A Corona Harvest: Feeling Thankful
What a year this has been. When you throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix, life gets turned upside down, and everyone has to construct a 'new normal'.
Some folks have had a very sad experience with COVID-19. We hear of people who have lost their loved ones, jobs, homes, savings, or businesses, and feel so badly for them.
As I write this, I find myself feeling grateful for our own situation. Many positive things have happened in our life because of the global pandemic and related time of isolation, perhaps because of the way we dealt with it. My husband and I realize we have much for which to be thankful.
Here in Ontario, starting last March, life got really simple, really fast. The province went into a state of emergency, schools and non-essential businesses were closed, and everyone was asked to stay home to control the spread of COVID-19.
With me running a home-based art business, and my husband being retired, staying at home is normal life for us, and we have endless to-do lists to keep us busy and content at the homestead.
I am an introvert, so being asked to remain at home and clear my calendar of meetings and appointments was no hardship at all. In fact, I came to love the simplicity of deciding each morning how to structure my day, depending on the weather forecast. Sunny - go for a walk or work in the yard. Rainy - make stuff in the kitchen or studio.
Since our spring trip to Australia was cancelled and Ontario campgrounds were closed, it looked like we would be spending the spring and summer at home. Rather than view this as a disappointment, we decided to take advantage of this opportunity to work on some major projects at home.
One of those was to grow a food garden in our back yard and figure out how to harvest and preserve the bounty. You can read about my spring and summer gardening journey in these previous posts:
This gardening project was the perfect way to change a negative into a positive. I got such a kick out of watching seeds and seedlings grow into delicious, nutritious things we could eat. It was miraculous, even in a garden as small as mine.
I heard of many other folk who tried growing vegetables for the first time in 2020. The photos in this post are all vegetables and fruits I produced this year. I guess I can add 'farmer' to my resume ;-).
My husband built me two fantastic raised garden planters, (one of which is pictured below in September), and I grew most of my produce in them.
With dine-in restaurants closed, I got used to cooking and baking delicious meals seven days a week, incorporating my garden produce whenever possible.
I did some canning to preserve food, such as the tomato salsa shown above, and the crab apple jelly shown below.
I oven roasted most of my cherry tomatoes and then froze them. I look forward to adding these sweet gems to chili and pasta sauce this winter.
I pureed some of the roasted tomatoes in a blender and will add this mixture (shown below) to soups or lasagna - perfect on a cold winter day.
Another big positive to spending much of the year at the homestead was that we got to complete a major renovation on our house. When we moved here six years ago, the plan was to change the siding on the house from white to blue, to match the two new outbuildings we had built. This is what our house looked like in 2014 when we moved in:
Since then, we have renovated the entire interior, re-shingled the roof, and completed extensive landscaping.
This summer, we hired a couple of local contractors to remove the old white siding, add a layer of rigid foam insulation all around, and then add blue siding with stone wainscoting. Shown below is a photo of the insulation going on in August.
Shown below is what our house looked like in September when all the work was done. We immediately noticed how much quieter our home was inside, and I expect this winter we will save on heating costs while being warm and cosy, with this project finally accomplished.
Another beneficial effect of the pandemic, and one I never would have predicted, happened with my art business. When all the galleries representing my artwork across Ontario had to close for three months this spring, I expected a long, slow period of recovery once they were allowed to reopen.
Such was not the case. When galleries reopened in June, sales of my original paintings were very strong, and have continued since then. I find it incredible that my total painting sales for this year of the pandemic have exceeded last year's levels (and 2019 was an excellent year).
Having to cancel the fall watercolour workshops I normally would have taught allowed me more time to paint over the last few months, and I continue to paint as quickly as I can to keep ahead of demand.
As my husband and I approach the end of this unprecedented year, we are filled with gratitude for the life we live and the good fortune that has been bestowed on us. We are people who see the pot as half full rather than half empty, and this outlook allowed us to be flexible and make the most of a challenging situation.
I sincerely hope next year is a healthy and happy one for everyone.
What was your impression of 2020? Has the period of isolation revealed any positive aspects you would like to retain in your future life? If you have comments to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.
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