I definitely would hate to live in the upper Midwest this week. The reports of 50 below zero wind chills are impossible to imagine. It’s downright cold enough here on the Vineyard.

Nevertheless, there is a positive feeling about the increasing light. Tuesday’s sunny midday was a real spirit-lifter.

I ordered seeds. This year I made my main vegetable seeds purchase from Sow True Seed out of Asheville, N.C. The company just celebrated 10 years in business. The owner/founder of the company is the Vineyard’s own Carol Koury. The company has open-pollinated seeds so as to support sustainable food production and regenerative agriculture. SBS carries the seed locally.

Last week’s column mentioned a big solar installation on Middle Road. The place up on a hill is Wise Owl Farm. It is still a work in progress.

The winterberries at the West Tisbury town hall are particularly nice. I’m jealous. Mine have been destroyed by cedar waxwings, I believe. Little jerks. Then again, the poor things are hungry.

My forsythia branches, cut about two weeks ago, are now blooming cheerfully in my kitchen. I’m inspired to cut more this week. They should take less time to bloom the closer we get to spring.

This past summer, I pickled several pints of beets, just-sliced onions, apple cider vinegar and honey. Recently, I added an equal amount of olive oil and am using it for a chunky salad dressing. It’s a nice change from my usual oil and balsamic vinegar.

I found a basket of last summer’s small red onions and, to my great and happy surprise, found them to be shallots. I had completely forgotten that I planted them from seed last spring. I traveled North Road the other day. I do not believe I have ever noticed the remarkable amount of holly trees in the woods and along the roadside. I was wondering if they are a wild species or were planted by someone years ago and went rogue. I could use some help here from anyone in the know.

Speaking of “in the know,” I got a call from Lyn Weber. She had a great suggestion concerning leeks. I shared last week about mine getting all mushy as a result of some super cold days. Lyn digs hers in the fall and puts them into pots of dirt very close together. Stored in an unheated but yet not freezing area, they are still firm and delicious. Thanks, Lyn, I will take it under advisement for next year.

A friend sent me fruit of the month at Christmas. Last week, I received four fancy-wrapped navel oranges. The enclosed card said that navel oranges originated from a single tree planted in Brazil in 1820. The oranges are seedless with easy-to-peel, thin skin. Since it is seedless, new plants are created from grafts or cuttings. Oddly, however, one of the four had two seeds. I promptly rescued them and am attempting to germinate them between moist paper towels. One can only hope. I grew a few avocados back in the day from pits.

Also, the bottom of celery in water will grow some flavorful leaves midwinter.

There is, of course, tons of world news this week. Venezuela is falling apart, Brexit is becoming impossible, Trump caved to Speaker Pelosi, a couple dozen armed FBI agents arrested Roger Stone and the government reopened. Time and space prevent me from my usual opinionated remarks. I must be off my game. I’ll catch up next week.