I’m watching the birds build their nests.  They pull a stick from here and moss from there, tucking them in carefully, weaving to a pattern that only they see. Often they renovate last year’s nest or someone else’s.  They create a new enterprise from the ancient knowledge or their kind, the materials to hand, and the work of those who came before.

And so it is with us.  All new enterprises draw on inherited knowledge, the work of others, and the materials to hand.  They employ “new” ideas present in the culture that seem to occur to many people at once.   We may have envisioned Riverland on the Merrimack, but we could not have brought it into being without the help of many.

And so, I name Easter 2017 JPE-recolor-smallwith deepest gratitude Howard and Margery Nichols and Jean Edmands, my parents, for helping to finance the purchase of Riverland.   They continued the good stewardship and thrift of their forebears and passed along some money for a constructive purpose to the next generation.  We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us.

 Margery and Dad 2013-recolor-small

I also recognize the Cadorette family, who had the grace to sell the property for “enough,” ensuring  a responsible transition.  And shall we not forget the Booth family, especially Lois, for protecting beautiful land and ensuring public access.  Finally, we thank Canterbury officials for giving their various approvals in faith that Riverland was an idea worth trying…

And  for any project  to succeed, many people have to lend a hand over time.  The list of people who have contributed is already long.  Since gratitude is inexhaustible and powerful when acknowledged, I would like to maintain a list here that grows with time.

And so I name the following contributors to Riverland from January 2016 through to the present:

Al Edelstein of Canterbury painted our ceilings;

Kevin  Bragg of  Canterbury renovated bathrooms, fixed many things, upgraded fire alarms, installed doors, added insulation, improved drainage, and a million other things.

Robbie Grady from SCORE gave sage marketing advice and moral support.

James Farquhar and Ben Nichols-Farquhar cut and hauled trees, sanded porches, built railings, hauled and moved furniture and mowed fields.

Rick Kleinschmidt of Canterbury helped haul brush on a hot summer day and got his beard full of sawdust sanding the porch ceiling.

Ruth Heath of Canterbury introduced us to some in Canterbury and organized – unbidden – a cleaning crew in the nick of time.

Linda Cheynoweth Peters of Canterbury offered advice on décor.

Dave Emerson of Canterbury included us in Cabin Fever Reliever tour at the last minute.

Jon Hall of  Gilmanton took down a dangerous tree, put up curtains and other incidentals, swapped a leaky radiator out of the old tractor, sharpened the bush hog blades and fixed  our rotary iron.

Karen Sehl from the American Sewing Guild Boston Chapter led a posse to Riverland to check out the sewing studio and give feedback on its layout.

Kate Bartlett of the New Hampshire Bed and Breakfast Association gave early advice on water quality, fire alarms, booking policies, and has been an all-round reliable resource.

Ben Nichols-Farquhar built our website and serves as IT specialist.

To be continued….





On Oxbow Pond: Welcome

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,”  oldtimers in New England have long said.  Last week it snowed a foot.  Today, the thermometer read 85 degrees in the broad middle of the afternoon.

And with that first blast of heat, Spring plain burst her stays.

I’ve heard the geese returning for a couple of weeks;  they follow the river on their way North, calling to announce to one and all that they are HERE!  But the songbirds just materialized, seemingly out of nowhere.  A vibrant dawn chorus erupted out of the quiet of winter.  The first Robin hopped gingerly across the grass, careful to avoid the rapidly shrinking, gravel-encrusted piles of snow left by the plow.  Who wants cold feet?  A new bird inspected last-year’s nest, snugged in above the office window.

The chipmunks screeched and chased each other, disappearing in and out of their holes.  That’s the first I’ve seen of them since late last Fall.  Peepers chimed their own welcome, with a baseline falsetto, ALL evening.

I threw the doors and windows open to air the place out and to welcome Spring in.  As I sat at the computer, a bird flew in from the garage, perched briefly on a dining-room chair, and bolted out the front door;  I chuckled a surprised welcome.  I suppose curiosity got the better of her.  Just what does this human habitat look like…?

Well she might ask, as we have been making ready for our first guests.

James and I have long raised sheep on a hardscrabble, hill farm in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.  A year or so ago, we bought Riverland on the Merrimack, a small piece of good farmland on the Merrimack River with the idea of expanding the farm.

And since Riverland is just off Interstate 93 (Exit 17), we thought it might just be a welcoming place for traveling humans, and so we have painted and remodeled a contemporary home into a comfy Bed & Breakfast.  With the arrival of Spring, we have thrown open the virtual windows and doors in the form of a listing on  This season we will have two, ground-floor rooms to offer, each with private bath.  Rockers on wide porches await.  We hope you will investigate and reserve a room, if you are coming this way.

The path down to the river is not too muddy.  The first dog-walkers and their four-legged friends also returned today.  The beach at present is still underneath that foot of melted snow, but just wait five minutes…