The Weekly Dish 21/06/03

News from the local food scene

Season of strawberries: Join The Friends of the Library of Windham for a takeout-only strawberry festival on Saturday, June 5, with curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Shaw’s (43 Indian Rock Road, Windham). Now through June 4, strawberry shortcake family fun packs are available to pre-order in serving sizes of four or six, featuring handmade biscuits, ice cream, freshly cut strawberries, Friendly’s vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Visit Hampstead Congregational Church (61 Main St.) is also holding a strawberry festival on Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That event will feature strawberry shortcake, baked goods, raffles and a plant sale. Admission is free. See “Hampstead Congregational Church, UCC” on Facebook for details.

Bacon & Beer Fest returns: Tickets to this year’s New Hampshire Bacon & Beer Festival go on sale on Friday, June 4, at noon, with the event itself to take place on Saturday, Sept. 11, at The Biergarten at Anheuser-Busch Brewery (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack). A fundraiser for the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, the event brings together dozens of local restaurants serving dishes made with juicy bacon from North Country Smokehouse, with local brewers also joining in on the fun with beer and cider pairings of their own. A full schedule of live local music is also planned. This is the first Bacon & Beer Festival to take place since May 2019, following last year’s cancellation and this spring’s postponement — event hours are 1 to 4:30 p.m. (VIP ticket-holders get in an hour early). Tickets start at $60 general admission and are $100 for VIP attendees. Visit

Jewish feasts: As of June 1, online ordering is open for Temple B’Nai Israel’s New Hampshire Jewish Food Festival, which will be held virtually for the second year. Now through June 27, visit to order traditional Jewish-style foods, most of which are sold frozen with instructions for heating. New this year is a “picnic pack” made up of fresh ready-to-eat items, like Pullman style of Jewish-style rye bread with your choice of corned beef, tongue or Boston-style black pastrami; green half sour pickles, two pints of homemade coleslaw, one container of deli-style horseradish mustard and one pound of rugelach. Other options are matzo ball soups, chopped chicken liver, crispy potato latkes, New York-style knishes, and hamantaschen. Curbside pickups will be by appointment at Temple B’Nai Israel (210 Court St., Laconia) between Friday, July 30, and Saturday, Aug 1. Visit

Gyros to go: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St., Concord) will hold its next boxed Greek dinner to go event on Sunday, June 13, from noon to 1 p.m. Now through June 9, orders are being accepted for boxed meals, featuring gyro sandwiches, fries and a Greek salad, for $15 per person. The event is drive-thru and takeout only — email or call 953-3051 to place your order. Visit

On The Job – Missy Gaffney

Missy Gaffney

Esthetician and business owner

Missy Gaffney is an esthetician and owner of three health and beauty businesses — The Skin & Body Spa, The Hair Company and The Medical Skin Clinic — all located in Nashua.

Explain your job.

It’s different every day. I could be interviewing [potential employees], proofing or brainstorming marketing plans, ordering [products] or meeting with the managers and delegating [tasks]. … I constantly have my face around at all the different businesses, interacting with all of our employees and making sure everything is perfect for the clients.

How long have you had this job?

We’ve had The Skin & Body Spa for almost 14 years, The Hair Company for almost six years, and The Medical Skin Clinic for almost two years.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I struggled with acne myself as a kid, so my mom would bring me to get facials and get good skin care products to help my skin, and I really noticed such a huge difference. I always had the dream of one day being an esthetician and helping people like myself [improve] their skin and boost their confidence. I worked as an esthetician for other [businesses] for years, but I always had a vision of opening my own, and that I could [run] it really well.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I have a bachelor of science degree, and then I went to esthetics school for 450 hours. … I was constantly going to continuing education classes after that, and still go to a lot of conferences on spa management and business management.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?


How has your job changed over the last year?

We’ve had to really home in on what we need to do to create a safe and comfortable environment for our clients as well as our team members, without getting too overwhelmed. It has taken a lot of patience and research and being proactive to make sure that we always have all the right policies and the proper PPE.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

To not get worked up over every little thing that goes wrong. There are always going to be problems, and there are always going to be solutions. Think, ‘How am I going to solve this?’ instead of stressing out about it.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

Some people are scared [to go to a spa] because they think it’s going to be a snobby environment, but I would want them to know that they never have to worry; we’re very non-judgmental, and very good at putting people at ease and making them feel very welcome.

What was the first job you ever had?

Working in a clothing store, folding clothes.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

When you’re stressing about something, ask yourself, ‘Is this really going to matter in five years?’ If it’s not, it’s easier to let it go.

Five favorites
Favorite book:
Tuesdays with Morrie
Favorite movie: The Sound of Music
Favorite music: Folk
Favorite food: Japanese
Favorite thing about NH: All the options; I can get to a little historic town, skiing [destination], Boston or the beach without a lot of [travel] time.

Featured photo: Missy Gaffney

Treasure Hunt 21/06/03

Dear Donna,
Can you give me any information on this metal piece? I thought it was interesting and decorative. My husband believes it’s old. Can you tell me anything?
Tina from Merrimack

Dear Tina,
Let’s start off by saying there are definitely lots and lots of reproductions out there, mostly for decorative purposes. When something is reproduced it can be hard to tell. Some things to look for are multiples. If you see them around in shops, flea markets, etc., you can be sure they are mass produced. Also, sometimes when the original was iron, the reproductions would be tin, for example. Where you got it could be telling.

I would suggest having someone look at it. From the photos, I think you found a real outdoor fountain sign. If so, I’d say it’s in the $100+ range. It could have fallen off or been removed and ended up in the secondary market. You were right in saying it’s a decorative piece and a treasure too.

Kiddie Pool 21/06/03

Family fun for the weekend

Goffstown Main Street’s Old Home Weekend. Courtesy photo.

Town celebration

Goffstown Main Street is hosting the town’s Old Home Weekend on Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, in Goffstown Village, featuring games, food, a kids’ fishing derby, a charity auction and more. The fishing derby is for ages 12 and under and will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, with results announced Sunday at 2 p.m. The cost for the derby is $5. General admission to the downtown activities is free, with food and games priced per vendor. Visit

Cast a line

Take the kids fishing on Saturday, June 5, during New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Free Fishing Day. State residents and nonresidents are allowed to fish any inland water or saltwater in New Hampshire without a fishing license that day, which makes it a good opportunity for families to try the sport. If you get “hooked,” adults can get a license online, and youth under 16 can fish without a license. Visit

Just dance

Dance lovers can watch a livestream of Concord Dance Academy’s annual recital on Saturday, June 5, at 1 p.m. The event is being hosted by The Capitol Center for the Arts. Tickets cost $20. Visit

Find summer fun

The Upper Room in Derry (437-8477, is offering a workshop for parents to help them find fun things to do all summer long. The family resource center will host “Things to Do, Places to Go” on Wednesday, June 9, at 6 p.m. online at, free of charge. You’ll hear about low-cost, local ideas to keep the kids entertained this summer, including visiting the state’s many parks, trails, lakes and rivers.

Featured photo: Goffstown Main Street’s Old Home Weekend. Courtesy photo.

The art of weeding

What to do when you have a Code Red

When you face a flower bed and can’t immediately tell what’s a weed and what’s a flower, you have a situation my wife, Cindy Heath, calls Code Red. It happens to the best of us at times, myself included. So what does a gardener do?

Cindy likes to begin a weeding project by edging the bed. She has a pair of wooden pegs 12 inches long that anchor a 50-foot piece of twine. She unwinds the twine and stretches it between the two pegs when edging a straight bed. Curved beds have to be edged by eye.

The edging tool Cindy uses is a half moon-shape on a long handle. She pushes it into the earth with a foot, then tips the handle back to create a little moat when she removes the soil and grasses. Edging discourages lawn grass from creeping into the bed.

Next, she said, find the flowers. At this time of year weeds and rambunctious spreaders like forget-me-nots may be taller than some of your perennials. Get close, and paw through the foliage. Pull a few weeds around your perennials so that you can see them, and so that you will avoid stepping on them or inadvertently pulling them.

If you pull a “weed” you don’t recognize but see that there is potting soil in the roots, you know you just pulled a flower you bought. Oops. Get it right back in the soil. If you have an inexperienced gardener helping you, you could flag the plants with bright orange surveyor’s tape.

Cindy said she likes knee pads because she likes to weed on her hands and knees. I personally find them hot and uncomfortable, but you may wish to try some. Me? I like something to kneel on, a foam cushion, or such.

In this season, Cindy says bug spray and a good hat are essential — black flies can be real pests, reducing your willingness to continue. Some gardeners like beekeeper hats to keep black flies off their faces, but I don’t. I spray the top of my hat, which does a pretty good job of repelling biting bugs without getting repellent on my face.

A good hand tool is essential for loosening the soil and teasing out roots. I think I have tried every weeding tool made, and I like the CobraHead weeder best. It is like a steel finger: a single curved tine with a sharp, widened tip. Made in the U.S.A. and with a blue handle made from recycled plastic, it never seems to get dull and lasts forever.

If I have a large clump of grass to remove, I loosen the soil around it, then push the tool into the soil; the curve of the tool allows the blade to get under the clump. Then, pulling from above with one hand and below with my weeder, I can pull the clump right out. It is great for loosening tree roots that have invaded a bed, too.

When should you weed? Whenever you have the time and inclination. I recommend doing a little weeding every day. Sort of like brushing your teeth or washing your coffee cup. Just make it a habit so the weeds don’t get ahead of you.

Clay soils are heavy and sticky when wet, and much like concrete when dry. If you have them, work when they are moist but not soggy. If dry, water moderately with your hose. Keep a bucket of compost with you and mix it in as you go along. Compost will lighten the soil, making it easier to weed or to plant things to fill in the spaces where the weeds were.

Sandy soils can be weeded any time, but I recommend adding compost as you go along. Nice loam is what we all want, and even that can benefit from some compost. I buy a 3-yard dump truck load once a year and it has helped my soil become close to perfect.

But back to Code Red. If you have weeds that spread by root, things like goutweed or witch grass, you may need to “bareroot” the flowers that have been invaded. That means digging up a clump of flowers and washing all the soil off so that you can identify and separate the weed roots from the roots of your perennial flowers. Then replant.

Learn to recognize the roots of your garden flowers. Many invasive weeds have long, whitish roots with nodes along them and can send up new leaves from any of those nodes.

Lastly, after weeding it is advisable to either mulch your bed or install a ground cover that will shade out any weeds that try to establish themselves. If you grow your flowers close enough together, weeding will become a minor chore.

It does take time to establish most ground covers, so you may wish to plant some annual flowers in the spaces between your peonies or phlox. Buy six-packs of common annuals like snapdragons, cosmos and zinnias at your local garden center. Plant them 6 to 8 inches apart, stand back, and let them grow! They will delight you with blossoms for much of the summer and into the fall.

Featured photo: An edging tool helps create clean lines. Photo courtesy of Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 21/06/03

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

“Along the Marginal Way,” a watercolor by Frederick Dobrowolski, on display at Creative Framing Solutions. Courtesy photo.

NHAA comes to Manchester: The New Hampshire Art Association has partnered with Creative Framing Solutions, located across from the Palace Theatre at 89 Hanover St. in Manchester, to provide an additional venue for members to exhibit and sell their work. “After the city reopened last year, I moved … to this larger venue [in Manchester], with plenty of wall space,” Grace Burr, Creative Framing Solutions owner and NHAA member, said in a press release. “I was thinking it would be great to expand the [NHAA] group and have a presence in Manchester.” NHAA artists are now able to rent two 12×12-foot walls in the frame shop and gallery, rotating on a monthly basis. June exhibitors include watercolor artists Claudia Michael and Frederick Dobrowolski, sharing one of the walls, and photographers Dennis Rainville and Nicki French, sharing the other wall. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

Sculptures in progress: The 14th annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium is happening now, with three renowned sculptors in Nashua creating three outdoor sculptures for permanent installation in the city. This year’s sculptors, all coming from the U.S., are Gavin Kenyon from New York, Sam Finkelstein from Maine, and Nora Valdez from Boston, Mass., originally from Argentina. They’re working Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., outside The Picker Artists studios (3 Pine St., Nashua) now through Friday, June 4, and then at the sculpture installation site in the courtyard at the corner of Church and Court streets from Saturday, June 5, until the closing ceremony on Saturday, June 12.During those times, the public is invited to watch the sculptors work and interact with them during their breaks (masks and social distancing required). The closing ceremony, at which the finished sculptures will be revealed, will take place at the installation site and will be available for the public to watch online. Visit

Last chance to see “Retablos”: The “Retablos Reconsidered” exhibit at Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen) will remain on view through June 6. It features works by 12 artists inspired by retablos, the honorific art form of devotional paintings that relate to miraculous events. “[The works] reveal themes that personally, socially and politically affect [the artists’] lives,” the gallery stated in a press release. “Some reflect traditional religious themes within a contemporary context. Others are non-religious but are created to draw awareness to broad issues in our times and some reveal deeply personal stories.” Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call 975-0015 or visit

A prince’s tale: The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents Pippin at its home theater (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) from June 10 through July 17, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. The musical, based on the book by Roger O. Hirson, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, is the story of a young prince searching for meaning in his life, as told by a traveling theater troupe led by the mysterious Leading Player. Tickets cost $32 to $50. The show is also available to livestream. Visit or call 433-4472.

Live classical: The Rockingham Choral Society returns from its Covid hiatus with a spring concert, “In Meeting We Are Blessed,” on Saturday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal (43 Pine St., Exeter). It will feature Mozart’s Missa Brevis in d minor with a chamber orchestra, as well as some shorter selections by composers Elaine Hagenberg and Troy Robertson. “As a way of maintaining our connection to each other and the choral music we love, we’ve spent the last year enriching and expanding our understanding of choral music and composers [and] learning new music,” Alex Favazza, the group’s director, said in a press release. “I’ve been impressed with the dedication and commitment of the choral society members over the past year, and it will be so satisfying to showcase their talents and passion for choral music for a live audience.” The concert is free and open to the public. Visit



• “RETABLOS RECONSIDERED” Exhibit features works by 12 artists inspired by retablos, the honorific art form of devotional paintings that relate to miraculous events. Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). On view now through June 6. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call 975-0015 or visit

• “GEOMETRIC ABSTRACTION THROUGH CUT AND PASTE” City Arts Nashua and The Nashua Telegraph present an exhibition featuring the works of Meri Goyette, including statement collages and collectible greetings cards that she crafted from paper, fabric and glue during the pandemic. On display in the windows and lobby of the Telegraph offices (110 Main St., Suite 1, Nashua). Now through June 11. Visit

• “TRANSFORMATIONS: NATURE AND BEYOND” The New Hampshire Art Association presents works by digital artist William Townsend. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 49 S. Main St., Concord. On display now through June 17. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

• “THE BODY IN ART: FROM THE SPIRITUAL TO THE SENSUAL” Exhibit provides a look at how artists through the ages have used the human body as a means of creative expression. On view now through Sept. 1. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “ROBERTO LUGO: TE TRAIGO MI LE LO LAI – I BRING YOU MY JOY” Philadelphia-based potter reimagines traditional forms and techniques with inspiration from urban graffiti and hip-hop culture, paying homage to his Puerto Rican heritage and exploring his cultural identity and its connection to family, place and legacy. The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St., Manchester). On view now through Sept. 26. On view now. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “CRITICAL CARTOGRAPHY” Exhibit features immersive large-scale drawings by Larissa Fassler that reflect the Berlin-based artist’s observations of downtown Manchester while she was an artist-in-residence at the Currier Museum in 2019. On view now through fall. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

GALLERY ART A new collection of art by more than 20 area artists on display now in-person and online. Creative Ventures Gallery (411 Nashua St., Milford). Call 672-2500 or visit

• “TOMIE DEPAOLA AT THE CURRIER” Exhibition celebrates the illustrator’s life and legacy through a collection of his original drawings. On view now. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

ART ON MAIN The City of Concord and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce present a year-round outdoor public art exhibit in Concord’s downtown featuring works by professional sculptors. Opens in June. All sculptures will be for sale. Visit, call 224-2508 or email

Fairs and markets

CONCORD ARTS MARKET Outdoor artisan and fine art market. Every third Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June through October. Rollins Park (33 Bow St., Concord). Visit

Special events

14TH ANNUAL NASHUA INTERNATIONAL SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM Three renowned sculptors will spend three weeks in Nashua creating three outdoor sculptures for permanent installation in the city. The public will be able to watch the sculptors work and interact with them during their breaks (masks and social distancing required). Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., now through Fri., June 4, outside The Picker Artists studios (3 Pine St., Nashua), and Sat., June 5 through Sat., June 12, at installation site. A closing ceremony and sculpture reveal will take place on Saturday, June 12 and will be recorded for the public to watch online. Visit

• “FIRED UP!” OUTDOOR CERAMICS SHOW AND KILN OPENING Hosted by Kelley Stelling Contemporary at the studio of NH Potters Guild artist Al Jaeger (12 Perry Road, Deerfield). Sat., June 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit


JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH JR. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) June 4 through June 12, with showtimes on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m., except for Sunday, June 12, which is at noon. Tickets cost $12 for children and $15 for adults. Visit

QUEEN CITY IMPROV The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Fri., June 4, and Thurs., June 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

CONCORD DANCE ACADEMY ANNUAL RECITAL Livestream presented by The Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. Sat., June 5, 1 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Visit

COMEDY OUT OF THE ’BOX The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Sat., June 5, and Thurs., June 24, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE The New Hampshire Theatre Project presents. Virtual. Thurs., June 10, through Sat., June 12, 8 p.m., and Sun., June 13, 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Visit

The Main attraction

Two new sculptures to be installed in downtown Concord

Downtown Concord becomes an open-air art gallery through Art on Main, an initiative by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Concord committee to commission public outdoor sculptures by professional sculptors from around New England for installation along Main Street.

Now in its fourth year, Art on Main is bringing in two new sculptures to be installed this month.

Both were created by Chris Plaisted, a Connecticut-based artist who was born and raised in Alstead, New Hampshire.

“This will sort of be a homecoming for me,” Plaisted said. “I still have many friends and family in the area, so part of the intent in participating was the hope that they will get to see my work.”

Plaisted’s large-scale, welded steel sculptures have appeared in dozens of outdoor art exhibits across the country. He described his work as being “primarily abstract, but often with figurative elements.”

His Concord-bound piece “Into the Wind” is a 12-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide and 5-foot-deep red steel sculpture that was prompted, Plaisted said, by a conversation he had with his friend about their shared sailing hobby and summer plans.

“I got to thinking about making a piece inspired by our boats, so this piece is an abstract of a sail cutting the wind,” he said.

At 9 feet tall, 32 inches wide and 32 inches deep, “Sunflower from Mars” is also red steel and was born out of Plaisted’s interest in the 1938 radio broadcast The War of the Worlds.

“The piece was then inspired by the idea that, what if Martians had actually landed in the U.S. and planted a seed? What would they have left behind?” he said.

The sculptures installed through Art on Main remain in Concord for one to two years, at the discretion of the Creative Concord committee. Plaisted’s piece will join several pieces that have been renewed for a second year. All are available to purchase, with 30 percent of the proceeds to be placed in a dedicated fund for Concord to acquire more permanent public art.

“The idea is that we’re bringing in new pieces on a fairly regular basis to keep sort of a fresh appearance of new art coming into the downtown,” Concord Chamber President Tim Sink said.

Sculptors are found through a call for art put out by Creative Concord in the winter. By the end of April, the committee makes its decision.

“We’re not looking for statues of George Washington,” Sink said. “We’re looking for [pieces] that are more non-traditional; that are large and capture your eye as you’re walking or driving down Main Street; and that are rugged and durable — something that kids could climb on.”

The best way to experience the art, Sink said, is to park on South Main Street and walk, starting in the area of the Capitol Center for the Arts, up to the New Hampshire Statehouse on North Main Street.

“It’s a very pedestrian-friendly atmosphere with lots of outdoor dining and shops, and you’ll pass these pieces along the way,” he said.

You can engage more with the pieces on Creative Concord’s website, which features professionally shot videos of the artists introducing themselves and discussing their sculptures. Sink said Creative Concord is looking to expand the Art on Main initiative to have a new mural created in downtown every year. They’re on track to have one completed by the end of the summer, though they haven’t chosen a location yet.

“We have plenty of canvases,” Sink said. “If you walk through downtown, you’ll see there are probably 14 or so sides of buildings that are highly visible and would be great for a mural.”

Visit and, or call the Chamber at 224-2508.

Featured photo: “Into the Wind” by Chris Plaisted. Courtesy photo.

Get Your Goat

Why you might want to add a companionable kid, some laid-back alpacas and other animals to your family

Maybe you’ve dreamed of owning goats that could mow your lawn, a donkey for companionship, or snails that will suck the algae off your fish tank. New Hampshire animal owners and caretakers shared their expertise on nine non-traditional “pets” and what it takes to give them a proper home. Note that zoning laws and rules about keeping nontraditional animals may vary by community, so be sure to check with your town or city hall before purchasing a new animal or altering your property.


Alpacas from Someday Farm in Canterbury. Courtesy photo.

Why you might want them: Not to be confused with llamas, alpacas are much smaller animals that were bred specifically for their fiber rather than for packing.

“Llamas have fiber, but mostly only around their mid-waist. Alpacas are strictly fiber animals,” said Barbie Tilton of Someday Farm in Canterbury, which is currently home to six alpacas.

According to Sandy Warner of Granite State Alpacas, based in Hampton Falls, alpacas are considered the easiest large livestock animal to care for because they require the least input from owners.

“[They] are hypoallergenic animals and their fiber and finished products are ideal for anyone who has wool allergies,” Warner said in an email. “Their coats are also naturally wicking, odor-resistant, and anti-static.”

There are two fleece types, according to Wendy Lundquist of Snow Pond Farm in Windham — Suri, which is characterized by its dreadlock-like fibers, and Huacaya, which look more like fluffy teddy bears.

What they do most of the time: According to Megan Long, whose family owns Nodrog Farms in Barrington, alpacas are very laid back animals that mostly eat, sleep or sunbathe in warm weather.

“Occasionally you will see them pronking around the yard, but mostly they are an easygoing animal,” Long said.

Ideal amount of space: Like with any other herd animals, Warner said the more space the better. Multiple pastures are ideal, with separate pastures to keep males and females apart.

“I’d say two [alpacas] are good, but three is company. The more the merrier,” Tilton said. “They like to be in a herd with a whole bunch of other alpacas.”

Smallest possible amount of space: Warner said she recommends at least one acre per two to three alpacas.

Their needs: Alpacas need shelter from wind and the elements, with at least a run-in shelter if not also a barn.

“They need to be shorn once a year, or they can be overheated in the summer wearing their winter wool,” Warner said.

Tilton said her alpacas also get ivermectin shots at least every 30 days, to protect them from a deadly parasite known as the meningeal worm that passes through feces in deer.

What you need to do for them: Alpacas should always have fresh hay, fresh water, grain, mineral supplements, toenail trimming and annual shearing. Similar to cats, Warner said, they can be aloof by nature.

“The more time you spend with them the more social they become,” she said.

Cost (of animal and upkeep): Long said that, on average, it costs about $500 per year for each individual animal.

Lifespan: Alpacas can live up to 20 years or longer, according to Warner.

Occasional animal: You can also contact a local alpaca farm or animal shelter to see if they have any alpacas that may need to be fostered, Long said.

Just looking: Some farms, including both Someday Farm, Snow Pond Farm and Nodrog Farms, welcome visitors if you contact them ahead of time. Others have also visited local farmers markets in the past — Everything Alpaca of Milford, for example, has brought its alpacas to the Milford Farmers Market.


Why you might want them: Matt Gelbwaks of Julie’s Happy Hens in Mont Vernon said the benefits of chickens are that the hens will give you an egg a day, year-round; they produce high-quality fertilizer; they will remove bugs and grubs from around your garden and outdoor plants; and they are “mostly docile and pleasant … and Instagram-ready.”

What they do most of the time: Gelbwaks said chickens mostly wander around, investigating their surroundings, occasionally stopping to “dust bathe,” a form of self-cleaning in which they roll around in the dirt, then vigorously shake the dirt off. This helps them to remove any harmful bugs or parasites, keep their feathers clean by removing excess oil and shed old feathers.

Their needs: The ideal amount of space for chickens is 3 square feet per bird, or letting them free range on your whole yard.

“The more space they have, the less harsh they will be on their space,” Gelbwaks said. “If you give them the minimum, they will eat everything and reduce it to a dust bowl within a month or two.”

You could manage with as little as 1 to 2 square feet per bird, but only if you’re prepared to give them lots of attention.

“If you talk to them every day and remind them that you are taking care of their every need, they will be happy [with less space],” Gelbwaks said. “The less you actively engage with them, the more space they will need.”

Because chickens are prey animals, they need some kind of draft-free shelter in their space where they can hang out and sleep safely, out of reach of predators.

“They need a place to hide and feel secure,” Gelbwaks said. “Lots of things scare them.”

Their food and water should be in close proximity to the shelter. They need about one-third to one-half a pound of chicken feed a day, with some additives, such as oyster shell, for the aging chickens. As for their water, a simple dish is fine, but expect to have to “change it constantly,” Gelbwaks said, as chickens tend to dirty water very quickly.

What they cost: You can buy a baby chick for just a couple of bucks, though the price goes up if you’re looking into “rare, fancy ones,” Gelbwaks said. Hens range from $10 to $30, depending on their age; pullets — hens that are just about to hit egg-laying age — are on the higher end, while older hens are on the lower end. The initial setup could be as inexpensive as $50, depending on what kind of space you’re working with, but, Gelbwaks said, the sky’s the limit on how elaborate you want to get.

“Many people pay way too much and get ultra-fancy coops that rival their kids’ playhouses,” he said.

Their lifespan: Three to five years, depending on the breed.

If you aren’t ready to commit: You can rent chickens, Gelbwaks said, but once they’ve lived on a private property it’s nearly impossible to reintegrate them into a commercial flock, so they’ll most likely get culled. If you just want to see some chickens, most local farms are happy to accommodate, Gelbwaks said.


Chickens at Julie’s Happy Hens. Courtesy photo

Why you might want them: Goats can be fun companion animals that are easy to care for, just as long as you have a good fence to keep them in, said Teresa Paradis, founder and executive director of Live & Let Live Farm in Chichester. Goats can also be kept for a variety of reasons, from their milk to their meat or fiber.

What they do most of the time: Goats love hiking and spending time with their human companions, Paradis said. They love eating brush, poison ivy, unwanted thorn bushes and other problem growth you’d like to get rid of naturally without the use of pesticides.

Ideal amount of space: The more space you have the better. Noreen Rollins of Tilton Hill Goat Farm in Danbury said it’s best to have at least 5 acres of space available for goats.

According to Briana Desfosses of Fox’s Pride Dairy Goats in Mont Vernon, goats tend to prefer wooded areas or areas with brush.

“They don’t need nearly the [same] amount of space as sheep or other larger animals like horses or cows,” she said. “Many people keep a small handful of pet goats in their backyard.”

Smallest possible amount of space: Paradis said because goats are herding animals, it’s ideal to house at least between two to three of them together.

“You could house several goats on less than 2 acres of land and a proper enclosure [or] barn as long as they are allowed … in your city or town,” she said.

Their needs: A goat’s main source of food is shrubbery and hay. Paradis said they should also be checked for parasites and treated with an ivermectin injection yearly. Hoof trimming care can be done every few months, depending on the space they have to move around in that would wear their hooves down.

What you need to do for them: Rollins said goats require sufficient feed and shelter, and their fibers should be removed at least once a year.

Cost (of animal and upkeep): Depending on the natural food sources you have available, Paradis said the average goat may cost approximately $40 to $50 per month.

For goats that are producing milk, Desfosses said you’ll likely be spending a lot more on grain, as well as all sorts of supplements and veterinary care.

Lifespan: Goats typically live anywhere from 12 to 20 years, according to Paradis.

Occasional animal: Some local shelters, like Live & Let Live Farm and the New Hampshire SPCA, may have opportunities to adopt or foster farm animals, including goats. A few spots, like Gap Mountain Goats of Marlborough, have even offered their goats up for rent to eat your poison ivy, weeds or other unwanted vegetation, while at Jenness Farm in Nottingham there are baby goat yoga classes available for adults. Desfosses said some herds may lease their animals to partake in 4-H youth shows.

Just looking: Sunday guided tours at Live & Let Live Farm were temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, but according to Paradis, they will likely start back up in mid-June. Other spots, like Tilton Hill Goat Farm, may open to visitors with prior notice.


Why you might want them: Guineafowl lay eggs seasonally, from May through September, Gelbwaks said, and the eggs are made up of a different protein than chicken eggs, making them safe for most people with regular egg allergies to eat. They eat ticks, and they are usually the first to alert you if there is something amiss on your property. That being said, they are also “loud, noisy and obnoxious,” Gelbwaski said.

“It takes a particular seriousness to want to keep guineas,” he said, adding that they can also be a bit dimwitted. “They run around and often forget they have wings and need to be let into a gate they just flew over.”

What they do most of the time: Run around, “looking for things to bark at,” Gelbwaski said, and digging around for bugs and seeds to eat.

Their needs: Guineas hate being contained and need to be able to roam free, Gelbwaks said. “They go where they want, and once they pattern on your roosting space, they come back,” he said. “Some hang out on our property while others range a mile or so.”

You still need to provide a draft-free shelter for the guineas to find refuge from predators and to roost. Give them water, and supplement their foraging with some feed.

What they cost: They only cost a few bucks, but it’s essential that you buy them as keets (babies) if you want them to stay on your property, Gelbwaks said.

“It’s really hard to repattern adult guineas,” he said. “If you want to start a flock, get keets and rear them in the location you want them to pattern to.”

Their lifespan: About five years, assuming they don’t get snatched up by a predator, which they often do, Gelbwaks said.

If you aren’t ready to commit: “Again, you can’t repattern adults, so once you get them you’re kind of stuck with them,” Gelbwaks said. If you want to see what guineas are like, your best bet is to visit a local farm that has them.

Horses, ponies and donkeys

Teresa Paradis with horses at Live & Let Live Farm in Chichester. Courtesy photo.

Why you might want them: Horses and ponies may be among the more costly animals to own but are also among the most spiritual and intelligent, according to Paradis. Ponies should not be confused with mini horses, which have been bred down to size through the years to produce smaller breeds.

Donkeys are also highly intelligent and have a strong sense of self-preservation, said Ann Firestone, president and co-founder of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue in South Acworth.

“As a rule, they are very friendly, people-oriented animals that have often been described as therapeutic due to their gentle, patient nature,” she said.

What they do most of the time: Horses and donkeys like to spend their time grazing — in the natural world, Paradis said, horses move around and graze for about 20 hours a day, sleeping for about three to four hours in 15- to 20-minute increments during the day.

Ideal amount of space: The average stall for horses and donkeys is 10 by 10 feet. Ideally, they should have at least one acre of space.

Smallest possible amount of space: At a minimum, Paradis said horses should have a sturdy three-sided shelter with a roof that they can freely move in and out of at will, or even a barn with an outside door that can lead into the pasture. The outside space, similarly, should be at least large enough for them to get into a good run to stretch, roll and play in.

“A dry lot area with a nice pasture to go out in is ideal,” she said.

Their needs: Paradis said you need to have a good source of hay. An average-sized horse eats an average-sized bale of hay, around 40 to 45 pounds, every two days, with ponies and mini horses eating much less. Donkeys, according to Firestone, have a diet of hay, barley straw and a vitamin-mineral supplement.

What you need to do for them: Jade Place of Weare, who adopted her pet horse from Live & Let Live Farm in 2001, said regular upkeep includes hoof trimming every six to eight weeks, as well as ongoing monitoring for parasites and yearly dental checks. Horses and ponies also need to be kept dry during inclement weather to prevent fungal infections such as rain rot.

Generally, if there are no emergencies, a horse is seen by its equine veterinarian about once a year. They should be checked over daily for things like cuts and ticks.

Cost (of animal and upkeep): For donkeys, Firestone said annual vaccinations will run you about $200 and dental visits at $100 or more. The cost of feed will depend on the size of your animal.

Lifespan: Donkeys live for about 30 years on average, Firestone said. Paradis said horses can live 30 to 40 years or more.

Occasional animal: Live & Let Live Farm offers horse fostering, which includes inspections for appropriate homes and facilities. Many other local farms and ranches offer horse or pony rides and lessons.

Just looking: Firestone said Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue allows visitors by appointment only — appointments can be made by calling, emailing or sending a message on social media. Live & Let Live Farm is also expected to resume its weekly guided tours later this month.


Why you might want them: Gelbwaks said peafowl such as peacocks are “an acquired taste and a commitment.”

“They have very individual personalities but don’t often really like to socialize,” he said. “They are, however, quite striking to look at.”

What they do most of the time: Male peafowl are very vain, Gelbwaks said, and spend most of their time preening and trying to look good, while the female peafowl are very dismissive and spend most of their time playing hard-to-get with the male peafowl.

Their needs: Peafowl like to travel and need to be able to free range.

“You can keep a pea in a large cage, but they do not flourish, and they tend to mope and be unhappy all of the time,” Gelbwaks said.

They need food, water and a draft-free shelter where they can keep their feet out of the snow, since they are very susceptible to frostbite.

If you’re looking to spoil them, Gelbwaks said, feed them cheese.

“No one knows why, but peas seem to love cheese,” he said. “It’s the only thing they’ll eat out of our hands, and when they see us with some, they’ll come running from wherever they are.”

Peas also have a strong need for attention and adoration, “even if it’s just the occasional encouragement on their fanned tails or nicely groomed feathers,” Gelbwaks said.

“Don’t expect anything in return,” he said. “Secretly, they always harbor the desire to come and nuzzle, but peer pressure won’t allow them to do so.”

What they cost: Peafowl eggs can cost $10 to $30 per egg and are “notoriously hard to hatch” and keep alive during the first week, Gelbwaks said. Chicks can cost $25 to $50 each. Adults may cost $100 to $500, depending on their coloring.

Their lifespan: 25 to 40 years in the wild, but may be shorter when domesticated.

If you aren’t ready to commit: “Many zoos and parks have them in residence,” Gelbwaks said. “It’s best to go visit them there.”


Teresa Paradis with horses at Live & Let Live Farm in Chichester. Courtesy photo.

Why you might want them: Pigs are one of the smartest animals you can own as a pet and, contrary to the stereotype of a pig pen being messy, are actually very clean animals, said Holly Kimball of Beech Hill Farm in Hopkinton.

What they do most of the time: According to Kimball, many hours of a pig’s day are spent resting or sunbathing. A layer of mud or dirt that a pig may roll around in actually acts as a form of sunscreen, she said, because their skin sunburns very easily.

Rachel Savoie and her husband Kyle of Nashua adopted a pet pig named Cindy Lou from the New Hampshire SPCA two years ago. She said Cindy Lou, who is estimated to be about 3 years old, will sleep for a majority of the day and will often burrow underneath blankets.

“She has a whole bedroom, and at night she likes to roam around,” she said.

Ideal amount of space: Kimball said pigs require enough space to exercise, and they also need a designated bathroom area that is well apart from their eating and sleeping areas.

Their needs: Because of their skin pigmentation, pigs must always have protection from the sun.

What you need to do for them: Kimball said it’s important for piglets to be wormed and receive certain shots according to veterinarian recommendations. They also need clean bedding, ample grain, fresh water and shelter.

Savoie said her pet pig’s diet includes pig pellets, a large serving of fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots, and candied peppermints as treats.

“Her hooves are trimmed twice a year, and she goes to the vet once a year for a regular visit,” she said.

Cost (of animal and upkeep): Between the food and medical care, Savoie estimated the overall upkeep of a pet pig to be more than that of a dog each year. Kimball said it can be even more expensive if you’re raising pigs for the purpose of meat.

Lifespan: Savoie said a pig’s lifespan is between 15 and 20 years, depending on the breed type.

Occasional animal: You can contact a local farm or animal shelter to see if they have any pigs that may need to be fostered.

Just looking: During Beech Hill Farm’s summer season, which began May 1 and runs through Oct. 31, visitors are welcome to come see and learn about each of the farm animals. Other local farms with pigs may welcome visitors if you contact them ahead of time.

Rabbit snails

Why you might want them: “Some people like collecting different snails and critters,” said Michael Gioia, owner of Fish Mike Aquatics in Manchester. “Others may use them inside aquariums as a cleanup crew to eat algae and uneaten fish food.”

What they do most of the time: Crawl around, sometimes burrowing into the sand.

Their needs: These freshwater aquatic snails need a 10- to 20-gallon tank, Gioia said, with specific water temperatures and pH levels, depending on the species.

“An owner would require a cycled aquarium, as well as basic aquarium care knowledge to keep them healthy,” he said.

You can feed them regular commercial food used for fish and snails.

What they cost: A 20-gallon aquarium setup starts at around $100, which includes a filter, heater, tank, some gravel and a cheap light, Gioia said, but more elaborate setups can get expensive. The ongoing cost is minimal — just enough to cover food, replacement filters and water additives.

Their lifespan: 1 to 3 years.

If you aren’t ready to commit: You can go check them out at a public aquarium or local pet store that sells aquariums, Gioia said.


Why you might want them: Certain types of worms, like red wigglers, can be used for composting.

Joan O’Connor, a worm composter in Henniker, said you can feed worms non-citrus fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper products and other organic waste that would otherwise get thrown in the trash.

“They could eat and process a pound of garbage in a week or so,” she said. “They’re your workers.”

Not only are you doing something good for the environment, O’Connor said, but you’re also rewarded with a rich, natural fertilizer for your personal use.

“You can take handfuls of this stuff and add it to your houseplants, your tomato plants, your gardens, your rhododendron bush outside,” she said.

What they do most of the time: “They just sit there, hang out, and eat your garbage … and if you keep them happy, they’ll reproduce,” O’Connor said.

Their needs: For your initial setup, O’Connor said, get a large plastic storage container that’s a couple of feet deep and drill some holes in the bottom for excess moisture to drain. Fill it with alternating layers of shredded newspaper and peat moss. Lay a window screen, mesh or thin fabric over the top of the container and wrap a bungee cord around it to keep the worms from escaping.

The key to keeping your worms alive, O’Connor said, is maintaining a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees.

“They’re very low-maintenance, but you’ve got to watch that temperature,” she said. “If they get too cold or too hot they’ll start to slow down.”

You don’t have to think too hard about how much you feed them, O’Connor said; worms don’t need to eat as much as they like to eat.

“If anything, overfeed them,” she said. “It makes them happy, and it makes them step up and keep [composting] for you.”

What they cost: A pound of worms, which is a good starting amount, O’Connor said, ranges from $20 to $50 online.

Their lifespan: An individual worm lives for weeks to months but will reproduce, so you’ll always have worms.

If you aren’t ready to commit: Try them out, and if it’s not for you, you should have no difficulty finding someone to take your worms off your hands, O’Connor said.

“Give them to a science teacher, a garden club, your neighbor, anyone with a green thumb,” she said.

Quality of Life 21/06/03

A good time to give

Nonprofit organizations are banding together for NH Gives, a statewide effort to raise funds for nearly 600 Granite State nonprofits. Starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8, you’ll have 24 hours to participate in NH Gives, hosted by the NH Center for Nonprofits, at When you visit the website, you’ll find links to donate to any of the participating nonprofits that you want to support.

Score: +1

Comment: Participating nonprofits range from arts organizations like Kimball-Jenkins and the New Hampshire Theatre Project to community service organizations like Community Caregivers of Greater Derry and Marguerite’s Place in Nashua.

Ride on

More than 100 elementary school students in Manchester have earned new refurbished bicycles as part of the Earn-A-Bike Program, created in 2015 by the Manchester Community Schools Project. According to a press release, fourth-grade students from Gossler Elementary and fifth-grade students from Beech Elementary who demonstrated academic achievement and leadership skills were given the chance to pick out a bike, a helmet, lights and a lock from QC Bike Collective. Students who already had a bike earned extra accessories and a QC Bike Collective voucher for a free repair.

Score: +1

Comment:The Manchester Police Department pitched in too, providing bike registrations free of charge.

Promoting NH

“Don’t Take NH for Granite” — that’s New Hampshire’s new motto for this summer, according to a press release, and it’s an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the state. The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development worked with local industry partners to develop a pledge to remind visitors to travel responsibly and respectfully. The pledge includes eight components: Plan Ahead; Be Understanding; Be Respectful; Leave No Trace; Properly Dispose of Waste; Respect Wildlife; Leave What You Find; and Be Considerate of Each Other.

Score: +1

Comment: This pledge is pretty common sense, but hopefully the new motto will remind out-of-staters and residents to respect everything New Hampshire has to offer.

Virtual support

It may have been virtual, but the Front Door Agency’s 33rd Annual Gourmet Festival & Auction was still a huge success this year, raising more than $140,000 to support families experiencing financial crisis or homelessness in Greater Nashua. According to a press release, nearly 400 people attended the online event, which featured an auction with more than 200 items, raffles, and the opportunity to buy an exclusive takeout meal from one of four local restaurants: Celebrations Distinctive Catering, Nashua Country Club, Stella Blu or Surf.

Score: +1

Comment: “With so many online events over the past year, we wanted to do something creative and bring back the ‘Gourmet’ component of the event,” Maryse Wirbal, CEO of the Front Door Agency, said in the release.

QOL score: 74

Net change: +4

QOL this week: 78

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at

Airing out the attic

Time to clear out the attic of my cluttered sports mind.

I don’t know much about European soccer, but I do know a disaster when I see one and the effort by 12 greedy owners to abandon ancient partner clubs to form a so-called “Super League” was a catastrophe of epic proportions. It’s likely the dumbest move anyone has made since those dingbats from Coke in the early ’80s changed the formula of the world’s most popular soft drink. The one silver lining is that the enormous backlash shows fans do have a voice and don’t have to just take it when greedy owners try to line their pockets while screwing loyal fans.

Has any city lost two stars like Mookie Betts and Tom Brady in the same year and then seen the teams they left for win the championship as the Dodgers and Bucs did? Can’t think of any time that happened.

While it’s a nice promotion, it’s hard to believe after nearly 600,000 in the U.S. have died from Covid-19 that CVS has to bribe people with a chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl or Final Four to get vaccinated against the virus.

Since the latter doesn’t even talk to his own family, I’m guessing Aaron Rodgers isn’t a low-maintenance guy. So with his replacement already in place and AR under contract for three more years, if I’m the Green Bay brass I let him sit out the year or retire. If he wants to pass on $87 million because of his hissy fit with the team, so be it. The worst thing you can do when a baby cries to get their way is give in. Unless some team offers four first-round picks. Then it’s don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Love all those so convinced Mac Jones will be the Patriots’ Week 1 starter. Many were the same folks saying they wouldn’t re-sign Cam Newton, Jimmy G was a lock to be traded here and if not, he was certainly headed somewhere else. None of which happened, so you know their track record. Personally, while I’m not sure how good Cam will be in 2021, I’ll be shocked if he’s not the starter.

With Franchy Cordero sent to the minors and Andrew Benintendi hitting .285 and projecting to go for 16 homers and 84 RBI, it looks like Chaim Bloom’s gamble on Cordero’s potential ain’t paying off.

Loved the story comedian Kevin Pollak told Rich Eisen abouton his radio show about the first time he met grumpy old man and noted sports gambler Walter Matthau. It was on the set of Grumpy Old Men when he, in his words, foolishly tried to make small talk with Matthau by saying, “The script is pretty good,” to which Matthau replied, “The script sucks, kid, I’m only doing this ’cause I owe my bookie two million bucks,” and he wasn’t kidding. Further emphasizing how much he loved sports betting, KP said that on the back of the program for Matthau’s memorial service were his NFL picks for next Sunday’s games.

Thought I’d heard all the Yogisms there were, but I heard a new one the other day. His wife Carmen says to him one day, you were born in St. Louis, live in New Jersey and played ball in New York. So if you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried? To which Yogi said, “surprise me.”

Finally, thumbs up to the greatest kicker of them all upon his retirement. Ultra-clutch Adam Vinatieri earned that honor for a resume that includes (1) making the game-winning FGs as time expired to give the Patriots dynasty its first two Super Bowl wins, (2) hitting the greatest field goal in NFL history that went through a blinding Foxboro snowstorm from 45 yards out off a field where the snow was 5 inches deep to send the first playoff game of the Belichick era to OT, which he later won with a 23-yard kick to beat Oakland 16-13 — no FG either time, no first SB win, and he also supplied the decisive margin in the third SB win over Philly, (3) being the NFLs all-time leader in both field goals and points scored. All were great, but my favorite moment was his 45-yard dash to chase down Olympic-level speedster Herschel Walker at the Dallas 18-yard line to prevent a kick return TD after having no real angle. Tuna famously said after that, “You’re no longer a kicker, you’re a football player.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

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