Even though the weather has been warm for this time of year, it’s hard to believe that winter hasn’t even officially begun until now. The winter solstice is the first day of winter, but it’s also the end of the time when the days get shorter. After today, the days will grow longer and the sun rises higher, which is always a good thing to remember when it really does feel like winter. I look forward to sitting in my greenhouse in February, when the sun feels hot in the middle of the day.

Work continues at Slip Away Farm with the construction of their greenhouse. The foundations are poured and the 18 by 72-foot aluminum frame is up. It will be covered with a double poly-plastic layer that will be inflated to provide insulation and wind protection. Early next year the farmers will be starting flower seedlings in the greenhouse, which they’ll plant outside when the weather is warm enough. Eventually, they plan to use the greenhouse to grow crops, but they have to build up the soil first.

Work has started on the schoolhouse that was moved to the farm from the shores of Cape Pogue Pond, where it was the Heywoods’ summer home. The foundation for a porch has been built, and the Preservation Trust will fix up whatever is needed inside, and build a brick fireplace. The farmers will put up shelving and tables to turn the schoolhouse into a farmstand for use next summer. Their batch of baby chicks are growing fast, and the Slip Aways will be building them an outdoor pen soon. Before long, they’ll have eggs for sale.

Hours on the Chappy ferry will be limited on Christmas day. The ferry will run on the hour during the day, and then the regular schedule will start at 6 p.m.

Some people think having a birthday during the holiday season can be hard, but since we’re already celebrating, maybe it’s good timing. This past Wednesday, Abby Gilley turned seven. Happy birthday, Abby! Happy birthday to Dorothy Knight, too, who is celebrating her birthday with friends and family in Leominster. I kidded her that she has finally reached the speed limit, but I’m a little out of date since the speed limit is rarely 55 anymore.

The Chappaquiddick Community Center holds its annual Christmas Eve Dinner on Monday, Dec. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. This tradition began years ago before the CCC was even built. Joe and Mary Cressy invited all of Chappy to their house for a dinner they cooked themselves, with the help of Marion Harding. The tradition has continued with various Chappy cooks making the dinner; anyone else is invited to bring an appetizer or dessert if they want. The main thing is that everyone is invited, including visiting friends and relatives. The fire will be blazing, the room decorated and there will be lots of delicious food. I’m hoping Gabby will play her saxophone, and some people will want to sing carols.

Planning for the community center began about 85 years ago, with Joe Cressy heading up the committee that included Woody Filley, Dick Knight, Daryl Knight, Allen Slater, Sidney Morris and Julia Wells. People volunteered time, materials, expertise and funds to create the amazing building we now have for gatherings. In order to ensure its future, the CCC is looking for end of the year contributions to the Cressy Building Fund, or for general operating expenses, or as a gift for a wish list item. They also suggest gifts of stock, or asking your employer about a matching donation program. You can contact Marvene O’Rourke, president of the board, at 508-627-7902 or email

When I was talking to Peter recently, he told me that his favorite thing about Thanksgiving is that the radio starts playing nonstop Christmas music. He does recognize this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Peter said it wasn’t until a few years ago that he figured out the meaning behind the the song I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. He always took it more or less literally, and figured this was just a once a year fling while Daddy was out of the house. It wasn’t until the version I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus came out that he figured out who Santa really was.

Peter also likes to point out that no one ever put out a Christmas album early in their music career. It’s not until a singer is older and well-established that the general public is interested in hearing him or her sing Christmas songs. For example, he says, “Nobody would know who James Taylor was if his first album was Christmas songs.”

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.