Oct 282014

Nat Grange Store

Due to the 148th National Grange Convention, the Grange Store will be closed
November 3rd – November 18th

If you need to place an order, please do it before this deadline.

The National Grange Store will re-open on Wednesday, November 19th.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director at sjohnsonatnationalgrangedotorg  (sjohnsonatnationalgrangedotorg)  .

Oct 282014

Webmaster’s Note:  This article is reposted from the October issue of the  Piscataquis & Penobscot Counties Farming Newsletter published by UMaine Extension. You can sign up to receive the newsletter or view the archived issues anytime at  http://bit.ly/PPfarming.

Heading to the Grange!?

Heading to the Grange!?

The following winter storage suggestions come from various Extension Bulletins, but should never supersede the recommendations found in equipment operator’s manuals. Proper storage and maintenance of equipment can help prolong the useful life and reliability of this expensive farm asset.

Be sure to change the oil and perform regular service. Clean engine oil will reduce internal engine corrosion during storage. Clean or replace air filters, replace fuel filters, and lubricate bearings and joints to maximize the life and efficiency of your machinery. Check antifreeze for correct freezing temperature. Remember that antifreeze, like engine oil, has a lifespan. Merely adding more coolant may not be enough to fully protect your investment.

Inflate tires to recommended pressure to reduce sidewall damage. Before storing tillage implements, remove soil and apply appropriate rust preventive material, then store with soil engaging components raised or on blocks to prevent rust. Fertilizer spreaders need to also be cleaned and have rust preventer applied to prevent corrosion of the metal. Hydraulic cylinders should not be stored fully extended. If temperatures increase, hydraulic oil will be confined and high pressure may cause damage to the hydraulic system.

All planters, drills, air seeders, and combines need to be cleaned out. Be sure all grain and plant material left in the grain tank and augers is removed. This will reduce rusting and make it less attractive to mice and other pests. It is sometimes possible to remove more than a bushel of grain even after a combine seems to be clean. Trapped grain attracts rodents, who often then make a meal of electrical wiring, leading to short circuits or other electrical problems. Reduce tension on belts to reduce stretch and increase belt life. Be sure to follow storage instructions in the operator’s manual for removing seed plates and other components to relieve pressure on seals, brushes, and seed plates. This will minimize warping and misshaped air seals and seed plates. Remove soil from all furrow openers to reduce rust and improve performance next season.

Balers need to have any partial bales and all plant material removed to minimize rusting. Follow the operator’s manual for instructions on reducing pressure on baler belts or other components. Compressed air is a great way to clean hard to reach places and may be a better choice than water. When water is needed to clean surfaces, use only moderate pressure and mild soap.

Cleaning farm equipment with a power washer is great for removing dust and soil. Be careful, however, and avoid direct contact with seals when using high-pressure washers. Use compressed air after washing to help dry surfaces, and operate machinery for 10 to 20 minutes to help shed excess water from hard to reach places. Repaint worn surfaces with spray paint to protect from corrosion.

Proper battery storage can protect batteries from deterioration. Even a small current drain can eventually discharge batteries and cause them to freeze in cold weather. Consider removing batteries to convenient storage where they can receive a periodic charge. Clean all connections and coat terminals with a thin layer of grease to prevent corrosion.

Where possible, store equipment in a building. If a building is not available, at least cover equipment with a well secured tarp. This will always improve equipment performance and resale value.

Oct 272014

Webmaster Note: This article was written by Joanne (Jo) Stow Boyington secretary of the Androscoggin Grange in Greene and published by Sun Media Weekly Newspapers.

Jo Boyington

Jo Boyington

I actually grew up in a city in Connecticut, but because my Mom Nada,  was born and raised in Aroostook County, and she thought it best for us to know how soothing a slow-paced, country life could be, she brought us up to Maine, in our old black Buicks, every summer.

Somehow the very dark nights in Maine were frightening in their absolute silence, so far from our city lights, and yet they held a magic that you could never begin to even explain to those kids back home.

The whole town of Oakfield was darkened, with each kitchen light in the houses in town being extinguished, before folks left their homes, for the walk up the town hill to the Grange Hall, for the Saturday Night Supper and Dance

I remember well, the smells of the food, from many a favorite, well stained cookbook, passing separately, and them curiously merging together through the hall, and escaping out each of the old, painted wooden framed windows.

The cast iron pump in the old cracked white enameled kitchen sink, needed a little priming from a dairy jug of water, each time the ladies went to fill the pots and kettles to cook the meals, and yet again to heat the water on the old cook stove, to wash up the dishes and pots after the meal was over.

I loved the look of those lovely, old, mismatched dishes, in differently colored china patterns from probably a hundred homes, brought over to the hall throughout the nearly 100 years since the hall was built.   They sat piled on the sideboards, in towers of unusual edged patterns, that were created by the placement of  wider and narrower plates, and saucers, that always seemed to lean dangerously to one side, over the iron sink.

The women would all fling over their left shoulders, a dish towel, that was long ago worn out, matching no other one there, and soaking with rinse water too soon.  They were stored, folded a little differently, by each ringer washer of a load of them,  in old wooden drawers with no one caring to even remember their long ago forgotten origins.  Strangely, it was this unique collective kitchen ensemble, that I remember most, and stays in my mind as a tribute to those women’s proud inner sanctum, of the now nearly forgotten Public Suppers, at the local Grange Halls.

I had a favorite “Carnival Glass” cup with a copper sheen, at that Hall, that I truly missed when I went home to Connecticut, to begin another school year. I would ride put of town, praying no one would break that cup, before I could return to the Hall, again the next summer.

My Grandfather Thornley Pratt, called the square dances, upstairs in the big hall, with a mesmerizing accent, and in a strangely amusing language, using  loud commands and softer suggestions to the dancers, that I can still hear sometimes, when the night is still.

We kids were allowed to stay upstairs and watch the dancers, but only from the old staircase in the hallway. I would guess that there are at least 100 sets of initials still carved in those old stairway wall boards. An odd array of combined initials, of those who had perhaps once found a summer love, sitting there on those stairs. Maybe shyly smiling at each other, while watching the lady dancers fly by, in flashes of checks and flowers, over old fashioned, bellowing crinoline slips, and plain, clean white sneakers.

And, just when we thought we could stay awake no longer, the men would pack away their fiddles, and the women would come and gathered us up, along with the Supper leftovers from the kitchen ice box.  Then we all walked down the hill to town, with us continuing up Station Road,  to my Great-Grandmother Sadie’s house, where we spent those magical foreign summers.

If I sometimes close my eyes, I can still feel myself lying there,  in an old four poster iron bed, in the upstairs bedchamber, listening in the still night to the trains on the tracks at the station nearby…backing up, and moving forward- just ever so slightly, in a rhythm that lulled this “City Girl” fast to sleep.  I also remember gently breathing in the different scents of the layers of old wallpaper, that were hung, one over the other, by other folks… that once might have slept there too.




Oct 272014

Buxton-Hollis Historical Society Annual Meeting, Saturday November 8 at 5:00 p.m., 100 Main Street (Route 4A), Bar Mills, Buxton.  John P. Bunker Jr., Maine’s champion of heritage apples, will present “Searching for the Harmon and Narragansett Apples: Last Seen in York County!” The program includes a light supper and business meeting.  Non-members are cordially invited. Suggested donation $12 and $10 (Seniors).  All proceeds benefit the rehabilitation of the historical society’s library and museum, operating costs, and exhibit construction.  For reservations, please contact Bertie Ramsdell at 929-4529.  More information can be found on our Facebook page and at our website, www.buxtonhollishistorical.org

Webmaster’s Note: We’re always on the lookout for articles and events of interest to our agriculturally-minded members. Submit information for consideration to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg.

Oct 242014

Here’s your chance to read a front page story about a Grange that’s letting it shine! Saco Grange #53 reports they are growing… just recently had their first public supper in three years… and “members are enthusiastic about the Grange’s future and hope people in the community will use the hall for functions.”

State Master Vicki Huff says the article offers “proof of positive thinking” as members decided they were not going to fail. Members are finding that becoming active again has attracted the support of local businesses and created several community service opportunities.

The power of the press! In less than one week we’ve learned about a new dictionary project starting because of a newspaper article and now we have evidence of the growth of the Grange. But as powerful as the press is, Grangers are–or at least can be–even more powerful. Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

Oct 212014

New Dictionaryby Walter Boomsma, Program Director for Valley Grange.

Valley Grange is in the midst of “Dictionary Season” with a program that will included four school districts, a dozen classrooms and over 2oo third graders. Since this is a Grange that has never been bashful around the media, it wasn’t a surprise that the Bangor Daily News ran an article about the program in Dover Foxcroft District at SeDoMoCha. (You can read it online.)

While it’s not the first time something like this has happened, it’s still a pleasant surprise.I just finished a phone call with a retired educator from Downeast who saw the article and decided to research getting a program started for his local school. Bring on the dictionaries!

The article certainly  helps the Grange shine. “It’s education motives such as this that make SeDoMoCha Elementary School Principal Julie Kimball believe the Grange is a phenomenal source of information and influence for local students,” it reports. But the kids are the real beneficiaries and, if our program’s story has inspired or contributed to additional projects getting started, how can you not get excited?!

Last Friday we had the kids from Piscataquis Community Elementary School visit the Grange Hall to receive their dictionaries. As they climbed the stairs to the upstairs hall, one young scholar was overheard explaining to her friend, “Mr. and Mrs. Boomsma live here and they really like dictionaries!”

Thanks to the many people from the folks at the dictionary project to friends and neighbors who provide financial assistance… the teachers and staff who find time and energy to fit our annual program into busy school schedules… and to the kids who make us smile and give us hope.

Is it time for your Grange to consider a dictionary project? If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll try to help! We have a “Grange-based” program for presenting dictionaries that is outlined briefly in this year’s Communications Handbook 2014-15, and I’ll be happy to help you help the kids!

Oct 172014
By Vicki HuffVicki - Sash (2)

The 141st Annual Session of the Maine State Grange is in the books! Encourage your delegates to give reports as to which resolutions passed, how many candidates were present for the 5th and 6th degrees. Ask them questions. We are gearing up for the next session of the National Grange which should prove to be an interesting one. Once again Nancy Clark and I will be your delegates and we will either be getting ready, already there or back by the time you have your Grange meeting. I am sure there will be lots to report so prepare yourselves.

Brothers and Sisters this time of year tends to make us reflective and as you gather together with family and friends think about those who may be less fortunate than you. One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is a helping hand and a smile. It is time to “enjoy the fruits of our labors” and to share them with others.

May all your holidays be joyful. “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”

Together Each Accomplishes More

Oct 162014

To: Christine Hamp, LAS of the National Grange, Duane Hamp, Master of the WA State Grange, Officers, Delegates and Members of the Maine State Grange,

We have had many successes over the past year. Let’s congratulate Sister Christine Corliss for setting a goal of having 25% of the Granges in Maine turning in Community Service reports and then meeting her goal. This year, for the first time in a few years, we have money from National Grange to present to the Granges that will be announced as placing in the contest. There was a huge push from Christine and a few Deputies and State Officers to convince Grangers to submit these reports at the last minute. While presenting a notebook with pictures and a full explanation of the Community Service work you did over the past year is a great way to earn some extra dollars for your Grange there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from seeing that year’s worth of work all together in one place. Most of our Granges do Community Service without even thinking about it—that’s good, but it can mean we are missing some of the joy. I challenge you to go back to your Granges and not just report the number of hours but also find ways to celebrate and share your successes. For some reason we have this tendency, like the song some of us may have learned in Sunday School says, to “hide our light under a bushel”. Brother and Sisters we need to “Let it Shine, Let it Shine, Let it Shine”.candles

We owe special thanks to Enterprise Grange #48 and Riverside Grange #475 for taking the time to fill out and send in their Distinguished Grange applications to National. “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” These two Granges will be recognized for this outstanding achievement at National Convention and I will be honored to accept your awards on your behalf. Would the members of Enterprise Grange #48 and Riverside Grange #475 please stand and be recognized. There are probably other Granges within our state that could have qualified for this honor and I hope that you will check out the form and see if your Grange meets the criteria for a Distinguished Grange award next year. “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

I have some exciting news. We are so very close Continue reading »

Oct 152014
Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Please note that we can no longer accept online registrations for State Convention. This does not mean you cannot attend! Registration will be possible on site; there will be people available to assist and answer your questions.

Please also be aware that many folks are already enroute to Skowhegan and this means limited access to the Internet and email for most. You may not get immediate answers to your email.

I will update the website with any information I receive at least once (and often twice) each day and will attempt to answer any questions I am emailed, but understand that while I do have access, I do not always have all the information! (I am attempting to make arrangements so I can be at Convention on Thursday, but will not be able to be there on Friday due to Dictionary Presentations.) Thanks for your patience and understanding…

Oct 132014
A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

October is about endings… the end of summer and fall. But endings are usually about beginnings as well. We’re at the beginning of winter, like it or not.

As this bulletin goes to press, many will be in Skowhegan hearing the results of another Grange year gone by… Contest winners will be announced and budgets will be reviewed and passed.

This is also the time of year when your website undergoes some major revision as old program books, contest information and entry forms are replaced with new. Sometimes the changes are very minor, but this year we have at least two brand new (and significantly different) contests announced so far.

The Communications Department (of one) is pleased to announce an entirely new “Clip ‘N Win” contest. For 2014-2015 we are revising the contest and making it about the quantity of one article written or initiated by a Granger, not simply clipping and counting versions of articles containing the word “Grange.” You’ll find details elsewhere in the Communications Handbook 2014-15 that will be available to delegates at State Conference and can be downloaded from the MSG website.

Remember also, if you do not have access to the Internet you may request copies of program books from State Headquarters. Please remember that mailing costs mount quickly and attempt to get your copy from your delegates first, then only request mailed copies of information you truly need.

I’m also pleased to note that my colleague Christine Corliss, Director of Community Service and FHH has announced a new contest encouraging FHH Chairs to team up with Lecturers and offer monthly FHH related programing. I’ve long felt that it’s past time to review the myriad of contests we conduct and create contests that are more focused and get higher participation. These two should bring some interesting results and entries!

You might be interested in some lessons learned from the former Clip ‘N Win Contest:

  • We have some Grangers with “eagle eyes” who can spot the word “Grange” in some unusual areas—like an advertisement by a business that included the Grange Hall as a landmark in their directions.
  • We have some overlapping of news articles. Entries from Granges located quite some distance from each other often included the same articles. (And a number that I had a written!)
  • We have a huge opportunity to improve our communication with the media. Most of the articles submitted were short meeting announcements clipped from community calendars.

When I do dictionary presentations, I often ask third graders what, if anything, they know about the Grange. I always remember one young fellow who said with great confidence, “It’s a bunch of people who like to eat and meet.” His perception is funny, somewhat accurate, but also disappointing, really.

One notebook submitted included nearly 40 obituaries of Grange members—in spite of the rule against including them. But the real tragedy is that notebook did not include one article mentioning a membership installation or published photos of new members.

How about a theme for this year of, “Let’s make some news and share it!”