February 2012: Late Winter/Spring| Notes Archive


Strange weather. Very little snow after the Hallowe'en storm, and some of us lament its loss. We have had a meager ground cover of white, but ice has been the challenge - deep rivers of ice on every path and driveway. In place of skis and snowshoes, we rely on the clamp-ons to get us from the door to the car. Not much sport in that.

Christmas seems forever ago as the sky gives us a sense of change, the "February blue" as my neighbor Fay calls it. The natives here must have latched onto the hope in that blue as they plowed through the winters of old in Acworth.

It is austere on our hill, and takes resilience to face up to it. Soon, as the days grow longer one minute at a time, we will see the real signs of spring.

Last fall I prepared a new border just outside the door for a kitchen garden and it's exciting to begin to plan what will be there. The spot borders a small back porch, and is under the clothesline. Whatever it is, aromatic herbs will be a major part of it, so that the blowing laundry will brush the plants to release those tantalizing fragrances.

Good old English Thyme is a steady friend here. I have a lush edging of it in my main garden and it has become a favorite feature there. I dried it last fall and the little jar sits on the spice shelf, smiling. It has boosted the flavor of all our stews and soups this winter.

The antiques season begins to stir here in NH. NHADA has a new one-day venue at the Whittemore Center at UNH in Durham on April 15. I am adding 2 doll shows to my roster, one in Sturbridge on April 22 and the other in Portsmouth on June 3, new adventures for me.

And…of course, the NHADA show in August is always in the forefront of our minds. The moment the doors close on the show, we begin thinking about next year. What worked in the booth; what didn't.

Last year, Eno masterminded a wall of dolls - each on its own handmade display shelf. It's the first time I have "come out" as a specialist in folk dolls, and our show visitors seemed to love it. So, we plan and stash special things in that category and will offer them at the show. I had a border made of photos of the dolls as a display and we had a lot of interest in that. This year we'll have another banner with a new cast of characters.

I hope you plan to attend. Send me an email ( ) with your address, etc., and I will see that you get a ticket for free admission.

Although the days are still short we look longingly at the tiny buds on the ends of the lilac branches. Nothing compares to NH's lilacs. Most of the bushes are very, very old, and there are always some near the doors of the houses.

It's almost as if the first thing the settlers did was to bless the front and back doorways with lilacs. The catbird loves the large tree-like bush at our back door and we hope she finds her old home this spring.

Soon the huge groups of robins will be here. They are the sweetest birds, common though some find them.

That dear little happy chirp is the theme song of spring. Spring in New Hampshire. Heaven.

For us it signals our return to our sweet home after spending the winter in the barn. Throw open the doors and windows, shake out the rugs and quilts, air the winter curtains and replace them with the sheer, blowy curtains of summer. The changes that mark life in the north are full of magic.