I hope you are all doing well and finding ways to keep happily occupied. What follows is a general summary of how I'm coping with the lock down and how the province as a whole is coping. It is not a pity party or a complaint, just the reality of things at the moment. It probably looks and sounds quite similar to what is going on in your part of the world.
Since we've been told to only go out for essentials I really try to stay home. I don't even go for a walk. In the beginning I went shopping once a week and went to 2-3 places to try and buy everything I wanted. Now I don't bother with that. If I don't find something at one place, chances are it isn't at the 2nd or 3rd place and I don't want to expose myself to too many people. These days I am going out about once every 8-10 days to one grocery store. I also go to the pharmacy every other week for eggs, milk and some small things I may need.
Just before Easter weekend I noticed that we had to queue at all the shops and pharmacies. I thought it was due to larger numbers of people out on a sunny, long weekend. But I've learned that it seems to be the new normal for grocery shopping. It helps with social distancing inside the store when they limit people who can go inside at one time. They also mark where to stand in the line outside and that helps too because no matter what there are always those that just don't do the right thing. For some reason this seems to make most people behave better and do the right thing. I've been fortunate that the lines I've been in have been short and fast moving.
According to our head doctor who along with our Health Minister, gives a daily update on Covid 19, we have been flattening the curve in British Columbia over the past few days. She thinks that some restrictions can begin to be lifted by mid-May. Even so she has been cautioning us that things will not go back to the way they used to be and there won't be any larger gatherings of probably more than 50 people throughout the summer (concerts, fairs, festivals, sporting events, weddings). Our Prime Minister has also been saying that things won't be going back to normal until there is a vaccine available.
Right now all schools and universities are either closed or carrying out activities on line as best they can. Governments are mulling over how to return children back to school but say that it won't be back to regular classroom sizes. More information to come in future for those parents who wonder. Sadly many businesses are probably bankrupt. Though the government did provide assistance to many individuals and for many different purposes, I'm not sure exactly what happened as far as places like restaurants and small retailers go. Those are the ones that struggled almost immediately. Then in the last few days we've been hearing about drastic reduction in public transit services (buses, sky trains/subway, sea bus and trains). There are also layoffs in many places. I'm sure this is a similar situation the world over so things will look very different in our communities in months to come.
I came across what I thought was an interesting short video about what Vancouver, British Columbia looks like during this time of quarantining. It may look like a ghost town and though most people are staying home there are people on the streets each time I go out. I know there are people walking on the beaches where permitted. The provincial parks were closed until further notice just before the long weekend to prevent people from crowding at the parks. The large downtown park, Stanley Park is not open to the public at this time either though I think the smaller city parks remain open for the most part. The community gardens in a park near me remain open for gardeners though I haven't been to mine yet.
My nephew who is doing his Ph.D. here has said his life is actually busier with all the teaching and other requirements that now have to be done on line. The university is even planning for graduation ceremonies on line. I'm not sure what will happen to admissions for foreign students. I have a young friend in Kenya waiting to hear if he will be accepted to study at University of British Columbia. Sadly he did not receive an offer from the Vancouver based program. He is waiting to hear about the program at the Kelowna campus of the university. Kelowna is a resort town located about 5 hours north east of Vancouver. If he gets an offer I think there will be other challenges that did not exist before Covid 19. But we take one step at a time.
The quarantine has brought out a lot of creativity in the way Canadians try to stay connected. Have a look at this short video.
On Sunday I waiting for a cousin to come by with her friend and pick up 6 dining chairs which I've been holding for her for many weeks. She lives about an hour and a half away and I haven't seen her since my dear mom's funeral. We couldn't even hug and so we just did our business at a distance and she left. I am so glad that she took the chairs though. The chairs were a gift from my mom and I really didn't want to get rid of them. But after years of hanging on to them and not using them I just wanted to find a new home for them. My cousin absolutely loves antique furniture and items with sentimental value so I know she will appreciate them. Moreover she lives in a small town where people appreciate old time things antique furniture and decor items and quilts made with fabrics and yarns. She also says she knows someone who can do the minor repairs that the chairs need.
Sunday was the day I also started working in my patio garden. There is so much work to be done to clean all the debris from the garden and the many containers I have. Everything also needs to be washed, the patio tables and chairs as well as all the cushions and tablecloths. I do not bother washing the container pots since they quickly get dirty if it rains even once. The furniture and containers have to be moved around and some of them are very heavy. Then of course the 40L bags of soil amendment material is also heavy. Even 20L weights quite enough. The next day I could barely move or get up and down without a lot of pain. The past weeks of inactivity resulted in more impact on my slack muscles than usual but this too shall pass. I did only a very little work on Monday and need to do a lot more before the patio garden can be considered ready. I like using starter plants in the container pots but I was only able to buy 5 pots when I went out on Friday. They were too expensive and the variety was just not there. Much of what was on offer was in baskets (lots of hanging baskets) and big tomato plants in buckets at a steep price.
I am not sure what I will find when I try to go out later this week. I do have some seeds but have basically run out of time to start the seeds. I bought them before the Covid 19 pandemic was announced and I just didn't have the get up and go to get started before now. In fact I don't really have the get up and go now or even all the tools and materials but I have to get rolling or just forget about it all for this year. Hopefully I can get everything planted soon. I think I'll be spending a lot of the summer sitting on the patio. It it will be a good place to have my coffee, read my Bible and listen (quietly) to music.
Today I made some turkey rice soup with dumplings. I used the leftover turkey chunks and turkey bones from the Easter dinner. I didn't try to pretty it up so you can see some tendon or sinewy chunks in the soup. I fish them out and throw them out after cooking. This is only the 2nd time I've made dumplings in the pressure cooker. The first time I added the dumplings at the beginning of the cooking process. That didn't work. The cooking time was too long and the dumplings fell apart. This time I added the the dumpling at the end on the soup settings but without putting it under pressure. The dumplings turned out well enough but next time they should be even better. I read that you should let the batter rest before putting them on the soup. It is supposed to give time to the baking powder to work and make the dough fluffier.
I made big dumplings. The photo shows the soup after 2 dumplings were removed.
I used this recipe for a guide and added some herbs.
The recipe doesn't use butter but I saw a variation of this recipe using butter.
Take care and have a wonderful week ahead.
Joining with Our World Tuesday today.