Sheltering- Gardening for the Pandemic

Gardening is not for the faint of heart or the weak, This morning (and I apologize to those who know me) my buttocks were stiff and sore. Yes, even though, according to my kids, my butt fell off about 20 years ago, the Gluteus Maximus (or is it Maximi) hurt. My saggy old arms are stiff and a little sore. And I have to be careful not to pull my back, a family weak spot. This litany of aches and pains is not to complain; it’s to report.

What garden activities have I taken part in? Let me count the ways-taking soil out of planters so I can put in fresh, loading bags of manure and potting soil into the truck, digging up a flower bed and working in some fertilizer, raking the garden, planting kale, beets, carrots, beans, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. I have bought and loaded my bedding plants (everything in one trip, I hope. The most dangerous place I’ve been? The greenhouse. Old gals like me get quite excited.) I have watered haskaps and a few perennials that I hope come back. And there are sweet peas along a fence that has never seen planting.

Waiting for the weather…

The containers are yet to be filled with soil and flowers but the weather in the next week doesn’t look nice. I have one more flower bed to dig up and fertilize and the window box under the front room window to get ready. Then there will be hoeing, weeding and watering. The garden and flowers suffer most summers when we go camping. A great neighbour waters, but we can hardly expect him to weed and fuss like we might ourselves. This year we’ve decided camping is out. There are a lot of restrictions and we can’t travel to Gary’s favourite spots in Saskatchewan.

Then there is the supply chain. Perhaps if, instead of being lazy, I can preserve more produce. It’s healthier and you know exactly where it came from. So not camping, canning? I sent a picture to my granddaughter of the little lake where we usually camp together.

“Ah,” she said, “It makes me sad. We can’t camp this year.”

I said, “We will visit eventually and we’ll camp next year.”


Gardening is something to occupy time outside and there is the reward of the produce. My garden this year should be “spectacular.” Still I’d rather be camping.

Echoing my granddaughter, I cry, “CURSE THE PANDEMIC.”

Sheltering- A Reading List and Confession?

The Stand- by Stephen King is not on the list. I am, for the most part, a King fan, and enjoy his writing. Like a well-done horror or suspense movie should, he safely scares you. But The Stand is a dystopian landscape after Captain Trip (a deadly flu) decimates the population. King throws in a little Good vs. Evil with Randall Flagg. He reminds readers that the book is not about covid 19, but it is about a pandemic. I am not going to recommend any dystopia right now.

I have read The Dutch House by Ann Prachett and Greg Iles’ Mississippi Blood, the last in his Natchez Burning trilogy. Now for the confession. There have been a number of mysteries in my list but they were an easy read and kept my mind off more serious things. There was non-fiction, too, but some of it depressing and that’s not what is needed right now. I have almost finished The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas which it very much a book I’d likely set aside, even though it won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2009. I will admit to starting some books and not finishing…I think it’s my state of mind.

Since covid, I have read a variety of books that I might have read but might not have if I’d had better access to titles I’d reserved at my public library. I finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and am now reading HP and the Deathly Hallows. My grandson read the series a year ago and I thought I should see why he so enjoyed them. Well, Harry leads an exciting life and the plot moves right along. Glad I decided to follow my grandson’s lead.

I caved and bought The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. It’s the last of her Tudor trilogy and takes concentration to read. There are so many characters, so many intrigues, and they deal with plague all the time. It’s not a major theme of the book, though, history and the character of Thomas Cromwell is. It’s fascinating how he, as a commoner, became one of the most powerful men in England and a trusted advisor to Henry V111. It’s also a total diversion from what is going on right now (at least for me). So even though in Alberta, we’re in phase one of opening up, reading is a way to keep safe and stay home.

Sheltering – Relaunch after covid

Nooo! Don’t relaunch. I wish I could be anticipating steps to return to “normal” and I hope that I’m wrong to think it’s too early. Totally and completely wrong. I am afraid that the Province is loosening restrictions too soon. Businesses are suffering, people are out of work, and the “lockdown” can’t go on forever. I know and I sympathize.

I am not an epidemiologist or a doctor but I do hear the numbers of new cases and deaths each day. They aren’t going down, yet. More testing has been done but long term care facilities are still hot spots. The meat packing plants account for over 1,000 cases and hospitals are reporting outbreaks. This doesn’t sound like the time to re-open anything.

The announcement that dentists and other medical professionals could open Monday shocked them. There was no warning, so there is no PPE and no guidelines, yet. People will be wanting appointments and as long as it’s safe…some elective surgeries can now be done.

These seem like the more reasonable things if covid policies make them safe. What doesn’t seem reasonable is opening golf courses. There’ll be so much temptation to just hang with your golfing buddies. Allowing ATVs into natural areas again is asking for more fires. I worry that the re-launch isn’t well planned AND I did go to the Alberta Goverment Website and read it all. So noooo…don’t start a relaunch. There are a lot of immuno-compromised people. There are many people with, as Dr. Hinshaw phrases it- co-morbid conditions. Over 65s are more likely to see a fatal outcome but the average age of those infected is 41.5. There is no invincible age.

If you want to read for yourself, here’s the link:

People have compared the covid pandemic to a war. We have been locked down, self-isolating and avoiding public gathering for five weeks. World War Two lasted 6 years. Surely we could have “flattened the curve” just a little longer so we don’t have to lockdown a second time. The relaunch is underway already so DO follow all of the safety suggestion.

Apologieswhen I started writing about covid 19, my plan was to summarize the little sacrifices and coping mechanisms, me, my family and my friends were making. Yes, today, I veered off course.