Living in Society

Saturday Baking

Bread made from a mixture of regular organic all purpose flour and flour of an indeterminate kind.

The coronavirus pandemic persists toward the end of its second year.

Mostly, I stayed home in January. I made five retail store visits: two to the wholesale club, one to a supermarket, one to the orchard, and another to the home, farm and auto supply store. I picked up milk at the convenience store twice when grocery store trips became too infrequent. Only so many jugs of milk fit in the refrigerator at a time.

Snow covered the ground for much of the month so I moved exercise indoors. I don’t want to risk turning an ankle on the snow pack during walkabout, or slip and fall on an ice patch. The trip to the mailbox and weekly delivery of trash and recycling bins to the end of the driveway became my main regular outings. Using sand collected from the road during previous years, I heavily sanded the ice patch where the concrete meets the gravel.

Other outdoors activities included pruning fruit trees and emptying the compost bucket. Compared to normal times, outdoors activities slowed.

Indoors, I have been cooking more and reading a lot. I finished nine books in January. I’ve been making steady progress on the autobiography. We are using up food preserved in the pantry, freezer and refrigerator.

In my quest to make a weekend, I’ve been thinking of the loaf of bread I baked Saturday. Setting aside some Saturday time for baking would be a positive, potentially recurring thing. It would also enable me to use up some of the older flour sitting in cupboard containers.

I found two containers of mystery flour. At first I thought it was whole wheat. After tasting them, I’m not sure. Mixed half and half with all purpose flour, whatever it is made a grainy loaf that was risen, yet somewhat dense. It was great for making finger sandwiches with mustard and cheese from the refrigerator for afternoon snack.

I started onions and shallots and they are doing well. In early February I plan to start cruciferous vegetables. Inch by inch the garden is beginning to grow. Outside, deer are beating a path between the plots. They are coming from the 25-acre woods and heading west to parts unknown, likely the wooded area west of our subdivision. The fencing hopefully discourages them from stopping to see what I’m growing during the gardening season. There is not much edible out there now.

Debt was incurred in January. On a fixed income, I use a credit card to handle spikes in expenses. There were one-time expenses: subscription to the Washington Post, biannual servicing of the John Deere, and printing an annual blog book. There were increases across the board on recurring expenses: the monthly escrow amount, gas, electricity, broadband, and health insurance. The debt is manageable and it won’t take long to pay down if there are no February surprises.

Noteworthy is the sense of being alone when my spouse is sleeping or busy working on a project. Since I can remember I’ve been active in society. I wrote a friend,

I’m leery of volunteering with the COVID-19 surge and all. I would like to volunteer doing something once I feel more comfortable being out in the world.

Just turned 70 years old last month, so there is a lot of living left to do.

Letter to a friend, Jan. 15, 2022

There is a lot of living left to do.