After the Storm

Well, Hurricane Sandy packed quite a punch! We are, just tonight, getting our first look (on television) at the damage in New Jersey and New York. Oh my! What devastation! Our hearts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been impacted so severely.

I was certainly thankful we were no closer than we were to the center of the storm! While we only received 3 1/2″ of rain from Sandy, we had winds just as fierce as any we’ve heard roar around the corners of our home before this. We lost four very small birch trees. And we lost power, telephone, internet, and television from about 3:00 Monday until 7:00 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).

The morning after the storm, this is the sky I awakened to.

About twenty minutes later, it was raining steadily again. We ate breakfast by the light of the oil lamp.

Later that day, curious to see what the world around us looked like, I ventured forth to town to run an errand and snap some pictures. Near our home there had been a tumble-down shack. Now it is simply a shack that’s tumbled down!

And just down the road, I found this old, rotted tree that had split apart in the storm.

En route to town, I saw this. The big pines are so quick to fall over in high winds as they are very shallow rooted and dense, so the wind does not go through them very easily.

Coming home via a different route, I found the road up towards our home closed. Ahh…that might explain our power outage. That large pine tree is only held up by the power lines on which it is snagged.

We are very thankful for so little damage and the minor inconvenience of no power.

Preparing for the Storm

We are preparing for the BIG STORM here! Actually, in New England, we’re not expecting it to be too much…a little rain and some wind. But preparations are prudent just the same!

The deck looks kind of sad and lonely. All the chairs, the table, and the umbrella were put away today. That needed to happen for winter anyway, but the BIG STORM just forced us to do it a bit earlier than planned.

The oil lamps, my antique store purchase from a month or so ago, have new wicking and are filled with lamp oil now.

A trip to town was made to get gas for the generator. Got chocolate too! All set!

A Night Away

For just the second time in 4 1/2 years, Technohubby and I got away for an overnight stay…a little escape…just the two of us. We headed north to the White Mountains. Most of the foliage in New Hampshire looks like this now…late autumn foliage…sort of a monochromatic butternut brown color. I tend to think of it as “November’s color”, but this year it seems to have arrived a bit early (which I’m assuming was caused by much rain this autumn).

We were thrilled to be staying here! It’s the Mt. Washington Hotel! It was built between 1900-1902, the grand era of hotels…full of old century charm and elegance!

The front entrance was beautifully decorated with banks of mums, cornstalks, and straw bales.

The most attentive bell hop opened the door and ushered us into the gorgeous lobby!

Although the lobby is very elegant, it’s a New England-sort of elegant. It’s not over-the-top. It’s not slick and stylized. It’s a comfortable elegance, where crystal chandeliers and a stuffed moose head live harmoniously in the same room.

In the lobby, there is this old grandfather’s clock. A little plaque next to the clock said that this clock was purchased for the opening of the hotel. It was a tradition, from that first year and every year for the next 95 years, that the first guest who checked in for the season would be allowed to start the clock. And the last guest checking out at the close of the season stopped the clock. The tradition ended when the hotel became a year-round resort.

Behind the lobby is an “enclosed porch”, for lack of a better term, with large, comfortable, brown wicker furniture (I love brown wicker!) and a sweeping view of the mountains behind the hotel.

The hallmark of the hotel is its expansive, wrap around porch, where you can sit in the comfy chairs and enjoy the views of the White Mountains, including Mt. Washington.

We sat on the part of the porch on the back of the hotel, enjoyed the view and glasses of Merlot. Ahh…relaxation!

Our room was lovely and comfortable! It had doors to the adjoining rooms on each side. There was a little sign posted on those doors that explained that when the hotel was built, families would come and stay for weeks and weeks. They would bring their children, servants, caretakers, etc., and they would want to visit with one another. So the adjoining rooms made that easy. It said that if you opened all the adjoining room doors, you could walk from one end of the hotel to the other without ever going out into the hallway.

The pretty doorknobs in our room.

The next morning, I walked down the stairs to find the bakery and purchase breakfast to take back up to our room. I could feel this whoosh of cool air rushing up at me as I came down. And when I reached the main floor, I realized that the fresh, morning air was wafting in through these open double doors. The view just took my breath away! What a beautiful way to start the morning!

Part of the morning was spent reading by the fire, beneath the watchful eyes of the moose.

Our time there came to an end entirely too soon. As we drove away, I spotted one more delight…a lawn chess set! What fun!

Seasonal Delights

Most Wednesdays, Felicity and the kids come to spend the day with us. Today, after lunch, we headed down to our favoirte farmstand to show Theo the pumpkins! It was a day filled with the fun delights of the season!

Theo loves pumpkins, and kept pointing to one pumpkin after another, saying “bum-puh” (translation: pumpkin).

That one, with the enormously long stem, came home with us. (As you might recall, with me…it’s ALL about the stem!) The clerk at the counter told me that it had been picked within the hour, and how he just “knew someone would buy it, because it has such a great stem!” It weighted in at a healthy 27 lbs.!

Some picture posing!

There's one happy face!

Then it was home and a little bit of impromptu leaf stomping with Auntie Colette!

I think he likes autumn!

New Hampshire Wool Arts Tour

Today was a “play hard” day, and play I did! It is the weekend of the New Hampshire Wool Arts Tour, where you can take a self-guided tour of several sheep and alpaca farms. This is the third year that I’ve done the tour, and I look forward to it with eager anticipation each time. This year, however, I had no particular wool needs. I’m working on a knitting project currently. I’ve got at least one more waiting in the wings. I have a whole pile of untouched yarn in a basket on my sewing table, so I didn’t need to purchase any. So mostly, I was going on the tour to enjoy the sights…the sights at the farms and the sights as I meandered all over the beautiful autumn countryside.

To set the tone for the day, I chose my “American Folk Music/Hornpipes/Reels/Etc.” playlist on my phone and set off. Ahh…perfect musical accompaniment for a day in the country!

Since I was planning on enjoying the drive as much as the stops, I meandered with no specific agenda. This is a very good thing, when you happen upon signs like this! Oh yes! I try my best to follow every “barn sale” sign. Garage sale? Yard sale? I can easily skip those. But barn sale signs?…never!

Following this one, down paved and dirt roads, led me here.  This large, rambling New England farmhouse with its attached barns and many outbuildings (including more barns) was having a HUGE sale! What most captivated me was the antique sleighs and the fur lap robes for sleighing. The lap robes (three at least) were lined in wool of exquisite quality and had a decorative wool fringe all around. I’d never seen anything like them! But I left them for a buyer who owns horses and can actually use sleighs and lap robes. I bought an antique walking stick…a simple walking stick…literally make from a stick. With my arthritic knee, I’m determined to develop a collection of interesting canes so I can be infirm in style someday.

After that delightfully unexpected side trip, I went off in search of my first Wool Arts stop of the day. This small barn is always so nicely decked out for autumn.

First stop of the day was in this large horse arena barn.

The gorgeous shades of seafoam green roving in this basket caught my eye. So pretty!

I bought some apple crisp from a couple of smiling young people, and then hit the trail again. The day, which had started out sunny, was quickly turning to hazy sunshine. But still the view of the autumn foliage, just down the street from that farm, was a beautiful one.

It’s been an interesting autumn, in terms of foliage. The leaves seemed to have turned a little early this year. And we’ve had lots of rain. Some trees are still green. Some are turning. And a lot of them have had all their leaves beaten off by the rain and/or wind already. But any way you slice it, autumn in New England is gorgeous!

While I love the farmstands for produce, sometimes you happen across a family or an individual that grew a large crop of something and has just set up a table, a truck, or a tarp in their front yard and is selling what they grew. Prices are usually very good! So, when I saw a pile of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash outside a very old colonial house, I had to stop. I bought Colette an enormous white pumpkin (which she had said she wanted this year for carving) for a mere $4.00! AND I bought an enormous gourd. I’ll show you that later.

At the next stop on the Tour, there were alpaca and sweet-faced sheep! I learned that alpaca’s teeth grown constantly, like fingernails, and have to be trimmed.

Then it was on to one of my favorite stops on the tour. I love driving a couple of miles down this narrow dirt road to get to the small white cape and its sheep pastures.

I took about a dozen pictures of the sheep, but this one was my favorite. It wasn’t the most in-focus, but the leaf on the back of the black sheep just delighted me!

The hazy day had grown increasingly cloudy and the skies had begun to look threatening. Then, when I was in the barn at this stop, it suddenly began to POUR rain. I made a mad dash for my car and resumed my following of the sheep signs.

But first, I took a turn around this charming village…where many of the descendants of the town’s original settlers still live. It is the very definition of Picturesque! The rain had let up, and I rolled down the car windows to let the cool air whosh through. The air had that wonderful autumn scent of wet leaves. The town has an old, New England graveyard.

And there’s an old carriage barn on one home’s property.

And so many lovely old trees and barns.

I did a little antiquing (just looking) along the way.

The rain, which had stopped and started, had let up a bit by the time I got to my last stop of the day. I had to stop and admire the angora bunnies and the handknit angora pieces.

Then it was home to deposit my newly acquired giant gourd on the rock wall!

It was a lovely day!

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