Annual Summary of 2018

In 2018 we enjoyed much time with family members. The year started with a party for Jerry's 75th birthday. Later that month we rode AMTRAK to New York for a visit with Hilary and Dorothy during which we saw several movies plus the hit Broadway show "Hamilton." Our longest trip of the year was the drive to Wisconsin in June for the 50th wedding anniversary of Jerry's brother and sister-in-law, a very happy celebration. Ben and Katyana visited us in Vermont from their home in Tucson. Jennifer and Antonio (14) moved from Lima, Peru to Conway, New Hampshire so we saw them several times and are delighted that they are nearby. Hilary drove up to do things with us fairly often in every season. Cruising friends from New Zealand came for two fine days to see our area and reminisce about sailing days. Throughout the year we got together with siblings and friends for many meals and card games. The year ended on a high note when children and grandchildren celebrated Christmas at our house.

There were no major projects this year on our house but there were several improvements. We finished the trim and paint in rooms upstairs, made a single bed for the "sewing room" downstairs, installed a motion light for the driveway, bought and installed a dehumidifier, garage door opener, heat pump hot water heater, electric lawnmower, and upgraded the heating system, septic system and outside grill. Snow was heavy during the year's first months so Jerry got good aerobic workouts with the shovels and a wonderful neighbor with a big snowblower helped clear a few exceptional snowfalls.

During the warmer months Nina's flowers bloomed while Jerry trimmed the lawn and hedges and dug invasive weeds. Rodents caused the biggest problems. In order to save the seeds in bird feeders for the birds, we set Havahart traps during snowy months and relocated many gray squirrels, red squirrels and chipmunks to faraway places. One memorable Spring day a big woodchuck ran across the back field followed by six small woodchucks. Growing vegetables is impossible with resident woodchucks. Our garden suffered as did all those nearby until a mix of traps and smoke bombs eventually eliminated the menace.

We invested much time and effort in our vegetable garden and it provided plenty of greens, tomatoes, beets, etc. We ate heaps of fresh food that we knew had no pesticides or chemical additives. There was far too much to eat immediately so Nina spent many hours picking, washing, trimming, shredding, parboiling, bagging and otherwise preparing stuff for the freezer. She also made jelly from rhubarb and wild grapes. There are still pumpkins and squash on cellar shelves and the freezer is quite full.

This year we watched more plays and movies than ever before. We have season tickets to Northern Stage and go occasionally to other theaters in the area. It was a treat to see a splendid production of "Hair" 50 years after seeing it on Broadway. We watch many PBS Television shows plus movies on Netflix, Hulu and Kanopy. Hilary is constantly involved in making documentaries and we saw the premiere of "Killer Bees" which she produced. We're catching up on some of the culture we missed while on the boat.

2018 was an election year and we were motivated to participate more than usual. Along with a majority of voters in our country we are not happy with many of our country's current leaders. We joined a rally at the state capitol building in support of common-sense gun legislation, signed petitions to national legislators, supported local candidates for state legislature and counted votes at the polls on election day.

During the summer we took several mini-vacations, sleeping in our tent in state parks and adding new towns to the ones we have visited as members of the Vermont 251 Club. Canoeing and fishing are often included in these expeditions and almost always there is a walk in the woods. This is a beautiful state and getting away from home to enjoy it is valuable. Snowshoe walks are an occasional winter exercise but our tendency is to hibernate when it is very cold outside. Nina knits mittens and hats for gifts and contributed 36 pairs to a church Christmas clothing drive. Jerry is learning about taxes so he can help low-income folks fill out confusing forms and take advantage of little-known features of the tax laws. He also created a blog-type report of our 1985 bicycle trip with our daughters in Great Britain.

To sum up, it was a good year for us and we are looking forward to 2019.