Monday, October 31, 2022

Timely Cemetery Re-Visit

Images from Edgewood Cemetery, Nashua, NH
Today isn't just the final day of my favorite month, October, it's also Halloween (or Hallowe'en). Like many others, our younger family members will be joining in the p
opular activity of trick-or-treating (hopefully, we'll get to see costume photos)Folks a bit older might celebrate with costume parties, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted spots (like cemeteries), telling ghost stories, and watching scary or horror-themed films. 
Edgewood Cemetery, Nashua, NH
As well as it being a popular day for costumes and treats, today is the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows' Day, November 1, also as All Saints' Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, and Hallowmas. The first day of November remembers the saints of the church, known or unknown. Some observe this Christian observance by attending church services and/or placing candles on the graves of the dead.
This past weekend, I re-visited what has become one of my favorite places at this time of year. There's nothing more seasonally colorful than a cemetery in late autumn and especially in New England. Here in Nashua, NH, Edgewood Cemetery is one of those scenic places within walking distance of the mill apts. It's become a favorite walk (not haunt) every foliage time when I return and post about that my October re-visit. 
Death is sadly inevitable, yet this special time of year shows that the beauty of nature is glorious even in a place of sadness. The following images show some of that beauty. 
Many of the trees in Edgewood are as old or older than the headstones.
The cemetery covers 33 acres with some headstones dating to the 1800s. Reading some of the oldest ones revealed many young deaths from infants to young adults.
Edgewood is one of 11 cemeteries in Nashua, NH, serving a population of just under 90,000 people in a city that covers 31 square miles. According to an online county source, this equals 1 cemetery per 2 square miles for about 7,970 people.
On a warm and sunny mid-morning, my thoughts were of the beautiful displays of autumn colors that surrounded me; also silent prayers for those interred in such a beautiful setting.
Within a couple of weeks, most of these colorful leaf displays will be on the ground below. Quite possibly on my next annual visit, some of these stately trees will be be gone too. Already, there were many that had been trimmed extensively; stumps were all that remained for some.
Despite a few online searches, I didn't find any instances of hauntings within Edgewood; but, this doesn't mean they haven't been any; there's many old graves within and likely tales. 

It's quite a different story for another small and very old Nashua burial grounds. 

Online source
Located about 5 miles from downtown Nashua on Gilson Road, the very small Gilson Cemetery has a handful of headstones dating from the 1700s. It has gained notoriety as being haunted with more reports of paranormal activity than at any other NH cemetery. Sightings have included glowing lights, a woman wearing a white dress, a baby, wandering, screaming sounds, and fog that rolls in from nowhere.

Full disclosure is that I have not visited Gilson Cemetery, yet.

But since this is the day of ghosts and spirits, here's the story from online sources. According to legend, a stone wall surrounding the cemetery once enclosed a farmhouse that burned killing those inside and who were buried near the remains of the house. A second house, built on the same location, burned as well, also killing those inside. Afterwards, people avoided the area and the two burial sites formed what became the cemetery.

Today being Halloween, here's a display courtesy of my mill apt friend, Laura, who very definitely does the day up BIG. Her other holiday displays are just as overwhelming.
My friend, Laura, decorated her apt entry
Hope your day is haunting-free, no matter how it's spent. We're at home and will re-watch these classic, non-scary films, Beetlejuice (1988) and The Addams Family (1991). It was a choice between these and Ghostbusters (1984) and that viewing comes later this week.
Our favorite Halloween films
Happy 🎃 Halloween to All👻🦇

Friday, October 28, 2022

Friday Funnies

There's nothing unusual about seeing a pet in a car, except when the pet is unusual.
Like this one seen this week in a supermarket parking lot after we parked our car.
This bird didn't seem the least bit uncomfortable. The cage was propped up on a layer of blankets for a good view of outdoors and was held in place with a bungee cord.
The owner didn't return, although we waited a few minutes while I took these photos. And, by the time we had finished our shopping, this bird had flown or rather been driven away (awful pun, I know 🙄).

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
It's will be a quiet weekend for us

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Falling by Train

This is definitely the time for foliage trips in New England. This one was by train, not our usual method of car travel. We've taken several excursion trains on road trips before, but this recent one on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in Meredith, NH, was our first and it was also the final outing for the line's Fall Foliage Special.

If you're curious about the name Winnipesaukee, there are a few interpretations. It's said to derive from the Abenaki, an Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands of the U.S. and Canada. According to some, it means beautiful water in a high place or the smile of the Great SpiritIt's the name of the state's largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee located in the Lakes Region at the foothills of the White Mountains. 

The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad operates on a rail system formerly used by the Boston, Concord & Montreal (BC&M) line which dates to 1848. 
Passenger operations began in 1892 and ended in 1965. This line served as one of the primary routes north through NH for tourists coming from several large eastern cities (Boston, Hartford, New York) to the lakes and mountain regions of northern NH and to areas further north like Vermont and Montreal, Canada. 

In the early 1900s, the rights to the rail line were sold to the Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) which kept the line active between the Lakes Region and Lincoln, NH to support paper mills and other businesses. Freight service ended when the last paper mills closed in the mid-1970s.  The State of NH purchased the rail line and offered it for lease. 

In the mid-1980s, Ed and Brenda Clark of Lincoln, NH, reached an agreement with the state to create a tourist railroad, the Hobo Railroad, which opened in June 1987. In the early 1990s, the Clarks leased another section of the same rail line along Lake Winnipesaukee which led to the 1991 opening of a second tourist railroad, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. The Hobo Railroad operates from late May to late October and from Thanksgiving until before Christmas. The Winnipesaukee line operates from late May through late October. 

To reply to a blogger's query, the Hobo Railroad runs a Santa Express Trains starting the Friday after Thanksgiving and operating weekends to mid-December. All on the train gets to meet Santa & Mrs. Claus. Young children get a letter to complete for him and every child gets a gift.

Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad train
This train ride was on the last fall excursion and while this was a fall foliage tour, my ability to take well composed and non-blurry photos from a moving train didn't produce good results. (Like others, I do much better on foliage walking excursions.)
Window views on Fall Foliage train excursion
Nevertheless, I tried to capture some of the foliage from our coach seats with varying degrees of unsuccessfulness.
Deer farm and Christmas tree farm views
One of the most unexpected sights was seeing several deer herds, not from Santa's stable, but from the Bonnie Brae Deer Farm which operates on 200 acres of farmland in Plymouth, NH. Established in 1994, the family run business is one of several in NH and raises red deer for breeding stock, velvet antler, and venison sales. The same family runs a tree farm, where Christmas trees are grown year-round and people can either cut their own or select from pre-cut ones during the holiday season. 
More views on fall excursion train trip
The only other stop was at the historic Ashland Railroad Station in Ashland, NH. This historic train station, located on Depot Street, was built in 1869 and remodeled in 1891. It's a well-preserved example of a rural 19th-century railroad station and is now a museum operated by the Ashland Historical Society. The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Vintage and current day photos of Ashland, NH, train station
The former railroad station is a single-story wooden structure, with post-and-beam framing, and a slate roof. The track side at one time housed the station agent's ticket office, and the other side was a passenger waiting area. The rail line was built through Ashland and the first station opened as a combined passenger and freight station of the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad (BC&M) in December 1849. That building is still at its original location on the other side of Depot Street. It's privately owned; the interior has been remodeled for use as a residence, studio, and gallery.

In 1959, as cars, trucks and planes began to replace train service, regular passenger service at Ashland ended after more than a century of service. The next year the B&M Railroad sold the station to a private owner. After his death, his widow donated it to the Ashland Historical Society. 
Members of Ashland Historical Society at train station
Members of the historical society dress in period dress to greet and talk with passengers on the fall excursion trains.
The society restored the station from 1997 to 1998 for use as a railroad museum and meeting place under a federal transportation aid program administered by the NH Department of Transportation. Dedicated in June 1999, the museum is considered one of the best preserved late 19th century railroad stations in NH. It houses an increasing collection of railroad artifacts, images, and documents in the original three public rooms, the two connected waiting rooms and the station agent’s office, which are open to visitors.  

Historical society members were available to answer questions about the station and also to accept donations for its continued preservation. 
Coach cars were decorated for the foliage excursion
If you are visit NH during fall foliage season, this train excursion is recommended. Our first trip on this tourist railroad was a wonderful outing. It was indeed good to be out again.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Friday Funnies

Some folks grow flowers, some grow vegetables, others grow both. And, then there are those folks who plant other things . . .

Like a field of colorful plastic flamingoes.
This very colorful group was seen a few months ago on a road trip stop somewhere in Maine.

Did you know that the collective noun to describe a gathering of flamingos is flamboyance. What an appropriate term for such a colorful group. Other collective nouns for a multitude of flamingos are a colony or a stand. 

Flamingo and flamboyance come from words referring to fire. Flamingo is from the Spanish and Portuguese flamengo, which literally mean, flame-colored. Flamboyance comes from French, meaning to flame or flair

So, now I know (and so do you)

As a fellow blogger noted this post follows a river of yellow rubber duckies here last weekend. And, as another astutely noted, it can lead to feeling in the pink (sorry for the colorful pun.)

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Ours include a pipe organ concert and a chili cook-off

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Going Quackers (Again)

Quack quack or rather duck, duck on the Nashua River this past Saturday.

That's because 8,3339 yellow rubber duckies floated down the Nashua River on Saturday. All were contestants in the 5th annual Duck Derby.

None of these were bathtub escapees. The Nashua Duck Derby was a planned swim event held every October (pandemic years aside). 

No ducks were harmed in this annual fundraiser by the Rotary Club of Nashua West. All were adopted at $5 for a single with discounts for a six-quack, quackers dozen, and flock of 25. Duck adoptions are not tax deductible. After the race, all adoptees are returned to the group.
Race day morning members of Nashua Fire Department set up a duck barrier
Early on race day morning, members of the Nashua Fire Department, working on the riverbank and in the water, stretched a plastic barrier below the Main Street bridge to prevent  contestants from escaping further down river. 
Over 8,300 rubber ducks were dumped into the Nashua River
Saturday, at 2 pm on a perfect weather day, thousands of duck contestants were dumped into the Nashua River. Onlookers gathered along the riverbank and the Main Street bridge to cheer the silent race entrants as the only quacking were human sounds.
This volunteer kayaker kept track of the lead ducks
raced floated to the bridge vying for the top duck spots which meant cash prizes for sponsors.  Race time was clocked at 9 minutes and 40 seconds (no word on whether this was a record time).
Lead ducks were scooped and returned to the judging table
Winners were retrieved by a designated kayaking volunteer. The top cash prizes were worth quacking about — $2,500, $1,000 and $500. Winners were notified after the race results.
After the race, many volunteer kayakers scooped up all other entrants

Ducks were scooped into rubber baskets on each kayak
losers also raced ducks were scooped out by members of a Nashua kayak group. No rubber entrants remained in the river. The cleanup took much longer than the actual race.
Cleanup took much longer then the under 10-minute race
In case you were wondering, the racing career of these ducks isn't over. All contestants have a future race-win chance. After being collected, rubber ducks were dumped into containers and transported for cleanup, before flying off shipped to the next race destination. Duck races are fund raisers in other states. They were held when we lived in VA; friends in Oregon recently attended one. Most often, they are sponsored by a local Rotary organization.

This was not only a fun event on a summer-like (70℉) day, but a worthwhile one too. The Nashua Rotary Club uses proceeds from the duck adoptions to support over 40 local non-profit service organizations and charities, post-high school educational scholarships, regional projects, and international efforts for pure water. 

Unfortunately, we did not have any entries in the race, but cheered on all those who did.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Friday Funnies

Often, people comment on where images for the Friday Funnies posts are found. Often, it's not hard to look at ordinary or maybe not-so-ordinary things to find a bit of humor.

So, here's a bit of bathroom humor.

Notice the spelling, offence, which means the same as offense, but is more commonly used outside the U.S. and considered as British English. Oddly, this restroom sign was in the state of Georgia. A couple of people heeded the notice and wrote on the sign instead (faintly). 
Toilet paper apparently was a high theft item in this restroom. Hopefully, someone had the key when a roll change was needed.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Fall foliage train ride & concert for us

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Falling in NH

It's true that the post title is somewhat misleading. No, it doesn't refer to an accident. Instead it refers to the only season known by two names — autumn 🍁 or fall🍂. 
Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH
It's my favorite season by any name. Many others, like myself, seem to use the names interchangeably.

So, I wondered, is there any difference in referring to this season by either word ?
This photo with muted colors was straight out of camera (SOOC), no effects
The answer is no. They are used interchangeably to describe the time of year between summer and winter when temperatures start to decline. However, autumn is considered a more formal name for the season.

It turns out, this is another example of American English versus British English use. Americans (and Canadians) are said to use “fall” as it is simpler, but the those across the pond are known favor autumn because it is more regal and Latin.
By whatever name is used, the seasonal colors are lovely
Autumn is a relatively newer addition to the English language compared to “fall.” It wasn’t until the 1800s that British English began using autumn more. It's taken from the French, automne, which goes back to the Latin autumnus. the root of which means the passing of the year

Fall is thought to be a deviation of the Old English words fiaell and feallan, both of which mean to fall from a height. Most likely, the word fall comes from the fall of the leaves or falling of the leaves, phrases often used in poetry. 
Muted orange and brown are favorite seasonal colors
As if having two words describe the same season wan't enough, there's yet another contender.

Both autumn and fall were once known as harvest, technically the earliest name for this season. This term was somewhat confusing. That's because it not only referred to the time when people usually harvested crops, but also the actual harvesting of the crops.
Multi-color leaves last week in Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH
It’s unclear why America usage favors fall over autumn. Some speculation is that has to do with daylight savings time when (most) U.S. states spring forward, and fall back.

This past weekend on a beautiful day (by any word), I spent time in Mine Falls Park. This 325-acre park of forest, river, and wetlands is located here in Nashua, NH. Its name derives from the 1700s, when low quality lead was supposedly mined from the island below the falls. 
Canal view in Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH
The Nashua River and Nashua Canal both cut right through the park. In the early 1800s, the Nashua Manufacturing Company built the canal to channel water from the river downstream to a dam, creating a crucial power source for the mills. Workers used shovels and mules to dig a three-mile long canal, part of which is shown in the above photo.
Part of Millyard view from Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH
Mine Falls Park has a network of some 9.7 miles of various forested trail types. It's a wonderful outdoors experience here in the state of New Hampshire’s second-largest city. There's an entrance within walking distance of the mill apartments where we live, formerly home to the Nashua Manufacturing Company. (FYI all the photos in this post were taken with a digital camera vs. cell phone—an Olympus Tough, all weather camera, max zoom 4X.)
Colors are not quite yet at peak in Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH
Unlike some of the more northern areas of New England, colors here are not yet at full peak. That should be changing rapidly over the next couple of weeks. I'm planning more park walks. Of course, you're all welcome to return for a visit and view them in a future post.

After I shared this draft post with Grenville, he reminded me that autumn is foremost in the title of two popular songs, which you may recall—before or after reading this post. 

Autumn in New York, composed by Vernon Duke in Westport, CT, in the summer of 1934, became a popular song and jazz standard, first performed in the Broadway musical Thumbs Up! (December 1934). The only version to achieve chart success was sung by Frank Sinatra. Over the years, versions have been recorded by Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Stan Kenton, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Krall and Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald as a duet.

Autumn Leaves, another song and jazz standard, was composed in 1945 by Joseph Kosma with original lyrics by Jacques Prévert in French, titled Les Feuilles mortes, and later in English by American lyricist Johnny Mercer. An instrumental version by pianist Roger Williams was a no. 1 best-seller in the Billboard charts of 1955. Other singers like Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra have recorded it, but a version by Nat King Cole remains a popular standard.

Which of these is your favorite or do you have another? 
You're quite welcome for the earworms.