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Archive for April, 2020

Waiting for spring's arrival

April 10th, 2020 at 11:22 pm

I am waiting for the weather warmup, which here in the Northeast, will happen on Easter Sunday, when we'll see a high of 58 degrees.

That's when I plan to do some seed planting: I've started red peppers already, and I plan to do eggplant, broccoli and butterfly weed in my little peat pots. I really have an extreme shortage of indoor space, and just a limited number of grow lights in a cool house, but I'll figure something out. To hedge my bets, I will reserve a certain number of seeds for direct sowing in the ground when it's warm enough. I have soooo many flower seeds collected since last fall through several different seed exchanges.

Aside from wishing cousins and dad a Happy Easter, this will be the highlight of my Easter. No special dinner planned, but I will go out for a nice long walk alone.

Update on neighbor's tenant, who has the virus. She's hanging in there. He's checking her blood oxygen levels twice daily and knows what would signal he needs to call 911. He told me it was very hard caring for someone that sick; you feel for them and are scared for them, he said, and she should be in the hospital. He can't leave her for more than a few hours.

This morning I was able to pick up 4 wood pallets from behind a shed on town property, near our walking trail. I had already gotten the permission of the First Selectman. It kind of tickled me that I live in a town where the First Selectman still has time to personally respond to your email query and give you his blessing.

I plan to build an insect hotel; they are quite popular in parts of Europe.

Sure, you can buy them, but they are overpriced and very small, and frankly, half the fun is filling it with all sorts of organic materials.

So I will stack the pallets, as shown in the 2nd photo, and maybe use some bricks in between pallets for some extra height.

Virus Strikes Again, Very Close to Home

April 9th, 2020 at 12:08 pm

In a previous post I mentioned that my neighbor who lives behind me got the virus. He was finally feeling better for several consecutive days. For 3 weeks it was very touch and go as his body fought the virus; one day he'd be good, the next day he thought he was dying.

My neighbor is married and around my age. They bought their house in the woods about 15 years ago and because he was making very good money, they over-improved the house, doubling its square footage to about 5,000 sf.

Then their world turned upside down when he lost his job. He went from earning six figures to driving a school bus to make ends meet. His wife works as a bookkeeper, so not much money there. Because they over-improved the house, they couldn't afford to pay their property taxes, which are $15K a year.

They put the house up for sale and planned to move out of state, where real estate is cheap, but couldn't find a buyer, probably because the driveway (I'm guessing it's 2,000+ feet), at that time unpaved, was up a hill that became fairly steep at the curve, and in winter, it was treacherous. I would watch them from my house as they slid sideways on the ice and had to park their cars on the hill and walk up.

Their solution, in the end, was to turn all that square footage to their advantage by doing more renovations and renting out small apartments. I think they have 4 single tenants renting there now with room for a 5th. I'm not sure if it's legal or not. Initially, I know it wasn't, but some time ago he claimed to me that the town gave them their blessing. I kind of doubt that since I was never notified of any zoning meetings but these people are good friends of mine and I never investigated.

So my neighbor, I thought, had mostly recovered from the virus, but last night I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance truck and car cruising down my street. They turned in on my neighbor's driveway and went up there. I was so worried that my neighbor had taken a turn for the worse. I was afraid to call or text and did not want to disturb them.

I contacted him a few hours after I saw the ambulance leave. Neighbor was okay, but it was one of his tenants, a single woman and breast cancer survivor, who was taken to the hospital after showing all the symptoms of the virus. She was semi-delirious and not fully aware of what was happening. She was in bad shape.

I learned this morning they brought her back from the hospital last night. If you don't need a ventilator, they send you home.

This woman, probably in her 40s and divorced, has only her sister in the area, and she apparently is not close to her; in any event, the sister doesn't want to go near her for fear she'll catch the virus.

My neighbor and his wife have moved their tenant into their spare bedroom so that he can better take care of her. (He says caring for sick people is not his wife's thing.) He is ideally suited to doing this because he is now immune to the virus.

And he made me promise him last night that if I got sick, I should tell him immediately, and not wait 2 days like his tenant did. He said you could go from feeling fine one minute to being dead 4 hours later. Maybe an exaggeration, but I guess he would know.

I told him he is a prince among men. And that maybe this was all meant to be, that he had to get sick in order to save another's life.