Life for most people in Sugar Grove, NH is pretty slow paced and mine is no exception. On the average morning the most exciting thing I encounter is the special at my best friend Piper’s restaurant, The Stack Shack. The Stack was built back during the Depression and is shaped like an oversized stack of pancakes. As far as anyone has been able to figure out, it’s the only building like it in the world. Piper’s menu is just as much fun, offering a nice mix of traditional fare and quirky experiments.
In addition to being the best place in town to grab a cup of coffee The Stack is also the center of social life. Just about everyone you might want to run into stops by eventually and along with breakfast you’ll probably end up chatting with a neighbor or a long lost cousin. If you’re me. you’ll also end up fending off the amorous advances of the local taxidermist, Knowlton Pringle. Which just goes to show how good the food is at The Stack. If it’s worth putting up with Knowlton, it has to be something special.
Since I live on my family farm and work at our maple sugaring business, I set my own hours. Most of the time that’s a good thing. But when you work in your family business, the family knows all your business. They also know if you’re swamped with work or if you have time to help out with their projects. So I never can be quite sure what I’ll end up doing in the course of the day. I’m often the one who gets called to pick up my sister’s kids from the school nurse’s office or to dash out to the post office for a book of stamps.
In between errands I devote my energy to growing the Greener Pastures sugaring business. The production part of the business is seasonal but I keep busy year round. Our syruping operation exists to support environmental causes. One hundred percent of our post tax profits go to charities and initiatives like land trusts and cleaner energy innovations. I keep myself and the rest of the family informed about the causes we support by regularly visiting the projects in person. I also maintain the company website and write a monthly greener living newsletter for our customers.
But sometimes things take an unpredictable turn, like recently when a truckload of exotic animals were let loose and started running amok all over town. You couldn’t even attend church service without a camel popping up in the parking lot. I certainly didn’t expect to be helping a good-looking guy from the state’s Fish and Game department to round up the animal escapees.
Even when the town is overrun by exotic livestock, I still make it home to have dinner with my family. My grandmother is a great cook and I never miss one of her dinners if I can help it. Neither does anyone else in the family. My grandfather, mother, brother, sister and her kids all crowd around the old oak table in the farmhouse kitchen and prepare to tuck in. Grandma specializes in recipes that use our abundant maple syrup supply. And no matter what she serves for supper there’s no better way to end the day than with a bowl of ice cream with homemade maple caramel sauce poured on over the top. Sweet dreams!
You can read more about Dani in Drizzled with Death, the first book in the new “Sugar Grove” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime.
Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of “DRIZZLED WITH DEATH” to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends October 3; US entries only per publisher’s request.
Meet the author
A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not writing she combs the beach and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. She lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small many other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, won the 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.