It shouldn't be so complicated to go to the post office, but alas....no. Yesterday I schemed, where are some of the lowest volume post offices in the area? Which counties have no cases of COVID-19? How far should I drive? I looked at all of these variables and others to determine where I was going to least likely encounter the bug and settled upon....Grenville, South Dakota, where I happened to be thinking about in my last blog--population 54. The postmaster had NOT seen a customer since Monday and averages only about 5 a day. They are open 10 AM until 2 PM, and it has even less than 20 PO boxes in a different room so, I decided that was my ticket and away I drove up towards my cabin to mail my taxes this morning in a almost forgotten spot in the middle of the Coteau des Prairies.
Walking in, masked up, literally holding a rag of bleach in my hand, seemed to be a scene from some dark movie, somewhere. Was Terminator going to get me? I opened the two doors, which I should have included in my screening of "COVID safe" post offices, scrubbed the small dest with bleach and then alcohol, and started writing out certified mail orders and return reciepts. The poor lonely post master, seemed healthy enough and it took about 30 minutes but we got through it all. I was a little unnerved because even here, a plexiglass shield had been installed between me and the lady, if I stood right in the middle. To think of that out here, isolated that we are, is a bit daunting and worth hesitating and thinking about it. COVID-19 is going to get everywhere and kill whatever it wants, I fear, no matter what we try. I am probably delaying the inevitable, but I guess, that is what I have to try to do. I succeeded in getting the coveted April 15th postmark and after a full disinfection back in my truck with everything I had with short of fire, and on the way home, I looked for birds, since I was already out and about.
It has been a brutal and cold spring, just awful, we've had snow for the last few days, it has blown like it almost never blows up here--hard and furious well over 30 mph on most days recently and its been cold, today, the sun was trying to come out but still my truck thermometer said 28 degrees at noon, spring has not sprung, maybe it won't and we get to choose between starvation and COVID, some choice.
The ponds have refrozen over after getting the ice blown off by the wind and on many, the only open water were small holes kept open by pied billed grebes trying not to freeze in. Some were looking in a bit of a perilous state
I have never seen blue-winged teals walk on ice before (geese and mallards all the time) as usually, being smarter than most of the prairie pothole waterfowl, they come in later, but not this year, the ice is hanging on late and they have arrived in the last few to days to this. I had never seen a duck slip and fall on the ice before today either. It is a year of firsts
|an interestingly marked teal in front of a sliding bird|
|Herring gull next to an abandoned propane cylinder, you probably always wondered where they go when used.|
|No parking, although getting out might be a little damp|
So there I am, patiently waiting for the viral scurge to arrive to the flyover country of Northeastern South Dakota and I wait for spring. Only God knows which one will arrive first.