Long ago fall was a time to go for a family drive to see foliage and a visit to the pumpkin patch. We happily rode down sleepy route 10 past towns with sprawling enormous houses and by Court Street in Haverhill, where I grew up. We would finally arrive in Orford, New Hampshire, at the pumpkin farm and see aisles of the orange squash, short and towering tall ones and fat busty pumpkins awaiting eager customers. The farmer always smiled and kindly told the boys that they could choose a couple of gourds.
Climbing over a plunging pile of pumpkins, the boys would gladly pose for a photo and proceed to pick their favorite. Walking the displays back and forth, the boys inspected each face. Upon seeing their prize, their face would light up and instantly a small hand grabbed the scratchy stem. Proud and plump pumpkins were tucked in the back of the SUV while we paid the farmer.
The week of Halloween we broke out the carving knives, bowls, big spoons and newspapers for a carving good time. Sometimes the weather cooperated and we worked outside and others we made the best of it on the kitchen floor. Either way it was always entertaining to see our different pumpkin personalities.
Following the scooping out of the slimy orange guts, we would separate the pumpkin seeds and dry them off with paper towels. Once dried, I would spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for a scrumptious snack.
When spooky Halloween night arrived, at dusk I would place a little candle in each jack-o- lantern. The reflecting light brought each carved squash to life as their expressions came to spooky life. It was a special glow that we gawked at once a year in the depth of October.
Do you visit the pumpkin patch? Have you carved a beauty lately?
As October 31st approaches just around the corner, I remember Halloween days of what seems long ago. The celebratory ghost of Halloween lingers in my thoughts…memories of our sons choosing costumes for school and trick or-treating, visiting the in-laws to see what my mother-in- law would dress up in and the passing out of a few candy bars to neighbor children before we left out into the night.
There was the cowboy costume that Dylan proudly wore two years in a row. The black hat, shiny cap gun and pleather holster and a handy bandanna from my drawer. Then the year Branden wore a hot pumpkin jumper and sweat beaded on his face and he ended up crying from being overtired. I didn’t post the picture of him crying out of respect but it’s comical now looking back.
One year Dylan wanted to be a Blue Power Ranger and coincidentally his cousin Spencer was one too but with a red suit. Oh I can’t forget the simple ghost costume Branden wore and the eyes kept moving off his face…
Since we live in a small community we would trick or treat by car. Tom and I would chauffeur them to a few neighbors’ houses to be greeted with smiles and candy, for that’s what neighbors do. Afterwards we trekked over a couple of miles to our in-laws to hang out for a few hours.
My mother-in- law is known for dressing up in costumes over the years and the tradition continued with her grandchildren. Every year she wore something different to amuse the kids, but we were enjoying it too. One year Theo dressed as a clown and we got this great picture of her and Dylan.
Out of all these fleeting memories filled with the boys laughter and costume fun, the best thing was that they transformed into something magical for one night a year. It wasn’t always about the candy but they loved that too, because I didn’t buy candy all the time. It sure was a treat. I grew up with my dad owning grocery stores and candy and soda were easy to acquire, therefore I didn’t want our boys to get addicted to it like I did.
There’s the Halloween when the boys were 6 and 8, great ages to explore new costumes, ones that kind of reflected their personalities. Dylan chose a hunter costume, probably in tribute to his dad who is an avid hunter. Branden wanted to be a scarecrow, perhaps out of like for the infamous scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz or out of a fondness for the floppy nature of one.
A scarecrow hanging out on the wall, ready to spook visitors.
Flipping through these past memories, I remember being caught up in the hustle of buying or planning costumes and being stressed about the holiday. Even so, I truly enjoyed these moments and love looking back at photos I took. I had many people tell me to capture those moments with a camera because otherwise much would be forgotten. With a grateful heart I share these with you for some smiles and perhaps they will trigger fond moments of long ago for you.
As I plunge back into the present, I’ll tell you that Halloween is quiet now. We haven’t had a trick or treaters for five years, yet I still purchase a small bag of candy with slight hope. This may sound sad to you, but it really isn’t to me. There’s a time and season for everything and this is the season that we are in. In the present Tom and I will keep our light on, just in case and maybe watch a movie or play Scrabble Halloween night. Looking into the future hopefully we will enjoy our trick or treating grandchildren and everything will come full circle.
As I conclude this post I wish you will enjoy neighbor romping children and indulge in a little treat or two. If your holiday is rather quiet too, try to be thankful and remember what was while looking forward to what may be.
There are days I wonder what my son Branden is accomplishing at college. I do know that whatever project he’s immersed in is a total commitment and that he will work to the best of his ability. Recently he shared his latest 3D project with us, sastifying my curiosity.
Upon first sight I thought that the pieces were black and white photos. Branden created this on his computer, a replica of the college computer lab. The specific details such as the chair wheels and the fold in the chair backs impresses me. It takes tremendous concentration to create them to resemble the real things.
Here’s a shout out to all artists who work with an intense passion for your art. Like you, my son is an artist, in a modern way as he works on his computer. I’m very proud of his accomplishments and look forward to his future designs.
Hello blogging friends and readers! Many of you probably saw my few garden posts this summer. My growing garden is my primary priority in the summer season as I have days off from my school job to focus on the tilling, weeding and picking. Here we are in late October with colder night frosts, therefore my garden is on its way out.
We picked endless amounts of squashes, tomatoes and cucumbers this year. Our first year growing corn again was a success with three rows of healthy stalks bearing about 25 ears of corn. It wasn’t the best season for carrots and eggplant though. ( we had three eggplants compared to 25 a couple of years ago)
Once again the growing season has flown by! Gazing at the once plot of greenery, now all there is brown corn stalks, tomato bushes deprecated by frost and memories of what once was. Despite all this, my broccoli plants still sport a healthy shade of green and are still producing broccoli sprigs.
Soon Tom and I will cut down the plants and throw in our compost pile out back. We could cover the garden with cut evergreen boughs but it may not be necessary. I need to stake a portion of our fence so the heavy snow won’t knock it down. Then there will be nothing else to do but dream of next year’s crop and plan changes for June 2018.
In some regions gardeners plant fall crops. Are you growing any plants this time of year?
The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.
Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.
Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.
It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!
Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.
Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.
Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?
Okay, friends, take a gander at this beautiful scenery and you’ll know why I relish my walks in this small town in New England. It all started this summer when my mother-in-law visited and we trekked a six-mile or more hike through every corner of this hamlet. From then on, I caught the walking bug and found that I felt really great physically and emotionally when I hit the pavement. Most days I walked by myself about a mile or so. Other times I walked a few times with co-workers after school, panting and chugging the whole way. (About three or miles each time.)
A few weeks ago I took a chance and asked my neighbors to walk. We’ve lived here almost three years and unfortunately I hadn’t connected with them yet. I’m beyond blessed that I’ve made two friends in the walking process. Anita, Irene and I walked twice a week up our road and stretching uphill towards town with friendly conversation shaping our walk.
Anita has taught me that it’s healthy to set a positive intention everyday. In the mere hours of a quiet morn, I sit still and reflect on the coming day. At this time I also pray to God for the people in my life and for ones in need. In the peace of these moments, I’ve started to set a positive intention to focus on for the day.
My intention is to focus on something new everyday and breathe positive air into my corner of the world. The first positive intention was calm. That day whenever something stressful appeared , I focused and breathed of calm. The next day my positive intention was confidence. I have fought low self-esteem much of my life, especially at work when I have to be on top of my game. Although I had a rough day, my lesson was that I need to be confident with whatever life throws at me. Fastball zingers happen and it’s up to me to stay strong and take them as they come.
As the autumn season rushes in, our daylight is diminishing. Walks may be less frequent and more spontaneous on weekends and such. As I reflect on this, I am extremely grateful for our country walks with fresh air and mountain scenery, fit for a postcard. A nearby pasture hosts curious cows watching our steps down the road with keen interest. Trees shed leaves of crimson and mustard yellows, wind swirling them in squalls. These nature strolls are even richer with the company of two really nice people!
I challenge you to try to set a positive intention everyday. Some ideas to focus on are peace, calm, giving, listening, smiling more and forgiveness. Meditate in a quiet spot in the morning before you plunge into your day. Write your intention down and how it could help you grow. It’s been a healthy practice for me and an inspirational way to stay positive in a chaotic world.
This post is dedicated to all classic car enthusiasts who long for the thrill of restoring a gem to what it once was.
Spontaneity is the spice of life, don’t you agree? With that said, much of my adult life has been just the opposite. I plan, plan, plan and Tom goes along with it and in the end, we always have fun on our little excursions. About a month ago my son’s girlfriend Alexis asked us if we wished to go to a car cruise with them on Saturday afternoon. It was a work of spontaneity and fun! We were excited to jump on board, but didn’t know what to expect, only that there would be classic cars involved.
Gary Schoolcraft, a long time resident of beautiful Peacham, Vermont is the event’s organizer. Lexie knows him and his wife, Claudette and introduced us to him. Gary is generous enough to share his classic car , with Dylan and Lexie, letting them take it for weekends and such. This time he let Dylan drive the 1965 Chevy Impala while Alexis sat in the front seat and Tom and I lounged in the back. The weekend event was another fun excuse to dive back in time. Tom and I wish to thank Alexis and Dylan for asking us to tag along. We also want to thank Gary for his hospitality and making us feel welcome during the ride.
The gorgeous 1965 Chevy Impala SS has a 396 engine with a four speed. This red as an apple beauty is completely original including the paint. The interior is a shiny red and sparkling. It rides comfortably and purrs like a kitten.
I thought of what a beautiful outing this was , as we perched on the vinyl seats with windows wide open to fresh Vermont air. The rushing air through the open window was exhilarating while it caressed my thick locks of hair. What’s the sense in taking a thrill ride without letting everything flutter in the breeze?
While we waited for other cars and their owners, we surveyed the vehicles before us in the blazing heat. The sweltering sun cooked up a hot steamy September day. After about 15 cars arrived at the first stop, we were all on our cruise down route 5 to the next stop, Wells River, Vermont. There many other classic cars roared in, jumping in line for the parade of sorts.
Passing by little towns like Bradford and Fairlee, we saw people waving and smiling widely. I guess you don’t see classic cars like these everyday and it’s always a joy to be launched back in time! Our last stop before the drive-in movie was at Wings Market in Fairlee where we all parked askew all over the parking lot and raided the ice cream stand. As the line snaked out and people laughed while waiting , a familiar voice came from the crowd. Our nephew, Luke was there! What a coincidence…Luke was driving his friend’s classic car and spotted us in line. You never really know who you will bump into on a given adventure!
Arriving at the Fairlee drive-in I experienced a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. My parents and one time my brothers brought my sister and I to the drive-in to see movies. Back then they sold the mosquito coil that you would burn on your dash but they would end up scorching holes in it. The smoke would fill up the car and yet the mosquitoes still were attracted to us. We would take the old metal speaker and latch it on the windows to hear the show. Now they give you the radio station to tune in to, to hear the audio.
All the classic cars paraded into the drive-in of all colors and makes. I would guess that maybe 40 or 50 cars were there. You could hear people visiting and laughing and engines roaring in, to celebrate days of old. After a quick dinner of hamburgers and soft drinks, it was time to settle in for the movie. While Dylan and Alexis sat in the front, Tom and I sat like two teenagers in the back in luxury.
It was so much fun seeing the movie with the kids and experiencing this day with them. It felt like we were immersed in a time capsule and thrust back to the 60’s for one special day. Riding in such a beauty was a magical experience but what really topped it off was to be surrounded by the nicest people! All the crowd had one thing in common….a desire to gawk at all the amazing automobiles and honor all the work and sweat poured into each frame.