Monthly Archives: January 2017



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Winners!!! Giveaway: “Mountain Mitteneer, All That Glitters”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “All That Glitters,” I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a special giveaway for some cute mittens, re-fashioned from sweaters purchased from charity thrift shops by The Mountain Mitteneer (Mountain  Thank you to all who participated by leaving comments, and stay tuned for more giveaways in each issue of MaryJanesFarm. If you’re not yet a subscriber to MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.


The winners of our “Mountain Mitteneer, All That Glitters” giveaway are:

Barb Langlois (green pair)
Diann (red pair)
Paula (pink pair)
Laura McGeorge (children’s)

Congrats, ladies!



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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 … Ginger Dawn Harman!!!

Ginger Dawn Harman (Ginger Dawn, #6451) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning a Beginner Level Mindfulness Meditation Merit Badge!

“As soon as I read the e-mail from MaryJane listing the new merit badges for 2017, I squealed in delight when I saw mindfulness. I cannot begin to list all the positive effects of mindfulness. First, my health in general has improved. My blood pressure is lower, I am able to regulate my breathing much better and now only use my inhaler once a day. Moreover, I am sick less often and my immunity has improved greatly. I also feel less stress since I began practicing a mindful lifestyle. I meditate every day and have been using the Insight Timer app since Jan 1, 2016! I haven’t missed a day. I prefer the guided meditations, but I have also used the bell. For the purpose of this badge I started again on January 1, 2018.

There are many benefits to regular meditation. For one, the health improves. I am a great example of this. Interestingly, one of the central benefits of meditation is that it improves attention and concentration: One recent study found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points. In 2013, I participated in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia. It was an 8-week course that taught me how to meditate and live more mindfully. Our class had a nun, several doctors, a retired preacher, and a few who were battling different medical challenges or learning to practice mindfulness within the public school and health professions. There’s been increasing interest from educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school kids who are dealing with the usual stressors inside school, and oftentimes, additional stress and trauma outside school. Some schools have starting implementing meditation into their daily schedules, and with good effect: One district in San Francisco started a twice-daily meditation program in some of its high-risk schools—and saw suspensions decrease and GPAs and attendance increase. Studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation for schoolchildren, but more work will probably need to be done before it gains more widespread acceptance. made a wonderful list of 100 benefits of meditation.

Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 min. per day is good). Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it!

Oh and after you have meditated for a while, you might enjoy a Mindful retreat! Can you believe that I have done this and went an entire weekend with NO TALKING! I encourage everyone to give Mindfulness a try!”

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: All Dried Up, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,200 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,226 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 Farm Kitchen/All Dried Up Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I invited Nora to take a peek at my spice cabinet.

She seemed a little suspicious, but she agreed. This badge was all about those yummy, fragrant, delicious bits of greenery: herbs.

photo by JoJan via Wikimedia Commons

Helpful hint from me to you: when dealing with smallfries, be sure to call the plants and such ‘herbs’, not ‘spices’. Call them ‘spices’ and you will watch your children’s legs turn into the Road Runner’s as they hightail it outta there. Or at least, such was the case with Nora.

She was pretty certain I was trying to trick her into eating spicy foods. I reminded her that spice just meant flavor and when she got a little bigger (and grew into her taste buds) she might not mind a little kick now and then. She was skeptical, but at least she came back into the pantry.

The Beginner Level badge was all about learning and tasting (does it get any better than that?) and smelling and touching. If you want to up the ante with your rugrats, do a blind taste/smell taste. But if you’re like I used to be before I was bitten by the farmgirl bug, your spice cabinet might need a real overhaul.

I mean I may or may not have had a jar of marjoram that expired in 1994.


I digress.

Don’t be like me.

Nora was delighted to discover some scents she really dug. Sage, bay leaves, oregano, basil, vanilla bean, cardamom, clove, cinnamon sticks, ginger, mint leaves, celery seeds … okay, you got me, not all of those are herbs per se, but once we got to opening jars and sniffing and tasting, we were hooked. She was not overly fond of ground mustard and she discovered that yes, inhaling pepper will indeed make you sneeze (she thought that was an urban myth).

photo by Casey Fleser via Wikimedia Commons

“But how do you know what goes well in what?” she asked, sneezing again. “Pass me the cumin, would you?”

“Trial and error, my girl,” said I. “Here, what do you think of smoked paprika?”

“Yum. Oooh, lavender! Give it here!”

We spent some odiferous time together and we emerged with slightly singed nostrils and a well-organized pantry. Not all were a big hit with Nora, but I assured her they taste differently when used in recipes, or if you had fresh as opposed to dried.

“Put your money where your mouth is, Aunty,” she replied.

“Absobloominlutely,” I answered, pulling down a cookbook from the shelf. “What should we start with? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks? Desserts? Brunch?”

“Yes,” she said.

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Glamping with Megan

I was excited to see the 2017 edition of the Vintage Directory, the “Northwest’s Guide to Vintage Shopping” with Megan’s article, “Glamping with Megan Rae.” If you’re in the Northwest, look for the Vintage Directory at your favorite vintage shop.

If you hail from other parts, I thought you might enjoy reading Megan’s article here:

Glamping with Megan Rae

My mother’s mother was glamping far before we decided to start calling it that. The women of her generation were not shrinking violets, and my grandmother was no exception. They were wildflowers, ready to hit the road and live off the land. But at the same time, they saw no reason not to “rough it” in style. They fussed over and gussied up their campsites, giving rise to the glamping concept. I love my mom’s stories of my grandmother at camp. With her picnic table adorned in a freshly laundered and ironed tablecloth and a bouquet of hand-picked flora, she would stoke the fire, sauté veggies brought from her gardens back home, and grill the catch of the day from the water hole around the bend.

Fast forward 50 years, and we’re still drawn to that floral vase we found while antiquing or those vintage salt and pepper shakers that match the camper perfectly. It should come as no surprise—it’s in our genetics to prettify our little plots, whether at home or at the campsite. It’s been done all along. Now it just has a definition.

Glamping, defined: It’s the juxtaposition of grit and glam, rugged and reined in, burlap and lace. We’ve ditched the notion that camping is daunting, just as we’ve jettisoned the misconception that going “out there” means you have to give up creature comforts like a billowy-soft bed, stamped linens, and bubble baths. Proud of our natural panache, we dare to decorate our gypsy world of trailers and tents in our favorite happy colors. We dust off our prom dresses and hang them right next to our lanterns, loving the way the light dances through the lace. What’s more, we eat chocolate with abandon in the open air, trading traditional adventuring terms like “harsh” and “tough” for our own renditions of comfort, playfulness, and style. Of course, glamping also means we get to own our own campers if we’re so inclined. We’re capable of backing them up or changing a flat tire as easily as we change a nail polish color!

As I said, glamping is in my genes, making its way from my grandmother to my mother, and on to me. But, back before choosing a color palette for a camper was her thing, my mother, MaryJane Butters, worked for the U.S. Forest Service for many years. She’d spent her childhood camping in the Utah outback, so when it came time to venture out of Dodge, she headed straight for the mountains. She was ready, equipped with all of the knowhow she needed to get by, so she sought out a solo stint in a lookout tower watching for fires. Afterward, she worked as a wilderness ranger, which meant moving into a wall tent year-round, 27 miles in from the nearest dirt road. Her stories of winters in those days are wild; her tent would be walled in by five feet of snow each year, insulating her through bitterly cold months. Working for the Forest Service, it didn’t take her long to realize that, while she could build a fence with the best of them, she also loved an immaculate, perfectly-organized tool shed and didn’t mind carrying a crisp hankie (complete with embroidered edges) in her back pocket.

Shortly before I was born, Mom decided it was time for modern conveniences and bought the farmstead where I grew up. As her daughter, I might mention that her idea of conveniences were not entirely conventional. Luckily for me, though, her how-to-it-ness allowed her to run water to the house and plumb the entire thing herself. I never did get a flushing toilet in my childhood (an outhouse sufficed), and we bathed in a clawfoot tub in the kitchen closet. But we did have hot running water, and every seasoned camper knows what a luxury that is!

Within our little outpost, there was always a home-cooked meal atop a beautiful tablecloth. The woodstove kept us warm on winter nights while we enjoyed a good book or family board game. The rest of the seasons were spent roaming outdoors, and it wasn’t unusual for my brother and me to bring home bouquets of wildflowers for the table.

Needless to say, I grew up building a strong sense of DIY and a desire to be outdoors (with a few feminine frills for good measure). Thanks to my mother and my grandmother before her, glamping was destined to become a big part of who I am, and I imagine my daughters will follow suit.

Glamping is a grand tradition among women of all walks of life, and it’s regaining popularity in our modern age for good reason. We really aren’t that far from what our grandmothers once knew. For so many of us, the primal need to be outdoors is as real as it was in generations past, grounding us in an increasingly chaotic world. Our urge to nest and provide are also deep-seated connections to our adventurous ancestors. It’s so satisfying to channel these impulses into our campsites, arranging everything just-so and preparing fabulously fire-roasted meals for those we love. Glamping, I think, also fulfills our need to accomplish. Pulling a camper across the plains, backing her into place just perfectly, and building a campfire like a pro are skills that remind us how very capable we are.

Each summer, as I’m loading up my red and teal vintage finds into our camper, making sure all the right tablecloths and doilies are clean and ready to go, I often think of my mom’s efforts to raise us ready for the world—the wild world, that is. It makes me wonder if another soul-nourishing component of glamping is the sense that I can get it right. Mom sure did. The simplicity of the task allows for perfection, or something close to it. For one weekend of glamping, I don’t have to think of the laundry that needs to be done, so I can fully enjoy my perfect set of tablecloths. I don’t have much to sweep, I don’t need to mop, and I can’t vacuum, so I can take the time to hang the lights I want for the perfect campsite ambiance. And I really don’t have much else to do other than create a campfire meal, so I can get that right, too. I mean, let’s be real, food always tastes incredible eaten outdoors, so whatever I cook while glamping seems perfect. Then, there’s time to just be, to enjoy family and friends, to share the experience with your children (no homework!), and to relax quietly by yourself—things we never seem to have enough time for in our busy lives. If you’re an avid glamper and have been at it for some time, you’re nodding right now. You know. So, happy trails! I wish you glorious journeys, lovely linens, and the perfect salt and pepper shakers.

If you haven’t glamped yet, I bet you’re daydreaming about what you might do with that set of dainty antique teacups you found last week, or the splashy color you could paint that old wicker chair that’s been sitting out in the rain, or how good it would feel to make that first pot of tea on a campfire you built yourself. True? Well then, I believe you’re ready to give it a try. Glamping is calling your name. You don’t have to have a camper, so don’t let that stop you. For many years, we pitched a tent, and those were terrific times. Your pretty tablecloth can still grace a portable camp table, and a welcome mat for your tent entrance is nothing short of wonderful. If it’s warm enough, you don’t even need the tent. A starry sky makes the most divine backdrop for a summer glamping trip.

Down the road, if you set your heart on the perfect color scheme for a camper, you can find a fixer-upper and doll her up (now that’s a sense of accomplishment, let me tell you). At last, you’ll feel free to paint the kitchen cabinets fuchsia. Tuck those antique teacups inside, and create a special corner for that wicker chair. Just remember that you’re encouraged and supported by all us girls who are in love with glamping. You can always find a gaggle of us gabbing on the Farmgirl Connection. If ever you have a question or an idea that needs some sculpting, pop on by and let ’er fly.

Cheers to the journey! No matter where you go, it’ll be positively glamporous, guaranteed!

Megan Butters Rae is the daughter of glamper extraordinaire, MaryJane Butters, and writes for MaryJanesFarm magazine. MaryJane Butters is the author of Glamping with MaryJane and editor-in-chief of MaryJanesFarm magazine. Both Megan and MaryJane have spent countless hours glamping and antiquing together.

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