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.