Coronavirus Dreaming

Our world changed dramatically after the terrorist attack on 9-11. I went through a period where my dreams were centered on the time before the attack, and I would wake up in the morning with the dream still swirling around in my mind, and then be snapped into reality after a second or two.

I don’t recall exactly when the new reality following 9-11 finally kicked in to my subconscious, but it eventually did. I didn’t fly very often but my husband was a frequent business flier so our family was probably more aware of the increased security procedures than most people were.

Since returning home from our winter in the Land of Sunshine, I have experienced a similar sensation. My dream life has been pre-COVID19 and waking up to the reality of self quarantine and government regulations have felt reminiscent of the days following 9-11. There is that moment, upon first awakening, when your subconscious is still spinning tales of your dreams, that all is back to normal and you plan your day’s activities. Then true reality sinks in and you remember that life is not as it was.

I think my subconscious has settled into the new normalcy. Last night I dreamed a quarantine dream; it was about everyday life, going on as usual, but we were all in quarantine. It was not a defining point in the dream, instead it was more like the wallpaper in a room – just a part of the background. We did normal life things that we have been doing the past two weeks while in self quarantine. It was not a scary dream, or a significant dream, or a Word from Heaven kind of dream. It was pretty garden variety as dreams go, but the one thing that I remember is that we were living our lives according to the new rules.

When I woke up this morning, my brain did not experience the “life has changed jet lag” that it has the past two weeks. My subconscious has accepted the fact that this, for the time being, is the new normal.

Despite the shifting sands of normalcy in this life,there is one constant that will never change. The Bible says that the Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change. He is the rock we can anchor our life upon and know that whatever happens in this life is just a flash in the pan of eternity.
God’s got this. We can trust Him despite of the circumstances around us.

Despite the circumstances, because Jesus Christ is my personal savior, I have a peace that transcends the uncertainties of this life. If you haven’t’ met Him, pick up a Bible during this time of self isolation and get to know Him. You will never regret it.

COVID19 – Quarantine Buns

My husband and I entered self-quarantine one week ago today, because we had left an area in Florida where there were growing numbers of community acquired cases of Corona virus. Our home is comfortable and we have food in the freezer so nobody is in a panic at our house.

Temperatures were in the unseasonable high eighties yesterday and the weather demanded summer-like food. My frozen burger patties were slated to be grilled when I realized I didn’t have any buns. Under normal circumstances this would have been resolved by a quick trip to the local grocery store, but we are in quarantine. Fortunately I have ingredients and decided to try my hand at making hamburger buns.

I googled several recipes for these buns, finally deciding on one where I could use my bread maker to do the kneading. I loaded the wet ingredients into the hopper, followed by the dry, topping it off with my yeast, turned the machine to a dough setting and left for a three mile bike ride. When I returned, I gently lifted the dough, rolled it into 1/2 inch thickness and cut uniform circles with a drinking glass.

These little rounds rested on a sprayed cookie sheet for an hour where they doubled in size before being baked for @15 minutes in a preheated oven. Once cooled, I broke them apart, sliced them in half, and enjoyed our burgers.

The buns have a slightly denser texture than the flimsy, low cost buns I usually buy. They taste more like fancy, artisan buns. I guess they are!

As we are all locked down, this is a great time to experiment and try new things. You may just discover something you love!

Watching COVID19 – Fleeing Florida

My husband and I spent the winter in Florida this year. We packed up our little 16 ft travel trailer and headed south shortly after Christmas. Virginia winters are chilly, sometimes there is even snow. We chose to escape winter for many reasons, one being the lure of summer-like temperatures.

First stop was a six week stay at a private campground in Florida City, the gateway to the Keys. Our Florida State Park pass gave us access to all of the State Parks in the Keys and we visited many of them, bicycling around the parks as well as the local communities. We soaked up sun, swam in the waters, and hung out enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather. At the private campground, we participated in many activities, made friends, and were very sad to leave when our time was done.

From there, we headed north for a two week stay at Jonathon Dickinson State Park by the Atlantic Ocean. Florida’s state parks are in high demand, despite their limit of two week stays. We were fortunate to get in at all, as reservations must be made 11 months ahead. We logged miles on our bicycles on the park’s many trails and enjoyed campfires and nature. Our time ended and we moved to a private resort in Ft. Myers for the final month of our trip.

By then, we were starting to see news stories about a killer virus in China. Then reports started targeting cases in Florida, all travel and cruise related. Florida takes the COVID19 virus very seriously and nightly news reports stated how many cases were identified, where they were contracted, where the people were recovering (hospital, nursing facility, or their homes) and how many cases were being monitored for development. We kept a social distance from folks we met and didn’t participate in any group activities. Florida’s first COVID19 death occurred in a local hospital.

Our daughter back in Virginia was very concerned, especially as the news reported more and more cases of COVID19 across many states. She wanted us home!

We, however, were enjoying the 85 degree sunshine and were reluctant to trade that for 50 degree drizzle in Virginia. Besides, our campsite was paid until the first of April, with no refunds. We figured we weren’t in any danger to just stay in place.

There were only a few cases of travel-related COVID19 in our area when my husband surprised me by asking me to write out a 4 week menu for the two of us using only shelf stable foods. I don’t usually cook with shelf stable food, and figured we could eventually use it for our hurricane supplies. I didn’t think we had any reason for concern. We then purchased this food and stored it in a big plastic bin in our van. His reasoning was that we might be quarantined in the campground for a month and this way we would be prepared. I keep a pantry at home, but certainly didn’t pack food for a 12 week trip in our little trailer. We tend to visit the grocery store every couple of days, picking up milk, bread, meat, and whatever else that is running low. The shelves were full, the store relatively empty, and we gathered our lengthy list with no problems.


One week ago today we were the lone mini golf players at the resort’s golf course, arguing with our daughter by phone, trying to convince her that we were fine as she was trying to convince us that we were not. We had plans to meet friends at a restaurant the following day, but that evening Florida announced its first community acquired case of COVID19 in our area.

We prayed for direction and peace. Odds are, this wasn’t a huge threat to us, and prepared to make the 45 minute drive to see our friends. As I was getting ready, not thinking about anything except applying make up and fixing my hair, the voice of God spoke to my spirit. Clearly, I heard, “It’s time. It’s time to go home.” and a peace flooded over me. I told my husband it was time to go home and he agreed that we would leave in the morning.

We headed out to meet our friends, and on the way I developed a raging sore throat. It was almost instantaneous. With only three miles to go, we cancelled, turned around, and headed back. My husband made one stop at a drug store to buy a numbing throat spray for me, and we quickly packed up our campsite and started the drive back at 2:30 pm.

On the road we learned that three more community acquired cases had been identified in our area. This is no longer a virus limited to those who caught it while traveling over seas; it is now real, it is a pandemic, and it is in our backyard!

Because we were coming from an active community acquired area, we began practicing self quarantine while on the trip home. Usually we stop and eat at restaurants, use the public facilities and take stretch breaks. This trip was different. We used the facilities in our trailer for bathroom and meals, avoiding people as much as possible. My husband used disposable gloves for pumping gas and copious amounts of hand cleaner.

We are home now, our trailer is unpacked and returned to storage, and we have settled in for a two week isolation. Every day on the news, we see stricter regulations from our government and watch more and more businesses close. Our daughter is working from home and her computer equipment is spread over our dining room table. My husband is working on the kitchen table, filing our taxes and watching the stock market tank. I am spending lots of time in my home office, reading the Bible, writing and praying.

Every day we see more and more reports of deaths from this virus, accelerating numbers of cases and growing restrictions. We were fortunate to arrive home before domestic travel bans are implemented for civilians and military families. We hear the ever expanding time lines of projections when this siege will end.

We join the rest of the world watching COVID19.

Farewell to “The Farm”

We always called my Grandparent’s house “The Farm.” Purchased in the early 1940’s, it was home to their six children and their home until they died. It was a beacon of love for the growing extended family and housed not only holiday celebrations, but an every Sunday family tradition during the school year when everyone gathered  for Sunday afternoon football, games of euchre, and heaping helpings of Grandma’s goulash, green beans, corn and homemade bread.

The house was already old when my Grandparent’s bought it. The stone basement walls, the tree-timber beams and hand made nails presumably were produced from the land itself. When my mother lived there as a child it was heated by a wood stove in the kitchen.  Water was hand pumped from a well in the backyard. There were no indoor toilet facilities and baths were taken in a galvanized laundry tub with water heated on the stove.  Modern plumbing didn’t happen until around 1948.  Heat was provided by a coal burning furnace during most of my childhood, only replaced with a modern furnace under Grandma’s extreme protest some 40 years later.

The 10 acre  plot of land ran all the way down to the river, and hosted a pine forest, planted by my Grandmother in hopes to sell Christmas trees. They quickly grew to a tall dense forest, but supplied fresh trees for most of the family every year.  All that remained of the original apple orchard was one surviving tree in the cow pasture when I was a kid; the rest destroyed by frequent lightening strikes. Several black walnut trees grew in the backyard, producing smelly green balls that turned your hands black. Grandpa used to gather them and strew them in the driveway, collecting the treasured nuts once the hulls broke down. Winter nights were spent digging the meat from the shells as he listened to the radio or watched television.

My earliest memories of “The Farm” included an old wooden barn, which blew down in one of Michigan’s violent windstorms. It was replaced by a neat cement cow barn, with one large box stall for Grandma’s pet cow, Josie. There was a pen for Petunia, the pig, next to the run where my Uncle’s hunting dog Judy lived. Freddy, the shaggy farm dog, lived in a doghouse under one of the walnut trees.  I grew up drinking fresh raw milk, straight from the cow, and strained through a cheesecloth and enjoying the best home-made dill pickles on the planet.

Grandma grew a huge vegetable garden and filled the land around the house with giant, brightly colored flower beds.  She cursed the weeds and worked the loamy black soil early every morning. Afternoons were usually spent canning,  using her produce to host  Sunday family meals.

“The Farm” and the people who lived there formed me.  Although they are long gone, their memories live on.  I still make Grandpa’s favorite cake, a yellow sheet cake frosted with vanilla icing and topped with shredded coconut.  One bite takes me back to visits in Grandma’s sunny kitchen, listening to the grown ups talk and playing with Grandma’s ever present kittens.  Gingerbread  Windmill cookies have the same effect.

Grandma carried most of her recipes in her head and shared her knowledge as special gifts.  I treasure her baked beans, mushroom and cabbage, and potato salad recipes.  One bite is all it takes to erase the years.  Like her, I am an avid home canner and love to cook from scratch, just as Grandma did.  And, I love having a cat.

Grandpa died in 1972,  and Grandma in 1995.  After Grandma’s death, the farm was sold to people who built a large new home back toward the river and the original farm house was abandoned by the new owners.G. Small homestead 2 Continue reading