I am happy in the winter. I love the slowed pace, don’t mind the snow, and appreciate the time indoors to regroup. However, the icy working conditions are too much. I have hauled out my Yak-trax. They work great except I almost fell in Shirley’s a week ago on the bare floor. I’m sick of walking around at a snail’s pace with the pathetic shuffle.

On a bright note, I spent a couple of wonderful hours in the greenhouse fussing over my lettuce and kale plantings. It was so warm in there I stripped to my tank top. Because it is unheated it freezes solid at night but the plants don’t seem to mind. I can pick a salad by midmorning if it is sunny.

My onions and leek seeds have sprouted in less than a week. I had them set on the propagating mat at 50 or 60 degrees. As soon as they all emerge I will remove them from the bottom heat into the cold frame or greenhouse where they will be on their own. I’ve done this for many years and they survive. As soon as the ground thaws even a bit they can be transplanted out.

The Homegrown group met last Sunday afternoon at the Agricultural Hall. There was a decent turnout and all of us were anxious to get another gardening year under way.

Once again, Melinda DeFeo volunteered to coordinate a group order of onion and leek plants as well as potatoes. We save quite a bit by combining our orders. Thank you in advance, Melinda. It is a big job.

We talked about pruning our fruit trees. Any time from now until March 1 is the right time. Also, get that manure down now right on the snow. It will weather and be ready when spring arrives. We always welcome newcomers, the third Sunday of the month.

I worked for Gratia Harrington in the seventies. She was one of the daughters of Captain Eldridge of the Tide and Pilot Book. She had a habit of finishing her phone conversations with a resounding click. There were no ending comments nor “goodbyes.” It didn’t matter if you were in midsentence. She would never have made it in our answering machine world. Let me offer some advice about voice mail. Please, people, start with and end with your number. It is annoying to finally locate a pen and have to listen to the entire, sometimes rambling message. I only say this as I was a person not blessed with one iota of patience. I do, however, seem to wait for seeds to emerge and I can grow biennials from seed. Most of my customers can’t wait two years for a flower. I usually slip the foxglove seedlings into a bed and everyone is surprised the following June.

Another big week in the news. Hopefully Sarah Palin cooked her political goose with that “all about me” video. The President gave a wonderful eulogy for the Tucson shooting victims, especially little Christina. The Tunisian president fled the country amid violence, and, most peculiar of all, Jean-Claude (son of Papa Doc) Duvalier returned to Haiti. This story will be worth following. As you must remember, he was overthrown in 1986 and the U.S. aided in his departure. Both he and his father ruled with corruption and brutality. The United States gets involved in world affairs sometimes at our peril. Can’t wait to see how this pans out.