Staying busy is not hard even after a person retires. Apart from trying to build a website and commit recipes to the internet, I managed to stay rather busy. During 2017 we have majorly remodeled our bathroom, hall and pantry, built a bird garden, planted a vegetable garden, canned tomatoes and corn. We actually drove up to Iowa to get the corn though. There’s no sense in even trying to grow corn here in Kansas because the best corn comes from those farms in Northwest Iowa. Even though that’s where my extended family is from and always has been from, I’m not being partial I only share my Iowa Corn on very special occasions and I have to say, people always comment on how good it is. So we drove up to Iowa for a quick trip just to pick up a couple hundred ears of corn. We had to get back right away though, because once the corn is picked it has to be husked, cleaned, cooked and cut off the cob for the best flavor. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my Aunt Darlene and my cousins who were on the lookout for corn for us. We always have such a good time when we go up to Iowa. As many places as I have lived throughout my life, I still think the people back home in Cherokee County are the nicest ones of all.
We did some camping this year, but not as much as we have in the past. The camper is getting old and always seems in need of repair. Holly moved out in March and having her help with setting things up was something I missed very much. Last year for my birthday or Christmas, maybe it was Mother’s Day, but anyway Chase and Julie gave me this open fire cooking rig with a cast iron dutch oven. It was fun cooking with that. Chase and Julie bought a new camper this year and now I think they’ve got the camping fever just a little bit. Chase started flying a para-motor this year and they like to travel to different places to check out what’s there. Julie is his ground crew and he soars through the sky like bird. It’s pretty cool and I personally think I would have enjoyed it myself when I was younger. I’m all old and afraid these days. Something about getting older makes a lot of people afraid of heights. Maybe it’s a heightened awareness of our own mortality that comes with age.
Gardening is always a big deal for me every summer. I try really hard to grow my own tomatoes, herbs and whatever else I’m in the mood for any given year. I’ve had sweet potatoes and cantaloupe that have done pretty well. Green beans not so much. I also planted an asparagus patch back in 2016. We got to eat a couple meals from it this year, but it was still a little young to yield much . I am expecting it to do very well next year. I also added a bird garden to my list of enjoyable things. I had a bad spot in the yard that just looked dead, so when I visited my cousin Becky, in Iowa, her bird garden inspired me to give it a try. The door came from an old house where Dave’s parents used to live in New Albany, IN. It had been setting down in the shop for like 20 years, so I figured it was about time to make use of it. When Mom would come to visit, we would sit on the deck and just watch the birds and what kind showed up.
Things were really busy the first part of the year when Homeland Construction was here tearing out the hallway, hall closet, pantry and bathroom for a major remodel. They took it down to the studs and we ended up with a completely new pantry and a much bigger ADA bathroom. The window on the left used to be in the pantry and the window on the right was in the bathroom. We knocked out the wall and made a bigger bathroom. The old hall closets were combined to make one large pantry with huge double doors. I love it. We liked their work so much, that we are using them again in 2018 to take care of some flooring issues. If you’re interested in the details of the remodel, there is an entire post dedicated to it under “Projects” at the top. So now we will be busy doing just a little work in the kitchen and front room, as well, to give the rest of the house a more updated look.
This summer we travelled to Iowa twice and to Indiana twice. Dave had a family reunion this past summer and a class reunion in November. It was the first time in years, he got to spend his birthday with his sister Keta. I got to know his nieces and nephews a little better this year, too. Keta has a beautiful farm overlooking the rolling hills of Indiana. I spent most of my time in a Cracker Barrel rocking chair just looking at the view. For those who heard of the the “Brad’s Wife” story as it relates to Cracker Barrel, Brad’s wife was Keta’s daughter!! I almost felt like I was in the presence of real celebrities when Brad and Nanette came for supper one night. His other niece Rachel was in from New Hampshire and I really enjoyed her company. Mark, Dave’s nephew, took us out into their fields and we looked for geodes. Some of them are in my Bird Garden. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time with John, but he has the cutest little nephew who came by. He likes to play basketball. Having young kids around helps to keep everybody young. We both really enjoyed our visit.
We had some company this year too. Mom came out to stay three or four times at least. She came once just to visit, then another time we went and got some tomatoes to can for her to take home. Then she came for Dave’s step son’s funeral and again in November for my birthday. Brenda came along for the birthday celebration. I was so glad she came. Chase and Julie had a nice little get together at their house. Holly and Merrick came as well and then we all finished off the night at the American Legion with music and friends. On Thanksgiving, we were pleased to host Merrick’s Family. It was a very lovely day. The day after Thanksgiving, Dave’s son and grandson and their families came with the newest addition to the family. They wanted to do a four generation photo with a photo of the first Leonard David Williams, Dave’s father. There were FIVE Leonard David Williamses in the photo. Pretty neat. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to put the photo up.
And now the year is almost over and getting ready for Christmas, which has been keeping me a little busy as well. I have most of the shopping done and the presents mostly wrapped. Just need to make a trip to Hobby Lobby for some bow stuff. I guess I’ll have to set up the tree one of these days soon. Chase will be representing the Kansas bunch at Mom’s when he goes to Missouri to spend Christmas with her. Holly plans to spend Christmas with Merrick and I think Dave and I are on standby for the holiday. Oh well, it’s what happens when the kids grow up.