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Garden Writing

Postcard From the 20th Century

Postmarked 1908

The coronavirus changed and is changing how we live, temporarily and permanently.

Today we don’t understand what is on the other side of the pandemic nor when that will be. I’ve been working to figure it out.

Ambient temperatures were chilly all day yesterday with a strong, consistent breeze. The ground was too wet to dig in the garden. It was a sunny and picture book spring day. Even though there is a lot to do outside, Monday wasn’t a day to do it.

In the garage I planted a third flat of spinach for the garden:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach, Ferry-Morse, 45 days.

As if to show the economy was still operating, the United States Postal Service delivered my Practical Farmers of Iowa Spring Issue, a Land’s End catalogue, and a box of onion starts just when I need to plant them. I know what politicians mean when they say “open up the economy,” yet ask how does one re-start something that never shut down?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced yesterday personal stimulus payments had begun to be issued in waves with 80 million of them to be sent by Wednesday. The government knows how to spend our money, that’s for sure. If our household receives what we hear in the news that would be equivalent to three months take-home pay at the home, farm and auto supply store. (While I was typing the stimulus hit our bank account).

I ran an expense analysis of our household budget while dodging the windy work outside. With or without the stimulus payment we would be able to pay regular living expenses for the rest of the year without sacrificing our lifestyle. The coronavirus has me asking whether I should even return to my part time job.

In Iowa we don’t know the spread of COVID-19. We aren’t doing much testing. We have little visibility into what the governor or the Iowa Department of Public Health are doing. Yesterday Katarina Sostaric, state government reporter for Iowa Public Radio posted on Twitter:

Iowa’s #COVID19 testing is still limited and actual case numbers are likely much higher than those reported by the state. Today Gov. Reynolds said, “We’ve been in substantial spread for quite some time…you should just assume it’s in your community no matter where you live.”

Based on Reynolds’ statement I’m not comfortable returning to work after my unpaid leave of absence which ends May 5. The terms of the program are if I seek additional time off, I will have to resign. If I want to return to work after that, I have to reapply. If I do resign the chances of me re-applying are pretty slight. There’s ample time to consider this. Resigning is how I’m leaning today.

What would I do if I quit? Go on living.

Since the coronavirus, combined with Republican efforts to kill the postal service, have them on the brink, I will buy some postage and send a few post cards. Not sure that will save them, but it’s something. Every bit helps.

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