I’m happy about the nighttime temperatures this summer. I do not remember a summer when I used a blanket every night. It is probably not the best for the ripening of tomatoes, however. So far I’ve only picked a handful. No matter, they were delicious and certainly worth the wait. I never buy tomatoes in the winter. They simply fail to measure up.

It has literally been years, perhaps decades, since I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans. They are truly the old-fashioned string bean. Anyway, this past winter I found an old package of them, planted into plug trays in the greenhouse, and popped them into the ground sometime at the end of May.

They are producing like crazy and seem to be resistant to the Mexican bean beetle which wiped out my early crop of haricot verts. A childhood memory came to me while picking. We used to eat pole beans boiled within an inch of their lives alongside a ham hock. Granted, they had lost all their crunch but made up for it in pure flavor.

I stopped by the Larder in Vineyard Haven and brought some ham that Jefferson had smoked. I did my best to recreate that mountain dish and was downright pleased with the results.

In the middle of January I planted a package of Nantes carrots in an enormous pot in the greenhouse. I never bothered thinning them. I can’t bear destroying any. I hate their little lives to be in vain. Anyway, I hauled the pot outside mid-spring and promptly forgot about it. Perennials grew up around the pot. This week I harvested an armload of perfect carrots. I’ve said it dozens of times: “Isn’t nature grand?”

I’ve been busy making refrigerator pickles. We prefer dill. I use the basic Dilly bean recipe. Cook one cup apple cider vinegar, three cups water, two tablespoons kosher salt—a bunch of garlic cloves and some dill heads. I just toss the cukes into the cooled liquid in a glass jar. They will keep in the fridge until Christmas.

My friend, Sharlee, makes the best bread and butter pickles ever. I think I don’t care for them until I eat some of hers. I must get her recipe this week.

I’m crazy about the Pee Gee hydrangeas. They are in full glorious bloom everywhere. There is a nice stand of them at the entrance to the hospital. I like them more than the standard hydrangeas. They don’t flop all over the lawn in various stages of color and browning. The Pee Gees age to a lovely pink which looks great into the fall. Also, they bloom on new growth so can be pruned aggressively in the late winter or early spring.

I have a mother deer and her tiny baby in my garden most mornings. The baby is so adorable I cannot scare them away. I think it is late for babies to be born. Other folks have mentioned seeing very young fawns recently. What gives? Perhaps they have figured out that our winters are no longer as long and severe.

Gratia Harrington once told me that when she was born in February in the 1880s the doctor ice skated across Vineyard Haven Harbor from East to West Chop to attend her birth.

During the last year of DJT’s rise to the highest office in our land, I’ve drifted from amusement to disgust, to shock, to amazement and now have finally settled into naked fear. What’s wrong with him? Has he really threatened North Korea with nuclear war?

I was in utero when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki so my entire life has been spent under the fact that world annihilation was possible. Sometimes, as during the Cuban Missile Crisis, that fear escalated but, thankfully, cool heads prevailed.

Not so, now in the Trump era. He is anything but level-headed. He may be Dr. Strangelove in the flesh. Yikes. Even Melania looked shell-shocked during his fire and fury speech. Oh, to be inside her head for a moment!