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More social distancing recommendations

Erica Louder for Progressive Forage Published on 07 April 2020

When starting to write this blog post, I hesitated with my topic. Like many of you, I am getting tired of the daily deluge of COVID-19. It is all-consuming and impacting every aspect of our lives.

You may believe that the precautions are overreactions, underreactions, all a conspiracy theory or that Armageddon is nigh at hand. I say this with levity, but I do recognize this is an unprecedented time in modern history. I couldn’t get myself to write of anything different. I couldn’t think of anything else in my farming world compelling enough to stop you from asking the question, “What about the coronavirus?” This thing that is impacting our lives in every way. The positive I see is that agriculture is officially labeled essential. How refreshing. With all that said, this post is meant to cast a fun light on all the heavy.

Earlier this week, my husband was talking to our farmer-neighbor. Being that this man is social by nature, my husband asked him how he was surviving the social distancing mandate. Without missing a beat, our neighbor responded, “It just reminds me of my dating years.” This elicited the laugh he was fishing for and has since been a topic of merriment in our home. While the lack of social engagements may be bringing up painful memories, or you are reveling in the alone time, I thought I’d suggest a few things you could do that follow all the social distancing rules and that I heartily endorse from my experience.

  1. Watch Tiger King on Netflix. After watching a couple episodes, spend an hour comparing and contrasting the exotic large-cat industry with animal agriculture. Ask yourself these questions: Are large cat owners viewing this documentary in the same light as we viewed Food, Inc? Or all they all comparable to Joe Exotic and Doc? Consider Carole’s position – is she in the right or in the wrong? How are her actions similar and/or different than the PETA actions taken on dairies and ranches?
  2. Work in the yard. Once your daily farm work is complete, and there is still light enough to stay out (and it’s too early for Tiger King contemplations), work in the yard. Trim bushes that haven’t been trimmed for years. Clean out flower beds. You could justify mowing your lawn now. Your city-neighbor already has. Make your yard the envy of all the barbeques you will not be having this summer.
  3. Grill a steak. Take a trip to the supermarket in the initial panic of the virus. View the empty shelves and lack of paper products. Begin thinking of doomsday situations you have read in dystopian novels. Work yourself into a panic. Contemplate losing power. Think of all the meat in your freezer that will go to waste. Thaw out a few T-bone steaks to calm your nerves and enjoy, while you can.
  4. Read a Book. Cleanse your mind of Tiger King and pull out an old-fashioned book. The rancher in the house recommends re-reading Lonesome Dove. My latest favorite recommendations is Poldark. For my part, it won’t be long before I pick up The Hunger Games to try identifying my district. If you are in for a classic, try Alas, Babylon. Whatever you do, I’d avoid Station Eleven. On second thought, maybe you should give it a try. Just be ready for some realistic foreshadowing. Google it; I dare you.

If this made you smile, I call my job accomplished. Stay safe and sane out there. As farmers and ranchers, keep fighting the good fight – I know the forecast is far from bright.  end mark

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

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