It doesn’t need to be raining here on the Vineyard for the traffic to get downright laughable. A simple overcast day brings everyone out to just drive somewhere. State Road in Vineyard Haven turns into a parking lot.

Good thing folks have spiffed up their yards so a person has something to admire while going nowhere.

The vegetable garden is putting out its best work.

I’ve been busy picking and freezing peas. Picking is a misnomer. I have been ripping up the entire plants, bringing them indoors, making a mess of the kitchen but sitting peacefully while separating the pods from the plants. It’s a great time to catch up on my phone gabbing.

Hopefully I’ll replant the empty areas soon. There is still time to seed green beans, cucumbers and summer squashes.

Then by the end of the month fall planting can be done in earnest. I have good luck with carrots planted by August 1. They become very sweet after the first freeze and will winter over. Sometime in December a bale of hay can be placed on the row. Then simply rolling it off allows picking in even the worst weather.

I finally tended to the tomatoes. Yikes! I had yet to remove suckers, bottom leaves, or even find some stakes. A person can only do so much and hopefully learns to accept human limitations. I’ll let you know if I ever manage that lofty goal.

Early this spring Marie found some red twig dogwoods that did not sell as Christmas arrangements. They were dry and sad. We put them into water along with some forsythia. As nature often does, she rewarded the effort with some leaves on the twigs and some tiny roots at the bottom. We potted them up and they are now full-fledged trees.

I have a huge amount of reseeded Lauren’s grape opium poppies. Recently they were covered with so many honeybees that the petals, unable to take the weight of their little bodies, began falling like rain. A sight to see.

For several years I have grown cardoon. It is a cousin to the artichoke. A person is supposed to eat the stalk that has an artichoke flavor. I tried it once. It wasn’t wonderful. However, the giant, thistle-like flower is remarkable.

It reseeds and comes back reliably as the parent plant. I have one in the hoophouse that is so tall that its “chokes” are threatening to puncture the plastic ceiling. I cut a bunch for the house. The arrangement belongs in Little Shop of Horrors but the flowers have opened even though I did not put them into water. I was picturing dried and gold spray-painted in a Christmas bouquet.

Both echinacea and monarda are blooming in the perennial beds as well as Shasta daisies. Good thing, as the spring bloomers are done and many of the summer colors are just beginning.

As a shout-out to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, I planted lots of sunflowers this year. Ukraine is the number one producer of sunflower oil in the world. It would serve you to pick up a bottle or two now as it will most likely be hard to find this winter. I like to use it for winter bread baking.

Last November I separated the best of that summer’s garlic harvest and planted them. I just pulled those finished bulbs this week and could not have been more pleased. Hopefully, I have enough to last most of the winter and some to plant for next year. Right now the aforementioned are curing on old bedsheets in the greenhouse.

Unarmed black men get shot while running away from a traffic stop; white mass murderers – if they don’t take their own lives at the scene – are arrested and charged. Not so with this latest perpetrator in Illinois. He was referred to as “a person of interest.” I guess that’s the new popular jargon for a suspect.

I, for one, have no interest in someone who uses a weapon of war against random, innocent human beings. I don’t care if there is a motive or if he is mentally ill. Stop giving him weapons. Why don’t the Second Amendment people read the part about well-regulated militia?