Many thanks to Abigail Higgins for chairing the monthly meeting of Homegrown. This was our third meeting attended by 20 or so would-be gardeners. We had the table heaped with seed catalogues and had a lively discussion about starting seeds indoors. Abigail encouraged us to purchase our starting mixture as opposed to using plain garden soil, to discourage damping off, a fungal problem caused by too heavy or too wet conditions that kills emerging seedlings.

We tended to be a disorderly group with private conversations about our subject starting up frequently. We finally settled down to some serious cooperative ordering. We chose both onion plants and seed potatoes in bulk. Thanks to Melinda DeFeo for taking charge of the actual ordering. We saved quite a bit of money and were happy with our final choices. Our next meeting will be on Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. at the Agricultural Hall.

Some time ago I ordered some food products in bulk and for some unknown reason ended up with 15 pounds of raisins. Not being particularly fond of them, one can only guess what I was thinking. At any rate, being taught as a child to waste not want not, I have been attempting to use them up. We are talking years here. They are taking up more than their share of refrigerator space and have dried out enough to cause tooth damage. Luckily they reconstitute nicely. I put some in curried chicken salad, or oatmeal or mix with salad dressing for a green salad. Jack Livingston put some in baked beans awhile back. I tried that with much success. They gave just the right amount of sweetness.

I have lost my patience. I know Will Rogers famously remarked about the weather, “Everyone is talking about it and no one is doing anything about it.” I can handle the rain, snow and cold, but this solid sheet of ice under foot is the limit. I am sick of inching along in fear of falling. I am looking for a pair of Yak Tracks. Seems like a good purchase for those of us who have outdoor chores.

The only garden task that seems remotely important is running a check on stored dahlias. Some get dried out by now and may need a spritz or two of water to get them through the rest of the winter. While you are at it, go through the onions, potatoes and winter squash and toss any rotten ones. There is nothing worse than putting your hand through a seemingly intact vegetable or fruit.

Speaking of ice, I have a bone to pick with the state highway department. I grew up in Pennsylvania where it could snow two feet overnight. We never had a snow day, nor was anyone ever late for work. The roads were always cleared and sanded. Here, I live along State Road, the plows come out in force after midnight making a ruckus on the hour all night long. They were not working when people headed home from their daily activities. The daytime thawing and then the night freezing have caused treacherous patches of black ice. I witnessed three near collisions the other morning. Vehicles were sliding sideways for more than 20 feet into the oncoming lane. A call to 911 assured me that sand trucks were on the way. Two went by without spraying any salt or sand. My theory, and I hope I am wrong, is that night plowing is overtime and therefore more lucrative. Guess I need to ring the big honchos at the state house. The new president wants us to get involved in government.

I barely pried myself from the television long enough to type a few paragraphs. I have been soaking up history. CNN aired Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech in its 17-minute entirety. Then of course the inauguration has been exciting and informative. I love the way President Obama tied the lives of Abraham Lincoln and others together. There seems to be a renewed sense of patriotism. What a welcome change. I was thinking about slaves working on the Capitol building and on the White House.

The First mother in law is a woman whose contemporaries sat in the back of the bus and here she is moving into the White House. I love the generational concept of raising children and that the Obamas want their girls to have Grandma at the ready. I heard that a 96-person staff have six hours to move the Bushes out and the Obamas in. It took me six hours to organize my tool bench and I didn’t finish.

I saw another great bumper sticker: “Don’t worry about what people think — they don’t do it very often.”