I take a bit of a walk early in the morning. I always take the same route. Every day there is some tiny sign of impending spring. A big old skunk crossed my path yesterday. Today, Monday, even with the snow falling it was brighter and warmer. There are almost imperceptible buds on the trees.

In the garden world there is no slow pace. Not one to wait for anything, I have a good jump on the season. I am determined to do all I can right now before my bare rooted perennials and plugs start to arrive.

Right after the light changed in the beginning of January, I planted a few fish totes in my unheated greenhouse. I seeded Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach and Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce. Both are notoriously cold tolerant but the seeds were a year old so I had nothing to lose. The soil in the totes froze solid during January with only the surface thawing midday when it was sunny. By mid-February, I gave up hope and replanted. I transplanted some kale that had germinated on the propagating mat (it took less than a week) into one. Then I seeded some radishes and carrots into the other ones. The next day, don’t you know, the original plantings came up. Is it possibly that nature has a built in sense of irony? I hope they will all grow together and get along.

I snipped a few quince twigs to force inside. The red is beginning to show within the bud. I’ll try remember to cut some forsythia this week. It is so cheerful inside.

The other day while enjoying the heat from the sun in my hoop house sitting on a stool and gabbing on the phone, I began thinning a few kale and collard seedlings. We’re talking tiny here. Most didn’t have their true leaves. I had a neat little pile of them and hated to see their little lives in vain, so I rinsed and ate them, roots and all. They were really delicious.

On Sunday we had a lively meeting of Homegrown. People brought cookies, brownies and apple cider. Others shared pickled beans and other canned items. We talked about soil samples and the importance of supporting the University of Massachusetts at Stockbridge now that the federal spending cuts are looming.

We also discussed water testing. The tribe in Aquinnah will provide information if you need to test your water. If, for some reason, heavy metals are found in one’s soil, sunflowers can be used to clean it up. They were used for the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. Afterwards, the flowers should be discarded as toxic waste.

A local woman, Carol Koury, has started a seed company in North Carolina. It is called Sour True. If you would like a catalog the phone number is 828-254-0708.

Abigail Higgins encouraged us to start peppers now as they take forever. I can attest to that. Last year I think I finally picked a sizeable amount of them five minutes before they froze. Marie read that they like to be cool (not freezing, of course) in their infancy. We set up grow lights in her basement so they should be cool and have enough light. Do not set them outside until it really warms up near the end of May, probably.

For your information, endive, lettuce, onions, parsnips and spinach can germinate at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. There are certainly some south facing areas in your garden that can be seeded right now even without protection. Even a single layer of Reemay can give you an extra five degrees.

I have asked this before but never received an answer. Why, this time of year after winter’s aging, does dog duty turn white?

I am very interested in the brouhaha occurring in Wisconsin. It seems clear to me that union busting is the order of the day. The public employees and teachers have agreed to pay cuts and paying into their pension funds. Republican Governor Scott Walker is determined to take away their bargaining rights. I love that the Wisconsin state assembly democrats have taken a stand and gone into hiding. The whole situation has renewed my interest in the labor movement in America. I need a history book on the AFL-CIO.

Was I on glue in the eighties? A recent Gallup poll put Ronald Reagan as the number one president of our country, ahead of Abraham Lincoln. My recollections of his presidency must be wrong according to the American people.

Charles Blow of The New York Times was heard on Morning Joe on MSNBC last Monday morning with this comment referring to President Reagan’s number one status, “A horrible indictment of America’s educational system.”