If “April showers bring May flowers,” then we’re in for a bumper load of flowers next month. Meanwhile, I just wish the tree over our driveway would hurry up and dump its seeds and be done with it. It’s a wonderful feeling to be standing in the driveway pelted with hundred of tiny seeds every time the wind picks up. Really.
So much for my morning grump. This has actually been a slow month for the Charest family, Virginia edition. The weather has been slowly getting back into the temperature ranges most desirable for summer people. One day the high’s are in the low 80’s, then the next evening we have frost. And there’s been a lot of rain this month.
After last year’s drought, the rain is especially welcomed. I’m not sure where we stand for getting the lakes and reservoirs back up to where they should be, but we must be getting close.
Winnie has started her gardens already. Last year, one of the first things we did after moving in was turn over two small plots on either side of our back patio. With just those two small plots, about two feet by four feet each, she was able to grow greens for several meals each week all through the summer. She later supplemented these plots with “container gardens,” five gallon buckets and small plastic bins set up on top of our picnic table and benches. She did this after we came back from our July trip to discover most of her ground-grown plants had been eaten.
This year, she turned over a few more plots. Our yard is on the edge of a rather steep hill bordering a local park with heavy woods. Over the years when no one seemingly took care of this property, the brush grew up the hillside slope into what is our yard space. During the winter we cleared back a lot of this overgrowth, and now Winnie has dug up three other plots right on the edge of the slope. She dug down the high side and leveled out the plots into a very nice terrace. I’m concerned about the soil washing away, but Winnie has told me not to worry. So, it’s her project, and one thing I’ve definitely learned is that most people are better gardeners than me.
She’s already planted seeds, and started small shoots. Sunday she planted sweet potato leaves and some pepper plants we picked up at our local farmers market. It’s nice to see these small garden plots started. Winnie has the knack for growing, and the next door neighbors are already expressing their envy.
Besides recently making contact with a childhood friend from our Farmingdale, Long Island, days, I’ve also established contact with a cousin I hadn’t heard from in about 35 years. As with Alyce Clover, Leo and Diane found us through the Internet using Genealogy.com and then tracing us to this website. Pretty cool, and I’ve already had fun corresponding and catching up on a new side of the Charest family. They currently live in Georgia, not too far from Atlanta. While It’s great to be able to correspond, and get some new info for our Genealogy section of this website, I’m also hoping they’ll stop by for a visit one day en–route back to Rhode Island.
China or Bust
Winnie will be going back to visit family next month, and last night took the next step in her preps by pulling out the suitcases.
We purchased the tickets at end of March via the online site Orbitz so we could get a bit of discount. She’ll be flying United to Los Angles, and since she’s flying economy UA only allows one “free” checked bag of 50 lbs (23KG). For a second bag UA charges a $25.00 surcharge. A search-n-seize inspection by the TSA is normally included, no charge. Nice. I can still remember when airlines used to encourage people to fly instead of doing everything possible to discourage them. Does anyone remember the “Fly Me” commercials?
Winnie is planning on being gone one month, from mid-May until mid-June. Even though I’ll have to fend for myself while she’s gone, I’m happy she has the chance to go back and visit her family. It’s been nearly three years since she’s been in America, and a bumpy three years it’s been. I just started my new job so I have no vacation time built up to go with her. If things go well for us this year financially, I hope to join Winnie for a trip back to China next time around. There is a whole lot of country to explore there!
Fixing the Boat
I started renovating my boat Sea Dreams back in November by tearing out the rotten, water saturated floor, buoyancy foam, and stringers. Since it’s sitting outside, I had to wait until warm weather to start epoxy the new materials back in. Waiting for warm has helped make this winter seem endless, but I was able to use the time to plan how to make repairs and stage some of my parts and materials.
We’ve had at least one weekend day of weather warm enough for epoxy work every weekend this month, and several week day afternoons. With this, I’ve been able to start putting things back in. This past weekend I finished the rough work of pouring in new stringers using a composite core material called “SeaCast.” I’ll be writing about this in a future “Feature Article” about my project, but for now just let me say; pouring new stringers was a miserable job. The stringers look good and feel much more solid than they would have been had I used wood. But just miserable work.
I still need to sand and cap them off, and then I’ll be ready to lay in the new deck. With luck, and a few more weekends of warm non-raining weather, I can have Sea Dreams back in the water by June better than before.
More to follow…