Reflecting on the Pandemic’s Impact for Our Remote Mountain Homestead

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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Winter fog
Photo by Bruce McElmurray

With the Covid-19 pandemic lessening in some areas and a hopeful feeling as more people are vaccinated, this past year has taught us terms like “shelter in place”, “social distancing” and “wear your mask”. For most it has been a very difficult or inconvenient time. It appears everyone has been impacted in one way or another and most now realize that life probably won’t ever go back the way it was before the Covid 19 pandemic. The impact has touched every corner of the earth and the impact is different depending where we are located. 

Living a Remote Life During the Pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, we chose to live remotely at 9,800 feet of elevation, but the pandemic changed even in this remote location. Living the way we used to live has changed, but the governmental restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic actually made our lifestyle even more conflicted than usual. We didn’t have to be concerned over social distancing, because our nearest neighbor is about one mile away. We therefore had very little interaction with people — unlike those living in a more populated area.

Federal And State Mandates

Federal and State mandates about keeping our distance from others was not an issue for us as we live that way normally. The issue with us was being told by authorities we had to isolate as opposed to it being our free choice. Perhaps the scary part for us was the actual virus itself, where a carrier of the disease could pass it on to others being totally unaware they were even infected. The distrust and fear generated was unnatural for us. It created a social atmosphere for us that made it such that we didn’t know who to trust. Coupled with the rising death toll from the disease it separated us from friends and our normal self isolation was suddenly a mandated and forced isolation.

Government Trust

I recently read that polls indicate that only 17% of citizens trust our government. With all the disinformation that was being distributed throughout the initial phase of the pandemic, that percentage seemed realistic in my opinion. Closing down businesses and places of public gatherings, whether to wear a mask or not or if they were effective or what was effective treatment all served to create confusion with us. We avoided people and trips to town for groceries.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Then we learned that local businesses were allowing us to order supplies online or by telephone and they would bring them out to us in our vehicle. What a life saver that improvement was for us not having to go into a store shopping and expose ourselves to catching the virus. Then we learned we were able to actually have a visit with our doctor over the telephone. We were reluctant to visit our doctor due to the fact that is where people showing symptoms of the virus were going. Now after receiving the vaccinations we are able to schedule appointments for routine tests our physician wanted us to have.

A Baby Step Toward Normal

Later in the pandemic when essential services like dental services and automobile repair facilities reopened, we can again patronize them. We are just now scheduling appointments to get our vehicle repairs done and appointments to our dentist. Some dentists (like ours) took the mandatory shut down as an opportunity to retire. We had to find a new dentist during the pandemic.

Vehicle Repair

Our auto mechanic also changed. If we wanted to wait for our vehicle to be repaired we had to wait outside and no longer had the waiting room available. They came out and got our vehicle, wiped it down, then took it and worked on it and wiped it down again and returned it to us. We just hoped our appointment didn’t coincide with a snow storm or rain while we were waiting outside.

Consequences of a Government Shutdown

Now that we are able to move around a little more freely, we have noticed that many of the businesses we patronized are closed for good. In our small town where we did our shopping, most were able to remain open thanks to delivering services to us in our vehicles. They are owned by friends and neighbors, and when we received our stimulus checks, we shared much with our local businesses. They were there for us in difficult times, and we wanted to help keep them open and stay solvent.

Winter sunrise

Photo by Bruce McElmurray

A Series of Disasters

Two years prior to the pandemic we went through a wildfire which was ranked the fifth worst our state had experienced. In our community alone, 134 homes were destroyed and neighbors and friends were no longer here. We were still dealing with the aftermath of the wildfire when the pandemic again changed everything. Factor in this winter, when we received to date 282 inches of snow, frigid temperatures, and almost continuous strong winds. Our community had to deal continually with heavily drifted roads and our freedom to move about was further impacted. We are now no longer sure what normal is.

Government Action

It would not be fair to reflect on our government’s low trust rating and not list the good things accomplished. In my opinion, our governor did a stellar job in keeping us well informed, reminding us of precautions and allowing businesses to reopen whenever possible. Those acts did much to reduce the anxiety of us citizens. Our county health agency also kept us well informed and was available if needed.

Being Proactive

We also took precautions to protect ourselves. We used the mask when we were around others, maintained a safe distance and washed or sterilized our hands frequently. We also had an ultraviolet light and we used an ozone generator on items brought home. There is no scientific proof the ozone machine works on Covid, but there is proof that it works on SARs virus and that was close enough for me. 

Vulnerable And Fearful

Hence our impact was substantially less than most people who had to work from home, lose their jobs, home school or just survive. We felt just as vulnerable as others when our government shut down our way of life and imposed restrictions. Because of where and how we live, we were not impacted as severely as most others.

Bruce and Carol live in the mountains in S. Colorado with their canine family and take measures to protect them from the wild predators that are around. They lead a somewhat different lifestyle and for more on them and their canine family visit their blog site You can read all of Bruce’s Mother Earth news posts here.

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