West Tisbury


I don’t miss the over-activity of summer, the traffic, the noise, ten things to do every night and not enough time. But I do feel wistful this time of year for the things not done and summer friends packing up to leave. Summer seems over-long and not long enough. I am always surprised when the end of August comes.

Surprised at two emails I received for events taking place in October. October?

Friends of Lynn Christoffers may not remember a time she wasn’t working on her cat book. After six years in preparation, it was completed last spring, sent off to the publisher, and will be released sometime in mid-October. Previews of “Cats of Martha’s Vineyard, 101 Island Tales” can be seen on Vineyard Stories website. Look under “Coming this October.” Lynn does have an advance copy she will be showing off at M.M. Stone Antiques & Fine Art weekday afternoons for the next two weeks. Call 347-684-0399 to be sure she is there.

The second item is that the 2013 Living Local Harvest Festival and the Antique Engine Show have been scheduled for October 5 on the Ag Hall grounds. If you are interested in volunteering to work at the show, please contact the committee at livinglocalvineyard@gmail.com. There is are also facebook pages for both events.

The West Tisbury Fire Department has a new ATV (all-terrain vehicle) for beach rescues. Chief Estrella was at Station 1 for Sunday morning radio check, showing it off and giving the rescue squad a chance to try it out. They went down to Long Point to run it across the beach. Everyone was impressed.

It’s been a busy week for the firemen, for all the Island departments. Lots of calls for both fire alarms and accidents.

The Polly Hill Arboretum invites everyone to come for a walk and admire the Vineyard native plants that are at their peak now.

Neil Withers and his dog, Mika, are occasional companions on our walks with our dogs. We seem to hit the shore at about the same time in the morning. Mika was notably “fragrant” the other day, so naturally, our conversation turned to remedies for skunked dogs. Neil had used the same basic formula Mike and I do, but didn’t know about our last step, so it seems a good time to reprint our protocol for getting the smell out of a skunked dog.

My advice is to post it prominently in your bathroom, as you will tend to need to find it quickly at 10 or 11 at night, when all you want to do is go off to bed, which is what you were doing when you let the dogs out for their last call. Dogs are remarkably uncaring of their owner’s readiness for sleep. They spy a skunk and head into the chase. And there you are.

First, DO NOT LEAVE IT FOR THE MORNING. No matter how tired you are, this is a situation to deal with immediately, before the oil soaks indelibly into your dog’s fur.

Second, mix dishwashing soap, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide together to use as a basic post-skunking shampoo. The dishwashing soap has a de-greasing agent that will cut the oil in skunk spray. The other ingredients neutralize the smell. Be careful, though, to mix well. Peroxide alone will bleach the fur on a black dog.

Finally, rinse the dog’s fur with vinegar and water. Rinse well. The vinegar seems to get rid of any remaining smell.

This has worked well for us over many years. We found out about the “mix well” part by turning our dog, Zoe, into a reddish-gold-spotted black lab. This was back in the 1980s. A lesson learned.

Peegee hydrangeas and hay-scented fern fronds are the bouquet on the table by our living room sofa. The tree itself is outside the living room window. It must be ten feet or more tall now, from a tiny standard planted 25 years ago. It’s one of the few things I carefully prune to keep its beautiful shape. I am grateful to be rewarded with a spilling waterfall of white blossoms this time of year. They gradually turn pink, then dry on the tree. Some years I have cut them to tuck into the greenery around our windowsills at Christmas. Some years they remain in their place, then blow across the yard into unexpected trappings of branches or leaves or the winter woodpile, a reminder of life’s cyclical nature.