We’re one week into our stay-at-home orders in Florida, but we started our own social-distancing two weeks prior to that. Like everyone else, we’re learning how to be in this new reality.
Becoming A Prepper
I’ve always thought ‘doomsday preppers’ were just this side of crazy. But I’m teetering really close to the edge these days.
For the past three weeks, the UPS truck has come roaring down our driveway every few days. A box of sardines, six jars of dilly beans, pickled beets, maple syrup, oat milk, quinoa, jasmine rice, bone broth, a pound of smoked salt, and four pounds of dried garbanzos have recently appeared on the doorstep, among other things.
Three weeks ago, we started stocking up from our local Piggly Wiggly. But although there was plenty of TP, there was no rice, quinoa, or dried beans. Apparently, those are in high demand during a pandemic.
We already had a hefty supply of olive oil, fire-roasted canned tomatoes, coconut milk, salsa, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, polenta, olives, capers, dried fruit, nuts, and dozens of herbs and spices.
We laid in a freezer full of fresh seafood from the local seafood market and stuffed the fridge with eggs, feta, parmesan, Greek yogurt, and lots of fresh veggies.
Also in the survival essentials category: several six-packs of local beer, a giant-sized bottle of gin, tonic, and a dozen bars of dark chocolate.
It isn’t just food that UPS has dumped at the front door. My pandemic shopping spree has also produced an Instant Pot, trays and seeds for growing microgreens, kefir grains and jars, and organic masa and a tortilla press.
I am two chickens and a goat away from crazy.
Decontamination Is My New Part-Time Job
Actually, it feels kind of comforting to have all of these foods on hand. Because we’re in a house instead of our trailer, we have two full-sized refrigerators and plenty of freezer space at our disposal (enough room to keep all the beer cold!).
But as you all know, it’s a part-time job to have to sanitize everything before bringing it into the house. The current guidelines for decontaminating our lives have thrown my OCD tendencies into overdrive.
There are plenty of things to fear in life, but I never thought a cardboard box would make the list.
Did you know that grain alcohol is an excellent all-purpose disinfectant? Just fill a spray bottle with grain alcohol, add a few drops of lavender essential oil, and spray the heck out of everything (be sure to stay away from open flames, LOL). It’s so much better than bleach or isopropyl alcohol. It doesn’t dry out your hands as badly, and it doesn’t kill you with noxious fumes. And if times get really desperate, you can make a cocktail with it. (Just kidding! Don’t do it.)
Busy Projects For Challenging Times
In these anxiety-provoking times, when my attention span is approximately three seconds long, it’s good to have tangible projects to focus my thoughts. It took me about a week to actually fire up the Instant Pot because using it requires reading and following instructions. It squatted on the counter, looking at me reproachfully before I finally took it for a test drive. The garbanzos turned out great. It’s time to move on to more complex recipes. That thing is going to have to earn its place in our little trailer.
Along with the steep curve involved in learning to use the Instant Pot, grow micro-greens, brew kefir, and make homemade corn tortillas, we’ve been gardening. It’s fun to have our hands in the soil again after so many years of traveling.
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Friends Make Everything Better
One of the hardest things about this time is the forced isolation from other people. We’re accustomed to being with each other for long stretches of time, but knowing that we can’t hang out with other people is just plain weird. We’re spending more time than usual on the phone with friends and family, and that helps. But I miss day-to-day, in-person interactions.
Our feathered and other critter friends aren’t worrying themselves about the pandemic, and we have many visitors throughout the day. They love the mix of woods and shoreline on our property, and we’ve put out feeders and keep the birdbath full to keep them happy.
Lucky us, we also have friends of the two-legged variety staying nearby. We’ve gotten together with Shannon and Ken for a couple of kayaking adventures on nearby watery trails in the Apalachicola National Forest. We can easily maintain the prescribed six-feet or more of distance in our kayaks while socializing and enjoying the beauty of this area.
Sometimes I can’t help but think, “I want my pre-pandemic life back.” But I don’t take for granted our good fortune in being here. Come June, we will really have an opportunity to practice gratitude when the weather turns hot and humid and the biting bugs come out in force. Meanwhile, we’re going to do our best to enjoy this moment.
Stay well, dear ones.