Monthly Archives: August 2013

feedin’ my grandgirls

Looky at the surprise left on my doorstep. My grandgirls were here last night to harvest veggies for their household and thought to pick a bowl for me along with leaving me a sweet handwritten note. How about that heirloom tomato? It’s our best year ever for heirloom tomatoes—big, fat, sweet, red, gorgeous, and drippy-juicy, yummy good.






Like O-M-G.

What’s up with G-M-Os?

(Genetically Modified Organisms, if ya didn’t know.)

Let’s focus on one thing today—corn.

Did you know that 85% (some studies show up to 99%) of non-organic corn grown today in the U.S. is genetically modified? It’s a Monsanto product called “Bt Corn,” and its genes have been modified so an insecticide, called Bacillus thuringiensis, is produced by the plant.

That’s right, it produces its own pesticide, that when eaten by certain insects, breaks open their stomachs.

Bt-toxin, from soil bacteria, has been used as a natural pesticide for years. The difference?

The GM version is built inside the plant—the toxin doesn’t wash off, you can’t avoid eating it, and it’s thousands of times more concentrated than the spray. It even failed the World Health Organization’s allergen screening tests.

This means, no matter how hard you scrub, you’re consuming high levels of this toxin. A recent study tested pregnant and non-pregnant Canadian females. It was accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, peer-reviewed, and proves the toxin isn’t breaking down in our gut like Monsanto claims, it’s showing up in the blood of those who eat it.

“Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. (Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.)” Source: 

Oh, and if you eat meat, remember that almost all cows and livestock in the U.S. are fed GMO corn (except my dairy cows, of course, who eat only local, non-GMO grass hay along with certified organic alfalfa pellets—sadly even alfalfa can be GMO now). More on how this affects these animals, and subsequently, you. Did I mention that GMOs are NEVER allowed in organic food production? ‘Nuff said?

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Pinch me!

Oooh la la

Art, literature, and some of my favorite female figures from cherished fiction?

Pinch me!

I must be dreaming.

I’ve just enjoyed a tantalizing glimpse into a new book that will be released on August 27.

Look …


“A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolor and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan …”

And, yes—Jane Eyre!

“Each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written,” extols the book’s description.

Are you drooling?

Me. Too.

As if I wasn’t hooked already, I hear that the book will have a silkscreened cloth spine, debossed cover, and “pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolor paper.”

Pardon me while I swoon.

I’m a sucker for a book with tactile appeal, and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one.

Tell me—which characters are you hoping to see?


Holly Golightly; Photo courtesy of Samantha Hahn;





Okay, so you didn’t exactly relish the prospect of eating bugs when I introduced you to Ento’s avant-garde gourmet


Photo courtesy of Ento




could be heard far and wide.

But, here I am, bringing up bugs again.

Why, MJ? Why???

Hmmm … how do I put this delicately?

Crickets are an up-and-coming cuisine (yes, that IS a cricket tostado below).


Photo courtesy of Thrillist;

Better you should hear it from me, dear heart, than from strangers. We can work together to get our heads (appetites?) around this novel notion—I haven’t actually eaten crickets yet, either.

But my mind is open, and here’s why.

The impetus to eat insects is not merely based on curiosity or shock value. We’re talking about a much more dire motivation. As we struggle to feed this populous planet, we all know meat is incredibly costly in terms of energy consumption and environmental impact (read more on that topic here).


Photo by Jeff Vanuga, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, via Wikimedia Commons

While you know that I am not fundamentally opposed to meat farming, I do believe that it’s difficult to accomplish it sustainably on a super-size scale.

‘Nuff said.

This dilemma drives us to explore new frontiers of food and find alternative sources of protein.

So, you’re wondering, why crickets? Isn’t soy a perfectly suitable solution?


Tofu cooked Chinese style, Beijing, China. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Fuzheado

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Jennifer Knox!!!

Jennifer Knox (#4359) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Farmgirl Grammar Merit Badge!

“Two weeks ago, I dusted off my high school dictionary and looked up two weeks worth of new words. At first, I was bemused by this Sisyphean task, but soon I no longer yawped at the esse of these new words. I logged my new word friends into a notebook and referred to them during the two weeks.
my vocabulary journal for MaryJaneBeing a middle school Language Arts teacher, it was interesting to look up words as if given my own homework assignment. I enjoyed the small task and look forward to the coaptation of more words into my notebook.”