Most mornings I am up early, often just as the sun begins to rise. These early starts allow me to find the balance of being a mother and a farmer and business owner. I often only have childcare help until lunchtime, so I try to squeeze as much as possible into the first half of the day. The early hours allow me a few focused moments to respond to emails, pay a few bills. Or, while all is quiet and fresh, I slip out the door with a slice of peanut butter toast and a mason jar of hot tea, sun hat on and ready for the first field tasks.

Recently, as the days wander into fall light and the sun creeps up a bit later with each passing morning, I find it harder to pry myself from the warmth of my bed. It does not help that the nighttime temperatures here on Chappy have begun their steady descent, so the extra quilt spread across our feet has a particularly strong pull. It is all too easy to nestle in for a few more minutes of dreaming.

But the sunrise starts are always worth it. This morning, my first task included harvesting our greenhouse tomatoes at the farm. The plants are starting to show signs of their inevitable decline: some diseased leaves, a few more imperfect fruits. The plants are taller than me, their foliage reaching into the pathways. I make my way down the row in the golden light, ducking through growth, peeking behind plants to find the hidden ripe fruits. Yellow pollen dusts my hands, sticks to the hairs on my arms and leaves behind the scent of a summer harvest. Early mornings in the greenhouse in late August are nothing short of lovely.

This weekend, I have been on “sheep duty” for the small flock of Icelandic sheep who call Slip Away Farm home. They are not my sheep, but belong to my co-farmers and the residents of the Slip Away farmhouse. It happened that everyone was off-Island this weekend, so I stepped in for the feedings and waterings in their absence. Right now the flock is divided; the lambs are being weaned so they are kept separate from their mothers. Thanks to the prolonged drought, everyone is receiving supplemental feed, a bit of grain and hay. When it is time for breakfast, they all start braying loudly, a yell that begs to be mimicked. All summer, I have heard the call of a lamb returned by that of a farmer. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish which is which.

On Sunday, as I was filling the water troughs, the first of the Chappy Point to Point road racers passed by. I could hear words of encouragement passing from one participant to the other. Later, I drove down to the ferry and passed Joe Currier and Claudia Tolay in their driveway with a boombox, dancing and cheering on each runner with enthusiasm. After so many months of isolation and canceled gatherings, it was encouraging to see an event like this one: safely executed, full of positive energy and well attended.

The race was the first one in Massachusetts to be certified by USA Track and Field since the pandemic began. With a two-hour rolling start window, 156 people (all adhering to COVID mandated protocols) ran or walked the fivemile modified course. Winning times were:

Men and boys 15 and under: Jack Lionette (Chilmark) 29:37

Women: Avery Schuster (Providence, but with family on Chappy) 33:18

Girls 15 and under: Adrienne Christy (Chilmark) 36:36

Names of the winners will be added to the plaques on display at the Chappy Community Center. Approximately $25,000 in net proceeds from the event will be split between the Chappy Open Space Committee and the Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Initiative, which has launched a compost collection program on Chappy.

Plans are underway for the Third Annual Chappy Point to Point on June 27, 2021.