Totally dropped the ball on the blog this week. But that’s a win for everyone. No mundane posts about how my vegetables are growing or what the weather has been like.
Just lots of pretty pictures. Mostly of the kittens.
These guys have truly kept us entertained this week.
Tuesday, May 26. Day 72
Wednesday, May 27. Day 73
Thursday, May 28. Day 74
While we’re doing an entire week of pictures, here’s my daughter in Vegas with her social-distancing hair. I’m kind of loving it.
Friday, May 29. Day 75
Oh come on! How can you not love a bowl of kitty?
Saturday, May 30. Day 76
And unexpectedly, the honeybees have taken over my hummingbird feeders.
I’ll try to relocate the feeders to a sunnier spot so the bees won’t be as attracted. I don’t mind feeding them, but nectar makes their honey more appropriate for their winter food.
Sunday, May 31. Day 77
Today, I had the delightful opportunity to help a friend celebrate his 65th birthday, outside, social distancing observed. I ran by the store on the way to his house.
It’s been a rough week. The pandemic, sure, but the horrifying death of George Floyd, and the militarization of the police forces in our cities as our citizens protest this injustice is brutally painful. Blogging about tomatoes and peppers, and how we’re managing the isolation didn’t hold the same appeal this week.
First day of no caffeine for a week. Mild headache, a little lethargic on our daily 3 miles. My honey, however, was a hot mess – headache, achy, took naps throughout the day, really didn’t feel like himself until late afternoon.
We had another showing today – 3 cars and 8 people. They were househunting for a long-distance relative who’s soon to relocate to TN.
Grilled steak and salad for dinner, and a wonderful RfRx session.
Tuesday, May 19. Day 65
Took our morning walk and were back at home before 9am. Decaf coffee again, and we both had a much better day.
Leftovers to clean out the fridge today. Roast beef with gravy, fat pork sausage, and a couple of BBQ chicken thighs.
And here’s a little update from a few weeks ago:
Wednesday, May 20. Day 66
I’ve made the decision to go to Georgia to check on my parents, and I’m an Anxious Amanda (trying to give Nervous Nellie a break).
My brothers live in my hometown, along with my parents, but they are both single, and just to be blatantly sexist about it, they don’t see what I see when it comes to our parents’ wellbeing.
But I haven’t left my house in 10 weeks, and I sure haven’t driven my car on a road trip in that time. I’m being irrationally neurotic – do I have air in the tires? wiper fluid? gas? oil? My car registration expired in April, because I didn’t take it to emissions because they have to get into your car for that procedure. If I get stopped, I’ll have to explain that, and take whatever citation they give.
Then there’s the visit itself. They’ve distanced, I’ve distanced, but we’ll still wear masks and visit on the porch and not share food or utensils. I’ll stay in the downstairs, that has its own entrance, and strip the sheets and clean the bathroom before I leave, in addition to asking my mom not to go downstairs for about 3 days afterward.
Thursday, May 21. Day 67
It hasn’t been too bad. Once I got on the road, and got the heebiejeebies out, I was fine. Turned on a podcast, put on my shades, and 4 hours later, I’m there.
They are managing, but not flourishing. Who of us is at this point? Dad’s memory is a real challenge, but between the two of them they get through the days. We do grocery delivery once per week, and have their medications delivered.
Georgia is one of the handful of southern states which doesn’t have a phased reopening plan. Their church is still not meeting, for which I’m grateful, but most stores and restaurants are open.
They’ve moved a couple of folding chairs to the driveway, so that when my brothers stop by, they can safely have a few minutes’ visit.
Mother’s 4-year-old iphone is deteriorating and she can’t access data, which is a hardship because it’s the only internet they have (for Facetiming and Zoom calls with the family, as well as streaming her church services). We’ve ordered her a new one, and I’ll zip back down when it arrives to get it set up for her.
Friday, May 22. Day 68
I mentioned my brothers live in our hometown. My older brother was out of town, but has recently had his kitchen rehabbed, so Mother and I took a trip over to see it. It’s gorgeous, but then this happened:
He had a litter of kittens in his garage, and because I’m losing my 2 grown cats back to their rightful owner (my grandson), it was perfect timing to adopt this pile o kittens:
After driving back home, they’ll ensconced in my bathroom for a few days of adjustment. No names yet – we’re watching their little personalities develop first.
Saturday, May 23. Day 69
Sunday, May 24. Day 70
Here it is Sunday again. Memorial Day weekend. Spring is about to transition to summer. We’ll continue our hunkerdown strategy for a while yet.
Totally forgot about the No Caffeine week. I dropped the effort in my visit to my parents, but my honey continued, and his blood pressure has stayed a little lower than usual. He thinks he’ll continue it for a while.
3 showings today. Can’t get anything done, but it’s a good problem to have.
People seem to love the house (how can you not?), but still no offers. Living in an 80-year-old house is not everyone’s dream. That’s far more made up for by the glorious 8 acres with barns and pond and peace and quiet.
Corona hearings in Congress, listening in live to the Supreme Court arguments. All politics, all day.
I’m trying not to go off on rants here too much, so I’m going to just let this go. But it was cool as hell to listen in on SCOTUS oral arguments today.
Wednesday, May 13. Day 59
I’m the Executive Director of an international non-profit, Recovering from Religion. Our mission is simple and straightforward: To provide hope, healing, and support to those struggling with doubt and non-belief.
In the midst of the pandemic, we have implemented a new program we are calling RfRx: A Prescription for Coping. We have a guest presenter each week, and earlier sessions are available to watch on our Youtube channel.
If you are social distancing with religious family, and feel like you need a little help and support, please visit our website, call or chat with a trained agent, check out our Resource tab, and please join us on Monday evenings at 7pm central.
Thursday, May 14. Day 60
Tech people. I need you.
I need an app that lets me take over my mother’s iPhone. She’s 82, and tries very hard to manage her phone. She likes to play crosswords, she reads her church email to her, she can text, Facetime, and talk on the phone. She’s trying to learn to order her groceries, but that’s been a challenge. We just do that over the phone. She gives me her list, I Instacart, they get delivered.
She gets stuck. That’s her word for when she can’t figure out what to do. Sometimes an ad has popped up on her crossword and she can’t x out of it. Sometimes she gets into the wrong gmail tab. They’re all simple things to fix, but with her isolating in Georgia, and me here in Tennessee, it becomes a huge ordeal.
First, when she has a problem, I have to get her to put me on speaker so she can look at her screen while I talk her through the problem. They still have an old-school landline but it’s corrupted and sometimes it works and sometimes not.
Then we have to talk through getting to the problem screen.
Press the Home button.
The Home button – the button at the bottom that controls everything.
Oh, I remember that.
Now let’s find the app. Swipe left.
Swipe left. We’re looking for the crossword app.
I don’t see it.
Ok, mom, describe the screen you’re looking at.
It’s the one with all the little symbols.
Can you find the one with the crossword symbol?
Of course, why didn’t you say that?
And on and on and on.
I’m making light, but it really is her line to all of the rest of the family, and if I had the phone in my hand it would be sooooooo easy to get her out of whatever she’s gotten into.
Friday, May 15. Day 61
Saturday, May 16. Day 62
Facetiming my girls in Nevada and Oregon. This I’m sure hasn’t been the longest I’ve gone without a visit, but I can’t hardly wait to make a trip out to see them!
Sunday, May 17. Day 63
Beautiful powerful rainstorm came through today. Sitting on the porch swing, watching it roll in, covering up with a blanket with the wind blows the rain toward me, hanging baskets swinging, chickens racing to get in the coop, grass and plants soaking up the drops, made this the highlight of the day.
We’ve been doing nutrition experimentation while we’ve been sequestered, because it’s been so easy to control our environment. So far we’ve done an Egg week, a Carnivore week, and our usual go-to, Keto. Next week we’re going to try a little caffeine-free experiment. We’re switching to decaf, but keeping our morning bulletproof coffee in place. We only usually drink one cup a day, sometimes 2, and we don’t drink soda with caffeine, so it may not be a huge difference.
When we closed out the week last week, we had just had a massive storm blow through middle Tennessee. I posted a couple of photos of limbs down and patio furniture strewn about. Today was clean-up day, so my honey and I got to work. I’ve taken about an hour’s project of chainsawing and wood-gathering and condensed it into this little clip:
Tuesday, May 5. Day 51
Another day of gardening and yardwork. 8 acres is a lot to maintain, even when 6.5 of it is pasture! I’ve mentioned I’m getting the house ready to sell, so it gives me a reason to justify my gardening habit.
Last month, after the late April frost, these little pansies were clearanced at Kroger – they’d been bitten by the frost (I guess they leave their outside plants out in the weather?). When I bought them they were pretty sad-looking and at less than $1 per pot, looked like they were destined for the compost pile.
But they’ve all made beautiful progress – I didn’t even know the colors (still don’t on the last holdout), but they’ve become the brightest splash of color in the front garden!
Wednesday, May 6. Day 52
The highlight of my week is forever the weekly family meeting. As I zoomed and watched them in their environment, daughter Glenda in her art studio, painting as we chatted, Aden the Grand playing video games with his brothers, Amy at work in her office, Sam screen-sharing some research he had done, Eliott and I in the same room on different devices, and Ben not able to join because of his important public-defending, my heart aches to see them all in person.
Thursday, May 7. Day 53
The house went on the market at 10am, and we had a showing at 1pm! It ended up being only a realtor, but it still felt good to have a little action on the house. And we have another scheduled for tomorrow. I have loved this house – I often say if I could scoop up all 8 acres and take them to Oregon with me, I would. I hope the next owner will find all the joy and peace we have had here.
Friday, May 8. Day 54
What the hell, Tennessee.
I grew up in Georgia, and the saying there was Don’t Plant Til After Tax Day. In Tennessee, I’ve modified that to the 20th of April. Here’s what the ol reliable Farmer’s Almanac, said:
So I got to spend the early evening doing this:
Looks like a Scout Jamboree.
And here’s the thing: mid-30s is not just tonight – it’s for Saturday evening as well.
Here’s why I think I’m more than frustrated about it. In the midst of the StayHome effort, I’ve put so much into the yard and garden this year. It’s been delightful, and is a true pleasure, but it’s taken on more meaning this year. Any other year if we’d had a weird, late-season, crazy frost, it would just be a pain, and an ominous reminder of climate change. But this year it feels…more personal, I guess. Like, I can’t see my kids or friends, or do normal things, and I have to risk my pretty flowery and food things too? I know it’s an overreaction. Just the nature of what we’re going through.
Edit, post-Friday: Yes, it did indeed frost. Nashville recorded 33, but it’s always cooler out in the country, and there were frost on all the sheets just after sunrise this morning. Left everything on the ground to cover again Saturday night.
Saturday, May 9. Day 55
A clear, warm, sunny day. Hard to believe 2 nights of freezing temps bookended today. More mowing, planting, mulching, and generally soaking up the sun and spring. We relocated the hammock to the furthest part of the back yard – a delicious little spot to grab a moment to nap.
Sunday, May 10. Day 56
Chatted with my mother, talked about what we would do if we were together. Brunch, shopping, sitting on the porch. *sigh*
Peonies, the Mother’s Day bloom, is just a couple of days behind, I’m sure because of the cool spring. We had a couple of showings today, so we’ll see where that goes.
Another week comes to an end. Still no plan. Governors, mayors, city councils, businesses, and families are having to make decisions about what their plans are in the absence of any federal action. We’ve chosen to continue to isolate, unless something changes with the house.
One of the things I have been surprised about (although I shouldn’t have been) is how weather-dependent my days have become. Looking at the weather forecast is the first thing I do each morning, and I structure my entire week’s activity around the forecast. Rain means inside work, cleaning the house, catching up on email, etc. Sunny days are for walks, working in the yard and garden, watching the chickens, and simply being outside. Before Covid, I was aware of the weather, and might have watched the forecast to know when to mow, but not nearly to the extent I am now.
Tuesday, April 28. Day 44
Tennessee “opened up” yesterday. What a mistake.
I understand and embrace that there is nuance that we are missing with a full-on, blanket Stay Home order. In my non-medical opinion, there is tremendous value to being outdoors, including vitamin D levels, and many folks stuck inside are missing that. More effort should be put into trying to schedule time outside in communities. Open parks and green spaces, but schedule a system where not everyone is out at one time.
Many stores have no-contact pickup dialed in: TSC, Kroger. Our experience with ordering from Walmart resulted in canceling our simple order of birdseed when we discovered their pickup required GOING IN TO THE STORE TO FIND THE PICKUP DESK. Not exactly curbside.
My parents are beginning to worry about the food supply. They have plenty, both my brothers and I have farms, we have lots of resources available, but it still causes them to stress. To them and to others, I offer this as the insufferable know-it-all I can be: most of the country could embark upon an eating strategy, and survive and even improve their health by adopting intermittent fasting.
When we force our human bodies to burn fat instead of sugar, which means eliminating the sugar (carbohydrates of all forms) in our diets, we can live off of our own fat stores for long periods of time. Even a lean adult human has enough fat to survive for days, and those who carry more can survive longer, “eating” ones own body fat.
And the hunger/psychological piece of the equation? When insulin is stable, we don’t have the wild fluctuations that lead to craving and what is perceived as hunger. We don’t think of it this way, but why would we be hungry when we have so much excess “food” hanging around on our body? Switching to a fasting lifestyle involves both retraining your body to burn fat, and simultaneously eliminating the urge to eat caused by massive insulin spikes.
This was a sweet, unexpected view on our walk this evening:
We walk the farm most evenings. This event occurs every year, and we look and wait for the babies. Tonight as we crested the bank, we saw this lovely couple and their little gozzes. If you’re a reader, you’ll remember the big nasty snapper I posted recently – unfortunately, this is that pond. We’ll keep an eye on this family and post updates.
Thursday, April 30. Day 46
Oh April, you’ve been such a tease! Warm, cold, cool, hot – you’ve had it all. A frost on the 12th and a freeze on the 15th. And you go out today with a brrrrr. Buh bye. Maybe May will be a little less fickle.
Friday, May 1. Day 47
What a joyful day! Observing precautions and safe distances, my 2 sweet girlfriends, one with her precious little daughters, came to the farm for the annual Releasing of the Butterflies! This young mother ordered caterpillars for the girls to watch as they cocooned and then emerged.
Saturday, May 2. Day 48
Today was Mulch Day.
We’re still trying to get the farm ready to put on the market. I’m ready to relocate to the Pacific Northwest, to be nearer to my 4 adult children. If I could scoop up this sweet little 8-acre paradise and move it to the west coast, I would. Since I can’t, I’m looking forward to someone else enjoying this beautiful place as much as I have.
Sunday, May 3. Day 49
And we end the week with a bang! Thunderstorms have been rolling through middle Tennessee all evening.
I took this picture at 4:24, just as my honey was pulling dinner off the grill. It began to cloud up, but we thought we could get through dinner, which we did. As we were clearing the table, the wind picked up.
I took this picture at 5:12.
And this is the back deck:
And the front yard:
Power is out all over town, and big trees down everywhere. Grateful the damage wasn’t worse. We’ll start the cleanup tomorrow.