Another busy year is ending. I work less at the store and spend more time at home doing puzzles. Brenda estimates that I completed over 50 puzzles since last November.
Besides puzzles, I’m active in the Grange and still do the dictionary project. I take dictionaries to 3rd graders in the Lafayette and Bethlehem schools. Other grange members deliver them in Bath, Lisbon and Landaff. The Willing Workers Association and my college’s Vail Museum also get some of my volunteer time. I am part of a Bone Builders group and we do a bit more than exercise.
This summer, I had a knee replacement, went to Rehab, and had physical therapy. I’m working to improve my balance and use of the knee but it has curtailed some of my activities this year.
Family News: This year my grandson, Jake, graduated from Plymouth State University with a business degree. My grandchildren are growing up and the youngest, Tommy, is now in the 7th grade.
Sadly; my youngest brother, Melvin Gray, and my sister-in-law, Edith Aldrich, passed away this year. Edith was town clerk for Sugar Hill for 35 years and one of our town’s original officers in 1962.
This spring, Polly’s Pancake Parlor put on display the WWII 10th Mt Division skis and ski boots that belonged to my husband’s brother, Richard. Richard wasn’t that tall but his skis are.
Our museum had a quilt exhibit this year that included an antique signature quilt with a block signed by my husband’s great-grandmother, Ada Harding Aldrich. The museum also exhibited quilts made by my daughter Brenda and niece Barbara to show that the Aldrich family still quilts.
Special Events: The ladies of the town’s Willing Workers Society surprised me by renaming their High School Scholarship in my honor, The Maxine Aldrich Education Merit Award. We gave out three awards this year and I was able to present them.
In July, I was the Grand Marshall of the Old Home Day parade in Franconia. My son, Cliff, drove me in Sugar Hill’s antique fire truck until the truck overheated. Men in the crowd pushed us past the reviewing stand but we had to sit out the rest of the parade.
Later this month, the Franconia Notch Regional Chamber of Commerce is presenting me with the Northern Star Award to recognize my contribution to business and tourism in our area.
Wildlife: We had lots: turkeys, birds, bear and deer. I had an owl visitor that sat on my porch railing and in my apple tree for 3 days. Neighbors stopped by to admire him. We had so many birds that we fed them all summer. Not only that, but we had to get my bird books out to identify them. Our squirrel-proof bird feeders also proved bear-proof, so the bear scattered Brenda’s garden tools around.
One morning, there was a ruckus in our chimney. Brenda cautiously investigated with her camera as it was hissing like a snake. It was a Merganser Duck with a needle-like beak. The duck was probably warming itself on the chimney and fell, the chimney is now capped! The police removed a very angry, hissing duck. Lots of duct tape was put on the carrying box as that beak was being wielded like a sword. The incident went viral when our police chief wrote a facebook post about the capture & release that spread to newspapers and even to the television. Click on the previous links to see the posts and tv spot.
Our Garden: Brenda got the garden in very, very late. We grew enough to make our pickles and relishes but other vegetables didn’t grow well. We had our first and last picking of corn on September 18th due to frost. The raspberries did well so we will have jam.
Visitors: Brenda had several visits from colleagues she worked with when she was overseas. Some stayed for hours and a few for days. Unfortunately some of her friends don’t give advance notice so she misses them (hint!). Karen, Ruth and Joan from the UK came to visit. They wanted to see the lupine and wildlife. In three days they saw bear, moose, turkeys and more. Most of our visitors join us at Polly’s Pancake Parlor. Karen, Ruth & Joan wanted the same meal they had on their last visit which was 29 years ago, so then we had to go back the next day to try something new.
Harman’s News: This year, we divided our delivery of 28,585 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar (14 tons) into 2 deliveries in June and October. We couldn’t do this without friends who help with the unload, even in the rain! Their willingness to do this enables us to use part of our cooler to extra-age some of our Cheddar. In March 2020, we will offer 5-year Aged Cheddar and a very limited amount of 10-year Aged Cheddar. Watch for the postcard to come to your mailbox!
New products: The customers of Rick LeBlanc’s family catering business urged him to offer his Maple BBQ and Maple Bacon BBQ to the public. Now we bring this superb BBQ sauce to you! New Hampshire’s Little Acre Balsamic Fig Mustard has returned and is as delicious as ever, try it on a slice of Harman’s Cheddar! Check out our web-store for more products including a limited offer of a new Wozz Kitchen Creation: Wild Blueberry Maple Walnut Compote, delicious on your meats or paired with Harman’s Cheddar. And Apple Hill Farm has made a limited supply of the Christmas Jam they made a few years ago to help me out when I couldn’t make jam for the ladies Christmas Sale in town. It’s a delicious mixture of cranberries and strawberries.
Employee News: Allie graduated from Plymouth State University, summa cum laude. She is working in media but still works Saturdays for us. Shawna now works with the Franconia Notch Park, but also comes in to help. We enjoyed having Steve work with us this summer, now he has returned to teaching. Kim, one of our maple producers (Old Man Maple) joined us and it is great to have her maple expertise. Kelly rejoined our team and brought along her sister-in-law, Colleen. Dawn is here most weekends and many of our Holiday crew fill in during the year as needed.
Last year our Holiday crew included Allie, Bev, Carl, Carol Y, Dawn, Don, Donna, Jane, Kathy, Pauline and Shawna with Brenda and Valerie in the office. They worked weekdays, weekends, nights and ran errands to get it all done on time. I wasn’t able to be up at the store fulltime but I did put in as many hours as I could. Mid-November through mid-January, our crew shipped 2,410 packages, cut and wrapped over 7,880 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and processed 1,798 orders. On December 18th, our crew cut and gift-wrapped over 280 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and still sent out 271 packages. Here’s a few photos from our holiday season.
We enjoy hearing from you by mail, phone, e-mail, or in person when you visit. We love reading your posts and seeing your photos on facebook. During the holidays we gift wrap our items and include gift cards. If you ordered last year, we have a record of your order with all the addresses.
For Delivery by Christmas, please order before December 11 as it takes us a few days to process and insert your order into our shipping queue. Please order early and allow extra days for inevitable winter storms and power outage delays. Let us take the hassle out of your holiday season; sit back and shop from the comfort of your home or office.
Maxine Aldrich (and Brenda, too)
All of us at Harman’s wish you a
Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!