We shaked it! And then we shaked it ten times!

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the GrowME news story by ABC-7/FOX-22:


News Anchor Brian Shawver "gets down" (literally) with a couple butter-makers.

News Anchor Brian Shawver “gets down” (literally) with a couple butter-makers.

Bookworm Schedule — April 2014

Reading is fun!Reading is performance. The reader– the child under the blanket with a flashlight, the woman at the kitchen table, the man at the library desk– performs the work. The performance is silent. The readers hear the sounds of the words and the beat of the sentences only in their inner ear. Silent drummers on noiseless drums. An amazing performance in an amazing theater.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin

Will spring finally come!??  I would enjoy reading sitting outside under a tree as much as I do sitting inside by the fire!

Tuesday, April 1 – Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Thursday, April 3 – Mr. Lange will be at school to read, 9 AM. Don’t forget, NECAP Awards tonight!

Tuesday, April 8 – Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Thursday, April 10 – Ms. Erwin will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Tuesday, April 15 – Mrs. Lander will be at school to read, 9 AM

Thursday, April 17 – Mr. Lange will be at school to read, 9 AM–We’ll be jumping today! Jump Rope for Hearts!

Monday, April 21 –  Friday April 25 No School! Vacation week! Don’t forget to check out some library books for vacation!

Friday, April 21 – Valley Grange Potluck Supper at 6 PM, meeting at 7 PM

Tuesday, April 29 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school to read, 9 AM


Newspapers in Education — First Place Ads!

Don’t miss the Newspapers in Education Supplement in this week’s Piscataquis Observer–look for some stories about Valley Grange’s participation and find these two ads!

Third Grade, First Place ad drawn by Julia Rose Munson

Third Grade, First Place ad drawn by Julia Rose Munson

Fourth Grade, First Place Ad drawn by Taylor Folsom

Fourth Grade, First Place Ad drawn by Taylor Folsom

A Plant-astic Ag-stravaganza!

GrowME logoCommunity invited to celebrate GrowME Growth

Guilford–Valley Grange will host an “Agstravaganza” on Friday, March 28th 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 50 classrooms and over 750 students. I think we’ve lost count of volunteers because we seem to add more every day.”

The GrowME program was hatched in 2011 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 Agstravaganza 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 making dirt babies. Boomsma notes that “our Grange loves an opportunity to invite the community to our hall, but it seemed particularly appropriate to have a community celebration of our achievements and agriculture in general. We’ll have a great potluck supper and brief program to share highlights from GrowME.”

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 “Plantastic Agstravaganza” 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 and some agricultural related information. Attendees are invited to bring an old-time farm, gardening, or home device to display as part of “what is it?” table.

Don’t forget to bring some “Coups for Troops!” (Coupons for our military families stationed abroad.)

Additional information is available on the GrowME website.

Valley Grange and local schools team up for troops

Valley Grange, well known for their partnerships and support of local elementary schools and students, has asked students to join in an effort to support troops stationed overseas by supporting the “Coups for Troops” program.  The program was started in 2011 by Stephanie Almasy and several friends who were saving their families hundreds of dollars each month by clipping coupons.  Almasy learned that military families overseas could use coupons at commissaries and she and her friends time sent coupons to twenty-six families. Just a few months later, over four hundred military families from over ten countries signed up for coupons and the program began growing geometrically.

The Maine State Grange recently qualified as a satellite collection center where coupons are collected in bulk, then packaged and mailed directly to individual families overseas. Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma says he was particularly impressed by the simplicity of the program. “This is what we might call a ‘no-brainer,’” Boomsma said. “The only requirement is an ability to use scissors!” Valley Grange members readily agreed and it wasn’t long before the idea of inviting the schools to help surfaced.

“All we’re asking people to do is clip the coupons—there’s no need to sort, and the kids can just bring them to school and drop them in the collection bins,” Boomsma explained. “Other than a little wear and tear on scissors, there’s absolutely no cost involved to those who want to help out! Keep the ones you can use and get the rest to us. We’re already cutting out Box Tops for Education and so this should be a good fit.”

“This couldn’t be much easier,” added Valley Grange Community Service Chairperson Mary Annis. “We don’t even need to worry about expiration dates—commissaries will accept coupons that have expired up to six months ago, so we have plenty of time to get them overseas.” The only coupons that can’t be accepted are those specific to stores. “We can take manufacturers coupons and ‘catalinas’ (coupons printed on the back of register tapes),” Annis explained.

SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft and Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were quick to agree to serve as collection sites. PCES Principal Julie Orton believes the program is a good fit for the school’s mission. “The Coups for Troops Program is an opportunity for our students to ‘give back.’  It’s all part of a bigger picture, which is helping students to become responsible and involved citizens, an important focus of the Guiding Principles of Maine’s Learning Results.Our students and their families have always shown generosity toward others in need and I fully expect that this project will be another success.”

Additional information about the program is available at http://valleygrange.com. Coupons can also be brought to any Valley Grange meeting or given to a member of Valley Grange.

Health Beat – March 2014


Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total wellbeing affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com