Recently, on one of those absolutely perfect early spring days, I realized the sky has not been so blue and clear since the days following 9/11. There was not a single jet trail. I saw some photos from outer space showing major cities around the world with less pollution. That’s all I have to say about that!

I’ve been scavenging in my garden. It’s amazing the amount of food still there left over from last fall. I’ve been harvesting and spending quite a bit of time in food preparation. It sure beats risking a trip to the market. It’s sad, however, since I’m a daily food shopper. Some days it is my only social life. We often joke that Cronig’s needs to set up a coffee bar. Now, I’m trying to go just once a week.

On Sunday morning I took a ride up-Island to get milk at Grey Barn. It was a sobering drive. I past just two other vehicles and the empty street in front of the Congregational Church really spoke of the seriousness of Covid-19. Somehow church being canceled seems worse than businesses.

I did, however, set my mind at ease enjoying the daffodils along the stone walls and at Polly Hill.

I’m not a great cook. I never use recipes and just make do with ingredients at hand.

One thing I found while rummaging in the garden were clumps of garlic. They were last year’s bulbs which were missed during the usual July harvest. The bulb had formed several small plants from each clove. I picked them, separated them and cleaned them. They are little garlic scallions. I guess they are called spring garlic. At any rate I sautéed up a sizable amount in olive oil and added some cubed, dried crusts from homemade bread. These croutons made a boring bean soup quite tasty.

I made a salad dressing out of last year’s pickled beets and olive oil. The beets along with raw onions were preserved in apple cider vinegar and honey — nothing else. We dumped the mixture over some pea shoots. I try to start a flat of field peas every few days so they can be cut at the perfect height every day. When the flat is finished I tip it upside down in the garden so the pea roots can add some nitrogen.

Why, I wonder, do I insist on growing food I don’t even like? For example, I grow Swiss chard because it is pretty but I never eat it. That is, until now. One of last year’s plants has put out some beautiful new leaves on its way to flower and form seeds. I sautéed them with the aforementioned spring garlic and it wasn’t terrible. I added some 18-year-old balsamic vinegar while it cooked.

I found the last of my August-planted carrots. I had never thinned them. I got a colander of tiny (and I mean tiny) roots that took time and patience to clean. We ate them raw. They were sweet and delicious.

I’m telling you all this so you will be encouraged to start a garden this year. By next March you might be happy to find something still edible on your own property.

The other reason I mention all this is because I’ve been blessed with Violet. She played her fiddle while I worked and did a lovely rendition of the traditional Irish hymn from the 16th-century, Be Thou My Vision. She made a recording to send to her string ensemble instructor.

Now is the time for some serious counting of blessings. Hopefully, we will all get through this with our humanity intact.