Help! Let Me Out… Keeping Sane in the Time of Covid-19

Peggy and I have found a number of ways to maintain our sanity and sense of humor in this time of Coronavirus. I will share a few today. We laugh a lot. If that doesn’t work, there is always wine!

Help, let me out!

Number 1: Catching ground squirrels. In the world of dastardly rodents, few are more dastard than the ground squirrels. We have a catch and release program. Of course these criminally inclined rodents steal birdseed, but that isn’t what gets them banned. They can chomp though a garden faster than Superman can leap a tall building. And even worse, they see nothing wrong with climbing up in our vehicles and chewing on wires! “Some fun,” they think.

Plus they have an attitude. I spotted this fellow a couple of years ago sitting on our deck banister munching sunflower seeds. When I politely asked him if he had been over at the bird feeder, he gave me the paw.
And they lie. “I have never stolen your sun flower seeds,” this one claimed. “I am the greatest ground squirrel alive. The tree squirrels did it!” I pointed out to him that he had at least 40 seeds stuffed into his cheeks. “That’s not true,” he proclaimed. “Fake news!”
Jail break! We turn the squirrels loose in the forest across the river where there are no sun flower seeds, no gardens and no engine wires to chew on. Squirrels have to make a living the old fashioned way— eating grass. BTW: You would not want to go up against this guy in the five yard dash. “Free at last!” I heard him exclaim as he disappeared into the blackberries. I wished him good luck in his new life.
Squirrely advice to their Chief. Courtesy of my T-shirt. Note the cheeks. (Grin)

Number 2: Learning about nature. We took you on a nature walk in our last post, so there is no need to dwell on it here. I did want to share one more thing, however: How to spot deer beds. I’m pretty sure it is a critical skill.

This is what a deer bed looks like in the woods. Not much, you say. They scratch out a hole for themselves by moving dirt around with their hooves. It takes a minute or so. Once you learn to spot them, they are fairly obvious. Even more obvious…
Here’s what a deer bed looks like at our house. BTW, I’m not sure you can get more pregnant that Floppy. She has been restless the past two days. I suspect she will have her fawn within the next week. The bed has been in constant use since we moved here ten years ago.
Buckus leapus, who shows promise of being at least a three-pointer, made his own bed. When I suggested that he not rearrange our rocks, he gave me the look, but proceeded to lie down. And aren’t those legs gorgeous! “Great for jumping over the barriers you put up to keep me out of the garden,” he muttered to himself.

Number 3: Working puzzles. While lots of businesses have suffered during this pandemic, I can pretty well guarantee it hasn’t been the puzzle industry. It there is one item hotter than toilet paper, it’s puzzles. Peggy is the addict in our family. I’ll put in a piece on occasion, but mainly to show support. She sits down and there isn’t a peep for an hour. If she disappears, the first place I look is the puzzle table.

Peggy lost to the world. Our dining room table was drafted into service for the duration. The puzzle in front is a colored marble seduko that our friends Tom and Lita sent us. I play this one but Peggy is a whiz. She finishes a square and five minutes later calls out, “Done!” Tom suggested we compete. Ha!
She has completed a lot of puzzles, each one with its different challenges. With this one, it was the head of the rooster.
She did this puzzle to honor our canceled trip to Europe this summer.
Of all the puzzles, this was by far the toughest. I heard lots of complaints coming from the puzzle room. Peggy even threatened the puzzle by telling it she was going to tear it apart and put it back in the puzzle box.
But, with a little help from a friend, she finished it! And then, of course, she needed a glass to celebrate.

Number 4: Watching flowers grow. Our flowers are deliriously happy. Normally, they just get started and off we go on another adventure. They would turn us into the SPCP, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants— if we gave them access to a phone. Not this year. I’ve put in 10 new trellises and moved at least 11.32 tons of dirt and rock— as least it seems like it. I’m the muscle in this operation. Peggy is the gardener. She is out every day futzing with her babies: planting them, talking to them, and watering them. We both work at trying to keep Buckus leapus out.

Peggy standing on top of our Gabion Cage deer barrier giving plants an extra shot of water.
Remember when I posted about sitting in the sunroom and watching sunflower plants grow while I was writing…
Here’s what they look like now. Happy plants! The barriers on barriers are to keep the ground squirrels and the birds out.
Lots and lots of happy plants. This is the first of the lavender. Soon it will be blooming all around our house with thousands of bees and butterflies to keep it company.
And of course our pioneer rose which now has more flowers than I can count.
I’ve been learning more about this rose since my last post. It is deeply connected to our local history and worth a post on its own. And it is rooted in the history of the west. Another name it goes by is the Yellow Rose of Texas!

The four activities listed above are only the beginning of how we have maintained our sanity and sense of humor during the age of coronavirus. Here are a few other things we do while ‘sheltering at home.’

Peggy makes masks. Lots of them— enough to outfit us, our kids and grandkids, and her brother, sister and spouses.
And quilts. Our son Tony sent us some of his favorite T-shirts for Peggy to turn into a quilt. She is making another one for our son-in-law Clay that features tractors and barns.
I blog. Sometimes it feels like a full time job! Those are my crocks peaking over the top of the screen.
Peggy bakes oatmeal-cranberry cookies. Healthy, right! My job is to test them right after they come out of the oven. I know… it’s hard work but somebody has to do it.
And I make sure the freezer is full. This is a pork roast I cut in two. I turned the first half into a rather tasty lima bean soup. The other half is waiting for me to turn it into pulled pork.
Peggy is kept busy sending and receiving Marco Polos from our kids and grandkids.
Both Peggy and I are avid readers. This is what I am working through in non-fiction. I always try to include science, history, current events, something for the soul, and a book on writing. My fiction is sci-fi and fantasy. I am totally about escapism! Especially now. Peggy loves mysteries.
It feels like a thousand years ago when Peggy and I were at Crater Lake, our last adventure out. And yet, it was only March 20th. Like all of you, we are eager to hit the road again. But we will wait until it is relatively safe. To do otherwise will endanger our lives and those of others. Stay healthy, and stay sane.
The Last Word. This ground squirrel was about to escape into the forest. But before he did, he stopped, looked up me, and growled, “Come just a little closer so I can bite you.'”