|Take a tour of our 18thc. home and gardens HERE~|
"My little piece of heaven"...
This is how I always used to refer to my tiny, ancient, New England cape. I had a small, open antique shop for almost 10 years after I moved here, and met literally thousands of nice people from all over, many of whom passed through the door of the shop, and into the house. Without exception, I received the most positive, lovely heartfelt comments over the years, about my little home.
I look around me on a day like today, with the summer breeze coming through the open windows, and the road quiet. Birdsong is all around me, and my freshly washed period clothing from this past weekend's reenactment hangs on the line in a sun-dappled green yard.
Inside, all of the old things I have lovingly struggled and sacrificed to collect for much of my life are all around me. Old patina-ed floors, and the the walls I 'aged' myself make me smile.
I remember years and years of unending work on this house that was so shabby and forlorn when I first saw it. I remember when I moved in on a beautiful Indian summer day, and I remember learning new skills to accomplish that work, as there was no money for much hired help. I remember aching all over, and shedding tears of fatigue, and eating popcorn for supper, when sales were scarce, and grocery money scarcer.
I look around me at my 3 beautiful hearths and 'beehive' oven. I have memories of so many happy occasions, when I cooked meals in those fireplaces, or just enjoyed sitting with a cup of tea, warming myself on a raw evening after coming home with empty pockets if I'd had an unsuccessful antique show. Always, always, from the first day I saw it, this little house has been my ' homeplace'; my comfort. Never in all these years have I regretted one day of all the work I did here---not for one single second. I remember idly thinking now and again, that if fate took me somewhere else, in another direction or another home, that this place would have a special place in my heart for as long as I lived; it was the house I bought all alone, and worked on all alone. It was the home I made after a grievous tragedy, and where I patched and constructed a new life, healed, worked, made friends, and yes, in due time, fell in love.
I pity those who feel they must have the huge, pricey house with 2 or 3 bathrooms, or any of the other 'yuppie' prerequisites. I feel sorry for those who buy those houses, or who fill them with myriad 'things', or toys they feel they can't live without, or to compete with, or impress others.
I know this, above all else: none of those things will ever guarantee happiness. I am personally appalled at the sense of entitlement that so many younger people have now. I shake my head when I hear someone say they simply couldn't live without the gourmet kitchen and several baths...
How sad it is that we all don't realize we can all live more simply. The joys that I have found here in my New Hampshire, and in this little brown house, that once long ago, spoke to me in it's disheveled state, have been the joys of my life that I truly will never forget. I do not long for even 2 bathrooms, or a huge house. A million dollars worth of antiques would not make me happier than the few well-chosen things I have purchased over many years, because each one had a story to tell me, or seemed like an 'old friend'.
Excerpts from a diary I kept my first year in New England~
Sept. 15, 1998~Illinois
Moving day. I walked through the empty house in reflection, not sadness. I spent 20 years here. I silently said my good-byes. I embrace an unknown life in New England with an unreserved heart and soul. New Hampshire, I am on my way!
Sept. 24, 1998
Was fall ever so beautiful anywhere else? I doubt it! Moving van came with my few things---Oh Joy! Worked very hard all day. Nan, a neighbor lady, came to the door late in the day. She introduced herself, and said she was taking me home to her house for a "nourishing supper of sandwiches and homemade chicken soup"! She would brook no refusals. I was dirty and exhausted, but so glad I went! For the first time in my new house, I can sleep in a bed.
I live in a 230 year old house in a small, green corner of New Hampshire. Life is not easy, but it is rich. Every piece of wood I have stacked and hauled over almost 13 years, every grueling house-rehab job I have done has filled me with satisfaction, and yes, joy. After the mess of tearing out and re-doing, of endless painting, sanding, scraping, hammering, sawing, plastering, and more, came the sheer happiness of cleaning up a newly restored room, sitting in a comfy wing chair with my feet up, a book on my lap, a mug of tea at my side, and looking all around me at the beautiful, shining, little house whose beauty I could see years earlier under all the layers of 'ugly', and whose stories I longed to hear.
In keeping with my very healthy way of eating, and the fact that we now must have 30 pounds or more of fresh blueberries in the freezer, I am making blueberry salsa! I intend to serve this on simple barbequed chicken breasts and fish for many of our late-summer meals. I am sharing my recipe here~
FRESH BLUEBERRY SALSA
* 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
* 1 cubano (mild) pepper, seeded and minced~(you can use hot pepper if you choose)
* 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
* 1 tablespoon lime juice
* 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for twenty to thirty minutes for flavors to blend.
Serve with tortilla chips or over grilled meat as a relish.