Aquinnah: Bird feeding, Artisans Holiday Fair, children’s art show, and foster parent recruitment

—MV Times

Outside, there is frost on the ground, and the cold world is clear and sunny. I’m inside at my workspace, watching a wonderful mystery of sorts unfolding at the bird feeder. Charley and I had stopped filling the feeder during the full flush of summer, when we figured that the birds didn’t need the seed we’d been providing. It wasn’t until this week that we began to fill it again. That morning, I carefully cleaned the feeder, filled it, and kept glancing outside, hoping to see my old bird friends return. Not one came. For about three days. I was bereft. Then, one morning there was a cardinal. He flashed his beautiful red at me and flew away. I guess that the bird telegraph works better than our cell phones out here in Aquinnah, because within 24 hours the crowd of birds had reassembled, and the feeder was again a bird gathering place. How did they find out? I don’t know, but I’m surely glad to see them. We will again begin each day, no matter what else is happening, with filling the feeder, whistling to let the birds know that it’s been filled, and I’ll be able to look out the window at the parade of bird dramas. I’m so glad.

Charley and I are hard at work preparing items for the Aquinnah Artisans Holiday Fair. It will be held at the Aquinnah Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3, from 10 am to 4 pm. The hall will be packed with the results of the artistic efforts of 20 vendors, 18 of them from Aquinnah, all of them hoping for your support for their hard work. The youngest vendor is Jonathan Belain, 12 years old, who will be selling his paracord crafts. The oldest is likely to be Charley Hoye, who is 84 and who will be selling his pottery. Inside the festively decorated hall you will find exquisitely created dolls, knitted items, jewelry, leather bags, paintings, ceramics, clothing, scallop shell lights, hand embroidered linens, and more. There will also be an Aquinnah children’s art show on display. Food will be provided by the Orange Peel Bakery with their famous soups and gift baskets, and by Jeff and Vika Duarte Catering, who will be offering up their delicious fried chicken, baked beans, and cornbread. In addition to Jonathan and Charley and me, the list of artists includes Donald Widdiss, Jannette Vanderhoop, Ava Castro, Jamie and Woody Vanderhoop, Tysonnae Aiguier Bolling, Joan LaLecheur, Nancy Clute, Mary Sasong, Kristina Hook, Eva Weinstein, Tricia Peters, Jessica Kramer, Jill Gross, Theresa Manning, Claus Smith, and Mary Shea. The event is again being coordinated by Gabbi Camilleri, whose indomitable spirit lifts us all, and who will also be offering up her art.

Speaking of the Aquinnah children’s art show, kids from Aquinnah have until the end of day on Thursday, Nov. 30, to bring up to three items of any media to the Town Hall for inclusion in the show. If you need information, call or email Gabbi at 508-693-5969, or email

It’s hard to think of kids who are in need of a home, but the Cape and islands are in desperate need of foster parents who can give children a safe place to be. On Dec. 3, from 11 am to 2 pm, a foster parent recruitment and informational event will be held at the home of long-time Vineyard foster parent Elexis Wildanger, at 3 Poplar Lane in Oak Bluffs. This is an informational event only with no obligation or pressure, although applications will be available if you find that this is something you can do. Social workers from the Department of Children and Families will be there to answer questions about the process and the experience of fostering. If you are unable to attend, but are really interested, you can call Parent Resource Worker Christopher Russo at 508-760-0275.

Late November birthdays were plentiful. Billie Diamond Vanderhoop Shepherd and Novella Vanderhoop White had birthdays on Nov. 23, and Diamond Ellie Vanderhoop had a birthday on Nov. 28. Coming up, Durwood Vanderhoop celebrates on Dec. 3, and Jacob Vanderhoop celebrates on Dec. 4. I want to give a special shout-out to Margie Spitz, my comrade-in-arms on the Aquinnah Library Board of Trustees, whose birthday is on Dec. 7.

And so it is that, as we look out from our altered world, life somehow goes on. Step by step.  Bird by bird.

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