It’s unusual to find six Chappaquiddickers spending the day together in downtown Worcester. That’s a significant percentage of the population. Last Saturday the four Slip Away farmers and Sidney and I were at the Northeast Organic Farming Association winter conference at Worcester State University, along with eight or nine other Vineyarders. NOFA offered workshops in subjects ranging from seed saving to herd management, and lots in between. I went to a mushroom talk, a subject I found a renewed interest in last summer after coming across an abundance of black trumpet mushrooms in Chappy woods. I’m determined to learn a couple more edible varieties, besides my old standby of puffballs. The man giving the talk suggested collecting and identifying a type of mushroom for a year or more before eating one.
Slip Away Farm is still offering full and half CSA shares of their produce for the 2013 growing season, with payment due by Feb. 28. You can email them at email@example.com or call them at 508-627-7465. The share will be available for pickup on Wednesdays at their Chappy farm stand.
Although January is a quiet time on the island, there’s lots to do besides watch Wasque wash away, if you take the Chappy ferry to the other side. The Farm Institute is holding a volunteer day, run by Sidney, on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 21 starting at 9 a.m. to do farm chores and projects. This year the special task is Operation Liberate the Back 40. This is where all the good, recyclable, reusable pieces and parts go to await their next best use on a farm. The back 40 is in need of sorting, and you might walk away with just what you need for your next project. You can volunteer for various times and tasks with the online signup by going to the website farminstitute.org, or by calling 508-627-7007.
There’s also an Inaugural Ball on Monday, Jan. 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center, $10 per person, where you can party to Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, and munch on hors d’oeuvres and dessert.
Susan Klein, internationally-known master storyteller, will be giving three shows in the first three months of the year, in a series of storytelling concerts at Grace Episcopal Church on Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and March 15 at 7 p.m. Suggested donation is $10. Susan will liven your winter with her humorous and moving tales, and is well worth the trip to Vineyard Haven.
For all you wanabee bird watchers, Rob Culbert will be teaching Birding 101 starting on Wednesday, Jan. 23 through ACE MV. You can call Rob at 508-693-4908 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the course. This and other winter courses can be found on at acemv.org.
For those who don’t want to leave Chappy but would like to talk to someone besides yourself, the next potluck at the Chappy Community Center will be on Wednesday, Feb. 6 starting at 6 p.m. All are welcome. If you can volunteer to host a potluck, call Lynn at the CCC number: 508-627-8222.
At the Chappy cell committee on Jan. 11 at the town hall, the committee voted to ask the selectmen to assist in the negotiations to find carriers to sign on to the DAS proposed to improve cell service on Chappy. Georgiana Greenough has been instrumental in furthering the committee’s goal, but so far, none of the cell companies have shown an interest. The committee is on the agenda for the selectmen’s meeting on Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. and hopes to enlist the selectmen’s help in asking state elected officials to intervene on our behalf.
Woody Filley was out with a GPS on Norton Point recently. He ran into a seal “who seemed totally perplexed that some human was actually out on his island.” Norton Point has turned and started moving east, and has grown 250 feet since the beginning of December. This means that the opening is headed toward Wasque Point, where it will eventually close, according to the pattern recorded in photos and maps of other times when Chappy was an island. There is less erosion at the Katama Bay end of the Trustees property, but still significant erosion on the east side, at Wasque Point. Woody says, “I never thought that the fisherman’s parking lot would ever get anywhere near the edge, but when you get out of your car there, the trees are thin and the edge is getting nearer!” Besides tracking the sunrise through photos, Captain Bob has also been measuring the erosion, presently at Wasque Point where the bluff continues to erode next to the Schifter’s sand bank wall. No one can say there is not a lot going on here!