Monthly Archives: May 2015



Sensory Overload

Marilyn Monroe is said to have experienced it …

Marilyn Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Have you?

That is, have you tasted green?

Or smelled peach?


Not the fruits, mind you, but the COLORS.

The sensory overlap of taste, smell, and vision is known as “synesthesia,” which Wikipedia defines as “a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”

Translation: turquoise blue might seem to smell something like peppermint, and pale yellow could trigger taste buds to sense banana.

“Each sense has a pathway to the brain. These paths are parallel to each other. However, in some situations, a crossover from one pathway to the other occurs,” explains “Seeing the color yellow-green may evoke taste sensations of sourness; pink may evoke sweetness. Seeing the color gray may evoke olfactory sensations of smokiness.”

Synesthesia has been described as an uncommon phenomenon, but is it really all that rare?

Here’s a simple little experiment to test your own reactions. When you look at the following images of richly colored gems, do your taste buds sense sweetness or tickle with tang? Do you associate each with a particular flavor or fragrance?

Photo by Fiona Storey via Wikimedia Commons

“Color psychologists have long known that our favorite colors tell a lot about us. They’re a manifestation of our emotions and moods, and the colors we prefer also allow conclusions to be drawn about our fragrance preferences,” reports Leffingwell & Associates, an information and service provider to flavor and fragrance industries. “A woman who picks the color combination of yellow, orange, red, and pale green, for example, is not only extroverted, active, optimistic, and positive—she’ll also tend to prefer fresh-floral fragrances.”

I’m guessing that a gal’s palette preference also varies with the day, the season, and so on. As the sun streams through my window this morning, my soul is aglow in a rich shade of yellow—amber, to be precise—and I can’t help but think of honey, mmmm …

Photo by Hashoo Foundation USA – Houston, TX via Flickr

Your turn—what colors are you feeling/smelling/tasting today?



Adventure Camps that Honor Veterans

Memorial Day, now observed each year on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many cities honor fallen veterans with parades, which are often followed by family gatherings and picnics also marking the beginning of summer.

Enter Operation 300, a non-profit that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service. The camps provide an opportunity to participate in activities that embody the spirit of adventure that characterized the lives of their absent fathers. Operation 300 “provides children who have lost their fathers in military combat opportunities to camp, hike, play sports, and do the fun things they would have done with their own dads with other supportive role models,” reports HooplaHa. Visit the Operation 300 website to find out more about the camps or support their mission.



Buried Treasure

There’s a modern-day treasure chest buried in the Rocky Mountains.

Howard Pyle, “The Ruby of Kishmoor,” 1899

No, really, there is.

Well, okay, I haven’t actually seen said treasure with my own eyes,

(so I guess it’s more gossip than gospel),

but it sounds true enough.

The story goes …

Vietnam veteran and art gallery proprietor (and, oh, did I mention millionaire?) Forrest Fenn closed his gallery in 1988 and began writing books about exploration and adventure.

Shortly thereafter, however, he was diagnosed with cancer. With a less-than-optimistic prognosis, he decided to create a real-life adventure tale that would serve to, someday, share his wealth in a rather unusual manner.

“While receiving cancer treatment, Forrest Fenn purchased an antique chest and began filling it with an estimated $2 million worth of treasure” explains “The items inside the chest include jewelry, figurines, gems, gold nuggets, and 265 gold coins.”

Photo by Theodore Scott via Wikimedia Commons

Yup. A veritable pirate’s booty hidden high and dry in the Rockies (somewhere, Fenn says, in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana).

Photo by Milan Suvajac via Wikimedia Commons

Nine more clues to finding the treasure are purportedly provided in a poem contained within Fenn’s 2010 book, The Thrill of the Chase (which is currently selling for about 100 smackeroos on Amazon, if you’re wondering).


The first question that comes to mind is … why?

Why, Mr. Fenn, would you bury a fortune that has fueled fevered fantasies and fervid searches over the past decade?

“I wanted the monetary value to be a consideration for those who are looking for it, but mostly my motive was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out in the mountains,” Fenn, who has thankfully recovered from cancer, told KOAT in Albuquerque.

Huh—(shaking my head here)—that’s a surprisingly refreshing response.

My next question …

Are YOU even the littlest bit tempted to try and find it?

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News



Bread Making Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,399 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,095 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 Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I learned all sorts of fascinating things. In fact, you could retitle this post “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Yeast, But Were Afraid to Ask”! Not to be confused with the lesser known literary classic, “Everything I Learned About Yeast, I Learned in Kindergarten.” Or “Chicken Soup for the Yeast Lover’s Soul.”

I digress.

Here’s a charming little quote about yeast (or as we in the know like to call it, Saccharomyces Cerevisae):

“Sacchar means sugar-loving or feeding, myces means mold, and cerevisae is a word once used for beer.”
– The San Francisco Baking Institute

Mmmm, sugar-lovin’ moldy beer.


Photo by Tomasz Sienicki via Wikimedia Commons


So, I dug a little deeper. Here are few other intriguing tidbits about yeast (tighten your stampede straps, girls):

There are basically two types of yeast: wild and commercial. Commercial is the kind you’re used to, most likely, while wild can only be found in zoos. (Ha ha, just a little baker’s humor there.)

For baking, there are three types of yeast: instant, active dry, and fresh baker’s. Active dry is quite common, and simply needs a nice, warm bath to rehydrate itself (much like me after a long day). Instant is flakier, and it can be added right into the dough. (Nice for beginning bakers, or those who have a fear of yeast. Yeastaphobia, we call it.) Fresh baker’s yeast comes in a cake or tablet form and has a shorter shelf life, so this is the least popular kind for the common cook.

Different strains and kinds of yeast can be found nearly everywhere in the environment; we’re talking on the fuzzy skins of fruits of berries, inside the bellies of honeybees, in the gut floral of mammals and insects, growing on cacti and other plants, between your toes, and let’s not even talk about that every-few-year-visit to the doctor us ladies make. Yeah, there’s no badge for that one, Madge.

Yeast is used in the making of not only alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, but in the making of root beer and other sweet, carbonated drinks, and in kombucha and kefir.

And now, to be confusing, health-food enthusiasts love something called nutritional yeast (not for baking) sprinkled on their popcorn, or used in place of parmesan.

Brewers’ yeast extract is the main ingredient in the popular Australian food, Vegemite. You know, the land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? Sorry. Sometimes I slip into Men at Work lyrics when I least expect it.

The next part of earning my badge was to make two different types of bread, and then remaking one using a different type of yeast, or substituting baking soda or baking powder instead. Good thing I’m hungry. (The sacrifices I make earning badges. Munch, munch.) I went with Anadama Bread, later substituting baking soda in place of yeast.


Photo by Stacy 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 … Melanie Jones!!!

Melanie Jones (#4211) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning an Intermediate Level Carp-hen-try Merit Badge!

“I built my first chicken coop!!! I drove around town looking for scrap wood, pallets, and siding. I ended up with two shelves from my local Aldi supermarket, two pallets from a local business, and some tin roofing from an old farm house. It took a Friday and a Saturday, but the end result was spectacular!


Altogether, I spent $20 and some change on this chicken coop, including the chickens and feed! Now I have two happy chicks and one happy farmgirl!”