Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Trash Talk, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Merit Badge, I decided to tackle one with my nephew, Andrew. Being a boy, he’s pretty good at tackling, so we channeled all that noisy, dirty energy into something worthwhile: his Cleaning Up/Trash Talk Beginning Level Merit Badge. Little did I know what I was getting myself into …

Beginning our project took some time, for starters. Mostly because I had to give myself a pep talk and channel all my tea-sipping, porch-sitting energy into something more … more high energy. Andrew is a feisty guy, a real go-getter, a pistol, as my Gramma Barbie would say (right after she made him take a nap, probably). But I just knew if we could focus all that squirmy liveliness into a project, it would be a beautiful thing. And also, his mom would owe me a favor. (She makes killer pecan brownies. I prefer to call in my favors when my sweet tooth strikes.)

“Ok, Andy,” I began, in my best no-nonsense, teacher-type voice. “Today, we’re going to play with garbage!”

photo by CGP Grey via Wikimedia Commons

This was music to the little pig-pen’s ears. It was as if I had suggested we bounce on rainbows, ride a unicorn, or play video games until we burst into a firework display of Skittles. He was happy as a clam as we rode out to a couple of local places to learn about our city’s garbage. First up, the dump.

Or, as Andy liked to dreamily refer to it, Boy Heaven.

photo by Ropable via Wikimedia Commons

We spoke with the man in charge (whose job I believe Andy was already taking over in his curly little head), and asked him about recycling and what happens when people don’t bother. He was happy to talk with us, and Andy took notes in his superhero notebook like an intrepid little reporter.

Then we went to the recycling center where nothing goes to die, it just gets reborn. (That’s a good line, if I do say so myself. Write that down, Andy.)

photo by Bazoka via Wikimedia Commons

The recycling center was less stinky, and therefore, less romantical and wonderful for Andy, but he still had a pretty good time. Out came the superhero notebook again, and this time, he really fired some hard-nose questions at the workers.

Things like:

Have you found any treasures?

Can I have this?

What’s your name?

Why is your eye twitching?

Why do you have such a big tummy?

Where’s the potty?

It’s okay. I don’t have to go anymore.

Can I play on the equipment?

Stuff like that.

On the way out, we picked up his very own recycling container for his household and he was pleased as punch to be in charge of bossing around his family lovingly instructing his family on how to use it. He stapled the guideline pamphlet (with recycling dos and don’ts) to his notebook and decorated the rest of the pages with all the free stickers he got at the front counter. Then he tried to pocket the stapler, but I was onto the little guy.

Next up, dropping off Andy and getting me home to take a nap. He wore his recycling container on his head as he raced up his driveway and skidded to a halt next to a discarded soda can lying on the sidewalk. He promptly picked it up, disposed of it properly, and gave me a salute.

Right back atcha, dude.



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 … Emily Race!!!

Emily Race (Simply Satisfied, #3591) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner, Intermediate & Expert Level Speak for the Trees Merit Badge!

“This summer we did all these badges while at home or camping. Our family went to Glacier National Park and used a tree guide to identify trees around the campground as part of my daughters earning their junior ranger badges. We identified both deciduous and coniferous trees. That got us thinking so we came home and went through our yard. We planted all our trees so my husband and I knew what they were but we worked through the guide with the girls. We have blue spruce, a red maple, weeping willows, and Ponderosa pines. The red maple and the willow aren’t native but the others are.

398px-An_old_growth_douglas_fir_towers_in_an_old_growth_forestPhoto via Wikimedia Commons

At our nearby park we found more maples and a few spruce trees. There were some Douglas fir as well. The Douglas firs and Ponderosas are native. All over our area we have windbreak rows of trees. We also have them for snow breaks to help keep snow from drifting onto the roads. This last week we went Christmas tree hunting in the woods. We found Douglas fir, Spruce, and Grand Firs to pick from. When looking for the perfect tree we found many growing too close to each other making them not grow branches between their neighbors. We also some little trees struggling to grow underneath their much larger neighbors. In Montana we don’t have a lot of undergrowth vegetation but there were a few willows trying to survive in the area between the bushier firs and down closer to the creek. With all the snow on the ground we didn’t find any garbage but we are always in the habit of picking up other people’s trash while hiking and camping.

We had so much fun identifying trees with the girls. I always love sneaking in education where ever we are. It is funny how solving a puzzle of what tree we are looking at can really be a fun thing for the family. I also smile every time my girls pick up trash from someone else or from their own pocket if it falls out. We have two beautiful daughters that respect our environment and love to be in it and learning about 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 … Nikki Hurlbut!!!

Nikki Hurlbut (#5131) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning a Beginner, Intermediate & Expert Level Make it Easy Merit Badge!

“I had my latest daughter in Jan of this year. I am in the National Guard, so I am required to get back down to weight and physical fitness in 180 days.


Starting in March, it came time to start losing the weight. My family and I started eating organic farm-raised eggs (which we usually do, but we were more strict about it), drinking raw milk when I was able to, and cooking with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. I ran every day and was able to lose weight quickly.

To lose more weight for my National Guard requirements, I increased my workout. This consisted of running every day, eating a light breakfast (which was difficult since I wasn’t use to eating breakfast at all), a small lunch and snack during the day, and a healthier dinner for the whole family.

In Sept of this year, I ran my first 5K. I didn’t finish last, so I am very happy about that. I have lost a total of 60lbs since the beginning of my journey. I am extremely happy about the results!”


Civic Heritage Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 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/Civic Heritage Expert Level Merit Badge, I was super-thrilled to try out my acting chops. You see, in order to earn my next badge, I had to participate in a local reenactment. It just so happens, chickadees, that my local downtown does a Wild West bank robbery reenactment for the tourists every year.

Annie Oakley via Wikimedia Commons

Boy howdy, this was gonna be good. I was ready for this—I was born for this. I had spent all my years perfecting drama and all the skills therein; never would the part of Third Tree to the Left be played with such convincing heart!

I jest, of course. A gal like me—born for the stage—was awarded the part of Millie-Ann, a very prominent and important tavern owner.

And by awarded I mean chosen. And by chosen I mean they let me sign up for whatever part I wanted.

But still, Millie-Ann was meant for me. She spoke to me: her flaxen curls, her bossy demeanor, her way with the gentlemen, her flair for pouring a good sarsaparilla … it was Me to a T.

Being a thespian of such high quality, I naturally am what they call a Method Actor. This means I was fully immersed in the character of Millie-Ann for a full week before we began shooting. Er, I mean, performing. Well, there would be shooting; it was a bank robbery, after all. But I’ve gotten off track.

I peppered my speech with lots of “y’alls,” and other such Wild West slang. I piled my hair high in a bouffant style that Miss Kitty would have envied, I tossed back root beer with reckless abandon, I sauntered and walked bow-legged, and I rode attempted to ride my neighbor’s filly to the watering hole. In short, I became Millie-Ann.

The day of the reenactment arrived and I was so nervous. In fact, I was so nervous, I kind of misplaced my script, and when the first bank robber arrived, peeling through downtown on a black stallion, my knees gave way and I nearly fainted. Millie-Ann would not be such a pansy, though, so I snapped out of it—pronto! Having no idea what the script called for (and assuming scripts were nearly as unimportant as owner’s manuals or directions—totally unnecessary and strictly for amateurs), I improvised. I tossed my sarsaparilla in his face, shrieked like a banshee, smacked the stallion on the rump (and nearly got nipped in the process—bad pony), and used my index finger like a proper Wild West shotgun. Bang, bang!

A True Girl of the West, George Bancroft Cornish via Wikimedia Commons

The other actors were not as skilled and proficient as I was in the whole improvising realm, though, so things got a little weird for a while. The audience seemed to enjoy my portrayal greatly though, and that was the important thing.

In case you, too, want to enjoy participating in a Wild West reenactment, here are a few slang terms you really must learn:

Angelica: a young, unmarried woman

Amputate your timber: go away!

Jimmying a bull: shooting an officer

Kansas sheep dip: whiskey

Luddy-Mussy!: Lord have mercy!

Dough wrangler: the camp cook

See the elephant: going to town

Settle one’s hash: to properly punish

Seven by nine: someone of inferior quality (comes from the most common window-pane sizing)

Sparking: courting

Well, that’s enough skittles (nonsense) for now. I gotta join these small fries (kiddos) for some slapjacks (pancakes) with a side of taters and skunk eggs (onions) made in a spider (three-legged, cast-iron skillet), all in apple-pie order (tip-top shape)!

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 … Sandy Merrigan!!!

Sandy Merrigan (#6186) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner, Intermediate & Expert Level Families Forever Merit Badge!

“Here are some of the things we did at family night for my Beginner level: crafting a clothespin doll, played with dolls, and played board games. Every night, I read to the girls, and the girls read to me too.

It was hard to create a journal for my Intermediate level. I live with my daughter and her family and she has 3 girls. They don’t watch much TV—we are too busy. My son-in-law has his father living here and he watches several hours a day, but in his room, so the rest of us are not watching it.

The kids have show restrictions, and any adult that is watching a show has to explain to the girls if they ask about a comment on the TV. No one wants to do that, so very little adult TV.

For my Expert level: We are continually doing outdoor activities and camping in canvas tents. We are involved in rendezvous. We will continue to camp and learn as long as we can.”