It finally happened. Winter is upon us. I admit I was happily going about my fall chores as if nothing would ever change. I must say there are few things more beautiful than the first snow. I launched into “The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below.”

Violet was mighty impressed as I quoted much of the poem from memory. Isn’t it odd how memory serves us sometimes and then I cannot locate the car keys in the next moment.

The giant snowflakes covered a multitude of sins and errors in my yard. I can no longer see those neglected tasks.

I chained myself to my desk to attend some long overdue paper work. How I hate it. I could never manage an office job. I constantly was distracted by the huge pile of seed catalogs in a basket on the floor. I yielded to temptation and perused for over an hour. It’s truly amazing how perfect next summer’s garden is in my mind’s eye — no weeds, bugs, oppressive heat, poison ivy, ticks or varmints.

I brought in some twigs to force. The star magnolias opened before the forsythia. What a pleasant surprise. I had never tried it before. I still have some Christmas greenery in vases so I poked the spring branches into the arrangements. I was quite pleased.

I am picking lettuce and kale every day from the unheated hoophouse. Both romaine and black-seeded Simpson lettuce are holding up in the cold. In fact, they are much nicer than they were all fall. These were tiny babies that had reseeded here and there in paths. I moved them to the hoophouse in October. Their family members which were not moved are completely dead.

The only garden news this week is my frequent rummaging in the freezer. I’ve been making soups and stew like a crazy person from my summer preserving activities.

I had blended zucchini into thick purees and now it is a great base along with chicken stock. I’m big on blending of eggplant and zucchini. Neither keeps a pleasing texture in the freezer if simply chopped or sliced.

This is also a time for bread making. I like to load the freezer for summer with it. I have used the same bread recipe for 40 years. It’s in Joy of Cooking called White Bread Plus. I never use all white flour but it’s a good base to use. I do triple it to get six loaves at a time. I only use the white flour to knead.

This past week of the MLK holiday was a good time to reflect. I read the Letter from Birmingham Jail and listened to the April 4 1967 speech, Beyond Viet Nam, from Riverside Church. I am closing with the Birmingham pledge found in last week’s church bulletin:

I believe that every person has worth as an individual. I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color. I believe that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful. If it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others. Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions. I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity. I will treat all people with dignity and respect, and I will strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.