Lilac Season

May is lilac time in New Hampshire!  Beautiful, gloriously fragrant lilacs!  Our own lilac bush, for no reason I can possibly comprehend, produces very few blooms.  (I was happy it had three this year.)  But nearby there is an abandoned and decaying property where the neglected lilac bushes grow 10-feet high or more and nobody is there to enjoy them.  So each year, armed with some snips, I go and gather an armload.  This year’s bundle:

As soon as we got them home, Colette set to work arranging them in vases.  Their heady fragrance filled the room!

The biggest bouquet was arranged in my pale aqua blue depression glass ice bucket and went outside for our Memorial Day table, before taking up a more permanent residence on the dresser in the foyer.

Another grouping, in a pewter pitcher, went on the kitchen table.  Another in a crock on the mantle hood over the stove.  And lastly, a single stem by my bathroom sink.

Lilac time is so fleeting, but so beautiful!

Memorial Day and Family Time

Yesterday, being Memorial Day, Julia and I drove down to our town’s graveyard to walk among the graves of veterans.  They are easy to spot, because every one of them is faithfully marked each year (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) with a flag in honor of their service.

Then it was home in time for Walter, Felicity, and the kids to arrive!  We kept the dinner plans very simple, since I had been sick all week, with Colette and Technohubby doing the bulk of the work.  The menu was:
Applewood Smoked Brisket
Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
Fruit Salad
Potato Chips & Dip
Homemade Raspberry Lemonade
Peach and Wild Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
It was our first time trying out the new smoker.  It took six hours to smoke a six pound brisket, so there was plenty of time for snacks and fun.

At long last the meat was done.  He was quite pleased with the results!  Delicious!

And at the end of the day, we kicked off the start of summer with some sparkler fun!

Brimfield Antique Show

For decades, I’ve heard of the Brimfield Antique Show.  I’ve read all about it.  I’ve studied the details of the photos in Country Living magazine.  And for the last six years, I’ve lived less than two hours from Brimfield, but I still hadn’t gone.  This was the year to change that.  So, Colette and I made plans to go to Brimfield together.
The Brimfield Antique Show is the ultimate in antique shows!  For five days, three times a year (May, July, and September), antique vendors pour into the tiny town of Brimfield, Massachusetts and set up their tents along a mile-long stretch of farmers’ fields.  And not just lining the road, but stretching off into each field too.

Prior to going, I read some tips online on “how to survive Brimfield”.  Get there early.  Traffic would be bad (“…an 8-mile back-up…”).  I was up at 4 a.m., and we were out the door just after 5:00   We were happy to encounter no traffic whatsoever, and arrived in Brimfield at 7:00.  We parked in the first available lot, which was really the grounds of an early 19th century house.  Collecting the $5/day fee was a family affair, and the young man instructed us to “park in the cellar hole”.  In the cellar hole?  I followed the path in the way he directed, and it led us right to the largest cellar I could’ve imagined.  I inquired of another family member, and was confirmed that this “cellar hole” used to be the lower part of the original barn.  If you look closely, just in front of the tree in the cellar hole is a capped well.  Clever farmer with a well inside his barn.

Tote bags, healthy snacks, camera, and cash in hand, we began our Brimfield adventure!  Yes, those are tents as far as the eye can see.

I had been casually looking for certain antique pieces for a while now, and would’ve been happy to find just one thing on my list:
- umbrella stand for the entry
- dough bowl
- mahogany sideboard for the formal dining room
- mahogany dining room set
- small oil painting of a New England scene for the entry
- large crock
- parson’s bench for the stair landing
- gold mirror for the formal dining room (clearly, I’m working on that room)
- wool blankets in autumn colors
All the treasures of Brimfield awaited!  I couldn’t wait to see what I might find!

We shopped and we shopped…or mostly browsed and browsed.  Colette bought a fine wool blanket (navy, hunter green, and red) almost immediately.  But I kept looking and looking.

After several hours of walking and hunting, we came upon doughnuts.  And not just your average doughnut.  These were made right there, and they traveled up a little conveyor belt and plopped off into a bowl at the end.  They were quickly rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Apple Cider Cinnamon Doughnuts.  Oh my!  I must say that this was THE BEST doughnut I’ve ever had.  So moist, like a delicious apple cake!

Fortified by doughnuts, we resumed our hunt for whatever might catch our eye.  Here’s a glimpse at all the amazing finds at Brimfield…

Jadite loving Colette paused and admired these lovely pieces.

Probably my favorite unique piece of the day:

Well, we hunted and hunted.  Truthfully, I think I was a bit dazzled by the array of choices.  So dazzled that I couldn’t seem to make a decision about anything I saw.  Should I go back and get the beautiful purple flowering topiary?  Should I snap up one of those large glass floats for the front flower bed?  I just couldn’t decide, which is quite unlike me.  After four hours of wandering, we decided to leave.  My only purchase was a small step stool for the grandkids to use in the downstairs’ bathroom.

Feeling a bit discouraged, we headed for home.  The road from Brimfield winds through Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  And there, on a whim, I pulled into the parking lot of this antique store.

And there, after all that hunting at Brimfield, I found a treasure!  I found a mahogany sideboard!  I was so pleased not to go home quite so empty-handed.  Time for a delicious lunch at the Sturbridge Inn Coffee House.  Whew!  Food tasted so good after a morning of walking in the fresh air.

Absolutely thrilled with how the new sideboard looks in the dining room!

And the little stool has found a home too.

Now that I know what to expect from Brimfield, it is definitely on my annual list of go-to events in New England.  Next time I will wear a hat.  And next time, I won’t come with any specific list, but simply purchase what strikes my fancy at the time.

Shed Raising

Saturday was our shed raising!  After two years of chiseling away, the day had finally come!  My only jobs were taking pictures and providing beverages and snacks.

Meanwhile, outside all was in readiness.  Friends and family had gathered to lend a hand.

First wall going up!

Ta da!  This wall will have a window in it with a view of the woods.

Preparing for the second bent to go up.

Second bent in place.

Putting up the last wall was a bit more difficult.  It was very resistant to dropping into place.

A sledgehammer was most convincing at encouraging it to drop into place.

Technohubby’s plans, where the whole project began, and the box full of our custom cut pegs for pegging it all together when finished.

Snack break.

And it’s up!  What an amazing job they all did!

The next day, Theo helped hammer in some of the wooden pegs.  TOO cute!

There is much more work to go…gravel beneath it, a floor, walls, windows, roof, doors, etc.  Can’t wait until it’s all done!
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