What’s your “emotional intelligence”?

Look closely.

Photo by Fanny Schertzer via Wikimedia Commons

What do you suppose this dairy darling is thinking? Perhaps more to the point, how is she feeling?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I will tell you that I just scored pretty high on a quiz to determine emotional intelligence. Not that I’m bragging.


Play along …

According to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “Facial expressions are a universal language of emotion, instantly conveying happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and much more. Reading these expressions is essential to compassion and empathy.”

So, they came up with a quickie quiz to measure emotional intelligence.

Are you yawning … or laughing?

Photo by why 137 via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway …

Visit the quiz site and try to identify the emotion conveyed in each photo (there are 20). “Each answer will pinpoint the exact muscles involved in that emotion and explain the subtle differences between expressions,” explain the authors. “Some emotions appear more than once.”

This guy isn’t in any of the photos, but he looks pretty happy to me! What do you think?

Photo by Sam Photos8.com via Wikimedia Commons


red eye

While red eyes are desirable in some cases …

say, in the world of the red-eyed tree frog,


tree frog by LiquidGhoul edited by Muhammad via Wikimedia Commons

they’re not very desirable in humans.

We’ve all seen those photos that make sweet little Sammy look like the spawn of the devil.


Most cameras now have built-in features to avoid the dreaded “red eye effect.” And if you do end up with red-eyed monsters when you’re snapping pics of your sweet darlings, you can always use a photo-editing program to fix it after the fact.

But you might be intrigued to find out, like I did, why that particular eerie effect happens in the first place …

When you take a photo of a person who’s looking directly at the camera, the flash reflects off the person’s retina, located at the back of the eye. Because the retina has many blood vessels, the camera picks up the red color.

Who knew?

But what about those scary animal eyes you see at night or even sometimes in a photo taken in the middle of the day? Sweet little pup all of a sudden turns into the Hound of the Baskervilles …

photo by Jazzjohnn via Wikimedia Commons

No, he’s not possessed … you’ve just picked up something called “eyeshine.” Many animals (especially those with good night vision) have a layer of tissue in their eyes called tapetum lucidum. It also reflects light back through the retina, which appears to make the animals’ eyes glow. Cats and dogs with blue eyes can reflect both eyeshine and red-eye.


photo by Una Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Thank goodness for Photoshop.

Yoga for Kids

Jodi the Yogi aims to set children on the path of a positive and healthy lifestyle through yoga. Her programs and videos, made for children 2-6, engage kids through song, dance, and movement with the help of her “bestie,” Downward the Dog. With original songs and age-appropriate interpretations of yoga sequences and postures, Jodi’s videos engages tiny tots while targeting gross motor skills and promoting social/emotional learning using humor, playfulness, and a sense of wonder.


photo, JodiTheYogi.com

Jodi and Downward the Dog are based in New York City, where they visit schools, teach classes, and even book parties and events, but you can get your little ones interested by watching her 8-minute video below. Then stay tuned for more videos on her website.


Odd couples

You’ve heard the term “strange bedfellows,” right? Well, here are some downright s-t-r-a-n-g-e, but adorable bedfellows, for sure.

 Do you have any cross-species odd couples on your farm?

seed libraries

Have you ever visited your local library to check out …

Photo by Craig Dietrich via Flickr


It’s a new trend that’s “going fungal,” according to Rebecca Newburn, who started the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in California in 2010.

When Newburn launched her library in collaboration with the Richmond Public Library, there were about five such seed lenders in the nation—now there are over 300.

“You may be asking, ‘How can you borrow seeds?’ The basic is idea is that you take seeds home (for free), plant them, let some go to seed, then return some of these next-generation seeds to the library for others to borrow,” Newburn explains. “Don’t worry. We don’t have fines if you don’t return seeds.”

Photo by Jonathan McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons

It makes perfect sense to merge seed-lending with book-lending, don’t you think?

“[It] is such a lovely fit because public libraries are about providing access, and they are a commons of the community,” said Newburn. “Our mission and their mission just seemed like they dovetail beautifully together.”

Plus, she says that the document storage conditions within libraries (dark, cool, and dry) are also conducive to seed preservation.

Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to serving the community of Richmond, the library is excited about helping others establish their own seed-lending services. They offer detailed start-up ideas on their Create a Library page and support in the form of a Seed Libraries Social Network.

Here’s a little video that illuminates more about seed-lending and borrowing. But before you watch, take a minute to sign the Protect Seed Libraries petition to prevent seed libraries from being “regulated out of existence due to misapplication of seed laws by several state departments of agriculture.”

Winner!!! Giveaway: MaryJane’s Ideabook

And the winner of MaryJane’s Ideabook giveaway is:

Jenny Binus, who said: “I love the Earth. I love being outside, and when I was a kid, my favorite place to go to was my Mimi and GFR’s cabin in the woods. We built it, the whole family, from the ground up. We cut the logs, my dad put on the roof, I helped find the stones for the hearth. It gave me a love of working with my hands and being outdoors. I live in a small town in Pennsylvania now, far from Western Washington, but this taught me an appreciation for the outdoors. I love making quilts for my children, teaching them to bake (both boys), I homeschool, we have a garden that we grow a good deal of our veggies in, and I am looking forward to being outside watching caveman TV (fire) near the creek this summer. I enjoy the feel of bread dough and working with my hands. I teach art classes that focus around using recycled materials and I volunteer filling backpacks with food for kids who don’t have it over the weekend because I didn’t always have food when I was little. My sons come with me, ages 5 and 7, because I want them to learn to care about others for no other reason than it makes them feel good and it’s the right thing to do.”

And the original post for the GIVEAWAY was (thank you to all who participated):

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