Monarch Caterpillars Common Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2012Milkweed Munching Monarchs

Although scientists have long known that the toxic sap that flows through milkweed veins, called cardenolides, can make a bird very sick if it attempts to eat a Monarch caterpillar, it was unclear whether the butterfly’s acquired adaption to the toxicity was a side effect that allowed the caterpillar to eat the milkweed or had developed separately as a defensive mechanism against predators. A Cornell University study recently published in Proceedings B of The Royal Society Publishing reveals that they have indeed evolved to weaponize milkweed toxins! Thank you so much to Maggie Rosa for sharing “The Scientist” article and you can read more about it here. 

“Monarch butterfly caterpillars have evolved the ability to store toxins known as cardenolides, obtained from their milkweed diet, specifically to make themselves poisonous to birds, as has at least one other species of milkweed-munching caterpillar, according to a study published Wednesday (November 4) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“This finding is fascinating and novel,” Stephen Malcolm, a professor at Western Michigan University who studies cardenolides but was not involved in the new research, wrote in an email to The Scientist. “It is exciting to have evidence for the importance of top-down influences from predators.” Continue Reading

Please join me Thursday evening, November 12th, at 7pm at the Sawyer Free Library for my illustrated talk, Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Meadow monarch caterpillar ©Kim Smith 2015

Meadow Anderson and Monarch Caterpillar

This Weekend in the Arts

The Art and Life of Peter Vincent

Gallery talk by Eoin Vincent

The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present The Art and Life of Peter Vincent, a gallery talk given by his nephew Eoin Vincent on Saturday, November 7 at 9:30 a.m. Eoin is a native of Rockport, MA and a professional photographer. This program is free for CAM members and $10 for nonmembers (includes admission). Space is limited. Reservations required. For more information please email or call (978) 283-0455 x10.

Tickets can be reserved/purchased online at Eventbrite.

Image Credit: Peter Vincent, Georges Men, c. 1995, acrylic on masonite
Image Credit: Peter Vincent, Georges Men, c. 1995, acrylic on masonite

Eoin’s gallery talk is part of a series of gallery talks surrounding the Cape Ann Museum’s new exhibit, “Vincent, Weaver, Gorvett: Gloucester, Three Visions” which features the work of Peter Vincent, Jeff Weaver and Don Gorvett. Before passing away in 2012, Peter Vincent had gained a solid reputation as one of New England’s most well regarded marine artists. Eoin will discuss his uncle’s life and work in the intimate setting of the Cape Ann Museum’s special exhibitions gallery in which Peter’s work is currently shown.


Flatrocks Gallery will host a demonstration by artist Debbie Clarke

Sunday, November 8th at 4 pm.

Debbie Clarke-Above Sargent

 “Action painting, sometimes called “gestural abstraction”, is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied.” Debbie Clarke describes it as gesture drawing; except with paint, embracing the the concrete movement and relationship of shape, form, color, light. It is not haphazard and the paint is carefully applied as dictated through careful observation of the subject at hand.

Debbie will demonstrate her approach through several quick studies of 5 to 20 minute observations, a limited palette of red,white,blue and black, a few big brushes, a palette knife, soft pastels and egg. The painting will be raffled off with a suggested offering of $10. (All proceeds go to the artist).


No shave November Breast Cancer Awareness

Saturday, November 7 from 7-10pm +

Wear a mustache and receive 10% off any purchase!
Live Jazz: Adams ~ Stone ~ Levine Trio
Catering by Passports of Gloucester
Artist demos by Shawn Smith and Shin Maeng
Excited to present our newest artist, Ron Pruett
Raffles and more!

Please join us at G19 located at the corner of Broadway and School Street, Rockport.
Next to the Rockport House of Pizza. Call for more info: 978-290-1411

Gang of Thieves Tonight Minglewoodtavern Atlat 9pm 11.6.2015 . Vermont’s Premier Funk Rock and Roll Band

gang-of-thieves-11-6-2015 add

Ya, A Premier Funk Rock and Roll Band, Indeed!
p.s. a few of my favorite songs right here >


25 Rogers Street

Gloucester, MA

(978) 281-0223



A lobster boat caught fire off the coast of Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Friday morning according to the United States Coast Guard.

They say the operator of the “Dawn Breaker” attempted to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, but could not keep up with the flames.

The operator contacted officials with his exact location after activating a personal locator beacon, then jumped from the 28-foot ship. A good samaritan aboard a skiff safely pulled him out of the water in less than 15 minutes.

The operator was brought back to shore, where he was evaluated by EMTs.

It is unclear how the ship caught fire, but the Coast Guard called the operator a “true professional mariner” and said he did everything right after the mishap.

From NECN and CBSLocal

What’s worse? Being in an unlocked port-a-potty and someone walking in on you or opening an unlocked port-a-potty only to find someone on the shitter


I’m not really sure what’s worse.  Totally undecided.

I understand that people can be reluctant to touch the port-a-potty locking mechanism which slides the indicator on the outside to “occupied” letting people know to wait to try to go in.  But you can pull down your sleeve or ball up a bunch of toilet paper to close the latch.

Are you one of those people that rolls the dice and just hope no one tries to open it while you’re taking care of business?

For the record I’m totally in the ball up the toilet paper and use it so I don’t have to touch the handle kinda guys.  I also make the landing pad before splashdown occurs- more on that here.

Public Toilet Seat Nest or Public Toilet Bowl Landing Pad, What Ya Got?

Pet of the Week-Lua


People best describe me as having a gentle soul.  My name is Lua and I can be shy at first but I love when you take the time to say hello, once we have gotten to know each-other I enjoy cuddled.  I like scratching posts and sleeping next to you in the bed at night.  I am looking for an adult home where the humans understand that it can take time to get used to being part of a family again.  I am a fan of soft napping spots, sunny windows for bird watching and lazy afternoons.   I might be the purr-fect little lady for you!


Visit for more information about Lua and all the other animals waiting for homes and for information about upcoming events like the Run For Rescue on Saturday, November 7th at Chandler Hovey Park in Marblehead.

TAG design for the 18up and under 30 yolo artists and Thanksgiving Break pop up art fair

Cat Ryan submits-

Hi Joey,

Here’s the TAG prototype design for the yolo artists. What an awesome downtown arts center!


Gloucester’s mystery Civil War Era Coat tomorrow CITY HALL 1-4pm

Cat Ryan says have a closer look thanks to Cape Ann Giclee

Hi Joey

Mold and forgotten history has damaged a distinctive 19th century jacket, our very own historic ‘coat of many colors’ worth more than the fabric itself!

80 years ago Roger Babson presented this Civil War era coat to the community during a town wide celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Gloucester High School Cadets, an ROTC forerunner founded by Albert W. Bacheler (b. 1843 Indiana – d.1929 Melrose, MA). Bacheler was an esteemed principal of Gloucester High School for a staggering 30 years (1814-1913), a Civil War Veteran (New Hampshire regiment Army of the Potomac), and a Dartmouth alum.

Chairs for 1500 people were set up in advance of that event! Artist Charles Allan Winter designed the program!

You see, it wasn’t just any coat.

Back then everyone in Gloucester knew Babson and Bacheler and understood the many reasons that this very special coat was a gift for our City. Babson was a key speaker at the event and his topic was solely Bacheler and this coat. School teachers and colleagues said that Bacheler liked to show his students the coat as inspiration, a reminder that one never need to be discouraged. Principal Bacheler told students how this coat was given to him by a Virginia slave who harbored him after his escape from Richmond’s infamous Libby Prison during the Civil War. While this incredible story warrants our attention, verification and further exploration—what a great project for our students!

In 2015, the coat that remains to tell the story is in immediate need of our care.

A concerned parent noticed that the coat near ROTC and Veterans awards and memorials at Gloucester High School had developed mold and brought it to the attention of various folks in town. The coat is everyone’s artifact. The school budget, PTOs, City Archives, city committees, the Cape Ann Museum—none have a budget to pay for this coat repair. The coat has been examined by a professional textile conservator through the Committee for the Arts. This garment needs to be fumigated, cleaned and repaired. It also requires an armature to support it and new display. The estimate for treatment and preparing it for installation is $3800.

Come “see” the coat during Jason Grow’s WWII Veterans’ Portrait Exhibition at City Hall on Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 1-4pm. The coat is too fragile to travel at present and will be represented by a full size photograph thanks to the generosity of Cape Ann Giclee! thank you James!

Donations will be accepted at the event or checks can be mailed and made payable to The Gloucester Fund, 45 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA. PLEASE write “Civil War coat” in memo field on the check. We are setting up a youcaring site and will apply to Awesome Gloucester.

Huge Thanks to Rockport House of PIzza

Who stepped up to feed 20 kids for free on Wednesday night?  Rockport House of Pizza, that’s who.

Thatcher’s soccer team was sponsored by Rockport H.O.P this year and they were kind enough to invite that team, along with the opposing team from their end-of-season game, down for dinner.  Way to make a difference and provide these kids with some great time to bond, celebrate, and create memories.