My Indoor Vegetable Patch

Last week my sister shared an idea with me – she’s been growing green onions on her window sill for several weeks. She suggested I try doing it myself. You buy a bunch of green onions, cut the greens off (chop them and use them) but put the white bulbs in a glass of water and, lo and behold, you’ve got green onions growing you can harvest for a salad as you need them. She tells me they grow for weeks.

Green Onions & Lettuce

Why not lettuce, too? On my last grocery shopping trip I bought a pair of hydroponically grown green lettuces, roots still intact. So instead of chopping them all up (and throwing away half) I plunked each in a planter with some water – I’ve got lettuces growing. I can harvest a few leaves from each as I need them for a small salad and the plants keep on growing, looks like.

What fun! I bet I can get some dill to grow that way, too. I must look for some dill seeds to germinate.

I don’t like tomatoes well enough to start an outdoor pot for tomatoes – I buy a single tomato every so often if I think I’m going to use one in a meal.

It’ll be interesting to see how long my lettuces will actually grow like this. When these two poop out, I’ll just pick a couple more.

A Must Read by Atul Gawande

I’ve passed on bits of information about the COVID-19 pandemic before. I just read this article by Atul Gawande – a surgeon and medical writer) which I’ve summarized; however, I really recommend reading his whole article if, for nothing else, than to enjoy the clarity of his writing (click on the title to get to the article).

From The New Yorker

Amid the Corona Virus Crisis,
A Regimen For Re-Entry

Atul Gawande

The New Yorker, May 13 2020

________________________________________

[I’m both quoting and summarizing Gawande’s discussion in what I’ve shared below]

“… Hospitals have learned how to avoid becoming sites of spread. When the time is right to lighten up on the lockdown and bring people back to work, there are wider lessons to be learned from places that never locked down in the first place.

These lessons point toward an approach that we might think of as a combination therapy—like a drug cocktail. Its elements are all familiar: hygiene measures, screening, distancing, and masks. Each has flaws. Skip one, and the treatment won’t work. But, when taken together, and taken seriously, they shut down the virus.”

  1. Cleaning your hands is essential to stopping the transfer of infectious droplets from surfaces to your nose, mouth, and eyes. Frequency matters – The key, seems to be washing or sanitizing your hands every time you go into or out of a group environment, and every couple of hours while you’re in it; plus disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least daily (like your phone). BTW environmental transmission (i.e via touching things) may account for as little as 6% of COVID-19 infections, he says.
  2. The virus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets emitted by infected people when they cough, sneeze, talk or simply exhale (singing in a group is very hazardous!). That’s why physical distancing is so important – the six foot rule. While not perfect (some people’s sneezes can travel up to 20 feet!), it helps a lot since most droplets seem to fall within a 6 foot radius.
  3. COVID-19 is not actually crazy infectious – an infected person might infect 2-3 people while going about ordinary life but that means the disease spreads. Exposure time matters: less than 15 minutes with an exposed person makes spread unlikely. Again, the 6 foot rule goes a long way to shutting down this risk.
  4. In the health setting daily screening of all employees, patients, and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 is crucial for preventing the spread of the disease. People are asked to confirm that they have not developed:a new fever,
    cough,
    sore throat,
    shortness of breath,
    loss of taste of smell,
    or even just nasal congestion or a runny nose – [My take-away from this, is we need to monitor ourselves for these symptoms constantly and keep away from other people should we experience any of them and stay away for another 72 hours after we’re feeling better.]
  5. The critical thing about COVID-19 is that the virus can make people infectious before they develop any symptoms of illness.
    That’s the reason for MASKS! Combining social distancing with masks can block the spread of respiratory droplets from a person with active, but perhaps unrecognized, infection.
    The cloth masks, while not as effective as surgical masks, can block droplet emissions, as well. (And the virus does not last long on cloth; viral counts drop 99% in three hours.)
  6. “Culture, is the fifth, and arguably the most difficult, pillar of a new combination therapy to stop the coronavirus….It’s about wanting, among other things, never to be the one to make someone else sick.” [It’s all about social responsibility – accepting that my actions can have serious (even lethal) consequences for other people.]

The first of the official guidelines in the US for re-opening is at least 2 weeks of very low to zero new cases! This is most difficult – waiting for the number of new cases in the community to drop to zero (or almost zero) and stay there.

I was explaining to someone the other day it’s kind of like the difference between setting off on a car trip to Chester vs a car trip to Vancouver! You’ve got a very different mind set when you start out to go to Chester – it takes an hour and the trip’s over before you know it. The mind set for a car trip to Vancouver (from Halifax) is a committed undertaking – you know it’s going to be a long, uncomfortable, inconvenient, sometimes boring, haul. 

Well, we’re all taking that car trip to Vancouver right now – we need to accept the expectation that our commitment to – frequent hand washing, self-monitoring, social distancing, wearing masks, and remembering each of us does this not just to keep ourselves safe, but to keep others safe – will have to go on for a LONG time. The better we are at following the full regimen the safer we all will be and the faster we can experience the world beyond our homes safely again.

[Click here for the original article by Atul Gawande] 

Spring Is Here

Yesterday was a lovely day – sunny, not too cold, just a bit windy. I took my usual walk slowly enough to notice the plants responding to a couple of warm days. I recorded many images along my way to the high school and back.

Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara

Lungwort – Pulmonaria officinalis

Willow – Salix

Alder – Alnus?

Maple – Acer

I was happy to see the vegetation opening to spring.

COVID-19 – Some Interesting Information

I’ve read a lot of news during this time of physical distancing (five weeks? six weeks? is it now). In the last week I’ve come across two pieces of information that could prove significant should, heaven forbid, I start showing symptoms of COVID-19.

The first is the “peanut butter sniff test” which I read about in the National Post (April 18 2020)

Peanut Butter Sniff Test

a simple do-it-at-home sniff test, using common household items, would allow participants — the great mass of us — to start tracking their sense of smell. In this way, an asymptomatic carrier who feels like a million bucks, but notes a diminishing sense of smell one day to the next, could consider quarantining, ASAP, instead of carrying on until their olfactory sense disappears altogether.

The second which I came across in the New York Times (April 20 2020) describes how the COVID-19 pneumonia is presenting differently than pneumonia from other viruses:

“patients are presenting with dangerously low oxygen levels and terrible pneumonia presenting on X-rays… Silent hypoxia progressing rapidly to respiratory failure explains cases of Covid-19 patients dying suddenly after not feeling short of breath.”

Pulse Oximeter

However, the doctor explains in this piece, “detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter” would allow earlier detection of the pneumonia and therefore more immediate medical treatment.

My take away from these two articles is I can monitor myself in two ways. First, keep checking my sense of smell – loss of smell may occur even before other symptoms like fever, cough, upset stomach and fatigue appear. Should that happen, I need to quarantine myself (not just keep a physical distance) so I don’t pass on the virus.

Second, should I start showing symptoms I want to begin checking my blood oxygen saturation. This latter may be even more important than confirming the presence of the virus so a visit to the doctor may be warranted to make sure my oxygen saturation is checked. Since, as far as I know, oxygen saturation may not be checked except on hospital admission (which could be too late to escape a severe manifestation of COVID-19), that is something I will have to advocate vigorously for myself.

Just thought you might find these two tidbits worth stashing in the back of your mind. I’ll share anything else useful (and unusual) I may come across.

“Mask Maker, Mask Maker…”

I’m now a “mask maker”.

These days people are keeping themselves sane by creating parodies to keep themselves and the rest of us laughing.

Yesterday a friend sent me a link to one of those parodies. I answered “Is this a request for some masks? “She answered: “No 😊. I just thought it was so clever and I like parodies! And YOU are a mask maker!!! LOL!

So I went looking for “mask maker” parodies and found two more:

and this one,

And here is the somewhat longer one sent by my friend:

 “To a mask maker I know :-)”

Enjoy!

Moth Sculptures Hand-Crafted by Yumi Okita

Artist Yumi Okita layers hand-painted fabric, embroidery thread, feathers, and faux fur to create large sculptures of insects. Each handmade moth and butterfly is one-of-a-kind, with coloration and patterning often inspired by existing species.

Moth Sculptures Hand-Crafted by Yumi Okita

Check out her work – it’s quite wonderful.