Photo Blogging Challenge – Keeping Busy (May 2020)

Staying busy from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been difficult. I still can’t figure out how so many people are finding big chunks of time to do deep cleaning, sorting and tossing/recycling/donating! 🙂 Last month’s “Your World” theme introduced my mask sewing project and my first attempt at starting seeds indoors. In May, sewing, gardening, exercise, cooking/baking, learning and family phone/Zoom calls took up most of my time.

1. Exercise

Mr GeoK and I consider exercise non-optional. He allocates more time to exercise than I do (because he eats more chocolate than I do 😉 ), so I really appreciate how he holds back a little when we go cycling together. This month, the same as every month, I got out walking or bicycling almost every day, which has the added benefit of being a dose of Vitamin N(ature), something else I view as essential to well-being. A few times a week, I head downstairs to do cardio and weight training.

pandemic-one-way-stairs-sign

One big change this month was adapting our neighbourhood walking route to accommodate the new signs placed at the pathway system connector stairs, which are now one way to allow for physical distancing. About 20% of people ignore these signs, because…(insert your theory here).

Another change in May, after the street sweeping crews came by to clean all the gravel that accumulated over the winter, was hopping back on our bikes. We got in four rides together (Mr GeoK did a fifth ride on his own), the longest being 56 km (35 miles).

2. Gardening

I stood in line outside a hardware store for about an hour one afternoon, waiting until my turn came in the maximum customer count. Why? I bought a role of chicken wire fencing so we could fence in our raised garden beds. There’s no sense putting all that time, energy and money (for seeds, compost and watering) into a vegetable garden for the rabbits and deer to enjoy!

pandemic-gardening

Thanks to a much cooler-than-normal first half of May, the seeds have been slow to sprout. The kale I started indoors in April survived being transplanted. And the green onions are several cm (a couple of inches) tall. There is usual bumper crop of chives. But the carrots have been slow to sprout. The cherry and apple trees in our yard did not bloom until the last weekend in May, so it’s quite likely any apples will not have time to ripen before the first hard frost come fall. I am excited to start adding home grown spinach and kale to my lunch time salads, which should be possible in another 10 days to 2 weeks.

3. Family Phone and Zoom Calls

Between regular phone calls to my in-laws (who live in town and we are keeping provisioned with groceries, gardening supplies and personal care items), checking on my parents (who live in another province and have rapidly figured out how to get grocery and pharmacy deliveries even though they’re in a small town where online ordering isn’t a thing), three family birthday Zoom calls and more, I spend more time conversing with family than since I moved away from home almost four decades ago!

strawberry-shortcake

For each birthday Zoom call, most of us have baked some kind of birthday treat to enjoy in our respective homes. The three in our house enjoyed strawberry shortcake on the occasion of my sister’s 50th birthday.

This is a good spot to mention another thing that keeps me busy, pandemic or not – cooking and baking! Highlights from May include learning how to keep fresh yeast viable for longer than two weeks, pickling ginger for the first time and several new recipes. My favourite of the bunch is Tofu Okonomiyaki (any leftovers can be wrapped in foil, frozen until you need a ready-made meal and then re-heated in a toaster oven).

4. Sewing

Between April and May, I sewed more than 60 cloth masks for family, friends and neighbours. I’ve been trading suggestions for improvement with my Mom, who has sewn more than 2 dozen masks. She’s also been working on a weighted-blanket cover, while I’ve done a few small mending and alteration jobs. At one point during a phone conversation this month, we realized neither of us had cleaned/oiled our respective sewing machines in as long as we could remember. I was appalled at how much lint I brushed out of the bobbin compartment of my machine (see dust bunny perched in the middle of the photo). The random stitching on a scrap of cloth was to get rid of any excess oil.

lint-from-sewing-machine

5. Nature Time

We’ve really enjoying bird song this spring and I’m hopeful a pair of house finches is building a nest in the spruce tree I see through my home office window. Deer continue to munch their way through our yard at least a few mornings each week. Mr GeoK spotted a healthy coyote pup on his solo bike ride and we saw a blue heron perched atop a fir tree on our most recent ride. This last weekend in May our cherry and apple trees are in full flower. Calgary’s also had a full range of weather – everything from snow early in the month, to several consecutive days of heavy rain, finally one day where the daytime high was over 25C (77F) and even some thunder/lightning. Each May, the sunset creeps a little further north every day, helping mark the passing of the seasons and a touchstone during this strangely fluid pandemic time.

sunse-calgary

Thinking back over the month, I was surprised to realize how few times I’d taken my camera out. I guess I allowed sewing and gardening take up the bulk of my creative time and energy. I’ll tweak how I spend my time in June; making a great photograph brings a real sense of joy and satisfaction. How about you…can you think of any hobby or activity you’ve allowed to fall by the wayside during the pandemic? It it something that you enjoy, what can you do to get back at it?

One other activity accounted for almost 30 hours this month: learning. This is the earliest in the year I’ve ever met (and now exceeded) my annual continuing professional education requirement. One consequence of COVID-19 has been the availability of a lot of CPE webinars covering topics related to finance and tax implications, business continuity, safe return to work and similar pandemic-related topics. And I appreciate that the big 4 accounting firms, several legal firms and a number of business associations are offering most of these resources at no charge to participants.

I think that about covers most of my waking hours for the month of May. To see how other participants are keeping busy in the time of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and guidelines, check out host PJ’s post, where there’s a link-up at the bottom.

While you’re there, please consider taking on the June challenge! I view each month’s theme as a low-stress photo assignment – an excuse to hone photography skills. You’re asked to share five photos taken with any camera. The amount of accompanying text is up to you (I’m definitely the wordiest of the bunch). The next theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa in early June.

8 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Keeping Busy (May 2020)

  1. Wow! Just beautiful.

    I’m lacking in nature walks and I miss them. Maybe tomorrow I can take my toddler to a large park to run around with her. It’s tough since she’s only 2.5 and doesn’t understand wearing masks.

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  2. cmiked

    I’ve noticed that my increase in Vitamin N has caused an increase in the need for Vitamin I(buprofen) but is necessary due to the Vitamin B(read) I’ve been eating. 🙂 Wishing you a great June!

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    1. Ha ha!! I’ve needed some extra Vitamin I the past few days, too. Blaming Saturday’s long bike ride and hoping tomorrow’s long bike ride works out the kinks!

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  3. I’m wondering if you even had any sleeping hours! 🙂 Our corn and some green beans are up in the garden. Tomato and pepper plants are not taking off very well since it’s been chilly here too. The okra is waiting for HOT weather before they show up. We do need to redo our deer fence (electric fencing) around the top of the garden soon. Guess that will keep us busy in June. I’m getting ready to make another round of masks as soon. Your sky shot is beyond gorgeous! Take care and stay well!

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  4. I’ve been slowly working in the front yard over the course of this “shelter in place” we all seem to be in, but I need to up my game there.

    Love your cloud shot. Stunning.

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  5. Oh yeah, I heard about the snow returning to Canada in May. Unreal.

    I love how this crisis bring some families closer together, and of course I’m on board with the cake tradition!

    You know what I miss in this post though? LEGOs!

    Good luck with your gardening projects!

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