August Changes

Gentle Thornbush Report Readers,

Covid-19 has caused a lot of lifestyle changes.  My own has not changed all that much, but I am using my time differently.  And I’ve decided that I will no longer force myself into putting together a monthly report.  Never fear, the blog will continue on.  But I’ve decided to have shorter posts with news worthy items only.  No more “did this in the garden and this on the cottage, etc.”

Short and sweet, and no doubt less frequent unless something mighty interesting comes along.

So to kick this off right, here is my news:

I’ve been interviewed  by the San Juan County Textile Guild.  And that interview has been placed on our new YouTube channel along with interviews from half a dozen other guild members.  Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL0LXKwdSLA It’s almost 12 minutes long and there are pictures embedded in it of things I’ve been working on.

This was in response to the Covid lockdown when members of our guild felt the need to gather on Zoom and help each other through it.  We are calling the series “Woven Together in Pandaemia”

Other interviews can be seen from our website:  http://www.sjctextileguild.org/

Roger’s news is that he is now a licensed ham radio operator.  He will be joining a group on the island who stay in touch with each other weekly on Wednesday nights.  I believe long term he would like others in the neighborhood to become licensed so that we can communicate in the event that other types of communication are limited.

And Maggie Mae’s news is that she loves her dog friends:  Suki, Millie, Murphy, Jack, Freha, and her cousin Scarlet very much!

Nancy has treats
Scarlet and Maggie Mae’s favorite position

July Comet

Neowise comet photo by Paul Walsh

Beautiful space dust or portent of doom?

Neowise or neonotsowise?

A July without the parade on the Fourth and pigging out at the Pig War picnic was—quiet.  Watched some fireworks from my bathroom balcony, but they were four miles away in Friday Harbor—so not as impressive as last year’s from the deck of the Grange. I did manage to see the comet one night.

Let there be light

Work on the cottage continues and this month we opened it up with a window and a skylight.  Too bad there are no guests to appreciate the change.  But our Covid-19 count went up dramatically (from 19 to 26) after the tourists started coming.  The County Health Department is pulling back on the application to go to Phase 3. So we’ve asked our friends to wait awhile longer before visiting.

Maggie Mae, pre-haircut

The dog days of summer continue:  Suki and Maggie bashed into my bad knee on the 7th and I’m still limping a little.  Maggie got her first “real” haircut since the lockdown in March—it’s a short summer do.  She’s made some new friends with Jack the poodle and had a playdate with Freya and goldendoodle Piper.  Suki remains her BFF. And the 22nd marks her first anniversary with us-whew!  What a year it’s been.

2020
2019

Lots of Zooming, visiting with folks six feet apart on the deck, video-chats and phone calls, our first book club in person outside. Connecting with people as best we can.  The tyranny of the harvest continues with raspberries, fava beans, garlic, collards all being harvested.  The Japanese plums are next.

Bree introduces twins to aunties

And for me, the important news is that Francie and I have started populating the Forest Path at the Roche Harbor Sculpture Garden with our art(?) We’ve even convinced some friends to help us.  Inspired by each other and our Pinterest Boards, we’ve come up with lots of ideas and will probably spend the rest of the summer and most of the Fall decorating the woods.

Meanwhile, Roger is doing some landscaping, planting Fall vegetable crops, helping with the Grange remodeled kitchen, and zooming on several agriculture-related committees.  Oh, and Farmers Market every week, selling eggs to friends and neighbors and did I mention the new skylight?

What we are trying not to do is too much doomscrolling, being around crowds in town, or obsessing over the state of democracy in the U.S.  Breathe in, Breathe out.

Piper, Maggie, and Freya in the dog days of summer

June – Four months in

This pandemic theme is really getting old.  Our county is verging on being in Phase 3 which means some establishments are opening up and gatherings outside are allowed.  Masks are required in all businesses and where social distancing cannot be maintained.  Tourists are arriving and not all of them are on board with the mask thing.  People are on edge.  A recent column written by a friend in a local on-line news source made some recommendations: https://sanjuanupdate.com/2020/06/island-senior-coping-with-coronavirus-how-is-your-mental-health/?fbclid=IwAR0SovuUQW_UvxAMLkvHmcxAt_n08XNrtIyyioo4rQ9j2Tv156rdZ3hXwkw

“On the Mayo Clinic’s list of self-care for mental health during the pandemic they recommend maintaining a routine at home and focusing on the things you can control. Keeping in touch with family and friends via technology is a suggestion that has proven helpful to me.  Music, books, and gratitude, always good, are now more helpful than ever. They also recommend limiting your news intake and sticking to reliable sources. Sensationalism and hyped up emotional content is not helpful to volatile stress levels.*”

Roger and I are trying these strategies.  Especially the maintaining a routine at home part.  A few “normal” activities restarted, i.e., I went to the dentist and had some medical appointments.  I am still zooming yoga but I’ve also resumed an in-person yoga session albeit outside and with limited people.  (rained out this week)

Other routines include walking with friends and dogs.  Reading and streaming movies and television shows.  Gardening is going great except for all the slug damage (hate those slugs)  Trying not to look at the news feeds too many times during the day*.  And I just counted, we met in person with friends (outside) fourteen times in the past month.  Not including zoom meetings, yoga, and Farmers Market.

New routines include plenty of meetings, mostly on Zoom.  Most of these meetings have to do with socializing and keeping in touch with friends far and wide.  And making more masks.

Our one big adventure this month was venturing off-island (gasp) for the first time in six months.  We went to a Costco and loaded up.  And we met up with other family members in some cabins on the Skagit River just west of Concrete.  Each of us had our own cabin and were able to keep six feet apart around a campfire.  So music and gratitude.  We’re ready for another six months of island life.

May Wonders

Some of you may be wondering what is going on with the cottage remodel these days.  Unfortunately, since the travel ban, our guests have not arrived and so the impetus to get things done has stalled.  There have been a lot of fiddly things.  Not much to look at.  For instance, the vent for the toilet was placed.  Roger’s time on the roof sawing that hole scared me enough to ask him if we could rent some scaffolding for when he saws the skylight openings.  No way, man.  We can build our own scaffolding.  Which is what we did last Sunday.  We also have hot water now.  In this picture you can see the water heater sitting snuggly under the addition.  No more wildly fluctuating hot and cold showers my friends!

The Willow falling down over the henhouse did show up on Facebook.  But since this is a record of events for the year I will include it in this blog as well.  A little bit of excitement on a windy afternoon in late April.

Evelyn Jane Jones 1938

May is a month of many birthdays in our family.  Almost as many as April.  On May 2nd, my mom would have turned 100.  Here she is in her HS Senior Photo.  My brother-in-law Tom turned 60.  And I had a birthday as well.  Thanks to all of you who sent cards and greetings.  A weird time to celebrate—I even had a Zoom bday party with good friends. 

Maggie Mae had a May birthday as well.  She turned one on the 21st.  I don’t have any fabulous pictures of her—she moves too much.  And my dog grooming skills are not quite there yet.  I’ve given her three haircuts since the quarantine began but she still looks quite shaggy.

The Farmers Market is going great guns for the Grange Booth.  Roger has been selling biochar, trees, berries, eggs, and even some of my parsley.  But they are playing by the rules and practicing social distancing.

Who are those masked musicians?

As in the previous two months, a great deal of our coping comes with being outside, digging in the garden, mowing the paths, and appreciating the ever-changing landscape.

The fawn lilies were out at the beginning of the month, that gave way to service berries, then hawthorns, and the dogwood are at their peak. Rhodies, roses, ceanothus, lilacs, iris.  The fruit trees in the orchard really put on a show this year.  More than usual to make us all feel a little better?  One wonders.