Nelson In Common Update October 20, 2021

Now October’s growing thin ~ And November’s coming home

This is my favorite line from one of my favorite songs: Turning Toward the Morning, by Gordon Bok. Come this time of year it’s featured most days in the sound track that is running through my head.

I might never have heard the song if Alouette Iselin hadn’t enticed Gordon Bok to come play in the Nelson Town Hall, sometime in the 1970’s. That led to two things: his subsequent frequent returns to Nelson, giving him a loyal following here, and setting the stage, as it were, for the Nelson Town Hall as an active concert venue. (Check out the video on this page for a listing of many of the performers who have come to play here, and also a YouTube of Gordon Bok singing “Turning Toward the Morning.”)

Those of you who follow the daily comic strip Peanuts will have seen several panels recently featuring a talking (and thinking) school building. It’s a rather whimsical idea, to think of buildings having emotions and intelligence, but it’s something that I’ve often projected onto our Nelson Town Hall.

“It’s awfully quiet in here!” ~ Photo: Lee Germeroth

Last week we told the story of how Paddy Moloney (late of the Chieftains) was enamoured of the hall, and indeed most visiting musicians are. And of course the hall has also been home to many cultural presentations, as well as the sometimes passionate exchanges that occur at Town Meeting. Those walls, which were once living trees (probably quite local) have absorbed a lot over the decades, and it seems reasonable that on some level, the hall misses us, just as we all have missed the various events that would have gone on within.

Dahlias aren’t known for their scent, but by the time you discover that, you might have taken in a few deep meditative breaths.

While October is growing thin, it’s doing so in a somewhat unprecedented way. The combination of so much rainfall over the summer and into the fall, with warmer temperatures, has facilitated the transition of flowers into unusual flavors of color, as well as an unexpected emergence of fall raspberries. We realize that by the time you read this, the spell might have been broken by a killing frost, but we were lucky to have this bonus time.

So we begin to hunker down for winter, and all that entails, but let’s carry that song: “The World is Always Turning Toward the Morning.”

Perennial Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield’

October Raspberries – great with some butter pecan ice cream!

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Other articles for this week

The Blackfly Quarterly

Nelson In Common has received a generous offer of $200 for a partial sponsorship of the upcoming November issue. An additional donation of $150 will allow the issue to be fully sponsored. (Individuals or businesses may sponsor anonymously, or have the option to be recognized.  

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More about The Black Fly Quarterly

On The Side

Anything grows in Nelson!
This “interesting” creature sprouted forth in Gretchen Ezell’s pantry recently.
You might not want to see a larger view, but if you do, just click on the image. 

This fifty-second video has an impressive list of performers in the Nelson Town Hall over the last four decades.

Listen to Gordon Bok singing Turning Towards the Morning

Judy Waterston made these beans recently, and one of our neighbors called them “the best beans I’ve ever had.” Thank you to Judy for sharing her recipe, which she thinks she adapted from one shared by another friend.

Judy’s Baked Beans

One 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained

One 15-ounce can butter beans, drained

One 28-ounce can baked beans

¼ pound bacon, chopped

½ large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 tablespoon mustard

½ cup (or less) brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons molasses

½ cup ketchup

dash of salt

Fry bacon and onion until done. Mix all ingredients together in a bean pot and cover. Bake at 300F for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 200F and bake for another hour.

Back to the Recipes Page

Got a special recipe to share? Send it (and the story behind it) to

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For me, January is a time for reflection. It is midway between the fall gardening activities and the first inklings of spring awakenings. In this season, I observe the birds as they gather seeds, admiring their sounds, colors, energy, and survival skills. I love peering into the captivating eyes of the titmouse. Moments ago, a red-headed woodpecker was searching for bugs near my colorful turtle ornament. What makes those red feathers so attention grabbing? It made my morning! I especially enjoy watching as birds, butterflies, and dragonflies use my garden ornaments as part of their daily adventure.

January is often the time for making resolutions, and I have made my share (mostly unkept), from eating better, exercising more, losing weight, and being more organized. I do not need to make resolutions for activities I enjoy, even if they require great effort. Sometimes the less I focus on the outcome, the more I accomplish. The joy that I experience in the pursuit is its own reward. I aim to use disappointments as an opportunity to try something completely unplanned and uncensored. I do not always succeed, but when I do, it can be quite exciting.

As I meander through my frozen landscape, I recall all the fall bulbs I planted and those that I relocated last spring. I planted several hundred species tulips in their (hopefully) chipmunk-proof wire mesh cages, naturalized 200 (I lose count) daffodils to partner with my woodland origami crane garden installation. I relocated a mix of blue-flowering bulbs to create a more impactful scene next to my slightly too-showy red-leaved coral bells for a patriotic red, white, and blue theme in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day. In recent years, I have divided and moved many snowdrops into an azalea/rhododendron shrub border. Will they multiply despite being placed in dry ground competing against thick shrub roots? The magic of this simple, yet elegant, white flower blooming alongside the snow practically defines spring.

I am hopeful that last year’s gardening efforts will reward and surprise me. I regularly lose track of all that I did. Garden journaling and record keeping are not my forte. I smile as my gardening colleagues bring out their plans, plant lists, and labels. I look back at last season’s photographs and find myself admiring the very same plants that I likely thinned too vigorously! Plants have a way of looking great when flowering, but often become a tangle of fallen stems and dying foliage. I like gardens that are energetic and colorful, and I should be more accepting of the disorder that follows. Winter is an ideal time to be reminded of all that is important and what we choose to carry into the new year.

I have gardened and studied piano since I was 30. The gardens I made have developed much faster than the skills I needed for music making. Perennials and shrubs take a few years’ time to reveal the beauty of their foliage and flowers. Too soon, these plants will actually require division and pruning! Trees may require a lifetime to achieve their mature grandeur. As the saying goes, one plants trees for posterity. None the less, I now admire trees — optimistically 18 inches high when planted in 1996-2000 — that are now too tall for me to capture their full height in a photograph. (Wide-angle lens helps.)

The musical piece I have recorded for this “musing” was composed by Chopin in 1834. I first studied this Etude in my 30s, then again in my 40s, and, most recently, a little more than a year ago. With each re-learning, I have made new discoveries. It is called the cello etude (though not by the composer) because the melody is carried in the range of that instrument. The challenge relates to how the theme is handled within and between the hands. It should flow like a good story from beginning to end, and not be overshadowed by moments of overt virtuosity. Chopin’s use of the minor key speaks of great loss. The occasional foray into major keys creates equally poignant moments that remind me of the hopefulness and beauty around us.

The beauty in the natural and musical world fills me with intense joy. I hope, for you, too.

Chopin Etude Opus 25, number 7

Photo Essay of Nelson and Environs

Linda Singer, pianist and photographer

Listening tip: earbuds or headphone will enhance your experience. 

Year In Review

Visit (or revisit) Linda’s columns from 2021.

Click anywhere above

You may also listen to the Daniil Trifonov version of this piece, which Linda admires.

Below you’ll find a few of the photos from the video photo essay, presented in a larger format.

Ice on Martha and Maury’s blueberry bushes

Across the dam of Lake Nubanusit

Mount Monadnock view from Jan’s home in Jaffrey

More ice!

Yellow leaves of Ninebark in Winter….miraculous

Silver Lake

Silver Lake sunset

Another sunset after days of clouds….lasted five minutes !

Project Update: Fundraising efforts resulted in donations totaling $19,000, putting the project over the $15,000 goal, which will allow the project to be expanded with an additional otter. The project will be implemented in the fall of 2022, and students will have a chance to visit Wendy’s Nelson studio. 

Otters at Play

There’s an exciting opportunity to bring the work of a nationally known  artist to the Nelson School for a striking, permanent visual installation: a sculpture of otters at play on the large rocks between the school parking lot and the road.  (The otter is the school mascot, and, in real life, a resident of the wetland across from the school.)

Best of all, the artist is Nelson resident Wendy Klemperer. Wendy, who spends nearly every summer and fall at her family home in Nelson, recently received the Keene Sentinel’s Ruth and James Ewing Arts Award in 3D visual arts, among other honors, and her work has been commissioned for public and private spaces from Florida to Alaska, and shown in galleries around the country. To see examples of her welded metalwork, go to Be sure to view the rearing horses, prowling catamount, and other creatures, and read about her work process.

Most of Wendy’s work is inspired by the animals and natural beauty she has loved since childhood. She first thought she might become a veterinarian or marine biologist, then went to art school in New York City. In her 30s, she learned to weld and found she could “paint” in 3D with rebar and salvaged metal.

“Otters have a wonderful playfulness,” Wendy says, “and the challenge will be to capture their joyfulness and dexterity. They tend to be sleek and round, so the metal has to convey that fluidity.” She will create the otters mostly from salvaged and found metal, bent and welded to show the animals’ sinuous movement.

Nelson School students will be able to watch the installation of the otters, and Wendy has also offered to do classroom presentations with videos about how she cuts, welds, and bends metal to convey the essence of animals, birds, and fish. Depending on the timing, students may also have the opportunity to visit her Nelson workshop. Wendy’s ability to combine her knowledge of biology and anatomy with her skill as a welder and her artistry fits right in with Nelson School’s STEAM curriculum and emphasis on hands-on learning and problem-solving skills. It is a beautiful melding of nature, science, and art.

This project, which is supported enthusiastically by the Nelson School staff and school board, will showcase Wendy Klemperer’s distinctive work and inspire our students – our future citizens, scientists, and artists.

Thank you everyone who contributed so generously.

The Otter Sculpture Committee

Kelly French

Ed Schillemat

From Wendy Klemperer

(originally published on this website when Wendy was a recipient of the Ruth and James Ewing Arts Awards) 

Wendy Klemperer at work

I grew up spending summers with my brother Paul and sister Joyce in Nelson, in the vacation house that my paternal grandparents, based in NYC, had purchased in 1940. Our parents would come up for the weekends.

I moved from the Boston area to New York City in 1980 to go to art school at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and for about a decade spent little time in NH.

Though I loved New York and embraced the downtown art scene, there were a lot of challenges. Waitressing to earn a living and hot Brooklyn summers in the city were hard to take eventually. After a residency at MacDowell Colony in 1986 in Peterborough it occurred to me I had a built-in opportunity to escape the city and make my artwork. For the next 30 years I spent July-October in Nelson, and gradually, with local builders, developed a wonderful sculpture studio here. Over the years I reconnected with childhood summer friends, and met many more people, discovering a rich and supportive community. Though my New York world has educated and driven me all these years, Nelson provides refuge and renewal, acceptance and continuity. Immersing myself in nature and riding horses with a local friend touched something very deep within me. My artwork found support and blossomed here in a way that reinvigorated me to keep on in New York, where recognition was hard won and life was often challenging day to day.

Wendy on the Web

Conceptual Drawings

~ Kathy Schillemat

My house is up on the hill above Nelson School and I can often hear the children playing outside when I am home during the week. When my children were younger, if they went down to the playground, I could actually cup my hands and yell to them when it was time for supper.

Last Wednesday, I happened to be home in the morning and was hanging clothes on the line when morning announcements came on. I can hear every word as the loud speaker broadcasts outside as well as in the school building. Two students lead the school in the Pledge of Allegiance, share announcements, tell a joke for the day, and finish with a rousing “Go, Otters!”

It is a great joy to eavesdrop on Nelson students as they begin their day at the school that gave each of my children a strong and healthy start.


More Nelson Small Talk

The Nelson Nutcrackers

Every year at Christmastime I am reminded of the very first Christmas we had here in Nelson. I don’t remember the exact date, but on one particular day in mid-ish December near suppertime there came a knock at the front door.

Going Down the Rabbit Hole

We think that the northern part of heaven lies down a stretch of dirt road that leaves the paved Harrisville Road in southwestern New Hampshire.

Our First Day in Nelson

In 1977, Sam and I saw an ad in the Harvard Crimson (thank you Karen Tolman) for a camp for rent in Nelson, near a place called Tolman Pond. We had some friends in Peterborough and Hancock, so we decided to rent the cabin to get out of Cambridge in the summer.

Teasing with Win

Coming home early one day I met Bud French working on Log Cabin Road. His father, Win, was supervising. I rolled down my window and requested that the road be paved with a concrete median strip painted green.

Nelson in Common Weekly Update 040721

Welcome to the official launch of this website, which is intended to celebrate and promote the community of Nelson and Munsonville. The best way to find out more is to simply explore this website,  but here is some basic information.


It turns out the highest section of I 95l along the Mass Pike, is quite a bit shy of our own modest Osgood Hill. And why is it just called a "hill"?

Trash Talk

Here in Nelson there was a dump, within memory of some people still here, on the east side of the Harrisville Road just before the town line. We hope that some readers of this article will share their recollections.


By |2021-10-21T10:12:07-04:00October 18, 2021|Nelson in Common, Weekly Update|0 Comments

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