Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodbye, Irene

I didn't want to buy into the hurricane hype, but last night I began to get swept up in the excitement of the oncoming storm. The clouds looked stormy, there were ominous rumbles of thunder. I pictured wind lashing trees, rain pounding the roof, comforting my frightened prairie boys. But it was not to be.

The rain started gently, with no wind. The rain began to get harder, and then the rain died down, and that was Hurricane Irene, as felt inland in NH. I counted 4 thrilling gusts of wind, and that was that. Nevertheless, our power managed to go out at 10:30. Quinn and I had already gotten into the spirit of the occasion and were reading library books on the living room floor. It was dark, so we lit candles to cheer things up. We made popcorn and hot cocoa, thanks to Dad's gas stove, and we read some more. Inspired by one of our books, Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall, Griffin decided to make paper chains to decorate the dining room.

Dad went outside to work on the generator, then went to town for parts for said generator. I think he had to spend about 3 1/2 hours working on it, but we were grateful because by 4:00 we had lamplight. Dad, Griffin and I watched a movie and charged our various devices while Quinn napped. Then I felt a strong wind, thought things had finally gotten exciting, but it was only the fan coming back on with the electricity.

I have never experienced life on a generator before. When I was a child, my favorite thing about a day without power was the silence, and the contrast of the power coming on. We don't notice how loud our refrigerators are, until we take a break from them.

Well, a generator is the diametric opposite of that lovely quiet experience. It is like living with a lawn mower on your front porch. If there are any chipmunks left on the side of this mountain, I would be amazed. Any wildlife worth its salt should have run for the hills.

As I type this, WW3 has erupted in the living room, centered on a property dispute involving Legos. Grampa has run to McDonald's for dinner, which seems as exciting to my boys (who have lived near 3 for the past 5 years) as it was to my sibs and I, who saw one nary once a month, if that. McDonald's is always a thrill.



Friday, August 19, 2011


It's Friday, and neither Dad nor I want to cook. We're all headed to Bennington for some fine dining at Bat's Italian Restaurant. I love it, because I've been going there since I was 6. Also, because it is located next to a dam, and has no compunctions about using the slogan, "Best Food by a Dam Site". You gotta respect that. Lastly, some of my favorite, "I can't take you anywhere" lectures happened there as a child, along with my father's counterpoint lessons on how to lick your plate clean in public after eating spumoni ice cream. I don't know if it's on any Zaggat's "Culinary Highlights of NH" lists, but I love it.

We also visited the Hopkinton Cemetery, c.1765, in search of the grave of the Revolutionary War soldier who they say fired the Shot Heard Round the World. We didn't find anyone marked as such, and unfortunately any google searches on the topic only bring up the time that Michelle Bachmann congratulated New Hampshire on being the state where it happened. Which is ok, because that was awesome.

This afternoon we went to the lake and saw a loon, and also one of those birds that dives underwater a long way to get fish. One of the two is pictured here in his pontoon boat, which was blaring, "Please Come to Boston" (you know, she's the #1 Fan of the Man from Tennessee) as it puttered along the shore. As he got farther away, I think I heard enough to conclude that he was listening to Time Life's "Singer/Songwriter's of the 70s" collection, which should make me like him more cause I own it. But I'm pretty sure there is a law about blaring anything other than James Taylor on a pine-fringed New Hampshire lake in August.

Our friend Cooper accompanied us to the lake. He and Griffin found several abandoned fish hooks (yay for water shoes) and rigged up a makeshift pole, pictured here. Another boy helped them out by finding a slug in the woods, which, along with half of the hook, was promptly consumed by something under the water. It was very exciting.

Happy Weekend!


Sarah & the littlest Dedmon boys.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I'm getting ready to put together a pot of Auntie Jo-Jo's White Chicken Chili. After about 45 days of 100+ degree temps, I had given up on cool weather ever happening again, and had started cooking winter dishes in July. So, we have had this yummy soup recently, but it will be extra special to eat it here in the chilly weather, without the side effect of a full body sweat.

This weekend past, Aunt Liz came to visit us, and stayed the night. She has a new car, which I should have photographed. She took us touring all over town, to my favorite yarn shop, and to 2 thrift shops to satisfy Griffin's early addiction to junk. Look out world. On Sunday we met her lovely boyfriend, Jason Parker, and Dad took us all out to dinner at the new Italian restaura
nt in Hillsboro. Lots of wine, very nice.

The rain began early on Monday and has carried through until late this afternoon. Because we are still finding our way in Dad's house, it is no easy thing to be cooped up here with two energetic boys. The house *is* full of toys, but think Paul Bunyan, not Lego.

So, we have made forays to a distant grocery store, to Dunkin' Donuts, and several walks out on the lane with umbrellas. All children love having a portable roof in the rain, and this road is great for its small streams and orange salamanders. There are nearly no mosquitoes this year.

Highlights: Playing cards with Quinn on our bed while Dad mashed potatoes from the garden for dinner. Having cinnamon tea and cookies with Griffin while playing Go Fish. Throwing rocks in the marsh at the end of Old County Lane. The boys walking 15' along the rainy road, then yelling out, "Umbrella Fort! Umbrella Fort!", then stopping and making a small house of their 2 umbrellas. Ok, actually, that was a little annoying at first, but once I realized this was not going to be an exercise walk, it was cute.

The rain stopped this afternoon, and the temps are in the low 60s. Tomorrow we will go along with Dad to an appointment in Contoocook, and then drag him along to the Planetarium or NH History Museum in Concord.

Off to finish making the Chilli -



Friday, August 12, 2011


Just a quick post with some pics from our 1st two days here. The boys and I have been walking every day, we visited our friends down the road, toured our neighbor's new Christmas Tree Farm, picnicked at the lake, dug potatoes from the garden for dinner, and had ice cream at the High Tide.

It's 65 degrees right now. Today we will visit Concord for some errands. Among them will be finding some sweatpants and sweatshirts for the boys on these lovely chilly mornings.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The boys and I had a lovely trip yesterday, even including the 3 hour delay in Philadelphia. We left Love Field easily at 9:30, after meeting another Mom and 3 year-old who were NH bound on our flights. We stopped in Houston, but did not deplane. Then on the long haul to Philly, Quinn took a nice long nap and I was able to listen to a book and do some needlework. Griffin enjoyed some books and his DS.

We stuck with our new friends, Sonja and Jackson, while we had our extended Philadelphia layover. Sonja lives in the DFW area now, but comes from Laconia, NH. So, I visited with her, we traded off watching kids, and the time passed quickly.

While we were boarding we met another family who came from TX but now lives in VT, and Griffin made quick friends with their 9 year-old, Max. They sat together and played DS, Quinn and Jackson sat together and watched Cars, and we did alright. A storm kept us on the plane, on the runway for about an hour and a half. No liquor was served, so Sonja and I deserve a special medal.

Grampa hid behind some trees at the airport and jumped out and grabbed Griffin by his backpack, and so we began our time in New Hampshire. I'm going to have him wear a bell so that we can walk in the woods without fear of a repeat Sasquatch impression, like the fateful spring of 1978. Not that Christie and I didn't enjoy that. My cardiologist just thought maybe I should stay away from that kind of fun for a while.

This area is Boy Heaven. Grampa's house is like one big attic of tools and cast-offs from the younger Craighead children. Griffin discovered half of a tank (score!) and an old castle this morning. Oh yes, and a mouse skeleton in a mouse trap. They rode on the tractor, picked cherry tomatoes and a few raspberries in the garden. And as I type this, Grampa has taken Griffin off in search of his own corncob pipe. You know, to keep the blackflies away. So, Griffin's transformation to country bumpkin has taken 20 hours.

I'm looking out the window at green as far as the eye can see. The apple trees in the side yard are covered with small apples. The white pine between our house and the Nazer's are towering now. They look about 3x the height of the Nazer's house. The small pine that planted itself on the granite step by the pear and birch is now nearly as tall as the pear tree. You can see it in this picture above of Griffin, holding a pear.

The light is different here. August in New Hampshire is very soft and pleasant.

Wish you were here!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

But Who's Counting?

It's not that I don't like the weather in Texas. It's just that I can't stand the weather in Texas.

This morning it was 54 degrees in New Hampshire, and 98 degrees in my backyard. At 8:15am. These kinds of temps should be the exclusive domain of 17th century men forging iron, and people with names like Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

We will climb to 110 again today. To work around this fact, we stay indoors, or in our car. Indoors is preferable, because the fact is that your car never cools down again after you take it into the sun for more than 12 minutes. Around 4pm, the A/C downstairs starts to think, "Aw hell, what's the point?" and stops reaching for the brass ring of 78 degrees. 80, 81, until the sun goes down and it recovers its will to fight.

In 6 days, the boys and I will head to Love Field and hop onto one of 3 Southwest Airline flights that will take us to Manchester, New Hampshire. The boys will love the novelty of flying, and I will love the sight of scorched earth disappearing behind the aircraft.

Packing commencing today.

Best -