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All proceeds (minus shipping and packing) will benefit www.firstbook.org, a non-profit that provides new books to children from low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada.
While Mom and I went back-to-school shopping, Mia got to spend the evening with NannyJane. When Mia arrived, Nanny was busy unloading her Jeep with some mysterious items.
Mia and Nanny made a terrarium! And look how cool it turned out! Nanny even thought to get Mia a mini watering can so she can diligently water it every day. Who needs a pet when you can have your own terrarium?
My favorites are the pink-and-green-leafed plants.
I sure am looking forward to Mia’s back-to-school shopping and my date night with NannyJane. I wonder what adventures we’ll have?
… but how about worm charmers?
On the Florida panhandle in a corner of the Apalachicola National Forest, Gary and Audrey Revell carry on a generations-old ritual they call worm grunting. Or worm charming. Or worm fiddling. Or worm calling. How about worm snoring? Whatever you call it, it’s a method of creating vibrations in the soil that mimic the sounds of moles, earthworm predators, and send the earthworms wriggling to the surface to escape … right into the hands of the grunters. And apparently, it works; Gary and Audrey have collected enough earthworms to reach the moon and back!
Gary uses a thin piece of metal rubbed against a wooden stake (creating an eerie “grunting” sound) while Audrey scoops up the bounty, but there are many methods to this particular madness. Some worm charmers simply sprinkle the earth with water, tea, or beer; some use a pitchfork; some tap dance; some saw a tree; and some even use knitting needles to lure the worms. (Do I hear a new Merit Badge coming on?) At England’s World Worm Charming Championships, 10-year-old Sophie Smith set the Guinness World Record for most worms charmed in 30 minutes (567) by simply sticking a fork into the ground and wiggling it around while hitting it with a stick.
Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)
Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)
My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Bea Campbell!!!
Bea Campbell (#2575) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Intermediate Level Herbs Merit Badge!
“This summer, my husband made a raised bed for me to start a herb garden. I have been doing some research and reading books on the subject. I didn’t want to use railroad ties or treated wood. And rough oak would need to be replaced eventually. So we used cedar. I got some lemon sage, dill, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro cuttings from a friend. I have used the cilantro for salsa and the oregano to season pasta sauce.
My herb garden is doing well. I got some mismatched forks at the Goodwill store and used wide-mouth canning lids to make markers for my herbs. It’s so nice to go out and cut fresh herbs for cooking.”
You’ve probably heard of Sisyphus, the mythical king who was punished for his evil behavior by having to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill.
Apparently, so had Stuart Kettell, a 49-year-old videographer from the West Midlands, Wales. Stuart recently hiked up Wales’ highest peak, 3,500-foot Mount Snowdon, pushing a Brussels sprouts … with his nose! After four days on his aching knees and 22 Brussels sprouts, Stuart successfully met his goal to raise money for cancer support. (Do you think the current ice bucket challenge has a fund-raising challenger?)
Drop everything, dear, and come along.
We’re flying off on a whirlwind tour of shacks and chalets, hovels and halls, cottages and castles worldwide …
Oh, but, no. Not that sort of chalet. The home-sweet-homes we’re hunting aren’t inhabited by humans, honey.
Catch the clue?
Each bungalow along our route, big or small, belongs to … bees.
That’s right. We’re traveling around the world in 80 hives!
(Well, okay, maybe not 80, but a bunch of buzzing beauties nonetheless.)
First stop—in alphabetical order, because my sense of direction has never been all that keen—Austria.
Just look at the intricacy of this unique alpine getaway:
Looking for something more rustic? Try these jungle bungalows in Burkina Faso (a country in western Africa):
Or these woodsy log homes in the forest of Sichuan, China:
In Croatia, the communal hives are distinguished by simple signs:
While the hives in the Czech Republic are nothing short of architectural artwork:
In Ethiopia, the bees nest in trees:
French hives are fabulously pastoral, as you might have guessed:
In Germany, the accommodations range from humbly traditional skeps to elaborate sculptures:
Have a look at this charming stone community cottage in Hungary:
And, oh, don’t you just love these hand-carved hives in Lithuania?
Polish beehives are as diverse as they are delightful, so let’s linger for a while:
Now, on to Portugal, where we behold this bark-covered cabin:
In Russia, this hive is a resplendent replica of the Troitsky Monastery in Tyumen:
And, as luck would have it, we may have saved the best for last …
If I were a bee, I’d love to stay in Slovenia for a spell, wouldn’t you?
The one country we didn’t tour was the U.S., because I’m leaving that leg of our journey up to you.
If you have—or have seen—a heavenly hive close to home, take me on a virtual visit!