Brrr! Mighty chilly Monday morning! I’ve been lulled into complacency with the previous six weeks of beautiful weather. I suppose it is time to take stock of overall readiness for the next season.

Thanks to son Reuben, I have boatloads of firewood. Since I only heat with wood it has been cause for concern in years past. I have a wood cook stove, “the mealmaster.” It was made for the Amish by a company in Knoxville, Tenn. Aside from giving quick, hot heat, it is completely reliable for cooking. Soups and stews can bubble along all day. I just move them around on the stove top to control temperature. It does not however, go all night. Even if I get up at midnight to restoke, it is out by morning. I usually see my breath when I come to the kitchen first thing. Good thing I’m the hearty type!

Allow me to wax immodestly. My vegetable garden looks great. I had thrown some flats of zinnias, crackerjack marigolds, Italian white sunflowers and cosmos randomly into empty spots in the spring. They are in full and glorious bloom. Admittedly, they are sprawled all over the place including the paths, but look great. Speaking of great — the dahlias have outdone themselves. I have one, Otto’s thrill, which is easily as big as my head.

Hopefully, I will label them in the next week so I’ll know what’s what next year. As if!

There are several flowers which reseeded from last year’s planting. One is the Rose lime zinnia. I was pleasantly surprised as I thought it was some sort of hybrid. Also a row of sanvitalice came back. Who knew?

Word to the wise, if you are cutting some arrangements for the house, pay close attention. There are tons of sleepy bumblebees in the flower heads. They slow down in the cooler weather and yes, they will sting when grabbed. I only say these things because it has happened to me — repeatedly, I might add!

There is a yard on the way to Edgartown just past Windsor with a nice row of Leyland cypress. It has bright red burning bushes all along the roadside. I know they are invasive and no longer available in the nurseries but I have to admit they are spectacular.

I purchased some sweet potato slips in the spring from Caitlyn at Mermaid Farm. They have flowered and are weaving their way all over the place. I think I may cover with Reemay in order to stretch the season. Last year’s harvest was very disappointing. They were about the size of pencils.

I have yet to order bulbs for fall planting. Hopefully, I’ll get a move on as it would be nice to plant before the ground freezes. I always order tons of crocuses. I love seeing the honeybees on them in early spring.

It is time to plant garlic. Mine has been riding around in my truck for weeks. I hope by the time I read this on Friday it is tucked neatly into a garden bed, fertilized, and covered with a hay mulch.

Oh, speaking of being hopeful by Friday . . . will the government be open and will we have raised the debt limit? I held my nose and watched Fox news — or shall I say Faux news — over the weekend. They were calling it the liberal shutdown and shaming the president for closing the World War II memorial. There was a Sarah Palin rally at the memorial. People were tearing down barricades so a few veterans could be pushed into the area.

Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers get no paycheck. (No, Congress is not included in those left unpaid.)

Back in the 60s when we lefties were protesting the Vietnam War, we were beaten with nightsticks, tear-gassed and carted off to jail.

Tea party types in this day and age can take long-time, decent elected officials of both parties virtual hostage.

We know they hate government and are doing their best to make it fail. Wonder if they will stop getting their social security checks on time?

The level of denial is astounding! They still deny climate change and Obama’s birthplace. It’s all so sad and discouraging. We could be so great!