Sheltering- Canada Day COVID-style
COVID-19? Notice how your entertainment options have been narrowed? We are trying to stay home and shelter in place. You can go for a drive and enjoy a park or campground.
Today we were at Capt. Ayre Lake again. It’s so small that it’s not even on Google Earth but with 20 degree plus weather after the nasty couple of days we’ve had, it approached Eden. The dogs ran and the humans strolled. There was a pleasant breeze.
Camping isn’t allowed at this small county-run site until June 15th. The park is closed but we could drive in and go for a walk. Or sit among the trees at a picnic table. The blackbirds called from the tops of the trees, there was a lone loon on the lake, and across the field people let their two large dogs frolic at the boat launch. Behind us we could hear the muted music and sounds of someone working at their cabin.
Our Jack Russell is pretty good for such a high energy breed but I thought I’d provide some added fun. All it takes is a stick. Taz was delighted to chase the make-shift toy and it provided me with an opportunity to practise my video-ing skills. The only way is up, and for this one, I couldn’t see the screen on my phone because it was so bright out. In all honesty, I think it turned out as well.
So once again, a bit of an isolated outing turned out to be just fine. The dogs are actually enjoying COVID-19; they get a lot of attention but never as much as right now. It’s not the same, but it’s okay.
By now most readers know I walk my dogs every day. There are asphalt walking paths that are very well maintained. One natural area features trees and grass in a more or less natural state. There is a maze of footpaths through the trees and even though it is mowed regularly, there are areas of long grass in a number of areas. In short, it’s a lovely way to get out of the house during this COVID 19 pandemic but yesterday, I found this guy in my bathroom.
We thought it must have come in on one of our dogs but confirmed it just a few minutes ago when Gary found one on our Jack Russell. If we are correct in our identification, these ticks are just normally disgusting and doesn’t carry lime disease. Nevertheless, both of them are now confined to a sealed baggie and will be making their way to the veterinary clinic to be tested. This isn’t the first time we’ve found ticks on the dogs but it’s the first time we know they are local.
From Facebook and other social media posts, it appears that this is a good year for ticks. I know I will check the dogs very diligently. We do treat them with a repellent for ticks and fleas we get at our local veterinary clinic. That is likely why we found one crawling in the bathroom and the other on the dog but not really latched.
I will still take the dogs for their walks. I think it’s a heads up for anyone in the outdoors. The trails I take the dog walks on are basically in town. Ticks don’t care. With the pandemic, we do need to get outdoors, get exercise, and fresh air. We don’t need a additional health concern so stay safe, stay home, and watch out for ticks.
“Come out for coffee and cinnamon buns.”
Who can resist an invitation like that? It’s been a couple of months of sheltering in and staying home. I admit it seems longer. We are social animals and miss the face-to-face visits.
The “Stay Home Nazi,” me, was consulted and I helped make the rules. Visits are permitted but you have to be careful. In this instance, we agree to take our own lawn chairs and coffee.
“But what if they’re insulted?” Gary is a worry-wart.
“They won’t be. We’re all old, and there is an immuno-compromised person. We’ll just be safe and six feet apart with our own thermoses.”
The weather was warm and overcast with a pleasant breeze. Even if we weren’t social distancing and avoiding going into the house, we would have chosen the outdoors. The same old coffee from home tasted better and we opted not to have cinnamon buns.
Of course, we didn’t “visit” our host’s bathroom. That would entail disinfecting for the next person, The simple solution was to ‘hold it’ until we got home.
Sounds like a big fuss? Our hosts had sanitizer and disposable plates and forks, even though we decided against using them. It was a surfeit of safety for our first visit. They didn’t seem to mind and after listing all theses “rules”, guess what we took away from our face-to-face?
We laughed a lot. We commiserated about inconveniences of shopping and getting necessary business done. There was reminiscing, and catching up on the news of our grown children. Time passed and we hardly noticed. It wasn’t about coffee or cinnamon buns (even though we didn’t have any). It wasn’t about taking our own chairs and sitting outside six feet apart.
It was the real voices, real faces, and real visit. Old friends. Even with the rules, it was a very bright spot in a different and stressful time.
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.
Stay home. Self isolate. Go out only if necessary. Only one person per household should shop if possible. I heard all the warnings and so haven’t been in a retail or business establishment since toward the end of March. Gary, the husband, likes picking things “we need” up so he was the designated shopper and for groceries, we are lucky to have delivery service from our local Coop.
This is the week my prescriptions had to be refilled and it turns out renewed. My by-phone doctor’s appointment was simple and since I was picking up prescriptions, I returned library books in the outdoor slot, paid taxes at the bank, and deposited a cheque. I picked up an order for blood work from the doctor’s office.
Driving down to our town’s “business” section felt strange. At the bank, there is a reminder to stay outside until the ATM is free. The staff have masks and gloves. At the doctor’s I used the hand sanitizer they’d provided before I got my lab requisition. Masks and gloves again and the receptionist protected behind a plexiglass shield. The pharmacy provided hand sanitizer with a reminder to use it. My prescriptions are filled. I got a couple of other things (over the counter meds for allergies) and scored a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I was home in less than an hour.
I have to say people were courteous and maintained the 6’ separation. This was my trip until next month when I’ll have to refill prescriptions. I’m back home and I admit there was the temptation to check out the stores for other things I “need.’ Except they weren’t on my list, and I have necessities (even a bag of Cheezies), to get me through till my next ‘essential’ runs out.
So stay home. Get Exercise and now that the weather is nicer, for me, the dog walks are something to look forward to. Gardening becomes close to a passion. Let one person do most of the restricted shopping. I’d like to be around a little longer. Stay safe.
Picture the perfect picnic. You carry the picnic basket to the blanket spread under the old oak tree. A slight breeze ripples the lake. When the food is taken out of the basket, there is fried chicken, potato salad, and brown beans. Lemonade, freshly squeezed is the liquid refreshment. A pair of swans swims by. After the picnic, you stroll beside the lake, on a smoothly maintained path.
If this is what you imagined, instead picture this. There is a wind, no lake, and the bush and grass is dry and brown. On some of the hills leaves are starting to appear. The back fender on the truck “touched” a post on the way in. No blanket but two folding chairs. A lunch bucket holds two chicken sandwiches, two apples, and a dill pickle. There is water or beer to drink. Two small dogs ramble about. After the simple repast, it’s off for the walk.
This was the last walk to look for antlers. Through the bush, our path is rough with fallen trees, branches, and shrubs that tug at your clothes. Scruff only weighs 10 pounds but he was game to find a way through, under, and around. Our total walk was about a mile but it felt like more. At one point, Gary said, “I don’t think we’ll find anything today.” (meaning antlers.)
I said, “I’m pretty sure I won’t. I have to watch my feet so I don’t fall on my butt.”
No antlers were found but back at the truck, we sat on our chairs and enjoyed the sun. I think I even got a little colour in my face. Taz, the Jack Russell, played with sticks and sniffed around. Scruff sat under the truck in the shade.
Not what you pictured as an afternoon picnic. Even Gary said, “That’s pretty wild land.” It was a good getaway, none the less. The temperature felt like spring, the fresh air piqued an appetite, and the walk demanded enough that I experienced a pleasant relaxation. A darn good picnic, after all.
And with a bang, a cold, windy spring season turns hot. The last two days have been warm and then today we hit 24 degrees Celcius in some places. Pussy willows and catkins are apparent on the trees. And there are crocuses. People are posting pictures and remarking on how they have never seen them so thick and beautiful. That’s not what happened to me…there was a camera issue. Sigh.
However, in my backyard, the haskaps have tender little green leaves. This is the third year since I planted them and it was last spring we were surprised to see they are the first to leaf out and the first to have pale yellow blossoms. The early bees LOVE them. They’re an indigenous plant but I have lived my whole life on the prairies without seeing them; last year when I posted a pictures a friend exclaimed, “Honeyberries.”
On the dog walks, I found pussy willows. Soft and promising. The red-winged blackbirds called to one another in a kind of avian speed dating. Geese are paired up; grebes call one another. Robins are around and Gary whistled at one to see if Robbie, our winter robin had come to visit. Conclusion? Inconclusive.
This morning the crows my husband hates, were making soft, almost cooing sounds and the branches of the fir tree near their nest were shaking. ”Aww,” I said, “They’re making such a nice noise.”
“They’re screwing,” Gary said, in disgust.
Mood spoiler. It wasn’t the usual harsh crow caws so I like it anyway. Even with sheltering in and self isolation, the arrival of spring lifts your mood. Stay safe, everyone.