Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Southern New Hampshire Life - Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

The 2014 NH Farm & Forest Exposition

Southern New Hampshire is home to many farms and woodlots, large and small.  In addition, many homeowners include gardening or part-time farming among their hobbies. As there’s not much a farmer or gardener can do outside this time of year, it’s the perfect time for the 31st Farm and Forest Exposition! This year the Expo will be Friday and Saturday February 7th and 8th at the Center of New Hampshire in the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.Farm

The Expo will offer more than 20 workshops, almost 100 exhibitors, a variety of fair food booths, and fun activities for children – and adults.  To see a short video from WMUR-TV about last year’s Expo, click here.

Many programs are geared to full-time farmers, but there are many sessions that are directed to backyard gardeners and homeowners as well. Some presentations will cover farm management subjects like selling crops and animal products to supermarkets and schools, farmer’s markets in winter, and the services of NH Department of Agriculture.  Others have a wider audience in mind, such as programs on small-scale maple sugaring, growing plants from seed, the care and feeding of your chainsaw, beekeeping, the resurgence of the American Chestnut tree, raising dairy goats, living with our bear neighbors, and barn preservation. Beef Cattle on Temple Farm

The NH Farm and Forest Exposition is co-sponsored by the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, the NH Division of Forests and Lands, and the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.  The Expo’s hours will be 9 to 6 on Friday and 9 to 4 on Saturday; admission is $ 7, with free admission for people 16 and under. The Radisson is located at 700 Elm Street in Manchester.

For full details see the NH Farm and Forest Exposition website.

15th Annual Penguin Plunge at Hampton Beach

Liven up your Sunday morning on February 2nd with a quick plunge into the cool waters off Hampton Beach. This Special Olympics New Hampshire fundraiser attracts hundreds of swimming enthusiasts every year.  Plungers raise funds for Special Olympics NH by soliciting donations from friends, business associates, and family members. Each participant pledges to raise $ 350 to help support this important cause.

Many plungers come back year after year. The plunge will take place “rain, snow, or shine.” This year’s theme is Zombies. For details about joining the penguins, click here. Check in for participants is 9 to 11AM.

If you prefer to stay high and dry, drop by to cheer the plungers on! This year Mark Ericson and Karen Kiley from WOKQ will join WMUR’s Chief Meteorologist Mike Haddad to welcome the penguins. There will be great activities for both wet and dry participants: a costume parade at 11:30,  a lunch and post-plunge celebration at 12:30, and the bestowing of special awards at 1:30.

For more information about Special Olympics NH, see their website. For details on this year’s Penguin Plunge at Hampton Beach, click here.

Keene Ice and Snow Festival 2014

On February 8th downtown Keene will host its annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival.  From 10AM to 4PM,  Central Square will be festooned with ice and snow sculptures – and there will be lots of fun activities to participate in.Keene 2/8/2014

Help judge the snow sculptures, join the snowball throwing contest, build a snowman, or have your photo taken with the Ice Princess, Polar Bear, and the Snowman.  Warm up with hot chocolate, s’mores, and more!  Be entertained by magician Ben Pratt and enjoy the other entertainers and food sellers.   DSC_3620

For some colorful photos of previous years’ Festivals, check out the “Keene, NH Ice and Snow Festival” Facebook page.  This event is co-sponsored by the Monadnock Travel Council and the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the Keene Ice and Snow Festival, click here.


Ice Fishing & Bob Houses 2014

With the extreme cold temperatures we have been experiencing recently, ponds and lakes have frozen over throughout the state.  Many souls brave the extreme temperatures to install temporary housing on NH’s bodies of water; within the course of a few weeks, hundreds of small structures dot the lakes and ponds throughout the state.bobhouses13113c

Bob houses, portable “shanties,” as they are called by those in the know, are wheeled or pushed onto ice-covered bodies of water by die hard fisherman and their friends and followers each winter. No one knows for sure where bob houses got their name. There are various theories: they could be named for the bobsleds that some used to bring their shacks out onto the ponds, or because “bob” is an old fashioned term for short or small (as in bobtail or bobbed hair), or because your shanty will be bobbing in the water if you leave it out on a lake too long.

Statistics show that 25{6da90d3849ec5634a5b7617fb2fe46a655feac6f5bf56f53403b0961171136b9} of New Hampshire fishing enthusiasts enjoy going out to fish regardless of the cold weather. Fishing on one of the state’s many lakes and ponds is a great winter pastime. While some people fish out in the open, many bring a plastic tent, the true (and experienced) fisher folk bring shacks out onto the water bodies. These shacks can be crude plywood constructions, or they can be small well-constructed shed-like houses that have carpeting, electricity, stoves, and even heaters and televisions. There are stories of some shanties that not only have lighting, but have crystal chandeliers. Chatting with friends and downing cold drinks (that don’t need any artificial refrigeration) is a great way to while away the hours while you wait for a pull on your line. After drilling holes in the ice with your auger, you can sit back and relax until the active cold weather fish – perch, pike, crappie, and others – tug your line to get your attention.

Bob Houses on Lake Potanipo

The bob house and ice fishing season is from ice-in, usually in December, to ice-out, usually in mid-April. Lakes under State trout and salmon management have an official season of January 1st through March 31st. But don’t venture onto the ice without checking with locals to make sure the ice is thick enough to support you and whatever you are bringing with you. All bob houses must be removed from lakes and ponds by April 1st, but of course, if it’s unseasonably warm, remove it – or lose it – before the ice cracks under the weight of your home and/or vehicle. Every year there are tales of lost houses….

There are a lot of friendly get-togethers among bob house fishermen and women, and they have a lot of fun out on the ice. For the more serious sportsman, there are dozens of competitive ice fishing tournaments across the state, but the one that attracts the most participants is Meredith’s annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. As many as 6,000 anglers compete for dozen of prizes, including $ 50,000+ in cash prizes.. This year Derby Weekend will be February 8 – 9. For details, visit the Meredith Rotary Club website.  For details of other ice fishing tournaments, click here.

If you want to try bob housing, check out the New England Sportsman’s extensive ice fishing website. The NH Fish and Game Commission has a good site with the regulations everyone should observe.

On the other hand, if you want to try to convince someone to come in from the cold and give up ice fishing, you may want to show him or her this short video.