Secret Life of Bees Merit Badge

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,451 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/The Secret Life of Bees Merit Badge, I had to rethink the way I thought about bees. Here’s the buzz:

The little guys and girls are disappearing. Vamoose. Puff. Like a magic act gone awry, our furry little pals are MIA. At first (I admit grudgingly) I was secretly like, who cares?

I know. Harsh.

But right behind their eight-legged buddies, bees were not high on my list of favorite animals. Puppies, yes. Kittens, sure thing. Chickens and horses and lions and tigers and bears? Oh my. But bees? Come on! They buzz by, making me yelp in fear and perform strange dance moves at odd times, and let’s be honest: we’ve all been stung once or twice, am I right?

But the more I learned, the more I began to be fond of the itty bitty creatures. I mean, they’re working hard for us. I happen to LIKE fruits and veggies. I don’t want to live off Doritos, people! Not to mention, I am real fond of local honey. My morning toast would be lonely without it.

You know what they say: you never know what you have until it’s gone.




Short of dressing up like Pooh Bear, complete with honey pot atop my head, I didn’t know what to do. So I headed over to and watched a short documentary, narrated by the lovely and talented Ellen Page. There ARE things we can do to entice our bees back to us, and I was determined to do my part.

Plant a bee friendly garden. Well, I can do that. Not a prob, Bob. I got out my handy dandy trowel, turned my soil, and got to work. I was surprised to learn that the bees and I enjoy the same kinds of plants, too …

wild garlic




fruit trees


and tons of others. We were made for each other, me and the bees. Talk about star-crossed. Romeo and Juliet had nothing on us.

*stifles sobs*

I worked all afternoon making sure my garden was bee friendly. I thought about putting up a Vacancy sign, but decided that might make me look a little desperate. I settled for checking out Sue Monk Kid’s Secret Life of Bees and dove in. My knowledge grew, and hopefully – though it might take a little while – so will my honey pot.

But don’t get too excited. I am so NOT planting a spider friendly garden next.

Though I am quite fond of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My daughter gave me Sue Monk’s book and it was such a fantastic read! Because bees are small and just sort of do their thing despite all of us in our daily rush to whatever, I never really stopped to think about them or their importance until I linked up with Mary Jane’s Farm. When you take a zoom lens and get up closer to bees, a whole new world opens up and a new connectivity to plant life unfolds. Bees are amazing!

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