This file contains all newsletters for April 2002

Sunday 21 April 2002


    Yesterday was in the upper 80's, so I was out working in the back and front gardens for the first time this year, digging up weeds, planting my cannas and, in general, sprucing up the place. I did real well, finishing all the meandering gardens in the back and some of the front. (Last year I didn't get a chance to plant the cannas until June)! Today it's been in the 50's, so it's back to dungarees and a coat with a hood! I started weeding the vegetable garden this morning and got about 5 rows done before the rain came, so I went inside and worked on a couple of other projects.

  I took my gas-powered weedwacker apart and found a screw loose on a plate covering the combustion chamber. Tightened it up and put all the pieces back together (no, there were no extra pieces, thank you) and it fired right up. It hadn't worked since last October. Then I put a new wooden entrance on our birdhouse. We've had a family of bluebirds come back every year to a birdhouse I put up at the entrance to the veggie garden. New babies every year. It's fun watching them. This last winter some other birds, probably woodpeckers, enlarged the entrance hole to get in. The bluebirds couldn't protect themselves with such a large hole so I created a thick square of wood with the right size entrance for them, and screwed it over the original front of the birdhouse. I went back a few hours later and I think the bluebirds are starting to bring grass in for a nest. Success.

  After several years of "lessons learned" that have increasingly made it easier for me to get the garden ready each Spring, I now see that I have one more lesson to add to the list: this Fall I am going to also pile mulch atop and around what's left of the plants, instead of just spreading it on the rows between the plants. Even though there aren't anywhere NEAR as many weeds as in previous years, it still takes a long time to get rid of the ones that grow inside my 56 permanently-staked tomato and pepper plant cages. It gets easier each year ;-)

   I'm going to be traveling quite a bit this Summer and Fall, to military bases in Virginia, California, Korea and Saudi Arabia. Good thing I got a head start on all the gardening ;-) We hoped to spend a lot of time at the condo in Bradenton, Florida, but it looks like we'll have to settle for long weekends in concert with federal holidays. Our friend Emil is now installing ceramic tile throughout the condo and it should be done by the end of May or early June. We hope to get a chance to run down there and see it then.

   We're going to go to Myrtle Beach and see Chuck and Karen over the Memorial Day holidays. I'll take some time off from work starting on the previous wednesday (22May) and we'll come back on the following Tuesday (28 May) instead of fighting the majority of holiday traffic.

   Susan called a few weeks ago from California. They have found a place and have just moved in. Susan is trying to get a job in the film industry and had an interview set up this last week. Hope it panned out! Dale and I haven't had the chance to stop over in California for quite a while, so this will give us that added push to go and see their new abode and neighborhood, as well as old friends living in L.A.

   Dale is currently in Hawaii, visiting Tracey and Alana. Our niece Rene lives in the condo just behind Tracey. These kids are living the kind of life parents dream of for their children! Dale just sent me an e-mail telling me that the sun is so hot she has to sit in the shade of the palm trees by the pool as she reads her book each morning. (sigh!)

   I seem to have gained back all that weight I lost last year. Should have known better than to have my suits taken in ;-) Hopefully I can start losing again. Doing yard and garden work during the summer is always helpful, and we still belong to a health club in Mt Airy, a nearby town, so I guess I should start back there too. (I have LOTS of things I SHOULD do or would LIKE to do, but WORKING Monday-Friday is interfering with my lifestyle ;-)

Best regards,
Barry & Dale

Sunday 07 April 2002


    Just a quick note to say that I am almost through converting the photographs for 2001 to thumbnails (etc) so that I can post them to this web site. I have already uploaded all the months except May, June and July (Take a look).

   When I finish uploading all the photos I will then add some fancy touches to the pages.

   Nothing much else to "report". It's been cold here. I did get a chance this morning to actually clean out a couple of the gardens in the front of the house. New growth from all the plants is starting to poke through the soil! My neighbors have already cut their lawns (I have my gas can in the truck and I'll stop by the station and fill it up tomorrow). If we get some warm weather next weekend I'll be out in the garden!

Best regards,
Barry & Dale