Beaver Island is, at this writing, in the middle of a mid-April winter storm. It started with a mist of icy snow that progressed, over the next twenty-four hours, to what I can only describe as a long-lasting downpour of driving, icy snow. It sounded like pouring rain, with a hint of a hailstorm thrown in. Electrical outages, closings and cancellations ensued. The roads are snow-covered and slippery, and the snow is still coming down. Though I made it out to go to work on Sunday, I’ve been home ever since.
I am leaving the island this week on Wednesday, for about two weeks away. I’ll have one night in Charlevoix before heading down-state by bus to my sister’s house for two days. On Saturday afternoon, four sisters and I will board a plane for Florida. We’ll be there for a week, from the 21st to the 28th of this month.
So, one thing that is concerning me this morning is how to pack for travel in Michigan, just a few days away. Shall I plan to wear my winter coat, and pack a lighter jacket? There’s a weight limit for my luggage on the plane to Florida, bus also for the bus to Flint. That winter coat will be appreciated, if the weather stays like this, for the two-mile walk from the airport, where I park the car I’ll be using in Charlevoix, to the bus stop. If it’s warmer, it will just be unnecessary weight. It’s hard to throw my confidence behind the summer clothes I’m packing for Florida, when I’m looking out at a very unseasonable blizzard here!
The topic today, though, is “out.” How does that have anything to do with weather, and travel? Here’s the thing. I despise the idea of leaving perishable food behind to spoil when I leave the island. Groceries have to be shipped to the island, which adds to the cost. Throwing away food is like tossing away dollar bills. So, I try to plan so that my refrigerator is bare by the time I am ready to go away. Though I tend to “stock up,” to always have more than enough on hand, my grocery lists have been spare. My menus and meal plans have been carefully orchestrated to use up what is here. It’s not an easy dance I do.
Yesterday, I made a big pot of soup. Two quarts of my homemade vegetable stock from the freezer, plus one quart of stewed tomatoes, the last two carrots (out! that’s a score!), the leftover cauliflower leaves and stems (out!), the rest of a green pepper (out!), and six stalks of celery (leaving four more to, sadly, wither away in the vegetable bin). To that mixture I added half of the leftover pork loin, diced, a quarter cup of barley and a handful of wild rice. I’ll be able to eat soup until I leave, and put any leftovers in the freezer. I froze the rest of the leftover pork and – except for the celery – considered it a success.
This morning, with a snowstorm raging outside, I notice I have about two tablespoons of milk left in the jug. Cream for my coffee, not much more. Before the time for my departure, I will be forced to drink my coffee black. I have no raw carrots for crunchy snacks. All of a sudden, it seems I am out of everything! Even though that was my goal, even though I still feel bad about what I don’t use up, it’s a little scary to run out.