Like peace, the birds have been elusive this week. I thought I had captured one in the picture above. Wrong. As my country of birth abandons public health measures in the name of making money and spirals into Civil War 2.0, my country of residence remains fixated on getting people to go out, spend money, and worship the sacred cow of summer holidays – no worries about a second wave of COVID-19 as long as the coffers of the tourism industry fill up. The air in Vienna is progressively more polluted, the noise of everyday life is drowning out the birds, and little seems to have changed. Was I naive to hope that things would be different?
Since reading the news too long inevitably leads to tears, all I can do is attempt to remain calm and carry on with my quiet life, being as respectful and kind as I can. Maybe that’s the course of action we need to navigate through the Scylla and Charybdis that is 2020: collective calm, quiet, respect, and kindness. No need to worry if that becomes contagious.
All week I promised KA cake. All week I remained engrossed in work until the cake hour had passed. Yesterday I finally conjured up a strawberry pound cake, inspired by this great post analyzing the ingredients in pound cake. My recipe:
Mix 4 eggs with 190 g sugar until well blended. Add 90 g ricotta, 40 g water, 80 g olive oil, and 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract. Mix in 230 g whole wheat spelt four and 11 g baking powder. Stir in 200 g sliced strawberries. Pour in a loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes at 170°C.
Last summer I knit an asymmetrical linen shawl with a sage green gradient yarn. When I tried it on right after binding off, I realized I would never wear it because it didn’t fit right. Discouraged, I cast it aside to deal with at a later date. Last week I started over again with the yarn. Just one more handle to go and then I’ll have a new bag for summer adventures.
A ray of light in a dark week: this radio interview with Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The cranes of the world are mostly doing well thanks to his decades of advocacy and education in countries all around the world. There are no breeding pairs of cranes in Austria, but other species such as the Northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita) and the Eurasian thick-knees (Burhinus oedicnemus) have benefited from the collective pause in human activity these past months. Though the ibis received no help in breeding this year due to coronavirus restrictions, it successfully nested in Salzburg on its own. I’ve seen them near the Konrad Lorenz Research Institute in Austria’s Almtal. With a beak reminiscent of the plague doctor’s mask, the ibis reminds me how birds are related to dinosaurs. The endangered Eurasian thick-knee has made headlines by breeding in an area that should be traversed by a highway east of Vienna. In February a court recently (and surprisingly) decided that the highway can’t be built because it would disrupt its breeding grounds.
Other rays of light reflect off these vegetables – ratatouille time is approaching.
May you be infected with calm, quiet, respect, and kindness!