life in the Kearsarge area

what's happening in the Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee area of NH

Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My friend Diane took this photo at Screwie Lewiez in New London for me, knowing that I’ve been driving all over tarnation taking photos of scarecrows and pumpkins. Now I have a scarecrow made of pumpkins – check out the squash feet!!

Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday, but this year I’ve been having some fun with it. We participated in the Eastman trick or treating last weekend. There aren’t street lights in the community of Eastman, so on Saturday afternoon families gathered at The Center, parked their cars, and opened their trunks filled with candy. Kids went car to car, saying hello to neighbors and classmates. This Friday we’ll probably go to downtown Grantham to a few houses (we have friends that live on Route 10) and the fire station, always a favorite.

The kids have been practicing at home all week. While I make dinner, they come into the kitchen and say, “Trick or Treat!” I have been giving them not-so-fun items like a raw carrot or their gummy vitamins, but they are still having fun with their glow sticks and flashlights…and the hope that I might get down their plastic pumpkin filled with Saturday’s goodies off the fridge. I guess I will tomorrow…so those screeches you’ll hear in downtown Grantham this Halloween won’t be from ghouls or ghosts; they will be from an extremely happy zebra and princess ladybug!

Hooray for thermostats!

   Imagine having five fireplaces in your home. That’s a lot of wood cutting and stacking. Then you have to bring it in the house, feed the fires (in their respective rooms), clean out the soot after a fire has died down, restart the fire…it’s a full time job! Well, at the Samuel Morse house in Croydon – now the home of the Croydon Historical Society – there are five fireplaces: three downstairs and two upstairs. Bert Smith and I were figuring that the family probably burned 50 to 60 cords of wood a year. I have a woodstove and a fireplace in my home, and we keep the woodstove going during the day on colder days. (The fireplace is more ornamental than practical.) So although the price of fuel has increased, I’m not going to complain too much. It’s better than trudging outside to bring in wood to keep five fireplaces going!

Apple pie and pumpkins

I stopped by the Fall Open House at Spring Ledge Farm in New London. There sure was a lot going on – tractor hay rides, ornamental corn beading, cider and snacks, gourd coloring and the 12th annual apple pie contest. By the time I arrived, a long line of people were waiting to sample slices of the 43 entries. Yes, 43 entries – so even if you only took tiny samples, your plate was full about halfway through the line! Lela Emery was the winner this year, and you can go to the Spring Ledge Farm web site ( to see photos of the entries and print out recipes. I took a few photos of pumpkins – my favorite thing to do this fall is photograph the happy, orange fruit. I wonder how much the big pumpkin weighed?

They’re ba-a-a-ack

The scarecrows are visiting Grantham again this October. Take a drive down Route 10 (in downtown Grantham from Sawyer Brook Plaza to the church) and you’ll see scarecrows in different outfits and different poses – eloping, taking a shower, grilling, getting married, and toting cross country skis. It’s great fun for kids of all ages – pull over to a safe place and pose next to your favorite for a classic photo opportunity!


I’ve given up with finding the perfect foliage landscape to photograph. Now I’m looking for that perfect pumpkin photograph. The first photo is the pumpkin made by my children (face drawn courtesy of a very talented 4-year-old). The second shot is a trailer full of pumpkins parked across from the post office in Grantham. The third shot is in front of Serenity Carpets in Croydon. I have been finding pumpkins everywhere, but I’m sure that most folks wouldn’t appreciate my presence on their front steps.

Learn to knit

Remember those hats your grandmother knitted you? She had good intentions, but, boy, did they  itch! You’ll be happy to hear that there isn’t a single itchy cap (with or without pom poms) at Essential Knits. The yarn is luxurious and colorful – and you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear a single thing in this shop. I was thrilled to see knit children’s clothes: sweaters, dresses, vests and hats. And cute, cute little knitted toys, like a stuffed elephant and a sweater-wearing mouse. There’s also some really upscale items – shawls and sweaters perfect for a night out on the town. If you have an hour, Kim Thompson will even teach you to knit.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop in. Essential Knits is located across from the entrance to Eastman (on Route 10) in Grantham.

Wheat free, dairy free

Yep, that’s me. Not that I’m allergic to anything – except inexpensive jewelry, ha ha – my son is actually the one who has food allergies. So when school ended in June, we removed the dairy and the wheat from his diet. The dairy was the easy part; we just switched regular milk to rice milk. But the wheat has been really, really difficult. First, pizza had to go – it was a double whammy with the wheat and dairy. Then bagels and pancakes for breakfast. AND, injustice of all injustices, I had to stop baking, which is one of my stress relievers.

We were okay for a while just removing the foods from his diet, and had a steady summer menu of meat, potato, veggies and fruit. (Hooray for farmers’ markets!) But when school started in September, there’s less time to plan meals and school lunches had to be cold – no microwave! That really limits a kid. I’ve been on the lookout for options, and have found some pretty good substitutes so my kid can still be a kid. Here’s my picks of stores (and products):

Granny’s Garden in Claremont. A wide selection of organic, wheat free, dairy free. We found fig newtons and gummy worms here (hadn’t seen them in any other store). And the Namaste chocolate cake is better than any boxed chocolate cake I’ve had – even my own!

Lebanon Health Food Store in Lebanon. You really have to look throughout the store for products (there is something in every aisle), but we loved the donuts (in the freezer section) and the rod pretzels. Liz Lovely cookies (made in Vermont) are awesome (and organic) but we now order those in bulk online.

Market Basket in Warner. For a chain store, we’ve been pretty pleased with the selection and the prices. This is where we get our organic chocolate rice bars, gluten free chicken nuggets, nitrate free/gluten free bacon, fruit snacks and rice milk.

Trader Joes. I’m sorry to say that this store is not local. So if you have a friend in Massachusetts or Connecticut, ask them to bring you a purple bag of the pancake mix. It is, frankly, better than any pancake mix on the market, with or without wheat. We also enjoy the chocolate dipped granola bars – no dairy in the chocolate and made with rice.

If anyone is on a similar diet and wants more info, just give me a shout. It’s new to us (five months) but I’d be glad to share what little I do know.

Scrapbookers, unite!

The Blackberry Patch has a whole lot going on in their new location on Crescent Street in Claremont. Room after room of supplies – from scrapbooking to stained glass to mosiacs – as well as finished products to buy as gifts. And now the store’s new location provides classroom space as well. I won’t spill the beans – as we are running an article on the Blackberry Patch in the winter 2008 issue of Kearsarge Magazine – but let me tell you: if you are a scrapbooker, this shop is the place to go. You can even get school specific supplies for your Newport Tiger or Stevens (Claremont) Cardinal scrapbook page. If you have vacation time over the holidays, I suggest pulling out those envelopes or photo boxes of  pictures and get them into a scrapbook, stat.