First County Agent in Piscataquis County…

Grangers will likely enjoy this article penned (keyboarded?) by Mary Annis–President of the Dover Foxcroft Historical Society and Secretary of Valley Grange #144 in Guilford, Maine. Set in the early 1900’s, Annis tells the story of how the “young whippersnapper” Henry Bodwell became the first county agent in Piscataquis County and met with a great deal of resistance from “UncleFrank” Merrill, the master of the South Dover Grange who was best described as “240 pounds of pure sarcasm.”

Over 300 farmers and their wives were in attendance to hear “Uncle Frank”, as the popular Grange Master was known throughout the county, expound on what he thought of the appointment [of Bodwell as County Agent]. From his remarks, nobody doubted that the going ahead would be anything but smooth for the young man that “Uncle Frank” had so sarcastically referred to as that little “whipper snapper.”

Well-researched, the article includes stories as told by Bodwell himself and will help readers understand the important role the Grange played in Agriculture and the community in general. The story of how the “young whippersnapper” wins over “Uncle Frank” and his fellow farmers is a timely lesson even though it happened 100 years ago. It takes some creativity on his part, but the young county agent wins an opportunity to explain to Grangers and farmers that his, “job as County Agent can be compared to just what is happening here on your farm today, namely neighbors cooperating with one another to aid in a common cause.”

View, print, and download the article.

Annis, Mary, “Joseph Henry Bodwell Becomes First County Agent in Piscataquis County” (2017). Cooperative Extension – Agriculture. 14.
https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/extension_ag/14

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

The exchanges below recently arrived by forwarded email and reminded me of a “performance” long-time Granger Laura Pratt and I did over a decade ago. We used a shorter version of this. I delivered the “My mother taught me…” and she replied with the quote. Those who knew Laura can probably hear her intonation and attest that her replies were very believable! So here’s to her memory and to your entertainment!

My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

 My mother taught me RELIGION.

 “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

 My father taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

 My father taught me LOGIC.

“Because I said so, that’s why.”

 My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.

“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

 My mother taught me FORESIGHT.

“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

 My father taught me IRONY.

“Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

 My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

 My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?”

 My mother taught me about STAMINA.

“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

 My mother taught me about WEATHER.

“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

 My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.

“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”

 My father taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out…”

 My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.

“Stop acting like your father!”

 My mother taught me about ENVY.

“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

 My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.

“Just wait until we get home.”

 My mother taught me about RECEIVING.

“You are going to get it from your father when you get home!”

 My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

 My mother taught me ESP.

“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

 My father taught me HUMOR.

“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.

“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

My mother taught me GENETICS.

“You’re just like your father.”

 My mother taught me about my ROOTS.

“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me WISDOM.

“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.

 My father taught me about JUSTICE.

 “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

Up, Up and Away at River Festival

Here are just a few random images from the 2014 Guilford River Festival… Valley Grange is a proud participant, passing out approximately 300 balloons this year–including some that got away–and having a great time! Thanks to those who came by to visit and a special thanks to those who bought 101 Raffle Tickets! Your support makes our programs possible!

Booth space was provided by Abbot Village Press–hard working volunteers included Bob Carroll, Linda Erwin, Jim and Mary Annis, Roger and Judy Ricker, and Janice and Walter Boomsma.

 

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Happy Birthday, Betty!

Betty VanDyke continues to be a big supporter of Valley Grange in as many ways as possible. Betty recently celebrated her 9oth Birthday with a party attended by many friends and Grangers. Those couldn’t attend sent cards and messages. This is Betty’s appreciation and some thoughts about her Grange career.


A Happy Betty is flanked by her daughters Lois (left) and Ginny at her 90th birthday celebration.

I don’t think anyone will ever know how I feel about the Grange and how badly I felt the day I wrote for a demit that I knew I would never use.  Those 28 years were the best years of my life and I miss those days a lot.  The work I did being Lecturer of Valley Grange for oh so many years were growing years for me and grow I did using my brain to prepare the programs that I hoped would be satisfactory for the night.  Being on the CWA committee where my husband had to bring me to Augusta and “cart women  around” was a highlight of my belonging.  Then being asked to be Community Service Director of the Maine State Grange, how proud I was for that, receiving  a Plaque of Achievement for work well done was over the top. I tell you all this not to brag but to let you how much the Grange meant to me.

I was “from away,” you see, and people told me then that I would never be accepted.   But I tell you here and now I have been accepted and you can be too.  The friends I have made through this journey are precious to me because they don’t forget. I have seen this recently on the occasion of my 90th birthday with the cards and Facebook messages from Grangers near and far.

I do hope with all my heart that Valley Grange grows with the community as I try to help out in whatever manner I can.  If you are from away, please don’t try to change these good people, they have a lot to offer to you and you will be happier if you listen  to them. Join what ever Grange is closest to you.  Join to help them, your community and yourself.  And as the Girl Scouts sing, “Make new friends, keep the old, one is silver the other is gold.”  As a member of the Grange you can accomplish a lot.

Best of luck to all Granges everywhere.

I remain your friend,

Betty VanDyke

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.

Season’s Greetings!

VG Merry Xmas

 

from Jim and Mary, Kevin and Sunny, Opal, Walter & Janice, Carolyn, Bob and Linda, Tim, Chris, Barbara and Robert, Brita, Herb, Pat, Sherry, Elizabeth, Karen and Richard, Rod, Bonnie, Harriet, Dennis and Becky, Susan, Roger and Judy, Stub and Nena, Dora, Carolyn and Richard, Brian and Cindy, Joan, Lynn, Dodie, Deb, Karen, Don and Eileen, Roberta, Jane, Mike, Lois, and Betty… and the many, many others who are such an important part of what we do!

Blue Ribbon Valley Grange!

Fair 2013_022 (640x441)

Bob Carroll’s eye for precision gets applied to the staves during set up

Valley Grange walked away (well, some of us shuffled… it was a lot of work taking the booth apart) with the first place ribbon for our booth display at this year’s Piscataquis Valley Fair! We’d already agreed it was our best booth in recent years and are glad the judges agreed! The booth followed the theme of “Field to Feast” and included step by step instructions and materials for preserving the harvest.  Our judging guidelines also call for us to tell as much of the “Grange Story” as possible, including information and samples of our Community Service, Family Health and Hearing, and CWA work. Community Service Chair Mary Annis turned out an incredible poster with colorful pictures and descriptions of some of our projects.

While we all mutter and complain, we really do enjoy working together to build the booth every year on what usually turns out to be the hottest day we have in August. This year the crew included Mary and Jim Annis, Judy and Roger Ricker, Linda Erwin and Bob Carroll and Janice and Walter Boomsma. We can always count on Roger for some bad jokes and Judy is constantly sweeping… Mary and Janice do most of the preliminary work… and just about everybody gets a turn being sidewalk superintendent.

Congratulations to our closest (and only!) competitor, South Sangerville Grange for a well-deserved second place ribbon. Walter set up the Pomona Membership Booth again this year in an effort to assure fair-goers that the Grange is alive and thriving in the area. Unfortunately, Garland Grange was unable to compete this year, but we hope they’ll be back next year! Space in the Grange Exhibit Hall is always filled. This year we were joined by 4-Hers with their project work–they were great neighbors and added a lot of fun to the hall.

That blue ribbon looks great!

That blue ribbon looks great!

Eat and Learn with Extension

Saturday, September 7 Valley Grange hosts the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County Annual Supper and Meeting and it looks like there’s going to be something for everyone!

logo-piscataquis-santaAnother yummy supper is prepared by Penquis Volunteers and all proceeds will benefit Piscataquis Santa, served from 5 PM until 7 PM by donation to benefit Piscataquis Santa. The meal deal includes baked stuffed chicken, Angus beef tips, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, glazed carrots and string beans, dinner rolls, fruit pie and vanilla ice cream, coffee, tea, and lemonade! Suggested donation is $8 for adults, $4 for kids 3-12, under 3 eat free! 100% of the proceeds benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund! (There will only be 109 days until Christmas from this event!)

A LOGOThe program parts include lots of exciting things! Prior to and during supper there will be Extension exhibits and demonstrations including a working bee hive and opportunity for the kids to make “bee hummers,” information on gardening, farming and nutrition. Bring your gardening, farming, nutrition, 4-H questions! There will also be lots of material available… The annual meeting starting at 7 PM will feature highlights of local programming and a feature presentation by Dr. Lois Stack, UMaine Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, “Native Plants in the Home Landscape.” All exhibits, demonstrations, and the program are free!

This is collaboration and cooperation at its best! You can come to one thing or you can come to everything!

Plans for a P, P, P and P Party!

On Friday, May 3 Valley Grange hosts a Painting, Pruning, Primping and Pizza Party. Members and friends are invited to join the fun that will include some pruning and primping of the yard starting around 4 PM. Pizza will be served at 6 PM and will be followed by a painting the stage area. Pizza and paint will be provided–helpers please bring any tools and supplies you can. An RSVP isn’t required, but will help determine how many pizzas are ordered and available. Send an email to grange@boomsmaonline.com or call Walter at 876-4131 or Jim Annis at 564-0820. Valley Grange is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road.

Christmas Offering…

Merry Christmas, everyone!