It is Sunday today, so we are in lockdown. All weekends now are total lockdown and weekdays are open in the morning until 7pm and then you must be in your home again.
After 6 months of people being unemployed and no travel allowed, the country has decided to open up a few more things starting tomorrow. People will be allowed to get their 1st haircut in 6 months with an appointment and limited occupancy in salons. Some retail stores can open up again and deliver your purchases to you outside. I am not sure how that will go, since most retail stores here do not have online stores and if they do, they are not updated with any regularity. I guess we will see. The stores have to jump through some hoops to prove they have a Covid-19 committee formed and sanitary measures are all being followed. After they get your certificate, they are allowed to operate with many limitations. I am not sure how many places will actually be open or who have received their certificate yet. Also, I am not sure how many places still exist after being closed for 6 months.
The airport might open at the end of the month. Right now, they are only open for humanitarian flights and some cargo. A few of the airlines have announced flights beginning in September. The country is only allowing citizens and residence to fly back and that is if you get a negative covid test within 48 hours of flying to Panama. Then you must self quarantine for 14 days while they monitor you.
Schools are still being conducted online and the school year is close to 2/3 over. My son has his trimester exams at the end of the month.
Stores have limited supplies. Most of the food basics are being offered in the stores, but a person has to be very willing to go with alternative options right now. For the last couple of weeks, it has been hard to find onions. Sometimes, it might be dish detergent that is hard to find.....you never know!
Last week while I was getting everything together before the weekend lockdown, the stores were out of propane. Panama uses propane tanks and do not have any natural gas lines.
I am hoping that someday we can get back to normal, this new normal is not working very well.
Our farm now has 8 new ducklings. They like their little house so well, that we have to close it up during the day forcing them to explore. :)
Things to know about our ducks:
Fences and Gates
With everything locked down these last 6 months, we have had very limited funds but, tons of time for projects. For years now, we have talked about putting a fence around the farm. We mainly wanted to keep out stray or jungle animals from coming at night and having our dogs wake us up at ungodly hours. Now that we have the ducks, we need to keep them inside the farm, so we have finally finished the gate and fence. Nothing fancy or expensive, but should help a little. Rick welded the different gates together around the property and everyone helped put the fence up.
Today, we realized that one of our dogs thinks the fence is for everyone else and can jump the rock wall parts. Tomorrow Melvin will be fixing that part. :)
Rick is working on getting the gate hooked up to automatic openers for our cars and then we can mark one more project off our list!
Tomorrow we will also start our harvest. There are a few coffee trees ready to have their first picking. Normally, I am excited when harvest starts, but this year the Mayor is putting restrictions on people that pick coffee, due to the virus. The last message I read from the Mayor said that workers could only pick from 1 farm and would not be allowed to move from farm to farm.
Typically, a group of good pickers would work on a farm for a couple of days until all of the ripe cherries were picked and then they would move to the next farm for a few days. They continue to do this for 2 weeks and then circle back to the 1st farm and start all over. If they are only allowed to work at 1 farm this year, it is better for them to work at a very large coffee farm where they would have more days of work than a small farm with only 2-3 days of work every 2 weeks.
Without pickers, we may be forced to try and pick the entire farm ourselves. Not that I do not pick cherries every year, because I do.....but Melvin is pretty sure I am one of the slowest pickers ever. Haha.
We usually have about 6 pickers and 3 people processing (Rick, Roger and Melvin.) Last year, I did not help at all because I had torn my Achilles Tendon and was recovering from surgery. I think I only helped with: cooking, feeding everyone, paying them at the end of each day, scheduling...things like that.
We are working through some options now and trying to be creative for this year's harvest.
It has been a year since I had my surgery and I had hoped that everything would be great by now. Unfortunately, either something went wrong with the surgery or when the country shut down and I had to stop physical therapy something went wrong......not sure what happened. At this point, my muscles and all of the other parts did not heal correctly and without a completely new surgery to fix it, I will never be close to normal again. I limp, I have trouble walking uphill, no running or jumping, the list goes on. Now that limited physical therapy is available again, I might improve a little. So, not good news, but at least I am able to walk...it could be worse. I already had my day of pity, so now it is time to just move forward.
I think that is the theme for 2020, just keep moving forward even if it is small little steps at a time.