Growing Pains.

The paper sign on the door was wrinkled from condensation, so I printed another one. After the bold-lettered CLOSED, I didn’t include an explanation. Just wrote, “I think you know why.” Needless to say, Dustin and I are finding other things to occupy our time, since we have locked the doors until further notice.

Carrot Top from one of the last stew batches. Enough to feed one cartoon rabbit. UPDATE: It died.

When the New Year rolled around, I was thinking about projects, and what sort of activity I might take on that is unrelated to the business. No pressing car issues for the time being (or at least until the weather warms up a little…), and I was hoping to come up with something as a distraction rather than a burden. No house painting. Nothing requiring a climb into the attic. Maybe something that could be done in stages, say. – on my Sunday afternoons off from work. Turns out, I have more than just Sundays just now.

I wound up buying some garden seeds, starter cups, and soil, which have been sitting in the office now for months. Some of you have been gardeners for years, and will have to forgive my elevating this project beyond the trivial thing it would be for you. But the only thing I’ve grown lately is mold on bread. (And I don’t mention that with any sense of pride…)

Celery end rescued from the kitchen and set in water. Will never make a meal.

So, here I am in the bookstore-turned-greenhouse, with my food service gloves on, packing little cartons with dirt and sprinklings of seeds. I intended to read the directions but quickly discovered that you expert gardeners recommend differing soil temperatures and germinating times and lighting quantities.

After chucking all that to the side, I just laid down some dirt, dabbed in some seeds, tamped, and watered. About midway to the finish, I realized that – even with a fantastic harvest – it would have been cheaper to buy these things at the store.

Then again, I never did pick up a golf club hoping to make the PGA Tour. Some things can be ‘just for the fun of it.’

Then again, depending on our Covid status, maybe I’ll be surviving just fine on my jalapeno and chives bounty.

Shelter from the Storm

“Come in,” Bob Dylan sang, “I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.” It is less poetic, maybe, but the virus is the storm and many are taking shelter.

One of our most popular lunchtime staples is potato soup. One of the ingredients, not surprisingly, is potatoes. Wednesday, Dustin and I drove to various stores searching for a place that still offered some on the produce rack.

Hope springs eternal even in the coldest climes.

There were some big russet bakers – the kind you’d be proud to put on a plate next to a medium rare filet – for ninety-nine cents a pound. There weren’t any bagged or boxes of spuds at all. I bought a small quantity; enough to make soup for Thursday’s run of business.

Dustin offered quesadillas as the special, because the regular Thursday sandwich is served on a slider roll – of which none were to be found anywhere.

Thursday also marked the implementation of a city proclamation limiting restaurants and other Broken Arrow businesses that hosted gatherings of people – places like our local museums, gyms, bowling alleys, and so on. We had already closed our dining area earlier in the week, and sold some carry-out lunches in the following days, in diminishing numbers.

Perhaps folks are heeding the call to limit public activities, maybe in light of the decisions on the coasts to ‘shelter in place.’ We had far fewer meals to prepare on Thursday than the day before.

The hard decision is to take a break until the virus wave runs its course locally. Each day, Dustin tries to predict how much soup and stew to prepare, and he does a pretty good job of it. It is currently unpredictable, and it just isn’t prudent to prepare food, only to throw it out.

It won’t be too long – hopefully – before some semblance of normalcy will return. For the time being though, in the spirit of frugality and health, we are taking a break until the victory flag is waved.

“Come in,” she said. “I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”

Be safe out there.