Friday, March 23, 2012

Well, Blow Me Down!

Thought for the day:  How'd you like to gather your food by drilling through thirty-six inches of ice and then sit there all day hoping it will swim by? 

Winters are pretty harsh in New Hampshire. Lots of ice fishing and skiing, though. The only trouble with that is, as Dave Barry says: The problem with winter sports is that, follow me closely here, they generally take place in winter.

Right. Lots of cold weather. But like most of the New England states, autumn foliage is supposed to be breath-taking. Too short-lived, maybe, but beautiful, with brilliant colors and clean crisp air. (Which all too soon turns to clean crisp snow.) And there's lots of scenic places, lots of covered wooden bridges and lots of beautiful old homes. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge over the Connecticut River stretches 460 feet, making it the second-longest covered wooden bridge in the country. (Spoilsport Ohio stole the title when it built a longer one in 2006.) Plus, you can go whale watching in New Hampshire. That's GOTTA be cool. (Okay ... COLD.)

A couple very quick tidbits before moving on to look at some pictures: New Hampshire is the only state that ever played host for the formal conclusion of a foreign war. In 1905, a treaty ending the  Russo-Japanese War was signed in Portsmouth. If you ever want someone to blame when your alarm clock oh-so-rudely tears you away from a delightful dream, blame it on Levi Hutchins of Concord, who invented that heartless instrument back in 1787.

The building in this picture is the Mt. Washington Hotel, and in the background is Mt. Washington itself, the site of the highest wind velocity ever recorded in North America. Would you believe 231 MPH, with gusts even HIGHER? That was back in 1934. During a typical winter, Mt. Washington often claims the coldest temperature of the day.

Ya gotta love a place with its own Trojan horse. This one, ten feet tall, is located in Gossville.

But that isn't the only kind of horse you'll find in New Hampshire. Merrimack, a Bavarian-style hamlet, is home to the famous Anheiser-Busch Clydesdale training team. They may not be as tall as the Trojan horse, but they ARE six feet tall to the shoulder.

The Memorial Bell Tower at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge has four bronze  bas-reliefs that were designed by Norman Rockwell, and sculpted by his son Peter. The bell tower is specifically dedicated to women -- military and civilian -- who died while serving their country.

America's Stonehenge, located on Mystery Hill in Salem, truly is a mystery. The stone ruins found here are a mixture of prehistoric wonders, standing stones, stone chambers, and sighting stones that show sunrise and sunset on summer and winter solstices. Some of the ruins are an estimated four thousand years old, but who built them will forever remain a mystery.

The Old Man of the Mountain was one of New Hampshire's iconic symbols. This natural formation was carved by receding glaciers ten thousand years ago, and gazed out from twelve hundred feet above Echo Lake. It measured forty feet from the chin to the forehead, and was made up of five ledges. Notice all the past tense verbs? That's because the old man collapsed in 2003.

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, located in Concord, includes interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, earth and space sciences, as well as a state-of-the-art planetarium. The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium is named in honor of, and dedicated to, the New Hampshire teacher who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion. As you may have guessed,  astronaut Alan Shepard was also a New Hampshire native.

Daniel Webster's boyhood home.

How about THIS place? An honest-to-goodness castle! Kimball Castle is located in Gilford, and sits atop Locke Hill overlooking a lake. Looks like the perfect setting for a novel, doesn't it? There's supposed to be a forest beside it, too, so it's like a remote little kingdom. And guess what? It's for sale! For seven hundred forty-nine thousand dollars. (But you could offer 'em seven ... ) Alas, no moat, but wow, what a neat place. Might be a little chilly on that hilltop come wintertime, but I'll betcha there's plenty of fireplaces inside.

Intriguing marker, isn't it? In case you can't read it, this memorial calls Arthur Farnsworth the keeper of stray ladies, and is dedicated by a grateful one. Story time: when Bette Davis was a big star, she escaped from Hollywood to Sugar Hill, New Hampshire to find peace and quiet, and ended up finding herself a husband and a home. She purchased a place called Butternut, and became quite smitten with Farnsworth, caretaker of a nearby inn. Allegedly, she deliberately strayed while on an outing just so he would come to her rescue. Not only did he come to her rescue, but he courted her tirelessly until they married. Unfortunately, he died just three years later, and she put this marker up in his memory.

Okay, time to leave the pictures and take a look at some of the laws.
  • You may not tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to the music in a tavern, restaurant, or cafe. (Must be some pretty lousy music.)
  • You cannot sell the clothes you are wearing to pay off a gambling debt. (Guess no one's allowed to lose his shirt from gambling.)
  • It's against the law to check into a hotel under an assumed name. (What if your names really ARE John and Mary Doe?)
  • It's illegal to pick up seaweed on the beach.
  • Any cattle that cross state roads must be fitted with a device to gather their feces. (I don't wanta change those diapers!)
  • You may not run any machinery on Sundays.
  • It's also against the law for citizens to look up while relieving themselves on a Sunday. (Pious peeing only.)
  • In Claremont, it's illegal to get drunk or picnic in a cemetery, or to enter at night, or for children under ten to enter unattended.
  • In White Mountain National, any person caught raking the beaches, picking up litter, hauling away trash, building a bench for the park, or many other kind things better have a permit. Otherwise, the do-gooder can be slapped with a $150 fine for (ready?) maintaining the national park without a permit.
Okay, here we go, boys and girls, the moment you've all been waiting for. (Right?) Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  A new Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum will be opening in Las Vegas on March 26. The question is: will it actually answer any of the questions long associated with nearby area 51, or will it simply capitalize on the rumors to sell tickets? I dunno, but it does sound intriguing. Especially the dedicated Area 51: Myth or Reality exhibit. Here's a wee promotional snippet about the new museum:

*** When I was a young girl, my favorite aunt would draw a hula dancer on my knee, and then I'd make it "dance" by jiggling my knee. I forgot all about that until  I saw an article the other day about a new vibrating tattoo. How cool is that? A hula dancer who could really jiggle her hips? Nah. Nothing quite that moving. But Nokia has come up with a technology where ferromagnetic inks, coupled with a newly patented substance, would actually vibrate in response to a cellphone or text message signal. I suppose that would be less distracting than a ringtone, but I don't know about that shades of bionic man vibrating skin stuff. Unless, of course, the tattoo were a hula dancer.

Not much else happening this week in the realm of weird news stories, unless you count the clueless cocaine smuggler nabbed in Washington state while riding in an SUV bearing a vanity license plate reading SMUGLER, while heading to the Smuggler's Inn to make the deal. (I kid you not.)

 In addition to the high temperatures and high pollen counts already experienced  this year, we've also had some pretty windy days. Not nearly as windy as Mt. Washington, but almost windy enough to blow me down. Yep, windy enough ... about as windy as this:

                               [A one and a two, all together now: All we are is ducks in the wind ...]

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the New Hampshire info and photos. I was there several times when I was very young (back when there were only thirteen colonies.....).

    I'm still laughing at the blowing ducks.

  2. I applied for the job of 'Keeper of Stray Ladies', but they said I would probably lead them astray.

  3. I would love to stay in that castle long enough to write a book there!

    And I want to know how they plan to enforce the "no looking up while urinating" law.

  4. Poor little duckies.....

  5. Hmm, that museum sound interesting. However, the ad uses the word "truth". Government/truth - oxymoron if ever I heard one.

    Love New Hampshire, but not in the winter.

  6. New Hampshire is so beautiful! Alas, I'm with Dave Barry on winter.

    And the vibrating tattoo? My gosh. And here I thought there was no way I could ever like the idea of getting a tattoo less than I already do. I stand corrected. *grin*

  7. Yay! My neck of the woods! It was very sad- some said apocalyptic- when the Old Man fell. NH and VT are rival neighbors. But they have some pretty nifty stuff over there, like Mystery Hill. And the Highland Games at Loon Lake. And the Keene Pumpkin Festival. NH is also to the right of VT in more than one way...but that's another story.
    Thanks, Susan!

  8. Jon- Glad you enjoyed it, and boy, it sounds like you've visited a bunch of different states. (Of course, it was a lot easier to hit all of 'em when there were only thirteen.) Those ducklings are something else, aren't they? It's amazing the little things weren't hurt. Guess they're tougher than they look.

    Cro- HA! I'll just bet you did! (And would!)

    Dianne- With that kind of price tag on the place, it may take a long time to sell. Who knows? Maybe they'd rent it out to a group of writers...

    Delores- I know. Aren't they just too precious?

    Arleen- I'd love to check that museum out, but you're right. The government doesn't have a stellar record for its "truthiness."

    Linda- Aw gee, just think. You could have a cute little camel (or otter) dancing on your arm ...

    Laura- Glad to be visiting your neck of the woods this week. Mystery Hill sounds especially intriguing to me.

    Y'all take care. I hope you have a super weekend.

  9. I never think about that part of US nor have I ever visited there. I did meet a guy once who was from NH. He wore his cap goofy and said he was a Green Mountain Boy. Or was that the one from RI? Or maybe it was VT. Oh, I don't know. :)

  10. Manzie- Sorry ... you missed it. I wrote about your beloved Montana a few weeks ago. (Even included the story of Shep in there.)Take care.

  11. oh my goodness..i didn't know any of this stuff! now i want to go there!!

  12. I've been there. It was "spring." I thought I'd freeze to death and I didn't even live in Florida yet. I thought I was used to the cold. I love Clydesdales. They're so impressive in person. Ducks in the wind. Oh, my. That is funny.


  13. As far as castles go, that is pretty dang affordable. I want to live in a castle [she whines.]

    Hope you have a great weekend Susan. Take care. :)

  14. Momto8- That's the only thing wrong with doing the research on the various states. I wanta go to them ALL!

    Janie- Some places just don't know how to "do" spring, do they? I've caught myself singing, "All we are is ducks in the wind" most of the day. (If anyone heard me, they'd probably think I was nuts.)

    Skippy- You're right about the price, but I have a feeling it needs a LOT of work. Besides, you don't wanta have to wash all those windows...

  15. Since retiring 3 years ago I have learned to forgive Levi Hutchins the invention of his brutal device. 1st thing I did was retire my alarm clock to the pump house. 2nd thing, I did a little dance in the gravel outside it. Great post!

  16. What a beautiful place to live! I've wanted to see New England in the fall, but winter would be nice, too.

    Cows with diapers? Hilarious!

  17. Geo- Isn't retirement like the best thing ever??? My hubby's been retired more than ten years already, and we're always wondering when he ever found the time to WORK. (We don't understand those folks who are "bored" with retirement.)

    Emily- I think I'll pick autumn over winter. It's been a lot of years since I was snowbound, but I'm not in any hurry to experience it again. Can't say that I've ever seen a cow wearing a diaper, but some of our little towns here require horses to wear them during parades.

    Take care.

  18. Hi Susan .. how many lives did they have - and was 'no cruelty used in the making of this video'??

    Love the castle setting - bet it's cold - but what a place to restore.

    Also the Trojan horse - isn't that amazing .. while the Clydesdales are just stunning .. love the photos ..

    Thanks - for your funny look on our life .. cheers Hilary

  19. Hilary- Hi-ya. Those little ducks sure looked like they had a rough time of it, but the only one being cruel to them was Mother Nature. The first time I watched the video, I was amazed that the little things were able to get right up and waddle off again. 'Course, the mama looked a little rough around the edges. Take care.

  20. Okay, you've convinced me, I'm visiting New Hampshire. And buying a castle. I hope $1,200 is enough of a down payment because that's about all I've got :).

    Thanks for the pictures, your state sounds great, and I love the Bette Davis story.

  21. Brigid- Hi-ya, and welcome aboard. Glad you liked the stuff about NH, but it isn't "my" state. I'm way down south in GA, and have been doing these virtual tours for a while now.

  22. Thanks for the tour of my neighbor NH! We're about 2 miles from the border - as the crow flys!

    OMG, those poor baby ducks! I felt so bad for the mama duck running after her babies. Weren't they resilient though, poor little things!

    Your comments about my "un-green" pie made me laugh! Needed to make room in my freezer! But I'll keep the green apple, key lime or pistachio pie in mind for next St. Paddy's day! LOL!!!

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Drilling holes in ice and waiting for a fish to come by sounds like something that should be a hobby, not survival. Myself, don't plan to live anywhere near 36" of ice.

  24. Hey Susan,
    Wow, you cover a lot in this most informative article and accompanying photos. And this Canadian dude sends good wishes from 'Old England' to New England.
    A very nice read as we have been experiencing incredibly warm for here, late March weather. Yes, today is was 20 degrees C, okay, 68 degrees Fahrenheit :)
    And now I have this incredible urge to go to Area 51 and throw a Frisbee in front of one of the closed circuit cameras! That'll fool 'em :)
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend and thanks again for this superb article and your thoughtful comment on my site. Much appreciated.
    In kindness, Gary

  25. Once, while driving back from Nova Scotia, we stopped to camp for the night in New Hampshire where we heard the most delightful accent -
    "The sha-ahs ah ovah hee-ah." - you try to figure it out! lol

  26. Breezes & Sneezes- Weren't those ducks something else? You're right about them being resilient, but the mama sure looked frazzled. As for next St. Paddy's Day, you could always take the easy way out and make a big ol' dish of lime jello. Heck, you can even get "fancy": buy a box of Lucky Charms and pick out all the marshmallows so you can throw 'em into the jello. (Or you could have another strawberry pie.)

    Mr. C- You and me both. The only place I care to see ice is in my freezer. (But not 36" of it!)

    Gary- It's been unusually warm here, too, even by Georgia's standards, and end-of-February, beginning-of-March is WAY too early for temperatures in the mid-80s. If you're gonna throw a Frisbee out there, why not spray it silver, and add a couple feeler-like antennas first?

    Kara- Phew! Took me a minute, but I figured it out. (sha-ahs had me stumped at first)

    Take care.