Spring, unaware that the world has stopped, continues to march persistently onward. The pinkletinks have once again started to sing in the ponds and wetlands of the island, particularly audible between the community center and the Chappy Store. The invasive honeysuckle, a first to leaf out, is greening up in many patches of our woods, and cheerful daffodils are popping up at mailboxes and door steps.

Last week, I spotted the first nesting pair of osprey, returned from their journey south to their pole at Tom’s Neck Farm. One perched on the edge of the nest as its mate swooped in with a fish clutched in its talons. Myth says that osprey’s talons lock around their prey, sometimes causing the bird to drown when it attempts to catch a fish too large. I have read that this is not true, proven by the fact that they will often release their catch while hovering above their nest. A more plausible explanation for a bird drowning while hunting is that a talon becomes too deeply buried in the flesh of the fish, making it difficult or impossible to remove, perhaps pulling the bird down into the water.

Hatsy Potter would like to thank Collins Heavener and Peter Kirn for rescuing her cat a few weeks ago, and I would like to thank Hatsy (and her cat) for providing me with fodder for a story when my daughter was unable to sleep late one night. Juna has asked for the retelling of the tale countless times since then, always while clutching her favorite black and white stuffed animal, Kitty.

In our telling, Kitty is the star of the tale. She went missing for several days before Hatsy spotted her in a tree, unable to make her way down. The police and fire departments could not help, so Hatsy tried Slip Away, where she found Peter and Collins and a very tall ladder. The first attempt to grab Kitty sent her bolting further up the tree, just beyond reach. In the second attempt, Hatsy and Peter held a sheet stretched out between them while Collins shook the branch, eventually dislodging the frightened cat. Hatsy says Kitty landed safely and softly in the sheet before bolting into the woods. She returned home later that day, hungry and looking for comfort.

The heavy seeding at Slip Away has started for the season. Peas, greens, cabbage, radishes, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes are all planted as well as the first flowers: snap dragons, forget-me-nots, foxglove, zinnias, to name a few. In the hopes of having produce available for the community earlier this year, we have bumped up many of our seedings by a week or two, keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate (not too cold and just enough rain) and that we will find customers for the early food. Chappy is busier than I have ever seen it this time of year, and I am hopeful that come May all will be hungry for our produce. Since farm stands are deemed essential businesses, we should be able to open even if most of the Island remains shut down.

We have temporarily closed our compost pickup at Slip Away but in the meantime, Island Grown Initiative is collecting food waste for their chickens at the Chappy Ferry. We will plan on reopening our own barrels once the stand is open again.

The Chappy Community Center is offering grocery pickup for anyone who feels they should remain at home during the epidemic. There is information posted at the CCC on how to sign up.

Stay healthy out there, all.