Mar 292014

The Valley Grange driven collaboration called “GrowME” actually ended up visiting over sixty classrooms and worked with somewhere between eight and nine hundred children! In addition to Valley Grange, Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District participated in the week-long initiative to create agricultural literacy in the classroom. (Webmaster note: Website subscribers will need to visit the site to view this video.)

An earlier story by WABI TV-5 features Ernest Rollins of Garland Grange… Rollins Orchards donates all of the apples we use in this activity designed for first grade.

Kindergarterners create a graph of their class’s favorite farm animals and third grades make “dirt babies.” Additional information about the collaboration and activities is available on the GrowME and Valley Grange websites.

Mar 292014

A windy frigid night didn’t deter loyal Wayside Grangers from trekking to the Abbott Memorial Library for a meeting to formulate plans the upcoming season for concerts and grange suppers beginning in April.

The concert schedule for the season is set. There will be 7 concerts beginning on April 26 featuring Ken and Jane Brooks along with Joe and Nellie Kennedy. A Talent Show is tentatively scheduled for August 2. The full schedule will be printed and distributed in a few weeks. 

Discussion centered around having outside groups putting on plays at Wayside Theatre. Corinna and East Madison theatre groups are interested in presenting their plays at our theatre. Another idea discussed was a,  “Mystery Dinner Theatre.”

The Supper Committee has scheduled 7 Grange suppers beginning in May on the second Sat. of each month. Meals this year are to be $7.00.  Menus are now being planned. Doors will open at 5 PM and takeout will be available after 6PM. There is a possible Hunters Supper being discussed for the last week in October.

Building repairs were discussed at length: repairs to the floor in the dining hall, moving the serving counters, electrical work, window repairs, and some exterior painting.

Plans are for a  work day in April at the Grange. 

The next meeting will be April 10 at 6PM at the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter.  Dues will be collected at this time.

Mar 292014

Larry Bailey comments:

The following message was sent to our members as well as many local community residents.  Ocean View Grange is starting a Farmers Market this year (details will come later)and we have adopted the initiative of helping to restore our bee population.

Below and attached is paper about bees and why we need them and how we can attract them to our yards to help the bee population to recover.  It is a Grange initiative and each Granger should do what they can to promote bee population restoration. Also, we need to promote this program outside of the Grange family and by copy of this email to many non-Grange members, I hope to stir up more local interest.

I want to thank both Gayle and Rick Bedigian for working on this.  They are bee keepers and have a special love for the little critters.  They also have a lot of honey!  Hope we see that at the Grange Farmers market.

Plant a Honey Bee Friendly Garden

In the winter of 2006 the honey bee population began to die out. Even our native bumblebees are in trouble. Since then, as much as 70% of some bee populations have died as a result of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Seventy farm grown crops, about one-third of our natural food supply, rely on honey bees for pollination. If the honey bees disappear, so will the grapes and the strawberries, along with many of the other foods that have become not only favorites, but staples of our diet.

You can help restore the honey bee population with a bee friendly garden. It isn’t difficult to make your yard, garden or even patio space a haven for beneficial bees. You’ll be helping these important insects, as well as bringing more beauty and nature to your home.

Bees need a variety of plant pollens to stay healthy. Our food industries place thousands of hives on only one species of plants (blueberry fields for example) and doing so weakens the bees.  The greater the plant diversity, the more bees you will attract and support. Always try to choose as many native plants as possible, and consult with nursery staff or other experts to find vegetation that will thrive in your specific conditions.

Honey Bee Friendly Plants

Attract and nourish honey bees with nectar producing plants. Wild flowers, including asters, goldenrod, sunflowers, even dandelions will provide food for the hives, and the native bee population as well.

 Plant flowering vegetables and fruits.

Plant long blooming flowers or a variety of plants that will bloom at different times throughout the spring and fall. Honey bees need to eat until they retreat to their hives for the winter.

Try to group at least ten bee plants in a bunch or grouping.   

Honey Bees Need Water:

Not only do the bees need nectar, they need water as well. Keep a supply of fresh water for the bees.  They love fresh water but will often drown in water deeper than a very shallow puddle.  Keep a bird bath with floating sponges in it. It is perfect for the bees–they love to light on the sponges to get a drink.

Native bees will make their homes in sand.

Provide a space in your garden for native bees to make their home. Native bees do not live in hives, but in single living units underground. Leave an un-mulched space in your garden for the bees to gain access and set up housekeeping. A pile of undisturbed sand will  work as well.

No Pesticides or Herbicides.

Do not use pesticides and herbicides. Some of them are toxic to bees, and some aren’t. Many of them will leave a toxic residue for days or weeks. Avoid pesticides, especially the neonicotinoids which may be harmful to bees.  Use organic chemicals that are bee friendly. It is better to introduce good bugs to provide natural protection against pests and to weed by hand.

 Learning More

If you would like to learn more about bees or raise them in this area please contact your local Bee Chapter. They will fall over helping you get started.  They love their bees!!!

There are several places to buy bee equipment. Two places nearby are Spicer Bee http:spicertreeataoldotcom and another is Humble Abode.

Build a wild bee house. It is inexpensive and it will help attract native bees to your garden. Scroll down after opening this publication to learn how to do it.

Here is a link on what we can do to help the Honey Bees:

Following is a partial list of tried-and-true bee attractors:

 Annuals:  Asters, Calliopsis, Clover, Dandelions, Marigolds, Poppies, Sunflowers, Zinnias

Perennials: Buttercups, Clematis, Cosmos, Crocuses, Dahlias, Echinacea, English Ivy, Foxglove, Geraniums, Germander, Globe Thistle, Hollyhocks, Hyacinth, Rock Cress, Roses, Sedum, Snowdrops, Squills, Tansy, Yellow Hyssop

Garden Plants: Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Gourds, Peppers, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Squash, Strawberries, Watermelons, Wild, Garlic, Herbs, Bee Balm, Borage, Catnip, Coriander/Cilantro, Fennel, Lavender, Mints, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Shrubs: Blueberry, Butterfly, Bush, Button, Bush, Honeysuckle, Indigo, Privet,

Trees: Alder, American Holly, Basswood, Black Gum, Black Locust, Buckeyes, Catalpa, Eastern Redbud, Fruit Trees (especially Crabapples), Golden Rain Tree, Hawthorns, Hazels, Linden, Magnolia, Maples, Mountain Ash, Sycamore, Tulip, Poplar, Willows

Here are some web sites with lists of bee friendly plants:


Mar 242014

Ad drawn by Julia Rose Munson

Over 100 third and fourth graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” Program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the sixth year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Jane Daniels students labored to produce ads that would promote the grange and its programs.

The winning ads were featured during an assembly conducted at school by Boomsma on Friday, March 21st. Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Third Grade winners announced at the recent school assembly conducted by the Grange included Jewyll True (3rd), Adam Taylor (2nd), and Julia Rose Munson (1st). Julia Rose’s first place drawing featured a large apple with a bookworm and invitation for people to consider becoming a bookworm for Valley Grange.” Fourth grade winners included Mackenzie Kain (3rd), Ruthie Griffith (2nd), and Taylor Folsom (1st). Taylor’s ad suggested “Blasting off with Valley Grange” would take one to new heights.

All of the winners refused to give an acceptance speech with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but most were “media darlings” when interviewed and photographed by local reporter Stu Hedstrom.

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on March 26. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year. An additional ad drawn by fourth grader Grace Buehne will appear in the Sangerville Bicentennial Program Book in June.

Winners of a separate contest for fifth graders were also announced. The fifth grade contest was sponsored by Walter Boomsma who is also the author of the book “Small People—Big Brains.” The first place ad, drawn by Sabrina Hamele, will appear in the PCES 2013-14 Yearbook. Sabrina was joined by Madeline Taylor (second place) and Ana Fagan (third place) in receiving an autographed copy of the book and certificate of achievement.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor a number of programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love being at the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Grace Buehne, Jewyll True, Ruthie Griffith, Taylor Folsom, Mr. Boomsma, Mackenzie  Kain, Adam Taylor, Julia Rose Munson

Grace Buehne, Jewyll True, Ruthie Griffith, Taylor Folsom, Mr. Boomsma, Mackenzie
Kain, Adam Taylor, Julia Rose Munson

Mar 242014

Mother Nature Creates the Need…

Garland Grange has been preparing public suppers at their hall once monthly from April to December for several years now. Unfortunately, this long, cold winter has had some detrimental effects on the 119 year old facility.

Built in 1895, the Garland Grange Hall is not heated when not in use during the winter and relies on a water supply from the next door Garland Baptist Church. As the pipe runs under the driveway/parking lot between the two buildings, sometimes during the coldest months of January and February the ground freezes effectively cutting off the Grange’s water supply until warmer weather arrives. This year, at the date of this release in late March, the water is still frozen with no end in sight for the cold temperatures.

“We don’t plan many activities at the hall during January and February due to heating cost and the unknown water status during the winter,” says Ernest Rollins, longtime Garland Grange member.

Garland Grange opened its doors in early March for Garland’s Annual Town Meeting as is tradition. A couple of days prior to this event, it was discovered that the water was still frozen. The town meeting still went on at the hall. “We lugged water and set up a barrel to refill the restroom facilities. People were willing to use the outhouse also,” says Rollins. “But that didn’t involve as many people in attendance as a Garland Grange public supper.”

Adds Garland Grange Master and Chef Bill Bemis, “We just don’t see any end in sight for these cold temperatures and we can’t plan a supper not knowing if we will have running water for cooking, dishes, and restroom facilities.”

Due to these factors, Garland Grange is postponing the start of their 2014 public supper season to Friday, May 9. Originally, it had been announced that the first supper was to be served on Friday, April 11. Garland Grange wants to thank the community for their support and apologize for any disappointment caused to anyone for this delay.

Garland Grange serves an average of 90 people at their monthly meals. This is also one of their major fund-raisers allowing them to do upgrades and improvements to their building over the years such as modern toilet facilities. Last year, the funds from suppers allowed the entrance to be patched and painted and the third story window replaced. More upgrades such as a more efficient heating system to allow year around access to the facility are planned with this year’s supper proceeds.

The community’s generous support at these meals allows Garland Grange to make contributions such as purchasing dictionaries to distribute to local third graders of AOS #94 as part of the Dictionary Project. Gifts to local organizations such as Piscataquis Santa Project are also provided using these funds that are raised through suppers.

The first Garland Grange supper will be held on Friday, May 9 from 5-7 pm at the Grange Hall on Oliver Hill Road in Garland. May is traditionally been the first Baked Bean supper for Garland Grange, but other dishes such as macaroni and cheese and baked ham are served in addition for variety. Supper price is $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children ages 5 to 12, under age 5 FREE. Takeout is also available.

While the meal may be traditional, stay tuned for some possible additions in entertainment. “We are always up to trying something new,” says Andrea Rollins, program director. “We have some conversations in the works for possible musical entertainment following the suppers. We want to appeal to as many people as we can by offering a variety of activities.”

Garland Grange will meet on Friday, April 4 at 7:30 pm to discuss the upcoming supper schedule and other plans for the coming year. Garland Grange welcomes anyone who would like more information about the Grange to attend, and the organization is always looking for people who are interested in bettering their community by helping with Grange projects such as these public suppers.

For more information about Garland Grange or the upcoming suppers, contact Master Bill Bemis at 924-3537.

Mar 242014
Jefferson Juvenile Grange # 74
By Arlene Cole, Willow #366

Juv Grange PinsIn the spring of 1938 we began to hear news that our local Grange, Jefferson Grange # 197, was planning on organizing a Juvenile Grange. Juvenile Granges were for children from the ages of 7 to 14, at which age they could join the local Subordinate Grange. Juvenile Granges were a popular thing at that time. Fifteen were organized in the state of Maine in 1938. North Newcastle Juvenile Grange had been organized in June.

Grange was not a new idea to my sister, Margaret, and me. Our parents belonged to Jefferson Grange and our father was one of its Past Masters. All four of our grandparents had belonged and our paternal grandparents had been charter members of our local Lincoln Pomona Grange. Our mother and maternal grandparents had joined grange when they lived in Massachusetts, and they had continued being active members when they moved to Maine.

Word went out that all interested children were welcomed to meet at the Jefferson Grange hall on July 1, 1938. This was at the “new” grange hall. After Jefferson Grange was organized, it had met at an old hall on what was then known as the Boynton Mill Rd. In 1932 a lease was signed between the Grange and the United Baptist Society of South Jefferson to allow “Jefferson Grange #197 sufficient land on which to erect a building to be used for grange purposes.” The one story hall was dedicated on June 27, 1936.

Margaret and I were two of the many neighborhood children who met at the hall that Sat. afternoon. That was 76 years ago and I was not quite eight years old so many of the details have faded from my memory but it was an exciting time for me so I remember many things. Gladys Firth Burk was to be our Matron. She was Lecturer of Jefferson Grange and active in Lincoln Pomona Grange.

It seems to me there were more children living in the community then than now. Whatever, about 20 young people appeared. Some official woman was there. I suspect she was the Juvenile Deputy. Mrs. Burk felt for the first year she should choose the officers as we had no idea what we were about to do. She pointed to me as her choice as Master and I remember the Juvenile Deputy saying, “Isn’t she rather young?” Mrs. Burk replied, “Yes, but she can do it.”

And do it I did. Mrs. Burk whipped us into shape with the floor work and with the parts we had to memorize, including the degree work, and how to carry on a meeting together. When we went home that day and told our folks, they were thrilled. Our Mother was terminally ill with cancer and would die the next January. Our Father cooperated in any way he could to see that I was where I should be to make a smooth running group.

One of the early things I did was attend State Grange. Herbert Clark was on the Executive Committee at State Grange and he took me, as Master, and his grandson, Calvin, to the Juvenile Day on Saturday. I recited a piece and Calvin played his saxophone. At that time State Grange was held in Augusta at a building on the east side of the old bridge. It was used at one time as the police building

Now and then we would be invited to a regular grange meeting to put on a part of the program. If we stayed for the meeting, we would have to sit outside in the vestry, waiting for the program, for the meetings were very secret then.

On June 10, 1939 we were invited to meet with Lincoln Pomona at our hall. We marched in and, as Master, I thanked Pomona for the $5.00 they had given us.

Mar 182014

Nelsonby Agnes & Robert Nelson, Co-Directors

As I set here working on this report looking out the window, I am so thankful this was not yesterday!! We worked on the Legislative Luncheon for Ag-Day, preparation Tuesday and the luncheon yesterday. Bob and I want to especially thank the Agriculture Committee members, State Grange officers, Legislative Committee members and any other Grangers who helped us with fudge, and pies, set up the hall, serve and cleanup for the luncheon. We appreciated it more than you know. We served about 150 for the luncheon as the snow started to ascend from the skies. Hopefully everyone traveling got home before it got too bad. We did!!

This is a reminder that the Ag-Committee is looking for Ag-Scholarship applications.  The deadline is April 30, 2014. These can be sent to Maine State Grange headquarters or to the Ag-Committee Directors home.

Bob and I will be attending Ingraham’s Open House on April 9, 2014. We will have a table set up and sell Agriculture Scholarship Raffle tickets. Please contact us if anyone would like raffle tickets. We hope Grange members will encourage their Grange to support the Agriculture Scholarship this year.

A reminder to all that as the snow melts and spring does arrive, the problem with Deer Ticks will be back. The cold weather doesn’t kill them as we would hope. They are just waiting to get back on the move. They are becoming a real problem in Maine. More and more people are being reported with Lyme’s Disease. It is not always easy to diagnose this disease. If you are out and about in wooded areas, tall grass areas or areas animals travel make sure to check pets, children, clothing and yourself for these little critters.

Mar 172014

Excelsior Grange in Poland is sponsoring its 6th annual amateur talent contest and is seeking contestants.  This year there will be three age categories (youth 4-11, youth 12-18 and adults over 19). The contest will be held April 26 at 7 pm at the Grange Hall at 446 Harris Hill Road.

Each category will have two monetary prizes. $100. for first place and $50. for second place. The audience will also choose one act as the Peoples Choice Award, which is $50.

Any and all forms of general audience entertainment are encouraged to enter. Pre-registration is required. The deadline to enter is April 19.

Audience admission will be $4. for adults and children under 12 free. Anyone wishing to enter the contest can request an entry form or more information by calling 998-2301 or email sverrillatroadrunnerdotcom. Entry forms will also be available at local RSU 16 schools and can be downloaded from this site: Excelsior Talent Contest Application 2014

Mar 172014

GrowME logoCommunity invited to celebrate GrowME Growth

Guilford–Valley Grange will host an “Agstravaganza” on Friday, March 28th at their hall on the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road. The Grange is one of three collaborating organizations who sprouted and nurtured the GrowME Project. Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma says, “There’s a lot to celebrate! The numbers are still coming in but it looks like our volunteers will reach nearly 50 classrooms and over 750 students. I think we’ve lost count of volunteers because we seem to add more every day.”

The GrowME program was hatched in 2011 when three local organizations with an interest in agriculture decided there was an opportunity to assist schools and teachers by providing some “hands on” activities with an agricultural theme. Valley Grange was joined by Piscataquis Soil and Water Conservation and District and the Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and the three organizations agreed on a mission to “build a truly local program of agriculturally themed activities for kids led by local volunteers with the goal of increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun!”

During the week prior to the Agstravaganza volunteers will be visiting grades K through 3 throughout the county with activities like creating animal graphs, apples to apples tasting and sorting, making butter, and making dirt babies. Boomsma notes that “our Grange loves an opportunity to invite the community to our hall, but it seemed particularly appropriate to have a community celebration of our achievements and agriculture in general. We’ll have a great potluck supper and brief program to share highlights from GrowME.”

The event is not just for people involved in GrowME—it is open to anyone who supports the idea of community and collaborating. The Grange promises to a “family friendly” event and hopes volunteers, teachers, kids, and parents will come.  The “Plantastic Agstravaganza” features a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM—bring a dish to share! A brief meeting at 7 PM will cover some highlights of the GrowME collaboration and some agricultural related information. Attendees are invited to bring an old-time farm, gardening, or home device to display as part of “what is it?” table.

Additional information regarding the Agstravaganza is available on the Valley Grange website or the GrowME website.

Mar 172014

State Grange Historian Stan Howe has been kind enough to supply some quotes that will make us think. For those lecturers who are still using opening and closing thoughts in their programs, feel free to avail yourself of these!

What happens at the end may really be a new beginning.

Minds are like parachutes, they only work when they are open.

The problem with doing nothing is you cannot stop to rest.

To teach is to learn twice.”

There is something to love in every day.

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Be content with what you have, but never with who you are.

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.