This past Monday I started to hear occasional little animal scrambling sounds from inside our chimney. I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, imagine what kind of critter it could be, and I hoped it would go away on its own.

I didn’t hear it that night, but then it started again in the morning and I began to realize we’d have to open the clean-out door at the bottom of the chimney and see what was in there. Usually I make Sidney deal with this sort of problem — the kind where you might suddenly have a small creature running at you.

But with school starting up, I knew Sidney would be home late and be tired, so I bravely opened the clean-out door to the 6-by-6-inch flue. All I could see was creosote. It was the remains of last winter’s wood fires, flaked off the chimney walls throughout the summer.

The first drops of Tuesday’s long-awaited rainfall were hitting the fiberglass panels in our porch roof, making a noise like a little animals rustling, when I began to dig the creosote out into a waste basket. I filled one bag and was onto the second when two scrawny blackened feet appeared in view inside the chimney.

I was relieved to see that it was bird, but it looked big and I went to get a cloth to wrap it with — a technique I saw Luanne Johnson use when she had to take a crow out of one of her skunk traps. After much flapping (of the bird), I managed to pull out a sorry looking Flicker.

I let it go off the back porch. It looked a bit stunned but then flopped down to the grass. I saw it peck at something so I figured it was going to be all right and, as the rain started to come down hard, the bird disappeared in the bushes.    

Rob Kagan writes to say that the field scientist Dave Sinser, who has been operating an experimental tick abatement program on Chappy, got an extension from the state to maintain deer feeding stations this winter and next spring. A tick pesticide is applied at the stations as the deer reach in to eat. Dave evidently has the go-ahead for the next four years.

Five additional stations can be placed on Chappy and Rob is going to put one at Cape Pogue, but the rest are up for grabs. The main criteria is that the stations be at least 100 yards from any building. If you are interested, you can get in touch with Rob at 508-627-5286.

Ann Parker writes that her parents, Robbie and Lanning Macfarland Jr. of North Neck Road, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on August 2nd. Ann’s mother’s grandfather, Samuel Seager, started coming to the Vineyard by horse and buggy from Cambridge in the 1800s to build a house in Oak Bluffs that still stands today. During this time, he also built a duck camp on Chappaquiddick which quickly became the summer home of choice for Samuel and his bride after their marriage in 1889. Those same buildings can be seen at the gut at Cape Pogue Pond.

David Seager 2nd, (Ann’s grandfather), was the first of four children born to Samuel and his wife. When David married in 1924, he couldn’t wait to share the summer home he loved with his wife, Elizabeth (Libby). Years later, in 1947, they built their home on North Neck Road. In August of that year, Robbie Macfarland married Lanning Seager in St. Andrews church in Edgartown.

The Macfarlands’ grandson, Ann’s son John Andrew Parker, was married in Edgartown as well. Andrew and his wife Sarah had a baby girl (Katherine Elizabeth) in May of 2006 who has already spent two summer vacations on Chappy — the sixth generation to summer here! Ann says, “What a very special place this island is that it can draw us back through the generations.”

Betty Trider sends her heartfelt thanks to all those volunteers who came to Mytoi on Wednesday mornings during July and August. Volunteers spent a hundred hours weeding, transplanting, cleaning the stream, raking paths and pruning. Betty says the garden has never looked better, all because of their efforts. Volunteers came from California, Kentucky, New York city, Connecticut and Chile and included hard-working teenagers as well as adults. Volunteer efforts will continue next summer for anyone who can spare an hour or a full morning on any Wednesday.

Peter Wells and Sally Snipes are home from visiting their latest new grandchild, Bailey Moon Anderson, recently born to their daughter Nearess Wells and Mark Anderson of Comptche, Calif. Bailey’s middle name is one of Sally’s family surnames.

Although Chappy’s foreign film series is done for the season, the 2nd Annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival began yesterday and runs through Sept. 16 in Vineyard Haven. Mary Spencer, who organized our series, is the volunteer coordinator for the event. You can go to to see the festival schedule.

This Saturday, Sept. 15, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. the Chappaquiddick Island Association will hold its last hazardous waste pickup for the season at the community center. Thanks to Terry Forde for making this happen. Among materials accepted are various chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, batteries of all sizes, used motor oil (at a cost of $1 per gallon), kerosene, stale gasoline, paints (no latex) and diesel fuel. The items will be brought to the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District for further processing by a private hazardous materials company. The disposal district requests that items be brought in cardboard boxes.