Load 16 tons,

What do you get?

Another day older

And deeper in debt!

I ran into Nancy Hall in the Vineyard Haven post office, who reminded me of this song from the early sixties. We spent some time lamenting our sorry state of financial affairs nation and worldwide.

Leaving the post office, I noticed the boxes of sedums still looking decent with a tweensie American flag poked into the center. Regrettably, I also saw an enormous amount of discarded cigarette butts. Smokers, please have a little common courtesy. Haven’t you been taught to field strip them? Those filters will be there until the cows come home.

My mother and her mother before her were postmasters in Rew, Penn. Nonnie, my grandmother, was owner if the actual building and rented it to the United States government for use as the town post office. It was always neat around the entrance thanks to my folks.

I was rummaging around in my vegetable garden and came across quite a few beets. I planned to feed them to the pigs but thought the better of it. After thawing them, the bigger ones were still edible. With oil and vinegar on a salad they were quite tasty.

I broke down and bought some daffodils on sale at SBS. I planted seven or eight in a hole that measured one foot square along with two healthy handfuls of bulb stone. I sprinkled another handful on top of the dirt to feed the skunks. I find it satisfies them so they do not dig down for more, unearthing the bulbs in the process. Who knows if this is true? I just do it.

I have a beautiful mature crabapple just loaded with fruit. After a storm the raindrops hang from each little apple like diamonds. Last week, after it turned cold, a flock of Eastern mountain bluebirds were in the tree polishing off all the fruit. It was a breathtaking sight. I do not put out bird feeders since I have a few barn cats who would consider it lunchtime. Nonetheless there is a remarkable variety around the property including a pair of cardinals. I leave the spent flower stalks until they eat all the seeds, which is a handy excuse for not putting the perennial beds in order yet. I will get to it before spring, most likely.

I am a last-minute shopper. I love the hustle and bustle of town in the midnight hour. I heard an interesting commentary concerning gift giving, in the present economic climate, on the Suze Orman Show. She said that when you give a present paid for with a credit card you are giving yourself a burden. The receiver of the gift feels guilt, returns the favor with another credit card purchased gift and two burdens are exchanged. I try to limit my giving only to children and may be considered a Scrooge but all those January bills do not appeal to me.

I always cut a Charlie Brown tree on the property. It rarely, if ever, looks traditional except it is green. I love a misshapen, imperfect tree. I like to give it its only chance for fame and glory. I have been known to drill a hole here and there to add branches.

At the risk of political incorrectness . . . Have a very Merry Christmas!