Last Monday evening, Fanni and I were notified of our exposure to a suspected coronavirus carrier. After some serious deliberation, we made the decision to self-quarantine ourselves to the best of our abilities, until the gentleman’s test results were in or the 14-day incubation period expired. I sent an email to the rest of the farm team, informing them of the situation and our decision; basically that we would be avoiding the greenhouse, and all other contact, to the greatest extent possible.
Thus began a good stretch of long, simple days. With the exception of my intermittent trips to the farm to cut barbed wire, we have been hanging out at home as a family. Ella Bella bumbles and stumbles through the kitchen, shrieking at the top of her lungs, whining at our occasional lapses of attention, or gently babbling as she takes her daily gander through all the house’s lower cabinets, and multiple meandering trips up the stairs. I sit cross-legged in her room as she pulls all the books off the shelf, one-by-one. I return the books to the shelf and she does it again. She reaches into my popcorn bowl, examines a tiny handful of the mysterious substance, makes a move towards her mouth and drops it all along the way. We eat; I sweep. She snoozes on my lap; I read, or meditate. We sit on the potty and make raaaahhhh noises back and forth at each other. Her mother laughs along as she does some computer work, or brews us some wonderful tea, with fresh maple sap as the medium.
We get out and take a walk, or explore the backyard; trying to accomplish a project or two while Ella entertains herself. Heavy and unsteady in her first boots and winter clothes, she falls; protests the cold of the ground on her hands, cries, struggles to stand up, and goes into all-out devastation mode. I clean up our yard tools while Fanni pushes her on the swing, or carts her happily about on her hip.
Absent any trips to the Coop, or anywhere else, we make due with the plethora of frozen veggies and meats we’ve got left from last year’s farm season, and the bulk of dried rice and beans our resourceful roommate has gathered from various dumpsters over the past 8 months. Plus, with our recent advent into the use of reusable wipes, napkins and toilet paper, there’s virtually no reason to panic. If a great shutdown occurred, the first frontier of inconvenience at our household would likely be soap, and we could probably make due with a baking soda concoction for the time being. In fact, the absence of our regular convenience snacks has led to more baking, popcorn making, and a general reminder that there’s not a lot we need that is not already here.
Which is a blessing. With time has been reflection, and I cannot but acknowledge how lucky we are for the lifestyle we’ve cultivated. Having pulled our money from the stock market last year to invest in home solar panels, my mind does not have to follow the Dow’s plummet into madness. Having transitioned to nearly all local, self-or-neighbor produced foods, I don’t have to rush madly to the store to stock up on internationally sourced fare to carry me through for the near to distant future. I don’t have to worry about supply chains drying up for the essentials of life, as our personal economy has greatly localized, and our ability to cook, and produce essentials like wipes, soaps, maple syrup and mended clothes, has expanded greatly. Sure, we’re quite cash-poor, but at least we understand what we need and how to get it; largely free from the hysteria of global marketplaces. These are the things I’ve been thinking about as we’ve been couped up in the house for the past week.
And in the meantime, I’m learning how to speak toddler. I understand that I can generally wrestle at least a smile from our little monster if I put the right enthusiasm and intonation into my loose-lipped BBrBBrBBrBBrBBrBBrBBr. Also, if I do a couple soft Raaaaahhhh’s from deep in my throat, generally she’ll join in and we can sync up our timing, which sounds pretty cool. If Fanni and I do a couple NumNum?’s while we eat, she can generally respond in a similar fashion through messy bites of beans, carrots, bacon, or whatever else we happen to be working our way through. As I work on finish this post, however, she grabs my full glass of maple sap and tips it all over the coffee table, shrieking with pleasure. On to more important things.