As the gardening work has stalled during this extended cold snap, I’ve found myself being more contemplative, with wandering thoughts. I’ve given up listening to the news for a while. I’m not sure anyone really knows what is best, but I truly believe those making decisions are all trying their hardest to steer us to safety. I hope someone is taking good notes, so the scramble for preparations will not be repeated in the future, but I suspect after a time lapse, much will return to “normal,” and that is not necessarily a good thing. I wonder if today’s children will carry this in their psyche, as we children of the early Cold War recall cowering in school hallways with hands flattened against our heads. I think back to it, and wonder, “Is that the best protection adults could give us? Really?”
Changing subjects. Most long-time readers know that I am passionate about the useful plants, the herbs that have provided so much enhancement to our world since early times. I view them as easy-pick vitamins, jam-packed flavorings, satisfying teas, beneficial preventatives, gentle medicinals, fragrant reminders, pest repellents, beautiful companions, and much, much more. They are a constant reminder that we are (or should be) connected to our past (“our” being the collective “mankind” across the globe and its history.)
I think of those panic-striken people who at the beginning of this crisis bought 20 lb. or 50 lb. bags of rice or dried beans with their limited dollars, and how that very bland diet (if indeed they are actually cooking the rice and soaking the beans) could be greatly enhanced by a few well-chosen herbs.
I think of the quarts of elderberry syrup languishing in my pantry, and that it would be a very good idea if I started taking a tablespoon morning and evening to improve my immunity.
I think of the anxious folks who can not find wipes or hand sanitizer, as I make a tea of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-VIRAL thyme to use as a hand rinse and to wipe down counters.
Herbs are so easy to grow, and provide so much. Already, even though spring has barely begun here there are chives, garlic chives, lemon balm, oregano, feverfew, a variety of mints, lovage, various thymes, savory, salad burnet, anise hyssop, hyssop, parsley, sage and more ready for use. The dill and cilantro seedlings have just pushed through the soil. Chamomile volunteers have sprinkled themselves through many beds. All of them can make what might be a monotonous menu a welcomed adventure in flavor. And I haven’t had to plant a single seed for any of them indoors this year. Perennial herbs are such a gift.
There are so many newcomers to gardening, feeling the strong desire/need to grow some of their own food. They are planting pole beans and pumpkin seed in egg cartons, carrots in shallow pie pans…in MARCH (which may be okay if one lives in Florida, but not here in the Midwest or New England!) Some will learn from their mistakes, some will throw up their hands in despair. I wish I could mentor them all.
I hear that real estate searches on-line have increased nearly 500% in the last few weeks. Are city-dwellers seeking safety in a more rural setting, especially now that they know much of their work can be done on-line? Will yet more agricultural land be gobbled up for rural housing?
It’s interesting that in our little nearby town we once had a small Community Garden behind a church. Our little garden club maintained a plot and tried to donate the food to the local pantry. After a while, the pantry asked us to stop bringing it because no one wanted “fresh” food, only microwavable, pre-packaged items. Now I’m seeing complaints on the local “Happenings” site that there are no Community Gardens. The wheel turns….
Hatcheries are running out of chicks. Will there be little coops in condos all over the country? Maybe hens in small dog cages or cat carriers? And what happens when those cute little fuzz balls become adults? Will the UPS delivery bring 50 lb. bags of feed? Do people realize how long it takes to actually get an egg? Have they done any research, or was it just an impulsive “how hard can it be?” purchase?
We’ve known for some time that manufacturing has moved out of the U. S., but now we know that most of our prescription drugs are manufactured overseas, as well as face masks, ventilators, and many other essentials. I hope we can at least fix some of that, and it appears movements are already being made.
I suspect there will be a run on canning supplies soon. I’ve seen so many new blogs not only on gardening, but from folks who are planning to preserve as well. It was interesting as we watched the British express their fears of a food shortage due to Brexit, and now the same is happening in many other places. Fear makes people learn new skills.
I bet there will be a new appreciation for teachers and day-care workers, as parents now have their children full-time. There are so very many un-sung heros working behind the scenes. People whose work and dedication has been taken for granted. I hope after this is over (if it is ever really over!) those people are continued to be viewed as vital and are never ignored again…truckers, railroad crews, shelf-stockers, cleaning staff, mail deliverers, warehouse employees, cashiers, and many more.
I wonder if people will view their “home” differently. Has it become a place of safety, or a cage? When “liberty” arrives, will they flee? Will they make preparations to improve their situation before “the second wave?”
I wonder in the future, what we will view as “IMPORTANT” to life. Freedom. Being able to venture outdoors. Will there be a revival of people visiting parks? Will outdoor spaces be more appreciated? Will America begin an allotment program or support community gardens? Will people cherish time with their friends more? What things did we take for granted that we now miss most? Will libraries, museums, concert halls and such find more patrons? What things will our government choose to fund? What things will you support, or avoid? What things will no longer be “worth your time?”
In these quiet times, my mind wanders…and I wonder….