Feb 222017
 

Please provide proper attribution when using material.

As a followup to our February 11 post, here’s information about MORE FREE presentations on Browntail Moth management and avoidance.

To Be Held at The Following Times and Locations:

  • February 22, 6:00 PM at Patten Free Library, Bath
  • February 27, 6:00 PM at The Morris Farm, Wiscasset
  • February 28, 6:00 PM at Kennebunkport Conservation Trust
  • March 6, 7:00 PM Town Hall, Bowdoinham
  • March 7, 2:00 PM at UMaine Regional Learning Center, Falmouth
  • March 9, 6:00 PM Town Council Chambers, Freeport
  • March 9, 6:00 PM Belfast Free Library, Belfast

Regional experts will speak about browntail moth:

  • Biology
  • Management methods
  • Personal protection

Pre-Registration is requested for most meetings:

To register, please go to maine.gov/healthylawns or call (207)287-2731

Feel free to call if you have any questions!

Feb 182017
 

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119, reprinted with permission. 


MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library provides every resident of Maine with access to a collection of full-text articles and abstracts from magazines, newspapers, journals, and reference books that are credible, reputable resources.  MARVEL! also offers students, business people, public library patrons, and higher-education students and educators the ability to search a number of resources at one time for information.

Funding comes from the Maine State Legislature and the joint efforts of the Maine State Library, University of Maine, Colby, Bates, Bowdoin College, the Public Utilities Commission, and MTEAF (Maine Telecommunications Educational Access Fund), commonly known as State E-rate.  This collaboration makes statewide licensing of MARVEL! resources extremely cost effective and provides these resources for every school, library, and resident of Maine.

Feb 162017
 

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

April is Grange Month! For those Granges who use the Community Citizen of the Year Award or Pomona Grange Award for Public Service, you should order soon. Most of the other documents you might need are available on the Maine State Grange Website:

  • 2017 Grange Month Awards Order Form--Use this form to order your Grange Month (Community Citizen) Awards. Since you should allow four weeks for delivery, this would be a good time!
  • 2017 Grange Month Poster–This can be a poster or flyer… just fill in specific information about your Grange!
  • 2017 Grange Month Letter–The letter from National Master Betsy Huber announcing Grange Month 2017.
  • 2017 Grange Month Proclamation–The National Grange Resolution proclaiming April as Grange Month… should be posted and could be sent to local media outlets.
  • How to use hashtags–For those who wonder what those #’s you’re seeing all over the Internet mean. (Hint, they are not Grange numbers!)
  • I’m a DO-er Program Description–This is a complete description of the “DO-er” Program announced in conjunction with Grange Month, but running all year long.

Download and print what you need–and share with other Granges in your area! Why not share your plans at your next Pomona Meeting? (You can find all these documents in the National Grange Section of the Program Books and Information Page.

Read the February 2017 Issue of The Patrons Chain National Grange Newsletter. Print a copy to share with others!

Feb 152017
 

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By Walter Boomsma

Most Grangers I talk with admit that the first time they celebrated the four degrees, the event was a bit of a blur and the instruction they received wasn’t fully appreciated. It is certainly interesting to ask Grangers to recite one or two things they distinctly remember from that experience.

One of my distinct memories happened during the Second Degree when the Master showed us a few kernels of corn in his hand. I remember watching his fingers move as he explained, “We are now to teach you how to plant the seed. Behold these inanimate kernels of corn! But the germ has life—the future plant is there. We loosen the soil—we bury the seed; and in so doing impress upon our minds the truth of the immortality of the soul. There is no object in which, to appearance, life and death border so closely together as in the grains of seed buried in the earth; but when life seems extinct a fuller and richer existence begins anew.

Those words and thoughts can be a great comfort to us in times of sorrow. But the lesson of the seeds has nearly endless application. I have occasionally used an apple to make a similar point. (This might be a short lecturer’s program!) I will hold up an apple and ask, “How many seeds are in this apple?” Most people will not know, so we may actually cut it open and count them. One of those seeds can then be selected and another question poised. “How many apples are in this seed?”

 Anyone can count the number of seeds in an apple… but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.

-Robert Schuller

The lesson of the apple seed is the lesson of the kernel of corn—each contain unlimited potential. “From this little seed we have, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. So with the mind, when duly nourished with Faith and Hope…

Later, in the same degree, the Master instructs, “May the lessons you have received find genial soil in your minds. Cultivate with hope the seed thus planted, that it may yield an hundred fold.

The lessons of the Grange are the lessons of agriculture. Nature can teach us much if we listen and much of our Grange tradition and instruction encourages us to listen and learn those lessons.

Ceres explains, “As we look around and see the beautiful transformation of seeds into attractive plants or majestic trees, we have but another lesson taught us of the wondrous works of God. Changes and transformations are constantly passing before us—the dying grain into the living stalk, the tiny seeds into majestic trees, the bud to blossom, the blossom to fruit. All these preach eloquently of the wonder-working God; and if the beauties of this world, when rightly viewed, offer so much of the magnificence of the Creator to charm us here, what must be the sublime grandeur of that Paradise above, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens?

I recall a news anchor’s comment following a story about Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Program. He’d observed how excited the kids were about dictionaries and reading and closed his segment by saying, simply, “There is hope.” All of the lessons of the Grange seem to bring us inescapably to that one word–hope.

We are challenged to consider the words we say, the gifts we give, the simple actions we take as seeds. They are the germs of life. The future lies in them, even when we can’t see it. We are planting hope.


Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.

Feb 152017
 

By Steven Haycock, Chairman

Do you have a talent??

  • So far, we have around four acts for the Variety Show on April 29, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at Topsham Grange, so we still very much need your help to fill out the program.  We’re looking for singers, dancers, musicians, skits, & comedy acts.  Don’t forget also at the show we will have a raffle for items donated by local businesses, delicious refreshments and more.

Cookbooks:

  • The work is progressing on the cookbooks, and my goal is to have them available for sale at the Variety Show.  There will be three separate cookbooks, Appetizers & Main Dishes, Desserts, & Pickles and Preserving.  Be sure to plan on picking up the whole set.

Ag Pride T-Shirts:

  • The Agricultural Pride T-Shirts have come in and I’ll have them for sale as soon as I can pick them up in Augusta.

Car Magnets:

  • The Grange car magnets are back and have come in.  I’ll have them for sale as soon as I can pick them up in Augusta.

Yard Sale:

  • The fundraising committee will be having a yard sale at State Grange HQ on June 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  We are again asking people to donate some attic treasures for us to sell.  We will also be renting tables for individuals or Granges that would like to join us.  Lunch will also be available.  Save the date and more information will be available soon.
Feb 142017
 

A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

It’s time for a “potpourri” column—a collection of communication-related thoughts and updates. Some of these have been published on the website as “Communication Bullets” and may sound familiar to website subscribers and visitors.

I believe one of the responsibilities of the Communications Department (of one) is to explore, discover, and transmit resources that will help our Granges and Grangers. In keeping with that, I’ve created a “Resources for Grangers” theme for this year.

Resources can come in many forms, but will fall into two categories. The first will be somewhat general in nature. The second will be more specific about the “business” of the Grange.

As an example of the latter, I’ve recently researched and posted some potential sources of insurance for Grange Halls in response to several questions and requests for help finding coverage. The options are certainly limited, but there are some possibilities. (The information is also included in this Bulletin.) We continue to post information about conferences, etc. as it is received. Remember that the Communications Department maintains an ODD (Officers, Directors, and Deputies) directory of contact information that is available for download and you can find copies of recent Bulletins on the site.

At least year’s state session, a resolution was passed directing Maine State Grange to develop a strategy for policy, education, and resources for small community-based farms and agriculture in general. I’ve been watching for and reposting articles that would seem to support that. Recent examples include information on invasive plants and the Browntail Moth threat.

But I’m not limiting this to agriculture. With thanks to the VA, we are now posting a Veterans’ Department Wish List of opportunities and needs. The list is updated monthly and includes facilities throughout the state.

I’d like to extend a special thank-you to our MSG Historian, Stanley Howe and his committee. The “In Search of…” feature has brought a number of inquiries regarding closed Granges and membership. Stan and his committee are always quick to respond and generous with knowledge and information. The “In Search of…” feature also recently made possible a connection between some volunteers and Rick Watson, Master of Fairview Grange. Working together Fairview Grange, the volunteers, and the community raised about $4,000 for a young family facing a serious medical issue for their soon to be born child. New bonds and friendships were also formed.

From a practical perspective, the Communications Department is not a department of one—it includes every Granger (and some non-Grangers!) who are committed to communication and the development of our organization. When you discover information that you believe would be of interest to other Grangers, share it! My job is to facilitate that process and make the channels of communication available and effective. If you have or need information, please let me know.

On a slightly personal note, I’m honored to be the “featured speaker,” at Bangor Grange’s Community Connection on March 28, 2017. The topic will be “Finding Dead Rainbows—where you stand makes a difference.” Bangor Grange Master Brenda Gammon describes Community Connections as an ongoing part of the Grange’s efforts to “provide information and resources and a way for our community’s citizens to connect with each other and those resources.” It’s an interesting idea—if your Grange is looking for a new idea and way to make a difference in your community, contact Brenda and ask her about it. Even better, come to the program!

Let’s make some news, take some photos of it, and share it!”

Feb 142017
 

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Gagne, Director

The Maine State Grange Agricultural Committee was busy at the Maine Ag Trade Show booth. There was a lot of activity and young people asking for support, resources and possibly starting a Grange! We raffled off a Valentine Basket to support the Grange Ag Scholarship and made $64.00 toward the scholarship.

I attended the Maine Fair Association Annual meeting in Portland and met with the Exhibition Hall Superintendents. All Maine Agricultural fairs in attendance were interested and willing to have Granges set up an educational exhibit at their fair provided they are informed. The Fair Exhibition Hall Superintendents asked that the Granges contact their local fair if they would like to set up an educational exhibit.  If you need the contact names and are unable to go onto the web to locate the contact for the fair call me (592-6980) and I will get the name for you.  Criteria will be available soon.

The Maine State Grange Scholarship and Farm Family Award criteria and application have been edited and will be posted shortly.

Note: The date for the Ag luncheon for Legislators has been changed to April 5, 2017. We will be looking for fudge for the day and pies for the luncheon.  Sharon will be working on donations of food for the luncheon. Agnes and Bob will head up the lunch preparation with the Ag Committee and arranging to have a group serve lunch. We are still looking for donations of Maine made items for the AG Scholarship basket. Rance will be selling raffles at the luncheon.

The Ag Committee will be working on setting up an Ag Luncheon at the Maine State Grange Convention in Skowhegan along with a speaker.  I will have more information to follow.

Next meeting of the Maine State Grange Agricultural committee will be reading the Ag Scholarships on May 9, 2017,  beginning at 10:00 A.M.  This will be a potluck luncheon at the State Grange Headquarters.

 

Feb 142017
 

Members of Danville Junction Grange recently prepared over 175 valentines for Veterans, thanking them for their service to our country.  These were distributed to Veterans at Togas VA Hospital and at nursing homes in the area.

Feb 142017
 

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

As I sit here and look out at the snow I am pondering what spring will bring. Grange activities will start anew, as well as, new life on the farm.

Yearly Dues

As I write this column I hope that you have sent your first request for your Grange’s yearly dues.  If you need to obtain first dues notices they are available here at the office.  It is now time to send your second notices.  Both notices are available here at headquarters for .25 cents each.

April is Grange Month

The Maine State Grange has memorial flags and grave markers for sale.  This is a great way to honor our deceased members.   We have two styles of memorial flags black emblem ($7) and colored emblem ($8) and grave marker $30.  You can purchase a memorial flag with a grave marker for $35.  I have a limited number of grave markers so if you would like one please get your request in early.

You will also be receiving in a mailing shortly the Grange Month information from National Grange.  It is also available on our website:  mainestategrange.org.  You will be receiving the 2017 Proclamation, Letter from our National Master and a poster to use for inviting the public to a grange meeting.

National Grange Convention 2018 – Unique as a Snowflake

As I have been chosen the Coordinator for the State of Maine I have been given the task of obtaining funds for the convention.  I have short sleeved and long sleeved t-shirts.  I have a variety of sizes in both styles.  The prices are short-sleeved $10 and the long-sleeved $15.

Membership Recognition Form

I will be updating the Membership Recognition Form as National Grange has made a change in the shipping cost0 Effective March 1, 2017.  Golden Sheaf is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling and the 75 Year Diamond Certificates with folder is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling.  I believe that if you forget to add the shipping and handling National Grange will bill you.

Until next month have a safe winter and a great beginning of spring.

Feb 132017
 

HeatherBy Heather Retberg

Last week, strong winds I couldn’t name blew.  They were winds that sucked the breath from me, but so quickly I could hardly tell what happened.  They were winds of tragedy, leaving me with little to say, but swirling thoughts, necessary functioning and sad exhales.  A friend was taken on snowy roads in a car accident.  Quickly.  She was gone.   I didn’t know a wind like that could blow through a day, so imperceptibly at first, but grow steadily into a gusting gale while I had only just noticed its presence.  So that wind came, it took my breath away, it stole my words.  And, it passed on.  The sun shone the next day as if all were well again and it hadn’t noticed the void left, swept away by that strong wind the day before.  It was up to us to notice, to pause, to hold space, and to say good-bye. And that space has been held beautifully and filled with love, and kindness, and gentleness.  The winds could quiet, the world might go on, but that life would be honored, and held and loved.

Then, the beginning of the physical winds started, slapping wet snow against the house, driving their cold claws into the walls, challenging the wood stove to fend off their advance.  This space, too, has been held so far.  The fire and light have held their own against the winds tearing under the roof and slamming into the walls at full force.  We bundle ourselves into our winter shields and work fast so the wind won’t find the chinks in our woolen armor.  We warm ourselves by working quickly and using extra force to break ice out of water pans, making extra trips back and forth with buckets of grain, shavings, water and milk.  Extra trips in the wind, made quickly, warm from within, keeping the wind from penetrating.

Yet later into the week, the physical and emotional winds calmed and an unexpected breeze of gratitude blew in, surprisingly pulling up sweet voices of long lost friends and current ones with congratulations, reflections, memories, laughter, and teasing, too.  This was a gentler breeze that enfolded me, face and heart a little brighter, leaning into a softer, more tender wind.  While the work toward fully realizing food sovereignty across Maine grows and deepens, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund honored me with their Gravel Road Gang Activism Award for the work thus far in 18 towns (and one city) in Maine and in the state house.

The winds will blow strong and harsh again tomorrow, fiercely challenging us to stay upright, to be warm, to keep light.  The white cold sparkle below encourages joy in its powdery lightness, air made visible and fallen to the ground.  Whether the winds rage harshly or the breeze comes gently by to soothe and lift up the heavy corners of life’s fabric, last week was a lesson in acceptance–to whatever may come next, to what has already come, and to what is here now.

Wishing you all strength for the storm ahead, solid shelter from those raging winds to come, and a kindhearted breeze to follow under a stronger, brighter winter sun.

Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.

 ~Wm. Shakespeare

###

Heather and Phil Retberg together with their three children run Quill’s End Farm, a 105-acre property in Penobscot that they bought in 2004. They use rotational grazing on their fifteen open acres and are renovating thirty more acres from woods to pasture to increase grazing for their pigs, grass-fed cattle, lambs, laying hens, and goats. Heather is Master of Halcyon Grange #345 and writes a newsletter for their farm’s buying clubs for farmers in her area and has generously given us permission to share some of her columns with Grangers throughout the state.


Grange members are invited to submit guest columns to Views from the Farm for consideration by emailing the webmaster. Please note that the views and opinions expressed in contributed articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Grange.