The weather pattern this February has my head spinning. We get snow, wind and very cold temperatures, then 50 degrees and rain. Back to wind and snow within a few days. I cannot tell whether I should be doing some early spring tasks or cozying up to the wood stove with a book. As I wrote on 2/22/2022 or as some would say “2’s day,” it was warm and wonderful until mid-day and we are back to rain and wind. I am forever grateful for the aforementioned woodstove.

I’ve been learning to use and love shallots. I did not grow up eating them and it never occurred to me to purchase any. A couple of years ago, I grew some from seed and they were incorporated into the onion harvest. Because I treated them like onions, they grew a single bulb that looked like the red Southport variety.

Then last year, Marie ordered some plants from Dixondale’s. They came too early (mid-February) so we planted them inside the greenhouse into flats. I set them outdoors by the end of March. They developed properly and have lasted until this week. Live and rarely ever learn, however: now I know they need to be planted in the fall, the same way as the garlic.

I rarely eat beef but I bought a steak at Grey Barn that was just back from being processed and not frozen. I sauteed it with the rest of the shallots. Can life be much better?

My snowdrops are just about to open. I can see all the white buds. I have a giant patch of them that have spread from a single clump planted decades ago. Ivy and vinca have also taken over the area, so it remains relatively weed-free for most of the summer.

I planted some tulips last fall into some pots. I brought a couple of the pots into the greenhouse in hopes of early blooms for the house. It’s pointless to put them outside in the ground as deer eat every one. Just one time forgetting to spray Bobbex leads to their demise usually just before they bloom.

My witch hazel are blooming. This is the yellow hamamelis mollis. Mine is relatively new; just a couple of years old, so only about four feet tall. They can get quite large, up to 20 feet. Often they can be mistaken for forsythia, which will come into bloom in a month. I’ll pay attention in my travels next week so I can point out some nice specimens in my next column.

I’m pretty low on material so allow me a major digression. I’m amused by some of the anti-vaxxers I see on television. Some are covered in tattoos and talking about not putting anything in their bodies. My Dad had tattoos. He was in the Navy during World War II. He couldn’t swim (go figure). It was naval custom to get tattoos of pigs and chickens as those animals cannot swim either. He had one of each on the tops of his feet. (Oww.) Into his eighties, they became less and less attractive. We always said to him, “Dad, wear socks.”

I know it is popular with the right and far left to talk smack about Joe Biden. I, for one, love him — a decent human being. I apreciate him saying that Russia would attack Ukraine. It gave Putin a way out that would also make Biden look bad. Scranton Joe does not have the inflated ego of Vladimir Putin or of our former president. He was willing to “be wrong” to avoid war. As of Tuesday, however, it may be unavoidable.

Speaking of unavoidable, how could we not predict DJT’s reaction? He called Putin “savvy” and a genius who is staging a perfect invasion. I guess it’s similar to his “perfect” phone call with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, which paved the way to his first impeachment.

Now right-wing pundits and some GOP House members are also voicing support for Putin. It’s difficult to have the slightest amount of optimism in times like these. I envision many Cold War warriors turning over in their graves.