One of my favorite sites in summer on this island is watching the grass fields at Pimpneymouse Farm being cut.

Haymaking is a learned art, and the farmers at Pimpneymouse are masters at it. The hay has to be cut, dried, raked and baled before the next rain. This long week of intense heat offers the window to get the job done.




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Sounds crazy, right? But that’s just what I did in this 90+ degree weather.  I was intending to recommend blueberry vodka tonics as the remedy to get through this hot spell. But I was drawn to the kitchen to make stock for chowder for next week’s houseguests. Then I biked up to the blueberry fields to pick enough for a pie. Whatever it takes!

“Bass & Bonito Spines, Celery, Carrots, & Onions”

stock pot

“Pot of Gold”

pot of gold

blueberry abundance



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Nick was hoping he was bringing in a bass. As he reeled it in and had it close to the boat, he realized with surprise that it was a bonito! And as Jeff said, the Bonito realized it, too, so he headed back out and gave Nick a run for another 10 minutes, zigzagging, going deep and going long. Man vs fish. In the end, man won. A beautiful specimen. 28 inches, somewhere around 10 pounds.  Tonight, Chipotle Bonito will be enjoyed by all.

The full cycle is complete a little early this year …. blues, bass, flounder and bonito.



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What a Fluke!

13 Jul 2013

What a Fluke that Jeff got a Flounder when going for Bass and Blues!

We sauteed it with lemon and butter, served it up with Slip Away Farm greens and wild rice…..the best!

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Now is the time to get out there and pick dozens of the young, brighter green grape leaves. My friend’s grandfather swears the island grape leaves are more tender and tastier because of the salt air and mist from the ocean. I can’t prove it, but I like to think it’s true.

The leaves will keep for a few weeks in plastic bags in the ‘fridge, until you can make up a big batch of stuffed grape leaves. Try my recipe for Stuffed Bluefish Grape Leaves, found on the recipe page of the website! I also use the leaves on cheese platters.

grape leaves1

grape leaves2

grape leaves 3

grape leaves w:cheese

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May 24th

Memorial Day Weekend. The whole family made the trip to be here together.

Jeff and I headed out early for a return visit to the Gut to see the newly hatched baby seagulls scurrying around. And we got lucky enough to watch at close range while a mom fed her chicks a little fresh scup.

Gull Chick

Mom & Chicks

Later on in the day I joined the boys as they went out to fish in the intermittent rain, and we were lucky enough to behold a beautiful rainbow, shown here framing Jeff just before he brought in a Blue.

Jeff & Rainbow

In the early evening we all were about to sit down to dinner when Jack made us pause so that he could take this gorgeous photo of the table with the sunset on the bay.

Table Setting!

The beauty out here never ceases to amaze me.


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Breeding Sanctuary

11 May 2013

May 6th
Last weekend Jeff and I drove out as far as you can go on Chappy to “the Gut”. It’s a prime fishing ground in the summer months for those who make the trip and this is where the seagulls have learned that in the early spring months it is a safe haven for breeding.   For years I’ve been wanting to get out there at this time of year to take a look. We were fortunate enough to see dozens and dozens of the gulls on their nests with their mates close by. They lay 3 beautiful large eggs in every “clutch”. I learned that seagull pairs remain bonded as long as they both live, they share the job of rotating time on the nest eggs for the month of incubation, and then for the 3 months of chick raising. I can’t wait to drive out at the end of the month to see the babies.

seagull eggs2

seagull mates

seagull sanctuary

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Opening Up

11 May 2013

May 5th
This is that wonderful time of year filled with, as Vineyard Gazette editor Henry Beetle Hough said, “the excitement of anticipation”. We drove out to open up the cottage! A turn of the key, a heavy push to the door, and then we’re welcomed  by the familiar sights and smells that make this simple place so special.  After we walked through every room, opening the windows as we went to let in that sweet spring air, we headed outside to walk the property to see the latest developments with the bay waters and the breach.  Afterwards,  I then checked the mailbox and found a nice surprise-a letter posted October 27, 2012, the weekend I left for the season.  Edo Potter, the island elder who has lived on Chappy since childhood, had sent me the recipe I’d been asking about for Sally Jeffer’s Spoon Pudding. Anyone who knew Sally raved about this dessert, but I couldn’t find a written account of it anywhere.  I wanted to share Sally’s bread pudding in “Living Off the Sea”, but since I didn’t have the actual recipe I included an Indian Pudding recipe of my mother’s. The ingredients are similar but my mother’s has the additional ingredients of molasses and spices.

So here at long last is Sally Jeffer’s Spoon Bread Pudding!


1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tblsp butter or oleo
2 eggs
Heat oven to 375
grease a 1 quart casserole dish
in a medium saucepan combine cornmeal, salt and milk.
heat until boiling, stirring constantly
remove from heat and stir in oleo
add eggs one at a time, beating by hand after each addition
pour batter into prepared dish
bake uncovered at 375 for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown
Serve hot, spooned from casserole
top with additional oleo or butter



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I wrote this book because I wanted to share my family’s summertime life on the Vineyard with you. Our summers on Chappaquiddick are a time to slow down and get back to basics. They are also a time to create new traditions and recipes! Now I’d like to expand on that with this blog. I hope you’ll share some of your family’s favorite recipes, photos of your great-grandmother who made that unforgettable cake, and stories of your daily encounters with fish, family and friends by posting them here.

Please join in!

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The first signs of spring are revealing themselves, even when the temperature isn’t convincing us that the season has changed. The beach plum blossoms are in full bloom, promising a healthy crop of the berries later in the season, and I’ve had the surprise spotting of some beautiful and delicate lady slippers. Jeff is starting to think about where the best fishing spots will be and I’m  wondering what new recipe we’ll try with our freshly caught bluefish or bass. Ahhh summertime.  So much to look forward to.

lady slippers


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