SIPing on the Farm


Recently I covered a city council meeting where the members talked about a shelter-in-place policy. It occurred to me then the acronym for shelter-in-place is SIP. I’ve been SIPing ever since. Although I agree the best way to combat COVID-19 is to do just that, this column is not about that; well it sort of is, but not really.

While SIPing for over three weeks, I’ve jotted down some random observations, truisms, and just plain crazy thoughts.

SIPing is a lot more fun to say than SAHing, the governor’s Stay-at-Home version of “Hey, y’all. Don’t leave your house!”

When I come in from working on the tractor (I never use the tractor; I just work on it), it really isn’t necessary to hose me down with disinfectant. I haven’t left the property and even the lemon version doesn’t taste good.

I hope the young lady who used to call every day worried about my car warranty hasn’t caught the virus. I haven’t heard from her in about two weeks.

According to some at the paper, the best way to avoid catching the virus is not to lick door knobs. That’s probably always going to be good advice.

Is there a way to use the situation to avoid cutting grass? Asking for a friend.

It worries me to watch all these television ads showing people congregating together. I hope they’ll be okay.

There are no horses in our pasture any longer, so our dog has nothing to herd…except me. Our new routine is as soon as a meal is over, he herds me by incessantly barking until I go clean the kitchen, and more importantly, give him dishes to pre-wash. I suspect my wife is behind this new trick.

Facebook has finally found its niche because it is full of funny home school memes. I take great delight in sharing them with my younger friends who have suddenly had to learn fifth grade math. My favorite so far is, “If you see my kids locked outside today, mind your business. We are having a fire drill.” One friend shot back and said her first day of home school entailed teaching her boys to clean the kitchen.

It is amazing how quickly my wife’s projects can suddenly become “our” projects. This isn’t a SIPing phenomenon. It’s always been true, but pre-SIPing I could call someone and say they needed to be interviewed for a story which never gets written. It was my escape route. Now, between my wife and the dog, I don’t have time to do my thing, which involves my favorite passage from the Tao Te Ching, “Do non-doing.” I’m very good at it.

Someone sent me a photo a week or so ago of a guy at the Oneonta Walmart leaving the store with two shopping bags. He was wearing a silver space suit complete with matching silver shoes and an astronaut-like helmet. I’ve seen stranger stuff at my family reunions, so my only comment was, “He’s only got a couple of bags. At least he isn’t a hoarder.”

The human species can be arrogant. “Nothing can happen to me!” is usually followed by a recuperation period. That said, we continue to endure thanks to much better qualities like love, tenderness, generosity, empathy, and the ability to laugh.

Mark Twain said, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” In the coming days and weeks, we may need all those good traits to see us through a dark time, but never forget humor can help light the path.