After the northeaster last week Chappaquiddick looks like winter, with the trees bare and brown and leaves covering the ground. The winds were stronger during the northeaster than during Hurricane Sandy, and the storm lasted longer.
The Chappy ferry stopped all last Wednesday afternoon due to high tide and winds. The ramps led to small ponds on both sides of the channel. After waiting in the line in town for up to five hours, Chappaquiddickers got home, thanks to the willingness of Captain Brad Fligor to brave the elements in the early evening. On Thursday the ferry started up around 9 a.m. and ran on a trip-by-trip basis throughout the day. Some of us were hesitant to leave Chappy though, as high tide was in the early evening, and might cause return trips to be canceled. The Steamship Authority ferries didn’t run for two days and commuters like Dennis Goldin were stuck in Falmouth overnight. Dennis said he got the last of the Islander-rate rooms on Thursday night.
You can see some great storm pictures on facebook.com/thechappyferry, where Tom Dunlop has been posting blogs with amazing regularity (you don’t need to have a Facebook account). Recently he has written about Manuel Schwartz, who built boats in the Old Sculpin building, and about Heidi Raihofer and her husband, Joe Leonardo, who are professional divers. They dive for work, but also to see what they find on the bottom of the Edgartown harbor. Last weekend, they cleared the channel of seven old bicycles in front of Memorial Wharf. Evidently Heidi actually rode the bike in the best condition a few feet along the bottom before bringing it up. These bicycles are not left over from the Peter Wells aquabiking adventures of yore! He always used a rope with a Clorox bottle float to pull them out.
Before dawn last Wednesday, Peter began pitchforking seaweed out of the Chappy ferry slip so it wouldn’t get tangled in the ferry propeller. That morning, Slip Away farmers hauled away the huge piles for their compost, delivering some of it to other Chappy gardeners. The farmers are happy to take other people’s compost contributions for their pile, too. A reminder that their farm stand is open Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m., but you can deliver leaves and other compost makings any time.
At the beginning of this week, the highway department swept the parking lot of the seaweed and sand that covered most of the paved lot during the storm. At one edge near the channel the waves had uncovered a corner of the former bulkhead and pavement under the present lot. The highway crew has been on Chappy several days this week paving from the Point to Litchfield Road. Some people have expressed excitement about rollerblading on the stretch of new pavement — the first in many years.
Next Saturday, Nov. 24 will be a busy one for the island. The Chappy Open Space Committee has invited everyone to a Thanksgiving Walk at 10 a.m. (not 10:30 a.m. as I wrote in last week’s column) at Pimpneymouse Farm, rain or shine. The Potters will lead two different walks through the farm their family has tended for over 80 years. A 30 to 45-minute walk will lead through the gardens surrounding the main house, through the former skeet field to Lover’s Lane, beside the creek near Poucha Pond and back. At the same time, a second walk of approximately an hour and a half will go through woods and fields to the marsh overlooking Poucha Pond. If the water is low enough, they will continue out to the salt marsh islands where the effects of ocean level rise may be seen. Waterproof footwear may be needed for both walks. Cider and cookies will be served at the farmhouse. Parking is available in the hay field on the left as you approach the farm and see the “Whoa” sign. For information, call Joan Adibi at 508-627-4807.
Also on Saturday, Nov. 24 the Chappy Community Center will hold its annual fall open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Stop by for some hot cider (and more cookies), catch up with your neighbors and warm up in front of the fire. The 2013 photo calendars will be available for pick up or to purchase, and various Chappy craft-makers will be displaying their work for sale.
Marvene and Bob O’Rourke will be traveling to Cameroon for the church wedding of their daughter Brenna and her husband. Marvene is collecting new and used (in good condition) baseball caps as gifts for the groom’s extended family. If you have any contributions, you can contact her at 508-627-7902.
Chappy children and their elders have been getting together to take walks on Chappy trails on Saturdays. Peter Wells led the first walk at the Five Corners land bank property. Last Saturday, they met at the community center for a walk to Cape Pogue Pond, where Sally met them with snacks. You can contact Peter or Tina Floyd for information about the next walk, which is planned for tomorrow.
There are more children on Chappy now than within anyone’s living memory. There are presently 10 students at the Edgartown School, nine at the high school, four at the charter school and younger kids not yet in school — as well as adult children who never grew up. Gabby Wilbur, who was homeschooling, is trying out full-time schooling this year. It’s nice to see the Chappy population renewing itself once again.
Slip Away Farm is increasing its chicken population. Their new batch of baby chicks spent their first night stuck in the post office off-Island due to the storm, but arrived in good shape. Now they’re growing under heat lamps in the farm basement. Lily and the other farmers are looking forward to being able to sell eggs at their farm stand in the old school house — the former home of Annie Heywood and her family — when it’s renovated for use next season.