Author Archives: Susannah Kerest

Best of FPF: Welcome, Baby, to the Neighborhood!

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2024 by No comments yet

Jo posted this generous message in her Randolph Forum and we thought it was well worth a share:

“On my way home tonight I saw posters and balloons welcoming a new baby to the neighborhood. If you happen to know this family, please send them this message:

‘Congratulations on welcoming your baby! While these first few weeks are some of the hardest, they are also some of the best and go by so quickly! We celebrate our baby girl’s first birthday next week and I miss those newborn scrunches!’

‘Unsure if this is your first baby, and perhaps you have more support than you know what to do with, but I wanted to say, please reach out anytime for help or just someone to talk to! I am currently still home with my daughter and I am happy to be of any assistance or just a person to let you cry to if needed. I won’t offer any unsolicited advice, but I would happily share tips or things that worked for me should you ask.’

‘Congratulations again!'”

Best of FPF: A Hard Life Well Lived

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2024 by No comments yet

John D. posted this in his Mad River Valley Forum some time ago. We thought it was worth sharing with you as part of our weekly Best of FPF series:

“A few winters back there was a very short, simple obituary in the Valley Reporter noting the death of the farmer, Donny Joslin, at age 91. In one way that was a fitting tribute, as Don was a humble, hardworking, uncomplicated person, but in another way it was woefully too short in marking the man and his imprint on the Valley.

Don was the most interesting Vermonter I have known. All summer, he could be seen on the Common Road or East Warren Road driving his antiquated tractor to numerous properties he hayed – including ours. For most of his farming career, he was a one-man band working from sun up to sun down. He lived a hardscrabble existence and never had a day off.

It is hard to appreciate the utter lack of creature comforts Don survived with for most of his life. For many years, he had no running water, or at least no hot water when he did have running water. He lived in a small portion of an extremely rundown farmhouse heated with a wood stove. He didn’t have the time or money to fix it up. But he didn’t seem to mind because that’s the way it had always been.

Don had an undeserved reputation as a mean, curmudgeon. While Don did label his farm ‘Misery Manor’ and had the saying ‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here’ written on his gate, this was just evidence of his dry humor. He had very poor eyesight and hearing. So, as the many Common Road walkers passed him by and tried to get him to respond to their greetings, Donny often didn’t hear them or know who they were, so he didn’t acknowledge them – enhancing his reputation. Occasionally, if he knew who you were, and he wanted to take a break from his work, he could entertain you for a long time with some funny stories and perspectives on farming in the Valley.

He had the opportunity to sell a separate parcel he owned for more than enough money to live comfortably with a life of leisure in his remaining days. But Donny had no interest in sitting down. Farming and hard work were all he knew. Someone remarked to Don about the many spectacular views visible from his property. His response mirrored his love and respect for the value of his land – ‘You can’t eat the view,’ he replied.

Donald W. Joslyn loved his land, he lived his land, and died in his easy chair in his house on his land – that’s all he wanted out of life.”

A Neighbor’s Recommendation

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 by No comments yet

Seeking suggestions for trusted businesses is one of the most common uses of Front Porch Forum. You read those postings all the time, right? Plumbers, contractors, tutors … Well, that’s one of the reasons that FPF developed a network of local Area Business Directories for every town in Vermont. Now businesses and nonprofits can log all their information into their Area Business Directory listing. So, when it comes time for you to get that leaky sink fixed once and for all, not only will you find numerous plumbers listed in your area, but if that business has recently shared an announcement or if a neighbor has chimed in with a recommendation, you’ll know which one to call!

Here are a few great examples:

Amanda, in Colchester, shared with her neighbors, “As this is a place to find trusted information, I wanted to send out a recommendation for the All-Star Cleaning Company. I signed up recently for weekly cleanings, they have been to my house twice now. They do great work, are friendly, and are clear regarding what you will and will not be getting for pricing. They are also amazing with my dog. At this point, I couldn’t be happier.” Check out All Star Cleaning Company, read all their reviews and recent postings.

Tara, in Waterbury, was seeking some tools to cope with anxiety. She discovered Butterfly Moon Wellness when River posted about her wellness and meditation coaching on FPF. Now Tara shared with neighbors, as can be read in the Business Directory, “She changed my life. She taught me all the tools I needed to take care of myself. You won’t regret reaching out. We forget how important our breath can actually be.”

When Fritz, in Shelburne, had a literal tangle with technology, he turned to the Independent Tech Guy for help. “Acting upon a friend’s recommendation in FPF, I emailed Henry Hilliard, who managed to untangle the mess we had and restored most of the 35 or so devices around the house to working order. Henry is a very accomplished, gentle and kind person who focuses on defining and remedying the issues at hand. He describes the problems and their solutions in layman’s terms. He is conscious of the need to simplify and save needless expenses.”

Introducing the Best of FPF

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2024 by No comments yet

Each week, FPF will share a posting, with permission, selected for its humor, storytelling, or community-building. You’ll find them in your email and also right here. We hope you’ll enjoy!

I Hate Vacuuming and Now You Can, Too!
We have a central vacuum.

When Grandpa moved to Texas, somehow we got his Miele Leo vacuum cleaner, which went into the basement for the past four years. Then Grandma Goose downsized and we ended up with yet another vacuum. This time a Dyson DC25. It also went into the basement.The two machines have been quietly sitting in the dark all these days, just waiting to get out and suck again…

And now, thanks to wife’s threat to, “CLEAN ALL THIS JUNK OUT OF THE BASEMENT, OR ELSE, BECAUSE I AM LITERALLY GOING TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK IF YOU DON’T. I’M NOT KIDDING, MISTER,” you can help either one of these vacuums to suck again!

$100 for the Dyson.$100 for the Miele.$200 to save the marriage.

– Steve, Weybridge Cornwall Forum

P.S. These vacuums are no longer for sale.

Spreading Joy and Love in the Classroom

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 by No comments yet

This teacher appreciation week, Front Porch Forum is home to the heartfelt acknowledgment of educators throughout the state, thanking them both for the work they are doing today and for those who made a lifelong impact. Here are just a few of the postings:

One of my favorite teachers from my days as a student at Spaulding High School is now my neighbor of the past 25 years. I still call him Mr. Maher, even though he has repeatedly encouraged me to call him Jeff. The respect and honor I hold for him, and the many other amazing teachers I have had, is so big that calling him by his first name would never seem appropriate.”

• Sonya, Spaulding

Our teachers are great communicators, role models and vital members of our community. This year I have enjoyed watching my son’s confidence grow and my daughter find joy in reading – both directly attributable to their awesome teachers.”

• Anastasia, Barre

I want to thank all the fabulous teachers and support staff at CCS! I continue to be amazed and grateful for the love, support, knowledge and growth these individuals bring to the students and families of CCS. They go out of their way to help our students be their best and get the support they need.”

• Larson, Charlotte

Thank you to our local teachers for working so hard for Calais kids. You are exceptional! You have great enthusiasm and positivity for the work you do. You spread joy and love.

• Kelly, Calais

Mrs. Gilbar was our daughter’s teacher in 2020. She navigated the pandemic and showed up to Google meets with a smile. She did more checking in on the kids and families than expected. Never once did she complain or let on that she was nervous, scared or tired. Her grace gave our family and many others the support and care needed.”

• Mariann, Underhill

I appreciate our teachers. I appreciate their willingness to show up day after day and do a thankless job that is one of the most impactful jobs within our community and society at large. Teachers impact our youngest community members during some of their most pivotal moments in their life.” –

• Moriah, Morrisville

Our children are lucky to have such a dedicated and caring group of educators who work tirelessly for them and for our community. You are appreciated more than you know.

•Emily, Barre

Teachers, para-educators, administrators, school support staff and educators of all kinds are essential for our kids and our community. We see you, we appreciate you!!

• Hallie, Morristown

Share your own appreciation, memory, or classroom experience on Front Porch Forum!

May the Fourth Be With You

Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2024 by No comments yet

Busy families joke that “Maycember” is both full of fun, but is non-stop activity. Based on the volume of Community Calendar events, Front Porch Forum can confirm that this weekend is the kick-off to the year’s busiest time!

Community gatherings take center stage this weekend with Green Up Day, Little League Opening Day, yard sales, plant swaps, and more. (Confession: we really miss the Little League days… ) While these traditions are part of the fabric of towns throughout Vermont, Front Porch Forum members are also looking forward to spending time with neighbors at:

Search for events in your town!

Searching High and Low

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 by No comments yet

Your local Front Porch Forum, Area Calendar, and Business Directory are treasure troves of information!

Whether you are looking for a recommendation for “lawn care,” you remember seeing some sweet “skis for sale,” or want to read the agenda for an upcoming “school board meeting,” the Search tool is powerful, grabbing years of trusted information posted by neighbors on your local Front Porch Forum.

Click here if you’re curious.

Community Keepers

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024 by No comments yet

Those who tend to our communities often go unseen, unrecognized, happily tending to their work. We love when neighbors turn to Front Porch Forum to celebrate those who make our surroundings a bright spot.

“We watched Alan thoroughly clean, fill, and start up the fountain on the green this morning. It turns out he volunteers to do it every year – and not only that, he visits it every morning all spring/summer/fall to skim off whatever falls or gets thrown in there, and cleans it once a week. He also very kindly explained to our grandsons what he was doing, and let us watch it all. What a wonderful man, and wonderful service to all of us who enjoy the green and the fountain!”

• Anne, Bristol

“I have really enjoyed the gardens along the street near the stop sign. I kept wondering who maintained them because they really added quite a bit to the area. Well, last week I finally saw someone out there over several days putting in a lot of time and weeding them. I walked over from my house to meet them and was blown away by the time and care they were giving to our neighborhood simply because it was the right thing to do / a kind thing to do.”

• Richard, Burlington

“As one drives, jogs, or bikes from the intersection of Route 15 on Allen Martin Drive to Sandhill, then onto Allen Martin Parkway, not one speck of garbage will be seen along this route. All year long! Why?? We have amazing human beings living here. Tom walks daily with his long poker and picks up litter and cans, used bags, and other trash along his walking route. Another human from the same area walks daily into the woods with his wide-brim hat, holding his walking stick, to Saxon Hill bike trails to be available to athletes who may need assistance. We are truly grateful to have residents here who care about their neighborhood community environment and for the well-being of all of us who live here.”

• Patty, Essex

Click here to recognize a “Community Keeper” you appreciate!

Eating Pie, Celebrating Neighbors

Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2024 by No comments yet

We love a holiday!

It seems there may be several “official” days on the calendar each year where we’re meant to celebrate our neighbors, but we think this locally-grown commemoration of a good deed is pretty sweet.

“…Ginny and her husband were so grateful for the neighborly help they received that day that Ginny felt April 19th – the day her husband fell to what may have been a terrible fate had he not been discovered by their quick-thinking, caring neighbor – should become an official day for everyone everywhere to appreciate their neighbors. In recent years, Ginny has been recognized by Governor Scott and the Chelsea Selectboard for her conception of this idea.”

The town of Chelsea will be celebrating Neighbor Appreciation Day tomorrow with a pie party. Yum!

In Awe of the Solar Eclipse

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 by 3 comments

Jean from Cambridge wrote a lovely encapsulation on Front Porch Forum about Monday’s eclipse, “I think my favorite part (of too many to count!) was: no matter one’s race, creed, gender, political persuasion, or anything else, it was something we all came together on, in our shared sense of wonder and awe.”

Thank you so much to the neighbors, businesses, and town officials who shared their plans leading up to April 8. To date, Front Porch Forum members posted 1,437 eclipse-oriented messages, 230 calendar items, 47 announcements about where to recycle eclipse glasses, and dozens of heartfelt accolades to event planners (Food trucks! Bagpipes! Telescopes! School bands!). 

Vermont showed its best self to each other and those from out of town. And, as we re-settle back into our routines, we wanted to share an important sentiment from Carissa in Enosburg Falls who wrote, “In the coming days there will be folks visiting our town that will never see the true value of what it is to be here. They will watch the eclipse and leave, hopefully with a sense of awe, but I cannot help feeling heavy-hearted that they may not truly understand the real uniqueness of where they are… That is ok, because we do. Where else can you have an atmosphere of such communal authenticity with such a self-defined unique definition of what it is to be abundant?”