It was a particularly still evening at Wasque last night. A very low tide revealed a sandbar at the end of Washque Avenue, reshaping the familiar landscape into something new as shellfisherman dug for clams in the fading light.

I cannot recall a fall on Chappy as spectacular as this one. I do not think of the Island as a place that usually offers a good autumn showing of colors; it seems to me the trees tend to turn from green to brown rapidly, dropping leaves almost overnight. But not this year. We must have had the perfect weather combination to produce such a long, slow turning of leaves, resulting in a spectrum of colors from reds to golds to bronzes and browns over the past several weeks.

Two trees in my yard are particularly lovely this fall: a stewartia and a copper beech. The stewartia was at first a flame yellow and then settled into a warm apricot before dropping its leaves in the past day or two. It stood out spectacularly in the yard, demanding our attention each time we arrived home.

My husband introduced our daughter to this tree when she was a few months old, just as the tree was beginning to leaf out in the springtime. He showed her a single leaf on one of the branches. Juna examined the leaf closely and attentively and then, in slow motion, craned her head back to take in the entire tree. Ian felt he watched her put the pieces together. From one grows many, from a single builds a whole.

The copper beech, planted over thirty years ago by the prior owner of our house, Mary Macgregor, has leaves that are currently a deep waxy purple. This tree holds a real power in our yard. It will keep its leaves late into the fall and it will be the first to bud out in the springtime. It is tall and straight, so unlike the scrub-oaks that make up the forest around it.

Remember to be careful and wear blaze orange as you walk the trails these days as many of the Land Bank properties on Chappy are open to hunting. Archery season started two weeks early this year on Oct. 1 as the state attempts to decrease the deer population. Bow season will continue until Nov. 24. It will be followed by shotgun season from Nov. 26 through Dec. 8 and primitive firearms season from Dec. 10 through Dec. 31.

Island Grown Initiative is offering a unique venison-donation program for any hunter who may be interested. Donated deer are processed at the Larder in Vineyard Haven and then distributed to the Food Pantry, Serving Hands and Island churches for community suppers throughout the winter. IGI is also offering a community deer cooler for hunters who want to take more deer but may not have the cooler space available. If you have venison you would like to donate or if you would like to use the community cooler, contact Mark McFarlane at 774-563-0702. You can also find more information about these programs on the IGI website.

I, for one, would be happy to see a decrease in the deer population on Chappy. We struggled with terrible crop loss on the farm all season due to deer grazing. One hundred footbeds of vegetables would disappear in a single night, our electric fence powerless at keeping these bold creatures out. I think they are beautiful, majestic animals but without any predators on the Island, the population is becoming out of control and contributing to the growing number of tick-borne diseases. I hope that many Island families are able to stock their freezers with venison this fall.

Mark your calendars for the Community Center’s annual open house on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. Chappy artists and crafters will be there with items to purchase, it is always a good event to find a holiday gift or two.

That is all the news from Chappy this week. I’ll write again the week after next but, in the meantime, please send any news to