Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Make It Fruity, Beginner Level, Part 1

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,487 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,234 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   

In my pursuit of all things farmgirl, I set about helping my neighbor, Nora, earn herself a Young Cultivator’s Make It Fruity Merit Badge.

“It will be fun,” they said.

“It will be educational,” they said.

They forgot to mention that 12-year-olds have the attention spans of gnats on a sugar high, that the high temperature for this weekend was 104 degrees, and that I’m not as young as I used to be. I’m not saying that taking small children blackberry picking isn’t a delight, I’m just saying wear the right clothes and be prepared.

“Prepared for what?” you ask.

Well, bug sightings and freak-outs, blackberry stains that look alarmingly like blood (causing you to panic and start slapping bandages on your unsuspecting and confused child), ditches that try to eat grown women, and a sunburn that’s the opposite of a farmer’s tan. (Think gloves. Yeah. I now have lily-white hands, which is very ladylike of me. But they’re in stark contrast to my pink, pink arms.)

Let’s just say, I was ill prepared. But little Nora had a blast. And that’s what counts, right?


Nervous breakdowns aside.

Anyway, blackberries are delicious and grow like weeds (in fact, in Oregon, they call ‘em Oregon’s State Weed). They’re also well protected from predators and will stab you if you so much as look at them. Also, they really like growing next to ditches, as I mentioned before, and I have the twisted ankle and dirty knees to prove it. All that being said, I also have enough blackberries for pies and cobblers and to sprinkle on my morning granola, so all is not lost.

Photo by David R. Tribble via Wikimedia Commons

Nora, my sweet-pea neighbor, and I set out first thing in the morning. Well, it was supposed to be first thing, but evidently, preteens need more sleep than hibernating bears, so by the time I could roll her out of bed and get her moving, I had already had brunch, second breakfast, and pre-lunch. She, on the other hand, needed sustenance asap, as proven by her crazy eyes and extremely exciting hairdo. Her mother hastily fed her a stack of pancakes as high as a breadbox, and then also … the entire contents of her breadbox.

I was impressed with this girl already, and we hadn’t even started yet.

After that, Nora needed to “check her social media,” which took approximately 47 and one half years.

Photo by PictureYouth via Wikimedia Commons

What does a 12-year-old need with social media, I thought to myself? She obviously needed me. I too, used to be more interested in Twitter than I was in the tweets of real birds. I was more in love with shopping and the mall than I was with my kitchen and my garden. I used to use words like LOL and ROTGL in casual conversation. I knew Nora. She was my Mini Me, but before I became a farmgirl.

I could see more Merit Badges in my future with my little Jedi. I would be her Yoda! Instruct and nurture her, I would.

Even if it killed me.

It nearly did.

To be continued…

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Perhaps visions of days to come with your own grandchildren?? I have to admit, I find it annoying when checking Facebook supersedes anything I might have been talking about!

  2. Cindi says:

    Bravo!!!! I was just reading about being creative ~ how it is not a hobby, but a way of life. I fear we all (yes, all) are beginning to think we are fulfilled by “being connected” when really we are robbing ourselves of opportunities to be creative and feel true fulfillment. I applaud your wisdom and patience! I might have taken the phone away and that would be counterproductive, to say the least. Now I hope that this delightful young girl will enjoy the fruits of her adventure ~ maybe learn how to make pie in the process. I know from my own youthful experiences that this will not only introduce her to a new love, but it will remain a fond memory. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy remembering when some adult fell in a ditch, got muddy, sunburned and had funny glove marks tattooed on them? Oh, and the freaking out over berry juice… that story will be retold many times, I’m sure!

  3. Karlyne says:

    Can’t wait for Part Two!

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