Saturday, February 24, 2018

Snow trains


The above photo (which you will want to double click on, to see the entire thing) is from the February, 1948 New Hampshire Troubadour.  The photo is by Boston and Maine Railroad, George Hill.  It pictures skiers leaving the Snow Train in North Conway.  You can see the train cars there at the back of the picture.  I think that the vehicle just behind the skiers may be one to transport them to the actual slopes ... from what I understand, the various ski areas would have transportation waiting when the trains pulled in.

I've been intending to put this post together for awhile.  We'll see how coherent it is or isn't, as I've cobbled it together over a couple of weeks and used a number of resources.

  Of course most people are aware that skiing has a long and fascinating history in New Hampshire, but not everyone realizes that, before the average person was able to afford their own car, skiers came to New Hampshire's mountains by train.  By snow trains, to be exact.

The Conway Scenic Railroad's website states that when Mount Cranmore [located in North Conway] opened for its first season in 1937-1938, snow trains brought skiers from Boston to help fill its slopes.  During the war years in the 1940s, as many as five trains every Sunday brought thousands of skiers to North Conway for a one-day excursion!  At their peak usage, the snow trains transported 24,000 passengers each ski season!

I had known about Snow Trains, of course, and always was intrigued by the idea.  But recently a couple of things have piqued my interest even more.  It was probably last winter when I noticed a poem about the snow train in one of my vintage New Hampshire Troubadour issues, accompanied by the photo above.  I knew that I wanted to share it on my blog.  Here it is:

SNOW TRAIN
by Pauline Soroka Chadwell

Even one day among the hills of snow
Has surely wrought a change in them -- they wear
The look of mountains in their eyes, the flow
Of health whipped to new life by crisp, clean air
On glowing faces.  Somehow, voices, too,
Speak with an eager warmth not often heard
In urban groups, as they all scatter through
The station, parting with a friendly word.

No city walls can ever hold them long --
Now that they've known the freedom of the hills,
The brimming rapture of the ski trail's song,
Beauty, so perfect, that it quickens, thrills
The soul -- Leaders of men are taking shape
In youth that turns to mountains for escape.

This was originally published, apparently, in the Portland Oregonian, in a section called "Oregonian Verse".

This poem surely is a powerful reminder of how good it is for us to get sunshine, exercise, and fresh air in the midst of God's glorious creation.   It's not just healthy, it invigorates our thinking and gives us a sense of perspective.  Sometimes I wonder how much better things would be in our land if we (all of us, but thinking of younger people in particular) spent more time in the outdoors, rather than tethered to devices, social media, and video games.  We'll probably never know the answer to that, but it's an interesting question.

Since discovering this poem,  I've also found some wonderful vintage magazine advertisements for the snow trains.

Before reading up on them, I had not realized that the snow trains brought skiers for only a one-day excursion!  I had assumed it was for a weekend.

In  his article "Snow Train Parade", author John Gruber wrote in Trains magazine: "Boston and Maine’s early and long-lived efforts are the best known among snow trains. B&M inaugurated its one-day excursions on January 11, 1931, carrying 196 people to Warner, New Hampshire, a ski resort. The railroad, in cooperation with the Appalachian Ski Club, took more than 8,000 passengers out of Boston in that first, 10-week season."
In that time frame of the early 1930s one could travel round-trip from Boston to the New Hampshire ski slopes on the snow trains for about $1.75.  Even in the early fifties, the snow trains were not expensive: "Lots of fun for little cost" -- as the 1953 advertisement states below.



Traveling on the Snow Train was just plain fun, apparently: a sort of ongoing party until the train reached its destination.  An old poster from the Boston and Maine Railroad advertised:  “See old friends again…meet scores of other ski enthusiasts…visit up and down the aisles as the bright, warm cars roll on toward the glistening slopes and cheerful lodges.”

In an article by Kathi Caldwell-Hopper, published last November in the newspaper The Laker, I read that "The casual atmosphere of the snow trains meant improvising sleeping conditions; sweaters and parkas became pillows and blankets and hot thermos beverages and sandwiches were shared among friends and fellow passengers.  The baggage cars on the snow trains became the storage area for skis and the cars often doubled as ski repair and waxing stations."

But it wasn't only young people who traveled to the mountains on the snow trains.  In an article by Ernest Poole in the January 1948 New Hampshire Troubadour, I read,  "As years passed and the Snow Trains increased, more older people came on these rides.  Most of them came along to ski, but a story is told of one little old lady who took a train each Sunday, rode with the young people up this way and then sat knitting till they returned.  When asked by a girl why she did it, she said: 'Just to be with young folks, dear.  Down there in Boston I get so sick of just sittin' around listenin' to my arteries harden'."   I can see myself in her shoes, taking a snow train north and sitting and crocheting or embroidering in one of the ski lodges.  Far preferable to just sitting around at home.

It all sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  No wonder thousands of skiers came north each winter on the snow trains!  I for one wish the trains were still running.  But then I tend to be sentimental.  How about you?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 21 Hodgepodge


That means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog (or in the comments if you don't have a blog).  Then go over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?

 Well, it depends on what sort of inspiration I need.  If it's inspiration for daily life, I will go to the Bible.  Daily devotional books of old can be very inspiring, too.  Streams in the Desert is one of my favorites.  I also have a Pinterest board titled Inspirational Thoughts and Words that I will often turn to.

If I need inspiration as to what to put on the week's menus or what to cook for supper or take to the church potluck lunch, I will usually turn to my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks or to back issues of Taste of Home, or sometimes even to my own handwritten cookbooks.

Inspiration for blog posts -- I can find that anywhere.  I seldom need to go looking for ideas.  What I lack when it comes to blogging isn't inspiration -- it's time.

 Inspiration for crafting: I go to my own UFOs, my trunk full of cross stitch and embroidery patterns, my Pinterest boards, a handful of creative and crafty websites -- sometimes even to my own imagination.
 
Inspiration for handmade gifts -- my Pinterest boards or my notebook of saved craft ideas.  Oh yes, and a folder or three of ideas I've saved on my computer desktop.

Inspiration for gifts to buy -- usually my grandkids' Amazon wish lists.

Inspiration for seasonal decorating -- my Pinterest boards and my own imagination.

I guess I'll stop with that.  I do get a lot of inspiration from my Pinterest boards (you can follow me in the sidebar), but I seldom browse or search Pinterest as such.  I'll just go to my own boards where I have tons of ideas pinned.
 

2. What's under your bed?

 You would have to ask that, wouldn't you?
1) Dust.
2) Two underbed storage totes full of gift wrap, one for everyday and one for Christmas.
3) A cardboard box containing a partial book manuscript.
4) A plastic box containing the materials for making decorations out of old Christmas cards.
5) Two plastic boxes full of gift items.
6) A metal underbed storage box containing an antique quilt wrapped in paper.

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?

I would probably most like to celebrate National Chili Day.  I was actually thinking of making chili this week but it would probably be on Friday.  On Thursday, I would be more likely to cook a sweet potato.  Maybe just for myself for lunch, or maybe I'll roast some sweet potatoes as a side dish with supper.  No Margaritas here.

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?

Vintage items that need to be sold.

 
5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?

Sunshine and fresh air; sleep; exercise; quality devotional life; creativity.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
 Our weather is unseasonably warm today.  If the sun comes out this afternoon, I'm going to go for a walk! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Hodgepodge


This beautiful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

Not only is today Valentine's Day, it's also Wednesday!  That means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog (or in the comments if you don't have a blog).  Then go over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? A change of heart? Experienced figurative 'heart failure?'

Wow, what a bunch of questions!  Probably my most recent heart-to-heart talk was with my husband; they are fairly frequent occurrences.   A change of heart -- well, I have to say that the biggest, most complete change of heart ever would have taken place many years ago when I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior.  Figurative 'heart failure' -- probably last night when I noticed huge amounts of water damage on an upstairs wall and realized we had ice dams again.

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? Any special plans for the day?

Oh, of the three I would pick chocolate.  We have no special plans for the day.  My hubby will be working dawn to dusk and we'll just eat a quick supper and head off for our midweek service at church.  We tend to not exchange gifts for any holidays, saving our money for overnight getaways when we can find the time.
3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? What's a gesture you find romantic?

I am a romantic, but not a hopeless one.  Romantic gestures on my husband's part may include suggesting a picnic or hike, a meal out, a coffee date, a scenic drive.  But I also see that some very practical things can be romantic gestures -- and we have both done these.  Things like changing the electric toothbrush head when one finishes with it so the toothbrush is ready for one's spouse to use. Taking out trash without being asked.  Answering the phone for the spouse when one is pretty sure there's a difficult person on the other end.  And what I see as the ultimate in this category, something I recall my husband doing more than once:  throwing vomit-covered bedding into the washer when a child is sick. 

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know?

I very much enjoy learning new things.  I will probably always want to learn new things.  To learn, one has to ask questions. 

But as far as questioning life events ... I have learned that God has a purpose -- a good purpose -- for everything He allows to touch our lives.
5. Your favorite power ballad?

I'm not even sure what that is.  Maybe something by the Righteous Brothers, like Unchained Melody?  I consider it a ballad and it is powerful.  That's the best I can do on this question.  I refuse to delve into it any deeper than this.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm pretty excited that my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic, is finally open and that I've had my first sale.  This is a possibility I've thought about and prayed about for a long time.  It's neat to see it coming to fruition.  Lots of work to this and a pretty steep learning curve.  Thankfully I like learning new things -- see #4 above!
Happy Hodgepodge, all!  Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An exciting announcement...


Well, it's exciting to me, anyway!  😊 My brand-new Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic, has just opened for business.  It's a little rough around the edges still, but it'll get better in time, I think.

Although I'm still in the process of stocking and tweaking my shop,  I would love for you to visit and look around.   Please don't feel you need to purchase anything; just enjoy the trip down memory lane -- and tell others, if you like what you see.

So far I have only a couple dozen items listed, so if you don't see anything that catches your eye, bookmark or favorite the shop and return later.  I will be adding listings every day or so.  There are literally hundreds more items to list.

Most of what I have listed so far is vintage Christmas items, but there are listings in several different categories in addition to Christmas.  I'll also be having vintage stationery, vintage sewing notions, vintage hankies, vintage advertising, and much more.

Hope you'll enjoy your visit to A New Hampshire Attic!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Ever make a dessert in a slow cooker?

 I hadn't, until recently.  The concept has been around for awhile, but most slow-cooker dessert recipes call for a smaller cooker than what I have had.  Then I inherited a 3-quart crockpot with a removable Corning Ware casserole as the liner.  At first I used it mostly for smaller main dish recipes or for side dishes like vegetables.

Recently it occurred to me that now I could try one of the slow-cooker dessert recipes that so intrigued me.  I could take them to Sunday potluck lunches at church so we wouldn't have any leftovers tempting us at home.  I've now tried two recipes and am sold on this idea, especially for fall and winter.

The cookbook shown above, Slow Cooking All Year Round, is one that I received for having a recipe published in it.  I'm so thankful that I have this cookbook, as I have turned to it again and again.

But now I could turn to the dessert recipes!  There are 29 dessert recipes in this book.  A few of them are candies -- one combines and melts the ingredients in the slow cooker and then the mixture is dropped onto waxed paper to cool and harden.  Most, though, are some sort of pudding, cobbler, or cake.

This is really a great idea for a church potluck as the dessert can be cooking unattended in the slow cooker during the services.  When ready to eat, you have a nice warm dessert to serve.  Of course, it could also work to have the dessert in your slow cooker at home if you are planning Sunday lunch for guests or family.

On to the recipes.  The first one I tried (and my favorite of the two) is Gingerbread Pudding Cake:
GINGERBREAD PUDDING CAKE
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white*
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
----------------------------------
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup (or less) melted butter

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg white* and vanilla.  In separate smaller bowl or a measuring cup, combine molasses and water.  Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the molasses mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition.  Pour mixture into a greased 3-quart slow cooker. 

Sprinkle brown sugar over top of batter.  Combine hot water and melted butter; pour over brown sugar.  Do not stir.

Cover and cook on High setting for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted near center of cake tests clean.  Turn off slow cooker; let stand for 15 minutes.  Serve warm, scooped into bowls and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 6 to 8.

* Changes I made: I used a whole egg rather than an egg white because I just didn't have time to separate an egg right then.  The recipe did call for 1/2 cup chopped pecans in the batter, but I left those out.  I also used less melted butter at the end than called for; it called for 2/3 cup, which would have been impossibly rich.  It is a very rich dessert as it is.  Next time, I am going to try just 1/3 cup of melted butter, or maybe even 1/4 cup.

To make this at church, I had everything in the slow cooker except the hot water and melted butter at the end.  I just added those at church before turning the cooker on.  We just brought along a container of French vanilla ice cream to serve with it.

This dessert got rave reviews from those who tasted it.  It's delicious!

🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎
Now for the second recipe, Slow-Cooker Apple Pie:
SLOW-COOKER APPLE PIE
8 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons softened butter, divided use
1 1/2 cup biscuit baking mix, divided use
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

In a large bowl, toss together apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg; transfer to a greased slow cooker.  (I just tossed them together IN the slow cooker.) 

In a bowl, blend eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter and 3/4 cup of the baking mixture.  (I beat them together with a hand mixer.)  Spoon this batter over apples.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the remaining baking mix and remaining softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spoon brown sugar mixture over batter.  Do not stir.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours.  Serve warm, spooned into individual bowls and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 8 to 10.

I would not call this a pie, exactly; it was more of a cobbler.  But still very delicious!

So there you have it!  Some readers had been asking for the Gingerbread Pudding Cake recipe.  Now you can choose from two slow cooker dessert recipes if you are interested in trying this concept.  (And I highly recommend Slow Cooking All Year Round, too.)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

February 7 Hodgepodge


  The first Wednesday of February already!  Time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog (or in the comments if you don't have a blog).  Then go over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter.

Starting to plan for our next trip sounds good.  Hopefully a two day getaway near the end of March.  We'd love to go back to the York Harbor Inn (photos below) again. We will see.  


 As for something not on the list that makes my February brighter ... well, I've mentioned this before, but just seeing the daylight hours grow longer at the end of the day.  That's very encouraging.

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'?

I am completely drawing a blank on this question.  Maybe the spectacular full moon at the end of January?

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week?

Hmmm ...I'd have to say it was a serving of gingerbread pudding cake topped with French vanilla ice cream.  I'm hoping to share the recipe for the pudding cake soon ... it was made in a slow cooker and quite delicious.

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now?

 Not quite sure how to take this.  "Cheering for" as in happy to see -- a good price on chicken breasts this week coming up, decent prices on avocados. "Cheering for " as in encouraging a team -- maybe the thought that spring will eventually come.  You know, "Come on, Spring!  Let's go, Spring!" It's unrealistic to expect it here and now, but there's nothing wrong with encouraging it on a bit, I guess.


5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever) how interested are you in the games? Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here).

I am interested but not obsessed.  I would rate my interest a 6 or 7.  If I have an opportunity to watch any of the events, I would be most interested in figure skating, downhill skiing, and ski jumping.  Quite a few of the athletes have ties to New Hampshire so I will be interested in how they do.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

By the time this is posted, we'll likely be in the middle of a big snowstorm.  The apple tree will  likely look like it does in the photo below.  Happy Wednesday, all!

Friday, February 02, 2018

A February Morn



I always enjoy looking through old magazines, and old New Hampshire Troubadours, of which I have a small collection, are some of my favorites.  This poem is one that I found in the February 1948 issue. 

A February Morn
by Grace Wight Buckle

Diamond drops among the pines,
Fragile, fleeting things;
Catching color that outshines
Man-made polishings.

Patter of the melting snow
From bent branches sped;
Gentle showers falling, though 
Blue skies glow o'erhead.

Color crystaled in the green; 
Bird-song, winter-born;
Shadows reach on earth's white sheen -- 
A February morn!

Beautiful, I thought.  So descriptive of a morning in February.