The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,344 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,177 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Garden Gate/Bee Good to Your Mother Earth Merit Badge, I tackled the garden. Now, it’s not as though I’ve neglected the ol’ patch out back completely: I have a lovely collection of garden gnomes, stepping stones, and a fairy house made out of pine cones and twigs and moss that one of Midge’s triplets made for me. But as far as veggies and fruits? Well, let’s just say my thumb isn’t naturally green and leave it at that.
It’s more of a brown. Brings to mind a dying plant, actually.
But my agricultural prowess (or lack thereof) aside, my will was strong, and so was my hankering for all things cucumber-like. Pickles had gotten me through the winter, but I was really up for the crunch and snap of the real thing. And all my neighbors assured me that cukes were easy-peasy, lemon-squeasy to grow.
And after all, my herb garden was thriving in my kitchen! My confidence bolstered, I relocated a few gnomes to the porch (I’ve always liked men with beards … kind of an outdoorsy-man-lovin’ gal that I am) and got to work. I had bookmarked some helpful pages in “Montrose: Life in a Garden,” by Nancy Goodwin, and it sat beside me for moral support as I dug a neat little row. Well, it was supposed to be a neat little row, but it turned out I can’t hoe a straight line any better than I can cut one. Ah well. Don’t think the little cukes will mind. They’re a forgiving sort of veg, I hear. My sweet green babies tucked in for the night in no time at all, I thought I’d better rig a bit of fencing around them. Toile, my chicken, especially goes crackers for seeds and green bits poking out of the ground.
Nervous about the unpredictable Spring, I made ready a blanket just in case a late frost hit. I also heard plants like music, so I made sure to sing a boisterous round or two of the Red-Headed Stranger. I figured happy plants are healthy plants, and since, of course, I was staying away from any pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, it only went hand-in-hand that my approach was all organic. From the seeds to the rain water to my crooning, all organic and pesticide free!
The first night, I was a bit nervous about leaving them out in the dark. Alone. By themselves. So I sat on the porch with my favorite blue gnome and finished “Montrose,” while I daydreamed of cucumbers.
I can practically taste them now.
Cucumbers made into favorite pickle recipes are the best! Every summer I Try and make my Mama’s bread and butter recipe we all grew up with. Then I mail big jars to my sisters and brothers for their annual stock. Summer just isn’t right without Mom’s pickles on sandwiches with fresh garden tomatoes. Every jar brings back memories of making sandwiches together with the back door open , fresh picked tomatoes outside the kitchen door, and sweet crunch of the pickles with every bite! The best part now? I have my Mama’s hand written recipe card. She is with me every year making the family favorites!!