Maine Extension Homemakers Newsletter, April-June 2024

Table of Contents

Presidential Ponderings

Marie TemmMany thanks to all of you who have sent prayers, cards and wishes for good health my way. You are making special memories for me.

It is great to see old and new members looking forward to spring and all the activities. There is a renewing sense of spirit among us, and a sense of healing, as many members have had a rough winter and many personal trials. We are excited to welcome back Waldo County, as well as a new group in Hancock County! There is much excitement about the Annual Meeting in Franklin County, where we will all be asked “What’s in the Box?” I look forward to seeing many of you there to share the accomplishments our clubs have achieved in 2023.

Planning is underway for our 75th anniversary in 2025. If you would like to be part of the committee to help with marking this milestone, please reach out to me.

– Best wishes to you all, your MEHC President, Marie Temm

Around the State

Aroostook County

The County Advisory Board met to discuss a new county-wide project, and decided to collect suitcases, in good condition, to donate to Maine’s Department Health and Human Services for foster children.

Cumberland County

Cumberland County is looking at new fundraisers, and once again will make “Cupcakes for Cancer” to raise funds for the Dempsey Center.

Franklin County

The Tri-Valley United Way stopped by the regularly scheduled Franklin County Extension Homemaker’s Advisory Board meeting to pick up Janet’s Jammies. The Franklin County Homemakers will take part in “Business After Hours,” a program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, to promote networking and recruiting.

staff at Franklin County United Way
Cheri Klinker, Lois King, United Way Representative, Nichole Ernest, Mary Kalel, Untied Way Representative Kendra Baker, Beryl Flagg, Barbara Lambert, and Amy Palmer

Hancock County

Duck Cove President Pam Dupont traveled to the Sullivan/Sorrento Community Center to meet with individuals who are interested in forming a Homemaker Club in their community. There is a group of women who meet weekly to learn how to knit, sew, do winter gardening, and learn about their Native American roots.

Penobscot County

Members participated in Re-Gifting Beano, with lots of closets and drawers being emptied of their languishing contents to be used as prizes. March was a good month to visit Sprague’s Greenhouse in Bangor. Sprague’s staff offer trainings on the care, feeding, repotting of house plants. No better place to be on a chilly March day than a warm greenhouse. In April, the club will learn about the LUCAS, a mechanical chest compression device, from the Eddington Fire Department.

Somerset County

The homemakers in Somerset county are planning their annual meeting, to be held on April 22, 2024 at the Victor Grange Hall in Fairfield. Their theme is Earth Day and their guest speaker will be Rebecca Long from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension,  who will speak about PFAS in the environment, and other earth-friendly topics. Anyone wishing to attend is welcomed, and may pre-register for a payment of $5.00 by mailing Reni Davis, 271 Ham Hill Road, Cambridge, ME 04923.

Waldo County

Good News coming out of Waldo County! Former members there would like to get their club back together, and will be meeting with Coordinator Lisa Fishman to make that happen. They are interested in holding classes on hand-crafts and fiber arts that might interest young people.

York County

The Limington Group in York County meets monthly and enjoys crafting. They recently made a Valentine’s Day craft and have plans for seasonal crafts for the coming months.

Janet’s Jammies

To all the homemakers who cut patterns and material, stitched jammies or who packaged up the 206 pairs of Janet’s Jammies for the 2024 distribution, THANK YOU! United Way branches located in Presque Isle, Portland, Bangor, Lewiston, Augusta, Bath, and Farmington (serving 15/16 Maine counties) received Jammies throughout February. Many children will benefit from the warm jammies that were lovingly made.  Janet’s family donated t-shirts and tissue paper, and made a donation to MEHC’s treasury to keep this project moving forward. The Northern Maine Quilters Guild donated funds for plastic storage bags to keep the jammies dry and clean.

4-H logoMaine 4-H Days-Service Project

Counties participating in the Shelter Bags state-wide project should continue collecting hygiene and personal care items. Make plans with your advisor to have your items transported to Windsor Fairgrounds prior to the July 27 event.

Maine Extension Homemakers Council Annual Meeting

The State MEHC Annual Meeting will be held June 14-15 in Jay, Maine, hosted by Franklin County. Your detailed information will be arriving soon, and you’ll want to be sure to register early to take advantage of an early registration discount! It promises to be a fun meeting, and you’ll be encouraged to “think outside the box!”

Mark Your Calendars

  • April 22: Earth Day
  • April 24: Birthday of Robert Thomas, founder of the Old Farmer’s Almanac
  • April 26: National Arbor Day
  • May 16: National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day
  • May 23: National Lucky Penny Day
  • May 29: National Senior Health and Fitness Day
  • June 3: State Board Meeting
  • June 3: National Egg Day
  • June 8: World Wide Knit-In Public Day
  • June 14-15: Annual Meeting in Franklin County
  • June 20: National Ice Cream Soda Day and National Vanilla Milkshake Day

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine logoCan Tabs

Don’t forget to keep collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Bring can tabs to your club meetings, or to the June 14-15 meeting in Jay, and don’t forget to mark your containers with your county’s name. For more information visit the Ronald McDonald website.


If you have not already completed your 2023 Annual Report of educational programs, volunteer hours and donations, please make sure to do so by April 15th. Your county Extension office support staff will make a copy to send along to President Marie Temm.  Be sure to retain the original copy for your records.

A Word about the Old Farmer’s Almanac

First published in 1792 by Robert Bailey Thomas, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has survived through The Great Depression and World War II to be the only continuously-published almanac that brings wit and wisdom to readers, with weather and precipitation forecasts and gardening lore. Although the weather and precipitation predictions are only slightly better than 50% accurate, they are based on a secret formula that Thomas created based on his own study of astrology and solar occurrences. Did you know that the secret formula is still located in black box in a secret location and has only been seen by a handful of people, mostly editors of the almanac, since Thomas developed it? One trademark of The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the hole in the upper left corner. This drilled hole was intentional, and started by Thomas prior to his death in 1846, and was done so the almanac could be hung from a nail or hook for easy access. The almanac is published four times a year.

orange yarnWorld-Wide Knit In Public Day

Wondering how you can celebrate World-Wide Knit In Public Day, celebrated on June 8? This is a great day for experienced knitters to teach others how to knit. Try contacting your local school, 4-H club or recreation center and offer to teach youth how to knit. You could also offer classes through your local adult education program to help adults learn this art form. Happy knitting!

Exercise and Your Health

Older Americans can benefit from increasing physical activity in numerous ways. Whether you exercise to a video, walk with a friend, or join a fitness class, what matters most is that you move your body.  You know the old saying, “use it or lose it?”  Well, that applies to physical fitness. We know the benefits of including physical activity in your daily routine.

  • Physical activity may reduce blood pressure
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of falling by improving balance and strength
  • Physical activity may help control diabetes
  • Physical activity may reduce anxiety
  • Physical activity may aid in controlling arthritis pain

Consider talking to your doctor or health care provider about adding physical activity to your daily routine.

National Lucky Penny Day–May 23

Remember the old saying “See a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck”? These days, pennies are dropped on the ground and very few people pick them up. Though once upon a time a penny could buy any number of things, today it is seen as useless (in other words, worthless). In fact, it costs the US mint more money to make a penny than the penny is actually worth, thanks to the cost of materials used to make the penny. When pennies were made of copper, finding one was considered good luck because copper was a precious metal. However, those who are superstitious will only pick up a penny if it is heads up, believing that tails up is a sign of bad luck. If you are inclined to pick up pennies you find on the ground, not all of them are worth just one cent. Finding one of these could definitely bring you not only good luck,  but could bring you a windfall.

penniesPennies of Value

  • 1943-D: Lincoln Bronze Penny sold for $1.7 million (the letter D indicates the coin was minted in Denver)
  • 1944-S: Lincoln Steel Penny sold for $373,750 (the letter S indicates the coin was minted in San Francisco)
  • 1943-S: Lincoln Penny made of Bronze sold for $282,000.
  • 1909 VDB: Lincoln Penny sold for $258,500 (the letters stand for Victor David Brenner-designer of the Lincoln cent coin)
  • 1856: Flying Eagle Penny sold for $172,500.

2024 Earth Day and Arbor Day

people planting tree in the countrysideThis year, both Earth Day and Arbor Day are celebrated during the same week. What can you do to celebrate?

  • If possible, plant a tree! If it’s not possible to plant a tree, start bee-friendly flower seedlings inside that can be transplanted to mature outside when the weather is warm and help provide food for our pollinators.
  • Commit to using no harmful chemicals in your yard and garden.
  • Conserve water by not overwatering.

Start, or continue, composting household scraps. Fruit and vegetable peelings breakdown to create nutrition soil. Avoid animal products and products with high fat content as these will attract unwanted animals to your compost.

Emily Bofia
Emily Bofia, Somerset County Cooperative Extension Office

Staff Highlight

Our Staff Highlight this issue is Emily Bofia, from the Somerset County office in Skowhegan.

Emily grew up on a small farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Master’s degree in Environmental Education, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She loves that Cooperative Extension is the perfect place to combine her experience in youth development with her newest interests in nutrition and agriculture. She is excited to learn more about these fields as she works in support of Somerset County. Her favorite things to do in her free time include traveling, camping, crafting, and cooking and she is always up for an adventure!

two banana fruit milkshakes
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fruit Milk Shakes

This fruit shake is a great way to kick off your day. One minute in the blender and you’ll be on your way.

Servings: 2 


  • 1 cup milk, fat-free (or water)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 2 bananas (ripe, or 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 10 large ice cubes


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Place everything together into a blender.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Recipe courtesy of USDA’s MY Plate Kitchen 

For nutrition information, please visit Fruit Milk Shakes at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

Spanish frittata
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Spanish Frittata

This versatile recipe combines eggs, potatoes, and onion going from stovetop to oven for the finishing touch. Cut into wedges as part of a delicious breakfast, brunch, or any meal.

Servings: 4


  • 2 russet potatoes (scrubbed)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  2. Put the potatoes in a non-stick skillet on the stove and cover with cold water. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook about 15 minutes until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Drain the potatoes well and set aside to cool. Then peel and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  4. Put the eggs, salt, and pepper in the bowl and mix well with a whisk.
  5. Return the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the oil. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft. Add the cubed potatoes.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and onions. Press down with a spatula to make an even layer and shake gently to prevent sticking. Lower to medium heat and cook about 7 minutes.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the frittata is completely set, about 5 minutes.
  8. Gently loosen frittata from the pan. Place a serving plate over the skillet and carefully invert the frittata onto the plate.
  9. Slice into 4 wedges. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of USDA’s MY Plate Kitchen 

For nutrition information, please visit Spanish Frittata at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

Photos: All photos property of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, unless otherwise noted.

© University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 2024

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