Day 8: We Cautiously Venture Out

Pickup truck on an otherwise empty back road
Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash

We left the house again today, but we stayed as far away from people as possible.

Our first stop was a plant sale.  My wife, the gardener, usually attends a plant sale run by a well-known local organization that sells plants that are well-suited for our climate, zone, and and altitude.  Because of the coronavirus, the plant sale was cancelled by the venue where it is normally held, but the non-profit still had all the plants, so they offered them to their customer list via a big email list.

My wife picked out the plants she wanted and emailed them a list.  They gave her a time and place to pick them up.  We drove there, check in hand.  A woman stood at the end of her driveway, well behind a table filled with plants.  She took my wife’s name and then pointed to the plants set aside for her.  My wife slipped her check into the box they had for payments and grabbed her plants.  There were a few moments of chit chat from about 10 feet apart, but then a car pulled up behind me and, assuming it was the next customer, we left once the plants were carefully positioned in the back seat.

Next, we went by the CVS and picked up my prescription via the drive-up window. The guy working the window was wearing gloves but I didn’t see anyone in there with a mask.   I used my own pen to sign the receipt.  I now have 110 days’ worth of my hypertension medication.  Hopefully, that’s enough to outlast this virus.

While we were waiting at the drive through, The Georgia Satellites’ song with the refrain “Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself” came on the radio.  We cranked up the volume, sang along, and car-danced with our hands and heads to what we felt should be the theme song for this pandemic.

I decided to fill the gas tank on the truck since it was below half, and we found gas for $1.65.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I remember the first time it took more than $50 to fill my gas tank, but I have no idea when I last paid $1.65 for a gallon of regular unleaded.  I’m sure it was before the year 2000.  I put on a pair of work gloves I keep in my truck and pumped gas, paying at the pump. 

Finally, we went to the post office.  My wife ran inside and hit our P.O. Box.  She carefully slid the mail into a bag we brought along and we plan to leave the mail in there for a few days to let it decontaminate.  There was quite a bit since we hadn’t been for more than a week, but there’s no rush.  We get the important bills online.

After each stop, we scrubbed with hand sanitizer and then we both washed our hands as soon as we got back the house.

My wife was happy to be out of the house and is in good spirits.  She was feeling much better even before we left, but just this small outing helped.  She has more energy now and made a great dinner.

Layoff Averted

My daughter’s fiancé thought he had worked his last day on Friday because the governor of the state where they live shut down all the non-essential businesses.  Then they learned that because the factory supplies both the food and beverage industry with packaging, it was allowed to stay open.  They were understandably pleased to hear this since they would struggle mightily to live on just one paycheck.  I’m sure his bosses were relieved too because they have a lot of capital tied up in that business and to have it sit idle costs the company money.  Now he just has to stay healthy.

Just a day or two ago, I sent my daughter one of my favorite videos on how to make bannock (see below).  She has already made it and is planning on tortillas next.  I told her to consider pita bread and naan as well.  If you aren’t familiar with these flatbreads, spend some time on YouTube or with your favorite cookbook or recipe website.  It may be good to know how to quickly make flatbread if things go to hell.

We Tap into our Long Term Survival Food

Speaking of food, we’ve decided that we are going to tap into our long-term survival stash to stretch our fresh and frozen food for as long as possible.  This will also allow us to rotate out and replace some of our #10 cans.  We’re thinking of opening the following #10 cans:

  • ABC Soup Mix
  • Grits
  • Dried beans, exact kind TBD
  • Rice pilaf with lentils

We have plenty of rice, so no need to tap into the plain white rice yet.

Before too long, we’ll open a super pail of hard red winter wheat.  We have both an electric grain mill and a hand-cranked Country Living grain Mill.  Since we still have electricity, you can be sure we’ll be using the electric because cranking that manual mill is the kind of work that gives you forearms like Popeye.  Either way, I expect we’ll be baking some fresh whole-grain bread in the months ahead.

I enjoyed this article, Taking stock of strange days: The week that changed America, by Ted Anthony with the Associated Press