It was an offer Bob Tankard couldn’t refuse. With the Island bowling-deprived since the 1990s and the new Barn Bowl and Bistro set to open its doors in Oak Bluffs, pent up kegler energy was rising to potentially dangerous levels. Fortunately, one of the owners of the new bowling venue knew the job of channeling kingpin karma would be, dare we say, right up Tankard’s alley and he appointed him the first Bowling Commissioner of Martha’s Vineyard.

Geoff Currier

For years I’ve been going to the dump and dutifully separating my recyclables, and then every once in a while someone will say to me: You know, they just throw all that stuff into one big truck and haul it away – what’s the point?

Geoff Currier

If the Amish played more tennis, I feel quite certain that this is the way they would go about winterizing their courts.

Geoff Currier

Homeowners go solar on the Vineyard to save the planet and to save money. For Llewellyn Rogers, the priority was reducing his electric bill. In less than four months he saved more thna $1,000 on electricity costs.

Olivia Hull

I once had a friend who lived in an old farmhouse that had a five-foot blue racer snake living inside the walls. I asked him why he didn’t have it removed and he tersely replied: No mice.

Geoff Currier

Lately food trucks are all the rage but they’re hardly a new idea. Cowboys driving cattle in the 1800s had what were probably the first food trucks – they called them chuck wagons. In the 1890s lunch wagons did a good business catering to late-night workers. And of course mobile food trucks have been around for years, serving up food at construction sites.

Geoff Currier

Alex Friedman was getting antsy. Tuna season had opened the day before and he hadn’t gone out because it looked like there would be foul weather offshore. But now, as we sat in Oak Bluffs harbor onboard his thirty-five-foot H&H Downcast F/V, Dazed & Confused, the VHF radio was blurting out conversations between captains and aerial fish spotters who had gone out and apparently they were getting some action.

Geoff Currier

Three or four times a year, an excavator crawls out to the barrier beaches between some of our great ponds and the open ocean and makes incisions in the sand that open up floodgates. This is a diesel-powered version of a ritual that goes back to ancient times.

“We learned to breach ponds from the Native Americans,” explains Paul Bagnall, Edgartown shellfish constable. “Back in the old days they would do it by hand or they would use a sand scoop, which is sort of like a half of a bulldozer blade, pulled by an ox.”

Geoff Currier


How It Works: Filleting a Fish

Asking someone how to fillet a fish is sort of like asking how to catch a fish: You ask ten people and you’ll get ten different answers.

Chain Saw Cutting at the Ag Fair

Walter Ashley is lean and straight as a cedar as he sits in an office wallpapered with ribbons from the Woodsmen’s Contest at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s Livestock Show and Fair.

How It Works: Driving a Tour Bus

Tour bus no. 43, decorated with brightly painted whales, rumbles past Ocean Park. Leslie Malcouronne of Oak Bluffs is at the wheel giving her spiel.

The How it Works Column

In the spirit of our anniversary issue, I was looking back over the years and realized I’ve written close to forty How It Works columns since 2004.

How it Works: Getting Rid of Skunk Smell

I came across this advice at an online discussion group for dealing with a pet that has been skunked: “Take several ounces of tomato juice...add vodka...drink.”

How it Works: Scalloping

I once asked a friend who has lived on the Vineyard since the seventies what he thought the biggest difference was between now and then. He paused a bit and finally said, “Well, back in those days, we all scalloped.”

The Call to Frozen Ponds

The Island’s ponds provide the setting for the ultimate dead-of-winter outdoor activities.

Force Bulbs Indoors

Just when you’re putting your outdoor garden to bed, it’s time to plan one for indoors to cheer you through the winter. Flowering houseplants can do the trick, but there’s another way to have spring on your windowsill in February – by forcing bulbs.

How it Works: Building a Teepee

The year was 2001. David and Saskia Vanderhoop of Aquinnah were in the process of building their house and needed a place to stay. “The previous few winters had been relatively mild,” recalls David, “so I thought we could just live in our teepee.”

The Story Behind the Pins

Every September and October, thousands of fishermen descend on the Island to participate in the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.