60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120


Is it Spring yet??!! This winter hasn’t been too bad until we hit February and then we have been seasonably colder than average. The temperatures have not gotten above 25 at the highest but at least we haven’t been below zero other than at maybe for nighttime lows. We are just not used to have normal winter weather!! It is supposed to start warmer up around February 19th when it is to start getting into the upper 20s for the daily highs. The snow has been somewhat light here but what we get doesn’t really melt too quickly because of the cold temperatures. At least we have had the moisture needed for the crops when the farmers start planting in the spring. Spring is around the corner just by looking at what is coming in my mailbox lately. Seed catalogs and hatchery catalogs have been coming for the last week or more! If looking at these types of catalogs do not put you in the mood for Spring I don’t know what would!  

 This is the perfect time to be planning your gardens for the coming growing season. You need to have time to decide what you want to plant so you can be ready when the ground is ready for preparing and planting in the early summer. You want to look at the different varieties of each vegetable you intend to plant. Of course you have to be careful that you don’t plan too much for the size plot you have for planting. All your plants need their space and overcrowding is not a good thing in a vegetable garden. Many plants can spread out of the area that you think is enough and crowd into another area which causes problems for other plants not being allowed to grow right. If you have a way to do research maybe you could look into doing some vertical gardening which will help you save on space.

Don’t forget to plan what you would like to grow for the Agriculture Department Growing contests that are in your Program Book. Be sure to check out the Program Book for all the class details and rules. I kept all of the classes from last State Session as we were not able to do contests at the 2020 Session. I hope we will have a good turn out as this will give everyone in the Grange a chance to show what they can do! Please consider one of the classes if you have never entered in the Ag Department. Agriculture is one of the main reasons the Grange was formed.

I have been seeing plenty of communications from the National Grange lately regarding items from the new Administration on how they are starting to lay out their plans for all of their departments. No matter what side of the aisle you stand with, please keep a clear mind and do your research on the issues so you are well informed. We are all in this together and we must remember why the Grange was first started by our founding Fathers. I am happy to see that Michigan will be represented by Debbie Stabenow as she was selected as the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Please feel free to contact Senator Stabenow if you feel there are things that she should know about from your area regarding her committee. I have done this before through the National Grange and the Michigan Townships Association and I received acknowledgement of my concerns.

I look forward to this year we have just started as things keep unfolding for our Nation to hopefully return to somewhat normal living once again. Please keep doing your part to keep yourself, your family, your friends and your communities safe and healthy. Let’s show our communities more than ever before what the Grange stands for – Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity!!  

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2020 is in the books thank goodness and 2021 has just started! Well I am sure everyone is starting to think about Spring and winter is not even half over! I know it is important to have snow during the winter months as that helps to add moisture to our farm fields and also helps to protect the winter wheat during the cold months. So far, we haven’t had any snow in my area of Michigan which seems weird as it is Dec 13th as I sit writing this article. I haven’t heard the extended forecast yet so I do not even know if we will see snow for Christmas! I am sure we will pay for it in January and February!

Yes, snow is a part of everyday life during winter in our community. And don’t we often wish we didn’t have to live with it, but we couldn’t live without it.

So while you sit and look at the snow float from the sky, think about what you might want to plant in your gardens or yards this coming spring. Now is a great time to be looking through the seed catalogs and plant books for those special favorites you might want to plant and then share the crops with friends and neighbors.   

Here is a good reason to be planning early. Be sure to check out the Agriculture Department in the Program Book. I left all the classes that we were to have in 2020 in the program book for 2021 as we were not able to do any classes at the 2020 convention. I hope all will really look at entering something for 2021 as we need to try and get back to a little normalcy whatever that may look like for 2021. If our State Session was during the late Summer or early Fall months, we could do more classes to deal with fruits, vegetables and flowers. But, it is kind of hard to do tomatoes or raspberries in late October.

Here is a part of a clipping from the October 2015 Tennessee Granger dealing with Honey Bees. Bees of all kinds have been declining in numbers over the past few years. The reasons are many, but one of the most important is the lack of suitable plants from which bees can collect nectar and pollen all season long. About 1/3 of the food eaten by Americans come from crops pollinated by honey bees, including fruits, vegetables and nuts.

You can help honey bees and native pollinators by planting bee-friendly plants in your garden. Here is a list of perennials to help get a bee garden started: Crocus, White Sweet Clover, Catnip, Russian Safe, Mountain Mint, Snowdrops, Thyme, Purple Cone Flower, Anise Hyssop , Goldenrod and Autumn Joy Sedum.

Well that is all for now. Here is hoping 2021 is a great Grange year and way better than 2020 for all and brings bounty to our Agriculture Neighbors and Friends! I know many of our friends and family and maybe even ourselves have dealt with COVID-19 first hand as did myself. I had a mild case of the virus during the week of Nov 23rd and I am so thankful I was able to get back to my “normal” for 2020 fairly quick. Please continue to do your part no matter if you like the restrictions that could be put in place, they are for our community’s safety.