Nelson In Common Update October 13, 2021

A Big Undertaking

Nelson is, among other things, a collection of many volunteers who keep the community going in so many different ways. This week we have an update from the Cemetery Board about the development of a new cemetery. The site has been long established (across Lead Mine Road from the current Nelson cemetery), but there are many challenges that come with planning and implementing.

In addition, being on the Cemetery Board means not being afraid to get one’s hands dirty. See some of the work they are doing:

Before and After

Mouse-over or tap the image below ~ the plot will be revealed!

Resting from their labors

Cemetery Board members Laurie Smith, Harry Flanagan, Al Stoops,  and Board Chair, Elaine Giacomo repose in the Munsonville Cemetery. Linda Cates is behind the camera.

Culture Boom

We would be remiss if we did not mention the boom that occurred late Sunday morning (it even made The New York Times!) . As we go to “press” this still remains a mystery. Like all mysterious things, if there are no specific answers forthcoming, theories will be presented.

Our own theory is that New Hampshire got overwhelmed with the “heat” of the  natural and cultural amenities (as manifest in the fabulous foliage and the various art exhibits and community gatherings).  This came up against a rather chilly morning. Which gave an opening for fast moving air – similar to what happens in a thunder storm. While this might not be unique to Nelson, anyone who was around this past weekend participating in the Art Tour, the Old Library Exhibit, the Apple Fest, or just admiring nature’s tapestry, can attest that Nelson contributed mightily to this situation.

And the creative energy just keeps on keeping on. In a recent update we introduced some new music from Party of the Sun, Ethan McBrien’s band. Now here is a brand new song which we’re excited to share with you.

Geoff Williams, Jess Hutchins, Mark Grover

And in Keene the all-Nelson band fronted by Jess Hutchins (with Geoff Williams on guitar and Mark Grover, bass) got a nice reception from people wandering through the Artisan Market at RailRoad Square in Keene. You can learn more about Jess and her music on her website

A New Email Address for the Library

To politely paraphrase a common expression: stuff happens. In the case of the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library, that meant the loss of their long-time email address. We’ll spare the gory details, but if you have the library in your address book, you should update the address to:

Take a Hike!

If there’s someone you’re at odds with and you want to tell them to get lost, don’t send them into Nelson’s Trails system. The trails have been recently re-blazed, and in addition, there is a new map available. It would be quite difficult to loose one’s way. What you may want to consider in such a situation is telling them to take a hike – with you. You’re sure to find some common ground.

Nelson Loses a Friend

Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney, founder and leader of the Irish Band The Chieftians, died on Monday at the age of 83. Though the band had been world-famous for decades, Paddy had heard through a friend about the Nelson Town Hall, and in 1987 he and a couple other members of the band asked if they could play here. They came, and was a fabulous concert of course, followed by a spontaneous contra dance, and then a long music session and general party at Betsy Taylor’s house across the street (currently Sarah and Andy Wilson).

He was quite taken with the humble hall, and also  the dancing. One thing led to another and the next year he invited us to put together a group of dancers to perform with The Chieftains at Symphony Hall in Boston, and at Lincoln Center in New York. The band returned for the next two years, with shows at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, and with always warm words and memories of Nelson.

Visit the Home Page for more good stuff!

Other articles for this week

On The Side

Center Pond

click to enlarge photo

Picnics have factored into Nelson’s history in significant ways. While Parke Struther’s account (excerpted below) does not reference it, Nelson was the first town in the country to hold an Old Home Day, and it all started with the Picnic of 1878.

During the last week in August, in about 1875, a number of Nelson families met at the Noah W. Hardy farm for a Basket Picnic. There was a large maple grove south of the residence, easily accessible for horse-drawn vehicles. The gathering proved successful and became an annual affair. In 1879 the following notice appeared in the New Hampshire Sentinel:

Basket Picnic in Nelson
Friends, residents, and former residents will hold the Annual Basket Picnic the last Wednesday in August, if the day be pleasant, and if not, the next fair day.” [Struther’s account then goes into great detail about the event and the location].

The Basket Picnic of 1879 has come to be considered the first Nelson Picnic. Shortly after that Basket Picnic, which taxed the Hardy grove beyond its capacity, two meetings were held in the Concert Hall [upper floor of the Brick Schoolhouse] to consider plans for future picnics. As a result, the Nelson Picnic Association was organized. A new picnic site was selected south of the Village, on [Center Pond Road].

Quoting from the New Hampshire Sentinel: “Our annual town picnic was observed at Melville’s Grove, August 24th, 1886. The day was fair, and we think all will testify that it was a perfect success; there were many people from all adjoining towns estimated from 1,000 to 1,200.”

“In 1948 the Nelson Picnic was held on the Village Common for the first time. Changing ways of life made this desirable — available electricity, adequate parking facilities, and a more open pace for activities. The spirit of consanquinity and gastronomic satisfaction plays an important role, together with the competitive type of entertainment.”

From Parke Struther’s History of Nelson, New Hampshire 1767-1967, available at the Library.

There is also a wonderful account of the history and memories of Old Home Day written by Bob Struthers in 1993. This article appears on the Nelson History website.

Nelson’s current picnic facilities, behind the town buildings.

Hoar Frost in the garden in a previous year

Fall has arrived with crisp mornings and heavy dew on the lawn. I expect to go out one morning in October and find hoar frost decorating the garden. It is beautiful, though my feelings about it leave me conflicted. Part of me wants to keep gardening, harvesting the last vegetables, preserving, getting the most out of our garden, and yet, I’m also ready to say goodbye to another season, put my feet up, and enjoy a good book.

Looking around my vegetable garden, the list of tasks can be daunting, if I let it. There are times I just let go of making the garden perfectly winter ready, and this year may be one of them. I recently tore my rotator cuff and had corrective surgery.

Worm castings enriching the soil

One-armed gardening will be a challenge, but not impossible. Leaf mulch is not heavy – it will blanket my garden this year and, just as important, stay in place thanks to the wood chips I pile on top. The worms have chewed this spring’s leaf mulch and those tiny leaf pieces have been incorporated into the soil. The leaves on the soil surface have been replaced by beautiful pellets of worm castings. Thank you, worms! Earthworms are not indigenous to North America but they are here to stay, so you might as well let them work for you.

The brassicas, such as broccoli, cabbage, and mustard, can put up with a bit of cold. After a frost, you want to pick Brussels sprouts and dig up parsnips. I haven’t researched the science, but frost makes them sweeter. Every autumn I leave a few Harris parsnips in the garden, as these plants will set seed the following year. Birds, mice, and voles will help me spread the seeds in the garden. Many sprouts will emerge and I will weed out those I don’t want. Beware: Contact with parsnip may cause skin irritation, blistering rashes, and skin discoloration. I always wear gloves and long sleeves when dealing with this plant.

Beets will have been pulled before the voles eat too many of them. There have been years when I feel like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd – but instead of a wascally wabbit, it is pesky voles I’m dealing with, leaving me frustrated on harvest day when lifting beets only to find they have been eaten below the soil surface. That was my experience two years ago. Last year I planted beets inside a ring of hardware cloth. This tactic was mostly successful – it didn’t stop the slugs, but I didn’t have any hollowed out beets. Thank you to Mary Cornog for this idea!

Looking around the garden got me to thinking about a relative of beets. Swiss chard is one of those vegetables that cause many to scratch their head and wonder what to do with it. It puts up with some frost and it’s good as a baby green in salads. I like to sauté it with garlic, throw in some scrambled egg and a little soy sauce. Last year I was pulling a large Swiss chard with an impressive stalk and a fat root that must have reached down to the center of the earth, and I got curious about it. With some plants, we eat either the roots or stems. Was Swiss chard like that? After some brief research, much to my delight I discovered the root is edible and is wonderful in a roasted root medley!

October and November is time to plant garlic. I save my largest bulbs for planting. As I inspect the cloves I look for insect damage or disease, anything that doesn’t make the grade gets eaten. Those that pass the test are planted in soil amended with aged manure and an organic amendment that contains 5% nitrogen/3% phosphate/4% potash. Garlic likes lots of nutrition and apparently lots of water before harvest, as evidenced by this July’s rain and the subsequent record harvest. After planting your garlic, tuck it in for the winter with a “blanket” of 4-6” of mulch. This will let the garlic establish roots early and continue to grow until the ground freezes.

As I clean up in the garden, I’ll pick a spot for my garden cuttings, pile them up, and cover it with something to keep the pile from blowing away. The voles and field mice will chew and the slugs will decompose the cuttings and in 2 or3 years I’ll have new compost ready to be added to the garden.

Garden “pests” greatly outnumber me, so I might as well embrace them, work with their characteristics, and channel my energy to working with nature.

Jerusalem Artichoke 10-12 feet tall!

Broccoli flower in foreground

Broccoli Florette and seed broccoli

Swiss Chard and Nasturtium

Confused raspberries producing fruit in October

Highbush Cranberry – bitter but birds like them

Venison Stroganoff

~ Brenna Kucinski

2 lbs. venison loin, sliced thinly and cut into 2-inch long pieces

1/4 cup flour, seasoned with 1/4 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper

1 lb. button mushrooms

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 lb. butter

1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pint sour cream (1 lb. container)

3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce


Dust venison with seasoned flour.  In a heavy skillet, melt one half of the butter and brown venison on all sides.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the venison to a 4-quart oven-proof casserole dish.

Melt the remaining butter and brown the onions and garlic.  Then add the mushrooms and continue to brown until they soften.   Add these to the casserole dish

Blend together the stewed tomatoes, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce, and gently stir into the venison mixture.

Cover and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Serves 4 to 6.

This can be served over noodles or rice.

This is a terrific recipe!  I find that if you assemble it ahead of time, either earlier in the day of the day before, the flavors are even better.   This will keep for several days in the fridge and only gets better with age.   I have always served it with rice as it absorbs all the delicious juices but noodles would be more traditional.  Enjoy!!

Venison Backstrap Steaks

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Pat Rich submitted it, declaring that it’s hardly a recipe, but they love it.

Using a cast iron skillet sauté some onions in butter until translucent (ONLY butter no fake stuff) remove onions from pan,.

Add more butter being sure skillet is good and hot.

Toss steaks in pan & brown each side quickly, salt and pepper, then throw onion back in pan with steak to finish.

It takes a nanosecond to cook steaks if you like them rare as we do, 2-3 minutes tops!

Venison Roast

This recipe came from Kim Rich’s mother.

3 – 4 lb venison

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup brown sugar


1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup ketchup

2 TB Worcestershire Sauce

Medium onion, chopped

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 cup water

1st rub roast with vinegar, brown sugar & salt. Then rub all over with flour & brown roast on all sides in heavy pot.
Add melted butter, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, onion, garlic and water.

Cook covered in 325 oven, basting ever 1/2 hour till done to your liking. Med rare is approx. 135 degrees on meat thermometer


Welcome to the official launch of this website, which celebrates and promotes the community of Nelson and Munsonville. The best way to find out more is to simply explore this website,  but here is a short overview.

This organization started in 2009 under the name Moving In Step,  a community-building nonprofit 501(c)(3). That organization had sponsored a number of worthy projects over the years, but except for the busy trails committee, had be come less active. As we saw the need to revitalize, it was apparent that a new and more descriptive name would be in order. Nelson In Common is a registered trade name (DBA) under the original Moving In Step (so the nonprofit status is retained). More information can be found on our About page.

Coincidentally, it turned out that the Grapevine 2 (a quarterly print newsletter underwritten by the Nelson Congregational Church) had reached the end of its sustainability. There was a general feeling that a re-branding of the newsletter was in order, and Nelson In Common could be in a good position to manage this, since we are already collecting community information for this website, as well as the revitalized weekly e-newsletter, now called The Black Fly Express. Sticking with the theme, the new print publication will be The Black Fly Quarterly.

So, with the three pronged approach of website, e-newsletter and print newsletter, we will endeavor not just to keep people informed about what’s going on in Nelson and Munsonville, but to provide additional resources and delights, such as a monthly gardening column from Linda Singer, occasional repostings from the Nelson History website, and updates from various community organizations. Again, exploring this site is the best way to learn more. That said, this remains a work in progress, and we look forward to your suggestions and ideas.

One thing you’ll see as you explore now are several placeholder graphics for potential advertising. We’ve noticed that most of the newsletters from surrounding towns offer this. It provides an opportunity for local businesses promote their services, allows for some all-important revenue to offset costs, and perhaps most important, provides some additional community texture. [Learn More About Advertising Opportunities]. Our intention is to make sure all advertising is tasteful and locally relevant.

We like to think of this as the tip of the iceberg. Nelson In Common, like this website which represents us, is a work in progress. We will be informed and evolve with your input and participation. The value and importance of community is stronger than ever, and we are excited about the future.

Gordon Peery ~ President
Dave Birchenough ~Treasurer
Candyce Fulford ~ Secretary
Rick Church
Maury Collins
Kathy Schillemat
Susan Hansel
Karen Hersey

Nelson Common Board of Directors

You can participate

Consider a contribution to Nelson Small Talk (200 words or less about some special Nelson experience).

Send ideas for an article you’d like to see or write.

Send photos – nature, buildings, country roads

Also send in photos of your pets, or wildlife (see Animals of Nelson) .

Make a donation! Your contribution is tax deductible, and will allow Nelson In Common to move forward on solid footing.


We look forward to the future.

Moon over Holt Hill - Spencer Peery

Moon over Holt Hill – Spencer Peery

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Other Updates

The Blackfly Quarterly

Nelson in Common is seeking a sponsor for the next (November)issue. While the sponsors of the first two issues chose to remain anonymous, we are happy to provide public acknowledgement of any person or business sponsor who wishes to be recognized.

The sponsorship price for a single issue of The Black Fly Quarterly is $350. For more information, contact


By |2021-10-13T06:01:24-04:00October 10, 2021|Nelson in Common, Weekly Update|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Sam Romano October 14, 2021 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Very sad to hear about Paddy Maloney. Thanks for the obit with the video clip. What a lovely guy he was.

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