Friday, November 12, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 12

Day 14+7+57, November 3. 100 new; 0 South Island. 62% of population and 74% over 12 double-jabbed.  
 
I anticipated regretting not taking a "before" picture, but it was so messy you wouldn't have been able to see what's what. I've been clearing the path to this baby the last couple of days, in another pebbled patch I worked on in the winter. Still, I should have recorded how magnificent it was. 
 
A few years ago, I stuck a few rosemary twigs in sand in a small planter. They did so well, I thought I'd like to plant one somewhere we can see from the kitchen, and plonked the whole planter under a camellia near it's prospective home. They did so well I pictured cute little roots coming out of the holes at the bottom of the planter, but no big, deal, I'll put one in the ground and move the planter back to the patio. 

One morning not long after, as we sat down to breakfast, we were greeted by a beautiful rosemary bush in full flower, coming straight at us. Did I mention it was magnificent? But it needed to move because it was growing at a 90 degree angle, away from the camellia, and the weight of the bush will topple it, I thought.
 
It wasn't for lack of trying because a few times I pruned it hard and watered the surrounds intensively to pull it out, but it proved harder than I anticipated. I tried digging, too, as recently as this winter, but it proved difficult. I thought I'd give it another go, wondering if the current dry condition in this spot might help. 
The soil around it was like sand, easy to dig, but it was far more complicated than I pictured. I wanted to save the early cheer bulbs, which I thought were between the planter and the camellia, but were in fact underneath. I knew there would be plenty of convolvulus roots and bulbs, but I never imagined that much that deep, (I dug down to 50cm almost to the level of the pebbles,) although I should have known from weeding/digging around here. After a couple of hours, I saw that there were two bushes coming out of the planter, and finally being able to wriggle the planter, the next issue came not from this end. Rosemary branches were not only touching the pebbled ground but growing roots, and in fact two of these seemed to have fed the two bush; these were easy to pull out. While at the planter end, the convoluted convolvulus root system might have been holding the planter and rosemary in place, because the rosemary roots were so shallow compared to the bush and so small. 
 
Anyhoo, this is what came out, and you can see part of the hole behind. They are taller than me. I wanted to hose down the whole thing on the patio so I can cut off the good bits, but it was too heavy I left it there. As for a rosemary outside my kitchen window, we have three or four of the next generation waiting in the wings. I can now access the camellia to trim and at least cut the convolvulus stems growing towards the sun if not remove them, but I'm not sure if it's doable in one afternoon.
Day 14+7+58, November 4. 139 new; 0 South Island. 64% of population and 77% over 12 double-jabbed. (The fancy RNZ site, I discovered today, can get a few days behind in some categories including vaccination rate, so I've switched to numbers published by the Health Ministry.)  A man in Auckland died in his apartment while in isolation. 
 
We had a cool night, followed by an overcast, blustery, and Ben thought a chilly, morning. What a relief; I had experimental bickies redux on the list. But before that I had yesterday's diary entry to write. I wasn't sure how to explain how the rosemary bush grew, and about four or five paragraphs in, I lost the lot. Redux. It was midday by the time I finished.
 
On to bickies. You know how following a recipe/measurement is important in baking? I do at the start, but butter and sugar come out; flour and sugar are substituted; different flavors go in; and liquid, oil, flour or sugar go in to fine-tune texture and taste. And I'm still not used to my cool new oven, either. And by cool, I mean, not hot. I've been baking at slightly hotter temps, or longer, and/or letting the baking dry in the oven after it's switched off. I also use almond meal, which makes baking moister and less coherent. That last was a problem because gift bickies must travel to the North Island. So instead of half-and-half, today's was one-third almond and two-thirds wheat flour. Also, I opened a new jar of peanut butter, so oilier. So today I baked a minutes longer and left them in the switched off oven to dry.  
 
Top left: old lime and honey; tasty and flavorful; our favorite; a little floury for Ben.
Top right: redux lime and honey; not enough honey nor lime juice, but dough easier to handle, especially when using two silicone spoons to shape them. Still a little moist.
Bottom left: old peanut butter, no sugar; shaped nicely, looks great, but tastes 6/10. 
Bottom right: redux peanut butter, chocolate bits, and sugar. Tasty! Definitely giftable, and well-worth the do-over. But still not "dry" in the normal way.
Day 14+7+59, November 5. 163 new; 0 South Island. I hear this i s a record high for New Zealand. There were four new cases in four different towns in Waikato; wastewater testing also indicates there may be more in the neighbouring Taranaki. Wastewater testing also revealed there are cases in Napier/Gisborne, the latter just having had the second most rain on record. Another man in Auckland died in isolating at home; crickets about the first man in the media. I haven't been able to find stories on genomic link of the orphan north-of-Northland case, either, but I haven't looked too hard. 65% of population and 77% over 12 double-jabbed.
 
Low-risk Auckland locations of interest will be taken off the list, (including drive-throughs and supermarkets;) however, "low-risks sites would still be published for areas outside of Auckland, as there were fewer of them." Still Director of Public Health "McElnay...stressed the importance of people checking the Locations of Interest regularly." Did she mean "impotence"? NZ's is a relatively small government, surely they can talk, and maybe listen, to each other. Wait until the traffic light mumbo jumbo comes into effect, or worse, the interim while some regions move on to traffic lights while others remain in levels waiting for 90% jabs.
 
We had more "my kind of weather" to respond to the call of the wild, but I answered to another kind. The sun was out so sleying, (84EPI, or close to the usual 42EPI I use for 20/2,) went smoothly, but she went behind clouds by the time I checked for mistakes. I found one 60/2 end threaded under the texolv eye, while three 20/2 ends were... what's the correct term... crossed and/or sleyed in the neighbouring slots. But it's hard to see 60/2s, I even crawled under the loom to see the B side, but not 100% sure. 
 
Lifting Pattern Shafts 5-16 for tabby is a bit of a bother on Klik, but it's a good rehearsal for what's possible on the big loom. I am ready to sample.
Day 14+7+60, November 6. 206 new; 0 South Island. 65% of population and 78% over 12 double-jabbed. I didn't do much today, not even cooking. I gazed at the screen, but did enjoy reading about and writings by UK embroidery artist Sue Stone. Her portraits of unknown people are exquisite. I started on the blog post draft about the upcoming sample, and picked up colors for the sample, but couldn't be bothered to sample. (Before proceeding with any step of an exciting project, I sometimes dive right in and stay there for days, weeks, and months, or I hesitate and dither to avoid jumping in. Is there a psychologist in the house?) 
Day 14+7+61, November 7. 113 new; 0 South Island. 66% of population and 78% over 12 double-jabbed.  
 
We went to our fortnightly supermarket trip. We now regularly go to two supermarkets in search of veg/fruits not wrapped in plastic bags, among other reasons. Sad, also, because wrapped, we have to buy whatever quantity someone decides we need, rather than one of this, and 24 of that.
 
The silly season has started, and there are... interesting gift/party items, as well as chockies, bickies and lollies in attractive tins. Ben and I have a hard time resisting attractive tins, though we try to limit to three or four a year. Some we reuse, but others, we stack on bookshelves and feel happy just looking at them.
Also, I think it was today, 27 years ago, that we came to Aotearoa NZ to live. One of the best decisions in my life.
Day 14+7+62, November 8. 190 new; 0 South Island. 66% of population and 78% over 12 double-jabbed. (I get my vac numbers from the Ministry as of midnight the previous night, so it's slightly lower than the evening news figures.) Auckland is moving to Level 3 something-something Wednesday and north of Northland is returning to Level 2 on Friday. One Covid positive person passed away in hospital, and though I don't talk about border cases, one positive returnee passed away in managed isolation. Hospitalization is increasing; at-home isolation is sky-rocketing. There are calls to stop public managed isolation facilities at the borders. Cost-wise, it sounds ideal, but when you see the houses of folks isolating at home, well, it's going to be another class/wealth advantage. Although... I suppose it's the wealthier folks who travel. 
 
But Auckland has achieved 90% at-least-one-jab; if all goes to plan, in three weeks those 90% will have gotten their second, which is a condition for Auckland moving to the traffic light system. We were flabbergasted when modelers projected 200 and 300 daily community cases, but now 1000 is being thrown around. Jacinda repeats Aucklanders are sick of lockdowns; "Look at Australia's decline of compliance after x days," "our numbers are as expected," or projected, or... you get the picture. There is talk if Auckland reaches 90% double-vaxed, they can move on to traffic lights regardless of daily case numbers.
 
Meanwhile, sampling has been happening at a 63-year-old myopic snail's pace.  
Day 14+7+63, November 9. 125 new; 0 South Island. 66% of population and 79% over 12 double-jabbed. I'm revising this entry three days later because this has been one monster of a write/delete post. Long story short, it's been hard to find updates on old stories, like deaths in home isolation, while the media prefers to cover newer, shinier items, like several high profile homocides and a gang shooting up the wrong house, (from memory, no bodily injury, but there were kids in the house;) Aucklanders lining up overnight in the parking lot awaiting retail reopening; reopening of schools and the country; and when/where Jacinda is going to visit Auckland. 

Long story short, there were demonstrations in many cities today, the biggest in Wellington marching up to the Parliament, including a whole lot of motorcycles, Trump flags, and at least one Trump mask, although sans the cartoon cosplay costumes. I also read the media heard leaders telling demonstrators to stick to their bubbles and not to break the law. 
 
Demonstrators shouted abuse at the media, sang the national anthem, played other music, pushed on the fences dividing them and the police in front of Parliament, (some said and this was the largest police operation around parliament building,) but the worst tennis balls with messages written on them, and... ummm... choc chip cookies thrown over the barrier. Someone pushed down a fence, but other demonstrators put it back up. 
 
Though this was originally anti-vax, anti-lockdown, anti-vax-mandate anti-kids-vacx demonstration, some brought their pet issue, like Anti 1080, (we kill possums by dropping them from the sky,) while others expressed misogyny, white supremacy, anti-Moslem or antisemitic sentiments. No arrests were made. There have been a lot of these demonstrations of late, but though the main culprit/s have been questioned, there have been no consequences. 
 
Oh, and a demonstrator in north of Auckland bit a policeman. 
 
Meanwhile, I sampled some more. Because of the structure of the cloth and to make my job easier, I effectively look at the B-side while I weave, and from time to time I crawl under the loom to see if I am achieving the look I'm after, but I can't really see it. In real life it's even harder to see patterns than in the photo with the sun coming from above. So I am trying to keep notes, but I'll have to wait to cut it off and wash it to see if this is working.

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