A while ago I talked about my maternal grandmother, Nonnie. She was a letter writer. She began every one with a weather report from Rew, Penn. I still have a box of those letters. I figured it was a good way to start this column. I never have to think up a catchy lede.

This week, however, every part of my life seems to revolve around the impending doom of coronavirus. I’ve always been a prepper. Just mention a possible hurricane and I start filling buckets of water, loading the freezer with plastic water jugs and getting all the dishes and clothes washed.

This unseen peril is something entirely different. I understand people stocking up on toilet paper. They don’t know what else to do to feel any sort of control. I bought a roll the other day and a woman told me I should get more. Being my usual cynical self I said: “If we run out of food we won’t need toilet paper.”

I’m still a brat at my age.

What am I talking about? I still have sealed canning jars of water from Chernobyl for Pete’s sake.

Spring has begun to arrive on the Island. Hope springs eternal. The vegetable garden is covered in Purple Deadnettle. It must winter-over since it is already flowering. It is pretty and is covered with honeybees on warm days so I hesitate to pull it. Hence, it’s return every year.

There is a beautiful heather on the corner of State Road and Causeway Road in Vineyard Haven. I’ve never had much luck with either heath or heather. Supposedly, they thrive on benign neglect. I have plenty of that behavior.

Last year I left leeks in the ground all winter. They all rotted. I meant to pull them in November this year and store indoors. But I never got around to it and yet they are still perfect. There is much to be said about a mild winter.

Also, I just cooked my last squash. It spent the last six months sitting on my kitchen counter. It was still firm and delicious. The variety was Queensland Blue. It was the size of a basketball with a lovely blue skin and dark orange flesh. It’s worth growing.

This past month I shoveled a dumptruck load of native pea stone onto my driveway. In most places it is two inches deep. Several crocuses came right up through it. How fun is that?

Also, the elderly dog had an accident on the area rug. I hauled it outside and put it under the grape arbor. Crocuses came right up through that as well.

How I wish I had not complained about the lack of “downtime” this winter. I’m getting plenty of it now.

In the process of organizing the pantry I came across my old copy of The Tassajara Bread Book from early 1970s. I have made bread from that book all these years from memory. Because I cannot think of anything more important this week indulge me as I quote the first page.

“We need more cooks, not more cookbooks,” wrote Charles V.W. Brooks. “Bread makes itself, by your kindness, with your help, with imagination running through you, with dough under hand, you are breadmaking itself, which is why break making is so fulfilling and rewarding. A recipe doesn’t belong to anyone. Given to me, I give it to you. Only a guide, only a skeletal framework, you must fill in the flesh according to your nature and desire. Your life, your love will bring these words into full creation. This cannot be taught. You already know. So, please cook, love, feel, create.”

Good health to all. Remember the comforting words during the London Blitz? Keep calm and carry on.