Aug 182017
 

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Looks like some potentially good resources for a timely Lecturer’s Program or Family Health and Hearing Report!

As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect.  Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school.

The National Safety Council has a number of helpful resources that promote safety, including Pedestrian Safety, Safe Riding in a Car, Distracted Walking, First-Time Rider School Bus Tips, and more.

Also available on this site are video PSAs on Back to School:  Driving Safely with School Buses and Stop Bullying:  What Parents Can Do.

There are also bullying and suicide prevention resources available on my website. For a slightly different perspective on the issue of bullying, read Where you fly makes a difference.

Aug 182017
 

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Davis, State Senator for District 4. 

Absentee Ballots for Referendum Election Now Available Online

If you would like to request an absentee ballot for this November’s General Election, they are now available through the Online Absentee Ballot Request Service. Absentee voting is an option for all Maine residents currently registered to vote. Absentee ballots may be requested either through this online service or by going to your town office to fill out a form.

This November’s ballot will include two citizen’s initiative questions including a question to allow a certain developer to open a casino in York County and the seventh attempt to expand Medicaid to more able-bodied adults in Maine. Also on the ballot will be Question 3: “An Act To Authorize Multiple General Fund Bond Issues To Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities,” and Question 4: “Resolution: Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets.”

To apply for an absentee ballot online, go to click here.

Aug 172017
 

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Hatch Gagne, Director

Summer is going by fast and the Maine Agricultural Fairs are in full swing.  Thank you to all the Granges who have taken the opportunity to exhibit at your local fairs.  I have seen some fantastic displays, many focused on the 150th year of the Grange.  The summer and fall season of fairs provides you with more opportunities to exhibit at fairs, please consider setting up a display.

I want to thank all the Granges and individuals who have sent in money in support of the Maine State Grange Agricultural Scholarship.  We are pleased to be awarding four post-secondary scholarships this year.

The Agricultural Committee is working on the Ag Luncheon at the Annual Maine State Grange Conference.  Our luncheon will be held on Thursday noon and the speaker will be  Ms. Amber Lambke, President and CEO of Maine Grains and co-founder of the Maine Grain Alliance located at the Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan.  More information about luncheon tickets and location will be available when Maine State Grange information is sent out.  Save the date and join us at the AG luncheon on October 19.

Our committee is also working on the luncheon in support of the Maine Ag in the Classroom Annual dinner meeting to be held in November at State Grange Headquarters.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Aug 162017
 

Highland Lake Grange celebrated the 150th Birthday of National Grange with an open house August 13, 2017. Over 25 neighbors joined current and former Grangers to enjoy an afternoon of food, door prizes, birthday cake, tours of the Grange and a local trivia game “Duck Pond Jeopardy” with host “Monty Grange Hall.” Pennies were collected for House in the Woods and several guests left with membership applications….two applications were turned in!

Read the local media’s coverage of this event!

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Aug 152017
 

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Seth Godin recently wrote that it is not so much science and DNA that determines who or what we become, but culture does. He notes that our DNA is basically the same as a Cro-Magnon’s and, “The reason you don’t act the way they did is completely the result of culture, not genes.” It’s an interesting thought, yes? It becomes even more interesting when we consider the relationship of culture and tradition. It becomes powerful when we realize we may not be able to change our DNA, but we can change our culture.

Our recent vacation to Canada included a significant amount of drive time enabling us to consider what we were seeing and experiencing. One of our goals for the trip was to experience as much Celtic Music as was practical. We accomplished that by attending a number of Ceilidhs—the one Gaelic word we mastered during our stay. It’s pronounced “Kay-lee” and we were truly amazed by what seemed an endless number of possible ones to attend. Wikipedia defines a Ceilidh as “a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering. In its most basic form, it simply means a social visit. In contemporary usage, it usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing, either at a house party or a larger concert at a social hall or other community gathering place.” We found that the best Ceilidhs including some story telling and jokes.

These Ceilidhs come in all sizes and shapes with enough diversity to keep one’s interest for a long time. They are held in various venues including restaurants, pubs, barns, and even street corners. Nova Scotia is also dotted with Parish Halls that might be best described as usually small “community centers.” But “center” is certainly relative. We were warned that one of the best Ceilidhs in the area is almost impossible to find. The best way for a non-local to go is to attend an earlier Ceilidh at a local restaurant, then follow the crowd when they leave and head towards Glencoe.

We couldn’t help making some comparisons to Grange Halls in the United States—at least the Grange Halls of days past where “social gatherings” included suppers, music, and dancing. Their purposes actually are historically quite similar.

I came to the conclusion our Granges should consider having some events resembling Ceilidhs while attending one at a small restaurant called “The Red Shoe.” I feared it would be a tourist trap. The line outside the door reinforced my fears but in short order I found myself having fun, visiting with other people in line. We could hear the music. We could smell the food. The anticipation was almost over-powering. Inside, it got even better. It might be a stretch to suggest that we were “one big happy family” but we were a community immersed in a culture and tradition.

When the lead musician asked each table to tell where they were from it was apparent we were a global community with more folks coming from far than near. We were sitting at a table with a couple from Montreal, but at the table next to us were some “locals” with a toddler who could barely walk, but when the music played, he did his best to “step dance.”

The words rang true. “we act the way we do as a result of culture.” While I haven’t had a DNA test, I’m reasonably certain there’s not much Irish or Scottish blood in my heritage. But that night it felt like there was! Just about everyone’s toes were tapping—there was much laughter and shouted conversation. (Two of the pub rules are “Don’t ask for the wifi password,” and “Drink lots of beer.”) But it’s not just the music and it’s certainly not just the beer—several of the Ceilidhs we attended served only tea and biscuits. It’s simply hard not to enjoy the Celtic Way of Life when you are sitting at a Ceilidh.

So there might be a question in all this for us. Remember: we can’t change our DNA, but we can change our culture. What is the Grange Way of Life? Why aren’t we dancing (literally and figuratively) more? Shouldn’t we at least be tapping our toes? It should be hard not to enjoy the Grange Way of Life when you’re sitting in a Grange Hall.


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.

Aug 152017
 

A mug WB

I recently encountered two of my little friends from school at the supermarket. They said they were having a great summer but assured me they are ready to return to school. I did not admit I am not so much so… this has been an incredibly short summer! We recently returned from an extended vacation to Canada and I find myself feeling that there is way too much to do before the season’s change. That includes back to school, certainly, but “Grange-wise” we are also in transition with a new Grange year starting soon. That means it’s time to look back at the previous year’s accomplishments and write an annual director’s report. And it means looking ahead to next year and thinking about priorities and objectives for the Communication Department.

The mission doesn’t change—my intention has always been to support Pomona and local Granges with information (communication) that will help you grow your Granges in the ways you deem best. That growth certainly means membership, but it also means programming and the way you “operate” your Grange.

I would dearly love some input from Granges and Grangers—how can I best serve you as Communications Director? What do you like about the website? What would you like see more of…? My current thinking is that I’d like to expand two areas.

One is the “Exciting Granges and Grangers” category. The feedback I receive from you suggests that learning about other Granges and their successes is both motivating and helpful. This past year, some Granges have actually decided to send representatives to other Granges who are reporting success to see first hand “how they are doing it.” That’s pretty cool and it really makes sense. So a priority for next year will be to encourage more success stories and contributions. As if to further support this, we’ve had several cases where the media has picked up those success stories from our website. I’ve also been contacted by media representatives in search of successes to report. As the old saying goes, “Talk is cheap.” And as I have often said, “It really is easier to make news than it is to write press releases.”

A second priority I am considering is expanding the “Resources for Grangers” feature of the website. While we don’t want to “clutter” the site, the goal is to provide Granges and Grangers with resources that may have value personally, provide programming and event ideas, or just be of general value. There are several challenges associated with this, but it does seem to be worthy of pursuit!

Obviously, these are both areas where your help is needed. Don’t underestimate the value of the things your Grange does. Share them! What may seem commonplace to you may be an exciting, brand new idea needed by another Grange. I admit that I get really excited when I receive an email from someone whose name I don’t recognize because I can’t wait to see what you’ve done. Photos are also great—and a photo or two with what we call a “cutline” can tell a story. (A cutline is media talk for the caption explaining the photo—usually a sentence or two.)

In a similar way, you can help with “Resources for Grangers.” If you come across something that you think could be helpful, just submit it! I could be something as simple as a website link. Or it could be an article (I’ll handle the copyright issues) you found beneficial. With our diversity as an organization, there are lots of opportunities! Lecturers–if you conducted a particularly good Lecturer’s Program, share it! Community Service Chairs–if you found a particularly good cause or initiative, pass it on. I could go through the entire list. For example, I recently found a simple checking account program that I am testing and will report on soon—treasurers might be interested! Given the number of Granges and Grangers we have, we have lots of potential for helping each other! I’ll do my best to make that happen!

Another project under consideration is a major revision of the “Communications Handbook.” Some changes are required based on changes made to the website, but it may also be time for a major review and overhaul. If you have some ideas regarding what would be helpful in the handbook, please let me know. I’d like to have it ready for distribution at State Session. I also hope to have a “table” at State Session on Thursday and Friday where you can stop by and chat, subscribe to the website, get help with how to use the website, etc. But you don’t have to wait until then! My preferred method of contact is email, but you can also call or write—just remember that I am still working a “day job,” teaching courses and substituting at school so those methods may be a little slower.

We had some great experiences during our Canadian Vacation. I was impressed by the fact that we were not often asked, “May I help you?” Well, I was really impressed by the fact that most of the people we encountered were genuinely interested in us and knew how to communicate that. There was no doubt they wanted to help us. When I had a semi-technical difficulty with tickets to a special event, I decided to simply appear at the location in person (a performance center on a small college campus). As I stumbled about looking dazed, I was asked: “How can I help you!” My explanation brought up a pointed finger with the explanation “There’s our summer student who can help you with just about anything.” During our conversation, he asked a ton of questions about things like: where I was from, how I was enjoying the area, etc. Yes, he solved my problem quickly and efficiently, but he also made it clear that he was interested, genuinely interested in not only getting me my tickets by making sure I was enjoying my visit to the area. I ended up with a great dinner recommendation… when I thanked him before the performance and told him how great the entertainment at the restauranthe’d recommended was, he realized I was talking about his cousin. Small world, isn’t it.

Now there’s a resource for us as Grangers—a clear demonstration that our Grange world needs to be about being genuinely interested—in each other for sure, but also in others. When we are tempted to whine that folks aren’t interested in the Grange, that might be a good time to ask ourselves how interested we are in those people.

How may I help you? Please share your thoughts and ideas for how the Communications Department can serve and help you.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

 

 

 

Aug 152017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

If your Grange participates in the Dictionary Project, you or your Grange Secretary should have recently received their recent newsletter… I believe it is mailed to all supporters and contributors. It’s a great piece because it can be a poster and even doubles as an order form. Well, this issue is of particular interest because it features Danville Junction Grange! You can read the original post here… and notice the fact that the Dictionary Project folks are subscribers to the Maine State Grange website. If you aren’t… what might you be missing!?

Congratulations to Danville Grange and thanks to Glenys Ryder for submitting the article!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Aug 142017
 

HeatherBy Heather Retberg

Late summer’s observations blur together as we fall further headlong into August’s frenzied pace.  While the frenetic energy of the season surrounds us, we walk at placid cow speed up and down the fields to and fro from the barn for milking times, or at goat pace, measured and halting for select morsels en route.   One observation: stay at a safe distance from cow’s rear end.  Yes, for that obvious reason, but also at a good distance removed so the airborne stream of flying cow saliva won’t land across the face.  While swatting flies ourselves, we must attend to the cows flinging their massive heads and long tongues backward to swat flies in the bovine fashion, letting a long strand of cow spit fly with each ‘swat’.    Watch out for that.

Once at safe distance from cow spit and meandering alongside our bovine friends, the mind meanders a bit alongside, too.   It is hard not to notice with a growing amount of August angst how very dry, hard, and dusty the cow path is, how fresh the wild mint smells as we inadvertently trample it in certain spots of pasture, how sweetly the pineapple weed smells, damp in the morning, but, oh, too crisp–really, truly brown and crisp–by evening.  The goldenrod is a welcome sight along the fencerows, autumn food for bees, monarchs have returned again in noticeable numbers to the farm, still surprising me by fluttering by the cows, behind the chickens, in the upper and lower fields.  There is hope.  It has been a few years since we’ve seen more than one.  If they can return, overcoming long distances, glyphosate and other monarch maladies, there is renewed impetus to continue toward a more regenerative agriculture, allowing the milkweed to grow in the marginal areas of the farm.

Freddy the bull is occupying our conversations and observations again.  Though we do not always succeed, we do aim to manage the breeding cycles in a staggered measure, not only for our/your milk supply but for cow health.  So, when sweet Mary went into standing heat yesterday, Freddy the bull was kept in the barn behind his herd, as it isn’t yet time for Mary to breed back again.  Too soon.  Freddy enjoys a sweet window of time when he can be with all his ladies, a time when they are all bred and his presence doesn’t disrupt.  But, when they’ve just calved (remember FOUR last month) and we aim to manage the calving and milk supply so that it isn’t all from 0-60 in one week again next year, then, Fred has to stay up at the barn with the calves while the good dairy ladies return to graze after milking.  This sounds much simpler than it is.  A barn suddenly seems a fragile wooden thing, when farmers intervene with the natural desires of bulls and cows.  Freddy immediately found the weak hinges and door holds to ram to return to Mary and the others in the field.  Phil quickly found the screw gun–fortification–and the steel tube cattle gate.  Freddy acquiesced, stopped nosing his head through doors and…wailed.  Managing a cow brothel is tricky doings.  At day’s end, Mary is with the other cows, Freddy is in the barn, and, we hope, your milk supply and cow health will be orchestrated in good fashion.  Phew.

May rain fall again from the skies, may you remain at safe distance from flying cow spit, and may August find you steady.

And, may you enjoy the late summer scent of mint and pineapple weed wherever your walk to and fro brings you.

###

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.

Aug 142017
 

Corliss

Community Service Corner

Hello, Fellow Grangers! I am glad that some Community Service Books have rolled in and more are still rolling in. Let’s please try to get the 25% needed, so if you have not sent in an Activity Sheet and/or Community Service Book please do so. They can be emailed to me at christinecorlissatymaildotcom  (christinecorlissatymaildotcom)   or USPS Christine Corliss, 162 Center Road, Lebanon ME 04027. I greatly appreciate all of the hard work that each Grange and Granger puts into this program.  This program would not be a success without all of you.  Let’s be looking forward to the Idea Fair that will be happening in Augusta on September 16th, from 10 – 2. All Grangers and Granges are welcome to attend. If you would like more information on the subject please feel free to contact me via the above-listed information.  Looking forward to seeing you all at State Session.

 

Family, Health & Hearing

I would also like to thank everyone who participated in the FH & H Contest again this year.  If you have not already sent in your form please do so now. It can be emailed to me or USPS to me via the information listed in the Community Service Corner section.  It is great to hear of so many Granges taking part in making their Grange members aware of health, family, and social items.  September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month, September 7th – 12th is National Suicide Prevention Week, & September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day.  Please let your Grange members know about one or all of these items.

Maine State Grange Community Service making a difference “ONE” project at a time!

Aug 142017
 

Flagg (640x640)

As you are reading this, I just want to remind everyone that the conference will be coming up in a couple of weeks so please get your donations, entries, and reports sent in to avoid “the rush.” I will be collecting the squares for National Grange at the conference and also at state session in October. Make sure you have all the papers filled out that National wants plus fill in ALL the blanks on the labels for the conference as I do not remember the Grange or Pomona that each of you belongs to. Not trying to nag but just giving you a subtle reminder. Look forward to seeing each of you at the conference and your reaction to some of the changes that I have made. Take care, my friends.