Vespers and Birthdays at the Four-Acre Wood

We are one day short from the middle of May. Okay, technically (since May has 31 days) a day and a half for all you sticklers to details. Let’s not quibble, it’s the middle of May. Winter has relinquished its hold on the northern hemisphere (at least in the midwest). Everything is green and growing, our weeds have never looked healthier. 

Today we celebrated the birthday of our youngest daughter (since we are being technical, one of two). It was a simple and relaxed meal. The convenience items were the store-bought birthday cake and the potato salad. The burgers, baked beans, and deviled eggs were homemade. Our two daughters and three grandchildren were in attendance, and no one complained, especially when it came time for cake and ice cream. It was a time to count your blessings.

Twilight descends on the Four-Acre Wood. The air softens, and the edges of the tree leaves begin to blur just slightly. The village of Kimmswick, so visible during the winter has now disappeared from view.

Vespers, a time of evening prayer, a time of reflection. The world’s problems and ours do not stop at twilight, but it is a time to set them aside. Our work is done, the day is done, and tomorrow holds the same promises that we held today.



Introducing the Four-Acre Wood and “Shipwreck”

Ah, where to begin? 2020 was an eventful year for all of us, (that alone might win the Captain Obvious prize for the classic understatement.) For Susan and I, it meant; selling our beloved 1890 house of 27 years, moving in with Susan’s 84-year-old mother for 6 months until we figured out that she was more independent than we thought, and discovering that we all needed our own space, then searching for a house of our own a month before I retired. The hunt began. While Susan’s mother was doing okay on her own, she’s not going to get any younger and we didn’t want to move too far away. In a real estate market gone crazy with bidding wars, we came across a house that had been on the market for 3 years. The previous owner had an inflated idea of its worth, and so it sat, and sat, and sat until he gradually dropped the price, year after year until we came along, and after a few offers later the house was ours.

The last two homes we owned were built-in 1890. We are old house people, it’s in our blood (and under our fingernails and probably in our lungs) but there aren’t many historic homes in Jefferson County, Missouri, but this house checked off a few boxes. Though only 20 years old, the plans were from North Carolina architect William Poole whose designs are rooted in tradition and southern heritage. The brickwork came from salvaged 100+ year old home demolitions in St. Louis. The full-width front porch mirrored our last two houses, pulled on some heartstrings, and was a major selling point.

Anyone who has purchased a house knows that acquiring homeowners insurance is part of the deal. We submitted bids to several different companies. The little subdivision we are in (a whopping nine houses) is called “Shipwatch,” based on the fact that most houses including ours have views of the Mississippi River. I may have mumbled, or the insurance agent on the other end misunderstood me, but the quote came back with a price to insure “Shipwreck” and the name stuck.

So welcome to Shipwreck!

Shipwreck sits on four acres which is about 3.5 acres more than we wanted, fortunately, most of it is wooded, hence the name for this blog, The Four-Acre Wood, (with a nod to Winnie the Pooh).

As mentioned in the “About Us” page … we invite you to join us on this journey, this chapter turning of; retirement, remodeling, resale shops, cooking, gardening, decorating, family, fashion, dogs (see I didn’t forget about Mimsy), and life musings … not because we have any great wisdom or expertise in any of those areas, but because life is best shared. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us that we are not designed to live in solitude.

Tim, Susan, and Mimsy