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Posts Tagged ‘rhode island’

Suzanne’s mother-in-law, known on this blog as Stuga40 (see selfie below), flew from Sweden in March to hang out with family in Providence for a few weeks. She brought along her artist’s eye.

My husband and I had many nice walks with her, outdoor lunches, indoor conversations, and playtimes with grandchildren. Because of Covid, it had been three years since we’d seen her.

I wanted to share a few of Stuga40’s photos with you because I liked them so much.

Above, you see a view under the I-195 bridge over the Providence River, where a new bike trail passes. It reminded me of artists like Charles Sheeler, whose work was among those we saw on a rainy-day visit to the RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] Museum.

She also took shots of random things that intrigued her: utility-box art, a large mural, and the plant life we have all around us but don’t always notice.

When Stuga40 gets back to Sweden, I know she will continue to apply her connoisseur’s eye to the photos she takes on her walks around Stockholm. I hope to have some more to show anon.

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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: Ramona Peters.
Called “All Four Points,” this piece refers to the points of the compass. Ceramacist Ramona Peters, a member of Massachusetts’s Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, has helped revive 1600s Wampanoag traditional forms in clay.

I was reading about indigenous ceramics in New England at the Tomaquag Museum’s blog when I got interested in the origins of that remarkable institution and its plans for a new home near the University of Rhode Island campus.

First the ceramics post.

“My name is Haley Johnson and I am a Mashpee Wampanoag Ceramicist. I have a BFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island College.[As] an Education Intern at the Tomaquag Museum, I am dedicated to teaching about the past and advocating for the future of Indigenous arts and artists. …

“The Northeast is unique in its ceramic practices as can be seen in the color and textures of the clay, the shapes of our vessels, and the patterns and designs on finished work. … The natural clays that come from the Northeast are rich in minerals and sediments that lend to its bright oranges and deep reds upon firing. These colors then become signifiers of where the clay, and by extension, the vessel is from. …

“Traditionally in the coastal Northeast, cone shaped bottoms and wide mouths indicate cooking vessels. These pieces were designed specifically to heat food like soups and stews evenly. Ramona Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag) is a contemporary potter who creates with a similar shape language. [But usually] she makes the bottom of her vessels flat so that they are more easily displayed.. …

“Pottery adornment is also popular amongst Native ceramicists. By dragging and pressing tools into wet clay, patterns similar to those seen on Southern New England woven splint basketry can be made. Peters does this in her work.”

For a legend explaining how Maushop, creator of Noepe, or Martha’s Vineyard, and his taste for whale meat created the colors of the local clay, click here.

Now for the plan to create a bigger Tomaquag Museum. Nancy Burns-Fusaro at the Westerly Sun writes, “Rhode Island’s first and only indigenous museum is preparing to soar grandly into the 21st century.

“The Tomaquag Museum, which began inside the small Ashaway home of anthropologist Eva Butler more than 60 years ago, will move to an expansive, 18-acre site off Ministerial Road in South Kingstown, on the very land where ancestors of the Niantic and Narragansett tribal nations lived and worked for millennia prior to the arrival of European settlers.

” ‘We are so excited and so thankful,’ Executive Director Lorén Spears said [as] she discussed plans for the new museum and research center, which is scheduled to open in 2023. The plans include four new buildings and plenty of room for exhibits, area hikes, property tours, visitor parking, gardens full of native plants, medicinals, berries and herbs, new classrooms, performance space, a fully functional kitchen, gift shop, restaurant, pavilions, sculpture gardens, a replica of an early Native village, and a long house. …

“For Spears, a Narragansett tribal member who has worked tirelessly to educate the public on Native history, culture, the environment and the arts for more than a quarter of a century, the project is a dream come true.

” ‘It’s an exciting time,’ said Spears, who has taught at Brown University, the University of Rhode Island and in the Newport Public Schools and continues to teach classes and workshops designed to promote thoughtful dialogue about indigenous history. …

“Spears said the museum staff and members of the board of directors have been searching for the right location for years  now, and this piece of land, steeped in history and owned by the University of Rhode Island, is more than ideal. …

“Spears said the new site is visible yet rural, centrally located and accessible by car, foot and bicycle, but ‘the cherry on the top’ was the existence of viable public transportation.  

‘It’s accessible by public transportation,’ said Spears. “[Buses] run by all day and all night. It’s accessible from the north, south, east and west.’

“The property, which lies just south of Route 138 and north of Route 1, is a few miles away from the Kingston train station and adjacent to the South Kingstown bike path. …

” ‘Tourists will be able to find us,’ Spears said with a small laugh, noting that the museum’s current location is not as accessible. …

” ‘It’s a game changer,’ said Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. The new facility, she said, will allow the museum to more fully share its programming, collections and archives, will help usher in a new era and help introduce a new generation to all the museum’s ‘wonderful material.’ …

“The project, ‘is a testament to how current and present Rhode Island’s indigenous community is,’ Francis added. ‘They  are not locked away in a distant past … they are not static but are here and essential.’ …

“Constantly praising the museum’s staff, board members and collaborators, Spears also pays tribute to her ancestors, especially the women who founded the museum. 

“In 1958, she said, Mary E. Glasko, better known as Princess Red Wing, Narragansett/Pokanoket-Wampanoag, founded Tomaquag Museum, Rhode Island’s first and only Indigenous Museum, with the help of a friend and colleague, anthropologist Eva Butler. When Butler died in 1969, Tomaquag moved to the now-legendary Dovecrest Restaurant, owned by Ferris and Eleanor Spears Dove, the matriarch of the Narragansett Tribe who died in 2019 at the age of 100. After Dovecrest closed, Tomaquag moved to its current quarters in Exeter.

“But now, Spears said, it’s time to focus on the future.”

More on the new museum at the Boston Globe, here, the Providence Journal, here, and the Westerly Sun, here.

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Photo: Caitlin Faulds/ecoRI News.
Save The Bay’s Wenley Ferguson is leading a marsh migration project on Sapowet Marsh in Tiverton, R.I. The goal is to slowly drain pools of standing water, some more than 18 inches deep, to protect marsh grasses and stop erosion.

Today I learned a few things about marshes that I didn’t know. For example, they are supposed to be wet but not too wet. In Rhode Island, one important wetland was dying — until it was given a helping hand.

Caitlin Faulds has the story at ecoRI News. “The grasses are dying. Clusters of broken, denuded stems stand in shallow pools of brackish water, making a patchwork of the low-lying marshlands. The slow balding is invisible from the blacktop of Seapowet Avenue, hidden behind a thick curtain of phragmites. But standing boot-deep in the peat, surrounded by the sulfuric scent of decomposition, the bare ground is clear evidence of the steady saltwater creep happening in marshes across Rhode Island.

“Spartina alterniflora, or smooth cordgrass, is notoriously salt-tolerant and a common feature in saltwater marsh environments.

“ ‘They can grow along the edge of the cove and get flooded twice a day, but they can’t grow in standing water,’ said Wenley Ferguson, shovel in hand. All around, the sunlight glints off pools of standing water, unable to drain and slowly growing with each high tide.

“The average sea level in Rhode Island has increased by about a foot since 1929. Storm surges and king tides have pushed further and further inland. Normally, the marsh would respond to the rising high-water line by matching the migration inland. But with the sea on one side and a dense web of roads, development, cultivated fields, and invasive species on the other — and accelerated sea-level rise on its way — Sapowet Marsh has nowhere to move. …

“Ferguson has been working with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) at the Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area, a 260-acre state property, for more than five years now. … Under Ferguson’s watch, Sapowet has become home to the largest marsh migration facilitation project in the state — a small counter to the forces at play. …

“The cordgrass roots are taut, but they cut easy. Just one stomp and the shovel sinks through the muck, water pooling up and over the toes of Ferguson’s black rubber boots. …

“Earlier in the week, Ferguson — along with a handful of DEM employees and volunteers — used shovels and a small excavator to dig a weaving network of runnels through the marsh. These shallow creeks will give the pooling water a route out to Narragansett Bay, allowing the area to slowly drain.

If the root zone of the marsh plants is able to dry even slightly, they will grow ‘healthy and happy,’ Ferguson said. Healthy plants build up a stronger root base, and a stronger root base makes a coastline more resilient to erosion and sea-level rise.

“But ‘we don’t want to drain it too fast,’ she said. It has been three days since they dug the first runnels and the water level has dropped only slightly, exposing a few inches of bare mud — exactly as planned. The standing water is thick with unconsolidated sediments and topped by a bacterial mat. If the water rushes out all at once, this sediment will pour into the bay. It’s better to dig in phases and let it settle out in the marsh, maintaining as much high ground as possible. …

“Ferguson fought to keep the peat in the marsh. … ‘These areas will just be a little higher, and they might recolonize,’ Ferguson said. ‘And when I say might — they do recolonize.’

“Within one season, the islands will host new sprouts of cordgrass, or they’ll prove high and dry enough to support clusters of high marsh grasses. The clusters of high grass will make ideal nesting habitat for the saltmarsh sparrow.”

Read about other benefits at ecoRI, here.

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Photo: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff.
Aminullah Faqiry, newly arrived with his family in Rhode Island, was an interpreter for the US military, in Afghanistan. He talks with Edward Fitzpatrick about his life there and his sorrow about the failure of 20 years of fighting the Taliban.

Because I’ve volunteered with refugees for several years, I know firsthand that these people do not leave jobs, friends, and family in their home country because they prefer to live in the United States or any other country. They leave because the situation at home is untenable. And it breaks their hearts.

Consider the sadness of the former military interpreter who recently arrived with his immediate family in Rhode Island, forced to abandon other family members who are now in grave danger. Ed Fitzpatrick, a reporter for the Boston Globe, talked to him.

He writes that Aminullah “Faqiry said he was overcome with emotion as he prepared to board the plane to leave Afghanistan, and people began looking at him, wondering why he wasn’t happy to be escaping an incredibly precarious situation. But he knew the source of his tears.

“ ‘I am a very patriotic person,’ Faqiry explained. ‘I cried for my people, for my country, for the system being destroyed, for so many sacrifices that we had made.’

“He said he cried for the family members he was leaving behind — for his mother and father, who are struggling with health problems, and for the widow and the children of his brother, who was killed by the Taliban. …

“He said he was crying because the Afghan people had been ‘liberated’ before the Taliban arrived.

“ ‘Women were able to go to school, and a girl was able to walk on the streets free without tension and without fear,’ he said. ‘Afghanistan was growing up. We were on the move to compete in the world.’ …

“But now, he said, it was clear ‘We were going to go back — my country was going to be thrown back like 50 years. … We are leaving everything behind to the Taliban, who we fought for 20 years and who are a terrorist organization. … We were not able to hold on — we had fallen. … I wanted my country and my people to have been peaceful. It just didn’t happen,’ Faqiry said. ‘I was crying because we lost everything.’ ”

But as you know, people do what they have to do. Most refugees regroup, find or create work to support their families, and give back to their host countries. Today, in Virginia, former refugees are offering a warm welcome to Afghans.

Story Hinckley reports at the Christian Science Monitor, “For many Americans, it’s difficult to imagine what the tens of thousands of newly arrived Afghan refugees are going through. 

“But Arshad Mehmood doesn’t have to imagine. He knows. Only seven years ago, Mr. Mehmood was in their shoes, fleeing Pakistan. He describes being kidnapped and tortured by the Taliban for being a local politician. 

“Now, as the regional coordinator for a national nonprofit, Mr. Mehmood as well as his team in northern Virginia, many of whom are refugees themselves, is helping these new arrivals with everything from finding apartments to translating school enrollment forms from English to Pashto. They have assisted more than 80 Afghan families over the past three months and expect to help almost 200 by the end of the year.

“And while this practical aid is important, says Mr. Mehmood, it’s not what newly evacuated Afghan allies need most right now. That would be encouragement and empathy. And here in Virginia, Afghans are finding this support in local communities – especially from the refugees who came before them.

“ ‘English was my third language, but I did it. We live a good life here,’ says Mr. Mehmood. His wife, who is a manager at T.J. Maxx, feels welcomed to wear her hijab on the job. His daughter will start her first year of college this fall, and his son is a defensive star on his American football team.’ ”

Read on. There is light in darkness. Perhaps after reading these stories, you will find a way to help a refugee family. And if like blogger Milford Street you already do help refugees, please share a word about your experience.

More at the Monitor, here, and 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: 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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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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Photo: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.
Vice President Kamala Harris poses for a photo after a roundtable with women-led small business owners in Providence, R.I. From left: Christine Paige, owner of Bliss Medical Hair Replacement Center, Vice President Kamala Harris;; Minnie Luong, founder and owner of Chi Kitchen Foods; Suzanne Ellis Wernevi, founder of lunaandstella.com; and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Sending out an extra post this evening to tell you that Luna & Stella, the jewelry company that hosts this blog, was in the news when Vice President Kamala Harris came to Providence with Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s former governor, now Secretary of Commerce. On Harris’s agenda was a discussion with women entrepreneurs. You can tell which one is Suzanne: she’s the one wearing all the Luna & Stella jewelry.

Edward Fitzpatrick and Dan McGowan reported on the visit at the Boston Globe, here.

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It’s really spring in Massachusetts. Sometimes 70 F, sometimes 50 F. But we know where we’re headed.

I took advantage of being old to get my Covid-19 vaccinations wrapped up in March and began to visit grandchildren indoors. Below you see that piano recitals are still on Zoom. While I was visiting, I got my hair “painted” rainbow colors by the youngest grandchild. She worked on my hair while her brother read “spooky stories” to me. The stories got exciting, so she went to look at the pictures.

Easter involved an egg hunt, although some kids may be getting too old. Next year, maybe a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt would be a good variation.

Where I live, there’s a guy who rides around on his bicycle playing the guitar. I managed to capture him this week in his headless horseman costume. His day job is baker.

Also in my town, there are people who never forget that April is Natural Poetry Month. One homeowner makes poems available for free.

Most of the other pictures are about Suzanne’s Mom and her friends flipping over spring flowers. Daffodil, Andromeda, Rhododenron. Fig Buttercup, Blue Scilla, Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Magnolia.

The second to last photo was taken in Central Park by Ying-Ying, who was thrilled to get out of Arizona for a New York spring. And the last was taken by Melita in Madrid, where she’s been living during the pandemic.

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John takes my grandchildren on a paddle-board trip. Guess what happened when the youngest decided she wanted to stand up.

Here we are in September, and already August is seeming like a long time ago. So I want to share summer photos, mostly from my walks.

The first one below, however, shows a lighthouse painting by Ben Cummings. It was sent by his son Earle,after my last photo post, which featured a lighthouse. Everyone loves lighthouses.

Next is a picture of chicory, which people in New Shoreham and other parts of Rhode Island call Ragged Sailor. It has many names, in fact, depending on where you live. The turtle art is also from New Shoreham, one of my favorite Painted Rock images this year, and one that actually lasted more than a few hours. (The rock is a local billboard and really gets a workout in the summer.)

Back in Massachusetts, Kristina shared a photo of a sunflower from Verrill Farm’s pick-your-own-sunflowers day, a benefit for Emerson Hospital. Kristina gave me one of her sunflowers, and I was worried when I left for a few days that it wouldn’t survive. So I put it in the birdbath, and it did just fine.

Woodland scenes and the farm along the Lincoln bike path come next. I continue to be fascinated by fungi and by bits of art in unexpected places. The pig, an Old Spot, is one of the varieties raised at Codman Community Farms.

The frame on a pedestal and the amoeba-shaped sculpture were next to a construction site near a conservation trail. I wasn’t sure what to make of them. Perhaps you have a thought.

Meanwhile in the town, a second-floor shop’s staircase says, “Whatever you do today, do it with the confidence of a four-year-old in a Batman cape.” I thought it was excellent advice.

The last photo speaks for itself.

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Photo: Shadows on the Southeast Lighthouse

Time to share a few more photos from a summer in isolation. Four island photos come first. The dishrack photo is to show how I spend my time there. (LOL. I am the one, alas, who said we should protect the groundwater and not have a dishwasher. Sometimes it’s better to be pragmatic than idealistic.)

Back on the mainland, the photos reflect my appreciation of colorful summer meadows, cows, and outdoor library fun for kids. No pictures of people. I do sometimes meet a friend at a safe distance for a sandwich and a chat, but masks never make for good photos. And in my walks, I generally aim for places where people are scarce, like graveyards.

I really liked the spooky-looking crypt and wish I could be Edgar Allan Poe for a minute and invent a reason that a lock was broken.

The long shadow in the next photo is in front of a local senior-living building.

Next comes a sign at Emerson Field that struck me as funny. No golfing? There was never any golfing there. What’s the story? Someone must have tried to get around the governor’s rules in coronavirus Phase One and gotten in the way of dog walkers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in our town it’s you don’t want to mess with dog walkers.

I wonder what memories we will take away from this weird time. For me, a sign forbidding golfing where there was never golfing might be one.

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Photo: Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Jars of Teddie Peanut Butter on the shelves in Market Basket, Nashua, New Hampshire. Teddie is increasing production to meet new demand.

But wait! There’s more. More, that is, on civic-minded businesses pivoting to meet the pandemic challenge. Whether it’s companies like Teddie Peanut Butter increasing production to prevent shortages (here), or the companies that are suddenly making something new, it’s all good.

Here’s a nice story by Leanne Italie at the Associated Press that was broadcast on WEARTV about a small sail company.

“On the coast of Maine, Eric Baldwin and his staff of two usually spend their days selling, repairing and washing sails for boats. They transform their surplus sailcloth into tote bags to bring in extra money.

“But when the coronavirus outbreak slowed business, they turned their industrial sewing machines to a new task: making cotton masks for caregivers and others who need protection from the disease.

‘We wanted to do something to give back,’ Baldwin said from his North Sails workshop in the small village of South Freeport, about 20 miles north of Portland. ‘Doing something like this just makes you feel good.’

“The 53-year-old Baldwin, who has operated his shop, known as a loft, for about 25 years, got the idea from employee Karen Haley. They went to work immediately and are now shipping to recipients as far away as Arizona after word spread on social media that masks were available. …

“Haley’s mother is a quilter. She raided her mom’s stash of cotton remnants to turn into double-ply rectangles called for by a mask pattern they found on a hospital website. Baldwin’s former wife got a Jo-Ann fabric store to provide elastic at a discount.

“Although they still have orders to fill for totes and sails, a portion of each day is dedicated to masks. Baldwin’s other worker, Alan Platner, volunteered to sew masks at home as well. …

” ‘I have every intention of keeping both of these people employed, and we’re not at a point yet where that’s even close to being in jeopardy, but I do think in terms of the tote business. I would be shocked if that picks up. We’re essentially missing the tourist season,’ Baldwin said. …

” ‘The response from the people has been overwhelming,’ Haley said. ‘They’ve been so appreciative of what we’re doing. The recipients include a woman who works for the Department of Homeland Security whose husband is an EMT. Others are nurses and nursing assistants. One is a social worker who makes home visits.’ …

“There’s been a run on elastic so when their stash is gone they might have to quit. He’s scrounging for more.

“Even if he’s no longer able to produce the masks in Maine, the effort is likely to continue elsewhere. Baldwin put out the word to other North Sails lofts around the country, letting them know what he was doing. Four have already offered to begin making masks, including shops in San Diego, Chicago and Annapolis, Maryland.” More.

Meanwhile in Rhode Island, as @angusdav noted on Twitter recently, “Kinder Industries shifted production today from boat canvas to PPE face shields at our industrial park in my hometown Bristol, RI. 3M raw material truckload arrived today; manufacturing begins Monday. 1st 8,000 to R.I. hospitals. Ready to supply others.”

Please give a shout-out to other companies stepping up during the pandemic. We need to remember them down the road.

Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty
In this Monday, March 23, 2020, photo, Eric Baldwin examines the stitching on a cotton mask, one of hundreds he and the employees at his sail-maintenance business are making for coronavirus caregivers at North Sails in Freeport, Maine.

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Photo: C.J. Chivers
Andrade’s Catch has been buying clams from a rotating group of fisherman to keep revenue flowing to quahoggers.

My friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin have perhaps not been asking themselves, “How are the quahoggers doing these days?” but on the coast, a few journalists are checking in on the folks who provide our seafood.

C. J. Chivers (a New York Times writer who sells clams but has no connection to the shop in this story) reports about a lifeline for clam diggers.

“Lou Frattarelli eased his flatbed truck into the loading zone at Andrade’s Catch, a small seafood shop in [Bristol] on Narragansett Bay. … He had four sacks of quahogs to sell, raked on the still-running tide from the bottom of the bay.

“Davy Andrade, one of the shop owners, met him at the door. Mr. Andrade was buying, one of the few shellfish dealers in the state still employing clammers and bringing a local seafood staple to residents.

“ ‘What do you want me doing tomorrow?’ Mr. Frattarelli asked, hoping for one more day’s pay.

“ ‘Another 500, if you can,’ Mr. Andrade answered.

“Five hundred littlenecks is far fewer clams than an experienced quahogger can rake in a day from the rich waters around Prudence Island, where Mr. Frattarelli had been working. But in the age of the coronavirus, it amounted to a boon.

“Many fishing ports across the United States, long imperiled and struggling under strict regulations and the declines of valuable fish and shellfish stocks, have fallen even quieter in the pandemic. …

“Until two weeks ago, much of the East Coast’s daily harvest of wild clams was channeled through wholesale buyers to restaurants and raw bars, many of them in New York City. When bars and restaurants were closed, wholesalers stopped buying.

“In Rhode Island, where state regulations forbid quahoggers from selling clams directly to consumers, the result is that the fleet has all but stopped working — even though catches were high and people, wary of going into crowded and picked-over grocery stores, are eager for healthy meals. …

“Andrade’s Catch has managed to support quahog sales, at least at a small scale. While the shop does a robust wholesale business, it also runs a retail shop out front. By shifting operations almost entirely to retail, it has kept a few boats on the water.

“ ‘I’ve got about six guys I am buying from,’ Mr. Andrade said, and he rotates their days. ‘We want to keep the guys going.’ …

“Said David Andrade, Davy’s father and a co-founder of the shop with his wife, ‘I’ve been telling the diggers, take it easy, wait for the restaurants to come back, [but in] all reality, you’ve got to make $200 a day to pay for the boat.’ …

“A town resident donated $600 to provide free clams to Andrade’s Catch customers. The donation became the impetus for a retail special: Anyone spending $24 or more on seafood this week received 24 free clams. …

“Mr. Andrade’s fiancée, Victoria Young, [encourages] shoppers to place orders by phone and to collect purchases curbside — reducing traffic in the store and potential dangers to the customers and staff.

“Between customers, Ms. Young sprays and wipes anything they might touch — the counters, the A.T.M. and the frame, glass and handles of the front door. …

“ ‘We were supposed to get married next week,’ she said, looking at Davy. ‘We’ve postponed it.’ ”

Read what some Rhode Island quahoggers are saying about the future, here.

 

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I haven’t shared photos for a while. Some of these are from my last sad visit to New York, others are closer to home.

The first one makes me think of how hopeful I was on September 24th, when I arrived in New York and stayed with my sister’s devoted friend. I learned that my sister was doing better than the day before although she was still in the hospital. She was talking again and saying she wanted to carry on with treatment. We allowed ourselves a flutter of hope.

The bed is a Murphy Bed, made famous in old, silent movies, where someone like Charlie Chaplin might accidentally get closed up in it. This one was comfortable and not at all recalcitrant.

My hosts’ balcony had a glorious view. I sat there and had a cup of tea. I also took an early walk around their neighborhood, which features a statue of the Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland (now New York), “Peg Leg” Peter Stuyvesant. I couldn’t help wondering what the descendants of the Lenape natives thought of the statue.

Alas, the next day my sister took a dramatic turn for the worse and died the day after that. Miraculously, our brothers arrived in time from Wisconsin and California.

On days that followed, my sister’s husband, her friend, Suzanne, and I wandered around the city trying to enjoy nature and art and focus on good memories.

Then I took a bus back to Rhode Island, where I had left my car in a hurry. The rooster is in Rhode Island.

The concluding set of photos embraces art and nature back home in Massachusetts, where a long-life sympathy plant from my niece and nephew holds pride of place in the living room.

092519-Murphy-bed-at-Nancy's

092519-morning-shadows-NYC

092519-Peter-Stuyvesant

092619-vine-on-tree-NYC

092719-Met-Museum-NYC

092719-three-bears-NYC

092819-Peter-Pan-bus

100819-Ellie-rooster-Providence

093019-painting-the-church

100119-blue-painting

100119-window-box-at-jeweler

100919-sit-here-town-forest-art

100919-some-endangered-some-not-1

100919-some-endangered-some-not-2

100919-Hapgood-Wright-Forest-pond-2

100919-Hapgood-Wright-Forest-pond

100619-sympathy-plant-from-niece-and-nephew

 

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