Lakeside Picnic

Sunday, I had a surprise picnic planned! I was so excited to take hubby and Colette to this location, wasn't open to the public (unexpectedly) that day. So we scrambled to come up with an alternative location, and we chose the grassy beach area at Lake Sunapee. It was a very pleasing alternative!

- Picnic Menu -

cold, roasted chicken
garden picked grape tomatoes
country sourdough bread from The Forge Bakery (MA)
Jarslberg cheese
refrigerator pickles (recipe here)
Pimm's Cups (recipe here)
individual summer berries cobbler

The older I get, the less inclined I am to use paper plates, plastic or styrofoam. I want to drink from a real glass! I'm not sure why this has suddenly become important to me, but maybe it's an attitude of "life is short...use the good stuff." So, I packed dishes, and crystal glasses for the Pimm's Cups, and some of my growing collection of vintage picnic flatware. Worth every bit of time it took to pack and clean!

The mini cobblers proved to be a great little picnic dessert. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transport flat to prevent spillage.

Playing with Lace

I started the day with harvesting tomatoes and watering the garden. Then I took a 2-mile power walk. Then I spent the rest of the morning and the afternoon doing laundry and sewing. I'm currently working on a colonial girl's gown that I'm quite in love with! And one of the reasons I'm in love with it is because it caused me to go foraging in my "vintage trimmings" box and dig out this dainty lace. Any day spent playing with lace is a good day!

Sabbath Rest

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

Your lofty themes, ye mortals, bring,
In songs of praise divinely sing;
The great salvation loud proclaim,
And shout for joy the Savior’s Name.

In every land begin the song;
To every land the strains belong;
In cheerful sounds all voices raise,
And fill the world with loudest praise.

- Isaac Watts (1780)

The Year's Bargain

Remember that barn sale I went to a few weeks ago? Well, when the sale expanded into the house, I was among the first group to go inside. The deep dining room windowsill was loaded with beautiful crystal pieces. It was there that I picked up this crystal rose bowl for a rock bottom price! 

I returned to that sale on the last hour of its last day to check on an engraving I'd admired (sold...drat!). I was surprised to see that despite the fact that the house was picked clean, I don't think another soul bought any of that crystal besides me. I was incredulous.

And then, last week, I found these cut crystal glasses at a local thrift shop. I paid just over $5.00. What?

Why? Why is no one buying crystal? It's so useful! It's a good thing to have serving pieces for parties, vases for flowers, candlesticks for beautiful dinners. It's pretty for holidays and teas and showers.

Ladies, keep your eyes open for great buys in crystal, because I am apparently the last person on earth buying it. And if you get there before me, the bargain is yours!

Garden Tour: Juniper Hill Farm

Last Saturday, I had a few spare moments to dash out and enjoy one garden on The Garden Conservancy's Open Garden Days in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. The Garden Conservancy, whose goal is to "save and share outstanding American gardens" hosts these Open Garden Days all over the country. Check out their website here to find a day near you!

Since I only had time to visit one of the day's gardens, I chose to go to Juniper Hill Farm in the neighboring town of Francestown. I visited here a year or two ago, but the gardens of Joseph Valentine are so incomparable that I just had to return and see them anew. I'm completely in awe of how he and his wife have created multiple "rooms" on their 2-acre garden plot. This time my attention was turned to how they created each one...the hedges, the fences, the "entries" or "thresholds" to the "rooms", the lines of the garden. All these captivated me this the pool and the ferns, which looked very cool and refreshing on a hot, summer day.

Here we are about to begin. Do you see the threshold? The doorposts? Don't you just yearn to cross it and see what is beyond? 

Crossing the threshold, you must choose to go left or right, and I chose to go left and a quick right, which brought me here. Look! Another "doorway" in the distance!

But I saved that discovery for later, and I turned into the potager on the left. Here we're looking back through the kitchen garden at those towering hedges.

I love how the fences of the potager are constructed from espaliered apple trees.

Exiting the kitchen garden, I walked through that hedge doorway (previously seen) and around to the pool. Here you can see we are on the other side of the hedge from where we began our tour. And look how the hedge echoes the lines of the garden bench sitting in front of it.

I wandered into the pool house and admired the view back from where I had come...of the stumpery.

Leaving the pool area and wandering closer towards the house...

The lines of boxwood...the gravel path...all calling one onward to new discoveries!

Always something here or there to catch your eye or lead it from one place to another...

I was so busy studying the design of it all, that at times I had to remember to admire the plants too. Just look at all the colors and textures!

One last pass by the pool...

A glimpse at the meadows beyond...

Do please check out The Garden Conservancy's website and consider supporting them by touring some gardens in your neck of the woods! It's a beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

Twins Come for a Visit

Look what came for a visit to our yard this summer! (Please ignore the dying grass due to the drought conditions in our state.) Aren't they cute?

Mama was nearby watching over her little ones.

This one was eyeing my garden. I was feeling mighty grateful for that deer fencing!


Last year, while staying on Nantucket, I bought a mirror for the formal dining room. (Colette was sweet enough to carry it!)

It was just the right size to hang between the two windows in that room. But most importantly, it did exactly what I wanted it to do! It reflects the view of the woods behind me, since I sit with my back to the view.

Nantucket for the win!

Sabbath Rest

Sunday dinner...linen and flowers.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool..."

- Isaiah 1:18

Wine and Flowers

New Hampshire's largest winery, Flag Hill Winery, makes a fabulous port. And since I will be in need of some port for a recipe soon, Colette and I took off across the countryside on our quest. Such a pretty winery!

Mission accomplished. And the best part is, I'll only need a small amount for the recipe! The rest of the bottle and some fine, dark chocolate...mmmm.

Then, having a bit of time before we had to be home, we just got lost. Our family loves getting lost down country roads in New England, all made possible by having a good GPS that will get us home. Thankful for that technology! Listening to some vintage Chuck Berry tunes on Colette's playlist, we enjoyed going up and down the winding roads. And suddenly, we crested a hill and found a field full of Queen Anne's lace in full bloom.

It's Starting!

I spotted these this week! I've never been more excited for autumn and its cooler days to arrive!

Too Close

I love my power walks. One of the streets I walk along, while developed on one side, is just woods on the other. It's full of pine trees and deciduous trees that turn glorious shades of color in the autumn. The street is often littered with pine cones and acorns from the trees. I walk past stone walls and climbing bittersweet and dangling Concord grapes. I peer into the woods to spot the burbling stream and to delight in the ferns on the forest floor unfurling every spring and dying back every autumn. And just at the point I usually turn back around and head for home, there's a seemingly wild apple tree that once in a while will actually produce apples.

But this summer, THIS has been happening...

Lots are being cleared for houses. Sigh. I'm feeling like Pa in the "Little House" books...disgruntled that I can see the smoke from my neighbor's chimney, feeling like the land is getting too "settled up", thinking we need to move further out. But I'm trying not to be too terribly grumpy. Trying. 

In the last few months, I've run across all of these mother-of-pearl handled serving pieces in antique stores, and they've followed me home. I do believe it's the start of a collection!

Raspberry Picking with the Little Ones

Last week, Hubby and I met Felicity and the little ones for a hot morning of raspberry picking. Despite the heat, the grandkids were focused and cheerful and great little pickers!

And later, after lunches and naps, they came over for dinner...with vanilla ice cream with raspberries for dessert!
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