Kulning with Heidi

Kulning (pronounced just as it looks) is a Swedish term that describes a unique form of singing used by Scandinavian herding girls who live in the high mountains with the dairy cattle during the spring and summer months. Think Heidi.

“The herding girls who drive the herds to the summer alpine pastures live in relative isolation and use kulning to communicate with each other and with their flocks over great distances,” explains musician and self-proclaimed history geek Sheila Louise Wright. “It is used to send the herds out in the morning, to call them back in in the evening, to entertain oneself while alone in the forests and meadows, as a means of scaring off predators, and as a means of communication with other herders.”

Families would traditionally have their own signature songs that were recognized by their herds. Wouldn’t it feel amazing to be in a beautiful setting with only your cows and belt out the sound of kulning? I’m game. How about you?

Here are a couple more kulning renditions:





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lessons from Audrey

Speaking of May flowers …

(really, who doesn’t have May flowers on her mind?)

Photo by Soorelis via Pixabay

… here’s a perennial blossom worth celebrating:

Photo by Hans Gerber via Wikimedia Commons

Yup, the lovely Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929 (in Belgium, by the way, for you trivia buffs).

We remember her as an icon of style and sophistication, a selfless humanitarian, and one of those enviable ladies who seem to maintain a heart full of youth throughout her life.

Photo from Roman Holiday movie via Wikimedia Commons

So, I thought you might find this little tidbit as inspiring as I did:

“Hepburn never skipped breakfast, usually choosing two eggs, whole-wheat toast, and coffee with milk. Once a month, she would have a ‘detox day’ during which she kept herself well hydrated and ate only fresh fruit, vegetables, and yogurt,” recounts blogger Jessica Reidy. “She preferred to eat organic, and the only exercise she liked was to take was walks in the fresh air. Hepburn believed that her care and attention to a healthy diet gave her the energy she needed for her demanding schedule as an actress, activist, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.”

Just a little something to keep in mind as we move into the season of rejuvenation.

In the words of Audrey herself, “Nothing is impossible—the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’”

May flowers, here we come! Continue reading

GIVEAWAY: “Shuttercraft, Fresh Egg Overture”

For a chance to win these robin cutout painted wood shutters from Shuttercraft Quality Wood Shutters, tell me about your favorite bird in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-July.


Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

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Hatching Albert

We’re told time and again that supermarket eggs won’t hatch.

Photo by Karen Arnold via PublicDomainPictures.net

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bee sweet

This story simply couldn’t bee any sweeter …

Photo by Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, Florida, Planet Earth! Via Wikimedia Commons

“When I was just 4, my family encouraged me to make a product for a children’s business competition and Austin Lemonade Day. So, I put on my thinking cap,” begins Texas pollination activist and ecopreneur Mikaela Ulmer (who is now a ripe ol’ 11 years old). “I thought about some ideas. While I was thinking, two big events happened: I got stung by a bee. Twice. Then my Great Granny Helen … sent my family a 1940s cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe?”

It was a golden idea that blossomed into Bee Sweet Lemonade, a burgeoning business that not only sells a lot of lemonade but also donates money from sales to local and international organizations that strive to preserve pollinator populations.

Mikaela’s motto is, “Buy a Bottle … Save a Bee.”

This sharp-as-a-bee-stinger little darlin’ is on a roll.

Last year, Mikaela hooked a Shark Tank investor Daymon John. Last month, she struck a deal with Whole Foods that included the distribution of Bee Sweet Lemonade in 55 stores.

Watch her in action and you’ll understand the secret to Mikaela’s success:

Keep up with the Bee Sweet story at BeeSweetLemonade.com and Facebook.com/beesweetlemonade.


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GIVEAWAY: “Simply Stitched, Fresh Egg Overture”

For a chance to win this new book, “Simply Stitched” (featuring 20 beautiful, original embroidery motifs, plus projects and instructions), tell me about one of your favorite needlework projects in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-July.


Read about Simply Stitched in the June-July issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Fresh Egg Overture.” Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

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GIVEAWAY: “Liberty Quilt, Fresh Egg Overture”

For a chance to win this beautiful MaryJane’s Home “Liberty Quilt,” tell me your favorite place to take a nap in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-July.


Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

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bike baskets

By jiminy, I love bicycle baskets.

Photo by Jill 111 via Pixabay

Now, that’s farmgirl romance.

There’s just something special about the artistry of a beautiful basket hanging from handlebars, weaving whimsy with function (a bushel of flowers adds an extra dose of fabulous, to be sure).


Poetically speaking, a bicycle basket represents that divine intersection where pretty meets practical, and the two fall madly in love.

Photo by Friedrich Haag via Wikimedia Commons

So, imagine my delight when I discovered a line of bicycle baskets that incorporates yet another strand of sublimity into the weave: humanitarianism.

Trifecta, baby.

True to its name, House of Talents is a marketplace designed to employ and empower talented people who are living in poverty in Ghana, West Africa. One of these artisans’ finest lines, as I mentioned, is bicycle baskets. Here is one of their creations, modeled by the lovely Atlanta Bicycle Chic:

Photo by Cameron Adams via Flickr

Launched by Ghana-born Kate Herzog in 2009, House of Talents is Kate’s way of giving back. Kate, whose family struggled with poverty, pulled herself up by her proverbial bootstraps. She taught herself to read at age 10, earning a degree in Economics from the University of Ghana Legon, and pursued a career in consulting and luxury resort management (read more of Kate’s inspiring story here). According to the House of Talents website, “Kate has always had the desire to give back to her community in Ghana, and after completing her MBA at the University of St. Thomas, was finally able begin bringing this dream to reality by founding House of Talents. Kate hopes that through this work, her journey will come full-circle and those she helps will lend a hand to others they encounter.”

House of Talents connects artisan groups in developing countries with consumer markets worldwide to promote self-development through economic and social advancement in rural communities and cities.

You can help by treating yourself to a bicycle basket (what better way to kick of the summer cycling season?). These beauties are handcrafted by master weaver Joseph and his community in northern Ghana. The only real challenge will be deciding which shape and color will best complement your bike … Continue reading

Molly Moo-cow

If you’re passionate about pollinators, then you probably know that butterflies love milkweed.

Photo by Barnes Dr Thomas G, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons

But here’s a trickier bit of trivia:

Why are butterflies called butter flies?

(As a Butters, I simply had to know.)

Butterflies, it is said, earned their name back when they would flutter around the milk pails and butter churns on farms.

milkmaid, G. Morland via Wikimedia Commons

Makes sense, but also makes you wonder why these aren’t called milklappers (buckettippers?) …

Photo by David Maitland via Wikimedia Commons

Anymoooo …

Here’s a cute 1935 classic called “Molly Moo-Cow and the Butterflies,” just for fun:

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Some things are too pretty to pass by,

but here’s something spectacular that you might miss altogether

if you weren’t looking for small, burrow-like doorways

amid the desolate desertscapes of New Mexico.

Journey with me …

Have you found the path to your passion? Continue reading