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

For most of us, any kind of procedure with the word “drainage” in it most likely sounds invasive and somewhat messy. But in the case of lymphatic drainage massage, nothing could be further from the truth.

In addition to the many uses for essential oils for both personal care and in-home use, you might be surprised to learn that essential oils, including doTerra, are quite beneficial when used in gardening.

Most people’s workout routines have taken a big hit over the past year, between quarantining, social distancing rules and gym and athletic centers still offering limited hours and programs. Add to that working from home, which has ultimately led some to become less active, and you’ve got a p…


Intrepid Gardener

Welcome back to Intrepid Gardener! I was in Keene a few days ago and saw some gorgeous patches of blue on Roxbury Street. I believe the little carpet was blue scilla and there are several spots around town where you can usually see it. It’s the most gorgeous shade of blue and, over time, for…

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Well, the fall garden rush is on for me. As I write this a week ahead of publication, I see lows forecast all the way down to 32 over the next few days. That means I’ll be scrambling to move plants indoors.

Last year I planted a container with gourd seedlings just to see what they’d do. I’ve always liked a bowl full of funky shaped gourds on the dining room table in the fall and I purposely placed the big container next to the fence that surrounds my enclosed vegetable/flower-cutting garden. Su…

Partner, Joe, had given me a short list of chores to prep for a small dinner party we were having the other night. Butterfly and pound the chicken breasts, then grab some heirloom and grape tomatoes out of the garden. I should grab some parsley too. Though I’d planted curly leaf parsley, he …


By Hand By Hobby

When it comes to collecting miniatures and playing with dollhouses, this isn’t just a hobby for young children. In fact, Janine Lentsch, manager of Earth and Tree Miniatures and Dollhouses of Amherst says that this hobby started out very popular among women in their 50s to 70s, but now has a…

When it comes to purchasing jewelry, it’s hard to know exactly where it comes from, how it’s sourced and who’s making it. Fortunately enough for folks living in the greater New Hampshire and Vermont regions, there are an abundance of shops that take pride in sourcing their jewelry (and other…

Basketry, or basket weaving, is an ancient art that pre-dates pottery. This process of weaving pliable materials including willow shoots or grass can be made not only into baskets, but mats or even furniture such as wicker chairs and tables.

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Take down the birdfeeders and turn on the electric fences around the beehives and henhouse. The bears are awake and hungry after months of hibernation. Some of the sows have new cubs that weren’t there when they went to sleep.

You’ve got the gift of a new puppy at home. So now what? The task of training your dog can seem overwhelming, but it really boils down to a few basics that go a long way to building what will be a beautiful relationship with your best furry friend.

We hear a lot about artificial ingredients and preservatives being bad for our health. And with that, many people are turning to all-natural, organic products to live a healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The reach for these types of foods and products doesn’t stop with human…

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Miss Dorie came to Monadnock Humane Society with several other chihuahuas from a hoarding situation. MHS volunteer, Wendy, offered to foster her even though she already had four large dogs at home. Dorie was extremely withdrawn and needed special attention. Wendy was working from home due to…


Potpourri

Happy New Spring! May fortune smile on you. Enter broadly wealth’s source. May your year go smoothly. Felicity for the whole family. No matter the traditional greeting, the sentiment for the Lunar New Year throughout Asia is the same: happiness, fortune and good health in the coming year.

Americans in the modern world have most likely been treated using western medicine. Ayurveda, an alternative system of medicine that originated in India, is barely on our radar when it comes to conversations around healthcare.

It’s time for ghouls and gobblins… spirits and mischief … spooky dangers around any corner. It’s Halloween, a day immersed in tradition and with a history richer than the chocolate candy given to trick or treaters.

Since 1799, The Keene Sentinel has stood witness to local, state, national and international events, chronicling history as it happens with a unique focus on this community and its people. Like the venerable Monadnock Region we serve, this company has weathered all manner of challenges durin…


It Takes a Farm

“It’s an unusual site. Not many places in the northeast you’ve got that many maple trees together like that. Plus, I like the view,” described Bruce Bascom, owner of Bascom Maple Farms in Acworth. His great, great grandfather built a sugarhouse on the property in 1853, and it was replaced an…

Since the dawn of time, humans have been manipulating the world around them. From inventing new technology to altering the landscape, these innovative techniques have always served to amend the lives of the human race (hopefully) for the better. Hybrid farming is no exception — the natural h…

As concern grows in the U.S. and Europe over the climate impacts of beef production, plant-based diets are gaining ground.

In an era of digital technology, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many farms are starting to turn to online platforms — not only to sell their produce and products, but to help make their jobs easier and more efficient, share data with the government as well as fellow farmers and even reduce costs.


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

Hydropower – you may have heard the term, but just how do we generate electricity through water? According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website, it is similar to the way coal-fired power plants generate electricity. In both instances, a power source is used to turn a turbine, which turns …

Spring has sprung, and you know what that means? It’s time for the snow to melt, the tulips to bloom and the vernal pools to come to life.

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The trick this time of year is finding skiable snow. Especially after the warm week we’ve just had, there’s no snow in your backyard, but there’s still lots of snow up high. We’ve skied in perfect spring conditions at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. and the Dublin Nordic Center (both prev…

The formation of the New Hampshire Outdoor Learning Center (NHOLC) was inspired by the love and passion for the great outdoors.


Pickin' & Pokin'

Auctions have been around for a very long time…thousands of years, in fact. The word auction comes from the Latin, “auctus,” defined as “increasing.” Back in the good old days, in 500 B.C. ancient Greece, families auctioned off their daughters for marriage. Their worth was based on their bea…

What can be a more relaxing way to spend part of your Sunday evening than having a good hot soak in the tub? Submerged among the bubbles and soothing warmth, a good old-fashioned bath is something most folks rarely avail themselves of. It’s probably been at least two years since I took the t…

In a recent ELF editorial meeting, we discussed an organic/green-themed issue and I thought to myself, “What could I write about for the Pickin’ & Pokin’ column that has to do with being green?” Perplexed for a minute or two, I brought antique collecting down to its most basic concept… r…

About 40 years ago, when I lived in Richmond with my parents, a stair tread going up to my third-floor bedroom in our circa-1820 house had split and needed repair. My dad and brother took the tread off to replace it with a new one. Concealed inside the staircase was a very old letter.


The Dish

When making almost any meal, there are bound to be scraps left behind that don’t make it into the mix. Well, what if instead of tossing them in the garbage you give them a whole new look… and taste? All that’s needed is a little creativity.

There is almost nothing like fresh herbs when you’re cooking a dish… and eating it. Organic, home-grown herbs offer a richness that simply can’t be matched with those in plastic containers or pre-packaged from the supermarket. It’s close, yet sort of far.

My Gramma is one of those who comes from a nearly bygone era… she cans everything that comes out of Grampa’s quarter-acre garden (that he still maintains, even at 87 years old); she bakes almost daily; and she sews, quilts, knits and crochets all kinds of things to sell at craft fairs and as…

“The idea makes so much sense and has just resonated with people at such a profound level,” said Jean Hamilton, the statewide coordinator for Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE). The program, born out of the pandemic, has fed thousands of people in the state of Vermont over the last many months. But…


Spotlight

Peterborough- and Keene-based band Modern Fools formed six years ago, but it took a pandemic to give them the time and space to create their first album.

She has spent her career as a vocational and career counselor, interior designer and restaurant owner — now, Cheryl Bencivenga is taking some time to pursue another life-long passion.

With her lens as a director always trained on concepts of gender and sexuality, Kirsten Riegler created what may be a completely unique theater experience.