Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Sun Tea

I don’t know why, but this year I forgot about sun tea until about halfway through the summer. It makes no sense, since the simple joy of sun tea is on my top-10 summer favs list.

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The wait for it to chill after it’s done adds to the sweet anticipation. It feels like such a well-earned cold beverage in the heat of it all.

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So here’s your friendly reminder to set out your sun tea tomorrow morning. Just in case I’m not the only farmgirl forgetting this particular summer joy. Cheers!

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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 … Sherrilyn Askew!!!

Sherrilyn Askew (Sherri, #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner Level Knotty Farmgirls Merit Badge!

“I learned to tie a square knot (used most commonly to tie two ropes together), two half hitches (used most commonly as a quickly tied fastening, as it will hold forever without loosening), and the bowline (commonly used by sailors, as it never slips, jams, or fails, and it is easily and quickly untied). Each knot is used for a wide variety of applications, for which I listed the most common one.

Using these knots, I then build a tree swing in one of our maple trees.

I was a kid during the ’60s and ’70s, so I learned to do macrame. I have tied a lot of knots. Later, I learned how to tie a wily horse to a hitching post (he used to let himself loose). I still use knots almost daily to secure my stitches or a load in the back of a vehicle. My favorite loop is the “figure 8.” It doesn’t slip or twist and is used by rock climbers as a point to attach themselves to a line.

The swing took nearly an hour to get up. I might be able to tie a knot, but I am lousy at throwing a rope over a branch. After much swearing and sweating, I did get both ropes over the branch and secured (20 ft up), and the swing secured to the bottom. The first kid hopped on and nearly hit the ground. I hadn’t thought about that nylon rope stretching. After about an hour of swinging and adjusting the swing height, we got that rope stretched out and the swing positioned. They were both up at 5 a.m. this morning to go swinging in that tree. The tree is no longer lonely.”

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Farm Fun

We invited a few friends out to the farm this past weekend. We had SO much fun showing them around. We enjoyed all the usual attractions, but after eating a large amount of berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries) from Nanny’s berry patches, a good round of creek jumping was a must.

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Even Mom joined in on our fun, since she and her brothers did invent the sport.

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Pretty fun being a farmgirl (and farmboy, in our friend Parker’s case).

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Our Bees, Ourselves

An excellent op-ed ran in the New York Times recently (thanks to Lisa for the alert), and I want to make sure it doesn’t pass you by …

Our Bees, Ourselves: Bees and Colony Collapse

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Mark Winston, biologist and director of the Center for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, eloquently explains how the intricate relationships between bees, pesticides, and nature’s diversity are irrefutable indicators of human health and societal stability.

“There is a lesson in the decline of bees about how to respond to the most fundamental challenges facing contemporary human societies,” Winston writes. “We can best meet our own needs if we maintain a balance with nature—a balance that is as important to our health and prosperity as it is to the bees.”

We have much to learn from the bees. But then, we knew that, didn’t we? The question is: Will the great hive of humanity take their lessons to heart?

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Image from the Child’s Coloured Gift Book with One Hundred Illustrations, 1867, via Open Library

I’m looking forward to reading Mark Winston’s forthcoming book, Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive, due to be released next month.

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Garden Treasures

When hubby Nick and I were rototilling a patch in the garden recently, we nearly rolled over this precious cache …

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A killdeer “nest” … smack dab in the middle of the garden path.

Why “killdeer”? It’s an onomatopoetic name (“the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it,” according to Merriam-Webster). The killdeer has a high, excited call that says kill-deer, kill-deer. And they say it so often, they’re also known as Chattering Plovers or Noisy Plovers.

Killdeer, Albert Head Lagoon, Metchosin, Near Victoria, British Columbia

Photo by Alan D. Wilson via Wikimedia Commons

The killdeer is an excitable bird altogether—it sprints erratically across the ground, stopping abruptly every few seconds to see if it’s missed any insects in its path. And the practice of laying its eggs in open areas in a nearly non-existent nest doesn’t help matters—when danger appears, Mama Killdeer acts like she has a broken wing, hopping away from the nest to draw attention to herself and away from the eggs. For animals that she doesn’t see as dangerous, like cows and horses, she uses a different tactic: she fluffs up her feathers, puffs her tail up over her head, and runs at the animals, trying to scare them off.

Hasn’t anyone told the poor little killdeer that it would be much easier to build a real nest out of harm’s way for its pretty little eggs?

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