Category: <span>Family Stories</span>

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

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

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

College Diploma
Receiving a Diploma

As the old saying goes; “No job is complete until the paperwork is finished.” Well, for my senior citizen college adventure, the job is finished. A few days ago I received my graduate diploma via snail mail. It was a very nice feeling indeed.

Family Stories

Newspaper Delivery Boy Memorial
Newspaper Delivery Boy Memorial

As regular as clockwork, we’re once again fighting over the minimum wage. For those lucky people living without benefit of TV news; the minimum wage references the minimum amount of money our government forces employers to pay their employees. Depending upon which side of the fence you’re on, this is either a basic governmental role of providing for the common good. Or, it’s a serious overreach of government leading down that slippery slope towards communism socialism tyranny a 1000 year reign of terror.

The minimum wage issue does not impact me personally. But, I remember my very first job, and I know many people currently working at minimum wage (or less). I see this as an issue of fairness

Family Stories

Research Submersible Alvin
Research Submersible Alvin. Woods Hole Institute

A Quora member posted another interesting question on submarines. The question was “Can you winch a submarine up from the bottom of the ocean, say 8000 feet?” This question gave me the opportunity to write about two famous submarine incidents. One of these involved one of my favorite submersibles ever, the DSV-2 Alvin.

Family Stories Quora Re-Posts

Chinese New Year Ox
The Year of the Ox

Yesterday was China’s annual Lunar New Year celebration. In the Chinese calendar, New Year is the biggest celebration of the year typically celebrated by a mass temporary migration of humanity headed back home for the holiday. Although this year’s celebration is a bit muted due to Coronavirus-related travel restrictions, New Year is still a very big Chinese holiday.

Family Stories

Front View of an Old Toy Ocean Liner
Front View of My Toy Ocean Liner

My maternal Grandfather was among the people who inspired me the most when I was growing up. He was an immigrant from Germany and supported himself and his family as a house painter and general carpenter. He could make anything out of wood and frequently made us, his grandchildren, all kinds of cool wooden toys.

Alas, like too many childhood things, most of the toys he made me disappeared over the years. They were victims of my family moving, or letting my younger brothers have my things when I grew up and joined the Navy. However, one toy did manage to survive, abet in a state of disrepair. Recently, I took a trip down memory lane and restored this old toy.

Family Stories