Block Island Times Fall 2016 House & Garden Edition

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HOUSE & garden FALL 2016

A special publication of The Block Island Times

Page A2 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

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FA L L ❑ Drink a pumpkin spice latte

❑ Make a yummy crockpot stew

❑ Snuggle by a fire

❑ Read by the fire

❑ Tailgate at a football game

❑ Toss back a pumpkin ale

❑ Go apple picking

❑ Make caramel apples

❑ Smell a cinnamon candle

❑ Go on a hayride

❑ Crunch leaves

❑ Have a backyard campfire

❑ Have a scary movie marathon

❑ Host a dinner party

❑ Visit a street or country fair

❑ Breathe in the scent of firewood

❑ Bake pumpkin or pear bread

❑ Gobble up some Halloween candy

❑ Sip apple cider

❑ Walk the beach

❑ Share scary stories by a bonfire

❑ Make apple or cranberry sauce

❑ Splash in puddles

❑ Attend a hometown sports event

❑ Enjoy a homemade pie

❑ Make a wreath with local foliage

❑ Attend Roll Call Dinner

❑ Go bird-watching

❑ Carve a pumpkin

❑ Make Sunday dinner a sit-down event

❑ Drink mulled wine

❑ Dress up in a costume

❑ Break out the blankets

❑ Go to Yellow Kittens Halloween party

❑ Inhale the crisp fall air

❑ Roast pumpkin seeds

❑ Walk the Greenway trails

❑ Plan a weekend get-away

❑ Take a foggy morning walk

❑ Write a letter to someone special...

❑ Swim in the cool ocean

with a pen

❑ Get spooked at a Haunted House

❑ Make soup

❑ Decorate your front stoop or porch

❑ Turn clocks back (November 6)

❑ Stuff yourself at Thanksgiving dinner

❑ Be thankful

Correction Policy

Our Staff Publisher ............................................................................... Michael Schroeder Editor..................................................................................................Kari Curtis

Ocean Avenue, Box 278, Block Island, RI 02807 Phone: (401) 466-2222 Fax: (401) 466-8804 e-mail: webnews:

The Block Island Times was founded in 1970 by Dan Rattiner, publisher, and Margaret Cabell Self, editor. It published only summer editions until 1982, when, under the ownership of Shirley and Peter Wood, the Times became Block Island’s first year-round newspaper. In 1988 the Times began weekly publication and became the Island’s “paper of record.” Sold off-island in 1997, the paper returned home in November 1999, and was reinvigorated under the ownership of Peggy and Bruce Montgomery. In 2006, ownership of the paper transferred to Fraser and Betty Lang. Ten years later, in 2016, The Block Island Times was purchased by current publisher Michael Schroeder. The Block Island Times is a member of the New England Press Association, The National Newspaper Association, The Block Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Westerly Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce. It is printed by Newspapers of New England in North Hampton, Mass.

Production .........................................................................John Barry/Macsperts Contributors ........................................ Renée Meyer, Lars Trodson, Kari Curtis Heather Russo, Zoe Estrin-Grele, James Maloney Photographers ........................................K.Curtis, Renée Meyer, Lisa Stiepock Advertising................................................. Shane Howrigan, Betty Rawls Lang

Advertising: This newspaper does not assume any responsibility for an error in an advertisement. Editorial: This newspaper will correct errors in reporting. Opinions expressed in columns or letters to the editor in this paper are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of this newspaper. The opinions expressed by the cartoonist are not necessarily those of the publisher. The Block Island Times is published weekly at the newsstand price of $1. Publisher is CCC Media, LLC., PO Box 278, Ocean Avenue, Block Island, RI 02807. Yearly subscription, $77.

Advertising Design ........................................John Barry, Jonmathew Swienton

Periodical postage is paid at Block Island, RI 02807, and additional offices. USPS #003-204.

Cover photos by K. Curtis

POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to The Block Island Times, Box 278, Block Island, RI 02807. The Block Island Times House & Garden insert is published twice yearly in April and October.

in this issue

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Block Island, Organically

Protecting Block Island’s unique ecosystem.

Pumpkins & Pears


Recipes that will make your home smell great and your mouth water.

Cleaning Up & Cleaning Out Reduce, reuse and recycle.




Where’s My Package ................. A9

Autumn Inspired Wreaths


Block Island Shrubs

Ten choices to delight throughout the year.


Expert Advice ......................... A13 Corn Chowda’ ........................ A14 Spring House: Seed to Table ... A15

Made with local foliage from the yard, roadside or garden.

Expert Advice ........................... B4 Prepare for a Power Outage ....... B6 Expert Advice ........................... B9 Security Systems..................... B15

Ahhhh, the Scents of Autumn


Bring one of these 7 scents into your home.

Fire & Rescue Safety Tips Are you prepared?


& Advertiser Index

Page B16

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES


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Real Estate

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Page A6 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016



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The Norway rat is the predominant rat species on Block Island and can reach weights of 2.2 pounds. They are also one of the biggest threats to protected species, small mammals, bird eggs, and chicks, let alone one of the biggest household and business pests. Rats can get into homes and businesses through holes as small as a quarter and in the U.S. are known to transmit seven different types of disease. If it’s rats you need to eliminate, or any other household pest issue, call the professionals at Griggs & Browne.

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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

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Block Island, organically

Many of Block Island’s endangered species are dependent on meadow habitat. PHOTO BY K. CURTIS

By Scott Comings, The Nature Conservancy With the weather getting cool it is time for many people to finish working in their garden, and put the garden to bed for its long winter’s rest. It is also the time to finish working on lawns and trails and the age old fight with weeds and poison ivy. As most people know, Block Island has a solesource aquifer that supplies all of our drinking water. This means whatever we use in the garden, lawns, and trails could end up in the drinking water. For this reason I would like to ask people to consider using organic products in their yards. They work well, are readily available, and are similarly priced. Organic products when used responsibly will not negatively affect the non-target plants and animals that comprise the unique Block Island ecosystem. A gardener who is making the switch from chemical to organic products may be afraid that using these materials will be more complicated and less convenient than using premixed chemical products. This is not so! Commercially formulated organic products can be just as convenient and effective as their synthetic counterparts. What is an Organic Product? Organically acceptable weed, pest and disease control products differ from their synthetic counterparts in that they are derived from natural substances, are generally less toxic to humans and break down relatively quickly in the environment into harmless substances. Organic fertilizers are made from natural plant and animal materials. These feed both soil microorganisms and earthworms in addition to plants. Weed Control For a pre-emergent herbicide use corn gluten meal products. These prevent root formation in germinating seedlings when incorporated into the soil. For a “weed killer” there are many vinegar and soap based herbicide formulas available. Brand names include Burn Out and All Down. Even though these are organic they can still be irritating to the skin so remember to handle with care. These products are available through mail order catalogs and on the internet. There are also sites on the internet that contain recipes to mix your own formulas from common household products. Remember to always mulch and use weed barriers, for this will reduce the amount of weeds in your garden and require less product. Fertilizer Convenient “all purpose” organic fertilizer blends for perennial beds are becoming widely available such

By minimizing your outside lights your property becomes much more hospitable to over 600 species of moths, 200 species of beetles, and 3 species of owls. COURTESY PHOTO as those made by Espoma or North County Organic Remember just because a product is organic doesn’t Blends. mean it can’t be harmful to humans and beneficial and More specific organic liquid and granulated fertilizbenign organisms if incorrectly used. It is very important ers are available for the specific needs of lawns, houseto follow instructions and application rates. plants, bulbs, acid loving plants and more. Five things you can do to help wildlife When using any type of fertilizer it is important to get In addition to organic gardening there are a few a soil test periodically to know important things that you can exactly what your soil and do on your property that will plants need. The University of not only save you money but When landscaping, use native plants Massachusetts-Amherst has a help Block Island wildlife and as often a possible. These plants are soil testing lab that will analyze the planet. your sample and give organic Less light is more more suited to the Block Island enviamendment recommendations. Many species of nocturronment, better for wildlife and are These amendments include nal animals are affected by less likely to be disturbed by deer. bonemeal, manure, compost external nighttime lighting. By and many others. minimizing your outside lights Other Needs your property becomes much There are also organic fungicides and insect sprays more hospitable to over 600 species of moths, 200 spealong with slug and deer repellents. cies of beetles, and three species of owls. These speWhen using any insecticide in an environmentally cies are attracted to light and will not carry out their responsible way it is important to first know/identify usual evening activities when too much is present. your pest and target it specifically, instead of spraying Two additional bonuses of turning your outside lights broad spectrum products that may harm many beneficial and benign insects. See Organically, Page A8

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Continued from Page A7 off are a more starry night sky and a decreased electric bill! Also never use a “Bug Zapper” for it kills many of Block Island’s harmless and beneficial insects. Native, its only natural When landscaping, use native plants as often a possible. These plants are more suited to the Block Island environment, better for wildlife and are less likely to be disturbed by deer. If everyone planted native plants, we could reduce the threat of new invasive plant species appearing on Block Island. If your property currently has invasive species (bittersweet, multiflora rose, black swallowwort) consider removing them or controlling their spread. Contact The Nature Conservancy for the best method. Water is wonderful for wildlife The ponds and wetlands on Block Island are some of the most pristine in New England. Many island properties have wetlands and they are great places to appreciate plants and observe wildlife. Be sure to leave a vegetative buffer of at least 50 feet around your wetland and that your septic system has been recently inspected to ensure a healthy system. Also never introduce fish to the wetland. We have found in our scientific research of ponds on Block Island, that ponds with only native fish, and ponds without fish are the most unique in terms of the animals found there. Meadows are marvelous This type of habitat is declining on Block Island and in New England. Many of Block Island’s endangered species are dependent on meadow habitat. A healthy meadow habitat is achieved by mowing once a year in March. This allows the habitat to be used optimally by wildlife in each season. If you have a

big lawn and are getting tired of mowing it, think about letting some of it revert to meadow. If your meadow has a lot of invasive species you may want to consider changing the time and frequency of mowing (The Nature Conservancy can provide mowing schedule advice). This type of habitat is very important in the southwestern part of Block Island. If converting shrubland into meadow consider leaving nice stands of native shrubs (shadbush and black cherry) since they are showy when in bloom and provide food and shelter. Shrubland is super for wildlife Recently it seems that this habitat type has been getting a bad rap. It is important to remember that this is a vital habitat type for many of the species on Block Island, including migratory birds, breeding birds, wintering birds, and butterflies, to name a few. In a recent internal habitat planning exercise at The Nature Conservancy, we found that Block Island coastal shrubland is one of the best examples of this habitat type in New England. Shrubland is the easiest to maintain, just leave it alone. If a few shrubs are getting in your view, just top them and leave the rest for wildlife. Shrubland is especially important on the north end of the island where migratory songbirds orient before they continue their trip south. If you have mature shrubland (especially on the north end) please think long and hard before cutting it down. It takes decades to grow. If you have any questions, or want help managing your property for wildlife, please call us at The Nature Conservancy (401) 466-2129. There are many options on Block Island to enhance your property for wildlife. By following the suggestions above, you will not only help the numerous creatures of the island, but also ensure they will continue to survive here.


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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

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Where’s my Package? How to properly address your packages

By Zoe Estrin-Grele On an island without house numbers, getting packages to the right place can be a frustrating and seemingly impossible undertaking. But it’s not — each home, business, and building on the island has a fire number to helps locate it in an emergency or help determine where deliveries can be made. Lamb’s Package Service has taken on the challenge all year, every year, to make sure residents of Block Island can receive their deliveries. It is not complicated to get your packages — if they are addressed the correct way.

Here’s how to do it: You must include the following when expecting a delivery to the island. • Name and/or Business name • Fire # and road the building is on (ex:123 Ocean Ave) • Box # (at Post Office, in case it is delivered there) • Block Island, RI 02807 Mailing a package? Arrange for package pickup by calling Lamb’s Package Service (LPS) at (401) 466-5390. For detailed instructions and/or questions, call LPS.


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Page A10 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE

By Renée Meyer Summer’s over and it’s time to purge the house of all the detritus that comes with it. Whether you are the owner of a rental home, or a summer or year round resident you’re sure to have some excess junk hanging around - broken beach toys and bicycles, rusting grills, sagging mattresses, old clothes and worn out shoes. It’s time to go to the dump. Of course, what we call the dump on Block Island is no longer a dump, but a transfer station operated by Block Island Recycling Management (BIRM). Almost everything taken to the transfer station leaves the island and goes to one place – the Central Landfill in Johnston, as does the trash from every other city and town in Rhode Island. The Central Landfill, operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (a quasi-municipal corporation) has a problem. It’s almost out of room. It’s hard to estimate, but the consensus is that it only has about 20 more years until it is full. So, the RIRRC is on a mission to make Rhode Islanders “reduce, re-use, and recycle” in order to prolong its life. Basic Recycling While the recycling bins on Block Island are labeled either green or blue, it is no longer necessary to actually sort paper from glass, metal, and plastic. (It

does look neater though.) RIRRC has a single-stream sorting machine to separate recyclables. It makes cardboard bounce up on top while the heavier items fall to the bottom. Magnets pull out metal jar lids, which should not be attached to the jars from whence they came when placed in recycling bins. Eventually, as the recyclables move through the machine they get sent to the right place. Each worker manning the machine has an emergency stop button in case something dangerous is spotted – like a garden hose, and the machine even has “eyes” (cameras) that can identify items, such as the paper that got away, and mechanically rectify the situation. Recycling Myths More and more items are recyclable these days and sometimes the rules get complicated. One of the greatest “myths” surrounding the landfill is that RIRRC can pull recyclables out of the trash. They can’t, and they don’t. RIRRC has an A to Z list on its web-site ( to help guide you with specific items. They also have a quite lively Facebook page to keep people up to date on new recycling programs, and to offer tips and guidance on composting, disposal of holiday items, and, of all things, how clean your peanut butter jars need to be. Electronics are especially sensitive to the humidity of summer and often break down during the swampy days of July

and August. Yet they contain many valuable and recoverable metals and plastics. Recycling “E-Waste” on Block Island is not free, but you can still divert that old equipment from the Central Landfill. Unfortunately the price has just gone up from 12 to 25 cents per pound. BIRM Co-owner Sean McGarry says that is due to a couple of factors: withdrawal of state funds for the program, and the difficulty of separating out the glass components, such as television screens. A new initiative by the state is mattress recycling. As of this past spring, old mattresses may be dropped off at the transfer station for free. One caveat is that they should not be “contaminated.” They don’t want your bedbugs or heavily soiled and wet items. Recycling Clothes and Fabric Another change at the transfer station involves fabric recycling. Gone is the dedicated container that used to sit by the gate. Instead, used clothing and other fabric items, such as bed linens and curtains go into a hopper inside the building. Shoes may be put in there also. Scrap Metals BIRM has separate dumpsters for scrap metal and building debris. The scrap metal one is used for many items that aren’t purely metal though, such as bicycles. The cost for getting rid of bicycles is five dollars each. Grills are $10, as are

most other appliances, including hot water tanks. Refrigerators and air conditioners cost more ($50) because of the Freon they contain. For specific prices on other “per piece” items, i.e. those that aren’t 12 cents per pound, go to BIRM’s web-site at www. Hazardous Waste If you have household hazardous waste, including used fluorescent, and compact fluorescent light-bulbs, pesticide containers, old cans of oil paints, and rechargeable batteries, RIRRC has a traveling EcoDepot that comes to Block Island every other year – usually in May or June to collect these items. They won’t be back for a year-and-a-half, but you can always run it up to the Central Landfill in Johnston. You can do the same for Styrofoam. Styrofoam can’t go into the RIRRC’s sorting machine because it breaks up into tiny pieces. They ask that the Styrofoam is clean and dry, and placed in clear plastic bags. Other things that can be recycled in Johnston, but not on Block Island are large

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

plastic items like kiddie pools and plastic lawn furniture. McGarry says that BIRM would like to be able to offer recycling for large plastic items, but that not enough comes through the transfer station to make it viable. The Central Landfill in Johnston is actually not a long trip, and is easily combined with a stop at the malls in Warwick and Cranston. Just take Exit 5 off Route 295 and follow the signs. The Landfill is open from 6 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 466-2864 for Block Island Transfer Station hours that change seasonally.

Clockwise from top left: The Transfer Station is on West Beach Rd on the north end of the island. Scrap metal is dumped into specialized containers, look for the signs. Clean(ish) mattresses are now accepted for disposal. Clothing and fabrics like blankets or curtains go into a hopper inside the building. PHOTOS



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Page A12 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES



Tile Craft and Hill & Harbour Tile that looks like wood? There are countless innovations in tile and countertops to add interest to your home. Tile Craft Design Center in Peace Dale,R.I. carries 6x36 tiles with a wood look as well as new larger porcelain tiles which are the result of new technology. Grays and driftwood are also popular this year as well as glass tiles in larger formats. Beach glass is available with new shapes, sizes, and finishes. Quartz countertops are available and the Cambria counter line has come out with twelve new granite colors. Tile Craft Design Center has been in business since the 1950’s and has been under the same ownership since the 1970’s. They combine classic ideas and new technology. They are currently working on new adhesives and stain-proof grouts being offered by some of the oldest companies in the business. Tom Pearson of Hill & Harbour Tile in East Greenwich, R.I. echoes the same sentiment - larger tiles are the go-to this year. Longer rectangles are being produced in 12x24 and 8x36 sizes. The color gray is in and glass blocks and tiles are still popular. Tiles that look like hardwood come in longer pieces and have the look of floorboards, coming in a variety of designs and colors. “Most people are amazed at what is available,” Pearson says. “Tile used to react to style. Now it creates the styles.” Creativity is now available to anyone willing to consider all the options.

Page A13

Highland Farm

It is the time of year to start thinking about decorating for fall! At Highland Farm, there is everything you need for decorating this fall season. There is a large selection of classic and specialty pumpkins, gourds of all shapes, sizes and colors, corn stalks and hay bales and decorative ears of corn. Be sure to check out the gorgeous mums and other fall annuals - like ornamental peppers, grasses, cabbages and flowering kale. Visit Highland Farm for a great variety of fall-flowering perennials such as montauk daisies, asters, chelones (turtle heads), autumn clematis, sedums and black-eyed Susans. If you stop in, check out the homemade pies and pastries as well. Delivery is always free to the BI Ferry. Call (401) 792-8188.

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Page A14 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

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w w w. w a s h t r u s t . c o m * Or better depending on line amount. Properties must be located in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut. Property insurance required. All loans subject to credit approval. 1.99% Annual Percentage Rate home equity line is for the initial 12 months. After the initial 12 months, the rate becomes Prime -.50% on lines of $100,000 or more; Prime - .25% on lines of of $25,000 - $99,999. Rates shown in effect as of 09/15/2016. Your APR will vary monthly if the Prime Rate changes, but will not exceed 18.00% or be less than 3.00%. Check The Wall Street Journal for current rates. Wall Street Journal Prime Rate as of 12/17/15 is 3.50%. Account closure fee of $350 for lines up to $500,000 or $500 for lines over $500,000 will apply if line is paid off and the account closed within first three years. Best rate featured above requires line to be in first lien position; other rates apply to second lien position; Freedom Plus Checking account required. $25,000 minimum initial draw to third party required. Annual fee of $50 waived for the first year. Some home improvement projects may be subject to inspection fees and a satisfactory completion certificate. Subject to recording fees of approximately $74 in RI, and $93-177 in MA and CT. Trust review fees of $250 may apply if property is held in a trust. Not intended for homes currently for sale or intended to be sold within 12 months of closing. Offer available for new lines only. Other restrictions may apply. Property insurance is required. Flood insurance where required by law. Single-family, owner-occupied primary residences or second homes only. Maximum loan-to-value of 80%. Subject to credit approval. Offer available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn at any time. NMLS #414726

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By Kathy Crocker and Dennis Valade Chowder has its origins from the Latin word ‘calderia’, which originally meant ‘a place for warming things’, and later came to mean ‘cooking pot.’ The word ‘calderia’ developed into the word ‘cauldron.’ Vegetables or fish stewed in a cauldron became known as chowder in English-speaking nations. Chowder, a simple dish, was originally considered a poor man’s food. When one thinks of chowder, especially in New England, images of fish or clam chowder immediately come to mind, but the essence of chowder making is creating something special out of what is at hand, and for those away from the coastal regions, corn fit the bill nicely. Chowders typically have five distinct parts: • Vegetables or seafood; • A cooking liquid such as broth or stock; • A thickening agent such as cornstarch, flour or potatoes; • Seasonings; and • Other ingredients such as cream, diced onions, or bacon. Now that the days are cooler, consider making a big pot of corn chowder, a simple but elegant comfort food. Although any type of corn will do, when buying fresh, select big ears of corn, or even yesterday’s corn, as the cooking will tenderize it. The following recipe is from Jasper White’s 50 Chowders – One Pot Meals – Clam, Corn and Beyond, a ‘must have’ cookbook. This version is based on a recipe from the Shakers of Hancock Village (1900), who were known for cooking skills, especially their farmhouse chowders. CORN CHOWDER 4 ears fresh corn 4 oz. of bacon, cut into 1/3 inch pieces 2 tbsp. butter 1 medium onion, cut into ½ inch dice ½ large red or green bell pepper 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped (1/2 tsp.) or healthy pinch of dried thyme ½ tsp. ground cumin ½ tsp. turmeric (optional) 1 lb. golden or other all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice 3 c. chicken stock Salt and pepper 2 tsp. of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. of COLD water 1 c. heavy cream Husk the corn. Cut the kernels from the cob and place in a bowl (2+ cups). Using the back of a knife, scrap the cobs and add the milky substance that oozes out into the bowl of corn kernels. To enhance the flavor of the chowder, add the scraped corn cobs to the stock and let simmer until ready to use. Heat a heavy pot over low heat and add the bacon. Once it has rendered a few tbsp. of fat, increase the heat and cook until the bacon is golden brown. Remove all but 1 tbsp. of bacon fat, leaving the bacon in the pot. Add the butter, onion, bell pepper, thyme, cumin and turmeric. Saute until the onion and pepper are tender but not brown. Add the corn, potatoes and stock. Increase the heat, cover, and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Some potato will have broken up, but most with retain their shape. Smash a bit of the potato and corn against the side of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and season with salt and pepper. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. As soon as the chowder comes back to a boil and thickens slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. If not used right away, allow chowder to cool completely before refrigeration. Reheat over low heat, do not let it boil.

September 17, 2016 BLOCK ISLAND TIMESPage Page House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016THE • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES A1515

Seed to Table

Photos and text by Lars Trodson From early May to mid-August, Spring House Hotel owner Frank DiBiase gave me access to the beautiful gardens that surround the hotel so I could photograph them. What I wanted to do was capture the entire season, and follow the journey from “seed to plate,” to watch how the plants progressed as the months went on. The vegetables were sprouts in the little

greenhouse when I went down in May. In June they had been replanted, and with careful tending, weeding and watering, they blossomed through July. Sections of the gardens were harvested and replanted, and the ripened vegetables ended up in the kitchen of Chef Brian Hebert, seen below, in August. It was a remarkably beautiful summer on Block Island, reflected in the lush gardens at The Spring House.

Page A16 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

Create an Autumn Inspired Natural Wreath By Heather Russo s summer wanes into fall, nature’s finale of autumnal hues invites us into our landscapes more than ever. The weather is comfortable for hikes and garden strolls and life slows enough for us to appreciate and reflect on the growing season we have had. It’s a perfect time to weave a wreath of seasonal flowers, fruits, seed pods and foliage to bring nature right to the doorstep for further enjoyment. There is a plethora of fall flora found in our gardens and along roadsides that will dry nicely and make a wonderful wreath. One old fashioned favorite I am strongly opposed to using is Oriental bittersweet. Birds are tempted by the festive encapsulated fruit and they can spread this scourge elsewhere. This invasive vine grows swiftly and is a threat to native ecosystems. While the fruits are off limits, the woody vines themselves make a great wreath base much like wild grape vine. When cutting bittersweet to make a wreath, early fall is the best time because the vine is still pliable and green beneath the bark. Try to keep the length intact rather than chopping in sections, cut the berries off and burn in your fire pit. Soaking your bittersweet or grapevine in water will also make it easier to work with. I use every bit I cut, fashioning the smaller pieces into hoops for dream catchers or ornaments. Northern bayberry foliage makes a gorgeous fragrant Fall wreath and can be found in abundance in coastal areas. The leaves will dry and can be crushed for an edible seasoning or steeped for infusing spirits. The drupes were used in colonial candle making and are fodder for local waterfowl and songbirds. Cut the branch tips around 6 inches long and make full bundles of 3 or 4 stems. Wind paddle wire around your base (in this case I used a metal frame) to attach each bundle end halfway underneath the last bundle. When the wreath is complete you can add more foliage to any sparse areas. Bayberry are deciduous, so if you want to preserve the leaves for ornamental use, crush the bottom of the cut stems with a hammer


Starfish wreath with juniper and dusty miller. PHOTO BY HEATHER RUSSO

and place in a vase of two parts hot water and one part glycerin for a week. Once you have a twig, vine or foliage base, accents for your fall wreath are fun to discover. I prefer to use only natural material to decorate in this season, saving the ribbon and glitter for winter. In cultivated gardens, all types of hydrangea flower heads work beautifully. They will start to color and dry while on the shrub. This is the best time to cut. A few other treasures you can find in the garden, fields and woods: • Echinacea seed heads • Sedum umbels • Amaranthus plumes • Dusty miller • Lavender • Rosemary • Antlers • Ornamental grass inflorescences • Moss and lichen twigs • Rose hips • Maple and oak leaves • Lunaria silver dollar seed pods • Tansy florets • Sweet Annie • Sea lavender When winter approaches, the evergreen boughs that make holiday wreaths are historically a symbol of vitality. The circular shape represents infinite unity. Shore pine branches and cones, juniper with berries, holly and fir are typical. The broad evergreen leaves of Leucothoe take on plum hues that complement blue spruce nicely. I choose a Christmas tree a bit taller than I need, cut the bottom off and use the lower branches to make a wreath. The best part of making these wreaths is foraging for the greenery and nature’s ornaments. Never take more than you need, leave plenty for the wildlife and get permission where you cut. The organic materials I mentioned are just a few of my personal favorites, there are lots of other trinkets to find. Enjoy the weather, be creative and experiment.

Winter solstice wreath with lotus pods and statice. PHOTO BY HEATHER RUSSO


Dream catcher made from bittersweet vine and feathers. Inset: Making a dream catcher. PHOTOS



House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Page A17

Finished Bayberry wreath with hydrangea, dusty miller, amaranthus, northern pampus. Inset left: bayberry and hydrangea pan. Inset right: bayberry wired on a metal frame. PHOTOS BY HEATHER RUSSO

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Page A18 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Page B3


to Bring the Scent of Autumn Into Your Home


Breezes are cooling. Leaves are coloring. Apples are ripe for the picking. There is a feeling in the air that makes you want to put pumpkin into every single recipe you make. That means it’s time to put away the summer scented candles and lavender room spray. Fall has arrived and it’s time to make your house smell like it! Here are 7 different ways to bring autumn’s scent into your home.



4 7 5 6

1. Autumn Scented Candles: Candles are an easy way to make your home smell like fall. With just about every scent you can imagine, strike a match and fill your home with pumpkin or apple or whatever scent you choose. 2. Make a Pie: While you can buy apple pie scented candles, why make your home smell like apple pie if you can’t eat it? Cinnamon plus apple is a classic for fall. 3. Palo Santo Incense Sticks: Bonfires are one scent of autumn that can be hard to get, but not impossible. Burn these Palo Santo Incense sticks to get that woody scent indoors. 4. Autumn Simmer Pot: Simmer pots are super easy, smell great and are full of variations. Choose your scents and just keep adding water to keep that autumn smell coming. 5. Bake Some Pumpkin Bread: Bread baking always fills the house with a warm smell, but baking pumpkin bread adds the sugar, spice, and all things nice about fall. And you get to eat that delicious smell! See recipe on p. B11. 6. Pomanders: While pomanders may be known as a medieval solution for getting rid of bad smells, they still work just as well today! Stick whole cloves into an orange or apple to create a natural spicy scent that lasts for days. 7. Candles and Coffee Beans: Pumpkin or vanilla candles are a must for Fall. Surround them with coffee beans to add that coffee scent to the air. It’s like a pumpkin latte without the calories!

Page B4 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

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Page B6 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

Storm Warning: 4 ways to prepare forGazing a power outage Sky -

When a winter storm hits, are you ready for a power outage?

Summer Stars

Boats ashore in Rat Island at New Harbor. Photo courtesy of the Block Island Historical Society.

Hurricane Planning for Residents and Visitors Everyone should be aware that the National Weather Service is warning the East Coast that a major hurricane will strike within the next few years. We are asking everyone who owns property on Block Island or will be visiting during hurricane season to create an individual plan for the eventuality of a hurricane warning being issued for Block Island.

Please read the following carefully and make your plans in advance. A) If you are a visitor in our hotels or B & B’s, please heed the directives to leave the Island if they are issued. All our ferries will cease operations and move to a safer harbor well before the hurricane arrives so you must react immediately when you are advised to leave. All hotels and B & B’s will be alerted and we ask that you cooperate with all directives. B) If you are renting a house on the Island, the same directives apply. Our capacity for shelter facilities is limited. Please leave the Island if that request is made. Ferries will try to get as many people and vehicles off the Island as possible, but they will cease running well before the hurricane arrives. C) If you are an Island resident, observe the following home preparedness: UÊ iV Ê Ü À }Ê V ` Ì ÃÊ vÊ > Ê i iÀ}i VÞÊ iµÕ « i ÌÊ y>à } ÌÃ]Ê L>ÌÌiÀÞÊ powered radios. UÊ >ÛiÊi Õ} Ê«iÀ à >L iÊv `Ê> `ÊÜ>ÌiÀÊÃÕ«« iÃÊ Ê > `Êv ÀÊÎ xÊ`>Þð UÊ ÜÊÜ iÀiÊÌ iÊ/ Ü Ê- i ÌiÀÊ ÃÊ> `ÊÜ iÌ iÀÊÞ ÕÊ >ÛiÊ>ÊÃ>viÊÀ ÕÌiÊÌ Ê Ì]Ê vÊ necessary. UÊ À }Ê Ê> Ê ÃiÊ Ìi ÃÊ>À Õ `ÊÌ iÊ« ÀV iÃÊ ÀÊ«À «iÀÌÞ° UÊ > iÊÃÕÀiÊÞ ÕÀÊÛi V iÃÊ >ÛiÊ}>ð UÊ vÊÞ ÕÊ >ÛiÊ>Ê«À «> iÊ}À ]ÊÃiVÕÀiÊ ÌÊ> `Ê ii«ÊÌ iÊ«À «> iÊÃÕ«« ÞÊvÕ ]ÊLÕÌÊ secured outdoors. UÊ ÛiÀÊ >À}iÊÜ ` ÜÃÊÜ Ì Êà ÕÌÌiÀÃÊ ÀÊ« ÞÜ `° UÊ >ÛiÊ>ÊwÀÃÌÊ> `Ê ÌÊ«Ài«>Ài`° UÊ ÊL>Ì ÌÕLÊ> `Ê >À}iÊV Ì> iÀÃÊÜ Ì ÊÜ>ÌiÀÊv ÀÊÃ> Ì>ÀÞÊ«ÕÀ« Ãið UÊ/ÕÀ ÊÀivÀ }iÀ>Ì ÀÊÌ Ê ÌÃÊV `iÃÌÊÃiÌÌ }ÃÊ> `Ê ii«Ê` ÀÊV Ãi`° UÊ i` V iÊÀi iÜ> ÃÊ Ê >ÛiÊi Õ} Ê vÊÞ ÕÀÊÀi}Õ >ÀÊ i` V>Ì Êv ÀÊ£ ÓÊÜii ð UÊ vÊ Þ ÕÊ >ÀiÊ V ViÀ i`Ê >L ÕÌÊ Þ ÕÀÊ V>Ì Ê Ê >Ê ÃÌ À ]Ê V à `iÀÊ } }Ê Ì Ê >Ê friend’s house in a safer location. Corn Neck Road may not be passable due to } ÊÌ `iÃ\Êy ` }Ê> `Ê>VViÃÃÊÌ Ê/ Ü Ê> `Ê ÀÊÌ iÊ/ Ü Êà i ÌiÀÊ >ÞÊLiÊVÕÌÊ vvÊ for some time. UÊ > « Ê, >`ÊÜ Ê ÃÌÊ i ÞÊiÝ«iÀ i ViÊÃÌ À ÊÃÕÀ}iÊ> `Ê«i « iÊÃ Õ `Ê evacuate from Champlin’s Farm seaward.

If you have questions, please call Police Dispatch @ 466-3220, but please DO NOT CALL except for an emergency once the storm hits. Stay inside until the storm has passed. Do not venture out in the calm when the eye is overhead and do not go walking on any breakwater during the storm. Heavy rain may undermine bluff areas, so please do not walk along any bluffs during or following the storm. Use common sense; make sure family members know where you are.

EMERGENCY PREPARATION FOR PETS Complete these preparations in advance of visiting Block Island: UÊ >ÛiÊÛ>VV >Ì ÃÊÕ«ÊÌ Ê`>ÌiÊ> `Ê>Ê} `ÊÃÕ«« ÞÊ vÊ> ÞÊ i` V>Ì ÃÊÕÃi`° UÊ >ÛiÊÌÀ> µÕ âiÀÃÊ vÊ«iÌÊLiV iÃÊÕ«ÃiÌÊ ÀÊ>} Ì>Ìi`Ê ÊÕ ÕÃÕ> Êà ÌÕ>Ì Ã° UÊ >ÛiÊ `i Ì wV>Ì Ê ÊÌ iÊ> > \ÊÌ>}Ã]ÊÌ>ÌÌ Ê ÀÊV «° UÊ*ÕÀV >ÃiÊ>Ê«iÌÊV>ÀÀ iÀÊÌ >ÌÊ ÃÊ >À}iÊi Õ} Êv ÀÊÌ iÊ> > ÊÌ Ê iÊ` Ü ]ÊÌÕÀ Ê around and stand up comfortably. Do not house different species in one car carrier. UÊ/> iÊ} `Ê« VÌÕÀiÃÊ vÊÌ iÊ> > Ê­vÀ Ì]Ê ivÌÊ> `ÊÀ } ÌÊà `iîÊÌ >ÌÊà ÜÃÊ` Ãtinguishing marks. UÊ *ÕÌÊ « VÌÕÀiÃ]Ê Vi ÃiÃ]Ê i` V> Ê ÀiV À`ÃÊ > `Ê Ü iÀà «Ê «>«iÀÃÊ Ì }iÌ iÀÊ Ê >Ê waterproof bag. Just before leaving home, assemble a pet disaster kit which contains: UÊ L ÛiÊ i Ì i`Ê i` V>Ì Ã]Ê« Ì ÃÊ> `ÊÀiV À`ð UÊ >ÛiÊ>Ê i>à Ê> `Ê«À «iÀ ÞÊwÌÌi`ÊV >ÀÊ ÀÊ >À iÃÃÊv ÀÊi>V Ê«iÌ° UÊ Ã« Ê ` à iÃÊ > `Ê >Ê ÌÜ Ê Üii Ê ÃÕ«« ÞÊ vÊ v `Ê > `Ê Ü>ÌiÀÊ Ê Õ LÀi> >L iÊ containers. UÊ > Õ> ÊV> Ê «i iÀ]Ê vÊV> i`Êv `Ê ÃÊÕÃi`° UÊ À }ÊÃÕ«« iÃÊ> `Ê i` V> Ê ÌÊv ÀÊ ÕÀ ið UÊ/ iÊ«i̽ÃÊL > iÌ]ÊV v ÀÌÊ Ìi ð UÊ Ìi ÃÊÌ Ê > ` iÊÜ>ÃÌi]Ê V Õ` }Ê«>«iÀÊÌ Üi ]Ê« >ÃÌ VÊL>}Ã]Ê` à viVÌ> Ì]ÊV i> Ãer, litter box and litter or newspaper to shred. Information provided by Block Island Volunteers for Animals

As winter storm season arrives, homeowners should be ready for power outages that last for days. In recent years, storms have become more intense and frequent, resulting in extended power outages, which is disruptive to daily life. Blizzards, heavy snow, ice storms and strong winds can all conspire to cut off the power supply to your home, leaving your family in the dark and in the cold. It is impossible to predict when an extended power outage will impact this community, however, there are things you can do today to keep your home and family safe and comfortable. Now is the time to prepare before the first winter storms settle in. Water pipes can freeze. Houses can quickly fill up with dangerous levels of carbon monoxide from alternative heating and cooking sources. Also, food can spoil quickly in the refrigerator. It’s smart to plan ahead for a power outage so you can get through the days safely and comfortably. Here are some tips to help island homeowners prepare for an extended power outage: Have enough food and water Store enough to eat and drink for one week. Even if the stores are open, you’ll want to keep outside travel to a minimum, especially in tough road conditions. If you are using well water, be ready for the fact that a power outage will stop your water pump. Have an adequate supply of water on hand - about one gallon per person per day. Stockpile plenty of non-perishable food, such as canned meats and vegetables, protein bars, dry cereal and nuts. Be sure you have a manual can opener and a means to cook, such as a propane-operated camp stove just be sure your cooking space is properly ventilated. Have safe backup lighting To reduce risk of fire, swap out candles

and kerosene lanterns for battery-operated flashlights and lamps. Stock up now on batteries before people deplete local supplies in the pre-storm rush. Invest in a generator A ready power source could help your family get through longer outages in safety and comfort, in spite of the cold temperatures outside. During a winter storm, especially a bitter cold one with strong winds, the temperature inside your home can drop quickly. There are two backup power options for the home: a portable generator or an automatic standby generator. A portable generator can be moved from place-to-place and is designed to power a handful of items in your home via extension cords. It must be manually operated and placed outdoors away from the home to avoid the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. A standby generator turns on automatically when the power shuts off and is permanently installed outside the home similar to a central air conditioning unit. It runs on natural gas or propane and hooks up to existing fuel lines in your home. A standby generator will keep all your appliances running, as well as everything else you take for granted: lights, television, computers, water heater, furnace and more. Plan for being cut off When the power goes out, it can be hard to anticipate all the implications. Stores may reopen, but they may not be able to process your debit or credit card right away. So keep enough cash to see you through a few days. Think of any medications your family would need and set aside a week’s supply. Finally, transfer essential information you have stored in your mobile phone to paper, such as phone numbers and addresses. Despite all the forecasting technology we have today, storms can pop up with little warning, so be prepared.

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Page B7

MY TEN FAVORITE SHRUBS By Renée Meyer Block Island certainly has its challenges for the gardener. First and foremost in most people’s minds is the deer population. I long ago concluded that the solution was neither putting up a fence, nor giving up. No, the solution would be to find plants that they simply do not like to eat, whether because of their taste, or because of sharp thorns or needles. The following is a compendium of plants that have done particularly well in my island yard. There is nothing fancy about them. Indeed to the sophisticated plants-person, they may seem quite ordinary, even mundane and perhaps old-fashioned. But oldfashioned is just what gives Block Island its charm. And, I have taken some liberties with the definition of a shrub. Some of these are not true shrubs, but they serve the purpose. Shrubs are a great tool in the garden. They lend structure; they are the garden’s bones; they provide food and shelter for wild-life. I particularly like watching the birds in winter, perched amongst their branches as they await their prospective turns at the bird-feeder.

Young deer just learning their way in the culinary landscape do seem to have a tendency to browse and I won’t pretend that none have nibbled on any of the shrubs I have selected. Whenever I write such an article as this, someone will inevitably come up to me and say: “well they eat my (insert name of plant here).” But I don’t mind; it’s always great to compare notes. The following are presented simply in the order that they delight me throughout the year. Forsythia: We of course must begin with forsythia. Like it or not, it’s the first horse out of the gate, jumping into spring with its all too familiar burst of yellow blooms. It can quickly become boring though – just too much yellow, and for too long. Robert Dash, in his book “Notes from Madoo: Making a Garden in the Hamptons” spares no contempt for it, writing: “It is an absolute ass of a color, a greeny-yaller braying insult to the obscure triumph of chartreuse, indisputably wrong for spring, or any other season, for that matter – an irritant of March and April along with inflated, dropsical pansies and

d n a l s I k c o l B r fo sundaes of hybrid azaleas dripping over their mulches of cocoa shells.” An underplanting of grape hyacinth bulbs helps greatly with this problem: the purple color of its blossoms provide a welcome and complimentary note to the yellow. The next shrub to bloom in the yard is the flowering quince, and it happily fills in the gap between the flowering of forsythia and lilacs, with its blooms that are reminiscent of the color of dark red coral. You may have noticed it in various places on the island. There is one at the corner of Old Town Road and Connecticut Avenue, and another on the grounds of the Harbor Baptist Church. As lovely as this shrub looks though, it packs a weapon: sharp thin thorns that can rival those of any rose. Lilacs have a way of taking one back in time. They seem common, unfashionable, some-times frumpy, but their scent is undeniably enduring. They remind me of old novels, talcum powder, and linen handkerchiefs. These shrubs may attract deer occasionally. They don’t seem to pay any attention to the old stands of purple ones in the yard, but a young white lilac

Top: Hummingbird moth on a butterfly bush. Left: Weigela bush. Above: Dwarf Alberta spruce. PHOTOS BY RENÉE MEYER.

planted a few years ago quickly met its demise. This may be just a matter of protecting the plant when it’s young. Weigela is not quite so commonly known, but it seems to do quite well on the island, withstanding both the deer and the environment. If the fading of the lilacs seems like the last act of the spring flowering shrub show, the weigela surprise us as they come out to perform the encore. They are native to East Asia and there are many varieties. Normally they grow from one to five meters tall. They have long branches of small flowers, about one inch in size, and are usually a variegated white and shades of pink. These long sprays of flowers can make at substantial contribution to the landscape. If you’ve ever gone out for a hike with Scott Comings of The Nature Conservancy, you are apt to be familiar with the native shrub Arrowwood, or Viburnum dentatum. This native shrub has about 150 cousins though that may happily withstand almost any condition Block Island could throw at them. Viburnums have showy flowers, and even showier berries in early September, that harden to dark purple and provide birds with autumn and winter food (if they last that long). Some varieties are said to be fragrant. Not mine. In fact they stink, which is probably why the deer don’t eat them. I don’t know what variety we have – they were taken as mere babes from a friend’s yard, but I can only describe their “scent” as a mix of diesel and skunk. I refuse to weed under them when they are blooming. Russian Sage is technically a perennial plant, not a shrub, but at three to five feet tall, we’ll include it. It blooms for weeks starting in July, and its fragrant lavender colored blooms attract butterflies and all Continued on next page

Page B8 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016

Continued from previous page types of bees. Don’t worry though: those bees are for more interested in the plant’s nectar than they are in you. The plant likes full sun, but can tolerate some shade, dry weather and poor soil. The only drawback to this plant is that it may need staking as the long branches have a tendency to flop over, particularly after a heavy rain. Butterfly bushes offer far more entertainment than just their flowers, because true to the name, they attract butterflies, particularly monarchs. We’re always looking out for the monarchs, and make sure to leave some milk weed plants in the beds around the bushes. The monarchs lay their eggs on the milkweed, and when those eggs hatch, their first nourishment will be the leaves they are born unto. Another insect attracted to this bush is the hummingbird moth. These little guys are about an inch long, not including antennae, and really do look like little humming birds. Fascinating little things. Rose-of-Sharon seems to usher in the end of summer in a brilliant way. They are all over town in Old Harbor, blooming from August until, as if consulting a calendar they suddenly stop around the first day of fall. They come in many colors, from white to purple and pink. Some of the flowers are “double” or some-what frilly, some are “single.” They reseed quite nicely, and one may either easily weed the babies out or let them be to grow into adulthood. They are a bit slow to start, and the deer may munch them when they are small, but they eventually grow into adulthood. The surprise around here is discovering just what a particular shrub’s flowers will look like. They don’t “grow true to seed” so one never knows what one will get. Our latest has single white blooms with a dark ruby throat and bright yellow stamen. As fall continues its march towards the winter solstice and the leaves fall from the deciduous shrubs, there can still be bright bits of green in the landscape. Holly, although actually a tree, with its evergreen leaves and bright red berries serves this purpose nicely. Unfortunately, nursery breeders in the past years have busily sought to rid them of the very thing that protects them from the deer: the sharp points along the leaves. The American holly, Ilex opaca, a native to the east coast has dependably sharp points. Not all the trees will have berries though. Hollies are either male or female, and only the females produce berries, so plant two or three of them. Another evergreen tree is the Dwarf Alberta spruce. Since they only grow to about eight feet, I won’t feel guilty about including it here. Plus it’s one of my favorites. For many years I have purchased them, one at a time at the Block Island School Friends greens sale, held annually in December. They usually start out as small table-top Christmas trees before being moved out into the yard. I now have seven of them, and they are like little dwarves in the gardens. Some, where protected grow taller and more slim, some hunker down against the wind, their girths gaining more quickly than their height. Some say the deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough, but I have yet to see one take a bite of a Dwarf Alberta Spruce. With quite sharp needles, dwarves have a bite all their own.

Top: Lilac Cottage is named so for it’s surrounding shrubs. Middle left: The American Holly, Ilex opaca, a native to the east coast has dependably sharp points. Middle right: Viburnum berries. Above: Rose-of-Sharon ushers in the end of summer in a brilliant way. PHOTOS BY RENÉE MEYER AND LISA STIEPOCK

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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

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Page B10 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016



Fall fruits that have endless edible possibilities As the temperature outside changes from summer hot to chilly fall, spending more time indoors is a welcomed shift of season. Cooking and baking make the home feel cozier, with sweet smells filling each room. Being indoors means more time to focus on the home and family — sit down dinners, weekend baking and football games on the couch (Go Patriots!) Autumn baking is ideal for pumpkins and pears — get your apron on and try one of these tasty recipes while making everyone in the house happy and your home smell heavenly. Pear Varieties Comice — Comice pears are perhaps the best pears for eating raw. They have a great fruity aroma and flavor and a slightly finer, less grainy texture than other pear varieties. Bosc — Bosc pears are crisp when raw and hold their shape beautifully when cooked. They have the best example of the soft-yet-grainy texture classically associated with pears.

Red Anjou—Red Anjou pears are a striking and glorious rusty red color. Reason enough to buy them. They make simply gorgeous table decorations, as well as delicious snacks. Concord — Concord pears have beautiful long, tapered necks. They are juicy, smooth, and don’t brown too much when cut, so they’re great eating pears like comice pears. Their dense flesh holds its shape when cooked like bosc pears, so they work well as poached pears or in pear tarts. Bartlett — Bartletts are the juiciest pears when eaten raw. Since they are so juicy, they lose their shape when cooked. If you want to make pear butter, this is the pear to use. They turn to mush at the slightest mention of heat. As with all fruit, look for Bartletts that feel heavy for their size. They will have some give with squeezed when ripe, but avoid checking them too much since they bruise easily.

Perfect Pumpkin Seeds Roasting your own pumpkin seeds is really easy, but there are two steps that are most important: 1. Clean your pumpkin seeds well: You really want to wash them well and discard any and all pumpkin fibers. Over the years, I’ve had a time or two when I didn’t clean the seeds well enough and they really don’t turn out as well. So, grab your colander and clean them... and then clean them again. 2. Keep a watch on them when they are baking: set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes. This way, you can go in and move the pumpkin seeds around on the baking sheet. Repeat this every 10 minutes until they are done. If you are new to roasting pumpkin seeds, you might be wondering just how to eat them. If they are nicely roasted, eat them whole. If you wish, you can also eat them as you would eat a sunflower seed, by cracking the shell open slightly with your teeth, eating the seed, and discarding the shell. Ingredients Seeds from 2 large pumpkins ½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ½ tablespoon olive oil Dash of salt 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Scrape out and remove seeds from your two pumpkins. Wash and clean your seeds from the pumpkin, making sure you remove any unwanted pumpkin rinds or deformed seeds. Wash in a colander and once again remove any unwanted items. 3. Soak the clean seeds in a bowl full of water for ½ hour on kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the seeds, discarding the water. 4. Fill a pot with water and a dash of salt (enough water so that it will cover the seeds). Bring the water to a boil. Place seeds into the boiling water and boil gently for about 10 minutes. This helps cook the insides of your pumpkin seeds so when you go to roast them you will get perfect pumpkins seeds crunch, insuring the insides are cooked. 5. Turn off the heat and drain the seeds and place back into your empty bowl. Toss seeds with olive oil. Lay out seeds in thin layer onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Place in oven and move and turn the seeds over about every 10 minutes, making sure they are not burning. Seeds are done after about 40 minutes or when they become firmer and are no longer soft. Season with additional salt if desired. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place into a clean mason jar. Enjoy! Recipe from

Homemade Spicy Pear Bread 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups granulated sugar 3 eggs 2 1⁄2 cups pears – peeled, cored and chopped 1 cup chopped pecans 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans. In large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs – beat well. Stir in pears, pecans and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir dry ingredients into the pear mixture; mix well. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean. Allow loaves to cool in pans for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Recipe from

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins (vegan, dairy-free, 100% whole wheat) For the muffins: 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (109 grams) whole wheat or whole spelt flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon cloves 1/4 cup (56 grams) coconut oil, melted or canola or olive oil 1/2 cup (120ml) maple syrup 3/4 cup (182 grams) pumpkin puree, room temperature For the cinnamon sugar coating: 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar (make sure to use vegan certified sugar for a vegan version) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2-3 tablespoons (28-42 grams) unsalted butter (vegan butter or coconut oil for a dairy-free or vegan version), melted. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line muffin pan with 6 muffin liners. 2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through cloves). Set aside. 3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oil, maple syrup and pumpkin. 4. Add the dry mixture to the wet one and stir just until combined. 5. Divide among the liners and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 6. Invert the muffins onto a wire rack to partially cool, about 5 minutes, while you prepare the cinnamon sugar topping. 7. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. 8. Dip the tops and sides of the mini muffins in the butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar. 9. Serve immediately. Can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (in which case I’d warm them up before serving). Notes: If you use unrefined instead of refined coconut oil, these will taste coconut-y. Adapted from Maple Pumpkin Donuts with Spiced Glaze from My Darling Vegan at

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Perfectly spiced, moist and tender, this pumpkin bread will soon become a favorite! Leave it naked if you wish, or stud it with nuts. ½ cup butter, softened (I used Land O Lakes) 1 cup dark brown sugar 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (the puree, not pumpkin pie filling!) 2 eggs 1 & ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger ¼ tsp ground nutmeg ¼ tsp ground cloves 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour For Glaze ½ cup (1 stick) butter 2 cups powdered sugar 1 Tbsp maple syrup 2-3 Tbsp milk, optional if glaze is too thick 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9” loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. 2. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine all of the above bread ingredients and beat at medium speed with a handheld mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well-mixed. 3. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for approx. 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean or with a couple moist crumbs (not wet). Cool for about 15 minutes, then very gently remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 4. While bread cools, make your glaze: in a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted. Continue cooking, watching butter carefully, until it sizzles and begins to turn amber in color, about 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook because it can quickly burn! When butter looks caramel-colored and smells kind of nutty, it’s done. Remove butter from heat and stir in the powdered sugar and maple syrup until a soft glaze has formed. 5. Pour the glaze generously over top of the pumpkin loaf and let it set, about 30 minutes. Recipe from

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Autumn Pear Chopped Salad Ingredients 6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce 2 medium pears, chopped 1 cup dried cranberries 1 cup chopped pecans 8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled 4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like T. Marzetti) Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette) On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette). Recipe from

Pear-Cinnamon Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream Filling Ingredients 4 whole (to 5) large pears (Bosc Work well) 2/3 cups sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt Topping Ingredients 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup pecans, very finely chopped 1 stick butter, melted Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core, and dice pears. Place into a bowl and stir together with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Stir together. Drizzle melted butter in gradually, stirring with a fork as you go until all is combined. Pour pears into a baking dish; top with crumb topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Place pan on top rack of oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Recipe from

Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail 12 oz (1.5 cups) pear juice 6 oz vodka 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped vanilla sugar, for rim 1 cup ice, plus more to serve over Mix pear juice and vodka in a pitcher or shaker. Split open the vanilla bean, and scrape the seeds into the juice and vodka. Add 1 cup ice, then give it a good shake. Pour into cocktail glasses over more ice and serve with sugared rim. Makes 4 drinks. Recipe from

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House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Fire Safety Tips from the Fire & Rescue Squad

The Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad offers the following tips to homeowners. The fall is a perfect time to review fire prevention systems after the busy summer has ended. Fire extinguishers: It is best to have an extinguisher on each floor. At a minimum, have one in your kitchen and one near your furnace or boiler. It is wise to have one in each of your major outbuildings, one convenient to your barbecue area and one in your garage. Fire extinguishers must be in good working order. If the chemicals inside stand for years, they may settle to the point they will not work. To see if an extinguisher is in working order, turn it upside down and put your ear directly on the extinguisher. If you hear the chemicals moving inside, the extinguisher works. Throw out an extinguisher if: 1. You use it. 2. The indicator shows “recharge.” 3. You cannot hear the chemicals flowing inside when you turn the extinguisher upside down. Extinguishers are inexpensive and it does not pay to recharge old ones. Using extinguishers: Most fire extinguishers have instructions and sketches as to proper use. Each family member should be familiar with their use. Make sure all family members know where extinguishers are located. Renters: If you rent your house, post these tips in plain view and ensure renters know the locations of fire extinguishers. If you use a realtor, insist that she show these tips to renters. Put a sticker on your phones with the house’s fire number. The fire number will be the first thing the dispatcher asks someone who reports a fire or calls for medical help. Smoke detectors: There should be a minimum of one smoke detector on each floor. They should be located on the ceilings of hallways adjacent to the bedrooms. Detectors in the basement should be located at the top of the stairwell. If you have questions concerning the placement of smoke detectors, contact the fire department at 466-2211. Testing alarms: Test alarms on the first day of each month. Post a reminder on your calendar. The test takes a few minutes. Have a supply of batteries on hand in the event of battery failure. Fire number: Make sure your fire number is plainly visible from the street, including during the night. You may need to display it near the street where fire vehicles will arrive. If your road forks again off the main street, post another sign. Brush piles and grass: Take brush to the Transfer Station. Do not let it accumulate. Mow untended fields at the end of each summer to prevent brush buildup. Fire truck access: Make sure brush on either side of your drive is cut back enough to permit a long, wide fire truck to enter your yard. At a minimum, fire trucks need 12-foot-wide roads and 13-feet height clearance. If a fire occurs: • Call 911. If there is time, alert all people in the building and call 911. If no time, leave the building and call from a neighbor’s house or a cell phone. • Make sure all people in the house are accounted for. • Know where the furnace/boiler switch is and, if time, turn it off. • Close windows and doors. • Stand by the road to direct fire vehicles.

Page B15

Security Systems Keeping your island home safe

By James Maloney Every fall, Block Island’s summer residents head back to the mainland, leaving their island houses vacant for the winter months. In doing so, they are also leaving their homes susceptible to problems that can occur with a vacant house, including fire, flood, intrusion, and low temperature issues. However, residents can minimize their risks through the services of a home security company. “If you’re going to be leaving your house for an extended period of time, it’s important to have some sort of system in place, even if it’s not for intrusion,” said Clint Wynne, owner of Block Island Alarm. “Making sure you have a good fire alarm system, as well as a flood and temperature alarm can give homeowners peace of mind.” Wynne says he decided to establish Block Island Alarm after recognizing the island’s need for a security company that could provide comprehensive alarm and response services. Apart from the fundamental security services such as residential fire alarm, burglar alarm, temperature control and flood alarm services, his company also provides commercial fire alarms, commercial burglary alarms, and closed-circuit televisions. “We have a strong local presence, with ongoing installations and system checks; we’re here on the island all the time,” he said. “We’ve established great relationships with property owners and we enjoy working here.” Block Island Alarm is a division of Security Concepts, a security company based in Warwick that has been in operation since 1989. Although they don’t have an office on the island, Wynne says his company became extremely active on

Block Island in recent years, prompting him to start Block Island Alarm. Along with the seasonal residences he services, Wynne has been working with an increasing number of full-time residents and commercial property owners as well. The company is staffed 24 hours a day, with professionally trained operators who notify the local authorities if a signal is emitted from a security system. “After speaking with a lot of people on the island, I realized there was a need for our up-to-date quality services here,” he said. “That’s why I established Block Island Alarm.” Wynne notes that Block Island Alarm is an Underwriter Laboratories (UL) listed central station, which is a requirement for most insurance companies when they are considering insurance discounts for a secured home. Wynne says most of his customers are eligible for a discount on their home insurance rate, often 10 to 15 percent. Block Island Alarm also has the capabilities to service commercial buildings on the island. “We service a number of the commercial properties here, including a few of the inns on the island,” said Wynne. He added that it’s important for buildings to have a functioning fire alarm even if a fire alarm is not required to be municipally connected. As Block Island Alarm continues to increase its client list, Wynne says he enjoys the opportunity to work on Block Island. “We are servicing a steadily increasing number of houses on the island, as well as some commercial locations,” Wynne said. “People are really starting to realize the benefits of our alarm company and we look forward to continuing our work on the island.”


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advertiser index Page B16 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016





A&B Family Appliance 466 Main Street Wakefield, RI 02879 (401) 284-4108

Debbie’s Eco Friendly House Cleaning P.O. Box 1046 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 218-8713 (401) 466-8827

J. Cairo Lawn Service PO Box 129 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 363-6103

Richard Warfel Construction, LLC. P.O. Box 1001 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-5768 (401) 569-8777

A. Transue Corp. P.O. Box 1558 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-5907

Don’s Plumbing PO Box 1857 Block Island, RI 02807 401-465-1466


Riverhead Supply 6000 Post Road North Kingstown, RI 02852 (401) 541-7480

Allstate 24 Salt Pond Rd. A1 Wakefield, RI 02879 (401) 789-3053

DVL Landscaping P.O. Box 1208 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466- 2081

Antonio’s Home Services PO Box 1554 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 480-5270 Ardente Supply 79A Tom Harvey Rd. Westerly, RI 02891 (401) 315-2727 Arnold Lumber 297 Main Street Wakefield, RI 02879 (401) 783-3311

Karen Beckwith Creative PO Box 737 Lenox, MA 01240 (413) 637-4479


Karin Sprague Stone Carvers Inc. 904 Tourtellot Hill Rd. Scituate. RI 02857 (401) 934-3105

East Coast Industries PO Box 332 Peace Dale, R.I. 02883 (401) 788-9360

Kitchens Direct, Inc. 1 Pier Marketplace Narragansett, RI 02882 (401) 783-3100

Electronic Tech Security, Inc. 141 Power Road Suite 103 Pawtucket, RI 02860 (401) 475-9244

L Liberty Cedar 325 Liberty Lane West Kingston, RI 02892 (401) 789-6626

F B Ballard’s Oil Company Box 689 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466 2977 Bartlett Tree Experts 240 Highland Avenue Seekonk, MA 02771 (401) 466-2818 Beach Real Estate PO Box 1468 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-2312 Block Island Plumbing & Heating P.O. Box 1787 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-5930 C Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses 1681 Quaker Ln. (Rt. 2) West Warwick, RI 02893 (401) 826-5600 Classic Chimney PO Box 9190 Warwick, RI 02889 (401) 739-0284

Fagan Door 390 Tioque Ave. Coventry, R.I. 02816 (401) 821-2729 G

N New England Airlines P.O. Box A2 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-5882 (401) 596-2460

Geoffrey Rigby-Leather P.O. Box 897 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-2391

Nicholas Battey Construction P.O. Box 1305 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 749-0053

Green Home Solutions 220 Route 12 Suite 4 Groton, CT 06340 (860) 235-5371


Griggs & Browne Pest Control 175 Niantic Ave. Providence, RI 02907 (401) 783-3800 H Highland Farm 4235 Tower Hill Road / Rte. 1 Wakefield, RI 02879 (401) 792-8188

Connelli Land Improvement P.O. Box 205 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-2549

Hill and Harbour Tile Showroom 42 Ladd Street East Greenwich, RI 02818 (401) 398-1035

Coutu Movers 2 Greco Lane Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 739-7788

Howard Johnson Inc. 1978 Kingstown Rd. Peacedale, RI 02883 (401) 789-9375 I Innerglass Window Systems 15 Herman Drive Simsbury, CT 06070 (800) 743-6207 Interstate Navigation P.O. Box 3333 Narragansett, RI 02882 (401) 783-4613

Overhead Door One Overhead Way Warwick, R.I. 02808 (877) 624-2724

Robert Brown Septic Services P.O. Box 669 Block Island, RI 02807 (401) 466-3109 (401) 569-6422 S Sears Hometown Store South County Commons Wakefield, RI 02879 (401) 782-0009 Simmons Masonry P.O. Box 88 Charlestown, RI 02813 (401) 364-1620 (401) 741-6389 Sound Home Inspection PO Box 393 Mystic, CT 06355 (860) 445-1236 South County Cabinets 137 Franklin St. Westerly, R.I. 02891 (401) 596-7070 South County Sound & Video 1080 Kingstown Rd. Suite 2 Wakefield, R.I. 02879 (401) 789-1700 Stix Man Construction P.O. Box 869 Block Island, RI 02807 (401-787-3497 T

P Pat’s Power Equipment 3992 Old Post Road Charlestown, R.I. 02813 (401) 364-6114 Patriot Equipment Rentals/Cleaners P.O. Box 1735 Block Island, RI (401) 601-1961 Pennington Sprague Company, Inc. PO Box 370 Block Island, R.I. 02807 (401) 466-2378 Priscilla Anderson Design PO Box 363 Block Island, RI 02807 (617) 947-4044

Thorp & Trainer 107 Airport Rd. Westerly, RI 02891 (401) 596-0146 Tile Craft Design Center 1305 Kingstown Road Peace Dale, RI 02879 (401) 783-7770 V Vic’s Painting 223 Canal Street Westerly, RI 02891 (401) 633-2000 (401) 622-2627 W Washington Trust Company 23 Broad St. Westerly, R.I. 02891 (800) 475-2265 William Rose, Inc. Grace’s Cove Road Block Island, R.I. 02807 (877) 466-9001 (401) 741-6328

House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016 • BLOCK ISLAND TIMES

Page B17

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Page B18 BLOCK ISLAND TIMES • House & Garden Edition • Fall 2016



O’Leary house. Jill O’shea designer.

Harmer house. Design build.

1661 new bar.

Kondracki new house. Doug Gilpin architect.

Abrams barn. Maple hill design.

Kildea kitchen remodel design build.









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