Wolfeboro Project: 5 Winter Wonders in Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro Project: 5 Winter Wonders in Wolfeboro

IMG_2824Our ‘what’s next’ journey at our Happy Place is its second winter season; and as with most home ownership, it’s all about the big bucks. (If I didn’t laugh about it, I’d cry.) These five winter wonders are a mix of fantastic and homeowner dilemmas which I know will make many smile or cringe – or both.

  1. Best Plowing Ever

n the Philadelphia area, the whining, road-preparation and bread-and-milk-runs, begin days in advance of a predicted storm. In New England =- and specifically in the Lakes Region area, winter weather is taken in stride. Most often we hear, “What do you expect? It’s New England!”

There’s no salt-solution spray on the roads in advance of a storm; little road salt used (probably because of extreme cold); and sanding is common. Now, the plowing, local, state and community – is absolutely incredible, For example, in the midst of the March 2017 blizzard, our community plow team (shout-out to #CommunityLandscapeCompany, Wolfeboro) plowed our two neighborhood streets four times – in white-out conditions. This recent January storm, the plows hit our streets numerous times before the storm (to clean up and widen snow-clearing area); during the storm to keep up with the foot or so that fell; and several times after to take care of drifting snow, icing, etc. Fantastic!

2. Mailboxes be Damned

On the flip side of great plowing, mailboxes and the posts they’re on are casualties . Ofttimes, plow trucks will back into or clip the mailboxes that are nearly covered with plowed snow.

3. Schools are Open

 

During extreme weather, yes, schools are closed here since buses, teachers and staff do have trouble getting out for various reasons. Once the storm passes and roads are clear, the next day, these students are back at the bus stop and schools are open (Perhaps with a delay).

It seems schools do NOT close in advance of a storm as they often do in the Philadelphia area. And a little ice and an inch or two of snow will NOT close schools here. It’s great to see kids skipping to the bus stop.

4. Timing is Everything

When it comes to home improvement, timing can be everything. In the midst of the ferociously cold weather here in late December and during the New Year holiday, we noticed a gash in our driveway birch tree. I dug up a business card of a local tree business, Billy’s Best Deal Tree Service. Bill called us back the same day; came out and took a look on a Sunday afternoon; gave us a fair price for  tree removal; called us the night before he was coming; and showed up EARLY the next day with a bucket truck, chipper truck and a crew of three. In just over an hour, the tree was safely taken down and the remaining wood cut into manageable pieces for our use as firewood in a year. Yay, Bill! Thank you!

5. Things Happen in Threes

For Christmas, Doug got me a new sofa for the Happy Place living room. Yay! No more 1984 flowered couch with a $2 yard sale (but new) slipcover over it. The couch made my neck hurt. Our gorgeous LazBoy sofa just warms up our living room – which some day will be renovated along with the kitchen.

One evening, Doug was bopping around in the dark and bumped into the end table by the new sofa. A glass thermometer, filled with some sort of alcohol shattered. Yes, all over the new sofa. Fortunately with rapid cleanup and luck, there is no stain. All is well.

The birch tree happened next and that is all good.

Now, the 1980s harvest gold refrigerator has died. Dead – no cold, no freezing. So we are in the midst of dealing with that. We have a mini-fridge and a chest freezer, plus some coolers all in action in the meantime. We’ll survive.

Ya Gotta Laugh

The funniest thing that happened in Wolfeboro was during a stop at the Harvest Market. Everyone talks and says, “hi” at the grocery store – even if you don’t know anyone. On my way out with my two reusable bags – one from #RavitzShoprite, a woman coming in remarked,” Shoprite! You must be from New Jersey!.” I responded,”Yes, I’m from New Jersey and it’s time for the “Can-Can Sale.” She said she really misses Shoprite. Funny!

So, what’s next? It’d be great to get through the next couple of months with nothing to worry about. Hold your breath! Long live Happy Place!

Nemo Snowmageddon – Really?

Now that the national weather service has started to name storms outside of the hurricane season, storm-naming is really out of control. It’s not enough that this weekend storm is called Nemo – which conjures up images of the sweet orange clown fish in the Disney-Pixar film from 2003 – but the media/weather folks have gone ahead and added Snowmageddon to the mix.

Right after my workout astorm nemot the gym, I headed to the supermarket; NOT because I HAD to get bread and milk, but because I needed a few ingredients for a new recipe. I ended up stopping at three different stores to find the ingredients; that gave me a great overview of the people who were out at 9 this morning. There was the mom with her three year-old strapped in a stroller while she pushed the stroller and two weeks worth of groceries to her car; the elderly woman who was leisurely shopping for a bag of rice and a few apples; an elderly couple without a cart – walking back and forth across the front of the store trying to remember why they were there and what they were there to buy.

The interesting site was the deli counter. At BJ’s in Maple Shade it seemed there were just a few people wastormsnowndering around the store shopping and back at the deli counter THERE were the people who absolutely positively needed a pound of honey ham, two pounds of American and a quarter pound of salami. You know you can’t get through Nemo without your over-salted, fatty lunch meat. OK, I am a sucker for my favorite comfort food lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup. I go the healthier route: 2% American cheese on Arnold’s Thin Rounds with either Progresso Reduced Sodium Tomato Soup or any other low salt tomato. I suppose the families who needed that lunch meat will be happy they can enjoy their favorite sandwich in the next couple of days.

I will go out on a limb here (this just in) and say that the Philadelphia and South Jersey region will be spared the brunt of this storm. That won’t stop the media from crawling all over the little bit of snow that we’ll get in these parts. I just hope none of the local TV stations make the ridiculous move of sending a local reporter into the mess that will hit Boston and the rest of New England. (Please – I hope that does not happen.)

I saw a TV news report on CBS that included frantic people trying to travel via train or plane today. There was a mom who was trying to travel home with her three small children. She looked so unbelievably stressed because she was having no luck finding transportation home. I hope she finds a hotel room, orders a pizza, rents a Disney movie and has a ball with her kids. Sometimes it’s just not worth getting excited or stressed. You can’t change the weather and you sure can’t control it; ride out the storm; enjoy your family and friends as you stay close to home and we’ll see you on the other side.

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside- Think Warm-Think Earth Festival

It hasn’t been this cold in the Philadelphia region for about four years – and I don’t like it. Thinking about baseball might be where I normally wander off to – but this time, I’m thinking about April 27, 2013. The Cherry Hill Art Blooms Earth Festival Art Blooms Earth Day - Color - TEXT - Copytakes place at historic Croft Farm ( 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – rain or shine). This is the fourth year Sustainable Cherry Hill is collaborating with Cherry Hill Township to put on this free event. We are also collaborating with the Cherry Hill School District to encourage as many of the district’s 17 schools – and any other schools throughout the South Jersey area – to participate. We’re welcoming creative art, science, math or any school project related to the earth and sustainability to be on display at the festival. The event is taking place rain or shine. We have an extremely creative media specialist – Ramona Bregatta – helping coordinate activities from within the schools. We’re talking about a fashion show with students wearing gently used clothing purchased on a budget at Goodwill or a store such as Plato’s EF2012_20120428_23 - CopyCloset (Maple Shade). Or perhaps a fashion show with clothing made from found items  – ‘Trashin’ Fashin’ was the title tossed around at our planning meeting.

We are welcoming ‘green crafters’ – artists who are making items that are from materials sourced locally – or at least in the USA; we welcome businesses that focus on sustainable or resource-saving practices. We’ll have a recycling area – still under discussion; our Gardening Task Force is working on its second EF2012_20120428_03 - Copyplant exchange that will be bigger this year; the township will bring in compost so people can pick up plants along with a few shovels of compost for the  garden. Springdale Farms is a return participant; Chimp Ade (benefits the Jane Goodall Foundation) and J-Dogs are scheduled to provide delicious – and healthy – food selections. It looks as though we will have a great moon bounce for the kids – always popular along with other activities that are family friendly which will go along with Mayor Chuck Cahn’s focus on the township’s wellness program.

EF2012_20120428_59 - CopyWe’ll have two entertainment stages with student groups performing throughout the day. Also, the local DG Band (easy listening) is scheduled to sing original tunes. All this happens as the township’s week-long Art Blooms event gets underway in the Croft Farm Art Center. Local and regional artists will have beautiful workEF2012_20120428_19 - Copys on display in competition and art-for-purchase.

To really warm everyone up and promote healthy and safe biking, the second Family Fun Bike Ride pedals off from Challenge Grove just across from Croft Farm at about 9 a.m. that morning. Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Way to Go Task Force is working with the township and police department on finalizing the route. It will be an easy ride to encourage all ages to participate.

If you are in the South Jersey-Philadelphia area and want to keep up with the plans for the Art Blooms Earth Festival, April 27th, go to www.sustainablecherryhill.org and click on ‘Earth Festival.’ You can also send in the information form below and I will send you information if you are interested in being a vendor, green crafter, food vendor, student entertainment group or you have a display appropriate for the family-friendly earth festival.

EF2012_20120428_99 - CopyAnd…since Sustainable Cherry Hill is a 501C3 non-profit organization and any funds we raise goes back into education and outreach, we are welcoming sponsors for our event. I can also send you the information about that when you fill out the contact form.

As I write this, I can feel the warm, power of the sun that (hopefully) will be shining on that Saturday. We have a lot of planning to do – and it’s so exciting to be part of this engaging – and free event that brings several thousand people out to historic Croft Farm.

Wake Up Sunshine

It’s amazing how much energy you seem to get once the sun comes out again. This week seemed to drag on with very dreary days; especially Wednesday and Thursday. Today, I was up and out by 8:30; attended a meeting; ran three separate errands, then got back to the house to continue work.

Now, I’d love to put my head down for a few minutes, but there is so little daylight, I feel as though I have to capitalize on the bright sunshine which seems to feed my brain and soul. So, more work continues until sunset this evening.

 

Too Far From the Storm

Taking a five day trip to visit friends in Colorado seemed like a great plan and it was. But Sandy is striking and we have no idea what we will face when we eventually get home.

While we have had a wonderful visit with our friends, the storm is weighing heavily on our minds. Doug was away on business until Thursday night last week. The storm’s path was still uncertain. Our focus was getting work done and packing for a 7:45 flight from Philadelphia to Denver Friday morning.

It didn’t take long to regret the preparations that we did not tend to. The patio furniture and grill are still outside. The power boat is in the driveway. The bird feeders are on the trees. The gable in the attic is open. In the scheme of things, these are things that will lead to relatively minor damage, but I can’t help feel like I really dropped the ball on this one.

Blame it on years of being in the news business, but not being in the middle of the storm makes me feel so amazingly helpless. There is nothing I can do from here but wait. We are not sure if or when our scheduled flight will take us back to Philadelphia. Our son is at Widener with no classes Monday or Tuesday. My parents are fine in their apartment. My brother works for Bucks County Emergency Dispatch so he is busy. My nephews should be OK.

While we continue watching the radar, the news reports and reading every update from 2000 miles away, it is bizarre for me to be so removed from a major event that is bearing down on the region that is home to me. There is nothing I can do but wait. I am not very good at that.

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Dinner for 2

Mid-week brought rain to this piece of heaven. You always have plan “B” when you have a house by the lake. The gray rain clouds hugged Lake Winnepesaukee for most of the morning. Now that I’ve been away for a few days, it certainly is tougher to get out of bed. I could have easily slept much later – especially during a rainy morning, but why waste a day?After getting a batch of work done for some clients, I headed to the gym. Getting my sweat on is always helpful in clearing the cobwebs. more than an hour later, I picked up my coffee – a special treat – at Winnepesaukee Baygull and the Laconia Citizen (newspaper) and headed back to the house.

Enjoying breakfast and the paper is always part of my day – but it’s made more special when you get to read headlines like: “Muskrats Drop Opener in Keene,” “Local Sailors Win Regatta,” capped off by reading the fire and police logs; such is life in a small town. Doug and I moseyed into Centre Harbor where I went to stores we had never visited before. “Yikes” is a great artisan shop with terrific artwork, jewelry, furniture and clothing. When I checked out at the register with my purchases, I struck up a conversation with the woman whose been working there and at other craft stores for some time. When I told her we were from the Philadelphia area, she told us that Happy Fernandez, the retiring president of Moore College of Art, lives in Sandwich – about 20 minutes from Centre Harbor. Ms. Fernandez served as a city councilwoman and also ran for mayor. It’d be funny to see her up here – so far away from how I knew her in Philly.

The afternoon brought clearing skies – but not enough to do any boating. There was more work to do anyway, so I took care of business and got “happy hour” ready for my family for when they returned from a trip to Freeport, Maine and the L.L. Bean factory store. We made plans to have dinner at Canoe in Centra Harbor. We’d heard good things about the restaurant, so this would mark our final night this summer without Adam.

What a great choice we made. The restaurant has a lovely cabin-type atmosphere with dark woods and comfortable chairs and tables. The wait staff was very attentive. We noticed the portions were huge – so I opted for the smaller portions offered in the appetizer/salad section. Emma was our server and she timed everything perfectly. After cocktails, our dinners came – I decided on the chopped salad with seafood cake (sort of New Hampshire’s version of a crab cake) and a side dish of mac & cheese. Doug enjoyed the seafood stew. While we ate another round of showers passed through along with some impressive lightning and thunder.

We returned home to say good night to the lake – and right on cue – the loon called into the night.

Unofficially – officially, summer’s ending

The calendar shows the truth with a couple of weeks left in summer. Our attitudes and moods are reality, though. Summer 2010 is behind us. For this writer, it’s been a non-stop list of events and happenings that make me long for next summer. On the other hand, I’d like to slow down the clock just a little and savor the moments.

Riding the waves of Labor Day weekend - Brigantine

From Saturdays and Sundays on the beach in Brigantine to the most beautiful family and friend vacation ever in New Hampshire, I’ve enjoyed the weeks from mid-June until Labor Day. Each person I’ve spent time with from friends and family to colleagues and random strangers, has helped make this a summer to remember.

Watching our son and all students head back to classes is nostalgic. Watching the parents at the store with the print-out of school supplies from the teachers makes me long for those elementary

Donna & Doug fly a hull - Brigantine

and middle school days that are behind our family now. Adam is looking ahead to his junior year and all the vital decisions that face him affecting his future. Life is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, so I continue to enjoy the moments of rest, relaxation recreation and yes, baseball joy and despair as we face the prospect of October baseball with the Phillies.

For this moment, I reflect on an outstanding summer with memories to fill a picture book. For those of you who spent time with us this summer, thanks for those memories! (Photos courtesy Sean Kardon)

The Frozen Tundra

I haven’t seen great snowman snow like this since I was a kid. Remember when we were in school and the school closings were by name: Woodrow Wilson, Camden, Woodrow Wilson Junior High, Northeast High, Rhawnhurst. Of course they were in alphabetical order, perhaps by county, but we would hunker down by the AM radio, for me usually the old WFIL and listen for that school name. Whoo-hoo! Wilson Junior high CLOSED! I don’t remember makeup days for the snow days. What I do remember is Burholme Park. It has got to be THE best sledding hill in the entire region. I remember at least once, my cousins who lived in Olney, meeting us at that awesome slope. Even today, it is one of the greatest sledding, tubing, “saucering” hill EVER.

I had a red, plastic saucer; sort of a precursor to today’s snow tubes only without the puffy comfort.   I’d get a running start at the tippy-top of the hill just below where the gorgeous Ryerss Estate library still stands today. My feet would leave the ground as I plopped down on my saucer and go speeding and twirling down that glorious hill, savoring every bump and slide. The hill flattens out on what are softball fields in the warmth of spring, summer and fall. After gliding as far as I could on the flat section, I’d jump up and scurry back up that steep slope to do another run on my saucer or mix it up using the wooden sled we had.

My cousin Paul once  sent himself flying down that snowy slope at what seemed like the speed of light. He was much taller and stronger than me. Somehow, he wavered off to the right instead of heading straight down the normal route. He went, “SPLAT” into a tree way over on the side of the large, hilly area. Blood seemed to be everywhere. Thank goodness, it looked worse than it really was. Paul just had a bloody nose. I seem to remember him laughing the whole time. I’m sure our moms were freaking out just a bit.

On a day like this, during a winter like this, I really miss the Burholme Park slope. It was and still is, pure, free, outdoorsy fun. Long live that grand hill and may many more generations of kids on their sleds enjoy that slope as much as I remember enjoying that white monster!

Let it Snow..and an update

Here we go again! Another bread and milk run; TV news shots of shoppers all-of-a-sudden realizing they don’t have a snow shovel, or the old shovel broke in the December storm. The immediacy of weather information and the advanced warnings whip us into a frenzy. We begin nesting. My husband sent our son out to the wood pile to bring a few stacks of chopped wood to put near the front door so we could have a fire while watching the blowing and drifting snow that’s predicted in this winter blast. I’m heading out to pick up some things we’re out of (as though we’ll suffer for a couple of days without bagels).

Remember when we were kids and there’d be a storm? Weather forecasting was unsophisticated and low-tech. The dropping barometer was an indicator that bad weather was on the way. The direction of the wind or low pressure was all we had to go on. Now, forecasters have tremendous accuracy when it comes to WHEN the bad weather will begin, how long the storm may last and a geographic range showing how the storm will hit over a wide area. Fascinating stuff!

It’s great to look at the storm from inside your house isn’t it? You find all sorts of things to keep you busy. Families play board games. You cook up soups and stews to keep everyone warm. I’m defrosting a turkey we got after the holidays for just a day like this. the bird will be thawed by tomorrow so we’ll have a comfort-dinner to enjoy while the rest of the snow storm hits Saturday.

Meantime, my son’s sophomore cotillion scheduled for Saturday night has indeed, been postponed. We get another week to watch him prepare for his first semi-formal. Let’s hope another snowstorm isn’t brewing somewhere off the west coast or in the Gulf. Keep watching Doppler radar!

It Hurts Us More

When you have a child, the adage goes, “it hurts you more than it hurts your child.” that applies to everything from the common cold to your child’s first heartbreak. It doesn’t get any better as they get older.

Adam’s first semi-formal dance is this weekend. The weather people are calling for a snowstorm to hit Friday into Saturday morning. I can’t help but feel my anxiety level going up with wonder. Will the dance happen? If it does, will other students bail because of the weather? Will parents complain because the dance ISN’T postponed? Will the caterer show up? Will the DJ be able to get there? Hey – it’s NOT my event! Why am I so worried? It hurts me more than it hurts him. Being a young man, Adam lets things slide. If it doesn’t work out, he shrugs and moves on. While disappointment is certainly a part of life, it’s great to be able to limit or ward off those disappointments when you’re young.

What’s so frustrating about these winter storms is how absolutely gorgeous it is today. Mother Nature loves to give us the calm before the storm. This is a perfect winter day: crystal-clear, blue skies, a light wind and no hint of bad weather. Everywhere you look, online, on TV, the newspaper, the dire prediction is there: we’re in for a storm. Now that I haven’t been “working” the storms in a while in radio, they don’t bother me as much. I don’t dread the storms or worry about them. I generally embrace the storms. The December 20th storm that socked everyone in, sent Doug and I out into the winter wonderland for a ride from South Jersey to Northeast Philly to visit my parents. During a storm is the BEST time to food shop. While some supplies may be down because of all the bread-and-milk runs just before the storm, the aisles are empty, the staff is pleasant and you have nice, pleasant conversations with anyone you come in contact with. They’re nuts, just like you. Go ahead, take a ride – get your errands done. The only vehicles on the road are the brave few and the salt and plow trucks.

Here I am, embracing storms, but so concerned that my son and his friends will be disappointed if their dance is postponed. We picked up his suit this week; today he gets a haircut; I washed his new dress shirt so it’ll be comfortable to wear; I ordered the wristlet for his date and will pick it up Saturday. If Adam is concerned about the weather or a postponement, he’s not showing it. Of course, this is the young man, who with his father, camped out in sub-freezing weather last weekend, without a working bathroom at their campsite and of course, no hot shower for two nights.  (Ugh!)

When Adam was swaddled in a blanket in my arms, I worried when he spit up (and boy, was he a spitter. When he started getting ear infections after he went to nursery school, I felt his pain and discomfort. When he was bullied for the first time in elementary school, I wanted to throw myself in the line of fire and shake the shoulders of the boy doing this to ask, “WHY?” We learn our children have to learn on their own. It hurts us to see them fail, or be bullied or suffer a disappointment. In the end, we guide them, console them and let them know we are there to help.

I hope the dance happens and Adam and his friend enjoy the heck out of the event. I hope the snow doesn’t get in the way and everyone is safe and warm at the event. For now, I think I’ll make my food shopping list and try not to worry too much.