Monday evening we finally got some winter weather. I must say it’s been very pleasant working outdoors the past month. Looks like the party may be over.

I cut some quince twigs and put them in some Christmas arrangements inside. They opened up into full flower in just a few days. I was surprised, especially since my house is not that warm. In fact, we often see our breath in the morning.

I noticed that a few flowers have opened on my quince in the yard. I scurried around and snipped forsythia to force indoors.

Violet’s cello teacher lives off County Road in Oak Bluffs. En route, recently I noticed a vegetable garden completely put “to bed” for the winter. It had a sturdy cage around the entire thing including the top.

I thought about Ruth Stout. She caged her garden against crows and coons. I immediately became jealous. Raccoons strip every single ear of corn at the exact moment of perfect ripeness. I loathe them.

Speaking of crows, I mentioned recently that there is a remarkable number of them hanging around the Vineyard Haven post office. Oddly, I saw a dead one on Skiff avenue at the site of a road-kill squirrel. They are usually too clever to be hit by a car. I have seen them fly away when I look at them in the rearview mirror.

Marie Larsen mentioned that she noticed skunk cabbage up on her morning walk. I know it is early, but wow! We’ve been busy pruning on the job sites. I admit I take out branches of ornamentals when I hit my head on them. I think of the poor people mowing the yard. Anything dead or crossing/rubbing is far game. It is a bit early to cut fruit trees or blueberries. I usually wait until the end of February or the beginning of March.

My post office box is stuffed with seed catalogs. At least some companies had the good sense to wait until after Christmas. Anything that comes during the seasonal onslaught is promptly recycled right in the post office. What an annoying waste.

Speaking of seed companies, I have my personal favorites. Pinetree Seeds out of New Gloucester, Me. is my first choice. I am a slave to tradition and have used them as a seed source since the early eighties. Their prices are reasonable and there are small amounts of seeds in a package so they can be used in one season.

SBS has their 2016 seeds in already. They have four different companies represented: High Mowing Seeds from Wolcott, Vt., Pagano Seeds of Italy from Boulder, Colo., Livingston Seeds from Ohio, dating back to the 1850s, and Sow True, a fairly new company out of Ashville, N.C.

If you only need a few packets, shop there. I picked up some onions and leeks on Saturday. I like to start them mid-January so they will have a bit of size before planting outside in April.

The months fly by. It is hard to believe that I can start thinking and planning the garden already. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to a little down time the next few months. It does have to be below 20 degrees to force me inside for most of the day, and I have tons of projects in mind. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably hang out drinking coffee and gabbing.

There is plenty to talk about now that the presidential nomination process has begun in earnest. When it comes to policy and ideology I am one of the baffled ones.

This latest “stand off” in rural Oregon boggles the mind. These people are the sons of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay over one million dollars in grazing fees. He ran his cattle on government (aka my) land, and wants free stuff. I guess free stuff from the government is only bad if you’re poor and want food for your children.

Anyway, I hope this plays out peacefully and we do not have a repeat of Ruby Ridge.