Wiki Photo Challenge

Fancy yourself a photographer?

Photo courtesy of

Well, then, focus your lens on the Photo Challenge at Wikimedia Commons.

“Monthly thematic competitions encourage participants to try new subjects, new photographic or processing techniques, and to develop skills while improving the Commons repository of free images,” explains the Wiki Foundation, which I smilingly support.

Monthly challenges (there are often more than one) are based on unique themes and run for a month. For example, June’s themes are “Eyes” and “Collections, Collecting and Collectibles,” which is right up farmgirl alley.


Wikimedia welcomes everyone to participate in challenges. You simply need to choose one or more current challenges, read the rules associated with each challenge, upload your photo(s), and submit as instructed here.

After a challenge has closed, photo submissions will be assessed by popularity voting in the subsequent month. You can get in on the voting, too, if your Commons account is at least 10 days old and has more than 50 edits or if you participated in a challenge.

The top three photos will be awarded first, second, and third place and displayed as winners on Wikimedia Commons.

If you win, be sure to post a link for us to follow to your photo!

Look what I got!

I was astonished, amazed, bowled over, and yes, downright blutterbunged when I opened an unexpected package the other day from Magnolia Pearl’s Robin Brown. Robin had remembered that I admired a hat I’d seen in one of the gorgeous photos from our Magnolia Pearl feature in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of MaryJanesFarm.


In the box was that very same, gorgeous, handmade, vintage, well-worn hat, along with a lovely note from Robin: “I’ve loved this hat for many, many years, but I have not worn it in a long time. I’m gifting it to you because you like it and will be gorgeous in it.”


Needless to say, I’m pleased as punch, tickled pink, happy as the day is long, jumping for joy, on cloud nine! Thank you, Robin!!!

If you haven’t yet discovered Magnolia Pearl’s one-of-a-kind clothing, you’re in for a treat. In the middle of Texas Hill Country, Robin “Pearl” Brown has created a magical recipe she calls Magnolia Pearl. With a dash of inspiration from a grandmother known for her delicate handmade lace and intricate quilts; an eye for antiques from her other grandmother, who owned “the most eclectic antiques shop in San Antonio”; a spoonful of enchantment from her interior designer great-aunt; and a heaping cup of encouragement from her artist parents, Robin has whipped up a style that’s uniquely her own—part Victorian splendor, part hippie chic. With her love of vintage fabrics and finds, each of Magnolia Pearl’s layered and embellished garments is handmade and hand-embroidered, making every one a unique work of art. Visit Robin’s truly gorgeous website, for a whimsical journey through the fun, funky, flamboyant style of a life lived in layers.

And if you haven’t seen our feature on Magnolia Pearl, you can still buy a copy of the “Turning the Page” issue in our Back Issues Bundle #10.

farm babies

This past week, we had two new arrivals at the farm …

Welcome Elsa O’Mally (with her mother’s trademark Tinkerbell ears–cute as pixie dust). 

and Sweet William!!!


Elsa O’Mally is the daughter of Sally O’Mally, born at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 14th. Sweet William is the son of Miss Daisy, born June 10 at 11:59 p.m. Our new little ones gave a whole new meaning to burning the midnight lamp oil. Calf watch for me meant a cot in the barn.

Here are the new babies exploring their domain:



Rocky Mountain Land Library

The Rocky Mountain Land Library had me at hello.

As soon as I heard its name, I needed to know more …

It began as a dream (as wonderful things do) and began taking shape by means of old-fashioned tenacity (ditto) …

“For more than 20 years, Jeff Lee, 60, and Ann Martin, 53, have worked at a Denver bookshop, the Tattered Cover, squirreling away their paychecks in the pursuit of a single dream: a rural, live-in library where visitors will be able to connect with two increasingly endangered elements—the printed word and untamed nature,” explained Julie Turkewitz in a recent New York Times article that has succeeded in turning the eyes of the nation toward this Colorado couple’s monumental effort.

Girl Reading Under an Oak Tree by Winslow Homer, 1879, courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library via Wikimedia Commons

With their life savings and a generous lease from the city of Aurora, Lee and Martin have established a base of operations known as the project’s “headwaters” at the historic Buffalo Peaks Ranch near South Park on the South Platte River.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons

The main ranch site is an elaborate work-in-progress in cooperation with the University of Colorado-Denver’s Center for Preservation Research. The vision they’re working toward is a Rocky Mountain refuge that will “provide both quiet and inspiration for lifelong learners of all types, including artists, writers, naturalists, scientists, and students at all levels. Everyone will have access not only to the Land Library’s 32,000+ volumes, but also to South Park’s surrounding landscape of high mountain grasslands and alpine summits.”

Photo by Hogs555 via Wikimedia Commons

Busy building the Headwaters at Buffalo Peaks, Lee and Martin have simultaneously launched a satellite Waterton Canyon Library (located where the South Platte meets the plains) and also operate a 3,000 volume Kids & Educators Library at the Kassler Environmental Education Center, southwest of metro Denver.

In the grand scheme of this undertaking, the couple says they’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. They envision a network of land-study centers stretching from the Headwaters of South Park to the metro-Denver plains, with each unique site united by the common purpose of connecting people to nature and the land.