The last of our crocuses finished blooming a week or so ago (…or longer? hard to keep track of which day is what, anyone else feeling that way lately?) Jeff and B had planted a special apricot-colored variety in the fall and we were looking forward to watching them come up for the first time this spring. What a sweet, and happy sight. I thought you might appreciate a happy sight right now too. I’ve been wanting to check in with all of you during this quarantine. And I wanted to check in sooner, but in the beginning it was such a whirlwind of activity as everything was changing so quickly and we were doing our best to keep up with it all. We were taking stock of what things we would need to be able to stay at home for longer periods of time between trips to town, and also getting orders finished up and out the door as quickly as we could, not knowing if orders would keep rolling in or slow down… or what would happen. (Then several tools required fixing, just to keep things interesting!) We didn’t know what things were going to look like, and were preparing as best we could. So many unknowns.
Also, I was checking in with family and friends, wondering how everyone was doing and how they were being affected. I was talking on the phone to get updates while tying buttons on cards, so I could get my work done. Daily life was still busy with meals to make, firewood to haul, homeschool, dishes and laundry to keep up on, yard clean up to do with all the branches Jeff had trimmed around the place this winter, not to mention work for our business to accomplish, but it felt like there was an urgency to all our activity, as if we were preparing for a storm in the forecast. Every day I thought about coming here to write and check in with all of you, but I felt like I was at a run each day, and then before I knew it the day was over. But here I am, finally getting a chance to say hello. How are you all doing? Are you at home? Are you still working? What are things like where you’re at? What are your days looking like? I hope you’ll take the time to leave a comment and let me know how you are. It’s all a bit surreal, isn’t it?
We’ve been hunkering down at home. We’ve had a stay at home order where we are for awhile now, and haven’t gone out much. We love being at home, to be honest, so we’re content to be here. Some of our family and friends are still working, some aren’t. Some are getting bored, and others are working harder than ever. The ones we know who are busier than usual are our friends who farm. I’ve seen them work so hard over the years to not only produce the food they do but then try to sell enough of it… and now they are selling out. I’m glad to be seeing more farmers get the support they deserve for all their hard work. It’s hard to make a living as a farmer and a friend made the point that people need to support their local farms on a regular basis, so that they will still exist during times like this when they are needed more than ever. The fact that seed companies are selling out, and places where you can order chicks, shows that there is an increased interest in people producing their own food. Though it would be nice to see that under different circumstances, I’m glad that not only are more people supporting their local farms, but that more people are also wanting to grow gardens, raise animals, and farm themselves. I think that’s one positive outcome from a difficult situation.
Speaking of growing food, my dad and stepmom recommended a movie to us awhile back- The Biggest Little Farm. (We watched it on Hulu, not sure if it’s still available there or not.) We really enjoyed it. I appreciated how they showed the behind the scenes realities of farming, not just gorgeous images of vine-ripened fruit and happy animals frolicking in pastures. It’s hard work to produce food. At our place, for instance, we have clay soil. Jeff has been composting and building our soil here for many, many years, and that work is never done. Then we have the moles who like to dig under everything and do a lot of damage. And then the pests, and wildlife, who like to come and eat the garden too. There’s always something to adapt to. Luckily, if something doesn’t grow well for us, we can go to the farm stand or the grocery store (most of the time, anyway), but I often think of our ancestors who didn’t have that luxury. We don’t always remember how much easier we have it!
(If you are wanting to produce more food from home, but don’t have garden space or have limited space, don’t forget about microgreens! Such a great source of nutrition, and they require little space to grow.)
Though our day to day during this COVID-19 quarantine might not look as different as most, since we work from home and we homeschool, we’re affected like everyone is right now. Some of our sources of income are gone for the time being, and some have remained steady, which we’re very grateful for. We take it day by day. For years we’ve traveled heavily for work and that travel was essential for our income. We had always planned to travel temporarily, and our ultimate goal was to work from home and focus more time on our homesteading dreams, but we weren’t sure when that would be a possibility for us. Our challenging year last year helped spur us to make the decision to make that shift to working from home sooner than we had planned. Even though part of me felt afraid about finances and how it would all work out, Jeff and I both knew it was the right decision for us. That decision felt like a huge relief, and with everything that’s been going on lately we’ve been feeling especially grateful that we are able to work from home. We’ve had to work incredibly hard for many, many years to get to that point, and the timing couldn’t be more appreciated.
We were still planning on having a booth at one fiber festival this year (I mentioned knitting a sample knit in my previous post, which was going to be on display there), but then we decided to completely clear our work schedule of travel for the year. (And then the festival was cancelled anyway.) Last month’s schedule in general got cleared, and as I made our monthly calendar to go up on the fridge, it was bizarre to look at April’s calendar so empty. Isn’t it a weird feeling? With all of our normal activities cancelled, and appointments cancelled, and all the things that have me running around on a regular basis… you would think that I would have more free time available, but I’ve felt busier than ever. We’ve had a stretch of beautiful weather, and it’s been nice to have a break from bringing in firewood each day, and instead be hanging laundry to dry out on the line and spending more time out in the garden. Time in the garden has been so welcome. It’s always the place where we feel the most peace, and has been just what we’ve needed.
I’m still making batches of elderberry tea each week, like we normally do throughout the colder months, to keep us well. We celebrated Jeff’s birthday last week and B and I made him his favorite key lime pie. It was a good day. B has been spending his time outside catching frogs, snakes, lizards, and every insect he can find out in the yard. Jeff has been planting lots of seeds, and B has been helping with that too. There have been times I’ve felt a little guilty for having a garden to enjoy, and space in our yard to move around in, when I think of those who are feeling cooped up in apartments in the city, with the parks closed around them. My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling right now. I think of single, working parents, with kids now home from school. I think of people who live alone, finding the quarantine especially isolating and challenging. I think of people living paycheck to paycheck, who suddenly don’t have one. Not to mention the worry, and hoping family and loved ones will stay healthy and well. Goodness, it’s a stressful time. Let’s be extra kind to ourselves right now! Little acts of self-care can go a long way towards making us feel better. Epsom salt baths… walks in the fresh air whenever possible… even a cup of tea… I hope you’ll find little ways to soothe your spirit today. Take care, friends.