Several days ago at daybreak after photographing the setting Moon, I popped over to Brace Cove. The temperature was 19, the wind was biting. and my hands were already frozen stiff from photographing the Moon. I only stayed for a moment but as you can see, the seas smoke was rising in the distance. Happy for the return of warmer temperatures, albeit however brief!


Retiring after 50 years and closing award-winning jewelry store!

Selling entire shop contents all together or in parcels, including cases, props, lighting, etc. DIVA (Donna’s infinite Variety of Adornments) in Gloucester, MA, has been awarded as “Best” by the Boston Globe and with countless “Reader’s Choice” awards.

Donna Soodalter-Toman, the owner, has been a maker, designer, collector, buyer and seller for 50 years! She is also an appraiser and licensed auctioneer. This inventory is unmatched in terms of originality and saleability. Priced at keystone and slightly above, retail prices start at $10 and scale up to $30,000.

This unmatched inventory includes thousands and thousands of pieces from the late 1700’s to today in every metal, color and stone/gemstone, and for all genders.

Costume jewelry, for example, includes antique, vintage and contemporary pieces from names like; Chanel, Barkley, McClelland Barkley, Florenza, Lisner, YSL, Carnegie, Haskell, Hagler, Boucher, Roberta, Jomaz, Mazer, Trifari, Eisenberg, Schiaparelli, Bittar, Renoir, Matisse, KJL, DeLaRenta, Monies, Bonaz, Bengel, Diamonbar, Galiano, Lagerfeld, Prada, etc., plus countless collectible pieces in paste, Galalith, Bakelite, Lucite, celluloid, etc.

The collection of sterling silver is unmatched in size and piece. Antique, vintage and contemporary (mostly one-of-a-kind) pieces include makers like; NE From, David Anderson, Hull, Jensen, Hans Hansen, Coro, Trifari, DeTaxco, Aguilar, Kerr, Tiffany, Peruzzi, Coppini, Cini, Levin, Wiener, Shiebler, Robert Lee Morris, John Iverson, Linda Tesh, Betsy Fuller, Jayne Redman, Roberta and David Williamson, Bezak. Rebecca, F. Kite, Joseph Downs, Collen Denton, Romanik, Von Musulin, Judith Jack, John Hardy, Vitresse, David Yurman, Gabriella Kiss, DVA, Elyn Blake, Anne Besse Shepard, Wolf Doesch, Margaret Thurman (Echo of the Dreamer and Mars/Valentine), Eileen Sutton, Amy Kahn Russell, Tabra, Todd Reed, Linda Kindler Priest, Goudji, Lori Leonard, Sydney Lynch, Mar, Carol Webb, Carolyn Morris-Bach, Deborah Armstrong, Ford/Forlano, Nancy Kennedy, Biba Shutz, Elizabeth Garvin, Patty Walton, Urso, Naftali, Ray Tracey, Cavender, Girardi, Kristi Anderson, Kirstin Lora, Kristin Holeman, Judith Ripka, Magik-Fusager, Lagos, Rebecca Collins, Joan Dulles, Kiestlestein-Cord, Sebagg, Daus, Bigazzi, Messenger, Bayanihan, Sam Shaw, Terri Logan, Flying Anvil, Kabana, Hermes, etc., and a huge array of additional US, Scandanavian, Mexican, Italian, Other European and Native American pieces.

Antique, vintage and contemporary gold and platinum pieces, which cover Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern and contemporary time periods, are signed by makers like, DVA, Reinstein-Ross, Menagatti, Tiffany, Kabana, Chris Ploof, Esti’ Frederica, Konstantino, Andy Cooperman, Ripka, Yossi Harari, Charriol, Roberto Coin, George Sawyer, Paul Lantuch, Ross Coppleman, Homero, Sevan, Yvan Wolf, Asch-Grossbert, SOHO, La Novelle Baque, Gurhan, Rob Green, Todd Reed, Morelli, Marraccini, Omega, Concord, Hamilton, Gubelin, Tourneau, Chambers, etc. Many more are unsigned or signed by names unknown to Donna.

Would like to have contents sold by end of January, if possible, as the store will close at that time and everything remaining will be packed to move.

Please contact Donna with questions, requests for appointments, request for pictures, etc. She can be reached at 617-447-7527 or While merely representing a mere dent, a number of her pieces can be viewed on Facebook (DIVA), Instagram (Adornmentdiva) and on her website (


Tonight’s full (appropriately named) Frost Moon rising between  the Twin Lights. The Frost Moon is also known as the Beaver Moon and Mourning Moon. Oh how I wish I had my tripod with me tonight, but this image is fun anyway. I think it would make a better painting.



GLOUCESTER, Mass. – Wildlife rehabilitators are urging residents and business owners not to use rat poison as it is suspected in the deaths of three foxes and a coyote in Gloucester in recent weeks, as well as countless other animals.

The latest fox was found dead on Good Harbor Beach Tuesday morning.

Jodi Swenson, head of Cape Ann Wildlife Inc., said she has taken in too many animals that have died slow, painful deaths from secondary rodenticide poisoning.

Residents and business owners are leaving rat poison outside, killing mice and rats, which are then eaten by bigger predators, including foxes, chipmunks, raccoons and birds of prey.

“It’s a horrendous way to die. They’re basically bleeding out,” Swenson said. “It’s sad, and it’s maddening because we know [the fox] most likely ate a poisoned mouse or rat. He’s trying to do his job, and he’s dying for it.”

Jane Newhouse, the owner of Newhouse Wildlife Rescue of Chelmsford, said she has taken in more animals suffering from rodenticide poisoning than those hit by cars.

“Of all the things that I see, this is one of the worst things we as humans do to our wildlife,” Newhouse said. “Often, [the bigger animals] might eat one rat or mouse that has it and it’ll be in their system for a while.”

Newhouse treated a four-month-old fox that, testing showed, had ingested three different kinds of rodent poison over the course of its short life. She also cared for a pregnant raccoon that went into early labor. All of the animals died.

“It was probably the worst thing I’ve witnessed as a wildlife rehabilitator, not only to see her go through it and to see the amount of suffering that that poor mama endured, but then to have lost all the babies inside her,” Newhouse said.

As the natural predators of rats and mice are killed off, the rodent problem is only getting worse, Newhouse said.

“If you kill your local bird of prey, your local hawk who usually kills a thousand rodents a year, what’s going to happen is yes, temporarily your issue is solved, but it’s going to come back with a vengeance, and you’re going to have way more,” Newhouse said.

Newhouse is working on testing as many animals as possible for rodenticide poisoning to get solid numbers to bring to the state in order to get the legislature to ban rodent poison.

“If you’ve ever witnessed the slow death that rodenticide is, you’d absolutely be on board with banning this stuff,” Newhouse said. “It’s awful. It’s awful for the animals.”

Wildlife rescuers urge the public to use other alternatives to rodent poison, including prevention – simply limiting trash and food outside and sealing off entrances to shelter for rodents. If necessary, quick-kill snap traps are a better option than bait, experts say.

The above graphics are printable small poster size. The black and white one is great for kids to color.



Friend Jennie writes that she was able to take a photo of the dead young fox at Good Harbor Beach this morning before Animal Control arrived. This is the third dead fox found in Gloucester recently. Such beautiful creatures and so heartbreaking to see.

Although Gloucester does not do autopsies unless rabies is suspect, the ACO believes that the foxes were mostly likely killed consuming rat poison.

In the graphics below you can see how rat poison kills not just rats, but all that come in contact. Fox and raptors, such as owls and hawks, hold a similar position in the food chain. Rat poison also sickens and kill dogs and cats. Here is a link we posted a while back about alternatives to deadly rat poison:



A very rare-for-these parts Lark Sparrow was spotted by numerous birders today and yesterday at Niles Pond. The beautiful little songster kept either close to the ground foraging on tiny seeds or well camouflaged in the crisscrossing branches of trees and shrubs.

Lark Sparrow Niles Pond Gloucester Massachusetts

Song Sparrows Gloucester and Ipswich

We mostly see Song Sparrows around Niles at this time of year. Compare in the above photos how plain the breast of the Lark Sparrow is to that of the heavily streaked Song Sparrow’s underparts. I write rare-for-these-parts because the Lark Sparrow is entirely out of its range as you can see in the first attached map below.

A second rare bird has been spotted on Eastern Point, a Western Kingbird. It was a rough day for photographing, too overcast, so here is a photo from wikicommons media so that if you are around the Point, you will know what to look for. The Western Kingbird is also far outside its range.


Thirteen Harbor Seals warming on the rocks, plus a few bobbing heads spotted around the harbor. This charming duo was the most photogenic of the bunch 🙂


During the podcast this morning I mistakenly suggested that Present Gloucester, the delightfully whimsical holiday pop-up shop, was located at last years’ location.

This year Present has popped-up at 263 Main Street, right next door to the fabulous Alexandra’s Bread, which is also chock-a-block full of wonderful holiday treasures.


My friend Nicole Duckworth is part of the Open Door’s Turkey Team, a group of individuals collectively raising funds for the Open Door’s Thanksgiving drive. Nicole has raised $250.00 towards her $500.00 goal. Please help Nicole help local families. Thirty dollars buys a family a turkey dinner, complete with all the fixings. You can donate by clicking here. Thank you!

Nicole writes:

“Join me making a real difference.

Even a small donation will go a long way to helping me meet my fundraising goal for The Open Door — and we’ll be making the holidays so much brighter for our neighbors in need. Every $30 provides a basket, so whether you give $10 or $100, we’ll be helping local families set their holiday tables.

Thank you!”

There are more people than ever this year who need our community’s help with Thanksgiving. Working with all the Turkey Team members, the Open Door’s  goal is to raise $10,000.00.  Read more about how you can help here:

Help The Open Door Provide Holiday Meal Baskets

Start a fundraiser to provide families who struggle to make ends meet with all the fixings to prepare their own festive holiday meals

We’re asking a few of our key partners to rally their friends, family, and networks to help us provide Holiday Meal Baskets to families who struggle to make ends meet.

We invite you to help us collectively raise $10,000 for Holiday Meal Baskets this season. Set your own fundraising goal to help us get there. When you join The Open Door’s Turkey Team, you can help these families uphold their own family traditions by preparing their own home-cooked holiday dinners — and you’ll help your friends feel good about doing good!

Starting a meal-basket fundraiser is easy to do — and it’s fun. We’ll give you all the tools you’ll need. With your help, we’ll be able to make the holidays so much brighter for our neighbors in need.

Photo courtesy wikicommons media


Ribbons of orange butterflies are stopping to roost overnight all along the Gulf Coast of Florida’s Panhandle. These Monarchs are primarily members of the Atlantic Coast population. Because these Monarchs live for about seven to eight months, they are often referred to as a super generation of Monarchs, and are also known as the Methuselah Monarchs. They will continue along the Gulf Coast, soon joining the steady stream of Monarchs migrating through the central part of the US to cross the great Central Mexican Plateau (Altiplanicie Mexicana).

The Plateau is bordered by the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental to the East. The Plateau ends where the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Mountains begin, forming a natural barrier, which prohibits further migration. The butterflies roost in the beautiful pine-oak forests of the Eje Volcanico Transversal.

The Atlantic Coast Super Generation of Monarchs, otherwise known as Methuselah Monarchs, Gloucester 2019

Monarch Butterfly overnight roost Gloucester 2019

The Monarchs are arriving to Mexico in ever increasing numbers. Colonies have yet to form, but that is not unusual for this time of year. Below are reports from Mexico from two of the butterfly sanctuaries where I filmed “Beauty on the Wing.” Ellen Sharp, along with her husband Joel Moreno Rojas, founded the nonprofit organization Butterflies and Their People, located at Cerro Pelón, Macheros. Estela Romero is Journey North’s program coordinator for Mexico and writes from her home in Angangueo, Michoacán.

From Macheros, MEX:

Ellen submitted this report: “From 1:08–1:24 pm on October 31, 2019 we spotted at least 54 determined little specks pumping their way across the sky. Meanwhile up on the Carditos side of, the Butterflies & Their People guardians sighted many more. Starting at 12:16 pm, Leonel and Francisco counted an average of eight per minute for the next ten minutes. Ever since that day, the skies have been filled with monarchs flying overhead until the afternoon rains arrive. We have yet to hear any news of colony formation on Cerro Pelon.” (10/31/2019)

Ellen and Joel, co-founders of Butterflies and Their People, also co-own JM Monarch Butterfly B and B, located in Macheros.

Gravesite Macheros, Mexico
From Angangueo, MEX
Here They Come!
Estela Romero writes:
Our dear friends, 

Regardless of bad weather with rain, fog and dark clouds covering the sky for almost three weeks, Monarchs found no obstacle and poured down from the sky to attend to their ancestral encounter with incredible accuracy on the October 31st and November 1st.

“There they come”, “down to the bottom to town those go”, “up they just lifted flight”, “over there many more”, students, Emilio, Fernanda, Kevin and Diana, shouted. The monarchs were migrating through the valley. Monarchs do their triumphal entrance and last flying performance before they make their choice and split to their final destination at the unique Oyamel tree spots in the Sierra Madre mountains of “El Rosario” and “Sierra Chincua”, in Central México, two of the three main Sanctuaries at the region.

Monitoring map kept by students shows how the numbers of monarchs suddenly rose to hundreds!

Our legendary Mathusalen Generation of Monarchs, the Daughters of the Sun, have been, since ancestral times, the symbol of the after-life world of our ancestors and recently dead close relatives — the Miktlan dimension. Our indigenous groups show deep understanding of the relationship between life and death. Monarchs are the connection of this mystic relationship between life and death.

At last their souls appear shaped as orange and black beautiful energetic butterflies coming to all of us families, after longing for their arrival all year long;  our memories will always prevail upon their absence; they will always be among us; not invoking their lives and our time together would be really letting them die and forgotten, no, never”, murmur parents and grandpas as they hod their children and grandchildren by their hands in the streets of the town.

We all gather around our Ofrendas at home and even in public open sites. Each ofrenda may have from 2 levels, which represent heaven and earth, up to 7 or even 9 levels, each one a different dimension that the soul of our dead ones (the Tonali) will go through before reaching the Miktlan dimension”, explained elementary school teacher, Margarita. The Ofrenda is a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during the annual and traditionally Mexican Día de Muertos celebration.

“Each Ofrenda shall contain all favorite meals, drinks, objects, garments, and tools or utensils symbolizing our ancestor’s lives, preferences, enjoyment and ordinary living”, Víctor, Pamela and Juan explained as they gave their finishing touches to their beautiful Ofrenda.

The colorful papel picado is exclusively sold at this time of the year for the decoration of our Ofrendas; the Zempatzúchitl flower’s (Marygold) fragance shall guide the spirits of our ancestors to reach home; candle lights meaning light, hope and faith, shall also help them come home and then go back to their Miktlan world; our moms and grandma’s assisted by the rest of the family shall cook our dead ones’ favorite dishes in advance for this day; salt and water are main components of an Ofrenda, meaning relieve to thirst and hunger to the visiting spirits;  all kinds of drinks, fruit and our delicious “Pan de Muerto“ shall be included too. Tortillas, tamales, atole, tequila, mezcal andcerveza are indispensable in any Ofrenda; finally, at the very top, the photo or photos of our dead relative(s) to whom honor the Ofrenda has been set”,explained Ceciia, a middle school student, wearing her beautiful Catrina costume.

The Alebrijes also symbolize the Day of the Dead. The Alebrijes are bright, colorful, fantasy cardboard cutouts of creatures which are mixtures two or more animal body. The Alebrijes is part of our Mexican culture which has hit the international screen in films like Coco. The Alebrije’s role is to guide the spirits of our dead ones to earth and back to the Miktlan underworld once their two-day visit is over.

“Our ancestors spirits shall share with us a big, big fest while we sing their favorite songs, play their favorite music, tell unforgettable anecdotes and memories and fill our homes with colour, flavors and joy to know that they shall be always among us and never gone from home and from our families”, teacher, Nacho, explained as he described the Ofrenda to the dead miners in town. Nacho is featured in the photo and shows how our town, Angangueo, was historically a mining town with mining the main employment for most families many decades ago.

Walo, a teacher who dressed up as Catrín, and Catrina Magali showed two different Ofrendas to our Monarch butterflies, souls of our dead ones, as the main symbol of these unique festivities in our region and all over our country as the ever living spirits of our dead ones.

As the festivals and the celebratory meals are over and our cemetery is dressed up to greet the monarchs as our ancestors, lets turn down our voices  and let us be still and silent as we wait to see at least one single Mathusalen Monarch arrive; let us all children and families from our three host countries, Canada, United States and México stand hand-in-hand while sharing our wonderful responsibility and our ancestral, unbreakable link among our three nations, while watching great-great-grandchildren Monarch pouring down as if from the heavens to our majestic mountains where they will see the exact Oyamel tree where their great-great-grand parents overwintered the season before — and without having been to México before this week!

Estela Romero

Angangueo, Michoacán, México

Noviembre, 2019

Above three photos are by Estela Romero

Monarch colony Cerro Pelon, March 2019


Join us at our Gloucester workshop to celebrate the creation of a new pipe organ. See and hear Opus 154, tour the shop, meet the staff, and learn about the art and craft of organ building. We look forward to seeing you then!

Saturday, November 16
2 pm – 6 pmC.B. Fisk, Inc.
21 Kondelin Road
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
978 283-1909  •
click here for map

OPUS 154

2 manuals • 20 stops • 17 independent voices
(1:16 scale model shown)


Congratulations to Danielle for the continued success of her fabulous homemade pasta and wine shop. Danielle has a gorgeous new website, with great information on her local sources and the natural, organic wines she carries, with photos by Nubar Alexanian.

Visit Danielle’s website here. 

Message from Danielle ~

Three and a half years ago, I decided to take the biggest risk of my life and open up my shop in a tiny 800 sq. ft. space that was originally a shared space. My cool retro display case broke the first day, half the shapes were extruded and half the shapes were made completely by hand, and I even tried a little tricolore up at the top.

I’ve since refined, worked on my Italian language skills, educated myself more on regional Italian cuisine and family recipes, visited with numerous farmers and artisans here and in Italy, as well as meet and feed some of the most wonderful people in my community.

It’s super exhausting, challenging and tiring. But I love this more than you could ever imagine. Having the opportunity to educate and put real food on your tables has been my life goal. What I’m saying is, holy shit, the store has changed since the beginning, now I’m on Main Street, selling real Italian provisions from @gustiamo and natural wines from @selectionaturel . My importers and I have the same values and views. We work so hard as outcasts to deliver you the real message and passion of the people behind your food and wine.

Updated my website, check it out. I now am not just a pasta shop, but a provisions + natural wine shop too. Wow, to believe I built this with my two hands is not worthy of thanking all the people that helped me along the way….especially my customers – we have created a serious movement, thank you for coming into the shop. The power of the consumer is REAL!

Located at 123 Main Street, Suite 1, in historic downtown Gloucester.


Open Wednesday-Sunday  11 AM to 7-ish PM

Closed Monday & Tuesday

The moral of the story is Danielle pretty much lives at the shop. Give us a ring if you’re heading out and you’d like to place your order in advance and/or you think you might miss us.


+1 (978) -868-5005


Jeff Weaver – Transcending the Familiar

Reception Wednesday, November 13, 5-7 pm

Over 20 of Jeff’s paintings will be exhibited
at the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, at Endicott College

The show begins November 5, 2019, and runs through March 2, 2020.

Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts
Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery

Endicott College
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA .

For more information please call: (978) 590-2979.


TOO FAT FOR CHINA: A Comic Look at the Agony of Adoption by PHOEBE POTTS

Gloucester Stage Company presents TOO FAT FOR CHINA, a world premiere one woman show written and performed by cartoonist and storyteller Phoebe Potts, November 23, 24, 30 and December 1 at Gloucester Stage, 267 E Main St., Gloucester.

This comedic theater performance (debuting on National Adoption Day, Nov. 23) is a sequel to Potts’ graphic memoir, Good Eggs (Harper, 2010), which charts her travails with infertility and the endless rounds of treatments and miscarriages she and her husband endured. Roz Chast, the New Yorker cartoonist, called Potts’ memoir “sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always honest, intelligent, and completely involving.”

In Too Fat for China, Potts picks up the narrative with her quest for an international adoption. The story has a happy ending, but it twists and turns through fraught questions about family and race— subjects that feel particularly pertinent in our current political climate. Potts tackles it all, as she does life, with humor and irreverence.


Saturday, November 23: 7:30pm

Sunday, November 24: 2:00pm

Saturday, November 30: 7:30pm

Sunday, December 1: 2:00pm

Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 TICKET PRICES: $25 Available for purchase online to or by calling the Box Office at 978.281.4433


Ponds and waterways are filling up with one of the smallest ducks found on our shores, the Buffleheads. A most striking of winter residents (and feisty, too), the male is sharply feathered in black and white, with iridescent purple and green head feathers. The Buffleheads will be here through the winter, with most departing in early spring.

The name Bufflehead is derived from the name Buffalo-head, and they are so named because of the male’s puffy-shaped head. Another common name for this diminutive diver is Butterball.

The male’s head feathers are shaded with a beautiful rainbow sheen, while the female is a much plainer sort.
Two male Bufflheads