General #Spring 2022 Update

Chocolate candy assortment from Gertrude Hawk, from the Pittston, PA store.

It’s been so long since my last general update!

Stan just got back from Pennsylvania. He was in the area that he grew up in and that area has a local candy shop, of a regional candy company, called Gertrude Hawk. I’ve never had their chocolate so he bought a sampling for us to try as they were trying to get rid of stock.

The story of Gertrude Hawke from their website:

Gertrude (Jones) Hawk began working in a local candy shop in Scranton, Pennsylvania at the age of 12 in 1915. She left school after her father died young and her mother took ill, leaving Gertrude to support her family. It was in this candy shop that Gertrude learned and came to love the art of chocolate making. In 1936, at the height of the Great Depression, Gertrude felt she could put her knowledge and love for the art of chocolate making toward beginning her own business. By this time she had married Elmer Hawk and had two sons, Elmer R. and Richard. Her husband was a cars salesman and Gertrude was looking to make a little extra money for her family. And so began Gertrude Hawk Chocolates that year in the kitchen of her family’s small home in the Bunker Hill section of Scranton, Pennsylvania.”

I’m very impressed with their chocolate! It is not sickeningly sweet or overly salty. Most of the things he brought back were milk chocolate, not my favorite, but it is almost as good as the dark chocolate they make. It is not really healthy, but it’s candy, not a salad. Eat it sparingly. It is moderately priced, so not super expensive, but also not cheap like grocery store candy. Two favorites: I loved the peanut butter egg that Stan and I shared and their dark chocolate covered cherries are to die for!

Purple crocus emerging from ground with dew.

The garden is starting to come to life! It is a a bit early by a week or two. When I checked the last few years crocus bloom time in Farmington seems to be trending a week or two early now. The crocuses have all come up. The lilacs, forsythia, rhododendron, and ground covers are all perking up. The tulips, tiger lilies, and day lilies are all above ground by at least an inch, the tulips are up by at least or two inches. We even had a fern that lived the entire winter! It never turned brown or died back. It’s as green as it was last year. That’s never happened before.

I’m about to start pulling out the lawn ornaments, chairs, tables, and bird baths. We’ve already put out the rain barrels to start to collect rainwater.The grass and clover are starting to send out leaves and shoots. I have a little weeding and tending to do. I can hardly wait to go the Wentworth Greenhouse this year. We are a good month away before I can start putting annuals out, but I have some things I’m starting from seed that I’m going to plant soon. birds are looking for places to nest in the yard. I don’t expect we will be as lucky to have so many nest with us as they did last year.

Our little guys Bram, on left, & Quince on right looking into the camera from Stan's lap. Chis are awesome!

I’m about to do a post about Bram and Quince, so I won’t spend too much time on them here, but they are doing very well and are very happy to see spring all around them. We love them so much! They are so much fun.

The local election cycle wasn’t too exciting, but I feel the outcome was a good one. When I went to vote the voting room was almost empty, and everyone there was far away. I’m glad Joel will continue on the Schoolboard and I’m very happy Stacey will be on it as well. Having the Selectboard shaken up is a good thing. I’m very happy Penny will have a chance to serve on that board. I’m equally happy to see Arthur leave the Town Admin position.

Clear, semi glossy tintype photograph of Farmington resident Lucy Dodge. In the photo she is well dressed, in day attire, with what appears to be a large locket hanging about her chest with her hands settled in her lap, as she is seated. Her hair appears simply styled and cut fairly short. She is staring off toward the camera to her left. The back of the tintype is unremarkable other than a handwritten message, on a sticker that states, " Lucy Dodge Buried in Family Lot in Farmington Cemetery." The family stated would be the Edgerly family of Farmington, NH.

My museum work has been steady, despite the pandemic. Lots of donations and many inquires. Sharon and I have been able to accomplish much, even though the society is not meeting. Most of the museum work on her end has been sorting and identifying objects. Mine has been a mix of identification, sorting, online museum work, and research.

We had a marvelous find while sorting through some of the Thayer donation. That donation is enormous and many of the boxes are filled with letters, notes, and calling cars, in envelopes, boxes and boxes of them. So you have to go through each one to determine if it is something relevant that needs to be preserved. It is tedious work. Sharon was sorting through them one morning and pulled out a tintype photograph of Lucy Dodge! She’s the most well known person of color in the Farmington NH historical record. She is the only Black woman mentioned in the original record ,that I know of, and unfortunately we did not have any photos of her. I was resigned to never know what she looked like. It’s a remarkable find on so many fronts!

We really want to get together with our closest friends in the coming months. We’ve not seen them since last year around that time. We really miss them all. What is happening with Covid-19 at that time will dictate many of the terms of the visits. I still don’t leave home unless I need to. I haven’t even been to a stylist since Covid-19 started; I learned to cut my own hair. We are still doing shopping just twice a month. Stan is fortunate to only have to go into the office two to thee times each week right now. Just about the only other time we go out are for health appointments. We have N95s for those and shopping. I’m hoping he may be able to work from home again exclusively soon. I think I’ll make the friend visits outdoor visits. That should mitigate most problems. Watching my mom endure chronic illness for the last twenty years of her life has given me a healthy aversion to courting that from Covid-19.

Bram & Quince update coming soon. A book reading update after that. An art and garden update in May. Hope you are all doing well! Enjoy the warming weather!

Author: Kyle

Kyle Leach is an Artist, Poet, Blogger, Gardener, Museum Curator, & Community Activist.

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