Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) July 24, 2023
As everyone knows, Montpelier, Barre and many other towns in Vermont were battered and flooded by the torrential rains from July 10 to 16.
Because of location, we were spared from the devastation. Even our driveway and parking lot, recently re-graded, escaped virtually unscathed, draining well without creating ravines.
We have offered our excellent well-water to people who live where boil-water notices were put into effect. The outdoor faucet makes access easy.
A few of us are also making contacts to see if we can raise money for Berlin residents who have suffered losses, and have gotten less publicity than the cities and towns who have been in the news. We were pleased to hear from Weston’s Mobile Home Park (just south of the Grange) that the changes made there after Tropical Storm Irene had greatly reduced damage. In particular, the homes were raised up when they were re-installed, so that the homes were not flooded, though water flowed underneath. We will be sending out information soon about our fund-raising campaign.
Our walls are full of cellulose, and our Grange Hall has never looked better!
Time to celebrate with a picnic!
We had a successful couple of work-days on June 26 & 27th, with just enough people to get the job done–and done well! See my report and pictures below.
The main message of this edition of Grange Notes is to get you salivating, and marking your calendars for a tasty event: our nearly-annual Grange barbecue cook-out on the first Saturday in August! We plan to provide a couple of grills, hamburgers, veggie-burgers and hot dogs of various kinds. We invite everyone to join us, and to bring side-dishes of all kinds! The Grange has always attracted people who like to eat, and this has always been a popular event. Like so many things, this has been interrupted by the pandemic, and we’re glad to get it back on the schedule this year!
We plan to set up grilles and tables on the North gable end of the Grange Hall, which keeps away the afternoon sun (we are hoping for less rain than we’ve all seen recently, of course!). And this year we can enjoy looking at the fresh paint on that North end, as well as the rest of the Grange Hall. This whole event will be a chance to celebrate the renewal of our Hall over the past few years. As we get closer, I’ll list all the projects that have happened since the last outdoor cook-out–in 2019! For now, I’ll just include a couple of photos from “B.C.” of happy people eating below.
Bring your friends: We’re always happy to have new folks visit the Grange Hall, and get a better sense of what a great facility it is. A barbecue is a great attraction!
Here’s the current schedule for that evening:
5:00: Set-up and cooking begin: volunteers will be setting up at least one gas grille and a charcoal grille, setting up tables, putting out plates/glasses/silverware. Want to help out? Please send an email to me!
6:00: Time to eat: We’ll have the main meal ready to eat–which means we will have cooks producing items from the grilles, and you-all will have brought salads, dips, chips, breads, soups, dals and any other side-dishes to share.
7:00: Time to start cleaning up: we will be bringing dishes downstairs to start washing up, putting away cooking supplies, etc. We have a couple of volunteers signed up already, want to join them? Please send an email to me!
It was cellulose time!
It’s been a while since this adventure with insulating the walls of the Grange’s Main Hall happened on June 26 & 27, but we’ll get the benefits for years. Thanks to Bill Hulstrunk (seen below in the green shirt, blowing cellulose into the wall) bringing his blower and his considerable expertise, and just enough volunteers, we got it done.
Those volunteers included Marisa Keller, seen drilling 3″ holes into the walls just above the benches. Since she works for Capstone doing just this sort of work, she and Bill shared the work of pushing the hose from the blower all the way up to the top of the wall, and all the way down to the bottom, to dense-pack the cellulose. Kurt Giavara fed the packages of cellulose (some of which I picked up in my red EV) into the hopper to be chopped up and blown through the hose. Various people did things like removing art and to unscrew the acoustic panels over the windows, and Noah Harrison arrived in the afternoon to screw them back into place after the insulation was in. I made wood trim strips, painted the same color as the walls to cover the 3″ holes. When you come for the August 5th BBQ Potluck, you can admire the trim–and the rest of the work we’ve done on the Hall.
On the next day, we unloaded the BarreTones and the Dance storage closets, drilled holes and insulated the exterior walls of those. Patty Giavara arrived to help that whole day, including pounding in 3″ wood plugs in those areas, unloading and re-loading the closets with me. Betty Copeland was our late-day cleanup helper, when we really needed some fresh energy! Cleaning up all the gray, woolly cellulose was a significant part of the work.
In the hot weather that has been so much a part of the weather, the cellulose has noticeably helped to slow down the rate at which the Grange Hall warms up; we are confident that it will do equally well in saving us heating fuel in the winter. As people like you who read the Grange Notes already know, Bill Hulstrunk helped us insulate the attic in 2006 and the North gable end in 2017, and we insulated the basement in 2020, so getting the walls done completes our “envelope”! We really appreciate Bill’s knowledge, and his willingness to volunteer a lot of time to get this work done over many years!
Another volunteer opportunity: Fall Festival at the State Grange Center
On the 2nd Saturday in September, the annual Fall Festival will be put on at the Grange Center in Brookfield. The day will be filled with contests of various sorts–everything from judging of produce, crafts and other items, to intense competition throwing cast iron frying pans and rolling pins. The State Grange is still seeking volunteer judges for many categories–get in touch if you’d like to help out!
The festivities will continue in the evening with a dinner, and then dancing! I have recruited Susan Reid to organize musicians (she’s the Assistant Director of the VT Fiddle Orchestra, among other things), and Liz Benjamin has agreed to call some basic dances. We could use some contra dancers to encourage the State Grange folks who will be at the Festival to join in the dancing. Interested in helping out on Sept. 9th? Send me an email!