Blueberry Picking



Yesterday, I went on a search for blueberries.  I was thinking that I’d just buy some already-picked ones from a farm stand.  But then I happened upon this blueberry farm and decided the price was right and I should just pick them!


I followed the dirt path back to the blueberry field.  The owners were so incredibly thoughtful towards their customers!  Inside. the self-serve shed was stocked with: sunscreen, bug spray, hand wipes, a scale, pen and paper, a mailbox for depositing your money, a clock (just in case you lose track of time while picking), and buckets lined with plastic bags that buckle around your waist for easy picking.  They thought of everything!


It was a beautiful summer day in New Hampshire!  The sun was warm, bordering on hot, but just when it was getting just a bit too warm, the sun would disappear behind a puffy white cloud for a moment, or a breeze would come rustling through the blueberry bushes refreshing me completely.  I picked two-handed (the advantage of having a bucket attached around the waist) for more than an hour until my bucket was full.  I weighed the berries on the scale in the shed…grand total = 8 pounds!


This morning I was making blueberry jam before eight o’clock!  Mmmm.  And then I froze cups and cups of them for future use in muffins, pancakes, bread, smoothies, and more.  One more batch of jam tomorrow, and I’m all done with blueberries for the summer.  Raspberries are next!

Summer Centerpiece


Sunflowers are sitting pretty on the dining room table!  Looking summery!  Looking sunny!  Spreading a little sunshine!

Sabbath Rest


"The Lord loves righteousness and justice;    the earth is full of his unfailing love." - Psalm 33:5

Blueberry Pie

It’s blueberry season here in New Hampshire!  We haven’t been blueberry picking…yet.  But I did purchase two pints from a local farmer recently with thoughts of blueberry pie!


In pondering pie, I’ve come to the conclusion that people don’t make pies too often these days.  So, when one wants to find a really good pie recipe,  your best source is an old cookbook.  So I reached for this one on my cookbook shelf, “The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook” (a butt’ry is New England speak for “pantry”), by Mary Mason Campbell and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.  I had fabulous results with the apple pie recipe from this book last autumn, so I felt pretty confident that the blueberry pie would not disappoint.  And indeed, the recipe starts out with the words, “Pride in blueberry pie is one or our sins.”  Oh my.  Well, it must be good then!  I enjoyed reading the recipe as it reminded me of old recipes from my grandmother.  Recipes that called for “half a teacup of sugar”, and the like.  This recipe mentioned turning the flame down in the oven, but didn’t tell you what temperature to turn it down to or how long to cook it once you did.


To the top I added my own touch by brushing the top lightly with a mixture of egg white whisked with water.  Then I sprinkled it evenly with granulated sugar and then again with a touch of large sugar crystals for crunch.


Mmm...the house smelled so good!


Blueberry season is one of the best times of year!

Cooler Days

After days and days of heat and humidity, this week we’ve had mostly clouds, some rain, and some fog.  Even the flowers seemed happy for a pause from the relentless heat.  And the cloudy days and a nasty head cold have made this a most restful week.


Christmas in July

Usually, I discipline myself to start focusing on Christmas…gift ideas, gift basket ideas, cards, etc…about this time of year, so there’s no craziness adding stress to life in December.  Last year, despite my best intentions, Christmas cards were a fiasco from beginning to end, even though they did finally go out in the mail.  Determined to be more organized this year, I ordered our Christmas cards already!  And this year they are coming from Tasha Tudor and Family!  What a thrill to get this sweetly labeled package in the mail!


I’ve ordered from her family at least once before (and also received a gift sent from a friend from them), and they are just as delightful as you might imagine to work with!  Customer service is warm and personal!  And each package is a delight to open, bundled simply but artfully, just as you might imagine Tasha Tudor herself might do.


Click here to go shop for yourself!   So many beautiful items embracing a simpler time.

Freshness at the Ready

I’ve been trying to cultivate a new habit in the last few months.  I cut up a bunch of produce and store it in my super, air-tight containers.  Having the produce stored in this way keeps it fresh for a week or more.  It’s helpful in encouraging healthy eating, because having all the fruit cut up at once makes it as easy to snack on as anything one might find in the pantry.  And it varies our eating habits more.  Now a bowl of fresh fruit is as easy to fix for breakfast as a bowl of cereal.  It's a time-saving habit as each small container can hold an entire chopped cucumber (to add to a salad for lunch or dinner) or an entire chopped red bell pepper (for omelettes, salads, and more).  And it’s a huge encouragement in eating what’s in season …just staring at me so temptingly from those containers…mmm.


Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (with meat too)

Over the years, I've tried a lot of different lasagna recipes.  Finally, I just ditched all the recipes and did my own thing.  But then, when I happened across this recipe for Roasted Vegetable Lasagna on the "a hint of honey" blog, I decided to try it.  Delicious!  All these vegetables go into one pan of lasagna.


The recipe uses no-cook lasagna noodles, which I'd never cooked with before, but I really can't recommend them highly enough.  It simplifies the whole lasagna process by eliminating the need to cook the noodles.  And the added benefit is that as the noodles cook while the lasagna is cooking, they absorb the liquids, and hence the flavors, of the marinara sauce and the vegetables, making them really flavorful.  

My family, even though they enjoyed it, missed meat (the carnivores!).  So, the next time I made it, I added in a mixture of ground beef and hot Italian sausages and just mixed that in with the vegetables when I layered the lasagna.  

I really can't recommend this recipe enough!  Click here to get the recipe.

A Day in Maine

Colette works hard (six days a week) all summer long.  So, yesterday I treated her to a day off…in Maine!  On the agenda were the towns of: Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, York, and Kittery.
First stop, and farthest up the Maine coast on our travels, was Kennebunkport.  It’s a charming seaside town with beautiful, colonial homes on tree-lined streets.

The center of action though is Dock Square with its charming selection of shops and restaurants.  Although it’s impossible to tell from this photo, many of these buildings are up on pilings, as they are above the water when the tide comes in.
Kennebunkport is a popular tourist destination, and we saw many charming inns throughout the town (like the one in the background here).
We sampled a few of the 50 flavors of salt water taffy sold in this shop.  Colette liked the pear and the pomegranate, while I preferred the apple pie.
Every restaurant, bistro, cafe, pub, and shack sold lobster…in almost every form imaginable.
 The day was blisteringly hot…ugh…90 degrees with almost no breeze.  Consequently, what captured our attention the most was this tiny business selling fresh-squeezed lemonade.  The whole business was not much bigger than my pantry, which as pantries go is large, but as businesses go (especially one with three people inside), it was very small.  But the staff was cheerful, and the lemonade refreshing!  Ahhh.
Then we moved on down the coast to Ogunquit, a popular beach destination.
But we were here to visit the bakery...
…and the candy shop, where everything chocolate, and sparkly, and delicious can be found!

How beautiful this little inlet is in Kittery, with its grasses growing along the shore.  All the rain we’ve had this summer has made everything so very green.
It was a beautiful mother-daughter day out!

The Old Country Fiddler

Early last week, I spotted this sign while driving through a neighboring town.  I had no idea who “The Old Country Fiddler” was, but you don’t have to ask me twice to attend a free fiddle concert!


So we made plans to attend.  All week long I was looking forward to the concert!  The event was being held in an historic meetinghouse.  The evening was beautiful, although oppressively hot and humid.



And it WAS a lovely evening, but it wasn’t what we were expecting.  It wasn’t really a fiddle concert.  It was a one-man dramatic presentation by a man portraying Charles Ross Taggart (b. 1871), otherwise known as “The Old Country Fiddler”.  (Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the man who portrayed him, but I do recall that we were told he is “a 10th generation Vermonter”, which, believe you me, means something in New England!)  So, instead of a true fiddle concert, we were treated to an evening of storytelling, which is a rare treat in itself.  Charles Ross Taggart was a traveling entertainer who sang, played fiddle, did comedic monologues, and more in the lyceums and chautauquas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  (“The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day.  Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is ‘the most American thing in America.’ ” – Wikipedia)  He made recordings for the victrola!  And we were even treated to “Haste to the Wedding” and “Road to Boston” on the fiddle.  The evening was a reminder that the unexpected can be delightful!

Triple Berry Pie Bars

For dessert on the 4th of July, I made Triple Berry Pie Bars.  They’re sort of like a lemon bar, but with berries.  Yum!


Click here to go to the recipe.

4th of July

The 4th of July was hot, hot, HOT here in New Hampshire!  But, undaunted, we attended the parade in our town.  We LOVE going to the parade!  It’s just what every small town parade ought to be like.  And this year is the 250th anniversary of the founding of our town, so the parade was bigger and better than ever!


The town hall was decked out with flags and buntings at every window.


All along the parade route, including in front of the general store (shown here), the red, white, and blue crowd gathered to watch the festivities.


The parade’s official start was signaled by the ringing of the Paul Revere bell in the belfry of the Community Church.


One of the highlights of the parade each year, at least for me, is to see the Molly Stark Cannon paraded through town.



Some of the other parade highlights included: a Dixieland band, floats by local residents, cars carrying the oldest citizen of town and it’s newest resident (just a few days old!), Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, horses, reenactors, bagpipers(!), old cars, tractors, and more!


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Then we went to a barbecue, where Melissa’s sweet little face told the story…it’s HOT!


Fun Day with Colette

Last Saturday, Colette needed to make a trip to King Arthur Flour in Vermont.  So, the two of us took off on a quest for fresh sourdough starter.  It was quite the adventure, since we left without the GPS and had to navigate all sorts of back roads and  freeways, in addition to weathering the sporadic thunderstorm throughout the day.  But at last we arrived and did our shopping and bakery buying.  Now here’s a true picture!


Then we popped back over the border into Hanover, New Hampshire, home of Dartmouth College.  But more importantly, it is home to “the best gelato in the country” at Morano Gelato.  Here were today’s flavors:



Oh yum!  Soooo rich and custard-y!  This authentic Sicilian gelato shop makes their flavors fresh daily.  Colette had a sampling of four different types of gelato: biscotto (cookie), stracciatella (chocolate chip), cioccolato al latte (milk chocolate), and cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate).  In the foreground of the picture, is my Italian wafer cone with cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) and crema fiorntina (vanilla custard).


All essential errands being run, Colette did some bargain shopping in the clearance section of J. Crew (and I mean that with all seriousness).  I did some people watching, one of my favorite occupations, from my park bench perch on Hanover’s charming Main Street.


We got home quite late, but since we came bearing brownies from King Arthur, there were no complaints.
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