West Tisbury

Perfect days continue as we move from summer into fall. I watch for daily changes in the landscape, like the tops of trees beginning to show color where the sun hits them first or asters beginning to bloom. A cloudless blue sky over all. No sign of rain.

I have begun drip-watering my rhododendrons and trees, hoping to prepare them for the oncoming winter. Still picking vegetables and getting ready to plant garlic, but have begun cutting down the perennial gardens. For two cents I would pave my entire yard about now, just to be done with worrying about water and maintenance. I know I will feel excited again by next spring. I guess I will feel excited again by next spring. Always have in the past. But it becomes discouraging to see everything looking awful and no rain predicted yet another week, seemingly never again.

I was shocked to learn that Beach Bennett died on Sept. 17. Too young. Barbara Lampson let me know there will be a celebration of her life at the Ag Hall this Sunday, Sept. 28, from 2 pm to 5 pm. Please bring a dessert to share. I hope the gathering and stories will bring comfort to her family.

Friends are invited to an 11 am mass at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven this Saturday, Sept. 27, to celebrate the life of Edward Colligan. There will be a burial ceremony at Oak Grove Cemetery followed by a potluck at the Ag Hall.

Too many losses of late. May our gathering together bring comfort to the Bennett/Nelson and Colligan families and to one another.

Chuck Hodgkinson invites everyone to the first public forum of the Mill Brook Watershed Management Planning Committee. It will convene at the West Tisbury library on Monday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 pm. The committee will give a brief overview of its formation and its charge, and what it has learned so far. They want to hear what town residents would like to see addressed, to hear our questions and concerns. Knowing Chuck, there will be several meetings and we will all be well-informed.

Tuesday evening, Sept. 30, come to Flatbread Pizza for dinner and benefit the West Tisbury Library Foundation.

And then it will be October.

Birthdays this week are Megan Mendenhall, now a freshman at Smith College, this Monday. Tuesday, Sept. 30, is Julie Kimball’s birthday. Oct. 1 is for Rose Herman and Judith Linn. Wishing a happy day to you all.

A quiet week. Mike and I have both had colds. Fortunately we were entertained for two hours every evening by “The Roosevelts” on PBS. David McCullough was one of the historians who spoke. What a fabulous documentary by Ken Burns. I hope Beth gets it at the library so we can watch it all over again.

Meanwhile, still no rain.

I’m writing this column on my living room sofa under a warm wool blanket with Nelson asleep in a nest by my feet. It was barely 50 degrees when we woke up. The dogs are curled into tight balls on their dog beds.

Although the sky is overcast, there will be no rain today. Everything is dust-dry, the grass brown, leaves shriveled to conserve what little moisture they can. Mike’s truck kicks up dry clouds of dust when he drives in and out during the day. Saturday night’s promised rainfall left barely a coating in the rain gauge. It had sounded so promising. I can’t believe we are not in a drought.

Mike and I met Ethel and Ralph Sherman years ago at SBS, then remember Ethel behind the desk at Dr. Westover’s office. We have loved her jams and perfectly-arranged vegetables at the Farmers’ Market, along with advice, and her way of making me feel like the most welcome sight in the world. I can’t believe she is gone. My condolences to Ralph and their family, and to everyone who feels the world emptier for her loss.

Walter Ashley was another presence in our lives. Mike always enjoyed his visits with Walter and always learned something. The two of them discussing the finer points of chainsaw repair is an image that makes me smile. He helped Mike restore our 1978 Power King tractor one winter. He was the guru, and will be sorely missed by a large number of people. We will be at the Ag Hall this Sunday between 1 and 3 o’clock to join Connie and their many friends and to celebrate Walter’s life. Hope you can make it, too.

Pam Thors sent a reminder from the Community Preservation Committee that proposals for 2015 projects are due tomorrow, Sept. 19. You may file your application for eligibility with Pam at Town Hall, or file electronically atwesttisbury-ma.gov/cpc/index_cpc.html. You can email any questions to cpa@westtisbury-ma.gov. Calling Pam is a little more complicated, as CPC doesn’t have its own phone. Call Executive Secretary Jen Rand at 508-696-0102 and she will help get you to Pam.

If you have always wanted to know more about electric vehicles, you will have your opportunity this Saturday, Sept. 20. Vineyard Power and Cronig’s Market will host the second annual Electric Vehicle Plug-In Day at the down-island Cronig’s parking lot from 9 am to 12:30 pm. You can view, test-drive, and learn about the vehicles (including a motorcycle) and about rebates and tax credits.

Ellen Weiss called this morning to invite me for a beach walk and to take a break from household chores. She is preparing for the arrival of “three ladies from Thousand Island Park – we call it TIP” – a Victorian campground resort established in 1870 on Wellesley Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River near the Canadian border. Ellen spoke there last year about our Camp Meeting Association in Oak Bluffs. She met Trude Fitelson, Julie Mathieu, and Katherine Zimmerman — her guests who will arrive on Tuesday, to study the Oak Bluffs Campground and how it is being preserved. They look forward to spending time with association members and studying the campground. Hopefully, they will have time for a beach walk. They will bring their findings back to TIP as part of its preservation process.

Don’t forget the Saturday-evening performance of Arnold Rabin’s play What do people talk about when they have nothing to say? at the West Tisbury library at 7 pm.

Susan Bellincampi will speak about her new book, Martha’s Vineyard, A Field Guide to Island Nature, at the West Tisbury library on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 5 pm. Susan has been director of Massachusetts Audubon’s Felix Neck Sanctuary since 2006, and writes the weekly All Outdoors column in the Vineyard Gazette.

Vineyard Colors photographers Moira Fitzgerald and Yann Meersseman will be at the library on Thursday, Sept. 25, to speak about their photographs and exhibition currently atop the stacks. The program begins at 5 pm.

Beth Kramer just called to tell me about Richard Knabel and David Stanwood wanting to give the library a vintage rosewood Steinway that David has restored. She said that everyone at Jonathan Revere’s memorial had so enjoyed having musical accompaniment during the celebration of Jonathan’s life that this idea was born. There are frequent musical programs at the library, and a piano would be a wonderful thing to have. If you are interested in contributing to this gift, please call Richard at 508-696-9134.

I am partial to flowers that smell wonderful, and find myself frequently reminiscing about fragrances from my childhood or from special occasions. It has made me indulge in one extravagance the year round; I always have fresh flowers on the table in our living room. The highlight of this summer has been Krishana Collins’s lilies. Every week there seems a new color in her display and every week I carefully choose my bouquet: the most beautiful, the one with the most buds still to open. Their perfume carries throughout our house, and I am filled with happiness and gratitude for this small gift.

Arnold Rabin has written a new play. What do people talk about when they have nothing to say? will have one performance only at the West Tisbury Library next Saturday, September 20, at 7 pm. The play is in three scenes and is about a story told by two women, their husbands, and their conversations resolved. It is directed by Leslie Stark, who is also one of the actors. Others are Mike Adell, Jenny Allen, and Connie McCreery.

I have known Arnold and his wife, Sydell, mostly from the library, visits to my gallery, and walks around town. As with so many people, I never think about their off-Island lives. Arnold’s has been pretty impressive. He has been a writer, producer, and director for television; the writer of a novel, short stories for adults and children, several plays, and a book about grammar.

Same with Leslie Stark. Retired to the Vineyard after a career in broadcast advertising, he is active in Island Theater Workshop and the Vineyard Playhouse. He has directed two other of Arnold’s plays. The performance is free and all are welcome.

Vineyard Colors has a fabulous exhibition at the library. It comprises a year of photographs. Three hundred and sixty-five images are folded and stretched across the tops of bookcases, upstairs and down. The photography is compelling, and the presentation is a knock-out. If you like it, you can sign-up for their daily emails, The Daily Paper Route, photographs taken around the Island as they deliver our newspapers.

My art/critique group has hung our show in the Program Room. We will be speaking and answering questions on Monday, Sept. 15, at 5:30 pm.

The Graphic Novel Book Club will meet at the library on Monday, Sept. 15, at 7 pm. Carolina Cooney will lead a discussion of Habibi by Craig Thompson.

Steve Maxner’s ten-week series of guitar lessons also begins at 7 pm on September 15. Guitars are provided for free and there is a $20.00 materials fee. Please pre-register at the library circulation desk or call 508 693-3366.

C.K. Wolfson will speak about her book, Painting a Life, Ray Ellis: An Artist Seen through His Work, at the library on Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 6 pm.

That same evening, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council will host a grant-writing workshop for anyone interested in applying for a MVCC grant to help fund a local cultural activity or event in 2015. Council members will be on hand to answer your questions about the application or funding process.

There is a beautiful yellow and white quilt on display at the library. It has caught my eye and, I am sure, yours as well. It is to be sold in a silent auction on Sept. 30 at Flatbread Pizza. That night is a fundraiser for the library. The quilt was made by Wendy Nierenberg and won a blue ribbon at the 2013 Agricultural Fair.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services will begin two new groups for caregivers of anyone with memory loss from Alzheimer’s, stroke, or other dementias. There is a respite group at the same time, providing art and music for the loved one while the caregiver attends the support group—a great pairing that makes it easier for caregivers. Victoria Haeselbarth and Nancy Langman will lead the two groups. One meets on Tuesday, the other on Thursday mornings, both from 9:30 to 11:00. Groups begin on Sept. 16 or 18. Please call Community Services at 508 693-7900 to sign up. The meetings are free and refreshments are provided.

I have noticed the shortening days. It’s already getting dark as I prepare dinner. I suppose it won’t be long before we are bringing in wood for the stove to take the chill off in the evenings. The seasons are shifting; next week it will be autumn, the autumnal equinox, and our world will slowly darken into winter.

I’m not sure why I’m thinking ahead to that as I enjoy these sunny days. There is a quietness to time now. No more lines of cars as I try to get out of my driveway. Our woods are still green and beach walks beckon, and I’m wearing shorts to feel the sun on my skin. But I know it won’t be long before chamois shirts come out and the woods begin to open up to the sky, leaves turning colors and dropping to the ground. It all feels a time away and close by.

Hermine-HullWe had a sprinkling of rain Sunday night, fast and noisy during the night, leaving a mere quarter inch behind. Some relief for which our plants look grateful. It’s still now, with a heavy sky, the hazy, hot, and humid weather of midsummer. We have been spoiled by crisp, cool days when unexpected; now we will have the heat.

Cardinal flower is splendidly blooming along Whiting’s and the Mill Pond. It makes a pretty picture paired with bright chartreuse marsh grasses and dark purple shadows where it sits tucked into the shrubbery. White mallows are blooming now, and shockingly orange and yellow leaves have appeared among still-green woodlands. Aronia and early-turning maples are these first trees to show their autumn colors. Beach plums are ready for picking if you know a secret spot.

Several people have asked about Nelson lately. Coincidentally, I ran into Hal Garneau and Richard Knabel at Cronig’s the other evening. We all had gotten kittens about a year or so ago, all naughty and tearing into our lives. Literally. I’m happy to report that all kittens are now past their first birthdays and settling down to varying degrees. Hal and Dan’s three bad boys are no longer into everything, although they are still energetic, healthy cats who can cause some mischief on occasion. Richard and Jim’s Suzette barely bites at all. Mike and I, and our dogs, have survived Nelson’s first year. He still bites, but not with the vigor he used to show; it feels more gratuitous now: “Oh, this is just what I do. A little love bite.” He is a very handsome orange macho man and I adore him.

Look in this week’s New Yorker magazine for a cartoon by Paul Karasik. It’s a good one.

The Martha’s Vineyard Montessori School announces the hiring of a new Head Classroom Teacher. Her name is Tyrene Johnston. Everyone is excited about her arrival and looking forward to working with her this year. Welcome.

Massachusetts Primary Elections take place on Tuesday, September 9, at the Public Safety Building. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. Don’t forget to vote. If you are not yet a registered voter in town, go up to see Town Clerk Tara Whiting during her office hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–1:30 pm.

The West Tisbury Library continues to host many programs for all members of the community. Songs and stories for infants to three-year-olds is called Mother Goose on the Loose every Monday morning at 10:30. Older pre-schoolers meet on Thursday mornings at 10:30. The special Island Grown Initiative storytime with Nicole Cabot is next Thursday morning, September 11. It’s all about tomatoes this month. Free all-day craft projects are set up in the Children’s Room every Saturday from 10:30 am–3 pm. Drop in.

Steve Maxner will be giving free guitar lessons at the library beginning September 15 at 5 pm. The program is supported by a grant from the Permanent Endowment For Martha’s Vineyard. Guitars will be provided. There is a $20 fee for materials. You may pre-register at the library.

Nine Women Artists: Fifteen Years is the exhibition in the library’s Program Room through the month of September. It is my art group. We have been meeting since 1998 for monthly critiques, problem solving, meals, and lots of art talk. We will have a reception at the library next Wednesday, September 10, at 5 pm. On Monday, September 15, we will be on hand to talk about our work, our group, to answer any and all questions. The talk begins at 5:30 pm. The nine of us are: Leslie Baker, Claire Chalfoun, Nancy Furino, Lyn Hinds, Hermine Hull, Ruth Kirchmeier, Jeanne Staples, Liz Taft, and Wendy Weldon. We promise you an interesting and spirited conversation, so please come.

September is a bittersweet month. The Derby begins. It’s not so crowded or busy. The weather is nice. School starts. Summer friends leave just as we begin to have time to spend with them. We reconnect with our year-round friends. Faces around town are more familiar, not strangers. There’s time for a nap (maybe) or to clean up the garden, to go outside and paint. It’s still busy, but closer to fall than to summer. A time to evaluate and to prepare. Time to catch your breath.

Hermine-HullThe 153rd Agricultural Fair begins Thursday, August 21, always the highlight of the summer. The fairgrounds will be filled with exhibits and people, some familiar and some new this year. Welcome to the four-day event that brings everyone to West Tisbury.

Mike and I had a friend over for dinner last night, an otherwise urbane New Yorker, who surprised us by his childlike enthusiasm for all the things he loves about living on the Island in the summer. “I love the Fair, I love Illumination Night, I love the fireworks.” This is the week it all happens, the culmination of planning and anticipation. Enjoy it all.

Valerie Sonnenthal sent me a link to fabulous photographs taken by a visitor from England, Charles Saumarez Smith. The gardens, flowers, and produce are gorgeous, all taken on a visit with Bob Skydell at Fiddlehead Farm. Best was the two gentlemen posing in an America Gothic tableau, complete with pitchfork.The link is:charlessaumarezsmith.com/2014/07/27/fiddlehead-farm/. Bob has also announced the publication of his first ever newsletter, The Fiddlehead Farmer, available at the farm stand.

If you take any time off from fair-going, the West Tisbury Library has things happening this week. Jennifer Tseng and Susan Choi will read from their new books this Saturday, August 23, at 4 pm. Jennifer, one of the faces at the Circulation Desk, is an accomplished poet. She is now writing her first novel, “Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness.” The book will be released next June. It tells the story of a librarian “who’s up to no good.” Sounds intriguing.

Susan Choi is the author of four novels. Her first, “The Foreign Student,” won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, “American Woman,”was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. “A Person of Interest” was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her most recent novel, “My Education,”received a 2014 Lammy Award.

The last Monday Night Movie of August begins at 6:30 in the library’s program room. The movie and popcorn are free. A video collaboration by Fanny Howe and Maceo Senna, “Outremer,”is the first film, based on a poem of the same name by Fanny Howe. She will read from her new book of poems, “Second Childhood.”Chapters 1 and 2 of P.S. Beirut by Michael Shamberg is the second documentary.

Honor Moore will read and answer questions about her books on Thursday, August 28, at 5 pm. She is the author of a biography, “The White Blackbird, A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent,”a memoir, “The Bishop’s Daughter,”and three collections of poetry.

Martha Hubbell will teach a Cornhusk Doll workshop for kids aged nine and up at the Library on Wednesday, August 27, 11 to 1.

At 4:30 that afternoon is the Friends of the West Tisbury Library annual meeting. Everyone is welcome to come, learn about the organization, express your opinions and thoughts, and enjoy always-delicious refreshments.

The Library is looking for volunteers for a newly-formed Library Art Committee. Beth Kramer describes it as follows: “The objective of this committee will be to create a diverse collection, of high artistic merit, that will engage the public, complement the Library facility and elevate the library’s contribution to the community.” Contact Beth if you are interested. bkramer@clamsnet.org or 508-693-3366.

There are always people standing in front of the library reading the bricks along our walk. If you would like one, or more, of your own, contact Wendy Nierenberg of the West Tisbury Library Foundation at 508-693-0800 or ask at the library. Bricks are $150 each.

Pam Thors of the Community Preservation Committee wants to invite town residents to a public forum at the Howes House next Wednesday, August 27, 7–8 pm. There is $740,000 available, so come and offer your ideas for projects.

Brooks Robards and I are reading from our book of poems and paintings, “On Island,”at the Aquinnah Town Hall, across from the library, at 5:30 on Thursday, August 28.

I have finally walked on the beach, the first time this summer. I always wonder where the time goes. There were years when Ellen Weiss, Brooks Robards, Mary Beth Norton, Talley and I met every Tuesday morning to walk and look at birds and waves, to talk about our days and our projects, to feel sun and water.

It was a beautiful morning, just the kind of perfect beach day one dreams of in the middle of February. Will we do it again? Maybe after the Fair. Maybe after a group of houseguests leaves or after an appointment off Island. It’s so easy to be busy with other things.

Mary Beth has become an avid bird-watcher. She gave a wonderful lesson about migration as we watched sanderlings peck away at the sand, eating to gain weight for their journey. She explained about osprey, too, the variations in migration of adult or juvenile osprey. There is Rob Bierregaard’s website called OspreyTrax, that tracks osprey and tells their stories, all images made available with GPS devices, sent daily to your inbox. A winter’s occupation.

Hermine-HullEvery year I dig out clumps of phlox from my garden, swearing to eradicate it forever. Somehow it reemerges the next spring as rampant as ever. Ever hopeful, or forgetful, I let it remain, thin it, then watch it descend into the mildewed mess it tends to become. This year it is beautiful. Hardly any mildew. Nothing but sweetly fragrant balls of pink and white flowers. With the scent of the last Casa Blanca lilies, it makes walking to and from the house a delicious experience.

Condolences to the Colligan family. Ed Colligan died last weekend. He was always cheerful, funny, and helpful when I met him years ago when Mike and I were building our house and needed appliances. Colligan Appliances was the place to go. I have heard so many stories about his kindness, nice things he did for no recognition or recompense, only that he was a truly nice man.

Everyone in town is getting ready for the Fair. Driving by the Ag Hall grounds, there are rides and tents, the fire department’s hamburger booth already going up, a bustle of activity. Eleanor Neubert called with a reminder that entry forms are due no later than 5 pm Monday, August 18. There is an entry box on the porch and the Ag Hall office is open between 9 am and 12 noon. Getting your forms in earlier is appreciated. Plan to deliver your exhibits on Wednesday, August 20, between 12 noon and 5 pm. This year’s Fair begins a week from today, Thursday, August 21.

Eleanor mentioned that this is the 20 year for the Fair at the new Ag Hall and fairgrounds. Hard to believe.

The art for this year’s Fair poster is a portrait of a horse named Sunny painted some years ago by Omar Rayyan. Sunny died this past winter. He was owned by Bruce Marchard. It’s a fitting tribute and a good story that makes this a very special poster.

Island Theater Workshop’s production of Peter Pan, directed by Kevin Ryan, is a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living. There will be one show this Friday evening, August 15, at 7:30, at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under, available online atwww.itwmv.org. The Center For Living is a great Island organization that runs the Supportive Day Program, a medical taxi, provides emergency food, and runs support groups and educational programs for families dealing with Alzheimer’s. For more information, call 508-939-9440 or 508-737-8550.

This Saturday, August 16, is the West Tisbury Church Peach Festival, from 12 noon to 4 pm. Tents and chairs will be set out on the lawn making a comfortable spot to enjoy fresh peaches, peach smoothies, peach shortcake, peach ice cream. There will also be pies, cobblers, and, new this year, peach chutney to take home. One lucky person will win the raffle and go home with a White Lady peach tree.

The Granary Gallery will host a reception this Sunday, August 18, 5–7 pm, for artists Jeanne Staples, Ross Coppelman, and Bob Avakian.

The West Tisbury Library has canceled Mother Goose on the Loose this coming Monday, August 18. It seems that Nelia Decker has flown the coop, but will return next week.

The Monday Night Movie, “Chere Louise,” begins at 6:30 pm. It is the first installment in a trilogy of documentaries by French filmmaker Brigitte Cornand about the legendary artist Louise Bourgeois. Free movie and free popcorn.

You can also bring a blanket and a flashlight to learn about the constellations. Lenny Schoenfeld will talk about stargazing Monday nights at 9:30, August 18 and 25, behind the library.

There is still time to sign up for Mathea Morais writing/reading workshop for kids aged 9 to 14. It begins Monday, August 18, and runs through the 21st. Sessions last from 10:30 to 12 noon. Pencils, paper, books, and snacks will all be provided by the library. You may sign up for one day or more. Sign up at the circulation desk. It’s all free.

Time to sign up, too, for Laura Edelman’s yoga classes at 10:30 at the library. Monday, August 18, for teens; Wednesday, August 20, for kids aged 4 to 8.

Sam Low will read from his book “Hawaiki Rising – Hokule’a, Nainoa Thompson, and the Hawaiian Renaissance” on Wednesday, August 20, 5 to 6 pm, in the library’s program room.

Democratic and Republican party primaries are scheduled for Tuesday, September 9. Town Clerk Tara Whiting has absentee ballots in her office. If you plan to be off Island, you may vote by absentee ballot up to the day before the election. The Public Safety Building will be set up for Primary Day voting between 7 am and 8 pm. Stop by Town Hall or call Tara weekdays, 8:30 to 1:30, at 508-696-0148 with any questions.

I’m sitting and writing in my quiet studio. I have held my last opening for this year. Our houseguests have left, our last for the summer. At least that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to having my husband back after the Fair, after the hamburgers are all cooked, the booth cleaned and taken down, stored away. Fair week is the climax of the summer season. Illumination Night and fireworks happen that week, too. Then, the Island will slowly empty of summer visitors, the air will crisp and clear, and time will begin to feel like my own again.

Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

Hermine-HullFlowers everywhere. August is the best time of summer gardens, arms full of flowers for bouquets around the house, baskets of produce for dinner. Squash and tomatoes and raspberries and beans to eat right in the garden. I can’t pick them fast enough.

Summer friends are arriving as fast as the summer’s produce. Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry arrived for their six weeks at the Joshua Slocum House. Dorothy’s daughter Buffy Webber is here with them. Their first guests, Rick Trevino and Larz Pearson, have sent a case of wine ahead; they arrive next Monday for a week.

Michael and Linda Dzuba appeared at our house Thursday afternoon with their black lab, Mimi, a special friend of our dogs, Talley and Nan. We had the three of them chasing each other in circles around the yard, barking, full of energy.

Pat Ternes will come on Friday with her daughters, Liz Zeiss and Cathy Ternes, for the opening of an exhibition of watercolors and oils by her late husband, Bill Ternes, well-known painter and workshop teacher for many summers here. Bill died in February, so this show is my tribute to a dear friend and mentor. As with all of us artists, he has left behind a studio full of paintings. Hopefully, everyone will come and we will sell lots of them to those who remember Bill and those who discover his work at this exhibition. It will be at my gallery, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, this Sunday, August 10, 4 to 7 pm. Please park behind the Fire House and walk across the road; there is limited parking at the gallery for anyone who can’t walk any distance.

I love the summer traditions all these visits perpetuate, the looking forward to special meals and outings that have to be just as they always are. The Book Sale with Bob and Dorothy, our first dinner of pork tenderloin, potato salad, and corn, the amazing feast Larz and Rick will prepare, ladies nights out, just Dorothy and me, while Bob plays bridge and Mike works on the hamburger booth for the Fair. Michael and Linda will come for dinner tonight, lobster, which Mike hates, so we do it on a Monday when he’s at the firehouse; Mike’s famous hamburgers for their anniversary dinner on August 10. Pat is a wonderful cook who spoils us when she comes to visit. There are special breakfasts with Julie Kimball, firemen’s hamburgers at the Fair, lunches or dinners on my porch when Mark Reisman returns from a trip with off-Island treats, beach walks with Brooks Robards, Ellen Weiss, and Mary Beth Norton, movie nights with Chari Isaacs, seeing everyone at the Farmers’ Market.

I went to the Friends of the Library’s Book Sale this morning and came home with two boxes and a shopping bag filled with books. Since I have been writing more, my choices comprise volumes of poetry and essays, plus some mysteries and children’s books I couldn’t resist.

While there, I had an interesting conversation with Tom Thatcher about West Tisbury Library history I didn’t know. Tom was on the first Library Board of Trustees and had spearheaded the transformation of the second floor of the Music Street library into the first children’s room. It had been a museum filled with stuffed birds and memorabilia, rarely visited. The librarian of the day was Lena McNeil. Tom helped clean out the space, put in lighting and heat, brought in shelves and books. I remember it as a cheerful room with red-painted bookcases when I arrived in town in 1985. Ann Fielder and Gay Nelson were the children’s librarians. I don’t imagine it had changed much from the time of Tom’s renovation.

The library remains the place to go the year-round. Here is the schedule for this coming week: Poets Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron are reading Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm. This Saturday, August 9, there is a rocket-making workshop from 11 am to 1 pm, and a frozen Tisberry Yogurt Social at 4 pm with music by The Vineyard Sound. Mother Goose on the Loose story times for infants to three-year-olds meets on Monday mornings at 10:30 am. Mac Pro Paul Levy continues his drop-in help for those with Mac problems on Mondays from 11 am to 1 pm. The Monday Night Movie is Marcia Rock’s “Surrender Tango”the screening and tango demo beginning at 6:30, with dancing afterwards. On Wednesday, August 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, Debbie Yapp will give a workshop for fifth and sixth graders on identifying, collecting, pressing, and creating art from botanicals found on Martha’s Vineyard. Yoga for Kids four to eight years old will be led by Laura Edelman at 10:30. Nicole Cabot will read and sing about melons in a special Island Grown Harvest Story Hour for kids on Thursday morning, August 14, at 10:30 am. Sue Guiney will read from her latest novel, “Out of the Ruins” on Thursday evening. Paintings, collages, and original prints by Elizabeth Langer are on display throughout August in the Program Room. Pre-register for Mathea Morais’s writing/reading workshop for ages 9 to 14 that will be held the week of August 18-21, 10:30 am–12 noon; snacks, books, paper, and pencils will be provided. All programs are free.

Tuesdays at Twilight, a concert series sponsored by the West Tisbury Library Foundation, will host Spotlight on Youth, a concert showcasing the Vineyard’s best new talent on August 12. The concert begins at 7:30 at the Grange Hall.

You may have noticed a photograph of a familiar-looking cat in a familiar-looking setting in Sunday’s Boston Globe. Jan Van Riper’s Prince, from Lynn Christoffers’s “Cats of Martha’s Vineyard,”appeared in an article about Vineyard books. Suzan Bellancampi’s “Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature” and “Morning Glory’s Farm Food; Stories From the Fields, Recipes From the Kitchen” by Gabrielle Redner were also mentioned.

Domingo Pagan will open his studio at 121 Waldron Bottom Road this Saturday, August 9, from noon-4 pm. He calls his show Flowers and Other Colors.

Allen Whiting has new paintings hung at his Davis House Gallery, open Thursdays-Sundays, 1–6 pm.

North Water Street Gallery opens a show tonight, Thursday, August 7, 5–7 pm, of work by Wendy Weldon, Carrie Gustafson, and Jim Holland.

On Sunday evening, 5–7 pm, the Field Gallery opens their new show of paintings by Craig Mooney and Traeger Di Pietro.

I attended the fabulous print show at Featherstone Sunday evening. Having been a privileged observer of Leslie Baker’s weekly sessions at the print studio (I’m on her way home, so she stops for coffee and to show me her latest monotypes) I have had my interest in monotypes rekindled. They are a combination of painting and printmaking, where the artist paints on a plate, then runs it through a press, transferring the image onto dampened paper. It only produces one impression, hence a monotype. They were called The Painterly Print in a show at the Metropolitan Museum back in the 1970s. Rembrandt, Degas, and Whistler were early masters. The show at Featherstone features some worthy continuers of this artistic tradition.

Hermine-HullThe hazy, hot, humid days of summer are with us now. Occasional rains and thunderstorms, otherwise heavy gray skies. Foliage is heavy, too, dark unrelievedly green. The dogs and Nelson seem to sleep all day, worn out by having to hold themselves up against all this weightiness. They leave circles of golden fur wherever they have lain.

The sign for the Fair has appeared in front of the Ag Hall. Only three weeks away. Still plenty of time to plan your exhibits, get your art framed, pick out vases and plates with which to display bouquets and perfect vegetables, save your pennies for rides and games.

Meanwhile, summer continues at its hectic pace. There are more events than one can possibly attend or remember, and the thought of braving traffic is daunting. So I am grateful for all the things right here in town. Traffic and parking remain a challenge, but less so than trying to get anywhere down Island. I remember when I first moved here people saying, “I never go to Edgartown/Vineyard Haven/Oak Bluffs in the summer.” It struck me as odd; it wasn’t such a distance. But over 30 years living up Island I have become one of those people, too, relentlessly insular within my own domain. Or demesne, so deliciously medieval sounding.

I attended John Hough’s reading from his latest, “Little Bighorn,” at the West Tisbury Library. It was interesting to hear an author read his own prose and talk about the research and excitement that went into writing his novel. John will do it again at the Chilmark Library later in August, if you missed this one.

The Author Lecture Series continues at the Chilmark Community Center. A Tribute to Sheldon Hackney begins at 7:30 tonight, Thursday, July 31. Andre Dubus III will read from his book of four intertwined novellas, “Dirty Love,” on Sunday, August 3. Ron Suskind is the presenter next Thursday, August 7, telling the story of his autistic son in “Life, Animated.” Programs at 7:30. Tickets at ticketsmv.com.

The biggest summer event for many of us is The Friends of the West Tisbury Library’s Annual Book Sale. This year it runs from August 1 to 4. Come to the West Tisbury School gymnasium between 9 am and 3 pm to fill your bags and help support our library. Books are half-price on the 3rd and free on Monday, August 4. Donations are always welcome, of course.

If you have always wanted to make your own hula hoop, your opportunity is this Saturday, August 2, 11 am–1 pm. Michael Black will teach a workshop for kids ages 5 and up at the West Tisbury Library. There will be no drop-in craft that day.

West Tisbury documentary filmmakers Robert and Marjory Potts start off the library’s August series of films by Island filmmakers this Monday, August 4. Their “Lives in Art: Robert Henry and Selina Trieff” begins at 6:30 pm. Many of you will know Bob Henry and Selina Trieff and their family, longtime Vineyard residents and articulate describers of their art-making processes and devotion to making art within all the rest of the daily stuff we call “life.” The second documentary shown will be “Making Music: The Emerson Quartet,” a group has performed on the Island since their formation in 1976, many times as headliners of the summer Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concerts.

There will be an artists’ reception Friday evening, August 1, 6–8 pm, at Shaw Cramer Gallery — a bittersweet evening because Nancy Cramer has announced that she will close the gallery at the end of this season. Twenty years is a long time to be running a gallery full-time. Nancy has done it beautifully and with a professionalism that is unmarred. Although we will all miss her gallery, it’s hard to begrudge her the opportunity to spend more time in her studio weaving tapestries and sewing, creating the hangings, pillows, and “art-to-wear” garments that are her passion. For now, let’s continue to celebrate the Shaw Cramer Gallery.

Ken Vincent will give a painting demonstration at North Water Gallery this Saturday, August 2, beginning at 11 am. New work will also be on display at the gallery. For fellow painters, it is always interesting to see how someone else works, what they choose to focus on, how they design their painting’s surface, mix their colors. Interesting for non-artists, too. Ken sees the Island in a unique and stylized way, so his demo should be particularly informative.

Featherstone Printmakers open an exhibition this Sunday, August 3, 4-6 pm, in the Virginia Weston Besse Gallery. Work by West Tisbury artists Leslie Baker, Ruth Kirchmeier, and Nick Thayer is included.

Everyone is raving about Kara Taylor’s new show that opened last Sunday. It’s called “Hull” and features paintings of boats, abstracted and well-designed, giving the viewer a new and personal perspective on a familiar subject.

The Granary Gallery will host an opening this Sunday, August 3, for three very different painters: Mary Sipp-Green, Scott Terry, and Kib Bramhall. I mean “very different” in style and technique from one another. They are all landscape painters. Their opening is from 5 to 7 pm.

Also on Sunday, Cindy Kallett will perform at the Grange Hall at 7:30 pm. She will be joined by Grey Larsen, Ellen Epstein, and Michael Cicone, all for the benefit of Felix Neck Fern & Feather Camp Scholarship Fund. It’s close to the heart for Cindy, a former Fern & Feather Camp counselor and Felix Neck naturalist. Tickets are available online atwww.massaudubon.org/fern-feather-fifty or at the door. Call 508-627-4850 for more information.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation’s Tuesdays at Twilight concert series continues this Tuesday, August 5, at the Grange Hall with Dana Edelman and His Slammin’ Band.

Poet Laureate Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron will read a selection of their poems at the library next Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm.

Leslie Prosterman’s second poetry workshop, Transition, will meet in the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Library this Sunday, August 3, from 10 to noon.

In the summer mind-rush, I forgot to wish Isabella Larsen a Happy Birthday last week. Her birthday is July 24. So is Stephanie DaRosa’s and so is my husband Mike’s. Belatedly, I hope you all celebrated and had a great day.

Hermine-HullWe have finally had some hot, humid days before returning to the clear, dry, breezy weather that has been a gift this summer. I could be spoiled by it not getting too hot and raining often enough not to have to water every day. It’s beginning to feel like Camelot.

We have lost one of our iconic Vineyard gentlemen. Condolences to Simone, Leo, and Josepha for the loss of their dad, Donald DeSorcy. He was quite a guy, always with a smile and a sparkle in his eyes, a very nice man. Over the past few days, I have heard one story after another of his thoughtfulness, his care for his craft, his good humor. Surely there will be more at his funeral service and over the weeks to come.

One of the things I do love about summer is the annual appearance of visitors I have gotten to know. Seb and Emily Keegan are English friends of Henry and Hugh Bassett. They all came to visit on Sunday afternoon with their parents, Jan Keegan, Sarah Wasserman, and Brian Bassett, guests of Bob and Susan Wasserman. I have enjoyed hearing about the kids’ winter adventures and all their plans for their time on the Island. Among the big interests is working on the Friends of the Library’s Annual Book Sale, coming up the first weekend in August. Henry reports there will be a very rich selection of art books this year; he has carried lots of bags to that section.

Just a reminder that the book sale always needs bags with handles, so if you have extra Cronig’s bags please drop them off at the school or the library. Nelia still needs 1 and 2 liter plastic soda bottles for a craft project at the library.

The Polly Hill Arboretum has a wonderful-sounding installation called A Walk Through Imagination. Bill O’Callahan’s sculptures and storyteller Robin Tuck lead one through the landscape with their tale of a girl who finds her way with the help of a flock of butterflies. It remains through August 15. Admission is $5, free to PHA members. It will be great fun to go with Linda Hearn and her granddaughter Morgan Caruso, as we plan to do. Bill O’Callahan’s sculptures are so whimsical. I can’t wait for this outing.

West Tisbury artist Sheila Fane is busy making and exhibiting her original prints and handmade paper sculptures. She opens a one-person show this weekend at the Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown that runs from July 26 to August 1, with an opening reception this Sunday, July 27, from 5 to 7 pm. Sheila is also showing work at West Tisbury’s new Artspace on State Road, exhibiting and teaching at Featherstone, and getting ready for the Ag Fair, where she manages and installs Children’s Art.

The Author Lecture Series continues at the Chilmark Community Center with two programs this week. This Sunday, July 27, The Beekman Boys will discuss “The 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook” at 7:30 pm. The Beekman Boys are former advertising executives who have become goat farmers and television hosts of a program on the Cooking Channel. Thursday, July 31, there will be a tribute to historian and Southern scholar Sheldon Hackney, who died last year. Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate a discussion by many of the writers who contributed to “Dixie Redux,” a collection of essays honoring him. A reception follows the discussion. Tickets are available at ticketsmv.com or at the Community Center Monday through Friday, 9 to noon.

A gentle misty rain is falling outside my window, dripping silently off the porch’s edge. Whatever combination of elements and care and just plain serendipity has made my garden more beautiful this year than I can ever remember. Part of it is luck, that the deer who ate every daylily bud the past couple of years have left it alone. Maybe their pruning sent vigor back to the roots, which have responded with a display worthy of a gardening magazine spread.

My garden is off of our kitchen, laid out as an old-fashioned Colonial square inside a fence, beds inside with bisecting walks, four squares in the middle. The daylilies fill the fence-lining beds. They make a composition of colors and shapes, much like a painting or a woven tapestry. Yellow Mary Todd daylilies weave throughout like the warp that holds the tapestry onto the loom. Paler and darker yellows, bright gold, pink, salmon, orange, red, soft peach are the weft colors, punctuating and enhancing the overall in-fill of their green leaves. Inside the squares are herbs, and rudbeckia that has self-sown and flourished. I suppose it’s a rather untidy display, not like the careful straight beds of a true Colonial garden. Once the daylilies are finished blooming and the rudbeckia gets cut back, it will need something new planted in if there is to be any color for the next months until boltonia and asters take over and the rudbeckia and roses rebloom. For now, I am amazed by its beauty and enjoy the meditative morning chore of dead-heading the daylilies’ spent blooms.

The cygnets are swimming on the Mill Pond, still fuzzy gray, but growing bigger every day. Tomatoes are ripening, new potatoes, onions, garlic, peas, and beans all in abundance. I have been picking raspberries to mix in Mermaid Farm yogurt, a perfect summer lunch. Daylilies are at their peak, a different palette of colors every morning. Water is warming up for good swimming. The opening into the Great Pond has been newly cut.

On the negative side have been so many fire alarms, car accidents, water rescues. Our firemen, rescue personnel, and EMTs have been so busy. Mike was out three times during the other night, actually only twice, as the middle call came in before he got home from the first. Not just Mike, but he’s the only fireman who wakes me up in the night.

We have all been awaiting the birth of Bea Whiting and Patrick Ruel’s baby. It’s a boy. Asa Allen Ruel was born July 10 at 4:19 pm. He is a healthy 8 pounds 10 ounces, and 19 inches tall. Grandparents are Lynne and Allen Whiting of West Tisbury, Barbara and John Armstrong of Menemsha, and Bill and Angela Ruel of Old Lyme, Conn. His great-grandparents are Jim and Roberta Morgan of Menemsha and Bill and Kay Ruel of Portsmouth, N.H. With much love and wishes for the best life ahead for Asa and his lovely family.

Ellen Sturgis, clerk of the Riparian Owners of Tisbury Great Pond, reminds members of the annual meeting Saturday, July 26, 10 am, at the Howes House. Email Ellen at e.stugis@verizon.net with any questions.

My opening Sunday was a lot of work and a lot of fun. My studio has never been so clean. Leslie, Ruth, and I make a stimulating artistic and visual combination, compatible and interesting together — as we are as friends. We were thrilled with everyone who came, but especially four princesses from different parts of the island: a regal Princess Reed (of Cabot Castle) in a turquoise tulle gown and flip flops, a comfortable West Tisbury-style princess; Mya O’Neill and her mom, Queen Linsey Lee, in matching burgundy brocade. Kaya Oslyn was in perfect Vineyard casual, escorted by three strong yeoman guards — Jeff and Sam Bryant and Marshall Pratt. Claire Chalfoun brought her visiting granddaughter, Ashly Freeman, who cast magic spells on our golden retriever, Nanuk, belly-rubbing her into total bliss.

Paul Karasik stopped on his way home from the opening of the show he curated at Featherstone. The Art of the Cartoon will be up through July 30.

A new show is opening at the A Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Stella Waitzkin, a longtime West Tisbury resident who died in 2003, is getting new attention nationally and on the Island. An exhibition of her drawings and sculpture opens on Saturday, July 19, 5-7 pm. Professor Charles Russell and Anna Carringer will speak about her work at the gallery on Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm.

The West Tisbury Church’s Annual Blueberry Festival is this Saturday, July 19. Tables and chairs will be set up on the lawn from 12 noon to 4 pm, or inside if it rains. Blueberry smoothies, blueberry sundaes, blueberry pies and scones, blueberry jam, even blueberry lemonade will be served, with a raffle for a blueberry bush donated by Vineyard Gardens.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation will host a dedication ceremony this Sunday evening, July 20, at 6:30. The Program Room will be dedicated to Rosalee and David McCullough, who will be on hand to say a few words. Other rooms and gardens will also be dedicated in this ceremony, which is open to the public.

The All Island Art Show is coming up on Monday, August 4. Interested artists should look at their website, allislandartshow.wordpress.com, or “for information the old-fashioned way,” call Ellie or Harvey Beth at 508-693-0371.

I walked over to the library this evening to look at the new gardens that had been going in all day. Oak Leaf Nursery did the planting, with help from Laura Coit, who designed the garden along the walkway. Many of the plants were propagated or grown from seed by Laura’s husband, Tim Boland, and the staff of the Polly Hill Arboretum. The plan called for many native species, including two beetlebung trees that will eventually provide shade for the parking lot. Beach plum, winterberry, highbush blueberry, butterfly weed, asters, goldenrod, and grasses are among the plants chosen. Cheryl Doble and Lil Province designed the beds on either side of the library entrance with benches and a stewartia tree, ferns, oak leaf hydrangeas, and lots of shade-loving perennials. By the end of the summer it will look like those gardens have always been there.

While there, I ran into Amma O’Gorman, who told me she had just turned six on July 8. Amma is Jamie and Rick O’Gorman’s daughter. A belated “Happy Birthday” to you.

Birthday good wishes to Hannah Hoff, daughter of Amy and Billy. Hannah turned nine on July 13.

Children’s librarian Nelia Decker needs 1 and 2 liter plastic bottles for a craft project. Please drop them off in the Children’s Room if you have some to spare. Thanks.

The library’s Monday Night Movies are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for families and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for teenagers. Both begin at 6:30. Popcorn and attendance are free.

Emma Young will teach a two-day book making workshop for teens on July 22 and 24, 10:30–12:30. She will introduce students to a variety of forms. Pre-register at the circulation desk or online: programs@westtisburylibrary.org. The class is free.

Instead of the usual Saturday drop-in craft at the library this week, a special family craft is planned. Make paper airplanes with Bruce Riseborough between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm this Saturday, July 19.

Linda Hearn spent last weekend in South Carolina with her son Mark and his family attending the wedding of Mark and Renee Hearn’s niece, Kristina Smith, to Nick Woods. The ceremony took place at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. Both of Mark and Renee’s children, Devon and Blake, were in the wedding party. Between wedding festivities, they were able to do a little sightseeing, including visiting the State House.

Leslie Prosterman is leading two workshops on sacred and secular poetic transformation. Poets and non-poets are invited to discuss/write/read/explore. The first session, using the Book of Ruth as a departure point, is Sunday, July 20, 10 am to 12 noon, at the MV Hebrew Center library. Call 508-693-0745 to sign up.

We are due for some much-needed rain. It’s overcast now, the air heavy. John Hough’s new book, “Little Bighorn,” is in my hands and it’s a perfect morning for a lazy read on my porch.