Every year the Chappy Community Center hosts a potluck supper to honor the Chappy ferry captains and deckhands and to show our appreciation for their dedication to the task of operating our lifeline through all kinds of weather, day in and day out. There is always a huge turnout at this event. Please bring a dish to serve six. This year the supper takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Appetizers start at 6 p.m. with the buffet starting at 6:30 p.m.

By the time you read this, the Edgartown Highway Department will have completed the installation of the grid and gravel system upon the dirt portion of the ferry point parking lot. Then all that will remain are a few minor details. The grid is made of recycled plastic formed into a honeycomb pattern designed to hold the gravel in place. The finished gravel surface looks perfectly smooth and perfectly sloped. It will be a shame to cover it up with parked cars.

I always endeavor to be observant and appreciative of my surroundings here on Chappy. I try to remember to scan the horizon often, especially when I arrive at the wide open vista of the ferry point. With that in mind, I share with you the following observations and appreciations of Lily Walter who started Slip Away Farm on the old Marshal property a half decade ago, and expanded the farming operation to Wasque Farm this past summer. As ferries and farming both are at the mercy of the weather I have empathy for her responsibilities.

“I thought you all might like to hear a little news from Slip Away and Chappy, so here you go. With the exception of a few small tasks here and there, we finished putting the farm to bed last week, just in time for the cold weather to set in. I always welcome this time of year, when I can start looking ahead to the winter planning, and dreaming about the upcoming spring. As I drain hoses and tuck tools away on the farm, I think about things I will do differently next year, what I will improve on, build, change. It is so easy in the fall to look back on the summer and be idealistic about future seasons.

As a farmer, there is always something you want to do better. We are all eternal optimists. There are crops that succeeded and crops that failed. New systems implemented that either worked or didn’t. There are infinite ways of doing things in agriculture, and every farmer develops his or her own methods which are likely to change from year to year. But the consistency of the seasons provides a steady framework around every farm, a canvas for us to create and recreate our fields. So, the farm is all packed up and ready to hibernate for these few dark months. I know come March, I will be looking forward to waking up once more, ready for the coming season. 

I was so sad to hear that Ruth Welch of Pimpney Mouse Farm died this past week. Ruth was a great supporter of Slip Away. She was always first at our farm stand every Friday morning, loading up her basket with veggies and flowers for the week. Our second fall on Chappy, Ruth dug up and brought me about 80 gladiolus bulbs from her own garden, a feat I found impressive for a woman in her late 80’s. I plant these bulbs each spring, harvest them come mid-summer, and dig them up again to store in the fall. Her peach gladiolus have become a favorite of mine. I will think of her every year when I plant them and I will continue to enter them in the Agricultural Fair in her honor each summer. Aren’t we lucky to live in a place with neighbors like her? 

As many of you know, we farmed this entire season without a tractor. We made-do with borrowed equipment, but the farm suffered without its own tractor. We now need to purchase a new machine, but we cannot do it without your help. We have just launched a kickstarter campaign to help us purchase what we need. The link can be found at: kickstarter.com/projects/554351561/slip-away-farm-needs-a-tractor?ref=email

I hope you will consider donating. We must reach our fundraising goal of $20,000 to receive any of the funds, so please share this link with family and friends. Every little bit helps!”

Send Chappy news to peter@chappyferry.net.