Posted by: Debra LaValley | October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018


The Toad

Last Thursday, was a mild evening and there was a guest on my steps. The toad was sitting quietly watching. There were a lot of insects drawn to the porch light. It most likely was in search of food before the cold weather creeps in and it goes into hibernation.

Whenever, I see a toad sitting on the steps – I think of family friend Muriel Smith who passed away a few years ago. She was like a sister to my mom. We used to visit her often. I remember she had a white cat that would open the cabinet and grab cough drops. It liked cough drops 🙂 I also remember Muriel telling me that she often saw toads out on her back steps. She said she believed they were past pets that had passed away – come to visit. I always remembered her saying that. It is strange how the mind remember one thing over another.


Suki & McKenzie


So – decades later – whenever, I see a toad on the steps – I think of Muriel and wonder what she had told me as a child. I wonder which one of my pets was this toad? Suki? 🙂

Posted by: Debra LaValley | September 30, 2018

September 30, 2018


Pineapple Jack O’Lantern

Happy Last Day of September – tomorrow we enter into my favorite month – October. I made this Pineapple Jack last night. I was given a link showing me how to carve these. I think he is really cute. Not bad, for my first try!

Enjoy your day!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | September 29, 2018

September 29, 2018


“A Bear! A Bear!”

This morning, I picked up my mom to take her to breakfast before we went grocery shopping. On the way to Market Basket – I said that I wanted to go by Horseshoe Pond to see if the Peregrine falcon that I had seen the past two days was there.
We get near the pond, and I spot a young bald eagle (first year) in a tree by the pond. It stopped and started taking photos of the eagle from across the street.


A woman who was walking by doing her morning exercise – stopped to see what I was taking a photo of. She was impressed by the eagle and continued down the road. All of a sudden, I hear her yelling something. I look toward her as she walks quickly back toward me and she shouts and points down the road “A bear! A bear!” I took the quick shot of the bear by the stop sign just down the road from me and a few more shots as it moved off and then continued taking more photos of the eagle.

My first wild bear shots ever. I was shaking a bit from excitement and didn’t have a chance to change the setting of my camera – so not as sharp as I wish. We passed a birder down the other end of the pond – who missed the eagle but saw another black object far across the field (it turned out to be another bear with 2 cubs). My mom and I finished shopping and spun by the pond again on the way back home and then back toward Penacook.

Right before Concord Group – I saw the bear run away from the road along the building. I yelled “Bear!” and pulled into the side parking lot and parked. The bear was not far from us and he was trying to get away from the road. I could not take a photo because my camera and phone were in the back of the RAV4. I couldn’t get them because the bear was only about 30-40 feet from us. He climbed the fence – jumped onto a tree and headed toward the Lutheran Church.

I got my camera out and swung down toward the Pierce Manse (I can’t remember the street name). We drove toward the Lutheran church, but before we got there we saw the bear in someone’s back yard. I got my camera (I had my 500 mm lens – so I was not as close as it looks. I was very careful and was behind my car with the door open). The bear walked in front of a garage and ran toward another yard. The man from the house with the garage came out and closed one of his doors as we told him the bear was in the next yard. What an experience! I have always wanted to snap a photo of a wild bear. They aren’t as sharp as I would like – but I will take it! I am still surging with adrenaline! Click on my Flickr photostream, if you wish to see more photos of the bear and the eagle.
My favorite of the bear shots is below. It is slightly cropped.


I am so glad that I put the camera with the 150-500 mm lens in the back of my car this morning! Always be prepared! 🙂

Posted by: Debra LaValley | September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018


Pepper Jack

Yes – my cat has taught me to play with my food. Hahahaha! Not that I need much help being silly. Today for lunch – I decided that I better eat the orange pepper that I bought last week. They don’t “give” the orange and yellow peppers away – and I didn’t want it to go bad! When I had it on the shelf, I noticed how much it looked like a little pumpkin- sooooooo … I just had to carve it into a jack o’lantern.

Of course – you can’t have a carved pumpkin without lighting it. Luckily – I had a little candle readily available and lit my little Pepper Jack. I took quick photos – because the oil was hot in the pan and waiting to saute my pepper with some nice sweet onions. Maybe, I should have had a glass of Chianti and some fava beans? Poor Pepper Jack! 🙂 He was delicious with my veggie burger.


Last night, I had watched the original HALLOWEEN movie for the very first time. Believe it or not – I had never seen the entire movie – only clips. It was a bit slow and predictable, but I am glad that I watched it. I will most likely go see the sequel that will be coming out soon. Jamie Lee Curtis is starting in the movie again.


Halloween is Coming . . .

Posted by: Debra LaValley | August 19, 2018

August 19, 2018


Newfound Lake – Paradise

I was on vacation 7/29 to 8/12. My mom, Aunt Mary Jane and I rented the cabin again at Newfound Lake. It is such a gorgeous spot! It is also next to the deepest part of the lake (around 160 feet – I believe). I grew up going to Newfound Lake – especially Wellington State Park (unfortunately – I haven’t been there for a couple years).

For as long as I can remember – I have loved The Ledges area of the lake – the tall granite ledges and narrow winding road. I have have always wanted to snap photos at road level – however, there are no pull overs. This summer – I made it a goal to get the photos. On Friday, August 10th – I achieved my goal. My friend, Pat Vaillancourt came to visit us, and I asked if she would do me a favor and drive me to the ledges and drop me off so I could take photos along the road and then pick me up. She was more than happy to oblige. Aunt MaryJane road “shotgun.”

It was the most perfect day of the vacation as well – no humidity or haze – crystal blue skies and only about 83 degrees. I walked along the road and snapped many photos. Pat and Aunt MaryJane drove on and turned around at the Hebron Country Store – so I had plenty of time to walk along the road for about a 1/2 mile. Luckily, it was also a Friday afternoon and not the weekend so traffic was light.

Below are some of my favorite shots of the walk along The Ledges.




I hope everyone has a great rest of the summer!

Debbie 🙂

Posted by: Debra LaValley | July 4, 2018

July 4, 2018


The River Lady

Happy Independence Day!

Uncle Ralph recently asked me if we had any relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War. I know of one off hand – Lemuel Ross – and there could be others. Lemuel was my 5th Great Grandfather (maternal side of my family).

Lemuel was the son of Jesse Ross and Ruth Rugg. He was born January 5, 1760 in Lancaster, MA.

Lemuel – fought in the Revolutionary War in Capt. Joshua Bayley’s Company under Col. Thomas Stickney’s Regiment and Gen. John Stark’s Brigade of NH Militia. He was one of the soldiers who fought under Gen. Stark in the Battle of Bennington, VT (08/16/1777). Lemuel served for 2 or 3 months. According to the NEW HAMPSHIRE REVOLUTIONARY WAR ROLES, Lemuel served for two months but another record I found noted that he enlisted for three months. He would have been 17 years old. I would imagine it was both an exciting time and frightening time for a 17 year old. I will have to see if I can find out more information on his service.

On August 21, 1783, Lemuel married Kesiah Kemp.  (Kezia is the spelling on marriage license.)  Their marriage license states they were married by William Kelly, clergyman, who resided in Warner, NH. The clerk of Warner signed the marriage record. Warner and Henniker are side-by-side. Hard to tell if were married in Warner or Henniker. I will keep Warner as the place of marriage, unless I find proof that states otherwise.  Lemuel and Kesiah lived in Henniker, NH. There is much genealogy on he Kemp family – but that will be for another day. One teaser: It is via Kesiah’s branch of the family tree that we are related to Ann Foster who died in jail on December 3, 1692 in Salem, MA. She was condemned as a witch. There is much about her – you just have to Google her name and the Salem Witch Trials.

On December 17, 1785 in Henniker – Lemuel’s dad, Jesse, burned to death when the house caught on fire. According to a letter dated 1960 that I came across at the Henniker Historical Society, the cellar hole could still be found on the land that the Rosses owned. Also noted was after Jesse died,  his brother Timothy divided the lot and gave most of the lot to his brother Jonathan.  Jesse and Timothy were part of the original thirty one families living in Henniker at the time of incorporation  in 1768.  The Henniker Historical Society has a file on our Ross ancestors, and they are mentioned in the town’s history.  It is likely that the Rosses lived a hardworking and simple farming life there.  Most of the settlers lived in log cabins with straw roofs, and travel was limited since there were few roads.  Travel was mostly over paths cut through the woods and fields.  Families grew crops, fished, and hunted for their food.  Records note that some of the Rosses signed by making a mark … which would reflect a lack of education.  The community held square dances and corn  huskings for entertainment.  Both Jesse and Timothy signed the petition to incorporate the town of Henniker on 3/17/1768.

In 1776, Jesse and Timothy signed the Association Test for Independence which read:

“We the subscribers do hereby solemnly engage and promise that we will, to the utmost of our power, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, with arms oppose the hostile proceedings of the British fleets and armies against the United American Colonies.”

February 1, 1786 – part of the lot was deeded to Lemuel. Lemuel farmed the land until May 5, 1788 when he sold the land to Abel Gordon. Lemuel and family then moved to Tunbridge, VT.

Lemuel and Kesiah had ten children:
Sarah born 3/2/1784
Reuben born 9/8/1786
Levi born 10/6/1787
Daniel born 8/23/1789
Sewall born 5/8/1791 * My direct line
Lydia born 9/28/1792
Rebecca born 2/17/1793
Mary born 6/27/1795
Olive born 11/23/1799
Ira born 4/4/1801

Tunbridge is a very old New England town. It has many farms and covered bridges. It is also where the Tunbridge World’s Fair is held. My mother and her family spent much time in Tunbridge when they were young. My grandfather, Ken Ross, was raised in Tunbridge.

I am sure that Lemuel continued a farming life. Lemuel died on November 30, 1825 and Kesiah on March 7, 1826. They are both buried in the Button Cemetery in Tunbridge. Many of their family members are also buried there. Some years ago – I found Lemuel’s and Kesiah’s gravestones. They were slate and are very old and worn.  I took the photos below in 2004 and the lighting was terrible.  I need to go back and try and get better photos of their gravestones.




Posted by: Debra LaValley | June 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

Happy 10th Birthday – Molly!


I adopted Molly at the Concord SPCA on 10/8/08! She was 14 weeks old – and her birthday was not really known so I picked June 30th for her birthday.

She was just a wee little thing when I adopted her. She grew very quickly and has been on a perpetual diet for 9 years. She really does not eat a lot. She has the metabolism as a slug – as do I 🙂



She is a Diva – and very photogenic. I love the little wench 🙂


Posted by: Debra LaValley | June 9, 2018

June 9, 2018


Casper – I Fear Has Crossed Over

I have been looking for Casper the Albino Squirrel all spring and have not seen him. Above – is one of my last photos of him taken in October of 2017.

I have been watching and photographing him for approximately 6 years.


Return of the Albino

Rumor has it that “a neighbor” shot and killed him. Why would anyone shoot and kill and old albino squirrel? I keep hoping that this is just a rumor, and that Casper will be seen again. I miss seeing him so much. About a decade before – one of his ancestors frequented my parents’ yard. I am hoping if Casper has crossed over that his genes are still out there, and we may see another albino squirrel in the near future.


Posted by: Debra LaValley | June 4, 2018

June 4, 2018


It Has Been a Busy Couple Weeks!

Congratulations to Joe and Rebeca who were married on May 27th! The weather just barely cooperated (it was a bit chilly – but the rain held off) – but it was a beautiful wedding! It was great spending time with family who we do not get to see very often and meeting new family and friends! Welcome to the family, Rebeca!



Michael, Rachel, and Clara were here from Oklahoma. Little Clara has grown a lot since her last trip to NH!

I was forced to eat a great deal of delicious food over the past couple weeks. 🙂 I will not be standing on a scale for a week or so. We had to go to Richardson’s for homemade ice cream and Chief’s – of course!  There were also cookouts, campfires, and a birthday party for Clara.  We certainly packed in a lot of special moments in the two weeks.




Posted by: Debra LaValley | April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018


My New Toy 🙂

I have been thinking about getting a SUV for quite sometime. After over 30 years of driving a standard – I was ready to go with an automatic and buy a larger car with more clearance from the ground too. My Toyota Corolla S was a good little car – but it was time for a change. This past Saturday (3/31) – I did it! I went to Grappone Toyota and bought this lovely 2018 Toyota RAV4!

I love it. I can see so much better! I feel like a “tall” person … LOL!
Today, I dropped it off to have the remote starter, door guards, side guards, and window guards installed. It has all kinds of gadgets inside that I have to figure out. I love that new car aroma too!

And yes, I got the same Magnetic Gray color that my Corolla was. I like the color and have never been one for flashy color cars.

Happy Spring, Everyone!

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