SUMMER NEWSLETTER – 2017

I am currently sitting in our front room at the cottage in Willsboro, Lake Champlain. A perfect day to get comfy and write about what we have doing over the past few months.

Today is rainy and cool. I even fired up the propane stove this morning to take the chill out of the room. I know, 68 degrees is not too cold for you New Yorker’s, but my Florida blood has thinned, and seems any temp below 72 degrees is cool to me. From what we hear, that is pretty much how the spring and early summer have gone here in NY. Lots and lots of rain. The lake level is a bit higher than usual this time of year. However, there have been some beautiful sunny, warm days since we arrived. The weather has not stopped our neighbors from enjoying the lake – swimming, skiing, boating, jet skiing and just lying in the not-so-frequent sunshine We so enjoy the view of many beautiful sailboats passing in front of us traveling from the two marinas within the bay, making their way out to the “big lake,” maybe on their way to Burlington. The trains are still frequently chugging past on the tracks across the bay. As always, there are plenty of ducks, seagulls and Canadian geese to see. Several squirrels and chipmunks, as well.

We try to keep somewhat active, but as the years go by, our activities have changed some. We went on several camping trips in our 24-ft. motor home. We really enjoy that. Mostly we do “boon-docking” which means we are not connected to any outside services (water, electric, septic.) Some of our trips were to casinos located several hours from our home, where we spent the night in their parking lot. We have gone to a couple of Florida State Parks or places provided by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) which means we pretty much park in a place not supplied with anything – maybe a picnic table. One morning when staying at one of these places, we awoke to find our camper surrounded by about 50+ beautiful cows staring at our camper. They came within about 40 feet, curious as to “who we were” and “what were we doing there?”

In April, we attended a baseball game at Dodgertown, located in neighboring Vero Beach. It was the 50th anniversary of Hank Aaron being the first black player on a major league team. At the end of the month, I flew to Rhode Island, staying at Rachel (my sister Kris’ daughter), Gregg and Christopher’s house. They had planned a surprise birthday party for Dave, her Dad. I got to see Kris and Dave, my brother George and Diana, as well as some long-time friends. It was a beautiful event.

I go to lunch occasionally with my friends, usually eating at one of the restaurants on the Indian River intercostal waterway. It is always beautiful to sit on their outside decks and enjoy the birds and boats   I did two different walks with a friend – one was a bird watching event. Luckily there were people attending that could identify most of them. I am not an avid birder, but I do enjoy being in nature.

I am a member of the Woman’s Club in Sebastian, a local chapter of this national club. We do many different types of things – mostly helping with financial support and sometimes manual labor for multiple agencies in our town. We have fund-raisers to gather funds to allow this that both Jimmie and I help with and attend.

I have been secretary of our home owner’s association for 8 years. There are quarterly meetings to take the minutes for. I was involved with a project arranging to hire people to clear the tall weeds that grow in ditches that surround the subdivision. As the association owns the road, we also have “road patching” projects every now and then that volunteer residents do. This year for the first time in the 8 years I have lived there, a small (about 5-6 foot) alligator took residence in our small pond in the center of our subdivision. It only stayed a week or two. We took care while walking Cooper, our 14-pound Morkie. Alligators are known to cross land to obtain breakfast, lunch or dinner. We have lots of wildlife in the area.

 

We do volunteer work at a local low-income senior citizen complex. Meals on Wheels are delivered there. One day a week we go there to help serve the food, package “to-go” containers for those that do not join in with the other residents in the community room and do the clean-up afterward. Jimmie has added his skill as “Bingo Caller” three days a month as well. The people are really nice and so appreciative. And it makes us feel younger, even though we, too, are senior citizens. Most of the folks there are older than us.

We so appreciate seeing long-distance family while in Florida. In April, Craig, Kerry, David (13) and John (11) came to visit us for a couple of days. We also saw Scott, Lilly (7) and Iris (6) in Venice, FL   Scott is planning on moving to that area within a month or two so that he is closer to his girls. Their Mother (and girls) re-located there in the last month or so. At the end of May, we traveled to visit Scott and girls again as he had finished moving and is now settled in Port Charlotte, Fl.

June 17th, we left Florida heading North on our “snow-bird” sojourn, arriving at the “camper in the woods” in Richford, NY on the 18th.

My fifth-wheel camper was our “home” for the next two weeks. During our visit there, Jimmie added a 4’ x 6’ deck to the front entrance. It is GREAT! While at the camper, we do not have television or Internet access. Makes for quiet evenings. We had dinner with Craig and family a couple of times. Both David and John helped their Dad, and Grandpa Jim with lots of the work that was done.

I started a project there. I put in a small circular garden with 8 perennials. We put a rock border around it. And then I prepared an area (approx. 10’ x 10’) where I will “build/grow” a miniature landscape and garden with miniature plants, a couple of small houses, a castle, a meadow and pond, a church, and three hobbit houses. While there, Jimmie assisted me in building the church, complete with a tall (well, miniature tall) steeple.

We arrived at the lake on July 2nd. The next day Jimmie’s brother Robert came to visit for 4 days. We got to see the fireworks in town. They worked together to build a replacement mailbox post as the former one was destroyed over the winter. We played cards and laughed a lot.  It was a great visit.

Jimmie’s Navy buddy, Clayton, his wife Suzanne and grandson Skyler are friends we visit in the Phoenix area when we have gone out West in our camper a couple of times.  They were visiting family in Vermont, not far from Burlington. So, we took the ferryboat over to visit with them for a day. It was a beautiful trip and great visit.

My cousin Artie and girlfriend Gay came to visit overnight in July. We played cards, went out for pizza and laughed a lot.

After we arrived, Jimmie spent the first two weeks fixing things – a leak in the laundry room, the shower head also leaked, cleaning and organizing the garage, etc. I planted some flowers. Some of the time was spent cleaning away winter cobwebs and dust getting the cottage “show ready” for several different appointments from my real estate agent in attempts to find a purchaser for our beautiful summer home. Lots of showings, two “very” low offers that I rejected, but no contract yet.

I continued my work on my miniature landscape design.   I have created (with lots of help from Jimmie) the beginnings of two small houses, a castle and three hobbit houses. One of the houses is covered in bark chips, the other with small wooden dowels that are supposed to resemble a log cabin. I have done part of one of the hobbit houses and it is covered in stones. One will be covered with twigs. And the last one, I think will be covered with moss. When we return in the fall, I will place all the buildings and then start collecting tiny plants to add to the landscape.

Eric is still living in Pahrump, Nevada. He was working construction, but the current job was finished and the whole crew was recently laid off. He took advantage of this time and has completed a course in construction related subjects. He obtained a certificate for his efforts and that should assist him in locating another job. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Grandsons, Ryan and Blake, are doing well. They both seem to have lovely girlfriends. Ryan is living in Long Meadow, Mass working at Yale doing research assistant related activities. He will be applying for a PhD program soon. His girlfriend Phyu-Sin lives in New York City. They recently went on a trip to Mexico. Blake currently lives in Long Meadow. He is going to be moving to Boston on Sept 1st. He will start a position with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. His girlfriend Jacquie, lives nearby. I am very proud of them. They seem to have worked hard to carve out a good life for themselves. It is difficult to see them in person because of distance. However, thanks to technology, we can keep in contact.

Cooper, our 2 ½ year old Morkie is just as cute as ever. Lots of high energy when he meets you, but he does settle down after the first five minutes. That is a big improvement – he did not seem to settle down at all before.

This past winter, I created an additional website.  It is dedicated to life in Florida, specifically, my experiences and thoughts about living in Sebastian. If you have time (and interest) you can check out that website at – https://southmoonunderblog.wordpress.com/

I think that I have brought you up to date with our lives and our adventures. We would love to hear from you. You can visit us at the lake.. Or you can make plans to visit us in Florida. We will be heading back South in early October.  A quick e-mail will work, too.

Wishing you sunshine, laughter and love.

Susan, Jimmie and Cooper