Plan Ahead

It is spring break for the local University and as Virginia is now reporting cases of coronavirus, several colleges and Universities in the country have sent students home or are discussing doing so. We wonder if an announcement will be made for the local students to not return from spring break for a while. Though there are no reported cases in southwest Virginia yet, it will surely find it’s way here.

Hubby and I are both over 70, so more at risk if exposed. We decided as soon as cases were reported in the USA, and since the summer stockpile of home canned goods runs low by this time of year, we started gathering a few extra items each time we shopped starting several weeks ago. Rarely do we buy frozen vegetables, but if we can’t go to the grocer or Farmer’s Market, we purchased bags of an assortment so we have vegetables until the garden starts producing. When we went in today to get a few items, there were many empty spots on the shelves, especially items like dry beans, rice, pasta. There was no rubbing alcohol, only a couple of bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide, and sanitizing cleaners were scarce or missing. There were signs posted by the grocer at the empty shelves. I guess panic buying has begun here. We are stocked enough to survive if self quarantined. Meals might get boringly repetitive, but we have the food to be safe. Until we see cases here, we will continue with our normal routine and resupply as we use up food but be prepared to spend a month or more staying on our farm, take our walks on our rural road or around our acreage.

As I grow aloe, the base of hand sanitizer with isopropyl alcohol from our cabinet, I made a couple small bottles. I have begun using the sanitizing wipes provided at the entrance of the grocer to wipe down the cart handle and also my hands. We don’t have a lot of visitors, few deliveries, I make my own cleaners and soaps, and my all purpose and floor cleaners have alcohol in them, and plan on adopting the habit of wiping doorknobs. We are following the suggestion to not shake hands and avoid large crowds.

We hope that this virus wanes as the spring and summer arrive, but want to be prepared without panicking. As parents, we worry about our children and their families. One lives near northern Virginia and works at a University there. One owns a medical transport company. One is in Human Resources as a new hire trainer for a huge hospital system.

We hope for the health of all in our country and hope that those that are exposed will be responsible so as not to put others at risk. Keep a calm head and be responsible.

Slow I go

My favorite knitting needles developed a flaw, a major flaw. The nickle plating on the brass tips wore off of the needle I was using on a scarf for my daughter. I fear that the set purchased from Amazon were seconds as they were about $30 less expensive than the same sets from online yarn shops. Amazon agreed to allow me to return them and refund my money. I ordered a new set from a well know national yarn store and now must await their delivery. I can work on one of the three projects I had on needles using a wooden circular needle I had on hand.

This has provided more time to spin on my spindles. My two favorites are a pair of Wrens, turkish spindles by Ed Jenkins. One is cherry, the other Osage orange. The Cherry one has a substantial cop of plied silver Shetland wool, the Osage orange had just been removed from the smaller cop of dark gray Shetland wool that was a sample that came with the spindle.

Lately, I have spent much more time with the spindles than with my wheel. I spun a braid that was about 4.5 ounces on the wheel while I was at the retreat two weekends ago, but this is the production on the spindles, plus another mini skein of the silver Shetland that must be in hiding tonight.

Everything here were samples that came with spindles or with fiber purchased from independent shops, except the silver Shetland. I am working my way through a pound of it. It is delightful to spin, especially on the spindles.

I had made good progress on getting through my stash of fiber before I went away. I scoured some Cotswold and brought it home, carded some Jacob that I had previously scoured. Then at spinning last week, one of the spinners brought a huge bag of various fibers that she wanted out of her house, FREE. I came home with two of her offerings. I will continue on the spindles, but some time needs to be spent on the wheel or I will run out of places to store my wools.

Yesterday repeat

Today was even warmer than yesterday and another beautiful day for a walk. No photos of it today, but we did walk farther.

First thing this morning, the seed starter flat was set up on the warming tray and seeded.

The growlight frame was 3 inches too tall to sit in that position and as there is no other convenient place to put it, out came the jig saw and the frame was knocked apart, the legs shortened by 3 inches. Now we can get plates out of the cabinet above it. I never could understand why it was so tall in the first place. The light will be lowered to within an inch of the dome once seeds sprout, but if anything gets as tall as the light can be raised, they will be leggy and fragile.

After the walk, two more boxes were built from the corners and boards from the deteriorating boxes. There are now 6 in two rows across the top of the garden. The mint box was removed, now to try to rid the garden of all the mint and put some of it where it can grow without over taking the garden. The remaining two deteriorating boxes will be rebuilt into two 4 X 4 foot boxes and any remaining boards will be stored to use for repairs or to build a box where the mint is, if I can get control there.

The center top box with green mesh around it is the asparagus, the one closest to the camera is the garlic and onions.

In the kitchen window is a confused Thanksgiving cactus, thinking it is an Easter cactus. It blooms a few blooms every year around this time.

Tomorrow is still warm, but rain is expected, so the sore back from two days of garden can recover some.

I still need to figure out how to deal with the fencing.