We were all looking forward to the First Day of Spring in March because it always promises to accompany nice, warm weather, although that doesn’t always happen. Then early in this month of April came Palm Sunday and Easter. We hardly noticed the arrival of any of those days because they were all so much alike and we ended up with each day observed pretty much the same, all pretty much alone at our house.

On Easter Day, we followed our corn flakes/raisin bran breakfasts with the Scriptures and sermons on my cell phone by Pastors Emily and Dave Koehler from Sugar Hill Presbyterian Church. Then it was YouTube services of word and song from Pastor Christopher McCloskey from our own church, the Brockway Presbyterian. Lunch was delivered just inside our dining room door by our children Jill and Bill. The remainder of the day was filled with our usual Sunday programs of informative TV and news until bedtime – very much the same as every other day before and after.

I do manage to get out once in a while following the guidelines prescribed by President Donald Trump and Governor Tom Wolf and their advisors. I haven’t worn a mask since the “Cowboys and Indians Days” of my youth when I tied a colorful bandana around my face; however, I found a sufficient dust mask on the family-carpenters’ work bench. I was a little apprehensive when I approached the grocery store until I saw that almost everyone else were wearing similar or strange-looking creations for the same purpose. I’ve been out about once a week for groceries and an occasional stop for legal medications. I expect to continue that pattern and sometimes my wife will ride along in the back seat just to “get out of the house”.

I have made a few phone calls to find out how other people are doing and, this week I decided to check with my farm friends to hear what’s been happening at their places. Since I’ve been very involved with dairy promotion for many years, I started with dairy farmers. On the cable news, I’ve seen some sad farmers allowing their milk to go down the drain with no market available as a result of the closing of their primary consumers: the school children with their schools’ being shut down; and people who aren’t getting milk out of stores because of fewer shopping trips. Why isn’t surplus milk being processed for future needs as powdered milk or cheese?

My farmer friends do wonder why some milk cases still have signs that restrict the number to be sold, much like toilet paper (???). We feel the answer here comes from break-downs in the supply chain as dairy products move from producer through various modes of transport to the consumer. In the good old days, consumers often dealt directly in private deals with the farmers. This is also happening today with consumers looking for produce. Seeds were planted all over the country in “high tunnels” and greenhouses at appropriate times around the first of the year. Seeds don’t pay any attention to government regulations about growing rates and quarantines, they just grow and grow.

We understand that there is increased interest in planting seeds and growing gardens of fruit and vegetables. Penn State Cooperative Extension Offices has announced plans to offer information and training programs at the county seats. Contact Rick Kralj at the county offices in Brookville, Ridgway, or Clearfield to enroll in canning and freezing as well as growing your own food. Check with Fremer’s Greenhouse at Brockway, Shaffer’s Greenhouse at Pansy south of Brookville, Hanzely’s Greenhouse at DuBois or other neighborhood greenhouses. You can call in your order and they will have your requests all ready for you to pick up. Be a farmer while you hang out around home!

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