Christmas Offering…

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Barbeque and Bluegrass — Piscataquis Santa Event

Here is your resource for information about the Barbeque and Bluegrass event… The event takes place Saturday, December 1st with barbeque being served starting at 5 PM and bluegrass being served starting at 7 PM… Featuring the Back Porch Bluegrass Band!

Download a Santa Barbeque and Bluegrass Flyer with detailed information.

Download a Santa Sponsor Letter and/or Santa Sponsor Form. We need some “elves” to help! For more information regarding sponsorships, contact Walter Boomsma. If you can help with food and/or kitchen, please contact Jessica Davis.

Visit the Back Porch Bluegrass Band Facebook Page.

This event is a joint venture between Valley Grange and Penquis Piscataquis Santa Fund. The Santa Fund provides clothing and a special gift for needy children in the Piscataquis Region (SAD 4, 41, 46, 68 and Union 60). We’ve got it covered from Greenville to Milo to Dexter!

2012-2013 Schedule Announced

Valley Grange’s tentative schedule of meetings and activities has been released following a roundtable discussion during which members discussed opportunities and needs in our communities. While planning a full year is always a challenge, Master Jim Annis notes, “this gives us focus and allows us to manage our personal calendars.”

We’re currently gearing up for Dictionary Days during which every third-grader in SAD 4, 68, and 41 are given their own personal dictionary. Piscataquis Community Elementary School will visit the Grange Hall on October 16th and SeDoMoCha will visit on November 5th. A team of Valley Grangers visits SAD 41 on November 2nd, making stops at Marion C. Cook, Milo, and Brownville Elementary Schools.

A bookworm assembly is scheduled for October 10th to kick off our Bookworm Program. Grange Bookworms will be visiting Piscataquis Community Elementary School twice weekly to read with second and third graders. The more you read, the more you know!

Valley Grange supports the JD Foundation’s annual Keeping Our Communities Warm Project held at 107 Main Street in Abbot from 8 AM until 4 PM. The project provides low and no cost winter clothing to folks who need a little help keeping warm. Donations are appreciated. This year’s project is scheduled for October 13th from 8:00 AM until 4 PM. For more information contact Cheryl Morin at 207-876-2295 or visit

On November 16th we will feature Allagash Tails and Tales, a multimedia presentation narrated by local author and former Waterway Supervisor Tim Caverly. The show includes music, scenic and historic photographs as well as stories detailing Tim’s personal experiences while living in the woods.  This is an opportunity to experience the Allagash in a whole new way and become familiar with Tim’s work with schools. Join us for a potluck supper and book signing at 6 PM before the meeting at 7 PM.

While it’s probably too early to start counting how many days remain until Christmas, it’s not too early to mark your calendar for another one of Valley Grange’s successful collaborations with Penquis. On December 1st, our organizations will join hands to sponsor a BBQ and Bluegrass Event to benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund. We’re turning this into a family friendly event that will feature great food and great music. Save the date!

These are just a few highlights… you can always download  a copy of the 2012-2013 Schedule right from here. Remember that dates and details can change–particularly when meetings are planned well in advance. Check back when making your plans!

A “Different” Kind of Radio!

Actually, Internet radio has been around for a while–a somewhat simplified explanation is that instead of broadcasting over the airways, programming is “broadcast” over the Internet and you listen using your computer, smartphone or other similar device with wifi access. Internet radio stations can be started with minimal investment and, from a listener’s perspective, there are almost unlimited choices in format. One other aspect is that listening isn’t dependent on being physically close to the station—it’s possible to listen to stations that are located halfway around the world.

With that as brief background, I was excited to discover we have such a station right here in the Sangerville–Dover Foxcroft area. Founded and run by Michael Smith of Sangerville, Acadia Radio operates as a non-profit with volunteeers working hard to develop a “local presence.” The station has offered to run PSAs (Public Service Announcements) and news for the Grange.

Because of the global nature of Internet Radio, this means Valley Grange news will quite literally be heard “around the world.” The music format is described as “classic rock” and offers NPR news. Give Acadia Radio a try by visiting (You’ll also find this link listed in the Local News Links section of our site.)


Tramp, Tramp, Tramp…

If you remember the next line (“the boys are marching”) you’ll want to tramp on over to Valley Grange on Saturday, June 2nd for a few hours of Civil War Music and related activities. The day’s activities are sponsored by the Daughters of Union Veterans—Sarah Elizabeth Palmer Tent #23 and will start at 2 PM. The Back Porch Bluegrass band will be featured and the Sons of Union Veterans—Daniel Chaplain Camp #3 will have some additional presentations. Admission is by donation with $5 suggested. Refreshments will be served by Valley Grange and door prizes will be drawn. This is a family-friendly event! For more information, contact Mary Annis at 564-0820.

Cheer up, comrades, they will come.

And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again,

Of the free land in our own beloved home.

Bring On The Sheep!

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.”

Thanks to the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine for making Piscataquis Santa the beneficiary of the “Jam” they held today in Cambridge… as a result, over $200 in cash was raised… along with a sack of presents… and over 100 pairs of mittens knitted by Debbie Burdin. So there were some voices “as big as the sea” raised today by some folks with hearts as big as the sea too! Thanks to all who performed and all who attended!

If Debbie has her way, there will be some naked sheep running around this year, because she’s already announced she wants to keep knitting… Valley Grange has a few knitters of our own and we are pleased to count Debbie Burdin and Pat Engstrom as “friends of the Grange.” Pat recently donated several afghans to our causes, including one currently being raffled by Penquis Journey House in Dexter.

We’d love to help these knit-wits by providing some yarn to keep those kneedles knitting! Colors really aren’t important–especially for the mittens. If you have any yarn hanging about that you’d like to see put to good use, please send an email or contact any member of Valley Grange.

Donate yarn! Save a sheep from being cold and support a worthy cause!

Hooting Heard!

While it was admittedly a bit subdued because of the heat, there was still some hooting at the Valley Grange Hall on Friday as a number of people braved the heat to participate in our supper and music program. We do appreciate the support of those who agreed it was “too hot to cook” — we even had one take out order!

A special thanks goes to all those who helped put this event together… we had a number of food donations and lots of willing workers. One featured item was a  home baked pie featuring handpicked raspberries. Don and Eileen Ebbling provided it and rather than serve it we auctioned it off before the music… for $20!

Other than the pie, our leftovers were donated to the volunteer crew at the JD Foundation Yard Sale… an amazing bunch of people who aren’t letting the heat stop them from raising record funds for their suicide awareness and prevention program. If you want to brave the elements today, a trip to Abbot would be supportive and there are plenty of treasures left for your shopping pleasure.

Also thank to North Country Strings players Susan, Ruth, and Paul for a great performance as always. They even opened with the “Grange Welcome Song!”


We’re on…

We know it’s hot! But we also have tons of food ready… so we’re proceeding with our supper and hootenanny! We’ll do our best to make things comfortable… lots of iced tea and ice water for sure!

Bear in mind it should start to cool late this afternoon, although admittedly not much! One thing you might do is ready Karen’s July Health Beat… it’s all about this kind of weather and how to cope!

If you’re sick of weather reports… here’s another different up-to-the minute report: The JD Foundation Yard Sale is MOBBED. So the heat isn’t keeping people away! You might want to check it out before all the good stuff goes!

Come Eat and Sing Friday July 22

Reminder: Bring your school supplies to this or any Valley Grange event to help us with the Smart Starts for Students Program!

Enjoy a traditional grange bean supper any time from 5 PM until 7 PM (unless we run out!)… baked beans, hotdogs, coleslaw and lots of fixin’s… american goulash/chop suey and those famous grange desserts. Then adjourn to the upstairs hall at 7 PM for our “Hootenanny.” The North Country Strings, led by Susan Ramsey, welcomes and entertains audiences with some foot-stomping fiddle tunes as well as popular songs from country, folk, and gospel genres with a sprinkling of back and forth banter and educational snippets. It’s good music done well, featuring something for everyone.  Part of the show involves sing-a-longs in which North Country Strings performs well-known tunes bound to bring back memories and get you singing, clapping, and just plain feeling great!

Best of all… both events are being offered on a donation basis… affordable fun for the whole family! Bring the kids, bring gramma, bring your summer guests or just pick up somebody along the way! We’re at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road… as we say in Maine, “You can’t miss it.” (But we really mean it–you can’t!)

Hootenanny is an Appalachian colloquialism that was used in early twentieth century America to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamagig or whatchamacallit as in “hand me that hootenanny.” Now it most commonly refers to a folk music party.

Come have fun… and help us keep Valley Grange serving the community!

Friday November 19th Hootenanny!

Hootenanny is an Appalachian colloquialism that was used in early twentieth century America to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamajig or whatchamacallit, as in “hand me that hootenanny.” Hootenanny was also an old country word for “party”. Now, most commonly, it refers to a folk-music party…

North Country StringsThe North Country Strings, led by Susan Ramsey, welcomes and entertains audiences for the Valley Grange’s “Hootenanny” with fine foot-stomping fiddle tunes as well as popular songs from country, folk, and gospel genres with a sprinkling of fun back-and-forth banter and educational snippets. It’s good music done well, featuring something for everyone. Part of the show involves sing-a-longs in which North Country Strings performs well known tunes bound to bring back memories and get the audience singing, clapping, laughing, and feeling great!

"Fiddlin' Woodsprite"

Tap your toes and fill your tummy! The program starts with grange goodies served at a 6:30 PM “Happy Hour” and refreshments will be available throught the evening. Everything is by donation so this is an affordable evening of family fun! Proceeds from the refreshments will help support Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Program so you’ll even feel good about helping with that!

This is a party you won’t want to miss!