“Get on the Boat Campaign”: Three Bays Preservation works to raise awareness of fragility of Barnstable’s bays

“Get on the Boat Campaign”: Three Bays Preservation works to raise awareness of fragility of Barnstable’s bays.

Cape Cod Today on Three Bays’ tour of the Cotuit Bays last weekend. I saw them on the water Saturday — there was a little sun and break from the incessant rain. It’s good to see public awareness building about the water quality issues.

Frederic P. Claussen

My neighbor Frederic Claussen passed away last week. He was 72 years old. A graduate of Nobles & Greenough, Harvard, and Boston University Law School, he was a flinty Yankee and the longest serving elected Republican in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving as Registrar of Deeds for Barnstable County for 39 years, only retiring from office last year.

from the Cape Cod Times.

He drove an ancient Buick, used to live in one of the oldest houses in the village, and loved animals. My daughter used to walk his collie Fancy for him while he was at work at the county complex in Barnstable Village. One day while I was working in my home office he came over with a copy of a story he had published about a lost dog he had adopted.

The grandson of US Congressman Charles Gifford (who was the author of the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution which changed the date of the presidential inauguration), Mr. Claussen lived near his grandfather’s house in the center of the village and will be forever thanked by generations of beachwalkers, shellfishermen and fishermen for granting a right of way to water by the town dock. His profile page on the State website lists his personal interests simply as “swimming and walking the beach.”

He was one of a breed of Massachusetts Republicans that used to personify Cape Cod politics through the 1970s. He was very good at his job – at least the voters thought so — and was helpful to me in 1980 when as a cub reporter I came to interview him about the role of county government on the Cape. My family and I will miss him, it’s sad to see a great presence in the neighborhood pass away.

I figured it out today …

… I slept an hour later than usual, woke to grey skies, ate bacon and eggs instead of beneficial oatmeal, did rapid-fire errands, stopped by the herring run just as the day turned awesome (I saw a big school of herring waiting in the top pool), installed a new mower blade and mowed the lawn, bought a six-pack of Offshore Ale, strung up my rod with a new lure, and hit the prettiest beach on Cape Cod for two hours of casting practice (no fish yet) in the setting sun before rushing home and catching the last five innings of a four-hour classic of a baseball game against Yankees (who also lost a nailbiter to the Sox the night before), cooking the entire time (rillettes, duck leg confit, vegetable stock, hummous) screaming at the TV in the kitchen, and scaring the dogs.

I congratulated my esteemed neighbor for doing the right thing, and she told me about an profile of your humble narrator in the Barnstable Enterprise.  I couldn’t find a copy, but someone dropped it by the house while I was running errands. I feel conspiciously auspicious. I’d point to it, but it’s not online and I am not in the mood for personal promotion.

A good friend dropped by and we got on the topic of seagull attacks and the time I watched a seagull poop into someone’s agape mouth aboard the Hyline ferry M/V Point Gammon when I worked on there as a deckhand in college.

Tomorrow I paint the bottom of the yacht and continue my gardening. My spring peas have sprouted and my arugula is showing itself.  The tulips have opened and the alcove reeks of hyacinths.

On a day like today it does not suck to be me.

New paper launches in Barnstable

One newspaper is swimming against the ebbing tide in the news business — The Barnstable Enterprise launched this week, a weekly paper owned by the people who publish the Falmouth Enterprise. It joins the venerable Barnstable Patriot which was picked up by the News Corp. controlled Cape Cod Times a few years ago.

Neighbor and erstwhile Cape Cod Today blogger Paul Rifkin is the Cotuit correspondent. He interviewed me last week in my home office about Capt. Thos. Chatfield. I also see a good history piece in the inaugural issue by Prof. James Gould, Cotuit’s local historian, on a dance club/speakeasy that existed in Marston’s Mills during the Jazz Age.

Anyway, here’s a link to the kickoff.

A Cotuit Christmas

Santa came to Cotuit yesterday, arriving on the Fire Department’s boat around 4 pm under grey skies from the southeast, on the wind, rolling into the town dock where about three hundred excited kids and parents greeted him with great pleasure and enthusiam. I got off the water from my first (and perhaps only) row of December just in time to shower and change and make it down to the dock for the happy occasion.

I stood on the beach and shot some video; Daphne took the Nikon so the photos are better than usual. I met the one other Cotuit blogger I know of, Paul Rifkin, and we chatted until the great event began.

Santa walked up the hill to the village park where he sat in his throne, was blessed by Reverend Nicole, and then ignited the village Christmas tree which I can see from my reading porch.

My buddy Chris drove people around the village in his dump truck filled with hay bales then came over for a dinner of braised short ribs (from the Balthazar cookbook), roast potatoes, salad, and cranberry and apple pie.

The “R” Months — clamming recommences

Foggy Saturday afternoon in November with temps in the 60s and a low tide means it was time to go clamming after seeing the clam police had opened up my favorite clam spot for fall harvesting. This is a spot you need a boat to get to, so it tends to be hardly hit by the recreational crew. As a somber aside, in my daily sculling this fall I have seen a massive increase in the number of clammers out looking for clams. It makes me wonder if some of this activity — both commercial and recreational — is driven by the economic cycle and the simple fact that people are looking for some income and some protein.

Anyway, I needed some quahogs for chowder and stuffed quahogs. All waders were leaking, including a hardly used pair of new neoprenes some f%$king rodent like a mouse or chipmunk decided to chew up for nesting material. All the other pairs were cracked, a sign of either ozone rot (never store waders near anything with an electric motor, like a refrigerator) or old age. So … I know what I want for Christmas.

When we went to the landing to get the boat I discovered some Cape Cod version of a horse thief had taken a set of bolt cutters to my dinghy’s lock-up chain. Fortunately the dinghy didn’t get pinched, but now I am in a high state of paranoia that either some yacht club moron officer is deciding a new policy that no dinghy’s shall be chained to the yacht club fence, or the town is going to get serious about cleaning up the abandoned mess of abandoned dinghies, canoes, catamarans, scows, punts, and skiffs littering the shore around the landing. In any event, I need to go down there with some sort of waterproof plea to leave my dinghy alone as I intend to continue using it until mid-December. Any way, if you who wields bolt cutters is reading this, do me a favor next time? Post a notice or call me?

Like I said, it was foggy. But this time of year there isn’t much boat traffic to worry about, and the course to the clams is basically head due south from the mooring for two minutes and stop.

Son and I focused right on chowder sized clams, the ones with shells as big a closed man’s fist. Instead we found some decent ones — right between cherrystones/littlenecks and true chowders. Here Fisher lives up to his name and demonstrates some jerk rake technique (a Ribb jerk rake no less).

I came up with this in my rake, a perfect baby horseshoe crab. Horseshoe crabs are right out of the days of dinosaurs, living tribolites, so I wanted to make sure this one survives to make more. They are hard hit by commercial fishermen who cut them up for trap bait.


What could be finer?

  1. There is no wind at 8 am so I am about to go for a pleasant fall scull around the harbor.
  2. The dogs are frightened and avoiding me because of my bellicose behavior at 1:30 am when J.D. Drew homered to bury the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the second game of the ALDS.
  4. I am on vacation. Ten days of being and nothingness. It’s time for the Fall Run and I am off to the Great Backside Beach to stand in foamy surf, sling eels into the darkness, and ponder my existence while staring across the Atlantic at Portugal.
  5. I am going to cook a roti de porc au lait for my dinner tonight.
  6. Perhaps I shall seek bivalves in the mud later today. Must check tides.

So, whereabouts this coming week? Going nowhere. How to contact me? Don’t. Blog probabilities? Low, except to lie about fish I haven’t caught, and to gloat about the BoSox.

Cotuit in World War II

Wish I was going to be in town this Wednesday so I could hear this presentation on Cotuit during WWII. The town was the site of a amphibious warfare training base, Camp Candoit, located in North Bay. The soldiers practiced their marine landings for North Africa, Sicily and D-Day here. The Cotuit Wikipedia entry blames this camp for a decline in quality of the oysters. Alas, I will be in RTP this week.