Feb 272016
 

canning-626204_1280by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

Some of our fellow Grangers in New Hampshire have an interest in setting up a community canning program… do we have any Grangers here in Maine who are familiar with these and who might be willing to share contacts and resources? My understanding is some organizations have been willing to provide a location, equipment, and even consulting or classes for those who might have an interest in learning… I seem to recall reading or hearing about several such programs in Maine… maybe someone can help refresh my memory?

You can send an email to the webmaster or add a comment to this post. This is one of those ideas that sounds like a winner! It might be called “You Can Can!”

Feb 272016
 
Dorothy Waugh

Dorothy Waugh

Applications are now available for the third annual Dorothy Waugh Memorial Scholarship sponsored by the Mill Stream Grange of Vienna. The scholarship will be awarded in June to an R.S.U. 9 Mt. Blue High School or Foster Tech graduating senior. Applicants will be considered who are pursuing a career in agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry.

Dorothy Waugh, a longtime resident of Vienna and member of Mill Stream Grange, was affectionately known as “the Egg Lady”. She generously left a financial legacy to several organizations in Vienna, including the Grange, and this scholarship is in honor and recognition of her devotion to the community.

For more information about the application please contact the Mt. Blue High School guidance office at 207-778-3561.

Feb 212016
 

Highland Lake #87 hosted  local history night, Saturday, February 20th. Forty-seven people turned out for a wonderful community potluck supper followed by a slide show presentation by the Westbrook Historical Society. They also displayed artifacts from their collection related to the Duck Pond area of Westbrook, which is where the Grange is located. One of the items was the clock the Grange donated to the local one-room school house in the 1930’s. Several attendees left with Grange membership applications…so it was a “win-win” all around.

Feb 162016
 

While the weather was definitely a topic, not one person asked if it was cold enough for the recent 200th Birthday Celebration for Guilford Maine. “We turned the heat on the day before,” said Walter Boomsma, program director. “And even with that, we still weren’t up to room temperature by the time folks started arriving on Sunday morning.”

Planned and sponsored by the Guilford Bicentennial Committee, the event was not intentionally held in extreme cold weather but that weather demonstrated community at its best according to Boomsma. “We love making our hall available to community organizations, but it is not without some challenges in weather like this. Our well was frozen beyond thawing and we had lots of help with folks volunteering to cart water to the hall and bring heaters to help. A special thanks must go to Jim French of French Construction for all the extra plowing and sanding and water runs!”

The Bicentennial Committee is planning an entire year of special events but wanted to have the first event–a birthday bash–at the Grange Hall because Valley Grange is an important part of Guilford’s history. After a hearty potluck lunchGuilford Town Manager Tom Goulette offered some insights into how the Grange developed and the role it played and continues to play as a community organization.

Members of the Piscataquis Community High School National Honors Society volunteered to assist with preparation, serving and cleanup. The Guilford Historical Society was also present and long time resident Wilford Priest brought a large scrapbook full of historical photos.

In spite of subzero temperatures, the dining hall was nearly filled to capacity, demonstrating the Guilford Community Spirit is strong and determined. The Bicentennial Committee maintains an active and informative Facebook Page where events and news are posted.

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Feb 162016
 
Glenys Ryder, chairperson of the Community Service Committee at Danville Junction Grange checks out greetings.

Glenys Ryder, chairperson of the Community Service Committee at Danville Junction Grange checks out greetings.

Members of Danville Junction Grange #65 prepared Valentine greetings to Veterans in Maine. We answered an item in “Sun Spots” in the local newspaper, asking people to join in the collection of Valentines.  Our members contributed over sixty valentines, thanking the veterans for their service to the country and wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day.  They were to be distributed to veterans at Togus Hospital and to nursing homes throughout the area.

Feb 162016
 

fundraisingBy Steven Haycock, Chairman

Well, I’m happy to report we have at least two recipes come in for the cookbooks we’re creating.  It is a beginning so now let’s open up the floodgates and everyone start sending them in.  Every Grange has received a letter about the cookbooks that gives you a few more details.  The deadline for sending them into Grange Headquarters in May 15.  I’m happy to report that we’ve scheduled our first committee meeting for later on this month so I hope to have many new ideas and details for you for next month.  We’re planning on doing a t-shirt fundraiser as well.  Does anyone have any suggestions about what we should have printed on them?  Also I’m hoping to have a craft fair and yard sale at in Augusta sometime this spring.  Keep an eye out for more details coming soon.  If you have fundraising ideas for the State Grange feel free to send me an email at Granger04071ataoldotcom  (Granger04071ataoldotcom)  .  Until next month….

Feb 152016
 

By Kathy Lorrain,
MSG Lecturer

Wow, another month almost gone. I have the date for the Lecturers’ Workshop that I am having. It is going to be April 23, 2016 at Danville Junction Grange from 10:00 to 3:00. There will be lunch for $5.00, some raffles and plenty of information. Hope everyone can make it. You can contact me by email kathydotlorrainatyahoodotcom  (kathydotlorrainatyahoodotcom)   or by phone 207-998-9046. I would like to have a count of how many will be coming so I can tell my ladies how much to prepare. I would like to know how many would like to have the secret pal brought back. I have a closing thought: Every cloud has a silver lining. Stay warm and Happy Valentines to everyone!

Feb 142016
 

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By Walter Boomsma

It might be seen as unfortunate that we most often only install officers once a year for there is much to consider in the installing officer’s opening remarks. We learn, for example, that our Order’s teachings, “…accompany members in their daily pursuits. They form part of the farmer’s daily life. They do not call him from his work to put his mind on any other subject, but furnish recreation in his daily duties, and by cheerful instruction, lighten and elevate his labor.”

I am always a little saddened when I hear comments like “our Grange doesn’t meet in the winter,” in part because it feels somehow wrong—as if we are setting aside what is meant to be an important part of our daily life. I do understand the practicalities of sub-zero temperatures and winter travel difficulties. But I also wonder how many meetings our forefathers cancelled because of weather.

I have often said that I don’t think our forefathers founded the Grange so we could have meetings and “do” ritual. Those activities are clearly secondary and designed to support what the Grange is supposed to be doing. I started this series of columns in a large part because I wanted to learn what the “Grange way of life” is all about. How does being a Granger impact our lives and “lighten and elevate” our labor?

We are an organization driven by teaching whether it be in degree work, the obligation ceremony, or installation of officers. Our meeting ritual is designed to remind us of those teachings and every meeting includes a “lecturer’s program” that should be stimulating our thinking.  All this teaching at least implies just what role the Grange should play in our daily lives. “Honesty is inculcated, education nurtured, temperance supported, brotherly love captivated, and charity made an essential characteristic.” The installing officer is, it seems, reminding us of what the Grange is all about. There is, of course, an emphasis on agriculture both as a science and as a way to “enhance the value and increase the attractions of our home.”

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis is fond of observing, “You rarely see a skinny Granger.” Perhaps we are paying too much heed to the first part of the installing officer’s reminder, “…we believe there is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor.”

Duties and responsibilities accompany Grange membership, but it must not escape our notice that words like “cheerful” and “enjoy” appear often in the installing officer’s comments and throughout Grange teaching. When we begin to fully understand those teachings, we discover that Grange life is about far more than meetings and ritual. “… to all interested in Agriculture, who have generous hearts and open hands to help the needy, raise the fallen, and aid in making the labors of this life cheerful, we say, ‘Welcome to the Grange.’”

If you call my cell phone number and I don’t answer, you’ll get to hear me say, “Sorry I can’t take your call right now. I’m busy trying to make the world a better and happier place.” When I first adopted it, I was just trying to do something different and perhaps a little entertaining. It’s now become both a personal mission and a slogan. When you think of it, isn’t that what a Granger should be doing? Maybe the next time somebody asks me what the Grange does I’ll answer, “We make the world a better and happier place.” I could be just that simple.


Quotations from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.

Feb 142016
 

HeatherBy Heather Retberg

Heather and Phil Retberg together with their three children run Quill’s End Farm, a 105-acre property in Penobscot that they bought in 2004. They use rotational grazing on their fifteen open acres and are renovating thirty more acres from woods to pasture to increase grazing for their pigs, grass-fed cattle, lambs, laying hens, and goats. Heather is Master of Halcyon Grange #345 and writes a newsletter for their farm’s buying clubs for farmers in her area and has generously given us permission to share some of her columns with Grangers throughout the state.


A few mornings this week, as the sun crested the treetops, it lit billions of snow sparkles suspended in the air invisible there without the sun’s rays. This is the way to start winter mornings–glinting snow suspended in air like a host of fairies winging their way to the farmhouse to greet the day. Truly sigh-worthy.

Yet, on another morning this week, I found myself grinning at a yet less expected sight out my window. There stood Totter-the-teenage-bull during morning chore time rubbing his itchy winter neck on the maple by the garden, looking for all the world as though it were perfectly fine for him to be out and about ambulating the farm, perusing for good scratching trees, and ignoring fences. Strutting his stuff. But, aho! The farmer soon appeared in the window frame walking cleverly alongside Bonnie the Queen, who happened to be in heat. Totter straightened right up from his neck-scratching, stuff-strutting, and fence ignoring. True to his name, he tottered like a puppy dog right over to Phil and Bonnie and stayed awfully darn close to her backside while Phil walked the pair back into the paddock for their own breeding walk. No enticing with buckets of treats or bales of hay this time, Phil just dusted off his cow language and spoke perfectly clearly without saying a word.

By day’s end, we repeated the breeding walk, with Queen Bonnie in the lead, and led the rest of the remaining beef cows and young bulls to the barn under the now complete winter shelter. With King Winter really and truly here, the ducks have lost their battle with him and ceded their last open spot on the pond to the layers of ice they’d been able thus far to keep at bay. All the paddocks are finally empty of animals and the dairy matrons, and the calves, and the goats, and the young bulls, and the beef cows are all in the barn under cover. All settled at long last.

To settled-ness for the time ahead and walks through clouds of sparkly snow fairies.


Grange members are invited to submit guest columns to Views from the Farm for consideration by emailing the webmaster. Please note that the views and opinions expressed in contributed articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Grange.

Feb 132016
 

By Walter Boomsma

Oopsie! When I went to post February’s column, I noticed that somehow January’s appeared in the Bulletin but never got posted to the site… So here it is! February’s is coming soon!   

glasses-1099129_640
It is now the Fourth Degree, in the Grange, on the farm, and in our lives… In winter, the season of rest from active toil, we sit down with our families, our friends and neighbors, and enjoy together the good things our labors in the lower degrees have brought us. So also in old age we enjoy the fruits of a well-spent life, surrounded by friends, and in a happy home.”

The Steward encourages the candidates to remember that “it is in the home that we enjoy the fruits of our labors in the fields of the farm and the fields of life.” For those of us who live in Maine, winter does seem to encourage us to spend more time in our homes. Our modern technology and conveniences may, however, mean that we spend less time “enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life” and more time watching television or using our I-Pad to check social media sites.

The Fourth Degree is perhaps a degree of reflection. When I read the above passage, my eyes and mind focused on the phrase “old age” and for some reason I connected it to this quote I recently used in a presentation:

“One curious thing about growing up is that you don’t only move forward in time; you move backwards as well, as pieces of your parents’ and grandparents’ lives come to you and stay with you.”

Life is about movement and it there are interesting parallels as we “move” through the degrees—with life and the seasons of the year. Most Grangers know that each degree represents a season and the degrees themselves are progressive. In an interesting way, one of the continued challenges for our organization often centers around the word “progress.”

While I’m far from an expert, I’m “working my way through the degrees” as part of these ongoing columns. If you haven’t tried it, I can assure you that curling up with a Grange Manual on a cold winter night can be a very relaxing and rewarding experience.

As I move through the manual, I can find nothing that bans progress and change—quite the contrary, actually. I also find nothing that requires us to abandon the past. But I do see much about growth and movement. Even in this passage, we are encouraged to enjoy the fruits of our labors both in the fields of the farm and fields of life.

One curious thing about the life of our Grange is that we aren’t just moving forward in time; we are moving backwards as well, as pieces of our past come to us and stay with us.

The Fourth Degree is also about fidelity and friendship. It also contains one of my favorite teachings. The Overseer tells the candidates to “…look with earnest solicitude upon children and their welfare; and remember that they are to follow in our footsteps and occupy our positions. If we desire to encourage them to love rural life, we must make its labors cheerful. What a child sees makes the most lasting impression. We may tell them of the pleasures and independence of the farmer’s life; but if their daily intercourse with us shows it to be tedious, irksome, laborious, without any recreation of body or mind, they will soon lose all interest in it and seek employment elsewhere…

Application of Grange teaching has a wondrous aspect in that the lessons can be applied in so many different ways. I challenge you to reread the Overseer’s lesson and change the word “children” to “others” and the words “rural” and “farmer” to “Grange” and “Granger.” It would sound like this:

…look with earnest solicitude upon others and their welfare; and remember that they are to follow in our footsteps and occupy our positions. If we desire to encourage them to love Grange life, we must make its labors cheerful. What another sees makes the most lasting impression. We may tell them of the pleasures and independence of the Granger’s life; but if their daily intercourse with us shows it to be tedious, irksome, laborious, without any recreation of body or mind, they will soon lose all interest in it and seek membership and friendship elsewhere…


Quotations from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.