Wednesday, June 24, 2020

104 Days

 I have now been isolating myself, staying home as much as possible, not working, practicing safe COVID avoidance techniques, screaming at the stupid president, mourning the despair in our country and generally becoming a sociopath for 104 days.

Life is a blur. Days run together, I put an X on the calendar each day to recognize the passing of that day. I move more slowly, generally feel no sense of purpose other than to hunt and gather food, like a squirrel, like the cavemen. Morning coffee is required to get me moving. I sometimes wear the same thing three days in a row, hair is rarely brushed, just pinned up.

I am cooking more than I have cooked in my life, enjoy it for the most part and don't really miss restaurants, because I like the food I am making. We eat the food we grow now. The garden is just coming in and already it is plentiful.

I am canning, preserving, preparing. I sense September looming closely as a marker for more ominous times and I want to be as ready as possible. I have accepted the notion that I will be in this house, on this land at least until the end of the year and I am settling in to that idea.

We have celebrated Wesley's birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and our anniversary at home under COVID guidelines. It was nice. Gifts were creative and heartfelt, meals were good, time together was more precious. We even managed to take a small trip for our anniversary and travel safely away from the crowds that refuse to follow rules. 

Gerry made this beautiful bouquet for me for Mothers Day with flowers from our yard

I even treated myself to my own gift from a favorite weaver/potter (Anna Brnner)

We celebrated Father's Day a day late since Gerry had to cover the PGA tournament in Hilton Head. While there, a golfer tested positive, Gerry is uncertain of his contact with the virus and so we are now wearing masks in the house and being even more diligent than we were. Now we wait and see....

I have cleaned and organized every corner of the house. Our pantry was a hodge lodge of shelves I made out of crates and repurposed wood from the shed and nails in the wall. I finally took everything out, scrubbed every surface, and bought new metal shelves. I am so happy with this new organization! Grateful in a way for this time to check off boxes on my mental to do list.

I even sorted and oiled all of my wooden spoons. Like, who ever has time to sit down and oil their spoon collection, I ask you!?  I love my spoons, I use them every day, and I care for them so they will last me for as long as possible.  One was a gift Wesley brought to me from Morocco, one was made my my friend Chance, the rice paddle a gift a friend brought back from her trip to India. All of them have a special place for me. 

The fruits of our labor are plentiful. We have a beautiful garden, with food we can preserve and enjoy in the winter months. We are growing organically, no chemical pesticides, so there is more work involved, but hopefully that will save on cancer treatments later in life! So far, the garden is healthy, with only a few sightings of bugs. We did lose a couple of squash plants yesterday, but the freezer is filling up with squash so no great loss there. Just please leave my tomatoes alone!

We had a beautiful onion harvest this year. I probably pulled them a little early but I like the smaller onions. I cook with onions at least once a day, so I'm very happy to have this harvest!

My bread baking skills continue to improve and I have some mad baking skills now. The levain is fed every day and that is something I am close to being less than enamored with. Throwing out all of that hard to come by flour is challenging. At first I tried to use up the discards, some I have frozen, but good lord, the yeast around here! I sort of overdosed on yeast products the first couple of weeks and my stomach paid for it, so I have backed off and am now baking minimal quantities. I can't believe I have managed to stay at my Weight Watchers goal weight, but some how I am staying on track. 

Last on my list of things to mention- Walmart shoppers. This place. Why is something I despise so much such a necessary place sometimes. I needed a few things that I seem to only be able to find at Walmart. Last week was the first time (and probably the last time) I have shopped in Walmart since March. I am not a frequent shopper there anyway, but avoiding stupidity seemed even more of a challenge than usual in this store. It stressed me out so much, I left vowing to not go back. I will do without or I will pay shipping, but I am not walking through those doors again until there is a vaccine for ignorance!

I truly understand all of the posts on FB for supporting small businesses, I had one, I know. But here is the thing, you DO NOT have what I need small businesses! I don't need a candle, or soap, or cute farm decor or another antique. In my community, there is a street of shops and nearly every single store carries the same thing. They all copy each other and try to out do one another and there is absolutely nothing I need there that is worth the risk of encountering all of the republicans and the racists that live in that town. There are some lovely shop owners, don't get me wrong, but one of the reasons I closed my store was because of all the "not lovely" people there. I do enjoy the lattes at the local coffee shop and the employees are very special, but we now have a monthly coffee club subscription and a great coffee maker, so I don't even risk that.  I have so much sympathy for shop owners who followed their dreams of independent ownership, but the reality is, I have found out how much I can do without and be just as happy. Food. We need food.... and shelter. 
That's about it....  And Art! I need art in my life, must have that! 
Stay safe everyone, please wear a mask. This virus is a mofo.


Michèle Hastings said...

You reminded me that I REALLY need to organize my laundry room/pantry. It's a piled up mess since the pandemic. I am by no means hoarding, but when I do go out to shop I buy larger quantities to avoid unnecessary trips.
I am also not a Walmart fan but they seem to have toilet paper more often than other stores. The one thing that I do like is that I scan and bag my own groceries there. One less person touching my stuff!

gz said...

You are doing well..
I love your shelves!

I don't feed my levain every day...just a little every other day (thanks for reminding me!) it does mean that it does work a little slower, but that means good bread.
Sending a big hug (((0)))

Tracey Broome said...

Michele, I was doing the same thing and then there was no more room for all the extra I bought! If I bag my own I always seem to get a register that doesn't want to work, so I just go on through the cashier line, alway something lol.

GZ- I am switching to an every other day feeding too, its just too much to deal with ever day!

oldgreymareprimitives said...

I have only had delivered groceries since January.Delivery fees and tips are crushing my budget. Got brave and ordered one sandwich and a pizza last week. I felt uncomfortable so no more of that, oH and Hannah ordered me a great dinner for Mothers day. Being from a large restaurant not run by kids I felt safer.

Today a friend was coming by to claim my old tv for her daughter who is moving out and she stopped by the store and picked up some wine as I cannot get that delivered.

I called Trader Joes to see how safe they would be and I may go in one of the senior hours they have.
I too believe I will be alone in this house thru the rest of the year. I can't imagine Ben's wedding will make the new Sept date as CA numbers are soaring and my 650.00 of table flowers I made for them may never get used. They have said if not September they will just get married alone and have a party someday when this is all over.. Very tough times but you and I both have housing and can afford food so we are better off than many. Love your pantry- wish I was brave enough to can. Ben and I were going to try this summer- oh well

Laurie said...

I found myself nodding my head throughout this post. Wearing the same clothes. Wild hair.
Gathering, preparing and preserving food. Check, check, check. What a beautiful bouquet Gerry created for you. We have the same shelves in our pantry. The only thing I don't love about them is canning jars don't always sit well on them, so we've put wood on top of some of them, for a more stable surface. Don't want to lose any of that home grown goodness. I'm the same way with spoons. I have one of my Mom's, several gifted from friends, a few hand carved ones. I have not oiled them, however, and ought to put that on my list.

We seemed to have caught the squash bugs soon enough that they are not over running our squash, but the Japanese beetles are here in their usual multitudes. I hand pick them twice a day, and feed them to the chickens. I'm sure I only gather a portion of them, but at least that many less will reproduce. Well done staying at your WW goal. I have inched up a couple of pounds, and need to get back down, and a little more would be better. I haven't been in a Walmart in several years, but a friend who shops there picked up a few boxes of canning lids for me, when all the reasonably priced stores online were sold out a couple of months ago. So, I have minimally supported them. The good news is I found some afterwards at the local Dollar General, and picked up a few more there. Still a chain, but in our community. Definitely don't want to run out of canning lids, especially this year.

I'm curious about your September comment. Is COVID expected to surge again then? MY SIL and I are considering rescheduling a trip to the mountains that was cancelled in March to Sept. 1 & 2. You've got me wondering if that's a bad idea, and maybe earlier would be better.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Z, I understand your take out concern, but we found that Door Dash works well. Gerry has used it for all of his travel and feels very comfortable with the delivery and safety. He checks restaurant reviews and orders accordingly. We got take out pizza one night and it was actually still very warm when it arrived, driver was masked and kept a very safe distance. Its a whole new world! The pressure canning process scared me too, but I watched a couple of homesteading youtube channels that were very helpful, read the manual through several times and I did it, much easier and stress free than I expected. I would recommend a Presto if you can find one, I had to drive north of here to another town to pick one up, but so worth it. Also, canning tomatoes and fruits is easy just in a water bath.
The grocery store is the most stressful thing for me, people are idiots there. We do have a local co-op and I am leaning more in that direction, it is small and people have more sense. Also, BJ's Warehouse club I found to be easy to maneuver, they had good safety practices. Grocery stores do not, around here anyway! Drink that wine, have a dance party!

Tracey Broome said...

Laurie: re: September- I have some astrology practicing friends that don't feel the stars are looking too good for September, and I think there will be a greater peak in the fall. September is just my marker for having a freezer and shelves full of food for the fall/winter when a second wave is highly expected. In fact September may just be the only calm month between summer and winter flu season.... who knows at this point, things change daily. Our governor is walking back his reopening plans due to our surging cases. Our rednecks are likely to start a war down here for their right to get sick!
Yes, the metal shelves and canning jars! I also put wood down and use some wooden crates/boxes for storage. That is the only drawback, but they are inexpensive and easy to set up, so a trade off I suppose.
Take care!

Laurie said...

Yes, who really knows, but you had me curious. Good to know about the astrological implications for Sept. It will be interesting to see how the mask requirement plays out.

Andre Surkis said...

The right decision is distracted by everyday affairs and, if it is possible not to think about business. I completely agree that supporting small businesses is much more than just some everyday things. Good luck!