Ready to Hunker Down

We spend each summer supplying the freezer with goods from the Farmer’s Market and from the garden, as well as canning jams, salsas, sauces, and tomatoes from food we grow. In the fall, I add more beans, rice, flour, and other dry goods to the grocery list each week and fill half gallon and gallon jars to have on hand for the winter. With the limit on cleaning supplies and some personal hygiene items, they usually get added to the grocery list each week until some is stockpiled, though not obsessively. We have been using curbside delivery from the grocer since last spring and at times find it a life saver and other times a total frustration. When you build your order online, you have the option to allow substitutions and if a product is out of stock, you receive a notice asking if X can be substituted for Y. At that point, you have the option of accepting or declining the substitution. We have two Kroger grocers within a few miles of each other and though we generally go to the nearer one, I have gone in the larger other one when a product was unavailable and been able to get it there. This week I decided to just do the curbside from the larger store and 3 of the items on my list were not available. Now, you can’t tell me that they had no ketchup of any brand on the shelf, I understand not having the one I listed, but no substitution was offered. The same with hubby’s sodas, if they don’t have Pepsi, they usually have Coke or vice versa, but again no substitution was offered. That has never happened at the smaller store, even if I decline the offer. This week proved to be one of the frustrating weeks, it means I am either going to have to go in one of the stores and get it myself or try to order from the other store.

To add to the frustration, I created my order for Eat’s Natural Foods and the computer ate it. They have two formats you can use, so I switched to the other format and submitted it last night. This morning, I got an email that the form was blank and asked to resubmit it. I had enough trouble remembering it the first time, so I asked them to fill the bulk items I needed as you aren’t allowed to do it yourself during the pandemic, but that I would just come in and get the other items I could remember. I got more cheese than the original order, but forgot two other items. Oh well.

The pantry shelves are vacuumed, wiped down, reorganized so that I can find items when ready to prepare the meals. The freezer was de-iced over the weekend, the goods sorted, inventoried, and arranged so that I can find what I need.

The putting by is done for another year. We are ready to hunker down from Covid or snow if we get any this winter. Last night’s hard freeze did in the peas without ever getting a harvest. I guess when I plant the fall garden I need to allow more time and count on an early frost. There are spring peas in the freezer, we will just enjoy them. Other veggies that can be obtained at the Farmer’s Market will continue to supplement the freezer. I am thinking about trying to grow some window sill lettuce and spinach too.

Rainy Day activity

A front came through with wind and rain, the warm is gone. We will see two nights in the low to mid 20’s this week. After all, it is mid November.

The day was spent crafting. The men of this family are tall and bearded. Son 1’s face is long and he has to go to campus a few times a week to teach and for meetings. I had made his family some masks late summer and when we had our distanced meet and greet, he expressed that he wished he had a couple that covered more of his beard, and he liked the ones with two ties, so today I played with my pattern to extend the sides by about 3/4″ and used bias tape folded and stitched for ties instead of using elastic loops. Four more larger masks are finished, packed, and will be shipped off to him tomorrow.

In my early fabric purchases, I had gotten two that ended up being lining, but found a use.

This morning during my alone time, I finished spinning most of the frustrating fiber on the wheel, all but a few grams. After the masks were done and packed up, the last little bit was spun and then a major plying session done. The two bobbins of very fine singles ended up a very full bobbin of 2 ply yarn that is 22 wpi, lace weight. This is the second skein I have done recently of soft, smooth, shiny yarn that is thinner than I like to use, so it will look for a new home.

The fiber is 50% Merino wool, 25% baby Camel, 25% Mulberry Silk, so it has great sheen and should knit with great drape. The bobbin couldn’t hold any more. Tomorrow I will measure it off and see what kind of yardage it is.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the peas will have to be covered, hopefully to protect them enough to get a small harvest from them. Daytime temperatures this week should be great for some walks and hikes.

Routine changes

As COVID cases rise in Virginia, our Governor has tightened some of the restrictions which is a good thing. He has also allowed the Health Department more teeth in enforcement. I hope that being charged with a Class One Misdemeanor will get some of the local businesses’ attention. All of these changes go into effect at midnight tonight and we will see if anything changes.

Saturday mornings are a time for us to go get breakfast and go to the Farmers’ Market. We usually drive through for breakfast, but chose to go to the bagel shop this morning and I ran in to get the bagels and beverages to eat in the car. The Farmers’ Market first hour is supposed to be for shoppers over 55 and people with pre-orders. The market is outdoors and opens at 9 a.m. We arrived at 9:20 and the line extended down the streets on two sides of the market. There are dots painted on the side walk for social distancing and most people are adhering to that, but if it is a group of 4 or 5 people together, they are standing at one dot. I wouldn’t have even gotten in the line, but gone home except I am not only well over 55, but had pre-ordered from several vendors. The line in front of me was packed with young people, most who entered the market to get prepared food and beverages and mill around browsing. Only 50 shoppers are supposed to be allowed within the confines of the market at a time but there were many more today, with many vendors having 2 or even 3 sellers in their stall and as this was a Holiday Market, there are many more vendors selling crafts, so the number in this corner of the block far exceeded a safe number and the crowd made it difficult to quickly get my pick up orders and get out.

Because I have been a vendor at the Holiday Markets in years past, I appreciate the local shoppers, but because of our ages and underlying health situation, today I did not feel safe. When I got home, I did email the market manager and he kindly responded. The college students will be gone soon for the rest of the semester, so hopefully, the crowd situation will abate. If not, our Saturday morning routine may have to end like so many of our other routines. At least I can still do curbside delivery at Eat’s Natural Foods or Annie Kay’s Natural Foods and the local grocer.

When we got home, I de-iced the chest freezer, organized it and took inventory of what was on hand. I fear as we go into winter and cases rise, there will be another run on supplies and grocery goods or slots for curbside pick up will fill making even safe pick up difficult. Right now, between our garden supply frozen and canned and market goods frozen and root cellar stored, we are in pretty good shape, I even have the necessaries to have a full Thanksgiving for two and we will then eat turkey left overs forever.

I sure hope that the pending vaccines will make this go away. I miss going out. I miss my children and grandchildren. I want to feel safe again.