Thanks to everyone for your condolences regarding the death of my mother. I have been doing quite a bit of reflection during the past few weeks.

One good thing about gardening — there is always something to do. It’s wonderful to have an activity that is not only useful but meditative. There is plenty of time in a garden for thinking and enjoying.

My poor little snowdrops and early crocuses were up and budded but last week’s driving wind, rain, sleet and snow kept them waiting. Not until Sunday afternoon’s sun did they finally open in all their glory.

Every year there are dozens more snowdrops. They spread like crazy. I have some patches easily 10 feet in diameter. Most are coming up right through ivy and vinca. Naturally some are struggling in last season’s neglected debris. I’m now afraid to rake for fear of stripping off the flower heads. I think I do this every year and vow to change my ways. How quickly and completely we forget!

Pat Silva sent a card with a P.S. to notice Doris Billings’ witch hazel in full bloom. Since I do not know where she lives, wouldn’t it be serendipitous if it is the same gorgeous one I noticed on Skiff avenue this week? It is nearly as tall as the house and spectacular. Often they are mistaken for forsythia, but we probably have another month before that shrub starts showing off.

I noticed the large star magnolia at the Hebrew Center is loaded with buds about to burst.

My helleborous are blooming — both the purple and white. In a moment of weakness, I ordered 25 bare-rooted mixed colors. More is definitely better!

I was thinking about gearing up for another season and decided to have some of my perennial beds take over more of the lawn. I see no point in having totally useless grass which needs moving and fussing when as a nation we spend $30 billion on our 40 billion acres of lawn each year. These are the statistics of Jill Richardson, author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. With our economy still in trouble, spending less time and money on lawn care makes sense. Something more beautiful and useful could take over some of that huge green patch.

My greenhouse is rapidly filling up. I started lavender, sage, thyme, sweet William, snapdragons, leeks and tons of onions. They are all coming right along.

On Saturday morning, I seeded peppers. They take so long to be transplant-ready and we are probably eight weeks from our last frost. Peppers are notorious heat lovers and resent any chilly temperatures. I leave them on the propagating mat to keep their feet warm.

For an experiment I started a flat of early tomatoes. I usually wait until the end of the month, but I plan to transplant them into the hoop house where they will be five degrees warmer than outside.

On Monday evening I was pleased to attend the sixth annual farmer’s dinner at the Agricultural Hall. Naturally the food was great. Thanks to the staff who prepared and served.

The program made me proud to be a member of the agricultural community on the Vineyard. Noli Taylor gave an inspiring report on the Farm-to-School program. It is wonderful that a new generation is coming along who understands the importance of a fair, clean and local food system.

Jamie O’Gorman spoke about the gleaning group’s work with food that is not quite marketable and yet can still be used by those in need. We’re talking something like an oversized zucchini which is still fresh and nutritious.

We as Americans waste entirely too much food. It is depressing to think of produce just rotting in the fields when someone could use it. Big kudos to all involved in the gleaning program.

I love the biblical story of Ruth. She met her future husband while gleaning in his fields. She would be the paternal great, great, etc. grandmother of Jesus!

That’s all I’ve got this week. I hope Paul Ryan’s old tired budget gets the decision it deserves. Why, oh why, does he have to endlessly push for the demise of Medicare and Medicaid?

Health care is an irrational issue. Everyone wants to cut costs, tests and treatment until they get sick or injured.