I am eternally grateful to live on Martha’s Vineyard at a time like this. We can still go outside in our own yards and it seems that most are taking Covid-19 seriously. Indulge me as I quote the first paragraph of Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way ­ — in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

There you have it! Because I’m alternating between smugness (I really have everything I need) and absolute panic, I seem unable to get into a reasonable yet cautious middle ground.

Since we spend most of our day eating or thinking about eating I guess I’ll share some of last year’s harvest successes. I grew black-eyed peas that I actually let dry and store in paper bags. I made a great soup from them along with some onions I still have in the pantry.

I grew an enormous sweet potato (just one). It was well over a foot long.

It sat on a shelf all fall and winter. It was too large for my biggest pan. All the rest of the crop was down-right wimpy. They were barely as big around as a thumb. Years ago, I grew ome from a single tuber held up by tooth picks in a glass of water.

Since sweet potatoes are not like Irish potatoes they will not grow more when simply planted. “Slips” need to start from the blunt end. It will take a month or so. In vain, I searched the junk drawer for toothpicks. Now that I have plenty of time not working or gallavanting around, I whittled a chopstick into supports for the project.

Nature is indeed wonderful. Hundreds of baby kales have reseeded in the garden which I am weeding out for suppers.

My friend, Sharlee, washes and dries her kale, places it on a cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or so and bags it up for us in smoothies. I’m going to do it now before the bugs get to the plants.

My maternal grandfather’s mother, Mum Armstrong, was the gardener in the family. She used to hang her geraniums upside down in the basement with barely any root attached. She called them magic plants as replanted the following spring they would bloom by the Fourth of July.

My friend, Marie, tossed several of hers into paper bags in the fall and left them in her attic. A few weeks ago, she thought them dead and put them in a wheelbarrow headed for the compost. There they stayed in rain and cold for at least a week. Damned if they didn’t come back to life.

This is the year to get that vegetable garden happening. Who knows what the next months will bring?

How I long for someone at the helm who knows what to do. Perhaps a nice fire-side chat from FDR or maybe a couple of stanzas of Amazing Grace from Obama would rest our weary minds!