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I try to get outside, even for a little while, every day for some of that Nature RX. That Arctic cold sure does bring brilliant blue skies with it, and makes for stellar stargazing. Everyone on the farm did OK through that last bout of cold. In the past I’ve had chickens get frostbite on their combs, or feet. This crew seems to know when to stay indoors for the day. They have just begun laying again (I don’t use a light on them — I let them lay au naturale) so I have to get out there in time to collect any eggs before they become freeze-pop eggs. Stay warm!

Condolences

Heartfelt sympathy to the family of Berta Welch, who left this world to join her husband, Carl, in heaven on Jan. 7.

Town Office

The next Select Board meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m. Please note that tree trimming will begin shortly along Hadley Mill Road. Speaking of trimming, don’t forget to try and trim any caterpillar nests in your own trees if at all possible, in case they are brown-tail moth nests. Be sure to put them in a bucket of soapy water or burn them — carefully.

Also note: there are still about 50 dog licenses outstanding. Monday, Jan. 31, will be the last day to license your dog(s) without incurring a $25 fee for each.

Volunteer for Fire Department

The Jackson Fire Department could use a few good men, and women! Have you been thinking — new year, new opportunities for community service?  Our all-volunteer fire department needs people to wear many different hats and perhaps one fits you. It’s not just about dragging and holding a hose … it’s driving, it’s directing traffic, it’s first aid for accidents, it’s grant writing.

If you work from home that is a bonus for the town as many of our firefighters work out of town and we are spread thin during working hours on weekdays. Please consider stepping up for our town if at all possible. For more details on how you can contribute, please call Fire Chief Don Nickerson at 722-3373.

Planning Board

You all will be receiving a survey in the mail this week. The Planning Board needs your input to help update our Comprehensive Plan with the vision of its townspeople. You all are the future of our town. The Jackson Comprehensive Plan has not been updated in 26 years. It is grossly overdue for its update so please share your thoughts on how you see Jackson in the years to come. Share what kind of town you want to live in. Surveys can be returned to the Town Office.

Waldo County history nugget

“Agricultural fairs began in Maine in the early 19th century, held to promote new techniques, better farming methods and thus better crops and livestock. Most early fairs featured shows of cattle and crops, with premiums paid for the best of each. Fairs stressed education and a speaker usually delivered a lecture.”

(https://www.mainememory.net/sitebuilder/site/1420/page/2084/display)

For the year of 1853 the Waldo County Agricultural Society paid out a total of $338.53 in premiums to recognize the accomplishments of our local farm producers. There were premiums paid on a variety of fruits and veggies — squashes, peas, apples, corn, barley and rutabaga turnips. In addition to oxen, horses, colts and steer calves, a premium of $2 was paid for a “side hill plow” as well as a “breakingup plow.” I can only imagine the technique used in demonstrating the “side hill plow.” But, the premiums most intriguing to me were those to the women, “Miss L. Wells, premium on bonnets…75. Miss W.H. Conner, premium on embroidered handkerchief…50. And, a second premium for Miss Conner on a “wrought skirt…1.00”. I would love to have seen these creations. What was the skirt wrought with, damask silk embroidery? Gold and silver threads? And in what patterns — florals, paisleys, little birds?

I look forward to my next county, state or country fair so that I can enjoy the halls of produce and handwork vying for recognition. (Books.google.com. Transactions of the Agricultural Societies in the State of Maine for 1853).