Monthly Archives: January 2018



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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Horsing Around, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,466 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,836 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 Garden Gate/Horsing Around Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, my crew of Nora, Piper, Andy, and Yours Truly headed to the library.

Seeing as how we’ve been banned from snacking at this particular institution (We may or may not have spilled a tall mocha with whip on some encyclopedia volumes. It was only B-Y, so I feel like they were making a mountain of a molehill, but I find it’s best not to argue with librarians.), so we were forced to make sure our bellies were full. We made a pit stop at the local all-you-can-eat buffet for a midday nosh of barbequed ribs, mashed potatoes, salad bar, catfish, and tacos. You know, a little pick-me-up between meals.

Feeling refreshed—and possible slightly stuffed—we made our way to the library with smiles on our faces and a skip in our steps. Our job? To research and find books about our favorite new pet, the horse. We were to take notes, doodle or sketch, and find our favorite breed in order to earn our Intermediate Level badge. Seemed easy enough, but that librarian has eagle-eyes and insisted on doing a pat-down on me, searching for sticky snacks, liquids without lids, and other culinary weapons of mass destruction.

She says I was picked at random, but I remain skeptical.

By the time I had been detained, spoken sternly to, had my emergency stash of chocolate confiscated, and watched the required viewing of the documentary Books and How to Respect Them, the kiddos were practically done with the entire horse section. I was quite behind (and feeling a bit famished, to boot. Lobster and mashed potatoes just don’t stick to your ribs the way you’d think) and was forced to thumb through the books the children had already gone through.

How did I know? I could tell by the suspicious grape jelly and taco sauce stains on page 11. I do so feel as though I’m passing on my best traits to them, you know. It’s a feeling to warm my heart.

Actually, that may in fact be heartburn. I don’t think that buffet skimped on the hydrogenated oils.

Anyway, Piper had to tell me all about her new favorite breed, the Lipizzaner, before I could get too far in my own research. The Lipizzaner is a breed associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. They would probably be anyone’s favorites even if all they did was stand there and look pretty (because they are breathtaking), but they are talented too. They prance and dance in a movement called the airs above the ground.

photo by Lucie Provencher via Wikimedia Commons

It made me feel like my childhood pony, Scamper, really didn’t apply himself in his dance classes, to be honest. I spent hours training him to dance, and he could barely trot with any amount of enthusiasm. Ah well.

Nora’s favorite she decided was Little Old Man. A breed, you may ask innocently (as did I)? Judging by her glare at me and putting her book up to her face, it is evidently the name of Pippi Longstocking’s horse.

photo by Sigismund von Dobschütz via Wikimedia Commons

Andy found his favorite in a book about American cowboys: the small but mighty Morgan.

photo by Fritz Mäder/Heidi Fontana via Wikimedia Commons

I got distracted by a book about donkeys (and a small package of Raisinettes I found that Miss Librarian of the FBI missed).

All in all, it was a good day to be a horse lover. Exhausted by all our learning, we hit the taco truck on the way home for nourishment.

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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 Kimberly Calvert!

Kimberly Calvert (KimmyC, #7479) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Sew Wonderful Merit Badge!

“I put together a travel sewing kit with straight pins, safety pins, needles, scissors, buttons, and five spools of thread, including one heavyweight. I also put a small retractable tape measure in there for the project that I plan to work on once we hit the road. I also put wide Velcro, reflective tape, and wonder clips. I made a bright, cheerful owl pincushion that was small enough to fit inside. I stuffed her belly with crushed walnut shells, as I read that it would help keep the pins sharp. Walnut shells are super dusty! I will do the stuffing outside next time.

As much as I love Mason jars, I needed a non-breakable container to take in our RV. I reused a bulk foods container, which is perfect! It’s transparent so that I can see what’s inside (and so that my little owl can see outside. hah!). It feels pretty sturdy and the lid will stay put, keeping my contents secure when we hit the bumpy roads.

I will be modifying dog coats for our three dogs while we’re en-route, so this sewing kit was just the thing that I needed. What a great idea! Thank you for the inspiration.”

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Today’s Recipe: Homemade Ginger Ale


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(n.) Finnish; that secondhand embarrassment you feel when someone is making a fool of themselves, vicarious shame, or shame by proxy. From myötä- (“co-”) +‎ häpeä (“shame”).

For some with deep empathy, their myötähäpeä is so acute as to hide under the covers during movies or television scenes when a character is being ridiculous, or to avoid parties where certain relatives are bound to make an embarrassing entrance.

If you’ve never felt it, you probably haven’t had kids yet …

Photo by Tony Alter via Wikimedia Commons.

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Be like the bee, always seeking the nectar of knowledge. Life is sweeter that way.