Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Choose Holiday Gifts Made on Cape Cod?

After Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to holiday gifts. Many people come to Wellfleet during Oysterfest to go Christmas-shopping in mid-October. In December 2010, I suggested local businesses that are fairly well known. This year I decided to mention small businesses here on Cape Cod, perhaps a bit more obscure but all deserving our support. I discovered most of them at Oysterfest.

First off, how about some winter warmth from Sandspit Alpacas, located right here in Wellfleet? I admired adorable furry animals on their new Web site and learned Chez Sven shares an address with this fledgling farm at Old King’s Highway (494), a perfect summer destination for folks with kids. Think 100% yarns from local animals, rovings, hand-felted soaps, as well as warm socks, gloves, hats, etc. Nancy Flanagan will be at the Preservation Hall holiday bizarre on Dec. 10th or visit her farm store. (For more information, call 508 349 7585.)

Those of you who loved Jade Huber’s chocolate oysters should know that the chocolates are back, hand-crafted by a new owner in Marstons’ Mills and now available online at Wellfleet Candy Company. New this fall: the Dark Chocolate Oyster with banana rum caramel filling not only offers chocolate heaven but also sends one dollar to Horizon Relief, a fund to aid Gulf Coast oystermen.

Another local sweetie is Chris Kelley, who runs Sweet Baking on Old Chequessett Neck Road, pictured here with boy-friend Carleton. Sweet Baking has no Web site, but the chocolate bombes, sold at Chocolate Sparrow, win raves. Chris created the magnificent gingerbread house I photographed several years ago for this blog and is now "kicking into gingerbread-gear." Contact her at sweetbaking AT (Sweet Baking will be at the Prez. Hall holiday fair.)

Or, how about Summersoaps, in Barnstable? They are 100% natural with essential oils. A box of four, your choice of scents, costs $29.

Anya's Herbals are powerful blends of healing herbs and botanicals. Anya donates 10% of all profits to organizations that work to preserve the environment or on human justice issues. She sells herbal teas, amazing body lotion, and a full range of aromatic body care products, all created in S. Wellfleet.

For a present that lasts, choose a hand-crafted copper watering can for bonsai plants from Copper Craft of Wellfleet, a steal at $45.

Another artist whom I discovered recently, is lovely Nicole St. Pierre. I was not the only person at Oysterfest to fall for her work. Over the one October weekend in Wellfleet, Nicole sold a total of 29 hats! You can see her recycled wool creations at the Foundry Show in Pawtucket, RI. (See December dates listed on Web site). Sven bought me the blue beauty, to the left, second from the top.

A second millinery company present at Oysterfest was Look at Me Designs, which offers original texting gloves and scarves as well headgear. Tiffany Brown and Melanie Peddle use recycled materials. Again, each item is a one-of-kind creation. They are based in Plainville.

If you run a small business on the Outer Cape and would like to be included in this post, please let me know or share your products and Web site in Comments.

So, what are you waiting for? Time to Christmas-shop. It's hard to make a living off-season on Cape Cod. Please support the local small businesses mentioned above...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Should Wellfleet's Dunkin' Donuts Be Allowed to Offer Drive-Through Service?

Several weeks ago a Chezsven blog reader suggested a vacation. I have been in Los Angeles with my son's family for nine days now. Today, I read news from the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce that will interest you all. Since I feel very strongly that we need to preserve the unique quality of our town, ie. that it is different from Everywhere, USA, I am against the installation of drive-through service at our local Dunkin' Donuts. How do you feel about this? Here is the low-down from the Wellfleet Chamber:

"The Wellfleet Dunkin’ Donuts franchise coffee shop will go before the Wellfleet Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday December 1 to obtain a special permit to install drive-through service for its patrons. Wellfleet Dunkin’ Donuts has been serving its patrons inside its 2393 Route 6 location since it opened in the summer of 2010.

On Nov. 7 the State’s Attorney General’s office approved a bylaw passed by the Spring Town Meeting April 25, 2011. The bylaw prohibits any future fast food and formula restaurants. A formula restaurant is defined in the local bylaw as any establishment which has standardized features that would identify it as one of 25 or more worldwide. A fast food restaurant is characterized as one with drive-up window service.

The special permit Dunkin’ Donuts is requesting is an exemption from the recently passed bylaw. The Town Meeting did not prohibit formula businesses other than food service, such as big box stores or CVS.

Under the provisions of existing bylaws in Wellfleet the ZBA can approve the special permit only if it finds that the benefits of the proposal will outweigh any adverse effects on the Town.

Opponents of the special permit feel the potential automobile congestion would be detrimental to the residents and other businesses in the area which abuts Cove Road. They also express concern that entering or exiting Route Six will become more dangerous.

Supporters of the special permit feel it will enhance tourism because out-of-town visitors expect this kind of service.

The ZBA meeting will be at the Council on Aging on Dec. 1, 2011 at 7 pm."

Wellfleet is for Lovers

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunset Over Wellfleet Pier

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Cat Who Lived Up To His Name

This summer and early fall we got to know a marvelous stray cat named Serena. She was a true survivor, catching mice for dinner until we gave in and provided food. I was finally able to give her back to her owner, Rolf, who teaches yoga at GLOW. We were sorry to have her leave. He was glad to get her back. Our cat episode reminded me of my daughter's cat, also a stray in the woods of Wellfleet at one point. A reader asked me to tell his story, so here goes:

Our black cat has always lived up to the name my daughter Stephanie gave him years ago: Indiana Jones. "Indy" thrives on adventure. Abandoned as a small kitten, he had to learn to take care of himself. Indy is the only cat I know to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times. That he should disappear seemed totally out of character. Had he gone on another adventure or did something happen to him deep in the woods of Cape Cod?

Stephanie lived in France when we adopted Indy at three weeks old. She named him "Indiana Jones" because he seemed to like risks. A neighbor had found him backing out of an overturned garbage can. "Her daughter dressed him in doll clothes and brought him to school," Stephanie whispered with disgust, cradling the tiny creature in her open palms. Instead of meowing, it squeaked.

"That kitten was absolutely famished," said my friend Alice, returning from the kitchen with a pot of tea. "I can't keep it. Know any witches? Who would be willing to have a black cat?" The neighbor was asking because she knew that we had two cats already.

The kitten was now kneading Stephanie's sweatshirt with its tiny paws. From the way she smiled up at me I knew there was no turning back. Like it or not, we had just acquired a new member of the family.

Indiana Jones turned out to be quite a handful. He was beautiful - pitch black with a white star on his chest - but no one could approach him except Stephanie. He horsed down his food, then tried to eat out of the plates of our other cats. Worst of all, he refused to use the litter box.

Over the years I have raised many kittens. Never have I run into a cat that was impossible to potty train. Indy would use the litter box and then not use the litter box. There was no predicting what he would do next. We decided he would have to let him use our garden instead.

Stephanie insisted that we bring the new kitten along on vacation when we went to Cape Cod for the summer to visit her grandparents. Indy took refuge in my sleeve as the jumbo jet barreled down the runway. He refused to stay inside and roamed far and wide, exploring the woods around our summer home. Sometimes we found presents of field mice on the doorstep.

By August, Indy had grown into a handsome young cat. Getting him back to France was quite a challenge as he no longer would fit into a cat box. Stephanie spoke to him in a low voice as we sat in the Kennedy Airport waiting room. In the plane, she had to hold him on her lap. Fellow passengers paused to admire his sleek coat and amber eyes. That day I vowed never to take a cat across the ocean again, even if his name was "Indiana Jones"!

I had to eat those words: last year I moved back to New England. Stephanie's French father stayed in France. We lived in an apartment in the city and our landlord said, "No pets!"

Stephanie's grandparents volunteered to keep him. We hoped that Indy would remember the woods of Cape Cod and not run away. For a third time, Indiana Jones crossed the ocean on a jetliner.

Indy seemed to be enjoying his leafy domain. Often we caught glimpses of our black panther stalking prey in the underbrush, muscles rippling. Gifts of field mice, snakes, and even a weasel appeared outside the porch where Stephanie was sleeping. Then she went back to the city with me. The second day of her absence, Indiana Jones disappeared.

Stephanie was heartbroken. What had happened to her beloved pet? She insisted we look for him. Together we called animal shelters, posted messages: "I am a lost cat. I am black, with a white star on my chest. I squeak when I meow. If you see me, please contact ...."

Days went by, then weeks. Perhaps Indy had been attacked by a raccoon? Perhaps he had fallen into a pond? Perhaps he had been hit by a car while crossing the state highway, nearby?

"Indiana Jones is a survivor," I told Stephanie. "I'm sure he will turn up, somewhere."

A week went by, and another.

One month after Indy’s disappearance the animal shelter phoned. They had received a call about a cat that answered our description: black and muscular, jittery, and very hungry. The caller lived on the other side of Route 6. Indy must have crossed the highway during the night. Immediately, we drove back out to Cape Cod.

Indy couldn't have chosen a better place to hide or a nicer woman to care for him. "I can't adopt 'Spirit' because we already have eight cats," she said. "I knew this one belonged to someone because his coat is in such great condition." "Spirit" refused to go in her house. He would appear every morning and every night, only to hide again in the brambles.

Together we called his name(s) without luck. I suggested Stephanie try by herself. The rest of us went inside. A half hour later, "Spirit" emerged from a thicket. Stephanie spoke to him for another twenty minutes before being able to pick him up and carry him to the car.

Indy smelled of pine needles. That night he told Stephanie all about his wanderings. He said he liked it at the cat lady's. He had never wanted to be a house cat and was happy to be out in the woods, having adventures. She should go back to the city and stop worrying. Indiana Jones said he would be all right. And he was.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why Come to Wellfleet in the Fall?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what we have. Here, on Cape Cod, that would be the beauty of nature, on all sides. Friends and family. Good health. Wellfleetians can thank President Kennedy for having created the Cape Cod National Seashore, which means less development, cleaner air and water. It's quite incredible that 60% of our town is basically wilderness. I'm also grateful for the marvelous guests who have visited Chez Sven during 2011 and the joy of grandchildren. What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

As Thanksgiving Approaches ...

As turkey day approaches, I decided to look back over five years of blog posts and serve them up to you again. 2008 and 2009 are particularly interesting. It's pretty amazing to realize I've written Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today for almost six years now. Whew! My mother passed away November 29, 2006, so I did not write a specific post about Thanksgiving that year. Here are the other four years.

Thanksgiving, 2007

Thanksgiving, 2008

Thanksgiving, 2009

Thanksgiving, 2010

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Look What Washed Up On a Wellfleet Beach!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Precious Stones

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little Crab, Big Claw

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

If you answered that an empty bleach container had washed up on a Wellfleet beach, you would have been right. Apparently boat owners use bleach to clean the deck. Sometimes the containers get washed overboard, or dropped. They do not belong in the ocean. We all need to rethink some of our old habits. If I had the time, I would try to talk to local seamen and see if someone could come up with an alternative. Any ideas?

And, while we're on the topic of plastic pollution, this week one of my posts featured Teresa Parker. When I spoke to her about tomorrow's Preservation Hall event, she told me this blog had inspired her to pick up trash in the woods of Wellfleet. Look at all the refuse Teresa found during a walk around Long Pond! An empty bottle, discarded in the woods, can become a place for mosquitoes to breed. The plastic bags can injure wildlife. As Teresa wrote, "It's just one of those kind of stories that one doesn't read in the newspaper." I'm glad if we are becoming more aware of these issues on the Outer Cape. I just wish our national leaders would embrace a serious no-litter campaign and get plastic out of our lives. Wellfleet has an excellent Recycling Committee and for that, I am grateful. Do you do your part? Do you pick up trash and recycle it?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feeding Frenzy?

“Chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm may be present in food sold here.” So begins the disclaimer on boxes of Happy Meals sold in California. McDonalds is hedging its bets lest someone decide to sue. “This puts a whole new spin on junk food,” commented a Facebook friend. Eating has become dangerous. These thoughts were on my mind as I watched a sunset feeding frenzy at the marina. The powerful chemical companies operate a revolving door for former employees who often obtain jobs in government. How can a former Monsanto employee defend the best interests of American citizens? He can’t. When genetically-modified alfalfa got fast-tracked, the risk rose of organic milk being compromised. Aberrations like genetically-modified salmon are being hoisted on us against our will. Did you know a USDA grant is allowing AquaBounty Technologies to stay afloat, while Congress tries to figure out whether to approve it or not? And, should it win approval, no labels are planned on packaging. Yesterday I sent you all to Lentil Breakdown and asked everyone to think about how GMOs affect Wellfleetians. We are all in this together, that's how. Not the case in Europe. Join the movement to get all adulterated food labeled. Tell your friends and family. Discuss GMOs at Thanksgiving. And, sign this easy petition to label food so I will not feel obliged to move back to France, a country with food safety rules that are much more rigorous. Thanks!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Letter to the Editor Published Today

The Provincetown Banner published my latest letter to the editor, a follow-up to an article on Silent Spring Institute's recent testing of Cape Cod well water, including wells in Wellfleet. In case you do not have access to the newspaper, I'm reprinting it below:

Thanks for the update on Silent Spring Institute’s latest tests on well water.

So, on the Outer Cape, we are drinking acesulfame, a chemical that is 200 times sweeter than sugar? (Reporter) Rich Eldred wisely remarks that “repeated exposure, every time you take a drink, is different than being exposed just once.” Acesulfame can be found in foods such as low-fat yogurt and ice cream, soft drinks, gum. Chewable and liquid drugs also contain acesulfame. It does not break down in our bodies. Pee it out or wash some down the drain, and it gets in our water. While approved by the FDA, critics believe there may be potential threats to health. There’s no proof acesulfame causes cancer or leukemia, but I, for one, am not too happy to be drinking it. My father got bladder cancer from consumption of saccharine, another supposedly safe sweetener.

The SSI tests also revealed perfluorines. Persistent organic pollutants, they “stick” around. If you still use Teflon pans, you are contributing to the problem. PFCs also line pizza boxes and popcorn bags. They are sprayed on clothes and furniture to prevent stains. The EPA has labeled PFCs a “likely carcinogen.” They have been detected in the blood of 98% of Americans tested. I really don’t want to drink these chemicals either.

What I retain from this article is that septic systems are not designed to remove toxic chemicals. If we want to drink pure water, we should use a carbon filter. We also need to become more aware of the increasing need to protect our sole-source aquifer. What we put in the ground, we will consume.

SSI did not detect any endocrine disruptors. This is good news, but the situation may soon change if NStar is allowed to proceed with its plan to spray four herbicides under the power lines. Emerging science indicates endocrine disruptive chemicals can affect humans at lower doses than previously thought.

10 Suggestions for Anti-GMO Signs

Today, a simple request. Please read an excellent post at Lentil Breakdown and think about how it applies to Wellfleetians. Adair Seldon explains How to Be a Bad-Ass Anti-GMO Activist. More, tomorrow ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where Spanish Fantasies Come True

Sven and I traveled to Spain, while my younger daughter was spending a semester in Salamanca. We picked her up and drove to Portugal. While in Spain, we noticed Spaniards ate dinner even later than the French, ordered "tapas" at the beginning of the meal, and seemed boisterous while eating. Lots of spirited conversations were going on in the restaurants we visited. I remember the incredible guitar playing, too. You may wonder what the connection to Wellfleet is ... Wellfleet has a fairly new resident who can make all your Spanish fantasies come true. Teresa Parker runs a travel business called Spanish Journeys. Yes, we have a specialist on Spain in our midst! Anyone who plans a trip to Europe, do check out Teresa’s Web site.

If you do not plan to go to Spain in the immediate future, how about realizing your Spanish fantasies this Sunday at a Payomet concert in Preservation Hall? Renowned flamenco guitarist Juanito Pasqual, as well as dancer and vocalist Jose Moreno, will perform, with Haggai Cohen Mil on acoustic bass and Tupac Mantilla on percussion. There will be tapas galore, prepared under Teresa’s guidance, with flan for dessert, to be served during intermission. The whole shebang costs only $35. The show starts at 7 but the doors open at 6:15. Sounds like an amazing evening. Get your tickets today!

Have you ever been to Spain? Do you like Spanish music? Tapas?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why We Should All Support Outer Cape Health Services

Above, a shot of the garden in June for Alice, a blog reader who stopped by to say hello Sunday afternoon. I wonder if she has had the occasion, over the past 20 summers, to avail herself of the services of Outer Cape Health, as a non-resident? Last week I went in for a flu shot and was again amazed by how the local health center has evolved since our arrival on Cape Cod in 1997. While in the building, I was able to appreciate the level of professionalism and efficiency. Everyone is scurrying around, attending to patients. Waiting time has been considerably diminished. The administrative staff is friendly and zealous. The doctors are excellent. The skilled nurses go about their jobs with smiles. Angelo, the lab technician, is fabulous, hitting the bull's-eye with each prick of his needle. We are fortunate to have such competent medical staff here in Wellfleet, available for both residents and summer visitors alike.

In June, when my granddaughter bumped into the barbecue grill, burning her arm, I called OCHS and was told my son should bring her in immediately. My son and his wife were quite impressed with the care Juliette received. (By the time this photo was taken, she had fully recovered from the accident and was eagerly awaiting dinner at Moby's.)

Doctor Millhofer actually saved Sven's life two years ago with a diagnosis after a blood test, calling on Thanksgiving afternoon to tell me to get Sven to the emergency room and fast.

Outer Cape Health is seeking to add three new services at the Wellfleet location: Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT), cardiology consultations, and orthopedic consultations, limited to orthopedic issues of the hand, arm, elbow and shoulder. This is most impressive, don't you think? OCHS also operates a new branch in Harwich and recently renovated the Provincetown facility. Finally, Wellfleetians have the convenience of shopping at Outer Cape Pharmacy, tucked into the middle of Doc. Callis's Courtyard, minutes away from Chez Sven.

OCHS began receiving patients in 1966. The building has served us well, but it's time for a new Care Campus. OCHS is busy raising funds for future expansion. If you would like to support our local medical center, consider tickets for the Cypress String Quartet at the Congregational Church three weeks from now, Dec. 7, at 7 pm, with a post-concert reception at Preservation Hall. Or, reserve today for the tribute to Bernard Greenhouse, February 1, 7:30 to 9:30, featuring Yo-Yo Ma. (This benefit concert is almost sold out, so hurry!)

While praising OCHS, I must include another regular blog reader, Attorney Bruce Bierhans, who is President of the Board. Congratulations on all that has been accomplished, on behalf of the Chezsven Blog community.

I cannot say enough good things about Outer Cape Health Services. The medical staff is there in our time of need. We should return the favor. Please consider a donation as 2011 draws to a close.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Walking to Dyer Pond and Beyond ...

This weekend Sven and I took a walk to Dyer Pond. It was the first weekend in months without guests, a pleasant experience if I do say so myself. Months and months of welcoming strangers into your house makes you appreciate solitude all the more when it happens to come. The wind whipped through the denuded trees above our heads. Underfoot, pine needles crunched as we marched along. The cushion measured almost an inch in some places. Here and there mushrooms popped up through the underbrush.

We didn’t say much. The wind was blowing, which made conversation difficult. Conversation is not always appropriate on walks anyway. We reached Dyer Pond in a dozen minutes or so.

“Shall we keep walking?” I asked.

Sven was game, so we continued on to Great Pond. As soon as we had reached Turtle Pond, I noticed something unusual: two fishermen in a boat, above. I wondered if they knew the fish were dangerous to eat, full of mercury? Perhaps they were merely fishing for sport, and throwing back what they caught? And, how did they get the boat into this mostly unknown pond? Were they locals? Probably.

Great Pond was very peaceful. The peace made me reflect on all the craziness in the modern world. Nature speaks if one bothers to listen: no one in touch with nature goes to war willingly or puts profit before the well-being of others, as Monsanto seems to be doing with its power grab on seed companies and reluctance to admit Roundup Ready seeds don't work. They require more herbicide, not less.

Glyphosate is one of four herbicides NStar intends to spray under the power lines. It is a toxic chemical that, to quote the article above, has "potentially devastating impacts on our health." Do we want traces of glyphosate in our drinking water? I think not.

As we turned away from Great Pond, I thought to myself, that’s the top of our sole-source aquifer, a fact I learned at a meeting of the Non-Resident Taxpayers Association this summer. Pretty amazing!

On the way back, we passed …. Yes, mushrooms, lots of them. It occurred to me that two weeks from now two mycologists are coming to stay at Chez Sven. One of them, Laurence Millman, will be leading a magnificent mushroom walk on Sunday, December 4 from 1 to 4 at Mass Audubon. Get your tickets today!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wellfleet Conference Attendees Support OWS

Last month Oysterfest goers may have passed this Occupy Wellfleet banner on their way to the festival, but it was the original Occupy Wall Street movement that preoccupied the minds of a number of our nation’s great thinkers, who met near Cahoon Hollow Beach last month. Sven and I were invited to the final evening of the seminar several years ago, when my friend BJ Lifton was alive. Her husband, Robert, continues to bring together an exclusive group of friends with the goal of thinking about the world situation. Each year they focus on a different topic. The 2011 gathering seems to have discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a most unusual move, the intellectuals present decided to issue an open letter in support of OWS. Here it is:

“We are writers, historians, psychologists, doctors, sociologists, lawyers, theologians, journalists, poets and activists who have gathered at the Wellfleet Conferences convened each year by Robert Jay Lifton to consider fundamental issues facing human society. The 46th Wellfleet Conference has just concluded.
We represent a variety of callings, faiths, generations, political persuasions, nationalities and disciplines, but we share a continued commitment to a humane society. At a time when democratic ideals are violated with impunity, we have been hoping to see a revival of initiative and of civic conscience. We applaud your demonstrations in New York City and throughout the country and abroad. We are deeply impressed with what you have already accomplished to begin a popular movement on behalf of essential democratic values of fairness, justice, human dignity and hope. We all belong to the 99%!

We join in your quest for social and economic justice. We stand in protest with you and urge others to raise their voices as friends, supporters, and brothers and sisters of Occupy Wall Street.”

Read the names of the attendees at The Nation.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Boats Leave Wellfleet Marina for Winter

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's New on the Bookshelf?

I got Dangerous Instincts, How Gut Feelings Betray Us by Mary Ellen O’Toole, thinking the book might provide insight on ways to scope out strangers, in this case, our guests. They knock at an unlocked door. I expect them, open the door, welcome the couple inside. What we have in common is a prior engagement. But I have already decided from earlier contact, often an exchange of several emails, whether a person is someone I want in my house or not. While psychopaths could come to the B&B, usually they don't. Also, there are other people here, like Sven, which does not present the ideal scenario for any serious wrongdoing. Still, as I was reading and becoming more and more scared, it occurred to me that my younger self could have really used this book. I have not met any psychopaths, but at least one pathological liar did cross my path. If you're curious about whether crime shows on television are accurate in their portrayal of FBI profilers and why you should not rely on gut feelings alone, get yourself a copy of Dangerous Instincts. The author, a retired profiler, shares many worthwhile tips on how to stay safe and mitigate risk. I found the chapter on interviews particularly interesting and came away knowing to pay more attention to what is not said. After reading this book, all our doors will be locked …

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Can You Provide the Caption?

Anyone who has walked Main Street over the past few years has been able to admire the skeleton sitting outside the liquor store, rain or shine, as if the owner had winked a warning about what might happen to anyone who imbibes too much alcohol. Here she is in summer attire. Yesterday I could not resist taking a photo of the young man who had chosen to sit in one of the other chairs. Two people walked by, one wearing a Beachcomber sweatshirt, and the photo immediately became more interesting. I thought of the New Yorker cartoons, presented caption-less, and decided to offer up this photo today with a challenge. Who can come up with the best caption? Care to try?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Why I Dislike November ...

Quiet season is settling in, and it feels good. The phone no longer rings with requests from travelers. Hits to the StatCounter have decreased dramatically, despite my having posted a Thanksgiving Special for Seagull Cottage at, a stark reminder that the recession is not over. Sven and I have the house to ourselves again. There are fewer cars along Main Street in downtown Wellfleet. Shops are closing for the winter. What leaves remain on the trees shudder in the cold north wind. Chipmunks prepare for hibernation. It’s time to put the garden to bed for another year. November must be my least favorite month. The days grow longer. Summer has become a memory. The promise of spring is not yet in the air. Both my parents passed away in November, my mother in 2006, and my dad in 1999. It’s sobering how time passes, seeming to accelerate as we age. November is a month for holding close those we love, and for counting our blessings …

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Time to Let Our Voices Be Heard ...

Wellfleetians may have noticed new banners recently, created by Clean Water Art Action Cape Cod. There’s one outside Box Lunch for all to admire. Another is strapped to the trees at the intersection of Main Street and Long Pond Road, above. I know some of you depend on me for regular updates on the herbicide situation, so here goes. The end of the moratorium is coming up fast, December 31. Our legislators are well ware of this deadline. In fact, Laura Kelley reports that she spoke with Senator Dan Wolf and Seth Rolbein at the celebration for the Harwich Conservation Trust last weekend. I cannot share their exact words but did get the message: now is the time to get loud again and make sure our voices are heard on this important issue, the possible contamination of our sole-source aquifer by NStar. (Anyone who would like my help with a letter to the editor, let me know.)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Wellfleet Marketplace Gets New Decoration

In the fall, winter, and spring, Wellfleetians shop at Wellfleet Marketplace. When I went in over the weekend, Shaina was busy decorating the windows with her perky designs. "Writing backwards must not be easy," I said, after complimenting her on what she had accomplished so far. "It's not," Shaina agreed. I really appreciate the fact that the owners employ local talent to beautify their store. Now that farmers' markets are closing for the season, we will shop at Wellfleet Marketplace more often. Below, another photo of Shaina, hard at work.

Once upon a time, Wellfleetians had larders full of preserves. Does anyone bother anymore? I certainly did not grow up learning the art of putting up food, but then my mom was a career woman. Wish someone had taught me! I bet we'll be seeing more courses in food preparation, as citizens seek to avoid GMOs. (Calling Prez. Hall: Hello, hello?) I'd also like to learn cheese-making. This week my friend Melanie, in New Zealand, turned 16 liters of raw milk into three types of cheese. Check out her blog Frugal Kiwi over the next few weeks as she will be posting how-to details. Do you know how to preserve vegetables or applesauce? Make jam? Ever tried your hand at cheese?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

How About Dinner at PB BoulangerieBistro?

When Sven and I picked up French bread on Friday at PB BoulangerieBistro, we were able to appreciate the magnificent decorated pumpkins, outside. Inside, the mood was somber after the death of a favorite customer, Larry Peters, VP of the Wellfleet Historical Society. There was a short line for buying bread and a long line of chocolate eclairs in the pastry case. I spied a pate en croute in the vitrine and decided we had to have a piece. While it is still necessary to make a reservation ahead for Saturday night, I bet there's room on Sunday nights. We ate at PB two weeks ago. The risotto with butternut squash was to-die-for...