I know that LoneStar BioGas has been silent over the last two months. We have had up and down changes in our lives which has us relocating/buying our own farm! We have had our own Covid19 story that we are concerned that it might be on going. I have not had the peace of mind to string together thoughts about all of this until now. This is the relaying of information of what has been going on with Jeff and I. John, our Director of IT, has his own story to tell and we have only heard bits and pieces.
March 17, 2020 was a Black letter day for LoneStar BioGas along with the rest of Texas. Jeff had returned the week before from first flying into Portland, Oregon, then driving to White Salmon, Washington to pick up our molds and driving back through quite a few states to get home to Seguin, TX. Jeff and I then drove to Sylacauga, Alabama to meet with people that are over the build there. As we drove back, we talked about the possibility of weather and the virus possibly becoming a problem. Jeff had been in Oregon and Washington during an upswing in cases that were beginning to happen. But we, like many others, were under the impression that it was no worse than the flu. So we pushed it aside.
We got back feeling worn out. I had been suffering from traveling through states with pine trees, my allergies were kicking my butt. Jeff had done non-stop driving (over 5,000 miles!) and was starting to run a fever along with being completely exhausted. That was Saturday March 15. Sunday morning, we got a call from our Director if IT, John, that he had attended a family member’s funeral in Florida and his friend that went with him had a possible exposure to Covid19. They were beginning their 14 day quarantine. Well our son Cody had talked to him before they found out about the possible exposure, so now we were also possibly exposed as well.
March 17. Into the rabbit hole we go. Jeff called the VA nurse hotline and explained our situation. She told him (he had it on speaker phone, I heard the whole conversation) to take his family and go to the VA to be tested. So we packed up Sam and Cody and went. We got there and the bizarre fall down the rabbit hole began. Police/security for the VA met us and told us to drive around to the ER entrance. We did. Then we were told that Jeff was the only one that could be seen. That was upsetting. We were told that myself and our sons could go across the street to University San Antonio and request to be tested. Jeff went into the VA and we went across the street. After talking to an operator who basically told us to go home, then to the ER nurse that got us in to be tested, we park and are masked up and escorted to an ER isolation room. This is around 7 in the evening. The doors are closed, then taped. We have people staring in the door windows. ER staff that was not masked when we walked in, suddenly were masked. As nurses and doctors came in and out of the room, we watched them learn how to put on the proper gear and use proper pandemic protocol for the first time for most. So for 12 hours we cooled our heels and answered questions. Then we had our blood taken to be sent through a virus screen. Sam tested positive for the common cold, Cody and I had a virus that was not in that screen. Our blood was sent off to a lab to be tested for Coronavirus. The next morning we were released to self-quarantine for 14 days with the promise that we would receive our test results by the end of the week. Jeff picks us up and tells us that the VA ER doctor refused to test him. Twice. Jeff had symptoms and possible exposure but because his fever went down with a dose of Tylenol, he was dismissed because his symptoms “had resolved and was no longer a problem”. I wonder how many virus infected veterans had been turned away by this doctor. It was a sobering thought. I had asked my nurses and the attending doctor if they were ready for the upswing of the virus. I got several candid answers of “no”. I even had one nurse that was getting us ready to leave that thought the whole hype over the virus was ridiculous. I wonder what she thinks now.
So starting on March 18, 2020 we quarantined. Were we prepared for this? Nope. We had to scramble to get enough supplies, sending our youngest daughter out to do shopping and leaving it at the gate. We notified everybody we needed to, to let them know that we were in self-quarantine. And we waited. Cody and I never received our lab results, yet we are still having good days and rough days and are not back up to our usual energy levels. I cannot get any news on our test except that it was sent to a lab and may have gotten lost in the onslaught of testing that literally happened in the days after it was sent. Jeff was never retested but he has been the sickest one. He is just now having good days that he can get up and do things, but then he is usually fatigued and running fever the next day. I quietly fear that someone in the family will come down with the new strain. Sam, our son-in-law Adrian work for HEB grocery chain. Our next oldest daughter Anna-Lesa works for the prison system. Essential employees. Our first build is indefinitely postponed for now. I am wondering how ordering parts are going to go. We are watching for the second wave of the virus. How are we going to handle builds from here out? What protocols do we need to put in place? So many questions and concerns.
But we are in the process of buying our first farm together! Jeff and I have owned small farms in the past, but this will be OUR farm where we will be building a sustainable system with digesters integrated into the plan. This is what keeps us going. We are so excited to be able to have a place that we can experiment with the digesters and have people come out and do hands on workshops! People will be welcome to come ask questions, see how we structure our off grid farm, set up our gardens, pick our livestock, utilize our digesters on almost 5 acres! You will be seeing a flurry of action as we begin this adventure!
I honestly don’t know how this virus is going to change our world. But it is going to change it. It already has. We at LoneStar BioGas are already looking at the SARS-Covid19 virus is interacting with the environment. We are looking at the information coming in from waste water plants as apparently it is still showing up in the treated water. We feel that anaerobic digesters will be able to clear the virus, but we need to find answers. We will keep our website and Facebook page updated with new information and research as we all feel our way through unfamiliar territory.
Sidenote: Jeff has come up with a mask that needs no sewing. All you need is basting spray, your materials/fabric, glue, Velcro, pipe cleaners, and the pattern. He will be making a video on how to put this mask together. It is great for people with glasses and uses pipe cleaners for the nose wire which also helps to hold up your glasses. He came up with this after he and our glasses wearers in the family were irritated at the masks that got in the way of their glasses and left all of us feeling a bit claustrophobic in the breathing space department. We will let everyone know that the video is up and viewable.