What I like best about Thanksgiving week, other than sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, is that the radio stations start playing holiday music. You may think that I’m being sarcastic but I’m not. I’ve been listening to Christmas music all of my life and hearing it again transports me right back to my childhood. My favorites are the sentimental ones about getting back home for the holidays or having snow. Have you noticed that as vocalists gain tenure they get brave enough to record their own renditions of the good old standard tunes?

Don’t forget about the Chappy Open Space Committee-sponsored walk at Pimpneymouse this Saturday at 10 a.m., rain or shine. Call Joan Adibi for more information at 508-627-4807.

Want to get your holiday shopping off to a good start? The CCC calendars have arrived! They will be available at the Fall Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday at the Community Center along with crafts made by your Chappy neighbors. Have some hot cider and cookies in front of the fireplace. Speaking of that, we are looking for a donation of a set of fireplace tools for the CCC. Contact Abigail or Lynn at 508-627-8222.

Also on Saturday is the unveiling of the History of the Chappy Ferry exhibit in the Spotlight Gallery at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Tom Dunlop and I will be on hand for the reception beginning at 3 p.m. The exhibit will run through Dec. 22. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Check out the museum website at These folks are busy right through the winter.

Mark your calendar for the CCC potluck in honor of the Chappy Ferry Captains and Crew on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. We won’t worry about how the guests of honor will deal with the ferry not running until 9 p.m. I’m confident that they will think of something.

Recently the crew from the Vineyard branch of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) did a whole lot of work thinning the woods in the Harborview avenue area out toward Wasque. As Chappy fire captain, I know that this is worthwhile work and I want my fellow Chappaquiddickers to be aware of it. TNC Fire Program Director Bob Bale sent me this description of their project and goals.

“Over half a dozen days in October and November, fire management staff from TNC led a Firewise project on a cluster of parcels owned by Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation (SMF) and one parcel owned by a residential landowner on Chappy. The sites shared in common the presence of overgrown volatile vegetation that put structures at high risk from wildfire.

“The TNC fire management team is widely known for safely conducting prescribed fires. They also help at-risk neighborhoods implement Firewise projects. Firewise is a national program geared to help homeowners increase

the likelihood that their homes will survive a wildfire. And when homes can survive a passing wildfire without needing direct protection from the fire department, the fire department can concentrate its resources to chase down and put out the wildfire.

“Firewise projects improve public safety and wildlife habitat simultaneously. In this case, a dangerous wildfire condition has been changed into a zone where homes are far more likely to survive a wildfire and residents as well as firefighters have dramatically better odds of coming through a wildfire uninjured. At the same time, the opened vegetation structure makes better habitat for native Vineyard wildlife.

“The project entailed thinning dense pitch pine woods so that tree canopies were separated. This greatly reduces the risk of “crown fire” in which the fire spreads across the tops of the trees. Remaining trees were limbed to eliminate “ladder fuels” that carry the fire from the surface into the treetops. All fallen tree material was chipped and removed from the site.

“The project on Chappy is emblematic of ongoing collaboration between TNC, the Department of Conservation Resources (DCR), SMF and The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR). In this case, DCR staff performed a hazard reduction assessment in this Chappy neighborhood and then TNC organized and led the work parties that carried out the thinning work. Both SMF and TTOR contributed staff and equipment to make the project a success.

“TNC and DCR plan to do another project on Martha’s Vineyard in 2013. This work is supported by funds from the US Forest Service and donations to TNC.”

Check out the Firewise website to get an idea of what it takes to reduce wildfire threats to your home. Drop me an email ( and we can get you started on a Firewise assessment of your neighborhood.

Sorry for the delay in sending out the Columbus Day 2012 group photo at the ferry. Apparently there are some tricks to emailing photos in a way that doesn’t overload your computer’s memory. I’m a firm believer in the laws of physics, but I’m just as sure that the internet depends heavily on magic to operate.

I always leave a sailboat in the water until after Thanksgiving. It seems that over the four-day holiday weekend there is always at least one day fit for sailing. This year I’ve decided to leave the biggest of my sailboats in the water throughout the entire winter. So far I’ve spent more time keeping it safe from storms than sailing it, but having the chance to go out on that occasional warm day is well worth the effort. The off-season is just too long to be stranded ashore. Even if I only have time to get out as far as the first bell buoy I’m happy. I’ve been listening to bell buoys all of my life and hearing that sound has the same wonderful affect on me as Christmas music.