Saturday, April 16, 2011

Country Travels in Kensington,NH

I recently stayed overnight with my son and his family in Exeter, New Hampshire. Taking the Amesbury Road(Rte.150) back to Newburyport I thought it wasn't every day to have the opportunity for the ride early in the morning and a chance to take photos for future subjects to paint. The road was clear of traffic and as soon as I started I saw a tree that was particularly interesting. A car was close behind so I couldn't safely stop. Everything has a reason because shortly a little further was the old school house I've seen many times but not in the early morning light. I stopped to "freeze" the moment and soon saw a lot more.
Right beside me at the corner from the school house was a peaceful reflection of spring in this little pond and a lot more. I could have stayed there for a while just absorbing nature realizing the changes from all the snow this scene went through last winter.
There was a sign FRESH EGGS and behind it was an old hand watering pump I'm sure in years past much appreciated.
Across this little intersection was a house I remember when it was for sale a long time ago and dreamed of buying it. There are beautiful barns that also went with the property.
Right across from the egg sign was the Kensington Esquarian Center with horses enjoying their morning eating which I was thinking about too. Well, right down the road was the Country Brooke Cafe and I thought that I would go in. I was warmly greeted and offered with a choice of seating at the counter or the several booths. This is not your usual kind of place but a real "country" place with a pleasant atmosphere "where you come in as strangers and leave as friends" as it says on their business cards. I had noticed the muffin sign and one was interesting ........ Coconut Lime ! Never heard of that but they are home made and my waitress Heather said the cook is always offering different flavors such as peanut butter and jelly, or even a snickers one. I wanted more than a muffin, so I ordered a scrambled egg with home fries and raisin toast. Best raisin toast I ever had! I would be sure though to take home a couple of muffins. I mentioned the place to several friends in Newburyport and they too will be making a visit there some day.

A very short distance from having breakfast is this familiar scene and made famous by Samuel Chamberlain in his New England photo books from years ago. I did yard work for him as he sat watching me pull up weeds when I was twelve living in my home town of Marblehead.
Here is the Coconut-Lime muffin and also a Blueberry muffin where Janice and I are looking forward to eating them. I've done many works using the blueberry muffin theme and have a few prints left which you can see on the "print" page of my site. I can't offer a muffin to you but I'm glad to share the trip along the road of Kensington, New Hampshire.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tobacco Barns & Boxes

It was a hard winter on many Connecticut barns....and a few houses with all the never ending snow that caused over three hundred to collapse. These wonderful tobacco barns on the way to the Rocky Hill Ferry, I'm happy to say are still standing for yet another season. I remember seeing them for the first time on a beautiful fall day in 2002. It was so different to experience them from my moving from the North Shore of Boston where I lived many years enjoying the coastal views.
In the spring there was yet another view of the tobacco fields and I wondered how this all was harvested. I was told that this tobacco was used in making cigars where the harvest is dried in the barns scattered around the fields.
The sides of the barns have hinges that fold out so that the air can circulate through.
I wondered, when I had a request to refinish a cigar box that was brought to me last fall, if any of the tobacco crop was once in the box? A funny thing happened with this box. After painting it back in March I was surprised when my customer came to pick it up and said it wasn't hers! I thought I painted the right one but it was another box that family had given me. I couldn't remember where my customer's box was realizing I had misplaced it! I even wondered if I painted it and sold it around Christmas! Well, we were both surprised and relieved when I called to tell her the good news! Janice and I searched all month but I found it under some stored away papers in a cupboard! It was needed in May to be given as a present so I still had plenty of time to work on it and finished it with time to spare!
The box had a lot of paint to remove and then quite a bit of sanding ........but it worked out in the end. If you have a special box you would like to have painted please let me know. I also have many many boxes of all kinds, sizes, shapes and subjects here at my studio barn in Glastonbury. I'll be having an open house Saturdays in June and will be posting this event and others soon on my web site.