Rural Maine and the day to day when you live here adjusting to conorovirus.
Over the weekend, checked in with one brother living in Vancouver Washington because Seattle has been in the news a lot with the cornorovirus buzz. Or maybe the areas you pick up your ears on and think about are only because you have loved ones in that location. My brother told me where he lives is four hours from Seattle. The way he described the day to day with cornovirus is not so different than here in Maine.
Brother Brian ordered out food from the brother in laws restaurant a few miles away Saturday night. The Washington state place that is closed for indoor dining like our local eateries but doing a brisk take out business. The to-go food enjoyed in the parking lot with other diners 8 feet or more away. My hometown had York’s Dairy Bar that operated the same way summers. You put your lights on for service. Given a wooden popsicle stick with a number on it. The ordered food car hop delivered to your open window where a tray gets hung. The vinegar on your home made fries. Enjoy your burgers, fried clams, those onion rings made with pancake batter all from the comfort of your car.
No doubt all of us would like to have family all around us at times like this with coronovirus’s impacting on our lives.
Have one out of four children living in the same Maine home town. Face timing the first grand daughter is a comfort. Watching her climb stairs crawling and becoming more steady on her feet walking. Last night’s call during supper and with her eating a wholesome organic food meal while saying “Poppa Poppa”. Turning her head to look at the door to the farmhouse expecting I will be coming in to visit.
One of my two daughters in the Boston Massachusetts area are in the nightly habit of going out on her open porch.
She and her husband sing with the neighborhood. Her husband plays the guitar as warmer weather approaches. There is laughter, crying, sharing. The piano in the home will be put to good use. Across the street is a couple where the wife is an OB-GYN nurse, a few houses to the left you find a neighborhood doctor. All comforting when a new baby is expected next month and talk of shortages of masks, coronovirus potentially tying up health care facilities is part of the media buzz. As industries retool to build much needed ventilators, masks, gloves.
It reminds me of my Dad the WWII Army Air Force B-24 tail gunner.
He told me the auto industry shifted gears from cars to war airplanes. Cranking out with Rosie the Riveter’s help a B-17 and B-24 every fifty minutes. Using our time in Northern Maine to the most effectiveness keeps your mind off worry or despair. Keep moving in the right direction and know you are doing all you can to be resourceful and health conscious at the same time.
Your thoughts and prayers, what you think about are people.
The ones you know and love that are expecting or had a child recently. The elderly with medical conditions you know in your own community. What can you do to help is where the bulk of the mental, physical and spiritual energies go along with living the best you can. But each day is one to begin with what can I do that helps my area and ripples out from there. It is not something we start doing when a coronovirus arrives on the scene. In small rural Maine, worrying and caring for the needs of others is what we do non-stop to conquer and survive hardships collectively.
Being careful choosing our words and knowing what the situation calls for that is positive and compassionate.
Feeding fear does not help. Love and understanding are the ointment any day, not just when a coronovirus raises its spiky cell top head. It should not take a coronovirus outbreak to pull people closer together in one way while creating social distancing the other. The better health habits to avoid contracting it or any worse spreading it has always been life survival and good manners.
Our parents taught us all about coping skills, counting blessings, working hard to push in the right direction. To get our sleep, to exercise and plan for set backs and life challengers. But what if your parents did not? The slack of missing vital members of a small Maine community means we all band together from a distance to share those memories and skills. To close the holes, the missing members create. Watched Mr. Rogers over the weekend and his attitude of helping is what is needed more than ever. Ironic that Tom Hanks, the lead character and his wife are hopefully on the mend from coronovirus. Have you seen the movie back when it was in theaters? Lots of movies to weave into your entertainment at home today.
One Maine mail carrier friend downstate shared she felt bad to be out of the home on her job as a letter mail carrier.
She says she has always suffered from depression but missed panic attacks altogether until like she had last Monday. Not being home with her kids during school’s out but set up in the living room. Guilt sets in but she was told by her supervisor all the mail carriers are essential workers. No matter what those packages and letters will have to get through to their destination. The kids at home, the entire family has to step up and pitch in. If they already do, it is not much new. But if they have not, that adjustment to household chores is going to go down hard. Teach your children well and start early so they never knew any different works best.
Many parents outside the home worry the unsupervised children in the house are sidelined in their Maine school education.
No more working Sundays and a private route as a temporary for nine years. Lots of older won’t retire seniors ahead of you can slow your advancement in any profession right? Two of her kids work at McDonald’s making happy meals, serving up hash browns and two for a dollar pies. One on the grill, the other on the drive through window. What happens in our media spider web connected World in one place is applied to our own to stay a step ahead of the coronovirus protocol. We say prayers for New York City, Italy, whoever the latest hot pocket of coronovirus makes headlines. We count our blessings morning, noon and night dealing with the Maine coronovirus.
We remind ourselves that if next year’s wood supply is already cut and seasoning.
If we get those vegetable seedlings in the ground this spring. Canning and preserving this fall. If we avoid debt and conserve. And keep your distance ever vigilant for the coronovirus that lurks and exploding elsewhere. That’s is enough with texting, face time, emailing, letter writing and phone calls. We are luckier than most and know it. Reining it in and simple living is not so hard when we already simplify our day to day that way by choice. We keep it real and down to Earth practicing moderation. Moderation one of my mom’s favor subjects to keep the highs and lows from throwing your life out of kilter.
Preparing for life with changes ahead is nothing new to rural Maine.
We live ready for a recession and spending is nothing done like a drunken sailor. The weather toughens us up and prepares us to be ready. Saving for a rainy day. Prepared for unexpected changes is nothing new. The small town where I live has one of only four dairies in the state. Our local electric utility power providers is community owned and not for profit. If they make money, the rate we pay for power is lowered to reflect the reduction immediately. Last winter there were three price per kilowatt hour adjustments downward. Neat huh? Maine coronovirus or not, we are pretty fortunate living in the state of many small towns. Only a handful of cities.
You don’t need to make a lot of money if where you live in rural Maine is cheap for living expenses.
Camping, hiking, putting your canoe or kayak in a Maine river or lake is all low or no cost too. The cornovirus does not keep us from getting out into nature, the best antidote for the coronovirus virus. We know the trails and have lots of options to access them. Hoofing when crime is zip, where open space abounds makes country living so much different than what today is like in urban areas.
We are a farming community, heavy into the forest products timber industry in Maine. More wildlife than people. Taught to be good stewards of the World around us. Maine is 91% wooded after all and we don’t ship in lumber. It is cut, planed, made into logs or tongue in groove paneling, hardwood flooring, whatever tight here where it grows in woodlots. We are lucky to live in Maine. So unlike those lamenting they won’t be hitting tourist beach attractions or dining on local lobster dinners at popular haunts.
We locals have lots of options in this vast, wide open state of Maine to enjoy areas where there are no people.
We already live in Maine and visit the outdoor spots that most tourists never experience. It is hard not to think of someone that can not get out of the four walls of a city apartment. That the only change up in the trapped inside routine with only a TV or computer screen to tap into the outside World is to use their balcony. To shot across to someone else doing the same to maintain social distancing.
Saturday and Sunday, my youngest son and his wife, their little over a year old daughter went snow shoeing around a the family homestead. Cross country skiing another exercise option or firing up the snowmobile to tool around the hundreds and hundreds of acres of field and woods. When you live with 11 people per square mile, getting away from people and maintaining your spacing for safety sake is not so hard. You get used to liking your own company and not being a social butterfly. There is much to do to keep things afloat in your household and out in your Maine community.
Meg and I went for a walk yesterday as we do daily and sometimes we see a familiar face of someone with the same idea.
Stopping to talk with the Hodgdon Maine town manager and his wife but from a distance, we exchange information. Sharing what each are doing to adjust to the Maine cornovirus alerts, to ask how all their family members are doing. Instead of being in a store or out to eat in a restaurant, we talk at a casual but safe spacing. Exchanging what each know and bringing the other up to speed.
Leaving to continue the walk with encouraging parting words and pointing out how lucky we are to live in rural Maine with the coronovirus blooming.
This kind of life event just reinforces you live in the best place possible or it is time to find one that works better. Maine winters, the lack of flush with money makes what’s important a shorter list. And contentment with “less is more than enough” and grateful to have what we do is a comfort. One not everyone is blessed with in crowded areas where you don’t know most of the people around you in population centers.
I ask Jim about the Hodgdon Homestead, an elderly housing development he manages along with other town duties.
Daily he wipes down the walls and all the surfaces of the laundry area used by the tenants of this first floor only facility. The older members of his community have gone through lots of challenging life experiences and take it all in stride. Brenda his wife shares how her family of eighteen was never out of the woods financially. The Sears and Roebuck catalog used for more than shopping for items that came with the help of your post man or on the railroad back during the Depression. If you lived with lessons taught to you by older parents who survived tough times, you are better equipped than many. Share what you learned, help your surrounding community glean from the examples that help you do more than cope but rise above your current circumstance.
Sunday afternoon besides talking with one brother in Washington state, face timing with the first grand daughter who lives locally, I connected with another son who lives in Leadville Colorado. I tell him about Meg and my shopping experience this morning and shortages of bread, a tighter supply of hand soap and eggs but that was about it. Where he lives in the Rockies, the same easy does it on toilet paper is happening. To which I say let’s fire up paper making machine #6 down at Great Northern or some other sleeping Maine paper mill. Alex also says limit to three pieces of meat is happening.
Maine has lots of natural resources to crank out the World’s supply of toilet paper all by its lonesome.
TP (toilet paper) would be one fine way to create new jobs or employment for those in industries stalled because of the coronovirus. Where I live on the Canadian border, cross country traffic is stopped. So no long line of Canadian shoppers gobbling up whatever Mardens or Walmart places on the shelves. No more sharing the local gas pumps with friendly folks that are somehow related and saving money in Maine. That besides filling vehicles to the brim, the trunk is popped to add petrol to empty five gallon gas containers. For the quick over and back return ride to Atlantic Canada. My passport to open up the country only a couple miles to the East is not used these days. Our traveling circles are close to home and small even though gas per gallon is such a deal. That will help the truckers transporting needed supplies to local stores and hospitals though, 10-4. Send a cyber hug to a trucker to down load and know thank you for your overnight service out on the road.
Had just bought some white oak flooring at the local surplus salvage store in the Marden’s chain the end of this past week.
I was told no hurry getting it out of the warehouse. Painting the new interior of a small lake camp makes it tight quarters. No room for the 24 boxes of flooring out there today and was glad for the take your time with the flooring. Until later the same day, the flooring manager calls to say might be a good idea to get it moved out of the warehouse. To make arrangements to pick it up before the following Monday. Lack of Canadian border traffic shoppers seriously impacted our local store and lay offs have happened.
The son in Colorado says milk and eggs are missing from the grocery store shopping. We talk about the feasibility of getting local chicken to create the breakfast omelet. Realizing foxes like chicken dinners so each two dogs will have to take turns policing the hen house perimeter. In Maine we have seeds orders, the peat pots with planting soil are readied for this year’s garden. The soil in Colorado is not anything like Caribou loam farm soil found on our local homestead.
Your first visit heading up into the Rockies out west makes you wonder where are all the trees? Not like Maine.
In Maine you can not see the forest for the trees in a good way. In Colorado, everything seems red soil and a tad barren heading up into the rocky hills. The air thins and you find yourself catching your breath until you get used to it. Vehicles run different too. The Olympians train there for a reason. Harsher conditions put you in shape. Maine’s day to day is a test that improves your skills. Maybe it prepares you better for a coronovirus pandemic that extends around the revolving blue and green marble. We have candles, generators. and thank goodness for the Northern Maine electrical providers. Thank you for the juice connection power providers!
Today I bought four, two pound bags of yellow eye and soldier beans each for a coronovirus care package.
Dug out an Amazon box for the care package. Threw in some dry mustard, molasses, a couple rolls of toilet paper and some serachi hot sauce. Oh and some Kraft mac and cheese dinners which no one in Leadville Colorado can find on the shelves. Getting it wrapped up and shipped out to son number one while boy number two celebrates a birthday. Everything has to be trucked up to the tourist resort that has ski areas closed just like the local restaurants. His training being raised frugally in Maine along with carpentry skills will serve him well if a career change is needed. The local grocery stores are hiring but that job puts you in the public front line almost like a hospital for infection fighting.
I asked the check out lady at the Maine grocery store how she thought shoppers were doing.
It is obvious there is some fear and trepidation sensed. She said a very few ask when this brand or that item will be back in stock. The truck may bring it this week is the response. Even less of the shoppers she helped this Sunday morning were upset because their favorite something not found on the shelves. You are grateful for what there is and try new things to meet your needs. Making do with what there is makes the selection process easier.
At the same time grocery shopping with coronovirus going on in the World, we are making it work with a few items lean or missing. The frugal instinct to stretch shopping dollars to get the best deal still operates in the noggin. We are in it for the long haul. Today we don’t need to know when the conorovirus is tamed or how long for the temporary inconvenience. Seeds are orders, digging out the peat pots to start planting. To get the jump on the growing season while spring arrives slowly. What’s essential is more than enough and how we live simple in Maine.
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