Posted by: Debra LaValley | August 16, 2016

August 16, 2016


August 16th! Ahhhhh!

Where has the summer gone? I cannot believe it is already the middle of August. Back to School commercials are on and many kids start school next week! I am glad we weren’t cheated a week or so of our summers! We never started until after Labor Day!

It has been a very hot and dry summer! We are still in a drought. It did rain a bit today – but not enough to help! We may get some thunder storms tonight – but I am not getting excited. We have pretty much been cheated with them too. I like a good thunder storm as long as it isn’t dangerous or takes out the power.

This weekend the weather is supposed to be fairly decent (read not a Hazy Hot and Humid Hell Hole). I think we have only had 2 fire pits at my mom’s this summer. We are planning on having one Saturday night. There will be s’mores!ūüôā

August 10th was Happy S’mores Day, and I came across a photo on line that looked similar to my above recreation (except it was done inside by the looks in a studio). I loved it and just had to try to do a similar shot outside – so this past Saturday – I made the little S’more man and the little campfire (tiny campfires are NOT easy to make). It was a fun shot to create.


Enjoy the Rest of Your Summer!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | August 5, 2016

August 5, 2016


Ahhhh, Summer!

We are having a lovely summer – though we really could use some rain. ¬†We are in a moderate drought here in Boscawen area – southern NH is in a severe drought. ¬†The last two weeks in July – my mom, Aunt MaryJane and I were at Newfound Lake again. ¬†What a glorious lake. ¬†I love it there. ¬†It doesn’t get much better than being lakeside! ¬†I read 5 books! ¬†We had only about a minute of rain during the entire two weeks – though the first Wednesday we had a severe and scary wind storm. ¬†We had never seen anything like it! ¬†Branches down everywhere and the water looked like the ocean during a storm!


The photo does not do it justice.

The Summer Olympics in Rio have started.  Tonight, I am watching the opening ceremony.  It is always so interesting to watch the festivities and the events!

It may be August Рbut hopefully plenty of great weather for a while.  Michael, Rachel, and baby Clara come for a visit next week!  We cannot wait to see them!

Have a great summer everyone!







Posted by: Debra LaValley | July 2, 2016

July 2, 2016


The River Lady

I can’t believe that it is almost the 4th of July! What happened to June! Today is absolutely gorgeous! A nice breeze – it isn’t too hot and the air is dry. Perfection! ¬†The above photo is the fist time that I saw the River Lady. ¬†She was all decked out for the 4th of July!

I came across the River Lady last weekend. She was moored at the dock. I have heard that Harold and Wendy will be taking her through the Great Lakes and go through the Erie Canal.


I am hoping they post photos on Facebook! I have been lucky enough to have 2 rides on the River Lady – up and down the Contoocook River. She is such a unique and lovely ship – built by Harold and Wendy from an old Popular Mechanics blueprint with some of their own touches. A Subaru engine powers the wheel. I was lucky enough to pilot her for a few minutes one very warm evening.


At the helm of the River Lady Riverboat

Since summer is now in full swing – I figured I would share a favorite summer recipe.

Have a safe and fun 4th of July holiday!

Summer Squash Casserole (given to my mom from Helene Watts years ago)

1 1/2 lbs. diced (sliced) summer squash (salt optional)
1 large carrot grated (or thinly sliced)
1 small onion cut up
1 can cream of chicken soup (or can substitute cream of mushroom, etc.)
1/2 pint sour cream
1 stick oleo (aka margarine/butter)
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Dressing

Stew squash, onion, and carrot until tender. Drain off water. Add sour cream, soup, and mix. Melt oleo and mix with dressing. Put 1/2 in bottom of greased dish then squash. Then put other 1/2 on top.

Bake 350 for 35-40 minutes.

(You can vary – use zucchini and summer squash, etc.)

I like this even cold!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016


Spring in New Hampshire

It is certainly spring! ¬†The spring flowers are out and the peepers are peeping! ¬†The pollen is also horrid!ūüôā ¬† I spotted this Jack-in-the-Pulpit flower the other day. ¬†I rarely come across them in Boscawen. ¬†I am sure the lady slippers are out too – but I have not gone to ¬†where I know they are. ¬†The bugs have been terrible, and I have heard the ticks are out in full force ¬†(the vile things)! ¬†One of my nieces was bitten and has lyme disease – they noticed quickly and she is on antibiotics so hopefully no lingering side effects.

I was mowing my mom’s yard last Friday and almost ran over this gray tree frog on the walkway. ¬†I relocated it to the apple tree in the back yard.



He didn’t look too thankful that I brought him somewhere safe. ¬†Gray tree frogs make a neat call – a very loud trill-like sound.

I also came across a female Hooded Merganser with about 6 chicks in a small marshy area on River Road in Boscawen.  The babies are so cute!


I can’t believe that it is almost Memorial Day Weekend! ¬†Time certainly flies! ¬†I hope all is well with all of you. ¬†Enjoy your day!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016



In April, when trout season opened, my dad would take me fishing at “StirPine.” It wasn’t until I was much older, that I noticed that the real name of the road is Stirrup Iron road.

Today, I decided to drive to “StirPine” to take a photo of the sign and check out the brook, for old time’s sake. There are a few houses that were not there when I used to fish the brook with my dad (probably 30 plus years ago).

I used to love to go fishing – but was never a huge fan of brook fishing – mostly because of the bugs (black flies and mosquitoes) and I would often get my hook stuck. I did love fishing with my dad, though. I remember he would tell me to put some ferns in the creel and if I didn’t have my creel with me – to use a small twig to “string” the fish. I remember he would also tell me and any of my siblings who may be with us – to be quiet along the edge of the brook. He would say if the fish saw us they would hide and not bite. I remember he also said if we saw the trout – the trout saw us. I used to like to put my line in the foaming still area. Today, I saw a foaming area and sure enough there was a fish lurking near the foamy area. It was facing upstream and appeared to have speckles so it could have been a trout.


Do you see the fish?

I gave up fishing about 30 years ago, when I became a vegetarian; however, I used to love fishing. It was more about being outside and enjoying the sound of the water. I preferred fishing Hot Hole Pond with my dad because we fly fished from a canoe and the bugs were not so bad, and I rarely got my line caught on anything.

I was glad that I stopped by “StirPine” today. It brought back some great memories of my dad and the many times that we spent fishing this brook.




Posted by: Debra LaValley | April 24, 2016

April 24, 2016

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Dandelion Greens

My Nana used to make dandelion greens. ¬†She and¬†Aunt Cookie would drive over the Sewall’s Falls bridge to Mountain Road and pick dandelions in the fields along the “bull barns.” ¬†I remember the bull barns vividly with the bulls looking out toward the road. ¬†The building was sold many years ago and became a college (Franklin Pierce’s modest beginnings?) and ¬†then the building was sold again to a church. ¬†I believe it still houses a church community.

My mom said that Nana’s and Aunt Cookie’s hands would be all sticky and dirty as they cleaned the greens. ¬†Nana would soak them and rinse them over and over to get them clean. ¬†Nana would cook the greens in oil and garlic and sometimes toss in some white beans.

The process was a lot of work Рbut the end result were tasty.  I wonder if anyone cooks dandelion greens today?


Posted by: Debra LaValley | April 20, 2016

April 20, 2016


Snicker All You Want – It was the 80s!ūüôā

I was going through some old photos and came across this shot – taken sometime in the late 80s. That is my guess. I laughed so hard that tears were coming out of my eyes. Yes – that is a picture of me. Dig the HUGE glasses and the permed hair. I was VERY Cool! By the way, did you notice the large reptile on my leg? (I just started laughing again!)

The creature was Baby – my brother Ken’s pet iguana. When he bought it – Baby was only a foot long and very skinny. Baby was fed monkey chow soaked in water. I still remember him tilting his head and then – gulp!

Baby grew quite large. I would say at least 3 feet long. He also had a wide girth and was a handful. I remember once that I was checking on the house since everyone was away and Baby was not in his aquarium tank. I found him upstairs in a room – basking on the floor. It was much warmer up there.

I didn’t mind Baby at all. I have always liked salamanders, lizards, alligators, and crocodiles. Iguanas cannot retract their claws – many a time we were scratched big time and being whipped by that tail smarted a bit too.

If I remember correctly, Baby was returned by my brother to the Pet Shop owner where he purchased Baby. My mother tired of caring for Baby, and my brother was away at UNH most of the time.

You are probably still snickering at the photo so I will leave you with my Mom’s recipe for Snickerdoodles. A family favorite. My dad especially loved them.


1/2 cup oleo (that is what they called margarine back in the day)
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar (What is cream of tartar anyway? Sounds kind of gross.)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups flour

Roll in 2 Tblsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Bake in 400 degree oven until done.


PS from Cousin Joan Smith:

Cream of Tartar is one of the ingredients in baking powder.  It comes from the residue left in wine barrels when the wine is drained off.  Many old bakers used cream of tartar along with baking soda in their biscuits, cookies etc.  Today we also use it in egg white meringues in a very small amount to stabilize and keep the meringue from weeping, shrinking and breaking down.   It is a nice ingredient in snickerdoodles because it helps to give the cookie a smooth and silky texture.  Hope this helps.  Keep the pics coming!!  Cuz Joan




Posted by: Debra LaValley | March 30, 2016

March 30, 2016


Mmmmm Good!  Love that Real Maple Syrup!

The weekend before last was Maple Weekend where various sugar shacks in New Hampshire have open houses, and you can learn about the process of boiling the sap and making maple syrup.  You can also buy yummy syrup, etc.  I love going to Ledge Top which is within walking distance from my house. I went both on Saturday and Sunday.  I bought syrup and their delicious BBQ sauce.  Mom bought homemade doughnuts made right there (she froze some and I had two tonight!). They also had samples of dips and maple milkshakes.  There was no snow this year so no sugar on snow as in years past.

Seems like our Grant ancestors that lived in Tunbridge, Vermont boiled maple syrup too.(John Grant and Polly Bacon Grant are my 4th great grandparents.  Their son Major Grant married Sarah Luce.  Their daughter Cora Grant married Marshall Sherman Ross and that is how our Grant and Ross Clans came together.)  I remember my mom talking about other relatives in Vermont who boiled syrup.  Ken and Dorothy (my brother and sister in law) boil a bit of syrup themselves.

Below is an article about the Grants written in 1993 in a Tunbridge newspaper:


I think Mr. Farnham sent me this article years ago.  I hope you enjoyed it.



Posted by: Debra LaValley | March 5, 2016

March 5, 2016


Season 3 – at the Canterbury Eagles’ Nest

It appears Orange C/K and Orange A/4 are expecting a bundle of joy or two.  I stopped by the nest site for the first time today and saw that mom (guessing it was mom C/K) was incubating.  It is so exciting.  Last year, they had 2 chicks and the year before 1.  I wonder how many eggs she is sitting on.

I am psyched!  Spring is in the air for sure!



Posted by: Debra LaValley | February 27, 2016

February 27, 2016


It Looks Like Spring!

By the looks of the Contoocook River coming over the York Dam in Penacook (Contoocook Island), you would think it was spring already. We have not had a lot of snow – but we certainly had a lot of rain the other day. The rivers are very high. I decided to walks out to the park and see what the water looked like coming off the dam. What a roar. I took video as well.

Video 1 – Contoocook River

Video 2 – Contoocook River

I snapped more photos – a selection is on my Flickr Photostream, if you want to see more. ¬†The paths out to the dam were icy in places – so I walked through the woods since most of the woods since the ground was bare in most spaces or just a little snow. ¬†I had my sneakers on and didn’t get wet. ¬†I have always liked walking out here. ¬†This is where the old ¬†Contoocook Island River Park was in the early 1900s that my Grammy loved going to. ¬†It was not far from her house on Washington Street. ¬†Below are some of the old postcards – circa 1909 that I have of the park when it was in its hey day.






GramStories CRP

The above is from the Stories from the Kitchen “book” that I wrote after my Grammy La Valley passed away. ¬†I compiled her stories that I jotted down when I would visit with her along with some of her favorite recipes, family photos and genealogy.

Ha e a great rest of the weekend!  March is almost here!


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