It's May and at last the weather has turned clear and warm. A thrill to be outside without being all bundled-up against the cold! A neighbor bought all the lumber to build a large deck, and then changed his plans. We bought all his 1"x6"x8' pressure treated boards. I'm going to build compost bins, but we have a lot more lumber than that project needs, so plans have changed and we'll start by building an 8'x8' deck - a perfect size for us, and it doesn't need any permits. If it were larger we would have to pay for permits, get it inspected, and pay an annual tax. Not worth it.
Our soil here is a cross between Portland cement and plain old clay - in other words - hard as a rock. Each time we plant, we use planting soil, but now I'm planning to compost and till it in with our new Mantis tiller. Our biggest challenge is finding time to be here - between doctor's appointments and church meetings back in Plainfield!
This year we're here with our new Cairn terrier, MacAdoo. He was born last June, so he's not quite a year old. He's our third Cairn - our favorite breed.
In July I'll be going to the PCUSA General Assembly in Minneapolis, as a delegate from the Elizabeth Presbytery. My last time to attend as a delegate, was 40 years ago (when "Hair" was playing at the Schubert in Chicago). Vietnam was on most people's minds and there was much unrest in the church, as well as everywhere else. 16 years ago we started a Friday night non-denominational worship and fellowship for those "infected, affected, or concerned about HIV/AIDS" meeting at Old First Presbyterian church in Elizabeth. I was the volunteer pastor for the first three years, till our Bed and Breakfast (Pillars2.com) required me to give that up. But the group continued, and those attending gradually chose to become members of Old First, and then to be Elders and Deacons. Their ministry kept expanding, and finally caught the attention of the Snyder foundation, which has begun major gifts which will enable Old First to be restored and continue in mission. At General Assembly this year, I, and the Red Ribbon Fellowship will receive the first award for AIDS ministry (see: www.fpcenj.org.)