West Tisbury

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: wendyweldon.com.

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.

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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 infor@mansionhouse.com.

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.

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 wendytaucher@gmail.com.

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 website:www.acemv.org.

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 Timothy.Madden@mahouse.gov and/or Senator Daniel Wolf, State House rm. 511B, Boston 02133. Phone 617-722-1570 or email Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov. 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 mvcancersupport.org 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: mvyogabarn.com.

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

A nice surprise to see grass again. It’s a bit dull, sodden in some places, but still a solid footing after snow/ice/rain/mud and slicked one atop the other. I know we can still get snow in March, but it makes me eager to be outside. I love my daily perambulations around the yard to look for whatever might be newly appeared or tasks that need attention. Snowdrops are blooming across the back lawn now. There are buds on my hellebores. Lots of pruning to do. Lots of clean-up. Still, nice to carry my coffee cup and pruners for a pleasant walk-around.

Next weekend we “spring ahead” into Daylight Savings Time. Then it will really begin to feel that we are approaching spring.

Another event to anticipate, soon we will be back in our newly refurbished library. The furniture is in and the staff are shelving books that have been in storage during the project. There will be an official ribbon-cutting Saturday morning, March 22, at 10 am to officially open the library to the public.

Speaking of books, Leah Littlefield has designed a project she calls “Spread the Joy of Reading.” Leah is an avid reader. As part of the preparation for her Bat Mitzvah, her mitzvah (“good deed” in Hebrew) is to collect children’s books to be donated to Horizons for Homeless Children and Boston Children’s Hospital. She has helped a younger student with reading, made and sold bookmarks to raise money for literacy organizations. Anyone interested in donating new or like-new children’s books may leave them in a drop box inside the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center lobby on Center Street in Vineyard Haven. Leah will let us know how many books she collects by next year.

My condolences to the families of Faith Runner and Otis Burt, both of whom died last week. Seeing and nodding to Otis, maybe sharing a word or two, was part of my breakfast routine at the Plane View. I think they should place a memorial plaque on his regular stool. And Faith was always at the library or the post office, always with a smile, usually with Hasty. I will miss them both, and know many share that sentiment.

The West Tisbury Town Democratic Committee will meet this Saturday morning, March 1, at the Howes House to elect delegates to the Democratic Convention where candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Senator will be decided upon. Door open at 9:30 and the meeting will begin promptly at 10 am.

This is a bit last-minute, but there are seven openings for summer internships at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Applications are due by February 28 for positions in curatorial, oral history, development, marketing/events, education, research/writing, and library/archives. Applications are available online: mvmuseum.org/internship.php.

Also at the museum, Chris Murphy will repeat his two-part workshop, “Learn to Carve a Decoy,” on Saturdays March 8 and 22. Tools and materials are provided. The fee is $20. Reservations are required. 508 627-4441, ext. 110 or frontdesk@mvmuseum.org.

Take a look at the current exhibition there, The Art of Advertising.

ACE MV is offering an amazing array of courses. An Ethics class, offered for credit with Fitchburg State College, begins next week. An in-person registration for spring classes is Tuesday, March 4, from 4:30 to 6 pm, in the MVRHS lobby. Lots of interesting possibilities from “ServSafe Food Sanitation Training “or “Auto Mechanics for Women,” to “Island Geology,” “Planting Bed Design,” “Buyers’ Beware and Buyers’ Guide to GMOs,” and many more. Register online at acemv.org.

Thanks to Nora Nevin, who returned our golden retriever, Nanuk, last week. Nan had wandered down the road and been spotted and picked up by Nora. It’s handy that Nan’s name and our phone number are printed on her collar, a tip that Joannie Jenkinson always comments favorably on.

Happy birthdays to Gaston Vadasz, Ernie Mendenhall, Blue Cullen, Diane Wall, Natalie Larsen, and Morgan Caruso.

I went off Island last Sunday to meet my cousins for lunch in Falmouth. They took me to a place I had never been, Dana’s Kitchen. It was wonderful, so I am passing the information along for anyone looking for a delicious, reasonably-priced breakfast or lunch. It’s at 881 Palmer Avenue, a bit of a circuitous turn-off, but you can find directions online. The food was fresh, healthy, beautifully prepared. Everyone’s meal was special (we all tasted). Malcolm and I had the best roasted winter vegetables. Sally’s Reuben sandwich had homemade sauerkraut and was delicious. So was Harriet’s chicken salad and the best cookies for dessert. They are closed Tuesdays, now closing for a month holiday before re-opening April 2.

A follow-up to the mystery rock story from last week’s column. Joel Cristea emailed the name of Sergei Makarov, a sculptor /stone mason who emigrated from Russia to the island around 1990. His son Denis, who sported a hammer and sickle tattoo, was a friend of Joel’s brother. He thinks they left the Island 10 or 12 years ago. I spent some time looking for him online, but haven’t found anything yet. Turns out there was a Russian hockey player by the same name, so the entries went on forever and none of the sculptor queries panned out.

A gentleman from Chilmark, Robert Fokos, called to explain the historical significance of the hammer and sickle symbolizing world Communism from the 1930s.

So far, that’s all I know. Will keep you posted.

Mike Mitchell found a rock on his property in Vineyard Meadow Farms. It is an approximately 75-pound stone with a hammer and sickle carved into it. What is its story? — Photo Courtesy of Mike Mitchell

Hermine-HullDo you remember the fairy tale about the princesses who left their beds at night to dance their slippers to shreds? The description of the tree-lined path they walked through, trees with leaves of silver, gold, or diamonds, always appealed to my imagination. That was in my mind as I was drove home during Saturday night’s snowstorm. The snowflakes flew at my windshield, dancing and twinkling like diamonds.

Sunday morning, indeed all day Sunday, was a visual treat. The snow had stopped and the sky had cleared, lightening from a pale cream through all imaginable shades of blue. Sunlight made the snow sparkle like the diamonds along the princesses’ path. My woods have never looked so beautiful. They remain shrouded in snow and may receive a dusting or two during the week ahead.

The dogs have become “snow bunnies,” rolling and playing like puppies until their paws are full of ice balls. Nelson, newly weighed on Friday at 7.4 pounds, is becoming more venturesome outdoors, although he has developed an obsession for a rubber band that is occupying all of his indoor hunting pursuits.

I have been presented with a mystery and am passing along the story to all of you. A gentleman named Mike Mitchell called me last week to tell me about a rock he found on his property in Vineyard Meadow Farms. It is an approximately 75-pound stone with a hammer and sickle carved into it. My first phone call was to Dick Burt, my expert on everything to do with Island history. Then I forwarded a picture of the rock to Ann DuCharme at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. If anyone has any ideas about where this might have come from, how it got here, or what it is, could you please let me or Nelson Sigelman at The Times know? Nelson referred Mike Mitchell to me in the first place. Isn’t it an interesting puzzle?

Many of you knew my friend Bill Ternes, a painter who taught plein-air painting workshops and exhibited his watercolors and oils here since the early 1980s. Bill died on Sunday. His wife, Pat, and daughters, Liz and Cathy, were with him. Bill’s paintings were as exuberant as he was, about art and life. They were full of color, energy, masterful brushwork, careful observation, and what he called “the spirit of the painting, it’s most important quality.” His stamina for standing outside all day in every kind of weather and his skill in turning his vision into a work of art, all while giving advice and direction to his students, was remarkable. Everyone who painted with Bill learned a lot. He touched so many people through his art and through his genuine goodness. He was the most honorable person I have ever known. My condolences to his family and to his many “groupies,” as I always called his students, who devotedly followed him everywhere to paint.

ACE MV is getting ready for their spring semester. An in-person registration is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4, 4:30 to 6 pm, in the MVRHS lobby. For information:www.acemv.org, lynn@acemv.org, or 1-774-310-1131. There are also two classes, “Relaxed Body, Open Mind, Deep Rest” at the Yoga Barn on February 26, and “Ethics” a three-credit course offered with Fitchburg State University, that begins on March 3.

Windemere offers lots of wonderful activities for their residents and members of the community. This Friday afternoon, February 21, Windemere will open their doors to host a Memory Café from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, for people with memory loss and their caregivers. It will be a nice opportunity for folks to socialize in a comfortable place, with entertainment (Michael Haydn on the piano), refreshments, and congenial company. Memory Cafés are part of a movement that offers social outings, and I am glad Windemere is doing it here on the Island. It’s free and open to the public. Call or email Mary Holmes for more information, 1-508-862-1933 or mholmes2@partners.org.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum invites those interested to another PechaKucha Night at the Harbor View Hotel this Friday evening, February 21, at 7:30 pm. PechaKucha is a format for introducing art and ideas. Admission is free. Jessica Johnson is in charge, so call or email her for more information, 508-627-4441, ext. 117, or jjohnson@mvmuseum.org.

Congratulations to Emma Gorenberg, who has been accepted to begin her internship in large animal internal medicine at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Massachusetts Equine Clinic. It was her first choice. Emma was a graduate of MVRHS Class of 2003 and will graduate this May with a VMD degree from University of Pennsylvania Vet School.

I was thrilled to see Bob and Bobette, our resident swans, on the Mill Pond Saturday morning. The pond was half-unfrozen. Now it’s mostly frozen over again, and the swans are nowhere to be found. Still, despite our snow-covered everywhere, it’s already almost the end of February. Spring will arrive in a few weeks. Ice will disappear, snowdrops and crocuses will begin to bloom around town, and the swans will return to prepare for the arrival of their cygnets.