It’s become a bit of a habit that I give a small commentary on the week’s weather. Hopefully, it will jog my memory somewhat as to any garden related events during the week. By the way, what’s up with this short-term memory anyway?

Christmas Day was remarkable. As I was tidying the kitchen from the big family soiree of the previous evening the sun came out of the clouds briefly. It highlighted all the good things still standing in my garden. The winterberry is downright spectacular. Then, all of a sudden, the wind picked up so violently it was scary. Buckets blew all around and the bamboo was bent almost to the ground. Then, giant snowflakes swirled around just like a giant snow globe. The lights flickered but unlike thousands on the Cape, we did not lose power.

Since I no longer have small children, a long leisurely morning was the order of the day. How I wish I had some interesting material to share this week.

I was able to pick a couple of armloads of leeks and kale for the family dinner but have mostly stayed out of the garden for the past week. One fun thing, however, is that my seeds arrived. I sorted through them with all sorts of hopeful visions. This might actually be my favorite time in the garden year. The light has changed ever so slightly and nothing has gone wrong in next summer’s garden as of yet.

Because the days are almost imperceivably longer the hens have noticed. My egg production has gone up from two to three a day. This sounds great for a small family except I have a dozen of the deadbeats. Why I continue feeding them organic food is truly a mystery.

Some folks put a light in the coop on a timer to keep the production steady all year. Chickens, just like women, are born with a certain number of eggs, so a light forcing them to lay in winter will simply shorten their long-term productive life.

I have been making sprouts for salads so thankfully there is life happening for the table. Hopefully, this coming week I will get the greenhouse squared away so I can grow a few flats of pea shoots on propagating mats.

I set some paperwhite bulbs into gravel a few weeks ago. The first blossom popped open on Christmas morning. How cool is that? Now if I could just recall exactly how long it took, I’d be set for next year.

What a joke to even think about New Year’s Resolutions. I usually do not make it into the following week.

This year I plan to read over several times a small book I received last Christmas from Reuben’s significant other, Trude. It’s 20 lessons from the 20th century by Timothy Snyder called On Tyranny. This week indulge me as I share four of those 20 lessons.

#11: Investigate. Figure things out of yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate propaganda campaigns (some of which come from abroad). Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.

#12: Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is part of being a citizen and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social barriers, and understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

#13: Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and you emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside, put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

#14: Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware on a regular basis. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Tyrants seek the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have hooks.

Just four more weeks folks and I’ll get through all 20!