Away


I love the sea, I love a rural landscape. I love quaint village charm.

Welcomes

Welcomes

Martha’s Vineyard is sprinkled lavishly with the irresistable allure of its seafaring past, interwoven with farmsteads, artists, and unpretentious beauty.

pickets and roses

pickets and roses

This island is not trying to be anything more than it is; leaving aside the germane need tourists may have for t-shirts, arcades, and the stipulation to be regaled, this, this island is honest.

DSC_7914

The roads (other than the main highways) are  dirt, rutted, and furrowed.

tidal

tidal

The fishermen have this north-east island life hardships etched into their face, divulging her secret struggles, with the weather, with time, and changing earth.

Vinyard Haven Harbor

Vinyard Haven Harbor

Verdant farms dot the mid-island landscape. Farmer stands, and markets offer a seasonal supply of freshness. Sustainability and a natural approach to life and farming are central.

Lake Tashmoo

Lake Tashmoo

Days are slow, they are meant to be. Savor the fresh salty air, the warm ocean breeze. Take a moment, simply feel the suns gentle rays.

I think they're done.

I think they’re done.

Stand on her cliffs and wonder.

Gay Head Cliffs

Gay Head Cliffs

Imagine winter’s lonely nights as light keeper.

Edgartown Light

Edgartown Light

Be stirred by the wonder of spring’s arrival.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Contemplate memories of childhood, of sandcastles, starfish, and shells.

Oak Bluffs

Oak Bluffs

It is a place bursting with sustenance for the soul.

J & J

J & J

But, home,well home is where I thrive, the hills, the green fields, pastoral scenes, the barns, and the people.

All it takes to appreciate what you have is to be without it for awhile.

Hope you are well,

Jess

Did you stay ~ while I was away…


Well, hello there! Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard.

We needed to escape…leave our worries and cares behind. We hopped on a ferry and in just a 45-minutes  from Woods Hole on Cape Cod, the Vineyard with its serene features, pristine sandy beaches, sand dunes and oodles and oodles of natural beauty waited.

Heading out to the other side(southerly) of the Island we left much of the commercial tourist traps behind (though not entirely). A few shops owned by the native people could supply needed trinkets and souvenirs.
Getting there was relatively stress free; an economical, convenient bus service from Oaks Bluffs ~ “Up Island” to the rural community of Aquinnah, formerly known as Gay Head,home to the Wampanoag**.

Once there we found the dramatic, color-streaked Aquinnah Cliffs. Walking along the narrow path of scrub bushes, down to the rocky shore is one of the most beautiful walks you will ever take. If you choose to, you can walk to the right toward the clay cliffs… you will encounter Jungle Beach, clothing optional. (oh, Dear)

Driving back through the winding country roads, many with stone fences and lush vegetation, reminded me of rural Ireland.


The cliffs are cherished by the Wampanoag tribe, who love to tell people about the importance of the cliffs to the tribe, and how they feature prominently in their spirituality and myths.

In 1997, the town changed its name to Aquinnah, which is Wampanoag for “land under the hill.”

MOSHUP TRAIL was completed in 1958 and follows the south shore across the dunes to an exit near the lighthouse. So important is Moshup that the main Aquinnah town road along the shore has been named after him. When Moshup envisioned Europeans coming to his fishing grounds, he is said to have left Aquinnah. He then changed his children into killer whales, turned his pets into stone, and with his wife Squant walked down the beach to disappear behind Zack’s Cliffs. Fog today is attributed to the smoke of Moshup’s peudelee (pipe). Cries heard off the south side during a storm are said to be Squant calling to her lost children.

The Cliffs are ecologically protected, and it is forbidden to climb the cliffs or even touch the clay.

THE AQUINNAH CLIFFS are one hundred and fifty feet of sediment – including red and white clays, green sands, white quartz, black organic soil, and lignite. They tell the story of the past hundred million years one colorful layer at a time.

The streaks of red in the Cliff are from the blood of whales that Moshup would drag onto the Cliffs to cook. The discarded remains from his table are now fossilized deep in the clay. To the Wampanoag, the Aquinnah Cliffs are a sacred spot for the very reason that Moshup chose this special place as his home – they are a watchful place of great bounties.

The ocean is a rare aqua color here, and the waves are quite high.

**The ancestors of Wampanoag people have lived for at least 10,000 years at Aquinnah (Gay Head) and throughout the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard), pursuing a traditional economy based on fishing and agriculture. The Aquinnah Wampanoag share the belief that the giant Moshup created Noepe and the neighboring islands, taught our people how to fish and to catch whales, and still presides over our destinies. Our beliefs and a hundred million years of history are imprinted in the colorful clay cliffs of Aquinnah.


As we boarded the ferry for our ride back to the mainland, a beautiful, bright full move eased out from its cover of clouds…the photo taken without flash, I think gives the best feeling and likeness of the night. We were tired and content.

I hope you are well,
Jess

Michael with the chickens…hold on.


Michael, a young man, 12 yrs old maybe; helped my husband and I load 1500 ft of split rail fence onto our truck. Laughing and chatting of his beloved chickens all the while ~ He tell me that he raises 300 of them! All manner of breeds, exotic breeds, as well as, more common type. His favorite are his silkies; “they make good mothers”,he says. I tell him that I agree with that choice, my little silkie hen is the most broody hen I have. Right now, Lil Mum, the silkie hen is sitting on 5 eggs, only one of which is hers. Three of the eggs are duck eggs, one is a Rhode Island Red…I can’t wait to see her mother…3 ducklings, and 2 chicks, all of them following her around the farmyard. I smile at the thought, and return to carrying posts..I have a new friend to keep up with.

It was such a delight to converse with, and work beside this industrious, hard working, and caring young man. I have little doubt that he will grow to be a great man one day. To start life caring for, nurturing, and in a few instances saving animals, must instill character beyond measure. A developed work ethic enviable to most employers. The dedication to complete farm chores – before school…his parents have done good work. as has he. (geesh, finish thoughts much?) I feel blessed to have met him.

Standing looking at the pile of wood, ready to be loaded onto the truck; I thought out loud, “Gosh honey, don’t you think there is too much for one load”? Husband’s response, “No, it will be fine, trust me”. Pan in on my bewildered, somewhat panic stricken ashen face.
Here we go! We stood a few of the shorter posts as braces along the sides of truck bed. The rails and posts piled high, I think too high. I wish I had my camera with me so you could have seen this. Our farm truck is not a new truck..17 or 18 yrs old…but good and strong for its job.but, ugly. (shh, don’t tell him I said this) I felt like we belonged on the Beverly Hillbillies. Now, that we had the truck loaded, overloaded really; the drive home, was a nail biter… with every curve in the road, I held my breath, hoping the load wouldn’t shift and roll.
Me,”Don’t you think you should slow down a bit”, … “shouldn’t we just stop here, and buy some extra rope or ties”….”Shouldn’t we just stop and let these people pass”?…”Shouldn’t “….Well you get the picture. He just smiled and assured me it would be alright. I was not so sure. Driving on the NYS Thruway, and the city streets of Schenectady; if you could have seen the looks we got! My daughter lives just outside of Schenectady, in the Town of Scotia, where we had to drop a few things off to her. I encouraged my husband to venture off with Josh to a hardware store where he could buy additional tie downs. He complied. I was thankful. Oh, the things we do.

Living with this man is always an adventure.

Last night we were able to install 3 sections of new (upcycled) fence…we were excited to see how it would look. This fence is for our gardens, which would other-wise ,quickly become chicken food without protection. I will staple chicken wire inside the lower sections to deter the little munchers. The new fencing will also keep Miss Lexi from lounging in the lavender.(I hope).

All things spring.

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