The greener Chappaquiddick gets, the yellower my car becomes. When it’s parked at my house, it sits below several big oaks that shed copious amounts of pollen. At this time of year, all flat surfaces on my porch or inside near open windows become covered with this fine yellow powder.
There are lots of other colors on Chappy these days, too: pink and white rosa rugosa, daisies, the pinky-lavender wild geraniums, and the yellow hawkweed (with their dandelion-like flowers) that are blooming all along the roadsides. In my yard, the iris and day lilies are in full bloom. The island has the fresh and lush look of early summer.
I keep hearing about Chappaquiddickers who are planting their gardens with the intent to grow extra to sell at the farmers’ markets on the porch of the community center. The markets will start on July 9 at 4 p.m., and be held every Wednesday through the summer.
My vegetable garden, which seems to hold so much promise in February when I’m ordering the seeds, has already disappointed me. The peas I’d planted in my greenhouse so they would have a good start, and which were six inches high, were eaten down as soon as I put them in the ground. This year’s critter of plenty is the vole, which I suspect as the culprit in the disappearance of my pea plants. Voles are like a hybrid mouse and mole. They look like a mouse with a short tail, and they live underground like moles but make aboveground runways all through the area where their burrows are.
Every year there seems to be some animal or insect that has a population explosion and takes over my garden or yard, or house. Then something happens to them — I assume, as a result of becoming too many — and they seem to disappear. But they don’t disappear – they’re just quietly rebuilding their population while some other critter comes to the forefront. The last vole proliferation in my yard was probably 15 years ago, and I‘d hardly seen any sign of them since, until this year.
Inside my house there has been a shift in the ant population. We used to always have the very small ants inside only in the summer, but two winters ago they were in the house all winter — lots of them, everywhere. Then last summer there were almost none inside. But this spring a new kind of ant has come inside, a bigger one, a kind I’d never seen inside before.
At first I thought I’d discourage them by transporting them outside, or, in certain moods, stepping on them, but it’s hard to stop ants — as a group — when they want to go somewhere. In the beginning I’d find lots of them together on the kitchen counter, and I’d have a big massacre, and then feel guilty afterward. These ants seem to have a consciousness that the tiny ones don’t. They stop moving when they realize I’ve seen them, and then they just seem to disappear when I reach for them. It’s very odd. Lately I haven’t found groups of them; they’ve spread more evenly throughout the house. I’ve come to accept that they’ve moved in, and I feel relieved to have given up trying to kill them.
Two weekends ago, Carlos Tilghman Osborne and Dana Guyer were married on the knoll in front of the Chappy house of Hal and Olive Tilghman, Carlos’s grandparents. Carlos is the son of Ruth Tilghman and Mel Osborne, and Dana is the daughter of Ruth and Mark Guyer of Bethesda, Md. They live in Nashville where Dana is in her first year of residency at Vanderbilt, and Carlos is in Vanderbilt’s doctoral psychology program.
Carlos’s brother Emile from Baltimore, Md., was the best man, and his sister Olivia from Prague was in the wedding party as well. All of Ruth’s siblings (Tom from Florida, Peter from London, and Frank and Lois from Vermont) were present, as well as Carlos’s cousins Jamie Tilghman, Melissa Tilghman, Katherine Tilghman, Laura Tilghman, Lucy Burriss, and Sam Burriss. There was a clambake at Ruth’s family house at Wasque, and a sail on Mad Max. In the Chappy tradition, many families opened their homes up to the wedding guests which made the experience fun for the off-islanders. The May sunshine made the days even more memorable.
Today from 5 to 7 p.m. is the opening reception at the Bank of Martha’s Vineyard in Chilmark for Edwina Rissland’s photos from the Island and abroad. They will on display until June 13.
In the summer, the community center holds a photo contest for pictures to use in their annual calendar, which is sold to raise money for the center. The guidelines for the contest are on the Web site: chapppycommunitycenter.org. The photos hang at the center from July 28 to August 9, and anyone can vote for their favorites.
There are other weeks during the center’s summer programs (which run June 30 to August 22) that are available for Chappy artists to hang their artwork. If anyone is interested in showing their work, call Margaret Knight at 508-627-8894 for details.
When I was crossing on the ferry the other day, Capt. Bob Gilkes told me he’d been noticing osprey sitting on the tops of the masts in the harbor at around six in the evening. He thought they might be passing through or that the Island osprey population has grown so that they’ve moved into new territory. I had been noticing one or two osprey soaring above Brine’s Pond in the last few weeks — a place I’d never seen them before. It makes me wonder if we’ll be complaining about too many osprey at some point in the future.