It’s February 4th, a snow day for many people in New Hampshire, including me. This is the first significant snowfall of this winter, producing over a foot, maybe close to 14 inches!
The day has consisted of cups of coffee, leisurely reading, and watching snowplows bustle up our road. The task of brushing off the heavy wet stuff off of my car turned into a monumental chore, lasting 30 minutes. Instead of bothering with my little brush/ ice scraper, I resorted to the kitchen broom! It’s a great workout digging out and even trudging through the yard of drifts.
While Tom’s out fastidiously plowing for our little town, I am watching the glistening snow continue to fall in a winter wonderland. It is my opinion that a pounding snowstorm holds a magical quality about it, one that people not living here may not appreciate. The beauty of nature shows with every flake sometimes ruined by a charging snowplow.
As this day flies by, so does winter. The days are slowly getting longer here and before I know it, I’ll be gardening. This snowstorm will simply be a memory, only thought of when visiting my photographs. Until then I intend to truly appreciate the splendor and peace this brings.
The last few days have been snowy and icy here. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan on any trips on my school vacation, the first week I was busy preparing for Christmas and this week I’m just hanging out. Tom has been in and out plowing, for our town and his driveway clients. He leaves in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rises and I never quite know when he will return. I am sure of one thing…he will return especially for a quick hot meal and the warm bed eventually.
I’ve been happily sleeping until I wake without the obtrusive alarm clock squawking at me. I rise when I rise…whether it be 5 or 6 am, it doesn’t matter. I bundle up in my comfy chair and sip my coffee. The first thing I do upon coming downstairs is turn on my Christmas tree, it is still up! I love having it lit in the early morning and in the evening. It stretches the holiday out for me and I can’t think of a better way to relax in my living room than in front of a colorful pine beauty.
While I’m on vacation it can snow and pile up for I have nowhere to be but here. It’s beautiful to walk in the woods and up our dirt road, an enchanting mass of trees frosted white and glowing in what little sun we have. I do love winter and the change of season. Now if you ask me in late February I may have a negative answer instead.
In October it truly feels like autumn, my favorite season of the year. There is a chill in the air early in the morning and late in the evening sending goosebumps up my spine. Even so, the days are pleasant and bright with sometimes radiating warmth on my skin. Lovely leaves change to deep reds, brilliant oranges and bright yellows while verdant grass and plant life loses its brilliance of green, giving way to the season. Soon all will be rusty brown to be coated with a white blanket once snow falls.
A passing wind storm ripped through our region last week, stripping all the crinkly leaves from their spindly branches. All the trees in our yard are bare, ready for winter and the ice and snow covering. Tom and I spent a weekend vigorously raking them in heaping piles. We loaded them in wheelbarrow loads and on a tarp to dispose of in our compost pile out back. It felt good to be working together as a team taking care of our yard. We labored quietly as the rake scraped scratchy leaves. Chipmunks squeaked back and forth, probably a warning that humans were around. Crows cawed in the distance, a true sign of fall.
October is a time of soaking in the best of the season. Hay bales, propped up scarecrows with straw plunging out, yellow and red mums in crude pots decorate front yards. Pumpkins and gourds lay strewn everywhere while fields are freshly cut of corn and tall grass. Apples fall with a patter from trees, feeding wild turkeys and deer. Little gray wisps thrust from chimneys, leaving a fall smokey scent in the air. It’s one of my favorites as it reminds me of my grandfather’s camp.
Apple cider making is under way as well as fresh baked pumpkin goods. It’s time for fall festivals and church bazaars, fun places to visit and pick up baked goods, grown vegetables and fruits or handmade crafts.
As fall progresses my thoughts are on a festive Thanksgiving and joyous Christmas soon after that. I look forward to spending ample time in my kitchen baking and smelling the fragrant aromas of my labor.
Right now I’m battling something medical with my kidney and bladder. I’m going to a urologist at a local hospital but have been told that there’s a waiting list. I have a firm faith that all will be well. I am strong and able to deal with it. It’s just a challenge to continue to work while this is going on.
It’s a warm pleasant morning in the 50’s with the sun coming up to gift us a new day. October is well under way bringing a crinkled up mosaic of leaves in ambers, yellows, pinks and deep reds. Everywhere you venture in this land you see a patchwork of colors, immersing you in a new world other than rich greens. There’s no place I’d rather be than here in my home state in October!
Every October Tom and I indulge in a foliage ride in either New Hampshire or beautiful neighboring Vermont. Last year we ventured down the infamous Kangamangus highway through Lincoln into Waterville Valley, NH. Cars and people were everywhere, an indication of all the mystical beauty surrounding us. This year Tom mapped our journey ahead, planning to go through Dalton NH across the covered bridge into Vermont. We went through Lunenburg VT up north and stumbled upon lovely Lake Willoughby in Westmore, Vermont.
During our Sunday ride, the warm sun beat on us through the windshield. All we saw where idyllic farm lands, cows grazing in pastures, country dirt roads, as seasonal turned leaves lit the way as we rode. We didn’t pass many stores, gas stations nor restaurants. This ride held lost north country lands and homes that host quiet rural living. It was the perfect foliage ride of peace and exploration!
Upon entering Westmore, Vermont we were greeted by massive cliffs with surreal views. A sprawling Lake Willoughby was on our left as we explored the winding road parallel to it. We came upon a small beach where a few families eagerly snapped photos, as we did. A lone canoe and a small kayak were parked on the beach, beckoning one to venture out on the lake. Across the road a quaint country store stood with a small campground beyond. Hiking trails wound through the woods, appealing to nature enthusiasts.
Tom and I decided that we would visit Lake Willoughby again in the future and trek up one of the trails. It’s peaceful and tranquil gorgeousness spoke to our souls. It’s not often that we find such peace, one that can’t be described in mere words. Silence does it justice for this level of tranquility needs no words, just paying homage to it’s beauty.
Coming home we were fortunate to be able to see fall colors in our own yard, solidifying our love for our land. Going on a foliage road trip is exciting, especially when you explore a new place you’ve never seen before. The only perfect ending to that scenario is returning to the subtle serenity of the place where you belong, home.
Well the gardening season is approaching it’s end in northern New Hampshire. So far we have only had a frost or two, enough to blacken and crinkle the plant leaves. I’ve been spending my time picking tomatoes, carrots and the last of the zucchini and broccoli. Every time I’m ready to bid goodbye to all the picking and vegetable gathering, a growth spurt comes out of nowhere. The sunny pleasant days are tending to the zucchini plants, still surprising me with little deep green beauties, a harvest of close to two months! ( Even with frosted leaves!) Teeny green broccoli sprigs tower above the plants, making it easy to snip them off. Carrots continue to grow and thrive, as well as the snappy healthy tops. I’ve always thought they look perfect for a garnish!
About a week ago Tom and Dylan moved the greenhouse to the garden from the back tall grass. Tom cleverly placed it over our best tomato plants. I’ve been watering them and picking as many red ones as I can. Because the season is ending soon, I’m picking the green tomatoes as well and bringing them inside. It works really well to ripen them in paper bags, then I make my homemade pasta sauce for the freezer. That way we can enjoy the taste of the garden in the long winter months!
My Butternut squash plants grew long vines which I draped over our fence. Here and there squashes grew amongst the leaves sporting a deep green color. For weeks I’ve waited for them to turn a tan color with no avail. I think this happened in previous years but I don’t remember if I left them on the vine or picked them. Any suggestions from my fellow gardeners? I do love Butternut squash and hope I can eat these!
Here is a sample of my late September harvest! The wooden tray I picked up at the annual Chelsea Flea Market held in July. It’s handy because there are two holes on each side for gathering. Next year I may fashion tough rope handles through them.
As September closes and our leaves turn red, yellow and pink, my garden is slowing turning brown and eventually everything will be put to bed. It’s been a great growing season with my favorites being cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and fresh basil. I’ll truly miss my morning jaunts deep in the growing vines beyond our home. The bird songs, bright sunshine, buzzing busy bees and lovely Monarch Butterflies will remain in my memory as special accompaniments to the garden.
With fall here and weather changes rolling in, I succumb to the natural order of things. All good things must end, therefore my joy of gardening can be pushed aside until next May. In the meantime I’ll pour over photos and sketch a plot map for next year.
I have sat down three different times to write this post and each time I was almost done and it got erased! It’s frustrating because I was satisfied with it yet now I begin again once more. Hopefully the last time. Has that ever happened to you?
As a young child I didn’t give a hoot about gardens. I remember being around the age of 10 and my dad proudly tried to show me his garden at our Haverhill, NH house. The plot sat in the back of our yard bordering blackberry bushes. Dad tried to put on a tour of all his vegetables and coldly and uninterested I ran away to play. Oh how I regret that with my every being! If I could turn back time I’d listen to soak in the moments as he went through his garden. But I can’t and that’s that.
Now as a mature adult, I’m a gardener like my dad. I guess it all came full circle! It took me half a lifetime to appreciate a gardens peaceful presence and it’s magical qualities. It all started with my paternal grandfather ( actually my maternal grandparents gardened too), progressed to my father and now I continue the tradition. My sister has a vegetable garden too.
Years ago Tom tilled and tended a huge garden for his employer, Mrs. Geneen. He didn’t enjoy it though, for it was his job. I didn’t have anything to do with it until one day I was strolling through the rows of growing green plants. Suddenly an interest sparked within me and from that day on I have tended our gardens. We maintained a garden at the farm for about twenty years and about five here, on our land.
It’s more than a hobby, but as a profound passion of connecting with the earth and growing and nursing vegetables for our family. Digging in the soil of the plot makes me feel alive! It’s calming as I stoop and pull weeds, check the leaves for growth or hoe the narrow rows of dirt. It’s my therapy in life, a special sanctuary to be still or to move among the plants. Sometimes I twist and turn, other times I rest and weed. Whatever I do in the garden, it’s sacred.
As I wrap up this post, I wish to thank my dad for all his gardening advice and for our phone conversations that are focused on gardening. It’s these moments that mean very much to me, times of connections that have strengthened our relationship. Maybe he’ll see this and maybe he won’t and that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that this hobby has brought us a little closer. I’m grateful for that.
It’s hot and steamy July, a month when one usually doesn’t think of frigid New England winters. Yet soon enough it will be upon us and that’s my husband’s mindset. He knows how frigid and snowy it becomes here and his steadfast winter preparedness drives him to find wood.
Recently Tom bought wood from his friend Mike, cut from his land in our town. He’s been hauling in it, cutting it on the wood splitter and stacking it neatly. So far he has accumulated about three or four cords. We will probably need at least three or four more, enough to last about ten months. We primarily heat our house with our trusty wood stove besides the little kerosene monitor we have in the kitchen.
In the last few summers I enjoy going out and working with Tom. He cuts and I stack, which is an excellent work-out for me. Last summer I spotted a huge black and yellow snake living in the wood pile and since then I’m a bit jumpy and nervous about helping. We have far too many snakes on our property and they creep me out!
When we go on our summer country rides and back dirt roads I appreciate spotting stacked wood piles. It means someone else is planning ahead! It’s amazing to see who still burn wood here. With that said, I’ve heard that many have resorted to burning pellets. It may be convenient and maybe cheaper but you can’t stack bags nor admire their beauty in someone’s yard, right?
Forgive the picture quality, it was through a closed window. See what visited us the other morning? We were having our coffee in the living room and spotted a couple of does in our side yard. They’re so graceful and fun to watch this time of year! I feel beyond blessed to live with these beauties!
Thanks to my cousin Holly for bringing these yummy gems to our cousin reunion. I’m sharing her idea with you…they’re so easy and delicious!
Two or three packages cream horns
Cut up cream horns in 1- 1 1/2 inch medallions. Each one should have cream filling in it. Add a strawberry slice and a blueberry on top. It’s that easy but a delicious treat that I HAD to INDULGE in a few. It’s sweet with the filling but fresh and fruity too!
Last year I made a blueberry pie to celebrate the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the prettiest I’ve made but I remember that Tom loved it and that’s what matters to me! How about attempting this beauty? Simply cut stars in the crust, revealing a deep pool of blue fruit! I’m going to bake this and will share later! Wish me luck!
What scrumptious holiday desserts are you making this year? We will be having my blueberry pie.
Tom and I aren’t doing much tomorrow, on the 4th of July…fishing, a cook- out for us two and fireworks later. Maybe someday again we will have big plans for the day but the last few years it’s quiet and that’s okay with us!
Happy Fourth of July my friends! Despite the negative media stories, I still love this land and our rich history! God Bless America.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸