Spring in Kansas. Finally we have that wonderful green countryside again. The hills with wheat fields have that Teletubby look, a green so intense, it is almost artificial. I finally managed to go out and collect a few more pictures of abandoned homesteads. Here is a little sample:

When you look in Kensington and see more and more houses for sale, you wonder whether the whole town will look like this soon. In the meantime, Smith Center, which up to now had two grocery stores, consolidated them into one. People here are trying to courageously fight the trend. The town of Kensington wants to build a new grocery store which would be run by the town, Smith Center is proposing a $3 m bond to build a new grade school. You wish that these endeavors will be successful, but having watched the general trend over the past 20 months, we are highly skeptical that they will succeed. 

Our time here is coming to a close as well and we hope that the owners of our house will find new tenants for this farm.. If anyone reading this newsletter knows of someone who want  time away from everything, here is a very livable farmstead for $225 a month rent becoming available in July.

Christina and Cecile will have their last day of school on May 14th which is only two weeks away and we are in the middle of  school end activities. They  had their dance performance last weekend. Here are a few pictures of them in their snazzy outfits:

David has accepted a position at the University of Missouri Medical Center in Kansas City. We'll be moving east again, albeit only to Missouri for now. I'm confident we'll make it back to the East Coast eventually. David will have to start working the beginning of July and we'll be moving in June. We bought a house with 10 acres (yes, no typo  - it is 10!) close to Lake Weatherby in the wooded hills north of Kansas City. Although we don't have a view on the lake, the lake is only one street away.  Its many small coves with houses nestled into the hills all around it,  remind me of New England. Most of the houses there were built in the 1960's in mostly traditional styles (not all ranches, thank goodness).

We are buying a house from a retired TWA pilot and his wife. The two of them are planning to spend the next 3 years in their Winnebago exploring the United States. They are wonderful people and we will in all likelihood buy some of their furniture, their tractor, riding lawn mower etc as well. The house needs some updating, and David is already planning how to do the work. The house comes with a nice woodworking workshop and a large shed which sold it to David.  It has infinite garden space for me and a nice varied landscape including a bubbling brook and lots of trees. It has a meadow for having a horse and a riding stable down the street which sold it to Christina. It also has a very large playroom where Cecile can spread out her gymnastics mats and gymnastics classes are offered nearby. The kids will be going to a brand new school a few blocks away which was built last year by the Park Hill School District which has a very good reputation.  David will have to commute 25 minutes to get to work. We had tried to find something closer, but to find a large house with space for woodworking, animals, gardening and gymnastics in the city was hard to do.  The closest town is Parkville which is a small university town (Park University) in the lime bluffs above the Missouri river. It has a historic center with little stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Of course, the obligatory shopping malls are really close as well, but if you drive west from our new house you will be in fields and woods in a few minutes. Finally, it's only a few miles from the Kansas City airport so we'll be easy to reach by plane again.

Here are a few pictures of the house and the grounds:

I celebrated my birthday again this month and had two wonderful guests to celebrate with me. Esther is 87 years old and Maria is 75. These two women make old age look desirable. I like to go for 6 mile walks with Maria and it's hard to keep up with her. Esther is constantly baking and cooking. In exchange for us delivering fresh eggs to her, we get to enjoy many of her goodies. Each week we get at least one pan of cinnamon rolls, which are her specialty, but she usually also has breads, cookies or pies to give away. Esther and Maria are my examples for aging and they were great guests for a birthday because they make everyone feel young.

In May,  we will  take the opportunity to take one more family vacation and will spend a week in Boulder and Estes Park in Colorado. Then we'll be back to tackling the packing and moving task. UGGH!

I better send this newsletter while it is still April. More news in May....