Friday, March 27, 2020

If someone wanted to bring America to its knees...

they are doing a fine job of it.

I understand this virus is no laughing matter.  It is insidious in how it is spread and heartbreaking in the way it takes lives.  It has ground our great nation to a halt in a way that nothing else could.

I have come to believe there is much we are not being told.  Frank and Fern have posted an article that mirrors the conclusions I have found.  Please go read it, for it tells the story much better than I can.

I was wrong to set aside preparing simply because it may be more difficult now with all the restrictions that have been put into place.  We may need every jar of canned vegetables, every bag of rice and every every can of tuna we have set aside before this thing goes away, if it ever does.  We need to learn everything we possibly can in order to survive.  There are videos and articles out there to teach us how to bake bread, how to fix things instead of buying new, what herbs to use when medicines are no longer available.  Watch a movie once in a while, for we do need distractions, but the ones who are most apt to survive hard times are the ones who know how to do stuff.

In this time of isolation, staying in touch with friends and family is important.  My family calls to check on me.  I email back and forth with friends.  It all helps to keep our spirits up.  We can not let all of this bring us down.  We are a strong people and we will survive.

Keep on prepping.  Keep on praying.  We are all in this together.

Monday, March 23, 2020

So Now What...

Now that we are officially a shelter in place, social distancing nation, what are we doing to cope.

First off, my oldest son who lost both his jobs when restaurants were closed here in Minnesota, has been called back to work three days a week.  It seems the carry-out business at the bar & grill is booming.  He was pleased, as three days a week are far better than no days a week!

I talked with my oldest daughter over the weekend.  She is working from home. Her son is home from college and will be taking his classes online.  I am relieved he is home rather than still at school.  They have a table set up with a huge jigsaw puzzle on it.  My family for the most part are avid readers, so books play an important part in passing the time.  Jill said if I need anything, she will get it for me and leave it outside my aprtment door.  She is taking this virus thing seriously.

My youngest granddaughters, both teens, called me.  Both will be happy when they are no longer under "house arrest."  Being teens, they miss spending time with their friends, but are able to stay in touch via phone and computer.  Apparently their Dad is keeping them busy with some household chores and they are seriously considering shredding his 'To Do' list.  :)

My youngest daughter is in Montana where her boyfriend is doing some construction work.  They are just fine, but I hope they are able to get back home to Minnesota fairly soon.  I have heard rumors of travel bans between states.  I hope that is just rumor, but those two are well equiped to cope with whatever comes their way and for that, I am grateful.

Me...aside from limiting access by others to my apartment, life continues as it has the past couple of years when I have been mostly housebound.  I have decided to put a hold on canning and dehydrating for a time.  I don't want to be one of those people who selfishly clears a store shelf, leaving nothing for others.  I had become lazy about baking bread but the baking will commence this week.  The bread on the store shelves can be used by those who don't know how or can't, for one reason or another, bake their own bread.  I am keeping my grocery order as close as possible to the items on sale, with only minimum amounts of staples like milk and eggs.  Luckily, I have enough food stored that if I am unable to get groceries, we will be just fine for a long time.

I find that although I am a bit of a news junkie, I am in danger of being overwhelmed by the virus news everywhere, all the time.  So I read enough to keep myself informed, but then move on to other things.

I do think there are some positive effects of this shelter in place thing.  Families are spending time with each other rather than everybody going off in oppposite directions.  Meals together as a family that had nearly become a thing of the past, are now happening.  I wonder if some will find the benefits of online classes outweigh the costs of physically attending a university.  Homeschooling of younger kids might see an upturn.

In my travels through cyberspace, I have noticed that there are those who thought preparedness was something to laugh at, have now had a 'come to Jesus' moment when they were caught without enough food or water.  Granted, grocery stores are still open, but there are shortages on all levels and no guarsntees that supplies will reach their intended destinations.  And those who relied on restaurants for most of their meals are finding life has changed considerably for them.

My street is still very quiet.  There are only two cars parked on a street that is usually full.  At the construction site across the street, I saw one construction worker walking about.  All the cranes and other equipment are parked in a row.  Even the kids on skateboards have vanished.

That being said, we will get through this.  We are Americans and Americans are some of the most resiliant, determined and resourceful people on the planet.  We didn't forge this nation of ours by curling up in a corner and sucking our thumbs when things got bad.  We met each crisis head on and we will do so again.

One thing that gives me hope is how some are reaching out to help those who are the most vulnerable.  My grocery service that is run by volunteers, will continue to see to it that their clients get what they need to stay healthy and survive.  I have heard of individuals who are quietly and without fanfare, preparing and delivering meals to neighbors who need help.  Others are volunteering their services to pick up much needed medicines at pharmacies and deliver them to those who need them.

We can do this.  We are all in this together.  God bless.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Things Seem Surreal

I have always known that life can change in a heartbeat, but I have never seen it up close and personal until now.

Have you noticed the news headlines are no longer about the upcoming election or about the latest Biden gaf or the newest Bernie plan for Socialism?  Instead, it is Coronavirus everywhere.

With one stroke of our governor's pen, my son lost two jobs.  He was working pretty much full time at one restaurant and one night a week at another, both within walking distance from his apartment.  Both are closed.  He has applied for unemployment online but like most in my family, he would rather be working than not.

I live in the original downtown area of my town.  There are two neighborhood type bars and one Mom and Pop restaurant in my block, with another bar and another bar/restaurant in the next block.  Those bars have not been rowdy enough to cause me any problems living here, but now the streets are eerily quiet.  There hasn't even been any construction work going on across the street where a new building is going up, but that may be due to the rainy weather.  We shall see.

About the only activity I have seen in the street in front of my apartment has been a couple of teenage boys with their skateboards.

The cleaner I had was obtained through a county program.  I left messages concerning cancelling the service for my caseworker, but received no call back.  Finally I emailed and heard back within the hour.  It seems government workers are now working from home.

It will be interesting to see if the store shelves are restocked next week when I get my twice monthly grocery delivery.  Stores that have been open 24 hours a day are now closing overnight and reserving the first hour open in the mornings for the elderly and most vulnerable to the virus to do their shopping.  After the Great Toilet Paper Stampede, limits on the number of certain items have gone into effect.

The health clinic where I go for appointments with my regular doctor is now closed to walk-in patients and is doing online appointments only.  My appointment is not due until the middle of April, so I shall find out then if things have changed.  Personally, I would rather do an online appointment than sit in a waiting room full of sick people.

My grands are home from school.  Boston is bummed because she thinks both Prom and Graduation could be cancelled and that is a distinct possibility.  My college student grandson is home for Spring Break, but has been told that online classes are the norm for now.  I am relieved that my family is, for the most part, working from home and sheltering in place.
Life has changed for so many.  This may be over in a matter of weeks or it may last for months.  We just don't know.  Whatever happens, I pray you all stay safe and well.  We are all in this together.       

Monday, March 16, 2020


I am among the group of people being described in all the news reports as the 'vulnerable elderly.'  I prefer to think of myself as a 20 year old with 53 years of experience, but as much as I like to pretend I am not old - I am.  And I have health issues that place me directly into that category of 'vulnerable.' 
In order to have a fighting chance at staying alive much longer so I can continue to annoy my children, some changes needed to be made.

Self-quarantining isn't much of a stretch, for circumstances make it very difficult for me to leave my apartment even on the best of days.  But I needed to limit the comings and goings of others.

I use a cleaning service to help keep my apartment clean.  The cleaner has another job in a fairly large group home that has the potential to become a virus petri dish as have nursing homes across the country.  Another cleaner would still have outside contacts with the general population, so tomorrow I am cancelling that service.  My son will haul my trash out for me and I think I can manage the rest.

The nurses who deal with my legs call me the day before a visit to set up the time they will arrive.  The nurse who called yesterday is the one I have known the longest and trust the most.  She asked if I wanted a Monday visit.  I told her that would depend on what precautions she was willing to take.  She will do the hand washing, glove and mask wearing while here.  She also suggested that I have only one nurse see me for the duration and she is setting that up with her manager.  This is a service I can not do without, for if the treatment of my legs is not done properly, chances for infection and the resulting hospitalization are nearly a given.  The procedures are something I can not manage on my own.

I will continue using the grocery delivery service every two weeks.  The same person does the deliveries each time and this is the only way I can continue to get fresh fruit, vegetables and other essentials, although if this service were eliminated, I could still live nicely on what I have stored.

My oldest son will still have access to my apartment.  Living in the apartment next door, he is in the habit of checking up on Mom from time to time and that gives me a sense of security, knowing that if something bad happens, he will be there to help.

Youngest Son called me yesterday.  He was doing his weekly grocery shopping.  He said the people at the store were going crazy.  Oldest Son went to the store where my delivery service shops and came back telling me there was no TP or paper towels on the shelves and very limited amounts of flour and sugar.  Lucky for me, there still was some Easter candy available and I now have a small stash of chocolate.  Chocolate makes everything better.  :)

If nothing else good comes from this whole virus thing, it is my hope that just maybe some will finally see the wisdom of stocking up ahead of a crisis.  Those who have been saying they don't need to prepare because there will always full grocery store shelves are finding out there is no truth in that statement.  I know that my family will be fed for a long time due to my shelves full of food.  I am not inclined to gloat over the situation and feel real compassion for those who are now having to put themselves and their loved ones at risk by needing to enter crowded stores in order to keep their families fed.

The coronavirus is not the flu.  It is an insidious disease that can be passed from one person to another long before the infected know they have it.  It is bad enough that many will contract this virus, but it is even worse that those infected can unknowingly pass it on to their older friends and relatives and put them in grave danger.  Literally.

I can take precautions but I can not guarantee that I will not become infected.  All I can realistically do is to keep on prepping.  And pray.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

When a person leads a quiet life...

sometimes it is a stretch to find anything to write about.  When that happens, you get little snippets of what is going on in my little corner of the world.

Bella the dog (see last post) spent the better part of the day with me while Oldest Son was at work.  She made absolutely certain that anything she perceived as a threat was kept at bay with a sharp bark or two.  She supervised the crews that are working on a building across the street.  This was done from the back of my couch, looking out the window.  We had some good conversations (Yes.  I talk to animals.) but when Duane arrived to collect her, she forgot I existed.

Duane told me that Bella's owner is on a cruise.  I don't think that would have been my choice in vacations just now.  We hope she will be able to come home afterwards without needing to spend two weeks in quarantine.  We wouldn't mind keeping Bella longer, but I wouldn't wish a quarantine on anybody.

I have been waiting for a good sale on meat to can, but no luck so far.  So instead I ordered for Thursday delivery the ingredients for my favorite relish/slaw to can.  I suppose the person who does the shopping will think I have slipped into senility when they see I have ordered 6 large cabbages.  What doesn't go into the slaw will go into the dehydrator.

I think a while back I posted the recipe for Amish coleslaw to can.  That is a good recipe, but I like this one even better.

Coleslaw to Can or Freeze

1 medium head cabbage
1 large carrot
1 green pepper
1 small onion
1 tsp. salt


1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

Shred together vegetables. Add the salt. Let stand 1 hour.
Drain water from vegetables. Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute. Cool.
Add syrup to vegetables. Pack into pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, or put into freezer containers and freeze.  (I have canned this in half pint jars for single servings.)
This slaw may be drained before use and mayonnaise added, or used as is.

I am making lots of it this time as it is a favorite addition to a meal and mostly because cabbage is on sale.

I am spending some time this week on various crochet and sewing projects, mostly to avoid the news, which is depressing.  I still check the headlines as I refuse to be totally ignorant of what is going on around us, but I am on information overload and need a bit of a break.  I can't ignore it completely, especially when I learn that there is a family here in my town who is self-quarantined due to contact with a virus case just across the river from my apartment.  That's a bit too close to home.

Just wanted to let you know I hadn't fallen off the edge of the earth.  Life continues at it's quiet pace.  Well, except for an early warning system named Bella.

Take care and keep on prepping.

Friday, March 6, 2020

This is Bella

Bella is a guest in my oldest son's home for the next ten days while her owner is on vacation.  But while he is at work, I get to spend time with her.

Bella likes snuggles and ear scratches.  She likes to lay on the back of the couch and watch the world go by, occasionally expressing her opinion of those passing by on the street.  And she likes it when I sit in my recliner because then there is a lap to curl up on.

But Bella is silly in love with my son, so she can occasionally be found in the kitchen, staring at the door, waiting for his return.

Bella has kept me company before, so the first thing I had to do upon her arrival this morning was to open a pint jar of cubed chicken.  I think she may have remembered, for she danced around in excited circles, waiting for me to fish out a piece of her favorite chicken treat.

It's gonna be a fun 10 days!!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

DIY Hand Sanitizer

Just a quick post about hand sanitizers.  I have been hearing that hand sanitizers have been flying off the shelves due to the virus outbreak.  A friend confirms this as she has had trouble finding some in Canada.

I stumbled onto this video this morning that shows how to make your own.  The lady in the video is a bit chatty, but eventually gets to the part on how to make it.  It is a simple process using 1/3 Cup of Aloe Vera Gel and 2/3 Cup of at least 70% rubbing alcohol, both of which I think are still available.  At least they are still in the stores in my area.

Just wanted to pass this along to anyone who might be interested.  I plan to give it a try.

Time for me to get back to work.  Later....

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I Shall Return

When I counted the cases of home canned food sitting on the floor and came up with an even dozen awaiting shelf space to put them, I decided I had procrastinated long enough on doing some much needed rearranging to accomodate them.  And Oldest Son (better known as my partner in crime when it comes to food storage) and I discussed yesterday on how to make the best use of the six cases of quart jars now stacked against a wall in my kitchen.  I have lots of pint jars full of beef, pork and chicken that was cut into one-inch pieces, but have very lttle canned in large pieces to use as roasts.  So the plan is to watch the grocery store sale ads and fill at least half of the quarts with meat.  Which will also need shelf space to store.

Considering that I move with the speed and grace of a herd of turtles and considering that at the same time I need to do an inventory to see just what I do have already and what I need to fill in the gaps, this project will likely take me the rest of the week.  I shall return Monday.

I still plan to do the experiments with dehydrating rice and pasta, but that has been postponed until next week.

Until then, pay attention.  There is so much going on around us these days and not much of it good.  Contine to pray and prepare, my friends.    

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Your Possible Future Nightmare

A friend and reader here sent me this video.  It is well worth watching and within the 7 minute 16 second time frame, tells you what you need to know about our possible future.  I'll wait.

The video was done by 'Jerry Rye Productions' and was uploaded 4 years ago, but the message is as true today as it was then.

Those running for the office of President from the Democratic Party seem to be using the methods tried in Venezuela as their playbook.  If you can not or will not see the striking similarities and if you believe the same outcome can't possibly happen here, then you just are not paying attention.  And if enough of the voting public do not get out and vote to stop this madness, then God help us all.