When this novel coronavirus first appeared I, like a lot of people, did not take it too seriously, figuring it would run its course in a matter of weeks, then vanish into the sunset.  I didn’t think it would affect me overmuch, since I’m now  in a rural area, I grow stuff and am, in general, Prep Lite.

I was wrong.  While the virus itself has not appeared here and my days have not been overly impacted, there is still a lot of free-floating anxiety attached to this situation.  Even though it’s still mostly Monday for me, there’s a difference – prior to this, it was my job, my choice.  Now it’s a mandate.  That ‘mandate’ is……. unnerving.  The first week after State put us on lockdown I tried to conduct Business as Usual (I’m in construction support so am considered as essential to the whole supply chain) – but guess what?  Business as Usual ain’t happening!  I fought it, for a full 10 days, sitting at my desk, poking my ‘refresh’ inbox button … until a client in Oil & Gas (which is definitely considered ‘essential’) said ” do NOT call me – I am up to my ears in drama and when/if I need you I will call YOU!”

I sat in my office and fought the rising panic… then I hoicked up my nerves and looked at the situation.  Here’s the thing:  sometimes there isn’t much you can do to change a situation.  This is one of those times.  Poking that inbox only results in a very sore finger.  So I ‘turnt it alooose’ as my Uncle Percy used to say.

I went into the garden.

Since I have this enforced downtime, I now can take the time to plan some changes.  My original plan was to PLANT EVERY VEGETABLE!  because PANIC! right?  Then I remembered:  I don’t LIKE every vegetable and, no matter what, one person cannot possibly eat that much harvest (and I live in a rural area, where everyone has a garden, so I can’t even give it away!).  So again:  Plan.  I germinated collards, Romanesco broccoli (soo pretty), cabbages and peppers for spicy raw kraut.   For those of you who don’t grow/ferment, check out the AMAZING  Cleveland Kitchen) 

I’m looking – really LOOKING – at my garden.   Taking the time that has been given here (though I’d rather be working, since I don’t get paid unless I’ve got a job in).  I’m finding all sorts of delightful little surprises, like my chinodoxa, which I don’t even remember planting!  And Puschkinia!

Puschkinia! pretty, yes?

And…… well!  I found a hydrangea just leafing out behind a vicious, dead bayberry (just because it’s dead doesn’t mean it can’t try to kill you – trust me)

Looking at my garden.  With my dog.

March calls it ‘intentional use of time’ – and I’m here for it.  I have no wish to ‘kill’ time – time is precious, indeed (especially now, as I have fewer years ahead than behind me).  And to ‘kill’ time now would simply add to my anxiety, whereas ‘intentional use’, the acceptance that what I should be doing isn’t currently available so I’mo intentionally do something else; That?  That  ramps the anxiety way down.  Bonus:  I get a lot of crap done (like this intentionally cleared path that was choked with 3′ high weeds in the mirror garden.  And my intentional donning of rose gauntlets to tie up yet another vicious plant – the beautiful (but mean as a snake) ‘Harrison’s Yellow’ rose.

lookit! cleeeean!


I could go on and on about my garden plans but… hey, I’m actually taking my time to make a plan, seeing what comes up, where things need to go (or get gone)…. this may be the very first time I’m allowing myself to see the whole thing!

And… it’s kinda nice!


What are you doing these days?  I know a lot of you are under serious stressors right now – is there anything you are able to do to alleviate some of that?  I’d love to know!

Let’s all stay as safe and sane as we can.

  • Neva says:

    Jobwise there is little left to do but nevertheless every now and then an order slips in and then I’m fully dedicated to it. I’m doing some gardening in my mum’s garden just to find an excuse to spend time outside. The spring is beautiful this year. I have endless conference calls with many friends and I cherish these moments.
    Today I’ve asked myself for the first time: when will I be able to spontaneously hug a friend (which is a very common gesture here where I live)? :-/

  • March says:

    Today I cleaned out the garden out front, and the bird bath – thank you! It looks lovely and it’s gorgeous out there. One foot in front of the other. xo

  • Patty says:

    I am lucky. I have work – it’s not as much or as lucrative as before, and I hate it a little bit – news, ugh – but I have worked from home forever, so this is just the same. I’m clearing the flower beds, cleaning the pool area, trying to figure out whether I want to risk heating the pool and finding out if the power company will actually cut me off when I can’t pay my 1500 heating bill. 🙂 There are so many things I don’t like about this, how many people are hurting, worrying about people who have terrible home situations or no home situations, and how they are coping. I feel lucky that I have a home, that it is paid for, that I have work and family. I avoid news as much as possible, except just in bites of “how’s it going toda?” And then bail. News has turned into cesspool of negativity and fright and terror that you start to feel until you look around, and the cardinals are coming through, the hummingbird feeders are full, the migrating birds are doing their wave of sound, the sun is out, the leaves are new and the world is coming back alive after winter. And I know it will eventually be okay, and I’m not afraid, just worried about others.

    • Musette says:

      I’m kinda with you on the whole thing, there. Though that $1500 heating bill is WAY beyond my paygrade! lol!


  • Dina C. says:

    We have a small townhouse-sized backyard, and it needs some dog-proof new plants to refresh it. I’m thinking about a couple of dwarf rose bushes, since the one I have has thrived in this area. Otherwise, my gardening is very low maintenance, and I just prune bushes and hedges out front to look presentable.

  • maggiecat says:

    I had about a week to move 5 onsite college classes to online (I had one that was already online, thankfully), and I’m in my third week of full-time online teaching. The stress involves long hours, and the fear that too many of my students are unprepared for online learning. I am trying to find a work-life balance, I am grateful for a job (and a paycheck) that is continuing as I work from home, and I am enjoying lunches with my retired husband, and walks with my dog.
    Your garden sounds wonderful. We moved last fall and have a virtually empty back yard that is begging for a garden and some flowers, but it’s not happening right now, with stores and gardening centers closed. Some are open, but both DH and I are high-risk so we’re really limiting outings. I’ll enjoy yours vicariously and then ply you for tips when this mess resolves!

    • Musette says:

      absolutely! Stay safe – and remember (especially if you are setting up the bones of your garden) Autumn is a great time for planting!

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Everything is panic inducing right now. Can’t do much of anything since everything is shut down except the grocery store and gas station. I am still working but I have to watch every penny, making things worse. People still don’t have the concept of social distancing at work. I work in a grocery store and so many don’t get it.

    • Musette says:

      omgosh! Eldarwen, please do whatever you can to keep yourself safe! I was at the grocery on Friday(masked and gloved, I promise!) and I was appalled at how many people were just ….. oblivious how close they were to other shoppers, let alone you guys! I watched one woman literally LOOM! over the clerk helping her sort out self-checkout.


  • MMKinPA says:

    I am not really a gardener – a few pots over the summer, too many deer here and a yard not conducive to fencing off a garden. My anxiety has manifested in a somewhat obsessive need to solve jigsaw puzzles. The problem is that unless I keep buying new ones I will run out and working the same puzzle a week later doesn’t fill the need. I’m trying to alternate with crossword puzzles, and binge watching – currently taking advantage of the 30 day trial of CBS all Access and Star Trek Picard and Discovery . (Yes, I am that geek!). I hope that this passes quickly for those who are experiencing real harm.

    • Musette says:

      How are you liking Picard? I watched the first episode and…… I dunno what happened! It just fell off my radar!


  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    I’ve ordered a bunch of heirloom seeds. They’re non GMO and reproduce themselves faithfully. Will be creating a vegetable garden at my BFF’s Dad’s house on the weekend. Mainly green, leafy stuff like lettuce, silverbeet, coriander, parsley and rocket. There are a few other bibs and bobs but all I want is for him, and us, to be able to grab some fresh greenery whenever we want.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      sounds like you’ll get that wish – you’re in AUS, so your weather is conducive to growing (go on IG and look at Humans Who Grow Food – fully half of those profiled seem to be from your neck of the equator).

      It’s also a great stress reliever, gardening! And you get good stuff to eat!


  • Bee says:

    Your garden sounds amazing!!! Lockdown in London means a lot of reading and catching up with missed tv shows. Westworld really takes your mind off things trying to work out what’s goin’ on and when! Plus I rearranged my perfume cupboard which was a pleasure. Now need to turn house upside down to find the bottles that have ‘disappeared’ and that will aid Spring Cleaning. So not that bad and quite constructive and hoping it will keep me sane.

    • Musette says:

      sounds like a fun time to me! Really! I LOVE Spring Cleaning! We’re having funky weather the rest of this week, so I’mo have to take my Crazy indoors. I think I’ll start with my spice cupboard…


  • cinnamon says:

    In The Phantom Tollbooth a character says something to the the effect of “Killing time???!! It’s bad enough wasting it!” Maybe it’s a period when we need to be mindful of time in the most positive and productive way (which doesn’t necessarily mean more than slowing down if we can and really seeing or feeling things, like you’re doing in the garden).

  • Gina T. says:

    I live in Cleveland. I haven’t seen their dressings. I want to try the beet. I’ve been taking hot baths, spending time at the barn with my horse, getting as much sleep and all the rest I never get when I work, commute, work a second job, care for the horse, meetings, family, friends, etc. I used to be always running. Now, I am laid off from my job. I have a different anxiety — that of going into debt and not being able to pay my bills. But, I am well rested and don’t miss work other than the paycheck. I also read. I stream shows I didn’t have time to watch. I want to be retired but am only 50. So, this is a short retirement on a fixed income. I would be okay on unemployment if it weren’t for having to pay $973/month to keep my medical and dental insurance. That means I have to try to keep my car, house, horse and all the other bills on $800/month. That is utter hell. I mean hell. And, my cat just had a surgery. I owe and owe and owe. So, this is what consumes me right now.

    • Musette says:

      Please take as much pleasure as you can from the wonderful things in your life, honey! Give that horse of yours a big smooch from me and The Girl!