I’m living a George Carlin stand-up routine. I spent a good amount of time since Christmas getting rid of and/or moving old stuff to make room for new stuff. Now that we are about to enter a new year, hopefully I’ll make and actually keep a few resolutions. Usually, I manage to ignore them by the end of week one.

I’m starting to get a handle on my perennial beds. The weather has been so great, I would rather work in the vegetable garden. The extremely invasive long-caned blackberries are taking over. It’s remarkable how few blackberries I picked considering the amount of plants creeping into the shrub border. I am determined to buy myself a new pair of thornmasters and have at them this winter.

After a month of absolutely no eggs from my flock of 12 hens, I gathered two on the day after the light changed on the solstice. Then the following day, the girls gave me three. Isn’t nature grand? I found the change in day length imperceptible but it had a profound effect on the chickens. Hens are born with the number of eggs they will produce in a lifetime; some people and all commercial farmers give them artificial light in the late fall and early winter to keep them producing. I like to give them a well-earned rest. Another plus is that they will lay for more years. I do become quite fond of them. Each one has a separate personality and lays an egg unique to her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Nancy Luce. I raise Cornish game hens for the table.

Once again the row of heather at David Finkelstein’s office bears mentioning. They always look great this time of year, blooming away. I’ve never had good luck with them. They supposedly prefer benign neglect. I’ve managed the neglect part quite well. Dr. Finkelstein also has a nicely and properly pruned forsythia.

My friend, Phyllis, lives near a vernal pond. She reported hearing pinkletinks recently. Isn’t that a strange twist before Christmas? For my family reading this in Pennsylvania, pinkletinks are spring peepers. There are several words that were foreign to me upon arrival in New England. Here people drink soda, while growing up we had pop. Then there are some interesting pronunciation distinctions. A small creek may run through a community. Down-home it was a crick. I couldn’t resist using down-home to describe a home place. The roof on our house was a ruff. My college freshman roommate was from Lancaster County, Pa. She had a counterpane on her bed while mine was a bedspread. I am a master of the segue.

Where was I? Oh yes, unseasonable warmth. I think I shall attempt moving some strawberry plants. My existing bed is three years old. It’s good to move them every few years. The runners tend to take over causing the crop to get smaller and weaker. My friend, Sharlee, grew some in her hoop house. She picked berries a full month ahead. I think I will place some plastic over a small section as an experiment.

I did a lot of whining this summer about the amount of voles in my garden. I followed the advice of several folks. I planted garlic, tossed Juicy Fruit gum all over the place, and tried rat poison. They seem to multiply weekly. Marie and I made an astonishing discovery under an upside down wheelbarrow, the little pests had excavated a perfect pile of well turned compost. A fine tiller could not have done a better job. We decided to change our attitude and be happy that they are cultivating. I think a few barn cats might get hired this spring.

What can possibly be said about Ron Paul? First of all, at the risk of sounding ageist, how old is he? I only feel comfortable saying that having entered the ranks of the elderly myself. Obama, in his early 50s, has aged 20 years since taking office. It has to be the hardest and worst job on the planet. The New York Times says that a coalition of libertarians and so-called paleoconservatives are, unlike the neocons, socially conservative, noninterventionist, and opposed to what they view as state-enforced multiculturalism. I will spare you my interpretation of that statement. By next week we will have the results of the Iowa caucus. Does it even matter? I have no memory if I said this a week ago . . . My only connection with Iowa is the home state of Radar O’Reilly!