Sep 302016

By Master RickMaine State GrangeAnnual Convention

A reminder to all Granges concerning quarterly dues that Friday that Sept 30 is the end of the 3rd quarter. As of Sept 29 there are a number of Granges for which payment is due Friday (if yours is on the way, thank you!). There are a few that are in arrears for multiple quarters. If you are in arrears you can attend State Session, however, your Grange will have no vote. Don’t miss out! Your votes are important. If you have any questions or problems, please call Sharon at Headquarters 623-3421.

Sep 292016

by Christine Hebert, Junior Director

Help needed for State Session 2016!

The Junior Department is running the kitchen once again, and we need help with donations and possibly workers, if you can help please call Christine at (207)743-5277 before 10/15/16.

Items Needed:
1. 3 Cases of Water
2. Soda: Case of: 2 Pepsi 12 oz.
1 Orange, 1 Coke, 1 Diet Pepsi, 1 Sprite, 1 Root beer, 1 Diet Coke
3. Chicken (white meat)4 Large Cans
4. 3 (32oz.) Jars of Mayonnaise
5. 4 Lbs. sliced Ham
6. 4 boxes of Little Elbow Macaroni
7. 1 Decaf. Coffee
8. Splenda, individual packets
9. Salt Packets, individual packets
10. Heavy Duty Dinner Plates 100+
11. Hot Cocoa individual packets
12. Crackers: PBJ, Cheese, etc.
13. Butter: Individual pats
14. ½ & ½= individual containers (2) Cases
15. 2 Gallons of Milk

Sep 282016

national-grange-coicPre-order and save on these 2.25″ in diameter heavy brushed nickel 150th Anniversary challenge coins. Place your order by Nov. 4 and receive one of these limited edition coins for only $20.
You can also order 7 coins for $140 by Nov. 4 and get one free in honor of our 8 founders!

You may choose to pick up your coins free at the 150th Annual Convention or add $2.50 for reduced shipping and handling charge per coin or $15 shipping and handling for the special 8-coin bundle. If you do not wish to pick up your coin at convention, those pre-ordered will ship from the National Grange on Monday, Nov. 7.

Orders placed after Nov. 4 or at the 150th Annual National Grange Convention will be $25 per coin with regular price of $4 per coin for shipping and handling. The 8-coin bundle, 8 coins for the price of 7, will be in place for $175 plus $20 shipping and handling.

Buy your coin today by contacting Loretta Washington at (202) 628-3407 ext. 109 or by email at salesatnationalgrangedotorg  (salesatnationalgrangedotorg)  !

Sep 262016

Maine State GrangeAnnual Conventionby State Master Rick Grotton

Directions to the banquet at 13 Maxim Street in Madison will be announced at the close of Thursday’s session.

There is no Agricultural Luncheon at State Session this year.

Lunch (sandwich meals) will be available prior to the start of State Session on Thursday.

Any Sixth Degree member can come to observe the Sixth Degree at State Session  on Friday night.

Registration at State Session begins at 10am on Thursday. Should you come  and register early and want to order lunch, please be courteous to those committees, helpers, and deputies who are working to set up the hall.  Stay near the kitchen area until set up is completed.

Hope these help! Thank you to those who have asked these questions. It is important that these questions be asked in order that the answers will be shared with all. This is for the Good of the Order (GOTO). Let’s be all on the same path so that when there are obstacles we can clear the path together and move our beloved Grange forward. Keep asking the questions!.

See you at State Session!!

Sep 232016

Dictionary Project Logo

by Walter Boomsma, based on Dictionary Project Newsletter

Here’s an interesting idea… a fundraiser sponsored by the River Region Republican Women was recently held at the Jefferson Orleans South with 11 celebrity politicians participating in the competition. The proceeds will be used to buy English and Spanish dictionaries for third-grade students in Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John parishes. You really have to read the article, but a short description is that they created a “cook off” (sounds like a natural for a Grange!) with attendees acting as “voters” to determine the top dishes.

Read the whole story.

An interesting twist on this… A Pomona Grange sponsors a “cook off” between member Granges!

Sep 222016

submitted by Glenys Ryder, Androscoggin Pomona #1

A very interesting and productive Degree Day was recently held at West Minot Grange by Androscoggin Pomona #1.  The first four degrees were conducted on eleven candidates.  Over forty Grange members from eleven different Granges were present.  A delicious roast pork dinner was served by the members of West Minot Grange between the second and third degrees.  Honored guest at the occasion was MSG Junior Director Christine Hebert.

Officers for the four degrees were as follows:  Master Wayne Sherman, Overseer Greg Johnson, Lecturer Glenys Ryder (first and second degrees) and Steven Haycock (third and fourth degrees), Steward Norma Meserve ( first and second degrees) and Roberta Meserve (third and fourth degrees), Assistance Steward Dana Coffin (first and second degrees) and Clay Collins (third and fourth degrees), Lady Assistant Steward Sue Verrill, Chaplain Maynard Chapman, Treasurer Wes Ryder, Secretary Linda Sherman, Gatekeeper Bill Hatch, Ceres Cynthia Maxwell, Pomona Kathy Lorrain, and Flora Gladys Chapman.  Taking part in the Harvest March were Shirley Hatch, Elmira Collins, Sharon Castonguay, and David Castonguay.

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening where Grangers were sharing good food and fellowship!

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Sep 202016
Mill Stream

On August 29, 2016, Mill Stream Grange members (l-r) Paul Lavender, Judy Wyman, Linda Stanton and Pat Stanton presented a check to Travis Mills (c) for the Travis Mills Foundation. The donation of $1,000.00 was made in memory of Mill Stream Grange member, and veteran, Mahlon Moore.

Sep 182016


By Walter Boomsma

There is a story that tells how the Russian czar in 1903 noticed a sentry posted for no apparent reason in the midst of the Kremlin grounds. When he inquired of the captain of the guard, the czar was informed that in 1776 Catherine the Great found the first flower of spring blooming in that spot.

She commanded that a sentry be posted to make certain no one trampled the flower.

Apparently, the order simply stood and so did a sentry—for the next 127 years.

It’s a story that might be true. And some will chuckle at the irony of the thought that the spot was guarded mindlessly for over a century. The need for the sentry had obviously dissipated with the change of seasons. Why bother to guard a patch of bare ground?

I suspect few would argue that posting that sentry was not an efficient use of military resources. But as a self-appointed devil’s advocate, I have to wonder. Now that we know why the sentry is there, isn’t it great to be reminded that Catherine the Great noticed that flower and deemed it worthy of protection?

The story just might demonstrate the importance of not forgetting the meaning of ritual—or for that matter, habit. During that 127 years, an untold number of sentries did their duty. They didn’t question why. So perhaps another lesson from the story is the importance of duty.

“Worthy Steward, are the gates properly guarded?

“They are, Worthy Master.”


During our recent officer installation, we had several children present. One eleven-year-old girl seemed interested in what was happening so I offered her a manual to “follow along” and several quick explanations. (I was not too surprised to receive an email from her later thanking me.) We didn’t specifically discuss the Gatekeeper’s duty. But during installation we learned,

“…I caution you to be vigilant and watchful. Your position between the Outer and Inner Gates is a responsible one. Neglect on your part might permit an enemy to enter, rob the orchard and vineyard, or sow the ground with tares. Being chosen by your fellow Patrons is evidence that they hold you in high esteem. Deserve it, by sleepless watchfulness at your post, by scrutinizing all who enter or pass out, by seeing that the garments of the Laborers are suitable, and that none enter the field except authorized persons, clad in proper attire.”

(And, while you’re at it, make sure nobody steps on those flowers.)

I occasionally hear of Granges where the Gatekeeper’s role is being redefined as that of a greeter. No doubt this will become controversial in some circles—some will be certain that’s “not what the founders had it mind.” Personally, I think it’s an interesting and much-needed shift—although in truest form every member should be a greeter, making guests feel comfortable. The question we might ask ourselves during discussion is whether or not being a greeter is in conflict with being a gatekeeper.

Perhaps having the conversation is the point. Should we—either as a lecturer’s program or an item of business—be discussing our expectations of each of the officer roles in our Grange? We’re nearing the end of the installation season—what a great time and place to start! At your next meeting, pick an office, review the installation charge, and talk about how that office/officer contributes to your Grange. Let’s be vigilant, but know and remember what it is we’re guarding.

Any degree or ritual quotations are 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.

Sep 172016

HeatherBy Heather Retberg

Quill’s End has been all LDRP this week: labor, delivery, recovery, postpartum. Phil, Ben and I have been in full on midwifery mode.

Last week Sunday, our Ruby girl had a bull calf, all red and white with a star on his forehead, and the days that followed were ones of heightened attention at milking time, extra hands on deck to help train this new cow into the milking routine, and extra time. Making milking a routine in the life of a cow consists of a host of small steps that are easily overlooked, until…it is time to train in a new cow. At the beginning of last week, we all had to remind ourselves just how many small steps are involved to help a new cow relax upon entering the milking parlor, how to enter it at all, how to turn the tight corner, how to stand nicely, and…to trust us above all. Ruby surprised us by allowing Phil to touch her hooves and place them where they needed to be to facilitate milking. She didn’t raise them, swipe them at him or otherwise lift them in irritation. He had her trust. Each day and each evening, however, a small ordeal must be undertaken by at least two of us, and sometimes, three, to coax her into the parlor and begin again, taking care not to damage trust, drawing on long threads of patience to establish a good routine that will hold for years to come. Sometimes those threads have been too short or thin for the task at hand.

Ruby gave us some concern in the first post-partum days when something seemed a little “off.” With study and several phone consultations with a super cow vet and dairy farmers across the river, Phil diagnosed our Ruby with very early signs of ketosis and began treatment to fend off any worsening. She got a few doses of Vitamin B, two different homeopathic remedies and green forage hand-cut and brought to her in the barn. Within the next two days, Ruby’s sparkle was back and she was all improvement. The calf took well to nursing, we kept working on the training, and set ourselves about a longer chore time and good work now for future ease.

While Ruby and her farmers made all of our myriad adjustments, Teeter’s due date was coming close. Her udder had been filling up showing signs of imminent calving, but other signs still absent told us we still had a few days. By mid-week, Ben noticed that she’d injured a teat. We all had a closer look, noticed with alarm that her udder was really filling up indicating her calving time would soon be upon us, and we’d need to treat her wounded teat. We all voiced the hope that we’d have a few days to bandage her and help her heal up before the calf arrived and a swelling udder would exacerbate her discomfort and make treating the wound more difficult. The next morning after milking time, Phil and I headed down to bring her closer to the barn and the house so we could more closely observe and treat her. As I walked over to the far side of the paddock to bring her up, Phil noticed the small wet figure on the ground already. She’d just had her calf moments before, we’d missed the calving by mere moments. We greeted this moment with mixed joy and dread. The calf was a heifer and Teeter had only given us bulls up ’til now. Teeter is Ben’s cow and we knew he’d be pleased at this news. But…Teeter was going to need special care and with calf already here and milk coming in, it had just become a complicated undertaking. The calving went well, however, baby and mama were doing great. Later that morning while Phil did deliveries, Carolyn and Ben and I brought Teeter and babe to the upper orchard paddock where we could better see and care for them.

Ben was concerned about Teeter’s substantial udder all filled up and hanging so low to the ground and the little one’s wee mouth–didn’t look compatible. His hunch seemed right. Teeter’s calf latched on to her collar, her neck, the side of her udder, but just couldn’t find the right spot. Teeter is a very protective mother and kept lowing her deep, mother low to help the calf along, but she just couldn’t get it. Teeter was becoming agitated and the calf more and more eager. Ben spent the next hour making sure this attachment happened. Teeter was so patient and trusting, Ben was so patient and trusting. The calf, in the end, latched on and had the needed colostrum, though had sharper newborn teeth than expected that left Ben with some sore knuckles.

The next calving was due mid-September, so we hoped for some time to train Ruby, treat Teeter’s teat and tend to the new calves. Fiona, another first time heifer, had her calf the very next morning. All went well with these two, Fiona had a heifer and is also a protective mama. Nursing was no trouble for this pair and, praise be, they are off to a trouble free start.

We’ve had some long, worried hours in the barn this weekend working on Teeter. Her teat is very tender and must be milked out to stay healthy. With three of us to hold her and milk and bandage her, we are all coming through it alright. She rests her head on us, trusting, but it is a painstaking ordeal right now, for her and for us. Tonight as Ben finished milking out the injured teat with gentle as possible hands, and Phil supported her with counter pressure from behind, I held her head. Just as Ben finished, she sighed and a tear rolled out her eye. She rested her head on me again, Ben and Phil let her know we were done and had only the bandaging left. She stood yet longer for that and then quietly left the parlor. I’ve never seen a cow tear before. I hope I never do again.

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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.

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.