Slipaway Farm is showing outward signs of the coming growing season. The front field has been tilled, just in time for Wednesday’s snowstorm. The warm weekend should help that snow melt into the freshly turned earth. I imagine that the worms are disgruntled to be awakened so early. The greenhouse is filling up with seedlings. The first plants to go in the ground will be the Walla Walla onions, followed shortly by peas, spinach, leeks, broccoli and kale, as well as the assorted baby greens. More land will be under cultivation this summer, more products will be added to the farm stand and more community events will be hosted at the farm. With all of this additional activity, the farm has taken on an apprentice. Kendyll Gage-Ripa is a Vineyard-grown Smith College graduate with farming experience, and is the daughter of the founder of one of the first health food stores on the Island. The only thing that she lacks is a place to stay on Chappy. Please call the farm at 508-627-7465 if you can provide or suggest a housing opportunity for her from late April through September. Mark your calendars for the Slipaway spring community party and barbecue on May 17. I heard a fifth-hand rumor that Lady Gaga may cancel her spring bash in favor of attending the Slipaway gala. I’ll keep you posted.
The next Chappy Community Center potluck is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2. Martha Weston and Pedro Baez will be the hosts. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m. with the heaping of food onto plates starting around 6:30 or so, depending on whether the dinner bell can be heard above the din of the lively conversation. We have a few new faces as well as several early returning seasonal folks. Fiona the dog is clearly happy to be back on Chappy with her roommate Jed Dowling.
Conditions are ever-changing at Wasque. Skip Bettencourt flew his remote-controlled camera-wielding helicopter on Tuesday morning to get some “before” video of the Wasque opening. I’m anxious to see the “after” video when the storm clears out.
Sally and I went for a walk Sunday night and saw a very big seal on the beach at the tip of the new spit in front of the Fisherman’s Landing parking lot. Her pup was lolling in the surf. The volume of sand that the ocean has delivered to the beach during the past month is impressive. The storm is forecast to move by quickly with winds out of the north so there may be only minimal erosion from the high storm tides. The breach of 2007 has been observed and recorded more closely than any previous. Used to be that the first indication of erosion was when you headed down the road in the spring and jammed on the brakes just in the nick of time to avoid going over the edge of the bluff since it was now 50 feet back from where it was last fall.
We kept the On Time III in the Chappy slip overnight for the storm so that we could keep it shoveled off. I tried to go to sleep at 1 a.m. but just couldn’t help turning on my iPad every five minutes to check the ferry webcams to see how the boats were fairing in the breeze. So instead of watching the show on a six-inch screen from home, I headed down to the point to experience Mother Nature’s spectacle in person. In between shoveling and salting the ferries I sat in my truck listening to Nantucket radio play rock and roll with the bass turned way up so I wouldn’t embarrass myself when I sang along. Sometimes you need a lot of bass.
The forecasters were right on the money with this one. As the wind began to pick up, it was out of the east just like they said it would be, and then as it reached gale force it backed into the north. Fortunately the ferry run is in the lee of the town when the wind is out of the north. I think that wind also helped to push the water out of Katama Bay so that we were spared the extreme high tide that floods the entry to the ramps and stops the ferry. The highest gust at the ferry was 59 mph mid morning.
Out at Wasque the wind was offshore and the water was pretty calm. In the open moors there was two inches of snow on the ground and three inches in the air. Several large trees came down along the main road, just missing the electric wires. The best part about these winter storms is that when a hurricane comes our way, everything that can break is already broken.