Chandler Pond

Our little town hosts serene mountain views as well as farming fields and pastoral hillsides. It’s the type of town you can relax in and absorb all the scenic wonders. One such wonder is lovely Chandler Pond. It sits at the corner of Millbrook and Gale Chandler Road with a mountains in the distance framing it in. Chandler Pond is a man-made water hole and Tom says it was for transporting logs for a business. We are assuming this was many years ago but we don’t know an accurate date.

 

 

Now and then on a spring or summer evening Tom and I will seek peaceful refuge here. A stillness lives here and it settles us. We don’t talk much at Chandler Pond and we don’t need to. We stand and look in this quiet country setting and just be.  Sometimes Tom hooks a fish and others he doesn’t and I don’t think that matters to him other that he is here amid the beauty. It bursts at you right away, for it is reflective of the surrounding trees and mountain ranges.

 

 

There have been moose here and deer nearby. Ducks flock here. Beavers swim and build lodges of sticks and mud. Parading geese and their young trek on the bank. Unfortunately Tom and I had to walk as if in a maze, dodging the poop piles. Most of you must know that geese are great to look at but very messy where they live. It is what it is…a sign of nature.

 

On a July evening Tom and I visited this gem with intentions of seeking peace after a hectic day. Our wishes were met as we walked along the pond and looked for fish, as the night air cooled

There are two places you can park and get out and walk around the freshly mowed edge.The water flows into a spillway, which runs into a winding stream. That’s where Tom likes to cast his fishing pole and catch fish that are stocked there.

 

 

 

Here is the spillway with the Chandler Pond overflow feeding into it. From there it goes in a culvert and into a stream.

 

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This is where Tom fishes over the railing into the brook below

 

 

 

When we first started dating Tom took me on a boat ride here. It was in a cheap blow up boat with plastic oars, one that I won in a work raffle at the store. Shifting every so slightly caused the plastic to squeak and I couldn’t help wondering how sturdy it was. I remember that day and the stillness as my heart fluttered being with this man. Although I should live in the now, coming back to the pond taps into this past memory.

 

How blessed we are to live in this town and reap the ponds rewards. I suggest that you find your peaceful spot in your town. Visit when you need to fill your cup and cherish the silent moments.

 

Chandler Pond in the fall

 

 

Here’s my handsome husband in his element, the outdoors.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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Jubilant July

Here we are already in July! It’s been scorching hot weather here for days. Temperatures have reached in the 90’s and it’s apparent most people welcome it! I know I sure do, but worry about Tom who has to work in it. Cars roll by with windows all the way down, people walk around in shorts and sunglasses and head for a cool drink. Children dash back and forth in sprinklers or immerse in cool pools.

 

The beautiful heat wave has launched my flowers a bloom. A splash  of rainbow colors dot my front yard. Several times a day I walk barefoot the plush grass and with a jubilant feeling. It’s July and all my flowers are growing as well as my vegetable garden. Opposite the white glow of winter, July brings in bright yellows, rich reds, dainty purples and verdant greens. 

Wouldn’t you love to stroll this corner and take in all the magic?

My latest find is this Sombrero Salsa red Cone-flower! I’m planting it after the heat wave next to my newest plant that has gone by. I already have wine purple Cone-flowers interspersed between my Coreopsis but now will have another color to add to the mix. They are not bloomed yet and it may be a few weeks until they do.

Here’s a street side view of our little house. God bless “her” as she keeps us cool in the heat. The foundation is of rock and years ago they actually had a root cellar in the basement. 

Yesterday I mulched my shady garden a bit more and I love the eye-popping red mulch with the greens!

Many of you already know that I’m growing sunflowers for an important purpose: my son’s wedding. Back before the heat arrived we had a drenching rain for a whole day and a half and these beauties are the result! How incredible they are….I do hope with a shot of Miracle Gro every week, they will bloom before August 18th.

Well, friends that’s it for now! As you can see I’ve been quite busy gardening and indulging in my yard. That’s why I really love summer and the nice temperatures to enjoy its gifts.

Happy July Fourth to you all, if you are an American. God bless the U.S.A.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

One Small Sticker, One Huge Heart

I am always looking for special moments throughout the day, occurrences that restore my faith in humanity. Sometimes it’s a wide smile and a pat on the back…others times, it’s witnessing adults and students helping each other with a kindness that will surely change our world.

 

 

About six weeks ago at 7:20 with a steamy mug of tea in hand and my school bag slung over my shoulder, I walked the path to the school building. It seemed like any other work day. But little did I know I would receive a surprise at the door. A smiling eighth grader sat on the pavement with a book of bright glittery stickers. “Do you want a sticker?” Brendan Wall asked me. This was strange to me, for I am always  giving out stickers to my students, but no one has ever asked me!

 

I immediately thought that it was a special gesture, especially early in the morning. This was a sure sign that this kids heart was in the right place! From that day on, the sticker collection grew. Brendan would have sheets fanned out on the walk with surrounding kids waiting for a sticker to start the day. He would generously hand them out to students and teachers. Smiling and laughing kids and a genuine happiness hung in the air…simply from a sticker.

 

Brendan told me that he hands out the little stickers “because it makes people happy and that makes me happy.” He said some people ask if he wants money and the answer is always no, “because people don’t need to pay for their happiness!” he stated proudly.

 

I remember having this young man in reading a few years ago. What an inspiring gift it is, to see what good he is doing for the school community now! I’m not sure how Brendan got this fantastic inspiration ( I should have asked him) but I do know that with this simple sticker and kind smile, he’s contributing to a healthy and positive school climate. It sends a simple message that you can spread goodness and kindness with a small token but affect others in a huge way!

Upon taking these photos on the last day, Brendan gave out his sticker sheets for the summer. I didn’t ask him if this project would be ongoing and since he’ll be in high school, I expect it may change. One thing that won’t change is Brendan’s huge heart and his gifts of kindness to others. Maybe someday this young man will have a promising career serving others.

Thank you to Brendan for letting me share his story. Also a huge thanks to his mom for her permission to take photos and write about him. She must be a proud mama to have such a giving son and I’m sure her love and kindness has positively influenced him.

As you go about your day, how can you spread kindness and generosity in small ways? If we all do this, in these special and small moments, our world will definitely be a better place! I hope you will feel inspired from this young man and do your part to spread love and kindness to others!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

aka “Mrs. Blowey” as Brendan knows me

Building a Strong Fence

 

I’ve gardened many years without a fence. Through the years I took my chances and shared my lot with deer, raccoon and skunks to name a few. Then when we moved our garden to our house lot, I received an early sign that a fence probably was priority. The first time we tilled the garden, within hours we had a deer investigate just a few feet away. I think he/she smelled the pungent fresh soil from the nearby woods and wished to see what all this was about…maybe hoping for fresh veggies that early.

 

Even though I knew that I needed a fence, I put it off. The last straw was when I simply left the plot to go inside to make supper. An hour and a half later upon approaching the garden, I discovered that a woodchuck had destroyed and eaten my whole row of broccoli. All that remained were forlorn roots and a green stem sadly bent beyond shape.

 

A couple of summers ago we were fortunate to have my dad give us some simple fencing and we put it up. We attached sturdy sticks to hold up the frame and believe it or not, it held up pretty well even through the rough winter weather. Last fall the wind and elements tore down some of the fence and snapped the sticks we had in place.

 

Yesterday Tom and I put the fence back up with grade stakes I bought at a local Agway farming store. I think they’ll be sturdy and last a few years. The only regret I have is that they should be a little taller, about five feet. They will do and serve the purpose but next time when I replace them I’ll be sure to buy taller stakes.

Many of you know we are renovating our house one bit at a time. Every summer we do a little bit more and eventually it will be finished to our liking. You can see Tom’s summer project in the background, the side of our house that we will continue to put cedar siding on.

This winter I bought this old post office box from Ebay pretty cheap. At first I had inside for decor, then hung it on our front door but finally I’ve decided on its true placement.  Here it hangs on my garden fence, holding all my little shovels and trowels and dowels for the plants. I’m happy with it and its rustic mint green finish. I’m always trying to incorporate antiques and unique things in my inside and outside spaces.

A sturdy fence keeps our planted veggies safe and ready for our family to eat. In these woodsy mountainous parts, a fence is essential! When we go on our local drives in the warm sun, we notice many neighbors have a sturdy fence. Must be that they don’t want to share with the deer either!

 

Do you have a fence around your home or garden? Sometimes fences serve as barriers to keep animals out. Other times they are beautiful works of art, a part of the landscape design.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

The First Step of a Garden

 

The first step of the 2018 garden

It’s Memorial Day weekend, in other words crunch time for gardeners in the north. For weeks we’ve looked at seeds, planned the annual map of where everything will be planted and waited for warmer weather and promising temperatures. Yesterday Tom tilled our lot, just the beginning of another gardening year.

 

Unfortunately swarms of pesky black flies hovered in our faces and bit our necks. The damp air signaled rain and the stirred up  soil thrust them into overdrive and there was no way to get away from them! Thankfully they are out just a few weeks and then mosquitoes will replace them.

 

I’m grateful that Tom tills our lot every year. He methodically walked up and down the space over and over to rid it of grass and already shot up weeds. The loud machine hummed and whirred as nature’s bird calls and creatures played in the background.

 

 

It’s satisfying for Tom and I to see the results of his work in a few minutes. Fresh soil awaits the seeds and plants and then the gardening season will commence for us! We both decided we would hold off on planting until next weekend, being early June. We’ve always planted then to avoid May frosts and give it a warm boost.

My future daughter-in-law Lexy asked me to plant sunflowers for her and my son’s wedding in August. Tom tilled the small bed yesterday and I planted seeds in three rows. We hope we won’t have to fence it away from the woodchucks but time will certainly tell.

 

 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for luck to grow her beautiful sunflowers for the wedding and that they will be ready to pick in mid-August. It means very much to me, to be able to help Lexy and Dylan for their wedding day. I pray that they will grow strong and beautiful, like my daughter-in-law.

 

 

 

Here is a shot of Lexy from our little beach get away in April. She and I went to Ogunquit Maine overnight for a little adventure. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to go with me. Although the beach was freezing and we only stayed minutes, we had a fabulous time at the resort hotel in the hot tub. After we  bought a bottle of wine and sat on our deck talking and then went to a fine dinner in an Italian restaurant. I’m thankful Dylan has chosen this special young woman and our family has accepted her with open arms. We all love her and are thrilled that she will be a part of our family!

 

 

To conclude this post, I ask you what are you growing this year? Are you gardening vegetables or flowers or both?What is your favorite? Mine is growing veggies, as they feed my family and that gives me satisfaction that I”m helping Tom feed our family.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

Lilac Perfume

One common theme of our little yard is the lilac bushes. They reside in all four corners of the property, spewing a heavenly perfume that delights every nature enthusiast. Their magic is short-lived, just a few weeks in May to enjoy and capture with the camera. This is why I cherish them even more.

Here we are at the far end of May, Memorial Day weekend and they are blossoming to greet us. Our local town Lisbon hosts an annual Lilac Festival as all purple and pink lilac bushes in town bloom to beautify every street and lane.

 

This lilac bush is a miracle! A few years ago the snowplow brutally clipped the original big bush and just a sprig remained. My husband Tom nursed it back to life and here it thrives to remind us that once in awhile tragedy can eventually lead to rebirth and growth.

As lilac perfume wafts through the air and grown grass encompasses it in a rich green, I thank God for all the vibrant color in my world. The red geraniums hang out in my window boxes as well as the white draping bicopa. Deep purple petunias add a pop of color. Glancing around my yard various shades of the rainbow calm me. Their beauty amazes me and draws me back to nature when I really need it!

 

Lilac perfume continues to permeate our air and thrills the bees and insects. As the weather warms up and all the creatures and insects live happily around us, I thank God for this life here. I can’t imagine not having all this beauty to enjoy! Remaining grateful for the season, I pray for all the plants, flowers and creatures to thrive and for me to follow suit.

Happy days to you all, in whatever season you are in. Embrace the beauty all around you, for acknowledging it can make life so much sweeter!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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A Spring Morn

 

It’s a spring morning in New Hampshire. As I rise the wood floor boards are freezing to touch. Goosebumps spring through me as I glance out the bedroom window.An emerging sun welcomes my rising from a deep slumber. It warms the earth as robins and chickadees fly all about the yard.

A hot cup of coffee and a watch outside begins the day. Chipmunks already are at their daily routine skittering all over the front lawn. One has made a hole in one place where I tripped the other day. I’m not sure what Tom will do with it or will he leave it?

 

As the day warms I shed blankets and turn off the electric heaters. It’s been about two weeks since we’ve had a stove fire. It actually is a luxury for Tom not to haul wood to the house and kindle a fire so early. The house is warm enough, as the day warms up to the 60’s and lasts until the night cools off. Our heating season is coming to an end besides a sporadic wood fire on chilly June mornings.

 

Nearby yards host delicate daffodils and tulips, springing their rich yellow and pink colors, a beautiful combination with the rich green grass hue. I long to have a daffodil and tulip garden and add it to my yard wish list for coming years.

 

Tom trimmed our sprawling apple tree in the back yard. It looks so much better with branches cut back. Bumblebees fly from blossom to blossom, a good sign for my upcoming garden growth. Gotta have those bees!

 

Just the other day I saw my first hummingbird on a cherry tree branch. It must have been visiting the blossoms. My feeder is up now and I’ve spied the little guy already making a visit for a sugary drink.

 

As this beautiful day emerges with all the possibilities of nature, I remain extremely grateful for this country life. Despite the worries and anxiety of everyday living and an ending school year, I find this quiet yard a haven from it all. It’s a quaint refuge where I can gather my thoughts and center my mind as birds chirp in the background. I can only hope that you all find this harmony in a corner of your world. If you have this, grasp it with all your might and indulge in its elements. It’s the best and cheapest therapy around and will prepare you for what you have to face in the near future.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul