It is certainly wonderful to see more Islanders smiling, thanks to the sun continuing to shine. I have begun swimming and am joyously reunited with Ice House Pond, albeit in a wet suit; love the water — just not being cold. On my way home I thought I could catch the end of opening day at the Chilmark General Store, but missed it only to find a couple of mothers minding their young kids toddling and crawling on the front porch. I heard that the porch was full at lunchtime and an opening day crowd enjoyed themselves.
The ideal weather has been great for getting outside and pulling weeds, mulching flower beds, preparing and planting gardens. North Tabor Farm and Mermaid Farm are selling young plants for your garden, so if you did not start seeds in your home or greenhouse you can pick up a variety of lettuces, onions, kales, and some experimental offerings. Also if you have not already tried Mermaid Farm’s Coffee Lassi (made with decaf) you are in for a treat! Definitely our home’s new favorite, or try Blueberry (another new offering) or just stick to Mango Lassi, all great. Thanks, Mermaid Farm: we love having one all-night farmstand!
Don’t forget to enjoy Wendy Weldon’s gorgeous exhibit of monotypes and acrylic paintings on view during library hours at the Chilmark Library.
If you have ever been interested in geneaology you can grow your family tree and learn about your heritage with Genealogist Al Woolacott, who will demonstrate how to use Ancestry.com on May 21 at 5 pm (free) in this program sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library. For more information, call 508-645-3360. If you can’t make the program, come in and use a computer to access Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest Online.
Now everyone knows about the Quitsa Strider and the fate of the fishing permits for Jonathan Mayhew. Menemsha will certainly not look the same. I decided to call Jonathan’s brother, Gregory Mayhew, whom I have known the last four years as the father of my son Sawyer’s good friend Galen Mayhew. Gregory bought his boat, Unicorn, in 1984, and it is now 47 years old, an old-timer for a steel rig. Gregory was heading out for New Bedford on Tuesday for fuel and ice explaining that the squid are in, once “the mainstay this time of year.” He was hoping to make some money before fixing his own boat up to sell. He had spent a good deal of time on Monday calling permit offices for fishing, one in Utah, and then speaking with someone in Gloucester about a swordfish permit. Where once he used to harpoon 40 swordfish on an average day and could catch as many as 80 on a good day, now the permit allows him only a catch of three! It takes a day to get to the right waters, a day to fish, and a day to return, so catching only three fish certainly can’t pay the bills. Though Gregory is nearly six years older than his brother, transitioning from a lifetime of fishing — a family heritage — is not easy, but necessary. We wish only the best for all the Mayhews as they forge ahead.
One of the things I have been most struck by this spring is how many year-round residents are seeking summer housing. The ages span from twenties to seventies, both sexes and some needing to bring their pets along. If anyone has seasonal or long-term housing to rent please share this information with the MV Chamber of Commerce at http://www.mvy.com/jobbank/housinglist.aspx. People we all care about are out there looking to move a.s.a.p.
Valerie Sonnenthal, our new Chilmark town columnist, is a writer, artist and the publisher of Errata Editions. When she’s not teaching Foot Fitness or Gyrokinesis classes, she enjoys walking her dogs, swimming, and playing the drums. Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here or call her at508-645-9692.