Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday Funnies

Seeing this posted sign at a public fountain in recent weeks . . .
Brought to mind, the lines of a well-known poem although the reasons for no water are not the same. These lines in stanza nine are most likely the most recalled lines from the poem:

Water, water, every where, 
And all the boards did shrink; 
Water, water, every where, 
Nor any drop to drink 

Perhaps many of you knew they're from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner a poem that's been listed in many school literature courses. The folk-ballad style poem was 
written by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1797-98, and was based on a friend's dream. It was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads, a collaboration between Coleridge and English romantic poet William Wordsworth that helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature.

The seven-part poem recounts the experiences of the title character, a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage and stops a man who is going to a wedding. The mariner recounts his slaying of an albatross and the resulting disasters that befell his ship and fellow sailors. As the tale progresses, the reaction of the wedding guest changes from impatience to fascination and he remains to listen to the story. 

It's been many (school) years since I heard this poem. Today, nearly everything can be found online and YouTube provided a couple of excellent narrations by notable English actors. If you're interested in hearing one, just click on the applicable link:

Ian McKellen reads The Rime of the Ancient Mariner here and Richard Burton reads it here.

On behalf of myself and our family, thanks to all for your comments on the previous RI reunion post. All were read and most appreciated.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Get together with friends for dominoes + a new recipe tryout

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Family Visit & Fun

Supplies & equipment
Our week-long stay in RI was a reunion of family members living in several states. We had not seen some family in almost 2 years 

While this was a reunion, it was a couple of other things too. Grenville and son-in-law spent 4 days rewiring daughter No. 1's home. Their tools and equipment were assembled in the living room and this shows some of the assembled materials. 

Before the electrical work started, daughter and grandson had spent the past several weeks stripping the home's interior down to the lathe work. The goal is to add insulation and new drywall to the 1920s home before colder winter months arrive in New England.
Gutted interior of Shannon's RI home
The above collage shows some of the house interior. Since the house was off limits to children and adults, except for those working there, outside activities and indoor activities elsewhere were necessary to keep youngsters busy.
Family members enjoyed a day outing to Roger William Park Zoo
It was all happening at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of Rhode Island’s most popular attractions, where family members spent Sunday afternoon. Founded in 1872, this is the third oldest zoo in the U.S. In 1986, it became the first zoo in New England to earn accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The 40-acre zoo is home to African elephants, Masai giraffes, zebras, red pandas, snow leopards, moon bears, a Komodo dragon and more in naturalistic settings. As of 2018, it also has a rainforest building, the only building where visitors were required to wear face masks. 
Granddaughters Ellie & Lilliana also went to Our Big Backyard
Located not far from the zoo is Our Big Backyard, an interactive live play space for children and families. This area is funded by toy company Hasbro and pharmaceutical company CVS Health and promotes outdoor, free-ended play. It also an indoor carousal and a train ride.
Grands enjoyed the interactive Providence Children's Museum
Another afternoon was spent at the Providence Children's Museum, a hands-on creative learning environment. This is Rhode Island’s only hands-on museum especially for children and their families and presents interactive exhibits and hands-on programs that explore the arts, culture, history and science. Visits were prescheduled with masks required of all visitors.
At home activities for granddaughters included a variety of outdoor fun while grandson was helping with project cleanup. 
Keeping cool on a hot summer afternoon
All three grands enjoyed a backyard slip 'n slide. The weather was sunny and humid so getting wet was a fun way to cool-off.
Grenville celebrated a mid-July birthday
As did oldest granddaughter
It was also birthday time for two family members: Both grandpa and granddaughter's birthdays were celebrated early.
A CT day trip to visit  and a favorite local beach
Before everyone left to return home, there was a day trip to CT to visit another family member, Uncle Russ. His wife, Anita, the family matriarch, passed away last spring (not COVID related). This overdue visit was a happy occasion for all. It ended with a visit to her favorite beach.
Grandson is a handsome young man
His sister is a young beauty
The youngest granddaughter is another beauty
That John Deere tractor was originally bought as a Christmas gift for grandson and has been ridden by all three youngsters. It's since been passed along to another family member.
The grands and Grandpa
Before final goodbyes were said, Grandpa posed with all three grands. Grandson is not only taller, but his hair is longer now than Grandpa's "summer cut." The next time we hope to see everyone is sometime before the end of this year during holiday season. 

Thanks for your visits and comments to blogger friends, Mildred and Rita, mentioned in a couple of previous posts. Bloggers are the best folks — give yourselves a collective hug ❤️

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Funnies

Who doesn't remember when this paper product was in short supply last year?
Yet, there definitely was no shortage in this women's restroom in a CT waterfront restaurant last week. Multiple rolls were hung on a rope not clearly visible in the photo. This unkempt sight wasn't funny, but a visual reminder as to how things have changed over time for this necessity. 

This rope-strung TP apparently was in keeping with a nautical theme, it was a very messy display, and difficult to access without an alternative. While no excuse, this was a busy eatery and maybe this unsightly arrangement was done to lessen the need for frequent replenishment. (The image was taken in an unnamed popular Mystic, CT, restaurant.)

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.
Nashua, NH, forecast is for a(nother) rainy Sunday

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Couple of Quick Updates

Fellow bloggers, my apologies for not reading all of your most recent blog updates. Time was the culprit in that there wasn't enough of it. That said, I'm playing catch-up and reading most recent posts. We spent last week visiting family in RI and CT, some of whom we had not seen for nearly 2 years. (My PC also enjoyed a vacation and remained at home.) 

This week has been spent doing assorted chores, car maintenance, and catching up with recent, but not all, blog posts. And, I was planning a blog post update.

However, that post has been delayed. Instead, I'm sharing with you that blogger friends, Rita and Mildred (mentioned in an earlier post) could use more support as they both face difficult times. 

Many of you responded by visiting their blogs and offering support. Both shared that they appreciated your comments.

As before, I'm excluding specific info and not including a link, but request that you keep them both in your thoughts during hard times ahead. 

My thanks (and theirs) to all of you.

Bloggers are some of the best friends we've never met, but maybe someday that will happen.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday Funnies

 Dog-Gonnit!  — A couple of doggie pics for this week's Friday Funnies . . .
This oversize doggie (not in the window) has been hanging out in a corner of the parking garage at the mill apts. It's been several months since he was first spotted in this corner, car-less too.
Ever wonder why dogs seek out fire hydrants as a favorite spot to pee? 

Here's why according to online sources — vertical objects, like trees, hydrants, and posts, are better for advertising (you know what). The scent a dog leaves peeing as high up as possible carries better to be picked up by other dogs. Ground pee soaks in and can’t carry a scent. Since a dog's sense of smell is about 40x that of humans, this means a pooch can pick up multiple individual scents — now you and I both know

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We're back in NH early next week

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A NH Ghost Town

This scheduled post describes a visit we made to a NH historic site during pandemic times. We're out of state for a weeklong visit with family in other New England states this week.

When you think of U.S. ghost towns, western states often come to mind. According to online sources, the state of Texas has the most of these. Yet, there are ghost towns all over the U.S. in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, West Virginia, even New Hampshire. 

Monson entry signpost
On a day trip during pandemic times being outdoors was our go to activity. We spent as much time outdoors as possible, weather permitting. That said, in early spring, we took a road trip back in history by way of a 20 minute drive from Nashua to Milford, NH, where we explored the former town of Monson, considered by many a ghost town, as it was abandoned by its residents after 30 years.

After arriving and parking in a small lot, we walked a few hundred yards down a dirt road. This carved sign → confirmed our arrival at  Monson Center.

Our walk started from this point and soon the forest opened up with fields and stone walls on either side. A visit here was like stepping back in time off and it was definitely off the beaten path. A walking path now called West Road was once the main street in this 1700s village. 

Located on the border of the NH towns of Hollis and Milford, the ghost town of Monson was the state’s first inland colony, settled sometime in the 1730s. It was part of Massachusetts when first settled in the early 1700s. (Despite searching online, I never found out why it was so named.)

Unlike many historic sites that are roped off or protected from visitors. Monson is open to everyone to freely explore on a completely self-guided tour. Perhaps the one thing needed more than anything else is the creativity to imagine what it could have been like to live here. In this large area, foot power was the main mode of transportation to cover large distances, except for a horse and buggy used by local doctor John Brown. 
Walkway leading to former town of Monson
At its peak, it's believed that the town consisted of 15 families. Records indicate six settlers from Massachusetts and Nova Scotia bought land in 1735 and in 1737 moved with their families, clearing land and building a cluster of homes. In 1741, when colonial border lines were adjusted the borders of NH and MA, Monson became part of NH. It was incorporated in 1746.

But by 1770, those early inhabitants had left. Abandoned homesteads left to the ravages of time and the elements now have been reclaimed by the surrounding woods.

Why did they leave? The original inhabitants were mostly farmers dispersed in a wide area over the NH countryside and perhaps it's why the village never progressed beyond a group of houses. That said, the primary reasons for abandonment have have been long debated — harsh weather conditions, poor soil, limited resources, lack of effective town planning, costs associated with maintaining the town. The exact reason(s) is still unknown and still questioned today.
Hand drawn map showing former Monson residences
What's left to see in Monson is noted on the above map hand drawn and provided by its 89-year old caretaker (more about him below). Walking along these trails, we didn't come across intact structures, but found several overgrown cellar holes and stone walls.
Monson cellar hole
We walked along well-rutted pathways believed to be roadways travelled by original settlers and saw a few still-visible cellar holes ↑ on the sites of some early family homesteads. (A cellar hole is either an excavation intended for a cellar or the exposed cellar area where a house once stood. Where a house once stood 100 to 200 years ago, often all that remains is an indentation (cellar hole) in the ground of houses that once sat atop them.)
Monson foundation
Today, Monson is considered one of the most significant archeological sites in New England. Many signposts contain information outlining the history and genealogy of the homestead’s original owners.
Some others were located off a pathway that meanders around the former town.
More can be found deeper in the woods. On this initial visit, we didn't venture far afield, perhaps on a revisit we will look for more of these informational signposts.
Stone walls still standing in former town of Monson
The town was large and covered over 17,000 acres, A series of paths and dirt roads, set within fields and woodlands, lead to the center of the abandoned town.
Marker to depict Monson Town Center
Monson had a short distance existance of about 30 years. Just before the American Revolution, towns people asked the colonial government to repeal their charter, effectively disbanding the town. Land was split between the neighboring NH towns of Hollis and Milford.  Tradesmen who had settled and built homes packed up and moved out. Farmers took their goods and trade to Hollis and Milford. Eventually, nothing remained in the woods but stone walls and cellar holes.
Monson Pound was used to gather runaway cattle
There was only a single public structure in Monson — a pound for runaway cattle. Unlike many early New England towns, there was never a school house, meeting hall or church.
Caretaker Russ Dickerman & Nicky

Aside from its historic past, what makes Monson unique today is its caretaker, Russ Dickerman, a descendent of one of Monson's early settlers. 
Except for a stretch of time from 1928 to 1955, his family has owned property in Monson since the 1730s. 

He and his late wife, Geri, restored the J. Gould House, the last standing colonial house on the property. Dickerman’s parents bought the property in 1956 and Russ rebuilt the 1756 former home and clock shop and has since turned it into a small museum. 

The museum houses an odd assortment of memorabilia, like a photo album that chronicles Monson’s past in letters and documents, books paranormal authors have written on this “ghost town” and letters of thanks from previous visitors.

While officially closed during most of the pandemic it was open when we visited. Since Dickerman works on the property most days tending to chores and projects, he opens the museum when he's onsite. He was there during our visit and is always accompanied by pet poodle, Nicky. Dickerman told us that he is used to questions about why those early settlers worked on getting a charter in 1746, then voted to walk away years afterwards. 
The Gould House, sole remaining structure in Monson
Items found in the Gould House museum
NH Gov. Benning Wentworth
Not everything in the Gould House museum is related to the history of Monson. Instead, it's a showcase of items that Dickerman has amassed over the years.

Dickerman claims political greed led to Monson's downfall explaining that settlers wanted to build a town hall, school house or church in its center, but failed to did so. He assigns blame on the town's failure to Gov. Benning Wentworth, colonial governor of NH from 1741 to 1766. Dickerman contends that he rejected every petition Monson’s residents put in to better the town

And, rather than fight a losing battle, residents asked the colonial government to repeal the town charter. Land was split between the neighboring towns of Hollis and Milford. Tradesmen who had settled and built homes packed up and moved out. Farmers took their goods and trade to other towns.  Eventually nothing remained but the remains of a former New England town, stone walls and cellar holes in the forest.

For nearly 230 years, Monson was a well-kept secret until 1998, hen a developer proposed a luxury housing development in what was once the town center. This sparked a campaign to preserve history. The Dickermans, banded with area residents and state archeologist Gary Hume, who touted the site's archaeological merits. 
Eventually, and with help from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources and Inherit New Hampshire (now the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance) the remains of Monson were spared, preserved, and made available to the public. Along with 200 acres purchased by the Forestry Society, the Dickermans donated 125 acres of their property to the preservation effort. 
Monson is now a historic NH park covering 200 acres of fields, forests, and hiking trails. It offers a piece of long-forgotten state history that's open to the public and also free of charge.
A few of the stone seating areas in Monson
There have been reports of paranormal activity in Monson with those who think that residents from the 1700’s still walk its roads. However, we didn't see anything haunting there and definitely no roaming ghosts.  Maybe that will change on a repeat visit in the not-so-distant future. This first visit was all about learning about the history of this very local NH town.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Friday Funnies

Outside dining returned to downtown Nashua earlier this spring as announced by these large signs at both ends of Main Street. 
Here's two different views of recent street dining 
in downtown Nashua, NH — workers taking a lunch break and patrons dining at Martha's Exchange.

Many thanks for your comments on the previous Nashua This 'n That post, especially about the city's flowers and murals. There are many more throughout downtown and sculptures, which were not included, as well. A future post(s) will include more examples of all. 

Enjoy your Weekend, Everyone
We're on the road next week to visit family in RI and CT

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Nashua This 'n That

Life has mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels in and around the city of Nashua, NH, and here's a brief look at some things that have been happening around the city. 
(Spoiler alert: it's a longish post with many lots of photo images.)
July 4 fireworks lit up the skies all around the mill apartment. A light drizzle started right before they went off at 9 pm, but didn't dampen the spirits of residents who gathered riverside to watch the light show even as the rain grew steadier. We heard fireworks until midnight.
La Dame de Notre Renaissance Française
These very colorful blooms, planted by the Nashua Parks & Recreation Dept, are along the Nashua River riverwalk, surrounding La Dame de Notre Renaissance Française. This 6-foot bronze sculpture of an 1870s French-Canadian millworker and her young son sits on a 3-foot base. Created by female sculptor Christopher R. Gowell, it was dedicated in 2001 and is in honor of the women who labored in the Nashua textile mills and the centerpiece in Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Français, a pocket park popularly called the French Park
The city's Parks & Recreation Dept is also responsible for the flowers these and other planters in and around the city. All are maintained throughout the season.
Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Française, Nashua, NH
This flower garden is 
along the riverwalk also in the French Park and is tended by Clocktower Apt residents and our neighbors, Lorraine and Geff. 
Clocktower Apartments formerly Nashua Manufacturing Company
This view shows the bell tower stop the mill apartment building known as Clocktower 1. The Nashua Manufacturing Company Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1987.
1823 incorporation date of Nashua Manufacturing Company is still visible today
The National Register is managed by the National Park Service as the nation’s official list of historic structures. The National Register focuses on buildings over 50 years old. Currently, there's more than 80,000 listings — buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects — at least one listing from nearly every state in the U.S.

Bell formerly housed in Nashua Manufacturing Company bell tower
The white bell tower (cupola with a bell) shown above formerly housed this ↑ bell which would summon mill workers. As noted on the accompanying plaque it was also an unofficial timepiece for Nashua citizens as it was rung hourly. It was removed many years ago due to safety concerns and is placed in a designated area near the Clocktower 1 building. 
Scaffolding in place for bell tower repairs
Needed repairs are being made to the bell tower as its wooded structure had been deteriorating rotting away over the years. Extensive scaffolding now surrounds the bell tower and entryway to our apt building. The scaffolding was put up over a period of 2 weeks. Repairs are expected to take up many more weeks. Then, it's another long process to remove the scaffolding.
Dual clocktowers at Clocktower Apartments, Nashua, NH
The mill apartment building was renamed Clocktower Apartments, because of these ↑ two clocktowers. One is positioned in the middle of the nearly quarter mile building and another at one of the far ends. Both clocks are functional.
Interior view of Clocktower 1 pendulum clock
A couple of years ago, we were fortunate enough to have seen the inside of the tower shown on the right above. The pendulum structure was manually wound by a maintenance employee for many years, but has since been modified to run on electrical power.
There's many large outdoor murals in downtown Nashua. The top one which depicts the Yankee Clipper Diner and is located almost directly across from City Hall on Main Street. it was painted in 1997 by artist and Nashua native James Aponovich whose paintings are included in many collections throughout the country, including the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Art Institute of Chicago and Portland Museum of Art.
This movie mural was painted several years ago on the side of a building that was once one of the city's three movie houses. It depicts scenes from Gone with the Wind, the Blob, and It's a Wonderful Life.
These images of current and former Nashua storefront are painted on a wall on Water St.
These three images show the former Nashua Manufacturing Company, a former hotel and a city street in (many) days gone by. 
These images are the work of street artist Manny Ramirez, artist-in-residence at Positive Street Art, a non-profit urban arts organization in Nashua. The group has created numerous murals in and around the city. Later this summer, we plan to take a walking tour to see and photograph murals and sculptures around the city.
Demolition of Alec's Shoes and proposed Nashua Performing Arts Center
In late spring, Alec's Shoes, a downtown store that was a Main Street landmark was razed to make way for a $25 million performing arts center project with expected completion in 1-1/2 years in the heart of Nashua’s downtown. It's expected to be open during the summer of 2022 and happily is within walking distance of our apt. The shoe store earlier located to a larger, newer facility outside the city's downtown.
Outside our apt entry, Percy Penguin, Ferdinand Frog and Sam Snowman were "hatted out" for the July holiday. The seashells are my seasonal decor.

Many thank to all fellow bloggers who visited the blog sites of fellow bloggers Rita and Mildred to offer support, encouragement and comfort. All were much appreciated by both ladies.