Greetings Friends, and Family, and welcome to the Fall 2007 edition of the R___ family newsletter! We hope you are enjoying the change of seasons: the cool weather, the beautiful colors, and the harvest of all your summer efforts. Our tribe is recovering from one trip, preparing for another, and coping with a less-than-stellar harvest.
Our biggest summer projects are behind us, and still there seems so much to do. The outside of the house is painted, and the entire garage cleaned out (we didn't even do that when we moved in!). October is here, and we're Fall-Cleaning, getting everything ready to ride out the long cold. After that's finished, we'll decorate the house to scare the four or five trick-or-treaters we might get (hey, that just means more candy for us!). It also means we can cruise the residential neighborhoods, taking truckloads of pre-bagged leaves for our compost. Har-har! Two years ago, our street had a bear adopt us, he lived next door eating mulberries for about a month. Last year, and early this year, there was a skunk family taking up residence. This year, we have a large turkey seeking refuge in the bosque that surrounds us. We're not sure how much longer he'll be safe, but he struts around up and down the street like he owns the place. We've also spotted foxes this year, and there are deer tracks in our yard again. I really enjoy our local wildlife scene.
Rhetta Jae (4 1/2), our first-born most beautiful and talented daughter, started attending preschool three afternoons a week, and we are seeing lots of changes in her social interaction. She is still greatly interested in the arts, and is drawing increasingly more complex and imaginative things. Music and dancing are also high on her list of favorite things to do. Late this summer, she has started reading and writing in earnest. We are stressing phonetic pronunciations first, so there are some humorous mis-steps. But, we figure it's best to get down the rules first, and address the exceptions later. Otherwise, it gets confusing. She now takes every opportunity to read signs and large labels all around her. Sometimes, she labels her drawings with an important word, and at school, she often signs her artwork.
The newest R___ intern, young Willon Robert (9 months), is about the smiliest baby you ever did see. Really, it's amazing how happy he is every day. And he wakes up so well, grinning and glad to be awake within mere seconds of opening his eyes. Come to think of it, whose kid IS this, anyway? He stands with some assistance, but doesn't yet walk. He has two and a half teeth, now, and we think another one on the way, and so he babbles quite a bit, and drools a lot. He waves (sometimes), and says things like “mom-mom,” and what sounds a lot like “hi,” and “hey,” and just the other day started saying “hi, da-da!” No foolin! He sure has a lot of red in his hair, but otherwise resembles his old man quite a bit. Sorry, dude!
Farm news: this year's yield is a tad disappointing. The beans seem as good as last year, the squash is the biggest it's gotten so far (but still has far to go), and we seem to be getting decent carrots. Our peaches were at once too numerous to eat before they started going bad, but instead of preserving we frantically gave most of them away. But it was one tasty week! Yum! The beets were overwatered, and the corn did not get enough. Tomatoes did alright, and the peppers came in well. No apricots or plums this year, and the apples are still quite small. Turns out our apple tree produces something resembling Golden Delicious apples, though slightly more bitter, and really tasty. Overall, we decided we need a new approach to watering. We have tried a different system every year, and just don't feel like the plants are getting what they need. So, we discussed it, and we think next year we will pare back to about half our current planting, just the essentials, while we figure out something new. This will also give us time to re-tap our well, and get an appropriate-sized well pump specific to the system we design. Then, in aught-nine, we should be cooking with gas. Our plan to expand into small animals this year did not yet materialize. But we're still hopeful that next year will be the Year of the Chicken. Mmmm. I can taste those fresh eggs now.
The end of September took us to Albuquerque, New Mexico for some visiting, but also for lots of cleaning, sorting, and packing stuff from Grandma's house. In only a week, we accomplished quite a bit, and the trip went off smoothly. We saw family, we saw friends, we saw dinosaurs and had a wonderful time. Explora!, a fantastic new children's museum, was especially fun for the kids. We only hit snow once on the return trip. For Colorado, that's pretty good. November will see us travelling again, this time to Kansas. To see what we could see. So to speak.
The genealogy project has just about fizzled out. It appears all leads are exhausted at this point, and the search has been fruitful. The report should be finished this fall, and our hope is to figure out a cost-effective and visually stimulating way to publish this info online. There are many examples of other people who have done this, and everyone's is different.
The little white car is still amazing us by getting 40+ miles per gallon, pretty impressive for it's age and odometer reading. The purple car just got a new clutch, and is now limping along on a wounded transmission. The injury is not critical at this point, but definitely will require surgery in the forseeable future. The pickup just got a brand new exhaust system, and is running pretty well. Good, strong truck, and very reliable. Farm-worthy. Go, Chevy!
Well, that's all the news from Lake Woebegone, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.