atHome Magazine • Spring 2020

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I s s u e # 1 7 • W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 • F R EE



celebrating the homes, gardens & places of the tri-state area of nh, vt & ma



SPECIAL SECTION: HOME IMPROVEMENT! Winter Comfort Foods The House of a Feline’s Spirit & More! Winter 2020

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contents Special Section • 24-30



ON THE COVER The Arlington Inn & Tavern, Winchester, New Hampshire Story on page 10


10 • atHOME with History: Arlington Inn 15 • The House of a Feline’s Spirit

Columns 4 7 18 21 23 30

• • • • • •

atHome with art atHome





Meet Rosemary Conroy, creator of bold and beautiful portraits of animals


In the Kitchen: comfort food Garden: how to grow succulents Sustainable living: wood is good Pets at Home: winter boredom

on page

Back cover Winter Shopping Guide Ready






for some comfort food

this winter.

Story &


got recipes!

recipes on page


Winter 2020

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at home with Marcia



ISSUE 17 • WINTER 2020 PUBLISHER Backporch Publishing LLC EDITOR Marcia Passos-Duffy CONTRIBUTORS Peg

PHOTOGRAPHY Zachary Stephens

Winter: Love it or Leave it



spent most of last winter in Florida, moving my parents to an assisted living facility to help my mom cope with my dad (who is 92 and has dementia). Each time I went (for 10 days or so), the temperature hovered around 82 degrees in January, February and March. I’m not going to say that I looked forward to coming back to ice, snow and sub-freezing temps each time I boarded the plane back to New Hampshire. But I did feel a little off my winter game last year.

Winter in New England, after all, is meant to be savored and not just endured. Huh, did I say “savored?” Well, when else can you take a break from garden chores? Or sit by a cozy fire and read a book without guilt when there’s a blizzard outside (there’s no judgment from anyone — it is “seasonally appropriate behavior”!) The list goes on: comfy jammies, curling up under an electric blanket, hot chocolate, working on puzzles, having “knit night” with friends, and eating comfort foods (see story on page 18 with recipes). If you notice that most of these activities center on the warm indoors, you are right. I recently read an article in National Geographic about a famous Antarctic explorer who was asked if he loved the cold. His answer was this: He hates being cold. What he loves is being warm in a cold environment. I’m right there with you, buddy. So stay warm this winter — regardless of whether you enjoy the winter outdoors, or from the comfort of your wood stove.

Marcia Passos-Duffy

Editor/Publisher, atHome Magazine

4 Home at

Robert Audette • Ann Henderson Lopata • Leonard Perry • Jenny Wojenski

CONTACT US Magazine 16 Russell Street Keene, N.H. 03431 603-369-2525 atHome

atHome is published four times a year

(Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) by Keene, N.H.-based Backporch Publishing LLC.

atHome is a consumer publication that highlights the homes and gardens of residents in tri-state area of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. This

magazine is copyrighted.


part of this publication may

be reproduced without written consent.


views expressed

in atHome magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of its advertisers, publisher or editor.


every effort is

made to provide accurate information, neither atHome nor

Backporch Publishing LLC


responsibility for any errors or omissions.

Learn more about Backporch Publishing LLC

join us!

atHome reaches


local folks

& gardens! Our free publication is distributed throughout the tri-state area of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

who love their homes

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Winter 2020

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gift picks

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art atHome Rosemary G. Conroy PO Box 128 Weare, NH 03281 603-315-9060 Rosemary’s art, she says,

“I want to look every animal in the eye before I attempt to capture their spirit in paint.”

is about “celebrating the wild beings that share this planet with us

... nature is my muse.”

We interviewed Rosemary about her bold and colorful canvases, what inspires her, and what drove to her to paint after a career in tech support in

New York City.

Interview by Passos-Duffy


Images courtesy Rosemary Conroy Photo by Altea Haropulos

Your work is bold and beautiful. Where do you get your inspiration for these animal portraits? My artwork is about celebrating the beauty, wonder, and mystery of wild animals. I want to thank our fellow earthlings for being part of our world. As part of this honoring, I travel to places where I can visit and see my subjects in their natural environments. I have spent time with wild black bears in the north woods of Minnesota, wandered the tundra of Manitoba with polar bears, and drifted down a salmon-filled river in British Columbia to study grizzlies, for example. It is important to me to really know my subjects, and therefore I want to look every animal in the eye before I attempt to capture their spirit in paint. Most recently, I have had the great honor of snorkeling with humpback whales on their breeding grounds off the coast of the Dominican Republic. What did you do before becoming an artist? Being a full-time artist is my third career. Before that, I worked in tech support in New York City. After six years

of trying corporate life, I met some birdwatchers in Brooklyn, New York, near my home. They opened my eyes to the beauty and wonder of the natural world. That led me to get my Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies from Antioch University in Keene and then working for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests for nearly 12 years. Why did you become an artist? Even though I never went to art school, I never let go of the dream of being an artist, which I’ve had since I was a kid. When 9/11 happened, it hit me hard. I had worked in the World Trade Center for three years back in the 1980s, and vividly remember the crowds of people streaming through there every day. Watching those towers collapse on TV, all I could think of were those people who, like me, had dreams about what they would do “someday.” That made me realize that I couldn’t put it off my dreams any longer. And here I am! I’ve been a full-time artist now for 15+ years.


Winter 2020

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Home: (continued)

Why paint animals? I must have watched the movie “Dr. Doolittle” when I was at a very impressionable age — I have always wanted to talk to the animals and have them talk back to me! Now I try to talk on their behalf — I want to express my joy and amazement that we have such marvelous creatures like this sharing our planet. I hope people will consider them as beings just like us, which is what they are. That’s why I often paint portraits, so my audience has to look at each owl, bear or whale in the eye and see them look back. We can’t take them for granted any longer — or they will disappear. And that would be tragic. Please describe your artistic process. (What inspires you to paint a particular animal? And what moves you to use the colors you do?) I particularly like to paint the animals that live around us (once an environmental educator, always an environmental educator.) And yes, I am kind of obsessed with bears. I have a strong spiritual connection to them

8 Home at

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— maybe because I love wandering in the woods myself? I joke that I was a bear in a previous life — and one of my maternal family names is actually Baer! As for color — I am much more interested in capturing the spirit of the animal I portray — and the way I perceive them doesn’t involve a lot of brown or gray, I guess. Where do you sell your art? I show my work in several New Hampshire galleries and in Provincetown on the Cape. In early 2020, I will be moving my studio to Main Street in Francestown, New Hampshire, where I will be hosting more regular open studio-type events. Do you do commissioned work? And, what are your prices? Yes! I really enjoy creating statement pieces for people’s homes. I just did a huge (6’ x 6’) moose portrait for a beautiful lake home earlier this year. My prices are commensurate with size. Learn more at

Gallery Walk BrattleBoro’s Monthly First-Friday CeleBration oF the arts · · · 5:30 to 8:30 · · · 30 to 40 exhibits & events, some with live music and an artist reception. Guide available online and at most venues.

Winter 2020

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at home with history

From Rundown Eyesore


Elegant Inn

Family breathes new life into crumbling home in Winchester, NH

R Story


Robert Audette / Photography


Zachary Stephens

estoring a home built in 1810 and converting it into a tavern and bread and breakfast was a family affair for owners Margaret and Scott Sharra and their children, Jordan and Chris, who run the day-to-day operations. “This has been a labor of love,” says Margaret, who in 2007 bought with her mother, Peggy Shannon, the building on Route 10 just south of the center of Winchester. “It was very run down when we bought it.” To say it was rundown is an understatement. For many years the building sat. To passersby, it appeared to be a relic of the past that would eventually crumble into history. That’s not the way the Sharras saw it, though, and to say they have given new life to the building would also be an understatement. “When we purchased it, I had a vision, a dream to turn this into an inn,” says Margaret, who has lived in Winchester for three decades. “Did I think it was ever going to be a reality? No.”

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“It still doesn’t feel real to me,” adds Jordan, who graduated from Keene State College in 2017 with a degree in business management. Even after the sale, the building sat, long after Margaret’s mother died in 2008, but the dream lived on. “Mom, she kept saying, ‘I’m going to put feelers out and see if anyone wants to lease this place from me,’” says Jordan. “But I didn’t want anyone else to do it. One thing led to another, and here we are.” With the building restored as the Arlington Inn & Tavern, Jordan can be found in the kitchen helping to prepare meals, in the front room talking to customers at the bar or at the wooden tables scattered around (“That’s our old dining room table over there,” she says), at the front desk or just meandering through the building, marveling at the audacity of family and the strength of a dream. “After high school, I got out of Dodge and went to Florida,” says Jordan. “I never thought I would come back to this, but here I am, and I love it. It’s a very rewarding feeling. This is what I’m doing.” She says the task of restoring the building and turning into its current use would have been impossible without her brother and father, both of whom are skilled in carpentry and put in many hours of unpaid work. “My brother, he’s 29, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does,” says Jordan. “He built the bar, which is made from old wood from the building, from scratch.” Chris has assumed the role of the building’s maintenance man and also helps out in the kitchen when they get busy

“When we purchased it, I had a vision, a dream to turn this into an inn,” says Margaret Sharra who purchased the inn with her mother in 2007. “Did I think it was ever going to be a reality? No.” Pictured, right, Margaret’s daughter, Jordan, who runs the dayto-day operations with her brother, chris.

for dinner or Sunday brunch. Other family members, such as Jim Shannon, who is a master electrician, kicked in work at vastly reduced prices, and skilled friends also offered services. That list includes Jason Kristolaitis, of Elite Building and Excavation; and Todd Snowling, who salvaged the original pine flooring that was on the ground floor and reinstalled it upstairs, where six bedrooms are located. Margaret, who works in the Winchester Land Use Department, is also a member of the town’s Planning Board. She says her knowledge helped guide the building’s restoration. “I’m also involved in economic development in town,” she says. One thing she knew about was New Hampshire’s assessment abatement program. “The state offers tax relief to encourage people to renovate dilapidated buildings,” notes Margaret. The program freezes a building’s assessment


Winter 2020

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atHome with

History (continued)

Each room has an item from a family member, such as a dresser or momento. “We thifted a lot of stuff, too,” says Jordan. “Each room has a different theme.”

(in this case, $83,000), and holds it there for five years, after which it goes to full assessment. “This allows people to keep investing in their businesses without getting penalized by property taxes.” But it wasn’t as simple as just applying to the state. The town had to host public hearings and residents had to vote at Town Meeting to authorize it. She says the vote to approve the abatement was a signal to her that the town’s residents were behind their effort to restore the building. “The majority of the rooms upstairs are named after family members who contributed in some way, shape or form to the dream of this place,” notes Jordan. Each room has an item from that family member, such as a dresser or memento. “We thifted a lot of stuff, too,” says Jordan. “Each room has a different theme.” They scoured the region for four-poster beds to furnish the rooms and purchased all new linen, bedding and mattresses to fit the old beds.

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Each bedroom has a new bathroom with all new fixtures, but some of the old doors from around the building can be found in use as closet doors and partitions in the rooms. “We get local people all the time,” says Jordan. “They love the feeling and the atmosphere here. We have one person who comes in every night. He stays for two beers.” “He likes the social aspect of it,” says Margaret. “This is not a sports bar where it’s noisy. This is a place where you can sit and chit chat with your neighbors.” However, on Sundays, you will find the New England Patriots on the big screen in the dining room/bar, says Jordan, and she offers a pub-style menu during the game. “This is not a stuffy restaurant,” she says. “We didn’t want it to be a formal place, but there’s no need for a sports bar in Winchester. I think we found the middle ground.” Despite not wanting a stuffy restaurant, the menu does offer tasty meals at a reasonable price, and that’s mainly due to the head chef, Charlie Lavery, who lives in Brattleboro.

Left bottom: One of the guest rooms at the Arlington Inn & Tavern. Above: The dining room is casual and relaxed. The bar, right, is “not a sports bar where it’s noisy ... this is a place where you can sit and chit chat with your neighbors.”

“Charlie was a godsend,” notes Jordan. “He walked into my life one day and asked if we were hiring. He’s way overqualified, and we are lucky to have him.” Lavery designed a menu and was getting the kitchen up and running when he was involved in a serious collision on Route 9. Fortunately, though Lavery was banged up, he is recovering and hopes to return to the kitchen soon. “He absolutely was a godsend,” agrees Margaret. “That is not an exaggeration. Everyone who comes here raves about his food. He can create something out of nothing.” Jordan, who worked at the nearby Rustic Table for three years, knows how to run the front end of a restaurant business, but was pressed into filling in for Lavery in the kitchen. “That’s been our biggest struggle,” she says. “I can cook, but I’m not a chef.” The tavern is open for meals Thursday through Sunday, and hours vary. It’s best to check the website for the hours. Jordan says her success is proof that younger people, with a little help from family and friends, can contribute to the communities they grew up in. She, like her mother, is a member of the Planning Board. She also coaches boys basketball at the local elementary school. “I really do feel like I have a responsibility to give back to the town that raised and educated me,” says Jordan.

Finding a place in a small town like Winchester can be done, says Margaret, pointing to the success of the nearby New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery on Main Street and the Outlaw Brewing Company on Scotland Road. “We have two race tracks, access to Pisgah, the largest state park in New Hampshire, and the rail trail goes through the entire town,” she says. “We have a lot to offer.” The tavern is also hosting special events and is taking reservations for wedding parties, birthday parties, baby showers, bachelorette parties and other happenings, says Jordan. “Right now, it’s just baby steps,” says Jordan. “And even though I want to have a successful business, I also want to have a life and not overwork myself at the beginning.” Learn more at

Robert Audette

writes from

Swanzey, New Hampshire.

Winter 2020

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The House of a Feline’s Spirit

By Peg Lopata

Photography by Zachary Stephens

Could it be true

that there are enchanted cottages? Though the fairy tales may warn us to beware of those who live within such places, there’s no need to heed that myth for an old ice house in Francestown, New Hampshire. Inside these four walls Ethel MacStubbs has created a cozy, warm and welcoming home, with unusual décor that invites investigation. Though this building of about 750 square feet once stored ice, Ethel’s presence has clearly melted any remnants of that frigid past. Perhaps, that’s because it’s not only this house that holds a warm spot in Ethel’s life — she’s found her haven in Francestown. Ethel lived in Francestown full-time for only about a decade as a child, including a few years going to the town’s two-room schoolhouse, but she has a lifetime of attachment to this place. Her family left in 1954 as full-time residents, but they came to Francestown almost every weekend and always in summers. “I came and went to Francestown with my own life adventures, always holding this town in my heart as home,” says Ethel. She moved to the icehouse in 2005. It sits perched at the side of a country road, not however, isolated from civilization. Across the road is another house. It was built in 1793, and within walking distance, there’s several other homes. But it didn’t begin its life here. Constructed in 1820, the building sits beside Pleasant Pond in Francestown. The history of its early years is murky, but it’s likely that it was always an ice house at that location.



above: Ethel MacStubbs sits by a cozy wood stove with her feline companion at her converted icehouse in Francestown, New Hampshire.

Winter 2020

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Feline’s Spirit (continued) Later, date unknown, it was moved to its current piece of land and converted to a cider mill, then an office around 1980, and then later, in the 1990s found its true calling as a residence. Many of the original construction materials have been retained. Posts and beams tower overhead; under your feet is a wood plank floor and a dirt crawl space underneath. On the north side is a small, plank door; on the roadside is a large, barn-like door on a wheeled track — useful for hauling ice in and out of the building. When it was turned into an office, sheetrock was installed between the beams and insulation tucked in wherever possible. But that’s just ordinary renovation information. There’s been other goings on in this space far more mysterious that may explain its enchanted nature. While being converted into an office, a cat skeleton was seen in the crawl space. It appears at some point someone must have come across an ancient custom of warding off evil spirits in spaces. Ethel recounts what she was told: “It was good luck to place a dried or desiccated body of a cat inside the walls of a newly built home. It was believed cats have a sixth sense that allows them to use their psychic abilities in the afterlife to find and ward off unwanted spirits.” True or not, Ethel says, “It feels to me as though it has worked well.” Truth be told, it has actually been Ethel’s resourcefulness and ingenuity — not just a dead cat — that have made her home work well. She has done much work to make these four walls more than just habitable.

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There’s been other goings on in this space far more mysterious that may explain its enchanted nature. “Though this house easily fit my criteria, it had one great drawback,” she explains. “It was very dark. There were a few six and 12-paned windows and two big, old air conditioners blocking the loft upstairs and kitchen windows on the south side.” It needed light. Luckily, a good friend had a 90-paned window sitting unused in his barn that miraculously fit precisely between the beams where Ethel wanted it placed. This window now overlooks the backyard and open sky.

above: the



ice-house is bathed in sunshine by an unusual



window was donated by a friend, which added much-needed light and view

of the backyard and open sky.

“With the air conditioners in the dump and the installation of this big window, now the house is the perfect odd home with every window framing a lovely view,” says Ethel. “I have always lived in odd, funky homes in beautiful settings.” As with any old structure, adjustments continued. “It’s been a constant adjustment,” says Ethel, though she loves that this home is, “reeking of charm,” which she adds, tongue-in-cheek. Unfortunately, that so-called charm had its downsides. She explains, “The first winter I lived here I realized I was looking at the outside from the inside through little chinks in the bottom of the heavy door on rails.” Soon those “views” were filled with various insulations. “I’ve used every conceivable type of insulation: hay bales, bags of leaves — every type of insulation!” Since there were no closets in the loft area, she made a curtain to tuck stuff in the eaves. Shelves were added to the closet under the stairs that lead to the loft. Other problems common in old places such as uneven flooring, needed attention, too. She says, “Until you know the lay of the land in here you were apt to be catapulted in some direction by stepping down in some spots.” The first floor’s dips and dents were made less hazardous with carpets. Placement of furniture still however must

account for this earth-like terrain. “Where you put things always demands consideration of the slight tilt of the floor,” she says. A titling floor problem in the loft was discovered by guests spending the night who were gently rolled in their sleep. Ethel easily solved this by turning the beds 90 degrees. For Ethel, some problems in old homes do not require reconstruction, but adaptation by its inhabitants. For example, regarding her uneven floors she says, “It’s just like walking the varied Earth’s surface.” And just as our Earth is almost always quite firm beneath our feet, so is this home. “It all feels like a supported, solid home,” says Ethel. With a twinkle in her eye, she asks, “Might the cat spirit be lingering?”

Peg Lopata

writes from

Brattleboro, Vermont.

Winter 2020

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in the kitchen

2. I finally learned that hats and mittens are not just for kids. I learned along with my children that dressing properly (that means layers, layers and more layers) makes all the difference. 3. New England comfort foods! New Englanders love to eat and during the winter comfort foods are on the top of most menus, including mine.

Comfort Food: A New England Staple “Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” Sheilah Graham (1904-1988)


almost hate to admit it but I am one of those crazy New Englanders over the age of 15 who still loves the cold snowy winters. (I say over 15 because I have yet to meet a young child who didn’t like winter.) I was in the gym the other day and it really was comical listening to all of the ladies in the locker room talk about the weather. It went something like this: One said, “I hate this weather; I just can’t get warm!” Another said,“I know, isn’t it horrible and it’s supposed to be this way for several more days.” And another said, “It’s soooo cold; I hate to get out of bed in the morning.” Yet another, “My cats curl up over the heater and won’t go outside, that’s how cold it is!” And still another, “It’s so cold — everyone is getting sick, there is that horrible bug going around!” Blah, Blah, Blah. They didn’t stop. It was like they had never experienced it before. Or maybe it’s just that New Englanders love to talk about the weather since it is always so changeably interesting. I didn’t dare tell any of those ladies that I actually like this weather. Don’t get me wrong; if I could choose between minus 5 degrees or 25 above I’d choose the latter. However, I do not like warm winter days and I prefer the winters with lots of snow. I believe there are three reasons why I like New England winters: 1. I started cross country skiing. This gives me something to do outside that is fun and good exercise at the same time.

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Winter gives me the chance to make all of those hearty foods that fill you up with warmth and sustenance and give you that feel-good feeling ... OK, maybe that feel-good feeling can be called “tired and By Jenny Wojenski stuffed; I may as well take a nap.” But these winter foods are often the foods from our childhood, what our mother’s made for us when we were sick, goodies that we indulge in, or the meals that our grandparents made from their native lands. Somewhere along the line they were coined “comfort” foods. These are the foods that satisfy our appetite and our soul and give us nourishment. Wintertime is the chance to make foods that you would never think of eating during the summer. And let’s face it; if we lived in Hawaii or Florida would we really be making beef stew; pot roast; macaroni and cheese, roast chicken, stuffed peppers, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken pot pie, or chicken soup day-in–day-out for five months? It seems like just as the days get longer and the snow begins to melt I’ve had enough of these “comfort” foods. I just don’t seem to need that warm fuzzy feeling from my food during the summer … I get it from the sun, my garden and the water.

Celebrating 20 years of wood-fired breads made with organic flour & grains. Available at stores and farmers’ markets from Peterborough to Brattleboro & beyond.

Comfort food recipes are filed away until the fall when once again I am ready for that feeling ... that comfort food feeling. The fact that many of these foods take a long time to cook is an element of “comfort.” One friend told me, “I like the idea of cooking a meal for a long time, it just makes it taste all the better.” And talking about pot roast another said, “There is something about the aroma in the air and eating an early dinner around 4 o’clock on a winter Sunday afternoon.” I took an unofficial poll to hear what some people’s “comfort foods” were and they all sounded quite similar to mine … homemade macaroni and cheese, lasagna, chicken parmigiana, soups and chowders, baked beans, pot roast, shepherds pie, fresh baked bread, cinnamon buns, mashed potatoes and gravy, pot pies, pudding and chocolate chip cookies. It’s not all about the food either — it’s about the aromas and the people you think of when you make the food. It’s about emotions. Sweet spices like cinnamon and the smell of chocolate baking give that comfy feeling. I have a friend who once told me that she can’t experience a snow storm without making chocolate chip cookies. Now whenever it snows I think of her and sometimes I even make chocolate chip cookies — blaming her the whole time!


good. local. people. Shoppers, member-owners, farmers, staff – it’s the people who make Monadnock Food Co-op more than a grocery store.

join us. 34 Cypress St. Keene, NH

on next page)



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Winter 2020

• 19

IN THE KITCHEN (continued)

The Recipes Macaroni



Chocolate Bread Pudding w/hard sauce

Pudding 5 tablespoons cocoa mixed with enough hot water to blend cocoa 2 cup milk 2 beaten eggs 1/2 cup sugar Dash salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 2-3 cups stale bread, torn into small pieces In large bowl add cocoa/water mixture, milk, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add stale bread. Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour. Serve warm with hard sauce.

1-1/3 cups dry macaroni 1-1/2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1-1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1-1/2 cup warm milk Sautéed onions (about 1/2 cup or more to taste) Buttered bread crumbs Cook macaroni until tender. Drain and set aside. Melt and whisk butter and flour. Add whisked butter and flour to warm milk and stir until thickened. Add sautéed onions. Add grated cheddar cheese. Add the drained macaroni to the cheese and milk mixture and put in casserole dish. Sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-40 minutes.

Shepherd’s Pie

2 cups cooked hamburger meat 1 cups peas or corn ( I use both) 1 1/2 cups meat stock 1/4 teaspoon pepper 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons flour 1-1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups mashed potatoes Melt butter, blend in flour. Add meat stock, stirring constantly until thickened. Season with pepper. Add meat and peas/corn. Pour into casserole. Spoon potatoes around edge of casserole. Bake 425 degrees F. until potatoes are browned.

20 Home at

Hard sauce 1 cup butter, softened 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 1/4 cup dark rum 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift confectioners’ sugar into the butter. Add rum, vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Pour onto pudding.

Jenny Wojenski

writes from

Keene, New Hampshire.

garden The Best Indoor Succulents One rule of thumb for succulents is that the thicker the leaves, the less water the plant needs.

By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor, University of Vermont

So, just what are “succulents”?

Generally, they are tender (not tolerant of cold) plants with thick or fleshy leaves. In recent years a whole range of species have been introduced to gardeners, mainly as outdoor seasonal plants, but which make great plants indoors too. Here are ten good choices, starting with three of the older standards — aloe, ponytail palm and jade plant.

Aloe (Aloe vera) is an ingredient often found in many skin and hair care products. It also is known to be very effective in treating burns, thus, it’s a good lotion to keep handy in the kitchen near the stove. Or, gently rub some sap from a leaf on the burn, then repeat after a few minutes. The burn will go away, and the skin should heal quickly. In fact, some of the newer sunburn lotions are close to 100 percent aloe sap. Although aloe is grown in desert gardens in mild climates, it can easily be grown as a potted plant in our climate as well. The aloe will produce offshoot plants, which can be removed and potted.


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Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is not really a palm at all ... It has a characteristic palm-like shape, stem and leaves, with an expanded and flaring base. The leaves are two to six feet long and are often twisted. The leaves actually do look like a pony-tail. The flowers and fruit are seldom seen in cultivation as plants must be quite large to produce them. Ponytail palm has a moderate growth rate and is often used in interior beds or as a potted specimen. Indoors, it usually reaches a height of one to three feet and a width of one to two feet. Under high light in conservatories, or where it can be grown outdoors, it may reach 20 or more feet high, with the flaring base several feet across! The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) gets its name from the Latin crassus meaning thick or swollen, which refers to the leaves and stems of this and many other species. The leaves are glossy green (dark jade color, hence the name), and occasionally have red margins. One cultivar even has variegated leaves. The flowers are star-shaped and white to pale pink in color. Jade plant has a moderate growth rate and may grow one to two feet in height and width. The plant may need a heavy soil or pot to keep from toppling as older plants become top-heavy. When watering the jade plant, do not let the leaves get water on them because this will cause leaf spots. If you are successful with this plant and want more, simply take leaf or stem cuttings and root them in potting mix to grow additional plants. Watch for mealybug insects, small white masses particularly where leaves join stems. Zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata) is appropriately named for it thick, dark green, fleshy and quite pointed leaves that arise from low on the plant. They are quite marked with regular, horizontal white stripes. Since its roots are shallow, you can give it a shallow pot. Repot every year or two, as the plants need to get rid of old roots to grow new ones. It only grows about 5 or 6 inches tall and wide.

plant starts to “stretch”, getting tall and lanky with space between leaves, it isn’t getting enough light. Also, rotate plants weekly if they are bending toward a light or window. Succulents prefer the dry humidity of indoors, and don’t like over watering. But they do like warmth. Be sure to keep them away from door drafts, and from touching cold windows in winter. A well-drained soilless mix with sand or perlite is the best potting medium. Although the fertility needs for succulents is low, plants may become pale and red if it is too low or they are too dry. One fertilization in spring, with a general houseplant fertilizer, usually suffices. Allow the potting medium to dry between waterings. Make sure pots don’t sit in a saucer of water. Water less when the plant is inactive, perhaps only once every couple of weeks, but water well when you do. When plants are actively growing, probably water them once a week. One rule of thumb is that the thicker the leaves, generally the less water the plant needs. The thick leaves that make them “succulent” are designed to store water under dry conditions. Jade plant and succulents with fleshy leaves are easy to propagate. If you want to make more plants, simply place leaves on damp soil to root and grow new plants. Consider and look for succulents in the growing season for outdoor containers, particularly smaller containers you might bring indoors to enjoy over winter. Many garden centers, greenhouses and even mass market stores now offer succulents. Look for small ones for smaller containers, dish gardens, or terrariums. Keep in mind they will eventually grow, some faster than others. Although they do well potbound, and this will slow growth, in a year or two they may need larger pots or at least repotting.

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Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) has whitish leaves from the soft hairs covering them, making them irresistible to feel. Leaf edges often have attractive contrasting red hairs. This succulent grows upright, from 12 to 18 inches tall. Hahn’s bird’s nest (Sansevieria trifasciata) often goes by its genus name of just sansevieria (said as san-se-Veer-ee-ah). It has a rosette of wide, tough leaves with irregular horizontal lighter bands. It tolerates low light. It is compact, only getting about 6 inches high and tall. Leaves are typically green, but you may find ones with some gold. Other interesting succulents you may want to try growing indoors include: Echeveria, Senicio, Tree houseleek (Aeonium) and the pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli),

Care of succulents: Although succulents prefer high light,

they often adapt well to low light of homes. Best is bright light most the day, such as a south-facing window, or at least a half day of good sun as in an east-facing window. If your

22 Home at

mini splits

sustainable W living


(That is, if you burn the right wood in the right way)

ood is good, but wood smoke can be harmful to people’s health. Wood is the way many New England residents heat their homes. Other households use wood stoves and fireplaces as supplementary heating sources. Wood is an excellent choice for heating your home; it is a New England-grown energy source. Heating with wood makes sense economically given that New Hampshire is the second most forested state (Maine is #1, Vermont is #6, Massachusetts #13). Buying local wood is also good for our economy. Most energy experts agree that sustainable harvested wood burned to heat homes releases no more greenhouse gases than forest regeneration can re­absorb them. In the lingo of the day, this makes it “carbon neutral.” But just as important as the economic and environmental benefit of burning wood is, only burning clean dry wood protects your home and keeps the air that you, your family, and all of us breathe, as healthy as possible. Today’s modern wood stoves burn much more cleanly and efficiently than those sold before 1990. Burning cleanly and efficiently is the key to heating with wood. To many of us the smell of a wood fire is enjoyable and comforting. But to people with respiratory or cardiac conditions, it is anything but enjoyable and comforting. The very small particles that make up wood smoke can be inhaled deep into the lungs, collecting in the tiny air sacs where oxygen enters the blood. This can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes permanent lung damage. Inhalation of small particles can in-

crease cardiovascular problems, irritate lungs and eyes, trigger headaches and allergic reactions, and worsen respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. No one wants to do that to their family or their neighbor! Pollution from wood stoves is a particular concern in the winter when cold, stagnant air and temperature inversions limit air movement. Communities located in valleys, such as Keene, are more strongly affected. As wood burning increases on cold, clear, calm nights, smoke is unable to rise and Most energy disperse. experts agree that Pollutants sustainable harvested are trapped wood burned to heat and conhomes releases centrated no more greenhouse near the ground, gases than forest and the regeneration can small size re­absorb them. of the particles allows them to seep into houses through closed doors and windows. Burning clean, dry hardwood in an energy efficient wood stove helps minimize air pollution. If you live in a valley area, watch weather conditions and pay attention to “Air Quality Action Day” notifications (see airdata/air_quality_forecast.asp for air pollution forecasts in your area). On days when small particle levels are high, and there is stagnant air, if you have alternative heating, avoid burning wood until the winds increase. This will help to keep your wood smoke from affecting people

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WOOD (continued) with cardiac or respiratory illness. Keeping your stove pipe cleaned and good ash management can make your wood burning experience safer for your family as well. Burning wood safely and efficiently will also save you money. See Wood_Burning.html for some great tips on wood burning, stove maintenance and ash management. EPA’s Burnwise program provides additional information on types of certified stoves, choosing a wood stove and energy efficiency. The frequently asked questions section may clarify some of your questions. See Over the past 25 years that DES has existed as an agency and measured air pollution levels, small particulates from wood stoves and other sources have been declining. This good news is important to remember but in localized valley areas, small particles can still be a health problem. Remember to burn wise because smoke can harm your family’s health!

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Article courtesy of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

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S pe c i a l S e c tion


These Four Walls By A nn Henderson


inter traditionally brings reflection, resolution and more time inside the home. R NZE ILVEare ROseeing What if theSwalls closing in or youBare ZE uninspired surfaces around? Maybe,Bjust VER RONmaybe, SILall ER RONZEthe energy of change. SILV after the holidays you2 are Bfeeling 201 2012 ards e Awards Choic oice Aw s’1Ch2 Readers’ 2 ad 012 s Re 0 2er s ard ers’ Choice Aw 2012 ards Readers’ Choice Award 2012 ard Aw Resad derfs’ Choice Aw Readers’ Choice Reaaf

st Staff Friendielie ndliest St

Friendliest Staff

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Painting & Wallcoverings


K&J Inc. K&JDean Dean Builders, Builders, Inc. K&J Dean Builders, Inc. Complete Construction Services Services Complete Construction Complete Construction Services Kevin, Sr. 603.252.9530 Kevin, Jr. 603.499.3561




WindoW restoration

refinishing Plaster rePair






acto Builder/Concttr or

r Builder/Contra Builder/Contracto


Over 60 Years’ 60 Combined Experience Over Years’ Combined


Your DreamOver is Our Passion 60 Years’ Combined Experience

Kevin, Sr.


Kevin, Jr. Calls romPtly Your Dream is Our Passion 603.499.3561 returned

Kevin, Sr. Kevin, Jr. CallsCombined PromPtly Experience Over 60 Years’ 603.252.9530 returned 603.499.3561 Winter 2020 • 25

Your Dream is Our Passion



S pe c i a l S e c tion

Home Decorating Upholstery • Draperies • BlinDs

fabrics for quilting, fashion, home decorating & upholstery

These Four Walls (continued) What a great time to tackle these four walls with renewed creativity. Small baths, hallways or lesser-used public rooms are great winter projects. Paint is the obvious unlimited resource but consider playing around with finishes and textures. A textured grass cloth wall covering with hi-gloss trim is stunning and refreshing as are some of the new metallic papers paired with bold semi-gloss hues like turquoise. Particularly dramatic are amazing reflective sheens such as eggplant, deep marine blue or darkest charcoal gray. Consider papering one wall that is an obvious focal point. The background color of the paper can continue on the other walls. Building a room around a stunning piece of art or an oversized mirror invites human interaction and works like a window through the wall plane. Don’t be afraid to pull deep colors from the underground of the painting. Learn from museum installations and include text on your walls, something decorative and fun, meaningful and inspirational, ironic and clever. If subtle, murals can be breath taking,


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S pe c i a l S e c tion

or consider describing a scene through large painted panels surrounding the space. Collections of prints arranged in a large grid are impressive in a cozy study, living or dining room. Often overlooked, beautiful antique plates or serving pieces can fill a wall in glorious array. Maps, catalogs, post cards and old book prints are fun to shellac onto a painted or glazed wall. Always think of adjacent color and the subtle hues of flooring and other building materials when selecting a scheme. Style considerations such as degree of formality,


traditionalism or seriousness are important to stay consistent with as well. Less is more so begin with a few good ideas and scale back. At last home from that long walk or awake from that long winter’s nap, spend a few moments imagining new walls and let the blustery winds of winter be winds of change for re-design of your favorite nest corner.

Ann Henderson is New Hampshire.

owner of

Ann Henderson Interiors



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BUILDING/DESIGN/ CONSTRUCTION Chris Parker Building & Restoration 4657 Coolidge Hwy Guilford, VT 05301 802-257-4610 Eco-Logical Building Solutions • 27 Frost Hill Road, Marlborough, NH 03455 603-876-4040 K&J Dean Builders, Inc. 20 Pine St., Swanzey, NH 03446 • 603-499-3561 MT3 Unlimited LLC 856 Guilford Center Rd. Guilford, VT 802-254-1688 CHIMNEY SWEEPS Tri-State Chimney Sweepe 33 Parker St., Winchester, NH 03470 800-530-6639 FLOORING Lawton Floor Design 972 Putney Road, Unit 3 Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-254-9303

GARAGE DOORS Champion Overhead Door, 123 Ryan Road, Dummerston, VT 05301, 802-579-4477, GARDENING/LANDSCAPING Ecoscapes 121 Pond Brook Road West Chesterfield, NH 03466 603-209-4778 INTERIOR DESIGN Ann Henderson Interiors 16 West St. Keene, NH 03431 603-357-7680 Sarah Sim Intentional Interiors Greenfield, NH 603-562-4644 PAINTING/WALLCOVERING Robert Codman Painting and Wallcovers 49 Old Dublin Road Hancock, NH 03449 603-547-7906 UPHOLSTERY/DECORATING New England Fabrics & Decorating Center 55 Ralston St. Keene, N.H. 603-352-8683

Winter 2020

• 29

1. Give them the thrill of the hunt. Get rid of the

pets at home

food bowl and get what is called an “enrichment feeder” to give your pet the challenge of “hunting” for food — keeping their brains and bodies exercised. These feeders are available at your local pet store. Or, you can also make a simple feeder by using a 6-inch piece of foodgrade PVC pipe with end caps screwed on and kibble-sized holes ono the side to give your dog or cat a challenge to shake the food out — and keep them out of trouble. Note: in multiple pet homes, give each animal its own feeder to eliminate squabbles.

2. Play hide and seek.

By Amee Abel, CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer Monadnock Humane Society

Pet Winter Boredom Busters


hen the winter weather keeps you and your pets indoors too much, problem behaviors may crop up. Dogs are especially prone to destructive chewing, boredom barking and housebreaking accidents. Bored cats may shred furniture or launch unprovoked attacks. All are signs of a dog or a cat with too much energy and not enough entertainment. What’s a pet owner to do? Here are some tips:

30 Home at

Monadnock Humane Society’s boarding and daycare manager, Linda Thompson, shared one of her favorite boredom busters for dogs: “One simple game we play at daycare is placing a favorite toy or a handful of kibble underneath a laundry basket or clear plastic bin.” The dog has to figure out how to move the basket to get to the toy underneath. Playing brain games for 10 or 15 minutes tires a dog out as much as 30 minutes of active play, Thompson says.

3. Attend training classes.

If your dog has excess energy, you may want to enroll him or her in an indoor training class throughout the winter. You can learn many different sports to play with your dog: owners drawn to precision performance may enjoy “Rally” — a sport where you perform a series of turns, sits, downs and other obedience moves. Other games include “Agility”


every dog enjoys play dates.


they just want to be with you, enjoying the great outdoors!

(where a dog follows your signals to perform a course of jumps and other obstacles), or classes in tricks or even a dance routine called “Canine Freestyle.”

4. Consider daycare.

Dogs who enjoy the company of other dogs and can play without bullying their friends may enjoy spending some regular time at a local daycare. The key here is regularly scheduled participation. Schedules are important for our pets; they enjoy being able to predict what comes next. Getting your social dog into a routine of once or twice a week play dates at the daycare can be very satisfying for both your pup and you.

5. Go out to play — together! Not every dog wants or enjoys daycare, so don’t feel that this is the only way you can help your dog blow off some steam in the winter. On sunny winter days, a walk in the snow with you may be just what the doctor ordered.

Amee Abel, CPDT-KA,

She also offers in-home lessons through her business, Abel Dog Training ( For over 10 years, Amee has also helped pet owners become certified to volunteer with their dogs through Alliance of Therapy Dogs ( She lives in Keene with two Collies, a cat, and her sons and her very patient husband.

T rea t them li k e fa m i ly

teaches people and their dogs to live well to-

gether through dog training classes at

Monadnock Humane Society.

When pets talk, we listen

26 A sh Brook Roa d K e e ne , N H 6 0 3 - 3 5 2 - 9 2 0 0 I n Th e Mo na dno c k Ma rk e tpla c e

ww www w.On .OneStopCoun

Winter 2020

• 31

Home Winter Buyers Guide


Accountants Anderson & Gilbert 295 Park Ave. Keene, N.H. 603-357-1928

Antiques/Vintage Breuers Heirloom Furniture 711B Greenfield Rd. Deerfield, MA 413-522-8421 breuersheirloom

Architects KCS Architects

310 Marlboro St., Keene, NH 03431, 603-439-6648,

Artists Rosemary G. Conroy Fine Art P.O. Box 128 Weare, NH 03281 603-315-9060

Art Galleries Fry Fine Art

36 Grove St. Peterborough, NH 03458 • 603784-5420

Bird Houses Architectural Birdhouses Unlimited, 276 State Route 101, Amhest, NH 03054, 603-554-8869

Bakeries Waterhouse Baker’s Station, 18

MT3 Unlimited LLC 856 Guilford Center Rd., Guilford, VT 802-254-1688

Chimney Sweeps Tri-State Chimney Sweepe


Events Gallery Walk

New England Fabrics & Decorating Center 55 Ralston St. Keene, N.H. 603-352-8683

Downtown Brattleboro, VT

Flooring Lawton Floor Design

972 Putney Road, Unit 3, Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-254-9303

Food Co-op Monadnock Food

Co-op, 34 Cypress St., Keene, NH 03431• 603-283-5401

Garage Doors Champion Overhead Door, 123

Ryan Rd, Dummerston, VT 802579-4477,

Garden Achilles Agway

Six Locations in the Region Coll’s Garden Center & Florist • 63 North St., Jaffrey, NH 603-532-7516

Orchard Hill Breadworks 121 Old Settlers Rd. Alstead, NH 03602 603-835-7845

Ecoscapes 121 Pond Brook Rd West Chesterfield, NH 603-2094778

Building/Construction Chris Parker Building & Resto-

Tom Amarosa Plants/Property Care Call or text 603-209-1427

Eco-Logical Building Solutions • 27 Frost Hill Road, Marlborough, NH 03455 • 603876-4040 ecologicalbuilding K&J Dean Builders, Inc. 20 Pine St., Swanzey, NH 03446 603-499-3561

32 Home at

& Wallcovers 49 Old Dublin Road Hancock, NH 03449 603-547-7906

33 Parker St., Winchester, NH 03470 800-530-6639

Depot St. Peterborough,NH 03458 • 603784-5653

ration 4657 Coolidge Hwy Guilford, VT 05301 802-257-4610

Pai nting Robert Codman Painting

Interior Design Ann Henderson

Interiors • 16 West St., Keene, NH 603-357-7680 Sarah Sim Intentional Interiors Greenfield, NH 603-562-4644

Spofford Upholstery Spofford, NH 603-363-8057

Healthcare/Hospice Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services 312 Marlboro St. Keene, NH 03431 603-352-2253

Holistic Health Wondrous Roots

103 Roxbury St., Ste. 300, Keene, N.H. 603-439-2603

Jewelry: Handmade Geo-Graphic Gems

Keene, NH03431 603-369-2525

Locksmith Goodwin’s Locksmithing

4 Elm St., No. Swanzey NH 603-252-5625

Massage Therapy Phillip Malone Bodywork,

45 Main St., Suite 101, Peterborough, NH 03458, 503-395-8522

Nonprofit MCVP: Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention 12 Court St., Keene, NH 603352-3844

Pets Abel Dog Training

341 Chapman Road, Keene, NH 603-325-2869, Monadnock Humane Society 101 West Swanzey Rd. Swanzey, NH monadnockhumane

One Stop Country Pet Supply 26 Ashbrook Rd. Keene, N.H. 603-352-9200

Pool/Spa Clearwater Pool & Spa 233 Monadnock Hwy. Swanzey, NH 03446 603-357-5874 clearwaterpool

Renewable Energy Green Energy Options 37 Roxbury St. Keene, N.H. 03431 603-358-3444 greenenergy

South Pack Solar 68 Cunningham Pond Road, Peterborough, NH 03458 603-924-7229

Restaurants Elm City Brewery

222 West St. #46, Keene, NH 03431 603-355-3335

Special Shops/Gifts Monadnock Oil & Vinegar 3 Grove St., Peterborough, NH 03458 603-784-5175 monadnockoil Cultural Cocoon 32 Main St. Peterborough,NH 03458 603-924-6683 Joseph’s Coat 32 Grove St. Peterborough, NH 03458 603-924-6683

Real Estate Giselle LaScala

RE/MAX Town & Country 117 West St. Keene, NH 03431 603-357-4100

Wedding Venues Aldworth Manor

P.O. Box 903, Harrisville, NH 03450, 603-903-7547, The Pub Restaurant 131 Winchester St. Keene, N.H. 603-352-3135

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