Charest Family on the Web Posts

A Garden Rhapsody in Bamboo
A Garden Rhapsody in Bamboo

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Winnie is only really happy when she’s working in her gardens. She’s been building gardens ever since joining me here in the US, trying different plants and different techniques. For this year, she’s outdone herself not only by building her largest garden ever, but in her elaborate use of bamboo for fencing and trellises.

She’s truly built a garden rhapsody in bamboo.

Family Stories

This And That - Catching Up On All The Family News
This And That

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

So after a long dry spell it’s time for another edition of This and That; all the news fit to print and a whole lot more.

So to catch up on current news; The Covid-19 pandemic is almost over except for all the places it’s not. Floods are washing out Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, London, and parts of China. The Northeastern United States is burning up while roving gangs of MAGA-morons roam the vast wastelands waiting for their savior trump to return to the White House in a blaze of glory. Across the street from the White House, Congress-people are locked in a macabe dance of swords, fingers in their ears, screaming “I Can’t Hear You!”

In good news; today is pizza day, the second time we’ve had Costco pizza in sixteen months. I guess we take whatever good we can find and run with it.

Family Stories

Bayliner 2010 BR175 Runabout Named Sea Dragon
Sea Dragon: Our Bayliner 2010 BR175 Runabout

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Winnie and I decided to celebrate yesterday’s Fourth of July on the water. It turned out to be a very memorable event. We had some adventure, learned new things, and an overall great day of boating. Especially after a year of pandemic lockdown, it was a very pleasant day indeed.

Family Stories

Winnie and Her Chickens

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Last week Winnie and I took a brave leap into suburban homesteading with backyard chickens. We acquired three hens that just started laying (according to the farmer we purchased them from), and four chicks. Ideally, at least a couple of the chicks are hens and will add to our egg-laying flock.

This experiment is already turning out well for our breakfasts. However, the side issue for our backyard chickens project is someplace to properly keep them. Building a quickie chicken coop involved some creative thinking on the fly.

Family Stories

A pair of chickens - hen and rooster
Another Fine Feathered Mess!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

We’ve been doing small scale suburban gardening ever since we settled here in Northern Virginia. Winnie is a terrific gardener, and has been gradually building more expansive vegetable gardens each year. But this hasn’t qualified us to call ourselves “suburban homesteaders.”

Saturday, that changed when we expanded our suburban gardening into backyard chickens.

Family Stories

Intro

Sea Dragon At Anchor
Our Bayliner 175 “Sea Dragon” at Anchor

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I think most small power boat operators operate in similar patterns; run the boat out on the water for a bit, then anchor out in a quiet place for fishing or picnicking with family and guests. Safe anchoring isn’t hard, but if done incorrectly can cause problems.

Over the years of owning small power boats (18 foot runabouts), I’ve come up with a few hacks for making anchoring easy and safe. I feel these hacks apply to all recreational power boats at least under 21 feet length.

On The Water

We are drowning in emails
Drowning in Emails!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I’ve pretty much lived on the Internet for the past 20 years. As one measure of my life online; I maintain four email accounts that I check daily. I have several more email accounts that I don’t much bother with beyond a weekly check. These are in addition to my iPhone text messages and business Skype messages I deal with, daily. Believe it or not, I sometimes even receive non-spam phone calls.

Last week, I decided I needed to clean up my primary email inbox. I came to this decision when I saw I had over 99,000 unread emails and was using 98 percent of my allotted account space. Cleaning up my inbox became another adventure in online living.

Family Stories

Dual Exercise Bike Elliptical Trainer
Dual Exercise Bike Elliptical Trainer

Seven years ago, Winnie and I invested wisely in an indoor exercise machine. By then we had lived in this semi-Northern climate, with four distinct seasons, long enough to learn we did very little physical activity during winter months. So, we thought that having an exercise machine would give us the option to stay physically fit.

Over the years since, our machine has been helpfully parked in our basement den, readily available whenever either of us get the urge to use it. However, a couple of weeks ago our exercise machine suddenly stopped working, and getting it repaired has been a different kind of exercise.

Family Stories

Multiple Train Wrecks - Comfortably Numb
Multiple Train Wrecks

My tastes in music come in waves. I’ll get hooked on one artist, or even one album, for several weeks and replay it constantly. Then, suddenly, my mood changes and I’m hooked on something else

Hello? Over the past few weeks I’ve been hooked on Pink Floyd music. For you young folks out there, this band’s most famous album was “Dark Side of The Moon” one of the best-selling albums of all time. But it’s a song from another album that has been rattling around in my head these past weeks.

Opinions & Commentary

A Bride To Spring and New Life
A Bridge To New Life

Spring has sprung, and with it comes new life. Mother nature is dressing trees with new greens while early season flowers bloom. Birds are returning to their summer habitats, being nominally welcomed by their year-round feathered residents.

Here inside the on-going pandemic lifestyle, there are signs life is also returning after a year-long winter of frozen plans and lives put on hold. The spring weather seems to be building a bridge from the pandemic to post-pandemic life. People are slowly springing back to life.

Family Stories