Brrr . . . what a chilly weekend, but typical of spring on the Vineyard. We get a few days of sun and warmth as a little tease followed by a reminder that we are out here in a cold ocean. Remember, this phenomenon is in our favor in the fall.
One plus to the cooler temperatures — the spring bulbs last longer. I remember a few years ago we had a couple of 90 degree days just as the tulips bloomed. They hate 90! They lasted less than a week.
Speaking of spring bulbs — I tried a new variety of hyacinths in the fall. Called Woodstock, they looked dark red in the catalog. It is blooming a lovely unusual magenta right now. There are some mixed with daffodils and grape hyacinths along the William street side of the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven. Check them out if you attend the Mother’s Day tea on Saturday at the parish house.
My Virginia bluebells (mertensia virginica) are blooming. They travel around the garden and show up where not planted. They are a welcome sight in the early perennial border. I’ve had them for years. I tried to go back into the memory bank to find who gave them to me. Sadly, the bank has had too many withdrawals.
Violet and I took a drive around West Chop on Sunday morning. There are several hedges of lilacs with swelling buds. I had not even noticed my own.
At the corner of the West Chop Club, there are tidy beds of daylilies. They are completely intact, unlike my own which have been nibbled to the quick twice by deer.
Honestly, there is nothing to gardening if you can manage to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature. She does, however, bat last.
I purchased a few new laying hens from Jefferson at the Good Farm. I needed to beef up my flock. Several of my hens are approaching old age and are not laying up to capacity. I noticed for several days that eggs were cracked and empty. I falsely accused my new hens, as sometimes a chicken will eat her own egg. It is rare but can happen if the bird is not getting enough calcium in her diet. A few scoops of oyster shell in the feed will usually remedy the situation.
After a particularly long, hard day at work, I discovered a full-grown skunk in the laying box cracking and devouring several eggs. I went after him with a garden rake. He barely lifted his head in response. I poked him roughly several times before he sauntered off. I hate this . . . I’m fond of skunks in general. They eat grubs and mice. I think they are kind of cute.
Now I’m in a dilemma. I have to take some sort of action.
I am mostly disturbed that this takes place in daylight. My dad always said that nocturnal animals such as skunks or raccoons were rabid if they were out in the daytime. Supposedly we have no rabies on-Island, but it has given me pause.
I have been eating the just-forming flower buds of wintered-over kale and collards. I just break them from the stalk and pop them in my mouth right in the garden. This practice should end soon as any day now tiny gray aphids will make their home in those flowers.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say: “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!”
I came across a quote from Dwight Eisenhower — no, not the one to fear the military industrial complex. It was in a 1954 letter to this brother, Edgar.
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt . . . a few other Texas millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
There you have it. I like Ike!