Saturday, August 1, 2020

Never, ever thought we'd still be living like this in: July 2020



Another 31 days spent under the VIRUS cloud. Life is not as confined as it was in March, but there are still restrictions and, of course, the ever present worry about the VIRUS. Despite the worries, we are breaking through some of the barriers. 

For my July birthday, Dan planned to take me to Mulvaney's B&L Restaurant in Sacramento. That afternoon, Mulvaney's called to say that because Governor Newsom had just that day prohibited indoor dining in higher risk counties like Sacramento, our seating would be outside. It was July hot, and we were seated in the dirt space between the sidewalk and the roadway, but it was shady and the food, as always, so fabulous. Social distancing was enforced with table placement and a one-way path into the restaurant to use the toilets and out again. Waitstaff were well masked.


El Dorado County was hit with indoor dining restrictions mid July. Since then restaurants have scurried to comply with the no indoor dining directive. All Placerville restaurants are either to-go only or have used wooden pallets to convert the parking spaces in front of the doorways into outdoor dining spaces.






Despite eased restrictions to help these main street businesses survive, several haven't. Some like the jeweler and a long-time clothier closed just before the VIRUS hit. Those buildings remain empty, and the vacant spaces have been joined by other shops and a restaurant. 

"Let's Poke" no more

We went hiking in the Sierra twice this month. The first was Woods Lake-Winnemucca Lake-Round Top Lake loop hike with loads of wildflowers. The distance was about 6 miles with an elevation in excess of 9,000 feet, but we made it tired but happy we did it.



Looking back at Winnemucca Lake

 The desert-like trail between Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake

Round Top Lake


The second hike was on the Lake Margaret Trail. This in and out hike is a little lower in elevation and doesn't involve much of an elevation gain/loss. It was a crowded Sunday but everyone either wore some kind of face covering or kept their distance. The 5-mile round trip trail traverses granite slabs, forest, meadows, and crosses three streams spanned by huge tree trunks. Lupines and paintbrush were in high bloom while leopard lilies were just beginning to bloom in some of the shadier areas.




Lake Margaret is a jewel of a natural, glacier remains lake.




Heading back after lunch and a short break, the sky began to darken and thunder rumbled above us. We quickened our steps so we didn't finish our hike among trees and exposed granite slabs with a thunderstorm above. 



It didn't rain there or at our next stop just five miles away. We had arranged just a few days prior to overnight at Kit Carson Lodge on Silver Lake. They had one room for one night perfectly suited to stand in for a short vacation. The lake is less than 1-1/2 hours from our house, but it was delightful to get away. We had an early dinner at the lodge on the outside deck, of course. Clouds blanketed the landscape surrounding Silver Lake so we didn't have any kind of a sunset that night. 

The next morning was beautifully clear and calm. After breakfast we rented a canoe for more canoeing practice. The destination was Treasure Island sitting in the middle of Silver Lake.


View of Silver Lake from Kit Carson Lodge

Treasure Island is mostly fractured granite


After a walk on the island, we canoed back to the launching beach. Along the way we were lucky enough to see a wood duck mom and her many babies and a bald eagle soaring the air currents above us. 

Another barrier was crossed when our friends, Bob and Sharon, who live in our neighborhood invited us to socially distant swim dates. Those shaded afternoon swims are delightful during these hot, hot afternoons. I've truly missed Sharon and our in-person chats. 


We began making plans for our September driving trip to Ely, Minnesota, for a week of canoeing on the Boundary Waters. So far, we have lodging reservations to get there with stays along the way in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) and Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota) before our arrival in Minnesota. We hope to have some brief, distant visits with family (maybe just a wave) in Ohio and Arkansas on our way back home. 


Our tomatoes have been producing overtime. We had so many at once that I made gazpacho for an elegant no-cooking dinner one night. Our landscape, except the garden, is in its mid-summer dormant stage of dryness. Gladioli, dahlias, butterfly bushes, and lion's tale bloomed this month giving us a bit of color in our otherwise sleeping landscape.


Syd and Pandora still insist on thrice daily walks even when it is so hot that after a few minutes they are both panting. Somehow I lost Pandora's leash so for a few days I had a long rope hooked with a carabiniere to her jacket. Syd thoroughly enjoyed the new leash. 



Most of my photos are of Pandora because she is an imperious little creature and refuses to be trained. When it's time to come in, she sometimes becomes the Tasmanian She-Devil growling and hissing at me. Most days female turkeys bring their adolescent charges to our yard. It's easy pickings around the compost bin and under the bird feeder. Pandora finds them fascinating and chase worthy. Dan walks Syd because he's trainable and uses the great outdoors as his toilet. Male bonding!



What else? I still make sourdough bread with uncertain, unrepeatable results but nevertheless I persist. The mother doe shows up periodically but she hasn't yet introduced us to her little one. At the beginning of July we reserved a time (reservation only now) to pick blueberries at a nearby u-pick farm. We picked 15 pounds and on one of our cooler days, we made two batches of jam. Numerous desserts have also been made and consumed. We still have several pounds in our freezer waiting for a break in the weather for another jam marathon. Also waiting in the freezer for a weather break are 24 pounds of plums from our 30-year old plum tree that is in the last months of its life.


And, the Covid-19 VIRUS. On July 20, El Dorado County logged the first death due to the VIRUS. The person was male and a resident of South Lake Tahoe. He was over 65. The county's Covid dashboard was updated to make it interactive and bilingual. June ended with 184 confirmed positive cases; July has 637. The increase of positive cases is stunning. Community acquired cases which means they have no idea how the person was exposed are at 52%.  Still, El Dorado County is one of the less risky counties in California.