Monthly Archives: March 2014



Congrats, Sisters!

Yesterday’s post, “Calling All Sisters,” introduced you to our Farmgirl Sisterhood, the Merit Badge program, and the “Sister Issue” newsletter. Today, I’d like to show you how we feature Merit Badge awardees in the newsletter. (Did I mention that Sisters have earned over 8,000 Merit Badges to date??!!) If you participate in our Merit Badge program, you’ll find your own congratulations in print each month as you complete new badges. In our March newsletter, we had five pages of Merit Badge awardees and one page for badges earned by their kiddos.









Calling all Sisters …

If you enjoy my daily Raising Jane Journal but haven’t yet discovered my Farmgirl Sisterhood, read on …

We are Sisters — a sisterhood of, you guessed it, farmgirls. We’re country, we’re city, and every texture and stripe in between. It’s not at all about where we live, but how we live. We get together to chat online, or we form in-the-flesh Farmgirl Chapters. We love to share stories, to craft, to garden, and to nurture the next generation of Farmerettes and Young Cultivators.  (“Sister” is an endearing term for adult women that I grew up hearing every day. If you’ve read my books, you’ll know what the Sister thing is all about.)

Did you know you can get exclusive farmgirl privileges and specials when you join the Farmgirl Sisterhood? When you add your name to the Farmgirl Sisterhood list, you will receive a consecutive number according to when you signed up (for example, Farmgirl Sisterhood Member #750). We’re now 5,800 Sisters strong! Once you’re signed up, we’ll mail your official Farmgirl Sisterhood badge depicting an adorable aproned hen, our official logo, ready to wear or embroider, and an official Farmgirl Sisterhood certificate. We also offer for purchase a Sisterhood necklace customized with your unique number. Over on the Farmgirl Connection chatroom, you’ll get a special hexagonal Farmgirl Sisterhood designation by your name. And then every day we round up the day’s new blog posts from our Sisters in one handy place on Girl Gab so you can see who’s gabbing and who’s gushing.

In addition, you’ll start receiving our beautiful 70+ page monthly e-mail newsletter called the “Sister Issue,” an easy way to click (er, cluck) your way back to the farm in between magazine issues.


As with any nesting hen, we prefer to accomplish our work with regularity. That’s why, if you’re an official member of our Farmgirl Sisterhood, our Sister Issue will be showing up in your e-mail box on the first day of every month (well, except for January, because we head henchos take a much-needed break every December). It’s packed with articles, exclusive recipes, favorite finds, special offers, and more. With a cluck-cluck here and a click-click there, we’re here for you just when you need a sisterly cyber hug the most.

Here’s Ashley’s (my DIL) Farm Kitchen recipe from this month’s newsletter:



And here’s one of our five “favorites” pages (we love to share our finds!).


You’ll also be eligible for “Members Only” special product offers from MaryJanesFarm, and you can start earning Farmgirl Sisterhood Merit Badges right away (think Girl Scouts for grown-ups) and post photos and narratives of your projects on our website (braggin’ rights). In other words, you’ll be strutting your farmgirl skills for all the world to see! Sisters have earned over 8,000 Merit Badges to date!

Members are also the only ones permitted to mentor Farmerettes (farmgirls-in-training between the ages of 14–18) and Young Cultivators (girls and boys between the ages of 6–13) and work with them to earn their own Merit Badges. But if you’re not inclined to earn Merit Badges, there are plenty of other benefits to joining up. Whether it’s cooking, stitching, gardening, make-it-yourself projects, going green, cleaning up, or just getting together, you’ll gather with other farmgirls for lots of fun!

Ready, set, find out more!



Countdown Calendars

I’ve always loved countdown calendars, but in the past, I’ve only let my passion for them find a home during the Christmas season. The first time I flipped through the pages of Countdown Calendars, I was dazzled out of my Advent-Calendar-for-Christmas rut and treated to a myriad of traditional and unique projects designed for all sewing levels.


Besides helping to reward patience and build excitement around anticipated holidays, countdown calendars can be used to celebrate any special event in life. Consider making a birthday countdown calendar, where each day’s passing is marked by adding a candle to a birthday cake. Or for your next big vacation, count the days until you leave with a calendar housed inside a suitcase and decorated with the theme of your destination. And don’t forget the little events that make life special, too. Use a countdown calendar to record the progress of a weekly goal or help your family keep track of their chores, or create one to post a sweet message to your loved ones every day of the week. And really, who doesn’t adore a piece of hand-crafted loveliness hanging on their wall reminding them to celebrate?


Countdown Calendars provides 24 of these project ideas and well-written instructions for each, complete with supply lists, patterns, and tips for assembly. The editor also includes a picture and short biography of each artist with their projects. I really like knowing a little bit about the person behind the creative genius. The fun fabrics and pieced designs in the photos provided just the right amount of eye candy and left me dreaming of projects I might attempt. Now that spring’s officially here, I might have to start the countdown to summer for my first project!



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 … Teresa Julian!!!

Teresa Julian (#1348) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Backyard Farmer Merit Badge!


“I used to purchase farm-fresh eggs from a woman around the corner. I had always wanted my own flock, but my husband was not convinced that our suburban neighborhood would welcome them. Finally, after much debate, hubby agreed! I ordered 5 chicks from, and a few months later, we welcomed our newest additions to our family!

Buying organic feed is pricey, but at least I know that my chickens will be their healthiest … especially when they get to enjoy organic kitchen scraps too.

It’s turned out AWESOME! My fresh eggs don’t even compare to my neighbor’s … I think it has something to do with the super-freshness from nesting box straight to the pan.

And by the way, not too long ago, I caught my wonderful husband taking pictures of the chickens. I guess they won him over.

We are expecting six more this April!”



Lunar Gardening

Ever pay attention to how the cycles of the mind work in time with the shifting of the seasons and the meanderings of the moon? Want to know more?


Moonlight by Thomas Cole, 1834, via Wikimedia Commons

In preparing to introduce you to a lovely Australian “moon gardener,” I realized that it was just about this time last year when I romanced you with a post about … Moonlight Gardening!

Lucky for you moon-lovin’ farmgirls out there, Anne Gibson (aka The Micro Gardener) puts a different spin on Mina Edison’s concept of moonlight gardening. Instead of focusing on luminous night-blooming flower gardens, Anne posts practical advice about veggie gardening in accordance with the lunar cycles.


Photo of Anne Gibson courtesy of

“That may sound a little strange if you’ve never heard of it before, but if you are already familiar with your climate zone and are planting in the right season, then you may want to maximize your gardening success by working with nature’s lunar cycles,” writes Anne in her Micro Gardener blog. “And by that, I don’t mean getting outdoors with a shovel in the middle of the night!”

Well, unless, of course, you want to …

Anne explains that the moon has four phases or quarters, each lasting about seven days, and what goes on in your garden is very much influenced by these phases.


Moon Phases by Orion 8 via Wikimedia Commons

“Just as the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides, it also has a gravitational effect on the moisture in plants, the soil and water table, which is magnified at different times of the month,” she says. “The tides are highest, for example, at the time of the new and full moon when lunar gravity pulls water up. At this same time, the moon also causes moisture to rise in the earth. This is an often unknown fact by many gardeners, yet knowing when this is can help you have greater success with seed germination. If you buy or plant seed, this can save you a lot of money over time.”

While we we’re all familiar with the fact that sunlight is a determining factor of plant growth, Ann explains that moonlight has a marvelously mysterious effect as well. “As the moonlight increases (new moon and second quarter), this stimulates leaf growth. After the full moon, the moonlight decreases, putting energy into the plant roots, and the above-ground leaf growth slows down. So, this becomes a favorable time to plant your root crops because of the active root growth.”


Photo by ExplicitImplicity via Wikimedia Commons

Fascinating, yes?

You can read more about Anne’s experiences with moon cycle gardening at, and if you’re tempted to try it for yourself, you might want to pick up a handy Moon Calendar from her site, too.


Image courtesy of