Mar 282016
Second graders watch and listen for the magic moment when butter appears in the jar.

Second graders watch and listen for the magic moment when butter appears in the jar.

In something of a perfect storm, Valley Grangers experienced a bit of March Madness recently with two major community service projects involving local students. First up was their annual GrowME Collaboration–a joint effort with Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. By pooling resources and volunteers, the three organizations this year visited with over 500 students from Kindergarten through Third Grade in Piscataquis County. With a mission of “increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun,” volunteers help kindergartners build an animal graph, first graders taste and sort apples, second graders make their own butter, and third graders construct their very own “dirt babies.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange is especially proud of the fact that “we have no budget and not much structure–just a bunch of people who love working with kids and providing positive experiences.” His specialty is making butter with second graders. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.”

Winning ad drawn by fourth Grader Summer Nesbit

Winning ad drawn by fourth Grader Summer Nesbit

Another initiative the Grange has supported long enough that it’s a school tradition is a contest among third and fourth graders to design two advertisements for the Grange in the Piscataquis Observer’s Annual Newspapers in Education Supplement. The program is a favorite of Piscataquis Community Elementary School Art Teacher Jane Daniels because it “gives the kids a practical side of art.” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis notes that “We have strong ties to kids…” with Grange members involved regularly at the local schools. “We’ve actually built a series of programs that range from Bookworming and Words for Thirds to our blistered finger knitters making hats and mittens for the kids who need them. The kids know us and we know them.”

Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis is quick to note that this is not a one-way street. “In addition to the fun we have, the kids help us. We recently collected twelve pounds of ‘Coups for Troops’ most of which came from collection boxes placed in local schools. We like the feeling that we are redefining community and good ways of working together.”

Additional information about all of the Valley Grange Programs can be found on their website, The GrowME Collaboration maintains a basic information and resource site at

Mar 142015

Karen FlaggBy Karen Flagg, CWA Director

CWA will be having a final workday on Saturday, April 4th at 10:00 a.m. The yearly letter from CWA will be going out next month. Hope everyone is working on their sewing, baking and needlework entries. Some of the items needed at the Big E Grange Store are aprons, nylon scrubbies, hat, mittens, slippers, socks, baby sets and ornaments of any sort.

Also here’s a reminder that we will be using the new contest entry labels. They can be put into a plastic baggie unfolded and then pinned to the entry.

Last, would everyone please give a moment to think of some NEW IDEAS for the baking contest, woodworking and decorated items for next year? I would appreciate getting suggestions by the end of June. Thank you in advance for your time and ideas.


Jan 292015

By Karen Flagg, CWA Director

The CWA Conference will be on August 22,2015, all the information is still accurate with the exception of the times which we will start at 9:00 A.M. for the Dress Revue, break for a paid lunch and then continue with the Needlework Contests and go over the upcoming events for 2015-2016.

The labels that we will be using are available in the pamphlet from the Trustees of the New England Grange Building. I am asking that everyone fill in ALL the information that is required and put it in a plastic sandwich bag before pinning it to your entry.

The first CWA Workshop will be on the first Saturday of  the month, February through May at State Headquarters starting at 10:00 a.m. Please feel free to bring a friend with you even if they are not a Grange member. You also may work on items for the contests, Big E, etc. I will provide materials for the items for the Big E. There will be coffee, tea or water available for drinks. Please bring your own lunch and plan to have a good time of fellowship. IF there is bad weather, then of course the date will be cancelled.

Jan 152015
By Karen Flagg,
CWA Director

Karen Flagg

Our CWA Conference on August 22 will be an all-day event with the Dress Revue starting at 9:00 A.M. We will take a break for a paid lunch then we will start the Needlework Department entries. The labels are going to be the ones used by the Big E so that none of the information will need to be transferred and take a chance of copying errors. After attending the Leadership Conference last weekend in New Hampshire I was able to take the opportunity to get an up to date list of items needed for the Grange Store at the Big E. I will be publishing this list later. I also spoke with our State Master about having monthly workshops at Headquarters to work on items for the Big E so that items can be sent down more frequently. For those that choose to attend, we will meet at 10:00 A.M., bring a lunch and some drinks will be provided. If anyone has any crafting supplies that they would like to donate, that would be great and those items will stay at State Headquarters for everyone to use. I will let you know at a later time when the first meeting date will be.

Dec 142014

By Glenys Ryder

DanvilleDecSMOn Thursday evening, December 12, twenty-five members of Danville Junction Grange #65 braved the snow and ice to venture out, bearing gifts for the Salvation Army.  The table was laden down with books, toys, and games of all kinds!  There were even knit hats and mittens!  Pictured are Lillian, Gabby, Envoy Holly Johnson, and Community Service Chair Glenys Ryder.

Lecturer Thelma Quimby presented an interesting and entertaining Christmas program in which many of the members participated.  Louise Roberts of Excelsior Grange was our pianist for the evening.

Following the program were delicious refreshments served by Joyce MacDonald and Marilyn Redmun.

It was a wonderful evening, and members were glad that they had ventured out in the storm!

Nov 152014
By Karen Flagg,
CWA Director

Karen Flagg

I would like to thank everyone that donated to “House in the Woods” as the total amount collected in the “Penny March” was $1077.66, this was greatly appreciated.

I would like to remind everyone that the baking contest item this year will be “Zucchini Bread”,I realize that I had mentioned banana bread at the conference in August but I had forgotten that we had just had that a couple of years previous so please pass this updated info on as I did have corrected booklets at State Session.

We did receive a wonderful and appreciative thank you from the “Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers” for the generous donations of all the mittens and hats and the check. Perhaps all of you Knitter’s and Crocheter’s would like to do this project again this year? I will have a basket at State Session next year for any donations. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Apr 102014
submitted by Debbie Ivers, CWA Committee Member

April has arrived and so have CWA Nights at many Granges across the State.  This is always a great time to get together with friends from other Granges and share ideas.  For those that aren’t aware, there is a change in the Baking Contest.  Everyone can use their own basic sugar cookie recipe and it does NOT have to have a filling.  Please submit 4 cookies for judging.

Something new this year is we will be asking for donations of new toys and new clothing to donate to the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanders.  You will be able to present these donated items to the representative at State Grange in October.

We hope everyone is working on a Decorated Christmas Stocking for the Craft Contest.  The stocking must be hand-made and all work on the decorated item must be sewn, knit, quilted, etc.  The wood-craft item this year is a Welcome Sign.  It must be made of wood and all woodworking and finishing must be entirely that of the contestant.  Purchased kits are not allowed.  It may be finished in any manner:  painted, decorated, varnished, natural, etc.  Size no larger than 12″ wide and 3 feet long.

Karen Flagg’s new address is:  21 ACA Drive, Turner, ME  04282.  She can also be reached at (207) 225-2328.

Jan 092014

Quick tips are designed to share opportunities for Granges to work more effectively and efficiently… This one was submitted by Walter Boomsma. Why not submit yours today?

Share your ideas with other Granges!

Share your ideas with other Granges!

The Manchester, CT, Senior Center is sponsoring a weekly Friendship Circle that is designed to include coffee, crafts (knitting, crocheting and other craft projects), and fun. The Friendship Circle meets on Wednesdays, 8:30-11:30 AM. For more information visit the Manchester Senior Center website.

This is a program that would require very little structure once started… and could be done in collaboration with a local Senior’s Group (although, why limit it to Seniors?). What an interesting way to make good use of your Grange Hall and get people in!

Oct 042013

Submitted by Karen Flagg

Maine had 9 entries that went on to the Big E to compete and I am happy to say that when I picked the entries up on Monday;

  • Debbie Oxley  2nd for her Crocheted Doily
  • Joyce Julian     1st for her 3 pc Baby Set
  •  Janet Hughes    1st for her Counted Cross Stitch
  •  Patricia Libby   1st for her Quilted Wall Hanging

I will have these items at State Session to be picked up by the owners only unless I am notified otherwise. Also,if these winners would like to have their work displayed at National in November, I will need to know by the end of State Session.I will be at National and can transport the items home.

Congratulations to everyone,


Sep 222013

Submitted by Steven Haycock


Dress-A-Doll (Chosen By Conference Attendees)

1st Place – Sharon Harris, Hudson #57

2nd Jeanne Burnham, Saco #53

3rd Tim Wilson, Golden Harvest #33


Class O – Aprons Division A – Womens

1st Sharon Harris, Hudson #57

2nd Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148

3rd Kathy Gowen, Highland Lake #87


Class P – Bookends, Division A Womens

1st Ceneretta Ward, New Norland #580

2nd Yvonne Johnson, Cape Elizabeth #242

3rd Ruby Bryant, Alder River #145


Class P – Bookends, Division B Mens

1st Sherwood Hilt, Pioneer #219

2nd Glenn Haines, Maple Grove #148

3rd Phil Parsons, Bangor #372


Class Quilts, Division A Hand Quilted

1st Constance Benwitz, West Minot #42

2nd Barbara Driscoll, Excelsior #5


Class Quilts, Division B Machine Quilted

1st Patricia Libby, Farmington #12


Class Quilts, Division C Hand Tied

1st Jo-Ann Neal, Non-Member

2nd Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148

3rd Sally Downing, South Sangerville #335


Class Baking, Division A Womens

1st Debbie Kohler, South Sangerville #335

2nd Darlene Miles, Hudson #457

3rd Janice Verrill, West Minot #42


Class Baking, Division B Mens

1st Glenn Haines, Maple Grove #148

2nd Phil Parsons, Bangor #372

3rd Mike Griffin, North Scarborough #495


Class H – Latch Hook

1st Stanley Douglas, North Scarborough #495


Class F – Counted Cross Stitch

1st Janet Hughes, Cape Elizabeth #242


Sewing Class A – Adults

1st Mary Parker, Bangor #372

2nd Bill Walker, Garland #76

3rd Helen Clifford, Minot Center #266

Sewing Class C – Childrens Garments

1st Jeanne Burnham, Saco #53


Sewing Class D – Wearable Art

1st Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148

2nd Kathy Gowen, Highland Lake #87

3rd Jeanne Burnham, Saco #53


National Quilt Squares

1st Debby Kohler, South Sangerville #335


Class N – Miscellaneous Items

1st Jeanne Burnham, Saco #53

2nd Diane Page, Norway #145

3rd Carolyn Bennett, Excelsior #5


Class A – Afghans

1st Joyce Julian, Knox Station #579

2nd Cynthia Simmons, Acorn #418

3rd Jeanne Burnhams, Saco #53


Class B – Doilies

1st Iris Oxley, Non-Member

2nd Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148

3rd Nancy Curit, Non-Member


Class C – Embroidery

1st Barbara Carr, Granite #192

2nd Barbara Griffin, North Scarboro #495

3rd Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148


Class D – 3 Piece Baby Set

1st Joyce Julian, Knox Station #579

2nd Laurie McBurnie, Mennahga #555

3rd Pat Smart, Non-member


Class E – Plastic Canvas

1st Phyllis Hoyt, Maple Grove #148

2nd Timothy Wilson, Golden Harvest #33

3rd Horace Gower, Cape Elizabeth #142


Class G – Adult Garments

1st Diane Newcombe, Willow Grange #366

2nd Joyce Julian, Knox Station #579

3rd Jeamme Burnham, Saco #53


Glass I – Quilted Wall Hanging

1st Patricia Libby, Farmington #12

2nd Kathy Gowen, Highland Lake #87

3rd Barbara Honkala, Alder River #145


Class J – Stuffed Toy

1st Nancy Curit, Non-member

2nd Ann Burns, Maple Grove #148

3rd Teresa Wilson, Golden Harvest #33


Class K – Childrens Garment

1st Helen Parsons, Bangor #372

2nd Nancy Curit, Non-member

3rd Carol Flagg, South Sangerville #335


Class L –  Baby Afghans

1st Pauline Spencer, Maple Grove #148

2nd Angela Maxtiam, Farmingtom #12

3rd Louise Worster, Cape Elizabeth #242


Class M – 3 Piece Hat, Scarf, & Mittens

1st Sally Downing, South Sangerville #335

2nd Fran Roberts, Mt. Etna #147

3rd Jeanne Burnham, Saco #53