All ages gathered at the community center on Sunday night to celebrate Sidney Morris’s seventieth birthday. Sidney and his wife Margaret moved to Chappaquiddick in the seventies, raised their two kids, Lily and Elliot, and became involved in myriad Island organizations.

I have known Sidney for the last eight years, but as I examined the diverse crowd from all corners of the Island, I realized I might not know even half of what Sidney has done in his time here. For some of those present, I could easily connect the dots to determine how they knew Sidney, while for others the connection was more obscure. I imagine that many of these friendships have bloomed naturally from roots set so deeply in this place.

I first met Sidney when he was the education director at the Farm Institute. I was leasing an acre of land from them and had idealistic, new-farmer dreams of working the land with draft animals. Sidney was training a team of young oxen, Zeus and Apollo, and encouraged me to use them at every opportunity. We would hook them to a long flat trailer to move our seedling trays from the greenhouse out to the field, usually accompanied by a gaggle of campers.

I recall one time Sidney and I hitched them to a tined drag and walked up and down newly plowed furrows in the hopes of smoothing out the soil. It was only marginally effective and the oxen only half listened to our commands, but I always admired Sidney’s ceaseless enthusiasm when it came to the team.

Since then, Sidney worked a several year stint as the book delivery driver for all the Island libraries, followed by his current position as coordinator for the community center. His walking commute to work takes him on the trail past the farm, so I am often lucky to get a few minutes to chat before he heads on his way.

At the party Sidney was the obvious star of the evening, but his popularity was nearly overshadowed by the presence of a mama goat and her three six-week-old kids. The goat family was visiting from Slough Farm in Edgartown and made the journey over to Chappy to wish Sidney, a goat-enthusiast, a very happy birthday.

The babies bounded tirelessly around the pen, leaping over each other and their mother who spent the evening grazing calmly. The human attendees were all smitten, several of whom (this one included) spent the majority of their time at the party in the company of the goats.

All in all, a great party for a great man. Happy birthday, Sidney! May seventy be the best year yet, filled with many more opportunities to play with baby goats.

Summer has arrived on Chappy. The rosa rugosa and beach plums have burst forth in all their glorious splendor.

Rosa rugosa, known in the medicinal herb world as a heart healer, is one of my absolute favorite plants. When you have a moment, stop and gather a handful of the pink or white petals down by Chappy Point, taking care not to walk over the dunes. Put them in a bowl by your bedside, and you will be bathed in their heavenly scent as you drift off at night. The petals are also excellent to dry and use in teas. The orange-red rose hips that will develop after the blooms are rich in Vitamin C and can also be harvested and used either fresh (they are often made into jellys) or dried and put into teas as a good wintertime immune-booster.

The Slip Away farm stand is open every Friday and Saturday from 10 to 5. We already have lots of radishes, baby greens and arugula, spring garlic, bok choy, kale, herbs, and plants for sale. More will be coming in quickly as the season continues to warm up. The Farmer’s Market in West Tisbury begins this weekend and our CSA members can start picking up their shares at our farm stand next week.

The Chappy Store is currently open every Saturday and Sunday with a range of supplies and food available, including daily sandwiches from the Chappy Kitchen.

Happy summer to all.

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