Doomsday Gardens and Chicken Coops, How Are You Coping?


Some folks are reacting differently than others. Hoard or donate. Night terrors or shrug it off. Sneeze into your elbow. Elbow dap. Or both. (Eww.) Isolate or reach out and tell everyone you love them.

Toilet paper or banana leaves.

Speaking of which. My partner has reacted in a very frugal and Eco-friendly manner. She has planted what she calls her Doomsday Garden.

Current events have rekindled in her a long-dormant love for dirt farming. She bought one of those pine kits at Home Depot and loaded down her cart with bags of soil the way most folks are hoarding hot dog buns.

She tilled and toiled for days. She has grit embedded so deep into her knees and fingernails that it will, indeed, likely be the End of Days before it’s gone.

She gave each of the plants names and she kneels down and sings to them every morning now when she waters. She planted nine different types of pepper plant and every morning she proudly rattles off their varietal like a nursery schooler who just learned how to say the alphabet.

I generally nod off at “red hot chile.”

There are leafy greens and peas and beans and pods of all variety. All this a little strange since – in the five years I have known her – I don’t ever recall a single vegetable on her plate.

Truthfully, I think she’s lost her mind, just a little.

But who hasn’t? People are adapting in strange ways. I have taken to dissembling, cleaning and reassembling her .380 SigSauer P238 semi-automatic with a passionate repetition that I don’t quite recognize in myself.

She bought that particular model because it’s the gun carried by the renown adventurer Dirk Pitt from her beloved Clive Cussler novels. Except hers is pink. Perfectly color coordinated with her pink carrying case and pink protective earmuffs.

She makes for a pretty badass pistol-packing (grand) momma. Me, I just look…pink.

But I admit, she is learning how to hunker down and DIY in admirable fashion during this…situation. After going to help her son pack up from his dorm room in Natchitoches this weekend – on the way back – the alternator in his pickup gave out on a lonely stretch of I-49.

After coming up empty trying to find a mechanic on a Sunday evening in the middle of nowhere, she drove her car 30 miles to the closest auto store, bought a new alternator and the tools required to install it and – after a brief tutorial on YouTube – replaced it.

She was pretty damn proud of herself. At least, I’m guessing she was since she wrote a 2,000-word post about it (with accompanying photos) on Facebook. “If people would learn from my experience,” she told me, “we’d all be for the better.”

You’ve heard of social distancing? She’s more of a social insister.

I’ve been out in the woods with her for nine days now. She’s become a little impatient that there are no fresh vegetables yet to harvest. Hands on hips with an unmistakable gaze of disappointment upon her lazy legumes, her eyes then fell upon a long-neglected chain-link dog kennel behind her house, obstructed from view by a cover of weeds and vines.

“I know!” she said to me. “Let’s get some chickens!”

So, how are you coping?




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