March notes

Here we are well into 2018. We started the year in Columbus, Ohio, where we had been with Ellen’s Dad and our kids and their families for Christmas.

In January I had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia; no problems, recovery was rapid. Also that month here at ECHO, we hosted a one-week Tropical Agriculture Development class. (read more about ECHO classes at

People like to visit Florida in the winter!

In February Ellen’s 97 year-old Dad came down to Florida for a 10 day visit. We always enjoy the time we can be with him.

In March Ellen was in Peachtree City, Georgia connecting with new missionary candidates with AIM. And then our son James and his family were down from Boston for a visit. They managed to get their travels done in between the winter storms that battered the northeast.

Next week our daughter Ginny and her family will be here for a short visit. We look forward to celebrating Easter with them and with my mother and sister up in Gainesville, Fl.

There have been other visitors and events to enjoy but that pretty much brings us up to date.

Until the next post…


This and that from March to June

Bob date 24132

I only had my cell phone with me while birding so flowers instead of birds 🙂

A species of phlox
Relative of sunflower

Connect Week

I have been in Peachtree City, Georgia this week at AIM’s US headquarters. Ellen arrived back from Kenya on Sunday and I drove up from Florida to meet her here. We’ve met some great people and I have enjoyed reconnecting with friends.


Our grandson Isaiah, who was born in March (14 weeks early) was released from NICU in Orlando on Monday. Everything looks good at this point. For more about this young fighter see Craig and Laura’s blog “A Way in the Wild“.

Next grandchild

So Ellen and I have been together this week after her two and a half weeks in Kenya but tomorrow we head in different directions! She is going to Albuquerque to be with our daughter Ginny who is expecting our 7th grandchild any day now. Actually, labor will be induced on Sunday if nothing happens before then.

ECHO — Climate change initiative and crop selection tool

One thing we have been working on at ECHO recently is how to help small-scale farmers deal with uncertain yearly weather and long-term climate change. We worked up a proposal to develop a strategy for tracking changes in any country. We also plan to develop a crop selection tool that would indicate which crops would be best suited for a specific location, both at the present and in the future based on reliable models of climate shifts. Of course all of that depends on funding!


For several years now I have taken up the “June Challenge” to see how many birds one can find in a specific county in the month of June — basically the worst month for birding in Florida. So far I’ve seen 16 in Lee County (haven’t had much time for birding there yet) and 30 in Fayette County, Georgia where I’ve been this week.

2016 starts with surgery

On January 27th I had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. Pretty straight forward, not serious. It was supposed to be outpatient but ended up being a little more involved and so I spent the night at Cape Coral Hospital. The staff took great care of me there and then it was Ellen’s turn when we got home Thursday. I am blessed to have her by my side through these adventures that come with aging (I’m 65, Ellen is younger :-).

I was able to work from home most of the next week and return to a normal routine at ECHO that Friday (Feb. 5th). I’m still limited in what I can (should!) pick up but otherwise back to great health.


  • grateful for excellent medical care and adequate health insurance
  • grateful for general good health
  • Ellen’s bout with cancer and this remind us we are mortal and aging
  • We are happy to be able to continue in full-time ministry at ECHO and with AIM

Camp Hargrave

My sisters and I try to get to “the farm” every summer to help Mom with maintenance and repairs and just hang out together.

Three of us along with Ellen spent a week there in July this year. Our week also coincided with a visit from my nephew Mark (sister Beth’s son) who has been teaching high school in Turkey for 2 years. It also marked the first year that Beth has been in the newly restored “Hargrave House”, our grandfather’s house that had fallen into disrepair. You can see the work Beth did to resurrect it on her blog “Blood, sweat and love, a journey of the restoration of my grandfathers house.

children on swingAmong other accomplishments was the installation of a swing in the big tree by her house. That project had been saved for Mark and involved getting ropes over a big limb about 25 feet up! The swing has already been enjoyed by numerous people.

Other scenes from the farm:

Old machinery
Horse drawn mower
shack in the woods
Old shack in the woods
old farm machinery
Tractor driven corn grinder