A Walk in the Woods

By Elle O’Casey

This year marks the 9th annual Trek to Taste event. On Saturday, June 3, Woodstock will join communities and parks across the country to celebrate National Trails Day during Trek to Taste. This free event is community co-generated with collaboration by more than 30 area organizations. It takes place on the trails of Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park and Woodstock’s town parks. Trek to Taste combines healthy activities, farm fresh food, music, the arts, and local history for a day-long celebration.

Trek to Taste starts at 10:00am and goes until 3:00pm. Activities include guided walks, hikes on your own, tastes of local food, educational displays, activities for children, live music, and much more. (more…)

A New Twist On Transit

By Elle O’Casey

May is National Bike Month. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a time to celebrate the many benefits of bicycling and it’s an opportunity to go for a ride. This week marks National Bike to Work Week. From May 15-19th, culminating on May 19th, commuters everywhere are challenged to put down the car keys and pick up a bicycle.

Commuter cycling in Vermont presents a suite of challenges, scenic rewards, unexpected weather, and hills. These cycling challenges may contribute to the fact that Vermont drivers log upwards of 11,200 miles in their car each year. This is the 10th highest number in the nation. The number of miles logged using public transit, walking, or biking to work in Vermont is far lower. There is a lack of options for many Vermonters interesting in utilizing public transit to get to work. Vermont is not alone in this struggle. Developing regular, reliable, affordable public transit in rural areas is a challenge facing many states nationwide. (more…)

Seeds Worth Saving

By Elle O’Casey

Sylvia Davatz is something of a local legend in the Upper Valley. Some, like the Portland Press Herald, have referred to Sylvia as “the keeper of the ark.” UTNE magazine called her a “radical American gardener.”

Sylvia Davatz is a renowned gardener and seed saver located in Hartland Vermont. Next Monday May 15, Sylvia will be hosting on a seed saving workshop at the Norman Williams Public Library from 5:30-7:30 pm. She will share how one can start saving seeds and why it’s an important practice to engage in. Sylvia will explain terms like open-pollinated and hybrid, as well as discuss isolation methods, spacing, plant populations, harvesting, cleaning and storing seeds. She’ll touch on the importance of preserving the irreplaceable heritage of biodiversity contained in seeds. Sylvia experiments with different grains and vegetables with an eye to the tastiest, hardiest, season-extending varieties that can be grown in Upper Valley home gardens. Over 200 unique vegetable varieties are preserved in her organic Hartland garden. (more…)

Sharing Sledgehammers

By Elle O’Casey

Over the weekend, I attempted to make a set of window boxes for my place. I had no tools to speak of save for a small hammer and no experience to lean upon. With two strikes against me, the task seemed a bit herculean.

Staring at a few pieces of lumber and a lone hammer, I began to realize I was woefully underprepared. I needed a hammer, a saw, screws, brackets, and a friend to help me navigate this DIY project gone awry. Calling up said friend, he mentioned a phrase I hadn’t heard before: tool library. “What’s that?” I asked aloud. He went on to tell me that a tool library functions a lot like a conventional library in that it allows patrons to essentially check out tools, manuals and other equipment at no charge or for a small fee. Tool libraries are just one type of lending library. These libraries not only allow patrons to borrow a variety of things, but they also contribute to community apprenticeship opportunities, local skill building classes, mentorship opportunities, and space to work on projects. (more…)