Step into the Past

When you think of the quintessential country store, what do you think of? Probably a round of sharp cheddar cheese. A barrel of pickels. Penny candy. Gingersnaps. A checkerboard and chairs. A screened door that has a satisfying wooden bang when it closes, with a bell preferably.

If you think that’s a thing of the irretrievable past, you haven’t been to Barrington. There, at the only intersection in town with a traffic light, is Calef’s Country Store. It’s been servicing customers since 1869, and the building itself is even older than that. The creaky maple floors are probably 200 years old.

Cleve and Lindy Horton are the proprietors, taking over 10 years ago after five generations of Calefs. In the time since, they’ve learned how to cut 38-pounds of cheese with a piano wire, make jams and jellies, keep a woodstove lit and all the other things you do to make a go of it in a country store. It’s not often they get to sit on the store’s front porch and watch the world go by.

In addition to tending the counter and maintaining a companion online business (www.calefs.com), the Hortons hold events like the upcoming 8th annual Baked Bean Bakeoff in the hopes of creating a destination for townspeople and tourists alike. It is important work, Cleve says: “Lindy and I feel like stewards of the long history of Calef’s.”

Beauty & the Beads

It might have been a shiny stone or a colorful shell that caught their eye 40,000 years ago. Whatever the inspiration, it was that long ago that people began making beads for adornment, according to historians. No doubt beads as baubles started way before that, but that date is the one that can be proven.

That beads have endured so long is testimony to their intriguing beauty — and to our desire to decorate ourselves.

You can see a bevy of beautiful beads in Concord from now until Sept. 8 at the League of N.H. Craftsmen shop at 205 N. Main St. “Beads,” a multi-media exhibition, will feature the fine handcraft of 34 state-juried members of the League. It will include metal, procelain, glass and silk jewelry; fiber bags, collages, wall hangings, quilts and hats; clay stoneware and sculptures; baskets and other pieces that incorporate beads in a creative way.

“We have a few pieces that are entirely made of beads, while many pieces illustrate how beads are used to add texture and dimension to a variety of fine craft media,” says League Executive Director Susie Lowe-Stockwell. For more information, visit www.nhcrafts.org.

Salute to the Fruit

New Hampshire had no state fruit when William Royall carved the granite and bronze pumpkins seen here. Royall just liked pumpkins.

But now that Gov. Lynch has officially declared the pumpkin the state fruit (thanks to pressure from elementary schoolchildren in Harrisville), Royall’s pumpkins have significance beyond their artistic whimsy.

You can see them at Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden’s “Salute to the Fruit.” Owner Pam Trabell says the pumpkin sets, which vary in size, are “a terrific addition to any home or business.”

For more information and gallery hours, visit www.themillbrookgallery.com.

Expressions of a Life

If the painting above looks familiar but you can’t quite place it, we’ll give you a hint. You saw it on TV. On a kitchen wall. Give up? It’s the artwork used on the set of “Ciao Italia,” the PBS program hosted by N.H.’s own Mary Ann Esposito — an oil done by Michael Jones of Pelham. It’s one of a number of his paintings she’s used on her set.

Esposito calls Jones “a true renaissance man.” He’s an artist, an elite athlete (1972 Olympic swimmer), a teacher, an author, a judge — and Esposito’s agent. As of last year, he is also an avid vegetable gardener. In fact, his attempt to start tomatoes in January led to his gardening-gone-wild painting “Tomato Plants.” Jones says the too-early tomato plants were tall and stringy, so he painted the “luscious plants he had had in mind.”

Jones’ work, which he terms “modern abstract expressionistic,” was on exhibit at the N.H. Institute of Art this past spring. In much of his work, objects are outlined in Matisse-like black, setting off his bold colors. To see his paintings is to travel through his life with him — from pool to courthouse to garden to Costa Rica and beyond: “I paint what I know; what I observe; and what I feel,” he says. “It’s my belief that art should be transparent enough that one can look through it and see the world, yet hold enough secrets that even after looking at it many times, there is still more to discover.” For more information, you can e-mail Jones at jonesjudge@yahoo.com

N.H.Boys of Summer

What role did a N.H. native play in the creation of baseball?
What N.H. native was voted the New York Yankees all-time great third baseman?
Who is the only N.H. native to win the Cy Young award?
What two N.H. natives are in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
What N.H. minor league team pioneered integration?

Go to www.nhhistory.org/baseballquiz/quizquestions.html for the answers to these and other questions and some great baseball history provided by the N.H. Historical Society in Concord. Go Sox.

Be Sneaky

It might be a puffin like the one here, or it might be a moose. It might even be a bear. Whatever the wildlife you’re interested in, there are some rules for watching it, according to the Fish and Game Department. No matter if you make a special trip to see animals or if you encounter them while hiking or fishing, you should enjoy them from a distance. If they stop feeding and raise their head sharply, that’s one sign you’re too close. Don’t feed the animals. Handouts increase the chance that they’ll become aggressive with people who don’t feed them and may make them lose the ability to feed themselves. Leave your pets at home. Animals use up energy needed for survival when they’re chased. There are lots of other important tips for successful and responsible wildlife viewing at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Outdoor_Recreation/wildlife_watching.htm.

Lost & Found

When the Old Man in the Mountain fell from his primordial perch two years ago, we thought we’d never see his chiseled profile again. But, hark, what’s this we see in the sandstone wilds of Utah? Perhaps he’s not gone; he’s just taking a cross-country trip. If it’s not the Old Man, it’s certainly one of his rocky relatives. It was discovered by Don Logan of Milford, who was on a cross-country trip of his own.