We’re about to enter my two least favorite months of the year. By day 58 of the new year and day 68 of winter, I am ready for it to be over. Today, as I am writing this, it is raining and snowing. There is a gray veil hanging in the air that is becoming all too familiar. The dampness isn't helping to raise my spirits.
However, I know for sure that if we get a big snowstorm in March that compels or forces me to stay inside, I will be thrilled to have time to tackle some indoor project. If we get a big snowstorm in April, I won’t be so happy. Or happy at all.
One of the projects that I start in early March, no matter the weather outside, is planting my Brussel sprout seeds. According to my planting schedule spreadsheet, which I am sure I completed during a snowstorm, if I plan to put them into my garden on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend (May 26), I should plant them this Sunday. From prior years’ experience, I know that in those 12 weeks, I will need to transplant the seedlings twice. Though they will never grow to the size of plants I see at a greenhouse, they’ll get pretty big. Along with my Brussel sprouts (the crop I have the most success with), I'll be planting onions and celery. Then, over the course of the next eight weeks, as I plant tomatoes, cabbage, tomatillo, flowers, and other plants, there will be spring under my grow lights. Mother Nature, bring it. I'll be ready for you when you show us your softer side come May.
What do you do for your seed plantings? Do you have a schedule? Do you use the promise of a green garden to help you get through the last weeks of winter?
There are other ways to get through these weeks. Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities should still be good through March. Indoors for the kiddies—and their parents—the Reading Public Library will host a free series of preschool story times. They start at 10:30 a.m. on March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and April 6. All Saturdays. Children aged birth to 5 years old and their caregivers are welcome. Call the library at 484-5588 if you'd like more information.
Adults and kids are welcome with their adults at the Reading Winter Concert Series. The next one happens on March 9 at 7pm at Reading Town Hall. This month's performer is Spencer Lewis.
I'd never heard of Spencer before Niles Franc, who is working with the Reading Recreation Commission to make the Winter Concert Series a reality, mentioned him to me. I checked out his music, his website (spencerlewismusic.com), and spoke with him for my column last week. I felt like I was on to something. Actually, I soon realized that I was late to the party. I posted about the concert last week on Front Porch Forum, and several people contacted me telling me how much they enjoy Spencer's music, how his songs are part of their Vermont experience, and how excited they are to see him perform.
Spencer has released over 25 CDs since 1988. He describes his music as reflective instrumental folk grooves that “paint the rural landscape and quiet the mind.” He also calls his music folk that rocks.
Spencer will be joined by slide guitarist and vocalist Kevin Wright and our friend Niles on upright bass.
Admission is $10 for adults. Children 15 and under are free. All proceeds go to the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading PTO, and Upper Valley WISE. So far, the concerts have raised almost $1,000. Let’s see how big we can make this number! Also, remember to bring non-perishable food that is not beyond its expiration date.
This food will be donated to the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf. Speaking of which, they'll be providing the food at Spencer’s show. A night out, music, dinner, all for $10. A bargain and a worthy cause!
It's not all stories, music, and eating in March. Remember Town Meeting is this Saturday at 9:30am at Reading Elementary School. The vote for the budget for the (ready?) Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District Budget is on Tuesday, March 5, from 7am to 7pm at Town Hall.
Happy birthday to Tom Singleton (March 1).
Happy March! It’ll be fine. I’ll love it this year!
That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!
This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on February 28, 2019.