One after-Christmas holiday project I try to accomplish is a quick inspection of my pantry. I store potatoes, onions, garlic and winter squashes but there is always one rotten apple attempting to spoil the batch so to speak. Happily I only found a few soft onions and one bad spaghetti squash which was in the process of taking the finish off the floor. It is always a challenge to see if I can keep it intact until it reaches the compost bucket.

I set up the propagating mat and promptly planted my leeks and onions. I tried two varieties of leeks — Large American Flag and Carentan. I started four types of onions — Walla Walla Sweet, Yellow Sweet Spanish, Southport Red and Ailsa Craig. I generally order sets of Copra for the main crop. We are making a group order at our next Homegrown gathering in hopes of saving a few bucks. I had success last year with my sets.

I am happy to report that in my life my wants and needs pretty much match. However, I really wish I had a basement. My house is simply situated on a cement slab. I admit I downright covet other people’s cellars. If I really think it through I should realize it is one more location to accumulate stuff. My mother told me that when she and her siblings were children her grandmother (my great-grandmother, Mum Armstrong, a terrific gardener) forced them to dig a cellar by hand one summer. I remember that space. It was a rough-hewn, stone-walled affair. It leaked terribly and we walked on a series of planks to get to the wringer washer. I still liked the idea of it. There was a large cistern filled with rainwater from the downspouts. We children always had the creeps at the thought of creatures living in there.

Speaking of stuff, I went to the landfill recently with the Christmas debris. The attendant mentioned it had been the busiest day ever. A glance into one of the big dumpsters proved him right. It was filled to the brim with packaging material and wrapping paper, not to mention some of last year’s toys. I couldn’t help thinking how even in these bad economic times we are still stuck in a spend cycle. By the way, women who have men never go to the dump.

According to the experts, the most depressing day of the year is the third Monday in January. The credit card bills arrived and most of our resolutions have been discarded. The top five resolutions are to lose weight, pay down debt, exercise, save money and spend more time with family and friends. Isn’t it odd we need to remind ourselves every year to be less lazy and eat at home?

I bought myself a broad fork for Christmas. It is a large seven-pronged fork with two handles. One jumps on the top bar and forces the tines deep into the soil and gives a wiggle. I am hoping it will loosen the heavy clay in my new vegetable plot this spring.

I put a call in to Sue Silva, the best flower gardener ever. I needed the skinny on lisianthius propagation. We agreed they are a huge pain — slow to germinate, extremely tiny and must be started now to be flowering by August. I want to try them this year and needed her encouragement. I ordered pink, blue, pale yellow and lime green.

How about the Christmas Day underpants bomber? Just one more reason to avoid air travel if you ask me. In fact, travel at all. I don’t even mean the plane blowing up. It’s personal space, breathing other people’s air, airport hassle and now we are going for the full body scanner. You know some shady medical supply company is going to hastily throw together hundreds of these pieces of equipment. I think twice about dental x-rays, never mind the full-body. Don’t frequent flyers have concern for their health? I won’t even light the candle of personal freedom and privacy. Next the suicide bombers will go for the body cavity method which doesn’t show up on scanners. It worked for hundreds of drug smugglers in the sixties and seventies. I wish I could think up a solution. I can only fret and complain. In the meantime, I’m staying home.