It is becoming increasingly difficult to call this a winter. Last week’s impressive snowfall was gone overnight and the temperatures have been almost consistently balmy. I have bulbs poking up everywhere, mostly crocus and daffodil. I have yet to notice my snowdrops in bloom but they are on the north side of some trees. My quince is covered with buds that have begun to open. I already have some forsythia in the house. I forced a bloom from them last week.

Usually by now I have tackled a few neglected cleaning chores, (my least favorite and often avoided activity). This winter has simply been a continuation of fall projects. I moved some perennials around this weekend. Who can imagine the ground has yet to freeze?

I have completely filled my greenhouse. All the onion and leek seedlings are coming along nicely. Some are over three inches tall. It is wise to give them a bit of a haircut. I snip them to one and a half inches. It causes them to plump out and become stronger. I think I’ll move them into some coldframes soon. I need the space for perennial seedlings that are in need of transplanting.

I probably mentioned this before, (I raised children, repetition is a given, they never listen) do not use regular garden soil in pots or flats. You not only get tons of weeds but the possibility of bacteria and/or fungi. Once, in the seventies, I tried sterilizing soil in huge baking dishes in my oven. I would never recommend the practice. It took weeks to get the smell out of the kitchen. Every “don’t ever” I tell you is from personal experience. I hesitate to say I’ve done everything wrong but I’m still learning from my mistakes. Anyway, I use a layer of Vermont Compost’s manure topped with number 360 metromix. Any sterile potting soil of your choice would work. Vermont Compost also has a product, Fort V, which is great. It is pricey but cheaper than the nursery-grown seedlings and certainly beats the buying of greens grown in California or foreign countries. I encourage you to think about the energy used to ship produce thousands of miles.

Once again, leave it to Ellie Kohane. She clipped the following from Fine Gardening Magazine, Forecasting Sun Patterns.

“Predicting the angle of the sun can be a difficult and challenging task. I remember planting tomatoes against the south-facing wall of our house one year. A full sun exposure in April turned into full shade by June because of the roof overhang.

Here is a trick to help anticipate the sun’s pattern. Go outside at midnight on the night of a full moon and note where buildings and trees cast shadows in the moonlight. This is approximately where the sun’s shadows will fall at noon six months later. If you check the full moon’s shadow in December, for example, you will have a good idea of where the shadow of noontime sun will fall in June.”

I have run out of my stored onions from this past growing season. Granted, I use them everyday but I hoped to make it until March before needing to purchase any. Luckily, I still have a few rows of leeks standing in the garden. I guess I should pick several this week. I can’t help thinking about our ancestors and how difficult it was to get through a long winter with no supermarket as a next best choice. By February it must have been, if nothing else, extremely boring.

Mitt Romney has boatloads of money. His wealth is two times the combined assets of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Papa Bush, Clinton, Forty-three and Obama. While I neither envy nor begrudge him, it is interesting to note he pretends he can identify with me. Right!

Jon Stewart ran a segment about Bain Capital heavily lobbying Congress to keep the carried interest tax rate under 15 per cent. Needless to say, they won. Every time the Mittster says something stupid, irritating, or condescending I send the DNC $10. I should be broke by summer.