Isolation

What a strange time we are living in. Two years ago, when our province was on fire I thought life became strange. Last year when we had one of the mildest, wettest summers I have experienced in our town I thought life became a little strange, but now with the COVID 19 pandemic, life truly has become strange.

Instead of dwelling on the strange life we are living, we have decided to embrace it and enjoy the positive aspects. I took my employers offer and began working from home on March 19. At this point, the majority of my job is easily accomplished at home so it has been a fairly easy transition. I also teach a university course as a sessional instructor, which has been quite the adjustment. I am so impressed with those that teach any level, full-time. It becomes quite the workload when you have to adjust everything you had planned to deliver face-to-face into an online learning. Needless to say, my home office is where I spend most of my time these days.

K on the other hand, doesn’t have the option of working from home but had decided to take some vacation time as he didn’t feel comfortable continuing to deal with the public, especially when a lot of his customers weren’t taking social distancing or any of the other orders seriously. His company, within a day or so of K taking some vacation, reduced staffing levels to a minimum for emergency needs only anyway, so it worked out. K has had lots of time to putter around the house and keep himself busy. Part of that is keeping the dogs occupied while I am working.

We have been lucky enough to have some beautiful weather, so a lot of K’s time has been spent in our yard, getting everything ready for spring planting. The yard always looks like a disaster after the snow first melts. The girls have spent the winter bringing every stick and toy they can find in the yard, up to our grassy area. It then gets buried in snow, so they go find more sticks to bring up. When it melts, the girls have the equivalent of a large tree strewn about the yard in pieces. Nice for them to play, not so nice to look at. So, one of the first things K did was clean, rake and believe it or not, mow the lawn.

We can be just as messy as the dogs in the upper area of our yard. Our firewood shelter and chopping block are next to the shed and after a winter of chopping, there is a lot of mess to be cleaned up. K did a great job of sweeping, tidying and stacking all the wood and debris to make the area look clean and organized.

In the lower part of the yard, we are eager to take advantage of this time at home to get a head start on building walls and prepping all of our beds for the spring planting. Unfortunately, the ground is still too frozen to turn our beds or for K to do the last bit of levelling required to start building our next wall. The ground however, has not been to frozen for the dogs to create a pock-holed yard by digging for roots and rodents. So, K used our large pile of dirt from digging out the terraces last year, to start filling and levelling the area behind the raised beds. Now we just have to remind the girls that digging is not ok.

Due to the likelihood of not being able to purchase our plants from our favourite nursery, we decided to pull our our indoor greenhouse so that we could get some seeds started. We will still buy some plants from the nursery if possible, but we can’t guarantee that we will be able to get there when we need to plant so we are trying to be prepared. We got all the plants that we usually grow planted and started. We forgot how fun it is to watch them sprout and grow. It has only been just over a week, but some of the plants are growing so well. We only have a few (butternut squash & peppers) that haven’t popped out yet, but they generally take a tad longer and need more heat. Hopefully a few more sunny days and we will see them come through.

Our soil was bone dry and needed some extra nutrients.
Getting the eyes to start sprouting on the potatoes.
The tomatoes are doing great.
The zucchini as usual is growing fast and strong.
The cucumbers were a little slow to start but are sprouting nicely now.
Most of the herbs are coming in. Thyme was quick to start with Basil following. Just waiting on the chives and oregano. My rosemary survived in a pot for the winter and will be transplanted back outside.

Since we are starting our own plants again, we are also going to create a plastic dome for over both of the raised beds for our root veggies. Although we can’t turn the soil yet, K got a start on fixing up the beds a little. We are not going to do peas or beans this year so we took down the backs of the beds with the netting, which will make the beds easier to access. We may also take off the top borders as they are starting to fall off anyways. These beds weren’t supposed to be used this long, but we are going to need this last season out of them. By next spring, our terraced beds will be ready.

Once the piles of dirt from our terracing is moved we can start a few other adjustments in our yard. That won’t be until a little later as we plan to use a lot of that soil to backfill our terraced beds, which will happen once we have built the walls. Because of this dominos effect, we will also need to use our strawberry tower for one more year. It will be interesting to see if it makes it. It has sunk into the ground (even the paving stones that we put the legs on) and is now tilting, which is causing some of the boxes to separate a bit. Fingers crossed we can get one more season out of it as the strawberries are one of our absolute favourite things from our garden.

All-in-all, it will be an interesting few weeks or possibly months…we don’t really know. But however long it is, we have plenty to keep us busy, happy and healthy, right here at home.

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