Monthly Archives: July 2015

Row, Row, Row Your Boat … the Blackburn Challenge is Saturday, July 25th.

Cape Ann Wellness

blackburn challenge

Row, Row, Row Your Boat …  The Blackburn Challenge is Saturday, July 25th. 

A Marathon for Rowers and Paddlers – the Blackburn Challenge is a ‘marathon’ for rowers is named after famed adventurer Howard Blackburn who demonstrated courage, endurance and perseverance against the odds. Originally from Nova Scotia, Howard Blackburn was fishing out of Gloucester for halibut from the schooner Grace L. Fears. A winter storm came up suddenly, stranding Blackburn and another fisherman in their dory. Blackburn lost his heavy fisherman’s mittens overboard. Knowing that his hands would freeze, he held them in a curved position that would allow him to slip his frozen hands back over the oars. Five days later-days virtually without food, water or sleep, Blackburn had rowed back to shore. His dorymate died en route. Blackburn lost all of his fingers, thumbs, and toe due to frostbite.


The Blackburn Challenge is a 20+ mile open water circumnavigation of Cape Ann. For…

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Kim Smith Lecture Tuesday Evening at the Chelmsford Public Library

Please join me Tuesday evening  at 7pm at the Chelmsford Public Library for my lecture The Pollinator Garden. The event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!

11a. Pipevine EggsPipevine Swallowtail Butterfly Eggs, East Gloucester


Great Egret Gloucester airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015During the breeding season, Great Egrets grow long feathers from their back called airgrettes.

Great Egret airgrettes ©Kim Smith 2015The airgrettes were the feathers sought by the 19th and early 20th century plume-hunters for the millinery trade.

The magnificent Great Egret was very nearly hunted to extinction during the “Plume Bloom” of the early 20th century. Startling, cumbersome, and hideous, hats were fashioned with every manner of beautiful bird feather. Europeans were partial to exotic birds that were hunted the world over and they included hummingbirds, toucans, birds of paradise, the condor, and emu. The American milinery trade favored herons for their natural abundance. The atrocities committed by the murderous millinery led to the formation of the first Audubon and conservation societies however, what truly led to saving the birds from extinction was the boyish bob and other short hairstyles introduced in about 1913. The short cuts could not support the hat extravaganzas, which led to the popularity of the cloche and the demise of the plume-hunters.

banned-egretsConfiscated dead egrets

humming-birds-rzsThousands of hummingbird pelts at 2 cents apiece

kate-middleton-2-435As absurdly ridiculous now as then



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