The Flume Gorge :: New England Adventures


When my dear friend from Montgomery came for a visit, I took advantage of her kind heart and adventurous spirit to check out some local places before Ben's family came. One of the places that has been on my list since before we moved was The Flume Gorge up in Fraconia area. It did not disappoint. 

When Ben's family arrived, the first adventure we went on was to the Flume. it's such a beautiful space and is significantly cooler due to the waterfall and walking between two rock faces. If you ever find yourself in NH and are looking for something to do, this is well worth your time. It's very kid friendly, although it isn't stroller friendly (stairs and waterfalls don't mix well with strollers.) but our kids loved the adventure of it.  (Ages: 2,4,6)

 Plants are very well identified as you walk along, and if you go the Flume website, they have a scavenger hunt that you can print out and later take to the information desk where they give stamps and stickers for completion (much to the delight of our little people!) There's a sweet gift shop and cafe of sorts. For tired little legs there's a bus that will take you up to the beginning of the flume gorge trail. Our kids quickly learned this and liked the adventure of the bus.

I think the Flume is one of our favorite places to date. We'll definitely take you this way if you come stay at the Sprague Bnb!

Garden Updates: Year TWO!


When we first moved back to the north country, I was excited to return back to Zone 5. While the Midwest and the northeast are a decent ways a part, sharing the same zone has brought a familiarity and a boldness to my gardening endeavors. Last year we had about a 30% success rate growing all the things we set out to grow in Alabama (we learned a thing or two about hot weather loving plants!) This year we've taken what we learned and tried our hand at gardening in zone 5! Here are a few snippets of our garden updates:

To give a bit of a preface, Ben made four raised garden beds for me this spring. They're 4 X 8 and we filled them with plant based compost. We hoped to just use our acre of land, but since it was literally encompassed with knotweed, the soil is terribly acidic, so we'll be working on removing it and the like for years to come. (fun, we know.) The benefit to raised bed is that everything is growing incredibly well. We found a local farmer (and a local lumberjack) and actually had it all delivered with the exception of a few things needed from Home Depot.

The struggle we've faced is just how well things are growing! weeds included. I'm not quite sure if the compost truly sat long enough for the weed seeds  to die out (?) so when it came to things like the zinnias, bells of Ireland, and celosia I planted, I wasn't really able to distinguish what was weed and what was flower. So the cut garden I had hoped for isn't going to really be a reality, as I've either a)pulled out the seedlings while pulling out the weeds, or b) the garden I left alone to just see how it would fare has done what you would expect a bed filled with weeds to do. Grow more weeds. Plans for next year are to tarp the beds and kill of any remaining seeds (and put a bit more compost over the beds next year that we're making ourselves.)

In the first bed we have a herb garden, bok choi (which we've left too long and then in flowered. womp) Onions, bunching onions, two pumpkins the kids secretly snuck in, and carrots. We have a lot in that 8 foot bed, so we'll see how we can trellis some things and harvest others.

The second bed has some sweet potatoes, about 9 pepper plants, and 8 tomato plants. all are thriving.

The third bed has watermelon, some beans on a trellis, and two varieties of dinner plate dahlias.

and lastly the final bed has sunflowers and what was supposed to be all sorts of little rows of zinnias and bells of Ireland. A few amaranthus and a few straw flowers are thriving.

We planted other things here and there and they've brought smiles all around. If we thought we were inexperienced before, this year, with having a good growth year , we are learning just how much the flip side of it also offers a good dose of humility. (I now get the joke about locking your front door during zucchini season! its everywhere!) and am learning a thing or two about companion planting.

That being said, its been a real joy getting familiar with each leaf and each flower, seeing things grow and figuring out their harvest date. It's fun seeing the bees pollinate and the beetles all over (some are not so fun, but even still, it at least provides a homeschool opportunity!) To fail and to succeed, to troubleshoot and to leave alone. It's given quite a gift to me, going out in the cool of the day to check on everything. I'm thinking this garden thing might follow me well into the future.

In the front of our house I threw some lupine and poppies half hazardly with the kids. It isn't a very pretty garden bed (the lupines I hoped for never did flower-but it may be because we have neighborhood groundhog) and yet those poppies that did bloom are perhaps the thing giving me the most joy at the moment.

I greatly look forward to the day when all of this is second nature. Our kids are loving trying things from the garden and Eli is getting quite good at identifying different leafs and such.

Originally, I had decided that since this was our first year in the house, we wouldn't take on the task of the garden. But then I remembered the nature of our life, and how precious even a single season is. We don't know how long we'll get to be here, so use up those summers! I'm SO glad we did.

Keeping notes on what I'm doing wrong and how to better plan. Year by year I think we'll get the hang of it! Finding which seed companies I like best, and learning about soil types and harvest dates. It all is good fun.

This was the first year we grew everything from seed, with the exception of a few raspberries, blackberries (that didn't thrive in our knotweed area) and a peony plant. It's been really rewarding seeing it start from a little seedling in the dead of winter all the way to now.

What a hopeful way to begin each year-seed catalogues and planting seeds in dirt before the dirt outside is even workable. I'm excited to let each year be welcomed this way.

Year Two of the garden is going pretty well so far!