By Gail Craig - August 17, 2006

There certainly has been a big change in the air lately. The evenings have that little touch of fall to them, as do the bright blue skies. The water at the beach seemed just a little colder yesterday and the pool is cooling down as well. This is the time of year that I usually look back on my days driving the trolleys in Edgartown, oh so long ago. I remember noticing the difference in the time the sun set and packing warm sweaters for the night shift, as it could be mighty chilly come 11:30 pm on the open trolleys.

Am I the only one whose vegetable garden is just a total and complete loss this year? I've got two cucumbers coming in, one yellow squash, and several green cherry tomatoes, none of which seem to be turning red. And the horn worms are eating the plants like there is no tomorrow. My flowers and shrubs are beautiful but the veggies, forget it. Perhaps gardens aren't happy with almost complete neglect, which mine seems to be experiencing this year. Maybe next year will be the year we reap a wonderful harvest. Or, maybe I'll give up. But I doubt it. It's the concept of gardening, and the idea of carrying on the traditions of my great-grandfather, Francisco, my grandfather, and my mom that makes me plant every year. They'd be proud that I make the effort and am teaching my children, but boy, would they be embarrassed by the yield!

On Wednesday August 23, at 4 pm, Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is presenting "Recovering Memory through Art and Music". This program, which discusses non-pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer's and other dementias, will be presented by John Zeisel, Ph.D, President and co-founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer's Family Foundation and Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, Ltd. It sounds like a very interesting concept and as Alzheimer's touches so many of us in one way or another, many may find it a helpful topic.

Don't forget the book sale at the Edgartown Library Warren House on Saturday, August 19 between 9 am and 1pm. It's a great opportunity to either make a tax deductible donation of some of those books you have hanging around your house or to buy a few books at bargain prices to close out your summer reading sessions or even to save for next winter, curled up under a blanket when life is slow!

This is a big week on the Vineyard, with Illumination Night, the Agricultural Fair, and the Fireworks. It's the last hurrah, if you will. Enjoy any and all of the events in which you take part! After Sunday, things will begin to wind down.

I've been part of another turtle save, this time on the Vineyard Haven Road. So for everyone driving down that road last Tuesday who thought there was some insane woman standing in the road, that was me. I'm not saying that I don't suffer from some level of insanity, but that day I was just hovering over the snapping turtle in question so he wouldn't get run over. I phoned Kathy at Vineyard Vet, since I have them on speed dial, for help and she was going to make some calls for assistance but no one seemed to be showing up. Finally, Holly Mercier stopped to help me. Actually, from that point, it was pretty much her ballgame, as she is clearly much braver than I am. I got a box out of my car (I pretty much have EVERYTHING in my car - maybe even Jimmy Hoffa) and she got a broom, rake, and dust pan from her car and wrestled the critter into the box. She promptly carried the box across the street, releasing the very happy turtle into the woods, where he was last seen heading quickly - well, quickly for a turtle, anyway - toward the pond. Thanks for the help, Holly. You are a true Islander!

While we're on that subject, I know that things are busy this time of year and there are always a lot of turtles around and other wild animals, but I would really like to encourage the Island animal control officers and the staff of Felix Neck to make every effort to help out in such circumstances. I cannot speak highly enough about Edgartown Animal Control. Barbara is outstanding, as are the people of Felix Neck. However, this particular turtle was on a heavily utilized area of the bike path and even if it is "natural selection" if a turtle gets hit by a car, some child riding his bike on the path could have easily stopped and touched the turtle and lost a finger or worse. In this particular case, there were too many cyclists to let nature take its course. Someone, not just the turtle, was likely to get hurt.

Well, as you can probably tell, it's been a slow news week. Have a wonderful week. Enjoy the fair, fireworks, and illumination night. Maybe I'll see some of you at the fair, but I usually try to avoid the other two events. Illumination is pretty but so crowded and I am not a fireworks fan. Those are the nights I usually like to go downtown in Edgartown, get some ice cream, and enjoy the quiet evening.

Have a great week.