Friday is Cape Cod Fish Share pickup day for the lower Cape. Each Friday afternoon I get my "share" of the week's catch at the pickup location on route 6A in Brewster.
This week, Share members got a supply of both cod and skate. Sure you've heard of cod. But skate? As in the ray family? Now that's different.
As familiar species recover from over fishing, commercial fisherman offer other fish we might otherwise never have considered.
Skate is uncommon, especially in the U.S. Only the wings are edible, and those are divided in half horizontally with cartilage which makes cleaning them quite a bother. The Cape Cod Fish Share took care of that for us. I brought home a neat package that at first glance, looked like any other species of fish.
But take a closer look. It would appear someone sliced perfect lines to form a fan.
That "someone" would be nature. This is what the powerful wings of a skate look like.
Each week, in advance of Friday pick up, the Fish Share emails to members an overview of the upcoming catch with recipes to try as well.
Of course we could saute any of the fish in some butter and lemon in the pan or on the grill, but on Cape Cod that gets a little old. With delicious fish swimming just a few miles from our homes, we appreciate something new.
So, to go along with my first meal of skate, I tried the Brazilian-inspired recipe, Moqueca de Arraia suggested by the Fish Share. It's a kind of fish stew served over rice and it was so delicious I wanted to share it with you.
Begin with 1.5 lbs fresh skate. Slice into strips.
And then cut the stips into bite size pieces.
Boil the skate pieces in a pot of water for 10 minutes. They will curl and appear extremely unappetizing.
Don't they look kind of like plastic pieces of toys?
Okay, that's better. When the skate cools to room temperature, marinate for 30 minutes in a mixture of juice from one lime, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and 1 clove minced garlic. The skate will flake like crab meat as you stir occasionally.
Slice two tomatoes and one onion and in a small casserole dish, layer the tomato and onion and fish mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used.
Finish with 1 cup of coconut milk. You can get this in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets. Trader Joes has it as well.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the mixture begins to brown and the onions are soft.
Serve over white rice and sprinkle with your favorite hot sauce.
I used Original Cholula hot sauce.
I will definitely make this again, and I won't even wait until I can get my hands on some skate, which might take awhile. I think you could make this with any white fish.
If you don't like cilantro try a different recipe. I don't recommend substituting the cilantro with parsley or you'll get something entirely different. The cilantro is what makes this dish special.
Thank you to the Cape Cod Fish Share
for introducing me to something new for my dinner table.
I can't wait to see what you catch for us next week.
The days of mortgage rates below the four percent benchmark are over, according to Bill Carey, loan officer for Citizens Bank.
At the Harwich Broker's Tour breakfast today, Carey announced the interest rate on a fixed, 30 year mortgage shot up .58 percent in just one month.
"The feds were printing money and buying things like bonds, but they indicated that would end", Carey told the group. "When the Fed Chairman speaks, incredible things can happen" he added, referring to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In addition to the 4 percent rate on a 30 year loan, Citizens Bank announced a 15 year rate of 3.125 percent, and rates of 3.125 for a ten year adjustable rate mortage, 2.5 percent for a five year adjustable rate loan and 2.65 percent for a five year adjustable rate jumbo loan.
"I don't think we'll see the all-time low rates we saw a month ago return", Carey said.
Do you enjoy fine photography? Who doesn't, right? All this month you can get your photo fix in an exhibit at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennisport.
Courtesy: Bob Jones
Courtesy: Bob Jones
Photographer Bob Jones is a featured artist at the center. Courtesy: Bob Jones
What's that you say? You don't think zebras have anything to do with Cape Cod?
You're right, they don't. So let Bob take you along on his trip to Africa.
Bob used to work in marketing in upstate New York, at corporate powerhouses Corning Inc., and Eastman Kodak.
How fortuitous he worked at Kodak, synonymous with photography throughout the 20th century.
Today Bob lives full time on the Cape with his partner Andy, a good friend of mine. Those two find the best in everybody and Bob finds the best in every vista. We're lucky he often has his camera at the ready.
To see more of his exquisite works, visit the Cape Cod Community Media Center
at 17 Shad Hole Road, Dennisport, MA 02639.
Menauhant Beach, Falmouth
Today I bade farewell to some Syracuse friends who explored Cape Cod last week for the first time.
One of their observations was how different are all of the beaches. Whether you like pounding surf or shallow tidal pools, vaulting dunes or a beach-marsh combo, there is a beach for every taste and interest on Cape Cod. And don't forget, we have hidden freshwater beaches too.
I have added a new tab at the top of my website titled "Beaches". It links to an interactive map feature by the Cape Cod Times. Forward to your friends, zoom in and click on the bubble to find the name of the beach and more information such as hours of operation, etc. I've got the map here
It's time to get some sand between the toes.
I admit. The lure of a raw bar and wine tasting to advertise a new Cape Cod condominium development was a pretty easy sell for me.
My company, Kinlin Grover Real Estate, is marketing this novel conversion of snug little cabins in the woods to sophisticated getaways. I took lots of pictures because seeing is believing that this is taking place in Dennisport.
It's billed as "old Cape Cod", this cottage colony less than a third of a mile to the ocean.
Historically, Dennisport has not had the luster of many other Cape towns. A true working-class area, this village on the southern shore of Cape Cod has not enjoyed the increase in real estate values that nearby Harwich has.
Last month the median cost of a home in Dennisport was $251,000. Harwich Port was $612,000, according to Trendgraphix.
For it's close proximity to the ocean and it's relative affordability, I predict Dennisport is Cape Cod's best-kept secret in the emerging U.S. housing recovery.
Let's tour more of these condos.
This room is wall-to-wall bed. But why not? And a kitchen-style cabinet above the head provides clever storage space.
Tight, but it's got everything you need.
Ceilings were raised to the rafters. How about that cute sleeping loft for extra guests? It's amazing what white paint and smart furnishings can do to a tiny space.
Here is another example of a raised ceiling that seems to add overall square footage. These cottages only have between 430 to 586 square feet so every inch counts.
Gorgeous and soft touches.
The condos have attractive vinyl "hardwood" floors and muted colors, predominately in Cape Cod favorites of blue, sand and red.
Another tiny space maximized for usage.
You can see a peek of a not-yet -renovated condo behind the practical white PVC fence. No need to paint, ever.
You won't feed an army here, but otherwise it does the job for your intimate group.
It's all about the beach. I took this at 8:00 pm after the event was over. The ocean never looks the same two days running. And it fixes everything, by the way. Any concern, any problem, it all disappears into the surf.
The Villages at Nantucket Sound in Dennisport are offered at $195,000 to $210,000. The biggest drawback is they are only open from April through October. As much as it would be wonderful to come when the crowds are gone in the off-season, the complex shuts down for the winter. No water, no entry. Darn. Maybe someday...
Let me know if you'd like more information on the six units currently available.
During the housing boom days, media rooms, wine cellars, and large expansive bonus rooms were all the rage. But ask today’s home shopper what they want most from their home and their wish-lists have gotten much more practical.
Today, it’s all about energy efficiency.
In fact, four of the top most desired home features center around saving energy, according to a new study released by the National Association of Home Builders, “What Home Buyers Really Want.”
With rising utility costs, more home buyers are thinking not just about the price of buying a home, but also how are they going to maintain it and keep it affordable once they move in?
Ninety-four percent of home buyers say they want energy-rated appliances; 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the entire home, 89 percent say they want energy-star related windows, and 88 percent want ceiling fans, according to the NAHB study.
They want the floor plan of the home to be energy efficient too. More buyers are showing less desire for a two-story entry foyer, the study finds. These vaulted empty spaces serve no purpose and are energy drains.
While energy efficiency seems to be chief on buyers’ minds these days, they’re also devoting a lot of time to sizing up the home’s storage space. 90 percent of buyers say they want a linen closet in the bathroom to store towels and toiletries. Eighty-six percent say they also want space in the garage to store sports equipment and gardening and yard tools. And 85 percent say they want a walk-in pantry in the kitchen.
Rather than lug everything downstairs to the basement for storage, many buyers today want their "stuff" near where it will be used, all part of efficiency of operation with busy lives.
For 11 years I have been apologizing for the rude behavior of my German Shepherd, Eika. She is a sweetheart with people, but other dogs? Not so much.
To make matters worse, she has been a bad influence on her younger brother, the nine year old squirrel-sized mini-dachshund named Otto. Otto doesn't know he's the size of a squirrel; he thinks he is big, and when other dogs approach he is annoying too.
Eika and Otto have nothing but open space at Thompson Fields
Paths provide mindless strolling.
That is the back story for our walk yesterday afternoon at Thompson Fields, the sprawling conservation land with woodland trails and wide open meadow that spans Orleans Rd and Chatham Rd in Harwich.
Typically we find a trail to ourselves far from other dogs to avoid an intense conflict resolution session reluctantly lead by me.
Yesterday however, we hit canine rush hour. There wasn't a path we could find where lots of people weren't walking dogs. We were trapped in maze of temptation for bad behavior.
Uh oh. Way off in the distance--a big dog. The kiss of death.
And then we met the most wonderful dog owner ever. I learned her name is Toney and her long haired fluff ball is Dune. I gave my stock apology for my barking dogs and she encouraged me to let them both off the leash; so confident was she that the dogs would work it out.
I happen to believe that too, but most dog owners don't have the stomach to watch my dogs put that theory to the test. At her insistence, I let little Otto loose so he could embarrass me and boss around that sweet doggie four times Otto's size.
At first Otto lived up to his billing, playing big and rude to the challenger, but the other dog held his own, occasionally snapping back. Otto had such a mouthful of Dune's shedding long white hair that Otto looked like a Santa poser.
After some initial posturing, Dune took off with Otto in blistering hot pursuit. Around they went, mostly in figure-eights, sticking close to us, but they were flying and they appeared to be having fun. Toney seemed particularly pleased that thanks to her clever plan, her Dune was getting a real workout.
Toney was right. They did work it out and now they were getting some serious cardio.
When Otto finally gave up, he was panting so hard and moving so slow that I thought I would need to take him to the glue factory.
Mission accomplished. Otto and his new friend got quite a workout. Eika stayed still and watched the good play and Toney got my award for the most chill and self-assured pet owner I've seen in a long time.
Thank you for a fun interlude at Thompson Fields, Toney. It was easy and fun. I hope we see you and Dune again soon.
Our new friends, Toney and Dune
Few people give any thought to where the water goes after we wash the dishes or flush the toilet, but on Cape Cod waste water is serious business. Public sewer systems are rare, waste is literally taken care of in our own back yard.
In the old days people dug cesspools in their backyard where both solids and liquids in waste water were deposited for gradual absorption into the soil. By the time that waste had reached the drinking well or underground acquifer, the soil had "scrubbed" it clean. As the population increased however, the soil's ability to scrub the waste had decreased. Evidence of bacteria and pathogens were creeping into the drinking water supply. Eeww. Enter the septic system.
Initially considered a temporary solution, septic systems have evolved into a sophisticated and preferred method of on-site waste water disposal. And they're really pretty cool when you learn what goes on in that yard of yours.
The video below illustrates how a septic system works. It was produced by Lapin Septic Services in Florida, but the concept applies to Cape Cod too.
Septic Systems are under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the local Boards of Health. We don't think much about household sewage until it's time to sell the house, and then everybody wants to know about the septic system.
Here are some facts about septic systems and the law which regulates their use, known as "Title V", according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors: Q: When are septic system and cesspool inspections required under Title 5?
Septic system and cesspool inspections are required in the following circumstances:
Within 2 years before the sale of a home or transfer of title;
In certain inheritance situations; (e.g. - when a child inherits a house from his/her parents);
In certain insolvency proceedings (e.g. - bankruptcy, tax taking or foreclosure);
When the use of the home is changed (e.g. - from residential to commercial use);
When the footprint of the house is enlarged;
When the home is expanded and a building, or occupancy permit is required (e.g. - adding a bedroom) Q: When are septic system and cesspool inspections NOT required under Title 5?
Septic system and cesspool inspections are not required in the following circumstances:
When a mortgage is refinanced;
When the system was inspected within 3 years before the sale and you have records proving that your system was pumped annually since the inspection;
Title to the house is transferred from one spouse to another or placed in certain family trusts;
When the local board of health issued a certificate of compliance within 2 years before the time of transfer of title;
When the community has adopted a comprehensive plan approved by DEP requiring periodic inspections and the system was inspected at the most recent time required by the plan; or
When the homeowner has entered into an enforceable agreement, binding on subsequent buyers, with the board of health requiring an upgrade of the system or connection to the municipal sewer system within 2 years of transfer or sale.
For more information about septic systems in Massachusetts, probably way
more than you ever wanted to know, click here
The invitation came through the multiple listing service; there would be a broker's open house at the Ridge Club in Sandwich and Bobby Orr would be in attendance. Clear the schedule. I'm there.
For anyone who lived under a rock for the second half of the 20th century, Bobby Orr was the Boston Bruin heartthrob who lead his team to the National Hockey League Stanley Cub Championship in 1970 and again in 1972. He was Sport's Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in '72 and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 as the youngest player ever to be so honored. Orr is arguably one of the greatest pro athletes of all time.
I was in my early teens when Bobby Orr fever swept New England, and I got the fever again tonight. Orr is one of a dozen owners of the beautiful Ridge Club of Sandwich
, a gated golf community in interior Cape Cod where Realtors gathered over cocktails tonight to learn more about the homes for sale there.
Tonight Orr sat at a table with a stack of glory days photos he graciously autographed as he posed for pictures with star-struck Realtors like myself. He could not have been more of a gentleman. Nor could he have been more hot. After I instagrammed a photo, some followers weighed in. "He's still soooo handsome", wrote one. "He looks great!" said another.
When I asked him how many 50-something year old women tell him they had a crush on him in the early 70's, he paused and said actually that was kind of young. And the image of a bunch of grannies telling him he's cute made us laugh. You can see that in the photos. He was a really good sport.
Thanks to Realtor Wendy Beaulieu of William Raveis Real Estate, who took the photos with my iphone after her own photo op with Orr was finished.
And thanks to Bobby Orr himself, for inscribing his photo to my three boys, and for an unforgettable evening with my teen idol. There is nothing like finally meeting someone who made you aware of a heartbeat more than 40 years ago. My life is almost complete.
Carlton Fisk, are you going to be on the Cape any time soon?
I'm sorry for not writing about the Broker's Tour in Harwich lately. I attended a closing last Tuesday and today it is my turn to man the front desk at the office, so I haven't been able to attend.
While checking out the latest offerings on the Multiple Listing Service, I found an unusual piece of Cape Cod land for sale in Falmouth that I thought you would find interesting.
Looks pretty good, but nothing extraordinary, right? Let's widen out.
See that asphalt behind the lot and neighboring homes? That's no highway. It's a landing strip for private planes.
Here is an ariel photo from the Falmouth Airpark website
. You can walk out your back door, hop in your plane and be on Martha's Vineyard faster than others can figure out the ferry schedule.
The Falmouth Airpark is privately owned by the Homeowner's Association and features a 2,298' long by 40' wide landing strip for single engine planes. Homeowners typically build small hangars rather than garages to house their planes, however hangar space is available for rent at $350 to $400 per month if preferred. Association fees cover the maintenance costs.
The lot for sale at 30 Quimby Lane, E. Falmouth is .53 acres and is listed at $165,000.
The Falmouth Airpark is one of eight airports on Cape Cod and the Islands. Primary airports include Barnstable Municipal, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Provincetown. Smaller aviation facilities exist with Cape Cod Airport in Marstons Mills, Chatham Municipal Airport, Falmouth Airpark and Katama Airpark on the Vineyard. The Otis Air National Guard base is located in Mashpee as well.
Next week I hope to join the Broker's Tour again. I'll report what I find.