The Castle

The Castle

Saturday, June 20, 2020

They May Be Cute, But Watch Out

No matter how hard we try, we can't outwit nature.  We can try, but nature always wins.  I enjoy watching the birds and the other animals.  I usually leave well enough alone even if I sometimes don't like what I see.  It is cruel.  At times however, I have to intervene.  I only step in when it affects certain things like the structure of our house or our foundation. 

My story starts with this adorable little woodchuck.  For years we have seen woodchucks lumber through the yard.  I usually take their picture and comment how cute they are.

Well unbeknown to me, this one was causing trouble behind the scenes.  We hadn't seen him for quite a while and pretty much forgot about him.  Then a week ago I went down under our deck to check on a wood duck that was nesting in a house we have in that area.  I wanted to see if there were any signs of the babies being hatched.  I saw fine downy fluff stuck in the bushes so I knew they had.  In that same area we store excess pellets for our pellet stoves.  I noticed the area was disturbed, and there was a pile of sand.  Then I saw the hole.  Something had dug a hole under the concrete slab we have.  We thought it could be a fox or a woodchuck but at that point we weren't sure.  I was hoping it wasn't a skunk.  I had heard that you just have to put mothballs where they have dug, and the smell will drive them away.  In my next grocery pickup order, I ordered a big box of mothballs.  They came in mesh bags.  I threw three bags into the hole, but the next morning two of the bags were at the opening of the hole.  It was time to go to plan B.  I got the big live trap from the garage and mixed up a dish of carrots, lettuce and celery.  Within two hours, I caught him. 

Before I set the live trap, I looked on the Wisconsin DNR webpage.  I found the following information.

If all else fails, woodchucks can be captured in a live trap with 10x12 inch access door, which are readily available at garden or farm supply type stores. A good bait to use is sliced apples or lettuce. Keep in mind after capturing it must be dealt with in one of two ways. Relocation is an option, however permission from the property owner must be granted before the woodchuck can be released. It is illegal to relocate animals to state-owned property. The second option is euthanization, which should be done by someone who is familiar with firearms and done in a location where firearm discharge is legal. Another option is to contact a nuisance wildlife contractor to assist with resolving your conflict.

I had permission from a person who owns a large woods a long way from our home, so we packed up the little critter and took him for a ride.  He was heavier than I thought he would be as I carried him to the truck, but he was fairly calm.  They make a click, click, click sound.  At our destination, we opened the trap and off he went.  What a relief.  Now we just had to fill in the hole.

Well it got hot and we had things to do.  I was dealing with calling the air conditioner repair person because our air wasn't working.  Neither was our landline.  I made three calls to Spectrum and had a technician to the house.  By the way, this person wore a mask the whole time so I was impressed.  They were taking the COVID 19 virus seriously.  We got a new telephone modem, but our phone was still not working properly.  As it turned out, it was the phone itself that was bad.  We could call out and get a dial tone, but no calls were coming in.  Since we are not brave enough to go into stores yet, our daughter went and bought us new phones. That has fixed that problem.  So five days had passed since we took Mr. Woodchuck to his new home.  We hadn't filled that hole, and I was a bit concerned.  I could smell mothballs in the lower level of our house.  I was wondering how extensive the tunnel was.  Then on the sixth day, I was sitting drinking my morning coffee and what do I see? Yes, A WOODCHUCK.  My first thought was that the one we relocated had come home, but that couldn't be possible.  I could barely find our way home.  This one went up on our deck, then down the steps to the famous hole under the slab.  I had smoothed the sand when I removed the trap just to be sure no foot prints appeared.  I went down to check and sure enough there were footprints in the sand.  I immediately got the trap out again and baited it with fresh produce.  I checked before bed and there was no activity.  The first thing in the morning I checked again, nothing.  Then about 8:00 am I checked again.  I had activity alright.  The woodchuck had removed the bags of mothballs.  The only thing in my trap was a bag of mothballs. 

So now it's war.  I set two cameras up in this location.  We don't know if he left or is way down in the hole.  Leaving the mothballs could be his last act of defiance or we are in real trouble.

The next morning I did another trap check.  Oh dear, there wasn't a woodchuck in the trap but a raccoon.  I don't know if it was living in the hole and the one responsible for tossing the moth balls out, or if he happened upon the bowl of veggies in the trap.  My inclination is that he happened upon the food.  I think this because he was checking out the camera I had set up.

The same rules for relocation apply for raccoons, so we packed him up and took another ride.  We will be getting out to fill the hole as soon as the rains have stopped.  We should know soon if the problem is solved or if we are in for another week of torment. *

* Update:  It appears the problems were not solved.  Our telephone is still not working.  We had a second technician work on it.  He was sure the problem was solved, but it was not.  Another is coming in a couple days.  I can only hope that five calls, three technicians and new phones will finally solve the issues.  As for the woodchuck, another was caught on camera.  I had filled the hole which was dug out again.  Here is the picture of the critter from the trail camera.  I filled the hole again and so far so good.  Hopefully he left for good, and isn't living under my house. 

He or she did not leave, but was enticed into the live trap by apple peelings and carrots.  I hope it enjoys its new home away from here.  It's been less than two weeks since we have been dealing with these woodchucks,  but it seems much longer.  We will fill the hole again, put the trap away and hope.

Our next problem is a bear in our neighborhood.  Obviously we can't relocate it, so we hope it moves on.  This is the first time we have had bear damage here in south central Wisconsin.  With environmental changes and the taking away of their habitat, it was bound to happen.  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Sandhill Crane's Struggle Against Mother Nature

A few days ago we were very excited.  We observed a pair of Sandhill Cranes beginning to build a nest within a short distance of our deck.  This nest could be seen from several windows and even closer from the deck.  I believe this pair of cranes are the same pair we see every summer.  We usually know where they are nesting and can see them with binoculars, but this year they were right in front of the deck.  They worked together building a nest and soon the female laid her first egg.  The eggs are quite large, and I had never seen one before.  The land they chose is very marshy but recently the water was drying up slightly and it was the perfect spot or so we thought.  They took turns sitting on the egg.  It was so exciting.

The next morning we woke up to drizzle and cloudy skies.  She was on the nest and her mate was gone.  As it turned out, this was their pattern.  They took turns sitting on the nest while the other went off eating or resting, I'm not really sure where they were.  They did spend some time together, but not a lot.  The weather started to get worse and worse.  As the day continued the rain and wind were terrible.  The marsh started to flood and soon the nest was completely surrounded by water.  She endured and sat for a long time until she had to figure out what to do.  She started digging for mulch and throwing it on the nest.  She continued for hours even though the water kept rising.  I was certain the nest would be destroyed along with her one egg.  She didn't give up and by night fall she had built the nest up to a point where she could sit down again.  The male crane was gone the entire day.  I went to bed that night thinking the nest would be gone in the morning in spite of her efforts.

When I woke up the next morning, she was still working on the nest.  It was still raining lightly, but the wind had died down.  By 8 am her mate had returned.  He wasn't very helpful at first but he did stand guard.  The day before, as she worked, a red winged blackbird taunted and dive bombed her.  Perhaps the blackbird had a nest in that same area, but I was concerned it would damage the egg.  It's interesting how gently the big Sandhill cranes can move the eggs around with their beak, but I wasn't sure about the blackbird.

At some point the female decided she needed a break because she disappeared leaving him to take care of the nest and the egg.  He sat for quite some time but when he stood up I couldn't see the egg.  I thought he had lost it and was going to be in big trouble.  What happened was the water was seeping into the nest and covering up the egg.  He started digging and lifting and rearranging.  Soon the egg popped up.  I was relieved to see it.  He started breaking branches off the trees and throwing them on the water rather frantically.

Then he would use those sticks to beef up the nest.  I guess he's the carpenter in the family because up to that point she only used sludge from the bottom of the pond.  After five or more hours of working, the male started hollering.  The loud sound cranes have is familiar to a lot of people.  I think many of us have heard its distinctive sound.  Within ten minutes she was back.  I could see her about twenty feet away, but she took her sweet time getting over to him.  Slowly she came back and went directly to the egg.  He left shortly after that, and she sat on the egg all night.

Come hell or high water, this female Sandhill crane was determined.  She laid another egg that morning.  She was trying so hard to make it work.  She was soaked, and we were hoping she could dry out as well as the nest, but the nest was definitely sinking.  She started working again.  She  was now picking up sticks to make the nest stronger.  She was working her heart out.  The nest was in pretty good shape as she sat down for the night.

The next day seemed like a calmer day.   Her mate arrived before 8:00am.  The nest was pretty soggy because the water on the marsh was still very high.  The Fox River which flows into our marsh had risen a foot in a twenty four hour period.  She left again for a while, and he worked for three hours getting it back in shape.  Then when she got back, he left.  She was able to wander around a bit.  The day was sunny, and I thought the eggs were warm enough.  She returned to the nest, turned the eggs and settled down.  The nest is still pretty low in the water, but she could stand on it and it supported her. 

When I got up she was standing on the nest.  Everything looked in order.  They made it through another night, and I really thought things were going to be alright.  She had made it through some terrible conditions already, and things didn't look any worse.  I was wrong.  When I went to check a couple hours later, she was gone, her mate was no where in sight and several turtles were laying on the nest with the two eggs including a large snapping turtle.  The turtles were sunning themselves.  I checked off and on.  As the day wore on, the nest was sinking from the weight of the turtles or it was absorbing water.  I slammed the outside door to the deck so the turtles would leave.  There all alone, looking like two baked potatoes, were the crane eggs.  There was still time for the pair to return, but they did not.  Soon the snapping turtle crawled back onto the nest and the eggs started rolling to the edge.  Before I knew it, they were gone too.  Whether it was the turtles or the high water that caused the nest failure, we will never know.  The nest never sunk completely and every day since a few turtles use it for a place to sun themselves.

I felt really bad.  It was an emotional roller coaster for five days.  It was the first time I had witnessed close up the nesting process of these big birds.  I was hoping to see the eggs hatch and watch the babies grow.  Every year I would see the parents and their offspring walk across my yard, but I never saw the hatching process.  Maybe it's not too late for them to try again elsewhere.  I will know later in the summer if the parents show up alone or if they had a successful hatch. For now, I have to turn my attention to watching some baby bluebirds hatch.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Tale of Two Bald Eagles and Two Great Blue Herons

My little story today is about two Bald Eagles and two Great Blue Herons.  They are both big powerful birds.  Little birds are always taunting the eagles, but someone must have told them to pick on someone their own size, and so they did.

Today was a perfect day.  Temperatures were in the mid 70's, and there was a light breeze.  I grabbed a glass of iced tea, the love of my life Fritos, my camera and my laptop and headed for the screened in porch. Earlier I moved a lot of my indoor plants outside.  I hope that wasn't a mistake, but I couldn't stand having them in the house one more day.  If some of them succumb to the overnight coolness, then so be it.  As I was watching the orioles come into the hummingbird feeder (yes they like the sugar water better than jelly) and seeing all the other birds flit around, I heard a loud screeching type noise.  I looked up and saw a Bald Eagle swooping down to attack a Great Blue Heron. 

The heron was caught by surprise and attempted to fly away only to be attacked by another back up eagle who swooped in from the opposite side.  As the first eagle hunkered down in the grass, the second one took over but the Great Blue Heron got away.


At this point the heron flew off to another section of the marsh.  It was nervous and another heron joined it.  I'm not sure where the second heron was during the altercation.  They are usually very skittish, and it's hard for me to sneak out and take photos of them.  I generally take pictures of them through the window.  They let out the same screech when I startle them as they did when the eagle attacked.  I guess the fear of the eagle was greater than their fear of me because both herons flew directly down from our deck.  The first one flew into the mucky swamp water which I am not happy about but it happens whenever the water starts receding.  The other landed on a place nearby where the turtles sun themselves.

The rest of the afternoon, the eagle circled and circled the marsh.  The other one either sat in the tree or  flew around.  Late this afternoon a fisherman came into the area and the eagles and the herons disappeared.  I'm sure they will be back tomorrow but hopefully they will be on better behavior.

Monday, May 4, 2020

My "Eagle-eyed" Plan For Today

As we approach eight weeks of being Safe at Home we are continually looking for things to do.  It's amazing how many little things were left undone before this.  It was much easier to make an excuse to go shopping or leave the house just because we could.  Now each day is divided up into what we should do and what we want to do.  I am afraid when this pandemic is under control and we are free to come and go, there will still be things to do that we have still put off.  It reminds me of the job jar I had for my husband.  I thought it was an awesome idea because every time I would have a project to do, I would write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar.  Then he would reach into the jar and pull out the next project.  It sounds good in theory but only if you do that project.  I soon figured out that soon all the easy projects were finished and all the hard projects remained in the jar.  I hadn't made it clear that an unpleasant job could not be returned to the jar.  For the record, I had my own job jar too and I did the same thing.

Today is going to be an easy day to fill.  It is carp spawning season on our marsh.  The carp are very active today and that is fun to watch.  They splash around on the surface of the water and sometimes jump out of the water.  I have written about the carp bow hunters that come in at night to fish for these carp.  They come in very late so I wasn't looking forward to last night but it was way too windy and we actually got uninterrupted sleep.

As I was watching this morning, I saw two eagles sitting in the tree about half way across the marsh.  They are very patient birds and can sit for hours just waiting for that perfect opportunity.  I watched off and on along with them.  In situations like this, a longer zoom lens would certainly be nice.

I got some coffee and returned to glance out the window.  Oh my gosh, there was one of the eagles sitting right below our deck in the same location the turtles have been sunning themselves.

I grabbed the camera and got a picture before he flew off.  My first thought was that he was after a turtle, but I then realized that it was the carp he was after.  It was a buffet right in front of him.

As the young eagle flew off, he grabbed for a fish.  I didn't get a shot of him catching one, but that is what I plan for today.  Who knows.  I will be busy watching.

Friday, May 1, 2020

This Eastern Phoebe's Poor Choice

Our excitement for today involved relocating a bird nest.  A darling Eastern Phoebe was spending a lot of time on our deck rail.

They like building nests under the overhang of the house.  We have three nests right now that I didn't catch in time.  I checked often but this afternoon I saw her fly in directly above our patio door.  It was the worst possible choice because with us going in and out and disturbing her plus I didn't want bird poop dripping down the screen.  I put on gloves, a hat and got a small shovel.  I took down the nest, but to my surprise it had four phoebe eggs and a cow bird egg in the nest.

I have no idea when she built that nest and how she and a cowbird laid those eggs without me noticing.  Mike's chair is right on the other side of the door and he hadn't noticed her either.  I relocated it to another spot not too far away and under cover, however Mike said the phoebe eggs or the babies would not have survived anyway because when the larger cowbird hatches it either forces the babies out of the nest or they won't get enough food to survive.  The weird part is that it's illegal to remove a cowbird egg from a nest.  I hope this Eastern Phoebe doesn't try to build another nest in the exact same spot as before.  We may have a little conflict of wills if she does, but she doesn't know who she's dealing with and I will win.

I will monitor the nest to see what happens, but I did my best. 

Here is another reason I don't want the nest near the entrance to the house.  It's the reason I used gloves and wore a hat....mites.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day

I usually try to see the bright side of situations.  I still do, but it has been a challenge today.  My day or actually last night started out with falling asleep easily.  That was great, but a short time later sometime after midnight, my husband's CPAP mask started making sounds like the air was being let out of a balloon.  I could hear him adjust it, it would stop for a few seconds and start again.  I grabbed my pillow and headed for the other bedroom.  It isn't the first time I have been forced to do it, but last night I wasn't happy about it.  I had been sleeping so good.  After getting as comfortable as I could in that bed, I fell asleep only to dream and dream and dream.  I can't even remember most of the dreams, but they were outrageous.  I dreamt we had two dogs tied outside that weren't ours.  We had dug out some underground tunnels for them to shelter in.  People were coming and going.  Most of the people I didn't recognize.  Then the dogs turned into two children which I rescued.  We didn't know who they belonged to until this woman waltzed in and said they were her kids but she didn't want them anymore.  Good God, where do some of those dreams come from?  I don't have a clue.  There is nothing in that dream that resembles my life.  Finally it was about six, and I could justify getting up.  The day was going to be rainy, windy and gloomy.  I warmed my bone broth and then made my coffee.  I had a piece of home made bread and noticed it was time to make more.  I looked around the house and thought everything should be spic and span with all this time at home, but it is not.  I do a lot better keeping things in order when I have a schedule.  My schedule has hit the skids.  I vacuum at 10:00 at night, I do a load of laundry when the basket looks full and dishes whenever.  From the middle of the afternoon I am trying to figure out what to have for supper.  Food is always on my mind.  Either how I am going to get it from the store or what I can snack on.   As of this moment, I am out of chocolate, cookies and potato chips.  Not the end of the world, but when you can't have something you want it more.

In order to salvage my day, I decided to make bread.  That usually turns out good even though at this time and maybe forever, my husband can't have it.  It is full of white flour and gluten.  He came in the kitchen and said "I bet that Krunka would sure taste good".  The Krunka is the crust of the warm bread.  His grandma was pure Polish so we think that word came from her. 

 I thought I really should make him something.  I created a pie that was gluten free, dairy free and egg free.  Making that was not without moments of frustration.  The crust was sticky so I pressed it into the pan instead of rolling it out.  Why I didn't use my tried and true gluten free pie crust recipe is a mystery in itself, but I ventured off the beaten path into the weeds.  When that was done, I found a can of peach pie filling in the pantry.  I really couldn't remember buying it.  There was a reason for that.  It expired in 2016.  I opened it anyway and the peaches were brownish and obviously not fit for human consumption.  I had one more option. With this stay at home situation, my pantry is looking pretty pathetic.  I found a can of cherry pie filling which was still good.  I opened it and poured it onto the crust.  I thought I'd make a little topping for it like you would for cobbler so I mixed gluten free flour mix, brown sugar and some shortening because I can't use butter.  It looked pretty good so into the oven it went.  One hour later I took it out looking delicious and bubbly. 

A couple hours later I asked my husband if he wanted a piece.  He did.  I tasted it first and it tasted like chicken feed smells only with cherries in it.  I bought it to him and he ate it.  He didn't say anything because he is a kind man, but then I asked him if it smelled like chicken feed.  Not being familiar with that smell from being a city boy, he just laughed and suggested I scrape some of the topping off next time so he just gets the cherry pie filling.  Then I thought I should check the label of the pie filling.  What did they thicken it with?  It was modified food starch which didn't sound good.  I looked it up and "Modified food starch is starch that has been treated with an acid or another chemical to change the protein structure of the starch. This process should alter the structure of the starch molecules, making even wheat sources unlikely to cause a reaction in those with gluten sensitivity."

That was a good thing which brings me full circle in this story.  I have to find the bright parts of the day.  First I took a shower this morning and washed my hair so I smell good.  I will skip over the part where I found a tick on my rear end which had to be removed with a tweezers.  The next good thing is that a new CPAP mask and headgear came in the mail so I may be able to sleep in my own bed tonight.  We also received a new battery operated chain saw which wasn't supposed to ship for a month.  I will skip over the part where we ordered a new battery for our old chain saw but it wasn't the battery that is the problem with the saw..  Today my granddaughter was going to Costco to do my shopping.  I called and they are allowing people to come in to shop for others.  I'll skip over the part where it was too windy and rainy to go today.   Ok, so finding the bright side today is a bit of a challenge but we feel fine, we are alive and even without chocolate and potato chips, we will not starve.  So as the old folks used to say (even though we are old folks), tomorrow will be a better day.  In fact, it looks brighter already.  

Happy quarantine everyone.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Reflections of the Pandemic of 2020

Stay Home and Stay Safe

Today I am writing a new blog post mostly to document this time in history from my perspective for my blog book.  I am hoping my future descendants will get a feel for what our life was like during the world wide pandemic of 2020.  This pandemic is COVID-19.  It is a virus that mutated from an animal to a human.  It was easily spread through human contact before it was truly identified and understood.  It still isn't completely understood because individuals are reacting differently to this virus, but they are getting a better handle on it.  I won't elaborate on the disease and it's symptoms.  There will be volumes written about what it was, how many died and what treatments and vaccines are being developed.  Anyone reading this even twenty five years from now probably can't even imagine how this even got out of control.  How it was handled and how quickly it was taken seriously depends on leadership and the media. Wisconsin, where we live has done a great job of containing the spread by making people aware very early and invoking a Safe at Home order for residents.  They closed all the schools including the colleges and universities.  The city of Madison and Milwaukee have the most cases.  One of the first cases we heard of in Wisconsin was from people coming home to Fond du lac Wisconsin after being on an Egyptian river cruise.  Fond du lac has had a few deaths and several cases mostly from people on this cruise or people who associated with those people.  Once the cause of the illness was detected, the city of Fond du lac has done a great job containing the spread.  With the Safe at Home order people are encouraged to stay home except to get groceries, prescriptions and other essentials.  I believe people are abiding with this order.  There will always be a few who think it is a hoax, and they won't let anyone tell them what they can or cannot do.  I believe these people are in the minority.  It took a while before a few got on board, but most are doing well.  After a few weeks of this state order the curve is flattening and less new cases are happening.  History will tell the story.  We don't know what that will be yet, but future elections will have something to do with how this time is remembered.  I hope things are being learned everyday to keep this from happening again.

Living in a big city is entirely different than living in rural Wisconsin.  We don't have mass transportation or taxis, high rise apartments with elevators or crowded sidewalks.  People here do not live and work so close together so it is a lot easier for us to social distance ourselves.  My husband and I were born to self isolate so it isn't much of a hardship.  We were food and product gatherers  before this started so we didn't have to rush out to buy toilet paper and antibacterial wipes.  This is a terrible time for people who work in health care and essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations or any business that people need to survive.  People are being forced to stay home from work without pay, and they aren't sure when or if they will be able to return to work.  I don't know how that will play out in the future, but society will survive.

It's been more than five weeks since we went to a grocery store. We ordered groceries to be delivered to get some produce and some essentials.  This allows us to stay home and away from people.  We have made some car trips just to get out and to deliver some items to our daughters' door steps.  We would wave but stay away more than the recommended six feet.  That's what I miss most.  Interaction with our family.  We have had to cancel family dinners like our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration and the Easter egg hunt, but if it means staying safe that is what we will do.  Older people like us have a greater chance of dying from the virus.  Both our daughter's work in hospitals so just in case they contract the virus, we don't want to get it.  They would feel so guilty if that happened.  This is temporary, and we can do it if we all cooperate.  It will be a while, probably several months before we feel comfortable going about business as usual.

As I mentioned before, my husband and I have taken to this like fish to water.  I am sure I was a pioneer in a former life.  I'm not sure what my husband was, but he can sit and be perfectly content to watch movies and you tube videos or read.

Today for example, I made a large batch of bone broth.  I had made several containers six weeks ago and I am down to my last serving.  I make the broth in my pressure cookers.  I have a six quart and a 12 quart. 

I make decaffeinated tea by the pitcher, but I like lemonade in it.  I was out of the organic lemonade I usually have on hand, so I made lemonade out of organic lemon juice, sugar and water.  It is 1 cup of sugar (any kind), 1 cup of lemon juice and 6 cups of water.  It is very good and probably more economical than the prepared juice I usually buy.

Next I wanted to make a gluten free apple crisp.  I kind of made up the recipe, but found out I didn't have enough brown sugar.  I am running low on the basic staple items.  To remedy that situation I just mixed 1/4 cup of molasses and 2 cups of white sugar.  This makes dark brown sugar.  If you want light brown sugar just mix a lesser amount of molasses.  Mix it until it's completely combined and the final product looks exactly like packaged brown sugar.

My grocery delivery gave us the wrong kind of french dressing.  They gave us creamy French dressing which contains high fructose corn syrup and skim milk.  I will have to make my own Catalina dressing.  I didn't get at it today, but I will make that soon.  Here is the recipe to make your own.  Put all ingredients in a blender.  1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup mild oil.  I use avocado
or olive oil.  Pulse the blender until it is mixed.  Store it in the refrigerator.

I also had some canned beans in the pantry that had been there for a while.  I decided to make a 3 bean salad with them.  I drained a can of green beans, a can of northern beans and a can of kidney beans.  I sliced one onion and mixed it in with the beans.  Then I combined 3/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup white vinegar, 1/3 cup oil,  a little salt and pepper and 1/2 t. celery seed.  I poured it over the beans and let it sit overnight before I put it in whatever jars I could find.  I got a quart and a pint from this batch.

I play pioneer woman all day but then I have to clean up my mess.  That's the worse part, but at least I have a dishwasher and I don't have to haul water, heat it on a wood stove and wash the dishes.  This quarantine situation isn't even close to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.  We have modern appliances and technology.  Technology makes us know how bad things are but it also keeps us connected with others.   It won't be easy for many, and there is a lot of controversy connected with every aspect of this, but hopefully we will learn from this experience and life will continue on better than before.