A person needs to be careful when hoping for something. Last column, I said I was looking forward to a freeze so I could begin fall clean-up in earnest. It was 21 degrees in Vineyard Haven on both weekend nights. Oddly, on some of the job sites, things still looked great. For Pete’s sake: impatiens are blooming.

One thing that did survive in my pots and window boxes is allysum. I seeded berthami, a variety found in the Select Seeds catalogue. I found it to be much more fragrant than the newer cultivars. Honeybees are wild about it.

Another nice addition to the fall gardens and/or pots are the ornamental kales. Marie submitted a nice photo of hers this week. The frilly red one is called red peacock. The other one is Nagoya. It comes in a few different colors. They should last until at least Christmas. They are interesting alongside some seasonal greens.

It’s been several years in a row that I have not been able to enjoy the fall foliage on my sugar maple. This year, all the leaves were blown away during the big storm a week ago.

Big thanks to my grandson Michael. He helped dig the sweet potatoes. I must say that it is an impressive harvest. I guess one good thing about global warming is that a traditionally southern crop is now doing well here in plant zone 7A.

Some of the tubers grow straight up underground, so a lot of careful digging is required.

Luckily, sweet potatoes and their Irish cousins still are fine underground even though the tops of both were killed by frost over the weekend.

I’m a big fan of doctoring leftovers. Now that I’m only cooking for myself, I can get away with it.

Recently I found an item in the freezer whose label was gone, It smelled vegetable-y so I popped it in the crockpot with some leftover cabbage, sweet potato and sausage. It turns out it was a blend of zucchini and onions that I had sauteed over the summer and hit with the hand-held blender. It was a wonderful soup into which I tossed some breadcrusts heated with olive oil and garlic.

My Depression-era parents would be so proud of me!

The Barn Raisers Ball was held last Saturday night. It was not held last year because of Covid. It is a great time for folks who have been working non-stop all summer to switch gears to the slower season. The event was held outside this year, again because of Covid, with the band in the doorway of the Ag Hall. People huddled happily around fires and heat lamps until the dancing began. I didn’t stay too long, as used to be my custom. Bedtime comes earlier with each passing year.

I love a good conspiracy theory but the most recent one has my jaw dropped. It seems John F. Kennedy Jr. is either still alive or will rise from the dead and will become Donald J. Trump’s running mate in 2024. Hundreds of people gathered in Dallas to witness the return. Wow! P.T. Barnum was spot on: there is a sucker born every minute.

Meta, Mark Zukerberg’s new virtual reality platform, is not in my hopes for the future, thankfully. With my luck, I would fall down non-existent stairs.

What a sad week for the island, Native Americans and the Gazette staff. I just heard of the passing of June Manning. What a wonderful human being. She gets a big “well done” of a life!