Well, I guess it’s fair to say that we are now settled in for the winter. The Emily Grace was hauled, polished, bottom-painted and shrink-wrapped. A few more boxes of stuff were taken off and the interior cleanup is underway to prepare her for sale. With all the systems winterized, working on a cold boat without running water will not be easy or pleasurable so that may be limited over the winter months. I’ve been spending some time listing the on-board equipment and looking at dates for critical maintenance items that a future owner would be asking.
Up in Ludlow, Mass, we have had contractors in to update thermostats, blow insulation into the house walls and have increased the size of the propane tanks in the old cottage. We plan to use propane as our primary heat source since the propane company considered us new customers and we will get half-price propane for 12 months! Electric baseboard heat (provided free by good friend, George Delicato) will serve as backup and supplementary heat during any really cold snaps. Heat tape has been installed on all exterior water pipes and only time will tell if the water will continue to run throughout the winter.
We got a second car (used 2013 Toyota Rav4) so the girls will not be inconvenienced when I leave town to work on the boat. We also added two rescue pets to our household from a local animal shelter. Tusker (named after an African beer) is a 12-week old beagle mix puppy and was the runt of a litter rescued from a drainage pipe in Virginia. Bo (named after “Bohemia Especial” a Dominican Republic beer) is a 12-week old black and white short haired kitten. They both get along well and are a good fit for our worldly family.
Emily has transitioned well from homeschooling into public schools and after some early learning pains, managed to finish her first term (quarter) with an A in all seven of her classes. In addition to the studies, she enjoyed dolling up for Crazy Hair day. She has joined a couple of clubs and recently joined a youth group associated with our church. She is slowly making school friends and has plans for a mall/movie day with 3 girlfriends for her upcoming 14th birthday.
Kim has also joined a ladies group at the church and has attended several functions. Tom has been busy fixing up the boat and cottage and is working with an architect on a design for a new house. We are excited to learn that yet another new housing development has just been approved along the northern border of our property near where we plan to build. Our 40 acre homestead will soon be surrounded on 3 sides by McMansions. We are in discussions with the developer and should be able to gain a much shorter, level driveway to our new house. Time will tell.
We attended the Big E which is a massive New England fair complete with horse shows, rides, greasy food and face painting. Emily also enjoyed having her first normal house-to-house trick or treating in 7 years. Kim sewed her the leopard dress that looks good enough to wear out on the town. Emily carved her first pumpkin ever since she was not wielding a knife when we left in 2008. She did pretty good since the knife she is most familiar with is a bush machete!