Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm on a Roll Now: More NH Adventures, Including a Quest

My son Mike found a book at the American Precision Museum published locally that was a collection of quests around the area of NH and VT where he lives.  Each quest included directions to get to the starting point and then clues to find as you hiked along a trail.  We decided to follow the quest that was based in Enfield, his village.  We had seven-year -old Luca and three-year-old Barnaby with us.  This journal page shows the map we made as we walked the trail, which was actually an old railroad bed.  There was a poem in the quest book that told the history of the railroad along the trail, with a verse for each clue/stopping point.  It was a fine trail that took us along the banks of a beautiful lake, a wetlands, and some old buildings.

At the end of the trail our final clue involved finding a date (1893) carved in the road cut that ran alongside that part of the railroad.  Railroad workers had carved dates and initials in many places along the cut.  The kids loved scrambling up the rocky road cut, and at one point Mike had to talk his daredevil Luca down from a pretty high point, which he somehow had managed to get to without our seeing him fly up the rocks.  Our final clue told us to look for a twin oak behind the petroglyph.  Luca and Barnaby found the treasure box!  In the box was a rubber stamp of railroad tracks, shown on this page.  We each got to stamp our notebooks with the stamp and then we signed a log book in the treasure box.  Hooray for the Girl Scout troop that wrote the quest!

Every time I go to New Hampshire I go searching for loons, which I never see.  My daughter-in-law tells me she spots them occasionally at the dam near their house;  my son sees them when fishing at a nearby pond.  But they always elude me.  So this trip I dragged people to a supposedly loon-populated pond every chance I could get.  The first three trips were on drizzly days and there were no loons.  Finally my husband and I and a Vermont friend who was visiting us went out to Grafton Pond on a sunny, breezy day and we were rewarded!  Three loons!  They didn't do their loony cry, but they were wonderful to see, low in the water like heavily-loaded barges, really big ducky things.  And while the loons were diving for food out away from shore, we also spotted an enormous snapping turtle in the pond right below the rocks on which we were perched.  Finally!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will There Ever Be a New Post Here?

Yes!  My excuse for such lame updating is that I've been traveling as well as having guests for the whole month of September, AND I didn't bring my laptop along when I traveled.  I did bring my journal, though, and have many pages to use as blog fodder.  This one is from the ten days I spent in New Hampshire visiting our son and his wife and three little boys.  On the day shown on this page, we were visiting a fine little museum in Windsor, Vermont-- The American Precision Museum. It's a collection of early machinery and pictures of factories.  It has a nice collection of primitive sewing machines, and the one I drew here was a pre-runner to the sewing machine called a revolving looper. 

After we visited the museum, we were looking around the grounds.  The building is mid- 19th century brick and is situated on a small river (which was close to flood level that day due to recent floods in that area), from which the machinery in the original building was run.  Most interesting to the boys and me were some chunks of old bricks scattered around the parking lot in the weeds near the banks of the river.  We decided they were old bricks as they matched the bricks in the building perfectly.  So we collected a few chunks and took them home to grate on a paving stone in order to make paint.  The kids and I took turns grating the brick chunks and then carefully brushing the brick dust onto sheets of paper to transfer to a container.  After a long afternoon of grating (which was very satisfying and during which the boys actually had little fights over who got to use the stone when) we had collected enough pigment to grind with a mortar and pestle and some gum Arabic from an art store in Hanover.  We added a drop of maple syrup to improve the elasticity and wetness factor of our paint, and the resulting paint can be seen on this page.

We also mixed some of our red orange paint (Windsor Red Ochre) with some white gouache that I had in order to make a pretty apricot colored pastel, also shown here.  Stay tuned for more pages from New Hampshire!