West Tisbury: Island Made Holidays, Orchids and Amaryllis, and Nelson the Cat


Typical New England weather gave us another week not knowing if it would be hot or cold when we opened the door in the morning. There was a spectacular red moon on Tuesday, lots of wind, rain and sunshine. There are still leaves on the trees, enough to shimmer with the sunlight behind them, illuminating their colors, creating visible contrasts with the changing sky. While walking through our garden, I found the odd periwinkle blue myrtle flower and white flowers on a rhododendron that has bloomed in the spring and fall since planting.

We saw huge waves breaking on the barrier beach where the opening into the Grand Étang had recently been cut. I don’t think anglers need worry about adequate salinization levels, only that the opening might close quickly. It seemed to be the pattern, though, or is it my imagination that it’s cut and refilled within weeks?

Our midterm election day in 2022 went well. Voting was regular throughout the day at the Public Safety Building. Impressively, 1,764 citizens of West Tisbury cast their ballots – 63% of our 2,795 registered voters; 647 voted in advance, either in person or by mail; 1,117 voters showed up on polling day. We had newly registered first-time voters, young, middle-aged and senior voters, all exercising their right to vote in free and fair elections. Congratulations to City Clerk Tara Whiting-Wells for a job well done, as always.

Tara asked me to note in the column, “A huge thank you from me to everyone who helps make the West Tisbury election run smoothly. From the Department of Highways [members] who are doing the set up, the two chiefs (Pachico and Retmeier) for graciously allowing the polling stations to take over the meeting space of the public safety building, to all the volunteers and staff who came presented for early voting and election day tasks.

Speaking of public servants, I note the death of Jeff Norton. He had been the Edgartown town meeting moderator for as long as I can remember, someone whose presence around town was remarkable in that it was unremarkable; he was just always there. He was the kind of gentleman who would raise his hat if gentlemen still wore hats. I regret the loss of the old fashioned decorum I grew up with. Jeff was part of that generation and I admired him for it. My condolences to Jane and their family, and to the city he so devotedly served.

I was at the library on Saturday afternoon to attend the Quilt Exhibit Reception on display through November. If you marveled at the fairground entries hanging above your head, I urge everyone to stop by to see these quilts up close. They are amazing, colorful, beautifully designed and endlessly imaginative. There are two quilts hanging to the left inside the program room door, two of the 12 quilts that were a creative challenge for the quilters. Everyone had to create 12 squares of their own design to share with the group. Everyone would use the exact same 12 squares to make their quilt. Each quilt would be different. It was fun to see that changes in placement, background colors, and stitching could produce such unique results. I would have loved to see the other 10, but I sure had a good idea of ​​the variety they all must have had.

The quilts featured run the gamut from figurative blocks depicting African women to traditional pieced fabric designs. They are all amazing. Don’t miss the two hanging in the stairwell. They are part of the show and deserve your attention.

The work of island artisans will be available when Island Made Holidays opens in Heather Gardens this Friday, November 18. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Christmas Eve. A wide choice of possible decorations and gifts awaits you: holiday plants, wreaths, felted and calabash Santa Clauses, calendars, photographs, books, wooden bowls and cutting boards, pottery, sachets of lavender, knitted hats and scarves and crocheted, woven placemats, napkins, tea towels, scented candles, jewelry made from pearls or shells or sea glass, charms, honey, jams and jellies, sea salt and cookies. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything.

If you’re ready to start your Christmas shopping, Middletown Gardens has displays of orchids and amaryllis, ornaments, table linens, garden books, children’s toys, daffodil bulbs to get you started. They also have fresh flowers. I already told Mike he didn’t have to come to Vineyard Haven to buy me flowers; they are in town.

Vineyard Gardens will not remain open for Christmas. They will be closing just before Thanksgiving this year. But you can still find plenty of bulbs, perennials, trees, shrubs, tools and planting materials, most of which are on sale.

I have to say what a challenge it was to write this column. My cat, Nelson, who has been so sick with Lyme and anaplasmosis for the past two weeks, is clearly feeling better. He’s returned to his normal affectionate state, curled up in my lap so that I hold him with one arm while trying to tap a finger on a laptop beside me. I keep pressing something that erases parts of paragraphs. It hasn’t been easy, but I couldn’t be happier. Nelson even bit me this morning. Such a good cat.