The peacocks are back at Pimpneymouse Farm after a long winter of wandering the wilds of Chappaquiddick. The pair of birds, known as the Peabodys, arrived at the farm last June via a friend of the Potters from upstate New York. All went well until the fall when the Potters let the birds out of the pen so their friend could get a glimpse of the peacocks in all their glory strolling the barnyard. At that point, Edo says, “they were off and running.” For most birds it doesn’t take long to know where home is, where the food is. But evidently, according to Gus Ben David whom Edo consulted, peacocks need to be cooped up for a full year before they’re sure to stick around.
The Potters heard reports of the peacocks along their route as they made their way to nearby Hatsy’s house, Ruth Welch’s, and then on to Tom’s Neck Farm. From there they headed along the shore of Cape Pogue out to North Neck. Probably when they reached Oliver Point and found themselves surrounded by water on three sides, they headed back in the other direction. They ended up in the Enos Lots across from the fire station, where they found the many bird feeders of the Ozycz’s house. A few weeks ago they moved on to the Chronisters’ where chickens are kept. Kevin Keady, who used to work at a pheasant farm, had tried to trap the peacocks earlier without success. Finally, during the recent blizzard, the pair of peacocks, known as Bonnie and Clyde at this point, found shelter in the trap which Kevin had covered with a blanket. Caught! Edo says, “They seem happy to get back home where they’re safe.”
The Russian Winter film series at the Edgartown Library continues with Andrei Rublev at 1:30 on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Russian Ark at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The films are free and for adults.
Before the film on Sunday, you can get something to eat at the Federated Church where they’re serving lasagna every Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. until March 24 in the the parish house on South Summer street. The meals are free and open to anyone. Community meals are served on the other six days in the various towns, so the Federated decided to offer a hot meal on the seventh. For questions, please email Pam Butterick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the second weekend in a row, Chappaquiddick was battered by winds and snow. Last Sunday’s accumulation wasn’t more than a few inches, but the strong winds either blew the ground bare or created deep drifts anywhere the snow could catch hold. The tides were extremely low on Sunday and Monday, probably partly the result of all the water being blown out to sea by the storm. On Monday, I don’t think I’d ever seen more of the shore exposed at low tide. It reminded me of the children’s book, The Five Chinese Brothers, one of whom has the special talent of being able to swallow the sea. I always remember the way the sea floor looked in the book, with all its underwater creatures exposed — similar to how it looked on Monday.
I took a walk down to Cape Pogue on that day. Over the years, with sea level rise, the water has crept higher and higher up the shores of the pond. Usually, the little rock jetties we built as kids to try to keep some sand on that stretch of beach are covered with water, even at low tide, but on Monday they were fully exposed. For some reason only kids would understand, we also built a rock pile out about fifty feet from the shore, which forever after had to be navigated around by sailboat, a trick at high tide when the pile was covered by water. On Monday, with all the water off somewhere else, the rock pile was half out of the water.
Down at the point, the ferry was running in very little water, and barely visible as it came and went between the slips on both sides. The top of the wheelhouse was less than a foot above the bulkheads, and there was a veritable beach next to the slip between the town wharf and the pier of what used to be the Daggett House. Peter said the Edgartown slip keeps deep by itself and lately the Chappy side has, too. For the first few years after Norton Point breached, he used to have to scoop out the sand in the Chappy slip twice a year. Now that the opening has grown so small, with less movement of sand, and the slip stays open by itself.
The look of Wasque was extremely changed at low tide on Monday, with the end of Norton Point defined by a small river separating it from a large sand bar to the east. As Woody Filley said, “the sand bar will probably be underwater during normal tides for some time into the future. But the sand is there and who knows how long before enough other sand piles on top and it pops out of the water permanently.” Farther east, there’s another large sand island, and further toward Wasque Point, a smaller island where the cliffs begin.
The blizzard two weeks ago brought down many trees and branches, some of which fell across roads. Chappy’s firefighters went out clearing the trees right after the storm, and then this past Monday, the highway department was over here chipping them. Rumor has it they’ll be back to fix the road between the Dike Road and the firehouse where the edges of the asphalt broke up during the thaw after the blizzard. But they’re going to wait until after the big trucks that will be used to move the Schifter’s house are gone. Peter, being double captain of the ferry and Chappy’s firetruck, often picks up the trash in the parking lot at the point. After the blizzard he found a flipflop on the asphalt, an anomaly in the snow and icy landscape. He left it there, where it migrates around the parking lot, and as he says, “reminds me of summer.”
This past Monday was a special day for another reason, too. On the whiteboard sign at the bottom of the ramp on the Chappy side, Peter had written “Today is Capt. Bob’s birthday.” Peter put the sign up at the change in shift at noon when Bob came on duty. After people in car after car wished him a happy birthday, Bob began to think Chappaquiddickers had an amazingly well-organized grapevine.