Celebrating Anya LaFlamme

Anya LaFlamme attended the pollinator classes I taught at Gateway Park, Fitchburg, MA, a few years ago, She has continued on to pursue the Massachusetts Master Gardener Classes and is a graduate of the Horticulture Program at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens Horticulture College, in Boylston, MA.

I am very proud of Anya. She is also a beekeeper and landscaper. The graduation is on November 2, 2018 at 6 PM. The event will be held at the British American Club, 1 Simon Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

Send Anya your congratulations. She deserves our applause. Bravo Anya.

Let’s see how easy this new method is to create on WordPress


It has been quite awhile since I posted. Lovely to see the lettering is bigger. I can actually read it without having to use reading glasses. I think I am going to like this.

I am getting ready to go out to dinner with my niece so I will close shortly.

SATURDAY – April 23
10 am – 12 noon
Walk Around the Park

Retired biologist, Neal Anderson, will lead us on a walk around the park at Gateway Park, 19 Sheldon Street, Fitchburg, MA. Find out about plants, invasive species, the Natural Pollinator Habitat, Community Garden.  It is going to be a lot of fun because there is always something new to learn.

If you are visiting Fitchburg, MA, come on out and join us. The art is from the art wall on Main Street, Fitchburg, MA.

Sweetest robin I have ever seen

Sweetest robin I have ever seen


Into every life a little trouble must come.

After giving the cab driver the fare and tip, I quickly got out of the cab, grabbing a shopping bag that I had with me. It was raining out and the cab was dark. I walked into Rollstone Studio for a meeting with Fitchburg Cultural Alliance and took off my rain coat. I thought I took off my sweater also because it was hot inside. I was early so I walked around the studio to admire different artist’s work.

Then, I thought, “Where is my purse?” Realizing that I didn’t see it, I wanted to call the cab company IMMEDIATELY. I couldn’t see the phone book listings. I needed reading glasses to see the numbers. An elder artist looked up the telephone number for me and I rang up the cab company. Wrong number! This was the business office. I was getting more panicky as the minutes ticked by.

Then Bob found the right number. I called the dispatcher. He in turn called the driver. Upon the second call, the dispatcher confirmed that the driver had my purse. I waited one hour and 15 minutes for the cab to return. He was in the next town over doing business for the cab company. After picking people up and dropping them off, he returned to Main Street where I was waiting.

While I waited outside, a young man walked by twice and said, “You have good legs and a strong back to wait like this.” While I waited, I sang softly and did Tai chi. It was chilly out, but this was a small price to pay to get my purse back with my life documents inside. I am talking about credit cards, Medicare, insurance cards, money, keys. Out of which my life would have been victimized and full of trauma. You can imagine what it would have been like. Purse snatching is a common occurrence in cities.

There are miracles that happen in this life. Fitchburg is a city of 40,000 people. How likely is it to have a purse returned intact in a city of this size? I am reminded to be thankful for all my blessings. Tonight was one of these.

Oh and it doesn’t hurt to say a prayer to St. Anthony, patron saint of missing things. Thank you St. Anthony.

Joyful, Joyful We Sing

111713 00317 November 2013 – It was a music filled afternoon with The Gardner Choral Chamber Choir.  The program was presented at First Parish UU, 923 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA, as part of the Monthly Cultural Series. Musicians honored us with good cheer and marvelous song including works by Helvy, Rutter, Bernon, Walker, and others.

111713 006There are also a few professionals in the group and their voices were suburb.  Diane Cushing, director and singer, had an extraordinary range. It was thrilling to hear her waves of musical ability.

111713 011Don Miller, bass soloist, brought something deep and rich to the mix of blended voices.

One song was about a Rabbi. He taught the people of his village three words: Justice, Truth, and Peace. Where justice is done, truth is said, and peace shall come. The program was versatile and catchy. Some sacred,holiday, love, and some pieces were sung in the round. It was a joyful time.


When I was young, I used to sing, and I had a good voice then. I sang on TV, did weekly radio programs, as a folk singer in a folk group with my sister [she has given me strict instructions not to use her name] and a sweet young man named Bruce Harrington. Bruce walked on early in life. He did go to California, as a performer, and lived his dream in Venus. I performed in plays and in a choral group, at St. Dominic’s Church, in Washington, DC, with my friend Deneen Stambone. I lived in the world of music both in singing and dancing. Now I have lost my voice since I have a degenerative respiratory ailment. I was thinking about this today as I listened to this wonderful group of happy singers.  I don’t even remember what my voice sounded like, but I remember how joyful it was to sing. My grandmother always told me, “Nothing lasts forever.” Back then, I could paint pictures with my voice. Now I paint pictures with words. I couldn’t write then or at least I didn’t believe I could. It took years of experience, training, and encouragement to build self esteem.

The Greater Gardner Chamber Choir will perform with the Thayer Conservatory Orchestra at Fitchurg State University on December 7th.

Join us for the December Cultural Series: December 15 at 2 pm – Oneness Blessing. A meditative and peaceful journey through sound.

It is an Honor to Serve Our Neighbors and World

WELCOME TO ROTARY!   –  Dennis led the Pledge, Bill led us in song and Dr. Joe did our invocation.   Francis Mercandante, Alice Addante, Judy Reymonds and Mary Ellen’s sister Ronnie joined us today.  WEEKLY RAFFLE:  Mary Whitney was our winner today.   CALENDAR DRAWING(S) Linda Largey sold by Sharon, and Ellie Doucette sold by Dr. Joe.   Visiting Rotarian; Dr. Gilley.


AG Jim Fusco did our Installation of our two newest members;  Mary Ellen Ryall and Fred Cochrane.   A Warm Rotary Welcome into the Rotary Club of Fitchburg

A Walk on the Wild Side

China my pal

China my pal

It is a balmy May day today. I took the bus out to Winter Hill Farm, Ashby West Road, Fitchburg. No one was home. Good plan. I had the farm to myself for a few hours. Let China, 11 year old cat out. She loves it when I come and wants to pal around with me.  A mourning cloak butterfly flew into lilac and a yellow tiger swallowtail was seen flitting about on flowers in the front yard. It is only May and the swallowtails are here. This is early.



Picked up my bamboo poles, a pail with fresh composted earth and aged manure, a trowel and my seeds. And out to the Wild Butterfly Habitat I went.  Removed some blackberry bramble and cleared a small area. Put plastic down, I hated to, but I didn’t have any newspaper. Instead I put my composed  soil on top and firmly planted seeds. My hope is that the seeds will germinate and I will be able to transplant them to a better soil preparation that I will undertake over the next few weeks.

I came back to the barn and pulled up a lawn chair to sit on and ate my bagel with cream cheese and chives and drank from a bottle of water. A short while later my brother in law came out of the house. He had arrived home from work when I was up in the woods.

Jack offered me a ride on the ATV and I hitched a ride back up to the woods. This time I was headed to Frog Pond. He left me where the trail forked because there are too many rocks and boulders to cross over. Then I headed out by foot and found the trail that leads to the pond.


Lobilia cardinalis

Lobilia cardinalis

There with memories of the past in Lusby, So. MD, and my friend Audrey Scharmen, a writer and plant friend, I planted beloved Lobilia cardinalis. The cardinal plant likes to have her feet wet and head in the sun. I planted her in the peat moss and decayed leaf compost. I hope they make it. I have waited so long  to have another encounter with one of my favorite plants that still clings to my memories of beautiful things in my life.

Discover the World of Monarch Butterflies

Mary Ellen's monarch copyright Cindy Dyer

Mary Ellen’s monarch copyright Cindy Dyer

Mary Ellen Ryall, naturalist and environmental educator, has written two children’s books on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. An article, Bringing Butterflies Home, was published in the spring issue of Celebrate HOME Magazine.Come learn about the habitat, life cycle of the monarch and more at this Open the Public Free Event..

Ryall’s books and magazine will be available for sale. Some host plants for other butterfly species and milkweed seed for the monarch will also be offered.

Boulder Coffeehouse Saturday April 13

Nate Smith organizes the monnthly Boulderhouse Cafe. A new guist musician is featured. This Saturday feature:

  • The 1st Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 923 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
  • The Boulder Coffeehouse on Saturday, April 13th, 7:30pm, features Peter Fischman & Deb O’Hanlon!!PETER FISCHMAN is a hidden gem of a songwriter who ought to be widely known and lauded. His songs of home, friends, and family capture a moment or depict a place or event with the visual acuity of an Ansel Adams photograph. His wife DEB O’HANLON adds her beautiful clear voice. Together, they have released 2 CDs: “In His Own Words”, a CD of Peter’s songs and “Far East Kitchen” with both Peter originals, traditional and covers.Song lyrics can be found at www.peterfischman.com

    He can be reached at peterhf@comcast.net. For booking information, please contact Deb: deb@debohanlon.com

    The Boulder Coffeehouse is delighted to have them return to our humble stage!

    Proceeds from the $5 suggested donations will go to a local non-profit organization chosen by the feature performer.

    Peter Fischman & Deb O'Hanlon

    Peter Fischman & Deb O’Hanlon

    The Boulder Coffeehouse is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, fair-trade coffee, candlelit venue for folk and other musical genres, located at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Fitchburg, MA, 923 Main Street on the Upper Common. Note that parking in the Post Office lot is no longer allowed. The show begins at 7:30. You are welcome to visit our website at http://xongsmith.webs.com/boulder.html .

    Email greystone@net1plus.com or call 978-345-2661 for more details. Suggested freewill donation is $5 at the door. Non-perishable food goods are also encouraged. Throughout the evening a delicious assortment of baked goods, cider, teas, and coffees will be available for your pleasure. Email greystone@net1plus.com regarding open mike slots in advance of the show.

    Sound reinforcement is provided by JB Sound. Soundboard recordings of each performance can be requested by each performer in advance for a suggested $3.

Blog/Radio talk Talkupy with Mary Ellen Ryall Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are being hit on all sides these days. Loss of habitat, climate change andnatural disasters are taking their toll on these and other beautiful pollinators. Thankfully, there are people watching out for them. Talkupy with Annie Lindstrom welcomes Mary Ellen Ryall, retiring Executive Director of Happy Tonics Inc., to the show on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Mary Ellen is passionate about helping people learn how to create pollinator corridors in their own backyards. She will discuss the work she did at Happy Tonics’ teaching garden in Shell Lake, WI and her books on Monarchs. She also will talk about the wild butterflyand solitary bee nesting habitat she is creating in Fitchburg, MA. For more information, visit Mary Ellen’s Facebook page. For an expanded slide show go to Talkupy.net

Boulder Coffeehouse in Fitchburg MA PRESS RELEASE


CONTACT: Nate Smith

The Boulder Coffeehouse on Saturday, February 9th, 7:30pm, features Fran LaMalva!!

Fran La Malva has been around for a while in these parts and has delighted every single crowd he’s performed for.

Fran L Malva copyright Nate Smith

Fran L Malva copyright Nate Smith

His polished and intricate guitar styles and arresting vocals capture each song equisitely, whether its one of his own compositions or maybe a Chris Smither tune or something else.  A very heartwarming experience!

Regular Coffeehouse goers may recall him from May, 2009 and we are blessed to have him return.  Not only does Fran play at the top-shelf level, but he also builds his own guitars and will bring two of them to the show Saturday.  His luthier business is located at http://lizardeye.com/ and he hails from Groton, MA.

Proceeds from the $5 suggested donations will go to a local non-profit organization chosen by the feature performer.

The Boulder Coffeehouse is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, fair-trade coffee, candlelit venue for folk and other musical genres, located at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 923 Main Street on the Upper Common, Fitchburg, MA, Note that parking in the Post Office lot is no longer allowed.  The show begins at 7:30.  You are welcome to visit our website at http://xongsmith.webs.com/boulder.html .

Email greystone@net1plus.com or call 978-345-2661 for more details.

Suggested freewill donation is $5 at the door.  Non-perishable food goods are also encouraged.  Throughout the evening a delicious assortment of baked goods, teas, and coffees will be available for your pleasure.

Email greystone@net1plus.com regarding open mike spots. Sound reinforcement is provided by JB Sound.  Soundboard recordings of each performance can be requested by each performer in advance for a suggested $3.

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