Monday, December 7, 2015

A new BIG beach plum book, in progress

Itching to Pick

We’ve called our new book Itching to Pick. In this book, coauthored with Rita Anne Garrick, we explore the natural and social history as well as the culinary uses of the beach plum.
We provide vital information about how to identify, find, harvest, prepare, eat, and propagate Prunus maritima.
Where possible we will review the history, lore and current status of the interest in beach plums at various locales, such as Cape May County, NJ, Staten Island, NY and Long Island, NY, Martha’s Vineyard, Chatham on Cape Cod and Nantucket.
The book will also reprint poetry and fine art about beach plums.

Beach Plum Rustic Tart

A New Beach Plum Book for Children, in progress

I’m still here in beach plum land indulging my passion for this small fruit of a native seaside woody shrub found from Maryland to Maine and known for its spectacular jelly.

The Beach Plum Guard

II’ve completed the text for a children’s picture book called The Beach Plum Guard, which depicts the ongoing tradition of families who gather wild beach plums at the seashore. In this story a sister and brother, while searching for beach plums in their seaside neighborhood on Cape Cod, encounter a man watching over some ripening beach plums. After a brief encounter, they interpret his actions as menacing but subsequently learn from a neighbor the reason why he guards these plums. With the help of the neighbor the children and their mother are introduced to the elderly man. He then gives them permission to pick the beach plums if they will make some jelly for him.

The manuscript includes recipes for beach plum jelly and syrup, a brief guide to help readers find beach plums and some fun facts about this plant.

Beach Plum Jelly, cooling 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31, 2014

WOW! Having a book published in 2014 and selling too is more than I ever expected. It has been hard work mixed with joy.

I’d like to thank publicly some of the people who made this happen:

The History Press
Tabitha Dulla, my commissioning editor at The History Press, who believed in this book, pitched the project to her editorial board and led me through the production process, is destined for great things.

Julia Turner whose copy-editing, good sense and willingness to accommodate this author made this a better book.

Katie Parry who handled the publicity for Historic Hatchville with a splendid mix of enthusiasm and savvy never said no to my requests.

Also, thanks to the design team with whom I agreed 99 percent of the time.

Hatch Family Association
Thank you too, Carl Akins, President, Hatch Family Association, who helped me find the foreword writers, Dale and Robert, and informed others about Historic Hatchville. Without your help, the project would have been delayed.

Eight Cousins
In Falmouth, very special thanks goes to Carol B. Chittenden and loyal staff of Eight Cousins books who managed the sales of Historic Hatchville at most of my events and were very generous with marketing tips.

To the event sponsors and hosts, thanks for the opportunity to reach out to the curious.

I also wish to thank the many people who came to the events to talk about their lives and learn about Hatchville. Many of you bought copies of Historic Hatchville to distribute to family and friends–always a good idea. I'm also very grateful to those of you who published reviews of Historic Hatchville.

Last but not least, I thank Rita Anne Garrick for helping me through this year- of- my book, for reminding me to focus on what was important to say at various events, and for tolerating a very “minor celebrity” in the house (our joke).

Happy New Year 2015

Monday, November 3, 2014

More Reviews of Historic Hatchville

A Big Thank You to those readers who posted reviews of Historic Hatchville.

click on the link to read the

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Good Season for Beach Plums

Don't ask me why it was a good season on Cape Cod. I don't know, except that the weather was good during the month of May when the shrubs flowered. As a result there was a good fruit set. This year there was lower than average rainfall again. Ripening began in the second week of August. OK. Now I've provided an adequate summary for those who follow the annual fruit production of these native plants and have started making beach plum jelly or jam.

But for those of you who have not yet been bitten by the beach plum bug, I offer the following tidbits:

Beach plum
its scientific name is Prunus maritima
is a stone fruit like peach and cherry
fruit is small, about 3/4 inch in diameter
range from coastal Delaware to Maine
can grow as a low bush, tall shrub or a tree form
has a long life span, greater than 50 years
grows on lee-side of sand dunes as well as inland
has showy white flowers, in May
mature fruits can be purple, red or yellow, on different plants

AVOID CONFUSION - too often the introduced, asian rugosa rose is confused with the native beach plum. Compare the flowers and fruits of these two species which can be found growing together. Big differences! But beware: in some locales people call rugosa rose-- beach plum.

Beach Plum flowers
Rugosa rose flower

Beach Plum ripe fruit

Rugosa rose fruit ( a hip)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hatchville, Wisconsin (huh?) 

No, I haven't lost my way, but it isn't always about me.

If Hatchville in Falmouth, MA is an improbable village of horse and farm country today within a sea of suburbia (and I believe it is), then Hatchville in Wisconsin is a ghost village. It no longer exits.

Hatchville, WI was located in three western counties where Dunn, St. Croix and Pierce Counties abut and within four different townships. See the orange dot.

Hatch family there ---

Like Hatchville in Massachusetts, when the federal government established a post office in 1889, this tiny village’s name derived from the postmaster’s surname. The PO was within the home of Frank Hatch who was the postmaster until the feds closed it in 1903. Frank’s father was born in New York, but Frank was born in Wisconsin in 1861.

In 1898 Ed and Frank Hatch built a general store. The second floor of the store was a community hall for social events. Fire destroyed their store in 1911. Frank was 17 years senior to his wife, Ethel. They had two children, Wesley and Grace. In 1912 Frank and Ethel rebuilt a larger store and hall on the same site. In 1916 they sold the store. Ed, who worked at a local sawmill, was killed on the job.

Hatchville also had a cooperative creamery in 1912 and a blacksmith shop, and in 1916, a cheese factory.

U.S. Census
Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives,
Dunn County Historical Society

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Coonamessett Pond Association 

Have you heard about this group of concerned citizens? 

Since 1985 they have worked "to enhance and maintain the ecological balance that gives Hatchville, and especially the area including and surrounding the Coonamessett Pond, its special character." 

They don't just talk: they speak and act whenever inappropriate development schemes threaten historic Hatchville. Moreover, they work with the Town of Falmouth and The 300 Committee as stewards of the important conservation parcels in the neighborhood.

To get involved, contact: Jim Hain--