Saturday, August 27, 2011

old and lovely


This is the neighbors house, I walk by it everyday and look at it imagining all kinds of historical scenarios.  Today I got to go inside and hear all about the history and it was even better than my imagination could dream up.

No one lives in it and the historical society opens it periodically.  I suppose I could tell you where it is and if you really want to know you can email me but for now I’ll just say it is in a small New England town.

The same family lineage lived in it until there was no more children to pass it on to.  It ended up in a distant relative-by-marriage hands and it sat empty full of stuff for many years.  She donated it to the town. 

The stuff is cool!  All kinds of books and toys and carriages and furniture that is actually still in the crates it was ordered in.  The last man to live it died unexpectedly in 1878 as he was making some renovations.  There are rolls  and rolls of wallpaper he ordered and carpets and I hope your mouth is watering as I was walking about with drool.


I wasn’t able to take indoor pictures (wah) it’s magnificent in the sense that things have stayed the same and the glamour is clearly evident amidst the aging and settling.  The third level is a ballroom with an arched ceiling and you can almost hear the guests making their way up the two grand staircases. 


This town was a busy place in 1800 when people were getting rich with textile mills.  There are many old glorious houses here.  By the mid/late 19th century it had kind of settled into it’s small town vibe as the railroad went to other textile towns and people went elsewhere to get rich and be social.  I think it’s okay though as they left behind these great old houses.


I wish I could go in each one!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

chicks and a couple cute guys


Our chicks finally arrived.  I was a nervous mother hen as they were a couple days late in getting here, but they are here and keeping warm in the brooder. 

Molly and I put some of them in a doll buggy and paraded them around the yard because I like to do stuff like that.  And so does Molly and so do the chicks as they really seemed to enjoy the late summer wind blowing their fluff about. Isn’t that good information to know?


We ordered five varieties of heavy breed laying hens from Murray McMurray and have a total of 29 chicks.   I highly recommend M. McMurrays we have been ordering from them since forever.  They have peak shipping times depending on where you live, the season and what type of birds you want. 



Last weekend some of my family came to visit.  It still is amazing to me that we live close enough for anyone to drive their car here and visit.  We sat outside and ate food my husband cooked on an open fire, then we all went to the children’s fair the church next store has been having every summer for 150 years.  It was quaint with games for the kids and various sales for the grown ups.  I bought way too many books at the used book sale.  At least that is what I am told by everyone that was with me.  My opinion is that I could have easily bought many more books (sigh).


Having our sibling’s kids here to play is just about the greatest thing ever.


This is my brother Mike.  He is a cowboy in case you didn’t notice the plaid + hat.   He likes old houses and went everywhere in my house even the dark basement parts and told me stuff about how and why they built things the way they did in 1820.

I realized as I looked at this picture that my youngest kind of looks like him, minus the dinosaur.


Do you have anything left to do on your summer list?  We are down to the last week before school and I’m hoping to have something fun accomplished.  My older kids are really nervous to start a new high school.  Maggie is going to be a senior and Sam a freshman.  I’m glad they are friends and have each other to lean on b/c I kind of feel bad!  Such is the woe of a military family always uprooting their kids.


Maggie and Sam and the truck Maggie dented in our back pasture last year then laughed hysterically until she cried.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

summertime wind-down


These last couple weeks of summertime will surely pass by quickly.

Every weekend my husband splits wood and the pile is getting too big to pretend cold weather isn’t around the corner.

But like a child with a chocolate bar my intentions of savoring each remaining day of summer are well intended.


I’ll wear my sandals and drink lemonade, but it doesn’t feel as good as it did a month ago.


Monday, August 15, 2011

hanging around

The rain woke me this morning.  It was a gentle but constant rain and I loved it.  The children slept on and on so I curled in my bed and read a handful of chapters of Oliver Wiswell.  It is a gargantuan book by Kenneth Roberts and I love it like I love the rain.  My only complaint is that I wish I had more gray mornings to lounge in bed and read it.


When we lived in The Netherlands it rained at least once a day for 2/3 of the year.  I learned to carry an umbrella and also to not let the rain stop me from riding my bike to the store.  The Dutch do everything in the rain.  Women wear high heels and ride their bikes to work. 


Today we checked out the rushing water in the brook and then came in to bake stuff.

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We made peanut butter cookies and zucchini bread.  Don’t I sound like a good mother?  The truth is I got a little snarky and had to force myself to be patient…especially when Henry fork flattened the cookies like a maniac. 

But it’s okay, right?  I mean, kids try their mothers patience and the mothers feed them cookies.  Then the children wipe the crumbs on the floor and the mothers think about getting a dog so they will never have to wipe crumbs up again.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

dun-nah… dun-nah… dun-nah (That’s from JAWS)

We had a great time at the beach yesterday.  It was a beach we had never been to and frankly though I have been beachy in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine I never knew New Hampshire even had beaches. Even though Portsmouth is one of my favorite places in the whole world and yes I knew that it is PORTS- MOUTH and there are many boats in ocean water there, I just didn’t think about the beach option.  But it makes sense doesn’t it? Umm…. duh?


It’s been a while since I have been to a public beach and it amazes me that so many people parade around nearly naked.  I don’t like feeling naked.  What if one of my bits and pieces is hanging out and I don’t know it?  Am I the only one that worries about this?  My teenage daughter was trying to tell me in a nice way that I was the most untanned person there.  Umm…thanks?


                               I guess they were into green yesterday.

I loved that they scoured the rocks and found sea creatures.  They swam in the thickly seaweedy waters which has a tangy small that makes me happy in a gross smell kind of way.  It’s not azure waters with powder white sands, if you are used to that you would see these beaches and think negative thoughts. 

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There was even a freckled sea gull named Seamus.


At least I think that was his name.  He and his thug friends stole a bag of food from the people next to us.  Instead of scaring them off I opted to take pictures. 


But then a lady behind me made her kids run them off and she looked at me funny and her kids kicked sand on my blanket so I looked at them funny.  Then we got in a fist fight and sharks came and everyone ran for the hills.*

*Some of these events were embellished for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

summer days

sean connery

We woke this morning and started the day in the usual boring way: household chores.

Then I went upstairs and put on my swimsuit (call the police) and stood at the top of the stairs and yelled we are going to the beach.  My children didn’t know if they should be horrified at me in my swimsuit or excited at the beach news.

Now they are running and grabbing stuff and changing and yelling.

And we are off!

PS Sean is from my daughter Hadley who is braving the TX heat and we wish she was going with us.  We miss you, Hadley!

Friday, August 5, 2011

worth every penny

Last year I bought a small cookbook called Picnics and Tailgates at a discount store and I find myself using it often.  I love every recipe I have tried.  Williams Sonoma put out several in a series and I was happy to see they are being sold used rather cheap.  Like a penny kind of cheap (.01).  I’m splurging on two for a whole two cents.


The chopped chicken salad is my favorite, I make it huge with three heads of lettuce as I like having the leftovers in the fridge all week for lunch.

Since we are talking about Williams Sonoma cookbooks I will tell you about a larger  one called Family Meals. It isn’t set up like a traditional cookbook but it has some great stuff in it. And the paper in it smells really good, I’m not sure why but it smells like good matte paper fresh from the printer.    I will be trying the blueberry jam recipe this weekend as today the kids and I picked 25 pounds of blueberries. 


We hadn’t been blueberry picking in years.  It used to take all day to pick 25 pounds and now that the kids are grown it only took a couple hours.

We are big fans of the kids book Blueberries for Sal and while Henry thought blueberry eating picking was mighty fun he was on the watch for bears…..





Thursday, August 4, 2011

well color me terrific

Just a warning that I might fill this post with words but yet say nothing of importance.  I’m pretty good at that.  Can I just start off by saying thanks for reading me through another move… this might be our last military move as my husband may retire out of this assignment.  Surely I just jinxed that. But we mustn’t dwell on the what ifs, only the what-is and the what-is is exactly what I want to write about.

This house we bought has equal parts good and bad, it would be easy to just blog about the good and never let you know about the blue floors and such.  Maybe it will help you think your house isn’t so bad. 


The good:  open and airy front entry

The bad: um…smurfy floor



Of course I’m a sucker for any room with bookcases, and I can even overlook their blueness but what stinks (and I mean stinks) is the whole room.  It smells like dogs really bad.   I have scrubbed and mopped and sprayed and just when it seems to smell better we will have a dark rainy day day and the smell comes eeking back in.  It overpowers the old book smell (good smell) and zings our nostrils with wet dirty dog smell (bad smell).


The good: big vintage bathroom

The bad: big vintage bathroom

A woman recently stopped by, she was raised here.  She said they are same bathroom fixtures from the 1940’s.  She thought this was great.  Me? Not so much.




The good:  There is a great room added by the last owners, it is huge and sunny.

The bad:  The only entry to this room is through another 1940’s bathroom.  And like you couldn’t guess the color of the carpet.


It is so silly to me that they did all that work and you have to go through the bathroom to get there.

There is a long list of stuff we need to do but I think we are up to the challenge.  The big stuff has been done like all new windows, septic and heating system.  The bathrooms are at the top of our list, and trust me I can’t wait!

Did you learn anything today? 


Good: peaches

Bad: blue countertops

Got some house quirks of your own?  Please share!