Grocery stores could save lives – they need to offer NO CONTACT DELIVERY-TO-VEHICLE online shopping. Also home delivery for some.
Everyone needs groceries, the most common point of contact in our present situation. Stop endangering the staff and the customers by forcing people to come into the stores to obtain life sustaining items – food.
Does this seem fair? Yesterday was lovely, almost 10C, and lovely on the back porch, to sit in the sun. Except, except, that as I sat there I was attacked, first by one mosquito, which I killed, then by two more. One of them tried to bite me on the ankle, I killed that one, and the third one made an attempt on my leg, and I got that one too. Sheesh, mosquitoes already, and I am still wearing my jacket and hat! It looks like it will be a buggy spring, lol.
This morning I had a hankering for complex carbohydrates. Although I would love something like a cheese danish, or a cinnamon bun, I don’t indulge in those kinds of things anymore… sad but true. However, my muffins are pretty good, so I decided to make Chocolate Date muffins, using my basic muffin recipe, some chopped dates, cocoa in the dry ingredients, and chocolate chips as well. For liquid I used whey from the last batch of yogurt I had made. The muffins made an excellent, and very satisfying, breakfast. I love that hydro has suspended time-of-use billing; it feels decadent to just bake what I want, when I want, and not have to pay attention to what day of the week it is, or what time of day it is, or which schedule of time-of-use is currently in force.
When Attila was working, he was only home during off-peak hydro hours, and so didn’t worry about using hydro, the way I have had to pay attention to it on weekdays. Since he went on vacation, and he was home during the week, he suddenly appreciated my irritation, and lamentable lamenting, about the intrusiveness of time-of-use hydro billing. We are now on the same page! Just in the nick of time, because time-of-use billing has been suspended temporarily, so every day is a weekend, for now!
The gardens are coming along, as Attila continues to expand the beds. He has transplanted a lot of catnip and lemon balm, that were growing around one of the compost bins, to clear that area for more food oriented crops. He has also cleaned up my two raised beds, and added a substantial amount of compost soil to them, so they are ready to plant when I am ready to plant.
I finally got an online grocery order in, for pick up only, no delivery services here. I wish it was pick up into the trunk of the car, but it isn’t, so pick up inside the store is as good as it gets for us. Our grocery pick up is near the end of April. It looks like we will need to shop either every three weeks, or once a month, so I will try to order accordingly.
I’ve been doing a lot of learning in the last few weeks, paying attention to things I don’t know how to do. Making face masks, which I haven’t done yet, and hand sanitizer, which I haven’t done yet, are at the top of the list.
A new level of frugality is beginning at our house, even more frugal than before, it is possible! For instance, when draining a can of tuna for sandwiches, the liquid is now saved in a labelled glass jar, stored in the freezer, to be used as liquid in the next Tuna Noodle Casserole. Every bit of flavour and nutrition that can be gleaned from the supplies will be taken advantage of.
I will continue to include daily experiences related to the coronavirus and COVID-19. Life as we knew it has changed forever, and new ways of being are developing, slowly, slowly, slowly. Now that we are both in self-isolation, we take more notice of the goings on in the neighbourhood. Almost everyone is respectfully living their lives according to the current restrictions, staying home, physically distancing, to “flatten the curve”, it is truly a good neighbourhood to live in. Two of our neighbours aren’t with the program though, pushing the limits of the restrictions to the very edge. Across the street they are out and about in their vehicles frequently, every day, sometimes it is shopping, other times who knows, but it is not work related. Next door to us the young couple has had a series of visitors over the last two days, probably family, but visitors nonetheless. We will be giving these neighbours a wide berth now, and in the future. These reckless behaviours may be the death of someone, probably not them, they are young.
Our days are pleasant and fulfilling. Attila is out in his garden again today. One of his projects out there is to create a flower garden for me, a circular garden close to the back porch. He plans on transplanting the echinacea there, as well as the dianthus, and I would like to plant nasturtiums as well. Of course we will have to find a place for the cosmos, and the marigolds too. Most of our seeds are saved from last years garden, although we did buy some seeds in February for the upcoming season.
Me, I putter mostly, for the moment. Over the last few days I’ve focused on reviewing our financial situation, adjusting accounts accordingly, preparing a few records for Attila to use in case I don’t make it through this; I would prefer he remember me fondly, lol. Some of my time each day is spent in the kitchen, devising ways to transform the supplies we do have into meals that we find delightful. Another project that is going slowly, is to create a salve for the eczema in my ear canal. I have to use herbs-on-hand, so research is required. This is not an area of knowledge I have explored in the past, so slow and steady I go.
Genealogy research continues to be satisfying, and endlessly ongoing and interesting. Very few new discoveries are made these days, but there is great satisfaction in visiting the lives of the people, and the communities, that have been so influential in shaping my world view.
8°C Date: 10:00 AM EDT Saturday 4 April 2020 Condition: Mostly Cloudy Pressure: 101.8 kPa Tendency: Rising Temperature: 7.9°C Dew point: 3.9°C Humidity: 76% Wind: E 6 km/h Visibility: 24 km
“Your mother and I never argue because we always think the same.” He then added, mischievously: “She thinks first.””
Wilmot Watkins, father of Mel Watkins (Parry Sound, Ontario)
It is April! Attila is out in the garden every day now, although if it rains he takes shelter, otherwise he is busy out there. So far he has planted walking onions, garlic, and radishes. The rhubarb is peeking through, which is wonderful to see, and my rose, that came from my Granny’s house, has taken on a subtle green colour, a very good sign! Already Attila has a few old plastic garbage bins collecting run off from the roof, which he is using to water the garden.
Yesterday was cool, and windy, and sunny! When the sun hit the back porch I was out there, and it was so wonderful to bask in the sun for a few hours; fully outfitted in warm footwear, pants, and my parka. But this morning there is no sign of the sun, the sky is grey and everything out there looks dampish.
Because our financial resources are now rather strained, I decided earlier in the week to turn the thermostat down by one degree centigrade, to 20.5C. We found that during the day it made no difference to us, we did not even notice it. But slowly, over the course of a few days, we both began to notice aches and pains, and feeling a little chilled during the night. I attribute this to the lower temperature in the house. I do not suspect we are ill, because we have been totally isolated for 11 days, and although it is possible that we are coming down with something, there are no other symptoms of significance. I’ve turned the heat up again, so I expect that within a few days our stiffness, aches, and pains will melt away. I feel better already.
Years ago we bought a 10 lb. bag of beets. They were carefully cooked, then frozen in two-serving size packages. Then they were forgotten. It is appropriate and needful now, that we turn to our on-hand supplies. Yesterday Attila roasted carrots, and the beets, for our dinner. They were delicious, although the texture of the beets was a bit rubbery, the flavour was good. Luckily we have some fresh carrots, purchased almost two weeks ago. Since we have no greens at this point, our daily salads are no longer enjoyed. But we do have other vegetables, thank goodness.
I still haven’t figured out how to get groceries in while staying in isolation. The local grocery store has pick-up, which, when I looked earlier in the week, has a one month wait for an open slot. One has to go into the store to pick up the order, which is not ideal, and one also has to touch a lot of surfaces to accomplish the task of pick up. We tried in once, over a month ago, and it was OK, but not really as safe as I would like; that was the trip where Attila wore a mask, and the cashier smirked at him. They do not carry out to the trunk of the car, which would work well for us, but it doesn’t happen here. There is a pick up service person, a young entrepreneur with a car who is building a business for himself by picking things up to deliver for people in town, at a reasonable charge ($5.00). I haven’t fully explored that possibility yet. There is another store with select items of food that will bring it out to place it in your trunk, but they do not carry many of the foods we eat, they have mostly value added packaged fast food type items, rather than ingredients. So I am still searching for some sort of solution.
The grocery issue is one where the shocking closure of the non-profit Seniors Services in town is mind boggling. They run on public and private donations, and closed down weeks ago, making no efforts at all to develop systems of service for isolated seniors during the pandemic. Of all the organizations in this area, they are the most equipped to identify and assist seniors. They remind me of rats leaving a sinking ship. I hope they aren’t paying their own salaries as they sit this out!!!
5°C Date: 8:34 AM EDT Friday 3 April 2020 Condition: Light Rain Pressure: 101.2 kPa Tendency: Rising Temperature: 4.8°C Dew point: 3.6°C Humidity: 92% Wind: NNW 23 km/h Visibility: 19 km
“Sometimes people are layered like that. There’s something totally different underneath than what’s on the surface. But sometimes, there’s a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.” Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, 2008
Since early January I have been watching the current pandemic rise, experiencing internal stress as I attempted to prepare for its arrival in Canada. I spent a lot of time thinking things through, trying to prepare for isolation, and still I missed things. I missed that bleach expires, and so we have no effective bleach to use for disinfecting, and it cannot be purchased, the stores are all sold out. That was a big mistake on my part.
But what has worried me most all these months, is that Attila would have to work, and would be exposed to infection, and that he and I might not fare well in such a case. All of my focus was on resolving that issue, trying to take steps to keep Attila safe, and myself safe as a result. Our fates are tied together at this point. When two of the managers returned to work after travel abroad, I reached a breaking point. Attila began to use his vacation time to stay out of harms way.
Suddenly, on March 25th, Attila was laid off. What a blessing. Fear of poverty is a lot more bearable than fear of death, at least that is how I feel. And so my life instantly changed, from fight or flight feelings, to intense relief. The first few days both of us were stunned and grateful, trying to take in our new situation.
Here we are, March 31st, six days later. And I realize that some adjustments are needed on my part. My life revolved around routines that I had developed over the last few years, routines that involved an adequate income, and Attila being away to work five days a week. It is different now.
Our income might be adequate, we do not yet have any idea what the future holds on that score, but for now we are fine, in the short term. We are no longer financially able to purchase items as we have been doing, particularly related to renovations. The renovations will have to be put on hold. The materials already in our possession, for the basement insulation project, will be used until they are gone, and hopefully they are adequate to finish the project. But if they are not, it doesn’t really matter, we will be fine.
Getting used to Attila being here all the time is more challenging for me than I had anticipated. Suddenly, with my biggest fear and focus happily resolved, I find myself needing to reorient myself, figure out how to comfortably spend my days. My old routines do not work for me, Attila is here all the time, the house is small, this is new!
For instance, we both like to putter in the kitchen, which is small, so we need to orchestrate the activities. Slowly we are developing a dance, exploring how to time our little projects so that we aren’t in each other’s way. It is going well, but still, it is an adjustment, mostly for me, as I am accustomed to having the kitchen to myself during the weekdays. Sharing means changing habits, so I am working on that.
We are so lucky to have Mist Cottage. It is a pleasant and safe place to self-isolate, with our own outdoor space.
Attila has his insulation project to work on, bit-by-bit each day, but mostly he works in the yard. He has a large garden planned, and spends most of his day working outside. He has pruned the apple tree and bushes along the property line, and is using the branches to build Hugelkultur beds. The garden along the fence line is also being expanded. He has harvested quite a few Dandelion roots from that area.
And that is where some of my projects come into play. After Attila washes the Dandelion roots, I spread them on the racks for the dehydrator to dry them. The plants have some newly formed leaves on them, which are also dried. I tasted the very young leaves and they were quite good, I thought, not bitter. Since we are avoiding the grocery store, we have no greens at the moment, so I suggested a Dandelion green salad. That was a NO from Attila. Oh well, I might harvest some of them for a lunch time stir fry for myself.
I tried making No Knead Bread on Sunday, saving a wee bit of dough to use instead of yeast for the next next loaf, which was yesterday. It was a unanimous decision that my regular 100% Whole Wheat Bread is much preferable. The No Knead Bread was very dense, had a good flavour, and a very tough crust. It was worth a try!
Today I baked Squash Squares, which are Pumpkin Squares made using pureed squash instead of pumpkin. Attila seldom asks for sweets, so when this was requested I was very happy to make it for him. We will be growing squash this summer, it is a versatile vegetable that we both enjoy.
So that is us, doing fine as we weather the storm of the Pandemic, isolated in our little house with a garden. I hope everyone’s circumstances allow them comfort and safety!
Stay safe dear friends!
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Tuesday 31 March 2020
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Dew point: 2.1°C
Wind: NE 20 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“What you are is a question only you can answer.” Lois McMaster Bujold 1949 –