The past week or so of absolutely beautiful weather has put my Christmas spirit on hold. I cannot drag myself out of the garden to even rummage around looking for the outdoor lights. Nevermind cutting greens for wreathes. I’m pruning blooming forsythia for Pete’s sake.

They bloomed a few weeks ago with all their leaves still clinging to the branches. Then, after that one really cold night, everything froze and dried right on the bushes. The leaves finally fell off this week but the dried-up blossoms remain.

The nature of a forsythia is a few arching young branches. The desired look is fountain-like. Left to their own, the plant becomes a huge twist of old trunks and very few blossoms. Michael Dirr refers to it as a hummock mess. I think he may have made that up but how fitting.

People, please resist the temptation to hack and whack — two words I loathe using in reference to pruning. I sit on a bucket, saw and loppers in hand, and cut all the big old branches right to the ground. It takes time and effort but is very satisfying. I only leave about 10 young shoots. Trust me, you will love the results next spring.

Several years ago, I discovered that putting Bulbtone on the top of planted bulbs as well as in the holes prevented skunk damage. They lick the fertilizer off the ground and move along without unearthing anything. Recently, I ran out of the Bulbtone after using it up in several holes of hyacinths and daffodils. Within two days the skunks had dug them all up to get to the yummy bottom of the hole. Little jerks.

Carrots and leeks and kale are still going strong in the vegetable garden. I am able to pick daily. Everything else looks pretty dismal. Both the broccoli and cabbages are completely dead. It is odd since they are kale cousins.

By the way, I never heard of kale until I moved to New England. In Rew we ate cabbage and occasionally broccoli. I never cared for the latter as mom cooked it within an inch of its life. It was yellow by the time it hit the table.

I was talking to my friend, Joyce, about the foods of the fifties. There was a lot of Franco American spaghetti. Both of us laughed when we talked about Flavor Straws. We were poor and had to make one last a week.

I can’t decide if I’m bored or totally impatient with the whole Russian investigation. I would like to see some more action. This past week was pretty exciting, what with Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. He has totally lucked out considering how much the Mueller team has on him. Morning Joe gave a list of all the possible charges. Former FBI operative Clint Watts remarked, “Wow, that’s a great big buffet of Holy Cow.” Now there’s an expression that deserves more air time.

At any rate, I’m sick of it. I bought five books to get me through the winter and have whipped through four already. Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance were awesome. It’s amazing that people succeed in life given some of their childhood experiences.

A quick read was the Katy Tur book, Unbelievable. She covered the Trump campaign — a real eye opener, and worth the time. Then I finished Hillary’s book What Happened. It was great to see her so vulnerable and open. The only bummer was I knew how it ended.

Back, briefly, to Michael Flynn. They keep showing the photo of him with Putin. Jill Stein is in the foreground at the Moscow gathering. Just saying.