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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Outdoor Game Nights Resume on May 17

It’s that time of the season—the seed-starting season—where everything needs to be transplanted. I have repotted my brussels sprouts twice, and they are thriving. I may have to do it one more time. I've also transplanted about 65 or so onions, eight tomatoes, and five lupines. I still have sweet pea, tomatillo, leeks, zinnia, poppies, and celery that need to be placed in larger pots. The problem is, even with adding a third grow light system, I am pretty much out of room.

In past years, by now, I have been putting my plants outside to harden them off. Not this year! As I write this, May is into its second day. The weather, though, would make me believe it is the second day in April. At least my road is no longer muddy.

Have you started your seeds yet? If not, there is still time. You can always visit the seed library at the Reading Public Library, pick up some flower and veggie seeds, and get started. Hearty plants like peas and salad greens can go in the ground now.

In Tony’s terminology, you borrow seeds from the seed library. Unlike books, you don’t have to return them, unless you want to. Granted it won’t be the same seeds as it would be the same book. Those seeds you took will, one would hope, deliver beautiful productive plants. From what you harvest in the late summer, you can save the seeds and bring them to the library for next year. If you want more information about the seed library, feel free to contact Tony at 484-5588. You can also stop by and peruse the seeds.

In the meantime, we wait for May’s promise. By the third Friday of this month, the weather is going to be spectacular, right? The Reading Recreation Commission sure hopes so. Why? Because that is the first of four outdoor Game Nights at Bartley Field. The fun starts at 6:30pm, and with the sun setting at 8:10pm, there is plenty of time for some wiffle ball or kickball or horseshoes or all of the above!

Like last year, this summer’s outdoor Game Nights will also include potluck barbecues. The Rec Commission will fire up the grill. All you’ll need to do is bring some food for your family and to share. Think spring and mark this event on your calendar!

I had a chat this past week with Jess Seman about the Reading Afterschool Program, or RAP. I mentioned the fundraiser currently underway about a month or so ago. She told me a bit more about the program, and I want to share it.

RAP is a safe environment for children to play and learn during after school hours. The program offers a mixture of enrichment activities, homework time, and active play time. A healthy snack is provided to all children. Side note and wonderful community tie-in: The snacks are provided by the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf.

There is a fee for enrolling your child in RAP. It is on par with the fees charged to by afterschool programs in other communities. For those who may need help with the cost, tuition assistance is offered by the State of Vermont.

Kristen Hurd joined the conversation Jess and I were having, and she told me that the program is vital to the sustainability of the school. Working parents don’t have to worry about their kids’ whereabouts or safety from the time school lets out to the time they pick them up. They are safe at school, learning and having fun.

Kristen mentioned that some parents whose kids are already at Woodstock Elementary School enroll their children in RAP. When these parents are on their way home from work, it is, I imagine, easier and faster for them to grab their kids in Reading.

She also noted that RAP also helps preserve the special bond between our town’s kids. With the upcoming (and short-sighted) transfer of the fourth- to sixth-graders to WES, that bond could be tried. Having some fourth- to sixth-graders as part of RAP gives the younger kids home-grown role models and gives the older kids continued access to our community and Reading.

For more information about RAP and how to enroll your child, you can contact Sherry Hatt at or Lisa Dionne, the director of RAP, at

Here are a few reminders. Adult volleyball is happening at the Reading Elementary School again tonight, May 9, at 7pm. I would love to insert some volleyball puns here, but I don’t know the sport so well. I know the term spike, but I can’t find a fun way to work it into the column. When I am there tonight, maybe someone can help me out with the terminology.

If volleyball is not your thing, you can attend the Backyard Composting Workshop at the Bridgewater Grange. That starts at 6:30pm. Pre-registration is requested if you would like to purchase a Soil Saver composter for $30 (one per household) and/or a Sure-Close kitchen pail for $5. To register, call or call Mary O'Brien at 674-9235 or email If you can’t make the event tonight, visit for other dates and locations.

Happy birthday to Brody Allen (May 9), Gabe Hathorn (May 10), Garret Mulder (May 13), MaryJane Wilkins (May 13), Shiri Macri (May 15), and Bryan Leonard (May 15). Happy Anniversary to Adam and Kristen Ameele (May 15).

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on May 9, 2019.

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