"All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice."

- Psalm 100 (the Scottish Psalter)

Busy Beavers

There's an expression that goes something like this: In a small town, there isn't much to see, but what you hear more than makes up for it!  Humorous, but quite true.  Well, all the talk in our small town these days is about "the beavers".  Everyone's talking about "the beavers".  Have you seen what the beavers have been doing?  Do you know about the beavers?  Have you seen the latest from the beavers?  They are the talk of the town!  But in this case, there's something to see too!

About a mile's walk from our house, the beavers have built a very fine dam.  It extends maybe 40-ft. or more off through a swampy area and has caused the water to rise quite dramatically.  Some of the talk in town is speculation about whether or not the road the swamp borders is being undermined by all this activity.  Others talk of how previous beaver residents built a dam of this type, and eventually the road was even underwater. Some speculate that the current beaver residents will be relocated.  But the prevailing sentiment is to let the beavers be!

And this is the beavers' lodge.  A very fine one indeed!  I'm quite certain that Mrs. Beaver is in there...busy at her sewing machine, of course.

And THIS is where the beavers work! credence to the "busy as a beaver" expression.  Amazing work!

All this busyness, and yet I've never seen the beavers.  I've never even heard of anyone who has.  A foot of fresh snow and cold, cold temperatures have covered their lodge with snow and coated the swamp with a thin layer of ice.  All this should insure the beavers can go quietly about their business all winter...the business of gnawing trees, building dams, and being the talk of the town.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Enter HIs gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

--Psalm 100:4-5

A Flurry

Today saw a flurry of kitchen activity...rolls, pecan pie, and chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake baked, spiced peaches bottled, cranberry sauce made, vegetable tray appetizer assembled, cheeseball rolled, bread cubed, and more.

And snow flurries and then more and more and more snow!  it's quite the winter wonderland around here!

Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes

If you feel inspired to rethink sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving, here's a simple, healthy alternative to traditional sweet potato side dishes.

The ingredients are very simple: 
4 sweet potatoes
1 leek
olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel the sweet potatoes and cube into 3/4" chunks.  Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with hands to thoroughly coat.

Place in a 9 x 13" pan, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and roast in preheated oven for 35 mins.  While they are roasting, slice leek lengthwise and then in even, 1/4" slices.

Add to sweet potatoes and combine well.

Continue roasting another 10-15 mins., or until sweet potato cubes are fork tender.  Serve immediately.  They also reheat really well.  I also like to add the leftovers (cold) to a salad.  Yum!

Thanksgiving Preparations

"The harvesting of pumpkins--the gobbling of turkeys and the fattening of pigs--the buying and selling of eggs--a moderate rise in the price of molasses and spices--an increased demand for lace, ribbons & dancing pumps--the hurrying of tailors, milliners, and mantuamakers--frequent and important consultations of young gentlemen--whispering, flushed faces, and anxious looks among young ladies--an increase of publishments--a saving of weddings, that may safely be postponed--a consequent scarcity of wedding cake in printing offices--and, lastly, a string of Proclamations announcing the 27th day of November as a day of Thanksgiving in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont."

--from the New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Nov. 10th, 1834)

Sabbath Rest

A hostess gift from a friend.
For all the blessings of the year,
For all the friends we hold so dear,
For peace on earth, both far and near,
We thank Thee, Lord.

For life and health, those common things,
Which every day and hour brings,
For home, where our affection clings,
We thank Thee, Lord.

For love of Thine, which never tires,
Which all our better thought inspires,
And warms our lives with heavenly fires,
We thank Thee, Lord.

--Albert H. Hutchinson (1913)

Last Glimpses of Autumn's Splendor

The trees are striped nearly bare now, and the leaves that remain are sporting their deep copper color of late autumn. But I just had to share some (yet unseen) photos from our little corner of the U.S. when foliage was in all its glory.  Enjoy!

Chilly Days

These have been chilly days here in New England!  Yesterday, the grooves in the outdoor pumpkins were filled with ice.  So pretty!

Putting Away Childish Things

I walked past this on the table.  I stopped and studied the items.  They are the contents Max emptied from his pockets.

Hmm.  Made me a bit wistful for the boy whose pockets used to contain acorns and rocks and rubberband ammo.  And made me a bit proud that, aside from the Sharpie, everything here was purchased with his own hard-earned money.

"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child,
reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."
- 1 Cor. 13:11

Sabbath Rest

The building used for worship at the Canterbury Shaker Village - Canterbury, NH.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

--Psalm 100:4-5

How to Make a Great Apple Pie

It's apple pie making time!  I made one over the weekend.  And I made another today to take to a meeting.  As I was about to leave for the meeting, Technohubby said, "Please forget your pie."  Haha!  He was very happy that I brought some leftovers home.

Here are my simple apple pie making tips:
1.) Just say "no" to Crisco in your pie crust.  Butter is all you need.  Butter is the key to flaky crust.
2.) Use a mix of brown sugar and white sugar with your apples.
3.) No matter how much cinnamon it calls for, it will taste better doubled.  Don't be afraid to do this.  You'll never regret it.
4.) A deep-dish pie plate can hold 5 lbs. of apples.  Heap them high, because they will cook down.  When my pies go into the oven, they are about 7" high.
5.) Use a mix of at least three different types of apples.   The variety will create a delicious mix of flavors.
6.) Thinly slice your apples.  Mine are about 1/8-1/4" wide.
7.) Apple pie is always best served warm!

Of Ancestors, and Cellar Holes, and Maps

This year, Colette and I have taken up the new hobby of genealogical research. Fascinating!  Addicting!  And oh so fun to discover the unknown!  One of the biggest surprises we unearthed was that our ancestors once lived in New Hampshire!  What a thrill to relocate, unwittingly, to the very state where some of our ancestors achieved a measure of notoriety.  So today, we took off for a day of exploration and research into our family history.

My fifth great-grandfather was the gardener to Governor John Wentworth, the last colonial governor of the state of New Hampshire.  So, driving north through the countryside, we came to this road.

Turning right on to this road, we followed along the edges of stormy looking Lake Winnipeasaukee until we reached the next sign.

Wanting to see whatever remained of the farm where our ancestor was the gardener, which some biographies say meant that he was the "estate caretaker", we turned down the dirt road.  Sadly, the house burned in 1820, and all that remains is the cellar hole (the basement walls), an historic marker, and the original well.

Then, following an internet clue that our ancestor's home still stood in 2003, we navigated through the countryside with our vague description clues and tried, in vain, to find it.  No success.

So, our next stop was the library in the town where he lived to do more research.  And excuse me, but have you ever seen a more charming library in your life!?!?  We loved it!  In the two hours we were there, four other patrons wandered in, and I realized that they simply borrowed books...didn't check them out...didn't have them scanned...just borrowed.  Amazing!  Small town life is delightful!  Oh, and there's a grandfather clock in the chimes.  Perfect.

Book after book revealed very little or nothing at all.  The librarian even rummaged through the attic for maps for us (what a sweetie), but nothing that might provide a clue as to where our ancestor lived.  We did, however, find this sketch and floorplan of the Wentworth mansion!  So, now we had a better idea of what sat above that cellar hole.

Then, just when the library's hours were about to end...eureka!  A book with pages and pages and pages on him!  It included the lot number of his land AND a map with lot numbers noted!

Back in the car and back up one of the previously searched roads, we found it!  I knocked on the door and spoke at length with the current owner.  He knew exactly whose home he owned, and told us all about it.  The interior, he said, has all the posts and beams numbered for assembly.  The original windows are now used in the new barn.  Naturally, it's changed much over the last 200+ years, and sports skylights, additions, and siding dating to different eras, but this is it!  My great-great-great-great-great-grandparents' home!

The front corner of the house closest to me shows the old, original boards and corner post.

He pointed out the cellar hole, which he said is only about 20-ft. deep.

The original barn was already gone when he purchased the house in 1985, but the granite foundation stones were still set in place.  He dug them up and uses them as settees in his yard.

We will definitely go back again for more research and the scouting out other sites, a tavern and a shop, which our ancestor owned.  And those grandparents are buried in the woods across from their home.  It was starting to rain though, and the woods were full of hunters, so tromping through the woods in our dark clothing did not exactly seem the prudent thing to do today.

Gorgeous sunset on the way home.

More in the Shop!

I've been busy stocking the shop with more merchandise!  Everything with historic inspiration, which of course, is my favorite!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, is an authentic Pilgrim Girl's Costume!

A regency era-inspired coat, hat, and muff ensemble can be seen here:

And a boy's wool bomber hat can be seen here:

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