June Visitors

We’ve had some June visitors, but not the sort who enjoy home-cooked meals and a comfy bed.
Each June we have turtles who find their way up from the nearby pond to our yard to lay eggs.  One night, Technohubby was just enjoying a glass of wine on the deck when he spotted this large snapping turtle.

And two days later, Theo got to see this small turtle.  This was as close as he wanted to get.  Cute!

And a week later, I spotted this skunk!  It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a skunk on our property.  And it was quite beautiful…from a distance…with a zoom lens.

Jam Deliciousness

A friend, because she is a sweetheart and my Etsy buddy, sent me a most generous congratulatory gift upon the opening of Jiggety Pig!  She had shipped to me a collection of four gourmet jams from Sunchowders Emporia on Etsy!  I had long been drooling over these beautiful jars of jam, handmade in small batches by Wendy Read.  So, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the box and found four jars…right there in my hands…in my very own house…to enjoy!

They are, from left to right: Pineapple Tangerine Jam, Raspberry Pepper Jam, Spiced Pear Butter, and Blueberry Basil Jam.

They came so beautifully labeled and with such pretty papers covering their lids, that for a couple days I just set them in the kitchen windowsill and admired their beauty.  And then I purchased a loaf of English Toasting Bread…sort of plain…not too much flavor, because I wanted the flavors of the jams to shine through.  And the next day for breakfast, I had myself a little tasting feast!  Oh my!  The deliciousness!  Such unique and fabulous flavor combinations!  I really can’t say enough about the freshness and expert blending of flavors in these jams!  Absolute jam perfection!

And the Raspberry Pepper Jam became a most delicious appetizer when paired with a cracker spread with some cream cheese!  Yum!

To visit Sunchowders Emporia on Etsy and see all of Wendy’s other jams, click here.  SO delicious!

Sabbath Rest

"The grass withers
The flower fades,
But the Word of our God stands forever."

-Isaiah 40:8

Product Recommendation: Quesadilla Grilling Basket

While down on Cape Cod, Colette and I made a trip to the Williams-Sonoma store…a rare treat for us!  There I purchased a quesadilla grilling basket, and the other night we put it to the test.

It worked great!  You just have to remember not to tip it until after the cheese has started melting.  Learned that lesson the hard way.
Scrumptious quesadillas stuffed with cheese, leftover crockpot rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced red onion, and chopped cilantro.  Served up with a dollop of homemade salsa.  Yum!
Available from Williams-Sonoma here.


Colette tries her hand at homemade, glazed doughnuts.  I tell you, that girl is fearless in the kitchen!

Historic Home Tour

Last Saturday, I (and 100+ other people) took the New Boston Historical Home Tour.  I’d been looking forward to this event for months!  After a very rainy week, the sun was shining and the weather was perfect for all the people taking the tour and all the homeowners graciously opening their homes.

The tour was self-guided, with the Historical Society providing maps for the day’s fun, so I decided to start with the home furthest from the center of town.  It was located down a quiet country road lined with tall trees.  The sun was peeking between the leaves and the breeze was rustling them above my head…a most beautiful day.

No photography was allowed inside any of the homes, but outside photographs were permitted.  I think this may have been my favorite home on the tour, mostly because of its quiet, rural location.  The house has been added onto over the years, with the original part of the home (closet to you in this picture) built in 1740.  The home featured pumpkin pine wainscoting, original beams, and some really beautiful antiques.

The home was surrounded by extensive land.  The first cutting of hay has been brought in for the summer, and their fields were so lovely.

The second home on the tour was one I’ve long admired, a brick federal built in 1850 and once the home of a prosperous farmer.

The interior was decorated in an elegant English way, as the woman who lived there (and who, sadly, passed away recently) was from England.  The house is known as a “two over two”, meaning that on either side of the entry there are two rooms, a living room and a dining room, and above them are two bedrooms.  That would be the original house, although this one has been built onto in the rear, so it’s much larger than that now.

The homeowners tackled a different landscaping project each year, and the beautiful grounds certainly showed that love and care.  This is looking back at the house addition (furthest in this picture), at the carriage barn (to the left), and at the barn (on the right).

The bottom of the barn was filled with firewood.  There are a lot of fireplaces in that house!

On the other side of the barn was a horse shoe pit.  Fun!  I’ve got plans for Max to build us something similiar (or simpler) this summer.  And on the wall of the barn was a score-keeping device.

There was a large, and beautiful cascading waterfall (which didn’t photograph very well) that emptied into this pond.

The third house I visited has also been added onto over time.  The original part, a center chimney colonial, was built in 1748 by a founder of New Boston.  And the back portion appears to be more Victorian.  The kitchen inside was remodeled, but they retained a fabulous wall of Shaker cabinetry.

The property’s barn and (to the right) their vegetable garden.

One of the homeowners saw me admiring the barn and came over to talk to me.  We had quite a lengthy conversation, and he was just as sweet as could be (that’s him in the hat in the photo below).  The other building on the property is this “workshop”, housing his woodworking tools.  I was told that a doctor lived in the main house once and used to practice medicine out of this small building.  His patients would live with him and work on his farm to pay off their medical debts.

After eating the delicious box lunch that I purchased with my tour, I moved on to the fourth house.  This one is located in the center of town and used to be a water-powered grist mill.  It’s been a family residence since 1963.  The original mechanisms for the mill are still intact.  And the original millstone sits where it always has, in what is now the kitchen of the home.

The back view of the home.  This wall was once part of a dam that stretched across the river that runs just to the side of the house.  The dam formed a pond.  I once read that when the pond froze in the winter, people would ice skate on it.

The rear view of the grist mill home.  There used to be a wall that diverted water through those doors and under the mill, where the power of the water was used to run the mill.  Every so often, the  river runs high following a spring thaw and/or rain, and the town center floods.  The last time this happened, in 2007, the water level of the river came within just a few inches of the sub-floor of the home.  Yikes!  That would be the downside of  living in this location.  The upside?…that fabulous screened porch with its view of the river and the sound of the water rushing past.

Next was the largest home on the tour.  it was built in the early 1800′s and is a “four over four”, with four rooms on the original ground floor and four rooms above them.  The upstairs hall featured original Moses Eaton stencils dating to 1810…SO lovely!

From the side, the house is brick, and it’s easier to see how it is a “four over four”.

Whenever I drive past this beautiful, large home, I look to see if the cows are grazing in this pasture.  The cows were out today!

The smallest home on the tour was once a schoolhouse in town!  This picture shows only the schoolhouse part.  It’s difficult to see, but there’s quite a few rooms added onto this original building.  Inside, there is still the raised teacher platform, the spots on the floor where the desks were bolted down, and a few names etched into wood by naughty students.  The schoolhouse also used to have a 3-seater outhouse!

A sundial in the garden of the schoolhouse.

And last, but not least, was the oldest home in town.  It is a center chimney cape and was built in the 1740′s, before the town was incorporated.  The part to the right is original.  And the larger part, to the left, is a great room that was added in 2001.  But even that was built using the beams from an old barn in our town.  A hallway in the home shows the original clapboards to the 1740′s house!  The home also features fine fireplaces with firearms and cooking kettles.  Both this home and the one that belonged to one of the founders of our town had King’s Pine flooring.  Back when New Hampshire was a colony, representatives of the King of England would go through this land marking the tallest and straightest pine trees as “the King’s pines”.  These would be cut for the King and shipped back to England for use as ship masts.  That, seemingly unending supply of tall, straight trees helped to ensure the supremacy of England’s navy for more than a hundred years.  If these original homeowners had been caught procuring King’s pine for their personal use, they would’ve been prosecuted.  Those floors, with their 20″ wide boards, are still beautiful to this day!

The beautiful, small apple orchard on the property.

I had SO MUCH FUN on this tour, that I hope the Historical Society will do another one.  And I’m definitely interested in finding other such tours in nearby towns.

Baby Shower

Last weekend, Colette and I attended a baby shower for some friends who are expecting their third child and their first son!  Whole families were invited to this potluck and baby shower, and it was held at the town hall in a neighboring town.

The room was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers…all of which grow in abundance in everyone’s gardens this time of year.  No need to go to the florist when beauty abounds in your own yard!

Delicious food inside and delicious weather outside.  The view from this window looks out at the old town pound, a rock structure where stray animals would’ve been penned until their owner’s claimed them.

There was a small orchestra of young people who played music throughout the event, and the expectant parents even had their own waltz.

This is such a sweet family that’s been a great blessing to ours!  We can’t wait to meet their baby!

New to Jiggety Pig

Two new shopping bags in Jiggety Pig in the last two weeks!  I’m trying hard to turn out a shopping bag a week from now until the end of October.  You can click here to go to the shop.

The first is for mushroom lovers!

And the latest is made from a vintage Vera Neumann linen towel, in mint condition!  I love its cheery brightness!

Rotisserie Chicken in the Crockpot

Rainy day and a whole day at home to sew?  Seemed like the perfect day to pop something in the crockpot.  No recipe.  I just sort of made it up as I went.  I had two whole chickens and two crockpots.  The leftovers are going into pita pockets tomorrow night and salads the next.  For a rotisserie-like chicken in the crockpot…

Take two lemons and slice one in thin slices and the other in wedges.  Take two yellow onions and do the same.  Peel six large cloves of garlic.  Rinse a handful of fresh thyme.

Rinse chickens (4 1/2 to 5 1/2 lbs. each) and place in crockpots.  Into the cavities of the chickens, place the lemon and onion wedges, the garlic, and three or four sprigs of thyme.  Sprinkle the skin of the chickens with a generous amount of paprika, freshly cracked pepper, and smoked sea salt.

Arrange sliced onions and lemons and a few more sprigs of thyme on the top of the chickens.

Set crockpot to cook on low temperature for about 5 1/2 hours or until done.  Delicious!
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