Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pretty sure it's a sign of the impending apocalypse...

   Is it just me ?  Good grief.  In all kinds of situations and circumstances, I am finding myself shaking my head in bafflement and bewilderment.  I try to stay away from the news, except for a once daily update on important things.  The people around me are acting like complete morons, while Covid numbers are rising all around. There have been 4  cases of it at my husbands job... and one guy has a newborn baby, and mama and baby have both tested positive. 2 of the guys were at a kegger together last week.  One thought he was just feeling hung over. I went to a store this morning that has big signs saying, Face Coverings Required, yet 1/3 of the people in there did NOT have them on and no one said a word to them.  I read that there were 4 dead and 26 hospitalized in Arizona after drinking hand sanitizer. WTH is wrong with these people ??  Today I was on a cooking site that I visit from time to time, and a woman asked if anyone knew any other way to cook broccoli besides IN THE OVEN , because it is too hot to run her oven for 45 MINUTES.  WHAT ?????  I have never in my almost 68 years on this planet heard of cooking BROCCOLI in the oven.  And my God, certainly not for 45 minutes !!!  People asking questions like, how do you cook noodles ??  WHAT ???    My head is about to explode.

  It's been stupid hot here, with outrageous heat indexes tacked on.  It's too hot to go outside and try to do anything, not much better in the house, where the poor central AC cannot keep up.  My electric bill is thru the roof. I shut everything down at night, but it runs for 12 hours.  We have been having days of intermittent storms and that cools it down to about 80 at midnight. Also waters the heck out of all the giant weeds growing in my front yard. They grow so fast you can't see where any weed whacking was done. The mower is still in the shop.  I'm living in an overgrown meadow, for crying out loud.  The trash pandas (raccoons) stripped my peach tree, so if I want peaches I'm going to have to buy them and they're running about 15 dollars for a half peck. Outrageous.  But the prices of everything have gone up and even things on sale don't seem like sale prices now. 

  I am pretty stocked up.  I have plenty of masks and gloves and hand sanitizer and wipes and toilet paper.  I need to stock up some dog food and cat food, but it's been readily available so I haven't worried too much about it. My food storage is in pretty good shape. We won't starve for awhile. But I have to tell you... I'm more than a little concerned about people.  Not having basic cooking skills is abhorrent to me.  Thinking none of this is going to affect you, is unbelievable to me. The complete lack of consideration and the selfishness of not caring what happens to anyone else as long as you aren't inconvenienced is so alien to my way of thinking that I feel like I am drowning in despair. 

  I'm going to bed now, with high hopes that I will feel better in the morning and not so snarky and exhausted.  Another hot one on the books, but I will do everything I can to stay cool.  Got everything done today that needed doing, so, there's that.  I even cancelled 2 appts, one medical,  one opthamologist, because I don't know if we should be in quarantine or not.  Neither appt was a life and death deal, so I rescheduled them both. Yay me.  Really didn't feel like going to St Louis.  Or seeing people.  lol

   So, don't worry about me.  I am the eternal optimist.  Here's your smile for the day...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Independence Days...Covid 2020 Edition ...


   Back in the good old days of 2011, I posted several times on the idea of keeping things stocked up and about a book I was reading by a woman named Sharon Astyk. The name of the book is  INDEPENDENCE DAYS.  As fortune would have it, I was able to take an online class she was holding about food storage and preservation. I am better than a lot of people about this kind of thing, and have been a long time.  But she taught me invaluable things and gave me a new perspective about it all.  Rereading my posts from when I was awash in gardens and chickens has made me almost  melancholy tonight.  But Sharon (with a little prodding from her fan base) has started up the Independence Days challenge a time when many of us are fearful of what the future holds. Of course, some of us have been living this lifestyle all along, and others are looking to learn it.  The "challenge" was to report every week on what you have.been able to do (or not do, in some cases)... 

Plant or Harvest something: Not everyone can garden, but many people can, and many others can forage for local greens or fruit, or be involved in gleaning.
Preserve something: Again, I find preserving is most productive if I try and do a little every day that there is anything, from the first dried raspberry leaves and jarred rhubarb to the last squashes at the end of the season. This category also covers preserving and protecting local resources, community resources, things that would otherwise be destroyed. So it counts when you make jam and counts when you work to keep your local drug counseling service in business despite budget cuts.
Waste not: Reducing food waste, composting everything or feeding it to animals, reducing your use of disposables and creation of garbage, reusing things that would otherwise go to waste, making sure your preserved and stored foods are kept in good shape – all of these count. Also dumpster diving, salvaging and repairing items.
Want Not: Adding to your food storage or stash of goods for emergencies, building up resources that will be useful in the long term. Making yourself more economically secure. Paying down debt, finding new sources of income, reducing expenditures and costs, increasing savings. Also reorganizing so that you waste less or use less or spend less.
Eating the food: It is a running joke among gardeners that it is harder to eat the food than it is to grow it sometimes. Making full and good use of what you have, making sure that you are getting everything you can from your food, trying new recipes and new cooking ideas, eating out of your storage! Also, using up food pantry bounty and other food you don't get to choose. Creative use of leftovers, and helping feed others - everything from little free pantries to sharing with neighbors. We all want to know what you are cooking this week.
Caregiving and enhancing community support systems and mutual aid. This can be formal organizations that already exist or working with your neighbors, or caring for your own family members. This includes fundraising, volunteer work, helping out your neighbors, advocacy for better supports and services, political activism, anything you do to make your community a better place. Whenever you step up to protect and care for those who can't do it for themselves, you are doing incredibly important work. Of course, this includes homeschool, helping out senior and disabled family members, helping out people with kids, etc...
Skill up: What did you learn this week that will help you in the future – could be as simple as fixing the faucet or as hard as building a barn, as simple as a new way of keeping records or as complicated as teaching calculus to your kids. Whatever you are learning, you get a merit badge for it – this is important stuff. It doesn't matter if you'll ever make money at it (although that's good too) if it helps you get along, grow, make our new reality better, you should be proud.
Winter is Coming: Finally, whatever you do to make your home and immediate surroundings better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years. What does your home or your life or your job need to make it viable? How are you going to continue to make your home and religious and cultural and family life worth living? What do you need to improve things for yourselves and your neighbors? What are you doing to get ready if things don't get better, but instead get worse? You don't have to believe we're all doomed to hedge your bets on this one.
Hope you'll join me! You are welcome to share, repost, whatever you like. This is one of those "more fun if more people do it" things.

So, there it is.  I have pulled my book out too (That's the cover photo here), to spend some time looking at what else I might need to do. I am going to try to shore up my food stocks, and not forget that I also have some 4 legged family that needs to eat. My garden areas are unusable right now but I vow to have them back in order by next year.  In the meantime I can buy produce from other gardeners and farmers markets and at least spread my money around to people who can use it.  I also have a healthy stock of canned goods and other items from grocery stores.  

  In spite of what you might think, things have not begun to get rough.  It can get much worse than anything we've seen in our lifetimes. Are you ready ???

  A couple of years after I read this book and took this class, my husband and I were in a one car rollover accident. He is the breadwinner in our family and I was on SS.  He broke a vertebrae in his back and couldn't work for  three and a half months.  No short term disability. The company he works for were great, they let him take his vacation and holiday pay for the year. But there was no other income besides my SS.  Insurance paid for the car and much of the medical bills. It was Memorial Day weekend, so not even halfway through the year. I had already taken some measures (per the class) to cut back some of our expenses. I had food stores in place.  I took a pad and pencil; and went through my freezers and my pantries and made lists of meals I could cook with what I had on hand. In the 3.5 months, I spent exactly $37.43  at the grocery store.  For things like toilet paper and rice and olive oil. By the end of it, Old Mother Hubbard's pantry was pretty bare, but we did not go hungry or do without.  And then I thought-- this.  This is why I do this.  Not because of the Zombie Apocalypse or because I'm a doomsday prepper.  But because things happen.  And we need to be prepared for that.  And now we are in the middle of a global pandemic, which makes these things more important than ever.  Am I as ready as I wish I was ?  Maybe not.  But I have tools and I have guidelines and I have support systems. 

  I am luckier than some.  

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Rant time in the old town tonight

  It's been a couple of days.  I am outraged tonight at the stupidity of people about this Covid pandemic and wearing masks and social distancing.  Selfish, inconsiderate fools. I blocked about 15 people tonight on my Facebook page because I have had it with this bs.  I can't believe that I am letting it get to me like this, but it is.  I should be in bed. I have to get up in about 7 hours, but I needed to get this out of me or I won't sleep anyway. 

  This pandemic has already killed 5 people that I know.  The latest was my husbands barber, who had battled cancer last year and was immuno compromised.  A lovely woman in her late 40's.  We live in a fairly rural area of Illinois, a little over an hour south of the state capitol. The closest city to us is about 25 minutes north, a small city of  around 8000 people. This happens to be the town where my husband works.  A local church there has been having gatherings and services  and after the 4th of July, 25 people there tested positive for this virus.  One of those people works with my guy.  Thankfully (we hope) my guy was on vacation from July 1 through July 11. However...this person came to work for several days after the 4th sick, -you know, just a little sick. Then a little sicker every day. Then couldn't make it to work. Then was rushed by ambulance  to the hospital (from his home) because he couldn't breathe.  3 days this past week my husband worked with all the guys that worked with and were exposed to Covid by the sick guy.  The health dept is involved and I guess they will have some meetings on Monday to decide what the next steps are.  Test all the remaining employees. See if they have enough employees left to keep the plant open. In the meantime, all these men (and 2 women in the office) have potentially taken this virus home to their families. And that possibly includes my husband bringing it home to me.  He's a pretty healthy 60 year old. I am a sort of healthy 67 year old. We wear masks and we social distance and we stay home a LOT.  But now, none of that could matter.  I am trying not to lose my shit over least until we have the facts. 

  And this is why people are making me crazy tonight.  I have given up believing that we are a nation of  [mostly]  rational common sense people. That has been apparent to me the past 3.5 years. But this is in my backyard now and I have no patience whatsoever for the bullshit. 

  I promise you that I am not a generally violent person. But I am ready to throat punch some people.
And I hate feeling like this. I am not a drama queen. I am not a hysterical person.  I mostly am able to live and let live. But this is really getting to  be a deal.  You do not have the right to ignore public health guidelines which endanger the people around you.  You do not have the right to endanger others because it's inconvenient to you.  If you are stupid enough to believe that this is a hoax perpetrated by ANYBODY, then you need to go right ahead and take yourself out of the gene pool.  Please--do humanity a favor. 

  Guess I'm running out of words. And energy.  And I stand by every word I wrote.  

  Maybe I can sleep...