Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) December 13, 2019
The shortest day may be coming, but that doesn’t mean we stop getting together
December 21st will mean that the sun goes down early, but we choose to use that as an excuse to get together and sing, rather bewailing the lack of sunlight. Please join us for an afternoon Holiday Sing-Along on Dec. 21st, from 4:00 to 5:30, followed by a bonus Community Potluck Dinner, from 5:30 to 7:00!
We started our holiday sing-alongs on a December afternoon, in a snowstorm a few years ago, when we weren’t sure if anyone would show up–but the people who did were so grateful to have the opportunity to sing some songs together that we decided to make it an annual event. Last year, we had at least 40 people, with activities for kids, lyrics projected on the screen and cookies to share.
This year, we’re taking it to the next level, with a sing-along, cookie sharing, and then a potluck dinner for extra socializing.
Bring your favorite carols–if we don’t have the lyrics ready, we can find them on-line thanks to the Grange Wi-Fi, and our Grange Musician, Matt Nunnelly will accompany to the best of his considerable ability. We’ll have a lot of the “standards” ready to go, too. Previous years have included rousing renditions of songs ranging from Adeste Fidelis to Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, so don’t be shy!
And remember, this is singing along, so solos, no auditions and no judgments–which is good news for me and many others who enjoy singing, even if we’re not very good on our own!
Filling up–but still room for more!
We’re pleased to see that donations have come in for our “Holiday Food Boxes”, but we still do better!
The holidays are fast approaching, and our partners at Washington County Head Start, who have picked out 6 families who need a helping hand to have some special holiday meals, want to pick up the boxes next Thursday, Dec. 19th!
A few people who have brought in non-perishable food items have added to the stock in the boxes, but there is still time, if you are coming to the Grange Hall, to drop off anything you want to add. We have 3 boxes, and 3 donation containers spread around the Hall.
We have also gotten some generous monetary donations–from Jacinthe Pellerin, who led our “Sweet Treats” baking workshop, and from the Premont extended family, who held a large Thanksgiving dinner in our cafeteria, plus more from Kids Trade & Play. Using these donations and others, Merry will be doing a shopping trip on the 18th to get more food, particularly perishable items. She arranged to get 6 turkeys at a sale price, from Shaw’s! If you haven’t had a chance to contribute, be assured that we value everyone’s contributions, so let us know if you want to pledge some “buckage”, or bring cash or a check to the Hall before the 18th, and we’ll happily increase the amount we can buy!
Dec. 7th meeting gave us “the Dirt on Compost” and a lot more recycled information!
We had another great program in our bi-monthly series, featuring Theron Lay-Sleeper and Dora Chi of Central VT Solid Waste Management District (CVSWMD). They taught us a lot about ways to reduce our contributions to our landfills, while gaining healthy compost and increasing the quality of our recycling.
We talked about a wide range of topics, and they answered a lot of questions; I can’t include it all in these notes, but I’ll pass on a few things that were new to me, after years of “amateur” composting, and recycling for decades:
- Improve composting by making big things into small ones–e.g. cutting up banana peels with kitchen scissors.
- Meat scraps, bones, seafood and dairy waste can all be composted–and kept safe from animals–by using a “Green Cone”. It needs to be in fairly full sun to get the solar heat it requires.
- Adding 3 parts “browns”–sawdust, leaves, dried plants” to 1 part “greens”–grass clippings, food waste, etc. will speed up composting.
- Never put florist flowers in compost–they often contain fungicides.
- There are a few commercial composting drop-off places, to which food waste can be taken, if you can’t compost where you live. Click here for a list for Central VT, compiled by CVSWMD. There are also tips on what can and can’t go into these commercial composting operations–they can handle more than your backyard pile can!
- Aluminum foil (cleaned of food) can be recycled–but should be accumulated in a ball at least the size of a baseball to avoid “tangling” in the recycling sorting machinery
- It’s OK to leave plastic caps on bottles for recycling–in fact, if they are loose they will fall through the sorting belts.
- If you do take caps off, they need to be taken to the “Additional Recyclables Collection Center” in Barre, along with other items less than 2″ x 2″–pill bottles, bottle caps, floss containers, and much more can be recycled there, for a small fee. Plan on sorting your items into individual bins when you go. For more info on the ARCC click here. They take an amazing variety of things!
- Black plastic can’t be recycled–the black dye prevents the use of the plastic resin to be used for anything other than black or gray items, so it needs to be discarded.
- The basic mantra for recycling is: when in doubt, throw it out. Keeping recycled materials as “pure” as we can is the best way to keep the market paying for recycled materials!
As I said, this is just a sampling of the information we discussed–we also got into vermiculture composting (worms are amazing processors), the international recycled materials market, and much more. You can find a lot of information about waste reduction on the CVSWMD website to improve your “waste management” practices.
Our next “program” will happen on Saturday, Feb. 1st–stay tuned to learn the topic and presenters, presently being finalized by Grange Lecturer Carl Etnier.
Here’s what I heard…
…from callers, sound-people and musicians at contra dances, about the acoustic panel project which the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall has completed this year:
- What a difference!
- It’s like night & day!
- I don’t have to turn up the band and caller to get them to be heard at the back of the hall!
These comments came from people who have played, called, or set up sound at the “Montpelier Contra Dance” in years past, and came back recently.
I can personally vouch for the improvement in the ease of hearing meeting participants at Grange meetings and programs–there is less “reverb” when there are only a relative few of us in the Hall, as well as when there are 100 to 150 or more for the dances!
Many thanks to the FCCGH, to the people who have donated to the Friends, making this project possible, as well as the upcoming basement renovations, and other projects! Also to our volunteers who put together the panels, and hung them on the walls.
Basement renovations: starting this weekend!
Kids Trade & Play, on Saturday 12/14 will be the last event to be held in the basement, until after the renovation project! The usual clean-up following that popular event will be a bit different, as Erin Barry and her crew will move the shelves and the many bins into the kitchen, or other locations away from the outside walls. Stan Carlson, who will be our carpentry contractor, will be starting to do prep-work for the Northern Basements workers who will come in starting Dec. 23rd, to install drainage under the stair-landing and along the East wall of the basement. NB will also put foam insulating panels on the East, North, West and furnace room walls (except the kitchen on the West wall, and the bathrooms), and will foam the rim-joists all around the basement (except behind the bathroom–that was already done!). Stan will make sure that there is a safe stairway put back once the insulated panels are done, in case anyone is wondering! We will make arrangements for the basement to be used for coats and shoe-changing for the contra-dance on Jan. 4th
Following that work by Northern Basements, our electrician Alana Norway will rough-in the electrical outlets for the outer walls, and the dedicated circuits for the sump-pump and dehumidifier which NB will install. Then Stan will sheetrock the insulated walls, as required by the Fire Marshal, and put up the “FRPs”–Fiberglass Reinforced Panels–that will protect the walls from damage, and make them easy to clean, too. He’ll have to re-trim all the windows, among other things, and put up new railings on the main basement staircase.
By the end of the project, we’ll be replacing all the panels in the dropped ceiling, and having Country Floorsinstall carpet tiles on the entire floor, and a new carpet runner on the stairs. Our goal is to have that carpet help remove the grit and wet from people’s shoes and boots as they go downstairs.
All in all, this is a major improvement for our lower level, which we expect will save us significantly on our heating bills as well as making major improvements in the attractiveness of the basement! Removing moisture from the air with the internal drainage channel and the dehumidifier, along with the insulation of the cold exterior walls will bring a major reduction in the mildew we now have. We hope you are wondering…how can I help with this exciting project? Besides the generous contributions which many of you have made to the Friends, which help match the grant money we’ll get from the VT Arts Council, we’ll also be needing help with some parts of the project:
- Moving sheetrock from a delivery truck into the basement
- Moving FRPs from a truck into the basement
- Painting above the FRPs, which will cover the bottom 60″ of the walls
- Installing new ceiling panels in the existing grid, and
- Taking the old ones to the transfer station
- Cleaning up after this work–we will be scheduling a work-day to make sure that the newly refurbished space is clean and as dust-free as we can make it.
Can you pitch in on some of this work? What skills do you have that will help? Please contact me (Tim) via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how we can fit you in!
OK, now what’s going on?
Since you’ve stuck it out this far in these Grange Notes, you will know that our plan is not to flood the basement, but rather to prevent floods with the interior drainage & sump pump…and Hannah has promised not to flood either the Main Hall or the lower level…
This picture is actually to let you know that our Grange Hall is hosting another arts organization: Hannah Dennison’s “Quarry Project” dance rehearsals will start taking place in our Hall starting in January. You can read more about it in this article in 7 Days. Props for these rehearsals have been stored in our basement for the last couple of months; Grange users have been very good about not disturbing them! We’ll pass on news about the performance schedule as we get closer to its debut in August of 2020.