Last rainy, chilly Sunday I chained myself to my desk. I needed to tend to some long-neglected paperwork. I am fond of rainy Sundays. It is an opportunity to get some affairs in order for the coming week.

I like to prepare food in large quantities to lessen the stress of meal preparations after a long weekday’s work.

This week, I chopped leeks, celeriac, sugar beets, onions, carrots and some kale for some vegetable dishes. It’s so handy to grab a bag of them, already-prepared, mid-week. I picked the aforementioned items from my still-producing vegetable garden.

Hopefully, I will get the rest of the beets and celeriac lifted this week as they do not last forever outside. Carrots, on the other hand, will last in the ground until spring. Frost makes them super sweet. Soon I will place some bales of hay on top of the rows. That way, when it is really cold and the ground is frozen, I can move the bale and do more harvesting. I have chopped into frozen ground to remove a chunk with several carrots. A few hours thawing in the house is needed but they are still wonderful.

I planted them August 1 and never thinned. They are large and perfect.

Once, years ago, Andrew Woodruff let me loose in his field of carrots in December. I picked a few bushels. I used the recipe in Stocking Up and made several jars of carrot pickles. I never follow the exact recipe (rebellion dogs my every step) but basically, it is vinegar, honey, cloves, allspice, mace and cinnamon. They were a big hit. Thanks, Andrew!

Since I’m not quite ready to talk Christmas, even though we started the advent season last Sunday, I will mention one last fall decoration. 7A has two large boxes in the front. They have looked great since spring, changing seasonally. I believe I’ve mentioned them a couple times. Now they have some ornamental cabbages and couple of Dusty Millers. Very nice.

My friend, Karen Child, stopped by for a visit. I said I had nothing for this week’s column. She mentioned that it is impossible to kill chives. We waxed on about the beauty of the plant. They reseed everywhere and grow with barely any water. They can be cut in large armloads to add to soup stock and the flowers are pretty. The flowers can garnish a salad in late spring.

Another friend gave me a heavy wool shirt made by Pendleton. I went into the memory bank and recalled a door-to-door salesman from Pendleton back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He came to our house once a year and my dad bought two new shirts for work.

I made my late fall purchase of winter books. I’m about to finish Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s a good read–she’s a good writer.

On the nightstand, I have Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, Steve Kornacki’s The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism, President’s of War by Michael Beschloss, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by White House Photographer Pete Souza and, finally, Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage and Fighting Back by Jackie Speier.

I should be absolutely insufferable this winter in my reporting on these books. Reader beware!