I am thrilled with all the rain we had last night, finally more than a trace. Our rain gauge has a notch above one-and-a-half inches in it. Last night I actually built a small fire in the woodstove just to take the damp and chill out of the house. We had a baked-in-the-oven dinner, too.
I can just hear our friend Bill Haynes cursing me as he reads this. Last week he was already complaining that the cooler weather was all my fault. "Are you happy with this return to winter?" he asked. Bill likes it hot, the hotter the better, and revels in summer for as long as he can. But I did like putting on my flannel nightgown and snuggling under the quilt on our bed and the reminder of winter rituals soon to come.
West Tisbury seems to be quieting down already. I was in an almost empty Cronig's this morning, only a few cars in the parking lot and no lines at the registers. This last week in August always feels like an abrupt lessening of traffic and people.
West Tisbury author Nicole Galland, daughter of Karen and Michael Colaneri, will be reading from her new novel, "Revenge of the Rose," this Friday evening, September 1, at 7:30 pm at the Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven. She will sign books after the reading. I am almost finished reading the book, which I will review in next week's Times, and am enjoying it very much. Nicole is as engaging a speaker as she is a writer, so it should be an interesting evening.
Many people asked me for Mary Lu Keep's iced tea recipe, mentioned in last week's column. She kindly gave it to me with the caveat that it wasn't a real recipe, but an improvisation. That's typical of good cooks, so I am passing it along for you to improvise according to your own taste. In Mary Lu's words, "I puréed about five or six ripe peaches with probably about 1/4 cup of sugar in the blender and refrigerated the blend until needed. I bought peach/ginger tea bags and made about a half-dozen bags into iced tea. The spritzer was Stop/Shop "Clear Splash" Apricot/Peach. You can take it from there. If I were serving this at home I might add a bit of rum or perhaps even vodka. Onward...." So, try it out.
Pink and white balloons decorated the end of Tony and Doreen Rezendes's driveway in honor of their granddaughter Kendra's third birthday. Daughter Amy, Kendra's mom, and family were here from Connecticut for a family birthday party.
The Far Barn at the Polly Hill Arboretum is the site for the "Tantalizing Tomatoes" tasting this Saturday, Sept. 2, from 2 to 4 pm. Guests will compare the many varieties of heirloom and modern tomatoes provided by COMSOG and Mermaid Farm and Dairy. A new feature this year will be a sampling of favorite tomato-based dishes prepared by Slow Food MV. Admission is $5 at the door. Please call 508-693-9426 for additional information.
The library and town hall will be closed this Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day. All town committee meetings and the Monday Night Movie are also cancelled. Then school begins for the year on Thursday morning.
Congratulations to Ike and Trudy Russell, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 25. Their three children and four grandchildren will be arriving on the Island this weekend (from London, England, and Concord and Roslindale) for a family dinner together.
Does anyone know where tomato hornworms come from? One morning I seem to have a lush tomato plant, then overnight there is nothing left but a skeletal stalk with a disgustingly fat green worm hanging onto it. Then they disappear as mysteriously as they came. I have never seen a tomato hornworm on another plant or anywhere else in the garden. It's a puzzle.