I, for one, love the change back to Eastern Standard Time. Being an early riser, it had been difficult of late to get up. I love that it now gets dark early in the evening and I can come inside and stop moving. I have been cooking more and enjoying it.

The days have been so nice, I still cannot accept the end of another garden year. Even though it has been plenty warm enough, the light has changed so significantly plant growth has stopped. We have now passed the days with ten hours of daylight until Feb. 3.

I transplanted spinach, collards, kale, and lettuce into a hoophouse. I do not expect them to grow until February but they will stay alive until then, waiting. They will have a real head start for spring. I suspect a couple layers of Reemay on some outdoor plantings would work as well.

As to those transplants, some critter has been enjoying them in the greenhouse. There are plenty of seedlings in the big garden but I guess it’s too cold for the rat, vole, or rabbit out there. Honestly, there are some things simply too frustrating for further comment.

I planted some carrots early in the spring. I didn’t weed or thin them in a timely fashion. They have remained small and have damage from the carrot maggot. The batch planted midsummer is huge and free of any worm holes. I hope some can spend the winter under hay in the ground. Last year’s spring harvested roots were fabulous, completely sweet and crisp.

I picked the rest of the beets. They like a few frosts but go soft eventually, not to mention, a favorite of mice.

I have been taking quite a few liberties in the shrub borders. All the hydrangeas are in peril. I hate them flopping on the lawns, obstructing views and breaking from the sheer weight of the blooms. I am cutting them all back to a reasonable height. Don’t forget the Niko Blue and all the macrophillia (big leafed varieties) bloom on old growth so only cut to a bud.

The endless summers and annabelles bloom on new growth so have at it. I take the annabelles down to eighteen inches. They spread out like crazy so can be divided every few years and shared with friends. If you wish to propagate a Niko Blue yourself, hold a stem to the ground with a rock. It will root and give you a new plant in a year. Talk about economical! Hydrangeas are pricey at the nurseries. Patience is a must in gardening. It is the only area of my life where I have that quality.

A day at work has passed since that last paragraph. I have a garden mishap to share. I was picking dead blossoms and sticks from the base of a hydrangea. Thankfully, I was wearing a glove, however thin and cotton. I grabbed what I thought was a holly leaf, something sharp. It took a second to register that it was, in fact, a mouse. Both of us were so freaked we couldn’t let go of each other. It took three full shakes of my hand to get his teeth out of my finger. I screamed for a lengthy time afterwards. My workers thought I had cut off my hand. I still scream at the very thought. I can kill my own pigs and chickens but am such a sissy about rats, mice and snakes.

One other time, several years ago, I was pruning apple trees and grabbed a snake who was sunning itself. Honestly, one would think I would learn to be more observant.

There is a great political advertisement on television. It is supposed to be our United States Senator, Scott Brown. He is wearing a Carhartt jacket and getting out of his famous pickup truck. Everything he touches and every footprint leaves an oily smudge. It goes on to say how he receives campaign money from Big Oil and votes to continue subsidizing the oil companies. The advertisement encourages us Massachusetts residents to give him a ring at 617-565-3170 to express our displeasure. While you are at it, how about throwing a couple of bucks at Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. Pardon my hypocrisy, I hate that politics is about money.