It is a bit challenging to come up with gardening comments after a couple of major blizzards. Bear with me. I am a true Yankee. I just love winter. On Saturday morning Violet and I were on the road, headed to an early ferry. As we drove into Vineyard Haven, the sky turning pink colored all the snow on the trees. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

I vowed to enjoy everything I saw this week. Even the dead and withered brussels sprouts still standing in my garden looked oddly interesting and artful poking up above the snow cover.

The snow slid off the hoop house forming an impenetrable obstacle. I could only look longingly through the plastic at the kale and lettuce, all green and vibrant. The good news in the salad world is the pea shoots I started a few weeks ago that are over two inches tall, ready to be snipped and added to some alfalfa sprouts. I hate it when I have to buy lettuce. I often think of the scene in East of Eden when James Dean fails to deliver boxcars full of greens and they all spoil. It’s a mystery to me how my mind works, and why memories occur all randomly like that?

I’m fond of the pink flowers on the andromeda when the leaves are completely covered in snow and only the flowers show.

On Sunday afternoon I was coming from West Tisbury, passed the old Humphrey place and saw at least a dozen black birds in a tree. It was so odd looking I turned around for a better look. They were turkey vultures in the classic pose. They are enormous. I see them often gliding high in the sky but it was unusual to see so many at rest and so close.

Allow me a brief digression. Some years ago I saw another large black bird hovering over an animal skin I was curing on the clothesline. I rang the local bird people who confirmed it was a black vulture, very rare this far north. It hung around several days and received quite a few visitors and notoriety.

A history lesson is in order. It seems they were a Southern bird until the mid-19th century when they came north to the battle of Gettysburg. Ewww!

The same day a little farther along I saw a lone Muscovy duck hanging around a mailbox at Stony Hill Road. I had a pair of Muscovy ducks for years. Once they hatched some babies. One day a hawk swooped down and grabbed on of the babies. The mother went after him so viciously he dropped it. You don’t see that every day.

I realize I’ve devoted several paragraphs to birds. Rest in peace, Vern Laux. I’ll keep my eyes to the sky.

On Groundhog Day I saw my first snowdrop blooming. I think that is the earliest I’ve noticed them. There was a lone blue vinca flower right next to it. I wish I had an explanation.

I made my seed order. I always do it over the phone. Hopefully, I will have moderate success with some of my leftover seeds from last year. I do store them somewhat properly. They last a long time if they stay dry and dark. I’ve had squashes germinate after 10 or 15 years.

I’m never going to make it until the convention. Have we been doing the presidential primaries forever? I must say I miss the integrity and good manners that Obama displayed on the campaign trail. Who raised some of these candidates? The name calling and eternal pessimism about our country and fellow citizens are out of hand.

It seems the people screaming about freedom and justice, religious freedom and exceptionalism are only talking about themselves. They are not willing to give the “other” the same dignity, respect and free speech they want.

To my personal critics I can only say — I cannot agree with you but will defend your right to say it. Oh, freedom of the press is another important right given to us by the U.S. Constitution. If a person dislikes reading something, the paper can be used as kindling and need not be read again.