Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taking Stock

Last night we had a terrific thunderstorm. It rolled through dumping 4" of rain,1/4" size hail,and heavy winds. At least I didn't have to water the garden! ( And the corn stayed up,YAY!)

This morning it's gorgeous-lovely breeze,bright blue sky,and a beautiful sun. After the all the heat we had ( in the 100's last week) I am happily embracing this cooler weather.

My poor garden took a hit with all the heat,though. My peas have some vines that look quite sad,brownish and limp.Some of my cuke vines have yellowish leaves on them. I keep hoping they will come back,but I am more optimistic about the cukes than the pea vines.

One of the things I have discovered about gardening is it's trial and error,timing,and Mother Nature playing nice. When we sat down to plan our garden this year,we wanted to plant more to can,and hopefully sell a bit. We did get a late start,by not planting until early June,so we are behind,which could be why we haven't had a lot of produce so far. I just started picking cukes. My spinach was  a bust-it all bolted as soon as the leaves sprung. The chickens enjoyed it,anyway.My radishes didn't go over so well,either. I think I let them go too long.Next year I will put my spinach in an area with more shade in the afternoon. My broccoli seems to quickly go to flower too. Since this my first year with all three,this is my learning year.I have learned that I must be more diligent and keep an eye on these plants.

My lettuce,carrots,and cukes are coming along,and the corn is wonderful and green-I am starting to get tassels.The beets are doing well. I have a few small green peppers.The zucchini and summer squash are producing. My tomatoes are 100% better than last year,and I have many green fruits coming out.I don't think I am going to have enough strawberries for jam-maybe I need to plant more plants,or perhaps this next round of harvest coming up will be better. It will be a few years before my blueberry bushes are big enough to really do anything with,save for picking some for snacking.In the meantime, I will visit my local farms for the berries. We have two clusters of grapes on our grapevine-first time since we planted it in 2005! And we have the most apples we have ever had growing on our Jonathan apple tree-about 50. I just hope they all stay on and we can benefit from all of them!

How are your gardens holding up?

Saturday, July 23, 2011


We got back from our trip to Pittsburg a week ago Friday,and it seems like each day since there has been something that has hindered me from posting. So here it is,finally!

For some reason,the first photos I posted are the last,so I apologise for the mix up in pics.

We left at 9:00 AM on Monday,and our first stop was at the Miss Wakefield Diner for breakfast. After we filled up on their good food,we hit the road.The ride up was uneventful and relaxing. Instead of taking our usual route (Rt 2 through Jefferson to Littleton,get on Rt 3 through Colebrook to Pittsburg) we decided to take the "road less travelled" and followed Rt 16 through Berlin,Milan,Success,and Errol,then hooked up with Rt 126 through  Dixville Notch to Colebrook.Beautiful scenery,lovely rivers.

We got to Pittsburg at 2:00 PM. We stayed at Ramblewood Campground. They have sites for tents,campers,and down the hill on Rt 3 they have cabins,across from First CT Lake and one right on First CT.The first thing I noticed at the site was the smell. What was it...? It was balsam.There are so many balsam pine trees that it's all you could smell.It was like being in a balsam pillow!It was in the 90's while we set up camp,but the sun was just below the trees in our camp,so we had quite a bit of shade. It was still pretty hot,though,so we put on our bathing suits and drove down to the lake for a swim to cool down.It was cooler by the water,because there was a breeze.After our swim,we did what one does up in Pittsburg-drive the dirt roads and check things out. Rick wanted to get a look at the spots he wanted to fish:

Scott's Bog

Among the places was Scott's Bog and East Inlet (photo of East Inlet is at the end). While he didn't wind up fishing East Inlet,he did fly fish Scott's Bog,and wound up catching 3 three fish (limit is 5 fish or 5 pounds,whichever comes first). He was catching them right and left. We also saw some nice wildlife:
Deer by the road

That night we had a good rain storm,and we woke to more humidity and heat. We wanted to try out the canoe,so we went to Second CT Lake.No one lives on that lake. It's all very pristine.
North view into Canada

The three of us attempted the canoe. Rick had been in it fishing before,but it has been about 13 years since I was in a canoe,and it seemed quite tippy to me. Rick assured me that it because I had to get used to it.We paddled close to shore,to get the feel of it. Zach was getting hot and grumpy and wanted to go swimming,so we packed up and went back to camp. I didn't blame him. It was uncomfortable. Just standing would make sweat roll down your back.  Back at camp, we got into our swim suits and headed back down the hill to the lake.The owner was going to come down to show Rick how to work the motorboat that we rented (Rick knows how to work one,they just have to demonstrate it before they let anyone take it out). While we were in the water,Rick came up to me and asked me what I thought about renting a cabin instead."It's so hot up there compared to down here,"he said,"plus,Zach could just swim whenever he wanted.It's not much fun doing things in the heat to just go back to the camp site where it's even hotter." I admitted I would prefer a cabin. I guess I'm getting old!! Rick decided to drive up and talk to the owner,to surprise Zach. He came back about 15 minutes later,and pulled up to our new digs:

Our nice,cool cabin on the water!

Zach was so excited! The owner was so nice that he took $80 off a day for the cabin (plus,he is making more money having us rent it out at $110 a day compared to $25 a day at the campsite).The cabin had a nice,big general area with a TV area with lots of windows,so we had a lovely cross breeze,and a dining table.The kitchen had a big table with windows overlooking the lake. There was a 3/4 bathroom,a bedroom downstairs with a queen bed,and upstairs had three bedrooms. We had our own private dock,outdoor seating,charcoal grill,and picnic table. All for $110  a night. We decided to stay an extra day.
The boat we rented and dock

Our first morning in the cabin,I awoke to the sound of a crow. The window was right behind me,so I rolled over and just looked at the water.How nice to have that be the first view of the day! Rick and I decided to have our coffee outside,so we plopped in the Adirondack chairs and enjoyed this view:
Our first morning on First CT Lake

We had some friends visit us each morning: loon and duck families
Our loon friends and their two babies

It had rained overnight,so the boat  had water in it.Zach was in charge of scooping it out before we went out in it.
Zach bailing out the boat

The boys trolled for a while,but the fish did not seem to be biting. While they were fishing,I read "Eat,Pray,Love." We then decided to go around the lake. First CT Lake encompasses over 2,000 acres.There are only camps/homes on one side of the lake,with the exception of one lonely cabin with no water or bathroom on the opposite side. We only a saw two other boats on the 1ake at the same time the whole time we were there.That's one of the beautiful things about Pittsburg. There aren't alot of people,and the area is mostly undeveloped. After a while,Zach wanted to drive the boat,so Rick let him,though he gave him a hand.
Driving the boat

First CT Lake is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

It was a very relaxing time. I read at the cabin while the boys went fishing later,and I wound up falling asleep!

That night,we did what I call the "Moose Crawl." Pittsburg is famous for moose. In fact,there is a section of RT 3 dubbed "Moose Alley." There are signs warning folks that it's an active moose crossing. We saw two moose while we were there. The "Moose Crawl"occurs at dusk. Folks get in their cars,and drive the 12 mile stretch to see if they can see moose. In most places,the trees are so close together that no one could get through them,but after a bit your eyes get trained to notice animal trails in the openings. No one does the 50 MPH speed limit. Everyone is doing 35 MPH. We drove up to 3rd CT Lake,but never went further since we didn't have passports!
Third CT Lake,the last turn around before Canada
Moose Crawl sunset

Our last full day we went towards Lake Francis and found this old bridge which is open to fly fishing:
Zach looks like he has alien eyes,he's wearing sunglasses!
Water is so clear!

That night,we took the boat out one last time and had a lovely cruise of the lake. The sun set was glorious!
First CT at sunset
One of our duck friends came to say goodbye
Another pretty sky on our last Moose Crawl

The sky was so pretty our last night,that I had to take a picture of the moon over the  lake.I kept my fingers crossed that the photo would come out,and it did!
Moonlight on First CT

We completely enjoyed ourselves,but I do admit I was ready to get back home. Now those first photos that came out last:

Our campsite on Tuesday morning
East Inlet
East Inlet on the dam

After breakfast on Monday at Miss Wakefield Diner

The only moose I could get a photo of-in Pinkham Notch,near Mt Washington (about two hours from Pittsburg)

Tonight Rick and I are going to his class reunion.He has never been to one. This is a combined class of 79,80,and 81.It's suppose to be his 30th,but it's really his 31st,since he graduated in 1980. Should be a fun time!!!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pittsburg Bound

Tomorrow we are off on a camping trip to the northern most part of NH-Pittsburg,in the Great North Woods,right on the Canadian Border.It's been a couple of years since we went.Last year,Rick was healing up from his surgery,so we didn't go. We went to Malone,NY to visit the Almanzo Wilder Farm (which is in Burke). Hotel staying was much easier on Rick.

However, it's a year later,and Rick is physically better and he's ready to go. We are staying at Ramblewood Campground again,which is a nice camping area. It's family owned,and they have about 20 sites,some for RV and some for tenting (we tent). They have port-o-potties,fresh water,showers,and laundry. They also have an area in the main building with a pool table and board games. We are staying at Site 11 again, which has a marvelous view of First CT Lake,and is away from everyone:

View of First Connecticut Lake and the Main Building
They have paddle boats,small motor boats,and a larger one for rent. This year,we have a canoe,so that will be fun as well. Rick and Zach want to do a lot of fishing,and Pittsburg has many dirt roads with ponds on them,let alone the lakes.I enjoy driving down the dirt roads and checking things out.I will bring some books that I haven't read yet and catch up on that while the boys are fishing.
Boating on First Connecticut Lake
Part of the fun of going up to Pittsburg is trying see wildlife. It's not called "Moose Alley" for nothing. We always see at least three or four moose,but they tend to be camera shy.Maybe this year we will be lucky and get a photo.

Today we are grocery shopping for the trip. I am making gluten free chocolate chip cookies and brownies,as well as a potato salad.We try to keep camping food as simple as possible-eggs,bacon,and toast (gluten free) for breakfast,sandwiches and chips for lunch,and hot dogs or hamburgers with potato salad for dinner. We usually go out to a restaurant our last night and stop for breakfast on the way home. I also need to do laundry and we are packing up the truck today (food being the exception-that will wait til tomorrow). That way,we don't have to rush around getting ready in the morning. It takes anywhere from 4 to 4 1/2 hours to get to Pittsburg from here,depending on the route one takes and what the traffic is like. Traffic should not be bad,since we are leaving on a Monday. We will be coming back on Thursday.

We anxious to visit our favorite place on earth. We still hope to live up there someday,but for now we enjoy our brief camping visits!

See you later on in the week!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekend In Pictures

Lettuce and Spinach
First Hydrangea blossom
Lavender and some large interesting looking weed
Turkey babies
The garden
One of the The Girls
Molly The Bruce

Zach put his Boy Scout skills to good use!
Such a lovey night!
Happy Birthday,America!

We had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. I hope yours was just as wonderful!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Long Weekend

Today is the beginning of a four day weekend here in the States,since Monday is the 4th of July. Long lines of traffic will wind their way north from states south of us,making Rt 16 a very slow process.Folks come here to go to their summer homes,go camping,hiking,swimming,and assorted activities.  We have a joke here in NH:"Welcome to NH.Now go home." Tourism is a double edged sword. We love the money that "flatlanders" put into our state treasury. The crowds?Not so much,because it makes it difficult to enjoy our own attractions. Since we already live here,and can venture to any part of NH whenever we want (pretty much,depending on what on the agenda here)we can avoid crowds. We know where not to go,and when not go to our favorite places. You couldn't pay us to go away this weekend. Everything we need is right here at home!
Radishes I picked yesterday. Still a bit small,but tasty nonetheless!
Here at home we have BBQ,quiet places to sit,no traffic,no crowds. We also have our own fireworks. We started buying them after Rick got back from Iraq. He wasn't up to going to see fireworks,what with the explosions and big crowd so we bought our own (it's not illegal here in our town).Now it's a tradition. We tell the neighbors to come on down if they want at dusk to see them. Last year   we had two families come over,chat and enjoy the show. This year, we have something new that we can have fun with: a swimming pool.

Rick levelling the area for the pool.

Brother B ,Spencer,and Rick spreading out the pool.Rick will probably not like this photo ;)

Getting it situated

Ta Da! Waiting to be filled
We've had those smaller pools in the past,but this year we wanted one that Zach could practice his swimming in at his convenience. Plus,I love pools.There's nothing better than working in the hot,humid weather,then cooling off in your own pool! You don't have to bother a friend with a pool,you don't have to pack up and drive to a lake (though that is fun,don't get me wrong.I like my lake time with My Dear Friend Michelle).You just go to your backyard.

So this July 4th,we can add swimming to our list of fun activities.  Since it's going to be hot,that will be a good thing!The Boys also built a new fire pit yesterday,which I haven't taken photos of yet. They used the same kind of beams that was used for our retaining wall and made a square 6ft wide.They then filled it with left over fill,and placed the rock ring on the top of the sand,so the fire ring is higher up. People can put their feet on the wood,their drinks,their smores,whatever...and we don't have to bend down so low to maintain the fire. We are going to break it in tonight.

To my Canadian friends,Happy Canada Day! To my fellow Americans,enjoy your long weekend and Happy Fourth of July!!!