I have accepted the fact that we are not having a proper winter. The ground has yet to freeze, I have snowdrops a nanosecond away from blooming, crocuses up three inches and weeds to write home about.

I am a crazy person already starting seedlings. Both the onions and leeks are ready to be separated into individual plants. I hate feeling behind before I’ve even started. Such is life.

Plants are beginning to emerge in the perennial beds. The sedums were the first to show themselves. They look like tiny purple cauliflowers. Soon they will be tall enough for the deer to eat.

Bambi’s mother was in my driveway the other night when I went to close the henhouse. She simply stared at me from less then 20 feet. Even waving my arms and yelling barely got a response.

I went around to a few job sites to assess the upcoming spring work. I noticed a remarkable amount of vole damage. They are especially industrious near and in the stone walls. Some of the retaining walls look downright treacherous, what with all the excavation.

I think voles are sometimes called field mice. I admit they are pretty darned adorable but I wish I could figure a way to rid myself of them. They are vegetarian and gnaw away at the roots of plants, especially grasses. I’ve had huge clumps of the big ornamentals peel right out of the ground with their little nests underneath. They will girdle young trees at soil level. Their only advantage, apart from cuteness, is that they do till the soil and disperse nutrients. I’ve tried to take advantage of them in the vegetable garden by laying rugs and tarps over particularly weedy areas. They do a great job of excavating over the winter.

I have a rescue barn cat who lives in the shed. He does his very best but could use more help.

I am finding enormous amounts of the white rope-like roots of the wild morning glory. Supposedly, it is an annual, but the roots are completely viable. I’ll not live long enough to rid the garden of them. Oh well, I do like projects. God forbid I should get bored.

To protect my fragile state of mind from the daily crazy reports coming out of Washington, I have been reading like a maniac. I started with the Megyn Kelly book, Settle for More. She held my interest for awhile talking about her debate run-in with then Republican candidate Trump. Soon, however, I found her adulation of Fox News and herself a bit tedious. But I finally waded through it and afterwards picked up Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. It was a real page turner but I admit there were parts I wish I could unread. Honestly, man’s inhumanity to man. I must say parts of the book made me ashamed to be white.

Moving right along, I ended the week with Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved the book. It combined my Appalachian upbringing with my love of environmental justice. Written in 2012, it is a real insight into the thinking of rural American — a must read in my opinion.

When I resort to book reports, there is not much garden news to report.

I heard something on Science Friday last week that, I swear, you could never make up. Frogs, it seems, have sticky tongues. Therefore, when they snap that tongue at an unsuspecting bug it gets stuck. Scientists began wondering how the bug became unstuck, so the frog could swallow it. In series of slow-motion X-rays they discovered that the frog closed its eyes and rotated the eyeballs to push the bug from the tongue. I told Violet and her teenage girlfriends that story. If only I had captured their expressions in a photograph. Priceless.

It is impossible to keep up with Trump world, nor do I wish to. I read a small publication called the Hightower Lowdown. This month’s subject was “the state of the plate,” sustaining the push to a healthy, humane and human-scale food system. Farm policy has not come up in a Presidential debate for 16 years. This past election focused on hard-hit working class families, veterans, coal miners and out-of-work factory workers, but not farm workers, ranchers, fishermen or seafood workers. One would think food production would be as important as any other subject. Purchasing food has nonetheless become a political act that takes into account cultural, ethical environmental and community values.

In March, a national survey in Consumer Reports showed that 91 per cent of respondents support local farms, 89 per cent want reduction of pesticides in food, 88 per cent want the environment protected from chemicals, and 84 per cent believe that better living conditions need to be provided for farm animals. I’ve mentioned many times that one of our most important political acts is an awareness of the origins of our food. There are so few things left these days over which we have any control.