altHow are you doing? We are keeping the recent pandemic panic in perspective. I’ve never been to war. I cannot imagine the poverty of the Great Depression. I do think a toilet paper shortage is something that should not be keeping any of us up at night.

We are finishing up day 17 of self-quarantine here on the farm. The little home school on the mountain is starting up week two of Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI). There were a few tears this morning coming off a week-long spring-break-at-home. I have taught my fourth grader all about “carrying the one” and overall, we are fine.

There is something beautiful in every trial, if we look hard enough. School is canceled, baseball and softball are canceled, as are dance classes and competitions, You know, what? I have not had to burn up the roads for the last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching these kids do their thing, but not filling up my gas tank twice a week is a blessing.

It’s been a productive quarantine, thus far. My husband leased some new ground to cut hay this year. He and some neighbors have been busying themselves clearing land to build new fences. He brought home a load of mulch for me last weekend. The kids and I pulled weeds and spread mulch most of the day Saturday. Honestly, I don’t think our flower beds have ever looked better. The trees and flowers are blooming. We had to mow the yard for the first time this season. There is natural beauty all around us.

I took my horse out and walked fence rows, enjoying the natural surroundings. Probably the highlight of my week – just taking it all in. Fortunately, we have been able to run our businesses from home – utilizing technology and the phone to keep things moving. I can’t imagine being “stuck” anywhere better than this.

We are planners. This is because we have a big family. The scheduled life in big families has been described by one of my friends as a delicate puzzle. We have beef in the freezer and several canned vegetables from last year’s garden. Typically, I’m always stocked up on toilet paper and essentials. A Girl Scout is always prepared.

It’s been lovely to enjoy three meals a day at home as a family. Our youngest son looks forward to the “goodies” his sisters have baked each afternoon. My husband and I may or may NOT have gained the “quarantine 15.” I’m realizing daily, these kids are growing up way too fast. They are witty and interesting little people.

We miss seeing friends, going to ballgames and the occasional night out in our favorite restaurant. However, I think all things happen for a good reason. You know how a farmer’s work is never done? We finally have the time to get some things checked off an ever-growing to-do list. We have found simple pleasures sticking close to home.

I have no clue what your current situation is. I know many people have lost jobs. Each of us is worried about how we’ll pay bills next month. I’m praying for you. Our whole family is praying. We hope this virus is eradicated very soon. Focus on the good things each day and don’t forget to take deep breaths. Remember, there was a time when we were terrified to eat both spinach and Romaine lettuce. This too, shall pass, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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