Monthly Archives: October 2013



Fishing Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,653 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 Outpost/Fishing Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I collected my knots: double surgeon’s loop, turle, barrel knot, Palomar, and clinch. I was giddy with excitement (and also hunger). The first step was to head out to the Department of Fish and Game! (I am trying not to use so many exclamation points, but I felt that deserved one because I’ve never been there before.) Other places I’ve yet to go to:

Spatulas R Us

Shirley You Drive Truck Rental


Wok This Way

Curl Up and Dye Salon

But I digress. Anyway, my fellow fisherwomen, my mistresses of the sea, my water babies, I ventured into the Department of Fish and Game with eagerness. I was ready to learn all about my state’s laws and regulations and to familiarize myself with the available fish (not to mention the bait with which to lure said fishies). The people there were so nice. They didn’t even look too confused when I asked them why Palomar got a knot named after him/her. Well, they didn’t have an answer either, but they seemed nearly as intrigued as I was, so I felt like I really fit in.

I chatted for a bit with a sweet gal named Debbie. Turns out, Debbie was an expert fisherwoman, and once I cultivated her friendship with a latte and a homemade granola bar, she was willing to share a few helpful hints with Yours Truly.

Hey, I’m not above bribery.

Idaho, my new bestie said, is home to the best Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the world. She showed me what they look like (a peculiar sort of beauty: I find it more attractive on a plate with some wild garlic and a wedge of lemon). Did Debbie merely point out a crudely drawn rendition of a salmon? Oh, never let it be said. No way, Jay, she pulled out her wallet and unfolded what looked to be hundreds of snapshots of herself with her catches.

Methinks Debbie does not have children yet.

Or if she does, they are either extremely shy or hiding behind the ginormous salmon.

I was immediately intimidated by Debbie’s catches. Don’t worry, she assured me, you’ll be starting out small, and odds are, you won’t be pulling out fish the size of a Volkswagen any time soon. At least she hoped not. Debbie is competitive.

With my arms laden with stacks of brochures, I finally left my home away from home, the Department of Fish and Game (no exclamation point needed now that I’ve been there).

Once home, I settled my cravings with a tuna melt and burrowed down for the evening with my rules and regulations, and also my handy-dandy wall poster on bait. Although I was determined to live up to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s standards of a good old worm on a the end of a piece of string attached to a stick, I didn’t mind knowing the more modern stuff, too. You never know. Apparently, fish are picky little things sometimes, and you have to experiment with what they like on any given day. I can relate. I mean, sometimes there’s nothing better than a medium-rare steak with some tossed greens, but other times, all I really want is a PB & J! So I get it, fishies, I totally get it.

I dreamed that night of fish and worms, baits and knots, Laura and Debbie. It was a restless kind of sleep, that kind that only comes when you know you’ll be rising with the dawn, pulling on your waders, and goin’ fishing.

Jump on in, girls, the water’s fine.


WINNER! Magnolia Pearl Giveaway, Day 1 of 5

And the WINNER is:

Lisa B!!!

who said October 14, 2013 at 11:51 am:

His name is “Happy” what a great name for a dog. :)   And he indeed looks happy too.  Would love to win this featured piece.

Watch for an email from the farm, Lisa B.

Congratulations. You are the owner of a signature Magnolia Pearl Beautiful Wear.


Continue reading



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 … Debbie Platt!!!

Debbie Platt (GardenGirl50, #5353) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Gaining Ground Merit Badge!

“As a Master Gardener I have learned lots about composting. I have been to Sonoma Compost twice to learn about composting. Sonoma Compost is a wonderful program operated by our county waste management. They turn everyone’s green waste (curb pick-up) into OMRI listed organic compost.

After I became a Master Gardener (in 2011), my husband and I built a permanent composting system. It has three sections that are about 3x3x4. We have about an acre and a half of gardens and trees. So we have lots of materials for me to compost. I have a little chipper so I can shred up what I prune from my garden. I add all my vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, and I shred paper, newspaper, light weight cardboard and add that. I have chickens so I have chicken manure to add. I get a full wheelbarrow about three times a year to put back in my gardens.

It has been great to have the 3 bin composting system. It is a lot easier to manage. I love that I rarely if ever have to buy compost. With my homemade compost I know what is in it.”





“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow
it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt


Mother of Invention

It’s easy to name off a list of male inventors who made their indelible marks on history, but what about women inventors?

Or, shall I say, inventresses?

(Yes, “inventress” is really a word.)

So, can you come up with any inventresses off the top of your noggin?

While it may be common knowledge that Edison fired up the light bulb and the Wright brothers took flight, there are a number of gung-ho gals whose names deserve to be tagged to their creations.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can see why I had to start with this one …


Photo by Editor at Large via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no surprise that there was a resourceful woman behind one of our favorite treats, but who was she?

Her name was Ruth Wakefield, owner of an old toll house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Ruth and her husband converted the toll house into an inn and restaurant, continuing the house’s tradition of offering food to weary travelers. One day in 1930, Ruth was baking up a batch of chocolate cookies for her guests and found she’d run out of baker’s chocolate. Thinking fast, she crumbled a Nestle chocolate bar into her dough, expecting it to melt. When the pieces held their shape after baking, a new kind of cookie was born, which became a staple at the toll house and gained rapid fame among guests. Nestle found out about the cookie craze incited by Ruth Wakefield and soon began selling Nestle Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels in her honor. The Wakefield cookie recipe was printed on the back of the package, and Ruth Wakefield received free chocolate for life.


If you’ve always assumed that Monopoly was created by a mustached fellow with a top hat and cane, hear this:

In the early 1900s, Elizabeth Magie created The Landlord’s Game to preach the unfairness of land-grabbing and the disadvantages of renting. She patented her board game in 1904 and self-published it in 1906. Needless to say, it didn’t become a household name until, nearly 30 years later, a man named Charles Darrow upcycled Magie’s design, dubbed it Monopoly, and sold it to Parker Brothers for a mint. Magie’s original patent was purchased for a meager $500. The rest, as they say, is his story.


Photo courtesy of All About Fun and Games

Flat-bottomed Paper Bags

In 1870, a woman named Margaret Knight designed a wooden machine that would cut, fold, and glue flat bottoms to paper bags (which were shaped more like flat envelopes at the time).


Photo by Sturmovik at Wikimedia Commons

While Knight was perfecting an iron prototype of her machine for a patent application, the design was stolen by a man named Charles Annan, who tried to patent it. Knight filed a patent interference suit against Annan, offering her notes and sketches to prove her case and win her rightful patent.

Circular Saw

Now, here is one that might surprise you. In 1813, a Shaker woman named Tabitha Babbitt watched lumber workers struggling to use a two-man pit saw and suggested that a circular saw would save them a great deal of effort. She didn’t hesitate to make a prototype, which she attached to her spinning wheel to make it move.


Photo courtesy of Ben Franske via Wikimedia Commons

Ms. Babbitt also shared the invention of cut nails with Eli Whitney and is said to have invented a process for the manufacture of false teeth as well as an improved spinning-wheel head.

Liquid Paper

In the 1950s, secretary Bette Nesmith Graham secretly used white tempera paint to mask her typing errors. In pursuit of the perfect cover-up solution, she spent years tweaking her formula before patenting Liquid Paper in 1958. Two decades later, Gillette bought Graham’s company for a whopping $47.5 million.


Photo courtesy of Love Krittaya via Wikimedia Commons

To discover more women who have heeded the call of necessity, visit Women Inventors.



Glamping Sites to Visit: Day 15 of 15

Now that you’ve read my book, Glamping with MaryJane, you need to find a fabulous place to get your campin’ glam on, right?

We’re back for our 15th and final day of where to glamp in 2013, or well, 2014.

In some parts of the country,

where we’re already getting a taste of the season’s first snow …


Photo courtesy of George Tuli via Wikimedia Commons

we’re bidding adieu to the glamping season until next spring.


Photo courtesy of Besopha via Wikimedia Commons

But in the heartland, there’s still time to sneak in one last trip

(or, heck, maybe TWO if you’re a glamper with gusto!),

and I have the perfect destination:

Hoot Owl Hill.

Sounds like a hoot, doesn’t it?

Well, gather up a gaggle of girlfriends and head on out to the golden hill country of Paola, Kansas, because Hoot Owl Hill is gussied up and ready for glampers.


Photo courtesy of Hoot Owl Hill

“Imagine arriving at your campsite under the stars, entering your spacious bell tent set up with a comfy bed complete with linens and cozy quilts, a couple of chairs, some soft lighting enhancing the beautiful color of the tent,” invite Hoot Owl hosts Brenda and Steve Wrischnik. “Someone has already built a fire for you, and per your request, prepared a delicious garden-fresh meal. You spend the night under the stars, surrounded by the sounds of nature.”


Photo courtesy of Hoot Owl Hill

While you’re “on the hill,” you can also sign-up for a variety of classes that run throughout the year, including yoga, cooking, gardening, and crafting. Coming up in November, the folks at Hoot Owl Hill are offering The Heart Intelligence Code with Cheryl Wilken (November 10) and Papa Hoot’s Special Cracker Cooking Class (November 16).