Feb 272018


Calling all shutterbugs! Hopefully, some of you already have taken some amazing photos that you intend to enter in the photo contest this year at State Grange. When I think of past years I remember many beautiful outdoor scenes taken in the summer and fall. However, I was reminded while watching a segment on “207” that we have some gorgeous scenery during the winter months. So, if you are thinking of entering photos in the nature category why wait until the warmer months to get those interesting pictures? When taking your pictures be creative and think outside of the box, remember last year’s Best in Show was a plate of peas.

Just a reminder that the categories for the 2018 contest are as follows: Family, Grange, Nature/Animals, Holidays and Selfies.

2017 – 2018 Lecturer’s Program Guide,

Webmaster’s note: My bad! This column was submitted for the Bulletin several weeks ago and after inserting it into the Bulletin I somehow managed to miss posting it!

Feb 232018

The February 2018 Issue of The Patrons Chain is available online and includes:

  • National, regional events add to Grange experience
  • Grange Month 2018
  • Your option for information via paper is in jeopardy
  • Grange enters new partnership for Vets
  • Make plans to attend regional conferences
  • Grange civics booklet available
  • On Medicare? New card arriving in April will protect your identity
  • Cash in on member benefits
  • Quilt blocks, makers sought
  • Grange Foundation Mercantile
  • Legislative Fly-In 2018
  • Proclaim Grange’s great legacy in 2018!
  • Celebration of the Sesquicentennial
  • 2018 Quilt Block Contest
  • 2018 National Grange Photography Showcase
  • 2018 Evening of Excellence
  • National Grange Building Fund pledge form
  • 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation

One article I found particularly interesting includes an offer of a Grange civics booklet in quantity for the cost of shipping.

Some ideas:

  • Granges who serve suppers in conjunction with town meetings might offer copies on the table or at the town meeting itself.
  • Granges who have an active Words for Thirds Dictionary Program might make it available to schools.
  • Granges might give out the booklet during a program about government as National Grange suggest.
  • Granges might hand it out during Community Citizen Awards–you are honoring someone who is anything but apathetic!
  • Since there are 265 in a box, Pomona Granges might order a box and share copies with member Community Granges.

View The Patron's Chain E-newsletter?Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!


Feb 182018

Amazon Smiles LOgoA big thank you to all the Grangers who made purchases on Amazon in October, November, and December and chose the Maine Grange Foundation as your charity. While it is a relatively small amount, all monies raised this way will be paid once a year in June to the Educational Aid Fund. Many Grange families have received scholarships from this fund and your continued support is noteworthy.

Please encourage your fellow Grangers, friends and family members to make the Maine Grange Foundation their charity of choice when shopping on Amazon Smile. Please remember it must be AmazonSmile and not just Amazon for the charity to receive your support. This is at no cost to you.

I challenge you to see if we can double this amount in the next quarter. Download the?Amazon Smiles Program Flyer,?post it on your Bulletin Board and make copies for your members. Thanks for all that you do to support Granges and Grangers in Maine.

Shop Amazon Smiles

Feb 182018

Junior’s, This would be a great opportunity for you to get involved and take a tour of the Capital along with other museums and attractions in DC.?Please contact the National Junior Grange Director Samantha Wilkins, her information is at the end of this message.

Good Day Grangers!!

I am excited to pass on information about the? 2018 National Grange Legislative Fly-In!

This year as part of the National Junior Grange programming we are inviting Junior Grangers, along with their parents and/or leaders, to attend the Legislative Fly-In, happening this April in Washington DC.

The theme for the Junior Grange in 2018 is “Stand Up and Speak Out”? ?and what a better way to promote that theme than to have our youngest members walking Capital Hill learning and speaking about issues important to them.

During the few days of the Fly-In Juniors will have the opportunity to visit governmental agencies such as the USDA, speak with representatives, and gain a deeper understanding about how the government works; along with understanding the Grange ties to legislative actions.

There will also be time to take a tour of the capital and other museums and attractions within DC!

Please pass this information on to your Juniors that may be interested in attending the Legislative Fly-In!

Samantha Wilkins
National Grange
Junior Grange Director
210 838 7892
Junioratnationalgrangedotorg  (Junioratnationalgrangedotorg)  

Feb 182018

Short messages from your Communications Department

The February Bulletin is now available on the website! Get your copy:?MSG Bulletin February 2018. While all of the content has also appeared as posts on the site, it’s a great summary and could be printed (legal-size paper) and posted on your Grange Bulletin Board and handed out to members.

While it doesn’t quite qualify as “going viral,” there are some comments posted on this month’s “Exploring Traditions…” column. Check out the discussion by clicking the responses link just under the title on the righthand side of the post. (You can comment on any post this way.) It is especially rewarding to hear that this has helped “explain the Grange’s relevance in this fast-paced society.”

Don’t forget that Grange Month is fast approaching… additional information and some resources are available in this post. If you plan to include a Community Citizen Award, you’ll want to order it soon!

Coming soon! Information on the first quarter results of the Amazon Smiles Program… and some information about how Valley Grange “hired” a bunch of “ad managers.”

What’s happening at your Grange? Inquiring minds want to know… photos are encouraged! (Attach them to an email.) Please understand that I do not have time to search Facebook for posts–as most regular Facebook users know, they have recently changed their algorithms and I?may not even see your post. When you post news to Facebook, copy the post and paste it into an email addressed to the webmaster. It only takes a few seconds.? The best way to distribute your Grange news is still through this website, where we don’t use algorithms to decide what others should see. It’s available to all–especially subscribers!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster?Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!


Feb 172018

Thanks to Harraseeket Grange in Freeport and member Sebastian Meade for a great idea! Harraseeket is now including a drawing (a photo would also work) of their hall on all their flyers and promotional materials, “so [the hall] starts to become recognized from a distance.”

In a word, “awesome!”

This particular drawing was done by Sebastian who also runs a business called?buttonspinzandthingz.com — he does things like buttons, magnets, and original artwork. Small quantities are available…

Another step that Harraseeket Grange has taken is to include “Freeport” in their name… if your Grange isn’t named the same as your community, that might something to consider.

This might also be a good opportunity to remind you of the importance of knowing a street address (911) for your Grange. Not only does it help visitors set their GPS unit, it will be critical in the event of an emergency.

Oh,?by the way, Sebastian holds two offices in his Grange: Assistant Steward and Building Agent. How’s that for another great idea!?

What other exciting ideas are out there?!

Feb 162018


I’m in the process of reading a very interesting book, Josiah for President. It raises the question, “Can a plain man of faith… become the leader of America?” I’m at the point where a former congressman has given up his campaign for president and by happenstance meets Josiah, an Old-order Amishman. Clearly, the question suggests that tradition and today are going to collide and our former congressman is going to consider Josiah running for president. (If I’ve raised your curiosity, the book is written by Martha Bolton and published Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI in 2012.)

One of the reasons this book has been on my list for a while is my interest in the Amish. Another is the Grange’s ongoing challenge or reconciling tradition and today. That challenge is not limited to the Grange, certainly. Our entire political system faces it, along with us and other organizations. (I am now encouraged to purchase Girl School cookies online.) Consider how many current political debates have their roots in today versus tradition. Should we abandon the electoral college? Does the thinking of our forefathers when they included the “right to bear arms” still apply in the different world we live in?

There’s no doubt a keen value of the Grange over our history has been its role in promoting the interests of agriculture, defending the welfare of rural people, and supporting good government. Many presidents have expressed support for the Grange throughout its history. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a Granger and explained, “For many years I have been a member of the Grange. I have felt at home in it because it embodies the fine flavor of rural living, which I myself have known and loved. Beyond this, it has been an instrument for expressing in useful activity the highest sentiments and deepest loyalties of Americans.” (President Roosevelt received his Silver Star certificate in 1939-he had been invested with the honor of the Seventh Degree in 1930.)

I think Roosevelt’s explanation of his membership raises an interesting question for all members: “What is it about the Grange that makes us ‘feel at home?’” One of the reasons that might be an interesting and important question is that it requires us to learn more about the Grange and ourselves.

When my brother (who was unfamiliar with the Grange) visited several years ago, I dragged him along on a trip to the Grange Hall where I needed to perform some maintenance-related task. He and I share a love of antiques and old things, so I was pretty sure he’d appreciate the building and some of its furnishings—I left him to explore while I performed my task. When it was time to leave, I found him sitting in the foyer looking transfixed. He said, “Can’t you just picture some old bearded farmers sitting her, gathered around the stove, talking?” I could. They looked very much “at home.” The Grange was the place to meet with like-minded people-not just for the sake of meeting, but for the social opportunity to be with like-minded people in a supportive and sharing way.

Since his visit, the wood stove has been removed by order of the insurance company. But when we have a meeting or community program, people still gather on the porch in the summer or under the heating ducts in the winter. I have always been fascinated how nearly everyone wants to help when we start cleaning up after a potluck supper. There’s a warmth that doesn’t come from the sun or the furnace. It might be the “fine flavor of rural living” in action.

I don’t know if Josiah will become president—would there be an armored buggy? But I do know that the Grange needs to be a place where people feel at home. When we look to our traditions and our heritage, we have much to help us encourage that. We just have to figure out how to marry tradition and today instead of forcing them to collide.

The Grange Way: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things charity.

Information regarding Roosevelt’s Grange membership and his explanation was garnered from the book, “The Grange – Friend of the Farmer” by Charles M. Gardner, published by the National Grange in 1949.

Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.

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Feb 162018

Grange Month is fast approaching.? Have you made plans yet? Have you ordered your Certificates and/or Plaques you may need? Have you invited your guests?? It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant as long as you celebrate the Grange.? Have a discussion within your own membership – What is the Grange – What the Grange means to me – What are the benefits of being a Grange member – What are the benefits of having a Grange in your community – Do we need to rethink our goals and purposes – Why did you join – Why are you needed in the Grange and the Community?? There are no right or wrong answers but be respectful of everyone’s opinion.

During the year, we encourage you as members to come up with resolutions to be acted upon in some way or another.? Some are legislative, beneficial or helpful, regulate by-laws, some to make changes to an idea, some supportive and others against something.? Each of these resolutions is valuable to us as an organization, agree or disagree.? It was brought to my attention at the officers meeting back in December that these “ideas” are great, however after the initial discussion at the Grange where they originated, then the floor discussion at State Session, the idea is “noted in the records and placed on file” then promptly forgotten about. In many cases, the action recommended, is not done or followed through.? Even the sponsoring Grange doesn’t complete the task.? For example:? With the pedestrians being more vulnerable when walking after dark, why not purchase and hand out reflective vests.? Vests can be purchased at the dollar store.?? This was only one of the resolutions voted on at state Grange.? Did anyone follow through with the purchase and distribution of the vests? Did the sponsoring Grange ACT on the resolution?? I encourage you to make these resolutions actually happen even on just a small scale.? Something to think about which will go along with Grange Month or whenever we work on it.

I do realize some of our Granges do not hold regular meetings in the winter time so communications get a little behind. During February important letters were sent to the secretaries of each Grange with more to come. Please ask your secretary to find these letters and read them at your next meeting. ?The information, even though they may be dated January or February affects us all and should be part of your records, discussions and appropriate action taken.

I know I am repeating myself but feel the need to do so with another reminder about handling of Grange funds. There are still concerns and questions coming to me about the accountability of funds in the Grange.? The head of a committee raising funds, no matter what the funds are raised for or how they are raised, needs to report to the Grange.? The funds go through the secretary to the treasurer.? All expenditures you have for an event, project, bingo, refreshments, kitchen fund, food, supplies, yard sales, etc. need to be brought to the Grange with all receipts showing the purchase(s). If you are in charge of fund raising you should not just go set up an account/CD, etc. on your own, those funds still need to be reported to and go through the Grange.? That includes donations also.

We still have lots of special edition session theme t-shirts at HQ to assist with fund raising for the NE Regional hosting of National Session. If you are interested, get your “Unique as a Snowflake” shirts now, contact the office at 1-800-464-3421.? National session will be in Stowe, Vermont November 12-17, 2018.

Feb 152018

A mug WB

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin pointed out Newton’s law of thermodynamics postulates that energy is constant and can neither be created or destroyed. Seth goes on to point out the in organizational dynamics, the exact opposite is true, energy is constantly being created and destroyed. He also notes it’s easy to find acceptable reasons/excuses/explanations for being the passive person who takes out more than puts in.

That’s a powerful consideration for Grange members because whether we create or destroy is really is a choice. That’s even true in the conversations we have. If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is clearly not interested, you know how quickly energy can be destroyed.

One of the reasons communication is so important in any organization is this “law of organizational dynamics.” What and how we communicate either creates energy or destroys it. In fact, the very absence of communication can be energy-destroying. If we’re not talking about it, how important is it?

This is one reason I’ve been emphasizing photos and news about what local Granges are doing. There have been some great posts on the website recently reporting on “exciting Granges and Grangers.” Because of my interest in kids, I liken it to posting the kids’ school papers on the fridge where the whole family can see them. We are creating energy

And some of that energy spreads literally across the country. The National Grange magazine “Good Day!” recently printed a half page full-color photo of Dave Gowen and his daughter Hannah (Highland Lake Grange). The story behind the photo is that the Gowen’s were recently recognized as a “Grange Legacy Family” – Hannah is the sixth generation of a family in which every generation has been Grange Members.

And that’s not the only reference to Maine Grangers in this and past issues. Last fall Wes Ryder’s Poem (Danville Junction Grange) about the Grange’s Birthday filled a complete page of this National Grange Magazine.

So I’m going to plug Good Day! It’s an energy creator and much of it is relevant to Maine. It’s also very affordable at $14 per year (member price)—a great value. Shouldn’t there be at least one subscriber in every Grange in Maine? (I checked the numbers, we’re not even close.)

Who are the energy creators? How do we support them?

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”

Bill Gates

2017 National Grange Good Day! Subscription Order Form–information and form for subscribing to the Good Day! Magazine.

Speaking of subscriptions… why not

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Feb 152018

As I write this the temperature is rising and there is a ray of sun, shining off the ice in my driveway! Has everyone seen enough ice for the winter? I know I have.

It is time to look ahead and make plans for warmer weather. One of the things to look forward to is the annual State Grange variety show on April 29th at Topsham Grange. We are still looking for more acts so you’re not too late. One of the highlights of this event, for those of you who have never attended, is actually intermission. We sell pieces of delicious pie donated by Grange members. (We all know what great cooks Grangers are!) Also during intermission, we will be selling chances on a number of gift baskets. Much like the ones at state grange session. We are asking for volunteers of individuals or granges to donate a basket for this worthy cause. If you or your grange would be willing to donate a basket, let us know.

One of our other big fundraisers of the year will be the State Grange yard sale. This will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The location will likely change this year. We will be finalizing plans on this at our committee meeting this week and I will pass along the details. Once again we will be offering tables for rent to individuals or Granges who would like to join us. It would be great to build up this annual event into something everyone plans on and looks forward to each year.

For more information on either of these events or if you’d like to donate a basket to the variety show or items to the yard sale, please contact me or a committee member. Thank you in advance for your support.

Until next month, watch your step on the ice and look out for the flu bugs!