2014 – 2015 Christmas Epiphany Valentines Day Letter?

     Snow is finally on the ground, gotta have that snow to write a Christmas letter. And the pipe through the kitchen ceiling has burst (only 25 gallons this time, the friendly Flow Tech guys came to our rescue, another winter rite of passage, like the “green moon of Galon is eclipsed” – Last Starfighter). And not much hospital time for a change, that's great, but I think Marge was secretly hanging out with Terry Bradshaw, because she caught shingles. That's not really good, but compared to our previous years: heart attack, legionnaires disease, diabetes, kidney failure, gall bladder surgery, hernia surgery, knee replacement, bowel blockage... aside from all the screaming, it seemed a lot better than last year.
      Planted 15 Honey Crisp apple trees, this year from Van Der Wells Nursery with deer and rabbit protection!! Tried my hand at trickle irrigation. Surprise, I have no such skills, ruptured a lot of hoses and poly lines. The Israelis use a 3 meter water head, about 4 psi to prevent that and the local nurseries make it look so easy. 50 psi plus a 30 foot drop here, not so good. Also planted 400 oak trees, 200 sugar maple (with tree protectors), and about 200 potted apple trees, for future grafting if they make it through the winter. Never know about such things.

<< An apple a day sorta keeps the doctor away!

     We have about 400 seeds germinating in the fridge if they don't. Should look like these by April. Marge eats the apples and preserves the seeds, I plant the seeds in Tupperware containers full of moist paper towels in the garage refrigerator. Takes about 1.5 months to germinate at 40 degrees. Also been tinkering with microprocessors, mostly Arduino and MSP430. I suffer from the perennial delusion that I can do environmental controls cheaper than the professionals. So far, no luck, not a single control!
Despite the iffy old people, it was a mostly good year for granddaughters, Alexandra kept up her soccer stuff and is seen above right blowing trumpet for a band fund raiser, that's style. Sister Jamie, after some injuries in gymnastics, switched to diving and set several pool and school records, Here is a picture taken by Alexandra of her sister and the look on the coach's face is absolutely priceless.
     Daughter Jennifer Warf and her family explored the new wonders at Universal Orlando after Thanksgiving. They are currently building a roller coaster down there that I really, really want to try as it threads in and out of a giant tower. Most of the rest of the family seems to be okey dokey. Haven't heard much from my nephew Scott Kimble or my brother but his daughter Julia and her husband Kevin Key had a baby boy, Andrew, cute as a bug. My brother's other daughter Claudia has become famous for her cake decorating skills and classes in Ann Arbor. And Kevin has me jealous tinkering with Xilinx video stuff. I'm already a generation behind.

      Margaret's sister Nancy is still working for the Komet's hockey team, her husband Joe is home from working with the TSA. Daughter Meghan is scoring well in school, took first place in state ice skating, and is looking to go Ivy League for college. Meghan and granddaughter Jamie made National Honor Society!       My sister's family is also doing well. Rose's goat farm, the goats are prolific and pregnant, she makes and sells the most wonderful goat soap. her daughter Emily is driving them crazy (looks very much like my mother as a child, oops). Meanwhile Rose has been working in Biomed research. The triplets, Tom's family just had a son, also named Andrew. And niece Sally has a great blog you may want to visit: http://www.unbravegirl.com Back from teaching in China, and many jobs around the Pacific rim, she now teaches English to Chinese in Michigan. It is closer to home. And though we haven't heard much from her brother Sam or her other sisters Claire and Elizabeth, everyone was healthy and well last time my sister and I talked. Came by. She still lives on her farm in Orchard Park, NY.
      Back in northern Indiana, temperatures are negative double digits, wind chills of -35F, and our faithful dog Zeus is asleep on his blanket in the living room. No tree or decorations this year, no people, but promise of an epic blowout for next year (bought up all the end of season lights in CC). Space heaters are on upstairs, all the sinks are dripping to keep the lines open. Marge is busy playing Majong and talking to Allstate about the ceiling damage.
     Me, I bought a new SainSmart 20x04 LCD display (i.e. super cheap undocumented Chinese techno junk) to display all my fantastic environmental control stuff (Ha, good luck with that right?!). Now all I have to do is replace the old Arduino LCD library http://www.arduino.cc with the new library from FMalpartida and all will be well in the world (Sure, as soon as I figure which analog pins were used for the I2C comms.? And what is that 100 ohm resistor the web talks about?) Took out the recycles, cooked dinner, got the mail and the groceries.
     This past year also saw our 50
th HS class reunion at Parkview Field, SSHS class of 1964. It also saw the closing of General Electric in Fort Wayne, where my father and grandfathers worked most of their lives, a source of income for our family for 3 generations, helped pay for my college education but now outsourced to China and Mexico. Made grape jam (ask and it shall be delivered). 2014 also saw the first turn-arounds installed in FW and the first night closing of the Powers Burger restaurant since the 1930's, think White Castle on steroids. It stood across from the Kimble garage for 50 years! Still stands, garage is gone, but the city fathers are neither faithful or melancholic about that greasy old Art Decco landmark. Bob Sievers, local radio personality, ate there every morning before doing his Little Red Barn show on WOWO, ran into him many times. Passed away in 2010, it was his show my grandfather Burns milked cows by for many years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EocVtiUSl2c . WOWO's Bob Chase announced the Komets games for many years has retired. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOp3WUx3Ir0 . Funny how things interlock. An age has passed. Well that about does it. We wish you a Merry Chistmas, a Happy New year, an inciteful Epiphany, and a very Happy Valentines Day.
From the Kimbles in Columbia City, IN, to all our friends, a warm goodnight.