Grange Notes for May 12, 2017 by Tim Swartz
We started off with our usual reports—Agriculture being a little more active by this time of the year! Besides the planting of various gardens, Alison told us about going to the annual Northern Grain Growers Association conference. Besides the ongoing discussions sharing best ways of growing grains, a popular presentation was UVM’s research into industrial hemp growing. The University’s Ag school has test plots growing in many locations in Vermont’s diverse climate conditions, where farmers are learning about things like avoiding sticky hemp from clogging their tedders, for example. The VT State Grange is on record as supporting legalization of industrial hemp cultivation and production of hemp products, by the way!
The news from the Grain Growers made an interesting parallel to VT legislativediscussions about the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana. As we met, the House and Senate had supported significantly different approaches. As I finish this report, the chambers have agreed on a bill to allow Vermonters to grow their own marijuana, and to do more research on issues such as how police and courts can evaluate whether drivers are impaired. We also had a lively discussion of the Governor’s proposal for statewide health insurance negotiation for all school districts. Since our membership includes someone who works in a school and a school board member, we got some on-the-ground information. We did not try to come up with a decision of our group, but finished well-informed.
Health concerns this month were focused on mental exercise, as well as physical. Phyllis Skinner RN, our usual health reporter had us take the same type of quiz which immigrants seeking naturalized citizenship have to know: the provisions of the US Constitution! Our knowledge was pretty good as a group, though individually spotty. The highlight came with Liz Benjamin singing the First Amendment! She remembers the song, composed as a memorization aid, since her elementary school days….which were several decades ago! I found a Youtube version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
We learned about the accomplishments of the Barre-Tones, fresh from the performance by their “UpScale” quartet at our Grange Open House. The whole barbershop chorus won big at the regional competition, qualifying for International Competition in November! Upscale won as “Best Quartet”! Learn more at: http://barretonesvt.com/ .
In addition, we had reports about the Hall–the Friends are planning ways to solve the North end paint problems with ventilated siding and interior insulation of the wall. More to come on that–and we are getting more detailed information on the proposed improvements and landscaping for our official main entrance which includes the ramp on the North end.
Our June meeting will feature a year-to-date financial report, with more long-term information about our income, expenses and net worth, as Merry has learned more about what the QuickBooks Online program can provide. Put June 3rd on your calendar!
From left to right: Roger Hill, Lynn Spencer and Anne Donahue, with Charles Martin surveying their judging criteria.
Also visible are the prizes: 3 rolling pins in graduated sizes from Papa Bear to Baby Bear. Merry found these at a craft shop in Mexico and immediately knew she found excellent prizes.
1st place/Blue Ribbon: Andra Kisler of Northfield, who found out about the contest via Front Porch Forum, got the nod for her sweet, fluffy, well-iced and tasty creations. We have paid for her membership dues, so that she can compete in the VT State Grange contest, held in July at the Grange Family Camp in Brookfield!
2nd place/Red Ribbon: Erin Barry, who also organizes the very successful Kids Trade ‘n’ Play events at our Grange Hall took this one. Another “Delicious” verdict.
3rd place/Yellow Ribbon: Phyllis Skinner, also serving as Overseer of our CCG baked “upside down” rolls in muffin tins, with a tasty bottom that ended up on top. She said later it’s the first time she baked cinnamon buns!
Runners up were Alison Forrest‘s spirals, made with sweet potatoes, and my whole-wheat versions.
I can also tell you that all of the other rolls brought by the contestants, besides the 3 used for judging, were consumed at the potluck dinner, and by dancers. So lots of people enjoyed the contest!
You can see the 3 rolling pins on the table in this photo as well. Charles Martin also provided a gift bag for the 3 winners–and also for the 3 judges. All the judges thanked us for inviting them–and we were honored that they found time to join us and help out.
Watch the Grange Notes for updates on Andra’s success in the later stages of the State and maybe the National Grange championships! And for next year’s contest.