West Tisbury: Cooler days


Beautiful, crispy-cool days and nights, one after another. The forecast is for a continuation of the same all through the week, maybe a little warmer on Thursday, but nothing horrible. Beach walks have been fun. The cooler weather has made all dogs friskier, so lots of playtime, and swimming, of course. I think Nan may be overdoing a little; she seems to be limping some, and getting up and down takes a bit more effort. But I’m glad to see her getting slowly back to herself. There will be plenty of quieter days this winter.

A week or so ago our Alley’s porch group was laughing about zucchini, admonishing one another to remember to shut our windows and lock our cars or trucks whenever leaving them unattended at this time of year. Gardens are at their most productive now. Tiny zucchini hills planted in July have grown into something the size of mature shrubs, with daily pickings ranging from slender babies with their flowers still attached to previously unnoticed baseball bat–size adequate to feed a family of 10.

Blue Cullen shared a story apropos of the above. Kurt Freund had parked his Fishsticks Charters truck in Alley’s parking lot for “just a moment.” He returned to find the front seat of his truck awash in uninvited zucchini. He brought it home to Blue, who called me laughing about it and reminded me about “The Prairie Home Companion,” where apparently residents of Lake Wobegon deal with a similar wealth of zucchini this time of year.

I spoke with Blue later in the week, and asked what she and Kurt had done with all that zucchini? She said they had sliced it, brushed with olive oil, and grilled it.

Suzi Wasserman gave me a fabulous cold zucchini salad recipe earlier in the summer. We have eaten it several times, but not wanting to bother thinly slicing and artistically arranging the whole thing, I tried something different. Here is an easy way to use up a lot of zucchini and/or summer squash. Slice it into ¼-inch rounds. Sauté in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. When cooked, add fresh mint and thin shavings of Parmesan. That’s it. Toss it over pasta for a main dish, or serve it as a side.

Here is the West Tisbury library news:

Saturday, Sept. 2, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, drop-in crafts for families and young adults. At 4 pm, Jim Kaplan will read from his new book, “Clearing the Bases: A Veteran Sportswriter on the National Pastime.”

Don’t forget that Monday, Sept. 4, is Labor Day. The library will be closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Learning Lab returns weekday afternoons from 3 to 4:30 pm through the school year. Kids ages 10 and up (8- and 9-year-olds may attend with a mature caregiver) are invited for snacks, crafts, coding, and more.

Friday, Sept. 8, 3:30 pm, Teen/Tween Glow Yoga with Emily Histen uses glow sticks, glow balloons, and music. Sign-up is required. Ages 10 to 17.

The Federated Church is hosting an official welcome to their new settled minister, the Reverend David G. Berube, and his wife, Ellen, this Sunday, Sept. 3, at the Mayhew Parsonage following the 9:30 am service. Beginning next Sunday, there will be one morning service at 10:30 am.

Martha’s Vineyard Partnership for Health announces a free six-session series, “My Life, My Health,” that begins on Thursday, Sept. 7. It will focus on self-managing chronic and multiple health conditions. The class will meet from 3 to 5:30 pm. Preregistration is required. For more information, contact Kathleen Samways at 508-627-5797, ext. 114, or infoMVPH@ihimv.org.

Early last summer I noticed a rosette of thistle leaves that had self-sown outside our sunroom windows. Being curious to see what would come of it, I left it there, and have watched it grow. It was one of those things I thought was probably stupid, but I did it anyway. It grew into an impressive six-foot-high plant covered with spikes and huge buds that opened into flowers of a lovely shade of purple. The wonderful part of this was watching goldfinches attracted to the seeds. They would perch in clusters on the branches of this thistle tree, and it was a pleasure to watch their bright color and enjoyment of their treats.

Brooks Robards stopped by last week, and as we were sitting on our porch, commented on delicate puffs that caught the breeze and blew past us, across the lawn, across the garden, everywhere. Brooks, being a poet, was enchanted by the sight. I knew what I was watching, thistle seeds blowing everywhere. They would settle in, sprout, and I would be forever rousting them out of wherever they landed. I’ll admit they are pretty, and I do love watching the goldfinches. But I have already mentioned to Mike that he would have to get out his chainsaw to cut down the original plant, and I will have a job to do digging it out by its roots before they go any deeper and become more embedded. Oh, well. It wasn’t the first stupid thing I have done, and surely won’t be the last. And it did provide a summer’s entertainment.

P.S. Sunday evening Mike’s brother, Jared, and Sue Hruby stopped by to bring us a big bag of guess what? Zucchini.