Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

You know, there are some Saturday mornings when I’d swear the birds are deliberately loitering around the feeder, just waiting for me to fill it up.

Ol’ Robbo was able to get himself out into the garden today, finally finishing up his late-winter pruning back of the butterfly bush and the roses. The latter really should have been done three or four weeks ago, as they are already growing aggressively. I hope leaving it this late will not lead to any permanent damage. If it does, chalk them up as yet more casualties to a certain virus that absolutely didn’t come from a Chinese bioweapons lab except that (Oopsie!) it did.** Anyhoo, while there’s still plenty more raking and cleaning to do, those were my chief worries.

Meanwhile, things proceed apace. The peonies have all broken ground and I noticed the buds forming on the pear tree. I also noticed that the big hedge of oak-leaf hydrangea which lines the back of my garden has sent colonists to try and establish themselves in the interior. In some ways, Ol’ Robbo is too soft-hearted: Said OLH have no biznay whatsoever anywhere other than the hedge, and to leave their invasion alone would cause all sorts of problems. And yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to dig them out today. I must needs strengthen my resolve and think of the Greater Good. (Chorus: “The Greater Good!”)

I further noticed that a mistake I made last year is coming back to bite me. Long-time friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s ongoing and generally fruitless efforts to get his forsythia to bloom more heartily. Conventional wisdom says to cut them way back just after they’ve finished flowering each spring, as they only flower on new growth. But when I do that, the stalks grow so monstrously tall over the course of the year that they’re too stringy come the next bloom season. So I’ve been experimenting with delaying the pruning in order to leave more compact bushes. Whelp, last year I didn’t get around to it until Labor Day weekend, which proved far, far too late: Even with a gentle and wet fall, they put on barely a few inches of new growth. And now, of course, they look ridiculous. (Further, there’s no telling whether my campaign of liming them heavily has had any effect.) Oh, well.

Finally, as far as that clock-change thing goes, the most beneficial aspect in Ol’ Robbo’s opinion is that I will be able to grill out tomorrow evening in plenty of light as opposed to the Braille method I must use over the winter. Am I looking forward to it? Oh, you betcha!

**I was out about two hours and it was only light labor but I can still feel my lack of reserves. I continue to hope this goes away relatively soon.

UPDATE: Those of you keeping track at home will be pleased to learn that despite Ma Nature serving up an evening of drizzle and light rain, Ol’ Robbo got his Sunday leap forward grill in nonetheless.

I have said before but will say again because this is my blog that there is only one way to correctly cook a strip steak or ribeye. One must find a cut at least an inch thick (or more). One must cover it with garlic salt (or other seasoning of choice) and let it sit for an hour or two. One must build the hottest possible charcoal fire. And one must cook one’s steak for just a very few minutes on either side, so that it’s blackened on the outside but still kicking, as it were, on the inside. Pure bliss.

And those who would take away my grill and my meat, and instead have me eat bugs and think myself fortunate, are invited to go to the devil.