One year when the children were small, Santa brought a tape recorder. That Christmas day was rainy and about 50 degrees. It was so unusual in those days to be warm in December that we taped the sound of rain on the deck. This was in the 1970s. Last Friday’s rainy warm Christmas morning barely warranted comment.

I’ve been busy this week gathering vegetables. The carrots still come up easily from the not-yet-frozen ground. The herbs are still as fresh and green as they were in high summer. Annoyingly, aphids still cling to the cole crops.

Mike at Heather Gardens gave me a plug tray of spinach that he never put into six packs for sale last spring. With no hope I threw them in the ground and never once looked back. I found them on Sunday looking pretty good although still tiny. I moved them into the hoop house where it was warm and cozy. Hopefully I’ll be picking some leaves by February. Now that the light has changed, regardless of the temperature, the cold weather crops should begin to grow with some protection.

Before I had a hoop house or even a proper cold frame, I was able to grow some kale and spinach in a makeshift structure. I made three walls of hay bales, open to the south, and draped some six-mil plastic over the whole affair. Tucked under the bales, it was easy to left for picking on a warm day. The leaves need to be not frozen so harvesting can only happen mid-day when it’s sunny.

I saw two spring flowers this week, a single vinca bloom and a couple of Iberis (aka perennial candytuft). These sort of events always give me pause. Who knows what else goes on in the natural world when we are rushing around tending to our various tasks.

Every year I do not get my carrots planted until mid-July to August 1. They always give me a stellar fall and winter crop. This past spring I was pretty smug as I got them into the ground at the beginning of May. Every one of them is gnarled and/or conjoined. It just proves that smugness is unbecoming at best!

I noticed the ever-growing stand of phragmites on Lagoon Pond Road. They are a common reed and extremely invasive. Years ago I tended a property at the end of Northern Pines Road on the north shore. There was a small saltwater pond simply choked by them. The customer put several of my workers and me into the water wearing waders and dragging around a little boat. We spent the afternoon pulling them up and hauling them to shore in the boat. Sadly, they were all back the next summer but nonetheless a good time was had by all.

Also in my travels this week I noticed a stand of medium sized trees on thee big corner past the Ag Hall opposite they West Tisbury cemetery. Many of them showed signs of past bittersweet damage. The trunks were twisted in response to perhaps years of entanglement.

I gave everyone a Christmas break last week and refrained from any political commentary. It didn’t last long!

I cannot believe that the U.S. Congress whose members get an annual salary of nearly $200,000 regardless of actual time at work and, by the way, free health care for life, dragged their feet for months to give desperate Americans a one-time payment of $600.

Then adding insult to injury, our lame duck president refused to sign the bill in time so that people have to wait for weeks to reinstate their paltry unemployment payments.

The real topper is Mike Pence saying that the libs want to make the rich poorer so the poor can be more comfortable. H.E. double hockey sticks.