I do my best to compartmentalize my work and my disappointments after a long winter, but it isn’t always easy. I try to keep busy working on several projects; building a salvaged greenhouse, removing stumps from the farm, tilling the fields, mending fences, removing rock piles, moving a pig fence, the list goes on. But the downtime still gets to me.

The other day, the HVAC service man came to fix the heat. I asked him if he might want to give me a job. We decided the training time would be too much for me, but he did agree to meet me for a beer after work. We chatted through the window of the laundry room while he kneeled in the snow in his uni-suit and knee pads. Before he left we shared some coffee and a marzipan eggplant.

A week later I am still waiting for him to text me about where to meet for that beer.

I have been making venison sausage, which I find is the very best winter currency. My cousin Rodney gave me a buck a while back. He hung it in a shed without telling anyone (always a good gag by the way). I butchered the buck while it hung in front of my grandmother’s house from a Beach Tree my grandfather planted. I then brought the venison to an Italian grocery in Milford along with some of Everett Whiting’s meat, to be made into half sweet and half spicy sausage. The man who makes it is named Babe. He is in his late 80’s and mixes about 60 per cent pork to 40 per cent venison, along with his recipe of herbs and seasonings that I assume is a secret.

Recently I discovered that there are Q-tips available in the Up-Island Cronig’s bathroom and took four. I used two as I drove home and saved two for a later date. I wonder how many people know about this.

My favorite seaweed spot is chock full and it took me five minutes to load up my truck. The pond where it gathers is still too cold to swim in, but soon I will test the waters. I found some watercress in a stream somewhere and we enjoyed it for three or four meals. The best version was with shaved fennel, blanched cauliflower and anchovy dressing.

Two days in a row my neighbor Sheila Muldaur drove by as I blearily gathered the newspaper at the end of the road. Growing up the way I did, I am pretty much embarrassed whenever I am seen not working, even when fetching the newspaper. I was wearing teal sweatpants that say Okemo on them, which didn’t help.

About a month ago, when it was still pitch black before 6:30 a.m., I walked to the end of the driveway and blindly grabbed a piece of lichen about the size of a baseball that was floating in a puddle. I thought it was a newspaper as its color resembled the color of the bag the newspapers are delivered in. It now sits on the windowsill next to a seashell. On the adjacent window sill sits a sand blown crab shell found on the South Shore, a pink clam shell found on the North Shore and a petrified clam shell my father found beneath the Aquinnah cliffs. He tells me it is millions of years old. I believe him.

I fill up my tractor tires with air at the Chilmark fire station, but I assume that’s not a common thing. It is very fun to drive the tractor over there and I have daydreams of taking a fire engine out for a little spin. I always picture my mom with me. If we did so, we would head for the Aquinnah cliffs like Thelma and Louise. We would fly off together timing it in accordance with the sunset. Those sitting in Menemsha would clap at the same time and my mom and I would pretend it was for us because we were in a flying fire engine; although it would actually be for the sunset.