We set up camp in Green Gate campground in Exeter, New Hampshire with a planned day off scheduled. My first cousin, Sara, lives less than an hour from the campground. Sara and I hiked together for the first month of her Appalachian Trail thru-hike in March 2019. We have remained close since then and I called to see if she had time to get together. She did and it was nice to be able to catch up in person.
Sara warned me that she was spending the week helping a friend prepare and plant a large vegetable garden. Although she was willing to tell her friend that she needed to take the day off, I thought it sounded like fun — so I volunteered to drive over and lend a hand. I prefer to be active while visiting folks anyways — often a hike or a bike ride. Working in a garden is another favorite activity. And, who turns down the offer of free labor?
I arrived at 7:30am and we had dirt under our fingernails soon after that. Sara’s friend, Dawn, had everything organized and put us to work on several tasks. We covered tilled dirt with black plastic, spread straw over the walking paths between the rows and put out handmade plant supports. We finished up shortly before noon — and it felt like we got a lot accomplished. The only think I might’ve changed was the temperature –it got pretty hot. It was up in the low 90s before I left.
Sara and I returned to a scrumptious lunch of smoked ribs, fresh vinegar slaw, asparagus and watermelon. OMG — it was sooooo yummy!!!! Rob, Sara’s husband, got up at 5:30am to start the ribs — and he doesn’t even know me! And, get this — they sent the leftovers home with me to share with Randy, Beth and Leo!!! Now they love Sara and Rob too!
Sara shared some of the my Mom’s dad’s art work (he was an advertising artist) that she inherited from her parents. It was work I had never heard of, let alone seen.
Sara also had items from my Mom’s parents that used to be in their house (in my hometown) that I did recognize and that was pretty cool too!
After lunch, Sara and I took her two dogs, Maddy and Fletcher, for a walk to the nearby waterfall. We had good conversation and I appreciated seeing her neighborhood. Now I have a much better mental image of her home and surroundings that I can bring up when I’m back at home in Colorado.
I drove back “home” after our visit — I will mention that our campground in Exeter left a bit to be desired…. the facilities were old and needed some attention. The majority of the sites were taken by seasonal campers ($2800 – May1 thru Oct 1) who generally don’t rely on the campground bathrooms. There were plenty of trees — so many pine needles falling that many campers cover their rigs in the off season so they don’t have to deal with all the leaves and needles in May.