I've taken up gardening. It's not easy to be a gardener in Wisconsin. (It's not easy to be a liberal here, either. But that's another story.) The outdoor growing season is pitifully short, running from mid-May through the end of September. About the length of the yachting season, and roughly half the amount of time you can ride your motorcycle. But I love to cook, and some dear friends of mine gave me an Aerogarden (a hydroponic self-contained growing system) with a "Gourmet Seed Pod" kit for Christmas. And in a few short weeks I went from this: to this: There are some valuable lessons to be learned from gardening. If a plant dies or a crop fails, it's not "fake news." You can tell right away from the yellow leaves or withered stems that you've done something wrong. Horticulture is a natural process. Not every seed will germinate. But most of them will. Plants want to grow - give them the right amount of air, light, moisture, and nutrients - and they will thrive. As my mother (a lifelong gardener) once told me: Mother nature can be encouraged - but she won't be rushed. Plants can benefit greatly from a little careful pruning. But doubling the amount of fertilizer you dump on them is guaranteed to kill them, not make them grow any faster. I'm certainly not doing this to piss off my conservative friends. Rather the opposite in fact. I made a dinner for one of them of omelets (enlivened with fresh parsley and basil) and sauteed potatoes with thyme and dill - washed down with a very nice North Coast Pinot Grigio the other day. I'm not obsessive about my food: I'm sure the eggs came from some factory-farmed caged nightmare. But it was delicious and enjoyable all the same. It's still several months before I can expect to see the vibrant colors of geraniums and petunias outside my living room window. But from the deep and dark despair of a Wisconsin winter in the age of Trump, hope - and herbs - springs eternal.