I took a quick trip this week to see Violet’s chamber group perform Haydn’s String Quartet, opus 33, number 2. From Palmer through Belchertown, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground from the weekend’s storm. I forgot how a little snow is so pretty with Christmas decorations.

I’m not a big fan of highway driving. Covid has revealed who I really am. I like to be places but don’t like getting there. It was shocking how many people are maskless.

One thing nice about the concert: all in the audience had to produce proof of vaccination and wear face coverings.

At any rate, I am back home safe and sound and beginning to experience some anxiety about all the things left undone garden-wise.

I still have nearly a bushel of unplanted bulbs looking at me accusingly. I know I’ve bragged in the past of breaking ice to get them into the ground. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I did get a few into some pots in hopes of forcing a few early blooms. They need about six weeks of cold before they will start up again.

For a couple of years I have neglected my plumbing duties. For two years in a row, I did not properly drain the outdoor shower and there are long waits in the spring for a proper plumber to show up.

All the hoses need to be drained. Especially do not leave any attached to a frost-free spigot. It seems unlikely but it actually causes the water to stay in the faucet and not drain back into the house. You see where this is going? Everything I’ve ever learned, I did wrong first!

Two plants that can and should be cut right to the ground are rosa rugosa and Annabelle hydrangea. They will come back next spring much nicer. Personally, I think rosa rugosa only belongs on the beach.

Back briefly to bulb ordering. This year I also included a dozen iris plants. I have never seen such dried-up, wizened plant material. I planted them but am awaiting a miracle.

Recently, I heard that sweet alyssum is edible. A worker tried it and said it tasted like broccoli and she didn’t die. Alyssum is one of my favorites. It smells nice, attracts bees and lasts long into the fall.

Another long-blooming annual is Felicia, also known as Capetown blue daisy. It’s a tender perennial from South Africa with lovely sturdy greenery and looks great in pots or on a sunny border. I’ve been searching for seeds.

There is some searching going on since the catalogues have been showing up in the mailbox since Halloween, for Pete’s sake. They never used to come until after the new year. Guess I should make some orders. Last year some of my favorites were sold out early. Covid made gardeners out of many last year. I suspect some will stick with it, hopefully.

I started my first batch of alfalfa sprouts. They are a great go-to salad starter this time of year. They take less than a week in a warm spot.

Last week I mentioned picking up bags of leaves along the roadsides to use in compost. About 40 years ago I dumped several of those bags onto the ground at my upper driveway. Several maple seedlings emerged that are at least 50 feet tall now. They have beautiful fall yellow foliage that stays on the trees almost until Christmas. I’ve said countless times: nature is grand!

While in Amherst we stopped in to a Home Depot. I either became hopelessly pessimistic about the state of our world or I’m about to climb on my high horse.

While comparing some prices on a few items I really saw no difference in what I would pay at Shirley’s. For example, the washer I just bought here was nearly $200 cheaper. However, here it was delivered, hooked up and the old one was carted away. To save $200, I would have a washer in the back of the truck on the highway and then what? The words of my friend Carla came to me: How much can I afford to save?

Our need for more and more stuff will never be satisfied until we actualy do destroy the planet.

The front of the store both inside and out had plastic Christmas decorations as far as the eye can see. It was there, wrapped in throwaway plastic and sometimes bubble wrap. Used for a few weeks, all of it will go into landfills since it’s too horrible to save.

We build bigger cargo ships to bring it around the world and then complain about Joe Biden not getting it to us on time.

I’ve quoted the old Depression era poem many times: Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without.