Dried Out Starter
I'm trying to restart a sourdough starter after a long hiatus. However, I keep finding that my starter dries out/gets very crusty within the first couple of days. I usually place the flour/water mix in a mason jar and leave uncovered on the counter to wait for some activity to happen. But it always dried out before any activity seems to happen and I don't give it another feeding. I leave it uncovered because isn't that how the natural bacteria is supposed to mix in? Should I cover it with a mason jar lid?
I also live on the East Coast so it's mid-winter and the temps are rather low. I keep my apartment at roughly 65 degrees but it can dip lower than that. To keep the starter warm, I often place it on the heating vent. Does this seem to work?
Any other suggestions to getting my little starter going strong so that I can start baking?