It’s been a few hot and miserable days for us outdoor workers. However, I am trying to put it all in perspective. Last week I mentioned the extreme heat in the northwestern U.S. and Canada. It seems that Russia is warming two and half times faster than anywhere else on Earth. It is above 90 degrees above the Arctic Circle. Violet and I were talking about it. I told her that when I was her age (19) that would be impossible to even imagine.

I whined last week about voles eating my beets and how I watered the bed with a slurry of cayenne pepper. I’m sad to report it was a dismal failure. I pulled them all up for the chickens and replanted with some beans and a couple of zucchinis.

While in the pulling mood, I yanked all the fava beans. It’s amazing how much a single seed packet will produce. I froze a couple of Mermaid Farm yogurt containers full of them and had several meals. I boiled the entire very large shell and took out the bean. A thin skin covers each one that needs to be removed. It’s not effortless but worth it nonetheless. Also last week I mentioned some baby birds living in a plant pot in the greenhouse. They went from looking like wads of chewed gum to fully feathered and flying away in a week.

A few things grabbed my attention in my travels this past week. The up-Island stone walls are covered with beautiful Cape Cod ramblers and Dorothy Perkins roses. There is a combination of the two on the State Road side of the corner lot at the four corners.

I had time in traffic to admire the garden at the Triangle heading into Edgartown. There are lovely pale pink astilbes. I think the cultivar is milk and honey.

There are also several alchemilla mollis aka lady’s mantle. It is a beautiful early summer bloomer but once the flowers fade, it requires some cleaning up. The spent flowers and brown leaves can be ripped out. Scissors are not necessary. The plant then looks presentable for the rest of the summer.

There is a new garden on State Road in Vineyard Haven near the cemetery at Ocean Breeze Bedding. It’s very nice with blues and whites and a few orange old-fashioned daylilies. Last winter I started noticing some homemade wooden hearts here and there on telephone poles. There seems to be many more. I love that someone does that.

I also love getting mail from strangers. When my editor picks up the handwritten column at my house on Wednesday morning, he sometimes delivers some correspondence sent to the Gazette office. I received two very nice cards. One is from Sue Pew of Belmont and the other from David Cecchi of Agawam. I love that a perfect stranger took the time to write a thoughtful note. Both meant a lot to me. We don’t often realize what our words of encouragement mean to others.

Speaking of others, it would be wonderful if some of the anti-vaxxers realized how their actions (or lack thereof) affect their fellow citizens. I watched a special on the state of Covid in Missouri. Many have not chosen to get the shots, citing personal freedom. Blah blah blah. What about the selfless health care workers who risked their lives to care for them? It looks like the variants are spreading in several states.

The Vineyard, on the other hand, has gone with no Covid cases. Way to go.