I spent some time last week thinking about things in my life for which I am grateful. Certainly there is health, family, shelter, food and friends. I really am grateful to live here on the Vineyard among people of like mind — kindred spirits, if you will. There is a genuine interest in local food production and a vibrant community spirit.

I was particularly happy to attend a Thanksgiving function which required no food preparation on my part. Some years it doesn’t appeal to me to spend countless hours slaving over the hot range only to have the meal last around 40 minutes. Don’t get me wrong. I like cooking and do it often but I was thankful for a break. I spent some time in the vegetable garden fussing around and, again, happy to have so much food still available.

This year I grew both salsify and scorzonera. They are root vegetables similar to parsnips. Their flavor improves with frost. I harvested several of each but to my dismay most had forked roots — some as many as six small ones. I put Marie, the queen of the google machine, to the task of discovering why this happened.

It seems that because I started them in flats and then transplanted them out after danger of frost, I disturbed their roots. They apparently hate this. Who knew? So next year it’s straight into the ground with the seed.

I did, painstakingly, peel them into a Mermaid Farm beef stew. They were great along with carrots, parsnips, turnips, celeriac and leeks.

I’m crazy about the garden on the corner of Look street and State Road in Vineyard Haven. They have some interesting combinations. I think I recently mentioned the underplanting of burning bushes among the birch trees. In full color now, they have a winterberry cozying up to a purple calicarpa. Very striking!

I shall attempt to put into words my latest garden-related mishap. Honestly, it’s a wonder I have any bones intact. Last week on a job site I was moving perennials that had been uprooted and set aside by three Brazilian gentlemen. They were digging an enormous hole — five feet deep — by hand to receive a new hot tub next to the customers’ swimming pool. They had mountains of dirt piled onto plywood around the covered-for-the-winter pool. I was wheelbarrowing through the maze hauling plants to a new location. Because the wheelbarrow was in my field of vision, the ground disappeared under my feet. I found myself wallowing around with the wheelbarrow on the pool cover. Remarkably I did not break through into the water but let me assure you it was no small effort to stop bouncing and right myself and the wheelbarrow back on the solid ground.

Thankfully the Brazilian workers were in the hole and did not see my certainly unattractive antics. I am forever grateful not to have been filmed. I got so tickled by the whole affair I could not stop laughing. The poor Brazilians who spoke no English had no idea what could possibly be wrong with me. I remain completely impressed that the cover held my weight and that the sharp edges of the wheelbarrow did not cut through. I wonder how many animals wander around on the pools all winter long?

A big welcome aboard to the Kohlbergs. We at the Gazette are all looking forward to a positive relationship with the new owners.

What’s up with Sen. John Kyl? How is it that he is willing to jeopardize our relationship with Russia over the Start treaty? It is truly remarkable and terrifying that some Republicans are willing to put our country at risk rather than grant President Obama any victory. Not only does the treaty insure healthy inspection of nuclear weapons on both sides, but Russia is allowing our materials access to Afghanistan. I’m sure everyone wants our troops to have what they need.

Don’t even get me started on the digging in of heels over the tax cuts to the super rich!