I don't know whether to laugh, or cry! Or rather, I know I should cry, but I can't help giggling all the same. I arrived at the Bakery this morning at 4 a.m., a little earlier than Tenciero expected. The look on his face! Guilt, surprise, and defiance combined. I only caught a brief glimpse of Iphan as he fled into the back. Pruittiporn was the only one with a clean conscience, and she coaxed Tenciero through his confession.
I suppose it could be worse. Last Wednesday, while I labored in Tuscany destemming grapes, Tenciero left Iphan on his own for a few hours to work on the bread. Now, on the face of it, this was a reasonable act of trust. Iphan is quite good at making dough, and is very conscientious about following instructions. His problem, related to his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is that sometimes he gets caught in a loop of actions, and doesn't stop when he should. Tenciero returned to find four times the number of loaves we would normally turn out for a day!
Poor boy, I have to give him credit for dealing with a bad situation. Clearly they couldn't sell all that (however good the Radiant Rye Bread and Perfect Pumpernickle, there are limits to the market.) So he called Pruittiporn and together they hauled the extra down to So Others May Eat to distribute to the homeless. The street residents of D.C. got an abundance of fresh hot loaves for once, instead of the unsold loaves we take down three times a week. And I guess I take a tax writeoff.
The biggest issue is that this throws off my schedule for restocking flour, the procurement of which is an elaborate and fragile arrangement. The grain I have sourced from Eastern Virginia. It comes up via New Pony Express when I send a pigeon down to tell Elana how much I need, and when. I send back honey in return, from Russ' bees. Russ gets a free supply of cakes and muffins throughout the year. Then I have to truck the wheat out to Colvin Run Mill in Fairfax County. (I coordinate with two other bakeries in town, so we can share gas whenever possible.) Thank heavens the Park Authority had the foresight to preserve Colvin Run as a working mill all these years. The volunteers who kept it running through the decades preserved the vital skill of milling grain into flour harnassing the abundant (and free) power of the river. The current miller, Umi-Shakti, is quite happy to trade labor for a combination of bread, honey, and a selection of fresh herbs from Sheila's market garden. Sheila, in turn, gets her crops pollinated from Russ' incredibly valuable little pollinators. (Russ, being her neighbor, provides this service for free, since the bees gotta eat, after all.)
So today was spent hustling out messages to get this started a week earlier than expected. Meanwhile, I am carefully calculating what I have on hand to take me through to next weekend. I am thinking there will be a lot of Wholesome Whole Wheat on the menu for a few days.
Vitali is back in operation, teaching lessons at the fencing salle, so I can go back to just practicing instead of teaching the little tykes to lunge, parry, riposte. I kind of liked it while it lasted, though I know V. thinks I am (after thirteen years of study) still unqualified to teach anything, with the possible exception of footwork. At least my Russian has improved...