Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reliving the storms

The ice in New Hampshire.
Nan Quick is a member of the NYSD family of advertisers. She designs and markets “heirloom-quality” garden furnishings “that are colorful, sturdy and comfortable without cushions.” She adds that these garden furnishings “Throughout the seasons and over the decades ... will furnish and beautify summer’s gardens, and sculpturally punctuate winter’s snowscapes.” Can’t you just see it?

I don’t know Nan Quick except for her occasional emails and her contributions to the Advertising Diary. She lives and works in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. She did a piece for us recently on a marketing trip she took to England. You may have seen it (12.4.08: London Shopping Diary). She’s very comfortable with the written word obviously, so we asked her if she didn’t have something else she’d like to write for the Diary. A few days ago we got this piece – a series of diary entries with photos made during the big snowstorms blowing through New England a couple of weeks ago.

As I said, I don’t know Nan Quick, although after reading her diary entries, I feel like I re-lived the storms ... and, at her house. Snowstorms can be great, and certainly at Nan Quick’s. Cozy and warm and excellent food. And even though we’ve never met in person, I can hear her voice perfectly.

Sunday evening 14 Dec. 2008

The ice in New Hampshire is gorgeous and terrible.

My emergency generator, which has been coughing along since Thursday night, is temporarily happy (but probably not for long) and so we're briefly warm and electrified.

In the almost 18 years I've been a country lady, never have I seen such winter destruction.

Many roads have been narrowed to virtual cowpaths; driving is perversely entertaining as one weaves under fallen wires, around prone trees, and over small logs.

SO, take a moment to appreciate the marvelous work of Nikola Tesla; without his alternating current motors, transformers and dynamos, we'd spend our lives building fires, worrying about potable water, never communicating, and merely surviving.
Monday 15 Dec. 2008

Since we're not likely to be re-powered until week's end, I'm using electricity sparingly, and have turned on generator and computer for a few minutes to send these additional photos.

On Saturday night the full moon shining through iced trees cast halos around each twig, but my survival instinct trumped my photographic instinct and I chose to NOT slide outdoors into 10 degree cold for picture-taking.

Of course, survival to me includes cooking big batches of risotto and green peppers, which can then be reheated over my fireplace grate. All those years of Girl Scout campfire building are paying off.

OK now, back to the bronze-age: fires lit, generator about to rest, phones dead.
Wednesday 17 Dec. 2008

I'm sticking close to home for the foreseeable future. Almost a week after the ice storm, roads circling Mount Monadnock are still draped with broken electrical and phone lines, which makes night driving hazardous. And the only reason fallen trees have been removed is because civilians with chain saws pitched in to cut them away. Passively awaiting for the authorities to fix things is clearly NOT the answer.

Today's snow has pushed repairs to an even farther-off time. My emergency generator has quit twice, but I now understand how to fix it (who KNEW my Craftsman Tool set would come in so handy?). Conservatively, I expect that New Hampshire won't be fully powered for another week; very sobering. So I nurse the generator, offer cold neighbors hot showers, and stoke the constant blaze in my fireplace. Spending one's days keeping fed and unfrozen isn't romantic: it's hard, boring work. Thank the electrical-gods for all the days when our conveniences work!
Thursday 18 Dec. 2008

Today's a calm before another storm: major snow is in tomorrow's forecast. Most of us in southwestern New Hampshire have now been told not to expect a full resumption of electrical power before Christmas (aargh). But just as we were all wondering why sane people choose to settle here, the sun came out and made our neighborhood gorgeous. I've attached a photo of Jaffrey Center's 233-year-old Meeting House, with Mount Monadnock lurking in the background. Willa Cather chose to be buried here ... she liked this view too.
Jaffrey Center's 233-year-old Meeting House.
Saturday 27 Dec. 2008

Today to celebrate the return of light, warmth and communication, I had a soup and champagne party for local friends. And for those who are far away, you are invited to come visit whenever you're able. The soup pot will be refilled, and there's always more Veuve Clicquot.

Happy New Year ...
P.S. The wonderful architecture pictured here is by Frank Warner Riepe. DESIGN NEW ENGLAND will be publishing a feature on my home, my gardens, and my garden furniture sometime in 2009. I'll keep you posted ...