The Dust Settles

The Dust Settles

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.

Dehydrated Dandelion Root
Dehydrated Dandelion Greens

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!

The weed seeds that I removed from about 12 cups of wheat berries, when I last milled my Whole Wheat Flour. Oops, I see one wheat berry in there, can you spot it?

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.

Squash Squares, made in a pie plate. I like this pie plate because it has a wide rim, which make it easy to grasp when it is hot, and I am removing it from the oven.

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
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dew point: 2.1°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NE 20 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“What you are is a question only you can answer.”
Lois McMaster Bujold
1949 –


  1. Great Kate! Glad to hear all is well in your neck of the woods/prairie! Snow, you are a hardier gal than I, at the country house there is still snow, but here we have been spring brown for a few weeks. Stay safe dear friend!

  2. Thanks Sandy! The Dandelion leaves are about an inch long right now, I would not have found them in the garden they are so small. But Attila is digging up the earth for the new beds, and he is digging out the roots, to which the those tiny leaves are attached, and I am dehydrating them. We started a Hugelkultur bed last summer with branches from our Ash tree, that was dying and was taken down by a Hydro crew. We had minimal success with it, it was a very dry summer and it didn’t get watered very much. But we aren’t discouraged, we are at it again this summer, with our second Hugelkultur bed. We aren’t doing it by the book though, the earth we used is merely the sod we removed underneath the bed itself, turned upside down. We will add compost and mulches as time goes on. I think if we had invested in some good soil for the mounds, and watered regularly, it would have been a lot better.

  3. Thanks Joan! We had them as our snack today, they were really good! The squash was from our 2017 garden, from the freezer.
    I love your needlepoint pieces! That is great that the new skein colour matches, they don’t always. Genealogy is addictive, I spend a few hours a week on it, still; I’ve been at it since 1996 and there is always something new to learn. Computers are so handy, kudos to you and Julia for managing to share!

  4. Teri

    Morning, Maggie! As we get closer to peak time with COVID, DH and I are now seriously thinking about making masks for when we’re out shopping. I knew the gov’t was downplaying mask use because they were desperate to keep them for emergency and hospital crews – and that’s more than okay. I felt safe enough at first when we were out, but now I’m feeling more pressure. I think I have some fabric and felt at home, so when we go back tomorrow to do laundry and pick up supplies, I may make us some masks.

    I’m so glad to see spring making itself known more fully! We’re on Day 3 of blue skies here, and the temps are around 10C/50F each day. Such a big jump from the near freezing highs a few weeks ago!

  5. Good morning Teri! Making masks is such a good idea, they help to remember not to touch your face, and the only drawback is if they give people false confidence, which won’t be an issue in your household 🙂 We have a few dust masks that I have treated with Oregano Oil, not really effective, but they protect other people from us, if that becomes an issue. I will probably make some masks, but for now we are going nowhere at all, so it isn’t urgent yet. The hospitals don’t want or need dust masks, so there is no competition with those.
    If you have blue skies, they are usually on their way here, so glad to hear it! It sounds warmer there than here, but it is warmer here than it was. 10C sound very pleasant, in the sun.

  6. Teri

    The various governments are now admitting that masks do help lower risk of COVID. I read a quote from a doctor about a study – and, when I think about it, I do remember this study when it came out – that showed even tying a t-shirt over your face was better than nothing at all.

  7. Sandy

    I think having a barrier between the eyes, nose, and mouth makes sense. If nothing else, you can make a rule to not touch the mask once it’s on, reducing the chances of inadvertent hand to face transfer. I don’t see how it could hurt and it might help.

  8. Teri, that makes perfect sense, it is some protection, and if everyone wears them, it is even greater protection because fewer viruses are making it into the atomosphere. I haven’t been out since February, at which time I did not wear a mask, and got away with it. Attila has not been out without a mask for over two weeks, he couldn’t wear one at work, but was planning to take issue with that if he had to go back in there.

  9. Sandy, I agree, as long as it is handled as an “outside the safe zone” item, it does make sense. The cloth homemade masks can be thrown in the washing machine, then hands washed, and washing whatever part of your head you touched removing the mask. I agree it could help, when used with caution about removal and washing!

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