Saturday, August 28, 2010


These last few days have been busy in Chocorua.
Amy and Thad finally finished the shingling--Toby helped (and I should have too, but there was stuff I had to paint). The scaffolding is all down now, the gas tanks back in their proper place, all the debris picked up. It's gorgeous, but I was so used to seeing it messy that it looks just a little too plain to me now. Flowers--I'll plant tons of flowers there for next summer.

And finally we got a grill!
Here's Toby overseeing our first, and so far only, outdoor dinner.
Of course mistakes were made--I put too much oil on the food, we charred the corn, and didn't dare to grill the fish--we cooked that on the stove inside.
But by and large, the meal was pretty good and we're confident that we'll get the hang of it before long.

Last week Toby and I traveled to Mt. Desert Island in Maine

for a two-day visit with the Bob and Steffi and Katie Harris. They are renting a lovely cottage on a big lake while they build this new house nearby for themselves.

While Bob and Toby discussed heating systems and super insulated windows and stuff,
I kept the dogs company on the porch.

Later, we hiked up a small mountain overlooking the harbor and ocean--
and watched the mist roll in off the sea.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Great Willow Tree Controversy

Ever since we came to our house in Chocorua in 1986, this willow tree has been growing on the front lawn.
It's provided shade and beauty for many events:

A summer dinner out of doors,

a cool place to examine garter snakes,

a wedding in the late afternoon,

a gathering of babies on the lawn,

a canopy for learning how to walk,

inspiration for a little romance

and a background for reunions,

shade for the front porch,

and a fun place to run over crunchy leaves in the fall.

There are problems with the willow--
one limb, difficult to lop off, hangs dangerously low over the house,

Woodpeckers have punched many holes in the trunk and it's become a haven for many insects.
It sheds its small but numerous leaves endlessly over the lawn and the porch.

When our Storytellers came they asked how, if we had this quote in our house, we could think of cutting down an honest tree.

Well, maybe we won't. Maybe we'll start a little tree nearby and when that gets older and bigger, the willow might just be ready to relinquish it's place to another generation. Maybe we'll let the willow decide.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Tulip Story

Here's a little story about Tulip (who likes to swim and loves sticks!)

Toby has, once again, created a path through the lily pads for us to swim out to the raft. He meticulously marked this path every three feet or so with pieces of wood tied to string somehow anchored on the bottom. It's been a delight to weave our way around the lilies following the wooden markers to the raft.

Last week in the middle of a very hot day we hopped in the lake for a cooling swim. Tulip usually sits on the dock and barks at us as we get further and further away. This day she jumped in and followed us.

She didn't know that she could follow the markers, but two-thirds of the way to the raft she encountered one. Without a moment's hesitation, she grabbed the piece of wood in her mouth and started swimming back to shore. She's a fast swimmer, but I was close by and tried to wrestle that piece of wood out of her mouth. She wouldn't give it up--she had an iron grip on it. I swam beside her. When she started to slow down and sink a little I got worried and tried to hold her up by the fur on her back, saying "We're almost there, Tulip--hang on!!" She's not so young anymore--maybe she just can't take these long swims. But we got back to shore, and when I pulled the wood and the string up, there on the end

was this heavy brick.

Tulip had lugged it all back--no wonder she had trouble!

She slept most of the rest of the day.