Posts Tagged ‘face masks’

This year, while choosing ornaments for the tree, I felt particularly drawn to anything that looked like a bird or an angel. All the bird and angel ornaments went up. The small snowy ball also gives me a good feeling. It was from a winter wedding in 2011.

On Sunday’s trip to Rhode Island to deliver the kids’ presents, Suzanne prepped her porch with cozy, festive elements. The candelabra has a bit of a story. When Suzanne and John were still little kids, I bought two of these from a Lillian Vernon sale. When my children grew up and had their own homes, I gave each one their candelabra. They light theirs every year with their own children.

Suzanne and Erik allowed each kid to open two gifts early so Mormor and Morfar could see how they reacted while we were still at their house.

In addition to those Christams-y photos, I want to share a couple pictures from far-flung friends. Earle, in California, makes the magnificent wooden bowls on his lathe and is known to donate a bowl to one of his environmental causes at the holidays to delight the top donor.

Stuga40 is in Stockholm, where there is almost no sun at this time of year. She caught a little today after weeks of overcast skies. I asked her take a picture of a shadow, but she said the sun is so low on the horizon now that she might not be able to. In the end, she was able to get some very, very long shadows! The sun set at lunchtime.

But you can trust those Swedes to light up their nights with outdoor decorations and to make some kind of fun during the day, too. Stuga40, in the light green jacket below, stepped into the instructor’s role for the outdoor exercise class after new Covid restrictions kept the leader from traveling by bus. The woman in red is 91, and rain or snow, they all keep up the outdoor exercising. Stuga40 says she leads the group using Spotify and a speaker from home. One day, some passing teens and a few boys from a school class joined in.

Back in wintry New England, you can see that our big new bird feeder is popular. It arrived the day before we had a snowstorm, and it’s such fun to watch. The gray squirrel tolerates a rabbit but chased away a gang of 11 mourning doves. Also very aggressive are the goldfinches. Does anyone know (Nancy G.? Kim?) if goldfinches are always aggressive? The first day at the feeder we had cardinals, bluejays, a purple finch, a house finch, juncos, and even a red bellied woodpecker. Now it’s mostly goldfinches. I love them, but I do wonder.

There’s also a little red squirrel that makes tunnels under the snow and pops up all over the yard like a gopher.

Happy Holidays to Everyone, wherever you are and whatever your weather!

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Photo: Erin Schaff/New York Times
Workers assembling face shields at Berlin Gardens’ warehouse, Millersburg, Ohio, early this month. T
he Amish community is stepping up to fight coronavirus.

I know very little about the Plain People, and as is often the case when we know little about a group, we make assumptions. Amish communities are said to keep to themselves mostly, so perhaps I assumed that they would deal with coronavirus among themselves and not participate with wider efforts to tackle it. Wrong again, Suzanne’s Mom!

Elizabeth Williamson, reporting from Sugarcreek, Ohio, writes this for the New York Times: “On April 1, John Miller, a manufacturer here with deep connections to the close-knit Amish community of Central Ohio, got a call from Cleveland Clinic. The hospital system was struggling to find protective face masks for its 55,000 employees, plus visitors. Could his team sew 12,000 masks in two days?

“He appealed to Abe Troyer with Keim, a local lumber mill and home goods business and a leader in the Amish community:

‘Abe, make a sewing frolic.’ A frolic, Mr. Miller explained, ‘is a colloquial term here that means, “Get a bunch of people. Throw a bunch of people at this.” ‘

“A day later, Mr. Troyer had signed up 60 Amish home seamstresses, and the Cleveland Clinic sewing frolic was on.

“For centuries, the Amish community has been famously isolated from the hustle of the outside world. Homes still lack telephones or computers. Travel is by horse and buggy. Home-sewn clothing remains the norm. And even now, as the coronavirus rages in the country at large, there is resistance from people sustained by communal life to the dictates of social distancing that have brought the economy to a halt — in Amish country as everywhere else.

“But as the virus creeps ever closer, the Amish community is joining the fight.

“ ‘If there is a need, people just show up,’ said Mr. Troyer, a man in his 40s with a gray-streaked beard and a mild German accent. …

“The pandemic has idled hundreds of Amish seamstresses, craftsmen and artisans, and Amish people do not apply for federal unemployment benefits.

“ ‘It conflicts with our faith and our commitment to the government,’ said Atlee Raber, who founded Berlin Gardens, an area garden furniture maker that now makes protective face shields.

“Almost overnight, a group of local industry, community and church leaders has mobilized to sustain Amish households by pivoting to work crafting thousands of face masks and shields, surgical gowns and protective garments from medical-grade materials. When those run scarce, they switch to using gaily printed quilting fabric and waterproof Tyvek house wrap.

“ ‘We consider this a privilege that we can come in here and do something for somebody else who’s in need and do it right at home here, and do it safely,’ Mr. Raber said, instead of ‘taking handouts.’

“Mr. Miller, who is president of both Superb Industries, a manufacturer in Sugarcreek with medical, automotive and commercial clients, and Stitches USA, a commercial sewing operation, calls March 16 ‘Black Monday.’ That’s when social distancing guidelines laid waste to Holmes County’s economy. … Member businesses employ about 6,000 people, the majority of them Amish. Three days later, Mr. Miller created ‘Operation Stop Covid-19.’ …

“With area businesses, he set up a website and enlisted emergency workers from Sugarcreek Fire & Rescue to model prototypes of N95 mask covers, fluid-resistant gowns sewn of tarp material from Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Sugarcreek, and boot covers made of Tyvek from Keim, in nearby Charm, Ohio.

“Keim’s Amish millworkers built hardwood dividers for field hospitals in New York, the meticulous workmanship belying their temporary purpose. Berlin Gardens, which normally makes garden furniture from recycled plastic milk jugs, completed their first order of 20,000 plastic face shields for Yale New Haven Hospital last month.

“ ‘We’re close to 100,000 a day,’ Sam Yoder, the current owner of Berlin Gardens, said last Friday. ‘It almost covers our payroll. Not quite.’ …

” ‘Cleveland Clinic has been here for us,’ Mr. Miller said. ‘They saved my mom’s life many times.’ ”

More here. The part about Covid-19 challenges to the communal way of life among the Amish is interesting. Like the rest of us, everyone is having to rethink how things get done.

Deb at https://abearsthimble2.wordpress.com/, I know you are not Amish, but you know a lot more about their way of life than I do, so if a comment on this post comes to mind, send it to suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com and I will post it. That way we can work around the Comments glitch.

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Photo: Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Jars of Teddie Peanut Butter on the shelves in Market Basket, Nashua, New Hampshire. Teddie is increasing production to meet new demand.

But wait! There’s more. More, that is, on civic-minded businesses pivoting to meet the pandemic challenge. Whether it’s companies like Teddie Peanut Butter increasing production to prevent shortages (here), or the companies that are suddenly making something new, it’s all good.

Here’s a nice story by Leanne Italie at the Associated Press that was broadcast on WEARTV about a small sail company.

“On the coast of Maine, Eric Baldwin and his staff of two usually spend their days selling, repairing and washing sails for boats. They transform their surplus sailcloth into tote bags to bring in extra money.

“But when the coronavirus outbreak slowed business, they turned their industrial sewing machines to a new task: making cotton masks for caregivers and others who need protection from the disease.

‘We wanted to do something to give back,’ Baldwin said from his North Sails workshop in the small village of South Freeport, about 20 miles north of Portland. ‘Doing something like this just makes you feel good.’

“The 53-year-old Baldwin, who has operated his shop, known as a loft, for about 25 years, got the idea from employee Karen Haley. They went to work immediately and are now shipping to recipients as far away as Arizona after word spread on social media that masks were available. …

“Haley’s mother is a quilter. She raided her mom’s stash of cotton remnants to turn into double-ply rectangles called for by a mask pattern they found on a hospital website. Baldwin’s former wife got a Jo-Ann fabric store to provide elastic at a discount.

“Although they still have orders to fill for totes and sails, a portion of each day is dedicated to masks. Baldwin’s other worker, Alan Platner, volunteered to sew masks at home as well. …

” ‘I have every intention of keeping both of these people employed, and we’re not at a point yet where that’s even close to being in jeopardy, but I do think in terms of the tote business. I would be shocked if that picks up. We’re essentially missing the tourist season,’ Baldwin said. …

” ‘The response from the people has been overwhelming,’ Haley said. ‘They’ve been so appreciative of what we’re doing. The recipients include a woman who works for the Department of Homeland Security whose husband is an EMT. Others are nurses and nursing assistants. One is a social worker who makes home visits.’ …

“There’s been a run on elastic so when their stash is gone they might have to quit. He’s scrounging for more.

“Even if he’s no longer able to produce the masks in Maine, the effort is likely to continue elsewhere. Baldwin put out the word to other North Sails lofts around the country, letting them know what he was doing. Four have already offered to begin making masks, including shops in San Diego, Chicago and Annapolis, Maryland.” More.

Meanwhile in Rhode Island, as @angusdav noted on Twitter recently, “Kinder Industries shifted production today from boat canvas to PPE face shields at our industrial park in my hometown Bristol, RI. 3M raw material truckload arrived today; manufacturing begins Monday. 1st 8,000 to R.I. hospitals. Ready to supply others.”

Please give a shout-out to other companies stepping up during the pandemic. We need to remember them down the road.

Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty
In this Monday, March 23, 2020, photo, Eric Baldwin examines the stitching on a cotton mask, one of hundreds he and the employees at his sail-maintenance business are making for coronavirus caregivers at North Sails in Freeport, Maine.


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