I’m happy that Christmas comes but once a year. Even when I vow to keep it simple, there seems to be a bit of self imposed anxiety. How I wish that instead of receiving gifts, someone would come and take some of my stuff! Honestly, how can a person accumulate so many belongings?

At any rate, we put up a tiny tree this year. It’s perfect. In years past I cut a misshapen “Charlie Brown” tree in the woods behind the house. I always like the idea that something imperfect has a shot at Christmas glory.

It’s remarkable how our childhood traditions come to mind all these years later. We always went down the valley to my Dad’s folks. Since he was one of 12 it was quite an event. We drew names so only one present needed to be purchased. It was the one time of the year when we were allowed in the front room.

When my children were small, I realized I could have my own traditions. We do our family gathering on Christmas Eve, followed by church. The grown children are free to have their own festivities the following day.

One thing tickled me this week. I passed a man on State Road riding his bicycle. He was carrying a good sized tree.

Allow me to wax critical for a moment. Why do people insist on cutting hydrangeas without taking out the dead wood. They look ghastly. Most of the dead wood can be worried loose at soil level. I sit on a bucket to do it so it’s not an unpleasant task.

I picked a huge amount of carrots to serve at Christmas Eve supper. They are sweetened by the few frosts we have had. The cold temperatures change the starch to sugar.

I’ve been busy making sprouts. I use both alfalfa and fenugreek seeds. It takes less than a week on the kitchen counter and are well worth the effort.

After a few days in a jar with a screen top (rinsed at least twice daily), I transfer them to a colander with small holes. It makes rinsing easier. Be careful buying sprouts as they can be a source of E. coli if they are improperly rinsed and packaged.

The hoop house is coming right along. The lettuce and kale look terrific. There is a green sheen everywhere. On close inspection I saw they were tiny opium poppy babies. They are annuals — also known as bread-seed poppies. I cannot imagine them living through the hard part of winter but they are pretty adorable. Also reseeded are hundreds of baby kales and collards. I had completely ignored the parent plants since last spring — never picked or tended. I think I ripped them up earlier his fall when I was preparing the soil for the winter growing season under plastic. Yet here are their progeny. I’ve said it many times, isn’t nature grand.

In the vegetable garden, I’ve been digging enormous clumps of grass. The pigs are happy to have them. They toss them about in a playful manner before eating them to the quick.

In my non garden world this week, I had a car scenario. Because the car bumpers are so low to the ground I bumped a berm in a parking lot. A piece of rebar sticking up ripped the entire plastic, useless cheap item almost off the car. I say almost as I could not drive nor get it off to take with me.

Wonder of wonders. I happened to have duct tape and baling twine. Problem solved for the moment. These two items are a must have in my life. If it can happen, it will.

Oh, by the way, it is not fixable and a new one will be more than a thousand dollars.

My 1980 era Ford F150 has a sturdy metal bumper which actually protects the vehicle. Just saying.

The college roommate of Ted Cruz said that before he would vote for the senator he would pick someone from the phone book. Yikes, that’s a ringing endorsement.

Merry Christmas and, hopefully, a happy, sane, healthy New Year.