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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Attend a Composting Workshop as Part of Your Spring Plans

As recently as ten days ago, I had bet myself that the pile of snow that had accumulated below the intersection of three roofs behind our house would break the record for longevity. Our current record, set last year, is May 5th. Last week, this mini-mountain began to recede so fast that it was almost like a time lapse. Every day, half of what was there seemed to disappear, unveiling our storage bins, work table, and a few things we probably should have stored last fall. What is left of the snow I could pick up in one hand and squeeze out of existence. The May 5th record holds for another year. I lost my bet. And won.

It really is a magical time of the year. Snow disappearing and irises, which I transplanted last fall, debuting in their new home, days after I had assumed the transplantation had failed. If their rapid ascent skyward is any indication, they seem to like their new patch of ground.

Now that the receding snow has made it easier for me to access my compost bin, I’m able to load it up with ease. I am a backyard composter and have been for about 13 years (both here and when I lived in upstate New York). I took a class about composting at Gardener’s Supply last year, and I upped my compost game. Still, I think I can do better.

That’s where the Southern Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste Management District can help me—and you if you want to learn about composting. Here’s the “dirt.”

On Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m., at the Bridgewater Grange, Vermont Master Composter Cat Buxton will give an entertaining backyard composting workshop and answer all your questions. Attendees can purchase one Soil Saver composter per household for only $30 and/or a Sure-Close kitchen pail for $5. Pre-registration is requested if you're considering a purchase. To sign up, call Mary O'Brien at 674.9235 or email For additional workshop dates and locations, go to

I love it when people send me ideas for stories. Mary O’Brien, for example, sent the information about the composting workshop. I also received emails about two other things to include in my column.

First you’ve probably been hearing about the census and the citizenship question a lot in the news lately. Whether the question makes it onto the form or not, the census goes on. It's a huge undertaking. Perhaps you've seen folks at places where large numbers of people congregate handing out information about jobs available during this every-decade effort. I did when I attended the flower show almost two months ago.

I’d like to think a fair number of people congregate separately (how’s that for an oxymoron?) around my column. Given that, I want to share some information sent to me by David Parker, the Windsor County recruiting assistant for the US Census Bureau. As preparation for the census gets underway, the bureau is looking for people to fill some jobs. The work will start in July and last about eight weeks. The hours are flexible, and at $16.50/hour, the pay is good. David notes that these jobs are great for seniors, college students, seasonal workers whose season is not summer, or anyone looking to earn some extra cash. You can apply online at

Second, Jane Philpin contacted me to ask that I remind people that there is an updated version of the booklet titled “Resources for Seniors,” which is produced by the Reading Aging in Place Committee.

Just a scan of the front cover shows that within the brochure’s pages, you can find useful information on fitness, food and meals, transportation, financial support, and more. Jane notes that not only is this good information for seniors but also for children of seniors and neighbors of seniors. You can pick up the updated booklet at Town Hall or Reading Public Library.

Here’s a final reminder that Green Up Day is Saturday. If you’re interested in volunteering, stop by Town Hall between 8am and 9am to be assigned an area to clean up (and have free coffee and donuts).

Finally, thanks to all those who attended volleyball last week at the school. I was hoping to attend, but my schedule wouldn't allow. Recreation Commissioner Gerry Marletta reports that the folks who attended, including some from Brownsville (thank you Front Porch Forum!), had a fun time. The good news is that if you missed it, you don't have long to wait for the next volleyball night. It happens on May 9, at 7pm, at the school. Composting or volleyball? Now I have to choose…

Happy birthday to Nicholas Allen (May 5) and Natasha Springer (May 5).

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on May 2, 2019.

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