I hope you’ve had a great weekend. Mine was spent working this patriotic puzzle I purchased before the COVID-19 pandemic started, thank goodness.
Media focused on the toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages, but there’s another shortage going on—a pandemic jigsaw puzzle pandemonium.
As people tire of binge watching Amazon Prime and Netflix, they’re doing jigsaw puzzles. Worldwide puzzle sales are up more than 370% since March.
It’s understandable. Fitting puzzle pieces together is a diversion. And during these months of social distancing and sheltering in place, heaven knows we need diversion.
Jigsaw puzzles aren’t a new thing. John Spilsbury, a map engraver in England, mounted a world map to a sheet of hardwood and used a hand saw to cut around country boundaries in 1760. He called them “Dissected Maps” and sold as a tool for teaching geography.
Centuries later, I used map puzzles in my classroom for the same thing.
With the invention of the foot-pedal jigsaw in the 18th century, puzzles became more easily produced and new cardboard die-cutting techniques created puzzles like we see today. Styles have advanced with more technology. Modern 3D block puzzles let you create multiple puzzles using the same pieces.
Jigsaw puzzles provide cheap entertainment because they can be completed, scrambled, and passed around within a family or community. With increased pricing and limited availability, people have come up with creative ways to share puzzles.
The Irish Athol Congregational Church created a drive-thru puzzle swap. You stay in your car, drop off a puzzle to be disinfected and move forward to pick out a disinfected puzzle.
In Omaha, Nebraska a bookseller runs a puzzle exchange. You trade a puzzle for a puzzle or a donation to the local food bank.
This puzzle mania may be to relieve coronavirus boredom, but psychologists say puzzles are so much more than just a way to pass the time.
Angela Garcia, PhD, a professor at Bentley University who has been researching puzzles for more than 20 years, says, “Puzzling lets us experience the closure and success we do not always get to experience in real life.”
I’ve always been a puzzle lover. There’s always one working around here . The enduring lure of puzzles is they’ll always be an escape.
Want to try a puzzle? Here are some sites that offer free online puzzles:
The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Canada https://www.jigsawplanet.com/FisherLibrary
Jigzone.com has a variety of puzzle sizes and shapes. You can even upload your own pictures and make them into jigsaw puzzles or send a jigsaw puzzle postcard. My favorite feature is the daily jigsaw puzzle in my email.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
They are particularly prolific in the shed and frequently crawl into the water jugs for a drink and then drown.
When I pour out the water, the roach falls out and whoever is closest grabs it.
Lucy was quick to grab it.
I pour the water that doesn’t fit into the water bowl into the duck pond.
I guess Lucy really likes this addition to our morning routine. She has started laying eggs again.
Happy 4th of July!
This year’s 4th of July must look a lot different in order to abide by public health orders and keep us all healthy. But even COVID-19 shouldn’t stop a run around the backyard with an American flag.
If you viewed the blog early on Monday, you saw a white space where there should have been a picture taken by my photographer daughter of two boys (her sons, my grandsons) running with flags.
WordPress decided that photo was a security risk and deleted it.This is a stock photo from DepositPhotos.com Same idea. Not a security threat.
Strange because I’ve been using that picture for years around the patriotic holidays, but then it is 2020 and so much that used to be isn’t.
You can still grab a flag and run through your yard with an American flag and grill a nice, juicy burger to celebrate America’s birthday. Let’s hope.
Growing tomatoes in our yard is such a struggle. I woke up to this scene recently.
I suspected a deer.
They’re in our yard All. The. Time. munching down on whatever suits their fancy.
Not usually so close to the backdoor when they’re in the backyard.
I must have frightened them when I turned on the kitchen light and they got a whiff of Finn’s scent.
But where had the tomato cage gone?
It was too dark to explore, so I took Finn and Buster for their morning constitutional, came back inside, and had a cup of tea while I waited. When daylight arrived, I found the telltale footprint beside the downed bottle tree. Plus, a piece of the patriotic pinwheel that was mounted on the tomato cage.
I searched our front and back yard but found nothing.
Somewhere in our neighborhood there must be a deer with a tomato cage stuck to its body.
Or, a neighbor woke to find a tomato cage in his yard with a broken patriotic pinwheel attached. He probably scratched his head and said, “Huh?”
The pot has now been righted and the plant re-staked. Only two tiny green tomato casualties, thankful. Hopefully the survivors will eventually mature and produce Hubby-dear’s homegrown tomato.
But people, I tell you this quest is a REAL struggle. What can happen next?
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Last summer we got a new car – a 2017 white Honda Accord LX. We named her Gertrude the Great White Whale Take Two. I wrote a blog about it here.
Fortunately there is a liner in the trunk so I simply dipped out the water, took out the liner, and in a day of Texas sun, the trunk was completely dry.
The rest of the car, however, did not fare so well.
Because the trunk was open, the tail lights took direct hits from the hail.
We decided to keep her anyway. The inside is great and she still drives wonderfully. I figure this is a type of anti-theft insurance.
If someone is going to steal a car, chances are they won’t steal one with hail damage!
Hubby-dear loves fresh tomatoes. Growing them in Colorado was hopeless without a greenhouse, which we didn’t have.
Our first year back in Texas’ warmer climate, we bought small tomato plants.
We babied the plants. Fed. Watered. Positioned the pots around for the best sunlight.
Nothing. Not even a bloom for the birds and squirrels to nibble.
Determined, we tried again the next year. This time we picked a different grower for the bedding plants. Birds or squirrels ate all the blooms.
Hubby-dear threw up his hands in frustration. We’ll buy from our lovely farmers’ market.
Then this year, I spotted a couple of marked down tomato plants at the grocery store and decided we’d give homegrown tomatoes one more try.
Both plants had blooms proving the plants could, at least, produce blooms. Those blooms quickly dropped off once the plants were in our backyard.
“Wait,” I said. “There’ll be more blooms.”
New lovely blooms did appear. We attached festive windmills to discourage birds then sprinkled with special tomato food. I remind them every day, how much Hubby-dear loves fresh tomatoes.
One day when I went out for our daily chat, a tiny green marble-size ball appeared, then another and another.
Patience and persistence paid off. We currently have eight baby tomatoes.
Hubby-dear is counting the days until he can have a juicy slice of his first homegrown Texas tomato.
Me, I don’t even like tomatoes. Don’t eat them.
But the pleasure of watching him enjoy the red juicy fruit is priceless.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
The weather in Texas is notoriously strange. It can be storming in the front yard and clear in the back. This was not the case, however, during our recent hail storm which destroyed our roof and totaled my car (more on that next week).
I was naturally concerned about the chickens and ducks in the back yard.
I waited until the sky stopped falling and went to check.
Despite their bird brains, they all managed to take cover and not one was hurt during the storm.
Fortunately both items were easily replaced and the ducks are blissfully unaware of the danger they had escaped.
In contrast, Beekeeper Brian and I are keenly aware of the blessing it was to get away with only material damage.
Things are replaceable. People are not.