Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Falling in love...with fall in New Hampshire

A couple more clippings from the garden.  Dried Gourds found antiquing in New Hampshire

Here we are.  Fall has arrived.  Fall has arrived in our sleepy little town in Warner, New Hampshire.  First, the trees began to turn a brilliant hue of green.  It seemed as if someone was shining a flashlight through the woods and lighting up the limes and sherbet tones in the leaves to bring out their brilliant greens.

Beautiful Fall Foliage Drive from Hopkinton thru Goffstown, New Boston, and Amherst

We have been picking our apples off the trees of our orchard in a race to put them into cool storage before the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds take off with them.  The apples are so delicious and each one looks so adorable hanging there off the branches.  My hard work in the spring pruning each tree paid off.  The orchard looked less wild and overgrown compared to when we first bought the farmhouse.

Last weekend was completely awesome as well as unplanned. We had an apple cider making weekend at the tavern across from us and I cannot wait to collect the images from that fabulous and beautiful fall day.  I don't even want to write more about this wonderful day of community and culture because I want to save it all for a dedicated article.

We have birthdays here that have just passed and birthdays yet to come!  That means birthday cakes and birthday cakes and more...  Boston Cream Pie is Patrick's favorite.  I've been making a Boston Cream Pie for him for going on 20-something years now.  Some have been wonky, some too thin, some too seems to be an interesting outcome each year.

Ajax, the resident Irish Wolfhound who lives at the tavern next door...ambling up the road for a visit

We still had  a house full of wonderful workmen during our renovation months.  We put the Boston Cream Pie on the kitchen table, made the announcement to the crew, and slice after slice was gobbled up...with a round of "happy birthday" chanting somewhere heard in between bites.  

I'll miss the characters that came in and out of, not only our house, but our lives this summer.  There was lovable George, the drywaller, with his super heavy Bostonian accent who made us laugh when he said, "Eh!??" when he didn't hear something.  

There was engaging Nick, the painter, who almost became a family member by the end of the summer.  Nick came to work each day with the most amazing positive attitude and outlook on life.

Two workers were expecting their first babies...John and Jim.   The excitement was palpable as we all looked at them with anticipation if their phones rang while they were at the house. We were fortunate to share in their anticipation, hear the accounts of birth, and croon over the baby pictures that followed. 

Jim, one of the soon-to-be new Dads, competes in the local "oxen-pulls" at the local fairs.  I have never heard of "oxen-pull" competitions before. Jim let me know he will be at the festival this weekend in our small town.  Oxen we come!  I definitely am going to find the venue for this and cheer him on!  Oxen-pulling...go figure...he says it's serious stuff!

We've been sampling the homemade cider donuts that lure families, well as the apples, out to the many apple orchards around New Hampshire.  I'm looking forward to collecting the photos of apple orchard visiting here on "Thyme" too.  We certainly didn't need to buy apples with our little orchard supplying us in full but there is no reason to turn down the lure of apple cider donuts!

Tasha and Nellie came up the road with their owner, sweet Megan, to chat about...oh....probably apple picking and festival hopping

We've had many doggie visitors lately.  Ajax, our lovable laid-back horse-sized Irish Wolfhound, ambles up the road for a visit with Chester.  Chester cranes his neck to look WAY up at Ajax.  Sometimes Ajax will actually crouch down and act as if he is going to "frolic" with Chester by trying to get down on his level.  Chester, our papillon, gives him one prissy "look", if you know "that" look dogs give each other...and then trots off in the opposite direction.  

Each day, we try to get out for a long cool walk to watch the leaves start their turn of color. In the morning, the sun rests on the red roof of the covered bridge down our hill and lights it up brilliantly.  The trees surrounding the bridge, that sweep up into the Mink Hills, frame it in pinks, greens, oranges, and yellows.  It is truly like walking in a picture post card or one of those tourist calendars.

We didn't realize when we bought the farmhouse that there is this old gnarly apple tree at the very tip of our property near the road going down to the bridge.  The tree looked part dead and we didn't pay very much attention to it.  That is...until tiny little pale green/yellow apples started to appear all over the tree.  We think they are called "ginger golds".  Boy, are they delicious little wild apples.  They are tiny but the flavor is so floral and light.  Every time we go out for a walk, we try and scoop up pocket fulls to put in cold storage to enjoy during winter.

I had to drive into Boston during the middle of the week.  I decided instead of getting on the major highway, I would amble south through the small little towns I hear about but haven't yet visited.  

I packed up a hot thermos of coffee, rolled down the windows a bit, and started my journey from town to town.  Hopkinton, NH is absolutely picture-postcard quaint.  The beautiful stately historic homes in the town center are all decorated with fall decor.  Pumpkins are everywhere and my favorite scene was the scarecrow couple holding the little scarecrow "baby".

I made my way further south through the charming town called Goffstown.  There was a sign that said I was crossing the Piscataquog River.  I chuckled.  I'm sure it is a name derived from Native American tribes that inhabited the area, but the names around here are so cute and quaint sounding.

I swung over a bit to the southwest through New Boston and the scenery just continued getting prettier and prettier.  The road began to parallel a tumbling little river called Meadow Brook.  Gosh, it reminded me of our drives through Switzerland where it seemed every country road was placed right next to some babbling brook.

At the rate I was going at this point, it was going to take most of the day to finally get into Boston.  I was approaching lovely and bucolic Amherst, NH and fell in love with the sweet charming neighborhoods and town center.  I could tell that I was passing through one of the final quiet little stepping stone towns before entering the sprawl of Boston.

What I didn't anticipate, but which I fully embraced, where the string of antique shops that popped up on the left side as well as the right side of the road.  The thermos of coffee was drained and I had enough energy flowing to sweep through about 3 antique shops before I finally arrived in Boston.  

Somewhere New Hampshire...lost on the tiny windy roads between New Boston and Amherst. 

Little treasures were tucked away in the back seat:  A fireplace set for our new stone kitchen fireplace.  A sweet candle sconce with a little candle snuffer attached.  One brown and white iron stone soup bowl for my collection.   This day of dreary shuffling back and forth into Boston turned into one epic field trip through enchanting small towns, complete with fall scenic views, and antique finds to treasure.

The surprise winner apple for us?  The tiny wild ginger golds from the front apple tree...that we didn't know existed!

New windows. Exterior painted!  Antique rocking chairs on the front porch!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Island Hopping off the Coast of New Hampshire...the Isles of Shoals

I'm bundled up in my favorite arm chair as I cradle my computer on my lap. As fall is presenting itself with an awe-inspiring spectrum of colors, I decided to collect the final round of summer photos from our weekend explorations in New Hampshire. The house is wonderfully quiet. I can hear the lovely "tick tock" of our new antique clock.  The rhythmic sound weaves in and out of the (not-so-lovely) sounds of Chester snoring away beside me. Looking out the windows, I see leaves fluttering to the ground and can even hear the periodic "doink" of the huge acorns as they hit the road.  Soon, every article coming up on Thyme will drip with the colors of by the day, the leaves are refashioning their fall wardrobe with cheery pinks, sizzling reds, and happy corals.

Seasonal Change...I just love being on the cusp of these transformations.  I crave it just as much as one craves juicy red watermelon on the hot days of summer, creamy butternut squash soup on the crisp days of fall, and sour cream topped spicy chili on the frigid days of those long sleepy winter months.  

Several things happened in late summer around here before the season closed out.  My SIL, Mary and our nephew, Ethan, came up from Missouri to see our new location.  They provided us with delightful reasons to head east and explore along New Hampshire's beautiful sea coast.  I had such a long list of places to see when Mary and Ethan arrived.  I couldn't choose which destinations should rise to the top of the list.  

But, I  have a cute story to tell about our small town.  That decision process was aided by the wonderful charming townspeople is a cute story of  how we came up with the idea to choose the Isles of Shoals for one of our outings during that week.

A few days before Mary arrived, Patrick and I plopped down at our tiny go-to burger tavern in town, The Local, after spending a long day working on many of our renovation projects. Since the beginning of the summer, we haven't had a working kitchen so The Local has been our hangout for many meals.

The wait staff at The Local all know us by now and we barely have to recite an actual order. Apparently we are utterly boring and predictable:  "Hi guys, grab your for Patrick...the "slightly wicked burger" for you Sarah...the  "turkey bacon apple melt?".  

 "Yes, please" we sheepishly reply.  Like I said...rather boring and predictable.
  On this visit, we were chatting with our waitress and asking her thoughts about options for day trips for Mary's visit.

We asked her if she knew any details about how to take a ferry out to the Isles of Shoals from Portsmouth, NH.  We didn't know what was involved in organizing a ferry trip.  She wasn't sure either what that entailed but said that she would see if she could find out.  

This is the part where living in a small New Hampshire town often turns into a story book scene from The Andy Griffith Show or The Waltons.  Our waitress put out the question about The Isles of Shoals, as she made her rounds, to other diners.  Before we knew it, our table swelled with locals from The Local burger tavern eager to recommend tips for a ferry trip to the islands.  Each was happy to casually sit down and give us all sorts of tidbits, advice, and recounted stories about our proposed venture.  Apparently, taking a ferry trip out to the islands is a fond memory of adults around here because it is a popular school trip for elementary ages.  

One minute, we didn't know a soul in the restaurant, except our sweet waitress, and the next The Isles of Shoals, along with recounts of childhood school trip stories,  seemed to be the topic of half of the tavern.  We ended up having such a lovely evening out.   We laughed at the stories that we heard that night. There are ghost stories to be told about some of the islands and a poet that lived as a child on another of the islands.  They locals filled our heads with descriptions of lighthouses and the bygone days of seafaring captains.  We left with feeling so happy with small town life and decided a ferry trip is a must-do!

Patrick and I looked at each other while driving home to our farmhouse and chuckled at the camaraderie that easy develops in a small quaint New England town where most people feel relaxed and friendly.  

So armed with terrific information and funny stories of ferry rides out to the islands, after Mary and our nephew arrived,  we took off to spend a day in lively Portsmouth, find the ferry dock, and sail out into the big blue to explore these tiny islands.

I crave seafood every time we are in Portsmouth.  The air has that wonderful salty smell and crisp feel.   Lobster boats, as well as fishing boats, are coming and going from the busy docks.  The crooning sound of street musicians can often be heard from Main Street. 

I knew something seafood related was going to find its way onto our dinner table at home.  I saw this recipe for salmon with hard apple cider sauce in one of my Irish cookbooks and knew seafood would pair well with apple flavors since we are surrounded right now with an abundance of apples dripping from our orchard.

Finding the ferry was quite easy.  There were signs leading us to the parking lot as soon as we approached Portsmouth.  I purchased our tickets online but tickets could be bought right at the dock as well.  We had time to grab a bite for lunch so we walked up to the main shopping area of Portsmouth and feasted on clam  chowder and lobster rolls for lunch at Surf restaurant.  

The Isles of Shoals isn't just one island, but are a string of islands that rest about 7 miles off the coast straddling the border of New Hampshire and Maine.  There are 9 islands total and 4 of them are claimed as being on the New Hampshire side of the dividing line.  They were divided years ago by two seafaring captains, one of whom was from Maine and the other from New Hampshire.  Some of the names of the islands sound like they were derived from a Harry Potter movie; Smuttynose,  Appledore, and Star.  

According to historical accounts, Captain John Smith was mapping the coastline of Maine and naming islands along the way.  He decided that this set of islands were so pretty that he named them after himself:  Smith Islands.  Later, fishermen renamed the islands "Shoals" because they thought the formation of islands look like a school a.k.a."shoal" of fish.

Our guide on the ferry boat was so engaging.  We cruised out into the ocean for about 7 miles and he never stopped filling us with tales of what island life was like from the 1600's through the American Revolution time period to the 1800's. 

I especially enjoyed hearing about the little girl who grew up as lighthouse keeper's daughter, Celia Thaxter. Celia grew up and was inspired by her childhood on the island to write beautiful poetry that would make her famous.  A small passage of her work reads:

I lit the lamps in the lighthouse tower, 
For the sun dropped down and the day was dead. 
They shone like a glorious clustered flower, - 
Ten golden and five red.

This salmon dish was one of the first real dinners prepared as our kitchen slowly became functional.  The salmon is nested on a bed of leeks and lemons and then coated in a bath of hard cider.  Because everything is wrapped in foil and poached in the oven, the salmon is soft and flavorful.  After coming out of the oven, the juices are removed and simmered on top the stove and then cream is added to make a wonderful aromatic apple-scented sauce to pour over the salmon.  

A lovely fall dish...inspired by a sea voyage and a newly acquired orchard full of apples!

Interesting links from this article:

  1. Isles of Shoals:
  2. The Local Tavern in Warner, NH:
  3. Surf seafood in Portsmouth, NH:
  4. Isles of Shoals Steamship Co:
  5. Celia Thaxter:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Call of the Loon, The Follansbee Inn, and Peach Pie Salvation

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So our dream come true has really happened.  We're official residents of New Hampshire now.  How does it feel?  It feels surreal.  We feel so fortunate, blessed, and thankful.  We have fresh new licenses, a newly revived garden filled with vegetables, an orchard dripping with fruit, and soon to be acquired...rocking chairs for that big long front porch.

One of our most exciting acquisitions to adorn the old walls of this Ordway homestead is a beautiful forlorn sounding antique clock.  I can't wait to photograph it and put the photos onto Thyme blog.  Our incredibly talented friend, Paul, who lives down the road from us restores old discarded clocks and breathes new life into them again.  The clock whisperer would be most fitting title for him.  The clocks he restores are beautiful and charming. We were captivated by one particular clock that he restored...and what can I say?  After drooling over it as we stood in their home, one thing led to another, and it is now part of the future history of our farmhouse.  Every hour on the hour the clock resonates a very solemn low pitched gong.  Patrick and I look at one another... and smile with delight.  What a lovely possession.

Country scene in Sutton, New Hampshire

Our first summer in New Hampshire has been filled with one delight after another.  We've enjoyed sharing our fun alongside  the new path of adventure our neighbors are pursuing! Our good friends David & Jennifer are embarking on their life dream to spend half the year sailing all over the east coast on their newly acquired sailboat.  

We gathered around our kitchen table many times this summer to hear of their first summer of travels.  They've already sailed up the coast of Maine as well as to the island Martha's Vineyard. Most recently, as we gathered to enjoy peach pie, we were captivated by stories of their most recent escapades.  This latest tale of adventure on the high seas involved  learning to avoid heavy fog which can obscure large looming shipping vessels!  Hearing David tell the tale is pretty priceless.

We've continued to explore the areas around our little town.  Spending weekends at The Hancock Inn here, here, and here was a wonderful experience.  I was searching for a cute inn near us to spend our wedding anniversary weekend.  This year is a big milestone for us...25 years of marriage.  I feel like I age a little bit every time I mention those numbers to someone!

So I discovered a historic inn about 25 minutes from our farm called The Follansbee Inn.  It seems that Louisiana cajuns are continuing to come out of the woodwork up here.  When our neighbor  from Louisiana, David, resettled up here... his brother Denis came up for visits. It wasn't long before Denis decided to chase after a dream of his own and purchased a beautiful sprawling old inn in the neighboring town of Sutton.  The inn was named after a Follansbee and so it will continue to be known under new stewardship as The Follansbee Inn.

The Follansbee Inn truly has a perfect trifecta of  ingredients to lure the Boston and New England crowds looking for both winter and summer fun:  ski resort, gorgeous lake, and nearby quaint artsy town for shopping and dining (New London).  During the winter, because Denis' Inn is nestled right at the base of Ragged Mountain skiers can choose the inn as a cozy spot to retreat after a long day skiing.  We've discovered a passion for skiing over our first winter here in New Hampshire and Ragged Mountain is our go-to ski destination. So for a fabulous winter ski destination, Denis  offers a cozy spot to sit in front of a warm fire at the end of a long day of skiing the slopes.

Directions from locals  often sound something like this:  just go up the road a bit, pass Herb's Garden, lake to the'll see a deer statue on the right...almost there!

The summer months usher in a completely different palette of colors as well as outdoor activities for the inn.  I think we had forgotten how transfixing the change from winter to spring to summer can be up here in the north.  The mind recognizes there will be a change but the senses are dazzled by the utter brilliance in colors, mood, flora, and fauna.  

For our anniversary, we were ready for a relaxing weekend where we could be near a lake. It seems that every other car that is going through Dunkin Donuts for their summertime iced blueberry latt├ęs or their fall hot spiced pumpkin donuts has kayaks and canoes tied up to the top of their cars. This region of New Hampshire is known as "The Lake District"  so we have an entire list of lakes to explore that are just a short drive from us.

This sweet spot sits quietly overlooking Kezar Lake in Sutton, New Hampshire

Oh, what a great choice it was to spend the weekend at The Follansbee Inn.  After a delicious breakfast in the inn, one can tumble right out the front door and slip into one of Denis' collection of canoes and kayaks sitting lazily on the bank of Kezar Lake.

In many of the shops around the area, there is a collection of lovely books and calendars portraying photos of the loons that populate this area.  These birds are so alluring with their black and white  speckled wings and formal striped collars around their necks.  

7 coveted peaches collected in my newly acquired woven peach baskets

When we were researching New Hampshire before our move here, I read an article in New Hampshire Magazine about how important this lovely bird is to New Hampshire-ites.  I remember googling the bird call for the loon on the computer.  At the time, we were visiting Patrick's parents in Missouri.  We were all gathered around the kitchen table there at breakfast time looking online at old ramshackle farmhouses in New England when I got sidetracked by investigating the call of the loon.

I found this youtube video about loons.  I think we collectively gasped when the forlorn wailing sound of the loon filled the kitchen. Mentally, spotting loons and hearing their captivating calls went onto my list must-dos if we moved to New Hampshire.  I really couldn't imagine what this ethereal sound would be like while sitting in the middle of a lake during the waning hours of a summer's day.

Now, being full-fledged residents of New Hampshire, we were about to row ourselves into the middle of Kezar Lake.  I remembered that google search from one year earlier.   I was hopeful that we might see and hear loons but thought it better not to get hopes up.  What were the odds?  Patrick and I slipped one of the canoes gently into the water.   The air is so fresh up here.  The breezes flowing over the water kept us cool and comfortable.  The mood on the lake was relaxed and quiet.  The sound of the paddles slipping through the water was so gentle.  Every now and then, the air was punctuated by 2 or 3 children laughing at the far end of the lake on a tiny sandy beach.

As if on cue, like a magic trick someone organized, the long echoey wailing sounds started. We sat transfixed by this exquisite sound.  It seems too planned.  Too perfect. Patrick whispered, "Over there...look".  I peered along the horizon of the water and saw a mother loon with a little baby loon paddling behind her.  Just a few seconds later, another profound wail came from a different direction.  We could barely make out (and my lack of a good zoom lens for my camera doesn't do justice to the scene) a male loon returning the call.  We sat in the canoe completely absorbing the moment.  The only sounds were the water drip, drip, dripping off of the paddles and plopping into the lake, the cry of the loons to one another, and the distant muffle of children spending the last of the summer weekends playing in the sun.

Eventually, we paddled back to The Follansbee Inn.  We both agreed that getting a canoe or possibly kayaks was something we should definitely look into for next summer.  I can only imagine what being on the lake would be like with the trees dressed in their fall colors and the loons sounding their call over a mist filled remote lake.  At the inn, I noticed a stack of birch wood tidily arranged next to the large fireplace at the inn.  Returning after a cool crisp outing on the lake to spend the rest of the evening relaxing in front of a crackling fire sounds ever so tempting to plan as we move into the fall months.

Everything about Follansbee Inn offered the types of experiences that I had read about in either Yankee Magazine or New Hampshire Magazine.  We were thrilled this spot is so close to our home.  Kezar Lake is such a nice size.  After one of Denis' delicious breakfasts, there is a pine tree studded 3 mile loop that encircles the lake...perfect for hike to walk off a scrumptious meal.

Our son, Riley, has been working at this inn all summer long before starting his freshman year of college two weeks ago.  I do believe a fair amount of breakfast sampling took place on his part while working at the inn!  One of Riley's favorite samples of Denis' breakfast creations was the Stuffed French Toast.  Fortunately for us, when we made our way down the wide beautiful staircase the next morning, stuffed french toast was laid out on the breakfast buffet table.  

Sunset from The Follansbee Inn on Kezar Lake

Growing up in Louisiana, Denis lends a charming cajun touch to his culinary creations in the kitchen.  At the time of Denis' visit in 2012, The Follansbee Inn was currently up for sale.  It took him one visit to this picturesque spot up here in New Hampshire nestled right on a sweet lake, to decide to pull up his Cajun roots and bring a little southern spiciness to this bucolic setting.  

Denis, along with his sweet lovable dog, Angel, took on running the inn and I do believe the two of them have never looked back.  He is inspired by the celebrated southern chef, John Besh.  The recipe for Stuffed French Toast is one of Besh's creations and after one bite, I can see why my son hoped that recipe would be on the day's menu for our stay.  Little french bread pillows stuffed with a subtly sweet cream cheese filling were delicious next to southern cheesy grits and herb spiced sausage patties and fresh fruit.  Of course, New Hampshire pure maple syrup was only a reach away.  Being a cajun myself, I was tickled by the "touch of southern culture in New England" that is the expression Denis uses to describe the experience of staying at his inn.

After a lovely captivating stay at The Follansbee Inn over the weekend, it was time to charge back into reality.  Keeping up with our own farmhouse as well as leaping into renovation work has been a fun and exhausting  challenge as soon as warm weather arrived.  The home and lot had been sitting empty for 4 1/2 years before we bought it in May.  The projects are endless and from sun up to sun down, we have todo's that keep us busy and active.

The lot needed quite  bit of clearing as weeds and vines crept up from the river and were attempting to take over the lot as well as the wrap around porches.  One delightful challenge has been becoming owners of a fruit orchard.  We have pear, peach, apple, and plum trees in a back plot behind the big red barn.  I nearly camped out at our nearby Aubuchon (hardware/gardening store) in the spring filling my head with knowledge about care and upkeep of fruit orchards.  

We really didn't know which tree would bear which type of fruit until they started producing in mid-summer!  I would slip on my rubber boots and take a wet morning walk in the dewy grass each morning to peer closely at the buds.
Is this one apple?  
Which one is plum? 
Could that be a peach tree?

I learned how to prune the branches of each tree by watching Youtube videos.  Slowly, I acquired the right tools for the job and got to work restoring these lovely fruit trees.  Pruning is hard work and the big picture of the tree must be taken into account so the tree can form a nice round shape as well as be thinned out so the branches don't hang too heavy with too much fruit to weigh them down.

The apple trees were the first to bloom.  It was awe-inspiring to see the tiny little apples form after the flowers opened.  Each tree is now dripping with apples and we cannot pick nor eat them fast enough.  Expect several apple dishes to appear here on Thyme blog because I have several lined up:  Braised Apple Cider Sage Pork Loin, Apple Cake, Apple rosettes pastries, etc.

As I would stop by Aubuchon Hardware/Gardening store for what seemed to be my daily visit, I learned unsettling news about the peach trees.  I noticed that with my muddy boots and dirt-wiped clothing that I was beginning to look more like the locals around here.  All day long, people working on their gardens can be found having little pow-wows at Aubuchon while swapping valuable tidbits about orchard care-taking, gardening, beekeeping, canning, etc.

I had one tree that was producing peaches.  I counted about 7 burgeoning peaches...but that was all!  There are about 5 or 6 more identical looking trees that I suspected were also peach trees but only one tree...barely producing peaches it seemed.  

"Not a good year for peaches,"  one local murmured as I arrived with questions of concern over my lack of peaches.  The farms up the road this way and that way are also reporting no peaches this year.  

"It's an every other year kind of produce," another local pointed out.  "Last year, they were dripping with peaches, this year...hardly anything."

So I knew I had a mission to fulfill...namely a peach orchard salvation mission.  As I drove our pumpkin orange Jeep back to the house after my revealing pow-wow with my newfound hardware friends, I was determined to lovingly tend to my 7 peaches hanging from the one producing peach tree.  Instead of unfortunate...I was one of the fortunate few to have ANY peaches at all.  

I curiously watched as their fuzzy soft skins formed.  I peered through the branches as their colors took on a pretty blush colored pinkish-yellow hue. 

Kezar Lake in Sutton, New Hampshire

Ironically, as I was marveling at some pretty wooden baskets at my favorite go-to antique store along Rt. 4 (Antique Alley), R.S. Butler's Trading Company, I noticed the little tag said they were peach baskets.  I didn't know fruit had particular types of collecting baskets but I couldn't resist bringing a handful of these baskets back to the Ordway.

Lovingly, and carefully, I plucked each of the precious 7 peaches that were now weighing down the branches.  

I sliced them, spiced them, rolled out some pie crust dough and into the oven went my first peach pie with home-grown peaches.  Mention of this pie reached the Bean Tavern neighbors, the Chandler House neighbors, and our clock-restoring neighbors.    Patrick ran to the store and brought back vanilla bean ice cream...because what is pie unless there is ice cream alongside?  

Before long, the kitchen table was surrounded by new acquaintances...people we admire and offer us continued friendships.  We hope we will know each of them for years to come as we gather around the table for many more future pies, soups and stews, lobster boils, and memory making in New Hampshire.

** I threw a small handful of the herb, thyme, into my pie mixture.  Personal preference but I enjoy this subtle herb flavor in pie.