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Social Distancing. Week 12

Days 85 – 91.

The Week When Everything Changed

I’m going to switch up my usual format of kittens, social distancing, nutrition, blahblahblah.

Because this week, everything changed.

I sold my house. I sold my farm.

I’m heading to the Pacific Northwest, to live nearer to my 4 adult children (don’t think you can get away from me that easily, my pretties).

And it’s been a remarkable experience.

I’ve had the house on the market since April. I had attempted to sell it last summer, and tried an auction, since the property is unique, and rural, and hard to comp. That was not even close to successful, not because the place isn’t totally wonderful, but because farm living, in an 80-year-old cottage, is not for everyone.

You have to love the solitude. You have to love the animals. You have to love the land, and the quirkiness of the cottage, and the history of the barns, and the work to maintain it all. I do. And I found a buyer who does too.

Of course, there are a thousand things that can scotch up the deal before it goes through, but that’s universal when the sale of real property is involved.

I’ll post more about the whole process as it develops. There’s no doubt there is a touch of the bittersweet. If you’ve read much of what this blog contains, you know I’ve enjoyed every moment of living here. But I’m beyond excited, ecstatic really, to begin this part of my journey.

In other news, we had a delightful 3 days with the grand. We ordered a 15-yard dumpster to clean out the barns and I’m mortified that we filled it. My honey picked up a new gig in NYC for the next 12 weeks. Did I mention I sold my house?

So here’s this week’s barrage of photos. I know it’s not the usual daily report. I’ve got packing to do.

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A little canine on feline canoodling at Freethought

A little Americana with PopPop.

Don’t even tell me you’re getting tired of kitten videos.

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Remember this family? The kids are almost grown now. 
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Sunset walkabout
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I like my kittens windowsill-sized

 

Oh, we’re still in a pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and it’s 141 days until the election.

And I’ve sold my house.

Thanks for reading.

Social Distancing. Week 11

Monday, June 1. Day 78

Start with a carpenter bee. Add its drilled hole in the deck.

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I know. The light and angle are terrible.

Add a woodpecker at 6am.

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There you have a delicious meal of carpenter bee larva for said pecker.

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And a nice little mess on the deck.

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That’s how my Monday started.

 

Tuesday, June 2. Day 79

Need to head back down to Atlanta to check on my folks for a couple of days. You know you’re not going to read a blog post without seeing pics of the kittens:

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Helping me pack

Wednesday, June 3. Day 80

Spent the day driving down to south Atlanta. This billboard is in Dalton, GA on Interstate 85. If we flip Georgia in November, I might have to reconsider my belief in the supernatural.

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I’ma have to ask for a citation

Thursday, June 4. Day 81

The new phone I had ordered for mother had arrived, and we spent the day getting it set up and getting her comfortable with it. It’s a struggle, but she tries so hard, and was able to order her groceries on the Publix app and get her delivery set up. Progress!

My dad, electrical engineer and retired Delta pilot, would like a book about how iPhones work. I teased him a little, til daughter Glenda found “iPhones for Seniors” available to purchase. Ordered and shipped.

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Sweet mother

Friday, June 5. Day 82

Drove back to TN. Listened to My Favorite Murder podcasts all the way back. My honey had steaks on the grill as I rolled into the driveway. Summer has arrived in the south – hot and muggy, and just waiting for mosquitoes. But that also means tomatoes on the vine and lightning bugs, so I’d call it a wash.

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Saturday, June 6. Day 83

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Still no names.

 

Sunday, June 7. Day 84

The end of another week of social distancing. We’ll continue to isolate, and restrict our interactions. I miss the kids more than I can say, but I chat with them often and they’re all managing as well as to be expected.

The farm is beautiful – garden is blooming, grass and fields are green and lush, birds singing and tweeting, bees buzzing, oblivious to the utter chaos and pandemonium our nation is experiencing.

Black Lives Matter.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Social Distancing. Week 11

Monday, May 25. Day 71

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.

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The two brothers. No names yet. 

These guys have truly kept us entertained this week.

 

Tuesday, May 26. Day 72

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Prissy Princess and her two brothers

 

Wednesday, May 27. Day 73

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He loves them as much as I do

 

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.

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Friday, May 29. Day 75

Oh come on! How can you not love a bowl of kitty?

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Saturday, May 30. Day 76

And unexpectedly, the honeybees have taken over my hummingbird feeders.

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My googling has informed me that while they love this, it’s a less-concentrated form of sugar and dilutes their honey stores. 

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.

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Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

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.

So, let’s do better.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Social Distancing. Week 10.

Monday, May 18. Day 64

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:

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Remember this little family? 

 

Wednesday, May 20. Day 66

I’m institutionalized.

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. 

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Porch Picnic

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.

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Sights in the time of corona

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:

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Prissy prissy Princess. Not me, the kitty.

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:

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The grey point is female, b/w both male

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

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Goofy pic of the best part of staying home. Steak and Truly don’t hurt.

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.

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First zucchini of the season, just left of center.

 

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.

Hang in there a little longer, fellow distancers.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Social Distancing. Week 7.

Monday, April 27. Day 43

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.

Jason Fung

Intermittent Fasting

 

 

Wednesday, April 29. Day 45

This was a sweet, unexpected view on our walk this evening:

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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.

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Sweet little girls. Photo by Susan Steen
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The Release. Photo by Susan Steen
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And a visit to all the farm animals. Photo by Susan Steen

 

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.

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Sunday, May 3. Day 49

And we end the week with a bang! Thunderstorms have been rolling through middle Tennessee all evening.

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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.

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And this is the back deck:

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And the front yard:

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These two cedars are the oldest trees on the property. 

Power is out all over town, and big trees down everywhere. Grateful the damage wasn’t worse. We’ll start the cleanup tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

 

Social Distancing, Week 5

Monday, April 13. Day 29

Winter’s back. Couldn’t even get our full 3 miles in today, because I underdressed for it. Out go the sheets again over the tomato beds, not to be uncovered until Thursday. So I cooked most of the morning – a big pot of brunswick stew for a wintry day.

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Tuesday, April 14. Day 30

Another teasingly cold and sunny spring day. Plants will have to wear their little blankets another 2 nights. I’m glad to inside out of that biting wind – I can even watch my little chickies flap their wings and run around their pen from my kitchen window. It was a good day to clean the house and work inside.

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Yep. it’s time.
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Well, he’s beautiful to begin with, so

Wednesday, April 15. Day 31

Last of the cold days. Pretty and sunshiny, but one more chance of freeze tonight. When there’s no work to be done outside, may as well show you our lunch.

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Low carb bagels from Fox Hill Kitchens if you’re interested.

Thursday, April 16. Day 32

Spring’s back! The frost got some buds here on the farm – mostly the crepe myrtles and a few of the leaves on the pepper plants, but that’s the end of the frost danger.

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Swearing-in, social distancing style
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While the fam Zooms with pride

Friday, April 17. Day 33

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Scenes from a Friday
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*sigh*
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One friend made them, another delivered them. Such kindness.

Saturday, April 18. Day 34

Today was an adventure. Had barely gotten started on my morning coffee (which, if I’ve never mentioned, is ground and brewed and blended and delivered to me every single morning by my honey), when I saw information about C19 testing in Rutherford County, Tennessee, where I live.

Free, no need to have exhibited symptoms or exposure, no contact drive-thru testing. For only 3 hours, only today. Up we hopped, dressed and in the car, to line up at the local Health Department before 9am. Many LEO directing traffic, well-controlled pattern up and down city blocks culminating in drive-thrus on both sides of the building.

We chatted and made phone calls and listened to the news while we crept along, waiting for our turn. Just over 3 hours after we got in line, we got to the testing area.

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A few quick questions: name, address, phone, email. Asked if we had insurance, but there was no follow-up. Asked if we had had symptoms or known exposure. Then the notorious swab up each nostril, unpleasant but not painful, and over in a second. Then instructions that we’d get a phone call in 3-5 days, whether positive or negative, and to continue to stay home if we could.

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A sweet kiss for staying healthy

Why get the test if we’ve had no symptoms, no contact, and have been distancing at home?

  1. I want to send a message to Tennessee and my social circle to get tested.
  2. I believe that with as poorly as this crisis has been managed at the federal level, now nationwide testing is our best hope.
  3. While we expect to test negative, if we test positive, we’ll be even more vigilant for symptoms, and we’ll implement the last few actions we can take – no outgoing mail, only grocery delivery (no more pickup), and not even a trip to take trash and recycling to the dump until our 14 days have passed.

 

Sunday, April 19. Day 35

We close out the week with this joyful moment:

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I had read on social media that others in my area had had the annual first sighting, but I didn’t see this sweet little fella until late today! And it’s a chilly, overcast day, so I really wasn’t expecting him. It’s a delightful sign of spring that I anticipate every year.

 

The end of another week. Still no plan.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Social Distancing. Week 4.

Monday, April 6. Day 22

In addition to keeping my honey and I isolated on the farm, and conversing with the 4 adult children and their partners in isolation, and tracking my grandson who lives in Utah, I’m also trying to ensure that my 83/82-y-o parents are complying with social distancing protocol alone in their home just south of Atlanta.

They’re doing a great job of tolerating the circumstances. Their church services are all cancelled, I have groceries delivered once a week, we text and chat every day. They have vast cable tv resources, but no internet, so to me that means they miss a lot (streaming their online church services), but they’ve never had it, so they don’t complain about it.

Last week I had a delivery made to them of some plants from their local nursery. It was a gorgeous pile of blossoms:

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She was so surprised and delighted. They have a big front porch and they sit out there for hours birdwatching at the numerous feeders. Her hanging baskets are always beautiful, always red and white, and last year I found tiny hummingbird feeders that can be added to each basket so the birds get really close.

She immediately set to planting, digging and designing, then getting my dad to help her hang them.

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She sent picture after picture of getting them arranged – 4 large baskets to hang on 4 hooks on the front porch.

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Then this morning, she called me in tears, hardly able to talk. You can imagine me holding my breath, waiting to hear what she was so upset about. Did one of them fall down? Is it one of my brothers? My dad? Is someone showing symptoms?

The squirrels had gotten into her baskets and dug around and flung plants everywhere. In the span of 5 seconds, I went from relieved, to anger at her reaction, to laughter, and back to neutral as we talked it through. By the end of the conversation, we decided I would have some kind of rodent repellent delivered, she can pick up all the plants and sweep up the dirt and reassemble the baskets. She was even able to laugh about it at the end.

The whole experience fractured me. Of course I know the psychology of it – her emotion was entirely displaced, she’s tried so hard to be optimistic and comply with the rules, and those baskets mean a lot to her in a non-weird spring season. But sadness overwhelmed me at the thought of their suffering at this time in their lives – the isolation, the loneliness, the separation from their very active senior adult group at their church.

It will be a story we can tell and laugh about in the future. But right now it is a total gut-punch, and tiny example of what is playing out in millions of households around the world. This is so unnatural, and is taking a toll on our social species, in far more dramatic and significant ways than this short tale reveals.

It was a lovely day on the farm, but my morning phone call stayed with me well after sunset.

Tuesday, April 7. Day 23

Nothing but planting from sunrise to sunset! I think this theme is a little repetitive on this blog, but it is spring on the farm, so.

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Starts with a big ol truck bed full of dirt
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Beautiful.
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Home grown tomatoes. Nothing better. 
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Sunshine and water is all we need now. 
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And suddenly, it’s gin o’clock. 

Wednesday, April 8. Day 24.

Today was a day.

We lost John Prine last night. I went to bed sad, thinking about listening to him in college, the impact his music and lyrics had on me.

I was out of sorts when I woke up, stressy and worried and restless. It was house-cleaning day, although 2 old people don’t mess up a house too much in a week. Before my honey and I got started cleaning, I put on some Prine, and the first chord hadn’t finished before I gave in to my tears. I cried about everything – fear of the virus, worry about the children and my parents, the loss of this beautiful man, the absolute frustration of what the Republicans have done to the country, the despair for the suffering that so many are experiencing in this health crisis.

I swept and mopped and scrubbed as JP’s voice soothed my raw nerves, like it used to do in my youth. In a couple of hours my house was clean, and my emotions were spent. My honey took my hand and led me outside without a word, where we headed out for our daily 3 miles on our little country lane.

We walked and chatted, he gave me space to grieve and rant, and before long around the bend came a very familiar car.

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It’s hard to see, but that hatted bandit is my girl Steen. She took a moment to drive out to wave from the window, and at a safe social distance to see our faces. It was the sweetest moment, and one I needed.

I had also posted a little whiney rant on Facebook, and after our walk I saw comment after comment of love and support.

I am an optimistic person, sometimes almost unrealistically. I rarely have dark moments, and when I do, they pass quickly. Today was one of those rare occasions.

But with the love and support of my honey, my family, my friends, and my community, I had my moment, felt it, expressed it, and moved on. I know this won’t be the only day like this. I know there are others who are suffering so much more than we are. I know that everyone is affected by this crisis to varying degrees.

Thursday, April 9. Day 25

Ay, this spring weather. Spent the day bringing in my as-yet-unplanted plants, and covering what I’ve already put in the ground.

Friday, April 10. Day 26

This is the easiest day to write a happy thing of the entire distancing series up to now. Today, at 10am, my oldest son texted me one word: PASSED.

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Ben, partner Kirsten, Suzy and River

What he was referencing were the results from the February 2020 Washington State Bar Exam. Which he passed.

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He’d already been hired in the Public Defender’s office in Chelan County, in Wenatchee, WA, but he needed the pass to be official.

Having taken the Bar Exam myself (California), I know how hard and challenging this test is. I’m so very proud of him, and so excited for his career.

Meanwhile, on the farm…

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I’m growing linens, apparently

Expecting a low of 34 degrees tonight, so all those tender plants get a nice cozy blanket.

Saturday, April 11. Day 27

I know I’ve blogged about how we’re eating: low carb, no grains/no sugar, mostly one meal a day, with a later snack. But we’re also trying to be a little playful about it. Here’s the menu board for a few days this week:

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It’s a little silliness, but helps us keep our good humor about not going out to eat, which we love to do.

Sunday, April 12. Day 28

End of the fourth week. Still no plan, especially here in Tennessee.

On this rainy Sunday, it is as good a time for a rant as any.

We have a binary system in our presidential election, for all intents and purposes. You vote for one, the other, for a nonviable 3rd party candidate, or not at all. That’s it. Those are the choices.

We are at such a level of destruction and emergency in our country, it is my opinion that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. In other words, if you are not with us, you are against us.

So I don’t care what your motivation is to vote for Trump.

Don’t like abortion? I don’t care.

Hate liberals? I don’t care.

Bernie didn’t win? I don’t care.

You’re not in a swing state so you claim you can make your political point with no damage? I don’t care.

Your own important and special reason? I don’t care.

Who you vote for is your choice and your right. But it is not without consequences. When you vote for Trump, you have chosen to empower the damage and pain he causes. I take that personally – that hurts so many people. And while I respect your right to vote as your conscience leads you, it affects how I feel about you. If we were friends up to that point, your vote alters the friendship. It alters my respect for you. Our values are too far apart to sustain a friendship. Your voting action far exceeds a difference of opinion or political strategy, or whatever it is that you claim you are doing.

So on your social media when you boast about voting for Trump because derpderpderp, don’t expect my respect or friendship.

And as to it being my responsibility to convince you otherwise? You’re a Trumper, by definition and your own statement. I have learned a slow hard lesson that it is not worth the breath and frustration it takes to try to reason with a Trumper. Hard pass. I’ll be out doing what I’ve done for years: registering new voters, encouraging nonvoters, and trying to win what is left of the persuadable middle.

 

The last day of the 4th week. Let’s end with a photo of my lone little azalea.

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It was a week of highs and lows. Squaring my shoulders to move forward.

Thanks for reading.

Social Distancing. Week 3.

Monday, Mar 30. Day 15

A good day on the farm. Sunny and bright, a little cool. Chicks are growing by the minute, and loving their coop. They’ve learned the ramp, and can put themselves to bed at night (as opposed to me getting the top half of body on the ground into the coop, catching them and putting them “upstairs” under the warming light, one by one).

Baby donk is adorable. A little pastoral shot with mommy:

We have a 3-mile loop on our dead-end country lane, and Eliott and I have made it a habit of walking it daily. It’s rural and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve met another person walking while we are. Nice for social distancing, one little piece of elevation, so rural there are no lines painted anywhere. It was wonderful to get out and walk it today – it lends itself to long, uninterrupted conversations, as well as a good hour of exercise.

Tuesday, Mar 31. Day 16

Cold and rainy again, but that’s Tennessee spring. It’s convenient when it falls on a day I have to work at my desk, and the end of the month means closing out the old budget and beginning the new.

I’ve modified my plan just a little since my partner got home. I get teased by my kids for my dry-erase, color-coded life, but I’m ok with that. I know all of our minds work differently for how we manage ourselves, and this is what works for me. Back when I was a young mother, I used an old-school clipboard, with a precise schedule for the week’s activities, tasks to do, grocery list, calls to make, etc. Raising 4 children close in age made it necessary, for me, to empty my brain of all of that, so I could be fully engaged and focused on the moment.

So when I share with you the images of this method of management, you’ll understand me a little better.

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Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Seasonal. Projects for the yard. Calls to make. Things to do. As soon as it gets written, it goes into the queue of my life, and it moves up the priority until I get to it. More peasy than easy, but you get the drift.

 

Wednesday, April 1. Day 17

I’ve always celebrated April 1. I know it’s not the equinox, just a day on the calendar, but it’s always been my tradition that it’s a transition day. I think I began the habit before I was tuned in to using nature instead of the calendar, and I’ve just continued it.

My April tasks include filling and hanging the hummingbird feeders, setting out the hammock, putting the outdoor cushion and umbrellas out. It’s still too early to plant my tomatoes and flowers, but I can herald the coming of spring with some of these rituals.

Today was a little cool and still damp from yesterday’s rain, but I pushed forward. The grass is greening by the day, every tree is full of green buds, some with blossoms already, and there’s no doubt the earth is moving.

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This lilac smells as delightful as it looks

I suppose that is today’s thought. No matter what our attitude is, no matter how we approach this era in our world/nation/personal history, time will pass. This phenomena will run its course, whatever it is, and we will move on to a new phase. That’s what I mean when I put Take the Long View on my vision board. Someday this will be in the past, maybe even when you’re reading this blog. While there’s no right way to have done it, I hope I did the best I could with the circumstances.

 

Thursday, Apr 2. Day 18

Now beautiful again. I wonder how different it would have been to distance in another season. We kind of do a winter quasi-hibernation to begin with, which would seem to be a better time, but now at least we can get out and walk and get exercise, so sort of a trade-off. Tomato tomahto.

My honey is still adjusting to being home – walking around the farm, interacting with the animals, walking around the yard. We’ve begun a projects list, and like all of us, he enjoys adding to it and thinking about the sequence. He’s still tying up loose ends at work, so his head is in both worlds. He was working long, busy days before leaving DC, so the adjustment from that to this new pace has him marveling.

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My dear friend Darrel Ray lives on a bit of property, and he and I both remarked on a phone call that we’re being more methodical and slow about how we’re getting things done; we don’t want to get all of our projects complete too quickly. We both acknowledged how fortunate to be both on land that inherently ALWAYS has projects to do, and for it to be spring to get out and do them.

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New chick yard
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New mulch, beds are ready! 

 

Friday, April 3. Day 19

A beautiful spring day on the farm. Today was a day for mowing, tilling, and weeding. And a little chickie-watching.

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How do you not love all this?

Saturday, April 4. Day 20

If you’re bored with farming pics, this blog isn’t going to entertain you much. It was another really pretty day on the farm, so it was a day of mowing and tilling. However, it started off with a pretty exciting phone call.

I had ordered and paid for some tomatoes, peppers, petunias, geraniums, and jasmine from our local nursery. They’re still open for business, but we arranged a contact-free pickup, and they called to tell us our order was picked and ready. We drove the old farm truck over, called them when we got there, and they loaded our things right into the truck bed, and off we went back home.

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I was thrilled to get my plants, but it was distressing to see all the shoppers at the nursery, unmasked, ungloved, not distancing in the least. I just don’t think Tennesseans are taking this seriously at all. Between Trump’s message, and the soft stay-at-home gentle suggestion our governor made only days ago, they are not grasping the situation.

Sunday, April 5. Day 21

A beautiful sunny day to end the week.

I’ll mix up the farming pics with food pics. We’re eating low carb, as we have for years, and we’re doing daily fasting of about 20 hours a day. We have fatty coffee in the mornings, then have a big meal around 4, and another snack/small meal around 8. In nutrition circles, that’s known as OMAD (one meal a day). We keep a lot of meat in our freezer, so our grocery delivery has consisted mostly of fresh and frozen vegetables. Eliott and I both enjoy cooking, so we take turns.

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Meatloaf, cauli rice, green salad, and chaffles

We use our daily walks to talk through our plan, to ensure we understand what we’re facing, to share any news that we have read that the other might not have. We discuss our coping strategies, how to help the children, how we’re managing my parents (82 and 84, distancing together a couple of hundred miles away). It’s been a lovely week, and we recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to be isolating, in such a beautiful place, with the animals, together.

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Thanks for reading.

Social Distancing. Week 2.

Monday, March 23. Day 8

Gah. We need some sunshine. We’ve had a pretty rainy March in middle Tennessee. It hasn’t been too cold, which is nice, but that has resulted in an abundance of weed and grass growth, that no one can mow because it’s too wet! We had a couple of hours of glorious sunshine yesterday, and I was stunned at how warm it felt and how beautiful it was.

I’m committed to getting out every single day, regardless of the weather, so I caught a quick hour walk dodging the rain storms. I really didn’t want to go – like most of you, I was still in my jammies, working around the house answering emails and enjoying the sound of the soft rain. But that’s when I have to rely on my rational brain, not my emotional one, and get dressed and get out. And of course, I’m always glad I did.

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Today’s concern was with politics. I didn’t catch Trump’s press conference live, but when I read about it later, I’m just livid. Hinting that we’ll open the country back up in a week or two might be the WORST possible thing we could do. Why would the US be exempt from the pattern we’ve seen in China, South Korea, and Italy? The sooner we get this lockdown going, the sooner we get this under control, and the sooner we can return to whatever will be normal then. There are just not enough words to describe this timeline: we’re facing the most serious national health crisis we’ve ever faced, with the worst leadership we’ve ever had.

Tuesday, March 24. Day 9

It’s not the isolation or the virus that’s going to kill me – it’s the endless, relentless rain. This is normal spring weather for middle Tennessee, and I get mad at it this time every year. Grass is growing, weeds are up, can’t mow in a downpour. Need to weed the beds and till the garden, but it’s a mucky mess (reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of the Mississippi River: too thick to drink, too thin to plow).

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So today’s agenda includes all the inside stuff, plus I think I’ll start a puzzle.

 

Wednesday, Mar 25. Day 10

Went into double digits today for days sequestered. What will life be like when I go into triple? Current reports indicate that our trajectory is going straight up. Today, New York appears to be the epicenter in the US. Washington and Louisiana are very high, and it looks like Florida will be the next hardest hit. Tennessee continues life apace – no state mandates. Schools have been closed but not businesses, and from my local social media,

One of my guidelines is to restrict/limit/manage the flood of information coming in. I try to ration global, national, state, and local news (which, I’ll admit, is a skill I’ve probably needed to develop). I like politics and government, and at other times I read and watch a lot of political news. Since the virus is devouring the airwaves, and because there’s so much anxiety + anger and how we’re being governed now, I’ve cut my consumption down to about 3 hours a day: an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.

Today was a good day, in spite of. Everything. I braved the outside world and took my trash and recycling to the dump. It wasn’t busy, so I didn’t have to dodge a single interaction. I could put my trash and recyclables in their bins without touching anything. I drove straight there and straight home. We have to find our victories.

Then I earned my Community Action merit badge by picking up a bag of trash on the lane where I live. Even if it was rainy and drippy.

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Then my chicken coop was delivered! My little guys are growing by the day, and I’ll be glad to get it put together for them.

Then the rain stopped. Glorious glorious sunshine. I jumped on the mower and did a quick cut of the front yard. Oh, the smell of freshly mown lawn in the spring.

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Lastly, I had a cocktail party with the leadership team of the nonprofit I work for. Look at these faces. We can get through this, with a little help from our friends.

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Thursday, Mar 26. Day 11

Sunshine all day long. What a difference my outlook has been since the rain stopped. 10 days of nonstop rain right over the top of this national crisis, the claustrophobia of being shut in, and the need to get outside was beginning to take its toll on my disposition.

Today, however, was the opposite. I was outside from just after daybreak til just after dark, and it was delicious.

Mowed everything, weeded beds, turned the compost – spring is here (or close enough to feel like it today). I also had a little fun with last year’s grapevine pruning: made a little wreath to add to the garden gate.

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Friday, Mar 27. Day 12

Now that the grass is mowed, I have picked out the space for my new coop.

Here’s how it started:

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And here’s how it ended:

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My little guys are so happy!

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It will take a couple of days of training them to use the ramp. So several times a day, I crawl in there and put them up in the brooder, then push gently urge them down the ramp.

 

Saturday, Mar 28. Day 13

And on Day 13, my honey came home.

My partner has been working in DC, and the company for whom he has been consulting has finally cut everyone loose to go home. They’ve been observing safety protocol, but nothing’s as good as sending everyone HOME.

It resets my calendar back to Day 1 for the incubation period (although not for the distancing ticker), but I’ll take it. We’ll hunker down together here on the farm for the duration. So glad to have my lovey back.

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Sunday, Mar 29. Day 14

Today’s weather was stunning. Warm and sunny, birds singing, grass growing – you’d never know there is a global pandemic. Eliott spent the day walking around the farm, getting reacquainted with all the animals, looking at my projects – my amateur fence-building skills, the coop, and a little home repair I’d done in his absence.

We had a delicious dinner al fresco – he grilled the steaks, and I baked the mac n cheese (faux, cauliflower version).

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Not a bad week. All the kids and partners seem to be managing, and my parents are complying with all the new rules down in Georgia. I am grateful beyond words to have a warm dry house on a lively little farm to endure this challenging time.

Thanks for reading.

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