2010 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010! We hope you all have had a wonderful year and that the new year will be even better.

Last winter was a relatively mild and pleasant winter with no unpleasant driving incidents. Spring was filled with anticipation for many summer and fall activities to come.

In May Bob and his friend, Al Bergeron, hiked 40 miles on the Appalachian Trail from about Mendon Mountain to West Hartford, Vermont as a pre-hike in preparation for their summer’s hike of The Long Trail along the spine of the Green Mountains in Vermont. It was a good prep hike which they enjoyed very much. On June 1st we drove to North Troy in Northern Vermont and the men started hiking again with all their gear for a 10-day trip. The next afternoon at 5:15 Bob called to ask if I would be willing to drive up to Jay Peak and pick them up because he had fallen and hurt his ankle and could not continue hiking. He could not get in to see his doctor but went to the physical therapist we have used and was told he needed x-rays. Three weeks later finally the doctor called and said he couldn’t see any problem on the x-ray. Another three weeks went by with still pain so he saw an orthopedic surgeon who looked at the x-rays and immediately said, ” You know the ankle is broken, don’t you?” You could have knocked him over with a feather as doctor, physical therapist, and two orthopedic residents all didn’t see the break in his fibula. Finally now, six months later he is beginning to run a little, something that has been impossible. But who wants to run, anyway….! We are all grateful the pain is going away.

Having told you all that, it has not stopped him from hiking…except for the first month or so. In August Bob went to Utah where he met Janus and some of Janus’s friends for a trip to Mount Whitney where Bob hiked 12 of the 22 miles while Janus went to the top. They also went to Death Valley on that trip…the lowest place in the US at 282 feet below sea level. Mount Whitney is the highest in the lower 48 states at 14,494 feet.

In late September Bob hopped into friend Chase Johnson’s Toyota Tacoma pickup and set out on a trip west where they delivered two beautiful blanket chests Chase had made for Christopher and Shellie and Megan and JB as wedding gifts. While in Utah they attended the Sunday morning session of the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the huge Conference Center. It was a lovely occasion. Following that they continued south and east to places like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Monument, Arches, and other places of similar ilk. There was a good deal of rain so they did not get as much hiking in as they had hoped. (Chase and Bob hike together somewhat locally on occasion and work on Bob’s adopted trail in Middlebury Gap…part of the Long Trail system for which he received a ten-year service pin in September.) On the way home from Utah the men stopped somewhere in Missouri to look at Toyota Tundra pickups that Bob had found on Ebay Motors but it was not what he was looking to buy.

One Monday afternoon early-ish in November Pattie was off running errands (something she does way too often for everyone’s taste) and received a call from Bob saying he had purchased a truck. It was in Texas. So on Tuesday we put him on the Dartmouth Coach to Boston where he stayed overnight until his morning flight to Dallas to pick up the truck. The seller picked him up; Bob found the truck acceptable; a couple hours later he was on the road to Vermont. He drove 1900 miles by himself and arrived home at 11:30 Friday night. The truck turned out to need new brake calipers and there are a couple other perhaps small issues, but it seems to be in pretty good shape for a ten-year old truck. Pattie has wanted a truck since the first time we had a truck back in the 70’s, but so far has only driven it one time, and that was down to Wings’ Market in East Thetford.

Last year Pattie’s Aunt Freda gave Pattie her beautiful 36-inch 4-harness Harrisville Designs floor weaving loom. Pattie had always admired the beautiful work Aunt Freda had done on her loom and had thought one day to acquire a loom and learn to weave. She had the opportunity to attend a week-long weaving class in Harrisville, New Hampshire in June (while Bob was supposed to be hiking the Long Trail–but we know how that turned out…so he was home alone for the week–actually very busy refinishing a beautiful Copeland Brothers hardwood butcher block table that we had found on Freecycle in Norwich–a great organization, by the way, and which is available all over the USA…people advertise things they want to GIVE away…find it on Yahoo Groups for your own area). The course was completely wonderful but totally exhausting. Pattie was at the studio before 7 AM and returned to the boarding house (the same one used by the girls in the 1800’s who worked in the textile mills there in Harrisville) between 10 and 11 PM…so wiped out that sleep took a while to come. The other weavers in the boarding house were wonderful company and were so helpful in teaching Pattie to weave. Of the 15 people in the workshop only Pattie and one other woman had never done any weaving. Tom Jipson, the instructor, is a fabulous weaver and a wonderful patient teacher. Pattie purchased some parts for the loom while in Harrisville, and when Megan, JB and little James came to visit in September Megan helped Pattie put on the new parts…found that they couldn’t then took loom and parts to Harrisville where Terry and other helpful people got the correct parts installed. Pattie had been given the wrong parts even though the receipt clearly stated the correct parts!. Megan purchased yarn and then wove a glorious scarf for JB. Pattie had purchased yarn for a table cloth and for a Summer and Winter table runner, both of which have yet to be warped onto the loom. Soon. Ish.

During the summer Pattie was reading an electronic bulletin board on Yahoo about spinning and saw a noticed that a spinning teacher wanted to have a group of six spinners to teach her workshop to that was going to be made into a book. Pattie wrote back and was accepted as the workshop location! So, on the second weekend in October the spinning teacher, Kate Shaffer, and four other ladies came to the house for a three-day spinning workshop. Pattie learned a long and started working on a project to blend angora rabbit fur and merino wool fiber into a soft yarn for the making of mittens. She was the least experienced spinner but really came a long way. While Megan and family were here in September Bob had seen a spinning wheel in a yard sale near the end of Godfrey Road here in East Thetford and encouraged Pattie to go look at it and buy if it seemed right. Megan and she did go, and did buy it for $75, a really good deal. During a fiber festival in November in White River Junction, Vermont Pattie met David Paul the proprietor of The Merlin Tree in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont and hired him to make her some more bobbins for the wheel. They should be ready by late winter. The new wheel spins very well, but is a totally different feel from the Ashford Traveller that Pattie was given by her friend Elsie two years ago.

In case it is not obvious from the last couple of paragraphs, there is yarn and fiber and concomitant projects everywhere in the house. Pattie came into several raw fleeces this year and has been washing them and preparing them for processing. After washing and drying the first fleece she started hand carding it. She realized that if she was to hand card the whole thing it would be ready to spin sometime toward the end of the next Millennium, so she looked around for someone to process the fleece into spinnable roving. She went to the Sunapee, NH Arts and Crafts Fair in August and met a young spinner who suggested Sallie’s Fen in Barrington, NH. Pattie loaded the clean fleece and over they went. When Megan and JB were here Pattie received word that the roving was ready so the three of them and James headed east to pick up the prepared roving. Sallie kindly gave them a tour of her mill and then out to see her flock of lovely alpacas. Everyone was in seventh heaven. They continued on to the seashore in Kittery, Maine so JB could see the Atlantic Ocean. There is one more fleece to clean then another trip to Barrington will happen and several months later roving will be ready pick up and spin.

During the summer and fall Pattie helped organize a family history conference in Concord, New Hampshire and ended up teaching a blogging class. Not that she is a great blogger but has found that it is pretty easy to set one up with Blogger and a Gmail email address. It was fun to do and she has started another blog on Windsor County, Vermont genealogy. Not very actively yet, but hopes to get things together to be more regular soon…turning over yet another new leaf. The old tree is just heaving in the wind all these new leaves creates…

Bob and Pattie are still serving in the Boston Temple as in-district missionaries and spend one week each month living in Boston and serving all day in the temple. Lovely work and now a little easier physically as they have moved from the later shift to a morning/afternoon shift. Pattie is the Gospel Principles teacher at Sunday School for investigating people and new members of the LDS Church. Bob is the 11-year old Scout leader and has a lot of fun with the boys.

In early December Bob and Pattie vacationed on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. It was unseasonably cold for them but it was sunny and there were lots of seagulls and pelicans to keep Bob company on his daily walks along the beach. Pattie did only a little beach walking as the uneven footing made her body complain. She did a lot of knitting, but did not complete as much as she had anticipated.

The Riverbow sale (Pattie’s parents’ home in South Royalton) is finally complete and as soon as court/inheritance issues are complete there will be some money released that we hope to use to raze the wonderful old log cabin we have loved for 38 years and will put up a matching half to the handicapped-comfy addition we put up last year. Bob purchased some architectural design software and has had a wonderful time dreaming a home together. Since it looks like it might actually happen Pattie had better get her oar in if there are things she wants to see in the new house.

If by some weird circumstance the info above is not enough for your taste, feel totally free to call or email about any aspect of the verbiage and someone will be happy to fill you in some more.

With much love to all,

Bob and Pattie

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