Highlights of 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

With the year quickly drawing to a close, I would first of all like to thank my God and Savior Jesus Christ for all His blessings, and also to express my gratitude to family, friends, and acquaintances for enhancing the joys of life this year.

Some highlights of the year are listed below in no particular order.

We had 38 concerts and 3 special music engagements this year, most at nursing homes, but others at churches, and 1 at a local bandshell.  I particularly enjoyed the two gospel sings at Whitten Community Church which we, The Johnson Strings, Sugar and Spice, and several other groups participated in.

We also had the pleasure of listening to Journey Bound and the Bontrager Family Singers for the first time, and attending the Shell Rock Gospel Sing.  

Gardening and Chickens
We purchased 33 chicks this spring, since our old hens were slacking off on their egg laying duties.  The latest count of eggs in our refrigerator was slightly over 200.  We're eating full speed ahead, and sharing with friends and neighbors.
One of the hens, Lark, successfully hatched and raised her own brood of 6 more chicks. (Video above shows her dirt-bathing with chicks)
Many long summer hours were spent in the garden as well as in the kitchen, freezing and canning produce.  Now we're eating home-preserved green beans, sweet corn, apple sauce, bean soup, peaches, sauerkraut (not me!), and (how did you guess?) tomatoes.
I also managed to maintain one of my most beautiful flower gardens ever, replete with pansies, irises, roses, cannas, salvia, asylums, cosmos, lilies, flox, dahlias, basil, lavender, rosemary, bachelor buttons and more.
Another thing we grew this year was muscles from mixing concrete!  Our concrete business went full speed ahead, and we made over 1000, 80 lb. concrete pads for propane tanks.  

Papa has been busy in his welding shop, and occasionally I get to weld some rebar for reinforcing the concrete pads.
Throughout the late summer and fall, we picked apples for the local orchard.  It was a lot of fun picking (and eating) apples, and--don't tell anyone--climbing trees!  I very much hope we get the job again next year.

Flooding, a Tornado, Snow Storms, and Fire
May is supposed to be spring, but this year we had a surprisingly heavy snow on May 2nd.  We later had the worst flooding we (or any of our neighbors) have ever seen in our area.  Roads and bridges were washed out and fields were flooded.  

Shortly after the floods, a tornado crossed the field less than a mile from our home as we watched.  It took our southern neighbor's barn and our northern neighbor's trees and shed, but did not cause extensive damage (and thankfully, no one was hurt).  

Fire makes the circle of wind and water complete.  Thankfully it was a controlled--but magnificent--fire started and controlled by several local fire departments to burn our northern neighbor's old barn.

Touring Iowa
We were able to do a lot of sightseeing this year while delivering concrete pads, visiting various places throughout the state which we had never seen over the past nearly 12 years we've lived here.
Neat places we saw this year include:

When we took our trip to Texas a few years ago, we visited every interesting stop along (and out of the way).  Any tourist visiting a new place is sure to try his best to visit all the historical sites, why not visit the cultural treasures around us?  I was so glad Papa consented to take me on the delivery trips; we had fun!

Teaching chess at Hank Anzis and Jose Gatica's annual chess camp for children in Des Moines was one highlight of the year.
We also enjoyed attending the Panther Open.  We participated in a Des Moines Time Odds Blitz, and I had a great time at the Iowa Reserve Championship.  It was a lot of fun to play bughouse after the tournament, and meet some people from FICS in "real life."

Speaking of FICS, TheRejoicingTeam_Legerdemain (which I captain) finished 1st in the Polgar section in Team League.  I also had the opportunity to become a TM (tournament manager) on FICS.

Interesting books I have completed reading this year include Memoirs of the Second World War (Churchill), Leila Ada: The Jewish Covenant, Government Bullies (Rand Paul), and Economic Freedom and Representative Government (F.A. Hayek).

I pray that God blesses you fully with a joyful heart and a Happy New Year!