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What Is Normal?



Well dear reader, we have made it through yet another week of social distancing. It’s hard to believe it is Friday when it seems like Monday felt so much like Monday only yesterday. Many counties in our area are moving into the “Yellow Phase” today. Social distancing, color coded phases, rules and regulations have now become our new normal. Wearing masks, staying home, working from home, school from home, and limited interaction are also the new normal. I’m not sure there is anything normal about this new normal. It still feels surreal and strange.


It is uncomfortable for me to feel so limited. I am a firm believer in options, having options and providing options. I definitely do not like limited options. I am unused to the feeling of not having options and it makes me feel anxious. Life in general feels limited to me right now. I feel limited with what I can do, where I can go, how I can go about it, if I am able to do it at all. We are going to be feeling the ripple effects of this virus thing for some time to come, I fear. It is affecting life in ways I would not have imagined. Of course, I never imagined living through a pandemic.

We are having a difficult time acquiring supplies for the soap. I order canola oil and olive oil in copious amounts and it is delivered to my door. I am now limited to one bottle of each per order. One bottle of each does not make a batch of soap. It is an uncomfortable feeling indeed.


The very fact that the supply chain is disrupted is disturbing for me. For example, meat; I read the stories about our farmers who are having to euthanize chickens, pigs, and cattle and it breaks my heart. First, it is gut wrenching to know these animals are having to be put down because there is simply no space for them and the farmers can’t afford to continue to feed them. Secondly, all the work that has gone into raising them was for naught. Lastly, with a fundamental understanding of what goes into raising an animal for harvest, we could have issues with supply for years. Meat chickens take an average of 6-8 weeks to raise, a pig takes 8-9 months to raise, beef cattle take 16-18 months to raise. Just doing simple math (and simple math is all I can do) our food supply could be disrupted for a few years.


Our vegetable and dairy farms are suffering as well. Farmers having to dump milk by the truck loads and let crops die in the fields is again heart breaking. I know how much effort it takes to milk a goat and on the rare occasion the milk is wasted, I feel cheated. It takes time, effort, and income to milk a goat and keep said goat fed and healthy to produce milk. I can’t imagine having to dump milk by the truck load. If you have grown a garden, even a small garden, you know how much time, effort, and money goes into preparing the soil, tending the soil, buying and planting the seeds as well as maintaining the garden to produce a harvest. To have to let a year’s work waste away would be devastating.


Perhaps this is going to force us to accept a new normal. Perhaps the new normal will be to not look for the cheapest, largest amount available for our consumption but to look toward products raised with integrity, care, and in our locales. I prefer to raise my own meat but if I can’t, I buy direct from a farmer who I know and know their practices. Perhaps the new norm will be a resurgence of the family farm and the industrial farms will go by the wayside. Perhaps the new norm will be to respect the hard working individuals who make our world go round on a day to day basis instead of heroizing athletes, actors, or celebrities. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if our doctors, nurses, teachers, and farmers, just to name a few, were given the respected status and income for what they do out of love. That would be a new norm I could get used to.


Again, these are just musings of an idealistic soap maker who has been home for, well, a really long time. Our new normal is unfolding before us, let’s hope our new normal is an improvement over our old. As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, stay normal…whatever that means…and continue to wash your hands…even if you’re in the “Yellow Phase.”

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