Quaquanantuck Quentin?

Brian? Really? While Punxsutawney Phil admittedly lacks alliterative purity in consonance, consider the phonetic power, please, of such august Long Island woodchuck monikers as Malverne Mal and Hempstead Hal.

So it was with no small amount of disappointment that At Quaquanantuck learned, via a dispatch from author Meredith Murray, that the rescued and rehabilitated groundhog that visited the Quogue Library last week for what Ms. Murray called “a very amusing ceremony” was named … that’s right: Brian. Just … Brian. 

Since there was no geographical classification attached—Bellport Brian, Babylon Brian, Brentwood Brian—it seems the field is clear to give the oracular critter a new name should he happen to pass this way again on February 2, 2019: Quaquanantuck Quentin (the monosyllabic Quogue being a little inelegant for one with such an esteemed occupation).   

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Groundhog rehabilitator Katherine Schelp, Chief Chris Osborne, and Quentin with the proclamation that Quentin read at the ceremony.

A sizable crowd braved frigid temperatures to get Quentin’s prediction; the wise woodchuck was ready for his closeup. –Photos courtesy of Meredith Murray and Selina Pasca 

Ms. Murray asked for understanding should Quentin’s prediction of an early spring be mistaken, on the basis of neurological impairment prior to his rehabilitation. But there were other witnesses on hand who reported that he actually read the entire forecast document before whispering in his handler’s ear, and they compared his cognitive capabilities favorably with those of a number of elected officials “working” in Washington, D.C.  

Thanks go out from all weather watchers and lovers of ritual and ceremony in our village to the Quogue Library for organizing the event and Fire Chief Chris Osborne for donning the top hat and standing in on that very chilly morning for Mayor Peter Sartorius, who Ms. Murray reported “was said to be ‘somewhere warmer.’”

Talk and Photos from 1875 Offer a Glimpse of Old Quogue

The Quogue Historical Society will present an illustrated talk, “Then and Now: Pictorial Quogue” by Quogue Historical Society curator and Southampton Town Historian Julie B. Greene on Saturday, February 10, at 3 p.m. at the Quogue Library.

More sand and dunes than houses in 1875 in Quogue. –George Bradford Brainerd Photo

Ms. Greene’s talk is based on the QHS exhibition “Through the Lens of George Bradford Brainerd: Quogue, ca. 1875,” which is on view at the Society’s Pond House headquarters, open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An earlier version of the train station than even At Quaquanantuck can remember. –George Bradford Brainerd Photo

By the time of his death in 1887 at the age of 42, civil engineer and amateur photographer George Bradford Brainerd had taken 2,500 photographs, mostly urban views of New York City. The 10-plus images Brainerd captured of Quogue in the mid-1870s document a portrait of the village’s early days, revealing a very different Quogue from the one we live in today.

To register for this program, call the library at 631-653-4224, ext. 101.

Moriches Bay Project Fundraiser on February 8; BideAwee Benefit February 10

The Westhampton Free Library and Buoy One Restaurant are teaming up with the Moriches Bay Project for the fourth annual (slightly premature) Valentine’s Celebration Dinner tonight, Thursday, February 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the restaurant on Montauk Highway in Westhampton.

The reservation deadline was ostensibly Monday, February 5, but it’s possible that fans of the Moriches Bay Project and the Westhampton Free Library can still get a seat and support these two causes. Call Buoy One at 631-998-3808 to find out.

There will be a three-course dinner, complimentary glass of wine, auction items and more, all for a mere $38 per person. Of course, the biggest draw of the evening might be the prospect of being served by (and heckling) special guest bartenders Jim Hulme and Brian Tymann. If you think of it, tell them At Quaquanantuck sent you.

On Saturday, February 10, BideAwee will be hosting a Puppy Love Luncheon benefit from noon to 3 p.m. at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue. The Mobile Adoption Van will be on site. Cost is $150 per person, with $70 tax deductible. For more information, contact jennifer.goodwin@bideawee.org.   

Animal Encounter at Wildlife Refuge

There’s another “Animal Encounter!” for all ages coming up this weekend at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, on Saturday, February 10,  from 10 to 10:45 a.m.Curly hair tarantula

Children must be accompanied by an adult at this $5 per person program. Animals to be encountered include a Honduran curly-haired tarantula, an African ball python, a bearded dragon, great horned owl, and a fuzzy chinchilla. Visitors will learn what these animals eat, their defense mechanisms, and the location of their native habitats. For reservations, call 631-653-4771 or visit the QWR website.

Winter Wildlife Camp Returns to Refuge for Schools’ February Recess

Parents of children who will be remaining on Long Island during the upcoming February school recess should be aware of the Winter Wildlife Camp at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, running from Tuesday through Friday, February 21 to 24.  

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Quogue Wildlife Refuge.                                                                                        –A. Botsford Photo

This popular camp program, with sessions of different duration offered, is for kids age 5 to 11. The morning session starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon; the full-day session also starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. each day.

Both sessions of the camp provide three hours of immersion in wildlife, education and, according to the ebullient folks at the Refuge, the “amazing experience” will also include an abundance of “fun.”

A hike and a craft will be offered each day, so parents are asked to dress the young outdoorspersons for the weather. In addition, all campers should bring an individual snack and drink each day, plus lunch for those who are signed up for the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. extended session.

In addition to other activities, children will be able to feed and handle some of the animals that live in the Nature Center.

The morning session fee is $45 per day, or $150 for the four-day program. The extended session fee is $90 per day or $330 for the four-day program. Registration and payment are required in advance. Registration and payment are required in advance; call 653-4771. For more information, visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 653-4771.

Film Feast Screening “Michael Clayton” on February 10 at Library

On Saturday, February 10, it’s time once again to join friends, neighbors, and other cinephiles for an evening of fine food and a terrific film at the monthly Film Feast at the Quogue Library. This month’s selection is the 2007 drama, mystery, thriller and crime classic, “Michael Clayton,” directed by Tony Gilroy and starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson.  michaelclayton6

As the Entertainment Weekly review put it so succinctly: “It’s better than good; it’s such a crackling and mature and accomplished movie that it just about restores your faith.”

The feasting begins at 6:15 and the film will be screened at 7:15. As always, admission is a beverage to share and a dish that serves at least six. Best to call the library at 631-653-4224 to let them know you’re coming and what food you’re planning to bring.

Chutney Demo and Tasting at Library to Heat Up Valentine’s Day

The Quogue Library is offering an opportunity to “make Valentine’s day hot!” with Chef Tanya Tracy’s Spicy Chutney Demnstration and Tasting on Tuesday, February 13, at 6 p.m.

Ms. Tracy will demonstrate how to make spicy tomato garlic chutney and spicy peanut coconut chutney. She will also reveal some of the secrets to making a delicious chutney and offer instructions on how to prepare fruits for canning chutneys.  

Visitors will learn how to make these delicious condiments and sample spicy and sweet varieties of chutney, and Ms. Tracy will have products available for sale after the event. To reserve a seat at the table, call the library at 631-653-4224, ext. 101.

Writers Speak Stony Brook Southampton

Poet Sam Sax will be the next guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Sax will read from and talk about his work on Wednesday, February 14, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Sam Sax is a queer Jewish writer, performer, educator, organizer, and the poetry editor at BOAAT Press. He is the author of Madness (Penguin Books, 2017), which was the winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series Competition, selected by Terrance Hayes.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. Preceded by a brief reception at 6:30 p.m., all readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

Mardi Gras Menu at the Inn Spot

The Inn Spot on the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge is once again offering international dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. The three-course prix fixe is $39; reservations are recommended.

This weekend, the Inn Spot menu for February 9 and 10 will feature an array of Mardi Gras specialties, with menu items from two well known carnival locations, Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. For more information or reservations, call 631-728-1200 or visit www.theinnspot.com.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list, or just to visit AtQuaquanantuck.com and feel free to follow.

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O Christmas Trees, O Christmas Trees . . .                                                          –A. Botsford Photo

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