Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull
Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

There are four baby goats at Flat Point Farm, born over the past two weekends. Emily Fischer was full of news when I saw her the other evening. This year’s lambs are growing and a studio is going up on the property for Emily’s goat milk soap-making business and for her mother, Christa’s, felting projects. Christa has been doing workshops at the library and at Featherstone for several years now. Her felted creations are magical. Brava to both Fischer women and to the continued life and growth on the farm.

Emily’s other surprising news was that her eldest son, Milo, will be starting kindergarten this fall. It all happens so quickly, babies being born and growing up, having their own babies. I seem to ruminate about all sorts of things these days like my perspective on life in my town, having lived long enough to have a perspective.

Besides watching children grow, I have the perspective of watching the landscape around me. My weeping cherry tree was barely a whip when I planted it. Now it is a waterfall of long pink-flowered branches sweeping the ground, about 15 feet high. Ruth Kirchmeier came for a garden visit last week, remembering us wedging that tree into the car on one of our many plant-buying expeditions. Everything seems to have a story, to bring up memories, perspective. That’s one of the pleasures of gardening, remembering the friend who gave you a thinning of something that is now a huge patch, or the plan you had when you planted it. Whether that plan was adhered to or not, whether another plant proved more vigorous than the one you intended to feature, the height and width of mature plantings instead of the tiny specimens originally planted. I plant things farther apart now.

My friend Leslie Baker, ever the optimist, commented recently that the cool weather has made our spring flowers last much longer. We have had daffodils blooming for over a month now, the earliest ones still looking good, barely beginning to turn brown at the edges of their petals.

I am glad that Catherine Hoffman had a chance to see her daffodils bloom this one last time before she died last week. Catherine’s daffodils, diverse and abundant, have been one of the highlights of my drives along State Road for as long as I can remember. That and her golden chain tree, one of the few I have ever seen, that will bloom soon. She was a lovely person, an artist and a musician. My condolences to her family and all who knew her.

A reminder about Leah Littlefield’s Bat Mitzvah project. I mentioned before that she is collecting children’s books, new and gently-used, for a shelter in Boston. She has placed a second collection box at the West Tisbury Library, so you no longer have to drive to the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven to leave donations for her project. Her Bat Mitzvah will take place on June 21, so you still have time to contribute books for her.

The Friends of the West Tisbury Library need lots of Cronig’s bags with handles for sorting and storing books in preparation for their Annual Book Sale. If you have some to spare, please leave them at the sheds at the West Tisbury School. Books for the sale may be left there, too, but the Friends ask that large donations be held until they move into the school gym after July 7. This year’s sale runs from August 1 to 4.

The Library Foundation’s Speakeasy Series resumes next Wednesday evening, May 14, with authors Ward Just and Paul Schneider the featured guests at State Road Restaurant. Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 7 pm for $30 per person. The West Tisbury Library Foundation Inc. was incorporated “to promote and advocate for the expansion, improvement, maintenance and support of the West Tisbury Free Public Library.” The Speakeasy Series has been one of their most popular fundraisers.

Emily Sims Solarazza will lead two yoga classes at the library. Laughing Yoga for Adults begins Monday, May 19, at 5:30 pm. Laughing Yoga for Kids will meet on Thursdays at 4 pm, beginning May 22.

The library’s Saturday drop-in crafts have expanded with the new space. Family crafts will be set up in the Children’s Room from 11 to 3. Teen/Tween projects will be out during the same hours in the Young Adult’s Room downstairs. Crafts are free and open to the public.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum Chief Curator Bonnie Stacy has a new book, “Martha’s Vineyard,” featuring over two hundred photographs and stories about the history of our island. She will talk about the book and show images from it in the Museum Library on Tuesday, May 13, at 5:30 pm.

The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group fundraiser, Evening Under the Stars, will be held at Farm Neck on Thursday, May 15, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Enjoy a buffet dinner, drinks, dessert, and dancing to music by Mike Benjamin. The $100 donation goes entirely to help Island cancer patients and their families with various costs of their treatment.

Someone noted recently that I haven’t mentioned Nelson in a while. He is now an eight-month old macho male cat. He has learned how to use the cat flap, so he comes and goes with more independence. He has become an excellent killer of mice, moles, and voles, encouraging me as the gardening season progresses. He is still very affectionate and he still bites, but he is a wonderful cat. I am totally smitten with my guy.

The West Tisbury column for May 1 was inadvertently omitted from the print edition of The Times. It was posted online and is still available there at the above link. – Ed.

Got West Tisbury news? Share it with Hermine at

It feels impossible to be writing May 1 already. Didn’t April just start? The wind has been so cold I was wearing my down jacket working outside on Sunday. Still, it’s been a week of magnolias resplendent. And forsythia. Our Island spring may be chilly, but it is still beautiful and so very welcome. Peas are coming up. Onions. Greens of all manner. The soil feels warm. The color green in all its variations. If only the wind would die down.

I feel eager to start exploring my favorite painting spots, to pack up my gear and a sandwich and head out to paint somewhere, to admire the landscape unfolding around me. Or just to capture the woods softening, coloring up outside my windows. Driving by the Mill Pond yesterday I observed the still-rusty-orange skirt of shrubbery in the distance and the pale chartreuse of willow flowers following the tight catkins, a painterly combination.

I ran into Elaine and Dan Pace at Vineyard Gardens last week. Elaine told me about “watching” her son, Ryan, who ran his 21st Boston Marathon the day before. She and Dan were able to follow his progress on their computer with some sort of tracking program. Amazing. There was a brief glitch when all seemed to disappear, but it fortunately turned out to be their computer and not any disruption of the race or Ryan’s stopping. He completed the race in just over three hours. Well done.

If you know Jay Segal, he is quite the Renaissance man, capable in many disciplines. Besides being the man about whom most everyone I know says, “He saved my feet,” he is a designer of gait-correcting orthotics, a writer about body mechanics, a gardener of note, a writer of children’s books, and a writer/player/singer of songs. Wearing the latter hat, he told me about his latest coup, selling three songs to Viacom for MTV’s “Catfish” Season 3. You can hear instrumental versions 1 and 2 of “Hello,” and “Leaving,” both from his CD, “Extended Family.” Jay and his musical partners, Rick Bausman and Mark Cohen, are very excited and proud, justifiably so. “S’wonderful,” as George Gershwin wrote.

Wendy Weldon is exhibiting at the Chilmark Library this month, May 3–22, acrylics on canvas and mounted monotypes. Her work is an exploration of color and shape, manipulated and abstracted, of barns and Chilmark’s stone walls, of birds, animals, the world around her and us. More of her work can be seen at North Water Gallery and on her website:

The Granary Gallery, although open the year-round, has been setting out ever-more enticing objects on their lawn and outdoor walls, signaling a new, springtime art energy. All of the local galleries seem to be on the path towards opening up and presenting new work. Allen and Lynne Whiting have bright red tulips and their sign announcing the Davis House Gallery. The Field Gallery will open soon. So will Kara Taylor. So will I. Nancy Shaw Cramer already has expanded hours and lots of new offerings; she will be open every day but Monday beginning May 1.

At the West Tisbury Library, Julia Mitchell’s tapestries will remain on display through the summer.

A Tween/Teen Advisory Group meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 5, at 3:30 pm. Librarians are looking for input and help to select new books, movies, and plan events for your age group, so come and speak up.

Also on Monday, May 5, at 7 pm, the Graphic Novel Book Club begins, led by Carolina Cooney. The book is available at the library’s circulation desk.

Weekly storytimes are reconvening in the new Children’s Room, beginning Thursday, May 8. Guest reader Nicole Cabot of Island Grown Schools will read and lead songs for young children. Mother Goose on the Loose for infants to three year olds resumes on Monday, May 5. Both story-times begin at 10:30 am.

The library is partnering with the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency on a new program called “Writers on Wednesdays.” Two readings are planned, May 7 and 14, 5 to 6 pm. The current group includes published novelists, poets, non-fiction writers, and short-story writers. All will be reading excerpts from their latest works. The residency program gives writers two to six weeks in a private hotel in Edgartown, nine writers at a time. There are two residencies — April 1 through May 15, and September 15 through October 31. What a fabulous sounding program. Time away to completely focus on one’s work, the company of fellow writers, rooms and dinners accounted for. I wish there was one for painters.

The wind seems to be picking up again. I hope we won’t need a fire again tonight.

Got West Tisbury news? Visit

Hermine-HullIt has been sunny and beautiful all week. A bit chilly with the wind, but nice. Energizing to be outside. A good thing, as outside chores abound. Mike and I were talking over breakfast Sunday morning about all the trim needing painting, seedlings to get into the ground, unplanted shrubs wintered over from last year that need to be planted. That’s not even thinking of new projects. We spent most of the rest of the day working around the property, a nice day together, and came inside tired but having accomplished at least some of our list.

Earlier on there was radio check for Mike, then I met him across the street at the station to visit with friends and watch the kids chase Easter eggs in the field behind the firehouse. It is always a nice event presided over by the biggest Easter bunny I have ever seen. Everyone went home with plenty of treats and toys to show for their efforts.

Then we took the dogs down for a walk on the beach to look at the newly-cut opening into the Great Pond. The last opening, only a few weeks ago, filled in almost immediately and had to be cut again. We saw jellyfish washed up all along the pond’s shore. The highlight for me was watching an egret in the inland pond and an osprey soaring overhead.

The Mill Pond has been stocked with trout and it’s been nice to see kids and grown-ups fishing there.

Sue Silk sent me an email about the old police station building, now empty and needing a new function. Sue is a member of the committee charged with gathering information to be presented to the selectmen for their decision. Bea Phear is chairperson and Scott Young is the remaining member. They held their first meeting with the abutters last week and came up with two possibilities, but want to open the process to all town residents. The building is structurally sound. It does have some limitations: it’s in the Historic District and the Village Residential District, has limited septic capability with the tank on abutting property with an easement, and limited parking. The building had been West Tisbury’s original one-room schoolhouse, then became town hall. Everyone has seen Stan Murphy’s iconic portrait of selectmen Everett Whiting, John Alley, and Allen Look standing on the stone steps leading into the then West Tisbury town office. So please give this some thought and share your ideas with Bea, Sue, or Scott, or leave them on the town website by May 15. The committee meets next at town hall on May 23 at 4 o’clock. Please come and participate.

The two possibilities discussed were returning the building to its original educational use with a program focusing on teaching children about our natural environment, or offering it at minimal rent to Island nonprofits needing office space. The idea is that several nonprofits could share the building. The committee requests that people express an opinion on these two possibilities, as well as making proposals of their own.

The Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living is hosting an impressive list of speakers at an Alzheimer’s Forum and panel discussion this Friday, April 25, 9:30 am to 12 noon, at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. Headline speaker is Dr. John Zeisel, author of “I’m Still Here,” and founder/director of Hearthstone residential facilities for Alzheimer’s care. He and Suzanne Faith, Clinical Director of Hope Dementia and Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod, the second featured speaker, have been my go-to experts for support and information as I learn about Alzheimer’s. Rounding out the program are two Island experts, Nancy Langman, formerly of Island Counseling and a Hospice Bereavement Counselor, and Eileen Murphy, Supportive Day Program Supervisor. It promises to be an informative and inspiring morning, and a good place to network. The program is free and all are welcome. Please pre-register at 508-939-9440.

There will be a teen/tween craft program in the young adult room at the West Tisbury Library this Saturday, April 26, from 11 am to 3 pm. All are invited to make tissue paper flowers, a good way to celebrate spring.

The Chilmark Women’s Symposium will meet Saturday morning at the Chilmark Community Center for their annual spring program. The subject is “Dreams.” There will be speakers, small discussion groups, and refreshments. The event is free, but donations are always welcome. Call Bonnie George for more information at 508-645-3214.

Jennifer Fragosa will be teaching a class for American Red Cross Life Saving Certification at the Mansion House pool beginning May 1. The class is approximately 31 hours and students must be 15 years old or older. Cost is $350. Call to register, 508-693-2200. Or look online at

West Tisbury resident Glenn DeBlase and Chilmarker Tim Carroll have completed Boat Crew qualifications with the USCG Auxiliary. Their group is part of the Woods Hole flotilla, training with both Menemsha and Woods Hole active duty Coast Guard stations. The course focuses on boating safety education and issuing decals for boats that have their full complement of safety equipment on board. The auxiliary also conducts safety patrols during the boating season and renders aid to boaters in distress, augments active duty Coast Guard members by providing radio watch standers, cooks, and other resources. Congratulations to you both.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullAs I write this I am feeling absolutely jaunty. Mike and I have finished and mailed in our taxes two days ahead of the April 15 deadline. A first for us. We are usually struggling sleepily into the night of April 14, papers everywhere across our dining room table, wondering where some critical piece of documentation has disappeared to. Not this year. It may be a small step, two days early, but maybe next year we will get it done even earlier. At this rate, by the time we are 80 we may even send them in in March.

It has been a beautiful week. Although the wind has been chilly, it is warm in the sun. I have been enjoying my morning coffee outside, wearing shorts and a tee-shirt already. We had a garter snake sunning himself in the backyard yesterday. Pinkletinks are noisily proclaiming themselves in the ponds. Bob and Bobette have returned to the Mill Pond, preparing for the arrival of their cygnets. Daffodils are blooming everywhere along with carpets of blue chionodoxa and scilla. Epimediums and violets are coming up. The pear trees at the cemetery have huge buds ready to burst. Everyone in town seems cheerful, as the temperate weather provides a welcome break from cold and snow, and the hot, humid days ahead.

A reminder to check for ticks They are out.

Sunday evening Mike and I were invited to an early seder at Linda and Gaston Vadasz’s winter rental house. We have celebrated Passover with the Cabots for several years and a poignant part of the evening is when Nicole comments on how much she misses her parents. So it was wonderful to be sitting around their table this year with Linda and Gaston presiding over the seder, beaming at their granddaughters, telling stories about their years in Hungary. Next year we will be sitting around the table in their new, year-round dining room, in the apartment they are building onto Ben and Nicole’s house. Something very special to look forward to.

It was also Palm Sunday, so lots of gardeners were out at the three garden centers in town — Heather Gardens, Vineyard Gardens, and Middletown Nursery. All were decked out with lots of spring bulbs and pansies, early perennials, and gifts for all their visitors.

Next week will be Easter. The West Tisbury Church has planned a Tenebrae service and communion this Thursday evening at 7:30. “This service concludes in darkness and silence as we remember the story of Jesus’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion.” There will be a sunrise service at 5:30 Easter Sunday morning at Ann Nelson’s. Directions: turn onto Littlefield Lane across from the Polly Hill Arboretum, bear left on Edson Forest Lane, follow the road as it bends to the right. At 10 am there will be an Easter service with the Sunday School, held at the Ag Hall, and followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. Everyone is welcome to attend all of these holiday services.

The West Tisbury Library has planned a Spring Egg Hunt at the library on Saturday, April 19, beginning at 10 am SHARP (librarian’s emphasis.) There will be eggs filled with jelly beans hidden around the library, so come and explore. There will be no crafts this Saturday and the library will be closed on Sunday.

Carolina Cooney will be leading a Graphic Novel Book Club at the library beginning Monday, May 5, at 7 pm. The first book, “Watchmen,” written by Allan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, is available at the circulation desk. Sign up and pick up your copy of the book to prepare for the May meeting. Carolina is an online instructor of History of Comics at The Academy of Art University and a frequent exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con International. Her husband is comic artist Dan Cooney. They live in town with their two young sons and Carolina’s grandmother, Jean Wexler.

Congratulations to everyone who won re-election in our recent town election last week, also to Maria McFarland, newly-elected to serve on the Board of Assessors.

I want to tell Katie Carroll how much I have enjoyed her column these past years. She is a wonderful writer, hand-picked by my dear friend Jackie Sexton when Jackie retired from writing the Chilmark column. Jackie felt that Katie was well-positioned to know what was happening in Chilmark and would tell her town’s stories with affection and care. She has done so more than admirably. I will miss her weekly columns, her observations of the seasons passing, her accounts of the events of her fellow residents as well as visitors. Thank you, Katie.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullNature is pretty miraculous. After the past winter that seemed so long, cold, snowy, icy, long, my first blooming daffodils opened up this morning, right on schedule. Mike, the dogs, and I were driving home from our walk and saw bright yellow daffodils blooming along the south-facing wall of Linda Alley’s house, so I went right out in my yard to look around as soon as we got home. There they were, appearing like magic. Nothing yesterday. Flowers today.

April is National Poetry Month and there are events on the Island celebrating that most evocative art. An exhibition of poetry-inspired art opened at Featherstone yesterday. It combines poems and artwork by members of the Martha’s Vineyard Poets’ Collective in one room with the larger room displaying work in different media and the poems that inspired each artist. There is a surprising variety including stained glass, handmade books, collage, drawing, as well as paintings ranging from traditional to whimsical fantasy. The show runs through April 23.

A Semi-Annual West Tisbury Library Community Poetry Reading will be held at the library this Sunday afternoon, April 13, at 3:30. All are welcome to bring a favorite poem to read, one you have written or one by a poet of your choice. Or just come to listen and enjoy the company of other poetry enthusiasts. This reading is in honor of Jonathan Revere, who always enjoyed these gatherings. The library wishes to thank the Bunch of Grapes for hosting these events during our construction.

Artists Leslie Baker, Nick Thayer, and Wendy Weldon traveled to the Fitchburg Art Museum on Sunday to the opening of “On the Edge,” a juried show for members of the Monotype Guild of New England. All three, who have printed together weekly for years, were among a select group of printmakers whose work was chosen. All are masters of the monotype, an original print of which only a single impression is made from a plate drawn or painted on by the artist. The plate is neither carved nor etched, the image transferred to dampened paper by the pressure of the press. It has been called “the painterly print,” combining qualities of both, unique.

If you enjoy the Chilmark Women’s Symposium, put April 26 on your calendar. The 33rd meeting has as its subject “Dreams” and will meet from 9 am to 12 noon at the Chilmark Community Center.

Sunday afternoon, April 13, the Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living will host their first fundraiser of 2014, showing the film “Away From Her” at the Film Center. Doors open at 4 o’clock for a reception, then the film, followed by a question-and-answer period led by Karen Achille, Eileen Murphy, Leslie Clapp, and Mary Holmes. All are well-known island experts in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The event is part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month on the Vineyard. Tickets are $25 at the door, $20 for Film Society members.

A Forum on Emergency Preparedness will be held at 1:30 pm on Monday, April 14, at the Tisbury Senior Center. Speakers are: Chris Cini, Emergency Management Co-ordinator; Beth Toomey, who will talk about her experience working in Falmouth shelters during Hurricane Sandy; Jim Klingensmith describing how to accommodate pets; and Chuck Cotnor, who will give information about preparing a bag with emergency supplies. Call 508-696-4205 for more information.

Closer to home, Marsha Winsryg will talk about her recent trip to Zambia at the West Tisbury Library at 5 pm on April 14. Marsha has been actively helping support women’s and children’s charities in Africa, raising money by selling crafts she collects on her trips. She will be joined by Rick Bausman and Jane Norton to share photos, video, and stories about a new model for cross-cultural exchange. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Polly Hill Arboretum is looking for volunteers to help maintain the grounds and lend a hand around the property. Anyone interested is invited to “join us on the first Thursday of every month April through October, 9 to noon.” Call ahead so they know how many folks to expect, 508-693-9426. Wear comfortable work clothes and bring your own gloves. Tools are provided.

Enid Haller of the Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard wants to let people know about a conference on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, this May 3 and 4. You may call the Lyme Center for more information, 508-693-1846.

Some weeks I have lots to say, some weeks not so much. The weather is reliable, the changing of seasons, the passing of time, the rituals that make up a year in our community lives. I think of this column as my weekly letter to you. Newsy or philosophical, an observation of a small detail or some momentous event, it is meant to represent us in this time. Birds and blooms and houseguests arrive and disappear. Dogs go for daily walks and do silly things. New kittens discover the world in their first year. Music, art, food, politics, firemen, kindergartners, events and people large and small. If something noteworthy happens to you that you wish to share, please let me know. And thanks for reading.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine here.

by -

Hermine-HullI had a cold last week and slept through most of the storm. I saw some snow wind-blown across our bedroom windows, but otherwise missed it and it was melted away by the time I went outside and off the property. There are some big limbs down, notably in the triangle by Brandy Brow. Overall, we seem to have gotten through just fine with no loss of power, no accidents, no flooding, no trees blocking roads.

There is a new sign at the Public Safety Building. Police Department, Fire Station No. Two and Tri-Town Ambulance share the facility as they were meant to, following the completion of the new police station that looks from the outside as though it had always been there.

Immediately as you enter, the main area is visible through interior fenestration, lots of glass that makes the building and its occupants feel accessible right from the onset. There is parking behind the building and a discreet entrance to a private interview room for people needing their privacy.

Administrative assistant Haddon Blair gave Mike and me the tour this morning. Earlier, he had filed a request for materials, pleased at how easy things are to find, especially without crawling around on his hands and knees to find them. They are already remarkably well organized for having just moved in.

Every officer has his own cubicle with a desk and space to keep his own open cases right to hand and laptops that go from desk to patrol car. There are file cabinets and storage closets galore, all neatly arranged, with room to spare for now. Years of reports, evidence for pending cases, extra equipment, log books, training materials, lockers, bunks for emergency overnights — there is a place for everything. ACO Joannie Jenkinson has her own office upstairs. There is a high-tech computer room and a conference room that also serves for ongoing training classes. Planning for the future, there is a separate locker room and bathroom for female officers.

The color scheme is a deep cobalt blue and values of gray. Very attractive and professional, about as nice as a police department could be. Still, I have to admit a nostalgia for the old station with Chief George Manter’s acid green entryway and its view of the pond, the smallness of the station and the town’s troubles, a different time.

You will all have a chance to see at least some of it when we vote next Thursday.

Next Tuesday, April 8 is our annual town meeting. It begins at 7 pm at the West Tisbury School. Polls open for the town election on Thursday, April 10, noon to 8 pm, at the Public Safety Building.

Maria McFarland will be a write-in candidate for the Board of Assessors. She has worked in town hall for both the Personnel Board and the Conservation Commission. There is no candidate on the ballot.

The ballot is pretty uncontroversial this year. No contested races for any office. There is one ballot question, “Shall the town vote to have its elected treasurer become an appointed treasurer of the town?” Our current treasurer is Kathy Logue, who has held the position more than ably for 11 years. This ballot vote is the second part of the process, as the town meeting floor vote passed last fall.

The Friends of the Vineyard Haven Library have chosen John Hough Jr. as the recipient of Honoring a Vineyard Author, for 2014. Former honorees were David McCullough, Ward Just, and Jules Feiffer. John will speak at the library in July about his new book, “Little Bighorn.” I realized I hadn’t yet read his last book, “Seen the Glory,” and so picked it up and haven’t been able to put it down. It is a fast moving, well told tale about three young Vineyard recruits to the Union Army, a perfect companion as I’m nursing my cold. I recommend it and can’t wait till “Little Bighorn” comes out in June.

April has been designated “Awareness Month for Alzheimer’s on the Vineyard,” and a collaboration by the Supportive Day Program, Windemere, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and Featherstone have produced an impressive list of events. On April 7, at Windemere, Mary Holmes and Nancy Cabot begin “Art & Memory,” a five-week program of art making and art looking for people with memory loss. Suzanne Faith of Hope Dementia will be at the Tisbury Senior Center at 1 pm on April 8 for the first CARES (Compassionate Alzheimer’s Respite Education Support) group. Suzanne, Eileen Murphy, and Leslie Clapp will be on hand. It will continue to meet on the second Tuesday every month. There will be a fundraiser at the Film Center on April 13, a reception at 4 pm, before the movie, “Away From Her” with Julie Christie as a woman with Alzheimer’s, followed by a Q&A discussion led by Karen Achille. A dementia conference is planned for April 25. Alzheimer’s care and education are very important to me, so I am grateful we have these resources available for our whole community. More to follow.

Hermine-Hull“Thank you, West Tisbury,” read the banner hung in front of the library, greeting everyone in town as the library reopened to cheers and accolades Saturday. Speakers from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Building Committee, Friends of the Library, and Library Foundation greeted the crowd before cutting the ribbon and welcoming everyone in to take a look. The Dunkls’ Vineyard Brass performed for the assembled crowd.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Linda Hearn said almost everyone was complimentary and her best sign was that children settled into the Children’s Room, already feeling familiar and at home. The library was packed all weekend long with well-wishers and the curious, everyone exploring. Julia Mitchell’s tapestry, beautifully designed to fit in a niche straight ahead, and an exhibition of other of her tapestries in the Program Room attracted admirers. It was standing room only at the circulation desk, a successful opening weekend all around.

Volunteers are needed now that the building is up and running. If you were a volunteer before, or if you are interested in trying it out, please call or stop by the library and talk to Nelia Decker. She is planning training and scheduling. It’s interesting and you get to see everyone in town. 508 693-3366.

Next on the town calendar, the police will be moved into their new digs as of this Friday, so remember to come to the Public Safety Building for all police business. The floors were being finished when I was at the Public Safety Building Sunday morning, but Chief Rossi promised me a tour during the week. My report in next week’s column.

There will be an official opening for the public “when the weather is warmer” according to Chief Estrella. Hopefully, that means fire department hamburgers will be included in the festivities.

I have been wanting to write about the new young firefighters in the department, officially “the juniors.” Four friends, Luke Sudarsky, Charlie and Nick Termini, and Maddie Scott are the latest group, all having joined within the last two years. Luke was first, a young man who has always wanted to be a firefighter and “just showed up” at the station when he learned he could join at age 16. That was April 2012. He has completed all but one of the Firefighter 1 classes, which he will do before passing his probationary period, being evaluated, and turning eighteen. Then he will become a full-fledged member of the department, able to respond with his truck, and perform all the duties required.

Brynn Schaffner, West Tisbury Lieutenant, and Sam Koohy of the Edgartown Fire Department have been holding recruitment programs at the MVRHS. Since their friend, Luke, was so enthusiastic, Maddie, Charlie, and Nick signed up in 2013. New recruits are assigned to the tankers, learning to run pumps, control hoses and nozzles, use tools, wear air packs, wear survival suits for dive and ice rescues, show up for drills and Sunday morning radio checks and take Firefighter 1 classes. Charlie plans to become a professional fireman, hopefully back in West Tisbury after college. He will be the first to turn eighteen, this week on March 28.

Maddie is the first female junior. She says that no one treats her differently from the guys, so I’m just mentioning her gender as a matter of good for her. Good for the department, too. She is looking forward to taking additional training besides the weekly drills. She also hopes to return to the Island and the department after college, rejoining on active status during school vacations.

Maddie will study music. Luke will become an ER doctor. Charlie a fireman. Nick, we don’t know yet. All want to return to the department, to “give back” to their, and our, community. Another former junior, Alex Dorr, is currently studying Fire Science at Southern Connecticut State University. He, too, hopes to come back to town. This says a lot about the Fire Department, the members, the training, and the sense all these young folks have about our community.

Brynn says that the department is very much in need of young members and hopes anyone interested will come to either of the fire stations at 10 am any Sunday morning. You will be most welcome.

As a historical aside, some notable juniors have been Skipper Manter, Bruce Haynes and then his son, Nathaniel, Eric Medieros, Jacob Oliver, Ryan Tucker, Manny Estrella 4th, all of the Maciels. I’m sure I have forgotten many, and apologize for oversights. They were not intentional.

Other git fire department news this week is that the new brush truck arrived at Station 1 last Tuesday. Big because it is huge. They had to raise and rehang the garage door to get it into its bay. 731 firemen have spent most of the week working on the truck, moving equipment on, getting familiar with it. My husband took me for a ride Wednesday afternoon when he took it to the gas station. It is beyond cool being up in that cab with red seat belts, electronics on the dashboard, and the heavy brush breaking superstructure forward, proud like the figurehead on a Viking ship of yore. I’m sure everyone wants to try it out in the State Forest. And it’s paid for – Chief Estrella has had warrant articles for the past several years to save ahead for its purchase. Welcome, 731. The old 731 has moved to the airport for now.

Abigail Higgins wants to invite everyone to the MV Ag Society Annual Spring Potluck Supper and Social this Saturday evening, March 29. Bring an ample dish for six and your own plate/utensils. Dinner begins at 5:30, to accommodate families with young children. The Minnesingers will provide musical entertainment.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is planning an exhibition called “Sea Change” about how the Island has changed since the 1960s. They are looking for photographs taken on the Island during the ’60s. Please bring them to the museum this Saturday between 10 and 1.

Also on Saturday, Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater will hold “Performing Inside Out, a class for dancers, singers, and actors at the PA Club. Call 1 646 872-7249 or email

Phyllis Dunn, longtime summer visitor, retired here and became a photographer, recording her new life on the island. An exhibition of her work opens at the Chilmark Library next Saturday, April 5, with a reception from 3-5.

By the time you are reading this, we may all be digging out from a northeaster blizzard. Or it may have been an overwrought prediction from the Weather Channel. Wait and see. Meanwhile, purple and white crocuses have opened up, Opening Day 2014 is March 31 (Red Sox in Baltimore), and spring will inevitably arrive.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine here.

Hermine-HullSprigs of forsythia are blooming in vases around my house, bringing spring inside earlier than it appears on these still gray, cold mornings. The wind whips through the dogs’ fur on our walks. For us, layers of sweaters, coats, gloves, and hats remain the norm.

The cornus mas is putting on quite a show in front of Middletown Nursery. Canada geese have been gleaning barren appearing fields and paddling through the Mill Pond. The days are noticeably longer, light skies till well past 6 o’clock.

As I look around my own garden, I see many reminders of Donnie Mills, gardener and plantsman, who died last week. Donnie ran a wonderful nursery at the old Farmer Green’s, now Fiddlehead Farm, the yard and greenhouses filled every spring and summer. He and his mom, Esther, presided over my favorite Palm Sunday destination, handing out marigolds and cookies to all attendees. My rhubarb, oft-divided now, was a gift from Don. Many of the perennials in my garden. I was just learning in those days, and Don was a patient and eager teacher. My condolences to his family and many friends.

I invited Cynthia Walsh and Jaime Hamlin to tea last week. Jaime’s cat, Maisey, is Nelson’s mother. It was about time that the Hamlin sisters, who brought Nelson and me together, got to see the no-longer-so-little fellow. At six months old, he already weighs almost eight pounds.

Jaime was barely inside the doorway when Nelson attached himself to her. He seemed to remember her familiar smell of mother and home. He sat nestled against her through the entire visit, biting her with the great affection that had previously been reserved for me. Fortunately, Jaime adored him, too. We had our tea and a marmalade cake I made; it seemed the appropriate accompaniment for viewing a marmalade cat. Talley and Nan were both home that afternoon. Cynthia remembered their stories from her volunteering at the animal shelter. As Jaime and Cynthia left, the dogs climbed up onto the sofa with Nelson, spreading golden orange fur from end to end.

Keston and Emily Smith brought their young son Gideon to see the fire trucks at Station 2 on Sunday morning. Gideon got a full tour from the assembled firemen after radio/truck checks were completed.

Jared Hull and Sue Hruby have returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Sue called it “the best trip I ever took, bar none.” They flew to Ecuador, then joined three other couples – Chinese, Swiss, and Canadian – and an Israeli family of four on the boat that took them around the islands. Most notable was “the abundance of everything – fish, birds, seals,” said Sue. The food and service were as wonderful as the scenery, and Sue said she would recommend the trip to anyone who loves the outdoors, although Jared was disappointed not to be able to fish.

We saw Bob Wasserman at the airport Sunday morning, and were glad to catch up on Wasserman/Bassett family news. Both Henry and Hugh are enjoying school. At home, Henry has devised games to amuse his little brother. The latest was a sort of treasure hunt to identify and locate items around the house, modernized by using an Ipod for clues and tracking. Bob had been in New York City working with the transition team for incoming chief of police William Bratton. Susan was visiting her father, Russell Hollister, in Minnesota. I should have remembered that Bob and Susan have the same birthday, February 18, and Sarah’s is February 26, so belated Happy Birthday wishes to you all.

There will be a ribbon-cutting at 10 am when the West Tisbury Library reopens at 1042A State Road. There will be tours, music, and refreshments – a big thank you to everyone in town for making this project possible. Please come and explore and enjoy.

On Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, Julia Mitchell will give the first artist’s talk in the library’s exhibition space. There will be a dedication for the tapestry she designed specially for an alcove in the new library, a tokonama, inspired by a Japanese memorial alcove, to celebrate the new space and commemorate the old. A selection of her tapestries will remain on display.

Windemere will host its second Memory Cafe this Friday, March 21, 3:30 to 4:30 pm. It is free and open to all members of the community who have memory loss, and their caregivers. Michael Haydn will play the piano, and refreshments will be served. Please note that this will be a monthly event, the third Friday of every month. It’s a nice opportunity to socialize, enjoy the music, and really good chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s PechaKucha Night is also this Friday at 7:30 pm at the Harbor View Hotel. Participants show 20 images for 20 seconds . Register by calling Jessica Johnson at the museum. 508-627-4441, ext:117.

The Federated Church Cabaret is this Saturday evening, March 22. Curtain time is 7:30 pm. Director Peter Boak, Louise DuArt, the Federated Fellas, and The Sweet Fedolines will entertain with a program of music, magic, and silly stuff. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Federated Church and Peace Quilts for Haiti. Admission is $15. Wine is $5/glass.

West Tisbury RFD mail customers may want to wish Annie Cummings a happy retirement and say thank you for her years of service. She will be retiring after 31 and a half years with the USPS, most recently as rural mail carrier here in town. March 29 will be her last day on the job.

Following my description of Nanuk’s bout of anaplasmosis in last week’s column, a very nice woman named Maureen called to tell me about the new Seresto collars for dogs and cats. She had bought one for O.B., her long-haired marmalade Maine coon cat and declared it quite satisfactory. O.B. stopped scratching and hasn’t had a flea or tick since. This was last year. The collar has an eight month active lifespan. She has just bought a new one. They are expensive, but not nearly the cost of a bout of Lyme disease or one of the other tick-borne diseases. Or possibly losing a beloved pet.

Hermine-HullWe are almost midway through March and the weather continues to seesaw between winter and spring. I have been raking out garden beds in sunshine and 40+ degrees, then awoke to snow Monday morning. The balmy weekend seemed to bring everyone out. Walkers with or without dogs and bicyclers in spandex were everywhere. Yardwork was a popular occupation. So was splitting wood for the rest of the winter and burning brush piles.

It seemed like everyone I know was at Cronig’s on Sunday, mostly talking about the weather, but also noting the passing of Angela Yamauchi. Angela was one of the faces that greeted us, smiling and competently managing to make us feel welcome with needs fulfilled whenever we shopped there. A floral tribute and her photograph are set up in the fruit/vegetable section that was part of her bailiwick. She will be missed.

Susie Middleton is briefly home between book signings and interviews for her new cookbook/memoir, “Fresh From the Farm.” She was snowed in in Washington, D.C., last week, and heads off to Chicago next, leaving Roy in charge of farm chores at home. Besides eggs, Susie and Roy have had the most delicious salad greens grown in their hoop house. I came home to tell Mike I wanted a hoop house. He just laughed. But I have watched the miracles Susie and Caitlin Jones have managed and it’s pretty impressive. Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh, homegrown greens, early tomatoes, colorful bouquets?

Robert Herman and Madelyn Way took their children, Julian and Rose, to Cancun for school vacation. Lots of activity plus quiet time for catching up with one another. And warm sunshine.

If you are looking for a little beach time closer to home, consider volunteering to count spawning horseshoe crabs on lunar high tides this May and June. Fred Hotchkiss, Director of the Marine Paleobiological Research Institute, and Susie Bowman, Felix Neck teacher and naturalist, have planned a series of lecture/slide shows about the importance of horseshoe crabs in the bio-medical and bait industries and to pique interest in their project. The program schedule is as follows: March 20, Oak Bluffs Library, 6:30–7:30 pm; March 25, Vineyard Haven Library, 7–8 pm; April 9, Chilmark Library, 5–6 pm; April 16, Edgartown Library, 5:30–6:30 pm.

Holly Wayman’s new book of poetry, “Homeward Bound” is now available at Bunch of Grapes and at Pathways. The price is $12.

Don’t forget that our library is closed until March 22, when it reopens its new/old doors. Hold onto your books or return them to the other Island libraries.

There is still time to register for spring classes offered by ACE MV. Call 774-310-1131 or look at their

Our state legislature is deliberating on a bill to require insurance companies to cover long-term Lyme Disease treatment, H.989. Please contact Representative Timothy Madden, State House rm.167, Boston 02133. Phone 617-722-2810, or email and/or Senator Daniel Wolf, State House rm. 511B, Boston 02133. Phone 617-722-1570 or email Senator Wolf also has an office in Hyannis at 508-775-0162.

Peter Simon will be honored tonight at Pathways in Chilmark, 6–9 pm, celebrating his 50 years as a photojournalist and his new DVD “Through the Lens.” His niece Sally Taylor will perform. Food and drinks will be served. The event is free.

The good weather makes most gardeners take stock of work to be done, usually involving pruning to clean up winter damage and to get overgrown trees and shrubs in hand. All are invited to a free demonstration at The Polly Hill Arboretum, how to tame overgrown hollies by a severe pruning method called “hat racking.” It’s a start. The demo is this Saturday, March 15, from 10 am to 12 noon.

Don’t forget Daffodil Day, March 17, sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group. You may pre-order bunches of ten tightly-budded daffodils by calling Diane Ballay-Foley at 508-693-7115 or AnneMarie Donahue at 508-627-7958. Or stop by Cronig’s, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, or Edgartown Stop & Shop on the 17th. You may also make an online donation at to this group that helps island families dealing with cancer.

A heads-up to pet owners in town. Our golden retriever, Nanuk, wasn’t acting “herself” last Friday morning. Limping and lethargic, she hadn’t come upstairs during the night as was her habit. A visit to Dr. Jasny and we found out she had anaplasmosis, a tick-borne infection. She is on antibiotics and seems to be feeling better. The warm weather brings the ticks out, so do make sure your animals are on tick prevention and check them after being outside. Check yourself, too. This is our second experience with anaplasmosis; our kitten, Porter, almost died last summer. It’s easy to want to watch and see if the animal perks up, but these tick-borne diseases are serious, even fatal, to our pets and to us.

The first snowflakes fell as I walked out from church Sunday morning. They continued spitting intermittently throughout the afternoon, starting and stopping, not amounting to anything except wondering what was going to happen. Predictions ranged from one inch to a foot. So far, nothing.

I want to report that the newly refurbished interior of the West Tisbury Church looks lovely. Paint, floors, pews — all freshly painted in the Sanctuary and Parish Hall. Continuing plans include a new ceiling and lighting in the Hall.

We had a guest minister this week, the Rev. Naomi Walters, assistant minister at the Stamford Church of Christ in Stamford, Conn. She was here with her husband and young son. I was surprised to see her using an Ipad for her sermon notes; after a moment of feeling like a fuddy-duddy, I realized that it made good sense and is the way of the future.

Members of my art group — Leslie Baker, Nancy Furino, Lyn Hinds, Liz Taft, and I — met at Ruth Kirchmeier’s last week for lunch and a viewing/critique of some of our latest work. Leslie brought her portrait of Steve Atwood, commissioned to hang in the Atwood Library at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. We all knew she had been working on it for some while, but the group hadn’t seen it, so it was quite the event. Steve is portrayed standing in front of the barn at Brookside Farm with cows behind him and Leslie’s border terrier, Pancho, in his arms. It’s too bad it won’t be seen on the Island before being sent off to Pennsylvania.

The public is invited to attend the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council’s spring meeting this Sunday morning, March 9, 9 am to noon, at the Howes House. They want to gather community input, so all are invited to “share your thoughts, give feedback, ask questions, and of course, have a snack.” Please come.

Later Sunday afternoon, from 1 to 2:20, West Tisbury Parks and Rec is sponsoring a Family Skate at the MV Arena. Hot chocolate and drinks will be provided. Families are asked to bring a snack or dessert to share. Admission is free.

The West Tisbury Library will close on Wednesday, March 12, to work at the new/old library, getting everything ready for its grand opening on Saturday, March 22. There will be a weekend of events, tours of the facility, and live music. Nelia Decker is organizing a potluck for the opening. Please call her at 508-693-3366.

The librarians ask that we return books to the other Island libraries or return them when the library reopens. There will be no fines for overdue materials. No passports either. You may use the Vineyard Haven Post Office or the Dukes County Courthouse to apply for a passport.

Leslie Stark emailed to say that the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group is sponsoring Daffodil Day, which falls on St. Patrick’s Day this year. All proceeds go directly to assist Island families.

Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard will screen the documentary film “Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives” at the Chilmark Community Center on Wednesday, March 12, at 5:30 pm. The film “explores the health dangers of food containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms.)”

The public is invited to a free concert next Friday, March 14, 11–12 noon, at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Two singers from New England Conservatory, soprano Bethany Worrell, and tenor Sean Lair, will perform a program of English art songs, operatic arias, German traditional songs, and some musical theater. New England Conservatory Vocal Residency was organized by Diane Katzenberg Braun with Jan Wightman, director of The Minnesingers, and Abigail Chandler. Ms. Braun is a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society board and a collaborative pianist. She will serve as accompanist for this performance, which will be followed by a private master class for local music students. The vocal residency program is “committed to implementing the education mission of MVCMS: to create, promote, and support classical music learning opportunities, especially in our local schools.”

Megan Grennan is teaching a new all levels yoga class at The Yoga Barn beginning this Monday at 5:30 pm. For more information, look at their website:

I’m still looking out my windows, still waiting for the snow to begin. Nothing yet.