Hello my fellow followers and bloggers. Between the weather coming off the North Sea (cold, wet, windy) and our lockdown/restrictions here in The Netherlands, there isn’t much to do but wait all of this out. Today, I decided to practice one of my American survival skills and deemed today The Cedar Journal’s official first Dutch donut day. Named for living here not for the American cake donuts recipe I was about to use.
I had some survival food that was due to expire and what better way to use the items than to make donuts.
After pulling out all my baking stuff and assembling the ingredients everything came together in less than 15 minutes.
Now that the kitchen smells like burning oil as with all my clothes and hair. I feel happy that for once the fire alarm was not activated.
We all need a pick me up from the reality of the current world situation, so take a break, read an interesting blog, then do something creative.
Now… I have some donuts to eat before the Hubby gets home.😳
Warning from the local Great Blue Heron should have been my first clue that we were heading towards another limited lockdown.
After my return from the United States I was finally starting to feel like we were returning to some pre-COVID normal here in The Netherlands.
I was off to my volunteer job at the Historic Gardens at Aalsmeer every Friday. Taking the bus from my house each time and pushing down some anxiety the bus was full of wall to wall people riding to and from their daily jobs. Masks were still mandatory in the public transport, and the Dutch (who don’t normally chat on public transport) seemed liberated after so long of being sequestered at home, passengers chatted with everyone. On once such bus ride I chatted with a lady who works at the airport who was going back to her sales job for the first time in a year and half. She told me she was nervous but happy that she still had a job. I felt the same way about my volunteer job!
Never a lack of work at the Historic Garden, I was put to work weeding, planting and separating plants for the next season. I always doubt my abilities of my work as I am surrounded by giants of the plant industry. Mostly men who owned and worked the soil of the Aalsmeer plant industry for years before retirement. Now volunteering their skill sets to the preservation of old horticultural skills. I look forward to learning so much each day I volunteer.
The thing I realize each time I volunteer is that work, hard manual work is how humans existed for centuries before the modern age. That those skills are being lost with each passing day when those skills are not learned by generations who have only grown up in the modern age, in front of a computer or TV.
Then COVID hit here once again knocking us all back into a limited lockdown. We are all strongly encouraged to work from home, limit our social contacts, wear a mask everywhere again.
I know that COVID has been hard for most people. The mental anguish for most people of not being able to gather with family and friends at any given moment is difficult.
But, maybe it was a message from Mother Earth that we all needed. That our 24/7/365 world is not sustainable.
What to do with all this time now that we have been given? Here it is three weeks. 3 December, if anyone is keeping exact track of the timeline for this current outbreak.
I am thankful in many ways of my agricultural roots I grew up with. In times of distress on a farm, you just pick up and keep going. Life and death is part of the farm cycle. The change of seasons and the hard work that continues. I never remember having much time to sit and worry about what was next. Heaven forbid if we as children uttered the “I am bored…” words as we instantly found ourselves not bored doing some really crappy task.
One of my Dutch friends thinks I grew up like Laura Ingalls Wilder, she isn’t far from the truth. No running indoor water or toilet with only wood heat for the house. The one thing Laura Ingalls didn’t have was over 100 head of sheep to care for during the year. The year long work even in the -40 temps of Northern Minnesota! Plus, I don’t ever remember Laura Ingalls being told to go clean the crap in the barn due to the fact that she was bored.
When the government announced our lockdown again due to the explosion of COVID cases I pulled out one of my old skill sets I learned as a young person, spinning. Filling my days with making wool yarn with the ancient drop spindle.
The result was something I can feel and see with my own hands. A sense of accomplishment in the world of COVID chaos.
Not a huge accomplishment. It won’t replace the joy I get in volunteering at the Historic Garden, but it is a good filler for the time I now have to stay at home.
I hope that each of my readers are also finding ways to move forward in all this chaos.
With the COP26 starting yesterday in Glasgow, Scotland I think each of us that write about nature and our passions with it owe our readers how climate change is effecting our world.
WE SEE IT!
What will the next generations see?
Will they be able to enjoy the natural world, the healing properties of being outside, the variety of flora and fauna that currently exists?
Will the next generations only be able to read blogs like mine and others about how the natural world was before the great climate disaster?
I hope there is still time to stop the fast changes we are seeing and experiencing. We have made it a personal project here at The Cedar Journal to reduce our footprint. A difficult task since Hubby works and earns his living from the airlines.
How can we do better?
We struggle each day to limit our plastic consumption (mainly because I hate seeing the crap floating in our waters around the world!).
What more can we as individuals do to improve our own individual surroundings to help limit the bigger global climate changes?
This question I ask each of my readers to consider and make changes where you can.
We (the Hubby and I) came to the conclusion that governments and big business must be part of the answer! Consumers can do only so much. Large companies must find a profitable way to stop or limit the production of goods from fossil fuels.
I thought about climate this fall during my trip to Minnesota more than I ever have before. The signs of the Minnesota summer drought were everywhere. Dry grass, tree tops that were brown, rivers that were dry rock beds with puddles that trapped fish and lacked the flow that provides oxygen to those fish. Yes, dead fish floating in those puddles.
When I was on my last paddle of my vacation in the Portage River, one of the inlet rivers that feeds the Moosehead Lake at Moose Lake, Minnesota, I witnessed drought damage to conifer trees. Needles brown.
A friend (Kate) and I had decided to enjoy the last day on the water before my flight back to The Netherlands.
It was cool and windy but it wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying what little time we had left before I flew out of Duluth.
Kate is one of my oldest friends. She purchased my old Happy 4th blue 8 foot Otter kayak from me when I upgraded several years ago. I provided me many years of service and now recycled to a new owner, it has had many hours of enjoyment to Kate. This was the first time would kayak together. It made me happy seeing my two old friends (Kate and The Happy 4th) on the water paddling with me and my newer kayak.
We arrived at the Moose Lake boat launch and unloaded out kayaks. I mentally noted how nice it was to have help getting my 12 foot kayak down to the water. Mostly it is a challenge and each year that passes I find it more so. Since it has been two years since my Minnesota kayak has floated on the water I felt it also got heavier from being in storage… Is that possible?
We slid into the water and paddled across the slightly choppy lake to the Moose Horn River inlet. This is the river that feeds the Moosehead Lake from the North passing through Big Hanging Horn Lake on its journey towards the Kettle River and then into the St Croix River.
The inlet into the Moose Horn River was weedy and low but to our surprise there were hundreds of migrating geese hiding and feeding in the shallows. The water exploded with the flight of birds. Kate was able to capture the shot as they lifted off the water in a noisy fury. Two kayakers was two, too many, for these geese!
We paddled our way towards the Portage River inlet. This is one part of the Moosehead Lake I have never explored. New to Kate too. The wide inlet seemed still as glass as we paddled, protected from the wind blowing across the Moosehead, we now floated more than paddled along our route.
I always like floating or paddling on these sort of river routes. Most are rarely paddled and feel remote. The Portage River has this feel although we could hear the constant I35 traffic that speeds North and South, less than a mile away as we paddled.
As we paddled we took notice of the world along the river shoreline. A house here and there, a sawmill that neither of us knew about. Then a curve in the river, brought again isolation and natural surroundings.
Another curve brought a surprise beaver dam that extended the width of the river. I slowly paddled up to check out if we could just paddle over the top and continue up river. I suggested we not attempt. We turned our boats back the way we came.
My hope is that these special moments can continue to be shared with friends and family without the fear of extreme climate changes. That the generations that come after us will also find moments to share with friends in nature.
These moments are rare, when old friends can share a common experience. This was a priceless moment spent on a Northern Minnesota waterway.
The moment is now world leaders, big corporations, mining of fossil fuel companies, what future will you give humanity?