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Spring has fully arrived and the lockdown is ending

Time flies as always, even during the lockdown and while we’ve all been under lockdown, spring has fully arrived here. The trees have blossomed, the first spring flowers have come and gone and now everything is turning green and lush.

And more flowers and blossoms from the garden in the following slideshow

The weather has been lovely and warm for the most part during the last couple of weeks. Of course, the cats love it!

Now that the sun is rising higher every day and it’s getting quite warm, I need shade for our balcony. I fenced in the balcony on all sides with netting that adds about 1 1/2 meters on top of the railing. Therefore, I can’t use my parasols like I did in previous years, as they’re too big to fit into the fenced-in area.

The safety net around our balcony

I was thinking about all kinds of things you can do, but the easiest way was to get a shade sail, which I’ve ordered yesterday. I’m really looking forward to having shade again on our balcony.

Before Hero and Lisa, we didn’t need to fence in our balcony so high, because the older cats didn’t care to jump onto the railing or do anything silly. With young cats like Hero and Lisa however, I knew I have to make sure they are safe and can’t do anything to get themselves hurt or lost, if they were to jump off the balcony.

Pollen everywhere!

While the cats have been enjoying their time on the balcony, I noticed that the amount of pollen increased over the days. It’s gotten so bad, that the balcony and everything else is covered in yellow pollen. Heaps of it even on the sidewalks and on cars. Even though I kept wiping the balcony floor down every two hours, it was no use. The air was absolutely saturated with mostly Birch pollen, as well as some Ash tree pollen.

Lisa after rolling around on the floor. It didn’t help that it was windy and all sorts of plant material was being added to the mess.
Hero and Lisa

I gave them all a good long brush a couple times a day and tried damp towels to get them cleaned up. It was really difficult to get it out, as the pollen mess went deep into their fur and stuck to it.

Thankfully after a couple days with heavy rain, it seems a lot better. The kitties fur is also clean by now.

Coronavirus Pandemic update

Now with the temperatures rising, we would normally leave the street-facing front window fully open, with the cat safety net on it, or at least leave it slightly open like in the following photos with Samantha:

But due to Covid-19 worries, we rather keep this one closed. I only open the front window to get some fresh air in for a few minutes, when the street is not busy every day, but that’s it.

The cats always love to sit there and watch the street, especially with the window open. Hero and Lisa didn’t even get to experience this yet, since they came to us in November and it’s just now getting warm enough.

That window is a little more than 2 meters up from the ground. So people could be a source of infection, possibly, when they walk by and happen to cough right underneath our window. The rest of our apartment faces out the back, towards the garden and there are no people hanging around or passing by in the back.

I see that other people with windows even lower than ours, who don’t seem to worry at all and leave their windows open.

The lockdown is ending now, but people started to act like it was over back during Easter

After Easter, our government announced that by the beginning of May, the lockdown will be lifted gradually. Ever since then, people started ignoring the lockdown measures more and more. Well, the majority of people still adhered to it, but the number of people who don’t was increasing steadily.

Every week since, I saw more and more people on the street and I noticed people were starting to have visitors over again increasingly. Some neighbours in our hours, for example, have been doing so for weeks now, even having parties with multiple people over at least twice a week.

Last week, as I went to pick up Samantha’s medicine from the Vet, I saw that the streets were full of people again. It looked just like before the pandemic.

Thanks to the full lockdown though, the number of infections has gone down and the curve has been flattened most definitely.

Our state of Styria is by now the 2nd worst affected with 382 active cases, after Vienna, which still has 567 cases in Austria. The numbers are of course lower than what they had been and we only get a few new cases every day.

But now with a bunch of stores opening again, as well as restaurants, pubs and cafes and the end of the stay at home order, I can’t help but feel it’s too soon for all of that. The schools and universities are probably going to open again before the summer break, which makes even less sense, since they would close by the beginning of July anyway.

There is, of course, the requirement for everyone to wear face masks in closed spaces and now there are many who simply always keep their masks on when out and about. The majority of people, however, remove them as soon as they get out of a store, despite meeting up and talking with other people outside of the stores.

It was pretty obvious that the chancellor and health minister would have rather kept the lockdown going for longer, as they have been warned and are still being warned by many doctors that this is too soon and a 2nd wave is being risked. But the pressure from business owners has been increasing and they are worried about the economy. I just think that the economy is going to take an even bigger impact if we get hit by a 2nd wave.

Social distancing is still being enforced as much as possible, but people are now allowed to visit each other again.

Ralph and I are still going to stay at home and I will be the only one going out to get what we need from the store every week or less. I’ve only been visiting one single store close to us, which is never overrun by people and they are disinfecting every shopping cart in front of your eyes and then they squirt a bunch of hand sanitiser into your hands. Everyone wears a mask, which is given out for free at the store entrance. People are also very good at keeping their distance in there. I still carry my own bottle of hand sanitiser or sanitising alcohol with me anytime I go out and I use it a lot.

Ralph, the cats and I are all well thankfully. We will keep doing everything the same way, until the Pandemic is actually over for good, or until there is a vaccination available. I am so thankful that we didn’t get sick when the virus was spreading like wildfire through our country.

But so many other countries are still experiencing the worst of it.

How are you all doing? How are things where you are?

Lots of love from us! Big hugs and purrs!

23 thoughts on “Spring has fully arrived and the lockdown is ending

  1. Glad Spring has sprung there and your lock down is ending for you. Here in my region, I’m still in lock down with snow in the forecast if you can believe that. Snow in May can you believe that?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just pray that Pandemic will be over soon, for everyone in the world. I’m worried about lockdowns being lifted too soon. As a second wave would mean that everything starts all over again.

      That’s not fun with the snow in May… But I can relate to it for sure, as we had the same thing happen in one of the previous years. Hopefully, it will warm up again really quickly for you!

      Warm hugs and lots of purrs 😺 😺 😺 😺 🙋🏻‍♀️ ❣️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Natascha how lovely to read your blog post! I have missed you so much. Where to start with this Pandemic….
    Our Province (Ontario) is 2nd highest in Active cases & deaths. Only Quebec is far worse than us.
    For some strange reason our Provincial Premier is opening Nurseries/Garden Centers with curbside service or delivery only. Meanwhile people like myself who need medical care can not get it! And I can tell you this past weekend there were ALOT of tourists all over the place; many people on motorcycles. And NO ONE is supposed to be coming North yet!! I too fear things are ‘opening’ too quickly & I too fear a 2nd wave! I have managed by some miracle to avoid getting Covid-19 & I’d like to keep it that way!
    I am relieved you & Ralph are both well & the cats thriving. BellaDharma has been a bit ‘off’ but I’ve no way to get her to Vet 1/2 hour drive away, so I hope she is all right….it is worrisome I can tell you!
    So Provincial numbers for us are slowly coming down: 340 cases today but 84 deaths (the most in our Province to date). Alot of Elderly are falling sick & not making it across the country.
    In our Counties of Grey-Bruce (we are in Grey) there is only 86 cases total with 53 recovered an 0 deaths! That is amazing isn’t it?? Alot of our town’s population are 50+ & we are all adhering to the rules so I think that is why no deaths. A few Nursing Homes have had outbreaks but they are working round the clock & gotten everyone better. The young ones (teens to 40’s) all seem to gather in groups & hang out together. So we ‘oldies’ give them a wide berth, lol…it works!
    So like Hero I think we hide under the sheets in bed for a while longer til we get an all-clear or a proper vaccine…not sure if that will actually happen. Covid-19 has mutated a few times over & there are new symptoms to look for.
    In the blink of an eye; our entire world changed. Some days I find it all so overwhelming……
    I have only 1 friend who will take me to do banking & groceries. No one else offers. In fact a few people have even stopped calling. Family wanted to drive 350 miles to me & I told them they couldn’t & explained why; now they do not call or check on me via Facebook. I try to stay positive as best I can. BellaDharma is for the most part doing well behaviour wise. She still tries to be a bit nippy but stops when I admonish her.
    Wishing all of you a wonderful May…..let’s hope we can get out a bit more soon.
    Sending (((hugs))) an <3 <3 <3 & good wishes to all, Sherri-Ellen & purrss BellaDharma

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so so sorry this comment vanished for you. It got put into Spam for no reason and for some reason I don’t get notified if something gets put into Spam. No matter what I try with the settings, it still happens. So I’m very sorry you had to type another comment. But thankfully your wonderful long comment was not lost. So I’ll reply to both of them now.

      My dear friend! I’ve missed you too! A whole lot. I’m so sorry I find it so difficult so often to make it onto my laptop and write or comment. I wish I’d find a way to go about my day better and manage to put time aside for you and other friends and the blog, as you all mean so much to me. I’ve missed my blog and the writing and communicating with you all.

      I’m so glad you’re fine regarding Covid19 and haven’t caught it. I’m so glad I was able to keep Ralph and in turn myself safe from it as well, despite having to go out for medication and groceries sometimes. But I did absolutely everything to keep distance and to clean my hands constantly with sanitiser while out. So far we’ve survived the huge wave of infections and the infections are now at a low number. But like I’ve said in my post, there is no telling if another wave will come after all that opening up now.

      Oh no, BellaDharma! You’re just like me. You probably notice the tiniest sign for something being off about a kitty right away. No matter how subtle, I notice it. I pray and send all my good thoughts and wishes, that sweet BellaDharma will be fine again soon without a Vet. It happens to cats, just like to us humans, that they are feeling under the weather sometimes, or feeling a bit off, as you know anyway. I pray that it all it is. Just by her young age alone, I’m pretty sure it’s nothing serious.

      But so true! It’s the biggest worry ever to me as well, if something isn’t right with one of the kitties. I worry endlessly about them and I can’t feel happy and normal until they are alright again. As long as one of them is not well, especially if it’s something really worrying, I have nothing else on my mind, than the sick kitty.

      Oh I the COVID numbers keep going down for your province! And I’m so glad there have been no deaths in your town! Adhering to the rules definitely goes a long way. I think that is also why Austria was able to turn a corner so quickly, as it could have gone out of control rather easily, as the numbers we had were extremely high for our small country. But it was thanks to people who (at least in the beginning) really adhered to the lockdown rules. Of course, the ice-cold weather we had for weeks during that time also helped to keep people at home. I don’t think Austria would have “flattened the curve” so well otherwise.

      But right now is a different story, as people from my experience, stopped keeping their distance when passing each other. Also, people are out a lot and in large groups. Basically, you see people behaving like everything is alright again. But it’s not. Exactly this behaviour could push it over the edge and start a new wave again. I’m sure that during a second lockdown, which would be in the lovely warm weather, people would not be complying as well as they did in March and April.

      So keep up the good social distancing 😉 Ralph, the cats and I will do the same! No matter how long, we will keep it up to stay safe until everything is clear or we get a working vaccine.
      Yeah, I’m not all that sure either if we actually get a proper vaccine. They are testing and testing, but I feel like they have trouble to create a working one, due to how complicated that virus is and how it keeps changing so much. Which is why they can’t create a vaccine against the HIV Virus, since that one keeps changing too.

      It truly is overwhelming. Just like you say… In the blink of an eye, our whole world changed and nobody saw it coming or expected anything like it. Even once we heard about the Virus wreaking havoc in China, we weren’t all that worried that it would cause a Pandemic.

      Aww, I wish I could do something for you. I’d bring you groceries and whatever else I can do on my bicycle. Since we do not have a car either.
      That is sad that people stopped calling and even your family stopped checking on you. Especially, I don’t understand it when family seem to be upset with other people, and take it as a personal rejection, when you tell them it’s not safe to travel about or visit each other. Thankfully, my Dad understands and he wants to stay safe with my Stepmom. They stay home and only go out for groceries and meds. Well, they do go to tend to their garden though.

      I agree, hopefully we can get out a bit soon. I hope everything will be alright again for everyone.

      Sweetie BellaDharma! You continue to be the lovely sweet girl you are. We all love you to bits!
      Big hugs and lots of love to you both. You both mean so much to us.
      I’m off to bed again. Hero and Sonic are already in bed waiting for me.
      Will continue to reply tomorrow, and I need to post another blog, as I have some cute photos and just talk about our days.
      Good wishes from us as well! Stay safe my friends. Love, Natascha, Samantha, Sonic, Hero, Lisa and of course Ralph! 💕💕💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many thanks for your reply Natascha! I check WorldOMeter 2-3 times a day & always check Austria.
        Your numbers for today are better than Canada!
        Austria 15,997 cases total w/ 624 deaths.
        Canada 72,200 cases total w/ 5,301 deaths. Alot of Nursing Homes & Long Term Care places lost many elderly people in our Province of Ontario & Quebec beside us!
        Your country took good action at the start & avoided what we are going thru’. We got shut down mid-March & we should have been shut down in February the latest. Like you said we all thought this Covid-19 was ‘just in China’…..boy were we wrong!
        People 50+ seem to be adhering to social distancing & rules. In Owen Sound we have had only 44 cases & 0 deaths. In our Grey-Bruce counties only 90 cases total.
        Our Premier is being VERY cautious about opening too soon which we all agree with. And our Prime Minister has REFUSED to open border between Canada & USA. The USA has the most cases far over 1 million! It is a travesty how that country is run (or not run!)
        I agree that with Covid-19 mutating finding an actual vaccine could be impossible. And what do we do when Summer arrives? No one will want to wear masks or surgical gloves. Already my hands sweat in the gloves….UCK! My BFF Judith made 2 lovely cloth masks that actually fit so I will have them at least.
        As for my family, they are all about appearances; making THE Grand gesture…..but not really thinking things thru’. I emailed them & explained. They were NOT following the rules. They are in each other’s homes & had friends over for a Birthday party & also a sleep over….And I came off as the ‘bad’ relative. I surrender!!!
        As for BellaDharma she acted up a bit yesterday but it has been weeks since she was naughty. I told her NO firmly & she finally settled down. This morning she was snuggled right beside me. Then she tapped the top of my head & gently ran her claws thru my hair. (This means it is sunny out & she wants to GO out!) ROFL!
        So we continue on each day. And we pray for all our face 2 face & local friends & to all our lovely blogging friends all around the world.
        Regards to you & Ralph. kisses to the Kitties!
        Love Sherri-Ellen & purrss BellaDharma

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Here in Ohio our governor is trying to reopen gradually and cautiously. Please stay safe and well. We enjoyed your pictures – kitties expecially. Our trees are not yet fully in leaf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Please stay safe as well! I hope it is all going to go well with the gradual opening of the lockdown in Ohio and that the pandemic will be under control for good.

      So happy you enjoyed the pictures! I’ll hope to update as much as I can.

      Big hugs and lots of purrs! Stay safe and healthy! 🤗🐱 🐱 🐱 🐱 💖 ❣️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s like you say. Most western countries will open up sometime in May. Hopefully it all goes well and the infection rate continues to go down. So glad you’re both well!
      Thank you so much for your comment! Big hugs! 😺😺😺😺

      Liked by 2 people

  4. glad you are all okay. here in michigan, a northern state, we are still closed and i’m teaching school from home. only a few options to go out – the grocery, pharmacy or to walk outside, which i take long walks every day, while wearing a mask and distancing. the numbers are still going up here and in many places all over the states, some more than others, where individual states have chosen to being opening early.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds exactly like the lockdown we had here, with just the options to go out as you mentioned. Hope everything works well for you with the teaching from home.

      It’s similar in Europe. Some countries are worse off than others, and some open up sooner than others. I just hope it will all get better for everyone all over the world.

      Really, what a year! It started off in trouble right away with the Pandemic. Which is why it’s so crazy to me how fast the time went by during all of this. So very fast.
      Continue to stay well and safe! We’re sending big hugs and the cats send their purrs! 😺😺😺😺

      Liked by 2 people

    1. So am I! Hero is totally right.
      It just seems to be such a high risk to take. They should have kept the lockdown going until all the COVID patients would have recovered and until there would have been some time without new cases. If there is a second wave of infections coming, the new lockdown would last much longer and cause a lot more problems, than keeping the existing lockdown going for a while longer would have caused.

      The really frustrating thing now is that, since the lockdown ended, people here are behaving like they don’t have to be careful anymore. Every time that I have had to go out this week I noticed that people don’t keep their distance anymore and don’t try to give you space when walking past. I tried to go out of everyone’s way, but they didn’t do the same, or worse, came even closer to me. They are pretty much bumping into you now.

      I hope there won’t be a second wave and everything will continue to get better, but seeing how people are behaving, I feel worried.

      Either way, Ralph stays home still completely and I only go out for essential things, like medicine and groceries. Most of the cat’s supplies are ordered online anyway.

      Stay safe! We all wish you a nice weekend! 😊😺😺😺😺

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Glad you are all well and it seems to be rather good in Austria. Here in the UK it is very hard, too many deaths and still too many cases every day. They are thinking of easing the lockdown and I think it is too early. However daily more people seem to be out and there are more and more cars on the road. the UK has been hit hard. I am still working sometimes form home sometimes in school. I will be worried though when they bring the children in. Children don’t understand social distancing specially in a primary school. See how it goes. My family and me are well and I intend to keep it that way.
    You are doing the right thing, continue stay distant and keep washing and using sanitizer.
    The cats are adorable. Enjoy them! Big hugs to you and Ralph. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Austria is good now, but it had been hit quite hard for its rather small size. The number of infections was increasing very fast and really high. I think what helped Austria was that the government locked down very fast and thorough. Additionally, we have a high number of ICU’s and ICU beds in our country. More than most other countries in Europe. So they were able to keep the seriously ill alive without having to choose between who to safe and who not, like they had to in Italy.

      People have also been behaving really well during most of the lockdown and stayed at home.

      But like I mentioned, ever since they mentioned the end of the lockdown for the beginning of May, people have become increasingly reckless. Now that the lockdown had ended, I noticed all week that people don’t even keep their distance anymore. It was awful anytime I had to go out. People don’t get out of your way as they had done before. I try to move aside and keep more distance when passing others, but the others don’t do the same anymore. Often, they will even come closer to me, like they are just happy to use up the space I had just made for them.

      I also agree that it is worrying regarding children and young kids. They are talking about opening the schools here soon too.

      It’s too soon and especially with the way people are behaving, I am worried that we will have another wave of infections coming.

      It’s way too soon for the UK especially. The numbers in the UK are nowhere near as good as the ones here in Austria. Our curve had really been flattened very well, but the UK started their lockdown later I think, so it will take a while longer.

      Makes no sense to me to open up so soon. To take such a risk.

      We are so so glad you and your family are well!
      Ralph and I will keep doing what we’ve been doing all through the lockdown. I’m the only one to go out and I only go out for essential things, and that as little as possible.

      Stay safe! But I know you will! You are doing a great job keeping yourself and your family safe.
      Let’s hope things go well and life will become normal again in a while.

      Big hugs! The kitties send a lot of purrs for your compliment! We’re thinking of you!
      Have a lovely weekend with your family 😊😺😺😺😺

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It is so nice that you have so much spring loveliness to enjoy from your balcony. I’m glad things have improved in Austria even if you are not ready for everything to be freed up. In my state of New Mexico in the U.S. the government is loosening up slightly on restrictions except in 3 counties and mine is one of them. I think it is important to let small businesses open using the same guidelines as the big businesses have been using.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here in Texas, as in the rest of the US, schools and universities are closed for the remainder of the school year, but no word yet on summer classes for the universities. Most states are starting to open up again slowly. In Texas, restaurants are allowed to open at 25% capacity for now. Beaches and public parks are re-opening with social distancing restriction (largely ignored). Barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and pet groomers are still not allowed to open. Like you, although I know our economy is hurting, and millions are drawing unemployment, I think it’s all too soon. The US now has 1.2 million cases with an additional 21,000+ reported daily. We are far from flattening the curve. Misinformation and ignorance is rife, a situation that is not helped by our idiot president.

      As for myself, until the curve is flattened here I will continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask when I have to go shopping or pick up meds. As a senior with a compromised immune system I’m not taking any chances. I worry and pray constantly for a sister and brother-in-law who work daily at a store that is considered essential services. People are not obeying the rules about masks and distancing, thus risking my loved ones lives. Another sister works for a doctor.

      Personally, I’m struggling with the lockdown as I live alone and have not had a pet since I lost my cat six months ago. I’ve never gone so long without a cat or dog in my home. I’ve been looking for a small dog (small apartment) but they are being snatched up at the shelters as fast as they get them.

      This all is probably more than you wanted to know, but thanks for letting me vent a little.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes every year we are so happy for the warmth to come back in spring, and to see the trees and plants to come back to life. It’s such a lovely time, all throughout spring and summer and it’s always over way too soon. Especially Ralph just can’t stand the cold.

      I hope things are going to improve all over the world for everyone soon. Everyone is waiting for life to go back to normal.

      That’s true. It is important for small businesses to be able to open. Hopefully everything goes well :-)

      Hope you had a lovely weekend! Stay safe 💖
      Big hugs and love from us all🤗🤗😺😺😺😺

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello again Natascha & Ralph & Kitties Four! I typed a rely to you for this post & my comment has vanished.
    So I will keep this 2nd comment brief. Lisa & Hero are adorable together; I love the photo with Hero’s arm around Lisa.
    All the cats look wonderful. And Spring HAS come to Austria…lovely photos. We are still very cold with North wind here & waiting for a real warm up. Ths “S” word has been mentioned in this week’s weather forecast!
    I am praying for NO 2nd wave for Austria. Canada is such a huge country that it is being left to Provincial Premiers to decide when & what to open. They open up Garden Centers but NOT Doctors/Specialists. sighs
    I need Lidocaine injections not flowers!
    Sendingn good wishes & <3 to you & Ralph & Hero, Lisa, Sonic & Samantha
    Sherri-Ellen & purrss BellaDharma

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Your outdoor space looks lovely, especially with the different flowers in the grass. I find perfect lawns very boring. Your country is doing so well with the virus! The UK is really struggling and now the sun has arrived, everyone is out in the parks, passing each other four abreast on the pathways (most without masks) even though our lockdown hasn’t ended. I wish this started earlier when it was cold and people wanted to stay in. That pollen problem sounds crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

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