Nov 272013

Agriblity StickerFarmers have the seventh most-dangerous job in America.

Annually, there are 26.2 work-related fatalities per 100,000 full-time farmers, according to Business Insider. Of the 268 farm deaths in 2011, 54 percent were transportation related.

With harvest season underway, many Maine farmers and farm workers are operating farm tractors in fields and on roads.To promote workplace safety, the Maine AgrAbility Program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and AlphaOne, developed a brightly colored decal to be applied to tractor fenders, dashboards and windshields. The decal reminds operators to work safely.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s AgrAbility Program will give as many as five free safety stickers to each farm in Maine. To order, contact Maine AgrAbility Coordinator Lani Carlson at mainedotagrabilityatmainedotedu  or 207-944-1533.

Information reprinted from the November Piscataquis and Penobscot Farming Newsletter published by UMaine Cooperative Extension, edited by Donna Coffin Contact Donna at 207-564-3301 or in Maine 1-800-287-1491 or donnadotcoffinatmainedotedu  (donnadotcoffinatmainedotedu)  .

Nov 272013

The Northeast Leaders’ Conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel, 2081 Post Road, Warwick, Rhode Island on Friday, January 10 through Sunday, January 12, 2014. This conference is open to all Grange members who would like to attend and we look forward to your participation. The conference registration fee is $10 per person and all attendees must register.

Room reservations must be made with the hotel (401-739-3000) by December 30, 2013. Be sure to mention the Rhode Island State Grange when making reservations. The single or double occupancy room rate is $79 per night plus tax. A charge of $15 per night will be added for each additional person sharing a room. Check in time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m.

Please complete and return the registration form for conference and meals by December 30, 2013. Checks should be made payable to Rhode Island State Grange and mailed to Mrs. Shirley Lawson, 120 Wilson Avenue, Rumford, RI 02916. Feel free to make additional copies of the form as needed.

Download the information sheet and registration form: 2014 NE Leaders Conference Information

Nov 262013

Here we come, Santa!

HFest_99_1B_SMWith a hearty “Ho! Ho! Ho!” lots of Santa helpers got together for a Harvest Festival to benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund! The night may have been cold, but the warmth of community (not to mention all the steam from cooking) sure created a snuggly night!

Led by Chief Cook and organizer Sheree Brown, Santa’s kitchen workers put on yet another incredible meal! One diner tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You know what’s really nice about these meals?” He didn’t wait for me to answer before he added, “Seeing all these kids actually working!”  Truth be told, I hadn’t noticed that the majority of our hard workers were young people! I did notice, however that there was always someone willing to work whether it was peeling squash, carving ham, or setting up very cold metal chairs upstairs.


But wait, there’s even more! There was lots of toe tapping and swaying to the music as the Friends Band including Kathy & Buzz Vanadestine, John Whitman, Gary Knowles, Cornell & Judy McLellan entertained us with some old favorites and some pretty bad jokes! (Do you know what Adam said to Eve in the Garden of Eden the day before Christmas? “Merry Christmas, Eve!”) Ba-da-boom.

While we didn’t give a prize for folks who traveled the longest distance, we were really pleased to have the Maine State Grange Master (president) join us all the way from South Portland. And while we consider Vicki a “dignitary,” she didn’t come as one. She came as a supporter both of Piscataquis Santa and Valley Grange. In fact, she sold one of the winning Meat or Heat Raffle Tickets!

We did have some questions about how Valley Grange and these events supports the Piscataquis Santa Fund. There are, as many know, sponsors grouped basically by school districts with Piscataquis Santa serving as an umbrella. Each of those districts is basically responsible for raising funds for their individual program, but one of the real benefits of the fund is the pooling of resources.  Valley Grange has members from “Monson to Millinocket”–therefore when we started these collaborative efforts, we determined that we would raise money under the “umbrella” and not specifically for any one district. In this way, if there is a particular need or shortage in one district, Penquis has the funds to meet that need.

Every year we get a few calls from people who’ve benefited from Piscataquis Santa in the past… they beg to volunteer to help because they fully appreciate the value of this program. Yes, it’s important to “pay it forward,” but in this way, it’s possible to “help pay it back.” The generosity we experience from businesses and individuals is heartwarming and rewarding. Thank you, one and all!HFest_99_27B_SM

Nov 252013

Submitted by Miriam Black

Arbutus Degree Day

I am so proud to say that our degree day at Arbutus Grange #450 was very successful. We had 12 candidates in all, 6 from Lamoine Grange, three from Castine Grange, two from Halcyon Grange and one from Arbutus. We worked the first two degrees, broke for lunch of soup and sandwiches, then worked the third and fourth degrees. It turned out to be a nice, but cold day, with the sun out and the traveling great.

Maybe we could start a slogan for our degree days… “Grangers are even better by the dozen!” Congratulations to all candidates–no, make that former candidates. No, make that “Congratulations, new members!”

Nov 252013

Excerpted from the Convention Crier

Programs, Benefits and Sales Director | Email: sjohnsonatnationalgrangedotorg

chef_stiring_pot_anim_150_clr_6703I am happy to announce a new program to the Grange “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” was created by Sesame Workshop with material produced with United Healthcare and Merck Company Foundation.

The program includes a packet with a CD/DVD, recipe cards, and a mini comic book. All of this material is available in English and Spanish.

The booklet and other material is a way to show kids how to eat nutrionaly on a budget to get them to try new foods. The DVD, also has a presentation on a local farmers’ market, so kids can understand where food comes from. These packets are available to all Grange members and Granges which would like to distribute these to their community. This is a great way to get the Grange name out and to help people in your community to make the best meals out of the food they have in their kitchen. You can pick up your free copy at the National Grange Idea Fair in Manchester. If you have any questions or would like more information do not hesitate to contact me at sjohnsonatnationalgrangedotorg  (sjohnsonatnationalgrangedotorg)   or 202-628-3507 ext. 109.

Nov 252013

Grangers waiting for the hall to open. Photo by David Gowen

 By Webmaster Walter… with huge thanks to David Gowen for providing the photos and the inspiration for sharing just some our experience at National!

Everywhere a Granger! At least it felt that way when Janice and I arrived at the Radisson on Saturday morning for the Seventh Degree Conferral! Ironically, one of the first people we ran into was State Master Vicki–giving rise to the rumor “She’s everywhere! She’s everywhere!” As Vicki reported. we were part of a crowd of nearly 400 candidates–and that doesn’t count the many present who are seventh degree Grangers already!

Maine Folks at the registration table. Photo by David Gowen

Maine Folks at the registration table before the real crowds arrived. Photo by David Gowen

We found ourselves in line behind someone clearly on a mission, hoped he was worming his way to the registration table and followed in his wake. It truly was a bit disconcerting to not be able to see anything but people! Ultimately we made it to the registration table and received our tickets–they were actually handed over the heads of several people stuck in place with no room to move. We felt somewhat reassured that we were in the right place.

A sea of Grangers... photo by David Gowen

A sea of Grangers… photo by David Gowen

After what seemed like forever we found ourselves, together with over four hundred other people, inching forward. Eventually the folks ahead of us appeared to be getting taller and we surmised there were stairs ahead. And then we spotted Ellie and Clay Collins, our Maine State Grange Assistant Stewards. They were greeting people and warning us to watch our step. I pointed out to Ellie that it was thoughtful, but given the situation it would be impossible to fall!

Ultimately we made into the hall… an impressively arranged and properly decorated location. We were fortunate to secure “good seats” and somewhat smugly enjoyed watching deputies serving as ushers trying to find empty seats. We think it was the first Grange meeting we’ve been to in a long time where it was “standing room only.” What a great problem to have!

In fact, one of the perhaps unusual aspects of the morning was… well, you know how much fun it is to be “out and about” and stumble onto someone who’s a Granger? It’s like discovering a kindred spirit? This morning, there were kindred spirits everywhere! And it was nearly impossible to discover someone who was NOT a Granger! Now that is a pretty awesome experience!

And we have to mention that we are grateful for finding Lewis Bryson when we were ready to leave. Thanks, Lew, for saving us $5 in parking fees! And for escorting us to the parking garage… while we did assure you at the time we’d be fine from where we separated, we now confess that we spent a few minutes wandering around the garage looking for our vehicle. I guess that’s what happens when country folk don’t go to the big city too often!

Do Jim and Steve look a little TOO relaxed? Photo by David Gowen

Do Jim and Steve look a little TOO relaxed? Photo by David Gowen

Nov 232013

Mail List CardValley Grange offers several collaborative events each year and most include some sort of public supper. After trying several different publicity approaches we found one of the most successful was to send postcards announcing the event to our “regular customers.” In an effort to build on this, we’re formalizing the process by having this post card available on the tables and at the door of events we have. The back side is pre-addressed to our Publicity Director.

For email announcements, I recommend setting up an account with MailChimp. They offer their program free as long as you are doing small mailings–and their definition of small should meet the needs of most Granges. I do not recommend simply using your email address to send a large number of emails. This will often result in your address becoming “blacklisted” as someone who sends spam.

We also have another card with basic information about Valley Grange including our website address and several people who can be contacted by people interested in a program or membership. We’ve found we often have greater success getting people interested in a specific program (such as our Bookworming or Words for Thirds) before they will consider membership. There’s an old sales principle that says, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak!”

Nov 232013

Submitted by Maynard Chapman

On Thursday night November 21st I performed the obligation ceremony for Androscoggin Grange #8.  In attendance were eight officers of the Grange and eight of nine new members to take the obligation.  I would like to congratulate the members of Androscoggin Grange for stepping up and getting these 9 new members.  I also told the new members that the more they put into the Grange the more they will get out of it.  Congratulations to all.

Nov 232013

Those who were following National Conference may recall the first issue of “Conference Crier” — a newsletter being issued to report daily events. The issue for day two has now been posted on the National Grange Website. And while you’re on the site, why not visit the Grange Store? Some great products have been added… if you’re making cookies for Christmas, check out the cookie cutters!

The pages created for State and National Conferences this year will be disappearing soon… hang on to your memories!

As a reminder, you do not have to use the submitting button on the site to send in your news. This actually becomes problematic if you are sending photos. Instead, simply write your news in an email addressed to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   and include the photo(s) as an attachment. We are always looking for exciting Granges and exciting Grangers! Please proof read and spell check your submissions!

And in case you missed it, we appreciated this comment:

Though it has been out for awhile I wanted to comment on the Maine Grange directory. We find it very useful and easy to use. It helps us when we locate granges in the news. Also, when we travel about the state and spot a grange hall we look it up in the directory. So, who ever developed it you, or your team, did a super job. We thank you.

Ed and Jane McCall Bingham Grange #237

Thanks… note that the directory available on the site is a bit out of date… I created it from the roster and hope to be able to create a more current one in the near future!