Friday, September 30, 2011

Wellfleet Makes the Boston Globe Again!

Wellfleet made the Boston Globe yet again, in a column called "A Tank Away," with information on Oysterfest, which takes place in two weeks time. There are only two bed & breakfasts listed as accommodation, and one is Chez Sven, although we have been fully booked for Oysterfest since spring. I'm really glad to have been mentioned in the Globe, but I wish the author had suggested readers check out my blog, too. I mean, how many innkeepers write blogs that are actually interesting? What I don't understand is why mine doesn't get more attention from, say, travel journalists? If you are reading, you know Chez Sven Blog provides up-to-date and varied information on life here on the Outer Cape. I feel fortunate to have former Selectman Dale Donovan as a fan. How do I know? He told me so. At Boogie-by-the Bay, Lisa Brown gave a hug and thanked me for writing daily. "I never comment, but I do read," she declared. Perhaps we should think of this blog as the best-kept secret in town?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oceanfront Property, Anyone?

With tourist season winding down, many of the houses along Ocean View Drive no longer have occupants, and owners are using the fall to accomplish much-needed maintenance. The wind, rain and fog do take more a toll on oceanfront property than in other areas of town. While a house with water view is a dream for many, the reality of such ownership includes worrying about the elements and the erosion caused by winter storms. The rate of erosion, here in Wellfleet, is three feet per year, in a worst-case scenario. One Ocean View Drive owner decided it was time to move his house back from the eroding dune and put the three-bedroom on the market. This house, built in the late 1950s, was moved back 108 feet, Cindy, at Raveis Real Estate told me, providing a life expectancy of 35 to 40 years. The owner is adding two bathrooms and one bedroom, for a total investment of $200,000. The move alone cost $35,000. This Ocean View Drive house, for sale for $1,500,000, can be visited starting in February or March. If you won the lottery, would you consider buying oceanfront property or do you see this as a waste of money?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Wellfleet Chickens Do Better

Wednesday is Farmers' Market Day in Wellfleet. Today is actually the last farmers market of the year. I took a photo of the back window on a pick-up last Wednesday, parked outside Preservation Hall, impressed by the sentiments expressed. Buy Fresh, Buy Local, of course. Got Oysters? And, a new one for me, Pesticides Suck. Great choice of stickers!

While at the Farmers' Market, buy some fresh flowers, and greens for a healthier dinner tonight. There are also organic eggs for sale from happy Wellfleet chickens. Once you start eating fresh local eggs, you will never go back to the supermarket kind. Sometimes, in a rush, I used to grab a dozen eggs at Stop & Shop. But, after attending the farmers' market all summer, I have come to appreciate the difference and will no longer settle for less. Can you tell which two eggs come from chickens raised on the Outer Cape?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Innkeepers Need Quiet

It is a beautiful day here in Wellfleet, with bright sunshine sparkling all around. Not a bit of wind, the type of weather that has been absent for much of the summer. How does one show such peace and calm, I thought to myself? Why, the surface of Cape Cod Bay! That is what you are admiring above, a photo taken in Provincetown last year.

Yesterday I took Sven to Rhode Island to get his Green Card renewed. Upon our return, I reveled in the quiet of the house as I prepared dinner: gazpacho, using cucumber and heirloom tomatoes from the garden.

I have discovered that, as older innkeepers, we need more periods of total silence. No sounds of people walking overhead, no doors banging, no murmur of voices. It's pleasant to have our home all to ourselves, even if it's only for two days ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wellfleet Boogies By the Bay

If you did not attend Boogie-by-the-Bay yesterday, at Baker's Field, you missed out on a fun community event, emceed by Lisa Brown, below, beloved World Music teacher at Nauset High. The all-day party benefited Friends of Our Recreation, a non-profit that provides resources for the kids of Wellfleet. This year the money raised will be used to resurface the baseball field at the elementary school. I drove down four times, and each time I was surprised by the attendance. Sure, the weatherman did not help with his forecast, but there were breaks of sun, and who needs sunshine when community spirit shines so brightly in the hearts of everyone involved?

You are probably wondering why I drove down four times, especially on a day devoted to walking. I had heard talk of a wicked hokey-pokey and wanted to take photos. What could be cuter than kids and adults snaking along, kicking their feet out to the side at the appropriate moment? Every one can take part, young and old. Bodies are all that is required.

The third annual Boggie-by-the-Bay did not have so many bodies early in the day, and, younger bodies were more interested in cotton candy and face painting. Truth be told, attendees dribbled in, a fact that made my friend Femke Rosenbaum, who had installed a fence of banners, wonder if the $15 entry fee was not a bit high? True, the goal was to raise money for the kids of Wellfleet, but had there been no entry fee, chances are more tourists would have come, rather than stand in line for lunch at The Bookstore, the crafts folks would have earned more for an afternoon of work, and the bands would have received more applause.

They deserved the applause. Every band I heard, four of the seven listed on the program, made me want to boogie. Great rhythm, great showmanship. I particularly liked Robert Graves Leonard's Slippery Sneakers, a high energy Zydeco dance band that united traditional and contemporary Cajun/Zydeco roots music. (Check out the instrument this band member was playing, attached to his chest!) Not only was there a crowd on the dance floor by 6:30. Everyone sitting at the picnic tables, or manning a crafts booth, could not stand still. No doubt Josaiah Mayo's band Squidda, which performed at 8, was just as worthwhile.

More reasons to attend? Seeing old friends, delicious fried lobster tails from Mac's Shack, Sam Adams beer, lively music to close the tourist season. I do not know whether the hokey-pokey ever took place, but everyone who stayed for dinner got to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the bay, above ...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wellfleetians March on Behalf of Planet

The sun was not shining this morning at 8 a.m. when a handful of hardy Wellfleetians met on Uncle Tim's Bridge to march around Cannon Hill but that did not dampen their enthusiasm. The gathering was part of a world-wide effort to draw attention to the problem of global warming and climate change. How inspiring to be part of such a movement! A dozen Wellfleetians marched. I have only one question: where were the rest of you?

Here's the deal. We need to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Instead, our government is looking to extract dirty oil from the tar sands in Canada. What really frightens me is the idea that the Gulf Stream may slow down. We must send a message to our legislators that global warming exists, no matter what the idiot-deniers claim, and that this is no time to be dragging feet. We need to take action now.

America has always been at the forefront of innovation. Our leaders should support renewable energy. We must make a clean break from our dependence on Big Oil. How about a challenge to scientists to come up with new solutions, organized at MIT for example? These ideas are mine alone, but no doubt fellow marchers had similar thoughts as they walked along.

In any case, what we can all start doing right this minute is to take baby steps, one at a time. Stop accepting plastic bags at the supermarket, as suggested by the Wellfleet Recycling Commission, whose chair, Lydia Vivante was present this morning. Use public transportation whenever possible. Carpool. Improve the insulation of your house and turn the thermostat way down at night in winter. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Ask your friends and family to do the same.

Femke Rosenbaum had made a new GREEN POWER banner for today's protest, which was led by Harriet Korim, right. As you may remember, Harriet was arrested in front of the White House last month, on her birthday no less, taking a stance against the tar sands pipeline.

I flipped my last pancake this morning at 8:30 and jumped in my car. What's wrong with this sentence? Gee, I should have walked down.

Many of the participants did come on foot. McNeeley Myers, left, one of the stars in WHAT's current production Body Awareness, rode her bike. After the march, Harriet caught the Flex bus to Provincetown and planned to take the Boston ferry in order to participate in 350 events there this afternoon.

"Moving Planet is a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating — calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels. At over 2000 events in 175+ countries, we're letting leaders know that a movement is rising to move our planet forward to a clean energy future."

Did you do anything today to support's Moving Planet?

What's Happening in Wellfleet?

Fall has officially begun and pumpkins made their appearance in front of Sonflower this week. There may be rain in the forecast, but traffic was heavy on Route 6 as weekenders made their way to the Outer Cape. Perhaps they will attend the third annual Boggie by the Bay, at Baker's Field? There will be music, crafts, and fun galore, including an all ages Hokey-Pokey scheduled for 11:30. If you wake up early enough, join the Wellfleet Walk and Roll, organized by Cape Cool as part of the Moving Planet events being held around the world. (Meet at 8 at Uncle Tim's Bridge.) If you have your bike, head for the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, where bikers get free admission from 8:30 to 5. Whatever you chose to do today, take a few minutes to think about global warming and how to diminish the fossil fuels you use in your life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect End-of-Summer Day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are You An Environmentalist?

I was wondering today what the opposite of “environmentalist” is. Choose one:
1.) Litter bug/polluter,
2.) Earth squanderer,
3.) Capitalist.

Reporter Jeff McMahon asked this very question of his readers two years ago, and no one could come up with an exact antonym, at least no antonyms that weren’t pejorative.

The definition is “a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment.”

One reason to advocate is pollution. We are polluting ourselves out of existence. When you think about it, we should all be environmentalists.

Did you know this week is Pollution Prevention Week? (Do visit the EPA site and get some ideas on preventing pollution.)

I have not always been an environmentalist. I trusted the government to take care of the earth. But now I realize, with regret, that my trust was misplaced. Different times require different behavior. Environmentalism had almost gone out of style. But that, too, is changing. Bloggers can spread the word on how desperate the situation has become. We need to fight pollution on all fronts.

There’s plastic pollution, something I have weighed in on already.

Toxic synthetic chemicals surround us, polluting modern life. (Watch this brilliant short video from the Environmental Working Group and join the movement.)

In the Midwest, the air and water are polluted with glyphosate. Pesticide residue pollutes the food we eat. Monsanto has polluted our seeds with the insertion of GMOs.

The government will soon decide whether or not to allow the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, despite the ground swell of opposition to fracking and the fact that such a procedure will create pollution of the drinking water of millions of people.

Here on Cape Cod, NStar intends to pollute our sole-source aquifer by spraying four herbicides under the power lines. You may have seen the spectacular banners on Outer Cape bridges this month, created by Femke Rosenbaum of CWAACC (Clean Water Art Action Cape Cod). We don't want herbicides to trickle down. We cannot allow this pollution to move forward. These herbicides will remain in our drinking water for generations, creating chronic disease.

Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Miss the Wellfleet Farmers Market!

The second to last Wellfleet farmers market of 2011 was held today from eight to noon behind Preservation Hall. I have really enjoyed the chance to buy fresh fruit and veggies over the past few months. I picked up some heirloom tomatoes from Victoria at H&H Farm. Check out her amazing eggplant!

Last Wednesday the market was organized inside, which was fun, too. There were fresh flowers from Long Pond Farm, organic local eggs, gourds of all shapes and sizes.

Katie Reed, whose raw foods class was featured in yesterday's post, animated a stand that sold both vegetables and raw food ingredients like Brazil nuts and hemp seeds. Today I sampled some of her banana ice cream, with cacao sauce. Yum!

Light from the stained glass windows lit up Tracy Plaut's stand last week. She was selling chocolate mint jelly, homemade blueberry jam, salsa, pesto, and much more on behalf of Preservation Hall. I bought three jars, the perfect gift for a friend and a nice way to support our community center.

When I lived in France, I went to the farmers market several times a week, all year long.

We are fortunate to have a farmers market in Wellfleet, even if it is only open during the summer months. Farmers markets are only successful if they are attended by the local population. If you have not yet been, do try to go today, or next Wednesday.

Does your town have a farmers market? What produce have you bought recently that you particularly enjoyed? Did you get a chance to chat with the folks who grew the produce?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raw Foods Chef Reinvents Breakfast

A week ago I took a Raw Foods Fundamentals course at Preservation Hall, taught by local raw foods chef Katie Reed of FarmMaid Foods. I enjoyed the experience so much that I returned Sunday for “Breakfast Reinvented.” The class did not disappoint.

“The power of raw foods comes out with breakfast in the morning,” Katie said, busy cramming a variety of green veggies into her Vitamix.

There was curly kale, organic celery, core-less apples, a fistful of cilantro. With a flick of the switch, her machine began its high-speed blend. A smile spread across my face as I thought of all the enzymes and vitamins in the green juice I would soon be drinking. “Carrot Splendor” followed the “Get Up and Go.” I can see why raw foodies get inspired to eat fresh and raw for the whole day. These concoctions even taste healthy!

Apparently most people need more veggies than the usual diet provides. Memo to self, Add veggies to diet. Katie explained why: “They provide a highly accessible form of nutrients.”

A mother and daughter team had joined the class as we moved on to a strawberry kefir smoothie, a drink that was truly yummy.

“Kefir is super nourishing. If you get sugar cravings, drink this,” Katie told us.

Next, we admired a bottle of black and white high-protein chia seeds. Chia porridge is served raw but can be warmed for cool fall days.

“Chia is good for heart health, prostate and breast cancer,” Katie was telling us, adding the final ingredient to the blender bowl, Goji berries. The porridge looked festive (see above). Apparently athletes consume it, too.

“I’m amazed,” said Ann-Marie, on the next stool. “I wasn’t anticipating liking this one.”

Then Katie taught us how to make no-cholesterol vanilla almond milk. In this photo, she is squeezing kale but obtained milk from the blended, pre-soaked almonds the same way. The residue in the Rawsome Creations nut milk bag can be turned into almond flour. If juicing pulp remains, it can be turned into veggie crackers.

“Raw foods is not a diet really, it’s a lifestyle,” Katie explained.

I’m glad the raw-foods philosophy can be embraced without obligation to eat only raw. I can see adding a lot of these recipes to my repertoire and reaping the benefits as Sven and I grow older.

At the beginning of class, a woman had rushed in off the street, unable to attend class that day. She purchased three bags of raw granola instead. Our final lesson was making it. Katie began by draining raw buckwheat groats that had soaked overnight and shredding two apples. The raw granola also has coconut, sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds and Medjool dates as a binder. But, since a dehydrator is involved, I don’t think I will make raw granola any time soon. I just invested in a Vitamix!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Letter to the Editor Published Yesterday

Here is my latest letter to the editor of the Cape Cod Times: "Every week there’s new evidence showing pesticide use is injurious to people. Today brings an article in the journal Pediatrics reporting a probable link between exposure to pesticides and ADHD. Glyphosate, sold retail as Roundup, is an endocrine disrupter that affects reproductive health and may also cause chronic disease in children, prostate cancer, Parkinsons … The list goes on and on. Glyphosate needs to be banned. What? ... The National Seashore plans to apply glyphosate to the phragmites in Wellfleet’s Herring Pond? What?! Glyphosate is one of the herbicides NStar intends to spray under the power lines? It's widely used in the USA, so that proves it must be safe? Ha, ha. Think again. Recently researchers found glyphosate in water and air in the Midwest. This is bad news for humanity. Don't use this poison. Cape Cod is a sandbar. We drink water from a sole-source aquifer. What goes into the ponds, or into the ground, will go into us. The latest research shows that even trace amounts wreck havoc with the hormone system in the developing fetus. Pesticides are more dangerous than previously believed. How many new studies do we need before these toxic chemicals are banned?"

Memorable Quotes from the Summer of 2011

Jamie (son-in-law): “I ran around Long Pond. It was really gorgeous, peaceful, quiet, with no one there.”

Paul (guest): “You are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. Do you realize that?”

Me to Alan (guest): “Did you have a good day? Did you see whales?”

Alan, with a big grin: “Loads!”

Dick Morrill (from Facebook): “HEY!! Yeah, I'm talking to you, the guy in charge of summer. You call this summer? I've seen summer, and I know summer, and this ain't no ‘summer.’ This is, what? A warm spell? And, what's with all that rain. 
Jeez. Now Texas, they're having a summer. Over 100 degrees every day. See, that's what we could have if we had Rick Perry praying for us. Well, no way he's ever going to pray for a state like Massachusetts... Oh well, I'm going to get my jacket and go to the beach.”

Betsy (return guest): “And, he irons, too?”

Sven: “We can’t live in a more beautiful place. We have to appreciate it. Carpe Diem!”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In Which Ilya Comes to Call

At a bed & breakfast, you never know who is going to come knocking on your door in the summer. Yesterday Sven and I received a visit from Ilya, a young man who once painted our house trim. Ilya impressed us with his fastidiousness and his flair. He held several jobs, while on Cape Cod, and raised money for future studies abroad, working as a waiter for a number of years at a local restaurant. I remember attending his going-away party five years ago. Our ambitious friend from Bulgaria was off to Oxford to study the law. Ilya now practices international corporate law from his office in Bulgaria. He was in Wellfleet to check out what being a tourist feels like. We discussed the social skills young people can acquire while working here in the summer. I was touched that, while in Massachusetts, Ilya picked up a paint-brush that he actually used and plans to frame it once home. This Bulgarian lawyer is a perfect example of what one can attain if one sets one's mind to it ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Turtle that Crossed the Road

Look what crossed my path the other day! I was driving along Long Pond Road, spotted this turtle, and took a photo. Do you know what kind of turtle it is?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Things To Do on a Wellfleet Beach

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Toxic Chemicals Update ...

A reader requested an update on the NStar situation, so here goes: nothing has changed. NStar still intends to spray four herbicides under the power lines.

The good news? More people are realizing we are poisoning our environment. There was an article this week in Grist about glyphosate showing up in air and water. Another article in Mother Jones indicates glyphosate harms soil. And, WSNBC shared info on a large study showing pesticide residue leads to ADHD in children. (Glyphosate is sold retail as Roundup. Don't buy it!)

Also, good news for one hard-working environmentalist: Sandra Steingraber was awarded a $100,000 Heinz Award yesterday. Today, she donated this money to the fight against fracking. Hats off, Dr. Steingraber!

The bad news, here on Cape Cod? As I said, no movement from NStar despite the letters, banners, petitions. And, there is more local use of glyphosate to worry about … Did you hear the National Seashore plans to apply it to the phragmites at Herring Pond?

I called the Seashore yesterday to protest and spoke to Shelly Hall, Chief of Natural Resources, who said she understood my concerns. She said the project has been cleared with regional pest management, blah, blah, blah. They would use syringes, blah, blah, blah, and no surfactant, in a “highly controlled application.” They feel the threat to the ecosystem of having these reeds take over the ponds is not something the Seashore can permit. I asked, if there were no other way to get rid of phragmites, which I actually happen to like. “No, there is not,” she replied.

Actually, this information is not true. A machine exists to do the job, but the rental of this machine is expensive. (Source is Tracy Plaut, who used to live on Nantucket with husband Swede. "After we sued the town over the use of the herbicides, they brought in a piece of machinery that pulled them out at the root. It was more expensive which is why they wanted to do the chemicals in the 1st place, but effective. Swede said he doesn't remember who they rented the machinery from, but we know they didn't have to do it again for as long as we lived there.")

As if I were not upset enough as is, I read on the NRDC blog that President Obama and his staff have sided with the chemical industry and ordered the EPA to stand down in its effort to control the solvent TCE, a known carcinogen. I immediately wrote the White House to protest. The President’s decision represents a giant step backwards. I realize the EPA is under attack from the Tea Party, but having the White House throw such a curve ball must be upsetting to all who work on behalf of the environment.

Does this new development worry you? If so, what are you going to do about it? Are you inspired by Dr. Steingraber's donation?