As I write this, 664,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Over 30,000 have died. When in a matter of days it was reported that an otherwise healthy 17 year old and an infant died, my calm shattered and ice water ran through my veins. We are still on the uphill slope of this, the curve that everyone is now trying to flatten is a mountain, and we are less than halfway up the side. 2 of the 4 of us have compromised immune systems. The only thing we can do is hold the line, stay home, sterilize everything, and hope for the best.
As I drove my children to their Dad’s house for a couple days, I passed a church that summarized, even for those of us that aren’t particularly religious, the correct direction:
And so I am, for all of us.
We are safe and sound here, as much as we can be. I just stocked us up again on groceries, and our meat deliveries continue. Eggs are an abundance that we can share by leaving cartons on the front porch for friends and neighbors. To our monthly meat deliveries I’ve added Misfits Market, until the garden and CSA start producing. I’ve learned the local cheese shop delivers as well, so if we find ourselves in need of cheese, we have options. I know that what we are experiencing is positive luxury, and my gratitude is boundless. I also know we’re helping keep some local businesses in play, and for that I’m happy as well.
Knowing that our intentional isolation is the only way, and that still there is risk to us focuses me in on what matters. I am content to just be home. I plant, I work in the yard, clean the house, and cook. Oh, and Eli and I juggle work – which is impossibly busy for me and very much the same for him, plus homeschooling kids. There’s no relaxing or boredom here, no need to think up things that will fill our time. We take it day by day, trying to balance all the things, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.
There’s a lesson in all of this – there is only now, and we have to take advantage of it, live our lives. Nothing is written.
The other night a surprise snowstorm blew in, and Eli and I went for a long walk in it, coming home soaked and chilled to the bone, but pleased to have had the outside world to ourselves. We try to walk as much as possible these days, needing the fresh air. My son has even taken to occasionally disappearing to the play set in the backyard, sometimes accompanied by his iPad, just to be outside. And probably away from us, as there’s a lot of togetherness happening. Still, the kids are happy about my prolonged grounding at home.
Spring came back right after our snowstorm, with a few daffodils showing up in the yard, and the lilacs turning green with buds, and the snow melting by morning. Yesterday we started clearing out the trench bed. Asparagus Season is only a few weeks away, and the yard needs a great deal of work. We haven’t figured out where the bricks to finish the garden beds are going to come from if we can’t go buy them – there are old, crumbling bricks in back of the garage that we can use as placeholders at least. We would like to paint a bedroom, but that, too, requires a trip to the store no one should risk. We definitely need a lawn mower, rather than a service this year. At some point we may have to manage that, but not quite yet.
So we putter with what we have, like so many generations before us, only with infinitely more resources. And we rest. This morning, I watched the rain. I woke up early and started some seeds, when it was dark enough that I still needed a lamp to see by. I read, and I wrote. I sat, at peace with where we are right now. My children were asleep upstairs, so too my husband. The world begins to green around me. Thus far, we are only touched by isolation, not illness.
And I cook. We still have some onions, butternut squash, and potatoes from our Thanksgiving stock up, but these need to be used quickly now. The onions will go into some French Onion Soup this week. We have 2 small pumpkins hanging on as well, ready to turn into Pumpkin, Sage and Fontina Lasagna. Eli’s birthday is coming up, so we’ll need to celebrate that as well.
For tonight, it’s simple. Stuffed Spaghetti Squash – simple and delicious. Serves 2, just double the recipe for more.
Here’s how to make it:
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
Small container of pesto
2 oz goat cheese
1 lb ground turkey or lamb
2 small onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, to top
Preheat oven to 400
Oil a baking sheet and put the halved squash face down on the sheet
Bake until tender, about 40 minutes
While the squash is baking, saute the ground turkey, onion and garlic in a pan until turkey is cooked through and onions are soft. Add salt and pepper and set aside.
Remove the squash from the oven and flip until they are rind-side down, let cool slightly
Mix the cooled turkey mixture with the goat cheese and pesto until well combined. Load up the squash ‘boats’ with the mixture, and top with Parmesan, Asiago or another grated hard cheese.
Return to the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.