Last Friday night and Saturday certainly gave us here on the Vineyard a wake-up call. I can’t remember being below zero in real temperatures for quite some time. Granted, when growing up in Rew, Pa. it was common to have sub-zeros for most of the winter. The neighboring town, Bradford, had the dubious distinction of being the coldest spot in the nation on several occasions.

We children would spend most days outside sled riding. There were a couple of plowed roads used by oil men to tend the pumps. Those roads were at least a mile straight down the side of the mountain. They were so slick and steep that we would often have to slow ourselves down by crashing into the ice banks at the edges. Many times we came home bloodied and frostbitten. After the long walk back up, we only managed two or maybe three trips down a day. Our mother would put us in a cold bath to hopefully prevent frost damage.

The follies of youth are no longer as attractive. I spent most of Saturday cozying up to the woodstove and cooking.

Here we are mid-week and temperatures are back into the 40s. Go figure.

Violet tried to take the 6 a.m. boat on Sunday to get back to college. She finally got off around 11 a.m. as several boats were disabled by the cold.

Back in the day, I worked breakfast shifts at the Black Dog. Many times we saw Coast Guard cutters clear a path through the ice to free up the morning ferry. These were the days of reliable work horses: the Uncatena and the Islander. Just saying!

Last week my next-door neighbor on this back page, Robert Culbert of Bird News, mentioned dusty miller. He noticed it is a blue-green in the morning before turning back to the usual grey color midday.

I hate it when I don’t know everything but honestly, I have no idea. I do like that dusty miller still looks good in an ornamental pot at this time of year. It’s especially nice with Christmas greens and now will still be okay for sprucing up some early pansies in a month or so.

The brutal cold last weekend took a toll in my hoop house. Lettuce, kale and other greens were splayed all over the ground.

Also, my already-blooming hellebores took a hit. The blossoms are still there but the leaves are pathetic beyond hope.

I have a perpetual calendar that I’ve had for years. It came from Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham. Every month has some interesting garden wisdom.

February features a quote from Wendell Berry: “Eating is an agricultural act!” So, good news is we are all engaged in agriculture simply by the act of feed our bodies.

The other good news is when we engage in local agriculture — with all its heartaches, struggles and challenges — it makes a difference.

We are lucky to live where we have so many local sources of food even in the dead of winter. I would encourage you to visit some of the still-open farm stands.

I hope I can stay awake past my bedtime to watch the State of the Union address.

I hope Joe Biden spends some time tooting his own horn. If folks were really paying attention they would notice all he has done for our country.

Then again, I’m sure he’ll make some innocent gaffe and he’ll be too old for the job.

I guess that vibrant youngster DJT is a much better choice — or maybe book-banning Ron DeSantis.

Have mercy!