Social Distance/Self Isolation

As we made our last purchases of an extra bag of dog food, and extra sack of chicken layer pellets, and headed home to distance ourselves to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19, we heard that all public K-12 schools in Virginia were closing for 2 weeks. I suspect it will end up longer. It is going to be tough on working families. Our daughter who is local to us has an 8 year old and a 13 year old. Normally we chip in to help out when they need coverage, but daughter realizes the potential impact on us as we are both beyond 70 years old. Last night we wrote the kids an email and told them that we would miss the hugs and kisses until it is deemed safe for seniors to be around potential vectors. On our way back to the farm, I said to hubby, that I hoped we didn’t start sniping at each other. We are rarely apart, but we do go out. The house is large, the property is 30 acres, we live on a rural gravel road, it is getting to be garden season, so we can seperate from each other if we need to, we can still get fresh air. Nearby, only a few miles is a part of the National Forest with walking trails that are not heavily travelled, so occasional walks may be made there. We have self isolated for now. We purchased extra groceries and will refrain from eating lunches and a weekly dinner out. This is a change in our habits, lunches will be sandwiches or left overs.

Our local grocer has the program where you can order and pay online and pick up in the parking lot. When we run low I guess that is the route we will take and avoid purchasing fresh produce from the grocer. Though I hate the idea of not going to our local Farmers’ Market, it is often very crowded. Some of the vendors are offering local delivery. I don’t usually grow salad greens and other salad vegetables other than cucumbers and tomatoes, which are still months off, I purchased lettuce and radish seed this year. I plan to sow a half barrel of salad greens and radishes close to the house and divide it into quarters, planting a quarter a week to spread out the harvest. Years ago, I kept a jar of sprouts germinating in the house but drifted away from doing so when I could readily get microgreens at the Farmers’ Market. Yesterday I started a jar of small spicy greens and this morning, a jar of crunchy beans.

They can be added to sandwiches, salads, or stir fry to add some fresh vegetables.

The seeds started for the garden are sprouting. The growlight down close to the lid to keep them from getting too leggy. The peppers haven’t sprouted yet, but tomatoes and Chinese cabbages are up as are the Calendula flowers. The coneflowers not yet.

The cabbages are a bit leggy, I am hoping that they will make it, if not, I will direct sow a few when it warms a bit more.

Once in a while, you see suggestions to resprout the bottom of the celery head. I had two celery hearts that were getting beyond prime, so I sliced the celery and froze it to use in soups and put the two stalk ends in water as suggested to see if I can at least sprout some celery leaves to use.

It has only been a couple of days, but the centers are swelling, so they must be uptaking water. We will see if this experiment works.

Of course, I can knit and spin to pass the time. I have several books and subscribed to the library app, so I can check out ebooks to read. I made laundry detergent and dishwasher tabs as both were low. I have soap to make for a B&B I supply, but am awaiting Shea Butter in the mail and if this goes on for very long, they may not need a big shipment.

It is going to be a lifestyle change, probably harder for hubby than for me, I could easily become a hermit here, but know that socializing is important too. For now we will avoid and hope that this virus dissipates and doesn’t devastate our country causing small businesses to struggle or fail. I hope that people are responsibly. Watching the news last evening, seeing Florida cancelling spring break gatherings and asking people to be responsible, one young woman interviewed said she would ignore that. She may become ill and being young will likely recover, but will she infect others in the community who are not healthy or young who might not. We must all take this seriously and be responsible. Let’s hope for a vaccine or for the warmer weather to hopefully cause it to subside.

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.