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How to landscape using native plants, and make the birds and the bees (but not the ticks) happy.

Lawns have historically been a big part of American landscape plans. But native grasses and wildflowers can provide just as much beauty, but a lot less mowing, and are ultimately better for the environment.– Photos courtesy of Environmental Landscape Consultants LLC

Recently, MVTimes correspondent Rich Saltzberg attended a Vineyard-Scaping lecture at Polly Hill Arboretum, then followed up with a Q & A with conservation consultant and landscape architect Michael Talbot.

MVT: So, what’s Vineyard-scaping? How does your business differ from a more traditional landscaping company?

"Vineyard scaping" means using more native, low-maintenance plantings.
“Vineyard scaping” means using more native, low-maintenance plantings.

MT: We mostly differ in our philosophy of landscape design, restoration and management. We strive to create not only beautiful landscapes, but landscapes that are more natural and low maintenance. We then seek to care for them in ways that protect people, pets and the environment.

MVT: What are some of the fundamental flaws with suburban-style landscaping?

MT: People tend to plant more lawn than needed. In addition, the use of mostly exotic, non-native species and the planting of monocultures of just a few species reduces the attraction to wildlife and increases the need for maintenance.

MVT: What native perennials or shrubs could Islanders safely plant at this time of year?

MT: Right now you can plant most any native plant. By October I would not recommend planting warm season grasses, such as switchgrass or little bluestem. Sometimes when bayberries and summersweet are planted too late, they do not survive the winter well. Otherwise, most plants can be planted well into November, as plants continue to put on root growth until soils get quite cold (about 35 degrees F.)

MVT: How can a homeowner utilize plants over say, a French drain, to mitigate water issues?

Many "Vineyard scape" plants can be planted right into November.
Many “Vineyard scape” plants can be planted right into November.

MT: A French drain is generally an open, lined trough with stone up to grade; so plants would not be planted on them. By installing a rain garden instead, plants are integral to the design.  Soils are amended to both drain well and to sustain strong root growth, so rain gardens are a good environment for appropriate plants. The fact that they are also designed to capture stormwater means that they can sustain plants that prefer more moisture.

MVT: During your presentation, you spoke of fostering insect habitats and reaping the benefits. Could you describe what you meant?

MT: That’s a huge question. In short, by planting a wide array of species, including many flowering plants, insects are attracted that naturally control pests and that provide food for many bird and wildlife species.

MVT: What are some good shrub choices to feed migratory birds?

MT: Native viburnums, especially arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) and witherod or wild raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), are very good choices. Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is another very important species. Sassafras and tupelo trees (Nyssa sylvatica) are also very good plants for migrating songbirds.

MVT: How would you counsel Islanders who consider Russian and autumn olives to be desirable bird magnets in addition good sources for jams and jellies?

By planting a wide array of species in a landscape, including many flowering plants, homeowners will attract insects that naturally control pests and that provide food for many bird and wildlife species.
By planting a wide array of species in a landscape, including many flowering plants, homeowners will attract insects that naturally control pests and that provide food for many bird and wildlife species.

MT: These are invasive species that are no longer permitted to be propagated, distributed or sold in Massachusetts because they crowd out native species. There are many native species that also provide fruit for birds and for jams and jellies — and some non-invasive, non-native species that are excellent fruiting plants, as well.

MVT: To what extent, if any, should Islanders be fertilizing their lawn?

MT: Most home lawns only need one to two pounds of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet of turf, which is just one to two full applications of fertilizer. By using organic fertilizers you can apply an application now and, perhaps, again in late May; this will supply a steady supply of nutrients during the entire growing season. The typical four-step fertilizer program applies four pounds of N per 1,000 square feet. Many professional programs apply even more.

MVT: Could you describe the type of oil you’ve used to deter ticks?

MT: We use a cedarwood oil mixed with water to provide a good knock-down treatment of black-legged (deer) ticks around the perimeter of the landscape and the edges of shrub/tree clusters.

MVT: During your presentation, you mentioned a UMass tick program that you utilized. Could you share that experience?

MT: The Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst now offers a program to easily and quickly test an attached tick that anyone removes and saves. They have created a program that offers this service for a low price, or even for free for residents of certain Massachusetts towns. To learn more go to tickreport.com.

MVT: Why do cities and towns seem so impotent in the regulation of pesticides and fertilizers?

MT: The regulation of pesticide use — and now fertilizer use — cannot be done by cities and towns, because that power is reserved by statute for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts alone. The only exceptions are Cape Cod towns until the end of this year, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard — both of which already have regulation of fertilizer use.

MVT: Poison ivy, bittersweet, trumpet vine, bind weed, and wisteria are locked in a room. Who makes it out?

MT: Very likely they all do, although I think the poison ivy is likely to have trouble competing against the others over time. Not likely to die out completely, however, as it tolerates light shade well. These are all aggressive, fast growing species, with bittersweet the worst because its very fast growth rate and twining habit literally kills other plants over time.

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This radar image from the morning shows the approaching storm. Courtesy of the National Weather

5:30 pm, Monday

Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent of Schools James Weiss announced that all after school activities are canceled Monday and school is canceled Tuesday.

The announcement followed a meeting of Island public safety officials called to discuss an approaching blizzard.

There are reports of numerous accidents caused by slippery roads. Drivers are advised to be cautious.

Governor Charlie Baker announced a state-wide driving ban that goes into effect at midnight.

Tisbury and Edgartown banned on street parking.

The Steamship Authority is running of a boat by boat basis. There will be no service Tuesday.

The Island Home sets sail. — File Photo by Michael Cummo

Updated 10 pm, Sunday

The Steamship Authority (SSA) has alerted customers to a winter storm watch issued by the National Weather Service from 7 pm, Monday until 1 am, Wednesday.

“Based on the current forecast, the Steamship Authority anticipates possible service disruptions Monday evening and Tuesday,” the SSA said. The SSA advised customers to check the Authority’s website for further updates.

To make or modify a reservation call 508-477-8600, go online at steamshipauthority.com, or visit one of the terminals.

Current SSA conditions may be viewed at steamshipauthority.com/ssa/OpsInfo.cfm.

The National Weather Service said “a crippling and potentially historic blizzard will impact the

area mainly from late Monday into Tuesday, lingering into early Wednesday.

A blizzard warning remains in effect from 7 pm, Monday to noon, Tuesday.

Heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions with considerable blowing and drifting snow and strong to damaging winds are predicted.

The worst of the storm will be Monday night through Tuesday afternoon. There will be a period where heavy snow will change over to rain, mainly during the day Tuesday before changing back over to snow.

Winds will be north-northeast, 35 to 45 mph with gusts around 70 to 80 mph. The height of the winds will be late Monday night into Tuesday.

All unnecessary travel is discouraged beginning Monday afternoon to allow people already on the road to safely reach their destination before the heavy snow begins and to allow

snow removal equipment to begin to clear roads.

Ella Rose Ray

Elise Paglia and James Ray of Vineyard Haven announce the birth of a daughter, Ella Rose Ray, on Dec. 11, 2014, at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ella weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces.

Carly Theresa Alwardt

Morgan Alwardt and Joshua Alwardt of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of a daughter, Carly Theresa Alwardt, on Jan. 20, 2015, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Carly weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

Tabitha R. Brown

R. Kristin Brown and Timothy Brown of Edgartown announce the birth of a daughter, Tabitha R. Brown, on Jan. 21, 2015, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Tabitha weighed 5 pounds, 6.7 ounces.

Oliver Flanders Thurlow

Laura Marashlian and Myles Thurlow of West Tisbury announce the birth of a son, Oliver Flanders Thurlow, on Jan. 22, 2015, at home. Oliver weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

Eagan Harold Gibson

Talia Rogers and John Gibson of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of a son, Eagan Harold Gibson, on Jan. 25, 2015, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Eagan weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and joins big brother Isaiah and big sister Kylie.

File photo by David Welch

The 29th annual Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Contest, hosted by MVY Radio, will heat up the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs this Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm to raise money for the Red Stocking Fund, which provides food, clothing, and toys to Island children during the holiday season. Big Chili Contest tickets are available at Shirley’s True Value in Vineyard Haven and at Trader Fred’s in Edgartown for $35 each. The event is 21-plus. Free bus transportation is provided from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven to the Chili Contest, and will return you there at the end of the event. For more information, visit mvyradio.com.

Robert Joseph Canha died peacefully at the age of 84 in Stuart, Fla., on Jan. 5, 2015, with his loving wife of 24 years, Mary Canha, by his side.

Robert, more commonly known as Bob, was born in Tisbury on July 29, 1930. He was the son of Dora Marian Authier Canha and Manuel Perry Canha, a commercial fisherman who died at the age of 26 when caught in a nor’easter while fishing off Noman’s Land in October 1932.

Bob grew up in Vineyard Haven and attended the Tisbury High School, graduating with the class of 1948. While in high school he worked at Yates Drug Store on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. He was a talented athlete on the school basketball team, and had plans to play on the men’s basketball team for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. A serious leg injury in a car accident on West Chop in the summer of 1948 derailed those plans.

Bob began working at the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority in August 1947 as an able seaman during his senior year in high school. He remained with the Steamship Authority for 45 years, until he retired at the age of 62 in November 1992. Over the years he became a pilot, then a captain, often choosing to work the Nantucket schedule. He was promoted to port captain in June 1988, and was further promoted to operations manager for the Steamship Authority in March 1991. He remained in that position until his retirement, working directly under general manager Barry Fuller in the Woods Hole office.

During the Steamship Authority 72-day ferry strike by employees in 1960, Bob became friends with the late Lawrence N. Spitz, a pioneer of the labor movement in New England, who worked closely with the employees during their strike. From 1965 to 1968 Bob became the president of the DOLU Deckhand Union and then the president of the National Maritime Union on behalf of the Steamship Authority employees. He took seven short-term leaves of absence from the Steamship Authority from 1965 to 1968 to work in cooperation with Mr. Spitz and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of International Affairs, taking foreign labor union representatives on tour around the United States. These trips remained as wonderful memories throughout his lifetime.

Bob married Jacqueline Frances Stanlake Canha, of Boston, in 1951, and they had two daughters, Robin Ann Canha, of West Tisbury and East Falmouth, and Susan Gail Mendell, of Maine. The family moved from Vineyard Haven in 1959 to Fairhaven, when the Steamship Authority was operating out of New Bedford. The couple divorced in 1974, and Jacqueline later passed away in October 2012. Bob and Jacqueline were the grandparents to Robin’s daughter, Erin Elizabeth Sheehan of North Attleboro, and Susan’s children Tracey Villanueva, Donald Mendell, Joseph Mendell, and Elizabeth Hawthorne, all of Maine, who provided him with eight great-grandchildren.

Bob married his second wife, Nancy Canha, in 1976, and they lived in Centerville. He became a stepfather to her daughters Elaine Cavatorta, Linda Wise, and Laura Lincoln. Nancy died in 1987. Four years later, in 1991, Bob married Mary Fitzpatrick Canha, who also worked at the Steamship Authority Woods Hole offices. He became a stepfather to Mary’s daughters Meg Wilson, Colleen Hammond, Amy Walsh, Missy Martin, and Lisa Reposa, and sons John “Rusty” Halloran and the late James Halloran. Bob and Mary lived in East Falmouth until they retired to Stuart, Fla., three years ago. His stepchildren provided him with 23 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his older sister, Doris Nemeth, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and his half-sister, Kathy Beauchemin Scruggs of Tampa, Fla. Doris spent several hours with her brother during the last two days of his life.

Bob was an avid golfer who also enjoyed watching football and golf on television. He loved going out to eat at restaurants on a regular basis. Bob was blessed with a long life filled with the love of a large extended family. A public memorial service celebrating his life will be held in Falmouth later this spring, and will be announced when the date is determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Cystinosis Research Network, 302 Whytegate Court, Lake Forest IL 60045.

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In this file photo, parked vehicles waited for the Nantucket to resume service during a recent storm.

Following a morning of cancellations due to high winds and rough seas, at noon the Steamship Authority announced it had resumed service Friday on a trip by trip basis.

The ferry Martha’s Vineyard made its noon run. However, cancellations followed.

The SSA announced: The M/V Island Home’s 1:15pm Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard and 2:30 pm Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole trips have been canceled.

The M/V Sankaty’s 1:30 pm Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven and 2:45pm Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole trips have been canceled due to weather.

All future trips today are on a trip by trip basis.

The Steamship Authority advises its customers to check the Authority’s website for further updates.

To make or modify a reservation call 508.477.8600, online at www.steamshipauthority.com, or visit one of the terminals.

Current Conditions may be viewed at http://www.steamshipauthority.com/ssa/OpsInfo.cfm

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9:25 am, Friday

The Steamship Authority announced at 9:20 am that it has temporarily suspended ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket due to high winds and rough seas.

The announcement followed a series of cancellations this morning due to high winds. Travelers are advised to check with the boatline.

The following trips have been canceled due to Weather conditions: M/V ISLAND HOME 8:15 AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven; M/V ISLAND HOME 9:30 AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole; M/V SANKATY 8:30 AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven; M/V SANKATY 9:45 AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole; M/V MARTHA’S VINEYARD 9:30 AM Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven; M/V MARTHA’S VINEYARD 10:45 AM Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole

For more information, call 508.548.3788 or 508.693.0367

Current Conditions may be viewed at http://www.steamshipauthority.com/traveling_today/status

Bundle of fresh kale. — Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Health through the holidays can seem like a cruel oxymoron when presented with the blitz of cookie exchanges, indulgent buffets, cocktail parties, and family feasts served up wholeheartedly between the short weeks of Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The Family Center and local nutritionist, Josh Levy, will offer an evening workshop on navigating this delicious, but weighty season of food and festivities to keep your entire family healthy.
Josh Levy of Vineyard Nutrition knows the nutritional trials unique to Island residents. “We definitely have the usual holiday activities of kids events, parties, concerts, business and community get togethers, which offer more and more opportunities to knock you off your routine; but in addition to those, for us on the Island, add the off-Island shopping trips, day trips to Boston and Falmouth, then extra trips for family travel, and our schedules just get layered with stress.”
Appreciative of the season of indulgence, and the concerns that accompany it, the Family Center of Martha’s Vineyard is proud to host a workshop on maintaining optimal health, both nutritionally and emotionally, on Wednesday December 10. “We can still celebrate the holidays with family and friends,” Levy told The Times. Sometimes it’s about creating new traditions, sometimes it’s about making choices ahead of time, and most of the time it’s just about planning ahead.
At the workshop, Levy will provide specific tools to gracefully maneuver the maze of sugary, caffeinated, and fatty merry making that seem to throw our bodies and minds for a loop at this time of year. Levy explained, “We see the roller-coaster of managing stress and busy days by eating junk food or drinking more coffee, which in turn has more cream and sugar, which in turn leads to craving more sweets, and then all day long the blood sugar goes up and down. And that’s just the adults. For kids, there are all these high sugar treats and snacks that show up, causing the same blood sugar fluctuation, leading to crabbiness or sadness, and finally affecting sleep… which in turn affects the adults.”
Levy suggests bringing food with you. “Pack a cooler, fill it with cheese sticks, yogurt, apples, veggies, so when you get stuck in traffic you reach in and everyone’s fine, or mid-shopping you grab your snack and can keep going. If it’s a longer trip, find out if you’ll have a kitchenette in your hotel room, or if you can contribute to the shared meals by bringing some of your own healthier food. Look ahead at menus, plan ahead so you don’t make that impulse grab.”
Levy will show how replacing unhealthy habits with new traditions can be fashioned to celebrate the true essence of the season. He said, “I worked with a mother and daughter who had always done a cookie swap together. But talking to both of them, we discovered neither of them really wanted to bake twelve dozen cookies again. They both wanted to feel good, lose weight, and control a medical condition. So they created a craft project tradition to replace the baking, and still got the special time together, but in a new way. It was really wonderful to see that change.”

Living on the Vineyard does not make us exempt from stress and health problems due to poor nutrition, yet Levy says we have unique resources, “we are free from the fast-food chain industry, we have a strong community which often supports healthy attitudes and awareness, and we have the beautiful environment. Bundle up the kids, go outside for a walk, jump in the leaves, and play together. It will do them, and you, a world of good.”

Attend the free workshop and learn more about how to take care of yourself and your family over the holidays. Dinner and childcare provided. 5:30-7pm. Wednesday, December 10. Pre-registration is required. 508-687-9182.

Three easy tips to keep your holidays healthy
-Drink lots of water, avoid too much caffeine and sugary beverages
-Enjoy a healthy snack before attending a party to avoid impulse eating
-Get plenty of sleep

Vineyard Nutrition’s healthy holiday recipes

Edamame hummus

Ingredients

1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon lite salt (optional)

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cut-up vegetables or 100% whole grain crackers

Directions

1. Place edamame into a large pot and cover with water. Place over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes; drain.

2. Puree garlic in food processor until minced. Add edamame, tahini, water, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper; blend until smooth.

3. Serve with cut-up vegetables or whole grain crackers

Makes 8 servings

Kale, carrot and apple salad

Emerald-green lacinato kale is the star of this healthy kale salad, tossed with an easy maple, mustard and apple cider vinaigrette and studded with crisp apples. Toss or massage the kale with the dressing about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. The sturdy kale leaves won’t wilt from the dressing and will taste even better after they’ve been marinated in it.

Active Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cider vinaigrette

1 small shallot, chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider

1 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

Ground pepper to taste

Salad

10 cups coarsely chopped lacinato kale (1-2 large bunches)

2 sweet-tart apples, such as Golden Russet or Jonagold, cut into matchsticks

3 cups matchstick-cut carrots

1 cup matchstick-cut radishes

3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions

1. To prepare vinaigrette: Puree shallot, vinegar, oil, cider, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor until smooth and creamy.

2. To prepare salad: Toss kale, apples, carrots, radishes and parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing; toss to coat.

Nutrition

Makes: 12 servings, Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups

Per serving: 95 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 5 g total sugars; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 175 mg sodium; 421 mg potassium.