Oct 092017
 

Heather

Sometime mid-week, the changing colors of the leaves went from drought-stressed, washed out reds and oranges to bright, flaming scarlets and green-yellows reminiscent of springtime. Overnight, the harsh edges of the dry summer and fall appeared to soften, to warm, and to relax once again.

Phil and Ben brought Teeter and Leona, along with Fred, the bull,  up from the lower ‘dry cow’ paddock to the main pasture with the dairy cows. Bonnie, too would be in heat soon and ready to see Fred, and Teeter and Leona would soon calve and begin the walk back and forth to the barn with the milking cows once again. Teeter’s udder is filling with milk and we expect to meet her new calf this week. On Friday, Leona calved. Last year, she didn’t take well to milking at all–it was more of a wrestling match than seemed beneficial, so we let her raise two calves instead. This year, we’ve been hoping she might prove to have settled a bit, and become a milk cow after all.  She had a little red bull calf, fuzzy and rugged, already showing all kinds of curiosity and bounce.

Leona was born and raised right here on the farm. She is Cricket’s daughter and built an awful lot like her–sturdy and large-boned. She was a bottle calf and has always been something of a love–seeking out a nice pat, rubbing up from behind to induce us to scratch her under the chin, not one bit skittish. UNTIL…that is, she came into the milking parlor.  Phil worked with her some last year, but, in the end, decided that Leona would be a great candidate to nurse a few calves and he’d have a go at it again this year. Saturday evening was the moment of truth, the first try at it again.  It didn’t go well.  Leona is a kicker.  And, this time around, her hoof found Phil’s eye. He’s sporting a milking shiner for the first time I can remember. And, won’t be making a milk cow out of Leona after all. Some days you get it, and some days you get got. He’s been gotten. He’s doing just fine, however. On day two he reports no pain and that it simply looks worse than it is. It looks pretty bad.

Away from barn and pasture, far away in Omaha, Nebraska, where all things USDA are decided, that agency has decided that it doesn’t like our proposed amendment to the food sovereignty law, and will ‘neither approve or endorse’ it, which, doesn’t, as you may imagine, mean that it won’t meet the necessary requirements. But, they don’t like our “tone.” The legislature is set to reconvene on October 23rd to take it up. We’re working on building consensus with the Department and Committee before that date. This may all be a bit like working with Leona. It’s just fine out in the field, just fine in the barn, but when it comes down to business, sometimes you get a kick in the eye. The Department has shown itself to be a bit like that already. But, what can you do? Do good work, act in good faith, and get down to business. The rest is a bit beyond our control.  The time is soon coming to mobilize.  Just as soon as we know, I’ll pass on the good word.  Sometimes, a cow settles after one lactation and doesn’t kick. You just don’t know until you try. What’s true on the farm may prove true in Augusta.  You just can’t know until you try.

Happy Autumn!  May scarlet blazes and yellow-green glows soften any harsh edges in your week.

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.

Oct 092017
 

Christine Hebert1

Congratulations to Hailey Pike for winning 3rd place “Make a Boat that floats” in the (New England Grange Building Junior Project) Nice job Hailey!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may we be thankful and grateful for the food and fellowship we share, and let us remember to keep our southern friends (Those who were affected by hurricanes) in our prayers and our hearts.

Download the 2018 Junior Program from the Maine State Grange website, check out the new contests, along with the location for our Junior Camp! (We will be visiting the Maine State Museum.)

MSG Junior Program 2017-2018

Oct 082017
 

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

The Department of the Secretary of State is taking orders for buttons to honor our veterans on Election Day.  The button, which reads “I’m Voting in Honor of a Veteran,” is personalized with the name of a veteran the voter wants to recognize for his or her sacrifices to ensure our freedoms, including the right to vote.

Order forms for the Vote in Honor of a Veteran button can be found online here.  The buttons are mailed directly to voters’ homes, and there is no cost for the button or for shipping.  To receive the button before the election, voters should place their orders as soon as possible.


Subscribe to the Maine State Grange Website–Don’t miss news like this!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Oct 072017
 

Where has the year gone? State Convention is in just a two weeks and I Still haven’t located my Youth Regalia. Have you seen our sash? I’m looking forward to seeing old youth and we hope to welcome new youth. Please encourage anyone 14 to 35 to join us this year at State Grange. We have a fun weekend planned with a few surprises.

Maine is hosting the 2018 Northeast Grange Youth Conference and I would like Maine Youth to help with planning the camp. I will be taking notes during the convention and will delegate accordingly.

Unfortunately, we do not have unlimited resources, so we will announce Bowling and Miniature Golf winners but will not be providing the beautiful ribbons we have in the past. Please snail mail your scores or email the winners. We need to know the results before State Grange, as we do have a prize or small token of our appreciation. Please note if you bowled large or small balls .

Our Grange Youth Convention Schedule is as follows:

  1. All Grange Youth check in at the Youth Table upon arriving. If you have a gift bag or item for the Youth Table bring it with you.
  2. We plan on having a 50/50 as well as the opportunity to win prizes and we will sell our Maine State Grange Youth Conference t-shirts. (They are not dated so we can use them for Maine Youth year after year!)
  3. On Friday, as soon as the session ends, ANY Youth or Young Person who would like to Open Saturday Morning, please meet at the Grange Youth Table. All Youth will get their free t-shirt for Saturday. We will quickly practice opening.
  4. Friday night Youth will go out for Chinese! Old people are welcome to join us. If cost is truly an issue let me know. (All requests will be kept confidential.)
  5. Saturday morning, Youth will meet 45 minutes before opening session.We will practice opening one last time.
  6. Saturday, we could all go to Pizza Hut after closing session!(?) Vote yes or no upon arrival.

I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you this year.

Oct 062017
 

Bangor Grange presented Lt. Tim Cotton his Community Citizen Award at our meeting Tuesday. The following is his write-up the next day that he posted on Facebook:

“Sliding my thumb up and down the smudged and scratched glass of my Samsung phone allows a glimpse into the thoughts of my Facebook friends.

Most of my “Facebook friends” are actually my friends. Sure, there are one or two I don’t know very well, but for the most part they are my friends and I would not have added them to my motley crew if I didn’t believe we could talk for twenty minutes or so over a cup of coffee.

Today, one of my friends posted a simple statement; a question actually. “Where have all the good people gone?” I think it’s a question we all have, especially in times like these.

When the news-cycle bores it’s way into our lives like a Black and Decker hammer-drill, it is fairly easy to believe that the world has gone mad. I cannot deny that I believe the exact same thing sometimes. I certainly can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t bring us something worse than our country has experienced this week.

I can tell you that the good people are still here. On Tuesday night I met about 15 of them at the Bangor Grange Hall (#372).

Kindly, the group awarded me with a Community Service honor and plaque. I should note that I have done nothing to deserve such an honor from the Grange members. I should have been there sooner-thanking them. I am such a slacker.

Ann Staples (82 years young) organized a fundraiser for a man who was soon to die. He wanted to make sure his wife had a little something after he passed. The spaghetti dinner at their humble Grange raised over $5000 dollars in one evening. The man died on the night of the fundraiser, but he knew of it’s success before he passed.

Ann was not bragging about pulling it all together, she was telling me about it because she and her fellow Grange members were looking to do a project for our police department causes.

We talked over lasagna, homemade biscuits, beef pie, scalloped potatoes and freshly pressed Maine apple cider. Yes, I had seconds, on simple paper plates and mismatched silverware. Ann also organizes their weekly farmers market and helped local disadvantaged kids plant and care for a garden so they could have fresh vegetables. She has done this for years.

Ann was asking me what I needed while stuffing me with food to prepare me to receive MY award. Are you kidding me?

Grange Master Rolf Staples Sr. told me about the Christmas breakfast Grange #372 puts on for local kids. He told me some of the kids find the thought of a homemade breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, and pancakes far more appealing than the gifts they receive. He noted that some of the kids know nothing more than a Pop Tart and can of soda for typical morning nourishment. Who makes the breakfast? The ladies and gents of Grange #372, not me.

94-year old Mary Hunter knits tiny caps for premature infants. She also reminded me that she was at my wedding but that she didn’t dance.

She told me that she recalls my son has the same name as her dear departed husband and that she clearly remembers me changing my son’s name on his birth certificate two days after he was born. It’s true, I did. Purely to make his name roll off my tongue more easily. It’s a long story. Mary remembers. She is a member of Grange #372.

For years Mary and her husband visited area nursing homes with homemade crafts, provided gifts for the kids on the parade route at Hampden Children’s Day and did a myriad of other things for community causes.

There were many others. Some who had been members for a long time and one who had held leadership positions at Grange #372 since the early 1960s. He had cut some firewood that day and told me he loved the fall. I think the gentleman could have made quick work of me in an arm wrestling match, but it was his 82nd birthday so I would expect nothing less.

We stood for the Star Spangled Banner, posted Old Glory, and I was escorted to the podium for the reading of a very nice proclamation.

Each step across the sole-smoothed hardwood floor echoed the footsteps of the benevolent members who danced, wedded, and died here since 1904.

I was humbled with their kindness, uplifted by their hardscrabble homestead farm-raised ghosts. I envisioned the men and wives cleaning their nails and washing behind the kid’s ears for the Saturday night supper and dance.

Where have all the good people gone? I think they are still here.

If you have trouble finding them, put down the phone, lay off the rants, turn off the television, and become one of them. If you need to find an example of such goodness, check your local Grange Hall.

Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.

We will be here.”

TC


Webmaster Note: “TC” maintains a Facebook Page for the Bangor Maine Police Department with that has “gone viral” and has thousands of followers around the country. You can read TC’s original post on Facebook.

Oct 052017
 

On behalf of the MSG Educational Aid and the Howe’s Nurses Scholarship Fund, I am issuing a plea for your support.  This goes out to non-members, as well as to members of the Grange.

The cost of a college education is increasing each year, and our funds to help these young people are limited.  Any donation, however small it may be, made by individuals, Granges, or any other organization would be so appreciated!  You do not need to be a Granger in order to donate to this worthy cause.

There are many creative ways that a Grange can use to raise money, such as a supper, a raffle, or a program.  Think outside the box!  Come up with an activity that would be lots of fun for those participating as well as would raise the funds for some young person’s dream to come true.

Last year, the Maine State Grange was able to award ten $500 scholarships to ten deserving students.  With your generous donations, perhaps we can do even more this year.

Please send your donations to J. Patrick Elwell, Secretary/Treasurer, Educational Aid Fund, 136 Quaker Lane, Smithfield, ME 04978.

Thank you for doing your part in helping young adults, who will be our leaders of the future.

Oct 042017
 

The State Lecturer’s conference was held September 30. The new program guide was reviewed. There are a few changes to the ongoing contests as well as a new candlelight ceremony contest. Please review these changes when you receive your program guide. Program helps for October, November, and December were also handed out. Those who did not attend may pick up their Granges booklets at State Session.

Certificates were given to all Subordinate and Pomona lecturers who sent in a report. Certificates, ribbons and writing journals were awarded to all the winners of the various creative writing contests. Certificates and bookmarks were given to all who participated in the book-reading club. Ribbons were awarded to those members who read the most books and/or the total number of pages.

Members then participated in an activity based on a program workshop presented at the 2016 Northeast lecturer’s conference. A subject was given and groups came up with the following ideas that you could use to plan a program. The areas used were Recreation (R) (games, jokes, activity, exercise), Inspiration (I) (uplifting poems, quotations, stories, speakers), Music (M) (can be sung, instrumental, recorded), and Education (E) (factual or informative material, speakers, visual).

Subject: Fire Safety
R: Halloween flaming cauldron, Game unrolling fire hose (use lawn chair webbing), fire extinguisher practice, Campfire safety rules, putting on fireman outfit and equipment
I: fire survivor, movie-“Hot Shots”, Fireman’s Creed, invite a fireman, poem
M: Ladybug song, One Little Candle, Come On Baby Light My Fire, Ring of Fire, Pass it On
E: speaker, Word quiz fire, fire safety paper, Word Search
Refreshments: S’mores

Subject: Apples
R: Relay-first person peels, second person cores, third person eats, Apples to Apples game
I: Apple poem, apples seed to tree and then to fruit
M: I’ll be With You in Apple Blossom Time, In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
E: Johnny Appleseed story, identify a variety of apples, a skit with a kid giving the teacher an apple with a worm in it
Refreshments: Apple Crisp and ice cream

Subject: Poetry
R: Act out a poem, illustrate poetry
I: short inspirational poems read by different members, inspirational music
M: If you ask Me I Could Write a Book, Give member a rhythm such as a limerick
E: Teach constructive poetry

Sadly, there were no contestants entered in the Talent Contest but there’s always next year.

Sep 292017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

Can’t wait for State Convention to learn about activities and accomplishments? The following annual reports are now available on the site:

Directors and Committee Chairs are reminded that the deadline for submitting your annual report was yesterday. Please send your report to Jim Owens  (jimowens1atmyfairpointdotnet)   and copy the webmaster  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   so your report can be posted to the site.

Sep 272017
 

On August 18, Mill Stream Grange held its annual “Octo-nanagenarian” program honoring members in their 80’s and 90’s. Pictured (from left) are Gloria Kelley, Midjam Wood, Louise Kilponen, Bev Smith, Ed McCarthy, Jeanette Daley, Pete Gammons, Judy Wyman and Gay Anderson who answered questions about and shared stories from their lives.

Sep 252017
 

We’re posting this link with thanks to the California State Grange for sharing… it’s a digitized recording from 1907 entitled, “Uncle Josh Joins the Grangers.” Uncle Josh sure has an interesting experience… There’s a good chance this will have you chuckling!