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Hey y’all, what’s with the run on yeast? James has been making all of our bread for a couple years now and there has always been plenty of yeast at the store. Now we can’t find any anywhere and we are running perilously low. Lunchtime sandwiches and toast at breakfast is in danger!

Yeah, I know, everyone stuck at home has suddenly decided that baking bread is THE thing to do when most all these people have never baked bread in their lives. So they’ve bought all the yeast. And how many have actually baked bread since buying that yeast? I’m going to wager not many. Or if they have, it was a novelty but not something they are going to do again or even regularly. Meanwhile, those of us who need the yeast for making their daily bread, are out of luck. We do not buy bread at the store because plastic. This is worse than the toilet paper hoarding!

So, James has resorted to testing out no-yeast breads, which is perfect for Passover, but not all that great for burger buns. He made bread today that is more like one giant biscuit than a loaf. Though it will go well with the stir fry we have planned for dinner tonight.

He is also trying his hand at making a sourdough starter. He started one last weekend and it was doing fabulously until Wednesday when is suddenly died. He was baffled. After a little research, he figured out it was because we went from warm sunny spring when the culture was getting started to, on Wednesday, a big drop in temperature and light snow.

After wandering around the house looking for somewhere consistently warm and insulated against the vagaries of temperature swings, he decided our linen closet was ideal. Not only is it insulated with towels, but it also has a heating duct running through it. He started a new culture today and stowed it on a shelf among the towels.

He also came to understand that the culture is a living creature that needs not only to be kept warm, but also regular attention (stirring) and feeding. We now both understand why the Zero Waste Chef names her sourdough starter. I suggested that should he manage to midwife the culture to birth as sourdough, that he should give ours a name too. I even offered to knit a sweater.

If, no when, he manages sourdough success, we will not need to worry about when there might be yeast at the store again. But this process could take one to two weeks, enough time for the leavened bread situation at my house to become dire.

One fermentation project that succeeded was the sauerkraut. You don’t have to worry about killing anything to make sauerkraut. Even if the fermenting is slow, if you wait long enough, the magic happens. And it happened! Came out really good too and I am not generally a fan of sauerkraut but this is making me rethink that. Just like in the past year I have become a fan of coleslaw, variations on cabbage seems an intriguing culinary path to take. Good thing I had decided to grow purple cabbage in the garden this year!

I have a small tray of seeds I started indoors at the Equinox. While I can direct sow kale and cabbage, I started a few for an earlier harvest. Then in a week or two when I can direct sow the cool weather seeds outdoors, I will seed more cabbage and kale along with peas and radishes. Speaking of radishes, I have heard fermented radishes are pretty good. Anyone try them and can offer an opinion?

Today while tending my indoor sprouts I noticed a couple very tiny ground cherries finally have poked up from the soil. I am happy to say hello to them because I had begun to despair they would not make an appearance. I have to be careful my excitement does not overwhelm them.

Outdoors in the garden the Dashwoods are happy happy happy. Today they are getting their last run of the place because tomorrow they will be banned to the chicken garden for the duration. Things are sprouting and they will inadvertently destroy them. I need to get the mulch off the herbs in the herb spiral and remove the mulch and row cover fabric from the garlic. I have also noticed arugula sprouts popping up. The strawberries are beginning to fluff themselves up. The rhubarb is looking delightfully wrinkly and prehistoric as its big leaves sprout up and begin to unfurl.

Too early for actual blooms except for spring bulbs. The tiny blue scilla I love so much and that love my garden—their patch grows bigger each year—are a lovely shock of blue against the still prevailing brown.

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or the simple blessing of being alive, I hope you take time to stop and enjoy the budding spring (or the harvest of autumn). We are not able to get close to people right now, but we can hug trees, smell flowers, sit on the bare earth and reach out to our non-human family. Peace and love and well wishes to you all.