Wrap-Ups can be hard posts to put together and the August 2020 piece is no exception. In addition to the bucolic happenings in my rural part of the world, many events of note are occurring elsewhere. Unfortunately, the news from outside my hamlet is both disturbing and distressing.
Most significant from my point of view is the continuation of violence in American cities. Perhaps readers living outside of the United States see the civil unrest as more of the same. But my perception is different.
Some of my earliest memories arise from the year 1968. A year in American history marked by assassinations and protests. The issue of civil rights for African Americans played a significant part of the unrest in 1968 and is a key component to 2020 protests. Additionally, young people in 1968 as in 2020, formed the heart of the disruption. The Vietnam War also played an important part in the history of 1968. The prevailing uncertainty of 2020 is the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both years also share the aspect of a Presidential election.
However, in my mind the unrest is different in this year of perfect hindsight. The divisiveness is uncivil. Finger pointing and name calling have given way to bricks, Molotov cocktails and most upsetting, bullets. It seems to be Blue Lives Matter versus Black Lives Matter. And God help you if you try to insert All Lives Matter. Those three words are akin to the kiss of death. Just ask Hillary Clinton.
Political pundits and others claim outside influences. Multiple countries have been stipulated. This concept dates back to the cold war. Author Helen MacInnis posited this type of psy-ops in many of her books. This is a theory bandied about but to date no solid proof.
The pandemic continues. Much like an ocean tide its’ intensity ebbs and flows across the globe. An area or country is thought to be past the danger when new infections pop up. As of yesterday there are 8 confirmed cases of re-infection. I fear we are far from the end of this virus.
Covid-19 has also caused conflict, and not just here in the United States of America. Mask or no mask, closed borders, restricted travel, herd immunity or flattening the curve, each approach finds opposition among the populace. Each individual must weigh the risks because collectively most nations have failed to balance the health danger with economic collapse. The end result is a failure of both.
Furthermore, the rush to find a cure is problematic. First is the shortened time period and reduced number of trial participants in order to put a vaccine on the market. This leads to the second problem of public skepticism.
In authoritarian run countries, the citizens will not have a choice. The vaccine will be required. In places where individual freedoms are core to the culture, the government(s) must convince the public that the vaccine is safe. This will not be an easy task in countries such as the U.S.A. where the response has been ambiguous at best and disastrous in some states and localities.
A distant third in the list of national and global concerns is the financial crisis. The debt levels in the United States are spiraling upward as can be seen in the debt clock by clicking here.
Perhaps more concerning to those with an economic background is the changing role of the Federal Reserve. In the past, the primary role of the Federal Reserve has been addressing inflation and unemployment through monetary policy. This is no longer the case.
Perhaps due to the political climate in Washington, D.C. the role of the Federal Reserve is evolving. An excellent discussion of this change is in the latest newsletter from Allison Schrager. Click here to access her website and sign up for her newsletters. Or click here to read my review of An Economist Walks into a Brothel.
August 2020 for Econogal
August 2020 contained many days of triple digit temperatures. Yet the garden kept producing vegetables. I was able to read quite a few books, scientific papers and blogs. In addition to working on quilts, masks were made as it seems we will be wearing them for a bit longer.
August 2020 In the Garden
The garden continues to produce much of our fresh produce. Green beans, eggplant, Swiss chard, cucumbers, beets, onions and tomatoes made regular appearances at the dinner table. On occasion, enough ripened simultaneously to preserve.
The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving is a life saver for a home gardener. I do not have space for multiple rows of tomatoes or cucumbers, for example, and it is nice to put a small amount up at a time. This winter we will enjoy opening the garden bounty as well as sharing s Christmas gifts.
I spent a few hours picking grapes at the home of a relative. My own grapes are not yet ripe due to a late freeze. I love grape jelly. However, it has been a bit difficult finding the low sugar pectin. So the full sugar recipe was also utilized.
Visitors to the garden were beneficial insects, bees and spiders. So far, no orb spiders with their distinctive web. But spiders are welcome additions to the garden. I just need to remember where the webs are.
I also had human visitors to the garden. Three family youngsters brought me honey and sand hill plum jelly. I sent them home with enough Swiss chard to make Swiss chard with Raisins and Almonds. As they left, air hugs were exchanged. Such is life during a pandemic.
August 2020 In the Library
I read a variety of novels this month and reviewed the best of them. This month I concentrated on books that were either uplifting or offered escape. Sometimes you need a mental break from the difficulties of life. A balance of entertainment keeps one grounded and ready to face life’s tasks.
Non-fiction continues to be a struggle. Perhaps the scientific and business articles I am reading need an offset of light hearted fiction. Plus, my reading is predominantly from Libby or Kindle. I have yet to make an appointment to browse at my library. A requirement now that Covid-19 is making the rounds of our small community. Nor have I had the pleasure of wandering around a book store. Usually these two places are my sources for non-fiction.
August 2020 In the Kitchen
We continue to create new dishes in the kitchen using fresh produce from the garden. However, I am glad Econogal is eclectic versus solely based on food. I either forget to take pictures, or take pictures and forget to write down the recipe. So you can guess what will feature in next year’s resolutions.
I am so glad I learned to sew many years ago. The quilting offers inspiration. I love working with colors.
But the ability to make my own masks is wonderful. I do not like the elastic around my ears. Nor could I find any until just recently. So my masks have ties. Plus, I can color co-ordinate masks to my outfits. Many sacrifices need to be made with regards to the pandemic, but fashion doesn’t need to be one!
4 thoughts on “August 2020 Wrap-Up”
Swiss chard with raisins and almonds??? I’m not a huge fan of Swiss Chard, but always interested in new recipes.
I posted the recipe a while ago. If this link doesn’t work just do a search of the site. The search symbol is in the upper right corner of the header just after the Disclosure and Privacy link.
This month’s wrap up hit home on a number of things. Helen MacInnes was one of my favorite authors, and I grieved when she died for the loss of more books. I may see if the old ones are still available to start all over again. So glad that you are still enjoying the Swiss Chard recipe. We were able to find some at the farmers market recently, and it is still a favorite. We recently received our latest property tax evaluation and it confirmed what you see on the debt clock. Average home prices have doubled since 2000, and that includes the huge downturn of 2008. Philosophically, and not as an economist, I look at the total cost of housing. Young people today are spending more per square foot, but less on interest. We bought homes at a much lower price per square foot, but went through the period of 8.75% mortgages. The bottom line monthly housing expenses are probably similar. But, I do worry about another 2008 crash. I do read more non fiction, but picked up Pie Town on your recommendation, and I enjoyed it very much. Check out Colin Woodard’s American Nations from 2011. I think you would enjoy that.
I will look for American Nations. I still have most of the MacInnes books you gave me long ago and have added quite a few from Friends of the Library book sales.
I am amazed at what “starter homes” cost now.