Junior Director Laurie McBurnie has asked us to note that an order for the memorial bricks will be placed soon. If you or your Grange want to get in on this springtime order they should get their information and payment to her right away. You can download the form here.
Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Franklin County Farm Bureau are co-sponsoring an informational meeting on the spotted wing Drosophila presented by David Handley, Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension – Highmoor Farm and James Dill, Pest Management. This meeting will be on Feb. 13th at 6 p.m. in the Farmington Town office’s down stairs conference room.
The Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new pest which is a concern for raspberries blueberries and day neutral strawberries, as well as many other soft fruits. This insect is a small fruit fly, similar to the type that fly around the over ripe bananas in your kitchen. However, this species lays its eggs in fruit before it ripens, resulting in fruit that is contaminated with small white larvae just as it is ready to pick. As a result, the fruit quickly rots and has no shelf life. This insect recently came into the U.S. from northern Asia, and caused problems with many berry crops up the east coast in 2011. It can complete a generation in under two weeks, with each adult female laying hundreds of eggs. Therefore, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field. This makes them very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (3 to 5 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present in a field. It is likely that spotted winged drosophila can successfully over winter here, although it may not build up to damaging levels until summer.
In the fall of 2011, spotted wing drosophila flies were captured for the first time in Maine. Based on crop damage experienced by southern growers in 2010 and 2011, we knew that this insect posed a serious threat to most of the berry crops we grow here. As part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Program, drosophila traps were set up in berry fields around the southern, central and coastal regions of the state. The first spotted wing drosophila were caught in Limington on July 13. By August 13, flies had been captured at all of the monitoring locations. During the same week, traps in wild blueberry fields in Hancock and Washington counties were also catching the flies.
Growers and gardeners need to learn about this pest and develop strategies to manage it in their crops, as it appears that it will be a problem in Maine for the foreseeable future.
Webmaster’s note: While this particular workshop is being held in Franklin County, I’ve posted this as general information since this clearly is a state-wide agricultural issue. Contact your County Extension Office for more information!
Reprinted from The Piscataquis and Penobscot Gardening Newsletter, published by UMaine Extension.
Since I was a little girl, I was learning from my mother the basic cooking skills, and once in a while I noticed she was crying in the kitchen. I in my naïve little girl mind I always thought she was sad, but when I began to be part of the cooking team at home I realized that her eyes were full of tears due to the onions. Basically the cause of these tears is the amount of sulfur stored in the onion flesh; this is released as fumes when we cut them.
As gardeners, it is possible to manage the amount of sulfur in the onions by growing them in low sulphur soils or planting varieties with lower sulphur “uptake”. Some varieties like Walla Walla, Mt Whitney and Ailsa Craig are a good choice.
However, maybe you don’t know the reasons why Mother Nature made the onions this way. Actually the sulfur protects the onion plant from diseases and insects but it benefits us as consumers because our bodies need sulfur in hundreds of physiological processes.
On the other hand, onions are safe to eat in any quantity you are likely to consume because they are low in sodium, free from fats, cholesterol, contain a pretty good mix of vitamins and minerals and is a vital component in promoting overall health.
So on behalf of our health I think the tears in the kitchen after all are not too bad.
“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
Those words were written by Robert Frost in 1926 (Two Tramps In Mud Time) and, like so much of his work, they capture the essence of spring and are a commentary on life. How quickly things can change–and how suddenly in the midst of change we can advance and retreat! (One step forward, two steps back!)
Last month I reported that the number of site visits was stagnant and “whined” a bit about the lack of news… As a result there has definitely been an increase in submitted events, but news continues to be scarce. In fact, we had less “non-event” posts in March of this year than we did a year ago. (Non-event posts are news items, quick tips or informational columns.)
In case you missed it, I recently offered this quote in a “Quick Tip” — Doing business (or having meetings!) without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. So let’s turn on the lights! What happened at your Grange this month? What are your members thinking? How about a tip for others to consider?
Another aspect of the site I try to monitor is what sorts of searches are bringing visitors to the site–what terms, questions, etc. are people typing into “Google” that land them here. Recently there have been a number of searches regarding what might be considered “traditional skills” — including two questions very recently about repairing barns and “how to set up a barn dance.”
One reason this intrigues me is that I’ve been involved in setting up a collaboration between our local adult education program and the county extension service. In short, we offered a “You Can” series of classes that ranged from how to process firewood to how to can foods to handling livestock and starting seeds. The results were phenomenal! We’re about halfway through the series and people are already crying for more.
This just might be an opportunity for Granges to grab–there is a definite trend that goes beyond basic skills. I recently had an inquiry from a future bride who wanted to be married in a grange hall because of what it represents–community, heritage, and tradition. People are searching and many are looking to the grange for information and answers. When Ann Burns of Maple Grove Grange recently submitted their Green Thumbs of Sebago event, she noted that she’s been reading of all the “green” programs granges are offering and they are “jumping on the bandwagon.” Great idea! We can hitch up the team, pull the bandwagon out of the barn and figure out how to set up a barn dance, right?
Just don’t forget to take a photo or two and submit it to the website!
I am deviating slightly from my plan but this verse has been on my mind this month and I will explain later. Luke 12:40. “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” On March 2nd my sister-in-law passed away in the twinkling of an eye, as the saying goes. She was cooking supper and passed from this world to the next. She was a kind and devout Christian, she did not stand on a soap box and preach to us, she just lived her faith everyday, no need for a soap box. You knew she had no fear where the next life would lead her. Truly the truth of this verse. “Be ye therefore ready.” I shall miss her.
This month’s verse in the first degree comes from Proverbs 20:4 “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in the harvest and have nothing.” Makes you think a little about the little red hen who grew the grain and did all the work and made the bread. I believe in the tale the other farm animals wanted to share the bread after the work was done. I don’t remember if she shared or not, it’s been a long time since my mother read me that story. But I hope that we will teach others how to sow and plant so that no one has to beg in the harvest. Maybe a community garden? Peace
Valley Grange of Guilford is one of three collaborators creating the county-wide GrowME project taking place this week in celebration of agriculture. Volunteers are visiting local schools (kindergarten through first grade) and conducting activities such as favorite animal graphs, apple sorting and testing, butter making, and seed planting. WABI TV 5 visited one Dover Foxcroft second grade classroom to report on the program and the kids making butter. You can watch the story on their website:
Based on how engaged the kids have been and the teachers’ reactions, the program will not only be repeated but will likely expand next year. For more information about the program and activities, visit the GrowME website.
Valley Grange is also hosting an Eggstravaganza to celebrate the completion of this year’s project at their hall on Friday, March 16. The event includes a community potluck supper at 6 PM and program at 7 PM. We’ll be celebrating agriculture and the “hatching” of this great program and hosting a visit from a virtual chicken that will show how eggs are formed inside a chicken. All are welcomed to this family friend event. The grange hall is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road in Guilford.
Valley Grange, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Piscataquis County UMaine Extension Service joined hands and created this program to build a truly local program of agriculturally themed activities for kids led by local volunteers with the goal of increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun!
Valley Grange will host an “Eggstravaganza” on Friday, March
19 16th at their hall on the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road. The Grange is one of three collaborating organizations who sprouted and nurtured the GrowME Project. Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma says, “There’s a lot to celebrate! The numbers are still coming in but it looks like our volunteers will reach nearly 40 classrooms and over 500 students. I think we’ve lost count of volunteers because we seem to add more every day.”
The GrowME program was hatched earlier this year when three local organizations with an interest in agriculture decided there was an opportunity to assist schools and teachers by providing some “hands on” activities with an agricultural theme. Valley Grange was joined by Piscataquis Soil and Water Conservation and District and the Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and the three organizations agreed on a mission to “build a truly local program of agriculturally themed activities for kids led by local volunteers with the goal of increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun!”
During the week prior to the Eggstravaganza volunteers will be visiting grades K through 3 throughout the county with activities like creating animal graphs, apples to apples tasting and sorting, making butter, and starting seeds. Boomsma notes that “our grange would normally meet that night anyway, but it seemed appropriate to have a community celebration of our achievements and agriculture in general. We even have a virtual chicken coming so folks can learn how an egg is formed.”
The event is not just for people involved in GrowME—it is open to anyone who supports the idea of community and collaborating. The Grange promises to a “family friendly” event and hopes volunteers, teachers, kids, and parents will come. The “Eggstravaganza” features a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM—bring a dish to share! A brief meeting at 7 PM will cover some highlights of the GrowME collaboration, the virtual chicken with comments by Donna Coffin from UMaine Extension, and some discussion of the future growth of GrowME.
On behalf of the Agriculture Committee we would like to thank David and Jeanne Burnham past Agriculture Directors for the work they did during their time as Directors. We are honored to accept the position of Directors and are looking forward to be working with the Agriculture Committee members and the State Master. We have had a fast and furious beginning. We want to especially thank all of the Ag. Committee members and other Grangers who helped during the Agriculture Trade Show. We held a busy and productive Ag. Committee meeting on January 22nd.
We are now working on the Legislative Luncheon on March 14th . It sounds like it will be a very busy year for all of us. A little bit about us. Bob is a retired Maintenance Machinist. Agnes is a retired School Food Service Director. We own a small family farm. When our four sons were home we raised Suffolk sheep and Polled Hereford cattle. We no longer have any animals. We are now into vegetable gardening as a hobby and helping with our grandchildren. Bob has been a granger for 36 years. He is Steward at Knox Station Grange and on the Executive Committee at Waldo Pomona. Agnes has been a granger for 54 years. She is Master of Knox Station Grange and Master of Waldo Pomona .We look forward to getting out and meeting grangers this year. We would be happy to come to Agriculture Night at your grange if we are available. We are looking forward to being your Agriculture Directors.
Submitted by Marilyn Stinson…
Enterprise #48 usually uses a Grange theme for all the fairs we do, a habit we picked up from Winthrop. This year the Junior Grange has “Plant a seed and watch us grow!” So we plan to use “Plant A Seed, Watch it Grow” with seeds of creativity – yarn scraps grow into sweaters or afghans, cloth scraps into quilts, etc. It might be kind of fun if other Granges/Grangers used the same theme. Now, we just need to find a member who makes sweaters! And… maybe bean bags.
Webmaster Note: Last year Valley Grange did a “Sheep to Shawl” display that was fun to build! (No, we didn’t use a live sheep!)
No matter how you measure it, the 2012 Agriculture Trade Show in Augusta must have been a success… lots of information changed hands, people learned and bumped into a lot of old friends! Maine State Grange representatives talked to a lot of folks and handed out information and applications!