One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons is of a couple standing in front of their apartment building. A van with the word Guilt painted in big letters on the side pulls up. The man remarks, “oh look, honey, it’s something from your parents.”

How, you wonder, does this fit my usual opening concerning the week’s weather?

It’s been so warm and spring-like that I feel guilty not getting out to the gardens.

This winter did not give me sufficient downtime. I needed a few weeks trapped in the house to tend to so many long-neglected inside tasks.

I spent a couple of warm, sunny afternoons on a stool separating tiny onion seedlings and giving them their own space in some trays. In another month they should be ready to head out into the vegetable garden.

Right now they are not much bigger around than hairs. I cut their tops by half to hopefully encourage root growth.

The job is quite pleasant. I have much more patience handling the tiny plants than almost anything else in my life.

For the last several years now, reading glasses have been a must.

I came across a basket of wizened but yet sprouted potatoes. They were small — the size of Ping-Pong balls — and the end of last year’s crop.

I managed to plant them in the ground and cover them with some old mulch hay. For years, Violet and I made it a tradition to plant on St. Patrick’s Day as a shoutout to our Irish ancestry. She’s off at college now so I did not wait.

I’ve probably told this story before...An early ancestor, Dorcas Irons, was a young woman who traveled with family from Connecticut to Port Allegheny, Pa. in the late 1700s. She was left to tend the new farm while the folks traveled back to Connecticut to fetch more family members.

Food became scarce for Dorcas so she dug the newly-planted potatoes, cut out the eyes, replanted them and ate the remaining tubers.

I love that story of survival and ingenuity.

The snowdrops are in full and wonderful bloom. I have a huge patch that comes up through ground cover of ivy and vinca. The latter completely keep the area weed-free so the snowdrops spread like crazy.

Thanks to my daughter, the chicken run is finally secure. They are no longer running amok on the emerging bulbs. The poor crocuses can finally stand up. They were getting scratched up daily.

In my perfect world, chickens would roam free on the property but in my experience, they behave badly. Also, the reports of coyotes have me a bit more concerned for their safety.

In the mid-60s during summer vacation from college, I took a job as a caseworker at the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. My job was to visit some of the recipients of the program. Looking back, I now realize my job was spying on people. I was to report if I saw something that could disqualify a person. For example, signs that a man lived with a single mother or new purchases.

The prevailing attitude was that people were cheating the system.

How things have not changed.

During the Reagan years, his rhetoric about welfare queens driving around in Cadillacs was infused with some sort of prosperity Christianity. You know: God loves rich people who should get more tax breaks and the poor somehow did it to themselves.

Fast forward to the present. SNAP benefits are being cut from the extra aid given during Covid. The so-called Christian right think people should manage better or that God helps those who help themselves.

DJT’s enormous tax cuts exploded the national debt but now some Republicans want to cut “entitlements” to bring the debt down. I’m talking to you, Rick Scott and Mike Lee.

What’s this rich man and camel going through the eye of a needle story?