May 25, 2017

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Donates $5,000 To “The Preserve” Fund

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission has contributed $5,000 to the Trust for Public Land Campaign to Preserve the 1,000 Acre Forest

The donation will help ensure that the parcel known as The Preserve in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Essex will be permanently protected as forestland and wildlife habitat.

The Gateway Commission was established in 1973 to administer the Connecticut River Gateway Conservation Zone.  Eight towns in the lower Connecticut Valley including Lyme and Old Lyme along with Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam and Old Saybrook joined together in a compact to create the Conservation Zone in order to protect the scenic, historic and environmental resources of the lower Connecticut River.

Although not within the Conservation Zone, The Preserve lies within the lower Connecticut River watershed.  It is the last thousandacre coastal forest between New York and Boston and includes the headwaters of streams that flow into the Connecticut.

The Commission believes that its protection is important to the ecological health of the watershed and the river.

According to Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody “The Gateway Commission is gratified to join in this vital preservation project.”

For more information about the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, visit  www.ctrivergateway.org or contact J. H. Torrance Downes at (860) 581-8554, or email him at tdownes@rivercog.org.

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Trust for Public Land Offers Rare Opportunity to Hike ‘The Preserve’ Today

Photo by Bob Lorenz.  Kate Brown of the TPL speaking to a group of hikers participating in the Nov. 16 Preserve hike.

Photo by Bob Lorenz. Kate Brown of the TPL speaking to a group of hikers participating in the Nov. 16 Preserve hike.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) offers two more public hikes in the 1,000 acre ‘Preserve’ today, Saturday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. and noon.  The public is not usually allowed access to the privately-owned 1,000 acre forest, so take advantage of this opportunity to see the property for the first time, or discover something new in the ever changing woods.

The hikes scheduled for December were cancelled due to the weather.

The TPL reached a purchase agreement with current owners, River Sound Development, LLC, and is working to realize that purchase by June, 2014.  While the TPL secures funding sources for the purchase, they have planned public hikes to share the experience of this last, large uninterrupted tract of coastal forest located between New York and Boston.

Dress for the day’s weather and a walk on wide, sometimes rocky, and possibly snow-covered trails.

Hikers will meet at the M&J Bus lot, 130 Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook (across from Pasta Vita) to catch the shuttle due to limited parking at the trailhead.  There is no charge for this event.

Members of the TPL, Old Saybrook Land Trust, Essex Land Trust, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and naturalists lead the 90-minute hikes.

In case of inclement weather, the hikes will take place Sunday, Jan. 12.

For information or to RSVP, contact Kate Brown, TPL Project Manager, 203-777-7367 ext. 5 or kate.brown@tpl.org, or visit oslt.org.

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Letter from Paris: Germany’s Merkel Warms French Hearts

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Revised: 01/01/14  (Corrected sentence in red)  The integration of Europe moved forward this week following several important events.

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

On Dec. 15, Angela Merkel was re-elected for the third time as German Chancellor.  Her victory was made possible through the coalition of her Christian Democrat party (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

The composition of her new government gives an indication on the future policies of Germany.  Among the nine CDU ministers, Wolfgang Schauble will remain as the indispensable minister of finances and as such will guarantee a certain continuity.  The crucial post of economy/energy will be occupied by an SPD member.  So will foreign affairs, to be headed by pro-European Walter Steinmeier.   It is interesting to note that for the first time a woman will be in charge of Defense:  Ursula von der Leyen, 51, is close to Angela Merkel, French-speaking and a mother of seven.  The ministry of immigration is also to be headed by a woman who, even more significantly, is of Turkish origin.

There is no deep ideological difference between the CDU and SPD parties.  French analysts stress that it would be a mistake to assimilate the German social democrats to the French socialists.  The former are “center left” rather than “left”.

According to tradition, Merkel’s first official visit abroad was to France.   Her next stop was Brussels to attend the summit meeting of the European Council.   Arduous negotiations led to important decisions – as important, some experts say, as the creation of the Euro currency.

Merkel will likely not abandon her general policy of financial discipline, but rather relax her hard austerity line.  Germany’s economic policy will be slightly less liberal.  A minimum wage of 8.5 euros is to take effect within three years.  The new program will reduce the number of “poor workers” and should give a boost to the domestic consumption.  It will also alleviate criticism expressed by other European countries of unfair competition on the labor market.

A banking union and the European defense were the main topics of discussion.  The creation of a banking union is intended to put a stop to the bailout of failing banks at the expense of taxpayers.  So far, financial support for countries in trouble, such as Greece or Spain, has been funded primarily by Germany (27 percent) and France (20 percent.)

Merkel has always been against the “mutualisation” of the sovereign debts.  The new directives give greater power to the Banque Centrale Européenne (BCE – Central Bank of Europe) over the banks  in order to prevent speculative investments.  The BCE will also oversee the creation of a “funds of resolution,”  financed by the banks, which will amount to 55 billion by 2026.  Brussels will only intervene in case of urgent crisis.  Obviously it will be hard for many of the states to lose sovereignty over their own budget.

The other subject of discussion in  Brussels was the European defense.  For Germany, defense is almost a taboo and most European states – except France – are unwilling to interfere in foreign military conflicts.  Some progress though was made in specific areas such as cyber security, refueling of planes in the air, the use of drones by 2025 and controlling piracy along the Somalian coast.  A limited amount of logistical and financial support is likely to be welcomed,  particularly by France, who acted alone in both Mali and the Republic of Central Africa.

The Franco-German ” couple” appears now to be returning to center stage.  As seen from France, the new developments are generally well-accepted by economists and other specialists.  Overall, they seem to be impressed by the pragmatic behavior of the Germans and believe the German vote was a smart one – indeed, a rare mark of approval to be found in French opinion of German politics.

HeadshotAbout the author:  Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She will write a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also will cover a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Lose Those Extra Pounds With The River Valley Slimdown

RVSD_Core_Image

The New Year is just around the corner and Donna Scott of Old Lyme is ready to help you with that  (possibly long-standing) resolution to lose weight.

Scott is the owner of IFoundFitness in Deep River and has just announced her 7th annual River Valley Slimdown.  While participants will compete to lose the most weight over 12 weeks, they will also be raising funds for charity.  Those who take the challenge will be dropping the holiday pounds for the good of both their health and their community.

The next River Valley Slimdown begins on Jan. 11, 2014 and runs through April 5.  Over the past six challenges, Scott and her team at IFoundFitness have helped over 120 participants shed over 860 pounds.  They have also raised over $1,100 for multiple organizations, including Shoreline Soup Kitchens, and Tri-Town Youth Services, to name just a few.  The Winter 2014 River Valley Slimdown will donate 20% of the challenge jackpot to a charity decided upon by the participants.

The jackpot itself is determined by those who take the weight loss plunge.  Participants agree to pony up $65 to participate in the challenge, which includes a weekly weigh-in.  Any weight gain results in a penalty fee.  All penalties plus the original registration fees go towards the final jackpot, which is then divided between the contest winners and the charity of choice.

“People love that extra motivation,” notes Donna, continuing,  “While, of course, we tend to over-indulge during the holidays, it’s also a time to give back to others.  My clients are amazing.  Their dedication to their health is only matched by the dedication they have to helping these charities.”

The Fall 2013 River Valley Slimdown resulted in a jackpot of over $2,300.  Both the first and second place winners dropped over 10 pounds each.

For the upcoming challenge, Scott will again be working with Penny Smyth, CHHC, AADP Certified Health Coach, to provide nutritional and weight management seminars to the challenge-takers throughout the challenge.  RVSD will also be offering a Brand New On-Line Meal Planning Program through which participants can choose from over 450 menu choices, including vegan and gluten-free diets.

And there’s still one more reason to become involved.  Sign up before Jan. 1, to receive a free pass card to five fitness classes at IFoundFitness (new members only).

Registration is currently open for the Winter 2014 River Valley Slimdown.  Email Scott at donna@ifoundfitness.com for complete rules and registration forms.

For more information on the River Valley Slimdown, visit http://ifoundfitness.com/rv-slim-down/

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Simple, Real Food: Comfort Food for Cold Days

With the winter now in full swing, it is time for pulling out the stew and soup recipes and serving warm comfort foods.  I love a big bowl of soup with a salad and some crusty bread for dinner on almost any night and find nothing easier to make.  Since most soups can be frozen, it’s another meal that can be made ahead. which is my kind of cooking.

When you are ready to take a break from all the rich holiday meals, try any of these recipes for a warming and delicious meal.

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup dry white wine

Salt, pepper to taste

28 oz. canned tomatoes with juices, chopped

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices

1 medium zucchini, diced

Tuscan kale, chiffonade, garnish

Procedure:

1. Reserve 1 can of the beans for later. Puree the rest of the beans in a processor with 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Set aside.

2.  Meanwhile heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and celery until slightly browned about 8 minutes. Add the wine and de-glaze the pan over high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the salt and pepper, remaining cup of stock, tomatoes, green beans and zucchini and cover, simmer another 10 minutes. Add the pureed beans and bring to a simmer, cook until all the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved whole beans and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat the soup before serving and garnish with the kale.

Chick Pea Soup with Sausage

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, peeled, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tb. olive oil

1 Tb. rosemary, chopped

5 cups chicken stock

2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper to taste

5 sausages of your choice, sliced into ½ inch rounds

1 bunch Swiss chard or Escarole, rinsed, trimmed, roughly chopped

Procedure

  1. Sauté the garlic, celery, carrots      and onion in 2 Tb. of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat      until softened. Add the rosemary, stock, chick peas, salt and pepper and      bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. Spoon some of the solids      into a food processor and puree. Add the puree back to the saucepan and      cover to keep warm.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a medium      skillet and sauté the sausages until browned. Remove to a plate lined with      a paper towel to drain. Add the sausages to the saucepan along with the      greens and heat the soup covered over medium heat. When the greens are      wilted taste and adjust the seasoning, serve in large bowls.

Creamy French Lentil Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

1 Tb. olive oil

2 carrots, finely chopped

3 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 shallots, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

5 cups chicken stock

3 sprigs thyme

1 1/2 cups French lentils

2 Tb. chopped Italian parsley, garnish

Procedure

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the carrots, celery and shallots and sauté 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, thyme and lentils. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender about 25 minutes.

2. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or food processor and season to taste.

3. Serve garnished with the chopped parsley.

Amanda Cushman

Amanda Cushman

Editor’s Note: Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food Inc., is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over 30 years.  She has taught corporate team building classes for over 15 years for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Yahoo, Nike and Google.  She began her food career in the eighties and worked with Martha Stewart and Glorious Foods before becoming a recipe developer for Food and Wine magazine as well as Ladies Home Journal.  Having lived all over the United States including Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, she has recently returned to her home state of Connecticut where she continues to teach in private homes as well as write for local publications. 

Amanda teaches weekly classes at White Gate Farm and Homeworks and is also available for private classes.  Her cookbook; Simple Real Food can be ordered at Amazon as well as through her website www.amandacooks.com 

For more information, click here to visit her website.

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Vista Partners with Shoreline Community Women to Sponsor “Boxes for Soldiers” Drive

The Shoreline Community is invited to help support and brighten the days of our troops around the globe.  Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is partnering with the Shoreline Community Women of Clinton to sponsor a collection of items for soldiers stationed overseas from now through January 2014.

Shoreline Community Women has spearheaded this drive for several years and has sent over 1,200 boxes to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Cindy Stevens, chairperson of Boxes for Soldiers since 2006 says, “The troops are really happy that people they don’t know are thinking of them.”

Community members are invited to donate any of the following items:

Hand wipes, baby wipes, Wet Ones (small or individual packages are best), hand sanitizer, disposable cameras, sunscreen, non-aerosol bug repellent, individual size shampoo and mouthwash, chap stick, band aids, Advil, Tylenol, aspirin, foot powder, deodorant, beef jerky, individually packages snacks like rice crispy treats, nuts, power/protein bars, granola bars, raisins, pop tarts, crystal light/Gatorade powder drink mixes, ice tea mix, hot chocolate, dry soup mix, tea bags, instant coffee and Dunkin Donuts coffee, writing paper, note cards, envelopes, pens, Sudoku puzzles, books, current magazines, playing cards, movies on DVD, games, batteries (AA or AAA), either white or dark socks, hand and foot warmers. NO CANDY OR GUM PLEASE.

Donations can be brought to Vista’s Westbrook Campus, at 1356 Old Clinton Road or to Vista’s Madison Campus at 107 Bradley Road.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources on an individualized basis to assist adults with disabilities to live independent and successful lives.

For more information regarding Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Letter From Paris: Seasonal Signs in the City of Light … and Beyond

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

France is very festive at this pre-Christmas time.  I just returned from a short visit to the village of Sanary Sur Mer on the Mediterranean.  The grandiose gold and silver decorations contrasted with the bright colored “pointus” (small fishing boats) tossing about in the port.

Our next stop was Aix-en-Provence, which was also getting ready for the holiday season.  It is a pleasure to look for shops wandering through the pedestrian streets of the old town and discover the 17th century architecture  with its elegant courtyards and stairs.  Rows of prefabricated chalets selling glühwein and regional pastries lined the Cours Mirabeau (the heart of the city) ending in an illuminated fountain.  A hot chocolate in the old fashioned terrace of the Grillon cafe was a must.

If  Paris ever deserves its name of the “City of Light,” it is at Christmas time.  Each arrondissement  has its own style of illuminations.  They range from the elegant avenue Montaigne where trees and lights match the costly look of the main fashion houses to the more popular Bastille (where I live), which turn into an amusement park offering a stomach -curdling ride in the highest contraption of Europe.

The Champs-Elysees in Paris with Christmas lights.

The Champs-Elysees in Paris with Christmas lights (file photo.)

The sight of the Champs Elysees is spectacular.  This year the decorations consist of blue lights circling  the  trees.  The computerized lighting of the Grande Roue (ferris wheel) overlooking the Place de la Concorde makes it look as if it is exploding in the sky.  For many years, it has offered the best view over the city, .

The Eiffel Tower decorated for Christmas.

The Eiffel Tower decorated for Christmas.

The Eiffel Tower stands aloof and sparkles for a few minutes every hour on the hour.

Borrowing a tradition which used to be more common in Germany and Central Europe, Christmas markets are now found every where in Paris.  Their alpine look make up for the absence of snow.  The esplanade of the Hotel de Ville attracts visitors with free skating ring and merry-go-round.

And, of course, there is the Christmas shopping, including the most popular toy of the year: the clone.  I thought it was a good time for me to discover the latest and largest shopping mall in downtown Paris.  The modernistic glass facade of Beaugrenelle is part of the group of skyscrapers  built in the 15th arrondissement by the Seine river.  As a sign of times, the budget of many families been has been reduced to 300 euros per person.  As a result, shopping online and the use of newly-created second-hand supermarkets have exploded.

Oysters, foie gras and a good bottle of champagne are still the favorite with the French for their reveillon (meaning ‘the eve.’)  On the 25th itself, the celebratory meal will be planned around a goose and end up with a bûche de Noel (Christmas log.)

HeadshotAbout the author:  Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She will write a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also will cover a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Singalong — or Just Listen — to the ‘Messiah’ at The Kate This Afternoon

The Annual Messiah Singalong or Listen, sponsored by Cappella Cantorum, will be held today, Sunday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m. in the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Art Center, Old Saybrook, CT.

The Singalong is open to all.  Professional soloists are featured, performing the Christmas Section.

Bring your Messiah scores if you have them or they will be provided.

Singers Call Time is 3:30 p.m. for rehearsal.  There is a $10 fee to cover expenses,

The audience is invited to sit in the back.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at 877-503-1286 or on the website at www.thekate.org or on the day of performance.  There are no reserved seats.

For more information, visit www.cappellacantorum.org

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Join a Moment of Silence for Newtown at 9:30 This Morning

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On Dec. 14, one year ago today, we lost 26 fellow Americans to gun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  We lost 20 of our youngest students and six dedicated school workers.

To mark the anniversary of that senseless tragedy, President Obama will honor those lost at Sandy Hook with a moment of silence this morning at 9:30 a.m. ET.

We invite LymeLine readers to join him and us as we honor the victims of Newtown.

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No More Silence: Local Moms to Honor Newtown Anniversary in Hartford This Afternoon

12/14 Update — Event Cancelled Due to Storm:  On Saturday, Dec. 14, moms and others who support the same goals will gather at over 50 events in more than 35 states to honor the victims of the tragedy in Newtown and the thousands of Americans lost to gun violence every year.  All events will include a communal bell-ringing to remember the victims and to show resolve to never again be silent about gun violence.

These events are co-sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America .

In Hartford at the event starting at 2 p.m. at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave., attendees will hear from Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Senator Beth Bye, Kara Nelson Baekey, Rev. Henry Brown, Mrs. Henrietta Beckman, and Iran Nazario about the need to reduce gun violence.

Local sponsors, with whom a common goal of gun violence prevention is shared, include Step Up, Step Out at Asylum Hill Congregational Church and Mothers United Against Violence.

Bells will be rung loudly, honoring the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a promise to continue making noise on gun reform until change comes.

For more information, visit http://momsdemandaction.org/no-more-silence/

Speakers will include:

  • Kara Nelson Baekey, Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  • Rev. Matthew Laney, Asylum Hill Congregational Church
  • U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
  • U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
  • State Senator Beth Bye
  • Rev. Henry Brown, President, Mothers United Against Violence
  • Mrs. Henrietta Beckman, Director, Mothers United Against Violence
  • Iran Nazario, Director of Peacebuilders and Community Relations, COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Inc.

Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to build support for common-sense gun reforms. The nonpartisan grassroots movement of American mothers is demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families.

In nearly one year, the organization has more than 127,000 members with a chapter in every state in the country.

For more information or to get involved, visit www.momsdemandaction.org.  Follow the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter @MomsDemand.

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 1,000 mayors from across the country. The organization has more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.

The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals:

  • protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable
  • demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking
  • working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.

Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org

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College Hosts Nationally Acclaimed Artist/Author Sharon Louden Tonight

Sharon Louden

Sharon Louden

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts hosts nationally acclaimed artist and author Sharon Louden, who will give a talk and a book-signing at the College on Tuesday, Dec. 10.  Louden will discuss her new book, ‘Living & Sustaining a Creative Life: 40 Artist Essays,’ at 7 p.m. after a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m.

Louden’s talk will take the form of a conversation when she chats with faculty in front of the audience before a question and answer portion open to all in attendance.  Michael Waugh, a faculty member at the Rhode island School of Design and a contributor to the book, will also be joining Louden.  A book signing by both Louden and Waugh will follow.  Tickets are $10 per person.  All are welcome.

A refreshing and honest look at the reality of sustaining a creative practice over time, Louden’s book is already in its second printing – the first sold out almost immediately.  The book is a collection of essays from 40 artists who share their approach to juggling their creative lives with making a living.  All are unique stories with the same common thread of sustaining a creative life in and outside the studio.

living_and_sustaining_a_creative_life_book_cover“It’s the truth of the day-to-day living that I am after in this book…” says Louden in the preface to her book.  She continues, “The power of creativity does not just lie in an artist’s work, but also in how he or she continues to create regardless of the obstacles life places in the way.”  Hear Louden share stories of sustaining a creative practice by turning obstacles into opportunities at this event.

Louden received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Yale University, School of Art.  Louden’s work has been exhibited in many museums and galleries worldwide and is in numerous permanent collections including the National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Louden lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Seating for this event is limited and by reservation only.  For reservations, contact Ann de Selding at 860.434.3571 ext. 117 or email her at adeselding@lymeacademy.edu by Dec. 5.

Lyme Academy College is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371.

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Friends of the Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge Honored; 66 Acres Added to Refuge This Year in Lyme

Aerial view of the Connecticut River.

Aerial view of the Connecticut River.

A coalition dedicated to the well-being of New England’s iconic Connecticut River and its watershed has been recognized with a prestigious national land protection award.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Realty has awarded its 2013 National Land Protection Award to the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, a partnership of more than 50 local, regional and national organizations from across the river’s four-state watershed.

The Conte Refuge was established in 1997 to conserve the abundance and diversity of native plants and animals and their habitats in the 7.2-million-acre Connecticut River watershed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It is the only national wildlife refuge dedicated to a river’s entire watershed.

“The Friends of Conte is an example of how successful conservation through land acquisition is accomplished in this current age,” said A. Eric Alvarez, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Realty. “The group’s partnership with the Service is what has made the Conte Refuge what it is today.”

Andrew French, project leader for the Conte Refuge, said the Friends of Conte has played a crucial role in supporting the vision of Massachusetts Congressman Silvio O. Conte, for whom it was named.

“Congressman Conte spoke about having his children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the outdoors as he had, and the work of the Friends of Conte has been instrumental to many achievements, contributing toward that vision,” French said. “Their work continues to demonstrate their incredible collaborative approach and ability to integrate conservation actions into recreation, education and economic opportunities sustaining a large and healthy working landscape.”

The Friends of Conte is a diverse coalition of organizations that works to support the recreation, education and conservation work of the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The Nature ConservancyThe Trust for Public Land and Audubon Connecticut are among the coalition’s members.

“The Friends of Conte are honored to have had the opportunity to help protect habitat in this great watershed and for this great Refuge,” said Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Connecticut and President and former Chair of the Friends of Conte for four years ending in November 2013.  “Conserving the amazing places that make this watershed so special will benefit all of the more than 2 million residents of the watershed and also help to protect the water quality of the Long Island Sound estuary.”

The National Land Protection Award is given annually to private citizens, groups, organizations, corporations, public agencies and their employees, or volunteers outside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their significant contributions to land protection in partnership with the Service.

Since 1997, partners have helped protect more than 35,700 acres that are administered by the Conte Refuge. The Friends of Conte has been supporting this work since it was founded in 2005.

The collaboration between the Friends of Conte and the Conte Refuge is also one of the key reasons the Connecticut River Watershed was designated as the United States’ first National Blueway in 2012.  The National Blueways System recognizes stakeholder partnerships, working watershed-wide to promote recreation, education, conservation and sustainable economies.

“This award is much-appreciated recognition for the many, many people, organizations and agencies that, for decades, have remained committed to the betterment of watershed,” said Kim Lutz, Chair of the Friends of Conte and Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut River Program. “Working together, we’ve achieved a great deal and can—and must—achieve a great deal more.”

This year, the Conservancy worked with the Service to add 66 acres of tidal marsh and coastal lands along Whalebone Cove in Lyme, Conn., to the Refuge’s protected area. In Massachusetts, this year, the Conservancy partnered with the Service to protect 125 acres in the Westfield River watershed, which is part of the larger Connecticut River system.

“The Trust for Public Land is honored to have helped complete the body of conservation work that led to this award,” said Clem Clay, Connecticut River Program Director for The Trust for Public Land. “The Fish and Wildlife Service appreciates our assistance and makes the process of partnering with a federal agency as painless as possible.”

The Trust for Public Land, the 2012 recipient of the same award, has partnered with the Service on Conte Refuge acquisitions valued at over $6 million and served as a leader in the Friends of Conte since its inception.

Clay commented that it is particularly gratifying to see that with its land purchases, the Service is not only protecting critical habitat, but also welcoming visitors and providing new recreational opportunities, including a wheelchair-accessible trail under construction in Hadley, Mass.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Realty has given the National Land Protection Award since 2001.

This year’s award was presented this fall at the annual Land Trust Rally in New Orleans.  The Land Trust Rally is the largest gathering of organizations dedicated to land conservation in the country, attended by hundreds of organizations and more than 1,500 individuals.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/connecticut.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Visit The Trust for Public Land online at www.tpl.org.

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org.

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Letter from Paris: ‘La Conversation’

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

La Conversation” is the kind of play Parisians love:  a brilliant exercise of actors just talking and conversing on all the subjects of their time.

The scene takes place in the Tuileries palace in 1802 between First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and Second Consul Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès.  Bonaparte is a young general of 34, impatient to acquire more power.  Vladimir d’Ormesson, dean of the Academie Française  (a learned assembly of  40 “eternal” members, whose role is to perfect the French language), wrote an imaginary dialogue carried out in an elegant style.

The tempo of the conversation is rapid.  The topics move from the mundane to the lofty.  At first, Bonaparte discusses food, then becomes animated when telling a funny anecdote of a family fight over a shawl.  The conversation touches on Bonaparte’s relations with women, including a beautiful blonde he met in Egypt during the 1798 campaign.  When he speaks about Josephine, it is with a tangible emotion.

Although Bonaparte’s seven siblings are hard to manage, he acknowledges how much they serve his ambition of becoming a ruler over Europe.  A current exhibit at the Marmottan museum shows the striking personalities of his three sisters.  Elisa, grand duchess of Tuscany, is an enlightened patron of the arts and a powerful brain.  Caroline, the wife of dashing general Murat, is the ambitious and plotting queen of Naples.  Princess Pauline Borghese was so incredibly beautiful as to be called the “Venus of the Empire”.   She was also very generous and sold all her assets to accompany Napoleon during his exile on St. Helena.

The conversation flows along revealing Bonaparte’s  personality, his ambitions and his accomplishments.  Cambacérès just acts as a sounding board.  Meekly he expresses opinions which are swiftly bulldozed by the first consul.  Bonaparte  is proud of his military victories like the Pont d’Arcole, or Marengo.  He considers himself at the service of the French and for them has created a legal and administrative system (which still exists today.)  He brought down the monarchy of the Ancien Regime and wants power, but not as a king.  He looks at Rome, and what does he see?  Ceasar and the Empire. Yes, this is what he wants:  be the emperor.

In the small theater, a captivated public savors the references to their common historical past.   The uninterrupted conversation is  a refreshing break from the modern world of texts and smart phones.

About the author:  Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She will write a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also will cover a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Tribal Crafts Hosts Holiday Sale Over First Two Weekends of December

 Tribal Crafts President Stephanie Kenny holds a dream catcher and stands among the Lakota and Haitian crafts, artwork and jewelry that will be showcased for sale the first two weekends of December for the Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale, in the Old Lyme Marketplace (90 Halls Rd.) next to Jessie's Restaurant.

Tribal Crafts President Stephanie Kenny holds a dream catcher and stands among the Lakota and Haitian crafts, artwork and jewelry that will be showcased for sale the first two weekends of December for the Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale, in the Old Lyme Marketplace (90 Halls Rd.) next to Jessie’s Restaurant.

Old Lyme-based non-profit Tribal Crafts Inc., will hold its annual holiday sale during the weekends of Dec. 7 – 8, and Dec. 14 – 15 in donated storefront space at 90 Halls Road in the Old Lyme Marketplace (next to Jessie’s restaurant).

Special guest Roger Herron – Lakota artisan jeweler – will be on hand showcasing his beautiful silver pieces from 1 to 4 p.m., during the first weekend of the sale.

Silver jewelry by Lakota artisans Mitchel Zephier and Roger Herron.  Herron will be on hand the first weekend (Dec. 7-8) of the Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale.

Silver jewelry by Lakota artisans Mitchel Zephier and Roger Herron. Herron will be on hand the first weekend (Dec. 7-8) of the Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale.

For the past 27 years, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) has fostered a mutually beneficial partnership with the Green Grass Community located on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.  Through this partnership, Tribal Crafts was incorporated in an effort to expand and market the arts and crafts made by the Lakota people.  In recent years, the organization has also supported the work of Haitian artists through an education program managed by one of FCCOL’s ministers.

The Lakota people face immense challenges on the reservation.  According to 2010 census data, Ziebach County, which makes up the majority of the Cheyenne River Reservation, is America’s poorest county with unemployment estimates of above 75 percent.  While the income offered by Tribal Crafts to Cheyenne River’s artisans is small in relation to the great need, members of Tribal Crafts’ Board of Directors know that the work is important.

Examples of the beaded jewelry and other items that will be available at the Tribal Crafts Holiday Sale.

Examples of the beaded jewelry and other items that will be available at the Tribal Crafts Holiday Sale.

“Buying a pair of earrings or a necklace may seem small to you and I, but on the reservation that money could help someone fix their car, pay their heating bill or buy groceries for their family,” says Tribal Crafts president Stephanie Kenny.  Kenny has been visiting Cheyenne River since she was 10 years old.  She and her mother, Karin Kiem, traveled to the Cheyenne River Reservation in 2013, purchasing additional items and returning Tribal Crafts proceeds to the Lakota crafters and artists.

Items for sale include handmade quilts, silver and beaded jewelry, paintings, dream catchers, tribal drums, wood sculptures and more.  Tribal Crafts encourages you to stop in and make a difference in someone’s life with your purchase.

To learn more, visit www.tribalcrafts.org or ‘Like’ the organization on Facebook for up to date information on sales and events.

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Buy Your Holiday Cookies at Child & Family’s ‘Cookie Walk,’ Today

Cookie_walkCookies, cookies, cookies!  Gingerbread men … sugar cutouts … biscotti … pfefferneuse … snowballs: You want to have beautiful homemade cookies to serve your guests this holiday season, but when will you have time to bake?

Purchase your holiday cookies at the Child & Family Agency’s Cookie Walk, taking place this year on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon during the holiday festival at the Old Lyme Marketplace.

The Cookie Walk offers a delectable array of beautiful, homemade holiday cookies for purchase.  Visitors browse the display and choose which cookies they want to buy; volunteers then weigh the cookies and package them for purchase.
Also available for sale will be sets of note cards depicting local scenes of Lyme and Old Lyme, and the Agency’s popular holiday ornaments.
Proceeds from the Cookie Walk benefit the many programs and capital projects of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.
Child & Family Agency is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being and development of all children and their families, with emphasis on the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional, and intellectual care and nurturing.  With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and programs dealing with children’s health care, child abuse, family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, and child guidance, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in Southeastern Connecticut.
For more information, see www.childandfamilyagency.org.
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A Letter from Paris: Art Déco in the Air

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

“When Art Déco seduced the World” is one of the most popular  exhibits of this season in Paris.  It celebrates the artistic movement which bloomed in the 1920s and the 1930s.  Monuments of that period can be seen around the world — from Moscow to Shanghai or Brussels and particularly in New York City.

What is Art Déco?  In the lineage of late 19th century Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement, it is a celebration of “total art” forms with the use of multiple materials:  glass, wood, ceramic, wrought iron, and the introduction of reinforced concrete.  The style even included the production of furniture featuring textiles and fashion made famous by designer Paul Poiret.

The architecture and sculpture were characterized by geometric and stylized forms.  Completed for the 1937 international exhibit,  the Palais de Chaillot,  also called Trocadéro  is probably the most imposing monument of Paris and is built along classical, but very sober lines.  It replaced the much-maligned neo-moorish former Trocadéro.

Art Déco was the artistic expression of modernism.  It was emblematic of the relief felt after the end of World War I. Artists had a field day applying their creations to the most visible buildings of urban life like swimming pools or stadiums.

But what they enjoyed most were the department stores.  Their elegant cupolas, grand staircases, decorated with colorful ceramic, their crystal chandeliers dazzled the new consumer class.  In Paris, the department stores multiplied, including Le Bon Marché, La Samaritaine or Le Printemps.  Les Galeries Lafayette even orchestrated the  publicity stunt of a small plane landing on its roof.

Modern times meant an ever faster pace of life.  Nothing was more dashing than a Bugatti sports car surrounded by elegant “flappers” ready to take the wheel.  The new era also meant traveling the world.   On May 29, 1929,  the Normandie, the largest, most luxurious ocean liner ever built, made its maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York.  The ship turned into a “floating embassy” — a showcase for the diffusion of French art around the world.  Lalique, the master of glass carving,  created the panels of the Normandie’s first class.

In New York, the 14 original Art Déco buildings of the Rockefeller Center still stand.  One cannot miss the Alfred Janniot’s sculpture  placed above the entrance of the Maison Française.  The gilded bronze bas-relief represents the meeting of the American and the European continents.

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Letter From Paris: Immigration Woes, Thanksgiving in France

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

The pressure of immigration into Europe is growing.  Thousands of immigrants are seeking refugee status for economic or political reasons.  The television showed an incredible scene of young men climbing over barbed wire like swarms of insects, falling down, being shot, to be followed by hundreds more.  It was not a scene from the July 2013 Brad Pitt’s science fiction film “World War Z,” but of the electrified fence erected by the Spanish government to protect its borders from African migrants.  Other walls exist around Europe.  The next one will run along the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

The tragic drowning of 300 people near the Italian island of Lampedusa in October shocked the European opinion.  The problem of immigration, if studied case by case, and not in terms of statistics, triggers strong emotions.

It was also the theme of “Welcome,” a 2009 French movie .  A well-educated and determined 17-year-old boy from Kurdistan wants to join his girlfriend in England.  For weeks he is stranded in an inhospitable refugee camp near Calais, in the north of France.  During his first attempt at crossing the Channel hidden under a truck, he is caught by the police, almost asphyxiated by CO2 fumes, his head inside a plastic bag.  His next plan is to swim across the English Channel.  With the help of a compassionate coach, he learns how to do the crawl.  At his first attempt, he is pulled out of the water by fishermen and brought back to France.  He tries again, but, just in sight of the British coast, a police boat spots him.  He drowns, while trying to escape.

Western Europe represents an Eldorado for all these asylum seekers.  By granting various allowances to the new migrants, France has become particularly attractive . But its social structure is becoming unable to absorb the ever growing numbers.  This year there were 70,000 requests for asylum as compared to 60,000 in 2012.

In October, the Affaire Leonarda (the case of Leonarda) illustrated the problems with the immigration policy in France and caused a political crisis.  Leonarda is a 15-year- old daughter of a Kosovo national (Kosovo is located in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe and recognized as a sovereign state by 106 member states of the  United nations, though its status is still disputed.)  After living in Italy for 17 years, with his Italian wife and seven other children, the man decided to move to France in 2009.

Since then he has made four attempts to obtain refugee status, all of which were rejected.  The work load of the French judicial courts make the process so slow that the family had plenty of time to settle in France and put the children in school.  Time was on the side of Leonarda’s family given the rules on naturalizations: children born in France of foreign parents become French automatically at age 18 after spending five years in France.

In mid October, as Leonarda was getting off the school bus, the police arrested her and sent her back to Kossovo with the rest of the family.  The public opinion reacted in a fury, blaming the Socialist government of breaking the sacred rule of non-violation of the schools.

To the surprise of many, President Francois Hollande was the one to address the nation on TV.  He started by saying that the police had broken no law in arresting Leonarda, nor used any violence.  Then, during the last two minutes of his speech, in an unexpected switch, he concluded that, because of humanitarian considerations, he would let Leonarda return to France, but alone – an impossible situation for a 15-year old.  His position satisfied almost no one.

A brief word on a more cheery subject — American expatriates in France are very attached to Thanksgiving and celebrate it between friends and relatives, usually on the weekend

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Simple, Real Food: Tasty Thanksgiving Veggie Recipes

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a wonderful idea for Thanksgiving dinner.

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a wonderful idea for Thanksgiving dinner.

The holidays are just around the corner and I know many of us become overwhelmed and stressed by the amount of preparation it takes to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table.  No matter what holiday you celebrate or how many people you gather, there are some helpful tips on how to take the stress out of the meal.

First of all plan your menus ahead, the sooner the better.  Write lists of what you have to prepare, how you want to set the table, shopping lists and what days you can begin which part of the meal.  I always make the dessert weeks before and freeze it if possible or at least two days ahead and then heat it up when needed.  Since it is chilly at night you can store some items in the garage such as root vegetables, fruits, prepared pies (the day before) to free up space in your refrigerator.

Certain dishes such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, pureed vegetables, mashed potatoes can be prepared this weekend and stored in the freezer or two to three days ahead.

I recommend my version of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is to assign each guest a dish and leave you with just the entrée.  This has worked for many years at our house and everyone enjoys being part of the meal.

This year we are a small group of six and chose to omit the turkey for a change and will be serving plenty of traditional side dishes and a vegetarian entrée.  We have enjoyed turkey for a million years and thought it would be nice for a change.  Why not try something new?

Here are my easy to make sides that can be prepared ahead, as well as a wonderful vegetarian entrée or delicious appetizer if you prefer.

Remember to have fun, it’s all about the people and being together and any effort you make no matter how small will be appreciated.

Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 12

Ingredients

6 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

½ cup grated parmesan

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 small onion, chopped

3 Tb. all purpose flour

2 Tb. unsalted butter

2 cups milk, low-fat or whole

Procedure

  1. Heat the oven to 400. Butter a 13x9x2 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix the cheeses and set aside. Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and place in a large saucepan of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then drain. Allow to cool. Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices.
  3. Arrange half of the potatoes in overlapping slices on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with ½ the salt and pepper, half the chopped onion, the flour and half the cheeses. Dot with the butter. Arrange another layer of potatoes on top, the remaining onion, salt, pepper.
  4. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just about to boil. Pour over the potatoes and cover with foil. Bake for 1¼ hours. Uncover and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake another 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

This recipe can be made three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes before serving.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 pints brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved*

2 leeks, sliced in thin rounds

3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 Tb. olive oil

4 sprigs thyme, chopped

Salt and pepper

½ pound bacon, cut into large dice (optional)

Procedure

  1. Heat the oven to 375. Combine the sprouts, leeks, garlic, cumin, thyme and olive oil to lightly coat. Season with salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Toss well and roast until tender about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and add to the brussel sprouts before serving. Serve hot or room temperature.

*Asparagus, cauliflower or red and yellow peppers can be added or substituted

This recipe can be made three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes before serving.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Parsley Walnut Pesto

Serves 8

Ingredients

Olive oil

2 acorn squash, halved, seeded and cut in half

2 cups Italian parsley, washed, stems removed

1/2 cup walnut pieces

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil on the cut sides of the acorn squash. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes until tender. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the parsley, walnuts, garlic and parmesan in a food processor and blend until smooth, add the oil slowly with the machine running and season well with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cut the squash into wedges and spoon some of the pesto into the squash shells. Bake for 10 minutes until the filling is hot. Serve warm.

This recipe can be made three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes before serving.

Amanda Cushman

Amanda Cushman

Editor’s Note: Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food Inc., is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over 30 years.  She has taught corporate team building classes for over 15 years for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Yahoo, Nike and Google.  She began her food career in the eighties and worked with Martha Stewart and Glorious Foods before becoming a recipe developer for Food and Wine magazine as well as Ladies Home Journal.  Having lived all over the United States including Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, she has recently returned to her home state of Connecticut where she continues to teach in private homes as well as write for local publications. 

Amanda teaches weekly classes at White Gate Farm and Homeworks and is also available for private classes.  Her cookbook; Simple Real Food can be ordered at Amazon as well as through her website www.amandacooks.com 

For more information, click here to visit her website.

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Early Childhood Music, Movement Classes Offered at Nightingale’s Acoustic Café, Friday

Lana and maracasSweet Beats Family Music classes for children from birth to pre-school and their caregivers will be offered this Friday, Nov. 22 and next Friday, Nov. 29, from 10 to 11 a.m.

The classes will be hosted by MusicNow Foundation, Inc.  in cooperation with master teacher, Eleanor Robinson at Nightingale’s Acoustic Café, located at 68 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

With years of training and experience as a professional  musician and teacher, Robinson shares her  energy, joy and creativity to “wire and inspire the brain through music and movement.”

Robinson plays the ukulele, guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and dulcimer and is an accomplished vocalist in madrigal, a capella, folk, and blue grass ensembles.  She also sings in theatre, opera, chorales and church choirs.  Robinson enjoys teaching with a variety of props and percussion instruments in order to enhance young children’s interactive musical experience.

Classes are $ 15 per session per child with coffee and pastries to follow.

To register, call 860-434-1961 or email info@musicnowfoundation.org

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Nature Conservancy Plans Deer Hunts at Selden Creek, Burnham Brook Preserves, Starting Wednesday

white_tailed_deer_buck2The Nature Conservancy is coordinating deer hunts at its Selden Creek Preserve in Lyme and Burnham Brook Preserve in East Haddam during the firearms deer hunting season.  The goal of the hunts is to reduce the negative impacts of forest overbrowse in these important habitats.

Hunting will begin Wednesday, Nov. 20 and last through Tuesday, Dec. 31;  Burnham Brook Preserve will be closed to public access during that period.

The hunt at Selden Creek Preserve in Lyme will take place during the same timeframe;  however, the preserve will not be closed because the hunting area is safely separated from the part of the preserve with public trails.

Safety for the hunters and neighbors of the preserves is a top priority for the Conservancy.  Signs will be posted at Burnham Brook Preserve informing visitors the preserve is closed during the hunting season, and neighbors have been notified that hunting will take place.  At both preserves, the hunters involved have been hunting together for many years and have hunted on the land before.

The Nature Conservancy maintains that managed hunting is an effective tool that can reduce deer populations and curb the damage they cause, allowing native natural communities, plants and trees to recover their full vigor and diversity.  After several years of hunting, encouraging signs are appearing.

At Burnham Brook, overbrowsing impacts forest regeneration, wildflowers and the shrub layer.  This not only affects the health of the forest but also the animals that depend on it.  Birds that nest and feed on or near the ground have lost the groundcover necessary for protection from predators as well as sources of food.

 The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide.

Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/connecticut

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