Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September in NH

September brings us to the first signs of fall, chilly mornings with spotty frost here and there, the foliage has started showing its brilliant color's and my all time favorite the Concord Grape with its robust smell,  blue in color, tells me they are ready to be picked to make in to jelly/jam. This year my daughter and I were blessed to have my sister-in-law and her precious daughters help. There is nothing more fun then making things with others.
the grape vine heavy with Concord  Grapes  

Jo-Lynn filling her basket  

it takes about  4 pounds of grapes to make a batch of jam
Eliza and my daughter pressing the grapes though the berry strainer

even little Sylvia is able to help

 we followed the Sure-Jell  cooked recipe on the boxes
after making jam/jelly fill hot  jars 3/4 full screw on covers tight and stand up side down over night to seal  

we like to cut circle out of scrap material,  tying  them on the lids for that simply country look

with some of our home made bread that we have  toasted and our Concord Grape jelly we  just made, makes a delicious breakfast.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Field Trip To Remember

In the misted of a small New England town tucked away in the forest lies the ruins of Madame Sherri's Castle.


Madame Sherri, was born in Paris France her name was Antoinette De Lilas, she was a music hall singer in Paris when she met, fell in love and married Andre Riela a silent film actor, theatrical producer, also a son of an Italian Diplomat in New York City.

Andre and Antoinette sailed back to New York City, but after a very cold reception, in 1911 they changed there name to Sherri, then became theatrical costume designers opening a shop in New York City making a good living. In 1924 Andre passed away,

Madame Sherri now in her 50's took a trip to Chesterfield N.H. to visit with a friend Jack Henderson, she liked it there so much she purchased a small farm with some 500 acres of land. Madame then built the most extravagant summer castle like home anyone had ever seen, to host wild lavish party's, bring her friends from New York City, filling the forest with music and laughter. It was said there was scandalous things going on there by some of the town folk, like Madame Sherri driving through town with only her fur coat on.

 Madame Sherri continued to party until she was broke, in the late 50's she moved in to Maple Rest Nursing Home in Brattleboro VT.  On Oct. 18th 1962 the castle burned down leaving only, the stone remains' of a architectural masterpiece.    Madame Sherri died in 1965 at the age of 84 and was laid to rest in Meeting House Mill Cemetery, in Brattleboro VT.

At some point Ann Stokes bought the property and generously donated this land for conservation to the Society For The Preservation Of N.H.  Come and view the ruins of the castle, bring your hiking shoe's there are hiking trails here, some more strenuous than others but worth it for some of the views. As a homeschool family we sure love the freedom of sharing and finding lost history that was not in the text books. This was a field trip a good friend of mine and a fellow homeschooler shared with our lovely daughters. The girls refer to this as the Madame Sherri's Enchanted Forest field trip.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Maple Sugaring In New Hampshire With The Somero's

The end of February we start preparing for sap season, first by cleaning out the sap shed that resides in my farther-in-law's back yard. After the dust stops flying and the evaporator pans are all washed and put back together on its arch.
The tapping of about 500 maple trees, is next in line with drilling the holes

hammering in the spout then the buckets are hung and the covers set in place

It is so exciting when you see and hear the first drips in the bucket

We use two types of covers the flat covers and the roof covers viewed below the covers are used to keep rain water and other impurities out of the clear sweet sap

than it is dumped into a gathering tank that sits in the back of a truck, this gathering tank of my husbands holds three hundred gal. when all has been collected or our tank is full we head back to my father-in-laws to unload

the pans now full of that sweet sap, Hank my husband is starting the fire in the stove under the pans. Here are three generations of maple syrup makers, Grandpa, son, and grandson, and now they are anticipating the sweet maple flavor to start flowing through the air with the steamy boil to come!

Then the sweet maple steam bellows through the sap shed and out through the cupola up in the sky, I'm sure the steam spells out the Somero's are boiling,

Soon the sap shed will fill up with friends, neighbors and family near and far, to help or just come for the sweet smell and to reminisce of years past

it is always nice when other maple syrup makers come to visit we share our thoughts and ideas and just enjoy the season

all ages are interested, I home school and utilize this sugar making. I have made up a school curriculum to use, teaching the history, the science,  and the math that it takes to make tasty maple syrup! 

we have syrup! that liquid gold bounty we have been waiting for is here, now we need to grade it.

canning and labeled is next

When you pull in at my father-in -laws, the sap shed is on the left just past the main house on the right, you might find it hard to just pass the inviting smells coming from my mother-in-laws kitchen, hot coffee and fresh bakery just out of her oven made by my husbands sweet mother. You will find her door is always open to all visitors. But if you smell her Cinnamon Buns get in there quick or the grandchildren will have them gone lickity split!

and washing all the buckets and spouts

anticipating the maple syrup to last us all year!