Shirtsleeve weather continues to defy the holiday season. It’s hard not to believe in climate change since each year winter seems to take longer and longer to arrive and higher tides more often slosh up onto the Chappaquiddick ferry parking lot. However, the twinkling lights, fragrant greenery and festive events continue to make us believe it’s mid-December.

The streets of town looked almost like summer last weekend with all the crowds for Christmas in Edgartown. The schedule was jam-packed with events. The high point for me was carrying a chicken in the parade. I met up with Sidney and the FARM Institute oxen Zeus and Apollo at the corner of Pease’s Point Way. The oxen were decorated with Christmas ornaments tied to their horns, and with their big soft eyes they looked very sweet. Someone asked me if I wanted to hold a chicken — I always want to hold a chicken. There was one not being carried yet, so I got her from the cage and proceeded down Main street alongside the ox cart. It’s amazing how many people love chickens. They’d yell out “Chicken!” and want to pat her. Between the chickens and the oxen (and the alpacas following us), people were very excited. Animals are serious competition for Santa as far as their attention goes.

The Chappy ferry is looking festive these days, decorated with lights twined with ropes of greenery. Peter put on the lights first, and then when they caused a problem with the captains’ night vision, he got the greens to subdue the glare.

I heard the back story from Peter about the picture taken by Annie Heywood for the month of December on the community center’s 2013 photo calendar (calendars are still available!). It’s a photo of Santa waving from the back of the fire truck, mid-channel on the Chappy ferry. Last year the fire chief was looking for people to play Santa, and Peter, who had never done it before, was drafted for the parade. At the last minute Chris Scott, who usually plays Santa in the parade, showed up but convinced Peter it was an experience he shouldn’t miss. Peter said it was great fun riding down Main street telling kids he knew to behave or clean their rooms. He told his lawyer Skip Tomassian that Santa was on the fence about whether he was bad or good.

Tomorrow is the Holiday Tea at the Chappaquiddick Community Center from 3 to 5 p.m. The big room is decorated with wreaths and greenery, and hot tea will be served from gleaming silver tea pots. Sweets, sandwiches and hot chocolate with whipped cream will also be available. All are welcome, so stop by and visit with your Chappy neighbors in front of the blazing fire.

Community center coordinators Lynn and Abigail are looking for people to bring appetizers, sides such as salads, mashed potatoes and other vegetables, and desserts for the Christmas Eve feast. Please contact them at the center at 508-627-8222. All of Chappy, including guests, are invited. They are also looking for a donation of a heavy-duty tree stand for the large Christmas tree that’s put up inside, for next year.

Any film buff is invited to host a movie night or marathon in January or February at the community center. Lynn and Abigail say, “It doesn’t have to be very involved, just something to get people out of their homes and into the center.”

Dick Knight was walking on the shore of Cape Pogue Pond recently when three bicyclists came riding along the beach on bikes with wide balloon tires. It was Bill Brine 3rd and a couple of friends. They started at the ferry and rode all the way around Chappaquiddick, including in the soft sand at Wasque. Dick says, “Earlier in the day I had seen strange tire tracks on the beach by the ferry and could not figure out what they might be.” When he met up with them at the channel opening to Mary Latham Pond, in the marsh at the crook of North Neck, they were debating about riding through the water. It was about half-tide, and they ended up splashing across, heading toward John Oliver Point. Dick has a tip for crossing pond openings in winter: tie a couple of medium-sized plastic trash bags on your feet to make temporary boots.

The CIA board has sent around an email about the Edgartown planning board public hearing to consider an amendment to the zoning bylaws on Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall. The email says: “The proposed change is in response to the apparent use of a single-family dwelling on Sampson’s hill as a resort-style transient rental facility.” Presently, transient rental facilities are not allowed on Chappaquiddick (and other parts of Edgartown), but the definition of the term is unclear. Your concerns can be expressed at the hearing or you can email If the amendment is approved, it will come to town meeting in April.

The proposed changes are:

“1. To see if the Town will vote to amend Article 2. of the Edgartown Zoning Bylaws to add a new defined term as follows: “Transient Resident: Any person occupying a Dwelling Unit or Dwelling (expressly including, without limitation, any single family residence, however that term may be interpreted or defined) shall be considered a ‘Transient Resident’ for purposes of these bylaws if that person is a. paying rent or b. is occupying said premises by reason of a rent being paid by another Transient Resident; and c. that person has no lease, or has a lease for a period of 90 days or less.

“2. To see if the Town will vote to amend Article 2. of the Edgartown Zoning Bylaw to add language to the existing definition for “Transient Residential Facilities” as follows: Transient Residential Facilities: “Hotels, motels, inns or lodging houses with a capacity of more than four guest beds and time- sharing or time-interval ownership dwelling units, and any other Dwelling or Dwellings (including all ancillary buildings such as a Detached Bedroom or Guest House) on a single lot or on two or more adjacent lots under common ownership or under the common control regardless of ownership, which dwelling or dwellings (other than dwellings that are already classified as hotels, motels, inns, time-sharing or interval ownership dwelling units, hereunder) are occupied by a total of more than six (6) Transient Residents at any given time.”

The community center was packed last week for the Ferry Captain Appreciation potluck. Mostly all of the captains were there, including Tara who came from out of town ­— West Tisbury. Liz had made a DVD with great shots of the captains at work, taking us back and forth. You can contact her to get a copy. We sang happy birthday to Gerry Jeffers and ate and visited for a couple of hours. It was nice to get a chance for a (sort of) formal thank you to the captains and crew for their important work, without which we would be up a creek without a paddle. If you have nothing to do, there are some interesting results on the web for that expression.