Blog :: 04-2015

Making a splash in Mount Washington Valley

 
It's hard to imagine summer is right around the corner when it's 33 degrees on April 25th. Last evening I sat out on the deck and saw 4 red-breasted robins in my front yard.
 
While usually I associate seeing robins with spring - it was hard to do so as it was snowing. With summer comes visions of barbeques, get-togethers and summer activities like swimming.
 
We had a small pool in the backyard of our Massachusetts home. adding a pool to our new home in Glen NH
How great is it to jump in for a quick dip to cool off on a hot August day.
 
We've been looking at the possibility adding a pool to our new home in Glen, NH. It occurs to me that I rarely see homes for sale with pools in this area.
 
Whether it's a pool in the backyard or the peacefulness of looking at Conway Lake - there is a serenity when looking at water. 
 
Though I love winter, I also embrace summer. We love to have friends and family over and a pool is a great gathering spot. The warm days are ahead and where better to spend summer than in Mount Washington Valley.
 
 

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    Digging in .... learning to garden in the Mount Washington Valley

    NH patioLast summer my husband Mark and I were invited to our neighbor's home for a cookout. Jackie and Lloyd are an active retired couple. Lloyd was a Merchant Marine and Jackie was a teacher.
    Jackie gave us a tour of her garden - it was paradise. Jackie had rows of box gardens, each box brimming with vegetables or flowers.
     
    You could live off the land! 
     
    I've lived the past 2 decades pretty much a city gal - until we moved to Glen last May. When we bought our house there was still snow on the ground.
    We had no idea what we actually had as a lawn. We were thrilled by what was revealed after the snow melted. The previous owner was a landscape contractor - we had flowers! Last summer, my husband and I had a ritual in which we would "walk the grounds" at dusk. Saying "walk the grounds" would crack us up - as though we were British snobs like in Downton Abbey! But whether its a home like ours, or a more grand estate, it's a great way to end the day.NH backyard
     
    We have a friend, Chris, who is a police captain in Massachusetts and has a second home in North Conway. Chris is passionate about gardening (and cooking) and he always has fresh vegetables on hand. Chris is also a strong believer in the healing power of herbs. 
     
    I thought he might have gone too far when he proudly showed me he had garlic bandaged on his thumb as a remedy for a nail fungus. "This works great and didn't cost me anything," he said. While I heartily support Chris's frugal ways - there's a place to draw the line. I think, first I wouldn't say I had a nail fungus, but if I did I'd spring for the $5 remedy at CVS. 
     
    This spring, inspired by Jackie's green thumb, I plan to garden. My experience with gardening is pretty much limited to what I see on TV and the occasional basil plant I keep in the kitchen.  I have zero clue about when to plant or how to plan. But that's what Youtube is for! 
    My boss, Joy, has a green thumb. I'm thrilled that I've managed to keep the office plants alive! Spring brings new beginnings - from the ground up.
      

    Going the extra mile is worth the run

    Kathy Prittie, an agent at JtRealty and a mother of 4, loves running outside. "It clears my head of distractions, stress and drama. It's always quiet and peaceful inside my head when I'm running." Several times a week, Kathy meets friends at Cranmore - and off they go. "It's better to run with friends because having someone beside you pushes you both to run a little further and a little harder than you would do yourself," says Kathy. Kathy and her friends look pretty pumped after an early morning run (right).

    GirlfriendsI know she's right. I've been running for 40 years - with friends and by myself. I'm currently temporarily hobbled (ill-advised ski jump) so I'm running vicariously by listening to Kathy. My son, Alex, 15, recently took up running. While athletic, Alex - up until now - hated running. He started 3 weeks ago. The first run was a killer. We live off Glen Ledge Rd and the end of the run up to our house is the steepest road in Bartlett. He couldn't make the final leg of the run and came inside the house red faced and completely out of breath. As he gasped for air he asked me, "Mom is there really a runner's high?" After I explained how running sets off the good chemicals in your brain - releasing endorphins, I confessed that I only felt the "runner's high" if I've gone for really long runs.

    My runs are shorter - but I have my own runner's high - it's when the run is over! Alex, however, is getting the runner's high and I' couldn't be happier that he's found this outlet. Kathy says she wants her kids to know that while running isn't easy, if she can do it, they can do it even better. I love seeing that happen with Alex.

    GirlfriendsI have to say, though, my running thoughts tend not to be lofty. I usually plan what I'm going to make for dinner! Kathy agrees, "Coffee after a run never tastes better. I run for pie - I love chocolate pie!"

    After a couple of runs Alex mastered the hill and he looks forward to his runs after school. Running is a great confidence builder. Whether it's running or some other type of exercise - when you push your limits you feel special and wonderful.

    Kathy puts it well. "When it's 15 degrees out and I'm out there running - I know I'm powerful and strong, that I'm not average."

     

    New NH Kitchen Fires up Interest in Cooking

    Can a great kitchen produce a great cook? Beats me, but I think so.
     

    Bartlett NH Dining RoomTraditionally, I've been an efficient but not a great cook. My strength was in running a short order operation in our former kitchen. While the 4 kids were growing up, they each had different tastes, each had a different schedule depending on sports. My husband worked crazy hours (police, National Guard), I worked crazy hours (news editor, private detective) so chaos generally reigned.
     
    I'm not proud of this, but there were a few times when I ventured into my husband's Army bag and tossed the kids an MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) for dinner. A delicate balance of desperation (no shopping time!) and an attempt at good parenting - I'd make it kind of a game with the kids.
     
    KitchenThe kids loved the MREs and they were sad to see the practice end when I glanced at the calorie count. Yikes! They are designed for sustainance during war conditions after all!
     
    But on holidays, like Easter that's coming up, we always made a point to be together and eat dinner in the dining room. If my husband was home, we cooked the meal together. Our former kitchen was cramped and it was a delicate dance to not jostle into each other.
     
    My husband, Mark, rebuilt the kitchen when we bought our home in The Mount Washington Valley this May. It's not fancy (no stainless appliances) but, to us, it's fantastic. We have been enjoying the company of our Massachusetts friends visiting us often - usually staying for dinner.
     
    Husband CookingThey've noticed a change in me. Mostly they mock my new interest in cooking. "Are those flowers on the table? Have you turned into Martha Steward? This actually tastes good (with shocked expression)!"

    Quite frankly, I'm surprised how much I enjoy the experience. Maybe a basic in learning to cook is to actually spend time in the kitchen. Perhaps a pleasing ambiance can draw out a talent that you might not know existed.
     
    Bon Appetit!