Maple Weekend

March 25th and 26th is Maple Weekend in New Hampshire. 🍁

There will be over 100 sugar houses open across the state. Our favorite sugar shack stop is definitely in Alexandria. Of course, we’re partial because we know and love the hard-working couple who live there. We enjoy their syrup on our pancakes while never forgetting the hard work that went into producing it.

Besides the building and equipment investment, there is the chopping of the wood, miles of lines, collection sites, hundreds of spiles, transportation, and then the boiling of 40 gallons of sap for one gallons of syrup. It’s hard work to produce the real thing, and those of us who enjoy it certainly applaud these craftsmen.

So, get out and about this weekend, and knock on your favorite sugar shack door. It’s definitely the sweetest weekend of the year. 🍁

If you’re looking for a maple recipe this weekend, check out the maple muffins over at Vermont Farm Made. The muffins are delicious, but the topping is maple heavenly.

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Welcome SpringđŸŒș

Wink, wink, nod, nod. We’re still buried in snow. The temperatures are all over the range, but it is 27°F as I write this.

I’m grateful though because it didn’t snow on Saturday, and I was able to attend the New Hampshire Master Gardener Welcome Spring Symposium.

The first speaker was Benjamin Pauly who is the Master Gardener for the Woodstock Inn and Resort in Vermont. He kept our interests by talking about Gardening with intensity – Habits of the Highly Effective Kitchen Garden. His 2.5 acre garden provides the Resort Chefs with certified organic flowers, herbs, veggies and fruit. Most interesting fact shared – he waters plants when he puts them in the ground and possibly the second day, but after that he doesn’t water them. He leaves it up to Mother Nature.

Rock gardening was up next, and Joseph Tychonievich shared his love of rock gardening and its wonderful small alpine plants. Joseph is a guest on public radio’s, The Splendid Table, and the author of three books about rock gardening, plant breeding, and a complete guide for gardeners.

He shared photos of rock gardens all over the world and the materials and methods needed to create, maintain, and enjoy a rock garden of your own.

After a delicious lunch and time for the silent auction, things got ramped up when Jim Sutton, the Display Designer at Longwood Gardens, took us on a slide tour of the gardens. It is currently Orchid Extravaganza at the Gardens. He also shared some of his favorite container and basket combinations that pack a real punch. I think he had a lot of gardeners ready to head for Pennsylvania. I know I’d love to visit and especially see the Green Wall which is 14′ high and 300′ long making it the largest in North America. Have you been to Longwood Gardens?

The day closed with Brie Arthur and Foodscaping 101. Brie lives in a subdivision in North Carolina with the usual Home Owners’ Association rules and regs. While more people seem to be interested in planting a garden and harvesting produce to enjoy at their table, everyone doesn’t live on a farm. Brie consults with homeowners to help them incorporate edible plants into their current landscape. There are no raised beds in the front yard, but there may be some tomato and asparagus plants mixed in with the rose bushes. If you have a landscape with plants that require sun, then you can intersperse sun-loving vegetables with them in an attractive way. If you want help to incorporate delicious veggies in with your shrubs and perennials, check out Brie’s new book.

If you live in New England or are planning to visit, you might also want to check out this wonderful brochure: New Hampshire’s Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Trails. Tour trivia? My grandparents farm is now part of the #13 farm on the trail. 🙂

Happy spring everyone. 🙂

____________

Photo Credits:
Benjamin Pauly: Woodstock Inn and Resort
Joseph Tychonievich: Barnes and Noble
Jim Sutton: Longview Gardens
Brie Arthur:  Amazon
NH Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Trails: Visitnh.gov

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Calm after the storm

I really don’t like uninvited guests. They drop in at the most inconvenient time, stay for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Roll out mid evening and just leave one incredible mess to clean up. Stella. Who invited her to spend Tuesday in New England? 🙂

Monday, there was bare ground, and yesterday we had one heck of an old-fashioned snowstorm. The snow started lightly falling around 8 a.m., with the whiteout rolling in around noon and going well into the evening. Almost everything was closed so there was no traffic, and today the roads are clear down to the pavement.

 

I did a little pushing of snow around the edges and cleaning the cars a couple of times. The removal during the height of the storm was done twice by younger members of the family. Today the seniors did the cleanup. Total as far as I could measure was right at 16″.

Several thousands lost power in town as well as across the state. But, Steve took the punishment, and we ended up only losing power for a couple of minutes. It was just long enough to have to reset the clocks. Picture a happy dance here. 🙂

I’m glad it’s over and hope that it is the last knock from Mother Nature with regard to snow. I can hope because I have lots of outdoor chores and projects including straightening that arbor.

Now, we are left to wonder about all the plants and trees that budded out during those warm spells and have now been through some brutal winter weather again. I don’t know where the fruit will come from this year, but I’m thinking it may not be local.

Saturday, two days before the official start of spring, is my Master Gardener Spring Symposium. Only one hitch – snow is currently in the forecast.

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Knock, knock – Mother Nature Calling

A New Hampshire friend gearing up to deal with the Nor’easter forecasted to arrive tomorrow sent us an email. He thought that maybe having spent two months in a warmer climate was having a negative effect on our weather.

Not likely. If we could influence the weather at all, it would be 70 and sunny throughout New England. 🙂

Storm check list:

  • Hair appointment changed ✓
  • Doctor appointment changed ✓
  • Shovels in the garage and handy ✓
  • Ice melt ✓
  • Gas for the John Deere snowblower ✓
  • Pellets stacked near stove ✓
  • Bottled water ✓
  • Foodstuffs not requiring cooking ✓
  • Wash caught up ✓
  • Library books (plural) ✓
  • Hunkering down mode engaged ✓

If the power goes out, there is no heat – furnace or pellet stove (needs electricity for starter, igniter and blower.) Bring on the quilts.

A couple of years back, we had the power boxes torn right off the house twice and had the privilege of paying $$$$ to have them replaced. Then they decided to grant us a power pole in our side front yard that keeps the lines higher especially during serious storms. We named that beautiful pole, Steve. So, tomorrow I’ll be checking out the window to see that Steve is standing tall and holding those lines because that means even if the power goes out we’ll be back on line in a normal time sequence and not 7-10 days later. I love Steve.

Photos tomorrow.

Thanks, Dan, for letting me borrow the title. 🙂

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , | 59 Comments

It’s coming

Or so they say. Ten more days. Spring. Our clocks advance forward this weekend. There is only one problem – someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. 🙂

Yesterday, we had high winds and 5,000 of us lost power. Today we are having temperatures in the 20-30’s and light snow. It gets colder and snowier from there. Regardless of what the calendar tells us, winter is not over in New England.

But, gardening season has kicked up. Tomorrow, Slow Food Seacoast and Seacoast Permaculture present the 3rd Annual Seed to Soil Conference in Eliot, Maine.

Next Saturday, I’ll be heading to the annual Master Gardener Spring Symposium in Concord. Topics for the day will include Gardening with Intensity, Rock Gardening, World Class Plant Combinations, and Foodscaping (practical and innovative ways to create an edible landscape). I’ll report back.

In the meantime, I’m ignoring the gray day and the pellet stove roaring so I can  think spring – peonies, ferns, bleeding hearts.

I have a long to-do list of outdoor projects and have been looking at seeds and plants that are still on my garden bucket list.

I’m also still working on those blue bottles, but this cold weekend may also require some baking. I’m thinking pie with berries from last year’s garden. Yes, I think that will perk me right up. 🙂

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Reality bites

We’re back home, and it’s always good to get home. Family hugs are very much appreciated, the bed is just right, the recliners are comfy, and the guide on the TV is welcome.

Who knew I’d ever be so giddy about the guide on the TV, but then I never went two months without one. I don’t know who owns Time Warner, and I don’t care. I just wish they’d be a little more viewer friendly.

The temperature has been wicked frigid. With the wind chill, it has been below zero for several days. It was 32 this morning – wahoo. There’s still snow on the ground but mostly where it piled up from the removal process.

The loads and loads of wash are done, suitcases stored, new quilt patterns reviewed, fabric has been purchased, and the sewing machine has been oiled. My pulse quickened entering the fabric store. I’d never make it living full time 70 minutes from the closest fabric store. 🙂

I picked up my quilt at the long arm quilter’s studio yesterday. Remember, the seven tea towels my sister-in-law embroidered? I put the label on, did the binding on the machine, and now await a visit to gift it to my daughter. I am very happy with how it came out and hope it is in the family for many years to come.

Gardening is limited to looking at catalogs and repotting a house plant, but I do have my bottle tree and blue bottles in the garage awaiting spring. After all, we worked hard emptying all those blue bottles of Riesling. 🙂

Posted in Quilting | 46 Comments

Thursday Doors

I’m somewhere on the road in Connecticut on my way home, but I have one more door post from South Carolina. It comes to you from Pawley’s Island Tavern, or the PIT as it is called locally. It is also referred to as “classically shabby” maybe because it is dripping with dollar bills. 🙂

taverndoorcollage

After the wonderful Horry County Museum’s 23rd Annual Quilt Gala last Friday, five of us ladies went for lunch there. I had fried scallops and home-made potato chips – delicious. We sat outside and really enjoyed ourselves. At night, it is something else because of the music venue and the partygoers.

They have a cool sign and wall mural. The door to the unisex single bathroom is red because of the lighting coming from the stage area. The old tree trunk bench is dedicated to “Jimmie Wilson, 1/29/39-6/23/10, Every night is Friday night, and Every day is Saturday.”

tavernsign

screenshot-2017-02-25-15-11-43For those who sew and quilt and are wondering what was the most spectacular quilt I saw, well here it is – Primitive Garden from Primitive Gatherings.

You can purchase the Kit for $385, Thread for $165, and the Pattern for $80. For a mere $630, you can get started on a new project.

This is a screenshot from Primitive Gatherings website. I couldn’t get a clear shot of it for all the people gathered around. All of the appliquĂ© is done in wool. Gorgeous piece of work but a little out of my budget.

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, March 2, 2017.

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , | 32 Comments