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The year started normally with a family gathering at Nico and Steph's house. We used our new "Grandpa's Goody Getter" to crack butternuts. We were in the local "Being the Change" group which made a presentation on climate change.
Sister Pat stayed with us while searching for a house. Jerry worked with VITA to help people fill out federal and state income tax forms and started a website for a local artist. Jerry was diagnosed with a "Baker's cyst" in his right knee but that went away after a couple months. We enjoyed Hartland Library seminars, bridge games at Cobb Hill, plays at Northern Stage (including a wonderful performance of "King Lear" starring Jamie Horton) and movies at Billings Farm in Woodstock.
Memorable events included the Tiki Torch Trek with Bonnie and Craig, visiting Hope & Denny and seeing their grandson star in "Footloose," the Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro, visits to the Fairbanks Museum & Athanaeum in St Johnsbury and the Montshire Museum in Norwich. Through the first few months we continued work on our bathroom, installing medicine cabinet, lights, vanity cabinet, trim boards, a custom-made ceramic sink, vanity top, backsplashes, paint and varnish.
Covid-19 hit our area in early March and changed everything. Masks became standard apparel outside the house. We stopped going out to events and stopped meeting other people. We had short visits from relatives and friends, limited almost entirely to hugless outdoor conversations while social distancing. We learned to use Zoom. We reduced car travel so much that the fuel tank needed filling less than once per month.
News programs became repetitive with the pandemic and politics always leading and seldom anything really new. We watched the political debates, voted, and helped count votes after each election. We had ideas for improving our house and this seemed the right year for implementing them.
Outside work started in April when Jerry dug up the bad old pipes of our septic system and had them replaced. Nina created two new flower beds, moved perennials around to better locations and started work on a big vegetable garden. We got pallets and created bins for composting food scraps. In May a friend started working with Jerry to replace our old "mudroom" back entryway with a new addition which includes a mudroom and also makes an existing small room much larger. This was a major project which continued through the summer and into the fall.
In the middle of that work, rotten wood was discovered along the bottom front of the house so that was replaced after jacking up the house some. We also replaced most of our windows and painted most of the house and garage. We were extremely busy! The results of those construction efforts were excellent and we saved heaps of money by doing most of the work ourselves. We are happily enjoying all the improvements.
Normal summer activities were considerably curtailed but we managed a few. We visited Jennifer and Antonio in New Hampshire and Betty and Dennis at Metcalf Pond. Hilary and Rod swam at Sumner Falls. Erin & Danny & Eli & Gabe saw our yard. Jennifer, Antonio and Elisa kayaked the Connecticut. We fished once and caught a bass. We camped at Coolidge State Park and visited the Coolidge Homestead. We helped promote electric bicycles by storing three "loaner" e-bikes in our garage for a few weeks so townspeople could try them out. We tried the e-bikes ourselves on a jaunt to Windsor and may look into getting some for ourselves.
In the fall we finished installing all but two windows and finished painting for this year, leaving a little more to do in 2021. The remaining vegetables were harvested and frozen, canned or eaten. We were glad to have more time to relax. A day of apple picking in Putney led to the purchase of a "Sutton Beauty" apple tree and planting it in our front yard. We drove to Fairfax and back, enjoying brilliant foliage. We took a few walks, but not as many as we wanted. We made jelly from wild grapes. Nina went shopping in Concord with her sisters. Dorothy and friend Dave visited for an afternoon. Granddaughter Sara stayed with us during her transition to Vermont and we enjoyed a Thanksgiving turkey she received from her new job at King Arthur Baking Company. We took exploratory drives around Woodstock and Royalton for the Vermont 251 Club.
As winter approached we stayed inside more and spent more time on computers and television. Nina got a new laptop and spent many hours getting it set up. Jerry upgraded his laptop's operating system and did a few computer projects. We installed a "land line" telephone to supplement our cellphone which doesn't work well in our house. We played cards twice with Gary & Sue. Nina continued knitting mittens for local people and started making a complicated sweater for her niece. On December 17 our yard changed from bare ground to three feet of snow. Covid-19 vaccines appeared but infection rates skyrocketed and we will continue wearing masks and social distancing well into 2021.
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