A Look Back at 2016 Highlights & a Look Ahead to 2017
"Sweetness, hard work and community. That’s the life of the honeybee hive, much like our little mountain town. That’s the Vershire Buzz!" That was the end of the introductory post last July. Vershire, a Small Town with a Big Heart, July 15, 2016
DailyUV.com had sent out a call for local bloggers to write about our home towns. Vershire has been tangentially represented in various newspapers and online sources with only a list serv dedicated to our town alone. So it was time for us to have our own voice, coming nearly out of the middle of nowhere, in far reaches of the hills of the Upper Valley. Having lived in Vershire for thirteen years, I felt I know the town well enough to get started, and am certain that there's a lot I don't know about it, as well as many people I look forward to meeting.
This week, at the beginning of a new year, seems like a good time to look back at some highlights the Buzz has covered in Vershire in 2016 and to look ahead at some of potential stories of the new year.
Below are excerpts from the Vershire Buzz blog posts of the last six months, followed by links to the whole articles.
In July we started off with a couple of hot events, the Healing Gardens Tour, offered by the Vershire Women's Wellness Circle, and the free Vershire Summer Camp for kids, put on by VerShare.
"Mary Pat Donaldson is a new resident of Vershire who expressed her appreciation... 'The afternoon garden tour this past Sunday was an absolute delight! Thank you to the organizers and a heartfelt thanks to all those who opened their beautiful gardens for us.' " A Blooming Success, July 22, 2016
Believe it or not, cactus were featured on the Healing Gardens Tour!
"Shifting nearly seamlessly among various roles, the members of the extended Vershire Camp community pulled together in a uniquely challenging dance of improvisation, partnership and flexibility this year to produce yet another enjoyable and educational summer experience for children, teens and adults in Vershire. There were a few hair-raising moments of uncertainty when original plans fell through and adjustments had to be made, but they were accomplished gracefully, with faith in the commitment to the children that holds the nurturing web of Vershire Camp together. This is a team that may come together in this particular formation for one week in July but is based on a core that works together in multiple combinations throughout the year, building a foundation of resilience for just such occasions." The Camp Must Go On, July 29, 2016
"A new calf, loose pigs, trees down, parched gardens, naturally tanned sheepskin and free food hugelkultur - all these have been seen in Vershire in the last couple weeks." Wicked Storm to Dry Spell: Vershire Farm Stories, August 5, 2016
Pumpkin is now the proud mother of little Petunia
"First we celebrated preserving the past at the Vershire Historical Society's Old-Time Festival, initiated to encourage attendance at the annual meeting and enlighten Vershire residents and visitors to the fascinating history of our town."
"Then an exciting new way to honor Vermont's farming tradition came to Vershire... My pedestrian commute to and from this year's NOFA-VT Farmer Olympics gifted me with two of the most memorable highlights of the day, and that's saying something considering my neighbors were succumbing to runaway round bales and racing up and down the mountain together with large (at times full) manure bins (see the Vershire Buzz on Facebook for video). Gifts of ancestral tradition revived and a parting picture worth a thousand words, both illustrating different kinds of cycles... but I get ahead of myself." Farm Olympics & History Fest Celebrate Summer in Vershire, August 12, 2016
"From the smallest monkeys and demons battling with wooden swords to the teenagers in leading roles portraying love and conflict through song and story, and even acrobats flipping across the stage, The Ramayana sparkled and swirled at the Chelsea Town Hall..." Vershire Talent Shines in Ramayana, August 19, 2016
"Suddenly, the trees part overhead and a drape of prayer flags emerges on the right, bowing over the gravel drive leading up to a cheerful yellow building where this community of Tibetan Buddhists gathers in a small group every Sunday morning and by the dozens or hundreds several times a year for special programs." Dzogchen Seminar Offers Essential Teachings in Vershire, August 26, 2016
"...Kathy Hooke described the arrival of students to The Mountain School of Milton Academy, an on-farm semester program for high school juniors which began its fall term on Saturday. They "dove straight into gathering hay" and working in the gardens, she related, so some students found that it felt like summer camp at first, but they are getting into the routine of classes and studying as well." Back to School - in School, at Home or on the Farm, September 2, 2016
"Chopped Junior" offered local Samuel Morey students a chance to cook with fresh food from the school garden.
"A Labor Day barbeque in Post Mills attended by several Vershire families was organized to raise funds to send food and water to the N. Dakota reservation, and to spread awareness of the situation, by Nate Pero, Chief Spirit Owl of the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation." Standing Rock Water Protectors Find Support in Vershire: Abenaki & Others Donate, Organize, Travel to Protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, September 9, 2016
"The first day of the Tunbridge World's Fair is always dedicated to Agricultural Education, a unique major highlight of this unusual country fair, and Vershire is always involved. School classes, homeschool groups and families with kids of all ages flow through the Fairgrounds from Antique Hill at one end to the Livestock Barns at the other, fascinated by arts and crafts, vegetables and history exhibits all along the way. There's even a one-room schoolhouse on site with old-fashioned primers and teachers giving a taste of education in days gone by. But the kids aren't always the students and adults aren't the only teachers in this pop-up village." Vershire's Ag Ed at the Tunbridge Fair, September 16, 2016
"Last weekend at the Tunbridge World's Fair, Pam and her granddaughter Paige won not only multiple blue ribbons for their quilting, but even a Best In Show award... On September 12 at an employee banquet Vern was given the first recipient award for top community service by Irving oil, honoring forty years in the fire department, serving as assistant fire warden, selectman for over nine years, road commissioner and 'all around great guy,' according to Pam. I believe there are many who would agree with her." The Extraordinary Stones of Vershire, September 23, 2016
"The state's premier fiber festival [The Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival] happens this weekend - with the help of some folks from Vershire. From first-time and returning volunteers Ethel Pike and Suzanne Gauthier to veteran organizer Naomi LaBarr and Flag Hill Farm Hard Cyder makers Sabra Ewing & Sebastian Lousada, our town will be well-represented at the Tunbridge Fair Grounds this weekend." Vershire Hosts, Pours & Volunteers at the Vt. Sheep & Wool Festival!, September 30, 2016
Cashmere goat at the Vt. Sheep & Wool Festival
"This summer seems like it's never going to end! What better way to celebrate than with the Vershire Fall Festival? Every year we gather in and around the Vershire Town Center, on Vershire Center Rd., just off Vt. Rt. 113, to share Stone Soup out of cauldrons cooking over open fires (both vegetarian & meat), critique the apple pie contest, guess the weight of the pumpkin and assess the beauty of the fall centerpiece displays. This year's Festival also includes a Flea Market for the first time." Vershire Fall Festival & Open Studio..., October 7, 2016
Pressing cider at the Vershire Fall Festival
"In small communities it's kind of hard not to know our local representatives to Montpelier - and that's a good thing! They need to know us, and to know what's important to us, in order to do their job of representing us." Who Will Represent Vershire in the House?, October 14, 2016
"Finally, it rains. But Vershire folks with dry wells are still scrambling to meet their basic drinking, washing and other water needs. Some are taking showers at neighbors' houses, making expensive and time-consuming trips to the laundromat, buying drinking water at the grocery store and even reviving old outhouses." Where's the Water in Vershire?, October 21, 2016
"Late Friday I spoke with Bryan Redmond, Director for the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division of the Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation. The information in this article is based on my conversation with him." Update on Vershire Water Shortage, October 22, 2016
"Vershire farmers Adriana Boulanger and Merle Russell are finally planning to get a well drilled, after coping for months since their seven-foot well ran dry this summer. They have been watering their cows and other livestock from a pool in a stream on their property and hauling drinking and washing water to the house. Before drilling, however, a dowser iconically named John Wayne Blassingame will survey the land with dowsing rods for the best location to find water according to their specifications." Dowsing, Drilling & Drought Resources for Vershire - Update, October 28, 2016
"The Vershire Women's Wellness Circle is excited to present the second annual Healing Arts & Crafts Fair this Sunday, November 6 from 2-5 p.m. in the Vershire Town Center. The intention of the event is to showcase women of Vershire and the surrounding area with their talents, interests, businesses, projects and organizations relating to health and healing, crafts and culture. The VWWC promotes all aspects of well-being for women with the understanding that this benefits and supports the whole community. While the vendors and presenters will be women, all are welcome at this free, family-friendly event." Healing Arts & Crafts Fair this Sunday in Vershire, November 4, 2016
"What makes Vershire a strong community and a great place to live? What is our common ground - what can we agree is important to all of us in Vershire? How can you contribute to finding, maintaining or expanding that common ground?" Common Ground in Vershire, November 11, 2016
"Vershire’s Laura Craft is Program Director for Revels North, which really just sounds like too much fun. She says her job is to 'oversee all the programs and give people the tools they need.' This sounds like a modest description of coordinating the multiple activities of the organization, from Christmas Revels and Summer Revels to Revels Traditions and Revels Kids. Laura also manages the volunteers, which can number 'in any given year about a hundred people helping out in different ways.' " Revels Is More than Just Christmas!, November 18, 2016
The flying canoe in the 2016 Christmas Revels
"Things like gratitude, compassion and mindfulness are not extras or questionable practices, they're vital to our well-being and our communities. We're hard-wired to cooperate and value one another just as much as to compete and look out for number one." From Gratitude to Generosity, November 25, 2016
"Gary reflects that it's '... important to remember people who passed especially in your family, especially around this time of year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, just to let them know you’re still thinking about them. There are always new names of people who have passed in the last year. It's emotional for some people, and it brings people together.' He also observes that the tree may represent Christmas or any other holiday or tradition, as well as nature, and is an important symbol." Memory Tree Lighting in Vershire 12/3, December 2, 2016
Memory Tree Lighting at the Vershire Historical Society
"When you stop at the Made In Vershire Shop, you'll do more than shop. You may even end up spending the morning there, enjoying hot coffee or tea and homemade goodies along with the company of artists and crafters chatting, knitting or perhaps working online or updating the Shop's Facebook page, as the building is also a wi-fi hot spot for EC Fiber." The "Made In Vershire Shop" Shines at Christmas, December 9, 2016
"Travel with me from the wreath on Ward's Garage to the white lights on the Vershire Shop tree and Memory Tree, then from the wreathed front door of the Town Office to a couple remaining sugar-sprinkled cookies at the Post Office, with several family homes in between and on both ends. See if you can identify the scenes in the photographs below. There are many more beautiful displays from simple to elaborate throughout Vershire, but just be careful on the roads this weekend if you venture out sightseeing in questionable weather. Visiting Vershire is nice, but so is staying in safe and warm and cozy reading dailyUV!" Holiday Decorations in Vershire - Worth a Look!, December 16, 2016
"We generally make it to at least one Vershire holiday gathering, whether it's shopping at the Made In Vershire Shop, singing around the Memory Tree or sharing supper at Soup Night.' A Few of My Favorite Things, December 23, 2016
"...I thought it would be fun to check in with some of the people we heard from over the last six months here in Vershire, to ask about their resolutions for the new year - and, most importantly, how they plan to keep them." Vershire Resolves..., December 30, 2016
2017: Here are a few of the topics that may appear in the Vershire Buzz this year.
I'm currently working on stories about our recycling & waste program, our indomitable road crew, and our hard-working select board. The VerShare annual meeting is coming up, then Chinese/Asian Lunar New Year, Snow-shoe-a-thon and Town Meeting. There's always sugar season and mud season, and then it's spring! Summer will bring the Book, Bake & Plant Sale, Vershire Day, and Vershire Summer Camp. The Vershire Women's Wellness Circle plans to host the Healing Gardens Tour and Healing Arts & Crafts Fair again, and more. Other blog posts could cover the Vershire Volunteer Fire Department, local businesses, farms and families as well as issues that affect Vershire but extend beyond our borders. There is so much of Vershire yet to explore! I'm very excited to begin a new year with you doing just that, and I need your help. Please send me your comments, questions and ideas for future Vershire Buzz posts so we can give Vershire a voice - together.
And thank you to everyone who has helped me so far in getting this blog started for our town. I couldn't do it without you!
Email me at email@example.com or call 802-685-7752.
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