Well, I know it is nothing like New England or the midwest, but it has been bitingly cold here in northern California. The chickens are chummier with each other, and our son thinks it is because they must snuggle at night to keep warm. It has been very rainy as well since our return from vacation.
In late December we took off for two weeks in Italy. What a fine time we had exploring Florence, Venice, Siena, and Soriano nel Cimino. When we took trains between the cities we first would spot the gardens in the countryside. Artichoke plants were easy to notice, especially in Tuscany. They appeared to be a bit more closely planted than our plants here. South of Tuscany we saw more cabbage and broccoli plants in the vegetable gardens.
I'm just about to give our artichoke plants some fertilizer. They should start producing some artichokes by February. A few of our plants are an Italian heirloom purple artichoke, a kind we also saw in a few of the vegetable markets on our trip.