Monthly Archives: September 2017



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Growlery is a word invented by Charles Dickens in his 1852 serial, Bleak House.

The author, whose work could best be described as … um, well, “Dickensian,” wrote, “This, you must know, is the growlery. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here.”

A place to turn the worst of times into the best of times.

A retreat to go to when you’re feeling out of sorts.

A place of refuge, used to get yourself out of a funk.

A den, or a lair, with which to prowl with one’s growler out. (Urban Dictionary)

What’s your personal growlery? A bathtub, filled with bubbles and a glass of wine? A windowseat with a stack of TBR novels? A pup tent in the mountains? A family dinner with everyone at home all at once for a change? An easel with new paints set up in the garden?

“A study or growlery is just as dear to a man’s heart as a boudoir is to a woman’s; and the master of the house deserves to have some corner which shall be his very own, whither he can retire when he wishes to read or work, or simply smoke and rest, or receive business visitors, blissfully undisturbed by the rest of the household.”
– Lambert’s Suburban Architecture, 1894

Man cave? But we disagree … women need a growlery, too!

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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 … Joyce Hein!

Joyce Hein (GinghamGirl, #6071) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a Beginner Level BakeOver MakeOver Merit Badge!

“I utilized the recipes found in MaryJane’s Ideabook to cook up some delicious bakeovers. We used what we had in our garden. I hosted the family, and we explored a variety of ways to make the bakeovers, from veggies to dessert!

Everyone loved them, particularly me, as they’re so quick and easy to make.”

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Today’s Recipe: Prosciutto & Garbanzo Bean Succotash


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Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,782 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 Make It Easy/Emergency Preparedness Beginner Level Merit Badge, I had to steal myself and dig down deep for the bravery and courage I knew I had in there somewhere. It was usually located beneath the hummus and turkey wrap, below the spleen, and next to the slice of blueberry pie, somewhere deep in my guts. Don’t be jelly at my knowledge of anatomy; we all have our gifts. One of mine is an intrinsic awareness of the inner workings of my body. The other one is a penchant for blueberry pie.

Anyway, the reason I needed to find my bravado was because I had always been a little bit frightened of natural disasters. Okay, more than a little bit frightened. I still crawl under my bed when there’s a thunder and lightning storm (and the cats don’t like to share that space either; it’s dog eat dog eat dust bunny under there, let me tell you). I freak out when the power goes out. I refuse to live anywhere where there is the slightest chance of a hurricane, a tornado, a tsunami, an earthquake, a shark attack, or a meteor shower. I know, I know, I tried applying for a NASA trip, since outer space is the only place you won’t find those, but have you ever given serious thought to black holes and alien abductions?

Seriously. My mind, when left unattended for too long, is a browser history of What Could Possibly Go Wrong, with all the tabs left open. I wouldn’t say I’m a chicken, per se, but my childhood nickname was Henny Penny.

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

I hate it when the sky does that.

I’ve tried to be better at dispelling the doom and gloom my fancies dream up, but it’s hard. Bear attacks, flash floods, lightning strikes! Dust bowls, plagues of locusts, ice storms! Lions, and tigers, and bears, OH MY!

So you can only imagine how long I’ve been putting off this particular badge, Madge. Just looking at the title alone gave me the heeby-jeebies. Then I read the actual requirements for the Beginner Level and my heart rate went back down to a normal rate (for Henny Penny, anyway).

  • Determine the types of emergencies that you and your family are most likely to face. Be sure to look at emergencies that only affect you, as well as emergencies that can affect your local community.
  • Make a plan with your family on how to respond to likely emergencies such as fire, flood, earthquakes, and severe weather.

Well, whew! A sense of relief flooded my body. Flooded? Bad choice of words, Jane. I was soothed, let’s put it that way. I didn’t need to focus on ALL the natural disasters and emergencies that could possibly arise (plagues, heat wave, zombie apocalypses), just the ones that might affect me. That narrowed my extremely extensive list down to a more bearable number. Wait, bears? Ack, there I go again.

Steeling my nerves with a strong shot of organic espresso and a chunk of chocolate lava cake (lava?!) I made a list.

  • Wildfires. They happen. And where I live? They happen much too frequently for this farmgirl to be able to relax in the summer. My plan? Dowsing my campfires completely, keeping the underbrush around my perimeter mowed, knowing the channels and apps for wildfire updates and storing them in my phone and in my car radio, and having an evacuation plan set up ahead of time.
  • Earthquakes. No, we haven’t had one in my neck of the woods in decades, but you never know when the sneaky little earth will decide to quake a bit. Which makes me quake a bit. Plan: know where to go immediately if Gramma Barbie’s china collection starts falling off the shelf.
  • Power outages. Okay, some of you find them fun, what with your super-nifty flashlights, scented candles, and night-vision goggles. Plan: get me some super-nifty flashlights, scented candles, and night-vision goggles.

Surprisingly, by the end of this Beginner Level badge, I was feeling mighty proud of myself and I hadn’t even thought of sharks for like, 15 minutes, which was some kind of record. I decided to bite the bullet (ack, bullets?!) and move straight along to the Intermediate Level badge …

Right after I checked to make sure the sky was still properly located and not falling.

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Don’t even pretend you’ve never experienced and/or displayed this one.

You know you have.

Probably when you were hungry (i.e. hangry = the state of being hungry and angry all at once).

Or maybe when you’ve just had “one of those days.” You know the ones: when you lose things, the dog gets out, the children get sick, the deadline looms, and you just can’t take one more thing slipping sideways on you.

What is alharaca, anyway?

(n.) an extraordinary or violent emotional reaction to something small and insignificant.

Can you say hissy-fit?

Photo by Fox Film Corporation via Wikimedia Commons.

Embarrassing as a moment of alharaca can be in hindsight, we’ve all been there. You don’t have to be Nellie Olsen, Miss Piggy, or the Queen of Hearts; even the least drama-queen-like of us farmgirls can relate.

As a wise woman once said, “Pardon me while I overreact irrationally.”

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