By Gail Craig - June 22, 2006

Summer has settled in strong on the Vineyard this week. I couldn't believe the traffic that suddenly seemed to arrive with the beautiful sunshine this weekend. Maybe it has been here for a while and I've just managed to avoid it. In any case, it's here now and harder to avoid. It always just takes me a bit to get used to it.

Jamie and I finally bit the bullet and had a new lawn, complete with sprinkler system, installed at our house. We got sick of living in the dirt and dandelions. Paul Brewer and his remarkable crew did an outstanding job, and we are thrilled. While there, Paul noticed that I had a cardinals' nest in one of my rose bushes by my porch. Naturally, I had to take a closer look. Inside were three little brown speckled eggs. The mama bird is not very happy when I take my little peaks, but thus far she has put up with it. Yesterday, the eggs hatched and now we just have to try to keep them safe from the cats until they are ready to spread their wings.

As a result of that discovery, I was inspired to go to the National Wildlife Federation website and register our yard as a natural wildlife habitat. Basically, it consists of answering a few questions and paying them, so I'm guessing I'm not in a very select group. Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun to try to make a home for more wildlife, other than just moths and caterpillars, of which we have millions. So, we will soon receive our certificate for "Riley and Amelia's Wildlife Zone," and we will continue to plant and create a safety zone for wildlife. How to keep the cats away is the only problem.

Speaking of which, we had a bit of a breakthrough this week with Emma the cat and Chester the dog. I don't want to go so far as to say that there is complete acceptance by Emma, but they have been close to each other and even rubbed noses a bit on Sunday afternoon. So, there is hope have having a unified animal family someday.

Shirley Powers let me know that longtime Edgartown resident Doris Belisle is now a patient at Harborside for Health Care at 329 Jones Road, Falmouth MA 02540. Cards, calls, or visits are definitely welcomed and appreciated.

Happy birthday to Jack and Julia Crocker, who had their birthday party on June 17, though their actual birthday was June 15. Since they are twins, their mom, Jean, was crazy enough to invite their entire kindergarten class, which is about 16 kids, plus a few extra friends. Hats off to Jean for a great party, and for maintaining her sanity in all that chaos.

Happy birthday wishes also go out the Meghan Sawyer, who turned 6 on June 19, and to Annie Bilzerian, who celebrated on June 20. Also, happy birthday wishes go out to my niece Gwen, who turned 12 on June 20.

I understand the Reverend Jerry Fritz is a wise guy even from afar. His wife, Kathleen celebrated a milestone birthday on June 18 and made it clear that Jerry was not to do anything for it. As he is currently on sabbatical, riding his bike across the country, he did a blanket e-mail to everyone on his mailing list, asking them to inundate her with over-the-hill type cards and e-mails. I hope his wife forgives him by the time he gets back or whenever they meet up on the happy bike trail.

Although this is semi old news at this point, I keep forgetting to mention the Karen Kukolich and Vineyard Physical Therapy have now moved to Upper Main Street. She has long been a fixture downtown but recently made the move to this new spot just up from Stop & Shop. She said it's great and provides ample parking for everyone.

School is officially out. While most of the school kids are excited to be into their summer vacations now, Riley, my sensitive little soul, is heartbroken to leave all of his teachers and friends. Regardless of the fact that we will probably see all of them this summer, he hates to say goodbye. I am having trouble getting used to the idea of leaving the safety of Mrs. Mackenty's wonderful care as well, but as I understand it, we have to let our children go at some point. I just don't think I'm ready for Riley to become a "big kid."

That's it for the week, I think. Be sure to get me your news.