Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Farmyard to Kitchen, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,782 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life  

For this week’s Farmyard to Kitchen Young Cultivator Expert Level Merit Badge, Andy, Nora, Piper, and Yours Truly were ready for action. We had earned our Beginner and Intermediate Level badges (and no one was harmed in the making of those badges, fowl or bovine or small children or Aunty), and we were ready to progress.

First things were first: raising baby chicks or learning to milk a cow?

Since Buttercup the Cow Princess was looking rather askance at us (talk about mooooooo-dy), we decided on chicks. Or, Baby Balls of Fluffy Cuteness, as Piper described them with stars in her eyes.

“Yes, they’re adorable right now, but let’s remember: when they are no longer shiny and new, you don’t get to drop them off at Aunty’s house, okiedokie?” I reminded them. I had heard tell of a childhood phenomenon: adopting delightful pet babies and then losing interest in them posthaste, leaving the chores to be done by their mothers.

Just another reason why I was never a kid. Fresh out of the box as a grown woman, that’s me.

But I digress.

“We’d never stop loving our Cotton Balls of Puffy Fluffy Loviekins!” Piper was insulted.

“I’m naming mine Ryan Gosling,” said Nora, who was really into movie stars lately. “Get it? Gosling? Ha!”

“Goslings are baby ducks, dummy,” said Andy.

“Nuh uh, they’re baby geese, dork-head,” she fired back.

“No arguments!” I broke in. “Arguing in front of hens makes bad layers. It’s science.”

We got our little chickies home that evening and set up their cozy new house: a large Rubbermaid container with straw and a heat lamp, food, and water. And Piper’s additions: half a Barbie’s Dream House, a few stuffed animals, some baby blankets, and a medley of soft rock playing in the background.

After I armed them with an stack of library books on how to raise happy chickens, a list of Things Not To Do (in my days as Aunty, I’ve learned those are much more applicable to their mischievous little minds than lists of Things To Do), and my number written on the fridge in case of Chicken Emergencies, I went home for a little nap.

The next day, after checking in on Ryan Gosling, Mrs. David Bock-Bock-Beckham, and Lady Clucks-A-Lot, we finished up our badge earning with a little butter making.

“I don’t really like butter,” Andy said.

I had a small stroke and had to be revived by the local paramedics. Afterwards, while recovering with a nice bread and butter sammie and a cup of tea, I decided to get to the bottom of Andy’s sacrilegious comment.

“What did you mean you don’t like butter?” I croaked, still weak. I dunked my sammie in my tea for extra nourishment.

“Well, I don’t know, Aunty,” he said. “I just don’t think it tastes all that great. Kinda oily and greasy, if you ask me.”

“I did not ask you, whippersnapper!”

“Yeah, you did.”

“Oh yes. Right. Fetch me this so-called butter, youngster. Chop, chop.”

He complied, rolling his eyes all the way (I nearly threw my sammie at the back of his head, but I’d finished it). He returned with …


I can hardly say it. Here you try and try with these kids, you nurture, you give and give, blood, sweat, tears … wasted.

It was a crock.

A plastic crock.

A plastic crock of butter impostors.

Fake butter product.

Processed, pasturized, yellow-food-coloring laden, oil.

The rest of the Expert Level earning will have to wait. Tell the paramedics to get back here.

Fading. Fading.

Going towards the light.

Goodbye, cruel world.

  1. Karlyne says:

    I don’t even know Andy, but I’m fading, too. Gasp, choke, I hear the sirens coming for meeee…

  2. Krista says:

    Too funny! I remember the first time I made my own butter. I was in school and we all worked together as a team to make it. I remember falling in love with the taste right then and there. I can’t wait to do these badges with my boys and watch them raise chickens.

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