2020 Holiday Letter
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Travel Highlights this year
WoW! What a year for travel! Oppps, there was no travel this year due to Corona Virus :-( Helen and I stayed home and only went out once a week for grocery shopping.
No use of the trailer this year :-( Most campsites in California were closed and we didn't want to venture far from home.
So What Did We Do All Year?
The year started off with building 7 cabinets. These cabinets are 7 feet tall by 30 inches wide by 18 inches deep. We needed them for extra storage. Three are in the dining room to create a kitchen pantry. The other 4 are scattered through-out house. We spent about 2 months making these and they really look good!
Infrastructure is always a good thing to have. Here you can see the outfeed table I built for my table saw. I made extensions for my saw horses to hold a sheet of plywood which was at the perfect height to support lumber coming off of my table saw.
Once the lumber is cut to size, it is time to sand it smooth.
We put our friend, Tim, to work sanding and vacuuming the plywood. He was visiting us over the 2019 Christmas holidays and loves working on other people's projects :-)
Charles really wanted this part of the project to go faster, so he attacked it with two orbital sanders at a time.
Once the top, bottom and the center fixed shelf are glued, the cabinet is held together with home made wooden clamps till the glue cures.
In California, we have to worry about earthquakes, so each cabinet is securely fastened to the wall. These are the three in the dining room which Helen uses as a pantry.
Cozy Homebuilt Airplane – SOLD
The Cozy has been sold. I hadn't worked on it for three years and finally came to the realization the project would not be completed. In July, I placed an ad on Barnstormers.com and in October, it was sold to a new builder in Florida. A Cozy builder friend of mine, who lives in Los Angeles, has a specially built trailer for moving Cozy aircraft. He drove up to my area, picked up the plane and took it to Sarasota, Florida for the new builder. I hope he gets as much pleasure working on it as I did.
My good friend and building partner, Jeff, moved to Auburn, California, to be closer to their kids and grandkids. Jeff had been keeping the engine for the plane at his house. When he moved, the engine came back to me. So, once the plane was sold, I thought I would have lots of extra room in the garage, but that was not to be. The engine, plus all of the parts and accessories that go with it, take up as much floor space as the plane. I'm now actively trying to sell it. Know anyone that would like a 1989 Mazda 13B rotary engine with a propeller speed reduction unit attached to the front?
Trying Out a Meal Kit Service
My brother convinced me to try out EveryPlate. They are a service which provides a selection of 11 meals a week. You choose either 2, 3 or 4 meals and they ship you all the ingredients and the recipes to make the meals. The meals are simple with only 6 or 7 ingredients per meal and it takes us 45 minutes to an hour to make a meal. It is really neat! We have been using them for three weeks and have enjoyed every meal we have made. I was able to get a dicounted rate of $3 per person, per meal, for 3 weeks, plus $9 for shipping. Now that the discount is over, the price goes up to $5 per meal, plus $9 for shipping.
Even though we really enjoyed the EveryPlate meals, we like to do our own shopping, which has been the highlight of our week. Next, we plan to try a meal planning service, Mealime which is similar, but they only provide the recipes and the shopping list. You do your own shopping. They have a basic version which is free and pro version which offers more meal choices and a few other benefits. Have you tried either a meal kit service or a meal planning service? If so, I'd like hear about the ones you have tried.
In February, before the CoronaVirus shut everything down, our good friends Dee Dee & Jeff and Dee Dee's sister Patty, asked if we would like to see a negative tide. A negative tide is one which is much lower than usual. In the case of Half-Moon Bay, about an hours drive from my house, the tide was so low, you could walk out on the reef. We saw lots of sea creatutes, such as octopus, oysters and clams, spiny urchins and a host of other sea animals that had gotten caught in the many pools of water that were isolated from the rest of the ocean.
The lowest portion of the tide lasted about 2 to 3 hours, so we had plenty of time to look around, though it was a bit tricky walking on top of a reef. At the end of the day, we went to a popular seafood restaurant in the area where we dined on many of the creatures we had seen. It was a very fun day.
Hiking in Muir Woods
Dee Dee and her sister, Patty, wanted to go hiking in Muir Woods. Unfortunately, Jeff could not join us as he had recently had surgery. The drive up was beautiful and we had a great time hiking amoung the very tall redwood trees.
On another trip with Dee Dee and Jeff, we visited the Oakland Art Museum, again, this was before CoronaVirus. They had a very interesting special exhibit on Burning Man. Here is their description of the event:
Each year the week long Burning Man event attracts over 70,000 people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community.
Making Face Masks
At the beginning of the CoronaVirus, Helen and I decided to make a couple of masks for our use. They were so easy to make, we ended up making 20! Charles found the design he liked best, then layed out the pattern and cut the material, while Helen sewed them all together.
One piece of material we used had a Snoopy pattern on it, so we thought it would be a fun design for Granddaughter, Helena. We even made a specially sized one for her. Other masks we made were solid blue and solid red color.
It has been fun getting the comments on the Snoopy masks when we wear them to the store :-)
Our Garden This Year
The story of the most prolific, hearty tomato plants starts with a fresh tomato from a store, containing sprouted seeds. 12 seeds became plants, and 4 were selected to continue growing. Just look at the pictures! 20 good-sized tomatoes were harvested daily for a few weeks. Now it is December 13th and 2 more tomatoes were picked! In addition to our 4 “freebie” tomato plants we planted 4 nursery raised plants, which gave us many tomatoes.
We also planted strawberries, green beans and grew baseball-bat sized zucchini! The strawberry plants are generating many runner plants.
These are our Costco tomato plants. The picture was taken about a week after they were planted in April.
The flowering plants are doing so well, they even attact humming birds. It took Helen days to get this shot. Can you find the humming bird?
Visitors this Year
No visitors this year :-( We were supposed to have two German college students visit us for 3 months. They are majoring in English and as part of their course requirements had to spend 3 months in an English speaking country. One of them was the daughter of our good friends Peter and Beatrice who live in Germany. But, due to the pandemic, all travel to and from Europe was cancelled. We were looking forward to their visit and had prepared our trailer so we could take them all over the Western USA.
We hope your year was as eventful and as exciting as ours and...
We wish you a merry holiday season and a happy New Year!
Charles & Helen