Lap Robe for a Vet

Photo by Janice Boomsma

Check out this beautiful afghan handcrafted by Grange Member Mary Annis and donated to our Lap Quilts and Afghans for Veterans Program. Thanks, Mary!

You don’t have to be a member to participate in this program… we are supporting the Community Health and Counseling Service’s Presentation honoring Veterans as part their hospice program. The program includes the formal presentation of a pin, certificate, and patriotic lap quilt or Afghan attended by Chaplain Char Chandler-Stevens, a representative of the military, and family and friends. Our support includes promoting the program and encouraging quilters and crocheters to help supply the lap quilts and Afghans.

We’re told that 50″ by 60″ is a good size. As for color and style, “Either red white, and blue, or even ones themed by the branch of the service are wonderful. We have had some in the past that were made with Army material or Marines etc. The red white and blue are universal and VERY well received. We save the Army or Marine-themed ones for someone who has either retired from that branch or has a big identity with that branch.”

See the page about the program for more information including drop-off locations. Contact Walter Boomsma or any member of Valley Grange for information and assistance.

Then and Now!

Come see us at the Piscataquis Valley Fair

We sweated through setting up a “then and new” display in the Grange Building demonstrating how some things are and how they used to be… The display also features information about some of the projects we do, including our recent “Quilts and Lap Robes for Veterans” in support of CHCS’s Hospice Program. Stop by while visiting the fair–it’s open today through Sunday. The photos don’t do it justice!

Special thanks go to Irene Thomas for giving us a hand… and to Alex and Lilly for helping us unload! Help will also be sought for take-down on Sunday… contact Mary Annis at 564-0820 if you can help!

June Meeting Notes

We had our annual election of officers… the site has been updated but there weren’t many changes! Amy Larrabee was elected Ceres, Kevin Annis was elected Steward, and Janice Boomsma was elected to the Executive Committee. Kevin Annis was appointed Membership Director. You can check out a list of leadership positions and responsibilities here!

Pat Engstrom reported that she delivered 21 Linus Blankets–work resulting from our “Blanketeering” event back in April and several individuals who’ve been working on them sense. Thanks to Pat’s “blistered fingers” we are also delivering three lap robes to the CHCS Hospice Program. Walter admits he’s become a big advocate of the program, particularly the service they are providing veterans. Lap robes (afghans) and quilts are needed! If you’d like to help, contact Pat or Walter!

As a reminder, we substitute the Piscataquis Pomona Picnic Fun and Fundraiser for our July meeting. It is scheduled for July 13, 2021 at the Boomsma Abode! For more information, contact Janice or Walter.

We also voted our annual donation to House in the Woods and Home for Little Wanderers from the CWA Fund.

While it presents some challenges, we also agreed that we will create a fair display this year–both for Valley Grange and for Piscataquis Pomona. We need ideas for the Valley Grange display—and willing workers for setting up (August 25, 2021) and tearing down (August 29, 2021). Mary and Janice will be organizing, please let them know you are willing to help!

Help is one thing we always can use more of! And members! For various reasons, we recently lost several and we truly need to consider a “membership drive” of some sort. Joining Valley Grange is not difficult or expensive. Just ask any member!

As things return to “normal,” we are looking forward to gearing up more of our traditional programming such as Bookworming, GrowME… our community celebrations… and we hope you’ll want to be part of it!

February Meeting Rescheduled!

snow-shovel-2001776_640Our February meeting has been postponed by one week from this Friday until Friday, February 22, 2019. We’ll have the usual potluck at 6 pm, meeting at 7 pm. The weather forecast is part of the reason but several other factors have come into play.

Please help us get the word out… this will be posted on the Valley Grange Facebook Page and a Grange Gram will be sent today.

By way of a hint, we are expecting some special guests… and don’t forget we will be discussing who will be our 2019 Community Citizen of the Year along with some updates regarding Newspapers in Education and our GrowME program.

Sorry for any inconvenience! I wonder if the Secret Shoveler will arrive now that there’s more time to get the steps cleared…

Secret Shoveler Strikes!

snow-shovel-2001776_640I headed to the Grange Hall yesterday with a deep sense of foreboding, trying not to imagine how much snow would be piled up on the steps and porch. There’d been at least three significant storms since someone was last there. I’d even loaded several types of shovels in case I encountered layers of ice and hard crust.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find only a little light snow to remove. It seems a secret shoveler had arrived at some point during recent weeks and removed the major accumulations. If you happened to drive by at the moment I discovered that you’d have seen me leaping for joy at the base of the steps!

The identity of the secret shoveler at this point is, well, a secret! The only evidence remaining was a pink snow shovel left on the porch. Since the shoveler was probably wearing gloves, it will not be dusted for fingerprints. It will, however, remain on the porch either to be reclaimed by its rightful owner or to be used by those who might be inclined to stop at the hall after a snowstorm and clear off the steps.

To our secret shoveler, we say, “Thanks!” It’s great to live in a community where folks help each other and the community. While we’re being grateful, we owe a big thanks to Jim French of French Construction for keeping our parking lot plowed during the winter!

Valley Grange does our best to remain “open for business” throughout the winter and knowing that it’s a community effort strengthens our resolve. This Thursday (February 7) we are hosting the Piscataquis Pomona Grange meeting with a potluck supper at 6 pm and meeting at 7 pm. On Friday (February 15) we’ll get together for our regular monthly meeting which also includes a potluck supper at 6 pm and meeting at 7 pm. We’ll be discussing our annual Community Night in May and selection of Community Citizen of the Year 2019. You’re invited to join us and help!

Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.

Andre Agassi

Community Supper Canceled–Sorry!

Based on the weather forecast for Friday, and with great regret, we are canceling our Community Supper scheduled for tomorrow night, November 16, 2018. It was not an easy decision… we were really looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating our community heroes.

We will be rescheduling… but with the upcoming holidays and weather uncertainties haven’t yet settled on a date. We’ll let you know!

Blanketeering on Saturday is still on at this point!

Bookworm Schedule for October/November 2018

Tuesday, October 16 — Mr. Boomsma will be at school for a program kickoff at 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday, October 23 — Mrs. Kimball will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 25  — Mrs. Lander will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Monday, October 29 — Dictionary Day! Third graders will be visiting Valley Grange for some fun and a dictionary!

Tuesday, October 30 — Ms. Erwin will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 1 — Mr. Boomsma and Mrs. Katz will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, November 6 — Mrs. Kimball will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 8 — Mr. Boomsma will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Friday, November 9 — SAD 4 Veteran’s Celebration at PCSS… 8:15 am!

Tuesday, November 13 — Ms. Erwin will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 15 — Mrs. Orton will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Friday, November 16Community Night at Valley Grange! Join us for a free supper at 6:00 p.m. and say “Hi” to your neighbors and friends. We’ll be featuring the famous beans and mac ‘n cheese by Bill Bemis of Garland Grange! Stick around for our regular meeting 7:00 p.m. Kids are welcome!

Tuesday, November 20 — Mrs. Boomsma will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 22 — No school — Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 27 — Mrs. Orton will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 30 — Mrs. Lander will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Spirit of America!

SOA Winners

It was “standing room only” as Valley Grange hosted the Piscataquis County Spirit of America Awards Ceremony with nearly 100 in attendance. Seventeen individuals and groups were honored for their volunteerism and community contributions. (The complete list is available on the Valley Grange Website.) The program was emceed by Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange with awards presented by Senator Paul Davis and Representatives Paul Stearns and Norm Higgins.

Valley Grange Hosts Spirit of America Awards

Maine member releases easy-to-read book ‘Exploring Traditions’ of the Grange

Reprinted from the September 2018 issue of The Patrons Chain–The Official Newsletter of the National Grange


Walter Boomsma, Program Director of Valley Grange and Maine State Grange Communications Director has authored the book, “Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.”

While this is not his first book, Boomsma believes it may be one of his most important.

“The primary goal in writing it was to encourage exploration,” Boomsma said. “The Grange is a 150-year-old organization with a strong agricultural focus and many are questioning its relevance to today’s society. I wanted to encourage people to develop a deeper understanding of what the Grange is all about–including our members. The Grange is very much about a way of life and, while farming has changed, people have not.”

Boomsma said he also believes people who are not familiar with the Grange will appreciate exploring the value of tradition in general since “tradition and ritual create stability and a sense of community, especially when we understand the basis for them.”

Betty Van Dyke accepts the “very first copy” of Exploring Traditions from Walter Boomsma, the author.

National Grange Master Betsy Huber provided a foreward to the book, in which she wrote, “These essays by Walter Boomsma unpack the teachings of the Grange and relate them to today’s world
and our everyday lives. He has a gift for taking the lessons from the farm and showing their relevance today, even for those whose only interaction with agriculture happens through their food and clothing choices. He understands the meaning the Grange Founders intended and interprets the sometimes archaic language to reveal the principles they wanted to teach to farm families who often had no other opportunity for education.“

Boomsma dedicated the book to a woman he affectionately calls a “Granger Extraordinaire,” Betty Van Dyke of Guilford. During a presentation of the first copy of the book, Boomsma said Van
Dyke explained the great influence she had during his “formative years” as a Grange member.

“I came to appreciate both her knowledge of the Grange’s teachings and her commitment to what I later came to understand as ‘the Grange Way of Life.’”

At the height of her Grange career, Van Dyke held a number of local and state positions, including serving as the Maine State Community Service Director. At 94, Van Dyke still keeps track of what’s going on at Valley Grange and is a strong supporter.

Boomsma will sign copies of the book at the 152nd Annual Convention where it will be available for sale. It is also available through the Grange Supply Store. Contact Loretta Washington at sales@nationalgrange.org or by phone at (202) 628-3507 ext. 109.