one of those days

Are you having one of those dog days of summer? I mean MEOW, it’s hot in the Design Studio.

Though not as humid as our southern neighbors. (I commend you all, by the way, for surviving HUMID heat.) We topped 94° last Thursday … and were in a state of lethargy.

Rascal summed it up pretty well … her face says it all.


Too hot to even tuck in the paws … and back to sleep we go.



The Farmery

Could the future of farming reside in …

shipping containers?

A guy named Ben Greene thinks so.

Ben’s brainchild, The Farmery, might revolutionize the relationship between farming and consumers.

“We are creating an urban farm and market out of shipping containers,” Ben explains. “We grow our food and sell it at the same site. We consolidate the distribution system to lower costs and raise the value of the produce by providing the freshest produce possible.”


Photo courtesy of The Farmery

Although they’re housed in humble structures, Farmery shops offer customers a full-fledged garden harvest experience, inside and out. With the exception of windows and doors, every surface is living.

From rooftop tomatoes, flowers, and sweet potatoes to vertical panels of lush produce, this concept gives new meaning to “fresh.” Most of the fruits and veggies are alive and growing right up until the minute they’re sold. The Farmery also sells goods grown by friends, supporting the local gardening community.

“The shoppers’ senses come alive with the sights, smells, and sounds of watching their food grow,” Ben says.

The Farmery has set up shop in North Carolina, recently launching a new Mini Farmery shop at the Burt’s Bees headquarters in downtown Durham.

Let’s hope the concept works and catches fire and Farmeries start cropping up across the country!


Red Tractor Girl Winnie & Wall Tent Kellie

Finally. I beheld our dear Winnie with my own two eyes. Hugged her with my own two arms. Winnie (redtractorgirl) flew to Idaho from Florida to meet up with Kellie Falconer (accordiontokellie) who she’d met on our chatroom. (Winnie recently retired from a career as a health care professional. Next up? Yellowstone Park and the Tetons.) I dashed from my farm up to our retail store two hours north in Coeur d’Alene to take them out to lunch, a loooooong leisurely lunch. So very much to discuss!!!!! In person. For the first time.


If you’re ever in Coeur d’Alene, make sure you dine at Tito’s. The food is excellent and their sweet potato fries are the best. They come with … get this, huckleberry dip.


Kellie lives in N. Idaho on a homestead with her family, her creativity spilling forth into the world from a wall tent studio. I kid you not. The photos that she and her sisters take are fantastic. Check it out:

And her Etsy shop:

And once you’ve feasted your eyes on all things Kellie, make sure you order a custom farmgirl button from her.


And our dear, sweet Winnie managed to bring a jar of her backyard, homemade marmalade all the way from Florida. Sadly, the jar didn’t last but a day once it arrived back home with me.


Here’s a post from 2011 when Kellie first visited our store. How adorable is this girl???!!!!!

Life is good. Friends are golden.


Is it true blondes …

are more honest?

When it comes to honesty, how do you fare? And yes, it seems to matter the color of your hair. How do I know this?

Well, ask yourself this question. Would you leave your fare if someone left a bottle of tea for purchase—seemingly unattended?

Honest Tea set out to answer just that question.

What they found was well—honestly surprisingly!

Honest Tea is an organic tea company that has blossomed, since its inception in 1998 with a staff of three, into one of, if not the, largest certified organic and fair trade tea companies on the market.


So if you are having a case of Mean World Syndrome, read on, and feel heartened.

Honest Tea stands were set up in 61 locations in each state across the country, with a clear drop box for cash, and a sign indicating a thirsty passerby may pay $1 for a bottle.

The catch?

A station “attendant” was waiting in the wings marking down who paid—and who didn’t! They took notes on gender, facial hair, hair color, and if they had on glasses, or hats …

Like a streetside game of Guess Who.

The resulting upright citizens (or those who walked briskly away with their nabbed tea) panned out like this:

– The longer your hair, the more honest you are (I’m all over that result plus get this: nationwide blondes were more honest than any other hair color. They were 100% honest in Illinois and Indiana. Honest!!!!)

– People in groups tended to tender their monies less maniacally. (Perhaps peer pressure makes one more honest?)

– Men vs. Women? Sorry guys, but women were honest 95% of the time, while men rang in at 91%.

– Alabama and Hawaii were the two most honest states, scoring a perfect 100%!

Here are more fun facts from the (informal) study:




Who needs to consume caffeine to boost her creativity

when she can,

well …

hear it?

Wait just a minute,” you’re saying.

(I can picture you leaning your ear down toward your coffee mug.)


Photo by Toshihiro Oimatsu via Wikimedia Commons

“My coffee isn’t chatting, MJ. Mum’s the word.”

Let’s start over.

I’ll try to be more, ah, scientific this time.

Research shows

(and everybody knows)

that a loud workplace can be distracting and downright frazzling.


Photo by Katie Brady via Wikimedia Commons

But, it’s also true that creativity can be tough to come by in a completely quiet space.

(Insert cricket chirping here.)


Photo by MonkeyMyshkin via Wikimedia Commons

Enter Coffitivity.

That’s right:


Based on studies (again, scientific) that show coffee shop noise to be the perfect mix of calm and commotion to spur productivity, this jazzy new webapp promises, “Ambient sounds to boost your workday creativity!”

In other words, you can now get the stimulation of a coffee shop (sans cappuccino) wherever you may be.


Photo by wayne lee via Wikimedia Commons

“Our team has delivered the vibe of a coffee shop right to your desktop, which means when your workspace just isn’t quite cutting it, we’ve got you covered,” says Coffitivity.

Ready to rev up your creative juices?


And, hey, if we all tune in, we can imagine we’re gathered around a table together.

Meet you there!




Celebrating 25 years!

Calling all friends near Oakesdale, Washington.

Join us in celebrating Old Mill Days today in Oakesdale. This is the 25-year celebration for Old Mill Days and a whopping 125 years that Oakesdale has been on the map.

It’s sure to be a hootin’, hollerin’, all around good time!


Castle house of Oakesdale; Courtesy of Washington State Library; Whitman Country Heritage, 1920s


Bert Belles in the cold storage area of his market, cutting meat for sale. Courtesy of Washington State Library; Whitman Country Heritage; 1937

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How exotic …

I just learned that I am a distant relative of the great Cleopatra herself.


Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse, 1888, via Wikimedia Commons


Do you want to know something else?

You are, too.

How do I know this?

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Bringing Miss Daisy

For the cow book that I’m writing, I wanted to experience the process of buying a mail-order bride cow (seriously). It involved hiring a trucker, wading through state-by-state animal regulations, vet checks, vaccines, respiratory “flu” shots, TB tests, and yes, purchasing animal transportation insurance. Phew.

I even had to learn how to text because the trucker told me that was the only way he would communicate the details of our rendezvous. Trailer talk. So, when I finally backed my trailer up to his, it was a BIG thumbs-up moment. And then …


and then …


and then …


Miss Daisy!!!


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Hay Day

This handsome cowboy is all mine.


And this handsome cowboy is all Megan’s.


Our goal? 26 tons of hay in the barn. (We have a few hay burners who reside here.)


First, we got our (lucky) ducks in a row.


Then we channeled John Wayne.


hay_day-6373  Continue reading