Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Before and After

 We jettisoned our tree contractor last Saturday.  Very unresponsive since we signed off on their proposal in late January.  Lots of run around when we did hear from them twice from January to June.  I searched Angie's List and found a contractor last Friday, he called me within hours and came Saturday to look at what we needed done.  We agreed on the price and he came with his crew of three on Wednesday of this week and completed the job on Thursday.  I gave him a stellar review on Angie's List.

Here are before and after photos.

To the right of the slider as I come out on the deck was this jungle of lilacs.

Below gone!

To the left from the deck more lilacs and other volunteer bushes and trees that had never been tended.
Below gone!

Looking straight out from slider hemlocks and bushes very overgrown.
Below hemlocks limbed up and topped and bushes gone!

Same view from deck but looking more to the right.

Below the after shot.

Our former view of the field and hill behind us and below our view now.

Much more to be done. That mound in the above photo was full of trees and bushes.  Now we need to level it.  Tim who mows for us has tapped his brother in law to help him move it to fill in low spots in the yard.  We need to tackle mulching to keep the weeds down.  Thankfully many of the root balls of the lilacs and trees were pulled out by the tree guys but there are still some that an excavator will have to tackle.

In other good news the carpenter finished the deck today.  I'll share more on that project when I get to return the potted plants to the deck and we have seeded the portion of lawn that used to be under the deck. The original deck was huge and we halved the size of it.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Have You Seen This One?

In other news, I'm going to take a break for a bit.  I'm tired of posting about how slow contractors work or don't work.  Would you believe the deck is still not finished? No sign of the concrete for the barn flooring and nothing from the tree/landscape contractor.

Maybe when I return there will be more interesting things to share.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Two Unrelated Stories

Actually that title for this post is not correct.  There is the common factor of silverware to these two stories that came to mind as I was polishing silverware on a Monday morning this week.

I didn't use to have to polish so often, but with the new dishwasher and our water which has been softened, the silverware developed such tarnish so fast.

Dan suggested we give up on the silver and get some nice stainless which I did with a 30% off at Kohl's last week.  When we lived at the house we built which we refer to as The Lodge, we used stainless all the time and saved the silver for entertaining.  Now understand my silverware is not sterling but only plate. When we downsized to move to the retirement community, I gave the stainless to daughter Sarah and figured I'd use the silverware for everyday. That worked fine and polishing was not very often because dinners were in the community dining room.


Where did the silverware come from?  That's the first story.

Before we were married Dan sold real estate while he freelanced as a musician. One of the houses he sold had belonged to a woman who died in her home.  Her heirs took out what they wanted and offered the contents for sale.  Dan's offer of $300 was excepted and he ended up with all the furniture and stuff from living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms.  

The above silverware, service for 6 was included. Much of the stuff we sold once we moved from our apartment in Alexandria to our first house in Columbia, MD. But there was much we kept and always referred to it as Mrs. Kennedy's as in Mrs. Kennedy's silverware. (I still use her flour and sugar containers.)

When we moved to The Lodge I frequented antique stores to furnish the house.  I supplemented Mrs. Kennedy's silverware by purchasing bundles of knives, forks, etc. Of course none of it matched but I liked that look.

In polishing today in preparation for putting away the silverware I discovered we are short 4 spoons from Mrs. Kennedy's set.  Not sure how that happened.  Mistakenly thrown in the trash maybe?

This brings me to the second story that involves these three spoons. They once belonged to my Aunt Gladys.  She was one of my Dad's 5 sisters and the only one of the two oldest I ever knew. Aunt Beulah who was older was a missionary to Africa (not sure which country). She contracted a tropical disease, maybe malaria, and if she could have been transported home would have survived.  But this was during WWII and the Nazi U boats were sinking ships so she had no chance of returning home and died there.

My Aunt Gladys was also very active in the church and was referred to as Rev. Gladys ***.  She co-pastored a church with Aunt Dot who was no relation but since they lived together she was like an aunt too.  When Aunt Gladys died these spoons came to me from her. The middle one has a B for her last name and the others have initials.

 From the 21st century looking back at Aunt Gladys and Aunt Dot I can't help wondering what we would now call their relationship.  It's something I never discussed with my Dad who was very liberal.  My aunts were not but they did love each other.

Saturday, July 17, 2021


One year ago today we were arriving in New Hampshire as transplants from Maryland. We had an apartment lined up with a one year lease with the plan to learn the lay of the land, delve into the lives of our two granddaughters, and help our daughter and son in law whenever we could. We didn't know whether we would like apartment living that wasn't in a retirement community like what we had moved from.  We didn't know if we would stay in Lebanon where the apartment was or buy a house or what.

We've experienced summer, fall, and 


Spring was a long time coming but we learned not to push it.

Here it is one year later and we have been home owners for 7 months.  We've tackled a myriad of issues in this 1839 house that was in good shape except for those issues that hadn't been addressed since the owner moved out and rented the house.

We've struggled with getting contractors but looking back we were able to upgrade plumbing and electrical issues, put in new kitchen flooring, address the radon problem, replace the dishwasher, and replace countless broken window panes. We are the stewards of this house and still working to renovate the old barn and address clapboard wood rot issues prior to having the whole exterior painted later this summer. 

We love living here. We love the proximity to our daughter and her family.  We are loving New Hampshire. It was good decision to move.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Right Now

 10:45 on Friday morning.

Carpenters at work.  Maybe I'll have a deck by tonight?

I'll hold my breath on that happening. There's still all the steps to do.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

To the Movies

Last Saturday evening we had an early dinner in Hanover, NH at Molly's then headed next door to the Nugget Theatre to see  "In the Heights" by the creator of Hamilton.  It was great!  Loved the singing and dancing and the story line.  Go if you get the chance.

But here's something unusual about this theatre: it's owned by the Hanover Improvement Society.  All proceeds go to the town of Hanover.  This happened in 1922.  

It was small theatre - there are 4 screens.  Seats a bit close to front and I did get a crick in my neck from looking up.  Next time we'll know to get the last row seats.  And for Covid precautions every other row taped off and two seats between you and next person.  Can't remember the last time I saw a movie in a theatre, can you?


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Washington, NH



First town incorporated under the name of first U.S. President George Washington in 1776.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Barn Phase 1 - Almost Complete

Thursday, July 8, the barn whisperer finished his portion of Phase 1 restoration of our barn.  I held off posting this hoping I could say when the concrete contractor would be arriving to pour the cement floor.  But we are awaiting a returned phone call so as I write this on Sunday we have no date set.


The floor of the two right bays of the barn have been packed with sand.  Sticking up there is a drain though it won't be that high.  It will be the low point of the concrete floor.  The center post shows how much the barn was raised as it sits on that cement pier that was placed in a 4 feet hole.

The pile of sand delivered on the left and what remains on the right.

While the barn whisperer worked Dan offered his assistance when needed. Dan also worked to remove the insulation from the other two rooms on the left side of the barn, revealing another window and another door.

Phase 2 will begin after concrete and after grading of the driveway happens. Besides stabilizing the left side of the barn

it will also include replacing rotted window sills and clapboards.

I have the paint to paint the rec room upstairs in the barn but have not been able to get to that.  Maybe I can start this week.

Postscript: Dan connected with cement contractor Monday evening after getting his cell # from our son in law.  Text was answered immediately by a call back.  He will do it!

Monday, July 12, 2021

A Great Restaurant

If you're ever in Hillsborough, NH stop in at this Pub.

The street was filled with motorcycles on the holiday Monday.  They all knew it was a great place to eat.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table outside under an umbrella but well worth it.  I had the Cheshire Mills hamburger which featured horseradish sauce and Dan had a Cobb salad.

The name comes from the nickname for the local river Contoocook and the mills that used to be in Hillsborough.  We bookmarked this one on the GPS to return another time.

Just posted the last seven books I've read to my reading list if you're interested in some recommendations. See 2021 list on left below.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Franklin Pierce Homestead


The 14th U.S. President is not high on the hit parade of presidents for their effectiveness and smarts.  Actually he rates under tRump who comes in at 4th place for worst presidents.  I think Buchanan ranks 1st as worst.  But this didn't stop us from visiting this NH Park that offers a tour of Pierce's boyhood home.  Historic homes are always fascinating to see how people lived in other times.

The house is quite imposing.  Benjamin Pierce, the father of Franklin, was a self made man.  When he heard about the fight with the British, he grabbed his uncle's rifle and set off to serve at Bunker Hill.  He had quite a war record, too. Once returned to Hillsborough after the war he married and eventually built this house.  It served as a tavern/inn sitting as it does on NH 2nd turnpike. That front door was rarely used though.  The windows on the upper floor all open on a ballroom also used for sleeping accommodations.

Access to the tavern was by this side door.  The left lower window was the tavern and the double windows the family dining/living room.

The well was under this awning and accessed from the kitchen through that doorway.  The red barn/carriage house to the right was added on much later.

It now houses the park office and gift shop/museum.  There are tours of the house on the hour but no interior photos allowed..  No fee for senior residents of NH.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable though rather biased in Pierce's favor of course.  I'll let you read on your own why he was not viewed as a very good President.

The house has some very lovely restored wall coverings.  The stenciling is quite stunning. Some of the furnishings and paintings are original to the house or the period.

Back outside looking at the side of the house the symmetry is very Georgian.  Those middle windows open to very small rooms off bedrooms used for chamber pots, storage, or sewing rooms. They are created because of the chimneys that rise through the house.

The house is attached to a second building used as a kitchen and mud room which is then attached to the barn.  The outhouse would have been in the barn.  No reason to go out in the cold winter.

Dan purchased the biography of Pierce written for a younger high school audience.  A quick read for both of us and very good at recognizing Pierce's failings as a Congressman, Senator, and then President.  We've done it too often in this country - falling under the spell of a charmer who has no real leadership abilities, or interest in being open to solving problems.