Friday, December 30, 2011

8-Eco Friendly Tips for Storing Holiday Decoration

Now that the holidays are over.  Here are a few tips from from the folks at Apartment Therapy for storing holiday decorations!

Here are 8 eco friendly suggestions from Suite101 for storing your keepsakes:
1. Use egg cartons for storing small, delicate pieces. Use tissue paper saved from gifts to cushion them.
2. Store holiday crystal or stemware in wine or liquor boxes, easily sourced from your local liquor store or Trader Joe's.
3. Store strings of lights in cardboard or tin coffee cans. Or if you were the recipient of Danish butter cookies or a giant tin of popcorn, these will work as well or better.
4. Store wreaths and garlands in individual paper shopping or gift bags. Garland can be wound around a used gift box and secured with ribbon. You can hook the bag handles over a clothes hanger for crush-free storage.
5. Use what you already have. Saving the boxes that an item came in (obviously only works if it's store-bought!) and putting the items back in them is something I try to do as much as possible.
6. Storing or disposing of your Christmas tree. Most cities and municipalities have Christmas tree recycling for those who opted for a real tree. To store your artificial tree, repack in its original box, but wrap it in old dry cleaning bags to keep it dust free. You may also want to put a couple of cedar blocks inside to keep insects out.
7. To keep your holiday candles dust-free, store them in old socks or stockings. But remember to keep them in a cool, dry place. The last thing you'd want to find next year is a bunch of waxy socks that melted over the summer.
8. Last but not least, label all your boxes clearly! This will save you from becoming frustrated next year when you can't find the box that your holiday lights are in and the impatient urge to buy a whole new set. Using and maintaining (and being able to find) what we already have is one of the greenest options we can exercise.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Litchfield Possum Queen Contest

22nd Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1st, 2012
12:00 Noon - 5:00 pm
@ The Litchfield Inn
"Possum Queen is a tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant where beauty and talent have nothing to do with it, it's all about bribing the judges!"  (All proceeds go to help local people with medical problems take care of bills that insurance doesn't cover.)
We put the FUN in fundraising!
As the calendar turns to the first day of winter here in Connecticut, that can only mean that the 22nd Annual Possum Queen Contest is only a few days away. The coveted crown of Possum Queen will go to the person or group who gives the most in charity "bribes" to the events' judges and are deemed worthy by the panel of "Beauty and Talent Judges" of that esteemed honor. The judges are looking for money, creativity and originality and will weigh those qualities and more when selecting the new Possum Queen.  The "Contest" is scheduled on Possum Day, January 1, 2012 at the home of the tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant, the Litchfield Inn with the doors opening at noon.

Contestants, judges and on-lookers have been over-whelmed in the past by the creativity of the various parties trying to win the crown and receive the bouquet of dead roses, lasting infamy, and the right to play dead for an entire year when they are named "Possum Queen."

This accidental charity originally started out of boredom on New Year's Day from the two men credited with or accused of being the so-called brains behind this unusual fundraiser, Billy Neller and Brent Hawkins. The first event was more of a party than a fundraiser, but over time the event morphed into a bigger, better and may we say, a semi-organized extravaganza. It started out at a small restaurant and bar in Litchfield, called O'Neill's, then moved uptown to the "Village Restaurant" which was its home for many years. The Possum Queen Contest eventually outgrew the "Village" and moved to its current home, The Litchfield Inn back in 2009.

Since the move the charity has stepped up its fundraising efforts, and the fun and craziness continues un-phased . The Possum Queen Foundation is a non-profit organization so all money (or bribes in this case) donated is tax deductable.

Some of the  people being helped this year are:  Evan Faschiano, not yet two years of age who has a life long battle with a skin disease Harlequin Ichthyosis. Harlequin refers to the most severe and rare form of ichtyosis. Evan was born 2 ½ months premature and spent those first months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Yale Children's Hospital in New Haven, CT. Evan was given his name due to its meaning-'Young Warrior', which he has proven to live up to every day since June 9th, 2010. Go to his blogspot: for his story.

Also receiving monies for the Possum Queen Contest is Liam Dywer, a 1999 Litchfield High School graduate current United States Marine Sergeant who was wounded in action. Dwyer lost his left leg above the knee and suffered major damage to his right leg and right arm in the explosion of an IED in Afghanistan in May. Liam is now recovering from his most recent surgery and is doing well but will need your help to put his life back together again. Liam page

Two other families with similar medical needs causing severe hardships will also be receiving money from the Possum Queen proceedings, but we do not yet have permission to reveal them to the public. The stories and needs of these people are very real and we need to raise more money than ever on January 1st!

There will be "live" and "silent" auctions taking place during the afternoon with some really great items up for bid. Now, wouldn't you like to win a mink coat? This is real mink!!! Not possum! Yes, there is a mink coat up for bids! In addition to the mink coat, there is a photo of Yogi Berra and Babe Ruth, signed by Yogi. There is also an autographed photograph of two-time NL Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants. Any aficionado of baseball memorabilia would love to have those in their collection! Baseball fans have more to think about, as there will be 3 sets of Red Sox tickets and two sets of Yankee tickets available. Oh, did I mention a mink coat? I meant to say we have two mink coats for the auction. They are gorgeous!!!

Speaking of gorgeous, we have a needlepoint area rug, valued at $900 up for grabs. Other auction items so far collected: Tickets to a Broadway Play; A historic two night trip to Washington, D.C. with a meeting with the both U.S. Senators from Connecticut and a tour of the Marine Corps. Museum and more; UConn Women's Basketball tickets; a DJ guest spot on WZBG's morning show; Rounds of golf; First Selectman for a day in Litchfield: Rides to school in a fire truck; and yes, another mink coat!!! Three mink coats are to be in the auction come Possum Day, and there are many, many more items that will be available that day.

The Possum Queen Contestants will be putting on shows in the ballroom all afternoon, while the silent auction is on. Then after the judges have be "wowed" by the zany skits of the those vying for the title, the "live" auction will take place, culminating in the auctioning of the famous "Possum Soup." Following the auction, the judges will meet to determined the "runned-overs" of the contest as there are no "runners-up" as well as the "Best in Heels" Best in Tails" the "No Talent Award" and the eventual 2012 Possum Queen.

This is an event not to be missed! If you must miss it and still wish to "bribe for good!" please send your donations to: Possum Queen Foundation, P.O. Box  1865, Litchfield, CT 06759.

Contact: Brent Hawkins (860) 309-9545 or

Free Ice Skating

Something to do with the kids!

Families in the Northwest Corner are invited to the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau's ANNUAL ICE SKATING PARTY on Saturday, December 31. The event begins at 10 AM and lasts until 1 PM at The Hotchkiss School's Dwyer Rink. Tickets are $2 per person and all skaters are reminded to bring their own skates and wear a hat. Hot chocolate and snacks will be served during the party, with all proceeds to benefit the programs of the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau. For more information, call 860-824-4720 or visit

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The PPG Property of the Week

Just because it's winter, does not mean real estate sales have slowed down. In fact, Portfolio Properties Group has had a fantastic year listing and selling property in Goshen and Woodridge Lake.  Each week, we will feature one of our listings.  We have been serving buyers and sellers at  Woodridge Lake for over 30 years. We are the top selling agents in Goshen for 2011 (CTMLS stats). 

118 Ives Rd.,Goshen, CT

This well maintained four bedroom three and a half bath home  is ideally situated within walking distance of the club house,  tennis courts and marina.
Air conditioned, with a generous master bedroom suite on the first floor, the property has a feeling of openness yet with defined living areas.  The second floor has three bedrooms, two additional full baths and a loft. The third bedroom has a bonus room which could be nursery, office or even and additional bedroom.

For more photos and information on the property, please click here

Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

How and Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

 Revised  January 8, 2011

Christmas is over, the egg nog has gone off, the relatives finally departed... and you're left packing up the lights and ornaments and wondering what to do with the Christmas tree.  Put it out by the curb and hope that the garbage men will take it away.  Not likely.  Put it in a corner of the yard and believe it may break down.  Not in your lifetime.  So what?
Many cities and counties have recycling services to put your old Christmas tree to new life as a wildlife sanctuary, on a sand dune to protect the beach, chipped for mulch or as a bird feeder.  Look below on this page for both general tips and options specific to your local area:

What Are Your Recycling Choices?

After the holidays, don’t throw your natural tree away!  Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. In general, you have these options:
  1. Curbside pick-up for recycling - Most areas will collect trees during their regular pickup schedules on the 2 weeks following Christmas.  There are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, flocking, etc; see below for details.
  2. Call for an appointment to have a non-profit in your area pickup your tree. Some boy scout troops are offering a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).
  3. Take your tree to a drop off recycling center. Most counties have free drop-off locations throughout the county. Usually, you may take up to two trees to any of the following drop-off locations at no charge.
  4. Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.

Other tips and ideas

  • Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
  • Tree Recycling / Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check below on this page or with your local department of public works for information. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden.  Your hauler will notify you of pick-up dates in your area. There are a few things you must do to make your tree ready for RECYCLING. Here are some general tips - but be sure to check with your local hauler - these are just general guidelines! To find your local hauler:
    If it is Waste Management Inc (WM), click here to find your Local WM Service Provider's Website - or click here to contact Your Local WM Customer Service Center by Phone - find the 1-800 number of your Local Customer Service Center
    If your local hauler is AW / BFI (Allied Waste) - Click here to locate the contact information for your local hauler.
  • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management (Louisiana does both).
  • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
  • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed).  Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper. See this article from Perdue University for more information.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. If you have a neighbor with a chip, see if he will chip it for you.
  • Paths for Hiking Trails - some counties use the shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers!
  • Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas (It's a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates, than in a northern area.
  • Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils.  Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Benefit for Russ Kellogg

A benefit for Russ Kellogg will be held this evening, Wednesday, December 21, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Flatbread Company in Canton.  Dr. Kellogg,  a long-time New Hartford resident, has operated the Winsted Hospital for Animals on Route 44 in Barkhamsted for over 30 years and he has become the “go-to veterinarian” for many families in our community.  Dr. Kellogg is married and has five children.
Dr. Kellogg was diagnosed with brain cancer last year at age 63 and his friends have organized this benefit to show how much they care for him and to raise funds to  help with the enormous medical bills.
The benefit will raise funds in two ways: A portion of the price of each small or large flatbread purchased [ including take-out ] will be donated by the restaurant, and there will be a Teacup Auction with 100% of the auction proceeds going towards Dr. Kellogg’s medical bills.
Everyone is invited to take part in the benefit.  Live music will be playing at the restaurant, and take out is also available. The Flatbread Company is located at 110 Albany Turnpike (Route 44) at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton.

Addendum: We received the sad news today that Russ Kellogg passed away yesterday, Monday, December 19.  Our reporter spoke with Barbara Scheidel, the organizer of the benefit, who confirmed that the benefit will still be held tomorrow evening at Flatbread.  We hope that everyone who can will plan to eat pizza from Flatbread tomorrow evening.

Some Last Minute 2011 Tax Incentives for the DIYer

For the past several years, the federal government has, as part of its economic stimulus spending, offered income tax credits for home improvement projects that improve energy efficiency. While the tax credits available in 2011 are much less generous than those available in years prior, they are still worth hundreds of dollars. And they expire Dec. 31.

Here are 11 home improvement projects that qualify for tax credits now, but won't in 2012 (unless Congress votes to re-enact these programs, which seems unlikely given the dominance of budget reduction in the current political climate). The dollar amount listed is the credit offered for qualifying energy efficient products. For details about how to qualify, visit
Biomass stoves: $300
Central air conditioning: $300
Electric heat pumps:
Furnaces and boilers: $150
Advanced main air circulating fan: $50
Insulation: 10% of the cost, up to $500
Roofing: 10% of the cost, up to $500
Gas, oil or propane water heaters: $300
Electric heat pump water heaters: $300
Windows and skylights: 10% of the cost, up to $200
Doors: 10% of the cost, up to $500

Read more:

Happy Holidays!

The staff of Portfolio Properties Group and Litchfield Country Living would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Things to Do This Weekend

Goshen Winter Holiday Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Goshen Center School Cafeteria
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Indoor Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Walking the Cranberry Pond Trail - 2:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Litchfield Hills Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count - White Memorial CC
Northfield Firemens' Monthly Breakfast - 7:30-11:00 am - Northfield Firehouse
Family Swim & Gym - 1:00-3:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things To Do For Friday

Holiday Bereavement Group - 9:30-11:00 am - Litchfield Community Center
Friday Feast & Dancing Feet - 12:00 am-2:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Ornament Workshop (Grades K-6) - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Museum Open House - 6:00-8:00 pm – White Memorial CC

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recycled Wrapping Paper

Want some creative ideas for warpping holiday gifts? Our friends over at The Daily Green have a great post on recycled wrapping paper.

alternative wrapping paper
So you've purchased your gifts, or maybe even made them yourself. The thoughtfulness doesn't have to end there. Part of the fun of a gift is the surprise and that excited moment when the present is opened. What's not fun about the holidays is the tons of wasted wrapping paper. In my family we are notorious for last minute present wrapping, and there is never enough wrapping paper to go around (forget finding a pair of scissors on Christmas Eve, it's impossible). So, I've learned to be crafty.
I'm an expert wrapper, having worked the holiday season wrapping for Restoration Hardware during college. I can work with many different shapes and sizes of gifts (cylindrical items? Piece of cake.). But a great way to add some personality to your gift is some alternative recycled gift wrapping (you won't find this at the mall). You've probably received, or wrapped yourself, a gift donned in the classic alternative wrapping: the comics section. This is a great one, but there are so many other ways to creatively wrap your gifts.

alternative wrapping paper

Fit to Print:

Last year I wrapped my sister Michele's gift with ads from Ralph Lauren. She's a merchandiser over at Ralph Lauren and gets me the best deals on their eco-friendly sheets.
My other sister, Lydia, will be getting a gift wrapped in ads for the new Twilight movie, like the package I wrapped above. She, like every other teenager I know, is obsessed with the series' books and movies. She'll probably like the wrapping paper more than the gift, but hey, when was the last time you could say that about the store-bought Santa paper?
My father and I have done a lot of traveling this year, so my dad's present will be wrapped in the travel section. I'm not sure if I'll look for articles on places we've been or maybe places I want to go next. That's half the fun of it!
Another idea is to use the newspaper page as a hint toward what the gift is. This makes for a fun guessing game, especially for kids.
Previously I've simply wrapped gifts in newspaper, but I was excited to find some newspaper ribbons creative wrappers had made. The top left image is a wine bottle, covered in newspaper and topped with newspaper ribbons, from Kuroi_doresu. You can make curled ribbons of newspaper the same way you'd make them with store-bought ribbons. Just run one blade of a pair of scissors along the ribbon -- only be a bit more careful not to let the paper rip.

Read more:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Upcoming Events At Hotchkiss Katherine M. Elfers, Esther Eastman Music Center

Upcoming Events At Hotchkiss Katherine M. Elfers, Esther Eastman Music Center

Friday December 2nd:
Hotchkiss Ensembles-7:00 PM

Festival of Lessons and Carols
December 4th-7:00 PM Hotchkiss Chapel

A Story Telling Performance
Two Men Talking
Friday January 6th, 2012

Michael Musillami trio + 4
Friday, January 13th, 7:00 PM

The New and Exciting Litchfield Hills Sotheby's International Realty Site!

From Paul Breunich, President and CEO of William Pitt/Sotheby's International Reatly

We're live! Today marks an exciting milestone with the launch of the all-new website. The collective efforts of the Corporate Marketing, IT and local brokerage teams have been feverishly working towards launching our new sites and we hope you're as excited as we are.

In addition to new globalization features like worldwide Sotheby's International Realty listing search, currency conversion and language translation, we have enhanced the website with content rich pages like the new "Our Story" section and an exclusive video channel complete with high-definition town tours allowing home seekers to explore the unique attributes of our communities.

Please click on the link below

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Tree Farms in Litchfield County.

A great New England tradition is to go and cut your own Christmas tree.  Litchfield County has several tree farms where you can go and cut your own, or get a freshly cut tree.  Some of these farms also have wreaths, roping and other holiday decorations.  Please call for  current cutting times and directions.  To access the link to Litchfield County Christmas Tree farms, please click here.

My personal favorite tree farm is Bees Trees and Fleas! Located on South Street in Litchfield.


Friday, November 25, 2011

OWL Festival Of Trees

The Annual Oliver Wolcott Library Festival of Trees will be held November 26, 2011 at the Oliver Wolcott Library on South Street in Litchfield.  To get information on the Festival, click

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Everyone here at Portfolio Properties Group and Litchfield County Living would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Local Market Real Estate Trends

The third quarter market watch  for Litchfield County (as compiled by LHSIR) is available.  Please click here to access the report.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2,000 Uses for WD-40

WD-40 - it really is a magical substance, isn't it? Sure, you probably reach for the familiar blue and yellow can when you need to quiet a squeaky hinge or add a little extra grease to a sticky situation.

But here's a little secret, friends -- there are oh-so-many more uses for WD-40. Two thousand and counting, to be exact. Intrigued? So are we!

The best news is that WD-40 has compiled the 2,000 uses into a free (yes, free) PDF that you can download, print and store away. Plus, the uses are divided by category, too, so it's relatively easy to find a potential solution to your problem.
How about a sampling of WD-40's power?
*Cleans black streaks from hardwood floors
*Removes gum from wallpaper
*Helps clean showers
*Cleans dust from artificial flowers
*Removes calcium deposits from a dehumidifier
*Lubricates rubber insulation around storm doors
*Helps shovel wet, sticky snow
*Keeps snow from sticking to satellite dishes
*Prevents weeds from growing through sidewalk cracks
Too cool, right? And, as you can see, we only covered a fraction of what this powerful substance can do. The best part is that you can submit your own use for WD-40 -- it just might be added to the list!
We'd love to hear your favorite unexpected use for WD-40. Ready, set, share!

Things To Do This Week in The Litchfield Area

Monday Afternoon Movie - 1:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
‘Guy & Dolls. Jr.’ – 7:30 pm – Litchfield Intermediate School
Pre-School Story Hour - Tuesdays @ 10:00 am - Morris Public Library
Bouncing Babies - 10:30 am or 11:30 am - Oliver Wolcott Library
Community Writer's Circle - 6:30-8:30 pm - Litchfield Community Center
'We Gather Together' - Thanksgiving Celebration - 7:00 pm - St. Michael's, Litchfield
"Drop-in" Volleyball - 7:30-9:00 pm - Litchfield Intermediate School Gym
Yoga Class - 6:00-7:15 pm - Bantam Gym (Litchfield Parks & Recreation)
Books for Bedtime - 7:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library & Cable 5
Goshen Turkey Trot - 10:00 am - Goshen Fairgrounds
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
The Boxcar Lilies: Coffee House and Pot Luck BYOB Dinner - 6:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Star Party - 7:00-9:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Early Morning Hike to Little Pond with Gerri Griswold - 8:00 am - White Memorial CC
Hatha Yoga Class - 8:30-10:00 am - Bantam Gym
Christmas Bazaar - 9:00 am-2:30 pm - Our Lady of Grace Church, Bantam
Annual Holiday Fair - 10:00 am-2:00 pm - St. Paul's, Bantam
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Indoor Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Festival of Trees - 5:00-8:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Litchfield Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting - 2:30-5:30 pm - Litchfield Center
PTO Holiday Shopping Night - 4:00-7:00 pm - James Morris Elementary School
Northfield Tree Lighting & Carol Sing - 6:30 pm - Northfield Village Green

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How To Cook A Turkey

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's about spending time with the ones you love, food and watching sport on TV.  I also now watch the National Dog Show, and parts of the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade as well. I love to cook, but not everyone does.  With Thanksgiving just days away, I am sure there are a number of people who will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  One of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, has a whole section of cooking.  Todays Post is on How To Cook a Turkey. Click here to go to the post at The Kitchen at Apartment Therapy. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Depsite our unexpected snow storm of two weeks ago, some of us are still running our lawn mowers.  It's almost that time of the year to put them to bed for the winter

Bob Markovich, Consumer Reports' Home and Yard editor, has a few tips (and for a how-to video, head to the Consumer Reports site.)
*Empty the gas.
*Clean the machine. Once the fuel has been emptied, hose down your mower's deck and give it a thorough cleaning to remove any grass clippings, dirt and other debris that may clog the machine or harm the exterior.
*Remove and sharpen the mower blade.

*Change the oil. Your lawnmower, like your car, needs regular oil changes to keep it in tip-top shape. Be sure to also replace your mower's fuel filter.
*Replace your spark plugs. On your lawn mower, spark plugs will typically last 100 hours of operation. Get in the habit of changing your plugs annually, if you don't already do so.
Is your mower already stowed away for the season? Or are you keeping it out in hopes of one last turn around the yard before the temperatures plunge?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things To Do This Weekend in The Goshen Area

Holiday Bereavement Group - 9:30-11:00 am - Litchfield Community Center
Friday Feat & Dancing Feet - 12:00-2:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Women's AA-ALANON Retreat -6:00 pm - Wisdom House
'All the Good Stuff' Concert - 7:00-9:00 pm - First Congregational Church of Litchfield
New York City Daytrip - 8:00 am-8:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Hatha Yoga Class - 8:30-10:00 am - Bantam Gym
Christmas Crèche - 9:30 am-3:30 pm - Wisdom House
Post 44 Veteran of the Month Ceremony - 10:00 am - Bantam Borough Hall
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Indoor Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
An Autumn Bird Tour of Bantam Lake - 10:00 am - White Memorial CC
Autumn Vendor Fair - 10:00 am-3:00 pm - Litchfield Firehouse
NSDAR Community Service Awards - 12:00 pm - Litchfield Country Club
Family Swim & Gym - 1:00-3:00 pm - CT Junior Republic (CJR)
‘Guy & Dolls. Jr.’ – 7:30 pm – Litchfield Intermediate School

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do You Know It All?

Do you know it all? If you do, come to the Goshen Public Library for it's Trivia Night, Friday the 18th at 6:30 PM.  Bring a friend and have fun!

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reminder on the Goshen Turkey Trot!

Goshen Turkey Trot- the Goshen Running Club’s annual Thanksgiving morning 6.2 mile race starts at 10 am on November 24th at the Goshen Fairgrounds on Old Middle Street. The course is hilly and mostly over dirt roads- the perfect prelude to a calorie laden holiday meal. The race is always held no matter the weather conditions. Race forms are usually available online after November 1st at . Pre-registration is encouraged and is cheaper.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things To Do This Week in The Goshen Area

Pre-School Story Hour - Tuesdays @ 10:00 am - Morris Public Library
Bouncing Babies - 10:30 am or 11:30 am - Oliver Wolcott Library
Food for Life Nutrition & Cooking Classes - 6:00-8:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Community Writer's Circle - 6:30-8:30 pm - Litchfield Community Center
"Drop-in" Volleyball - 7:30-9:00 pm - Litchfield Intermediate School Gym
Take a Walk Series: Autumn Bird Walk Up Apple Hill - 10:00 am-12:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Short Tales - 10:30 am - Oliver Wolcott Library
Learn About Medicare (Seniors) - 10:00 am-12:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Yoga Class - 6:00-7:15 pm - Bantam Gym (Litchfield Parks & Recreation)
Books for Bedtime - 7:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library & Cable 5
Litchfield in Transition - 7:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Day Trip: Fuji Hibachi Steak House - 10:00 am - Morris Senior Center
Tall Tales - 10:30 am - Oliver Wolcott Library
Litchfield Garden Club Presents Tovah Martin - 2:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Basic Italian I Class - 6:30-8:30 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Using Your Smart Phone - Part II - 7:00-8:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Holiday Bereavement Group - 9:30-11:00 am - Litchfield Community Center
Friday Feat & Dancing Feet - 12:00-2:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Women's AA-ALANON Retreat -6:00 pm - Wisdom House
'All the Good Stuff' Concert - 7:00-9:00 pm - First Congregational Church of Litchfield

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Goshen Turkey Trot

Goshen Turkey Trot- the Goshen Running Club’s annual Thanksgiving morning 6.2 mile race starts at 10 am on November 24th at the Goshen Fairgrounds on Old Middle Street. The course is hilly and mostly over dirt roads- the perfect prelude to a calorie laden holiday meal. The race is always held no matter the weather conditions. Race forms are usually available online after November 1st at . Pre-registration is encouraged and is cheaper.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Conneciticut Cheese and Wine Festival at Hopkins Vineyard

Connecticut Cheese & Wine Festival 2011 at Hopkins Vineyard - 25 Hopkins Rd, New Preston, CT Phone: 860 868-7954.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  A Celebration of artisanal handcrafted cheeses and wines, small farms and small batch producers of all natural specialty foods from small farms and artisan food producers in Connecticut and the Northeast US. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of cheeses, wines, all natural handcrafted breads, chocolates, jams, produce, flavored butters, sauces, honey, maple syrup and more.

Meet cheese makers, wine makers, bakers, farmers and small batch artisan food producers while tasting their regionally distinctive food and beverage creations. There will be fun activities scheduled throughout the day including cooking demos by top Connecticut chefs, face painting, hay rides and live music. Great fun for the whole family! Event takes place under tent so bring the whole family-come rain or shine! Admission to the festival is $15 purchased on-line at  and (children 12 and under are free). There is limited space so please purchase admission early to ensure a spot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haunted Hayride

3rd. Annual Haunted Hayride--Action Wildlife--Goshen - 337 Torrington Road, Goshen, CT 06756. Phone: 860-491-9191.
Join Action Wildlife for some spook-tacular fun at their 3rd Annual Haunted Hayride on Saturday, October 22  and Saturday, October 29.  Museum will be open and will have a kid oriented scavenger hunt and games, food will be available from the Snack Shack and a Bake Sale will be held.  This event is weather permitting.  In the event of rain, the hayride will be cancelled.  Call for updates and further information. Action Wildlife is wheelchair accessible.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Festival at Sullivan Farms

4th Annual Sullivan Farm Fall Festival -- New Milford - 140 Park Lane Rd., Rte. 202, New Milford, CT Phone: 860-354-0047.
On Sat., 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. (rain date Sunday, October 16th) Come and enjoy Fall Farm Day--Hayrides, Cider Making demonsrtations, pumpkin picking, hay maze, children's games, culinary workshops by local chefs, sugar house tours, children's crafts, farm animals, tractors, pumpkin cannon, and Housatonic Valley Harvest Expo.  For more information call or visit the website.

Fall Harvest Festival at Miranda Vinyard

5th Annual Harvest Festival at Miranda Vinyard-Goshen - 42 Ives Road, Goshen, CT 06756. Phone: 860-491-9906.
On Saturday, October 15, 2011 from 12 Noon to 7PM (rain date Sunday Oct. 16) the 5th Annual Harvest Festival at Miranda Vineyard will be held.  Free Admissions with a non-perishable food item.  Live Music, local vendors and artisans.  Grape stomping contest. Check the website for further information.

Things to do this weekend in the Litchfield Area

Friday October 14, 2011
Grief Support Group - 9:30-11:00 am - Litchfield Community Center
Preserving Lilac Hedges - 12:00-1:00 pm - Litchfield History Museum
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
'Freaky Fridays' - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Jung and the Contemplation of Mary - Fri. 6 pm - Sun. - Wisdom House
Pink Shabbat - 6:00 pm - Chabad Community Center Sukkah, 7 Village Green Dr, Litchfield
Litchfield XC Challenge - 9:30 am - White Memorial CC
Hatha Yoga Class - 8:30-10:00 am - Bantam Gym
Multi Group Tag Sale - 9:00 am-2:00 pm - AL Post 27, Litchfield
Goshen Outdoor Market - 9:30 am-12:30 pm - Goshen Center School
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Center School
Litchfield Community Greenway @ LHFF Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Center School
Marlow Shami Workshop - 10:00 am-5:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Outing Club: Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden - 11:15 am - Litchfield Town Hall
Litchfield Hills Rowing Club Open House - 3:00 - 5:00 pm - Litchfield Town Beach
Northfield Fireman's Pancake Breakfast - 7:30-11:00 am - Northfield Firehouse
Annual Harvest Dinner - 1:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life In Litchfield-From the New York Times

From the New York Times, Frugal Traveler  October 9th, 2011

A J’s Steak and Pizza might be intimidating, I was told — kind of a bikers’ bar. But the burgers were cheap and good, the peanuts were free, the place was still open and it was right down the road from the room where I had just dropped my bags.

Something about the warning didn’t quite compute: an intimidating biker joint down the road from the Mary Stuart House, my cozy little bed and breakfast on rural Route 4 in Litchfield County, Conn.? The same Litchfield County known as a weekend escape for New Yorkers prosperous enough to afford a second home but put off by Hamptons haughtiness?

I chuckled as I walked into the friendly basement bar. Sure, it was intimidating … if you fear the sound of peanut shells crunching under your feet, the specter of CNN on a big screen, or the prospect of a bartender pushing the blue cheese and caramelized onions that would boost the price of your bison burger to $9.25 from $8. “You get the pungent with the sweet,” she said, all foodie-like. I was hardly quaking in my boots.
To be honest, the real terror had come a week earlier, when I got my assignment: a frugal weekend in Litchfield County. Friends were skeptical; Twitter followers sent me the 140-character equivalent of raised eyebrows. “Good luck with that” was typical. (Maria's Note: I am partial to the Cesare Salad Chicken Wrap)

And like the warnings about A J’s, my fears were way off base. I wasn’t going to buy a country home. I was going to relax in a place where the main attraction is nature (which is pretty much free) in an area in which both old-school and newfangled diners, bakeries and burger joints are much cheaper than anything in New York City.

Even newcomers are quite reasonable, like the Arethusa Farm Dairy, an ice cream shop and creamery opened this summer by George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, the president and vice president of Manolo Blahnik. A waffle cone with one scoop of the luscious coffee ice cream made at their nearby Arethusa Farm costs $3.50, about one two-hundredth the price of a pair of their luscious scalloped suede Mary Jane pumps at Neiman Marcus.

Litchfield County is 945 square miles of farmland and hills and country towns in northwest Connecticut with a reasonable enough ratio of art galleries to fly-fishing shops to please old-timers and weekenders alike. General stores, town historical societies and volunteer fire departments are common. Farm stands offer vegetables and eggs on the honor system: pick what you want and leave your money in the box.
And during peak leaf-peeping season, usually mid to late October, things are even better. The lush greens of late summer turn to deep reds, burning oranges and bright yellows in the hills that rise behind barns and cornfields and glacial lakes.

Lodging is probably the biggest obstacle to a budget weekend, but the region’s official tourism Web site,, provides exhaustive options. Motels are the cheapest (aside from camping), but didn’t seem in the spirit of things, so I was thrilled to find the Mary Stuart House in Goshen (860-491-2260).
Rooms in this 1798 house are listed at $95, but Mary Orlando, the owner, offered me a $10 discount over the phone — perhaps for coming alone, perhaps for coming on a weekday. (During leaf-peeping season especially, weekdays mean better prices throughout the county.) It’s a homey environment: children, grandchildren and neighbors rolled through while I was there, and Ms. Orlando struck the right balance between helpful and obtrusive.

Goshen is also a good base from which to explore, in part because it is just down Route 63 from the town of Litchfield, which Ralph White, a native and author of the just-published “Litchfield,” told me was the “gem” of the county — the rest is “the setting.”

Though Mr. White is clearly biased, he has a point. Litchfield is relatively big: 8,500 people or so, with a charmingly historic downtown and plenty of good restaurants with a wide price range. I had two bargain meals there. The first, with Mr. White and two friends, was at Da Capo. Our large double pepperoni pizza, mussels and calamari appetizers, salad and wine came to just over $20 each, including tip.
That seemed cheap until I had breakfast at Patty’s, which looks like a diner but could go toe to toe with many brunch spots in Manhattan in creativity and quality. The lemon coffee-cake French toast topped with fresh blueberries and raspberries was $5.95, and no, Upper West Siders, that is not a typo.
But Litchfield County’s attractions are mainly outdoors. Kent Falls State Park may be the most celebrated with its pretty waterfall, manicured grounds and easy hiking trails, but parking costs $15 for nonresidents on weekends through October. Definitely not worth it.

Much better are the 4,000 wilderness acres managed and protected by the White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield. Hiking trails range from 0.2 miles to 6 miles, and a trail map costs $3 at the Conservation Center. I chose the Little Pond route, 1.6 miles, mostly over a narrow wooden boardwalk that blends right into the setting as it snakes around the pond and through wetlands that in the summer were alive with butterflies and bees, swans and deer. In leaf-peeping season, I can only imagine.

There’s also the West Cornwall covered bridge, built in the 19th century over the Housatonic River and resembling an elongated red barn. When I visited, two painters had their easels out trying to capture its magic, and a group of kayakers had paddled under it and must have thought that they had gone back in time. (For kayak trips starting at $30, contact Clarke Outdoors.)

And then there’s a quirky attraction that I just stumbled upon: Sculpturedale, the sculpture garden at the corner of Route 7 and Carter Road in Kent, on the property of the sculptor Denis Curtiss, a former art teacher at an international school in Saudi Arabia who now lives and works in Kent, near the state park. The fanciful steel and bronze animals (and occasional humans), which run from $300 to $10,000, are not in my price range, but looking is free.

Litchfield County also has several vineyards that make up part of the 24-stop Connecticut Wine Trail. I visited Sunset Meadow Vineyards on Route 63 in Goshen, right near my bed and breakfast, and paid $6 for five tastes that turned out to be six, plus a free taste of the merlita (a merlot smoothie that goes for $5 a glass). The vineyard had its way with me, though: I went home with two bottles of the Cayuga White ($15.99 each), which got to me with its strong notes of grapefruit.
With apologies to Ralph White and his gem metaphor, I found two towns that I liked better: Kent and Bantam.

Kent won me over by adding an artistic flourish to the typical New England small town. The main street is actually called Main Street, and there several historic churches and old shops and all. But there are also animal sculptures scattered around the town center (is that a puma near the bookstore?) and lots of galleries and shops full of work by local and distant artists.

I was drawn to the Heron American Craft Gallery, which features fanciful works and quirky gifts, and the Foreign Cargo Gallery, with exotic items from all over. The town’s made-for-frugal-travelers diner, the Villager Restaurant, is mostly about burgers and Reubens and monte cristos, but on Tuesday nights, its Mexican owner (and longtime Bantam resident) Tony Hernandez serves food from his native land. There are often Mexican lunch specials also; Mr. Hernandez cooked me up some carne enchilada tacos, four for $7.95, served with a spicy, smoky red salsa and lime that easily matched the quality (and nearly the price) of the taco stands near my home in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Bantam is not quite as picturesque, but has a low-key charm notable in the rather unassuming names of its businesses, like Bantam Pizza, Bantam Market, Bantam Coffee Shop, Bantam Country Liquors and, most important, Bantam Bread Company (853 Bantam Road; 860-567-2737).

The bakery, a den of yeasty temptation that snuffs out any hope for low-carb dieting in the region, got me with its holiday fruit bread ($5.75) studded with sour cherries, raisins and walnuts, and fruit crostatas ($4.25), literally dripping with rhubarb and strawberry. Both were move-to-Bantam good.
Is anything wrong with Litchfield County? I suppose you could ding it for lack of night life, though that seems a bit like criticizing its lack of skyscrapers. There is the Bantam Cinema, an art-house-in-a-barn that claims to be the oldest continuously operated movie theater in the state, dating to 1927. And for a nightcap, there’s always A J’s — that is, if you dare mix it up with peanut-eating, CNN-watching Connecticut bikers.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 8:00am
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
Saturday, October 15, 2011
9am - 2pm
Torrington Water Pollution Control Plant
Bogue Road, Torrington, CT
The Collection Day is Available at NO CHARGE   Stop in the Town Hall Mon. - Fri. 8:30am - 4pm to sign-up and receive your ticket.
Pre-**Please Note: 20 lb. propane tanks will be accepted at the collection day, but no consumer electronics will be accepted.**

Things to do this upcoming weekend

Semi-Annual Tag Sale - 9:00 am-4:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield
Tall Tales - 10:30 am - Oliver Wolcott Library
Exploring Roots of Religion - 1:30-3:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
AL Post 44 Ham Dinner Fundraiser - 4:30-6:00 pm - Bantam Firehouse
Basic Italian I Class - 6:30-8:30 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Litchfield Political Debate - 7:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Author Talk with Joshua Kendal - 7:00 - 8:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Semi-Annual Tag Sale - 9:00 am-4:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield
Grief Support Group - 9:30-11:00 am - Litchfield Community Center
The Making of a New England Town - 12:00-1:00 pm - Litchfield History Museum
Friday Feast & Dancing Feet - 12:00-2:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
'Freaky Fridays' - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library
Friday Fun Days - 4:00-6:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Hatha Yoga Class - 8:30-10:00 am - Bantam Gym
Semi-Annual Tag Sale - 9:00 am-4:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield
Cub Scout (Pack 31) Can & Bottle Drive - 9:00 am-12:00 pm -Litchfield Town Hall Parking Lot
Goshen Outdoor Market - 9:30 am-12:30 pm - Goshen Center School
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Center School
Women's Journeys - 10:00 am-12:00 pm - Wisdom House
Litchfield Voter Registration - 10:00 am-2:00 pm - Litchfield Town Hall
Celebration of Connecticut Apples - 2:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Harvest Bounty Wine & Brewfest - 4:00-8:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Annual Fine Dining & Wine Pairing - 7:00-10:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield
Litchfield Hills Youth Lacrosse Harvest Fundraiser 7:00-9:00 PM - Miranda Vineyard, Goshen
Sunday Fall Migration Walk - 7:00 am - White Memorial CC
Semi-Annual Tag Sale - 11:30 am-2:00 pm - Lourdes in Litchfield
Family Luncheon Buffet - 12:00-3:00 pm - Our Lady of Grace Church, Bantam
Silent Auction: Christopher Clem Memorial Art Award - 3:00-5:00 pm - Bantam Borough Hall

Union Saving Bank Shred It Day-

Union Savings Bank is proud to host a second ‘Community Shred Day’ on Saturday, October 15 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at its 1-A Commerce Road, Newton branch, 100 Danbury Road, Ridgefield branch and 1057 Torringford Street, Torrington branch. Members of the community are encouraged to bring any type of paper, up to a 10 box maximum, to be shredded safely and securely during these free events.
“During Union Savings Bank’s first Shred Day event this past June, three of our branches collected approximately 9,000 pounds of paper to be destroyed, which is the equivalent of saving roughly 77 trees,” said Union Savings Bank President and CEO Jay Lent. “We hope to meet or exceed those numbers with our second Shred Day.”
The bank is partnering with Shred-It Connecticut, which will place its shredding trucks outside the three branches. Community members will drive in line into each branch’s parking lot and up to the shred truck. When it’s their turn, they will carry their paper to the truck and watch while their documents are destroyed. Union Savings Bank and Shred-It employees will be on hand to direct traffic and help people unload their items.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to Revive Your Non Stick Appliances

We usually associate wax paper with wrapping up the latest cuts of meat from the butcher, and not really for use on waffle irons. But to help get a little more life out of your appliances, try folding a piece of wax paper in half (waxy side out) and placing it between the plates of your warm appliance for 3 seconds.
The wax, unlike butter or sprays, won't burn and will give those non-stick surfaces just enough slick to release the food without the wax rubbing off on your waffle or sandwich for lunch.
For appliances that don't have plates that press together, simply wipe the paper across the surface a few times and call it good. It's a quick tip that gives you a bit more slick instead of stick in the kitchen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How To Clean Your Chimney

Fall in Litchfield, corn mazes, bread at Bantam Bakery, apples at March Farms, and now that the weather is getting a bit crisp, sitting by a fire in your home.  Before we end up in fireplace season, make sure your fireplace is clean and ready to go.  The following post is from the Web Site Charles and Hudson.

Fireplaces have been getting a bad rap lately as they are to blame for pollution, losing heat, and being an overall hazard, but some of us still love the sound, feel and smell of a wood burning fireplace. One of the main issues with a wood fireplace is the build up of creosote in the chimney which can create a fire hazard.
It's best to burn your fire as hot as possible which leads to less smoke but also clean your chimney on an annual basis. Here's how.

1. Remove fireplace components
Everything inside your fireplace should be taken out including wood racks, fake logs and of course old logs and ash. Open the damper if it's closed.
2. Seal the fireplace opening
You want to create a tight seal around the opening of your fireplace by using a plastic sheet and tape. You don't want any ash or dust to enter your home through the fireplace.
3. Prepare yourself
Invest in a quality dust mask and eye goggles. Protective glasses aren't enough. The goggles should be flush to your face on all sides.
4. Remove chimney components
If there is a brush guard or bird grate of your fireplace remove it carefully and lay it on a flat surface where it won't slide down your roof.
5. Brush it
Using a chimney brush, begin brushing inside the chimney. Start high and brush all sides and work your way down to the firebox.
6. Replace the chimney components
After brushing, replace any components you removed and carefully get off the roof.
7. Remove fireplace cover
Wait at least an hour before removing the cover to make sure all of the dust and debris has settled. Remove the cover slowly as not to disturb any dust.
8. Clean up
Using a shop vac, suck up all the remaining dust and debris and make sure nothing is obstructing the damper and its clear as well.
9. Replace fireplace components
Put back the wood rack and and when you're ready, light it up!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things To Do This Weekend

Hatha Yoga Class - 8:30-10:00 am - Bantam Gym
18th Annual Fall Festival - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm - Litchfield First Congregational Church
Goshen Outdoor Market - 9:30 am-12:30 pm - Goshen Center School
Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Litchfield Center School
Antiques Appraisal Day - 10:00 am -2:00 pm - Litchfield County Auctions
DAR Meeting - 10:00 am - Morris Public Library
Autumn Walk at Boyd Woods - 1:00 pm - Litchfield Hills Audubon Society
'Friendly Hands' Benefit Wine Tasting - 1:00-5:00 pm - Village Green Plaza, Litchfield
Sparrows and Other Autumn Migrants - 2:00 pm - White Memorial CC
Kaleidoscope of Color Kayak Adventure - 11:00 am - White Memorial CC
Watercolor Journaling Workshop - 2:00-4:30 pm - White Memorial CC
Sunday Fall Migration Walk - 2:00 pm - Litchfield Hills Audubon Society
Yale Russian Chorus Performance - 3:00 pm - St. Michael's, Litchfield

The Riverton Fair

10/07/2011 to 10/09/2011
102nd Annual Riverton Fair - 12 Riverton Road, Rte.20, Riverton, CT 06065. Phone: 860-379-9619 .
Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Exhibits may be brought in, 4:00 p.m. Exhibits must be in place. Fair opens: Midway is closed to vehicles. 4:00 p.m. Judging of Rabbits. 6:00 p.m. Garden Tractor Pulls 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Amusements open. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. Wood Chopping, Sawing & Axe Throwing Contest, 10:30 a.m. Judging of Exhibits Starts, Judging of Oxen and Steers, 1:00 p.m. Drawing Contest of Working Oxen - larger classes, 1:00 p.m. Old Tyme Fiddlers on the bandstand ‘til 4:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. Pie Eating Contest (contingent on weather), 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Amusements open; 9:00 p.m. Fair closes for night. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. Wood Chopping, Sawing & Axe Throwing Contest, 11:00 a.m. Judging of Junior Dairy Livestock, 12:00 p.m. Dark Horse on the bandstand ‘til 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. Drawing Contest of Working Oxen - smaller classes, 1:00 p.m. Mad River Crossing on the bandstand ‘til 4:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. Pie Eating Contest (contingent on weather), 5:00 p.m. Removal of Exhibits.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Antiques Appraisal Day-Saturday

Litchfield Historical Society and Litchfield County Auctions
Team Up for Antiques Appraisal Day
Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
@ Litchfield County Auctions
425 Bantam Road, Litchfield, CT
Won't be able to make it to Antiques Roadshow this year? Wonder what Great Aunt Josephine's favorite vase is worth? You can discover the value of all your heirlooms and collectibles at the Litchfield Historical Society's Antiques Appraisal Day on Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Litchfield County Auctions, Inc. For $20, participants will have their antique appraised by Weston Thorn's expert staff, have the opportunity to preview LCA's upcoming online auction, and enjoy a delicious hot dog and beverage at the same time.

Mr. Thorn's involvement in the antiques and appraisal business began in the 1960s and he has flourished in Northwestern Connecticut for almost 30 years. He is a member and one-time president of the Appraiser's Association of America. Thorn and his talented and knowledgeable staff have made Litchfield County Auctions Connecticut's premier auction house and handled many important sales since 1994.  

Litchfield County Auctions, Inc. is located at 425 Bantam Road in Litchfield, CT. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Litchfield Historical Society. For more information on this or other events, hours of operation, or museum collections, please call the Litchfield Historical Society at (860) 567-4501 or visit

Contact: Kate Baldwin, Curator of Education

Things to Do This Friday

Taste of Germany Day Trip - 8:30 am-6:30 pm - Litchfield Community Center
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - 8:30am-12:00pm - St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield
Grief Support Group - 9:30-11:00 am- Litchfield Community Center
Archives in the Movies - 12:00-1:00 pm- Litchfield History Museum
Basic Italian II Class - 1:30-4:00 pm - Litchfield Community Center
'Freaky Fridays' - 3:30-4:00 pm - Oliver Wolcott Library

The Bethlehem Garlic Festival

Greetings fellow garlic fans!

We would like invite you to join us for our Seventh Annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival. It will be held on October 8-9, 2011 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on Route 61 in Bethlehem, Connecticut (just north of town). Visit our garlic cooking demonstrations, stay for a live band performance, and learn how to grow garlic at our informative lectures. Many garlic dips, spreads, cheeses, and oils will be available for purchase from our diverse garlic specialty food vendors - most offering FREE samples to try before you buy! Stop by our produce stands for fresh garlic and a variety of other fall produce. When you're hungry, venture over to our food court.  Homemade roasted garlic sausage with peppers and onions, garlic marinated steak sandwiches, garlic roast pork sandwiches, deep fried garlic, and garlic ice cream are just some of the items you'll find at our food court! Bring the kids for some fun with our rides and games! We hope that you will join us in
When: October 8 & 9, 2011 - 10AM to 5PM
Where: Bethlehem Fairgrounds in Bethlehem, CT (directions)
Admission: Adults $6 - Seniors $5 - Children (under 12) $1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Foliage Train Trip

Connecticut Fall Foliage at its best! Naugatuck Railroad - 242 Main Street, Thomaston, CT Phone: (860) 283-7245.

Enjoy beautiful fall foliage in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut this season. Train rides in October are offered on all Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays with additional trips on Columbus Day Monday! Our Saturday, Sunday and Columbus Day trains depart at 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM. All Tuesday trains depart Thomaston at 10:00 AM only. Fall foliage trains run September 25 and 27, October 1, 2, 4, 8-11, 18 and 25. Trains sell out quickly, so reserve your tickets now! Fall Foliage ticket pricing $14 Adults, $12 Seniors (62+) and $12 Children (3-12). Children 2 and under are free. Reserve your tickets now online or by calling Thomaston Station at (860) 283-7245. See you soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This Weeks How To Tip-Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

The problem is that many of the nicer reed diffusers are pretty pricey. Paying $20 or $30 for an air freshener seems rather silly when many of us have the raw materials around the house.

What You Need

  • Glass or ceramic container (glazed inside, so it doesn't leak) with a narrow opening at the top. I decided to try this beautiful vase a friend bought for me, since it's already in my bedroom and it has been deemed completely uninteresting to the felines.
  • Essential oils of your choice. I have lavender and eucalyptus.
  • I've heard of using mineral oil as your "base," but I wanted to avoid petroleum-based products. Sweet almond oil or safflower oil are other options. But I was intrigued when I read about using vodka and water, mostly because I have some in the freezer, it's not my favorite libation, and it won't leave a greasy mess if it does get knocked over. Though I've also read that vodka will evaporate more quickly than something totally oil-based. It's your call.
  • Reeds or bamboo skewers. You can find replacement reeds online pretty inexpensively, but if you have bamboo skewers in the kitchen or craft room, just trim off the pointy ends before use.


1. If you're using an oil base, you will want to use 30% essential oil to 70% base oil. You can experiment with the percentages to see what works best for you.
2. If you're using the vodka and water mixture, you will want to add approximately 12 drops of essential oils with 1/4 cup of water then add a little of vodka (the vodka helps bind the oils to the water).
3. Pour the mixture into your receptacle and place one end of the reeds or skewers into the solution, allowing it to saturate the reeds. Then take them out, and place the opposite ends into the bottle. You will want to rotate which ends are in the scent solution about once a week.

Things to Keep in Mind

The smaller the neck on the bottle, the slower the liquid will evaporate. I'm about to learn how much more quickly mine will evaporate with the wider opening of my vase.
Experiment with different essential oil combinations until you find one or two you really like. You can then increase your batches and keep them in sealed containers (like a canning jar) to save prep time later on.
Have any of you made your own diffusers before? Which works better? The oil or the vodka and water? I've love to know!

Post from Apartment Therapy

Friday, September 30, 2011

The St. Andrews Society of Connecticut will hold it's annual Scottish Fair at the Goshen Fairgrounds.  There will be pipe bands, sheep dog demonstrations, vendors of all things Scottish, kids games, and more.  For more information, please click here


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some Early October Events

13th Annual Winsted Friends of Main Street Fall Festival and Classic Car Show - Main Street, Winsted, CT 06098. Phone: 860-738-3351.
The Annual Fall Foliage Festival in Winsted will be held on Saturday, October 1st, 2011 from 10 am to 4 pm. The Festival will be held on Main Street, between Case Avenue and Union Street. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. The much anticipated outdoor event provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate Autumn's splendor in the Northwest Hills. Come stroll Winsted's Main Street, and enjoy crafts from over 50 vendors, food, entertainment, children's activities and more! In addition, there is a pie baking contest with a $50 first prize for the winner! For rules and an entry form call the Friends of Main Street office or visit their website at Craft vendors must pre-register by September 23, 2011. For more information, please call the Friends of Main Street office at 860-738-3351. Bring your friends down to Main Street to enjoy a day of shopping, eating, entertainment and leaf peeping!

152nd Annual Harwinton Fair - 80 Locust Rd., Harwinton, CT
Locust Rd., 1 mi. SE of Harwinton Center, Harwinton, CT 06791. Phone: 860-485-9369. Major Country Fair. OPEN BOTH DAYS- Draft Horse Exhibit and Demonstrations Antique Tractor Show Working Demonstrations At "EARLY AMERICAN" Building Special Features: 8:00am - 8:00pm Fair is open Weather permitting. All buildings & exhibits are on display until 8pm including Adult & Youth Exhibit buildings, All Day Pisgah Mountain Primitives Demonstrations of pioneer cooking, life, & blacksmithing, All Day Civil War Displays Presenting Civil War era by the Old 19th CT, a Civil War group,, All Day Country Store * An old fashioned Country Store, with items for sale, * Demonstrations of blacksmithing, * Crafts of Early Americana, * A working shingle mill
All Day Vendors Great foods, merchandise, products & services, All Day Tufano Amusements Rides & amusements - fun for the whole family, All Day Antique Tractor Show Come see a wonderful display of antique tractors, All Day Draft Horse Displays Draft Horse Displays in Horse Building. Saturday: 9:00am English Horse Show Presented in the horse ring on the East side of grounds, 10:00am Animal Friends An exhibit of barnyard animals in the Animal Friends Building, 10:00am Judging Poultry Judging of poultry entries,10:00am Judging Oxen & Trained Steer Judging event is in Pull Ring on south side of grounds, 10:00am - noon Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers Music on the bandstand, 10:30am Women's Skillet Throw Sign up at woodchopping area at 10:00 - Free event, 10:30am - noon HarBur Middle School Band Music on Lower Stage, 11:00am Judging Junior Dairy Cattle Judging of cattle in Cattle building area, 11:00am Judging Junior & Senior Dairy Judging of Dairy Showmanship, Times to be announced Zircus Wallenda High-wire entertainment - Don't miss the excitement!!, Times to be announced Pig Races Down on East side of grounds noon Oxen Draw - Four Classes Presented in Pull Ring on south side of grounds, 1:00pm Dairy Cattle - Open show Show in Cattle building area, 1:00pm Ox Teamsters Challenge Oxen perform obstacle event near the Pull Ring area, 1:00pm Rabbit Costume Contest Dress up your rabbit and join the fun!!, 1:00pm The Magic of Jim Sisti Magic show will be presented on Lower Stage - Fun for the whole family, 1:00pm Wood Chopping Contest Wood chopping competitions in woodchopping area, 1:00pm - 5:00pm Dave Quick & Sidekick Band Great music performing on Bandstand in the afternoon and evening weather permitting, 2:00pm (approx) Lewis Mills Marching Band Marching with the band playing on the fairgrounds, 2:30pm Sunshine Road with David Verdosci Bring the children - Great fun & entertainment, 4:00pm The Magic of Jim Sisti Magic show will be presented on Lower Stage - Fun for the whole family, 6:00pm The Magic of Jim Sisti Magic show will be presented on Lower Stage - Fun for the whole family 6:00pm - 8:00pm Dave Quick & Sidekick Band Great music performing on Bandstand in the afternoon and evening weather permitting. SUNDAY: 8:00am Animal Friends An exhibit of barnyard animals in Animal Friends Building 9:00am Western Horse Show Presented in the horse ring on the East side of grounds 10:00am - noon Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers Music on the bandstand, 10:30am Women's Skillet Throw Sign up at woodchopping area at 10:00 - Free event, 11:00am Judging Beef Cattle - Open Show Judging of cattle in Cattle Building area, Noon (approx) Draft Horse & Wagon show * Presented in the horse ring approximately at noon, * Displays of draft horse in Horse Building, Times to be announced Zircus Wallenda High-wire entertainment - Don't miss the excitement!!, Times to be announced Pig Races Down on East side of grounds, 1:00pm Exhibit of Draught Horses Two classes will be presented in the Pull Ring, 1:00pm - 5:00pm Dave Quick & Sidekick Band Great music for a Sunday afternoon on the bandstand, 1:00pm Wood Chopping Contest Wood chopping competitions in woodchopping area, 1:00pm Dairy Cattle - Open show Show in Cattle Building area, 1:00pm The Magic of Jim Sisti Magic show will be presented on Lower Stage - Fun for the whole family, 2:30pm Sunshine Road with David Verdosci Bring the children - Great fun & entertainment, 4:00pm The Magic of Jim Sisti Magic show will be presented on Lower Stage - Fun for the whole family.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Weeks Handy Tip

How to Remove an Ink Stain with Vinegar and Milk

What You Need

Materials 2 Parts Whole Milk
1 Part White Distilled Vinegar
Large Bowl


1. Combine Milk and Vinegar. Pour just enough milk to cover your garment into a large bowl. Add about half as much white distilled vinegar.
2. Soak Garment in Mixture. Overnight is best to ensure that the milk and vinegar have enough time to do their magic!
3. Remove, Hang Dry, Wash as Normal. You may see a light trace of the ink stain upon removal but after washing the ink stain should be gone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Corn Mazes in Litchfield

Looking for some fun with the kids, how about a corn maze?  Several area farms offer corn mazes.  Below is a list

March Farm Corn Maze -- Bethlehem - 160 Munger Lane, Bethlehem, CT 06751. Phone: 203-266-7721.
The Corn Maze is now open weekends from 11AM to 5PM through October via the hayride shuttle.  Beginning October 1st you can also access the corn maze via car and during wekdays.  The Corn Maze is $3/person, and unlimited Hayrides from the Hayloft Playscape to the Corn Maze are $2/person.

Corn Maze at Ellsworth Hill Orchard and Berry Farm--Sharon - 461 Cornwall Bridge Rd., Rte. 4, Sharon, CT 06069. Phone: 860-364-0025.
The Corn Maze at Ellsworth Hill Orchard will be open from the end of August through November. A fun and educational activity for children as well as adults. $7 Admission. Children under 5 free. Call for further information or check the website.

Bunnell Farm Litchfield-Maple Street, 860.567.9576
  • Corn Maze
    Weekends: late Sept to Halloween

Sunday, September 25, 2011

End of Summer Home Check List

It's offical, summer is over! This is the first fall weekend.  Below are some tips from the Charles and Hudson Web site on prepping your home for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, never fear, summer will be back!

Moving into a new season typically means that there are some home maintenance tasks you can check off your to-do list. That's especially true as we head into fall, as much of the country will begin to experience cooler temperatures before winter's frigid grip takes hold.
To make sure your home is in tip-top shape, consider tackling some of these checklist items:
1. Check your home's air flow. Clean and vacuum any built-up dust from your vents, stove hood, room fans, baseboard heaters and dryer vents. Not only will you help encourage uninterrupted air flow, but keeping these areas clean can help decrease your risk of fire.
2. Crank up the heat. Have your heating system inspected and serviced. An important step you can handle on your own? Change the furnace filters. It's always a great idea to make sure your system is in working order before the temperatures plunge and you're left with a faulty heater.
3. Light my fire. We're entering fireplace season, so make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and free of any debris or build-up. You may want to call in a professional to clean your fireplace flue and liners, which will prevent a build-up of creosote.
4. Paint and carpet. If you're planning to do any interior painting, carpet cleaning or carpet replacement, make sure to tackle these projects while the weather is still mild and you can keep your windows open for additional ventilation.
5. Check your insulation. Your home's insulation is a critical component in keeping you and your family warm during the window, so do a visual inspection around your home, including the exterior, to check for any spots that may need new caulk or weatherstripping. Windows and doors are prime candidates for air leaks, so pay careful attention to these areas.
Once you've finished the list, you can kick back, relax and enjoy some football (the best part of fall, right?) And if you have any other summer-to-fall maintenance tasks that you've made a regular part of your routine, we'd love to hear them!

Upcoming Goshen Events-Mark Your Calanders


Goshen Quilters- Thursday mornings from 10-noon a group of quilters meets at the West Wing of the lodge to work on personal projects, create items for charity and learn new quilting skills. Contact Sally Smith at 860-491-3784 for more information or to join this congenial gathering.

Goshen Quilter’s Guild- each month on the 2nd Tuesday, this group meets at the lodge at Camp Coch from 6:30-9pm. Speakers and demonstrations are often a part of these gatherings. Contact Sandy Wright at 860-491-4589 for more information.

Yoga with Jan Troy- Anusara instructor Jan Troy will be teaching two adult classes at Camp Coch this fall. On Monday evenings from 6-7:30 starting on September 12th the focus will be on strong Level 1 and Level 2 students who are familiar with the attitude, alignment and balance actions of Anusara Yoga. She promises a spirited class delving deeper into the subtleties of the practice.
Wednesdays morning’s Level 1 class starting on September 7th for existing students or brand new beginners will run from 9:30-11 am and will focus on the practice of Anusara Basic Principles of Alignment from the inside out. Contact Jan at  as these classes are ongoing and attendance to both classes will be by permission of the teacher only.

Yoga for Adults-each Monday evening yoga instructor Wendy Larsen offers what she describes as ”a sane and practical brand” of yoga in the Goshen Center School from 7-8pm for $ 12 per class. Call her at 860-738-9293 or email her at for more information.

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Class- Goshen physical therapist Jill Maeder offers free classes for people suffering from arthritis. The classes will be held at Camp Coch lodge starting September 26th. Classes run for six weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-2 pm. Call the Rec. Office to register -860 491-2249 as space is limited.

Women’s Volleyball- longtime supervisor Lisa Tillmann and her assistant Vanessa Spino will be in the school gym Monday evenings from  7-9pm starting November 7th. Hopefully the 7pm start time is workable for moms who must feed their families and supervise some homework before setting out for some fun exercise and socialization. Fee for the season is only $35.

Men’s Hoops- men can play open gym pick-up style basketball in the school gym on Sunday and Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9 pm from mid-October until early spring for only $35 per season. NEEDED A VOLUNTEER SUPERVISOR.

AARP Safe Driving Class for Seniors- on November 7th from 9-1 a volunteer AARP instructor will be teaching the one-day class for older citizens. Completion of the class provides the participant lost of practical safe driving information plus a 5% reduction in automobile insurance for 2 years. AARP members pay $12 while non-members are charges $14. You must pre-register at the Rec. Office.

Goshen Turkey Trot- the Goshen Running Club’s annual Thanksgiving morning 6.2 mile race starts at 10 am on November 24th at the Goshen Fairgrounds on Old Middle Street. The course is hilly and mostly over dirt roads- the perfect prelude to a calorie laden holiday meal. The race is always held no matter the weather conditions. Race forms are usually available online after November 1st at . Pre-registration is encouraged and is cheaper.