Ever since I was a little kid, I remember spending as much time outdoors as I possibly could. Hiking, climbing, fishing, swimming, sledding, skiing, skating—you name it, I loved it. As I grew up, I began noticing that when my family and friends were outdoors, whether in the woods for a hike or in the backyard at a BBQ, they were more peaceful, inquisitive, conversational and adventurous than in their everyday work lives. My vision began forming way back then, which is to get kids, families and communities outside, enjoying all four seasons. Today, my life remains centered around my wonderful wife and kids, our families and friends and enjoying life in our great outdoors. Helping others enjoy the outdoors has become the mission of Carpenter & Costin, which is truly a labor of love!


The Vermont Health Department advises people to stay away from direct contact with the invasive Wild Parsnip due to its highly poisonous sap.

In VT we typically see this invasive, yellow-flowered weed growing along roadsides, field edges, and meadows. Some folks find its flower and form attractive, often mistaking it for the very common and similar-looking (but harmless) white-flowered plant – Queen Anne’s Lace. Do not make this mistake as the Wild Parsnip causes severe skin damage.

You see, if you brush up against this yellow flower, you will get the sap or oil of this plant on your skin, and large and painful blisters will appear on the skin immediately when exposed to sunlight. In some cases, the painful burns are like second-degree sunburns that can cause excruciating rashes and raised blisters. Such exposure often happens when people weed whack the plants, walk or hike in close proximity to the plants, mountain biking, or something as simple as retrieving a stray ball from the edges of a sports field.

Recently Carpenter & Costin has been contacted by several schools asking how to deal with the nasty weed that has been invading and rapidly advancing on their fields. Those conversations got me thinking, how many other schools are in need of assistance?  Then my thoughts shifted to assisted living facilities. It is commonplace to see senior residents walking the grounds. How could we best protect them as they are out exploring nature after being shut in for so many months already? What about towns and recreation departments whose field edges, and even roads, are so often lined with wild parsnip? The danger to children playing intramural sports or family recreation is also very high should they venture off to get a stray ball.

Fortunately, treatment for this weed is very effective, but only if you get at it early. You need to stay ahead of the curve because once the plant goes to seed, you have lost the battle for that year. You MUST get to the plant before the flowers mature and drop their seeds. If you happen to see this weed, stay away from it! If you see it on your property, a property you manage, or a field or meadow where recreation occurs, give us a call and we can lay out an effective plan to quickly eradicate it.

After all, with these challenging times, our time spent outdoors is even more precious than ever. We can help keep you and all our fellow Vermonters safe and free of this intrusive villain. All we need is some swift action. Call 802-775-5686 to solve this on your property.

Men in sweatshirts building a model bridge

Training & Teamwork Within Our Own Community

Teams Building Bridges

We had a company training session in May for our entire team at our new headquarters in Pittsford. We do these periodically throughout the year to keep everyone sharp and in tune to our mission – and to our team.

Each training session has some fun and creative team-building exercises that everyone seems to enjoy.

Men in sweatshirts building a model bridge

Learning Valuable Skills

One of the events was building bridges with a very limited set of materials with which to work, as you can see in the photos.

The sparse materials consisted of string, sticks, paper, and a hot glue gun. All that was needed to build a strong bridge was teamwork, planning and a very healthy dose of creativity!

No problem. We’ve got this!

Men & women posing with bridge and toy truck

Collaboration is the Key

All four teams had a great time collaborating and gathering ideas and input from all members, on how to design and then build a bridge that met the length requirements and could bear the weight of the dump truck loaded with bricks.

If it sounds or looks difficult, it’s because it was! Fortunately nobody was deterred by the challenges that lie ahead!

Man using hot glue to build a wooden bridge

Accomplishing Goals

I have to say there was some nail biting as we watched those dump trucks easing their way toward the middle – the most vulnerable spot on all the bridges. In the end, however, it was exciting and rewarding to see the accomplishments and the pride of ownership of the teams whose bridges passed the test. I am proud to say that ALL FOUR TEAMS BUILT BRIDGES THAT PASSED THE LOAD TEST! That’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment in my book.

Congratulations and thank you TEAM Carpenter & Costin! You’ve proven once again that you understand and value the importance of relationship building – and we all had a little fun.

People building a model bridge

Faith in the Team

Shriners Carpenter & Costin

Freezin’ for a Reason for Kids

Team Carpenter & Costin “Freezin’ for a Reason”

Vermont’s Cairo Shriners hosted the annual Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Plunge and Team Carpenter & Costin took the plunge for the kids once again!

Hundreds gathered to watch the Polar Plungers strip out of the cozy warmth of winter coats and into spirited team uniforms and bathing suits. The plungers dashed into the water with gusto until they realized just a few seconds later how cold it really was. The exits from the icy waters of the lake were even faster than the entries!

Carpenter & Costin is proud to have co-chaired this event for 5 years running, which raises thousands of dollars for the benefit of our local Shriners Hospital for Children located in Springfield, MA.

Contact Russ Marsan if you’d like your organization to join the Freezin’ for a Reason Challenge and you too can be Freezin’ for a Reason – the kids!

Shriners Carpenter & Costin
snow sculpture of Minions by Team Carpenter & Costin

Rutland Winterfest Snow Sculpting

snow sculpture of a fire
snow sculpture of whales
snow sculpture of Minions by Team Carpenter & Costin

Snow Sculpting Competition

Rutland’s Winterfest was a big hit once again thanks to many volunteers who helped make things happen, and the large crowds that came to enjoy the events.  With events spread out over all 9 days of Presidents’ Week, there is definitely something of interest for everyone and every age group.

Pictured here are three amazing snow sculptures from just one of the events that has been a big hit in recent years. The entire day is made up of teams racing against the clock to create a winning sculpture and take home the bragging rights along with a cash prize.

Carpenter & Costin provides the manpower, snow boxes and of course the front-end loader to create the large 4’x8′ blocks for the teams. We’ve set these up for the past few years, and especially appreciate when Mother Nature helped out with some fresh powder.

At the end of the day, nothing is as enjoyable as seeing the kids watching in awe as giant snow blocks are transformed into some very creative works of art, and sometimes even some of their favorite cartoon characters!

Men wearing safety vests standing on bulldozer

Governor Phil Scott’s Wheels for Warmth

Men wearing safety vests standing on bulldozer

A few members from the team at Carpenter & Costin were happy to help out Casella Construction while they facilitated Governor Scott’s Wheels for Warmth fundraiser to assist those who needed assistance with their heating expenses during winter months.

It was an amazing display of community support, from the number of volunteers that came out to accept the influx of tires from many of our neighbors, as well as those that came out to get a great deal on tires while supporting a good cause.

We live in an amazing community!