Halloween In Salem- Saturday Morning Stroll

I know this is a gardening blog but it’s hard to live here in Salem without blogging about Halloween.

Halloween takes on a life of it’s own in Salem. There’s just nothing else like it.

Here’s a few before photos from my early morning walk when I dropped off my girls at work this morning.

If you happen to be here and see a very pretty girl selling tickets for the Salem Trolley say hi for me! There’s also a beautiful little blonde girl and a handsome twenty year old boy whom I know very well working at the Witch Museum .

IMG_7440This is where they’ll be. I love the way the SWM provides cover for guests who are waiting for their tour.

IMG_7439Just down the street, this colonial home is ready for a pirate invasion.

IMG_7437Restrooms are available, sort of, if you can stand this sort of thing..

IMG_7441 The food on the Common is good to go. I think that most of these vendors came straight down from the Topsfield fair, so it’s fair food if you don’t want to wait in line at one of the restaurants.

IMG_7446Same with the carnival… left the fair and arrived in Salem a day later.

IMG_7442The Hawthorne is barricaded to prevent damage..
IMG_7448 Front Street is quiet… now…IMG_7449..with very cute ghosts in the windows…IMG_7450made from lanterns…  IMG_7456Store windows are dressed everywhere… IMG_7459 The hats are ready!IMG_7460 This scene will be very different in a few hours!IMG_7462Here they come!

Look out!

More later,

Michele

Keene Pumpkin Festival 2013

Gosh this looks fun! Great pumpkin carving ideas for the talented and patient carvers out there too! Great post New Hampshire Garden Solutions!  Michele

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

In 1991 Keene, New Hampshire had a harvest festival that attracted a few local people who brought about 600 jack o lanterns. By 2003 the harvest festival had become a pumpkin festival and the number of lit jack o lanterns had risen to 28,952. The Guinness World Record people became interested that year and gave Keene the record for the most lit jack o lanterns assembled in one place. Boston took the record from Keene in 2006 with 30,128 jack o lanterns. This year on October 19th Keene took back the world record with 30,581 lit jack o lanterns and I was there taking photos. I thought I’d show you a few of the better ones. These were all taken in the dark without a tripod, so I’ll warn you that they aren’t the sharpest photos you’ve seen. Even so, I’d guess that most of you have never seen anything…

View original post 464 more words

A Little Bit of Haunted Happenings

We’re right in the middle of our wonderful, amazing, scary, fun, not so scary Halloween celebration here in Salem, Massachusetts. Yesterday Michael and I left the garden (yes we do that sometimes) and ventured downtown with our youngest daughter and one of her besties to take it all in.  Haunted Happenings just gets better and better every year!  Here’s a few photos from our visit.  Be sure to check out the photography here on the Social Palates facebook page as well.  I absolutely love John Andrew’s work.  He captures Salem in a way that no one else can!

Happy Halloween from the Salem Garden!

Click on any image to enlarge and view as a slideshow

What’s Happening In the Garden– September 30

Hey everyone! It looks like I’m a one post a week blogger at the moment. It’s fall and I’m all over the place…I know I keep saying that life is busy, but, really, it is. To add to it Halloween in Salem starts on Thursday night with our Halloween parade. I love the localness of that event. It’s really “our” Halloween as a city. From that point on we give the rest of the celebration over to the visitors. That’s fine with me, it makes money and people have a blast! Let me know if your going to be in town in October, I’d love to meet you!

Okay, so, here’s the Salem Garden this morning. IMG_3184

It’s beautiful out there today. The summer garden is winding down but the fall garden has it’s own special character and charm.
IMG_3166

I think I said this a few weeks ago— I love these Romano beans.

IMG_3168

The swiss chard is doing okay. I should spend some time weeding and trimming so the center leaves can produce. See my little asian cucumber hiding in the back?IMG_3173

Here it is up close, we’ve eaten some and there are several growing. Not bad for an early August afterthought. I think there will be more of these next year.

IMG_3170

Broccoli and lettuce are perking along too. I really believe that the broccoli is all about the chicken manure… that’s it. If you don’t have some available it’s very easy to purchase. Just read the labels at your favorite garden supply store and you’ll find it easily.

IMG_3171A broccoli flower that actually looks like broccoli! Will there be more? Time will tell…

IMG_3172These need to be picked and cooked or frozen today. I wish I was a canner…IMG_3176

We have five or six happy Brussel sprout plants. My Uncle Ossie says that they sweeten up when the frost hits them.
IMG_3178What do you think about this bit of browning on the bottom of the stalk? Anyone? Miss Betsey, you may have a thought here. I’m hoping it’s okay.

IMG_3179Tomatillos… hundreds of them… salsa verde here we come!

IMG_3161

And the leaves on the trees are just starting to turn. It’s going to be a pretty few weeks here in Salem. I hope I can share some of that with you.

So there we are. Thanks for hanging in with me and for stopping by. Let me know how your garden is growing, I love, love, love your comments!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

What We Do With (Old) Pumpkins

Get this, we bury them, strategically, around the yard and woods… We really do! We have put them into the compost before but they take a long time to break down and we’ve been known to end up with crazy pumpkin plants coming up everywhere. So, we prefer to make a sport of choosing some good growing spots and plunking them into or sometimes, onto, the ground.

I love this white pumpkin. This one wasn’t carved this year because we  didn’t get all of them carved. It’s kind of a long story that involves the emergency room and stitches. We won’t go there today.


Michael and I worked together to clear off the front steps and load the wheelbarrow… (not barrel, barrow, thank you spell check!)

Winnie was helping us, he loves to help whenever he can!

Did I mention that it’s very cold here today… 38 minus the wind chill. The wind is blowing at 30 or 40 miles per hour… it’s cold!Hence, the lovely hat and scarf  🙂
We identified a spot for the white pumpkin on the hill leading to the woods… This gets a good amount of sun in the summer and the vines will have a place to spread out.Michael just dug a little hole and buried it in..
I helped him… we are a team after all!  Now, its good to go. In the spring the vines will come and if weather conditions are good and the bee population does it’s job, we’ll have lots of pumpkins from this. It may be run over by sledders all winter, but that’s okay. I think the kid activity actually helps things grow in a weird way… it’s just good energy!And the process is repeated with the hardy mums, they’ll likely re-emerge to enjoy next year. We just look for a good spot, plunk them in and see what happens…

Spring will be here before we know it! This gives us lots to look forward to all winter..

Stay safe and warm today!

Love, Michele (and Michael)

The Day After Sandy, the Day Before Halloween..

Today feels like such a weird day. The storm has mostly moved west of here so we are in cleanup mode in Salem. That’s good, because tomorrow is Halloween, our most celebrated day of the year. We made it through the storm in good shape. There were power outages, although not to us, our lights just flickered a few times. Lots of trees and branches came down and people lost siding, boats and things that weren’t secured well. Overall there is a strong sense of relief. I can’t feel it yet myself. I keep looking at photos of the devastation in the mid-Atlantic states and feeling a huge sense of loss. That’s where I grew up and where most of our family and so many friends still live.  The damage is overwhelming and the story is just starting to be told. It leaves me feeling uneasy, unsettled and not able to celebrate anything other than our good fortune this time.

Here are some photos that Michael took at work yesterday. He posted the last one on facebook last night with the caption “a bird’s eye view of Sandy”… That made me smile for a minute  😉

Halloween Saturday in Salem–A Smile for You!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yesterday I promised that I’d post photos that would make you smile today and here they are! Salem was packed full of people having fun last night.  Here’s a little bit of what we saw… Enjoy!

An October Saturday Night in Salem

Last night we took the kids for a walk downtown with the idea that we would visit a Haunted House that Michael had tickets for. We got there and looked around the entrance. This is everyone hanging in the door making the decision about whether or not to go in. I was very clear, I don’t do haunted houses, sorry, but I did strongly encourage the rest to give it a try if they wanted to… The final verdict was “not today, maybe another night”… Just call us “the brave family”!We walked by the Salem Witch Museum, where my oldest son was at work. The museum erects these canopies for the month of October so that guests don’t have to wait outside in bad weather. The line stretched out the door and way down the street! Needless to say I had a very tired teenager coming in at 10:45 after work.There are lots and lots of places like this right now… we, of course, say hi and keep going  🙂  but the crowds waiting to vist are huge!Here’s one of many guided tours that we saw. There are lots of these right now with different themes, everything from “ghosts of Salem” to a food tour that stops at different restaurants. They look like fun!Salem Common is the place to head for carnival food and games…
There’s a cute hay maze on the common for toddlers and small children (and they don’t have to be “too small” to enjoy it)!Donations collected at the maze benefit the schools.
This young lady was encouraging people to visit one of the haunted houses. She said that we just had to say “monsters be gone” and they would back off if we were too scared.. still no takers from my crowd! Michael looks ready to go!There’s lots of interesting shops to visit..and a witchcraft and wizardry school..
Or for a lighter experience you can relax on the ferris wheel…My little kids loved this ride..So did Dad, but he was concerned about the safety of it. We’ll stick with the ferris wheel and merry go round next time.You can win a great witch decoration at the water gun game..

And there are ghosts in windows everywhere…

Just a very small glimpse of an October night in downtown Salem. Next Saturday the costumes will be out! We just saw a few last night, nothing too exciting, but their coming!!

The Grand Parade!

Last night was our Halloween parade in Salem.  The forecast was for rain, downpours actually. I’ve never seen it rain on that parade and last night was no exception. The rain held off until the very end and then it just drizzled a tiny bit. One of the great things about the Halloween parade here is that it’s a very local thing. All of the schools participate along with lots of local businesses and community groups. It always feels very wild and crazy but in a comfy, cozy way. We see lots of friends and neighbors and everyone is having fun. It’s kind of our local Halloween Celebration before the tourists show up on Saturday. 

Unfortunately my camera completely failed. It wouldn’t focus, hated the spot I was in and refused to take nighttime photos. Michael was in the parade with our younger kids (while I spent most of the night in a teenager accessible area) but he did snap a few photos as the parade left the staging area and as it came in after them at the Common. I’m going to attach a link to Salem Patch’s photo gallery at the end. Be sure to click on there, there’s lots of great photos that are sent in by their readers.

Here’s Salem Maritime National Historic Site group, ready to go..


Carlton School, one of seven public elementary schools in Salem. The theme was “world animal day”… this gave everyone lots of material to work with!The police department has recently added a canine unit. This was the city’s first time to welcome the dogs and their handlers!Our wonderful mayor, Kim Driscoll, reviewing the parade.There were lots of marchers from Salem State. They seemed to be having a great time!There were members of the Wiccan community. And of course, the Ghost Busters, always a favorite!The parade is “highly interactive”, these guys really add to the interaction!So does the lawn chair drill team, everyone loves them!
The Bate’s School Art teacher, Todd Bleckly, went to Kutztown University, in Pennsylvania, during the same years that Michael and I did.  If any of our college friends are reading, you may remember him… Michael and I don’t run into Kutztown alumni often so we love that he’s here in Salem!Ghouls on wheels..The Witchcraft Heights Elementary School Pandas… where else on earth would you find this?My very favorite middle school..and their Marching band, led by an awesome drum major who’s a close family friend!And of course, here’s our principal and vice principals, dressed as mice. There was lots of dancing!Lots of riding

and a few drops of rain at the end, but it was lots of fun!

The parade was over an hour long this year, so this is a very quick glimpse. Check out  Salem Patch for more great photos!

Happy Halloween from Salem!

A Few Minutes at the Gables

I know, I’m supposed to be blogging about Halloween, but, I still have a Salem garden or two to get in before the frost hits. I thought I’d make it to lots of places this summer and then it just seemed to go so quickly! That’s okay, I like having a long list of places that I’d like to show you someday.  I had a few errands to run yesterday and found myself parked in front of the House of the Seven Gables.  I used to love to look around their garden and I hadn’t been by there in a very long time so I thought I’d stop in for a few minutes. Years ago the garden and grounds were open to the public but now the grounds can be enjoyed with a ticket. When I asked if I could take a few photos for my blog I was readily admitted and allowed to wander with my camera. It really is a unique and special place. The site includes a visitor center,  the very famous “House of Seven Gables” which is open by guided tour, a gift shop, a Kids Cove and the home that Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in.

The seaside garden is really beautiful. The raised beds are full of annuals and perennials.  It’s colorful and has a historic feel.

This shady pergola is such a nice place to sit and relax.

The lawn in front of the sea wall is often the site of functions and special events. And the view of the Derby Lighthouse from the lawn is quite unique.

When I zoomed in on the lighthouse, Forest River Park popped into the background. The park is quite a distance away from the wharf, I’d estimate at least a half mile? Doesn’t it look closer?  Here’s our favorite ship… remember the view of the gables from Derby wharf that I posted a few weeks ago?A fun play space for kids..and another one… this must be relatively new. If your worried about taking small children into the rather delicate, historic houses this is a great alternative!Lots of things to see and do…Here’s Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace which was moved to the site in 1958. I always find it touching that this was preserved and placed in such a fitting spot.

Another view of the garden, and a good number of people enjoying it on a quiet Tuesday morning.

Let’s not forget the House of the Seven Gables, itself! I haven’t been on a tour inside in many years but I remember it as just fascinating. There’s twist and turns, great furniture and architecture and plenty of history. If you read the famous novel you will really enjoy seeing this home. It was being painted yesterday. Maintaining homes that are located right on the water is a huge commitment. It must be painted often!

It’s a great stop if your in town for a visit, or if your a resident. There’s something for everyone here.

Of course, my eyes are always on the flowers, but the history, charm and wonderful salt air will draw any visitor in!

Have a wonderful day! Enjoy everything!

Michele