I hate shopping. It is the endless wandering about stores trying to make sensible decisions. It’s why one year I gave hard, cold cash for Christmas. I folded bills into tiny pieces and placed them into jars of water in the freezer. It was a big hit, especially since the recipients needed to thaw and dry them before spending.

As far as Christmas shopping, I have to wait until the very last minute. I am fond of the hustle and bustle the last few days. I use it as a great time to socialize. I have to shop on-Island.

The only thing worse than shopping is the mall. It is an altered universe — way too many choices, plus I don’t seem able to walk once inside. It is the lighting or the streams of humanity.

I know I sound Scroogesque and here it is Christmas Eve. I have to say I love Christmas but not when it lasts from before Thanksgiving until mid-January. I cannot remember, as a child, or even into the seventies when the season was so extended.

Plan a drive by the Gatchells. They have outdone themselves this year. Don’t forget your donation to the Island Food Pantry.

Monday morning’s snow put several gardening activities on the back burner. Naturally I had left several tasks undone. Last Saturday and Sunday were above freezing so I scurried around. I readied a small hoop house to receive spinach and lettuce in a month or so. As soon as the light changes it will be time to plant under cover. I put some black plastic on the soil and will get some six millimeter clear, greenhouse grade for over the hoops. The plastic should attract enough heat to thaw the soil by late January.

Marie and I are very pleased with ourselves. We have been eating the lettuce we moved into the big greenhouse in October. With the exception of onions we have purchased no produce so far except from the winter farmers’ market. I would like to claim crop failure concerning my onions but, truth be told, it was sheer neglect on my part. I simply did not weed them in a timely fashion. Good thing there is always next year.

Speaking of light change — it has happened. The days are lengthening as we speak. I hope I will finally get an egg from my small flock of hens. I believe it has been over a month. I finally broke down and bought some. It irritated me so much I threatened the girls with dumplings.

Last year I planted tons of peanuts. They needed a full five months of heat which did not happen. Therefore this past spring I started them in large plug trays May 1 and only did one small bed. Wonder of wonders, it worked and Trish Koehone and daughter Ella helped harvest them on a lovely October weekend. Trish roasted them and presented me with a tiny black velvet bag of finished product. They were delicious so we plan for more next season. A couple of weeks back Soo Whiting mentioned vultures in her bird column. She reported a large number seen near the Tisbury School. My son, Reuben, and I have observed over 15 of them roosting late afternoons on the widow’s walk on the roof of Phantom Heights. For those in the know, Phantom Heights is the yellow house between the Tisbury School and Rod Backus’ house and business.

What’s up with planned obsolescence? I used a wringer-washer for years and switched to a top-loader from Sears in the early eighties. I finally replaced it with an expensive front-loader. I am waiting for my third service call and meanwhile the warranty has expired. Eighteen months is an acceptable life span? Oh! And I had to replace my refrigerator in less than five years. The previous one lasted over thirty.

I feel as if I could go on a political economic rant for pages but since it is Dec. 24, I will end with a God bless us everyone.