Monthly Archives: March 2018



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Farmgirl’s Best Friend Merit Badge, Beginner 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 Outpost/Farmgirl’s Best Friend Beginner Level Merit Badge, I had to stifle my excitement a little bit. You see, I have a habit of falling in love with every four-legged creature that comes my way. Hold your horses, girl!

Note to self: no horses. Settle down, Janey.

The requirements were clear, so I gave myself a stern talking to, and committed to staying firmly within the lines:

  • If you’ve never owned a pet before, explore the reasons why. Are you allergic? Did your parents not enjoy pets? Have you always lived in an apartment, or worked too many hours to care for one?
  • If you have had pets, think back to your favorite one.
  • If you could pick a pet, what would you choose and why? Research your choice and see if their temperament/availability/cost sway you to another choice. Remember, not all pets are dogs and cats. If you’re allergic to dander, maybe consider a lizard or some backyard chickens.

Well, I’ve clearly owned a pet or two or seventeen before, so the first column I could skip over. Uh oh, adhering to the rules was already becoming a problem …

The second requirement was more applicable. I waltzed down memory lane with all my furry pals …

My first pony, Rainbow Dash. A bit on the squat side for my long gams, she nevertheless fulfilled my need to have adventures of the equine sort. Of course, she was busy with her own life, what with being one of the oh-so popular My Little Pony franchise stars.

Then there was my beloved dog, Spotty McSpot Spots. Fluffy as could be, with long ears, and his own collar, he was three times the size of Rainbow Dash so I could ride him merrily along as my own personal horse. Don’t you miss the Pound Puppies?

Toys aside, I had to say my favorite pet was my family cow. She was a great listener, not to mention she guarded the backyard from intruders and gave us yummy milk.

If I could pick a pet, what would I choose and why? Wouldn’t it be easier to list the type of pet I wouldn’t want and why? Cuz that list is short:

  1. A rattlesnake.
  2. There is no #2.

But after many moments of deep thought, and several slices of apple pie, I came up with an intriguing possibility: an octopus.


1896, The Illustrated Police News, via Wikimedia Commons

Wait, wait, hear me out!

Did you know these fascinating facts about octopuses? Octopi? (I looked it up: it’s octopuses. You’re welcome.)

  • They eat their own arms if they get bored. Yikes! That seems a little overly dramatic, even for me.
  • They’re considered the smartest animals in the world, and the closest things to aliens we have here on earth. They’ve even been seen using tools! An octopus with his own home improvement show? Yes, please.
  • They’ve been seen opening child-proof bottles in mere minutes if you hide their snacks inside. I mean, I’ve been known to do some crazy stuff to get to my favorite trail mix, too.
  • They can change their entire body color in three-tenths of a second, in order to camouflage themselves. And we’re not just talking one color: they can take on the appearance of just about anything near them.
  • They have sadly short life spans. Unfortunately, they only live a few years, with some species (those typically sold at pet stores) only living for about six months.

That last fact made me decide to keep researching different animals. I just get too attached to lose my new BFF in that short a time.

Maybe a tortoise?

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(v.) middle English; to rush around cleaning frantically, when company is on their way to your home. To clean briskly.

While the oldest known variations (1700s) relate more to scouring pots and pans, or even one’s children, the later variations are attributed to that panicked feeling you get when a long-lost friend calls you from a nearby rest stop, or your mother-in-law phones from the car to let you know she’s in your driveway.

Do you scurryfunge?

Image by Geertruydt Roghman via Wikimedia Commons.

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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 Kristy De Vuyst!

Kristy De Vuyst (#7419) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Homespun Christmas Merit Badge!

“I made dishcloths for all of my friends and family with a side of baking. My kids and I also decorated our tree with edibles. We made birdseed ornaments and dried oranges and apple slices to hang on the tree. We also strung popcorn for garland. When we took our tree down, they were all hung outside for the birds.

It was the most beautiful tree we have ever had and our friends and family loved their gifts!”


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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Know Your Food, 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 Farm Kitchen/Know Your Food Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Nora decided to educate the rest of her family on her newfound knowledge of … drumroll please …


Yes, once little Nora realized plain ol’ fruit was pretty plain delicious all on its own, she had forgone most of her sweet treats in favor of a juicy kiwi, or a bowl of peaches and cream, or some sun-ripened strawberries.

Photo by Nino Barbieri via Wikimedia Commons

She was even starting to come out of her sugar-induced coma. I swear I saw a twinkle in her eyes I had never seen before as she bit into an Anjou pear. It was a miracle.

To earn her Intermediate Level badge though, she had to share her knowledge.

In retrospect, I probably should have supervised this part a little more. Sharing what you love and don’t love about food at the dinner table, with over-tired parents and whiney siblings and the like can be a recipe for disaster. Note to self: Janey, my dear, when you have offspring of your very own, fruity looms, remember this.

Nora had been a sport about trying new fruits and veggies. We had a blast at the farmer’s market and grocery store, picking out new things. She even went totally overboard: she only needed to do one new item per week, but she was averaging one per day. The girl was becoming addicted to it. I wasn’t sure if her mom was going to thank me, or kill me.

Photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

My Final Decisions and List of New Food
By Nora

The Good:

  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Persimmon (but only under ripe, then they get gross)
  • Plantains
  • Starfruit
  • Sweet Potatoes (made into fries only)
  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Radishes
  • Pomegranates
  • Jicama

The Bad:

  • Sweet Potatoes that aren’t in the shape of fries
  • Raisins
  • Dragonfruit
  • Squash
  • Lima Beans
  • Arugula

The Ugly:

  • Beets (until you slice ‘em, then kinda pretty)
  • Raisins (should be illegal)
  • Turnips (yuck)
  • Bean Sprouts (scary, alien-looking things)
  • Ugly Fruit (No, really! It’s a thing! A form of a tangelo!)

Since no mom wants a report card after dinner, I took it upon myself to keep the list at my house. All in all, we tried lots of new stuff, and Nora enjoyed more than she spit out. Tastefully. Into a napkin.

We also learned that taste buds change over the years (they literally wear out like an old pair of socks), approximately every seven years to be precise. So though Nora may hate arugula now, she might eat it up cheerfully as a 20-year-old. (She is skeptical.)

Time will tell.

P.S. Jane here. Still waiting for my taste buds to accept asparagus. Maybe if I bury it in Hollandaise sauce? You know, for my health?

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