Finally, some real winter!!! Last weekend’s snowstorm made all the children, young and old, very happy. Even Saturday afternoon with wind-driven sleet did not stop many of the most hardy from enjoying the hill at the Tashmoo Overlook. Then, on Sunday, even more were out and about just marveling at the beauty of it all.

I, for one, was happy that I had been shoveling in the garden up until last week. It prepared me for the daunting task of clearing the driveway. Because I live near a busy street, the snowplows left some pretty impressive snowbanks. I swear, each shovelfull weighed twenty pounds. I am the queen of superlatives and exaggeration, just so you know.

On Sunday afternoon I took a ride up to Mermaid Farm to get my milk. I was so grateful to live on the Vineyard. The winterberry bushes in the up-Island Cronig’s parking lot were particularly nice, set in the white landscape. I immediately got jealous since the birds ate all mine after they polished off the crab apples.

Continuing along, Fiddlehead Farm was completely closed up for the season. The stalks from shasta daisies were poking up out of the several inches covering the driveway. This is the one time I love to see spent flower heads. If my memory serves me, as it rarely does, I can picture the blooms of summers past and have hope for the ones to come.

Huge thanks to sons, Jeremiah and Reuben. They completely redid my attached greenhouse. Hurricane Irene had lifted the Plexiglas roof and deposited it into the bamboo patch. When we tried to reattach it we found quite a bit of rot. This is not really surprising since it had been servicing my seed-starting needs for over thirty years. It was not even pressure-treated. The guys put it back with all new materials exactly the same, only way better.

It is amazing how quickly I filled it up with containers, soil, and baby plants. I started kale, lettuce, chard, pea shoots, garlic, chives, and spinach on the propagating mats. They all germinated in less than a week.

I will let you know how successful I am. I started some carrots and beets in some large planting pots with no additional heat. The greenhouse gets up to 80 degrees during a sunny day but will drop down to the twenties on a cold night. One can count on about five degrees advantage in a plastic house or cold frame. For the cold weather crops it is sufficient. In my perfect world, I should be eating carrots by early April. Beets will be quicker and, of course, the tops will be edible within the month. Let me encourage you to give something a try. Sprouts on your kitchen counter would get you in the swing. My personal favorite is fenugreek but alfalfa seeds are much quicker. I hate buying them as they usually are slimy in the bottom of the container.

What a perfect opportunity. From that unappetizing comment I can segue right into the Newt Gingrich victory in the South Carolina Republican primary. It is astonishing, not to mention discouraging, to read that over 200,000 people voted for him. It’s not even a question of policy. The voters have such a deep hatred of President Obama that they view Newt as the one to take him down. The constant talk of Gingrich being able to humiliate the President in the debates seems to be of the utmost importance. No one seems to care about his serial adultery while professing the sanctity of marriage, his life as a Washington insider, his stepping down as Speaker of the House in disgrace, or his fortunes made as a lobbyist. My personal favorite is his assertion that single mothers should put their children in orphanages. His resentment-filled agenda coupled with an elephantine ego makes him unfit for the office in my opinion, but then I’m probably a “left-wing European socialist.”

Oh well.