Common Ground by Jennifer M. Latzke, High Plains Journal

From the posts of my friends, it seems that the last 60 days or so of this COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a tremendous amount of learning new skills and refining or reconnecting with ones they’d forgotten.

Many of my friends have been baking and cooking whole meals from scratch in home kitchens that have been rarely used for more than boxed dinners and pre-made party platters from the deli section. They’re dusting off expensive appliances from their wedding registries and researching how to make sourdough starters from scratch now that they have added time at home. Necessity has them researching how to prepare chuck roasts or debone chicken breasts since that’s all they can find at the local store when they venture forth from their homes.

The individually portioned, heat-and-eat items either aren’t available to them, or they’re finding they can save more money by prepping their food at home themselves.

The pandemic has given rise to a crop of home seamstresses, dusting off inherited sewing machines to whip up batches of homemade masks. The last garments those machines saw were drop waist Laura Ashley print collared dresses for a 4-H fashion review 30 years ago. Actually, some of those masks are re-purposed fabric from those same 4-H projects found in their inherited fabric stashes in cabinets and plastic tubs. Still, everyone must pitch in and do his or her part.

My friends who are parents are now suddenly thrust into a changing role as homeschool teachers. They find themselves needing childhood education enrichment exercises to complement the online education that their kids’ teachers are providing via Zoom. They need solid advice for questions that were once answered by their children’s childcare providers or teachers.

I’m seeing more friends using their forced home stays to turn random Pinterest dreams into reality with more gardens planted, new chicken coops being built and new home DIY projects started and finished.