Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Long March

The second half of March, our first weeks of isolating at home, time slowed down. Memes abounded about losing track of time, not knowing the day of the week, the hour of the day, this week has been the longest month of the year! And we settled into surrealism, comforts, research and development, and adapting new language, new culture, adjusted perspectives, all for the sake of living in the time of COVID19. Here are some pictures, and some smatterings of Social Distancing language and culture...

March 17-31, 2020
Cautious. Hand washing, and staying home, hand washing and not touching our faces, hand washing and standing six feet apart from anyone not in our home tribe.

Baking. Cooking, cooking, baking, cooking, preserving. And eating. At home.

Connecting. It's us, together, at home. Our home tribe.

Sowing. Whatever seeds we found, we organized and assessed, and if appropriate, we planted. Sooner or later we may see wildflowers here, which will be a welcome sight.

Calendula. This flower re-seeded itself, successfully, abundantly. And we have been eating its leaves and petals., thankfully.

Intention. In the beginning, I was sure that I would read, and do puzzles, crochet for hours, paint, craft, alphabetize. I was full of intention.

Recipes. We are cooking new foods, and favorite dishes, and looking up recipes, writing down recipes, sharing recipes.

Laminated pasta, a recipe Maria learned in Culinary Arts, BC Before Covid.

Chiclets, the six chicks we ordered and, with tremendous precautions for our safety and health, brought home, along with extra goat and chicken feed, to last. They are three Ameraucana and three Black Australorp.

Dread. There is fear, worry, and concern, and we know there will be loss. We watch Italy, sympathize, and take stock of what to do for what will come.

Gratitude. There is laughter, and optimism, resolve. We see our opportunities and resources, and enjoy the time we have to make use of and appreciate our blessings.

Reach out. We call family, reach out to friends, figure out apps, like Discord, and Zoom. We FaceTime and group chat, Dungeons and Dragons moves online.

Wary and weary. We wake up to the same strangeness of life during a global pandemic, and sometimes we go back to sleep.

Adjust, and move forward. We look for ways of doing what we love, even if it has to be different. So, we kept our monthly picnic date, and made it a Virtual Tea Party. Instead of inviting fewer friends, we open it up, make it bigger. Throughout the day friends and family, like the Chicago cousins, share their picnics and brunches, and tea parties, and we all see each other smiling, and get a boost from connecting and engaging.


Taking stock. Looking for that thing I thought we had, and familiarizing ourselves with what we have, what we need, what we don't need, and seeing a lot of things in a new light!

Quarantine humor. Oh, the memes.

Gratitude. Did I say this one, already? How about "gratitude mixed with relief?" Every egg, every lettuce, leaf, each item in the freezer, and can in the pantry, is a gift.

Good weather. I will always be partial to clouds, and rain, cool days, but being home, all the time, becoming adjusted to all the changes, and challenges, somehow, cool weather helps. Cool weather makes staying home feel like coziness, like a holiday.

Pensive. We have so much to think about, so much to settle in our minds. Suddenly, school is something all new. Online, distant. Video chats, emails, remote learning, remote friends. Max will face this, and Geoff, for work. We think about how it will work, what are we losing, what we may gain. When will it be normal? What will normal ever mean, again?

Foraging. When you run out of fresh produce, you look around for options. Nasturtium flowers, we knew were edible... peppery, but ok. Now we eat the leaves, too. In rice, in soup.

Nostalgia. There's plenty of wistful affection for the past, for comforting memories, and comfort foods, for familiar, and anything that can reassure our senses of things that are constant, true. My brother Bill messaged me for this recipe. I made the cookies, too. And I have never been so keenly in love with the scent of the spices, the sensation of mixing the oats in the flour, nor so aware that I was making these for the pleasure of remembering, of connecting with things I have known.

Appreciation. We love our home, what we've made of this space.

Perseverance, and Potatoes. The first movie we watched in Quarantine was The Martian, and when I decided to name the bed where Alex and Max planted the potatoes that were sprouting, I turned to JPL for inspiration. We may be challenged, there may be delays, or setbacks, but we will persevere.

Research and Development.We want do what we can to help others persevere, and that is why we have been researching the feasibility of developing and producing Personal Protective Equipment to donate to hospitals.

Online. Back to school, and your art teacher asks to meet your goats. Phone in hand, Maria brought her class out to meet Ada and Tasha, and the hens.

Double Quarantine. Bambi left her school housing and for two weeks she will quarantine in our RV, before moving into the BirdHouse. The more the merrier!

Innovation. We need fresh produce, and we so we need more garden beds. This stock tank was something I found on the trash curb, and we thought it could be a... well, we had about a dozen fun ideas for it, but clearly, it's meant to be a new raised garden bed. So we add drainage holes, level it, and get ready to fill it.

Resourceful. It's been a long time since I formally compost. What I have been doing it tossing kitchen scraps in a heap behind the chicken run. This has been going on for about five years, and that's where we began digging for soil. Thanks to goats, chickens, and our pileup up yard waste, we have an abundance of good gardening soil.

Art. Maria digitally painted this for her English class, inspired by A Raisin in The Sun. I am so thankful for art.

FenceTime. Better than FaceTime, we venture out, and friends do, too. Now we have visits, standing apart, but so thankful and happy to engage, to be well, and share our stories.

Fire side chats, too... FenceTime evolves into life around the fire, where we have the room to spread out, even to dance.

Hügelkultur. Did you notice we added more than compost and soil to the stock tank garden? A dry Christmas tree, stumps, bamboo, rotting logs, a broken wicker basket... we buried all of that and more. Alex has been following an Australian gardener, on YouTube, "Self Sufficient Me," and he decided we could get rid of yard waste, and fill a very deep tank, while making a great garden environment by practicing hügelkultur.

Now, we have a second hügelkulur bed, thanks to Alex. And this is where we hope our pie pumpkins will take off.

Community. Our community has been kind, creative, generous, thoughtful. Our schools are serving lunches, and providing groceries, school supplies, games, toys, clothes, neighbors put out their extra fruit, there are offers to run errands, sew masks, share tools, we are bartering and swapping, sharing, and donating. And on this day, when Geoff and I were on our bike ride, we came upon Bex and Simon beautifying a stand of mailboxes with their painting. We know that social distancing, staying apart, will keep us safe, help hospitals to not become overwhelmed with patients, and we know that the hardships of doing this can be overcome with our caring, our kindness, our art and humanity.

*Personal Protective Equipment. Here is our first effort for making PPE, a 3D printed face shield frame. We have begun! And we have a great team to work with, too. Together with San Diego Print For a Cause we will be producing frames for holding medical face shields, to donate to healthcare facilities in San Diego.

Hope... we keep moving forward, making, playing, and sharing. And we remain hopeful.

*April 24, 2020: Latest Update from San Diego Print For a Cause:

- 1600+ Face Shields Delivered & 3500+ PPE Items Processed and Delivers to Healthcare Workers
- Providing PPE to 9 Healthcare Organizations Supporting in Total 100+ Hospitals and Clinics
- Now Shipping PPE To the Navajo Nation at Tuba City, AZ … Making Arizona Our 3rd State to Receive PPE Shipments
- Supplying to Mission Healthcare’s 30+ Locations Where Their Medical Professionals Support COVID-19 Patients with Home Care and Hospice Care Throughout San Diego County.