We have had a lot of snow and cold weather recently and I have been feeling cooped up. When we had a relatively warm day (above freezing!) I decided to take advantage and go for a walk in the New Hampshire countryside. I went with my colleague at TMC Ryan Topping and three of his young boys. We headed for one my secret locations in New Hampshire, walking on plowed and sanded dirt roads, so it was firm underfoot. It was just perfect - everywhere looked beautiful and peaceful in the snow, but it was warm enough to outside without discomfort. I did not expect to see these delightful displays: the large nativity scenes the farmers had created for the advent and Christmas seasons. One was clearly visible from the road and it was clear that the intention was for passers by to see it. The second was set back in the farm, several hundred yards from the road. As we walked past the farmhouse, the farmer came out and introduced himself. He thought we might be associated with the family that had moved into the neighboring farm. He noticed that one of the children who was with us (one of the boys of my colleague at Thomas More, Ryan Topping) was playing with a rosary and told us that he had a pavilion with a statue of Our Lord and Our Lady and we should go and look at it. His grandfather had come down from Quebec in the 1920s and this had been the family farm ever since, he said. They have had to adapt to the times in order to stay economically viable and so as well as continuing with the traditional practice of tapping maple trees and creating the syrup in a sugar shack, they have given the farm over to animals that probably wouldn't have been seen here 100 years ago. They given the pasture over to elk and sell venison to top restaurants and organic markets around the country. The sight of these large, antlered deer seemed all the more appropriate in this Christmas season. It was easy to believe that we were seeing reindeer! I thought that the elk was the North American equivalent of the reindeer but discovered when I got home that that would the caribou. Anyway, its still close enough for me.
Thank you to those who made these displays for helping so much to make a great day out.
Photos below show first the nativity scene on the roadside; and the pavilion set back in the fields with the Sacred Heart of Jesus the central figure.
... and then look back towards the farmhouse: