Monthly Archives: January 2018



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Winner!!! Giveaway: MaryJane’s Stitching Room

The winner of our MaryJane’s Stitching Room giveaway is Susanne, who said in response to our question, “Tell me why you’re a farmgirl”:

“Even though I’ve lived in town for over 30 years now, I’m still a farmgirl at heart and dream of living on a farm again someday. There’s just a deep satisfaction in going out to milk on frosty mornings, picking fruit from your own trees and storing it for later, harvesting loads of veggies from the garden, making meals completely from homegrown ingredients, and enjoying the beauty of creation all around me. In the meantime, while waiting for a farm again, I enjoy my little garden beds, herbs, and flowers outside, and sewing, knitting, and cooking from scratch inside. I’d love to have this book to create from! Thank you for the giveaway!

Congratulations, Susanne! Watch for an email from the farm. Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them.

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Get Buggy, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,504 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 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/Get Buggy Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Piper and I wandered out to the front yard with our trusty notebook journals, magnifying glass, and a couple of glass jars with holes poked in the lids.

I think you can tell where we were going with this, righto? You got it, we were looking for some bug lovin’!

Furry, spindly, fat, eight-legged, four-legged, winged, cute, ugly (or bugly, as the pun-loving Pipes liked to say), we were all about dem bugs.

What we were not about was the anthill we accidently disrupted. Talk about ants in our pants. Okay, okay, I exaggerate, not so much in our pants as milling about our toes, but you get the drift. We apologized to the ant family (They didn’t even pause to listen though. Busy little buggers, aren’t they?) and moved to a different area of the yard.

For the Intermediate Level badge, you won’t really need the jars with lids, but we like to be prepared in case of bug adoptions. You never know when you might find a rare, exotic type lurking under your hydrangeas or scampering past your garden gnome! Why, just one of these finds of the Top Five Rarest Bugs in Nature would cement our notoriety in the world of entomologists:

  • Euspinolia militaris (the panda ant): Oh, it may look all cute and fuzzy, with black and white patches that appear positively snuggable, but this ‘ant’ is actually a member of the wasp family. And we never recommend snuggling a wasp. Lest you think you can take this little guy on, we’re here to tell you his nickname is “cow killer” (and yes, they can!). Yikes. Luckily, these stinging devils are mostly found in Chile.

photo by silamtao

  • Atrax sutherlandi (red-fanged funnel spider): Also called the Vampire Spider, this somewhat terrifying arachnid has red fangs. Gulp. Surprisingly though, for its fierce appearance, the atrax sutherlandi mostly just eats other insects, and won’t suck your blood.
  • Lycaedes melissa samuelis (Karner butterfly): Finally, one that won’t keep you up at night with bad dreams, this vibrant blue butterfly can only be found near New York, where it sadly has nearly become extinct due to deforestation. It’s a particular and persnickety butterfly and wants its habitat exactly just-so (kind of like me, now that I think about it).

photo by Hollingsworth, J & K via Wikimedia Commons

  • Titanus giganteus (the titan beetle): Back to the frightening kind, this beetle, native to the Amazon rainforest, can be 9 inches long! Let that sink in. Bigger than my whole hand. Or my favorite sub sandwich! Well, at least at that size, it won’t be sneaking up on me anytime soon.
  • Dryococelus australis (the tree lobster): This ginormous walking stick insect (about 6 inches long!) only lives on Lord Howe Island, between New Zealand and Australia. Entomologists thought this amazing creature was extinct back in the ‘20s but luckily for bug lovers everywhere in the early 2000s, they began popping up again. Now, experts are breeding them so as to populate the island once more. How do the residents feel about this? Unsure. How do I feel about that? Glad I don’t live on Lord Howe Island!

photo by Granitethighs via Wikimedia Commons

Well, Piper and I didn’t find any of these remarkable bugs, but we did find some beauties to mark down in our journals. And a roly-poly named Earnest lived in a Mason-jar habitat for an afternoon before we let him go back to his family.

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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 Jennifer Chappell!

Jennifer Chappell (AdeleHale, #6346) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level My Fair Farmgirl Merit Badge!

“I researched the difference between conventional products and cruelty-free organic beauty products and shared it on my personal Facebook page. I replaced my toothpaste and all of my skincare products with organic alternatives. I made scented bath salts with Epsom salts and essential oils.

I like using the organic beauty products—they have improved my skin health immensely.

For the bath salts, I combined three pounds of Epsom salts with 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 3 drops tea tree essential oil, and 2 drops peppermint essential oil. The scent and the salts lasted about an hour and my fibromyalgia is better today than it was yesterday.”

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Today’s Recipe: Quick & Easy Baked Pancake

With this recipe, whipping up a mess of piping-hot pancakes has never been easier. Gone are the days of standing over a stove, tinkering with the burner setting to get the pan temperature just-so. Additionally, this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd in one fell swoop.


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Lost in Translation

Most of us have heard of a murder of crows, right? Rather than something that sends ominous chills up and down your spine, it’s really just a way to describe a bunch of crows without saying … well, “There was this bunch of crows …”

The names of other animal groupings are just as interesting and intriguing. How many of these had you heard of—and used properly—before today?

Orpheus Charming the Animals, Jacob Hoefnagel, 1613

A rookery of albatross.

A congregation of alligators.

A shrewdness of apes.

A battery of barracudas.

A sleuth of bears.

A wreck of birds.

A sute of bloodhounds.

A wake of buzzards (getting ominous again).

A bellowing of bullfinches.

A nuisance of cats.

A destruction of wild cats.

A coalition of cheetahs.

A quiver of cobras. (Well, sure, they’d make anyone quiver!)

A pod of dolphins.

A pitying of doves.

A memory of elephants.

A business of ferrets.

A charm of finches.

A flamboyance of flamingoes.

A tower of giraffes.

An implausibility of gnus.

A bloat of hippopotamuses. Hippopatami?

A lounge of lizards.

A mischief of mice.

A company of moles.

A parliament of owls.

A pandemonium of parrots.

A pride of peacocks.

A rhumba of rattlesnakes.

An unkindness of ravens.

A congress of salamanders.

A shiver of sharks.

A fever of stingrays.

A gulp of swallows.

A gang (or posse) of turkeys.

A generation of vipers.

A kettle of vultures.

A wisdom of wombats.

A dazzle of zebras.

These are just the ones that caught my eye. There are dozens more names of animal packs and groupings. Which one is your favorite?

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