by The Land Connection Staff
Here are some musings on life in isolation as we continue to persevere that best we can while mostly working from home.
I moved into my place in Champaign last fall after starting at The Land Connection. While I love my digs, it was pretty obvious by the lack of much on the ground, that the yard doesn’t get much sunlight. This had me believing that a garden was an impossibility, however all this time at home has given me extra opportunity to monitor the sun and see where there might be enough light to grow some vegetables… And, I found it! A pretty small patch that I think just might have enough hours of direct sunlight to support a garden. So, this week I picked up some veggie starts from Blue Moon Farm and as soon as I can get off this computer, those beauties are going in the ground!
Every Saturday I wake up early, turn on some 90s hip hop and R&B, deep clean the house, then make my family a big breakfast. This past Saturday was no exception, after mopping the floors while jamming to my faves I headed to the kitchen to start chocolate chip pancakes. I served the kids food up before I began making my own plate and that’s when It happened… the freak accident that has left me in a cast and on crutches. I’m not quite sure how it happened… all I know is that one second I was plating the most scrumptious looking tomato, egg, and cheese bagel and the next I was in the center of what looked like a murder scene. A cereal canister fell from the top of the refrigerator breaking my plate and sending it full force into the air before landing directly on my foot where it did some pretty good damage to four out of five tendons. The good news is that surgery went well and I’m on the fast road to recovery… The bad news is I never did get to eat that delicious breakfast sandwich. RIP
Remote working for TLC these past few weeks has made me redefine my home and surroundings. I learned from a mentor, a long time ago, to call each area a zone. The stay at home order has me improving my home office space, establishing new routines and being mindful of my professional and personal zones. I’m hyper-aware of deadlines and enjoying the pace of TLC work. I’ve met new people on zoom meetings and experienced being part of a federal grant proposal. This week my picture is the fireplace screen, which is in one of my “non-work” zones. It’s a comfort to go to this zone, especially when the fire is lit. “When you go through the fire, you come out gold”. A reassurance, if you will, that fire is good. (And it is necessary to make gold). Therefore, in times of personal growth and working with others, I look at the image of the fire behind the tree and the golden branches glistening. It gives me a glimmer of hope, unity, and gratitude. In these uncertain times, I will call it my “staycation” zone and keep on, keeping on that we will all come out of this gold!
Like many others, I’ve become the “People in quarantine watching their bird feeders” meme. And I’m fine with that. Last year we started with a hummingbird feeder and an oriole feeder on our balcony. Though we never saw an oriole last spring, we did have a female hummingbird take to our balcony as her own. She’d sit on the oriole feeder swinging, looking in our windows, relaxing, grabbing a snack, and battling all other hummingbird visitors. I knew I would add more feeders to our surrounding yard this year and am glad to see I now have more time to bird watch. These binoculars are helping me see what birds are visiting our feeders. Shout out to a close friend (go Zak!) for helping me identify the visitors. So far we have had orioles (our very first crew!), a loud and raucous catbird, hummingbirds, chimney swifts, a brown-headed cowbird, goldfinches, house finches, wrens, cardinals, and so many others. What a beautiful world we live in to have such vividly colored creatures with the sweetest songs hanging out around us every day.
Nature has been quite alive as of late and I seem to notice its wonder and beauty on a more constant basis while working from home. Whether it be the young male cardinal that loves perching all over our yard in search of his beautiful mate (she’s really quite the looker) or the slugs that started to devour our brassica and Bells of Ireland as soon as we got them in the ground (you’ve gotta love and hate the wet weather we’ve been having). It’s even more interesting when you learn something new because you had and took the time to be observant. For example, our spilanthes started to be consumed by an unknown insect as soon as we put them in the ground. While working outside near where they were planted, I noticed that the culprit was in fact rolie polies (Pill Bugs). I always thought that Pill bugs only ate decaying plant matter, but it turns out I was wrong. The more you know, right? Anyhow, plant destruction aside, observing and interacting with nature in a renewed manner from the patio in our backyard has led to some wonderful moments. The most notable one being when a delightful bumblebee named Phyllis decided to spend several hours crawling on my knee and hand while I was working on my laptop. Phyllis reminded me that nature is generally just curious about us and we should be respectful and be curious about it in return. She also reminded me that I’m ticklish in some odd places.