Venturing out…..

LOCATION:  Inside (literally) our tiny house in Retama Village in Mission, TX
WEATHER:  Pleasant.  High 73.  Sunny

We enjoyed our Sunday ritual of watching “CBS Sunday Morning”, although for the most part it was depressing as is most news.  They did an interesting story on why some people get so freaked out during times like this – like fighting over supplies in a supermarket, hoarding, and watching the news 24/7.

It was a good morning – still cool – to make vegetable broth. Every day while I am cooking, I put the veg peelings, parsley stems, etc in a plastic bag in the freezer. Sometimes I toss in chicken bones and skin. Then I boil all the veg down for vegetable and/or chicken broth. I have lots of containers of the broth now in the freezer.

We worked on our bushes and flowers that are almost at their peak.  We are tempted to kill these caterpillars as they are stripping some of our plants, but we know that they will become beautiful butterflies soon. This is the Texas milkweed plant, nothing like the ones with the same name in the Midwest.

We prepped for a shopping trip, our regular weekly one (NOT hoarding!!!)  We decided to go to Sprouts, a small specialty chain like a small Whole Foods, thinking it might be less crazy.  Indeed, it wasn’t too crowded, but they were out of a lot of staples.  The meat selection was totally empty, as were the egg and milk shelves.  We were not too impacted as we were buying more unusual foods – almond milk, bulgar wheat, olives, baguettes, and lots of fruits and veg.

The main reason we went shopping was to buy things for a get together with a couple from Retama who will be on the cruise around Greece that we are hopefully making this October.  It was somewhat accidental – we hadn’t planned to travel together, but while chatting one day, we realized that both couples are booked on the same cruise.

We kept our social distance when they came over, planning ship excursions while munching on feta cheese, goat cheese, Greek olives, and pita bits.  Nice!

DINNER:  Not able to buy any regular beef while shopping today, I picked up a package of corned beef, probably left over from St. Patrick’s Day.  So, I improvised and made corned beef sandwiches with sauteed red cabbage. 

BOOK:  “Pardonable Lies” by Jacqueline Winspear.  Part of a series about a female detective in post-war London.  4 stars out of 5

Fun in isolation…..not so much

LOCATION:  Cooped up in our tiny house in Retama Village in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  A big change….Cool (high in 60s) and light rain

What a difference a day makes…..Yesterday was unusually hot – about 98 and today we won’t hit 70.  Since swimming is not in the cards today, I did a one-hour hike around the sugar cane fields.  I didn’t see anyone else during the walk.  Line-dancing is done for the year, due to closures of the clubhouse, so I really felt a need to exercise.

We had a l-o-n-g day of not doing too much.  George kept busy “piddling” in the shed, organizing his tools, etc.  I spent most of the afternoon cleaning up old files and photos on my new computer tablet.  Yawn, yawn.  Thank goodness for a good book!

We did some yard work.  The flowers are really looking good, and they are happy with the rain – the first we have had in 3 months.

We went to the community wood-working shop (we were the only ones there) and gathered 3 big bins of wood scraps which we will hopefully use this summer for kindling when we camp out. Some of the scraps are cedar which smells so good.   Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we will be traveling!

Our new oleander plants, planted to hide the ugly utility box and fence, are doing well.

George got so bored that he trimmed the neighbor’s bushes, so we would have a nicer view.  An ugly bush was crowding out a pretty yellow bush.  Hope the neighbors won’t mind, once they return! 

In the evening, we made a fire in our firepit and enjoyed the fresh air.  Our neighbors from Ontario came over, practicing social distancing – we sat far apart and in a cloud of smoke.

As I have said before, our area, called the Rio Grande Valley – red counties on Texas map below – has been fairly isolated from the virus.  We are probably a week behind the rest of the country.  We heard that we now have our first case in the RGV. 

DINNER: Grilled chicken thighs with a side of broccoli with a cheese sauce.

Life with Coronavirus

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village, in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Very hot – 98 and humid

We took our daughter to Harlingen airport, about 35 miles from here, for her flight back to Minnesota.  It was so nice having her, even though it was a short 3-day visit. 

When she and I walked around our village, she was fascinated by the golf carts that some people use to drive around.  This one is especially cute….

It is getting quieter and quieter here.  Most Winter Texans leave our area, the Rio Grande Valley, at the end of March.  This year, many are leaving sooner, as they don’t want to get stuck here.  However, our neighbor, on their way to Illinois, spent one night in a crowded storm shelter due to a hurricane in Oklahoma.  Nowhere seems to be safe.  Here is our street, normally full of people, but now eerily empty.

Alexis was also intrigued by our beautiful sunsets and night sky, and took this photo of her last night here.

A bit of a rant here……Some blog readers have scolded me for seemingly not paying enough attention to the Coronavirus.  I just have to say that indeed we are cautious, but I just prefer not to write about it all of the time, as all of us hear enough about it already!  We keep our distance – 4 swimmers, each in our own corner of the huge swimming pool as we do water aerobics.  Or, 4 line dancers spread far apart in an all-purpose room.  When we went out to eat with Alexis, we were the only diners in a big patio area.  I think those actions are safer than those of people who crowd in long lines at Costco and Walmart to do their hoarding.  So far, we haven’t had any cases in our area, and the population decreases each day as people head north.   End of rant.

3/20 update…..Our community just closed down the gym, clubhouse, and all-purpose room.  Texas is closing all restaurants.  So, life will get even quieter.  Thank heavens for books to read!  (online of course, since that is our only option)

We hope to leave here at the end of April for our long, summer road trip, but now will just wait and see what the situation is.  We don’t want to stay here for the summer with temps at 110+. 

DINNER:  Now that Alexis is gone, it is back to leftovers.  Tonight I made a spaghetti sauce with onion, leftover hamburger meat, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms.  Served over cheese-filled ravioli.  Side was a salad full of fresh basil from my nice-looking basil plant. 

Good times with our visiting daughter

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village, in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot and humid

Another busy day in our clubhouse!  First I did my daily chair yoga.  It is such a nice way to stretch.  We even get some cardio built into the routines.  Usually on Wednesdays, a trained yoga instructor from a yoga studio comes to teach a floor class.  Since she was away on spring break this week, our daughter Alexis stepped in to sub for her.  She did a great job!

Then, we went out for lunch at our favorite restaurant in the valley – Lorettos. 

We enjoyed a nice lunch out on their patio, complying with Coronavirus social distancing….as we were the only customers eating outside.

Back in Retama,  Alexis finished up helping me set up my new tablet.  So much work!  She and George relaxed afterwards – with 2 kinds of pool!  🙂 

DINNER:  Mushroom risotto (vegan for Alexis) and a parmesan-topped version for us.  Very tasty! 



A mild St. Patrick’s Day

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot (90) and humid

George prepared for the day by putting on his bright green St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt, one he had picked up at an Irish pub in Florida.

After chair yoga and line-dancing classes, we headed off to an Irish pub nearby that George had located online.  Oops, he didn’t read the name closely enough…..ended up being a SCOTTISH pub, not Irish.  But close enough!

It was a very friendly pub. Being small, it met the guidelines of not having too many people together. We watched people drinking green beer.  We settled for the Irish options.

On our way home, we passed this sign showing that Mission is the Grapefruit Capital of the World.  There is a huge grapefruit processing plant near our house with divine smells wafting from it.

Back home, George and daughter Alexis enjoyed the sunshine. 

 

DINNER:  Shrimp/vegetable ramen in a tasty spicy soy marinade. 

A mild St. Patrick’s Day

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot (90) and humid

George prepared for the day by putting on his bright green St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt, one he had picked up at an Irish pub in Florida.

Afterr chair yoga and line-dancing classes, we headed off to an Irish pub nearby that George had located online.  Oops, he didn’t read the name closely enough…..ended up being a SCOTTISH pub, not Irish.  But close enough!

It was a very friendly pub. Being small, it met the guidelines of not having too many people together. We watched people drinking green beer.  We settled for the Irish options.

On our way home, we passed this sign showing that Mission is the Grapefruit Capital of the World.  There is a huge grapefruit processing plant near our house with divine smells wafting from it.

Back home, George and daughter Alexis enjoyed the sunshine. 

DINNER:  Shrimp/vegetable ramen in a tasty spicy soy marinade. 

Fun with our visiting daughter

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot and sunny.  High 92

We are so happy that our daughter is visiting us.  While she slept in, I did chair yoga.  She lay in the sun while I did water aerobics, and got really sunburned….

One of the main reasons she is here is to set me up on my new tablet (so I can continue to write this blog! )  We spent the afternoon working on the device using the clubhouse’s wifi.

After several hours of tedious and exhausting work on the tablet, we returned home for some tasty margaritas.  I make a really good one, I think, avoiding the pre-made mixes.  Much better!

DINNER:  Since our daughter is a vegan, we grilled Impossible (plant-based) burgers and brats.  Here is Chef George at work…

After dinner, we watched some old BBC shows on some sort of technical device she brought with her.  We made a nice bonfire in the firepit.