KEVIN YOUNG, DIRECTOR
60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120
269-684-3870
kevin60822@sbcglobal.net


JULY/AUGUST 2021 GRANGE NEWS

Wow July!? The first 6 months of 2021 have gone by way too fast! I am glad that we are slowly getting back to a normal way of life after that nasty year we left behind in 2020. We got our garden in late this year but I am sure with lots of water and care it will come along nicely. We didn’t get our potatoes dug last fall and I couldn’t believe they survived the winter and are growing again this year! Can’t wait to see what they produce for us and the plants are a good 3 feet tall. I hope everyone that planted a garden kept in mind the Agriculture Department classes for the 2021 State Session. We are able to have classes back this year for everyone to enter. I really hope we can get lots of entries in all departments to show that the Grange is still alive in Michigan even if the Pandemic of 2020 made it hard to do much of anything as an organization!

 We are a few short months now from our 2021 State Session that is being held at the Bay Valley Resort near Bay City. I haven’t heard as of yet but I am hoping we will be back to a normal State Session with floor work and songs and great fellowship as it sure didn’t seem like a Michigan State Grange Session last year doing everything in one day due to the restrictions during the pandemic.

Fair season this year is back to normal thank goodness!! I think we all will be happy for the Youth all across our State that get to exhibit at their local County Fair once again this year. I haven’t heard of any Fair not doing their normal as my County Fair, Berrien County Youth Fair, announced the entertainment lineup for our 75th Anniversary week in August. I have 3 pigs and 2 market goats in the back yard for my niece and one nephew. The oldest nephew decided he couldn’t devote time for his last year at the Fair and has sadly moved on to being an adult and working hard to earn a living.

I subscribe to the Farmer’s Exchange weekly paper and there was an article in the June 11th edition titled “Michigan Floriculture Sales Top $500 Million”. It is interesting to see that in 2020, during the pandemic, that Michigan ranked 3rd in the Nation for value of wholesale sales of floriculture products behind California and Florida. This placing is based off of data reported from Michigan’s 549 commercial growers (with $10,000 or more in gross sales). It is awesome to see that Michigan out shines most of the Nation when it comes to Agriculture Crops along with flowers and plants.

In another article from the Farmer’s Exchange on June 4th it discussed Wool Is at the Center of Product Innovation. One of the farms they interviewed for this article is in Coldwater Michigan. The name of the farm is Mitten State Sheep and Wool. The have been raising sheep for 23 years and currently raise Border Leicester, Tunis, Bluefaced Leicester, Romney, Corriedale and some fiber crosses which all produce very nice fleece. The Mitten State farm uses their own wool in the woolen mill right on their farm to process their own fleeces. They make and sell dryer balls and I am thinking of ordering some to see just how well they work. They said in the article that these all wool dryer balls replace the need for dryer sheets as they not only help the dryer absorb moisture to dry the clothes faster but also help with static electricity that can be created in the drying process. Check out their website at for more information and a link to their etsy shop to purchase their products they offer.

Here is hoping your gardens are growing or will be and that your harvest is bountiful. Until the next MGN…. 
AGRICULTURE
MAY/JUNE 2021 GRANGE NEWS

Is it Spring, Summer, Winter?!? This spring has been very crazy for weather so far. I wonder what Summer will be like here in Michigan this year. Hoping Summer will be nice and not too hot but I don’t think people will care after the previous summer we had in 2020! As I sit here writing this article on April 20th, we are having record cold temperatures that will cause a killing freeze! This isn’t good for the fruit farmers and anyone that has plants that are up out of the ground already. We need to say a few prayers for these farmers as they will lose their whole year’s income in just 2 nights of frigid weather.

  How many of you have planted anything in your gardens yet? Things that could have been planted by know would be seed potatoes, onion sets, cold crops (cabbages, etc) and I even think carrots but not sure so please check before you plant them! When planning your garden spots, keep in mind the Ag Classes that you can enter at this year’s Annual State Grange Session. Each class is open to Junior members on up to Subordinate members. There are plenty of different classes for all ages and you do not have to live in the Country to do them. I can’t wait to see what Unique containers with plantings come to State Session. Please check the Program Booklet for more details. Be sure to check out the Family Activities section as they put in a neat class in their Department having to do with Antique Agriculture items.    

We are running behind at getting things done around the little farm this spring due to the crazy things going on in our World right now. I have yet to get the chicken coop cleaned but that is because when I have the time it is either not nice weather or I am too tired and need to just rest! The pigs for my nephews and niece are on the farm already and so are the market goats. Chores are in full swing here besides having the chickens to gather eggs from. We are getting at least 9 eggs a day on the average. We still have our “garage” cats even though Baby (the momma cat) after having yet another litter of 6 kittens in August of 2020 disappeared on her own never to be seen. But we have been graced with 6 cats which 2 of them gave us a total of 8 kittens within 3 weeks of each other. Oh brother!?! We can’t keep them all, but they are so much fun to watch grow up and play in the yard with each other. 

Please be mindful that this is the time that the country roads and some State Highways will have slow moving farm vehicles on them. If it wasn’t for those farmers and their employees we wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to farmers’ markets or the grocery stores to get the needed foods to feed our families. Please give those big vehicles and tractors as much room as you can without causing problems for yourself or others.

Well, that is all for now. Please remember whenever possible to buy Local or Locally Grown / Made products! You are helping small farm families most of the time. Good luck with your garden planning and happy growing until later!