Monthly Archives: March 2013

blessing bags

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of the underserved people in your area, here’s an idea worth keeping alive. Today seems an even more appropriate day to put it on our list of things to do:

Blessing Bags. (Stay with me, I have a different spin on it.)

Initiated by Children Helping Poor and Homeless People and popularized by the moms (and grandmas) of Kids with a Vision (KWAV), the idea of Blessing Bags have started to spread, popping up on Pinterest, blogs, and Facebook.

The gist:

Assemble a bag for someone less fortunate than you, filling it with useful items pertinent to daily life—stuff many of us take for granted. The KWAV gals recommend packing a plastic zipper bag with the basics: snacks, toiletries, first-aid items, and gift cards.


Photo courtesy of


Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama takes the idea a step further, suggesting the addition of a paperback, deck of cards, socks, a mini flashlight, notebook, pen … you get the idea.


Photo courtesy of

I propose putting a natural spin on the Blessing Bag, starting with a fabric bag that can be re-used for other purposes.

  • You could sew your own from reclaimed material (think old clothing), buy bags at second-hand stores, or spring for organic cotton produce bags.
  • Pack it with dry snacks that don’t contain artificial ingredients or empty calories—granola bars, nuts, cereal, and dried fruit.
  • Opt for healthy hygiene items like trial-sized Dr. Bronner’s soap, Tom’s toothpaste, and Burt’s Bees chapstick and lotion. You can tailor a bag to feminine needs by including organic cotton tampons.
  • Instead of plastic water bottles, consider equipping your bags with collapsible camping cups. Other useful doo-dads might include a multi-purpose tool or a small, packable reflective blanket.

This venture is good for groups, pooling resources, time, and effort—the perfect Sisterhood project. Kids can help, too, while learning the value of helping others.


Photo by Joxemai via Wikimedia Commons




fresh start

How many times have you come home from the farmers’ market or grocery store with a fresh bundle of fragrant herbs only to watch it wilt before you’ve even had a chance to use it?

I know—me too.

Even greens grabbed from my garden will go limp if I don’t snip and season right away.

But I’ve found a little gem that may just flabbergast fresh produce fanatics from here to Farfoodle.

It’s called FreshPaper by Fenugreen.

Cute, right?

And oh so simple.

It’s just an unassuming piece of paper, not unlike a dryer sheet, that keeps fruits and veggies fresh for two to four times longer, organically.


Photo courtesy of

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Farmgirls in the City, Day 3

Mia and I loved New York City! We could have spent the entire week in Central Park. At first, we thought it was a forest and couldn’t believe that new playgrounds kept popping up everywhere.

Central Park Rock

A forest surrounded by skyscrapers.

Central park pond

Hiking on all these nice paved trails is much easier than in our forests back home.

Farmgirls in the City, Day 2

One of our aunties attended college in New York City. When we were babies, she gave us a book all about the city. It was part of a whole series of children’s books about different cities across the world. We LOVE our NYC book.

5155n3D6ESL._SY300_We took it with us so we could visit some of the places illustrated in our book.


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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 … Sherrilyn Askew!

Sherrilyn Askew (sherri, #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Backyard Farmer Merit Badge!

We started by digging out the old barn from under the blackberry bushes. We then had to rebuild the majority of it. In one end we built a chicken coop. This past June we purchased a variety of baby chicks and started our hen house. We now get over a dozen eggs a day and supply our family and neighbors with fresh eggs. We use a local feed called “Scratch & Peck”. It has no GMO’s and is a small local company. The chickens think it is fantastic!!!

IMG_0822We wound up with 5 roosters and 19 hens. So far we have eaten 3 of the roosters. The eggs are fabulous!!! I had forgotten how good fresh farm eggs tasted and how beautiful they looked. Such large golden yolks and firm whites. I want to try my hand at pickling eggs at some point.

Way to go Sherrilyn! Good choice on Scratch & Peck for your feed. That’s what we feed our chickens here at MaryJanesFarm.

International Glamping Weekend—in Australia!

There are 65 days; 5,616,000 seconds; 93,600 minutes; 1560 hours and 9(ish) weeks until International Glamping Weekend.

But who’s counting?

Trish Martin, our Australian glamper-ific girlfriend down-under is, and she’s taking International Glamping Weekend to the next level.

Below is an article posted on AdelaideNow about her Glamper Gals event. Trish was one of the first to list her event with us on our International Glamping Weekend ‘gatherings’ page last year, and again, this year. Now with 500 members, she’s taking Australia by storm!

Or, better yet, by sunny weather and a cocktail …


Jen Weeks, Mardi Zeunert, and Mel Ward are on the glamping bandwagon, pictured with Mardi’s vintage caravan, “Flossie.” Picture: Naomi Jellicoe. Courtesy of AdelaideNow.

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Pocket Hose

Farmhand Ace gave me a gift yesterday to help celebrate our upcoming International Glamping Weekend, June 1 & 2. Why a hose for glamping?

“As seen on TV” is a little joke of ours. The next time you need to emphasize how sure you are of something, just say, “As seen on TV.” Ace also knows how much I love hoses. Hint: Garden hoses test my patience like nothing else.

Do you have a hose that grows? I do. Are you ready for International Glamping Weekend? I am.





Mighty Mouse Girl

I have a huge amount of respect for a little girl who is building her own tiny house.


Nope …

tiny habitable, functional house.

Meet Sicily Kolbeck.


Photo courtesy of Sicily’s blog, La Petite Maison

At 12 years of age, Sicily is nothing short of a pint-sized … well … powerhouse. As we speak, this darling dynamo is building a 128-square-foot solar-powered mini-home.

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