Author Archives: tumbleweedstumbling

About tumbleweedstumbling

I have three blogs, embryogenesis explained, tumbleweed tumbling AND fulltimetumbleweed. I am a retired scientist, and my husband and I have written a book which was published by World Scientific Publishing in Nov 2016 called Embryogensis Explained. Full time tumbleweed was my first blog which I worked on during five years of living full time in a travel trailer. I have now retired that blog in favour of Tumbleweeds Tumbling since we bought a stick house in April 2015 and are no longer full-time. I have a blended family of five sons and one daughter, all grown up now. I am (step)grandmother to nine boys and one girl. My husband and I have a dog and a cat. We live in Manitoba, Canada, in a 480 square foot house on a half acre of land in the tiny town of Alonsa.

Vegetable Garden Update

In Manitoba we don’t go from winter to spring to summer. We go from winter to summer with hardly even a few days to catch our breath in between. After the frost last Friday night, summer came roaring in with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s. (80s for my American readers.) I took full advantage of this abrupt warming to get my garden in. Maybe I should say my gardens, plural, because I have more than one. I have a tradition dirt patch in one corner of my yard. That is where I started gardening when we moved here some years ago. At the time I moved in, it had almost gone back to grass. A neighbour with a huge tractor came in and worked it up and I’ve been battling the grass ever since. I use this patch for larger crops usually potatoes and corn. Last year we had a cob with a corn borer in it so this year I went for potatoes, onions, cucumbers and a row of mixed carrots lettuce and radishes.

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I then have two small gardens with cedar board edging. One contains my strawberry plants. For some reason this winter was really hard on them and very few survived. I am at a loss because the winter was not that cold. it might be the way winter came so fast, before the leaves fell off the trees and the plants were caught off guard. I dug up the plants that survived, cleaned out all the grass, put in fresh soil and fertilizer, and replanted the strawberries. I am hoping they will send out runners and refill the space but I will be very surprised if I get any strawberries this year. I am also considering making these beds into raised beds to try to keep the grass out.

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I have an herb box with perennial herbs and oddments. I also started taking seed from my asparagus plant and planting in the box and wonder of wonder, two baby asparagus have started. In intend to keep this up and if we get enough I can devote the entire box to asparagus. Asparagus has no trouble competing with our prairie grasses. It acts like a native and rapidly takes over. I also had a lovely perennial oregano which was, like he strawberries, decimated this winter. I thought it was gone entirely but a small bit is coming up in one corner. I cleaned out the grass and filled the rest of the space with onions, celery, and parsley. The shortages we had due to the COVID-19 have thoroughly spooked me and I am worried about the predicted second wave. I planted more and I planted that which I use. Celery and parsley are staples in many of my soups and stews and both freeze and dry beautifully for winter use. The dandelions are really thick this time of year but I always let them go to seed in the lawn because the American gold finches love the seed and hubby dearest loves the bright cheerful yellow color of both the birds and the dandelions. In a few weeks they will vanish into the green grass.

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I also have two large cedar enclosed gardens in a particularly sunny spot. One, against the garage, is for my tomatoes and one is mixed peppers and seed vegetables. I had a large amount of garlic I had started from seed three years ago in my herb bed. It grew up but was getting really crowded so this year I broke up all the tiny garlic plants and spaced them out. With luck I can use these some of the garlic plants for pickles. The rest will keep over winter in the garden. The balance of the mixed garden is the usual lettuce varieties, spinach, beans, radishes, carrots and beets. It’s not a lot of them but then with just two of us, we don’t need a lot. If I get any excess I can always freeze or can it.

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Because of the corn borers I had last year I am planting my corn over in one of the community raised garden boxes. These were put in with a community grant for seniors some years ago and they are all used. I said I would take a box only if no one else wanted it and fortunately for my corn, one box was free. Having battled corn borers in the past I know a one year break from corn should mean next year it is safe to plant corn again.

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Finally I have my containers. I grow several things in containers, especially my zucchini squash. I already have some tiny squash! Last year I also purchased six marigold plants and stuck them in odd spots and they did seem to work keeping bugs away. Even if they didn’t, they were so cheerful and bright looking. This year I started five dozen marigolds from seed indoors and I have popped them anywhere there was space.

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This year I added extra tomato, pepper and peas and I did a little experiment with a container having a mix of peas, lettuce, carrots, radishes, beets, spinach and a few onions. The idea was to get a jump on the homegrown veggies by starting some indoors. I’ve already pulled all the onions. Yesterday I harvested enough spinach and a few radishes for a nice snack. As the radishes get pulled there will be more room for the carrots and beets. I can eat beet greens with the spinach. So far it has been worth the fuss and it’s felt fun doing it.

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A few years ago I had a container garden and planted a single potato in one container. I didn’t think anything came of it until I dumped the soil and discovered, to my astonishment that the container was packed full of potatoes. So I trying that again. I am also doing two containers of peas, one a regular variety and one edible pod snow peas. I’ve never had good luck with peas. I’ve never harvested enough for a meal. So I feel I have nothing to lose trying a container dedicated to peas. I have one just for a mix of green and yellow bush beans. I also made some extra containers of peppers and tomatoes. I have a container of cucumbers I am hoping will give enough to eat. We’ve had two very cool springs and very late frosts so I am chary about what fall will bring. Last year, winter came in with a harsh blast very fast and very early. I am hoping that if winter comes in early, or even earlier, this year I can at least move some pots into a safe place and get a little more of my own veggies.

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So far the year has begun well if a little cold and late. Last year was cold and exceptionally dry and my garden was poorly at best. Gardeners are eternal optimists. Maybe this year will be better and maybe by having a variety of gardens, I will also have of my own veggies for a longer stretch of time.

Frost!

When you live up near the 51st parallel as we do, frost in late spring is a constant threat. Here it is May 29 and my tomatoes plants spent the night sitting in their pots because I knew this might happen. Container gardening is much more popular in this region for that reason. Now one might think that our short season means no time for vegetable growing and for some crops that is the case. It is a rare thing to get a full sized watermelon up here. However our days are long enough here that the plants grow at a tremendous rate, My pepper plants are already making peppers and my tomatoes will be transplanted into the garden already blooming. The frost issue is a constant fear though. Last year we had a frost that killed off the tops of my zucchini plants and took several of my tomatoes and cucumbers. This year I have been far more diligent about repotting into larger pots instead of putting things in the garden and keeping things longer in my popup tent greenhouse. Yesterday, after two weeks of lovely frost free summery weather, I moved everything back under cover. I am running out of room and some of the tomatoes plants are getting tall and spindly. We typically get weather that comes in three day rounds. We have a forecast for risk of frost tonight to be followed by hot summer weather in the 30C range (86F) so the plan is tomorrow all the bedding plants get planted. They will love it, growing freely in the garden with heat and sunshine.

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The other awful thing about these late frosts is it makes getting fruit problematic at best. A bad frost on the wrong day means that particular fruit tree will not produce any fruit at all. My husband was very disappointed because last year’s late frost happen just when the apple blossoms were in their full glory and we did not get even one single apple. Every tree in town was similarly affected. The strip along the Railway Ave (so named where there used to be a railway there sixty years ago) there is a strip of apple trees planted which are available to anyone who wants the fruit they produce. My husband took great pleasure in making fresh apple juice from them. Last year there was no apple juice. However the saskatoon bushes were not yet blooming and so they produced abundantly. The previous year the last late frost came later and hit the saskatoon bushes and so we had no saskatoons that year.

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Now that we have stopped our nomadic life and there is no sign we will start it up again, we are looking at our lovely little home for things that will make life easier and better. I have decided to make myself a proper greenhouse. We were going to buy a professional one but the $4000 price tag for the simplest model that can withstand our prairie wind and snow loads ruled that idea out. I have been consulting Pininterest and youtube for ideas and I now have a plan. I think I should be able to make myself a nice greenhouse for under $800. We shall see.

You may recall I was in a state of fearful despair after a bad diagnosis last September. I planted daffodils and crocuses in response. Not one crocus made it but we enjoyed a glorious and lovely brief blast of daffodils that gave us both great joy. Daffodils can take a late unexpected frost and come out unscathed.

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Update on FitMi for Stroke Recovery

It has been two weeks now since we got the FitMi and Music Glove. I thought folks might be interested in where we are at with it. Hubby dearest has been faithfully using it every day. All exercises are done while sitting down. He does ten minutes of each. There are four sets in total, Core, Leg, Arm, Hand. He always picks the three that have the lowest score so that way he gets 3 ten minute sessions but he gets through all four sets of exercises over two days. The four workouts started with only three exercises. He could not access the other seven until he had reached a certain level on the first three. After he passed a certain level a new exercise was “unlocked” and added to the routine. Each unlocked exercise was of increasing complexity and difficulty. Each of the ten exercises for each region also has ten levels. So that is 40 different exercises with 10 levels each for a total of 400 levels.

Once he reached level ten on his first exercise he got a gold star on his chart and his goal is now set to infinity. He still has to do that exercise as he cycles through a workout but he does not have to increase the reps. He likes to add one rep to his current score. Every time you beat your own score this little computer crowd sound cheers for you and it is surprisingly gratifying.

When we first got the FitMi he could not even manage the 10 reps for two of the exercises. One exercise was a leg lift and stomp for the affected leg. There is a video you can watch that explains how to do each exercise. The woman in the video said if you can’t do it, use your hands to lift the leg. That’s what he did. He used his hands to lift the leg. Surprisingly enough, as soon as he could do a few lifts, his brain seemed to remember what it was supposed to do and after only two days he could suddenly do the lift without his hands helping. It was like his brain “woke up” and remembered how to do it. He soon began progressing rapidly through the levels for the leg stomp. He has now reached level ten.

Click to access Updated-Exercise-Library-FitMi-RehabStudio-copy.pdf

 

My husband now has all the exercises unlocked. He has worked three/ten exercises in each of the four up to the infinity level. It is hard work. Even though he is doing these exercises while sitting down, he works up a sweat and he’s huffing and puffing doing over one hundred reps of the unlocked exercises.

Is it working? YES! The day we got the FitMi we walked down to the store where the truck was ready to deliver. We stopped at the post office. A pair of new slip on style shoes without laces had arrived because he was having so much trouble with laces. While I waited my turn at the store, I watched from across the street as he opened the package and then took out the new shoes, removed the old shoes and tried the news ones on. I was shocked and upset. It was painfully obvious he was really weak on the left side. His body was leaning over at 45 degrees. More alarming, he was not using his left side at all. Everything he did was with his right side except for swinging his left arm to use as a brace. He was letting the weak side slide farther into disuse without either of us realizing it. The FitMi has stopped that because he is forced by the program to consciously use his weak side.

The result has been a remarkable improvement in his overall balance and movement. Just today he made breakfast and was whirling from frying pan to cupboard to take out a plate and spinning back to pick up the spatula (with the weak hand) and then loaded my plate and handed it to me. It was all effortless, thoughtless, with no sign of left weakness. When we take the dog for a walk, the heavy left foot swing stomp is gone. He is now rolling his foot almost normally. He also used to stagger a bit so it looked like he’d been drinking as he walked before the FitMi. That’s gone. His gait is not completely normal but it is close to normal. To be fair, it was not normal before the stroke because of an injury with severe break and a big steel plate in the leg plus some arthritis in his knee. It is nice to not know if his slight limp is due to the stroke or the old injury.  He says the leg, especially the calf still feels kind of weak and numb, not entirely normal. He has to consciously remind the leg how to work. However it is working and that says a lot.

So would I recommend the FitMi? Absolutely with one important caveat. One of our friends had a heart attack and he bought a treadmill. He made many promises to himself to use it. It sits in his bedroom, a very expensive clothes rack. The FitMi is the same. If you aren’t going to use it, it will sit in the computer, a very expensive icon on your desktop. You have to be willing to persist in using it because it is hard work and it is all too easy to just skip it and do it later. My husband is really determined to get better so he’s working hard at it every single day. I have had to remind him some days and he quietly grumbles while he sets it up. I also sit with him and watch him work through his routine every third or fourth time to make sure he has the puck in the right orientation and so forth. I am honestly always amazed at how much he has progressed since the last time.

(I got no discount or special benefit from Flint Rehab for writing this.)

Misty Is Three!

Today our Misty is three years old. That makes her an adult dog. Finally. Cute as puppies are, as wonderful as it has been to go on this three year pathway to her adulthood, I am so glad the puppy days are over. I am a dog person not a puppy person.

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I went searching for a quote or a saying to describe Misty as a unique dog among the many dogs I have been privileged to share company with over the years. I found this one and it has our Misty written all over it.

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“It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan (Author, Marley & Me)

Misty is a wonderful dog. She has that quiet easy going, love all people temperament of a typical golden retriever. (Admittedly only after appropriate introductions.) Yet she also has the resolute stand by and guard attitude of the German Shepard. When you first meet her she is standoffish and cool, acting to assess your personality and how her people feel about you. If she knows we’re good with you, then she is good with you.

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I’ll never forget the time she went swimming with dolphins. And Pawdy Gras will also be a special memory. One of the worst moments of life with her was when I saw her attacked by two pit bulls. It was then I learned just how fast and tough she can be. When they attacked, she leapt up like a deer and spun like a dervish so they never did get a good grip. She even had one pit bull on the ground on its back pinned by the throat in fight, yet she did not kill that dog even though she could have and it certainly would have killed her if the situation had been reversed. Once she had one dog pinned the other attacker went after the downed dog instead and we were able to make our escape while they fought each other. Misty was bloodied and punctured but the injuries were all minor.

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When Dick had his first query stroke, Misty was the one who stuck right beside him during his recovery, guarded him every second and alerted me if he did anything funny or weird. We had a lot of false alarms. She once came to fetch me because he was yawning and then he sneezed at the same time. One should sneeze or yawn but not do both together. Even so, I was so very glad she was there because I felt comfortable going out and working in the yard with him inside. I knew Misty would fetch me if anything happened. She seemed to be able to sense his blank out spells well before me. If I watched her, I could see one coming and make sure he got to bed safely to rest. As he recovered, she became less and less intense in her minding of him until by December he had reverted to his usual place of ‘mere’ beloved Master.

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Misty proved her worth again at the second stroke. I am a heavy sleeper and he collapsed at 3:15 am and could not move or speak. It was Misty who woke me up, fussing and whining because this was not right and he should not be lying on the floor waving one arm feebly. I called an ambulance and she seemed to immediately “get” they were there to help. She greeted them with joy and sat watching nearby, her tail wagging, even though she is usually so wary of strangers at first meeting. While he was in hospital, she stayed with me in the hotel or waited in the truck while I was with him. I would drive to the nearby MacDonald’s going to and from the hospital. She was always sad when I came back without him. I would get myself something and then ask her if she would like her usual, a small plain burger with cheese and bacon. She never said no. She would hang out the truck window watching them in the drive through and bark at them if they didn’t bring that order quickly enough. Even after weeks at lock down if you say “Drive through” she perks up. She almost fell apart in her joy when he finally was helped into the truck to go home.

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What else can I say about her? She’s a dog. If it’s weird, bark about it until we come and say it’s all right. She likes to chew on bones. She loves cheese and bacon treats. She likes to play with two big horse balls with handles. She doesn’t like fireworks. She’s indifferent to gunfire. She’s still trying to excavate the foundation and looks so upset when I refill the holes. She has a selection of precious stuffed toys that she tends and guards like a mother dog would her babies. She knows a lot of commands, sit, stay, lie down, heel, come, go get, stop that, go to the truck, wait, stop torturing the cat. (That last one is a toughie.) She has big brown eyes and sharp white teeth and flecks of gold so lovely I sometimes think we should have called her Golddust. She has such an endless variety of vocalizations beyond mere barking that she almost talks. She sheds at an incredible rate, ranking number two of all dogs I have owned. (So glad I got her used to being vacuumed as a puppy.) She’s easily the most beautiful dog I have ever owned. When I was in grade school I drew a picture of the most perfect looking dog imaginable. Misty looks just like that dog from her long noble muzzle with her gold speckled fur down to her elegant fluffy tail. That’s Misty Mine.

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Good dog!

Stroke Recovery – FitMi and Music Glove

Due to the impending COVID-19 pandemic, my husband was discharged from the hospital after his stroke with no plans for rehab. I have since read it is very common for people who have pontine strokes to make really remarkable recoveries. My husband went from not being able to roll over to walking with the dog and I in two weeks so he seems to be following that pattern.

However we did notice he was having some issues with his balance, weakness in his left side, and fine motor control of his left hand. We could not do then usual routine of going into town for physiotherapy due to the pandemic lockdown. I went on line to try to find some exercises that would help. I found a product called FitMi and Music Glove from Flint Rehab. It was not cheap! After exchange and shipping and import duties and taxes we ended up shelling out about $1000. Our doctor had not heard of it before but when we told him about it he enthusiastically endorsed the concept and wrote us a prescription so we can claim it as a medical expense next year. The box arrived two days ago.

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Hubby dearest likes the music glove better than the FitMi. It specifically concentrates on the weakness in his left hand. He does a kind of air guitar as notes go by on a fret and if he hits it right he gets a cheery blip and some nice words. At first we thought the glove was defective because he could not make it go. I tried it and it was easy. That was a sobering outcome. We both knew his hand was bad but we didn’t realize it was THAT bad. He tried the dexterity test included with the Music Glove and we confirmed he has shocking lack of dexterity. He could only score just under 50% and one finger was a mere 22%. He has been faithfully working his fingers three times a day and he is improving rapidly even with only those few sessions. I don’t like to think about what would have happened if we didn’t have this gadget because we didn’t know there was a problem to work on. The brain has the most plasticity and ability to recover during the first three months after the stroke. While it is possible to get recovery and improvement after that, it is harder and sometimes less complete. Since the physiotherapists are unavailable until the lockdown ends…well I’m just so glad we have this Music Glove. Otherwise we might have missed the window.

He likes the FitMi less. It is more of a workout. As with the Music Glove the FitMi soon showed significant weakness in certain exercises requiring he use the left leg. Some of the leg exercises he could do easily and breeze through. However one in particular he couldn’t manage at all until he had practiced it several times. The FitMi has four areas of exercising including arm, leg, core and hand. The core one is particularly important because core relates to balance and he can’t turn suddenly or step backwards without feeling like he might fall. t’s also a work out all by itself. I made a video showing how it works while he does one of the core exercises. If he can stay motivated and keep up these exercises, this nifty well designed, easy to use gadget should make a significant difference in his recovery. The $1000 Canadian still smarts but if you figure in the cost of driving to town and regular physiotherapists it is probably going to be cheaper over the longer run.

(I got no discount or special benefit from Flint Rehab for writing this.)

Was It COVID-19?

As you may recall, my husband had a right side lateral pontine stroke, apparently his second one, although we still don’t have the straight scoop on the first one. Two specialists said there as no evidence of the first stroke and it was a transient ischemic episode related to the inner carotid artery dissection. One specialist and one other doctor said the first episode was a very mild stroke and our family doctor said it best when he just shrugged and asked who cares? It really doesn’t matter except possibly for insurance companies. Since the second stroke is absolutely for certain a stroke, it doesn’t make any difference now what we call the first episode.

So background: Hubby dearest was released from hospital the first time on a very complex multi drug regimen that caused him all kinds of side effects which made him miserable and made my life feel really hard some days. We eventually weaned him off all the drugs except the blood thinner clopidogrel bisulfate (generic form of Plavix), daily aspirin and his regular blood pressure med cilazapril, and I got my husband back. A January MRI showed the carotid artery had healed, there was no sign of any stroke or micro strokes and he could stop the blood thinners after a final CT confirmed what the MRI showed. That was scheduled for March 10.

On Feb 28th we noticed his toes had turned red/purple and his baby toes looked nearly black. The bottom of his feet were solid bruises and the tops speckled red. After a quick consult with our family doctor we stopped the blood thinner before the confirming CT assuming it was the blood thinner causing this. After two days the awful black and blue look had resolved and his feet looked normal. He felt fine through it all.

March 3rd I came down with an awful bug. I had only a low grade fever (37.6 at the highest) but for four days it was all I could do to get in and out of bed. The bug included a horrific headache that stabbed all the way down my spine. My sense of smell was gone even though I had no runny noise or any cold symptoms but the glands in my neck were swollen and sore and I was wracked by coughing. I also felt short of breath and my usual asthma bronchodilator did little to nothing to fix that sensation. At one point I also called the health department’s number to see if I should get tested for the coronavirus. At that time you only got tested if you have been to China or had a confirmed close contact with someone who had a positive test after being in China.

I also had a bizarre collection of neurological symptoms included come and go weakness on one side, dizziness, weird twitches and my vision came and went in one eye. I recalled thinking I should probably get up and call an ambulance because maybe this was meningitis or encephalitis but I was too tired so I went back to sleep instead. When I woke up a few hours later I was finally feeling better so I reassured my worried husband all was well. The headache finally eased and on the fifth day, March 7th, I felt well enough to get up and go back to my household chores. For the next two weeks I was dragging myself around feeling absolutely awful but functional. I napped and rested a lot. March 8th Dick was feeling a bit off and he had a low grade fever in the evening and I thought, here we go, he got my bug now, but by morning he was feeling fine.

It was the early morning of March 10th when Dick’s second stroke occurred. I was still recovering from the bug I had. I told the paramedics about my recent flu-like bout and they put a mask on my husband before doing anything. He arrived at the hospital with the mask on. A nurse took his temperature, decided he was normal and the mask was gone. I bring all this up because there are now reports out there about COVID-19 causing COVID toes in mild cases. Also COVID-19 infection is associated with stroke. The doctors have poo-poohed my thought on this because my husband is in his seventies, had a previous query stroke and we had no history of confirmed exposure. Admittedly there was nothing in imaging and no reason for him to have had the second stroke. His carotid artery showed as healed in the CT and MRI he had in the immediate aftermath of the stroke so that was deemed not part of the picture. This second stroke had nothing to do with the carotid artery dissection, but could COVID be causing blue toes and a stroke? No way, the doctors said.

We will not know if we have been exposed to COVID-19 until the antibody test finally comes out. Even if we do test positive, we will not know if that was the cause of the stroke. Such is life’s uncertainty. I prefer to think that it was COVID-19 because one of the doctors told me I needed to think about quality of life not quantity during his hospitalization. This whole second stroke episode indicates my husband has diseased brain arteries that are not showing up as such in the imaging. He will likely have repeat strokes and drop dead one day sooner or later, probably sooner. (Okay the doctor said it using far nicer words than that but that is what he said.) That prognosis is far worse than thinking he got it and is now recovering from a stroke caused by COVID-19 unrelated to the carotid artery dissection. In any case, he’s not dead yet.

Be Like a Pansy.

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Today was the first time in a very long time that we had nice sunny weather and the forecast is for more of the same. We have ahead of us days of double digit highs (celsius double digit) with the night falling just below freezing. I put my plants out in my mini greenhouse so they get the sun. They still come inside for the night. I will soon need to get my larger pop up greenhouse up as they are all growing so fast I have no room left. No sign yet of the daffodils or crocus I planted last fall when I was wondering if my husband would be around to enjoy them. Well he’s still here and still alive and I’m still waiting.

Two days ago the Manitoba government announced we can look forward to another thirty days of lock down but there is talk of letting up a bit. Our province, in the middle of the country with one airport and a lot of wide open space has had it easy compared to other provinces. Our total of infections is a blessedly low of 257 total cases with a mere six deaths for a million people. We have not had the virus decimate any care homes here. Our curve is flattened. The lockdown happened very early on the curve for us. Other parts of Canada are counting the dead by the hundreds. I was talking to a friend from Holland on line and remarked that the deaths their have finally dropped to a daily total very close to our entire set of active cases to date. That brought home just how lucky we have been in Manitoba.

Very little of my life has changed. Our small town continues to do the small town things except without the organized social events. I see my neighbours out walking or working in their yard. We say hello from a distance. I miss the senior dinners and the local sports. I miss the daily noise of children playing drifting over from the school yard. The trucks still come in making deliveries and we walk the dog around the periphery of town each day. We make a stop at the post office to check for mail. I canceled getting the flyers because I don’t want to be tempted to run into town and spend money. Usually there is no mail.

Today we went to see the nearby Garrick creek. At some point soon the lake will melt enough that the fish will begin migrating up the creek to spawn. If we are careful and avoid the good fish where there are limits, like pike and pickerel, we might be able to dip net a few of the “garbage fish” and make gefilte fish. There’s a local sucker that makes a fabulous gefilte fish. However, as of today the lake is still frozen and the creek, while running with the spring melt, has no fish. Once the official season opens in a couple of weeks we might pack a picnic lunch and try some real angling. If we pick our spot, we can easily maintain a proper social distance.

The robins came back a couple of days ago. I was happy to see them. I am really waiting for the swallows and hummingbirds though. When they arrive it really is spring and summer. They won’t come until there are bugs in the air. The ticks are out. The bugs won’t be far behind. We are hoping to get some canoeing in this summer. Our favourite places to canoe in Riding Mountain National Park are closed because of COVID19. I don’t know if they will open any time soon as parks are not considered essential. Still, we have a few other special spots not regulated by government. Hubby dearest has recovered enough that canoeing is feasible so we are richly blessed.

It is strange to consider our lifestyle and where we live relative to the rest of the world in light of COVID19. We made choices like living small, buying and renovating an old house instead of new one, living simple and debt free. The result is we are mostly content. The virus has not made much of an impact on our daily life. For me it is less what has changed about our life and far more what we can’t choose to go and do that bothers me. I liked having the choice even if I mostly chose to stay home and do nothing when I could choose. Being seniors at risk we face a long stretch of more of this isolation. I expect we won’t be out and about freely until there is a vaccine or we pass an seroconversion test showing we already had this bug and didn’t know it.

I started some pansies from seed and to my delight, one plant is about to bloom and the rest are close behind. Flowers are a poor person’s jewels and I am about to be blessed with the most beautiful jewels of all. I love pansies because they look like cheerful smiling faces when they bloom. Pansies are small and don’t take up much room in the garden. They can grow happily in low light in those little nooks and spaces that just don’t work for much else. They bloom all summer long. Pansies are tough enough they can survive a frost that kills the bigger fancier blooms. Maybe we should all be like pansies.