Aquinnah: Town buildings, Seed Library, planting seagrass, kids’ activities, and art contest

— MV Times

Tax day looms. I’m proud to say that Charley and I prepared our taxes early, and got them to the accountant in plenty of time. Paying taxes is never pleasant, but in order to maintain our country, our state, our county, our town, our people, it has to be done. It is surely irritating that those who have the most pay a smaller percentage of their income than the rest of us, and I can assure you that I don’t always appreciate how the powers that be choose to spend my hard-earned dollars. However, I do appreciate a good highway, a well-equipped school, knowing that a call to 911 will bring first responders a-running, and the other good things that our taxes provide, so I pay my taxes willingly.

A lot of big projects are heading our way as up-Island taxpayers, including a redevelopment of the Howes House (home of the Up-Island Council on Aging); upgrades to the restrooms in the Aquinnah Circle, and upgrades to the town hall and town offices. These are all mighty important projects, and worthy of tax dollars. However, after sitting in on planning meetings and community listening sessions for all, I want to remind all the good people working on these planning committees to balance dreams and the visions presented by architecture and design firms with the economic realities of our communities. We need buildings that are functional, meet our needs, and are environmentally responsible, of course. But we don’t need grandiosity. We can go for simplicity. There are so many other needs to be met.

Meanwhile, we are beginning the work of the garden. Isaac has built us a beautiful new gate for the deer fence that surrounds the planting beds. We are spreading compost, we’re checking hoses for cracks, we’re finishing the end-of-winter tidying up. At the end of the season last year, we stored our gathered seed in carefully marked bags that we kept in a box on a shelf in the barn. A few weeks back, we went into the barn one morning to find chewed-up empty bags, and spilled dirt and seed all over the floor. An enterprising rat had broken in and feasted. Heartbreaking. We cleaned up the mess, and comforted ourselves by visiting the seed library, and spending some time oohing and ahhing over seed catalogs, imagining tomatoes and squash and peas and cucumbers and nasturtiums. Now our porch is lined with pots where we nurture those seeds and look forward to planting. At the end of harvest, we will again gather seed, giving some to the Seed Library at the West Tisbury library, and putting the rest into labeled bags that spend the fallow season in a well-fortified metal container. Lesson learned.

Want to help keep the land healthy, enjoy working side by side with your neighbors, and get free breakfast and beverages provided by Quitsa Cuisine as well? Then go to Lobsterville on April 15, from 9 am to noon, to help plant seagrass. You should sign up first! Contact Beckie Scotten at This is a great endeavor, hosted by the Wampanoag, offering us a chance to work together for the land that we love.

Here are some good things for the kids. Saturdays from 12 to 3 pm, kids are invited to drop in to the library and make their own wind chimes. Also, don’t forget the afterschool club at the library every Tuesday starting at 3:30 pm, for homework help, crafts, games, and more. And here’s a contest for you: The Steamship Authority is now accepting entries for its Sail Into Imagination art contest, with a $150 first prize, a chance for your art to be displayed in a Steamship Authority calendar, and more. The deadline is May 19, so you have time, but start thinking about it now. Maybe illustrate the happy passengers and crews and fish in the sound when we have an all-electric fleet of ferries that are quiet, don’t use fossil fuels, and need less maintenance. Check out the Steamship Authority website for information on how to enter. We’ve got some talent here — share it.

The CERT team meets at the town hall on Thursday, April 13, at 5:30 pm. They are still looking for volunteers, so come and join in.

This week gives us much to celebrate. That sparkling couple, Hugh and Jeanne Taylor, celebrate their (prepare yourself — they don’t even look old enough) 49th wedding anniversary on April 15. Jamie and Durwood Vanderhoop celebrate their marriage on April 12. We missed Barbara Wallen’s birthday on April 11. Erick Moore turns 13 (!) on the 13th. On the 14th, cheer Louise Petersiel, Lexie Roth, and Lucas Belain. And then, on the 16th, it’s birthday time for Carole Vandal and Peyton Jeffers.

Thank you to the amazing Gabriella Camilleri for helping me research celebration days. Please send in your birthdays and such to

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,