I am the queen of justification. My latest is that I am leaving the cutting back of the perennial beds until the dead of winter. Earlier this fall my excuse was that the bees might enjoy the last of the flowers. Now I’m blaming it on the birds. I have seen dozens eating the seed heads of spent blooms.

Last Saturday I did, however, take full advantage of the sun and spent the day cleaning up the vegetable garden. Thanks to my cousin Mark who came for an extended visit in August, the peppers and eggplants were nicely mulched. I simply cut the dead plant at soil level and now will be ready to plant in the spring. Because I made permanent beds, I hope I never have to rototill again. I’m sick of machinery — too loud, gas guzzling and worst of all, ripping my shoulder out of its socket while pulling the cord. Running a couple of pigs over a garden site is better for preparing a planting bed. And they can be put into the freezer when the job is completed.

Speaking of meat animals, I attended the fundraiser two weeks ago for the Island Grown Initiative meat processing plant. There was a good turnout. We ate Island-raised chicken and pork. Everett Whiting and Tim Laursen used their homemade smoker to cook the meat. It was beyond wonderful.

Then the following week, the whole town turned out for the annual barn-raisers’ ball. Johnny Hoy and his band kept everyone hopping. I got so happy watching little children dancing next to a couple of folks in wheelchairs. The price of admission was a dessert. The entire front room of the Agricultural Hall was loaded with sweets. A good time was had by all.

My garlic is up. We planted it about a month ago and forgot about it. Sure enough, it emerged. Supposedly it should be planted later so it does not come up before spring, but this happened last year and it was very productive.

I planted some kale seedlings that do not seem to be growing. I mulched heavily and am hoping for the best in the spring.

I made a wonderful end-of-season stew. I used white turnips, carrots, onions and celeriac. The celeriac did much better this year as I gave it more room between individuals.

What I don’t know about trees is a lot! There are so many beauties right now. I noticed on my trip to western Pennsylvania that most, if not all, leaves had fallen. There were, I believe, huge stands of larch still a golden color. The larch like the tamarack next to the Tisbury town hall is a needle tree that loses them in the fall.

I am crazy about the beech trees here. Some are still green and others a fine gold. It is odd also that the different maples are so staggered in their leaf loss. My sugar maple is totally bare but the Norway is still green.

I know it is environmentally incorrect to say this but the burning bushes are spectacular. I know they are an invasive species and no longer legal to plant. The ones under the birches at the bottom of the Edgartown Road are particularly nice.

I have a lilac blooming. I haven’t a clue as to why this is happening. Often a rhododendron will bloom in the fall for some unknown reason but why a lilac? Let me refresh your memories. After Hurricane Bob in 1991 many spring-blooming plants set out blossoms. Bob, being a dry storm, brought salt-laden wind that most likely stressed the plants into “thinking” they had experienced winter.

I have chosen not to collect Social Security benefits yet, as I am still able to work. I called the department to ask some questions. I made a random comment about Medicare (we can thank Lyndon Johnson for it). The young worker said, “Who?”

At any rate, he said at full retirement age of 66 I could make a million dollars and still collect full benefits. We wonder why we are in economic trouble with a huge debt? Why on earth would a millionaire need his Social Security money? Is there any altruism left in the world? I know I am a socialist at heart.