Wet paint

Bulgy-eyed goldfish, pet store in Stratham (iPhone)

I have been painting a bathroom. I will resurface soon.

Our notorious New Hampshire weather

Cod weathervane, New Castle, NH

Last week, we had girls in bikinis at the beach. This week, it’s mud season again. Just now: 38 degrees and cloudy.

Yesterday afternoon we were dusted with an icy grit of sleet. In five minutes the sleet turned to raindrops interspersed with snowflakes the size of muffins. Five minutes later, the sun came out. But it kept raining.

On Facebook, a friend commented: “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.”

I wrote: “What if I still don’t like it after a minute?”

She suggested someplace in California where the weather never changes… but wouldn’t that be boring? Well, sometimes I would like to be just a little bored.

From AIRMAP at the University of New Hampshire, a Climate Primer:

“New England weather and climate are arguably among the most varied in the world. It includes extremes of both hot and cold temperatures, droughts, heavy rainfall, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and more.”

I have lived in PA, NJ, TX, (Cape Cod) MA, NC, FL and coastal NH. Certainly they all have their unique weather dramas, but no place I have lived demonstrates as much annual, and occasionally hourly, variation as New Hampshire.

Our first day in NH, in early summer almost 15 years ago, there was a tornado. It has been 100 degrees; it has been minus 25 degrees. We have had three feet of snow at once, torrential spring rains and flooding, minor droughts, hurricanes, six day power outages, thunderstorms with downbursts that ripped up trees trapping our neighbors in their home but only blew a few branches off at our house, suffocating humidity, bitter chapping windchill, and the fairest, finest, dry blue-sky weather you can imagine.

In last summer’s bizarre breezeless heat wave we went out in our boat. The air even a mile offshore was 100-plus degrees. The ocean was 54 degrees. Standing knee deep in water at the Rye Harbor boat ramp, I thought the 40-degree temperature differential might cause my numb lower legs to separate cleanly from the rest of my overheated body.

As a result of New England’s position relative to the polar front, it’s continental climate type, it’s coastal orientation, and the mountainous topography, the region’s weather is notorious. It is known for its diversity over short distances and changability in a matter of minutes. New England has recorded temperatures up to 107 o F and down to -50o F (Ludlum, 1976). The high is hotter than the all-time high temperatures ever recorded in Miami, Florida or Atlanta, Georgia. The low is colder than the record low temperature in Anchorage, Alaska or International Falls, Minnesota – which is commonly the coldest location in the conterminous United States. The region also has rainstorms that rival those in the southeastern United States. As a result, the splendors of New England weather and its bountiful variety were noted by many authors ranging from Robert Frost to Mark Twain.

Twain captured the richness of New England weather in his speech at the New England Society’s seventy-first annual dinner in New York:

“Now as to the size of the weather in New England – lengthways, I mean. It is utterly disproportionate to the size of that little country. Half the time, when it is packed as full as it can stick, you will see New England weather sticking out beyond the edges and projecting around hundreds and hundreds of miles over the neighboring States. She can’t hold a tenth part of her weather.” (Twain, 1935, p. 1110).

Many locations in the United States have the saying ” if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute,” but nowhere is this more true than in New England.

Amen.

Read all of the Climate Primer for New England to really understand WHY this is true. Basically it’s a constant AIR WAR, with shifting fronts, between the mid-latitude westerlies and polar easterlies.

Bonus: Be mesmerized by this national Wind Map!

Caffeine liftoff

Why does coffee taste so good in a thick ceramic mug?

Yes, the pilot is flying backwards. Cute, huh?

We love the omelets (laden with your choice of chopped veggies, breakfast meats, and melty cheeses), the eggs benedict, and gigantic Belgian waffles with blueberries or strawberries and whipped cream. They serve lunch too, but I’m totally stuck on breakfast.

The Airfield Cafe is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at the Hampton Airfield on Route 1 in North Hampton.

Pictures on the back wall

The place is casual, fairly inexpensive, family-friendly, with booths and big round tables. And the retro aviation memorabilia decor is one-of-a-kind.

In warm weather, eat on the deck a stone’s throw from the grass strip where Pipers, Cessnas, antique biplanes and helicopters take off and land. Should you be sufficiently inspired, you can learn to fly at Hampton Airfield too.

North Hampton’s historic Town Hall

Town Hall, North Hampton on March 26, 2012

It’s already on the State Register of Historic Places.

Now our landmark Greek revival-style town hall, situated between the police station and Joe’s Meat Shoppe, may be nominated for the National Register of Historic Buildings. The Heritage Commission is bringing it before the Select Board tonight – presumably in Town Hall, where selectmen usually meet.

It’s kind of funny-looking if you really look at it.

It is so boldly geometric, it could be used to teach children about Shapes. (“Can you find the triangles? What about the ellipse?”) The clock/bell tower looks a bit outsized, like it belongs on a bigger building. But in a charming way. It houses a genuine (bell-shaped) Paul Revere Bell, cast in 1815.

Not just a midnight rider, Revere was a silversmith and later built a brass and iron foundry in Boston’s North End.

Timeline 1787: Paul Revere Opens Bell Foundry in Boston

After a few years, the foundry was used to cast copper alloy bells. Up until that time, the technology to cast bells with good tonal quality was not present in the US and bells were imported from England. With the help of two experienced bell casters, Paul Revere cast the first bell in Boston in 1792. Revere cast a total of 398 bells in the North Boston Foundry and many of the Revere bells still hang in and around Boston today.

Plaque

The building used recycled timbers from North Hampton’s 1734 and 1761 meeting houses. In those days, Church and Town were essentially one entity.

A major renovation was completed recently, after the building was condemned for faulty floor joists and other hazards of age. Here’s a story I wrote in August 2010 about one aspect of it: Town workers save $100,000 on Town Hall project.

Town Hall is now used for municipal meetings, voting, and a variety of community functions. The Recreation Department and cable TV station have offices in the building.

Cellar doors

Not everyone knows that there is an old jail cell below the main floor of the building.

It’s not very nice in there. It’s no longer used.

Mess o’ pots

The beach needs spring cleaning. Lobster traps at Odiorne Point.

New Hampshire state law prohibits anyone other than the owner of washed-up lobstering gear or conservation officers to take, remove, or tamper with it. NH Fish and Game organizes a spring cleanup each year with the NH Commercial Fishermen’s Association to clean up lobster gear debris.

I think it’s almost time!

NH Saltwater Fishing Digest 2012: Lobster & Crab rules and regs

Leave Lobster Pots Alone

Lobster pots, traps, warps (ropes), cars or buoys are private property, regardless of the location. This includes on the beach and in the rocks. No person except the owner or a conservation officer can possess, lift, molest or disturb them. To do so can result in a fine of $2,000 and up to 1 year in jail.

Update 3/26: Jen Kennedy of The Blue Ocean Society commented on my North Hampton Beach facebook page that she thinks the annual trap cleanup will be around May 12 this year.

Ocean girls and nauti-buoys

Rye Harbor fishing fleet: Amanda-my, Carolann, Tontine, Ocean Girls, Magpie, Zero Nine, Karenlyn

Ever notice how work boats are often named for beloved women but play boats often have names that are kinda cute and wishful in a (boozy) masculine way? Nauti-Buoy, Bite Me, Liquid Asset, Aquaholic, On the Rocks, FantaSea, Freedom, Happy Hours, Wet Dream, Blew ByYou, The Dog House.

Boat.us: Top Ten Most Popular Boat Names

And what about Rye Harbor’s Tontine? Is it named for that crazy investment scheme that’s a sort of group annuity plus lottery, with the lone survivor receiving the payout? I wonder.

On the Tontine fishing shack: some advice.

Also wondering… why are boats referred to as she? According to Wisegeek:

Boats are a truly interesting case in English, as they are among the only inanimate objects that take a gendered pronoun, whereas most others are called it.

One plausible theory is that boats are called she because they are traditionally given female names, typically the name of an important woman in the life of the boat’s owner, such as his mother. It has also been surmised that all ships were once dedicated to goddesses, and later to important mortal women when belief in goddesses waned. Interestingly, although male captains and sailors historically attributed the spirit of a benevolent female figure to their ships, actual women were considered very bad luck at sea.

A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say ‘How to Build a Boat’ – Stephen Wright