Feb 122018


Oh, but it’s tricky weather out there.  We’re all moving in slow motion this week, treading oh so carefully over ice. Ice!  It’s warm, but it snows, and then rains, and, it’s just none too easy to move about. The fog rolled in on Friday and kept us warmly blanketed up here, but the ice beneath was no joke.  The whole farm feels surreal, wood smoke up through the chimney hanging in the air with the thick fog, everything muted, motions all slowed. The goats are the only critters that have to pick their way down from goat house to milking shed with me over the ice patches, all 6 of our feet working in pretty close concert, finding the trails of ash and sand and mud and earth poking through. The does know this is not the time to gallop with me in tow and follow instead closely behind, leaving lots of slack in the lead. Now, if Phil is about on the tractor, our delicate balance goes haywire and they bolt back up to their house and I hop-skip-run to find all those good patches of some traction in fast forward.  It’s no elegant sight, but…we get there.

Now, the ducks, on the other hand, are not only constant amusement, they aren’t bothered one bit by the ice fog. The old, large Pekin can’t waddle through snow too well when he ventures out of the barn to find running water. He sort of swim-walks through the snow until he gets to the well.  The other drake, a mutt of sorts, is quite agile, not so awkwardly waddle-y, and usually leads the way. He just glide-walks from barn to well where they can both preen and splash and be ducky. Our third fellow, the mallard, he-who-flies-away, has returned once again.  He disappears for days, then returns, disappears for weeks, then returns. We imagine all sorts of happy times he must have elsewhere, maybe, with some duck hens on a neighboring pond, but…he still must like his bros, he always comes back.  So, the three amigos perch outdoors in the daytime, despite the ice and snow showing us how to be when it rains in February on top of snow on top of ice. They just let the water roll right off them, yep, really, like water off a duck’s back.

Careful out there, friends. Remember, the fog always lifts and the ice is sure to break up, too.


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. Visit the Quill’s End Farm Facebook Page for more information.

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 122018


It is February and time to start planning the garden and ordering seeds. My seeds have been ordered with a few extra varieties to use in Grange displays at our 2018 Agricultural Fairs.  Maine State Fair Exhibition Hall Superintendents are looking forward to having Granges display at the Fair Exhibition Halls. I have been approached by a number of fair superintendents hoping to have more Grange displays. Please consider exhibiting at least one fair. If you need support or have questions about setting up an agricultural, domestic or educational/informational exhibit please feel free to contact me at 207-592-6980 or email at karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu  (karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu)  .

The Ag Committee to getting ready to host the Maine Legislative Ag Luncheon at State Headquarters on March 13, 2018. I welcome anyone interested in helping serve or bake pies for this event. Also, the Ag Committee will be selling raffle tickets to raise money for the Agricultural Scholarships we award every year.We are still looking for Maine-made items to fill the basket. Thank you, everyone, who has already contributed to completing this basket.

The Agricultural post-secondary scholarship application is available and is going out to schools this month. Please encourage high school seniors who are heading to post-secondary institutions to apply for this scholarship. Applications pursuing a career in agriculture or an agriculturally related field including but not limited to the following: forestry, floriculture, farm business management, Ag-related computer science, poultry science, soil & Water Science, Ag Marketing, Equine Science, Biotechnology, Horticulture, Entomology, Fish & Wildlife Studies, Dairy Science, Pomology, Ag Engineering, Animal Science, Sustainable Agriculture and Consumer Science. We are looking forward to awarding scholarships to multiple recipients based on quality applications. Application deadline is April 27, 2018. Applications should be sent to Maine State Grange Headquarters.

Feb 112018

The most recent issue of Good Day! National Grange magazine includes a half-page photo of David Gowen and his daughter Hannah. That, of itself, is exciting, but even more exciting is the reason and the story behind the photo. During the awards reception of the 151st Annual National Grange Convention, the Gowen family was one of seventy families across the nation who were honored with Legacy certificates. The certificates recognize the decades of service running through some Grange Families. For the Gowen Family, that includes six generations of membership in the Grange, starting in 1875 when James and Clarinda Gowen (first generation) and James and Ida Gowen (second generation) were all members of Westbrook Grange #87 (now Highland Lake Grange #87). That’s a lot of Grangers and a lot of Grange Service! Congratulations to the Gowens–the only family from Maine to receive this honor!

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Your family may qualify for recognition as a Grange Legacy Family if you can provide information about five or more generations of your family that have been part of the Grange.  Learn more about the program here. Awards are presented annually at the National Grange Convention. Deadline for applications for this year is August 6, 2018.

Feb 082018

Webmaster’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.

Unclaimed property consists of money and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned when an owner cannot be located after a specified period of time.  It includes checking accounts, certificates of deposit, overpayments, gift certificates, paid-up life insurance policies, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, savings accounts, stocks, and contents of safe deposit boxes.  Unclaimed Property does not include real estate, animals, or vehicles.

Millions of dollars are turned over annually to the State of Maine by entities who cannot locate the owners.  There is no fee charged to process your property claim.

To search for unclaimed property, please visit Unclaimed Property Search and Claim.  If you find your name on the list, you can make a claim right there by filing online or you may print a claim form and mail it to Office of the Maine State Treasurer, Attn:  Unclaimed Property, 39 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0039.   Some claims may take up to 90 days to process.  Claims involving stocks or mutual funds may take considerably longer.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Maine State Treasurer at (207) 624-7470 or send an e-mail to updotgeneralinquireatmainedotgov  (updotgeneralinquireatmainedotgov)  .

Webmaster’s Note: A few years ago I did this and found some–an uncashed check! Admittedly it wasn’t enough to take an extended vacation but was, literally, “found money.” It’s worth a look.

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Feb 072018

Short messages from your Communications Department

A couple of additions to your website today…

We’ve uploaded the most recent “VA Wish List” — you’ll find a link to it in the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page. Remember, it makes sense to check this list to also learn what is NOT needed at this time!

We’ve created a new link to National Grange Legislative Bulletins in the Legislative Section of the Program Books and Information Page.  These Bulletins are issued monthly and are chock full of useful news and updates. Just one example this month–some great information on the work that’s beginning this month on the Farm Bill.

Thanks to those Exciting Granges and Grangers who have been submitting news and photos… Please keep ’em coming! Your fellow Granges and Grangers love hearing good news about what’s happening around our state.

Remember, we’re still counting down to Grange Month 2018. Rather than repost all the National Grange Resources on the MSG website, use this link to download what you need: 2018 Grange Month Page on the National Grange website.

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Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Feb 072018

Christine Hebert1

Juniors and Youths, on March 31, 2018, we will be having Public Speaking, Sign-A-Song and Sign the Alphabet contests at Highland Lake Grange in Westbrook on Route 302 from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm with a supper. Participants eat for free, all others will pay $5.00 with proceeds going to the Youth Committee. The menu includes mac & cheese with hot dogs and a dessert. Beverages include water, coffee, milk, and a punch.

The Junior’s Annual Meeting will follow. I need to know approximately how many people will be attending, please call me at (207)743-5277 with an RSVP. Remember Juniors, bring a friend.


Feb 072018

SAVE THIS DATE…..The Northeast Grange Youth Conference will be held July 13-15, 2018. We have secured a perfect location, after a year-long search, but we are waiting on approval from our Worthy Master, Officers and Executive Committee before we can reveal the Maine location. The National Youth and Junior Directors plan on attending, plus we will have Grange members of all ages attending from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut.  We will have plenty of room and we are pleased to announce that the cost will be low. The contest will be fun and the winner has the opportunity to compete Nationally and practice at Maine State Grange Convention if you win First Prize at The Northeast Grange Youth Conference in July.

It is time to get your Lip Sync, Sign a Song, Impromptu Speech, Prepared Speech and Radio Spot. ready for March 31, 2018, at Highland Lake Grange, Westbrook, ME  from 1:00 pm to 5:00 p.m. The first place prize is an overnight stay at Northeast Grange Camp, a 50+dollar value or a cash prize of 20 dollars. Second place is 25 dollars off Grange Camp or a cash prize of 10 dollars and Third place is 15 dollars off Grange Camp or 5 dollars cash. Dinner will be served and our theme is “Party Like It’s Your Birthday ” so possibly we will celebrate 150 years of Grange with Cake and favors! To find out the contest rules for ages 14 and up, please find the Grange Youth 2018 Program and Contest Handbook, under both the Maine State Grange Program Tab (Heading) and National Youth Tabs and ages 5-14 under the Junior Program Tab.

Feb 062018

Please join us in Washington, D.C. on April 15-18, 2018 as we work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange policy priorities. Spring is an extremely crowded and busy time in Washington, DC. Tourists and students from around the country and abroad flock to Washington on spring trips making hotel rooms are scare. Appointments with Representatives and Senators are a challenge to confirm, therefore the National Grange encourages those members who will be attending the 2018 Fly-In to register, reserve hotel rooms, and make Capitol Hill appointments early.

Additional Information and Registration, click here!

Feb 042018

National Grange LogoAre you interested in doing business or investing in Argentina? National Grange members have been invited to participate in a Trade Mission to La Rioja and San Juan Provinces, Argentina, March 20-28, 2018. This 8-day trip will visit companies and business leaders, meet with province officials, and have time for sightseeing. Led by U.S. Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez who attended the National Grange 150th Birthday Gala in December, the tour is open to a limited number of people. Participants are only required to cover their roundtrip airfare and lodging. All internal travel, meals, seminars, and activities are covered by the trade mission.

The provinces of La Rioja and San Juan offer a wide array of distinct growing business and investment opportunities for U.S. business in key industries including agribusiness, mining, renewable energy, travel and tourism, infrastructure development, and technology services.

If you have any interest in joining this trip please contact President Betsy Huber right away at betsyatnationalgrangedotorg  (betsyatnationalgrangedotorg)  , (484) 459-1957.

Jan 312018

Webmaster’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.

CA$H Maine is a statewide collaboration of ten coalitions, comprised of 50 non- and for-profit partners, working together to help empower Maine individuals and families to achieve long-term financial stability.  Since 2003, it has offered free tax preparation to qualified filers during tax season and educated hard-working families and individuals about programs in the community that can increase their incomereduce debt, and build savings.  CA$H Maine is a year-round resource, providing outreach and education about ways you can make the most of your money.

To find a coalition near you, click here.

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