Jul 302012

Please note the following additional information regarding Jean Rollins and the concern posted yesterday… At the family’s request, visitation is being limited… please call Andrea or Ernest Rollins prior to making plans to visit. Jean is well-loved and an abundance of visitors will potentially interfere with her need for rest!

Also note that Jean is in a respiratory unit and sending fresh/cut flowers is discouraged.

Jean’s room number for mailing cards is 612:

Jean Rollins
EMMC–Room 612
489 State Street
Bangor ME 04401

 Andrea and Ernest appreciate your understanding and support!

Jul 242012

Many hands needed for Maine Harvest for Hunger next Wednesday!

A very generous farmer in Houlton just notified the  Penobscot County Extension office that he has thousands of pounds of peas and beans that he’s willing to donate to Maine Harvest for Hunger if volunteers are willing to come harvest.  This is the first harvest of both crops – meaning it will be good pickin’!

Any time you can contribute would be much appreciated.  The farmer estimated that an average picker would harvest approximately 15-twenty pounds an hour.  Just think of the people you could help feed in just one hour!

If you are interested in helping out next Wednesday, August 1st (rain date the following day), please contact Kate Garland at the Penobscot County Extension office (katherinedotgarlandatmainedotedu  (katherinedotgarlandatmainedotedu)  ) for details.  Please provide your full name and phone number when you email and let Kate know your location if you are interested in carpooling.

Here’s a short video explaining the Harvest for Hunger Program:

Tell Kate you’re a Granger! Bless your pea pickin’ hands and heart!

Jul 242012

You may recall an early story reporting that an Installation Team was being formed in the Bangor area. Rolf Staples Sr of Bangor Grange now announces:

We are prepared to install any Granges who may wish to have us do so. We are a new team, composed of members of Bangor and neighboring Granges. I used to do installations many years ago in New Hampshire and the charges are coming back to me. Other members of the team have worked with other teams in the past. Just give me a call at 973-3976 or e-mail me at swederolfataoldotcom  (swederolfataoldotcom)   and we’ll get it done as best we can!

Jul 222012

Thought I’d share one idea we’ve implemented in Piscataquis Pomona with some pretty good results… As Publicity Director for our Pomona (your Pomona does have one, right?) I try to aggregate or collect events from our Community/Subordinate Granges and submit all of them with Pomona events a month at a time to local media outlets for their “community bulletin board/events listings.” One of the things that’s happened as result is some of the local newspapers not only add each event to their calendars, they are also publishing a separate stand-alone article headlined “Area Grange Events in (Month).” There are some obvious challenges with this… Granges have to plan ahead (in our area the deadline is usually the 20th of the month prior) and remember to email their event list to me. We aren’t doing it perfectly by a long shot, but it’s great to see that article every month. One or two events by themselves probably aren’t “article worthy,” by a list is! (I don’t include “regular” meetings, just events that would be of interest to the general public: open meetings, suppers, etc. We’ve even included other events where a Grange has an official presence. “Saturday, July 28th Valley Grange Bookworms will have a booth set up at the Riverfest Celebration. Kids should stop by for a free balloon and to let us know how you are coming with your summer reading list… festival hours are… contact…”

Jul 212012

Wreaths Across America is a year-round effort…

Maine is rightfully proud of the Wreaths Across America project–the non-profit organization behind it says their mission is simple: remember, honor and teach. Best known for the week-long “Veteran’s Parade” that includes tractor trailers delivering wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, the organization actually includes a number of activities here in Maine and around the Country.

Lois DeRaps, treasurer of Benton Grange #458 had the distinct privilege of participating in the laying of wreaths in Augusta a few years ago. She said she was especially impressed with the way young people were involved in helping and as a result became deeply committed to supporting the program.

Lois is also a member of VFW Post 8835 in Winslow and vice president of her VFW District. She says she is committed to mustering as many resources as possible in support of the program because she “really believes in it.” She reports that last year two tractor trailer loads of wreaths were delivered to Arlington National and the goal this year is to make it three.

Lois is offering a “short talk to any Grange interested in the program” to share her experiences as well as additional information about the program and how individuals and organizations can get involved. You can email Lois or contact her at PO Box 261 in Fairfield ME 04937.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. This year’s parade begins on December 9th in Harrington ME and finishes on December 15th at Arlington.

Jul 192012

Quick Tip

Just read an article describing a community in Massachusetts sponsoring a free monthly “Veteran’s Breakfast” and thought it was worth sharing as a tip or idea for Granges… what a great way to show appreciation and to bring the community together! There are a number of possible variations and it wouldn’t have to be monthly, certainly… collaborations with local legion posts might be possible. An even simpler version would be to invite Veterans to “eat free” at your public suppers or events… from a fund-raising perspective, supporting troops and veterans is something that would be popular with local businesses and the public in general.

If you decide to do something like this, take photos and send a report!

Jul 182012
Laurie McBurney, Director
laurie_mattidewaterdotnet  (laurie_mattidewaterdotnet)  

Junior Grangers enjoyed a carriage ride

A successful Junior Camp was held the first weekend of July. There were seven Junior Grangers and three adults. The campers kept very busy working on craft projects for the upcoming contests, learning Junior Grange ritual, playing games, visiting a Morgan horse farm and eating! The overwhelming consensus was that camp was fun and should last longer another year.

The weekend ended with an impressive Junior Grange meeting (especially impressive since the children had been practicing less than 24 hours). Ritual instructor Roberta Meserve did a super job. State Master Pat Brewer was able to join us for the meeting which was much appreciated.

The next Junior Grange activity is the judging of the numerous Junior contests at the Family Campout Weekend. There should be a good number of entries as popsicle stick crafts and origami were among the craft projects at Junior Camp.

Properly presenting the flag

A good time for all!


Jul 172012

What is going on in your Grange? Hopefully there are fundraisers, suppers, and other community activities going on. Are you involving non-grangers to help take part in your activity? If the answer is yes, you are doing great! As I check the website for activities, it seems more and more Granges are advertising their activities.

I do have a list of all the agricultural fairs and whether there are Grange membership booths set up or not and also if the fair would accommodate one. If you are interested in manning or setting up a membership booth at a local fair that does not have one, please let the Membership Committee know. This would be a great project for members “ looking for something to do” to promote our beloved Grange. Thank you Agnes and Bob Nelson, Agriculture Directors, for the list. Clinton Fair, New Portland Fair, and Piscataquis Fair currently do not have a table set up. Clinton and New Portland would be willing to do so. Also Cumberland Fair would also like a table but would not necessarily be manned. Fryeburg Fair needs more fillers for the display. The CWA Committee and the Agriculture Committee are working on displays. Maybe some other committees would like to help with the rest of the booth? Other fairs that do not have a State Grange booth set up are Waterford, Pittston, Northern Maine, Topsham, Acton, Springfield, Litchfield and Harmony. Materials such as applications, pens and a display board would be available for the table. If you are looking for new members, why not give it a shot?

Jul 162012

Quick Tip

Valley Grange has occasionally been called the “literacy Grange” because of their various programs like Bookworming, Words for Thirds, and Newspapers in Education—all are programs designed to support and encourage good reading and writing habits. We recently encountered a program called the “Little Free Library” that seems worthy of passing along.

The idea originated several years ago when Todd Bol wanted a way to remember his mother—a teacher who loved books and reading. He manufactured a box in the shape of a one-room schoolhouse and added a sign “Free Book Exchange.” He put the box on post in the front yard, added some books and invited people to take and leave books.

In a world somewhat gripped by distrust, what happened next will come as a surprise to many people. The box wasn’t vandalized. The books weren’t stolen. On the contrary, the idea took off and there are now similar efforts in 28 states and six countries.

A visit to the Little Free Library Website will also provide background and free plans for several different styles of these miniature library boxes. I wonder what one would like in front of Grange Halls across the state…?


Jul 152012

Words from Walter…

You may not have noticed that I was “gone” for two weeks… fortunately, the site doesn’t seem to have suffered much. Technology allowed for some continued maintenance and the posting of your events at just a slightly slower pace than usual.Speaking of pace, an important part of this vacation was spent in the Lancaster Pennsylvania area—also called “Amish Country.” When we lived closer to the area, we spent a good deal of time visiting there. It was good to be back after a ten year absence.

We discovered the truth in the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While there were some obvious changes to the area—it was equally obvious that many things have not changed. We have always avoided the heavily trafficked tourist areas and never shared the perspective that Amish folks are a tourist attraction. We’ve always thought of ourselves as their guests when visiting.

Shortly after arriving, we found ourselves a bit confused regarding the location of our hotel. I stopped at the Welcome Center and met “Tom” who began his affable help with “Well, the first thing ya gotta do is turn off your GPS.” His humorous advice actually became a running theme for our stay. The fact was I am familiar with the area. Yes, things have changed. But it didn’t take long to feel at home again once I turned off the GPS and started noticing my surroundings.

The irony didn’t escape me—technology has changed a lot over that ten year period. My Amish friends not so much so. Being among them provided an opportunity to consider how much technology has changed habits and life in general.

That, by the way, is something the Amish are particularly good at—they carefully consider adapting or not adapting technology based on how it will impact them as individuals, families and a community. We could learn a thing or two from them.

A GPS is no substitute for a sense of direction and map reading skills. My friend at the Welcome Center pointed out that some of the best places in the area don’t have GPS coordinates. He also understands that sometimes the journey is equal to the destination and encourages travellers to learn that lesson.

As most know, Old Order Amish still travel by horse and buggy. We passed and were passed by many and I didn’t see one GPS on a buggy dashboard, although I’m quite sure some of the horses are able to find their way home without much help from the driver. I would challenge Grangers with this question: are the Amish actually deprived of something that important? Or are we that much better off because we have them?

I believe that one of the catastrophes of this generation is the failure to use technology deliberately and selectively.

Consider this, from the Overseer’s charge during the Fifth Degree. (Every Patron) should also carefully observe and record all changes and accidents, helps and hindrances that attend each stage of growth. And when the experiment is completed, he should as carefully note all particulars pertaining to the results obtained. This will enable him to instruct others, and will suggest many valuable hints for future use.

Our forefathers were, of course, speaking of the farmer and his crops. Today’s farmer might record information using his or her smart phone, but the act of observing and recording change… thinking critically about the factors that affect “growth” and development… being aware of causes, correlations, and effects… these are no less important in the growth of technology than they are in the growth of crops. Should we grow soybeans? We can, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. In the same way, that we can use technology doesn’t always mean we should.

Sometimes ya gotta turn off the GPS (smart phone, computer). There may come a day when the roster includes GPS coordinates for every Grange Hall, but it’s not here yet. That may not be a bad thing. In the meantime, engage your brain and enjoy the journey—just don’t give up the decisions of what turns you’re going to make and how far down the road you’ll travel.

(For a contrast between a nine year old Amish farmstand cashier and teen age restaurant server, read “Making Change.”)