Disability Adaptations Food Preservation Life in General

What a Weird Day

The world has shut down and its snowing (a slight bit) in mid-March. Strange. I’ve been sick (no, I do not think I’m THAT kind of sick. I think I just have a cold with fatigue and a headache…no fever, no cough) so because many of my friends are people with suppressed immunity or other health issues and I am a person with other health issues, I have pretty much sequestered myself to home.

A conversation with my kids:

Me: I’ve never seen anything like this before (the response of the world to self-quarantine during the COVID 19 crisis.)

Aaron: Even during the Spanish Flu Pandemic?

Me: How old do you think I am????

My kids have always been homeschooled, so we already know how to schedule ourselves and be disciplined about self-learning. In some ways, things won’t be that much different. But the outside classes they have gone to have been canceled, Boys and Girls Club is closed, and my one son did choose to attend an alternative high school program this year (where they largely sort of set their own agenda) and he is now home for the next 2.5 weeks at least. For me, it means that I will have kids 24 hours a day. I usually had kids in the mornings, but in the afternoons and on Wednesdays all day except lunch time, I had no kids. It was the time when I worked on work and other things. So, for me, its 24 hour kids. But we will still continue to do school in the mornings as always, and they will have to entertain themselves in the afternoon.

I’ve had to be a little creative about getting groceries, since–ahem–all the healthy people with cars have gone out and hoarded everything in the stores and not left much for those who have more difficulty getting groceries like–ahem–the disabled, sick and financially vulnerable. But I think we will be ok. We usually shop once a week via Shipt delivery service, but drivers are hard to come by now and even then, there is not a lot at any single store you can send them to. So, I am trying to diversify my shopping. Nik walked up with the wheel cart to New Seasons (expensive, posh store) and got some things last night. We will do a Safeway delivery in a few days (more expensive, but possibly more reliable.) I am not sure what amount of groceries they will end up delivering. We also put in a Schwan’s order, but that won’t come for two weeks, and I got some non-perishable dry goods from Public Goods, which will probably be delivered in a week. We won’t starve, but damn if I didn’t use all my money doing that. It was not in the budget!! (I do Dave Ramsey $0 budget.) I’ve even got an order in for toilet paper, but it won’t come until April, so we shall improvise until then. (We have enough that we MAY squeak by before having to resort to leaves and grass!)

I’m hoping that people will calm down in a week or two about this. They are making it hard for those who struggle to get groceries in the first place, which are a lot of the same people who are the most vulnerable for getting sick, too. But all my YouTube homesteading “friends” are sitting pretty. Jessica of Roots and Refuge talked about it a bit here. It really makes a lot of sense to have a surplus of food standing by like they do. So with gardening, comes canning/preserving. And I watched Jessica’s canning videos. Canning is a bit of a challenge when you are blind because you have to be so careful to not touch the things that have been sterilized. But I had to learn adaptations for sterile procedure as a home health care worker, and I have not killed or infected anyone yet, so I do think with a few extra tools there are adaptations for this. I am just learning, and on Youtube, I can’t entirely see and understand the tools she is talking about, so I would need to go to a store and feel them and do a few practice batches to get the hang of it, but I’m sure it can be done. If you are blind and you have canned at all, let me know your hacks.

Of course, my future canning aspirations ain’t helping me now! But we will get through with a hodgepodge of delivery and hoofing it solutions, I am sure.

I was looking forward to the community garden orientation meeting, but it was canceled and now they are going to send us emails with the info. I am usually all for emails instead of meetings. Meetings can be really hard for me to communicate and get what is going on, but in this case, I was hoping to build some community. Now it is too cold again to garden for a bit, and people are isolating themselves even though we are allowed to go to the gardens, so I guess I’m on my own to build community.

I was able to get the soil in my backyard bed, then just put some cardboard on top and I got a couple of bags of mulch I will put on later as well. One issue I am having that I was unprepared for was that my orthostatic hypotension is wreaking havoc on my gardener life. This is when you have a severe drop in blood pressure when changing positions. I squat down to do garden-y things and then I about pass out when I get up. I get exhausted after about 10 minutes of this. So, I had just six bags of soil to put in the bed, and I kept having to go sit on the big boulder next to the bed to recover. So I would do a two minute thing, recover for 5, do a two minute thing, recover for 5, then be about ready to collapse after 30 minutes and have to stop.

It doesn’t surprise me that problems with my kidneys and health are turning out to be a much bigger deal for me in this project than Deafblindness. That is the way it ALWAYS is. People think deaf blindness is such a big deal, but there are always work arounds there and it doesn’t discourage me at all. Not being able to physically get things done and feeling crappy is a much bigger obstacle. So, this is why I only made 1 of the 3 raised beds, and also why .09 acres is probably plenty for me at this time. This will be slow going.

But I got this little wagon/stool/kneely pad thing which I think will help somewhat. It’s an old lady stool for sure, but I think it will help a lot.

This is a little green plastic stool with wheels. The stool part can come off and it can be sat on or turned over and kneeled on (it has a foam pad on the underside). It also can tote tools around in a little wagon so you don’t have to get up and fetch them so much.

Someone also gave me this–I don’t know what to call it–garden stencil thing. It is a 1′ square piece of plastic that has several holes in it. The holes are lined up to sow 1, 2, 4, 9, or 16 plantings per foot. it also includes this little poky thing with tactile notches on it that let you measure how deep to plant seeds, and it comes with a funnel where you can pour the seed down the funnel into the hole. I don’t think this is entirely necessary for blind people for planting (or anyone else for that matter) but it was given to me so I will give it a try and it might come in handy to help keep track of what I planted. So that was a neat thing to get.

This shows the little green plastic garden stencil with its little hole poker on the side. I think the funnel is on the underside.

I am going to plant some starter things this weekend as well. But I have been a little sick and my dirt is currently outside under a very light sprinkling of snow, so I think that may be reason to go take a nap today and try again tomorrow. It sounds like time will be on my side for the next few weeks.

Keep healthy out there and be well!


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