The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,504 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 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/Horsing Around Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I took all three of my favorite, intrepid, fearless (and always hungry) neighborhood kids and we went on a little adventure of equine proportions.
That’s right, all things horsey, that was our goal.
Who doesn’t love a horse? They bring to mind galloping adventures, a sense of freedom, beauty, the intoxicating scent of hay, and they may in fact be the perfect pet!
Well, maybe a dog. Or a cat. I’m also fond of chickens. And lizards. I need a 12-step recovery program for my fondness for fur babies. Anyway, back to the badge.
In order to earn ours, we needed to spend a day either walking or driving around the outskirts of town, searching for ponies to make our hearts sing. Okay, the badge requirements don’t say that precisely but I enjoy paraphrasing and rewording for the sake of keeping my charge’s attention spans from waning. Mothers of middle schoolers, you can pick up what I’m putting down, am I right?
Being rather health conscious and seeing as how it was a lovely day, we chose to walk. There are several ranches in the same area not too far from our town, so we parked the car, refreshed ourselves with ham sandwiches, slung our backpacks over our backs, and set off.
It wasn’t long before we were surrounded by fields of such beautiful horses that my heart swelled to three times its normal size. Bounding through the amber waves of grain, I twirled in circles, and began to sing the soundtrack from The Sound of Music. Unfortunately, this technique scared the horses and the kids nearly left me behind, so I scrambled back over the fence posthaste and tried to behave myself for the rest of our trip.
“You know, Aunty,” Andy scolded me as he picked grass out of my hair and put a BandAid on my skinned knees (climbing fences is not as easy as it used to be, helpful hint from me to you), “Trespassing is a like a federal offense.”
“Don’t preach, kiddo. I prefer the term interloping. It sounds less … uh, illegal. We won’t be mentioning this to your mother, by the way. And pass me a granola bar. Interloping makes me feel snacky.”
Nora and Piper had stuck to the greenbelt, being less of an outlaw than I. They were two walking pigtails in the distance, but we caught up with them soon enough, sitting on a fallen log and sketching some of the horses we had seen.
Andy preferred to take snapshots with his fancy IPhone, and I made use of their distraction by polishing off the rest of the ham sammies. (Remember when I said I was health conscious? Well, it’s organic ham, with spinach and homemade mayonnaise, so quit your judging! Trespassing interloping burns a lot of calories.)
The girls made page after page of sketches of their ponies. Nora kept adding horns to hers; although I am skeptical of her assurance there were several unicorn sightings that I allegedly missed due all my twirling and singing. I wrote down my own list of the types of horses we had seen, and Andy scrolled through his collection of photos.
There were a disconcerting amount of my illegal activities documented, so I insisted he delete a few before his mother decided I was a bad influence.
Note to self: keep federal offenses to a minimum while earning the next badge …