With the exception of the “big freeze,” this has been the most un-February of months. I rarely have to bust ice in the morning for the chickens.

I had some crocuses blooming on Feb. 10. These were the early species variety. I confess it was a surprise. Now I really have to mend some spots in the chicken yard fence as a few get out and scratch around. It’s really going to irritate me if they wreck the now-emerging spring bulbs. I even saw some tulip leaves up about an inch.

Thanks to my daughter, my greenhouse has been cleaned within an inch of its life. It is now ready to receive.

I loaded some trays with soil and seeded several varieties of onions — both Cortland and Patterson, which are long keepers, and Ailsa Craig, Southport and Texas Grand, which are early season.

I have had excellent luck in the past years starting my own seeds. For starters, it’s economical and they do better. I’m still using last season’s Cortlands. They should last until April.

I also started a few trays of pea shoots and some spinach.

I’ve never had success with spinach started much later than this. Even planted in the early spring, a couple of warm days will cause it to bolt. I’ve had flowers form at less than two inches tall, for Pete’s sake.

The earlier the better, or even in late fall under a bit of protection, is the way to go.

Rusty at Ghost Island has some beautiful spinach. It has enormous leaves. I hope I planted the same variety. It was winter giant. It came from Pine Tree Seeds.

For the third or fourth year in a row at this time, I’ve had a hatch of ladybugs in my bedroom. It is on the south side and very warm and sunny during the day.

I’m completely baffled. I’m pretty sure I do not invite them in sometime late summer. Does anyone know what’s happening?

I’m loathe to kill them or put them outside, so am resigning myself to some roommates.

My feline population has dwindled over the years to two elderly barn cats — a mother and son. They were easily nearing two decades on the job, keeping the property free of rodents.

In the last few weeks both have disappeared. This was before the big freeze.

I did think it odd that both were gone in such a short time. Then, imagine my alarm at the news of possibly six coyotes here on the Vineyard. I have a small, very geriatric dog and chickens so I guess constant vigilance is the new normal.

Growing up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, we had tons of black bears. They were always rooting through trash, knocking over beehives and breaking open bird feeders.

I don’t remember them going after livestock or small pets. Then again, our parents may have been protecting us from that knowledge. Wish they were still here for me to ask.

I always appreciate Kristie Kingsbury Henshaw. She remembers my birthday and sends a card every year. For those of you who know her, you must know she’s very artful.

She decorated the envelope this year with the Jean-Paul Sartre quote “only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat” and her comment that Sartre was able to anticipate our present Congress.

This brings me to a comment about last week’s State of the Union address. I write on Tuesday, so I had not seen it yet.

Aside from the Republican heckling of Joe Biden, which he seemed to enjoy, I was struck by the total lack of control exhibited by Kevin McCarthy.

Comparing him to Nancy Pelosi is so easy. I remember one of Trump’s State of the Union when the Democrats started grumbling. She shot a look that quelled it immediately.

You know the look . . . Every mother in America gave it from the choir loft to misbehaving children in church.