This is the week to be grateful for living on the Vineyard. The news has some dire reports concerning record high temperatures across a good portion of the nation including New England. I, for one, am only good in 70 degrees or lower. I would never make it in a Florida or Arizona retirement village.

When asked if I’m retired I usually answer, “Well, I’m tired.”

Speaking of advanced age, there are so many questions I have about modern life. For example, there’s continual discussion about the plastics polluting our oceans. One of the biggest culprits is single-use water bottles. Whatever happened to water fountains? Didn’t our schools and public buildings all have them?

The garden world is exploding. There is much to enjoy this month. I’m especially fond of the mixed marriage at Morrice the Florist on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Two kousa dogwoods grow side by side. One is pink, the other white. They look like one tree. It is a real head-turner.

Local businesses are outdoing themselves this year with their ornamental pots.

On the road to Cedar Tree Neck, I noticed quite a bit of what could be hogweed. It, like several of its plant cousins, is a phototoxin. I must warn you about these plants. If touched during the sunny part of a day, they are capable of producing a terrible skin reaction — a blistering rash that stings and burns. The plant can be otherwise handled on a cloudy day with no ill effects. Rue is one such plant. It’s pretty with blue-green leaves and a nice little yellow flower. Some say the expression “rue the day” comes from problems with the plant.

Other possible examples of phototoxins are wild parsnips, fennel, carrots, angelica and coriander. They are fine if handled before or after the heat of a sunny day.

In the vegetable garden, I’m getting some small beets as well as boatloads of lettuce.

I’ve eaten a few sugar snap peas in the field but do not have enough as of yet for them to make it to the supper table. We all know and love garlic scapes. Mine are just beginning to form. I discovered a whole patch of last years’ leeks starting to go to seed, I cut several of the tops, cut them into small rounds, and sautéed them in butter. They were wonderful — mild and tender — who knew?

I must confess, I still have tomato plants languishing in flats. My early morning plans for the day never seem to get completed. I am, however, more forgiving of myself than I was in my youth. It took a while to get here.

Speaking of my youth. I was born when Harry Truman was in the White House and I grew up in the Cold War, when Russia/the Soviet Union was a huge threat. Our elementary school had frequent drills where we children hid under our desks. I wonder if folks actually believed that we could survive a nuclear attack under a small wooden structure.

At any rate, it’s curious to me that a whole group of people think we should side with Vladimir Putin in his Ukrainian fiasco. I’m talking to you, Marge Green et. al.

The news this week has Vlad meeting up with Kim Jong Un. Things could get interesting to say the least.