"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

State of the Farm: Pandemic Edition

The girls amuse themselves at home with Henna freckles 

DQ2 - day two of “quarantine.” We aren’t officially quarantined, of course, and not even prohibited from going out and visiting. The official prohibitions in Washington are (as of right now) no gatherings of over 50 people (or has it been changed to 10?) and smaller gatherings must abide by strict “social distancing” rules that keep people 6 feet apart. 

Schools are closed at least through 4/27. I started the DQ count from the first day that schools were closed, which was yesterday, hence today is DQ2. Restaurants are closed, though takeout and delivery is allowed. Bars are closed, as are any place where people habitually gather, such as bowling alleys, churches, movie theaters, museums, libraries, barber shops, etc. Grocery stores and pharmacies are open. 

Everyone who can work from home is being told to work from home. I am still working, working more than usual in fact. As a medical interpreter, I spend my days going from one doctor’s office to another, which I suppose makes me high risk for infection. Today, for the first time, there were nurses with thermometers stationed at the entrances of the clinics, taking everyone’s temperature before they were allowed in. I don’t have a fever. 

Homero is still working as well, but he works from home all the time anyway. People still need their cars fixed, even if they are being told to stay home, I guess. I worry a bit about him because he has a few different underlying health conditions (as do I) that could make him a higher risk for complications. At least he wears gloves all the time. 

The girls were initially thrilled about the prospect of a six week spring break, until it was made clear to them that they would not being spending much time hanging out with friends, or indeed outside the house at all. I have let them see a couple friends, one or two at a time, and I’m thinking of getting in touch with the parents of a few of their “best friends” and asking about creating a closed circle of friends so they can all hang out with each other without becoming vectors of disease. 

Nobody knows yet when school will resume. Teachers have been told not to send homework for the time being, since not every child has internet access at home and it wouldn’t be equitable. The district is working on a solution, at least for high schoolers, and I expect sometime in the next week or two that they will probably send home some fat packets. In the meantime, I told the girls this isn’t a vacation, and that they needed to write up a schedule for themselves. It doesn’t have to be a strict schedule, or overly specific, but it has to exist. Here’s what they came up with:

I especially like Paloma’s first line item: “get up by eleven (don’t come for me).” 

Each schedule has to include a two hour block of time for school related work (their teachers can’t assign work that will be collected and graded, but they can post “suggestions” online) and a two hour block of “productive other” time. This second category can be anything from playing piano to drawing to exercising to working in the garden to reading a book. Other than those two categories, and one chore assigned by me or their papa each day, their time is their own. 

Some examples of the chores I intend to make them do, in no particular order:

- walk the pastures and pick up all the pieces of broken plastic, plastic baling twine, or plastic bags and assorted trash they can find. No matter how careful one is, small plastic detritus accumulates over the winter. 

- turn over some of the compost pile

- clean out a drawer or a cabinet 

- harvest nettles

- organize the canning jars (full ones by contents; empty ones by size)

- use the sewing machine to make patches for mending the quilts with holes in them (our dogs have a tendency to get overexcited and tug on the bedclothes)

- clean up the greenhouse 

Like everyone else, I am imagining all the great stuff we will all get done during this enforced down-time, and like everyone else I am probably fooling myself. It’s unlikely I will take up a musical instrument or learn a third language. A more realistic hope is that I will have time and energy to put in a small garden - something I haven’t done for a few years - and read a few extra books. Perhaps do some drawing. Within a month the goats will kid, and soon thereafter it will be cheese season again. 

A good chore for me would be to find, clean, and organize 
my cheese making equipment, and order new cultures and supplies. 

Another good chore for me would be to commit to keeping a blog diary of our lives during this time.  Nobody knows how this is going to play out. Things could stay bad for a long time. Many of my neighbors are elderly and frail and are really not supposed to go out at all. Tomorrow I will talk about local efforts to pull together and provide help and services for folks who are ACTUALLY quarantined, and for folks who have lost their jobs, and those negatively affected in all sorts of ways by this unprecedented situation. 

Stay healthy! 


Cockeyed Jo said...

We are officially on lockdown with 5 cases of the beer virus and 30 cases of the flu. But work doesn't stop on the homestead.