APRIL 2020, ISSUE #227

Sheltering in place has not been uncomfortable. We live in a spacious house on two acres, one of us works from home and the other is retired. Our deep friendship, plus a vibrant spring, random wildlife sightings, curbside shopping, our Red Roots CSA, friends who share eggs and drop off tomatoes, Zoom, Skype, and Messenger, compensate for our lack of mobility. But the sense of impending doom is a shadow we cannot shake. Like many, we are experiencing cognitive dissonance as we wait for the virus to peak, while tucking into our comfort casseroles and marveling at the subdued air and street traffic.




We stocked up and were able to stay away from the grocery stores for five weeks thanks to our asparagus patch and neighbors willing to trade baked goods for free range eggs.




There is plenty going on in our yard. Bob used a sawsall to finish off the boxwood, and the green anoles, which can turn brown at will, are on the prowl for action. More at: April Yard and Gardens




Americans are funny about masks but we need to get over ourselves. Camille made a mask from a shop towel and a paper clip. Amy is making beautiful, hand dyed covid scarves and using proceeds to support those in need. Let us know if you would like her to dye one for you.

Matt brought a box of N95 masks (sent by our colleagues in China), a SCS Global shirt, and a cold bottle of local cider to share and we enjoyed some rare social stimulation on the back porch. We wear masks to flatten the curve and prevent our family and friends in healthcare from being overwhelmed. Our masks say, “I care about you. This is not all about me.”




Everything has popped at once: the roses, dianthus, chives, and (outside the window) the azalea.


Mrs. FDR Peony and Purple Iris

Pink Peace and Fragrant Cloud Hybrid Teas, and roses that grew from Double Delight’s root stock. This is the first year we’ve seen what we’re calling “crop outs.” The crop outs have no fragrance but they are very pretty, nevertheless. We have cut away all stalks with root stock blooms and are hoping new growth appears from the hybrid section of the root. If not, we will need to replace the rose.


Felix Crousse made his appearance. He’s the deep pink peony between the two Mrs. FDRs. And more iris, roses, and chives.




When we need to stretch our legs, we drive down to Jordan Lake Dam or take to The Woods




Just to round out this rosy picture, here are a couple of dead things.We nearly stepped on a dead snake on our Saturday walk at the dam, and a shipment of sweet potato slips got hung up in the mail and arrived in a terrible state.




Camille was able to place online orders at Food Lion and Chatham Marketplace and pick them up curbside.We washed and dried the packaging on everything that needed immediate refrigeration. We let the canned food, the dry goods, and the produce sit on the dining room table for three days before putting it away.

The frozen food was more of a challenge. Experts say that viruses can live up to two years in the freezer. While the ice cream cartons and frozen juice concentrate were easy to wash, the frozen peas and meatless crumbles, not so much, so we gave them their own quarantine bin in the chest freezer. That will remind us to dispose of the packaging and wash our hands before cooking the food. Another solution would be to repackage the food before putting it away in the freezer.

This mid-month shop should hold us until mid-May.




Here is a CSA share from Red Roots Farm, and tomatoes from Screech Owl Greenhouses.


Lettuce and spinach from our garden, and Red Roots salad mix in our salad spinner.




Lemon pound cake using a New York Times recipe, with Red Roots Strawberries. We don’t usually go in for desserts, but dissonant times call for soothing treats.



“Unbelievably, in the midst of the worst health care crisis in modern history, thousands of medical workers are being laid off and many hospitals and clinics are on the verge of going bankrupt and shutting down. In truth, we don’t have a health care “system.” We have a byzantine network of medical institutions dominated by the profit-making interests of insurance and drug companies.” – Bernie Sanders

“Doctors and nurses are the pandemic’s combat heroes, but the supermarket cashier with her bottle of sanitizer and the UPS driver with his latex gloves are the supply and logistics troops who keep the front line forces intact. In a smartphone economy that hides whole classes of human beings, we’re learning where our food and goods come from, who keeps us alive.” – George Packer

“I can’t speak for every occupation, but for supermarket cashiers, I think the best way you can show your respect is by not showing up at all. Minimize your shopping outings, and make them quick and efficient. Please save the small talk for next year.” – Karleigh Frisbie Brogan



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