THROUGH THE WOODS: As we shelter in place

THIS CERTAINLY HAS BEEN A TUMULTUOUS week adjusting to changes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. I am of an age that places me in the higher risk category. Fortunately, I don’t smoke and have a good heart and lungs, which may help offset the advance of age. My siblings are in the same boat, so we all have agreed to stay home and visit by email and telephone. This includes all friends and family.

None of us older folks have used Skype and we agreed we really don’t have to look at each other or need to figure out how to use it. Having grown up in the country on a local dairy farm, I always revert to our get-ready-for-winter plan. I already have a 3-month stockpile of toilet paper and paper towels. Lots of canned goods, flour, sugar and dry goods, Staron Farm potatoes, and Love Apple Farm apples. Tierra Farm near Chatham sells wonderful coffee, nuts, dried fruit, and a definite necessity for me, chocolate. Chatham Real Food Store, Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, The Berry Farm, and Kinderhook Farm along with many others have valuable offerings.

Farmers Markets and restaurants may be closed, but things can be purchased at the farms, and restaurants have takeout and deliveries. We live in an area of abundant resources of almost any food from meat to cheese to fruit. How lucky we are to also have volunteers for meal deliveries and organizations and government to check on us.

I discovered that Price Chopper in Chatham has Instacart home delivery service. While I was recovering from a broken leg, I signed up for it last year and am very happy to continue to use it. The thoughtful shoppers even give me an option to leave groceries on the porch to limit exposure and are now wearing gloves. Price Chopper has plenty of food and supplies for my cat, even if they were low or out of meat and toilet paper. As the Instacart delivery man struggled up the steps carrying three large bags of kitty litter he said at least the cat doesn’t have to worry!

A friend called later that day and we got laughing about the toilet paper crisis. People must think back to earlier years. Most of us seniors have taken care of cloth diapers, we have wash cloths and washing machines. We really have alternatives to the disposables we take for granted. I am now using more kitchen towels. There is a drawer full of cloth napkins. As we hope for an easy and rapid end to this modern plague, I see people thinking and maybe we will come out of this a much wiser and a less consuming society.

Eastern bluebird. Photo by Nancy Jane Kern

We can do so much more near home and to the benefit of local businesses and communities. I feel so sorry for those in the large cities without these choices. I turned off the TV, went out on the porch and listened to the birds. Spring is here and nature is in a happy time right now. There is nothing more I can do to help except find a quiet place and stay well. The bluebirds are beautiful.

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