A couple of weeks back, I mentioned half-jokingly the horror of depending on just one ferry boat to service Chappaquiddick Island. We’re on pins and needles the whole time that one of the boats is out of service. Once a ferry is hauled out of the water in Vineyard Haven, the maintenance crew works long days getting things done as quickly as possible, but knowing that they may have to drop everything and rush back to Edgartown if anything goes awry with the lone ferry left behind to shoulder the whole burden.

Wooden boats require constant care and we only get the chance every two years to make big improvements to the ferries. You can’t really be sure of what’s going on under a boat until it’s high and dry. So knowing what’s in store for us in the weeks ahead, Sally and I figured that we had better take a break and get away for a few days. We picked out a hotel near Mount Washington and booked three nights. After all, if you’re going to all the trouble of getting yourself off-island you might as well make it worth the while. Our departure was delayed a day as we worked through a marital spat. At last we drove up late in the afternoon, arriving after dark just in time for room service dinner. We awoke to a view of the purple mass of the Presidential Range of Mountains filling the horizon with a grove of birches in the foreground dressed in dazzling yellow for Halloween. I was lucky to get a glimpse of the mountains before they became enveloped in clouds.

As gorgeous as it is in New Hampshire, I wouldn’t sell the trees of Chappy short. The woods appear to be illuminated from within even on a cloudy day or at dusk. As the leaves turn to reds, yellows and oranges I find that I can more easily identify trees and vines. They are no longer just a blur of green. I appreciate that they are taking turns at changing to their autumn colors, providing a slightly different display each day.

I have become aware of the abundant and healthy poison ivy crop now that the leaves are such a vibrant scarlet. During the summertime I have to look closely for it, only focusing on a small area at once and not really keeping a mental image of how widespread the vines are. But now that they are so obvious, even from my truck as I careen down the dirt road I get a better feel for its overall distribution. It’s everywhere! I like the way the tips of the outreaching vines turn up at the ends like fingers beckoning us to come just a little bit closer. I’m one of those lucky people who doesn’t react to the slightest contact with poison ivy. My granddaughters and I have been collecting leaves and running them through the office lamenting machine. It’s the high tech version of putting leaves between two pieces of wax paper and running a warm iron over it like we did years ago in grade school. Our windows now are paned with translucent fall color leaves, including lovely poison ivy leaves safely encased in plastic.

Slip Away Farm will again be selling locally grown fresh turkey for your Thanksgiving feast. There is a sign-up sheet at the farm stand or you can leave a message at 508-627-7465 or send an email to slipawayfarm@gmail.com by Nov. 15, with pick-up at the farm stand on Wednesday, Nov. 26, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Last year folks said that it was the best turkey that they had ever eaten. These critters are organically fed and raised free range by Cleveland Farm in West Tisbury and Good Farm in Vineyard Haven. The farm stand will be open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thanksgiving weekend as well as Wednesday the 26th. They still have lots of great produce, meat, yogurt and coffee on hand. I can confirm the reports that the carrots are out of this world. They won a blue ribbon at the fair and they are in plentiful supply. You never tasted such sweet and tender carrots. Don’t miss out! The CSA was a great success this season, even the tomatoes managed to stage a comeback. Remember to get your turkey order in by Nov. 15. Those turkey farmers are going to need some time to get those turkeys back in off the range.

Sorry to say that as of Wednesday noon, which is my deadline for the column, we still don’t have a firm date for hauling the On Time II out of the water. Ferry maintenance chief Erik Gilley has been visiting the Taunton welding shop where the marine railway carriage has been residing over the summer at least twice a week to urge them along. In preparation for the eventuality that the ferry line will overflow onto North Water street, the highway department will be putting up the seasonal modified ferry line signs again. The signs are posted between the foot of Simpson’s Lane and the head of Daggett street and read as follows: Right Lane Ferry Line — Left Lane Thru Traffic. This worked pretty well the past two off-seasons. The downside is that the parking spaces in front of the library will not be available, but there is still plenty of parking in the lot behind the Warren House.

The construction of the new library next to the Edgartown School is well underway and someday soon the librarians and the books will be departing from the old Carnegie Library building at the top of Daggett street. During the past century Chappaquiddickers have had more convenient access to the library than most. Sad to say that will be changing. The head librarian Jill has asked for ideas for serving Chappy such as a book return at the point. I told her that I will help out in any way that I can. Let her or me know your ideas for encouraging Chappy folks to continue using the library after the move.

The nor’easter that arrived last midweek stayed around until Monday morning. By nightfall the wind had finally died down. I went out to the Dike Bridge to watch Orion rise out of the Muskeget Channel mist and was treated to the sight of the constellations reflected upside down in the mirror-like surface of Poucha Pond. On the still water I saw the Seven Sisters pursuing Taurus instead of the other way around. With sunset so early and sunrise so late now, there is more opportunity to see all the nighttime spectacles.

Send your Chappy news to: peter@chappyferry.net.