One of the things that struck me about where I live from the first day I came here, is how there is a feeling of a time warp; of this place being in a world somewhere between the present and the past. The past does indeed seem very much alive here, despite the obvious trappings of a modern society that are around us as well. While we may have the Pizza Barn, or the grocery, or the little hardware store a few miles down the road, the conveniences of strip malls, shopping centers, and large car dealership are noticeably and thankfully absent.
We can go to these places, and more, by car in an hour or less, and are more than happy not to have them any closer. The conveniences these places offer are far outweighed, in my opinion, by the beauty and history that surround us here, and these are the things we much prefer.
The ghosts of the past are all around us when we walk out of our door. They are in the old mill, and the miles of country roads bordered by stone walls. They are in the green and quiet woods and fields, where only birdsong is heard, and in the small and shady old family graveyards. They are silently and invisibly watching over all the old houses tucked into this ancient landscape; houses not 'remodeled' to within an inch of their lives. Houses with a past remembered, and a story to tell.
I have seen a lot of New England. There are many old houses left in many an old New England city or town, but in the great majority of these, the trappings of a fast paced civilization are also there, obscuring that elusive 'other time'.
That deep and abiding, palpable sense of the past just there, so close you can barely see it in a mist, and reach out and almost touch it, is long gone...
Here in my corner of New Hampshire, it is very much alive, and I am surrounded by secret places that speak to my soul and make me smile to myself. Here is the classic New England of my dreams.
In the years I have lived here, I have shared the 'finds' I have made in my many forays down out-of-the-way country lanes, with special friends. I know of places where I can almost see a man in 18thc. clothing, a long stick in one hand, guiding a team of oxen down a dusty road along the river. I can almost see a woman in long skirts, sweeping the hewn granite step in front of an old cape...
On Saturday morning, we began our day, putting the yorkies in their packs, and heading off early to pick the last of the blueberries at Steve and Maria's small old house. From there it was off to the farm stand for lots of tomatoes, sweet corn, and golden zucchini. We purchased a huge clay pot full of enormous herb plants---basil, thyme, and sage, for half price, putting it on the granite bench in our herb garden when we got home. We have already cut and used some.
Before lunch, we used some of our fresh bounty, and made a big batch of blueberry salsa, a batch of fresh corn and avocado salsa, and some of Maria's tomato, basil, mozarella, and olive oil relish to have for lunch on whole grain pita bread. We also made the most amazing blueberry brownies.
After lunch we decided to take the dogs and go for a ride, and explore some special places. Every one of our stops were only a handful of miles from our house, and all of these pictures were taken there. You will see what I mean about the New England where we live...
Our first stop was to drive slowly down Polly Crossing's road to see our town's 'old pound'. This stone enclosure to hold runaway cattle 200 years ago, until it's owner could ransom it out for a small fee, was built here in 1806.
|One old graveyard nearby|
|Adam, in the 1806 'town pound' in our village~|
|Sasha decided to see if she could catch a critter|
|Awww....Deladis, stuck in the pound.|
|..."better stay put in my pouch".|
|A lovely 1797 house on Polly's Crossing road...|
|Uh huh...Pure 'Yankee'! We of course snickered at this sign....|
Later in the evening we watched a few more episodes of the 18thc.-themed British TV show, 'Garrow's Law' on Youtube. This is a fantastic series, and one of our favorites. The dogs were curled up at the foot of the bed, and Adam had the laptop on his stomach, and me propped up with my head on his shoulder. We had had a perfect day...
Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with PAM. Preheat oven to 350.
1/2c. melted butter
1c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2c. unsweetened HERSHEY'S cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2c. fresh or frozen blueberries *(If frozen---I thaw first---also, I USE MORE LIKE 2 OR 2 1/2 c. OF BERRIES, AND THINK IT MAKES THEM BETTER.)
1/2c. chocolate chips
Beat butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla, and one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition.
SIFT TOGETHER: flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, dash of salt. Add to butter mixture. (Do not skip the sifting!) Blend well. Fold in blueberries and chocolate chips.
Spread batter in pan. Bake for 30 minutes. (NO MORE; WATCH LIKE A HAWK. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Brownies should look, and be, a bit 'gooey'.)unbelievably good!
Next Friday, our friend Diane and her daughter are coming for a visit, and for lunch. We plan to make the tomato, basil, and mozarella relish with pita chips, for an appetizer. Adam will BBQ the most fantastic, flavored burgers that the butcher at the little Value Land store makes fresh. We'll have ears of just-picked corn from the guys at Windy Fields farmstand, and our own 'secret sauce' for the burgers. These fabulous blueberry brownies will complete the lunch menu!
On Sunday, we had another wonderful day, and hiked up Green Mountain. PART 3 of our weekend adventure is coming soon~