Homebound – 7 weeks in

We are entering the seventh week of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is nearing the end of April. The weather has not been impressive, which is perfect for keeping people indoors. But it appears that the temperatures may be starting to catch up, and we may start hitting double digits more consistently from here on out. I hope Torontonians will stay strong and disciplined, and not start breaking the rules. It would be a shame to have spent all this time distancing and staying put, only to be forced to do it again because of a second wave.

Today, Ontario’s Premier announced that they now have a framework in place for getting the economy going again. Of course people only want to know when, not how. It’s all very vague right now, both the when and how. My guess is that we’ll be lucky to have everything open again by the fall – you know, when flu season starts.

So, what has April looked like here?

Breaking a Sweat

My daily 1.25 hour, 8 km walks stopped because I didn’t feel they were worth it in terms of cardio-health. Maybe if I were jogging, it would be worth it, but my knees don’t love pounding the pavement. I’ve gone back to using my M3 where I burn 200 cals in 14 minutes. To be honest, I don’t even know what that means as I work out for heart health and not for weight management, but I haven’t been wearing my heart rate monitor, so the only stats I have are calories burned. I enjoy this type of HIIT workout because it pushes me. During each 25 sec high interval, my heart feels like it’s about to jump right out of my chest. It’s not quite the same euphoric feeling as the runner’s high, but I feel strong.

No, I’m not quite disciplined enough to do this daily. I aim for every second day. Maybe I do workout to maintain weight during the pandemic as beer consumption has been on the rise.

Craft beers

When I was a teen, I drank cheap mixed drinks. In university, I drank a lot of cheap beer and some hard ciders. Post university, I tried wine, and really disliked red wines. Then I went through a no-alcohol phase. Eventually I discovered I loved red wines and only drank sauv blancs if I went for a white. I also stopped drinking beer. Then I discovered nice chardonnays and now I’ll enjoy any good red or white wine. After my travels to Europe, I also discovered I love vermuts and certain other aperitifs/digestifs. Over that last year, I’ve re-acquired a taste for beer, specifically craft sours. That brings us to present day, where many of the local craft breweries are offering local delivery in the age of lockdown. It’s become a luxury I hope will become the new norm – cold beer delivered to your doorstep.

This delivery was from Bellwoods, and I had my eye on this particular sour leading up to its release. They only had 10 bottles available online, so I snatched up four. It arrived late afternoon and our fridge was pretty well stocked with beer, so hubs suggested we just crack one open. I looked at him funny as I texted a photo of it to my beer-loving friend and jokingly asked her if it was a sign of a problem if I had a beer at 4 pm on a weekday. Her response was, “it’s only a problem if you’re driving or at work.” I was clearly fine, but I guess it meant that hubs has a problem. LOL.

Another great brewery that offers FREE local delivery for orders over $50 is Blood Brothers. They’ve made some great sours with chili peppers.

Snip Snip

Pre-cut look

I knew hubs really needed/wanted a cut after his last bike ride when he claims that a fly got stuck in his sideburns. Wha?! He said he’d try to cut his own hair, but I stepped in and said that I wanted to do it.

There was this one time, a few Christmases ago when he asked me to trim his hair right before a family dinner. I’ve never cut anybody’s hair before and he hands me the clippers set at #1 and casually tells me to trim the back. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing and on the first clip, I think the words that came out of my mouth were, “oh shit”. There was this bald, rectangular spot, about an inch high, at the bottom of his hair. He was pretty upset. In my defense, why would anyone hand over clippers at #1 to a newb? Quick thinking, I coloured it in with an eyebrow pencil and nobody at dinner even noticed.

Obviously this time when I said I’d do it, hubs was a little hesitant. Look, that incident was also on my mind. Why would I make that same mistake a second time? I did joke about giving him a reverse mohawk, but I was also secretly watching videos on how to cut his hair. Jensen’s video was helpful in terms of understanding how to use the clippers.

This time, we took out ALL the guards, and I think I used them all, starting at #8, right down to no guard. Maybe I become a barber post-pandemic?

Not too shabby, eh?

Holy heck, there was hair everywhere! Good thing we had already prepared ahead of time and had the broom and vacuum on standby. Personally I think we could’ve went a bit shorter, but I’m not sure my fade technique would have blended as neatly. Next time. Full disclosure, hubs trimmed his own bangs with scissors.

Grocery Shopping

Hubs does the grocery shopping, as most major chains are asking that only one per household enter the store. It’s not enforced, but I get why this is being done. Hubs has found a grocery store nearby that doesn’t seem to be frequented much, so the trips are quick.

Not another person in sight!

He’s still trying to figure out the best time to get into Costco – that place always has long lines.

We have an entire system in place. When I hear hubs backing into the garage, I get ready. I open the door and he comes in to wash his hands. He then goes back out and passes me the bins of food (usually two). I put one down and take one up to the kitchen. I wash my hands. He brings the other bin up and washes his hands. He opens the fridge and starts putting away the vegetables and anything that needs refrigeration. I place all dry, non-perishable foods in a corner of our dining room for two days. Fruits get placed into a fruit bowl and set aside for two days. Bins are set aside. Hands are washed, counters, handles, and light switches are disinfected. Hubs will then disinfect his phone with rubbing alcohol.

Meat Delivery

2 lbs 15 oz flattened chicken roasted to perfection!

To further limit his time in the grocery store, we’ve started getting meat delivered to our door, another luxury. There’s a bit of a premium for this, but the claim is that it is antibiotic and hormone free, and pasture raised. We’ve opted to give West Side Beef a go. They offer both a subscription or regular, individual orders. So far we’ve had:

  • whole, flattened chicken: texture is firm, not soggy. I thought the flavour was pretty good
  • bone-in pork chops: good pork-y flavour not noticed in grocery store pork chops
  • ground beef: beef-y flavour not noticed in grocery store ground beef
  • ground chicken: I didn’t find the flavour any different from grocery store ground chicken
  • eggs: no difference in flavour
  • whole chicken: we flattened it before roasting. Again, texture was great, but natural flavour of this one wasn’t anything special
  • pork sausages (spicy): good heat level, but possibly saltier than it needs to be? I think I need to try honey garlic to be able to comment about sodium levels.

Take Away

18-inch Sausage Rap

We haven’t eaten outside food since the pandemic was announced. This is a record for us, but after hearing about many food establishments closing down, I felt we needed to support Revolver Pizza. It’s a local pizza place near us that only opened this year, possibly a couple of months (at most) before the pandemic hit. We had tried them just before the pandemic, and it was solid pizza. So on the weekend, we decided to place an order. It was positive to hear that the earliest they could have it ready was 7:30 pm (we called at 5:30 pm).

We ordered their Sausage Rap with one stuffed pepper. They have a wood fire oven and their crust is really great (thin and chewy).

We arrived a few minutes early. Luckily it wasn’t too cold as we had to (opted to) wait outside as there was a customer waiting inside. It’s not a huge space and we’re still practicing physical distancing.

Food Journey

There is no shortage of good quality meat in our freezer, and we still eat a lot of vegetables. Fruit variety has been quite limited (apples and oranges, mostly), though hubs does pick up berries when they look good. We’ve been mixing it up, so in addition to roasted chickens and pork chops, here’s a visual sampling of some of the things we’ve enjoyed:

Burgers made with the ground beef from West Side Beef, with a side of smashed, baby potatoes, and braised kale or collard greens, plus beer, of course!
Carnitas! A reminder of the deliciousness we experienced in Oaxaca. The pork is cooked in the instant pot with fresh orange juice and finished in the oven. Garnished with tomatoes, cilantro, hot sauce, and avocados and queso if we have on hand.
Seared duck breast, drizzled with balsamic, served with kale and raisins + roasted curry cauliflower
Mahi mahi topped with leeks and ginger on a bed of rice with kale, peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus
Karaage (deep fried chicken), bok choy, and shrimp chips
More karaage, but served up with ramen (not homemade)
Roasted lamb leg on a bed of jewelled rice
We revived our sourdough starter – it lives!
Sourdough bread takes a lot of time to make, so instead, we’ve been using the starter to make wild blueberry pancakes. It’s become a Sunday staple.
Top left: Zaalouk (a warm roasted eggplant salad)
Top right: chicken tagine
Bottom left: another attempt at jewelled rice
Tonight’s dinner – and the first time we’ve used the grill this year – trout, stuffed with onions, lemons, dill, radicchio, and celery

Keeping Busy

My planters for the living wall are here, so now I just need to decide what I’m going to do. I have some ideas, and I think this means I get to choose new plants!

The gallery wall – I’ve selected the photos that are contenders. Now we have to agree on how many and narrow them down. This project has always been slow going, so why rush it now?

My seedlings are coming along and some of the perennials from the garage are now outside. The only plants left in the garage are the beasts – the fig trees. I’ve brought the smaller trees out already. All fig trees are starting to leaf. My fingers are crossed that my passion flower vines will come back, though I’m actually not expecting them to. They don’t look very alive. Weather permitting, I’ll be hardening off my seedlings soon.

The milkweed is definitely growing! I even started blowing a fan at it to ensure they are good & strong (they’re still standing!)

Those tall ‘twigs’ are the same showy milkweed. Photo taken today, April 27, 2020

A huge chunk of my time has been dedicated to knitting. I’ve completed my Nightshift shawl and am currently working on a light sweater.

Nightshift Shawl by Andrea Mowry

This shawl is not difficult to knit, but it’s time consuming. Typically it would take me a long time to complete this, as I’d only be able to spend an hour or two each night on it. It’s about 400 rows of knitting. I managed to finish this in a week – a record for me!

Circular yoke
Dissent Sweater by Andrea Rangel

My first circular yoke sweater is on the needles. I’m not sure this style is the right one for my body, but I’m committed so we’ll find out soon enough!

I had been confused about the fit and I think the funniest response was when hubs said, “if you were a ball, this would be perfect, but you’re not a circle.” Together, we’re making this work for me.

I also broke out the new needles for this project. I joked that if I don’t already have arthritis, I have it now. The needles are less than 2-inches long! I’ve now moved up to the regular 4″ needles for the body of the sweater.

ChiaoGoo Shorties

I feel like hubs will be building a new bike this year. He’s already started building a new set of wheels.

Laugh. Love. Live.

Stay well.

Comments are closed.