Chilmark: Coffee and chocolates

Ingrid Goff-Maidoff's Mary Oliver bookshelf. —Valerie Sonnenthal

Do you ever count all the animals you see on/from your dirt road? In one day I saw a pair of red-tailed hawks sitting on a branch together five feet from my windshield, then taking off in front of me: three deer crossing the road, from the stag with a set of antlers growing in to a doe, followed by a fawn; some local cottontails, which I learned from Mass Audubon spend their nearly two-year life within an acre and a half unless there’s slim winter pickings and they need to go further afield; North Tabor Farm’s Rebecca Miller and someone riding horses, a slow raccoon, a scurrying field mouse, crows, a flock of geese flapping and honking overhead, a fleeting songbird, and other usual suspects like the Dorper sheep next door.

I went down to Menemsha Market the day after the fire and stood with neighbor Howie Grimm, who said, “It was a good thing it was pouring, or the whole building would have burned down.” Thankfully it’s mainly smoke damage, and Eversource was out finishing up its repairs and removal of the old pole and debris.

Maybe I need to start calling it “the week behind column.” I want to recognize the passing of Mary Oliver, and her steadfastness, which made her a companion of many Islanders. I was impressed by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff’s photo of her Mary Oliver bookshelf. Ingrid writes, “I love Mary Oliver’s poetry for the wonder and devotion she so beautifully and generously expressed. I anticipated with joy every new volume she released. I read them as if reading letters from a friend. I will reread them in the same way. I’m so grateful for her poetic example … for her poetic living.”

Chilmark Coffee is now being “packaged in Biotrē 12-oz. bags, 60 percent (by weight) biodegradable, made from wood pulp. The remaining 40 percent of the bag is a polyethylene liner with an additive allowing the liner to break down over five to 10 years — much faster than a conventional fossil-fuel-based liner.”

Todd Christy said, “I think that this is an improvement over what I currently use, and my hope is that the retail bags of my coffee are in stock just enough to go seven to 10 days then sell out!” Let the Christys know what you think on FB or at

Laurie David saw the musical “Hadestown” and loved it so much she became a co-producer, and says be sure to get tickets if you’re heading to NYC. The run starts on March 22.

Chilmark Chocolates reopens on Saturday, Feb. 2.

The Chilmark School PTO’s “Blues Blizzard” is happening Saturday, Feb. 9 from 7 to 11 pm at Chilmark Community Center with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, live and silent auctions, desserts, beverages, and photo booth fun. Funds will support the Chilmark School Outing Program and PTO. It’s $20 at the door or through any Chilmark School family, $15 for seniors. Adults only. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Beth Wike at

The Chilmark Community Church’s Community Suppers are on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm, all ages welcome. 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark. For further information call 508-645-3100.

Pathways Arts at the Chilmark Tavern hosts musicians Cindy Kallet and Greg Larsen on Thursday, Jan. 31. Families are invited on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 am to noon to watch short films and help MVFF kids’ decide what to play at the 19th annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. On Sunday, Feb. 3, join Nygel Jones and Harry Seymour at their mixed-media installation in honor of African American History Month for their reception, from 3 to 6 pm. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, join members of the Cleaveland House Poets, including Eleanor Bates, Christopher Legge, Fan Ogilivie, Susan Puciul, Arnie Reisman, and me, for a reading at 7 pm. Every Saturday at 3 pm, join Alison Cameron Parry for a weekly All-Ages Qi Gong; for more info write or call 508-397-1743; $15 suggested donation (livestream also available). Doors open at 6:30 pm and events begin at 7 pm, free for all evening programs.

The Yard continues its adult dance classes with Jesse Keller Jason at the West Tisbury library every Tuesday at 10:30 am through March 26, free.

At the Chilmark library, join a Chowder and Chat with Michelle Vivian, access coordinator/instructor at MVTV on Saturday, Feb. 2, at noon. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 3:30, come hear Plastic Free MV explain the plastic water/soda bottle ban that will be on town warrants in West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah. Plastic Free MV is a group of fifth and sixth graders at the West Tisbury School (and others) who have written a bylaw and got it on the town warrant. This bylaw limits the sale and distribution of both water and soda single-use plastic bottles under 34 oz. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 5 pm, hear author Eileen Maley speak about “No Fixed Address: How to Run Away From It All,” about her adventures seeing the world and ending up on the Vineyard. The Coffee Klatsch Knitting Group (bring your own supplies and projects) and a Chess Meet-Up continue on Thursdays from noon to 3 pm. Come enjoy free coffee — just be sure to bring your own mug — for a cozy, laid-back, and communal hangout up-Island. Afterschool crafts with Irene continue on Wednesdays at 3 pm. Stories with Rizwan continue Tuesday and Saturday at 10:30 am. Learn more at or 508-645-3360.

Join Walter Collier, an O.B. resident, as he talks about his book “Why Racism Persists: An Uncomfortable Truth” for Black History Month at the Oak Bluffs library with the League of Women Voters from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Have a great week.