houses on that map – the remains of a structure where some of the earliest Europeans to ever be in this region lived, worked, and died.

“But that exciting discovery came with some sobering news.

“We reach the end of the forest, where a steep bank drops to a narrow strip of sandy beach. Howey points to the ground beneath our feet.

“I realize that she’s not showing me what’s here, so much as what’s gone. Most of the land where the garrison house once stood has been eaten away by the rising tidal water of the bay.

“ ‘Like quite literally washing away,’ says Howey, ‘and it’s gone, whatever the artifacts were with it – they’ve been, over the years, just washed away.’

“Just one corner of the garrison house’s foundation remains on solid ground. A few feet away, Howey points out a couple of bricks submerged in the shallow salty water. She says the bricks were likely part of the garrison house’s chimney and could date back to the 1600s. They are what remains of an archaeological site that’s largely been lost.

“ ‘Yeah it’s gone. It was a pretty depressing find,’ says Howey. …

“In a new report, she combined sea-level rise projections from climate scientists with the location of historic sites on the Seacoast. She found that as many as 1 in 7 of the region’s known historic sites are at risk.

“But even that number could be a low estimate because it doesn’t include sites like this one, which weren’t known until Howey found it just last year. …

“In many cases, saving historic sites like this from climate change just isn’t feasible. So the best Howey can do is to document what’s here before it’s gone — an archaeological race against time.

“ ‘I feel a great sense of urgency especially after finding these sites are washing away,’ says Howey, ‘there’s a part of me that feels I’m 20 years too late to the problem.’ ”

More here.

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Is the New England cottontail no longer in trouble? I guess, as David Abel suggests at the Boston Globe, it depends on who you talk to.

“The threatened New England cottontail — the region’s only native rabbit, made immortal in The Adventures of Peter Cottontail [by Thorton Burgess] — appears to be making a comeback.

“Federal wildlife officials [are] removing the cottontail from the list of candidates to be named an endangered species. It’s the first time any species in New England has been removed from the list as a result of conservation efforts. …

“Wildlife officials said the bark-colored rabbits, which have lost nearly 90 percent of their dwelling areas to development, are benefiting from an increasing effort to protect their habitat. …

“The rabbit, which has perky ears and a tail that looks like a puff of cotton, has been the victim of development that has wiped out most of the region’s young forests. … Unlike its abundant cousin, the Eastern cottontail, the New England species relies on the low-lying shrubs of young forests for food and protection from predators, such as raptors, owls, and foxes. …

“Some environmental advocates worry that the federal government may be acting prematurely in removing [New England cottontails] from the list of candidates for endangered status …

“It has never been easy to galvanize concern for the cottontails, given how much they look like the nonnative Eastern cottontails. Those rabbits, brought to the region by trappers in the 19th century, have flourished because they have better peripheral vision than the native bunnies …

“ ‘People think they’re everywhere,’ Scott Ruhren, director of conservation for the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, said of the local cottontails. ‘But like every species, they are important and deserve a place on the New England landscape.’ ” More here.

Update January 10, 2019: More good news at EcoRI, here. If zoos can do more this sort of wildlife restoration, they will go a long way toward justifying their existence to opponents.

Photo: Mark Lorenz for The Boston Globe
A New England cottontail bred in a refuge in Newington, N.H., was penned Thursday in advance of its release.

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I have written a few times about young people who commit themselves to a life of farming. At National Public Radio, Jennifer Mitchell explains why Northern New England states like Maine are particularly attractive to beginning farmers.

“On a windy hillside just a few miles from Maine’s rocky mid-coast, it’s 10 degrees; snow is crunching underfoot. Hairy highland cattle munch on flakes of hay and native Katahdin sheep are mustered in a white pool just outside the fence. Not far away, heritage chickens scuttle about a mobile poultry house that looks a bit like a Conestoga wagon.

“Marya Gelvosa, majored in English literature and has never lived out in the country before. ‘Just a few years ago, if you’d told me that I was going to be a farmer, I would have probably laughed at you,’ she says.

“But Gelvosa and her partner, Josh Gerritsen, a New York City photographer, have thrown all their resources into this farm, where they provide a small local base of customers with beef, lamb and heritage poultry. Gerritsen says their livelihood now ties them to a community. …

” ‘It’s very fulfilling work,’ Gelvosa says, ‘and noble work.’ …

“In Maine, farmers under the age of 35 have increased by 40 percent, says John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension: ‘Nationally, that increase is 1.5 percent.’

“And young farmers are being drawn to other rural Northeastern states as well, he says. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were all hotbeds of activity during the previous back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s. Many of those pioneers stayed and helped create farming and gardening organizations that now offer support and encouragement for new farmers. …

“Sparsely developed states like Maine still possess affordable lands, which savvy young farmers with a little money — and a lot of elbow grease — are starting to acquire.” Read all about it here.

Photo: Josh Gerritsen/Donkey Universe Farm
Marya Gelvosa and Josh Gerritsen run a small farm on Maine’s rocky mid-coast, providing their local community with beef, lamb and heritage poultry.

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In high school, I had a small part in Thorton Wilder’s play The Skin of Our Teeth. As arch and self-conscious as it is, there are phrases that stick with you for your whole life. Even my sister remembers phrases, and she wasn’t in it. One of my brothers had a small role in a different production and remembers the ad-libbing part where a key actor supposedly has fallen ill, and the stage manager and all the cast and crew come out on the stage, and one of the ad-libbers says, “It must have been the chocolate matzohs.”

Among the phrases that stick for a lifetime are: “We came through the Depression by the skin of our teeth. One more tight squeeze like that, and where would we be?” and “Pray God nothing happened to the Master crossing the Hudson River!” and “Sabina, you let the fire go out!” and “The dogs are sticking to the sidewalks!”

The dogs were sticking to the sidewalks because there was an Ice Age going on, complete with woolly mammoths. … I know.

Anyway, there are those of us who to this day express how cold it is by exclaiming, “The dogs are sticking to the sidewalks!” It’s that kind of weather in New England lately. Suzanne’s family went skiing in New Hampshire near Mt Washington when I saw on twitter that the temperature at the top of the mountain was minus 81 degrees. That’s what my husband calls Type 2 Fun, the kind of fun that is only fun in retrospect, when you can tell the story.For more on The Skin of Our Teeth, click here. And here is one of my more recent wintry photos. Sunny but bitterly cold.011114-tree-branch-Concord

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Suzanne’s friend Sara Van Note is heading off to Central America to research a story, but before leaving, she filed this report on a wasp that is being used to fight the emerald ash borer.

“A swampy forest in the floodplain of  the Merrimack River is one of the first places in New Hampshire where the dreaded emerald ash borer was discovered. These days, Molly Heuss of the New Hampshire Division of Forestry and Lands knows just how to find the tree-munching beetles lurking in green and black ash. …

“In recent years, the emerald ash borer has chewed its way through tens of millions of ashes across 24 states and two Canadian provinces, and counting.”

So scientists have decided to use a parasitic wasp to combat the menace.

“The parasites are descendants of wasps brought to the US from China, where the borer is also from. And they are very tiny. ‘About the size of a pin,’ says entomologist Juli Gould, of the US Department of Agriculture in Massachusetts. …

“The borers themselves were discovered in North America in 2002. They probably got here by stowing away in shipping crates. Scientists here knew nothing about them at the time, so Gould says they began working with colleagues in China to find a way to control the bugs.” More here.

Using the parasitic wasp is a last-ditch effort, and other scientists worry that the wasp could end up doing other things that are less desirable. That’s always a possibility, as Erik pointed out the other day when I showed him an article in the Providence Journal about a local effort to beat back a winter moth infestation. The article said that the parasitic fly Cyzenis albicans dines only on winter moths, so no worries. But Erik was skeptical. The best laid plans of mice and men …

Photo: John Cameron
Mountain Ash in New Hampshire

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With increasing numbers of Americans experiencing food insecurity, it seems like an appropriate time of year to be grateful that at least there are many goodhearted people managing food banks and community meals and doing what they can.

If you know of anyone in New England who could use the help just now, or if you want to volunteer or donate, this partial list may be a good starting place.

Rhode Island

http://www.rifoodbank.org
“The Rhode Island Community Food Bank works to end hunger in our state by providing food to people in need. We envision a day when all Rhode Islanders have access to nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle.

Massachusetts

East
http://Gbfb.org
“The Greater Boston Food Bank’s mission is to End Hunger Here. Our objective is to distribute enough food to provide at least one meal a day to those in need.”

West
https://www.foodbankwma.org/
“We are fortunate to live in such a special part of the country, allowing for the growth and harvest of a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables. As this harvest season comes to an end, we have received more than 266,800 pounds of fresh produce — including potatoes, lettuce, carrots, apples and squash — donated by local farms this year.”

Vermont

http://www.vtfoodbank.org/FindFoodShelf.aspx
“If you are looking for a place to have a Thanksgiving meal or to volunteer to help cook, serve or clean-up, download our list of Thanksgiving meals.”

New Hampshire

http://www.nhfoodbank.org/
“Need Food? We Can Help. If you are in need of assistance, use our search to locate the nearest food pantry or soup kitchen to you. Search by your town or county, or view all of our partner agencies.”

Maine

http://www.foodpantries.org/st/maine
“There are several food pantries and food banks in the Maine. With help from users like you we have compiled a list of some. If you know of a listing that is not included here please submit new food pantries to our database.”

Connecticut

http://www.ctfoodbank.org/
“The mission of Connecticut Food Bank is to provide nutritious food to people in need. We distribute food and other resources to nearly 700 local emergency food assistance programs in six of Connecticut’s eight counties: Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham.”

harvest

 

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I was so happy to get this hopeful update on Kids4Peace Boston today.

“For a while last summer, as violence escalated in Israel/Palestine, the possibility of Israeli, Palestinian and US youth coming together for a Kids4Peace camp seemed pretty unlikely.

“But despite countless barriers and uncertainties, all 25 young leaders — Muslims, Christians and Jews from Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Boston — did make it to be together on that beautiful mountaintop in New Hampshire. …

“Being in the presence of one another and listening, really listening, to each other’s stories is the crucial first step in the Kids4Peace experience.

” ‘I came to Kids4Peace to try and understand the different viewpoints that each kid has. Some people don’t understand that someone with a different opinion than you can be right without making you wrong.’
~Participant from Boston

“In the midst of violence, in the midst of despair, there are people who turn towards each other rather than away. This summer 25 peace leaders and their families proved that they are the kind of people who choose to turn towards. These young leaders walked away from camp feeling empowered by and connected to others who believe, as they do, that together peace is possible.

” ‘To be a peacemaker is to hold our hands together, and to help each other not killing each other, to treat each other as humans.’ 
~Participant from Jerusalem”

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The word is we are to expect a dusting of snow tomorrow. So before I start taking winter photographs, I think I will round up a few from balmier days.

What are these pictures of? you ask.

In Concord: mysterious blue flowers (I need to ask MisterSmartyPlants.com about them), a French style house, and a flower box at the second-floor shop called Nesting.

In Boston: An autumnal plant display on Congress Street and another on the Northern Avenue bridge overlooking Boston Harbor.

In Vermont: an all-you-can-eat breakfast inn.

In Claremont, New Hampshire: The Elks’ elk.

In Rhode Island: The Assistant Bicycle Inspector.

Now if I only had recent photos of Maine and Connecticut, I would have New England covered. Maybe next summer.

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Two incredibly photogenic states.

We got a special kick out of the sheep and chickens of my husband’s cousin, a dentist. He and his wife really know how to get the most out of the rural life.

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On Wednesday, according to Todd Feathers in the Boston Globe, a New Hampshire scallop fisherman found something unusual in his catch.

“As Mike and Padi Anderson sold their catch of scallops on the dock Wednesday night in Rye Harbor, N.H., it was not just their shellfish that drew people’s interest. It was an ­object that looks like a 6-inch-long tooth that Mike had dredged up from the ocean earlier that day. …

“A crew member e-mailed a picture to a geologist from the University of New Hampshire, and a short while later the verdict came back: The tooth almost certainly belonged to a woolly mammoth. …

“The tooth weighs about 5 pounds and still has remnants of the root that connected it to the mammoth’s gums, Mike Anderson said in a phone interview from the deck of his boat, the F/V Rimrack. …

“The Andersons, who are married, will have to wait until William Clyde, the geologist, ­returns from a trip to South America before they can confirm that the tooth once belonged to a mammoth, but for them, the preliminary ruling is enough.”

Anderson seems excited to head back out for more archaeology. More.

Reminds me of John Hanson Mitchell and his book Ceremonial Time, which describes his attempts to sense and experience 15,000 years of life around his home in Massachusetts.

Finding a woolly mammoth tooth must really make one pause and think about big things.

Photograph of scallop fisherman Mike Anderson: Ionna Raptis/ Portsmouth Herald via AP

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You probably think of the Connecticut River as being in Connecticut. And so it is. But it flows through most of the New England states, so protecting it results in protecting a large chunk of the Northeast. Its 7.2 million acre watershed runs through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The Christian Science Monitor recently added to its Change Agent series an article on the U.S. Interior Department’s May 24 designation of the Connecticut River as the first National Blueway.

Correspondent Cathryn J. Prince writes, “Between 40 and 50 local and state entities, both public and private, from four states will work together to preserve the 410-mile-long Connecticut River and its watershed. …

“It took the cooperation of between 40 and 50 local and state, public and private, organizations from four states to make the designation possible. While it doesn’t mean more federal funding, it does mean better coordination between these groups to promote best practices, information sharing, and stewardship.

“National Blueway is more than a label, says Andy Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

“ ‘There are no turf wars here, but there are a lot of folks on the dance floor,’ Mr. Fisk says. ‘It’s important to recognize that this is a new way in how you get things done. It’s not one entity that will get things done, it’s diversity.’ ” Read more here.

Photograph: John Nordell, Christian Science Monitor

The Connecticut River, as photographed from the French King Bridge in Gill, Mass. The river and its watershed have been named the first National Blueway, an effort to coordinate the work of nonprofit groups and governments to protect and wisely use the entire 410-mile river and its 7.2 million acre watershed.

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