The Lockdown Year into the VAX Year:

It is hard to believe that I last wrote on this site almost one year ago. At that point we were a month post “lockdown” and adapting to a new normal. I guess we are still adjusting to a new normal as we navigate the COVID vaccine era. How effective are the vaccines? How long will vaccines protect us? Are there vaccination deserts in various communities, vaccine haves and have nots? Will we reach herd immunity — worldwide? And, what about those VAX deniers?

There are a number of vax clinics scheduled each week now, some in churches, others in government buildings, vacant stores, colleges, and private pharmacies. Yet to be universally organized are vaccines being injected in individual homes for those not able to get out or to drive.

Total lockdown was not a possibility for my home. Bob and I are aging so medical appointments, grocery shopping, and trips to the pharmacies were necessary. We could have ordered grocery delivery, but that was not appealing, and besides, I don’t want someone else selecting my fruit and veggies. Old fashioned, I guess.

Our “headphoned” granddaughter, a senior in high school, has been a virtual student since March of 2020 and will finish her senior year in front of her Mac in her room on the second floor.

Our daughter, a process manager for a financial institution, has also worked remotely since March 2020, splitting her time between here and her partner’s apartment when the drain on our bandwidth grew too great. Her employer’s large building in Enon has been closed and currently there are no concrete plans for most workers to report to a physical facility.

Bob has been hospitalized twice, in fact is in the hospital now. Last July I could not visit him in person due to the COVID restrictions. Now he is allowed one visitor a day. Facetime was the only real connection last year, now it is merely a supplement to our updates to each other.

We both completed our Pfizer shots in February and our daughter has had her first shot. Still awaiting our granddaughter’s access to a vaccine. She is now 18 and we are hopeful it is available to her before she begins college in the fall.

Day 5 of Staying Home –

So how is my schedule different?

  • Not jumping into the car three to five times a day
  • Scheduling all of the Zoom, Facetime, and FreeConference meetings
  • Beginning the day with a bubble bath
  • Finally joining Audible
  • Culling and reorganizing the pantry-about half way finished
  • Taking time to cook what needs to be cooked so food stuffs don’t spoil

So how is Virginia different?

Well yesterday (maybe, days are running together), Governor Northam closed the K-12 schools for the academic year. Today he closed nonessential businesses for 30 days. Restaurants can still do take out and delivery. In addition, restaurants that serve beer and wine may also allow them to be sold for takeout or delivery. ABC stores are shortening their hours so they can do more cleaning.

How is my schedule the same?

  • Walking our dogs down my road, separately
  • Reading newspapers first thing, both hard copy and digital
  • Writing announcements, articles, and updates for my volunteer organizations
  • Checking on my friends and neighbors over the phone or social media
  • Taking a brief nap at midday

How is Virginia the same?

Some neighbors are target practicing with what sounds like a big caliber, high velocity weapon. Don’t know which neighbors. Sounds carry a long way, but it is close. My County is one of those “Gun Sanctuary” counties. A designation with no legal significance, but yahoos enjoy disturbing the peace and quiet of the countryside.

And the soup?

I use root vegetables and squash if I have them, plus peppers and usually some onion, but I am short on onions so didn’t use any. I normally look at what is in the pantry or the refrigerator and use what needs to be used. In today’s batch, jalepenos, baby bell peppers, yellow squash, turnips, carrots, and small red potatoes. I love olive oil for the fat and I am liberal with Kosher salt, black pepper, and dried Italian seasoning. I love fresh thyme in this soup added after the pureeing of the veggies. Unfortunately, I have no fresh thyme. After cooking for 45 minutes to an hour at 375, I let the veggies cool a bit. Then I add them and about 6 cups of vegetable broth to a soup pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Oh, I do peel the peppers before throwing in the pot. After the simmer, I puree with an immersion blender. I like to add a sprinkle of cognac to my own bowl. My husband prefers a bit of heavy cream.

Veggies ready to go in the oven for roasted veg soup

food has been on my mind lately

A fallow garden

Last week I visited the first Prince George Farmers’ Market for the season.  It started earlier this year. It was too early for there to be many vegetables, but I did score a beautiful, compact cabbage and fresh red leaf lettuce. And, yes, a pendant handcrafted from melted marbles.  Craft jewelry makers and Farmers’ Markets are great partners.

In years past, I have been careful about buying too much veg at the Market because my neighbors Tommy and Wilma kept me and most my neighbors on our road well supplied with whatever was coming ripe in their large garden.  This year the garden is fallow.  Tommy passed away last year and with him the bounty from his garden.

A neighbor's gift
Tommy’s & Wilma’s Vegetables


It was Tommy’s garden, but it was Wilma who washed and carefully bagged whatever produce would be left, unannounced, at my side door. Working from home was challenged by the gifting of veggies. Wilma or Tommy’s presence on the side porch never failed to excite my yellow Lab and my black & white Aussie.  If fortunate, I was not on the phone with a client at such times. Now I am retired and rather long for the punctuation of excitement generated by the addition of fresh vegetables to my life.

We rarely fully appreciate the wonderful, enduring, or simply ubiquitous rituals in our lives … until they are gone.

Thank you, Tommy. Thank you, Wilma.