• Stephen D'Agostino

Game Night This Month Features Volleyball

Before this winter, I never gave a thought to weasels. Now, it seems they’re as abundant as the squirrels everyone was talking about months ago. At least one person I know had one in her house, and other people, like us, have lost chickens to them. Since November, one weasel—or possibly more—has killed eight of our hens. It took the first four in the barn, where we let them roam free. Then it got another in the barn, but it dragged it outside. We locked the chickens in the coop, which we thought was impenetrable. Alas, the weasel found its way in and got the last three.


Bill and I still go out to the barn every day. Now, however, we go armed with a variety of stinky meats—porgy heads, mackerel guts, and chicken livers, to bait the weasel trap. As we pass through the barn to get to the trap, I miss the girls’ cluckings and their habit to congregate at my feet.


We also set up a game cam outside the barn to see what is visiting. We’ve photographed a fox, a raccoon, two skunks, and a half a dozen mice. We’ve captured no weasel on the SD card nor in the trap.


Now, with April around the corner, we are at the decision point about ordering chicks. We don’t want to set up an easy banquet for the weasel. Every day we’ll continue to check the trap and hope for the best, but I fear it will be a summer without chickens.


While I wait for the weasel, there are other things to distract—more so delight—me. By now, you've seen signs around town for the Maple Cook-Off, a fundraiser for the Reading Green Spaces Committee's efforts to beautify Puddledock Park. If you haven't, here's the skinny. The event happens on Saturday, March 30, from 5pm to 7pm at Town Hall. Sixteen contestants will present maple-themed food in one of four categories: appetizers, entrée, salad or vegetable, and dessert. Hungry folks, their taste buds tuned by the site of sugaring operations in full swing, will come by and fill their plates with these creations, enjoy dinner with their maple-loving friends, and then vote for their favorite maple creation. The person who receives the most votes will win an appropriately themed prize.


So what do you need to do? One or possibly two things. If you are interested in putting your skill at incorporating maple into a delicious dish, then sign up to be a contestant. You can do that by contacting Jane Philpin at jane.philpin@gmail.com. Or you could come for dinner and judge the entries. It costs just $8/person at the door for a seasonally appropriate meal. Or, you could do both!


As I said, all proceeds go to the Reading Green Spaces Committee. On March 30, it is likely that there will still be snow on the ground of Puddledock Park. The committee, however, is eager for it to go away so they can begin the next phase of their project as they work to make the park a gorgeous green gem right in the center of town.


While you're thinking up what you'll enter in the Maple Cook-Off, don't forget that Game Night happens tomorrow, March 15. It’ll be at the school again. Like last time, we'll be playing a game that involves a net, but this time, it's volleyball! If you'd rather play board games, we'll have those. We'll also have snacks. The fun kicks off at 6:30pm and runs to 8:30pm.


Here are a two reminders, both relating to April 1. You have to license your dog(s) or wolf hybrid(s) (!) age 6 months or older by that date to avoid a late fee. For male and female dogs with all their working parts (if you know what I mean), the fee is $13. For dogs that have been neutered or spayed, the fee is $9.

If your dog or wolf hybrid turns 6 months old after April 1, you have to license your pet within 30 days. Stop by the Town Clerk’s office to get your license(s). Be sure to bring a copy of a current rabies vaccination certificate.


Second, don’t forget that Reading Fire and Rescue is looking for people to help out with Old Home Day. There are so many ways you can lend your time and talent. You can help out before the big day to make posters to promote the festivities or do set up. You can help on Old Home Day by lining up the parade participants, working at the chicken barbecue, or cleaning up. There are probably other things, too. The important thing is that you volunteer to make sure we keep this great tradition going!


If you can spare a few hours (or more), send an email to readingfirerescue@gmail.com or call Molly Brockman at 740-513-9631.


A final note about our little town. Reading didn't vote to approve the WCUD school budget. It also didn't vote to reject it. The vote was evenly split: 59 for and 59 against. Of the towns in the district, Reading was the only one that didn't approve the budget. That's probably not surprising. I imagine the no votes were a form of protest for the way the WCUD is treating Reading.


Happy birthday to Calista Brennan (March 20). Happy anniversary to Ed and Hilda Allen (March 15), Happy Pi Day (today) and Happy Spring (in name only, I fear, on March 20)!


That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!


This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on March 14, 2019.

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