Light the Way Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,129 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,751 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 Make It Easy/Light the Way Expert Level Merit Badge, I rolled up my flannel sleeves, channeled my inner lumberjack, sharpened my ax (Yes, I have an ax! Farmgirl here, dontcha know?) and got to chopping. Yes, I know, mid-winter isn’t exactly the time of year to be thinking of this chore, but to be honest, I underestimated how much lumber I would need and, truthfully, I can only store so much at one time, right? I mean, I need room on my back porch for craft projects, too. Like my Automatic Needle Threading Machine 3000 (it takes a lot of space).

But now, I’m about to break my own Wood Chopping and Stacking record, all in the name of Merit Badges! And a little in the name of Warm Toes, if we’re honest. Just like Honest Abe.


The Railsplitter. Abraham Lincoln here despicted as a young man chopping wood, 1909, via Wikimedia Commons.

First—since I’m not a young whippersnapper anymore—I stretched. Yes siree, I recommend a good loosening up of the ol’ pectorals, biceps, triceps, and uh … elbowceps? Is there a badge for learning anatomy?

After my short but sweet warm-up session, I did a quick jog around the house a few times to keep my adrenaline pumping and my metabolism working. And by “a quick jog around the house a few times,” I naturally mean, a quick tour of the fridge and the contents therein. Nourishment found and hunger abated, I resolved to get started for real this time.

After a quick cuppa tea.

A girl needs her strength, okay?

Okay, seriously now, I’m down to two pieces of kindling and a demolished chair someone left out by their curb. I really need some firewood, stat.

Stop distracting me, already!

I settled into my chopping with reckless abandon. (That’s just a literary term. Don’t chop wood with reckless abandon, peeps—that would be … well, reckless).


Photo by Kreuzschnabel via Wikimedia Commons

After laying down a good foundation, I started getting fancy with my stacking skillz. That’s right, folks, you’re looking at a Lincoln Log Queen, so don’t think I’m just going to stack the regular way. Leave that to the amateurs! I won’t settle for anything less than a high-quality, awe-inspiring, Taj Mahal of pine. The Eiffel Tower of ponderosa. The Buckingham Palace of fir.

Buckingham Palace? Now I need a tea break.


Isidore Verheyden – Afternoon Tea, 1905 via Wikimedia Commons

*several hours later*

It’s starting to shape up. My pectoids and my trapezius cuffs (??) are burning, but my masterpiece is looking aMAYzing. A little crooked, but that’s alright. Esthetics aren’t everything in this art form. There’s also form, shape, size, weight, imagination, and creativity. And the little dance you do when you get too much bark in your socks. Or when a rogue squirrel flies outta nowhere.

I wasn’t going to stop, by golly, until a neighbor wandered over to say the magical words. You fellow choppers know the ones I’m talking about:

Nice stack you got there, Jane.


Photo by Feci1024 via Wikimedia Commons

Any time now. They’re coming. I can feel it.

Any time.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a lot of hard work that is to make such a wood pile. I’m impressed MBA Jane!!

  2. Ah, this brings back memories. Back in my early “hippy dippy ” days I worked for a friend who logged in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with a team of draft horses. Even back then almost no one did that .( He built his own huge log cabin from scratch with no power tools- all by hand .)
    Anyway, my job was to stack the wood after he and a few stout souls split the logs. We are talking huge trees and hence huge logs! A bit too much for this 100 lb 5 foot 3″ gal. Even the big lumberjack boys had a hard time, I swear. I would build the stacks with lots of air in them so they could ” season” properly. It is an art form which he taught me. And I would scramble up those stacks like a squirrel. It was the hardest work I have ever done. and yeah , at day’s end he would tell me ” nice stack Lisa” .

  3. Karlyne says:

    Oh, I love this one! You go, MBA Jane!

  4. Cindi Johnson says:

    Wood piles and chopping days are behind me now, since this humble abode does not have a stove or fireplace (shame on the builder!!), but it is best. For me it was like that cartoon character furiously driving his ax into a log only to feel the reverberation of the impact gradually creep up the arms and through the body with a resounding “poinggggg!” ~ Yep. That would be me 🙂

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