Farmgirl Jubilee Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,269 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,908 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 Each Other/Farmgirl Jubilee Beginning Level Merit Badge, I brewed myself a cuppa, baked a few current scones (with clotted cream, guv’nr), kept me eyes peeled for a sighting of the Tardis (my childhood dream of being Doctor Who’s new companion has never died), and read all about HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee of 2012.

What a bash. It was positively smashing and brilliant. (Crikey, I love British idioms. Wait. Crikey is more Down Under, isn’t it? Well, that’s a bit barmy of me, but no matter.) The British know how to do a jubilee, I tell you what. The peasants (do we still call them that?) camped out in the rain to be a part of this celebration, so you know it was a party worth going to. Like Woodstock, only way more posh. A party 60 years in the making, in fact. Cheeky!


Photo by Richard Symonds via Wikimedia Commons

Lest you think this all a bunch of codswallop or that I’m off my trolley, check it out here.

Just reading about it has me knackered, but I was determined to earn this badge. It turns out that a jubilee is a basically an anniversary celebration of … well, just about anything. Want to commemorate the first anniversary of your first Badge? Have a jubilee! Feel like marking the fifth birthday of hosting your very own grownup dinner party? It’s jubilee time!

Photo, Tsuchiura Fireworks Display by peaceful-jp-scenery via Flickr

For me, the hard part wasn’t planning a party. I mean, come on, luv, I’m the princess of parties. I have the cocktail dress to prove it (a becoming little black chiffon with a flounce to die for). The hard part was deciding what to celebrate. There’s just so much good in this farmgirl’s life …

Then I had it. I could host another Organic Dinner Party for my friends and family, and incorporate some of the other farmgirl elements: a reusable bag swap perhaps, or an evening of candlemaking (right after our course of bangers and mash … or maybe bubbles and squeak … hold the blood pudding)?

Of course, my jubilee didn’t need to be British … but I was kind of hooked. Line and sinker. Which reminds me of fish and chips. Luvvly jubbly, gals.

I got to work planning my jubilee and even included an invite for the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Just wish I knew where to mail it.

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 … Jill Schrader!!!

Jill Schrader (OneCountryChick, #6177) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Intermediate & Expert Level Entrepreneurial Spirit Merit Badge!

“Well, I was finally on my way. I had mapped out a business plan, researched suppliers, pricing, and a business name. I was now Country Kitchen Linens! Now I had to become that business. So I applied for a business name through the state, got a Seller’s Permit, and got all the legal ins and out taken care of. Next, I set up an online account to sell my kitchen linens through Etsy. Then, finally, came the fun part. Shopping for supplies and fabrics and making a few products so I could take photos for my listings. Once I had a few sets created, I put them on my shop site. Now, the excitement and butterflies really began. I was officially open for business!

IMG_2757My goal was to open the first part of November to take advantage of Christmas sales. I opened November 1. I continued making new items and selecting prints I thought other farm sisters would enjoy and could relate to. The orders started trickling in. I contacted MJF and was selected to be part of Project F.A.R.M. giveaway for January! That gave me some more exposure and fun items for other sisters to purchase for others on their Christmas list. Thank you, MJF, for that opportunity!

For my Expert badge, My Country Kitchen Linens shop is now officially open for business! My web page was built, business cards/labels were created, and orders started to come in. It was a busy time, as the Christmas season was just starting as well. Baking and shopping were in full swing, and as a seamstress, I love making clothes for the little grandkids as well as creating new listings for the shop that needed to be expanded. The more trips to the fabric store, the more prints I saw that I just had to add to my shop. Oh, the fun I was having!!

Getting my name out there was the hardest thing. Without an actual “brick and mortar” building that people can see, an online store is a bit trickier, but at the same time, you can set up shop all over the world on one site. I continue to expand my listings, grow my business and get the word out. I am so grateful to MJF for promoting my shop and welcoming me into the “sisterhood”! I love seeing what others are making and hope to purchase some of their wares in the near future as we support each other and our country way of life.”



Have You Mailed Anything Lately?

Have you been over to our Farmgirl Connection chatroom lately? It’s chock full of farmgirls sharing their expertise in all things farmgirl. Many of us spend a considerable amount of time every day chatting via our computers, so we’ve decided it’s good to put our electronics aside now and then. How? We’re mailing mail art. Real art mailed through the post office. Real art that shows up in our actual mailboxes.

This is just a sampling of the awesome art our Mail Art Coordinator (and mail artist extraordinaire), Kristi, has been receiving.







But don’t feel daunted by what’s been done—anything that gets your hands moving and your creative juices flowing is welcome, and we’d love to have you join us!



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 … Erin McBride!!!

Erin McBride (#3762) has received a certificate of achievement in Civic Heritage for earning a Beginner Level Civic Heritage Merit Badge!

“My family went to Fishers, Indiana (just outside of Indianapolis) to visit Conner Prairie. Conner Prairie is a living history museum made up of several historic areas including 1836 Prairietown, 1863 Civil War Journey, Lenape Indian Camp, William Conner Homestead, and 1859 Balloon Voyage. They also have a Nature Walk, Animal Encounters, Craft stations, and much more.


I went with my husband and our three children, and we all loved it. We were there most of the day and by the end the kids were a little tired, but overall they liked it a lot. They especially enjoyed the animal encounters. They had a barn set up there with cows, sheep, goats, and chickens. There were animals everywhere just walking right around you. That was definitely the most interactive experience with farm animals that I’d ever had, and the kids just loved it.”

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 … CJ Armstrong!!!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Speak for the Trees Merit Badge!


I have always been interested in the trees growing in our area, but it became more of a “project” to learn more after a fire in July 1994 that destroyed our house and most of the natural wooded area around it. So, in order to replace trees, we did a lot of research on what would grow well, knowing that we could never replace the trees that grew here naturally and took many decades to do so.

We planted Colorado blue spruce, aspen, Ponderosa pine, white fir, yew, Alberta spruce, golden raintree, Japanese pagoda, sour cherry, apple, and pear trees in our yard and they are all doing well. Not all of the native trees were destroyed, and what we do still have growing on our property are: cedar, pinon, cottonwood, and scrub oak. While they are not “trees,” we also have native sagebrush, rabbit brush, and even some prickly pear cactus.


In the immediate area of our house, there are lots of natural wooded areas and orchards and not too great of a need for windbreaks. However, in the dryland farming area just to the northwest of us, there are acres and acres of farmland that are wide open and susceptible to wind erosion. Thus, the windbreaks are a great need and many folks have successfully planted trees that are suitable to the area and the dryland farming concept.

We have some beautiful parks in the towns in our community, and they have planted Colorado blue spruce, Ponderosa pine, and Navajo willow trees there. While not native to this elevation, the blue spruce and Ponderosa pine are native to Colorado higher elevations and they do well because they aren’t far from “home.”

It’s been a challenge to replace trees we lost, but we are happy with what we did plant and the growth we’ve seen. We have some absolutely stunningly beautiful trees in our yard!”


Bread Making Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,269 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,908 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 Farm Kitchen/Bread Making Beginner Level Merit Badge, I first had to learn the difference between two very simple, yet very ingenious, common kitchen ingredients: baking soda and baking powder. Hey, they’re not just for brushing your teeth and scrubbing your cutting boards anymore, peeps.

I’m blushing to admit that A) I have never really learned the difference, and B) I have mixed them up more than once. And just a friendly helpful hint from me to you: baking powder does not a Red Devil Cake make.

It turns out the two are amazingly similar: so similar, in fact, that you would think they are interchangeable. But alas … weeping and gnashing of teeth … negative, ghost rider.

Although you can, in a pinch … (Get it? A pinch? A pinch of soda? HA!) … use powder in place of soda, though you would need a larger amount. But vice versa? Just ain’t true, Magoo.

Both are basically sodium bicarbonate, but baking powder has other ingredients as well.


Photo courtesy of Joe Mabel,

Here’s a great explanation from North Carolina State University:

“What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Short answer: acid. But it can make a big difference for baked goods, so let’s explain.

Baking soda has only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is a base that reacts when it comes into contact with acids, like buttermilk, yogurt or vinegar. This reaction produces carbon dioxide (CO2) in the form of bubbles, like a liquid foam (think of the grade school experiments involving fake volcanoes, vinegar and baking soda). When making baked goods, the process is called “chemical leavening,” because the trapped CO2 gas makes the dough or batter rise.


But when baking soda comes into contact with an acid, it pretty much reacts immediately. And that’s a problem.

For many baking recipes, you want an extended reaction, so that the rising doesn’t take place all at once.

Baking powder addresses this problem because it is “double acting” – it has different ingredients that create CO2 gas at different stages of the baking process.

All baking powders contain sodium bicarbonate (just like baking soda). But baking powder also contains two acids.  One of these acids is called monocalcium phosphate. Monocalcium phosphate doesn’t react with the sodium bicarbonate while it’s dry. But as soon as the baking powder is stirred into a wet dough or batter, the two ingredients begin to react, releasing bubbles of CO2 and causing chemical leavening.

But to extend the chemical leavening process, baking powder also contains a second acid, either sodium acid pyrophosphate or sodium aluminum sulfate. Neither of these acids react with sodium bicarbonate until they are both: A) wet (i.e., stirred into the batter) and B) hot.

In other words, sodium acid pyrophosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate won’t start reacting with the sodium bicarbonate until after you’ve put the dough or batter in the oven. This means that the batter rises for a longer period of time, making lots of bubbles (and a fluffier cake, muffin, or whatever).”

Anyway, enough of the science-y stuff, gals. Just call me Jane the Brain.

Onto baking some bread in order to earn my badge … let the smacking of lips begin.


Hermann Sondermann (1832-1901), kehr vom Backhaus via Wikimedia Commons




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 … Katie Wright!!!

Katie Wright (#5600) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Expert Level Knitting Merit Badge!

“Hand-knit cardigan sweater, from a French pattern that I have had for years. I have made several of these and like having two for myself. Usually, I make them as gifts, such as this one is. It is in acrylic yarn so it can be washed easily. I do this when I make gifts, as the recipient may not know how to care for wool. Anyway, I have worked on this sweater piece by piece while doing other projects also. It takes a while to finish a sweater, and then piecing it together, doing finish work, and finishing loose ends all takes time. But it’s worth it for such a lovely gift.


This sweater turned out well. Instead of ribbing (k,p) for edges of sweater bottom and sleeves, this sweater pattern uses cables, which I believe make the product look very elegant. I chose buttercup yellow, which is very soft, but put on some sparkly buttons to “jazz” it up a bit. After all, women do like “bling.”