Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Enough for Everyone

Enough for Everyone, originally uploaded by Dave Delay.

In southern New Hampshire, the annual display of lilacs is almost over. This poem, recently heard on The Writer's Almanac, is an interesting twist on the lilac phenomenon.

Stealing Lilacs
by Alice N. Persons

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor's tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

Much of the lilac season was drenched in rains this year. Happily, I have a large bush right out next to my deck.

Lilacs are New Hampshire's official State Flower.

Pink Lady's Slipper

Ladyslipper, originally uploaded by JeffS_NH.


New Hampshire's official State Wildflower

Monday, May 28, 2007


hyperdrive, originally uploaded by Ed Karjala.

Not quite as cool as what Ben McLeod has pulled off, but a recent trip on route 95 with a good friend driving allowed me to have a little fun with an otherwise annoying toll booth visit.

Toll booths never look this totally awesome to me. I think I will have to start looking more closely. ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UNH Graduation

AMR_0356.JPG, originally uploaded by fotocraz.

Bill Clinton winks at some Coeds at the UNH graduation as George Bush looks on.


Now for a bit of lesser known NH History...

New Hampshire Almanac: Fast Day

The history of Fast Day is not known by many. Here you can read about it!

The unique and quirky New Hampshire holiday called Fast Day no longer legally exists. In 1991 the New Hampshire legislature abolished Fast Day in favor of creating a new holiday, Civil Rights Day (Chapter 206, Laws of 1991). The legislature, quite properly, wanted to honor civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King, but it was "...not the intent of the general court...to create an additional paid holiday for state employees." Therefore the archaic Fast Day was abolished.

Fast days were a common occurrence in the early days of the colonies. These were days of public humiliation, fasting and prayer proclaimed by the royal governors of the colonies to avert or repent for calamities such as plagues, earthquakes, crop failures, etc. Fast days were generally held before the spring planting, and a thanksgiving day was held after the harvest. Fast days were celebrated with a sermon, abstinence from secular pursuits, and at least partial abstinence from eating. Cotton Mather wrote "We may not eat or drink so much, nor may we eat or drink so well, on such a day, as at another time.".

The earliest known fast day proclamation was in Boston on September 8, 1670. New Hampshire’s first recorded proclamation of a fast day was in early 1680. The President and Council of the Province of New Hampshire issued a document in February 1680 that called for a meeting of the General Assembly for March 16th. They appointed February 26th as a "day of humiliation" to ask God to "bless us with peace & prosperitie", favor the upcoming meeting and to "favor spring & seede time". People were cautioned to abstain from work and attend church (Provincial Papers of New Hampshire, vol. XIX).

John Cutt, President of the Council that declared this day of humiliation, became the reason for a day of "public fasting and prayer." Cutt was born in England in 1613, emigrated to the colonies in 1646, and became a prosperous merchant in Portsmouth. On January 1, 1680 New Hampshire, previously under the wing of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, became a royal colony with a separate government. This government consisted of an appointed council of 9 men with a president (John Cutt), and an assembly of representatives from the towns. However, the elderly Cutt fell ill, and on March 1, 1681 the Council and General Assembly designated the 17th of March 1681 "A day of public fasting and prayer." They felt that Cutt’s illness and the recent sighting of a comet were signs of "divine displeasure." The day of fasting and prayer was unsuccessful and John Cutt died on April 1, 1681.

Despite this lack of success, the colonists continued to observe fast days on a regular basis. However, by the late 1800’s the observance of a fast day had lost much of its original religious meaning. There was therefore a push by most state legislatures to abolish this holiday. In 1894 Massachusetts abolished Fast Day and substituted Patriot’s Day. Maine soon followed suit. In 1897, Governor Ramsdell of New Hampshire urged the legislature, who annually proclaimed a Fast Day on various dates, to totally abolish the holiday. Instead the legislature passed an act in 1899 making Fast Day a legal holiday (Chapter 11, Laws of 1899). The date was flexible.

It became the custom for the governor to designate the last Thursday in April as Fast Day. This continued until 1949 when the legislature established Fast Day as the 4th Monday in April (Chapter 270, Laws of 1949). New Hampshire continued as the sole state to have Fast Day as a legal holiday until 1991, when Fast Day fell to the new Civil Rights Day.

Gilbreth, Donna. "Rise and Fall of Fast Day". New Hampshire State Library. 1997

The New Hampshire Almanac is compiled by the New Hampshire State Library from state statutes and other sources as noted.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Throne

The Throne, originally uploaded by The Dining Philosopher.

It's a single-holer. Look, it even has convenient leaves nearby too!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

, originally uploaded by vicartrout.

Friday, May 18, 2007


commemoration, originally uploaded by Ed Karjala.

This past weekend, there was an event held in Jamestown, VA to commemorate the 400th anniversary of its founding. For those that are not aware, Jamestown was the first English settlement in the "new world" and its founding principles are considered to be the seed of democratic tradition that helped establish the United States.

My oldest son was part of a 24 person contingent from Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH that represented the state in the 1607 voice choir. Here, a small section of choir is seen performing while the jumbo-tron behind them displays an American flag. There were certainly some goosebump moments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Greening in New Hampshire

IMG_8158 copy, originally uploaded by BurningQuestion.

Hold on for the ride as our trees, fields, and forests continue to explode leaves, grass, and new sprouts.

Monday, May 14, 2007

North Conway station, New Hampshire

North Conway station, New Hampshire, originally uploaded by mazdamiata.

The picture postcard railway station of the North Conway Scenic Railroad. Restored in its old luster in the early ninetees and doesn't only serve as the home of the NCSR, but also as a museum. North Conway is well worth a visit, the scenery is beautiful, and the autumn season adds an extra touch to it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Live Chat



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tractors, Gardens, and NH Agriculture

It's a "Man" thing..., originally uploaded by blowing in the wind.

"Born" in 1947 and still going strong!

Some say that New England has the most intense, springtime growing season in all the world - even eclipsing the growth in rain forests.

Anecdotally, I often hear comments from people who move to New Hampshire to the effect of, 'It's amazing to see how quickly the lawn is greening up.' It is amazing.

So many of us emerge from our houses during the first warm days of sping into the great outdoors to assess our equipment (my uncle runs a cultivator tractor of a similar vintage as the one seen above) and make preparations for the growing season.

Look forward to an upcoming NH Group project for NH Agriculture which will capture images of farming and gardening around our state.

Friday, May 04, 2007


portsmouth 041, originally uploaded by lucky nh (aka Tim).

There is a Meetup planned for tomorrow in Portsmouth with the New Hampshire Photo Expeditions.

What: Portsmouth, NH Photo Shoot

When: Saturday, May 5 at 1:00PM

Where: Portsmouth
Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH 03801

Event Description:
Please join us for a fun afternoon of photography in one of New England's most walkable cities. We'll check out the street life, explore Prescott Park, learn about colonial history at the Strawbery Banke Museum , observe a working harbor, and perhaps enjoy a surprise or two depending on what we can arrange. (If you're familiar with the area, feel free to suggest additional places to shoot.) Eventually we'll
rendezvous to share results and recharge our batteries at a local eatery, probably Flatbread Company on Congress St.

See who's coming and to RSVP.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A True Lady

A True Lady, originally uploaded by The Nature Nook.

Please view the original size : )
Female Northern Cardinal, taken in New Hampshire USA

NH Plates

NH has not only the highest percentage of vanity plates, it also is home to some of the most creative. Check out some of the ones we have found along the way.

Flickr Slideshow

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Serenity, originally uploaded by sskennel.

A sailboat navigates the Piscataqua River with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the background. The name painted on the stern is Serenity. Genre TV fans will appreciate the irony.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

..Bring the May Flowers

My Hovercraft is Full of Eels., originally uploaded by Winged Foot.

And other non-sequiturs

Here's another peek into the flooding from a few weeks ago. Here the Merrimack River intrudes into a stairwell at Arms Park in Manchester.