Many of my weekly columns and comic strips have been COVID-related these last few months. Columns may be informative, but cartoons are comic relief. For a long time, it was difficult to think of other things. The situation still keeps changing, providing something new to write or draw. And it’s difficult and unhealthy for the humans to remain at high alert for such long periods of time. Despite the fact that there are more active cases, things seem to be settling down. Maybe we’re just becoming accustomed to dealing with it. I can’t wait until the upcoming election is over. Do you feel the same? Talk about high alert! I’m sick of the news, hate, and divisiveness.
I complete the requisite shopping, housekeeping/laundry --- that I don’t actually like. I like eating, so I keep cooking. There’s still take-out available from restaurants, and some are open with limited capacity. Most stores have reopened, as have local schools. Be sure to support our local businesses! Many of us still miss the Pot O’ Gold and the Cliftex Theater--- and will be so glad when we can safely enjoy them again.
Our weekly mowing of 2 acres around the farmhouse and outbuildings was an onerous and frequent task all spring and summer. That and daily watering have eased up somewhat, and it’s a relief. I’m still weeding flower beds and doing occasional weed-whacking. The only fruit trees still bearing are persimmons and figs. We weren’t supposed to plant new trees or roses this year, but of course we did. Even had to lay some sod to cover damage caused by feral hogs. Keeping young plants alive during Texas summer’s hard work. Keeping anything alive in drought conditions--- no matter how much we water--- can be almost impossible--- not to mention expensive. Summer of 2019 wasn’t even horrible, but it almost killed me, and I’m older now! At least we had a bit more rain in 2020.
This year’s garden was a great success in the tomato department. Those same plants are rewarding my watering efforts by re-blooming. We hope to harvest a bunch before the first frost, so I keep watering. By now, I’m so ready for a break from all this work. I always expect fall to actually arrive on schedule and stick. But instead, we receive a small taste. Then things dry up again for weeks, and we get zapped with a high of 99 degrees. Halloween will be here soon, and it may be hot--- or it may be cold.
So there’s still no problem keeping busy and active during self-quarantine. Parts of the house could use deeper cleaning, but I’m managing to ignore those quite successfully. Zack went through an old barn --- but didn’t organize his closet. He’s been working on fences, shredding and burning. I must find time to begin my bi-annual seasonal clothing swap. But like most folks in the country--- or anyone with a yard to tend--- there’s still outside work that can’t wait.
We still go carefully and warily to local grocery stores. After all, there are more active cases of COVID in the county now than ever before. We could likely hold out indefinitely thanks to freezers and canned goods--- if it weren’t for perishables. Trust me, we now have enough TP to hold out indefinitely.
Other than cancelling non-essential appointments, distancing, masks and avoiding crowds, it’s business as usual. We’ve plenty of space to avoid cabin fever, and it’s impossible to be bored. ---Overwhelmed perhaps, but not bored. It’s come in handy being a homebody, and Zack loves living like a hermit. He’s been working up to this for years and is definitely in his element. I told him this is like a “time out of time”. He didn’t understand what I meant.
As of this writing, there have been eight deaths from COVID-19 among Bosque County residents--- which doesn’t mean more don’t “walk among us” --- possibly far from home, foraging for food and paper goods in our local stores! It was only a matter of time before the COVID cases increased here, but we’re still in better shape than most places. We feel lucky and grateful to live where we do. Our wonderful local physicians and hospital staff have been administering successful treatment options for COVID--- in addition to their usual work.
I still worry about my far away kids, of course, and hope they’ll stay safe. I hope we all will be. Continued good luck to everyone!