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Family Gatherings

March 29 - April 7
written April 2 +
Dear Friends and Families,

This is another simple story, just keeping our own record.  Not sure you're interested, but I know we will want to look back in a few years on even "normal" life.

It is a garden theme this time and we'll start with a garden party.  The local nursery (plant-type) hosts Friday and Saturday evening beer garden and truck feeds.  It's a pretty popular event, now that it is a bit warmer. Ordering interesting things from the food trucks and having the chance to eat, sip beer, and  listen to music, surrounded by roses, is a nice part of our neighborhood.  Of course the train noise is also there, but it too is part of our neighborhood.
Speaking of roses, our garden is doing quite well, if I do say so myself.  Earlier, we had given the plants a haircut like they had not seen in years and we worried we would have killed some.  Nope, they came roaring back and promise us a summer of color and perfume.
Elsewhere in our yard, it's more of a construction scene.  We have a new orchard of five citrus trees, in memory of our 16-tree orchard in Pommersfelden.  This one is smaller, but I hope it thrives as well.  We are also starting to fill in some of the holes in the front yard, or at least pounding in stakes where trees are SUPPOSED to go.  This demonstrates to the neighbors that we are trying. 

Out back, our water system modifications are still pending, although I did manage to locate the main water cut-off valve, buried eight inches below ground.  That only required digging up 15 feet of trench!  Our other project is Marianne's art studio, which is getting a colorful paint treatment.
We had plans for more yard and shed progress later in the week.  The first task was to find out where the existing sink drain in the shed went.  Unfortunately, it went about eight feet into the yard and stopped.  It looks like we'll need to run a new drain line, but that's OK because I have so much trenching experience now.

Thursday evening, we joined the Cambridge Avenue bunch for a Mexican dinner at a small dive a few miles from home.  The food was authentic and good, and the crowd noisy and fun.  Marianne snapped a few candid moments.
The BIG BLOCK EVENT was Saturday's annual rummage sale.  We put out all sorts of things we should have left behind in Germany and managed to have fun, make a few dollars and, most importantly, make room in the garage.  Maybe, someday, we will be able to park in there.  Katinka, Marianne's sister, joined our sale and offered her famous home-made salsa.  As usual, it was a hit and she sold every jar.  Congratulations.
After a hard day of selling junk, the neighborhood joined in a pot luck supper.  It seems like we don't need much of an excuse for good food and wine.
Sunday was a Mamo day.  We picked her up for breakfast at IHOP, one of our local favorites, and then came home and just "hung out", one of her favorite activities.  I redid the path out to the colorful home art venue so her walker could pass and Marianne and her mom spent a good hour sitting under the orange tree, chatting, before we all continued our normal activities: fixing Sunday dinner (M's job); digging trenches preparing for Monday's plumber (J's job);  enjoying the sunny table and bird songs (Mamo's job).
Now it's Monday, and after weeks of having the places filled with trenches, we have made progress. Robert, the friendly plumber, made it back and capped off  the water feed to several of the old hose bibs, including the one that would have been in the middle of the (planned) boccie court.  I can't tell you how much work this has been -- for me, the trencher-and-concrete-post-anchor-remover.  Now, we can at least consider finishing the back yard, although it will be bit by bit.
We needed a functioning back yard before Gabby and the kids arrived after lunch, but that's another story.

In any event, do stay in touch.

John and Marianne


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