I lack even the most rudimentary carpentry skills. Apparently, I also have an unwillingness to learn or to take any type of advice or “constructive criticism.” I will not attempt to describe my latest project concerning raised cold-frames. My friend Marie said if a real carpenter stopped by the garden she wanted to be absolved of any responsibility for the project.
At any rate, I’ve now been searching the woods around my house, saw in hand. I am looking for some saplings which could be fashioned into some sort of teepee or perhaps square cage to support tomato plants. I’m sick of planting like a crazy person in the late spring with some half-hearted promise to return with some stakes. It never happens and I end up picking my entire tomato crop from the ground, just ahead of the slugs. This year I am determined to get the supports in place now while I have a couple of free moments. I recall Middletown nursery had some sturdy trellis structures last summer.
I noticed some dandelions blooming last Sunday. What a cheery sight in the middle of January. I’ve never understood the downright hatred of them by some property owners. The fact that there is actually a tool called a dandelion digger makes me feel sorry for the little guys. By the way, that tool is great for weeding between flagstones in walkways.
I hauled most of my tools into the greenhouse. I hope I’ll put linseed oil on all the handles and give it time to soak in before spring work begins in earnest. I like a tool handle that doesn’t give me splinters. One yearly dose of oil usually keeps the wooden handles supple if they don’t get left out in the weather endlessly.
We polished off the rest of the refrigerator pickles. I had done several half-gallon jugs of them over the course of the summer. We only like dill for the most part. I like the bread and butter variety but the rest of the family does not. I stopped canning pickles in a water-bath canner years ago. By years end, they would go all soft on me. I hate that. I now pack the cucumbers and dill heads into a sterilized jar, pour in boiling vinegar, salt, water and garlic cloves and refrigerate. They stay crisp until mid-winter in the fridge. Dilly beans, on the contrary, can be water-bathed in jars and stay crisp for a couple of years on the pantry shelf.
After reading in last week’s Gazette of Tom Hodgson’s sighting of snowdrops, I went out for a look around. I had nothing. Not so much as a sliver of green. My crocus leaves, however, have been showing for over a month. I think they are the ones I planted too late last year. Oh, well!
My helleborous have big fat buds about to burst at any moment. They are the lenten rose but lent is several weeks away. How do the climate change deniers make all these events fit into their narrative?
I received my Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog this week. Remarkably, they are celebrating their 40th year. Wow! I remember getting the first one. Sadly, it is no longer one of my favorites. It’s gone all glossy and there seems to be many more hybrid varieties than the heirloom and just plain old-fashioned types that I prefer. The prices, predictably, are higher than my favorite, Pine Tree Gardens. Also, Pine Tree gives a reasonable amount of seed for the home gardener, not enough to plant all of Vineyard Haven!
Recently, when balancing my checkbook, I noticed a cancelled check for $50 from the United States Treasury. I was baffled and could not recall sending them such an amount. Just yesterday I received a letter from the Department of Treasury Bureau of the public debt in Parkersburg, W.V. It thanked me for my contribution towards reducing the national debt. My memory was sufficiently jogged to recall a fit I had back in September. I didn’t think I could take one more political news show trying to scare us about the debt.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this situation. I, for one, am adamant about paying my bills. I often send them right back in the return mail. I don’t take advantage of my Medicare benefits and schedule any unnecessary procedures. I pay my taxes. I like to think of myself as a responsible member of society. It is for these very reasons that I am in favor of raising the debt ceiling and paying our government’s bills.
However, I am also extremely altruistic. I want government to care for the least fortunate in our society. I especially want children to have plenty of good food. I hate the proposed cuts to school lunch programs and food stamps. Our farm subsidies are completely out of whack. Why do we still pay big farmers not to grow crops? Why, oh, why do we subsidize any growing of corn and soybeans on enormous tracts of land? Big agriculture in this country is right up there with the oil companies ripping off the American taxpayer. Even so-called fiscal conservative Michelle Bachman comes from a family who receives farm subsidies.