Jul 262013
Our fair exhibit will be awesome!

Our fair exhibit will be awesome!

submitted by Walter Boomsma

We’ve recently had some questions and comments addressed to the site regarding creating fair exhibits–specifically regarding this year’s “theme” for exhibits. After some research, it seems there is no one answer to this question–except that Maine State Grange does not determine a theme or whether or not one is used.

Some fairs adopt a theme and request exhibitors follow it. Some fairs adopt a theme but make it optional. Some fairs do not adopt a theme.

If you are getting the sense that the answer to the question “What is the fair theme this year, is probably going to be found by contacting your fair association, you’re on the right track!

Up here, we handle the Piscataquis Valley Fair as a Pomona Project and that includes developing a theme. This year we will be using American Values – Hometown Roots.?We include a Pomona display that is static–the main feature is a free-standing board with every Grange in our area listed, including a photo of the Grange hall.

Fair season is already well under way. Several fairs are over and the Bangor State Fair opens today–in the rain, unfortunately! There are 24 licensed fairs this year–and a few that are not. For a list of fairs and dates you can visit the Maine Fair Association website.

Jul 262013

submitted by Rick Grotton

Membership Thumb

It is great to see so many Granges all around the state having a busy summer. Hopefully you are talking to people

about Grange membership and your events are proving worthwhile. They are a few other Granges that have reported taking in new members due to open houses, special events, and public suppers.

The publicity isn’t the only positive thing here, it’s the fact that Grangers are working together for a common cause and many of those are members that do not normally attend meetings. Also, many non-members and other organizations are working with us. It is impossible to attend all events but Yvonne and I have been to many.

It’s time to think about the fairs which will be starting in July. For those who display at our agricultural fairs, have you notified ALL members for assistance? Many people liked to be asked instead of volunteering so try to get as many involved as you can. Our exhibits make us proud and show that the Grange is alive and well! Does your Grange have a spot for a membership table at your local fair? For those who are looking for ways to increase their membership this would be a good tool for you. Again, ask for assistance from your members.

Hopefully your Grange will appoint a membership committee to come up with ideas and to report on activities. If you need assistance please let Yvonne or me know and we will be happy to “get you going”. Even to appoint a member involved in other organizations to report to them on Grange activities or to scout around town looking for ways to get involved with the community. Again, this is a great way to explain the Grange to others and always have plenty of applications on hand!


Jul 252013

Maine State Grange Master Vicki has asked us to share this email from National Grange Master Ed Luttrell, noting that the official position of MSG is that the Farm Bill should pass in its entirety. If, however, local Granges wish to participate they may do so on an individual basis.

Worthy Master and Legislative Director,

Please find below a letter urging reconsideration of the Farm Bill.

I am asking you to assist our National Grange Legislative Department by having you send the attached letter, on your letterhead, via email to both Speaker Boehner and your House delegation. We believe that the Farm Bill has a possible chance of reconsideration in the coming week and your help is critical now.

As a secondary effort, would you ask that each of your Community Granges have their members do the same for their representative and the Speaker. This would give added pressure over the coming weeks as Granges meet and then help out on this important issue. It would be tremendous if we could have several thousand letters arriving via email in the Capitol during July and early August. Of course letters sent via the postal service will be acceptable, but may not be as timely.

If you have the ability to record how many Granges and members in your state are willing to be a part of this effort it would be helpful. It would show others that we still have the ability to energize our grassroots and that we believe that apathy is not allowed in our Grange. Being able to show numbers of members and Granges who aided us would be a strong positive.

Thank your for your help and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sample Letter:

Continue reading »

Jul 202013
Donna, Dean and State Master Vicki parked in the driveway for a while.

Donna, Dean and State Master Vicki parked in the driveway for a while.

They came from near (right next door) and far (South Portland) to party at the annual Piscataquis Pomona Picnic at the home of Janice and Walter Boomsma (Valley). Again this year Harley Dog served as Gatekeeper pro temp although no business was transacted other than several announcements by Pomona Master Bill Bemis (Garland). One important reminder was that Officer Installation for our area is schedule for Saturday, August 17th at Garland Grange.

Mostly it was all about eating and visiting–at least until the hammer fell and the annual auction fun and fundraiser began. We were fortunate to have a bank loan officer ready to make loans, although it appeared none were required as many “deals” were available at affordable prices as low as twenty-five cents. Andrea Rollins (Garland) paid that for a purple (her favorite color) coffee mug, later attempting to tell her husband Ernest “They made me do it.” The auctioneer pointed out the irony of her attempting to claim the group forced her to buy a mug proclaiming what a powerful woman she is!

Pomona Treasurer Mary Annis announced at the conclusion that we’d raised $84–not a record, but “more than last year.” True to the spirit of these auctions, the item that fetched the highest price was a wall hanging Mary had purchased last year. This year Corice Amazeen (Garland) took it home. It remains to be seen if it will return next year.

Dot., Betty, Bill, and Jim share a moment while Mary (rear) checks out the auction table.

Dot., Betty, Bill, and Jim share a moment while Mary (rear) checks out the auction table.

Dot Hutchins (Ripley Grange/East Somerset) and Betty Van Dyke (Valley) were welcomed with open arms waving them into the parking place reserved for them. Dot found it especially and took home the sign that marked “Parking for Dot and Betty” as a souvenir. Betty unfortunately lost out during a “fierce competition” for one of the two books donated by “Mr. Boomsma” and the winners either didn’t want their copies autographed or forgot! (If you forgot, bring them to a future Grange meeting and we’ll take care of that!)

Other items of note included a nearly new kid’s winter coat that Walter bought for “one of my 300 or so kids at school.” An L.L. Bean Christmas stocking embroidered with the name “Madison” was grabbed by Heather (Guest) for a couple of bucks–a huge savings–and she actually has a niece named Madison!

After closing the auction most of the group moved outside to feed the mosquitoes and roast some marshmallows. No traditional campfire songs were sung. For that matter, there was no singing. Just lots of good conversation, marshmallow munching, and the occasional slap that meant death to a mosquito.

Thanks go to all who helped by bringing food… and a special thanks to Andrea and Linda Erwin (Valley) for kitchen detail and helping Janice clean up. ?A featured item this year was chicken wings provided by Bob Carroll (Valley)–some went home with Betty so she could try out her new toaster oven she purchased at the auction! We really had a good time and good food… if you missed it, pay attention next year! (The identity of the person who called Friday night to ask when the picnic was is not being released at this time!)

Our next meetings are:

  • Thursday, August 1 at Dexter Grange
  • Saturday, August 17 at Garland Grange (Installation)
  • Thursday, September 5 at Valley Grange


Jul 172013

High Lake 7-2013_SMOn July 13, 2013 Highland Lake Grange hosted an Eagle Scout Court of Honor to recognize Eagle Scout Ben Touchette from Westbrook.? Ben is a member of Troop 83 which has met weekly at the Grange for almost twenty years.? Ben’s Eagle project was the planning, design and construction of a handicap access ramp on the front of the Grange.? He completed his project in 2012 and it has proved a valuable asset to the Grange, assisting both Grange members and members of the public to easily access the first floor for meetings and public suppers.? Master Dave Gowen presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Ben, along with the heartfelt thanks of the brothers and sisters of Highland Lake Grange.

High Lake 7-2013B_SM

Jul 172013

Submitted by Steve Haycock

Clyde A. Smith, former member of Cape Elizabeth Grange #242 and long-term member of Harraseeket Grange #9 in Freeport is celebrating his
97th birthday this week–on Thursday, July 18, 2013.? He is an assisted living resident at the Hawthorne House, 6 Old County Road, Freeport, ME? 04032.

A ‘shower of cards’ would, I believe,?be not only appropriate, but?most welcome and gratifying.? Thanks in advance for all you do!

Nancy Clark, Master
Harraseeket Grange #9

Jul 162013

National Conference LogoHello Maine Grangers,

This time I am writing as your State Coordinator for the hosting of the annual session of the National Grange. We are still in need of Maine Maple Syrup. Those who do donate will be added to the list of sponsors and this list will be placed in the ditty bags so attendees will know where the donations came from and to thank those who donated.

We also need volunteers to help on Friday November 15th. I know that Sister Debbie Ivers is compiling a list of volunteers for the hospitality room but we will also need people to take the word at the session gates, assist in the host room, people to be at the gate of the Idea Fair and to make sure that all who enter have a badge or a pass. We will need folks to assist on the registration table. I am compiling this list of volunteers so please contact me either at HQ, home or via email.

I hope that many of you are working on items for the hats, mittens & scarves tree. These do not need to be sets so if some only want to make one of these items it is ok. These will be collected at State Session.

We also still need items for the ditty bags. We are trying to keep with the theme “How Sweet it is” and make this a “green” convention so consumables are a great idea. We do not need to come up with 500 of any one item so any and all is greatly appreciated.

I know we are asking a lot of you but the region host once every 5 years and it is shared among the Northeast States so not one state is responsible for everything. Let’s show them that the Northeast really is the best part of the country and everything is “sweeter” here.

Thanks for all your help and support.




Jul 152013
WWW - Webmaster Walter Writes!

WWW – Webmaster Walter Writes!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we are seeing a nice upsurge in submissions to the site! Thanks to those who are submitting and communicating!

And speaking of communicating, I had a nice email from relatively new Granger Preston Dunning at?Huntoon Hill #398 in Wiscasset. He shared that their Grange wants to increased their presence in town using the Internet to broadcast information about their activities. After replying with some ideas, it occurs to me that we might review some of the opportunities technology provides.

Every subordinate Grange already has a website (based on WordPress) that’s provided free by National Grange. There is a short You Tube Video explaining how to claim and maintain it.?Several Maine Granges have already done so and even those with little technical background are finding it fairly easy to do this.

I wrote a bit about Facebook Pages a while back. This article has a link that will lead you to the Maine State Grange Website Policy that includes a short policy adopted by National Grange for both websites and social media. There are, in my opinion, some real hazards with a Facebook page. The biggest one is you really lose control of content and need to monitor the page constantly. Personally, I recommend you focus on a website and post links to it on Facebook by “sharing.” You could, for example, post information about a public supper on your site then ask your members to share that link on Facebook.

National Grange also has developed an incredibly good “Communications Handbook” that’s available for download for free. I explained the process for getting it in an earlier column. ?The Handbook?covers just about everything regarding public relations and advertising with all sorts of samples, templates, etc. And it’s free!

One technique I’d suggest is to send information every month to any local media outlets for their “community bulletin boards.” When you have these events you are welcome to submit them for listing on the Maine State Grange site as well. Just copy us on the information you release to local newspapers.

And speaking of newspapers, I hope everyone saw the quick tip regarding several newspapers subscribing to our site! It’s a testimony to the value of this site. Posting here is not a substitute for releasing information to media outlets, but you can never have too much publicity, right?

On a personal note, Janice and I enjoyed our recent vacation–the bulk of which we spent in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania “among the Amish.” Being there was both relaxing and stimulating. Relaxing in the sense that you find yourself slowing down and adopting a rhythm comparable to the clip-clop of the horses pulling buggies. Stimulating in the sense that the Amish provide us with some wonderful examples of how simplicity can work–and they are perhaps role models for an appreciation of agriculture.

Enjoy the summer! (There are only 44 days left until school starts!)


Jul 142013

FYI… for those who are completing the Christmas Quilt Squares, these will be judged at the CWA Conference in August. Contact CWA Director Karen Flagg   (flagg_karenatyahoodotcom)  for more information.