Feb 282013

Submitted by Walter Boomsma

look_who_has_an_idea_150_clr_7993I wish I’d thought of this! You may know that this is the time of year for town meetings, getting ready to tap maple trees, cabin fever, and Kindergarten Registration! Parents of little ones who will be starting school in the fall are bringing them to school to register and maybe get a look at where they’ll be coming in the fall.

The school in Southington Connecticut came up with a “Countdown to Kindergarten” Program that could be adapted to make a great community service program for our Granges! The basic idea is that when parents register their child, they receive a “goodie bag” that helps the family prepare for school. Items include a small white board and marker for the child to start practicing writing, a read aloud book… really, it’s limited only by the imagination. This is not something the child brings to school; it is for the family to use at home.

If a Grange were to provide these, you’d of course include some information about your Grange! And did I mention that maybe the “sewers” could make the drawstring bags…? I’d strongly suggest you contact your school for suggestions for the bag contents.

More information about the Southington Program can be found here.


Feb 282013

MAITC bookRead “ME” Agriculture has been a very successful program since 2008, reaching over 50,000 Maine students. During Ag Week 2013, March 18 – 22 volunteers will read and give books about agriculture to 700 Pre-Kindergarten through 4th Grade Classrooms across the state. They will tell the students about their farms, programs or connections to agriculture and leave lessons and information for the teachers to use, all supplied by MAITC. Funding for this project is a direct result of the Maine agricultural specialty license plate, grants from USDA and a collaboration this year with The Maine Dairy Promotion Board and Dairy Nutrition Council to develop the book “Dairy Farming for ME”. MANY THANKS to the Maine State Grange members that have and will  participate as readers! For more information go to www.MaineAgintheClassroom.org or e-mail maitcatmainedotgov  (maitcatmainedotgov)  

Feb 242013
East Sangerville members dive into the t-shirt supply.

East Sangerville members dive into the t-shirt supply.

It was a cold and snowy night… but that didn’t stop Piscataquis Pomona Members from going over the river and through the woods to East Sangerville Grange for an evening of fun and frolic! We were especially pleased to host Maine State Grange Overseer Vicky Huff who shared her infectious laugh as well as lots of great information about National Grange Conference in New Hampshire later this fall. The Piscataquis Pomona Publicity Program will no doubt be greatly enhanced by the number of t-shirts sold in support of the conference.

We had several “agricultural moments” throughout the evening. The first came with a discussion of maple sap and the observation that ‘not every knows and understands you’re not going to get maple sap from a tree with leaves on it.'” (For the uninitiated, trees are tapped in the early spring, well before leafs appear.) The second came when Pomona Master Bill Bemis share an article describing a pair of oxen that resided in nearby Stetson in the early 1900’s. It seems they were named “Mount Katahdin” and “A Granger” after the then two largest things in Maine! (For a photo and more information, see the Maine Memory Network website.)

Reports of subordinate Granges proved that the Grange is alive and well in this Pomona. East Sangerville member reported they are establishing a special committee to explore additional methods for involving younger and newer members. Garland Grange reported they are in the early stages of developing some ideas that will make their hall more available to the community… and Valley Grange checked off a number of upcoming activities, including the GrowME Agricultural Literacy Program and a Newspapers in Education Contest. Our lecturer’s program featured a report from Ernest Rollins regarding the development of the Fossa General Store and farmers market.

And, once again, East Sangerville Grangers demonstrated they know how to entertain with a delicious ham supper topped off with gingerbread and whipped cream! Pomona members appreciate this annual tradition and look forward to it every year!

State Overseer Vicky Huff is joined by Nancy and Guy Ellms at the ham carving station.

State Overseer Vicky Huff is joined by Nancy and Guy Ellms at the ham carving station.


Feb 242013

Youth LogoYouth Committee meeting has been rescheduled for April 7th! We will meet at headquarters, 1:30pm. If you are interested in joining our committee (all ages welcomed) please contact… Terryllacombeatgmaildotcom  (Terryllacombeatgmaildotcom)   or 207-356-2492

Feb 232013
Words from Walter...

Words from Walter…

Did you notice? This month’s report is a week late! And since I can make excuses with the best of them… let me say that for a short month, February has been pretty busy and had a lot in it! On top of starting my spring adult courses, I’ve been getting a fair number of those early morning calls that mean I go “off to school” to be someone else for a day! (The kids find it fun to ask me who I am when I’m there–I answer with the name of the teacher I’m filling in for.)

We recently had a Winter Carnival that included sixth graders leading activities for the lower grades… I was a third grade teacher that day and commented to one sixth grader that she had “excellent classroom management skills” and wondered if she was considering a career in teaching. Without hesitation she replied, “No way! I don’t like kids and I don’t get them.” I managed not to point out that she was still a bit of a kid herself and was left to consider the realities of what is called “age compression.” (A fancy way of saying that kids are growing up fast these days.)

Also on a somewhat personal level, I recently announced the upcoming publication of my book, “Small People; Big Brains–a collection of stories about simplicity, exploration and wonder.” The release is intended to take place in April, reflecting a profound example of poor planning on my part since March is one of my busiest months with teaching and our Valley Grange GrowME program. Oh well, idle hands are, they say, the devil’s workshop!

In regards to our site… we’ve had to open something of a “storm center” this month as the weather has created the need to cancel several meetings and events. As a reminder, this is a one person volunteer operation and I’m not able to provide “up to the minute” information.  When the weather’s bad, it just makes sense to contact someone and confirm the meeting. (This is one reason we ask you to include a “for more information” contact when you submit an event.)

And speaking of submitting… I’ve had several reports this month of outdated or “missing” information on the site. Please understand, I post what I receive– and if I haven’t received information I simply can’t post what I don’t have. Further, it just isn’t practical for one of me to chase information that potentially needs to come from many different people. I do try to keep an eye out for things like tips or general information to keep the site interesting and lively. If I’m able to attend an event, I’ll try to snap photos and write about it… but I’m really dependent on others sending information about programs, contests, etc.

Some of the “missing” information develops when I remove outdated information but haven’t received any new information. But I don’t always notice that information has become outdated so if you see something that isn’t current, please let me know. You can use the “submit” link on the site or simply send an email to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  . My self-imposed policy is to answer any email and post any information I receive within three days at the most. I’m proud to say I usually beat that deadline!

And speaking of deadlines, let me remind you again that Grange Month material from National Grange should be arriving any day with Grange month arriving just over a month away. If your Grange has some exciting plans, please submit the event to the site… and follow-up with a story and photos! It really is a great time to be a Granger!


Feb 222013

look_who_has_an_idea_150_clr_7993Offered by Vicki Huff, MSG Overseer:

As spring approaches it is never too early to be thinking about resolutions for State Grange Conference. This year the deadline for submissions has been moved up to August 15th. There are lots of issues happening at all levels; local, state and national. Let your Grange’s voice be heard.

Webmaster’s Note… National Grange offers a one page “Basics of Writing Resolutions” Guide on the members’ side of the National Grange Website… you can also contact Jim Annis, Legislative Director or a member of the Legislative Committee for help. 

Feb 212013

look_who_has_an_idea_150_clr_7993Bethlehem Grange in Selkirk, New York recently held its first “Life Skills Class.” This class focused on what it takes to properly and easily balance a checkbook, write checks and reconcile any errors found. These are skills that sound simple to some, but not everyone knows how to do.

Bethlehem Grange hopes to hold a life skills class about once a month from now on. There are already many ideas in the works for upcoming classes including writing a resume/cover letter, practice interviews, container gardening, budgeting, simple mending, cooking, car care, de-cluttering and household repairs.

Consider what skills you and your fellow Grangers could use some help with and start a life skills class of your own! Brushing up on life skills like these can really simplify your life and the lives of your fellow Grangers.

(Quoted from the New Grange Electronic Newsletter–have you signed up for your free subscription yet?)

Feb 162013
Cornville Town Hall

Cornville Town Hall

Many of you will remember Chris Hadsel   (chrisdothadselatgmaildotcom)  from Curtains Without Borders. Chris has been busy documenting and helping with preservation of the many curtains found in Grange and Town Halls around New England. Chris has also shared many of her findings with us during State Conferences. She could use a little help… she’s currently trying to find out something, anything, about some of the artists of the curtains and says that “one in particular thwarts me no end.  H.C. Aiken painted Pomona in North Anson, Ceres in Skowhegan and Flora in Cornville.” She’s looking for Grangers in the Skowhegan area who might be able to help… particularly anyone who might have been part of the “big Grange in Skowhegan before it closed.” You can contact Chris via email by clicking on her name above… and remember, ANY information about any of these curtains is welcomed!


Feb 162013

Wstick_figure_carrying_book_load_400_clrASHINGTON, D.C. – On Feb. 12, the National Grange released “Mentor in the Granges and Homes of Patrons of Husbandry” as a Kindle download available through Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Originally published in 1876, the book was designed to explain the origin, aims and government of the National Grange.

“First Chaplain of the National Grange, Rev. Aaron B. Grosh, paints a picture of all aspects of the Grange in 1876 for those seeking to join the organization and current members,” National Grange President Ed Luttrell said Tuesday.

Luttrell said the book was important at the time and gives those interested in history a view of the Grange and social pressures surrounding it.

“This book is a very thorough manual and was not only a very important read to members of the time but for those who oppose the Grange,” Luttrell said. “Grosh was very careful to use this book as an opportunity to speak to those who opposed the Grange at the time.”

He also said the book has great relevance for members today.

“This book [Mentor in the Granges and Homes of Patrons of Husbandry] paints a picture of the Grange in the late 1800s and reminds us today how the Grange has evolved. It is not only fascinating but important for Grange members to read and understand the history of the Grange,” Luttrell said.

The National Grange has signed a 90-day exclusivity deal for “Mentor in the Granges and Homes of Patrons of Husbandry” with Amazon and the Amazon Kindle Store. The e-book will be added to the Barnes and Noble Nook Store after the exclusivity deal expires.

This is the eighth e-book the National Grange has released. Previous releases include “The Granger Movement,” “Friend of the Farmer,” “Legal and Economic Influence of the Grange,” “Notes and Quotes,” “Proud Heritage,” “First Century of Service” and “People, Pride and Progress.”

“These books tell a very interesting history of the American people, spirit and culture,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell said the organization continues to seek treasures like Grosh’s book that tell the story of the Grange in communities and states throughout the nation as it prepares to celebrate its 150 anniversary in 2017. Any authors wishing to share their work with the Grange should contact National Grange Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana by email at abrozanaatnationalgrangedotorg  (abrozanaatnationalgrangedotorg)   or by calling (888) 4-GRANGE ext. 102.

“Mentor in the Granges and Homes of Patrons of Husbandry” is available as an e-book for $4.99.  BUY IT NOW.