Wartime Nostalgia

I don’t generally do “food selfies”, but self-quarantining does tend to limit one’s subject matter to home.  It’s raining again, and not much is new outside since yesterday.  One thing about shopping only when absolutely necessary–you find yourself doing even more from scratch, using basic staples.  It’s like a hippie flashback to simpler days of whole grains and beans and homemade everything, minus all the health-snob frills of bygone times. Or more realistically, like the ghost of WWII-era austerity and resourcefulness.

Fortunately we’re not reduced to extreme homesteading–yet.  We still have public water and utilities, thankfully, or we’d all be screwed.  One more dramatic reminder never to take the status quo for granted.  I suspect after this is over, many of us will never quite return to “normal”.  Maybe in a sense that’s a good thing.  It’s a harsh wakeup call, but nature has a habit of doing that when we get too complacent and don’t think ahead.  I’m reminded that we in this country are privileged to even be able to social-distance with clean running water, hygiene, and enough supplies to last at home for a while.  Not everyone has that luxury.

So here is my humble homemade-from scratch navy bean soup and wholegrain cornbread.  Some deep-digging in the dark recesses of the pantry was involved.  I’m also ramping up my reduce-reuse-recycle skills rather than wasting disposable products that are hard to obtain.  (No, not TP yet!  Not quite that desperate.)


Grand Flower Openings

Only a few hours later, flowers are opening wide in these perfect spring conditions, sunny, breezy, 75º.  I’m especially glad to see R&B’s little gift dogwood finally beginning to bloom for the first time.  The old white dogwood is covered in white, as is the azalea.  The front maple is dripping with red “wings”.  The closed tulip from this morning is now open and glowing.  And I finally got a shot I like of some redbud flowers closeup.  [Not pictured in above order.]

After the Storm, Extreme Life

Last night’s wild t-storms lashed at the house and blasted tree limbs across the yard.  Everything got pressure-washed!  No trees down, though.  Just a lot of new growth, including signs of my native wildflowers starting to come up out in the “prairie”, which I’m happy about.  Almost all my baby trees seem to be doing well.  Despite the horror going on in the world, fueled by our adversary-in-chief, there are signs of life going on, with or without us.

The lavender-flowered plant is comfrey, a medicinal herb.


Leeches and Laudanum

Our tantrumy-toddler-in-chief is busy insulting desperate governors and proactive manufacturers, because they’re not appreciative enough?!   Our US death toll has surpassed all the other countries, while exhausted medical personnel are resorting to trash bags and rags in lieu of actual equipment.  Meanwhile, in backward states like ours,  governors continue to make light of it all and call for churches and tourist traps to reopen, while medieval pastors predictably blame gays, abortionists, and the Chinese for the virus.  And mobs of rats are roaming the deserted streets of New Orleans, searching for food.  What century is this, again?  Leeches, anyone?  Got some laudanum?

But nature rolls on, oblivious to our human ineptitude.  Incongruously, it’s a perfect spring day today, as if the world is not dying by the thousands all around us.  So much is surreal about this novel coronavirus.  It’s like a war of the worlds, viral vs. human.  No one knows how it ends, other than not well.  Meanwhile, here are cheery native trees, flowering shrubs, violets, tropical orchids, and a languid cat for your quarantine enjoyment.




If there was ever any doubt that our madman-in-chief is delusional and self-serving, it has to be obvious by now.  Yet somehow his ratings go up?!  Apparently that’s what people look for in a president–a psychopath.

The death toll is rising drastically, desperately needed medical equipment and facilities are not forthcoming, the virus is obviously spreading everywhere, but without the testing to provide accurate stats, and all our president can think of is how the resulting crashing economy affects his own re-election, and getting back to “normal” fast.  Total denial.  How can someone this dangerous and incompetent be allowed to remain in charge?  I just don’t get it.  At some point all the states and private sector just struggle forward without him to produce medical necessities.

I myself almost panicked this morning, as my computer had a mysterious dysfunction and wouldn’t let me connect, but it’s back up.  It’s my only real connection to the outside world right now, since I’m not much of a smartphone user.  There’s some weird stuff going on out there during this breakdown of everything we take for granted.

One thing that continues to function dependably is spring in all its flowering.  For a moment there I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do my little photo editing routine, but I’m back.  Here are: my fence bed preps, indoor tomato seedlings, maple wings, a violet, azaleas, perennials, and a unique mushroom growing in a peat pot.


Hoeing While America Dies

If you have to endure a pandemic, it may as well be in spring!  Even more excuse to spend time outside, which is what I’m doing.  Redbuds are in bloom, dogwoods soon, trees are leafing out, flowers are budding and blooming, and I’m busily hoeing–garden beds, that is!

Yesterday I planted my “salad bar” out back with all kinds of lettuces and greens, plus a little more of the main veg bed.  Today I continued to clean up the bed along the side fence, to be planted with flowers and later veggies.  I also transplanted some herbs from inside.  Meanwhile, E continues to work on the bathroom, and learn new recipes.

It’s surreal, otherworldly even, enjoying spring (nervously) in our little quarantine, while thousands are dying all around us, and others are just blithely and stupidly going about their business, spurred on by our lost-boy-in-chief.  Very strange times.  I can’t imagine what history will make of us.



Quarantine “Consultants”

When this is over, we’ll all either be:

  • very dead
  • very insane
  • very broke
  • very organized, resourceful, and sustainable
  • or all the above.

I’m finding myself thinking of every way I can conserve, repurpose, reuse, reduce, and find alternatives, so as to put off going out for essentials.  See me if you need ideas!  I’m even more OCD than ever.  A deadly virus wasn’t the best method of arriving at sustainability, but I guess if it works…

As for social distancing or sheltering in place, we’re in that “fortunate” category of old fixed-income retirees, so we’re pretty much used to it.  I’m always working outdoors anyway, so no change there, just more of same.  E is always working on some interior repair project, so she’s just getting more done (while supplies last).  Our normal (i.e. cheap) mode of entertainment and travel consists of watching shows and movies (to unwind from the constant stream of bad news), so we’re not sacrificing much.

I do feel for everyone still in the rat-race, losing jobs, income, insurance, access to loved ones, and timeout from their kids.  I do NOT sympathize with morons just going about business and congregating as usual, encouraged by our psychopath-in-chief and his fellow narcissists.  One of our new neighbors (the same one who left her trash all over our lawn so we almost got fined) had a driveway full of cars last night, in total disregard of the virus restrictions.  Not too bright.

On the other hand, we got to meet another of our new neighbors (and cute little dogs) who now rent the ex-drug dealer house next door.  The lady is very nice, and quite likeminded, it turns out, about this current situation and crimelord-in-chief.  We talked for a while across our imaginary 6+ feet, and had much in common, especially mutual respect of property and privacy.  Such a refreshing change.  It was nice to actually talk to an outsider, as we get out even less now.  Also to have dogs kept within the quite ample fenced-in yard for that purpose, not pooping on our baby trees.

Speaking of which, I was hard at work yesterday weeding around said trees, so they can breathe and not get choked out.  Now of course it’s back to raining, so I’m back to being OCD inside.  I imagine I’m not alone in that.  Now to reorganize the rest of my veg seeds on the off chance it stops raining long enough to plant them.

I envy Misu and all the other pets; for them there’s no pandemic, just more humans (i.e. servants) to put up with more of the time.  Seriously, the value of pets as therapy companions during an isolating crisis like this can’t be underestimated.  In fact, consider fostering a rescue animal during quarantine–it’s a mutually beneficial, healing arrangement.  Pets are essential first-(or in many cases, only-) responders.




The trump Borg

Knoxville is now being cited as one of the worst cities in the US as far as not complying with pandemic precautions, closings, quarantines, testing, etc.  Our city mayor (a Dem) is doing all she can under the circumstances, but our county mayor and our governor are not taking this seriously or acting accordingly.  Thanks, stupid adopted state.  When thousands start dying here, maybe you’ll get the memo?

On the other hand, I should mention many private citizens/businesses I know are doing all they can to counter the disinformation with facts, follow the CDC guidelines, feed people curbside, etc.  Not everyone here is of the mindless trump borg.

All one can do is carry on and be careful.  Today I compost/manured my two new garden beds, widened and cleaned up the front perennial bed, and observed my peas and veggies all coming up!  Meanwhile, E continued her work refurbishing the bathroom, and then mowed the backyard for the first time this year.  No one can ever say we just lay down and died in the pandemic!  It’s the ideal time to stay home and get fresh air, while we still can.