Welcome to ELF!

ELF is the weekly entertainment and lifestyles publication brought to you by The Keene Sentinel. You’ll find lively features about local people, businesses and information on gardening, pets, healthy living, hobbies, antiquing and much more. Our Spotlight section includes local event listings and other activities to plan for a weekend of fun. More than 20,000 copies of ELF are distributed in the area. Please contact elfweekly@keenesentinel.com with any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you!

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Featured Stories


Body & Soul

Once again, the cycle of seasons is upon us. The cooler temperatures overnight bring with them changes in colors of the leaves. Flowers are less abundant and the landscape is showing colors of red, white, orange and yellow. The tall grasses and plants are also changing. Our gardens are burst…

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Want to get the most out of your visit with your healthcare provider? Have you ever left your visit wondering what just happened? You are far from alone. It’s not unusual for patients to have the sense that only some of their concerns were addressed in a single healthcare visit. A simple sol…

Having a long, healthy life can rely greatly on the healthcare you receive and diagnosing illnesses in the early stages can have a big effect on health complications later in life.

If you are like me and love the hot, sunny days of summer, you most likely have been in the sun as much as possible. The warm penetrating heat of the sun’s rays stimulate vitamin D production. The correct amount of sunlight exposure for increase in vitamin D depends on one’s natural skin col…


Intrepid Gardener

The leaves are turning, flocks of geese can be heard high above as they migrate south in their trademark V flight order. The sun comes in at a slant, filtering the landscape with the glow of early autumn and there’s a crispness in the air. The Monadnock region and all of New England is famou…

I thought I’d follow up my recent column regarding fungus on bark mulch with something equally distasteful so get ready! The other day, because it was badly in need of emptying, I took my compost bucket out onto the porch. It’s approximately a foot square, has a lid and is made of black plas…

Well, here it is. My yearly column about fall chrysanthemums. They sneak into our favorite garden centers in late August and by the first week of September, they’re everywhere. The first couple times I spot them, I pretend they’re not there. Somehow, they’re more of a killjoy than Christmas …

The Oriental lilies are naked. Only a handful of brave orange zinnia blossoms stand atop rain-blackened stems in a big pot. The late lavender blooms of Allium ‘Millenium’ have turned grey. Even the potted urns of Boston Fern struggle to stay cheery with their rusted tips damping off. The nev…


By Hand By Hobby

Kathryn Blair found a way to combine her love of quilting, family time, the golf course she owns and operates, and her family history all into one brightly colored package.

He uses a camera. She uses oil paints. But Byron and Cynthia Niederhelman have a common interest: representing the Monadnock Region’s beauty and uniqueness and sharing it with others.

On a warm summer June day in 1938 the iconic hero, Superman, flew into our lives on the pages of Action Comics #1! Less than a year later, Batman premiered in Detective Comics #27. By October of 1939, Marvel Comics released its #1, which included the Human Torch, Angel, and Prince Namor the …

The faces gaze up from flower beds, stare out from the underbrush, nestle against rocks, sit under trees. They come in various colors and shapes. Some look serene, others sad or proud or pained.

The market for CBD has grown in recent years, and not just for people. Companies are now marketing a variety of CBD oils and chews for dogs and cats.

The Blackpoll Warbler, weighing only 12 grams, makes an annual round-trip flight of 10,000-14,000 miles from the Amazon in Brazil to its breeding grounds in New Hampshire, the Yukon and Alaska. It makes an 88-hour flight, lasting 3 days, from Maritime Canada and Maine directly over the ocean…

With the wet and humid summer we have been having, we may have a larger concentration of mold spores in the air, on the ground, and even in our houses. This may not seem to pose a direct threat to us when in small doses, but some pets — especially those who are sensitive to allergens — may b…

Donna and Daryl Watterson are no strangers to taking care of animals. Donna has always had a knack for it: she grew up taking care of bunnies and goats, always yearning for more space to place those misfit animals who didn’t quite have a place to call their own. For the last decade or so, th…


Potpourri

Keene -- The recent pandemic-induced economic disruption has broadened certain gaps between rural communities and urban centers. Compounded by a lack of new business formation in rural America, this trend could exacerbate disparities in income, population densities, educational attainment, i…

Alan “Ollie” Gelfand invented a skateboarding trick called the ollie in the late 1970s. An ollie is a trick that is a fundamental part of skateboarding if you’d like to jump over or onto anything and it is also the basic part of most flip tricks. The ollie is a combination of popping the boa…


It Takes a Farm

Feed hay this year won’t be as good as in past years. There isn’t going to be as much of it and it’s likely to cost more, according to local farmers. It’s a result of all the rain that fell this summer.

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When it comes to the meat you eat, does the butchering process matter? We might not give too much thought to the unpleasantness of processing our steaks and chicken wings, but the local farmers who care for and raise animals with a high quality of life are also dedicated to ensuring that the…


Nest / Intrepid Gardener

Life is busy and can be hectic. And amid the pandemic, times have been tough — emotionally, mentally, and for many, financially. Being more frugal have become part of the norm, partly out of necessity. But that doesn’t mean we need to forego ways to make life easier… even if only a little. A…

What if you could live mortgage-free, heat your entire home with less than two cords of wood each winter, and barely notice the difference when the power goes out? That’s real life for Marlow resident, Dakota Benedetto, who is executive director of the nearby Leaf Charter School.

Once in a while when I find a consumer product that I really enjoy or find useful, I like to share it here in the Nest column. No manufacturer compensation involved here… just discoveries I think are worth sharing.

So, you think you’re ready to make one of the biggest decisions of your life: purchasing your first house. The world of real estate can quickly make you feel rudderless in choppy seas, but with some research and a little preliminary groundwork, you’ll be smooth sailing toward reaching your d…


Outside My Door

he town of Richmond has always held a certain fascination for me. Maybe that’s because of my love for the woods.

We’ve certainly had more than enough rain these past few months. It is hard to find the silver lining in torrential downpours, flooded roads and homes, washed away gardens and wet weekends. But if you ask the Harris Center for Conservation Education’s teacher-naturalist, John Benjamin, all t…

Driving to Brattleboro on Route 9 west from Keene, about six miles outside the city, I made an unplanned stop at the Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area.


Pickin' & Pokin'

If old walls could talk, imagine the knowledge we would learn from our past. Folk practices from long ago have been uncovered for years and sometimes it’s clear why they were done and other times it’s a bit obscure.

Do you have a piece of jewelry at home, but aren’t sure how to go about telling if it’s the real deal or just another piece of costume jewelry? Maybe it’s been in the family for a while, but you’re not sure how much it’s worth. It can be hard to differentiate between costume jewelry and qual…

Years ago, I was gifted a large box of old costume jewelry. Of course, much of it was broken and after a lot of tinkering and pondering, I turned to the Internet for inspiration and queried “how to fix old costume jewelry.” This navigated me through various articles to a website I hadn’t hea…

The Bruder House and Wyman Tavern, located right here in Keene, is flush with charming New England history. Built in 1762, The Tavern served as a public house for 40 years, and was a notable meeting point for 29 New England Minutemen to gather before marching to and battling in The Battle of…


The Dish

From pizza to pasta, wedges to wheels, and cheddar to feta, cheese is undoubtedly one of our nation’s most favorite foods -- 12.9 billion pounds of cheese were produced in the U.S. alone in 2019. And according to nationalhistoriccheesemakingcenter.org, cheese has been around almost as long a…

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I’m not sure how it happened, but September has arrived and fall is in the air. After the shortest and rainiest summer, I can recall, it’s back to school and back to busy.

Editor’s note: If you’ve never been to lunch at Pickity Place in Mason, drop everything right now and make a reservation. From their gorgeous gardens you can wander about and their shop connected to a greenhouse to the sweet cottage Little Red Riding Hood was based on, you’ll be enchanted! T…


Spotlight

It may have been cancelled in 2020 during the pandemic, but the Keene International Festival is back this year and ready to help the community celebrate its rich and vibrant cultural diversity.