The year of the…or rather, “what went on in 2015”

Ha. Well, if you visited my blog before I posted this, you would have found that, according to this blog, exactly nothing “went on in 2015”.  I haven’t been posting my writing here and I’m not really sure why.  Anyway, here are some highlights from 2015.

January:  freezing air, fabulous fireworks!  Brunch at the farm – medjool date muffins and good cheer.  A walk down to the bay and hanging out on the top of a roof that no longer exists, except in photographs and our memories.  A photo shoot of my beloved Frye boots, which my neighbor found at the dumptique.  Chillin’ with my kitty friend, Jumper, who stayed with me and my roommate Kendyll for a time.  Pond skating and kraut making. Daily dog walks with Darla the dog, who I dog-sat for January and February down a long dirt road.  Every day was an adventure. Daily posting of “catch of the day” photos, a practice in persistence and patience.  Hauling Mabel out of the water on a mild day in January with a good-natured gang of new friends.  Snow, snow, and more snow.  Great cross-country skiing.  The start of a wonderful class on Arts and Education with a focus on Social Justice with dear friend Lynn Ditchfield (I went to school in her backyard as a kid).  Celebrating a year of working as the personal assistant for my dear friend, mentor, acupuncturist and art teacher, Fae Kontje-Gibbs–each day we worked together there was something new to learn or discover.

February:An adventure to Providence to visit Lily Walter (my neighbor, farmer and dear friend) and her pup, Baxley.  More dog walks with Darla.  Ice, ice and more ice.  Studying and reading and writing and learning.  Watching endless episodes of One Tree Hill on Netflix and mourning the loss of my dear friend and dancing partner, Ladislav Navratil, who passed away mid-month.  Celebrating mom’s 65th birthday with an intimate dance party at the Chappy Community Center.  Dancing.  Visiting new piggie neighbors at Slip Away Farm.  Hanging with my roommate Kendyll, who was holding down the fort at Blueberry Cottage, keeping the home fires burning.  Flowers in winter.  My brother’s little house continues to take shape in the back yard on my parents’ property.  My dear friend Scarlet gives birth to a beautiful baby girl!  More snow at Blueberry Cottage.  And Ice in the harbor.  A weekend visit from dear friend Gaby, with lots of talking and walking and eating.

March: A week spent dog-sitting dear Ms. Belle in a sweet little house in Edgartown.  And…they moved the house next to the Edgartown library–quite a sight!  My weekly paleo cooking class was a great success, with eight students and lots of yummy food cooked and eaten.  My dad was a great assistant and I had so much fun watching our friend Martha and him giggle like school mates, reminiscing of working together forty years earlier in the kitchen of an island non-profit.

April: Spring. A sweet gathering to celebrate the life of my friend Ladi, with dancing and eating and stories to share.  Brunch at the farm (again) with good friends, and trip to the greenhouse to water the seedling babies.  Daffodils!  Simple, delicious food.  Kendyll and I cooked our first whole fish!  Mom and I prepared the soil at our garden in the pasture by the Knight family horse barn.  Chicken pot pie–the best ever.  Baby Georgette is a couple months old, and such a blessing.

May: A trip to the west coast! Finally.  First to Seattle to see my cousin Gabrielle, with a stunning adventure on the Olympic Peninsula, and then down to Cali–the Bay area to see cousin Miranda and her kiddos and the Rogers-Patterson gang of cousins. Then L.A. with Aunt Ginio, cousin Josh and Uncle Tony. Such a joy to be with these dear ones, and fun to travel with my Pops.  It has been so long since I’ve gotten to spend time with my dad and his brother and sister all together and it was priceless.  Dorothy, my goat, grows up, gets a beard, and I give her to my parents, realizing I am not quite ready for kids (of any species).  Elliot’s house project continues along.  Slip Away Farm has their annual pig roast next door, only this year they are in charge of cooking the pig.  My friend Gaby and I whip up a whole slew of frittatas, and other event preparations include a midnight “pig pulling” session by the light of headlamps.  The event is a success with at least 300 friends and neighbors coming to partake in the festivities.  I take some photos to accompany an article written by my mom about our local “conch trees”.  Dear sailing friend Krista comes for a visit and we hike out to the newly formed beach at Wasque, connecting Chappy to the big island again, and requiring the use of tickets in both directions on the ferry again–for the first time since the patriot’s day storm in 2006 when the breach broke through our barrier beach “bridge”.

June: Dad’s birthday celebration with family and farmer friends at the new bowling alley in Oak Bluffs (the food is mediocre and the bowling is awesome).  Mom gets really friendly with one of her chickens after an attack on the flock and the chicken insists on living inside under the telephone table for a few days.  L-wa (neighbor Lily) and L-mo (me) and Baxley have an exquisite evening beach picnic at Lambert’s Cove.  It usually doesn’t occur to us to drive all the way to the other side of the island to go to the beach, when we have plenty of our own sand, but all the beaches on MV have their own particular flavor, and Lamberts Cove is one of our favorites.  Hanging with the girls at Menemsha–Kyla and Ava are the youngest of the current gang.  Taking photos for an article my mom wrote about the new sailing camp park trails, and the work that is being done to keep the sandy cliffs from continuing to erode.  Oh, and I turn 33 and L-wa and Kendyll make for me the most beautiful set of floral adornments.  Yippeee!

July: Prize-winning garlic. Self portraits.  Mom loves her kayak.  Photo shoot with Kendyll featuring her beautiful hand-made clothing (KendyllGage-Ripa.com).  Slip Away Farm mama, Jan Pogue, retires and I have fun taking photos at the celebration of her birthday and all the books she’s published.  A lot of books and a lot of island authors she worked with through her publishing company, Vineyard Stories.  A mid-summer adventure to New Hampshire and Maine.  CHICKENS!  I finally have the opportunity to try out having chickens of my own when my friend Scarlet  is looking for a home for a mama and seven bantam chicks.  Such an amazing experience to care for this flock of tiny fragile beings. Baby Georgette and her beautiful mama come for a visit to Blueberry Cottage.

August: According to my bank account, I did not do what most Vineyard residents do during this summer month.  Instead of working like a crazy person, squirreling away cash for the skinny winter months, I played.  Such a wonderful month spent with friends and family.  A little bit of work here and there, but also lots of time at the beach.  And a sweet trip with the family up to Vermont to see our gang of cousins in Barnard, and stay at Uncle Dick’s cabin in South Woodstock.  So peaceful and quiet up there on the mountainside. Beach time with mom and her friend Judy. Blueberry Cottage full of vibrant flowers and veggies. Wednesday afternoons spent on the porch at the Chappaquiddick Community Center with mom and Kendyll, them selling veggies and herbs, and me with my photo cards (I recently found one of the first photo cards I made…when I was fourteen, which means I’ve had my photo card business for almost twenty years!  Slowest growing business EVER.) A second batch of little bantam chicks joins the flock at Blueberry Cottage and I learn the joys and sorrows of chicken ownership. Built on Stilts dance festival brings friends to the island.  and…I play with self-portraits.

September: cooking. catering. beach. Mom and I made it a mission to get to the beach as often as possible and it was totally divine and worth it.  Kendyll’s last month at Blueberry Cottage–bittersweet. Harvesting the bounty of the fruit.  Taking pictures of finely crafted wood furniture by Collins from the farm next door.  A special visit from friends Noli, Emmett and Tillie Taylor…all the way from Aquinnah.  Dancing in an african dance piece at The Yard with traditional Ugandan costume. And walks with friends.

October: more swimming. a totally delicious autumn.  My first month of living alone at Blueberry Cottage in a year and a half and it feels good to be able to stretch out a little bit more.  A super special day spend with my goddaughter Stella–painting, playing soccer, skipping rocks, renovating fairy houses and adventuring in the woods.

November: Last view of the old Self house at Cove Meadow before it is burned down.  Wonderful beach walks with Scarlet and Georgette, and beautiful leaves in the woods. Calendula blossoms! Blueberry Cottage gets a new coat of paint.  Annual Thanksgiving craft fair at the Chappy Community Center. Swimming and fall foliage. Oh, and my brother turned 29. HOLY COW!

December: New photo card sets and calendars.  Made a new doggie friend called Minnie.  Took photos at Roberta’s annual concert, songs of peace, hope and light.  Paid a visit to dad and El roofing Elliot’s porch.  Pop-up shop as part of Fae’s show at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.  Card-making.  Cake-baking.  Gift-giving. Christmas adventures with my family on such a gorgeous day.  Goat walk with the girls.  Blossoms in December.  Wintertime fields at Slip Away Farm. Mom’s chickens and my chickens.  More walks with my girls. Stamp carving.  New years eve…dancing to Johnny Hoy and then toasting the new year with sparkling cider in my sweet little home.

And I did some more swimming. I think maybe 2015 was the year of swimming.

My apologies for forgetting to mention any really important adventures that we had together this year.  It probably just means we were having so much fun, being in the moment, that we forgot to take a picture of it.  Trust that it was just as important, I simply have a hilariously selective memory, and the reason I knew to write about any of this stuff was that I had visual cues.  Here’s to another great year! xo

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