Sidney Morris’s oxen Apollo and Zeus spent a week and a half on Chappy before heading off-Island to Vermont for the summer. They had been training at the Farm Institute since Sidney brought them to the Vineyard as youngsters three years ago. Technically they are Jersey steers until their fourth birthdays in September. While here on Chappy they plowed up the family garden plot and also did a little sightseeing after escaping from the Knight family paddock near the shore of Cape Pogue Pond. Keeping their plans secret from Sidney and evidenced by their hoof prints, they took a walkabout all of the way to East Beach. Finding nothing to eat out that way, they retreated to Tom’s Neck Farm where they kept busy shortening the spring grasses until being discovered and then herded back home. We look forward to their return to Chappy in the near future. Perhaps they could perform a little bit of contract plowing at Slipaway Farm.

The hunt for summer housing for the new Slipaway Farm apprentice continues. If you can offer or know of a place for Kendyll Gage-Ripa to stay on Chappy, please call Lily Walter at the farm at 508-627-7465. More farmers means more food! I watched Christian Walter pulling the medieval-looking spiked roller over the smooth freshly tilled soil. As the roller passes over the ground the spikes make evenly spaced depressions to receive seeds or seedlings. This week carrots, beets, parsnips and arugula seeds went into the holes.

By now you have probably received your mailing from the Chappy Community Center containing information about the summer programs along with the application forms for signing up for tennis, sailing and summer naturalist programs. The sooner you respond the better. As usual the adult tennis lesson spots are going quickly. All of the forms and information are printable from the CCC website,

You are invited to a Chappy Ferry public forum on Saturday May 10 from 10 a.m. to noon at the CCC. The format will be informal with questions, suggestions and hopefully satisfactory answers. You can give me your queries and suggestions ahead of time by leaving a written note in the suggestion boxes at the ferry landings, by email at or you can just spring them on me at the forum. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

The first day of May is associated with numerous and varied traditions. I especially like the appeasing of Flora the goddess of flowers and springtime by decorating our doorways with garlands and anonymously leaving baskets of sweets and flowers on neighbor’s doorsteps. Any celebration that involves giving flowers is a very fine tradition in my book. I have a vivid memory of my brother Robbin tiptoeing up to the house across the street, gently setting a May basket overflowing with pansies on the stoop, reaching slowly up to press the doorbell button, then sprinting back to the shelter of our garage to await the outcome. In hindsight, I realize that probably the reason that he was willing to participate in this tradition was the prospect of ringing someone’s doorbell and fleeing.